Friday, May 31, 2013

FIRST FMTB RIDE

Yesterday.

Its been a good week on the bike. The last 7 days has produced over 12 hours on the bike. Three in the woods and the rest on the road. Im feeling much better in the saddle. Yesterday was a solid two hours on the Fat MTB. Or FMTB for shorter. The 3.8 Knard tires pumped up to 30 pounds. You heard me, I said 30.
Im not a big fan of the Greenbush trail system anymore. Huge usage has a billion rocks busting out everywhere. But the fatter tires made that a bit easier even tho I still had to climb with the added weight of a fat tire. Still, the high pressure gave a good roll as my downhills where just as good as with my Superfly. Even easier.
I struggle here on a normal MTB. You cant take your hands off the bars for a second or they get ripped out of your hands. I almost had that happen yesterday and I had both hand on tight. Another thing I noticed with the tires so full of air is that you can pump the tires hard enough to know you are riding a rigid bike. In summer race mode, I can see maybe a fork on these things soon. All in all its a bike thats fun to ride in summer too. 

Things you see on a four hour road ride. Note fog in background. Damn lake.

Two of the rides in the last 7 days have been real close to, and just over 4 hours. Those rides kick my ass and make me feel better on the bike at the same time.
Not sure that this weekend will bring. Im sure a smaller ride tomorrow morn, but Sunday I gatta work the store so not sure then either. Just will do the best I can.

Have a great weekend.

DLD

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I'M COMPLAINING.

I try not to complain here a lot. Nobody wants to hear me bitch about stuff. But trust me, I complain a lot. Mostly in my head but thats a whole nuther' story.

Ive only been in the bike biz four full years. This month is the start of year 5. And so far this has been the worst spring for retail yet.


I would complain a bit in March, but not a lot, cuz its March.
April you still shrug your shoulders as its snowing on your spring sale. And complain a little louder.

May is still complainable early. Some were still CC skiing up north in early May. Trails were still being groomed.

Today, we are two days from June. And I still have not used sun screen yet for any ride. Still arm and knee warmers, or more, and still cold. The lake effect is in full swing here. Its game on in that respect as temps rise almost 20 degrees inland. This morn, here by me, 49 degrees and foggy as I got to the store. Summer just keeps dodging us here. Its a illusion done with mirrors.

Soon, I hope, things will turn around and the riverfront will be full of people and we can ride without all the extra clothing. I can distinctly remember saying "just a couple weeks yet" in early April. By couple, I must of meant nine.
So there, Im complaining. The slow start to summer, for me, is compounded a bit by the store's move in March. Big expectations put on standby due to weather. Something one cant control. Like a rain delay at the World Series. So you just gatta wait it out.

Couple weeks yet.

DLD

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

UPSWING

crappy day. 915am
What a crappy day.

However the weekend was a bit better. The store rocked it on out first Sunday, and at the same time I nailed down my first 4 hour ride. That. along with 2 hours on Saturday and Monday put me almost 8 hours on this three day weekend. More if you count Friday.

And Im feeling better with every hour. Sunday's four hour ride had me averaging almost 17mph for the duration. Thats up from my previous rides. The legs are starting to come around. And that means its almost race time.

And it also means I will order my MTB soon. As posted earlier I do not have one. Not that its a big deal. I can order one had have it here next day. Not the one I want, the Superfly SL Pro is back ordered into the next millennium (exaggerating).
Im going to most likely get the aluminum Pro. Full XT. That will hold me over until the 2014 Superfly SL is available to us dealers.

My next thought is: when to start this summers racing. I do have about 10 pounds to lose yet and was thinking about this next weekends WORS race but that most likely wont happen but I will keep it on the table until later in the week.

Like last year, Im not so much into the WORS stuff but more into the stand alone races. I have the Keweenaw in my sights. Stuff like that is fun. The middle of June seems to be a more realistic time frame for my first race. And their Clydesdale start st 220 pounds! That is so me. WORS need to get back to a real Clyde weight. But I'll plan on hitting two or three WORS races for sure.

I get kinda pumped when my riding is on the upswing. Its a good feeling.
Hope things continue.

DLD

Friday, May 24, 2013

PHASE ONE

Blue Harbor Resort. 845am

When I decided to move the store I had it narrowed down to two places. Where I am now and a nice mall on the west side of town, near a highway.
As far as retail go's, the mall would have been a better choice  It had some big stores in it. Close to high traffic. It had a lot going for it. But that did not work out. So I made the move to where I am now. Down by the river. Its kinda hidden. In a very cool spot but hidden. Bad for retail. But the one thing I banked one when I moved in was the bike rental situation with Blue Harbor Resort that sits just across the river.

Yesterday that became a reality as I now have rental bike inside the facility. Starting with 10 and prepared to take it to 20 at the drop of a hat. This is the scenario that needed to happen to make the choice of moving here a successful one. Most of the day yesterday was spent training their employees on bike fitting and needed paperwork and this weekend is the test. Im sure we will have to tweek something but Im pretty sure all the bases are covered. 
This is phase one in SBC 2.0.
On to the next.
All that and I still managed a two hour ride yesterday. I was pretty pumped about that.
This weekend is looking good for a ride or two. Will get out in the morn before the store opens tomorrow.  And this weekend is the first Sunday open too. Busy weekend.
Alas we will be close on Monday. More bike riding.

Hope everyone has a good weekend. Get outside.

DLD

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

PICS FOR SALE

Freebee. Download it.

Ive mentioned before that Im selling my pics in the store. Its been a month and so far nothing. Its more for fun anyway. Im not offended if they don't sell. Good thing I dont have to make a living on that.
Someone said Im pricing them so low that they dont seem legit. If I priced them higher they would sell.
Here some are for sale on the wall.
Nobody comes to a bike store to buy pictures.

Today is a bit rainy. I have a window to ride around 2pm but I think thats going to be washed out.

Tomorrow I will try and get out for a longer ride. I need to set up long ride Wednesdays ongoing.

Scheduling here at the store is still up in the air. Even more so since Im now open Sundays. That throws a huge wrench into everyone's schedule. Nobody is very happy about it, including me. But its a fact of life.

Other than that is getting pretty gloomy outside. Time to open the store.

DLD

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

MTFB

Mountain Fat Bike (MTFB)
Since its Tuesday I'll make believe the lack of post yesterday was due to a 3 day weekend. It was not. But it was partly due to a bike ride so thats kinda close.
After last Wednesday when I over cooked it a bit, then was a bit sick I was not sure how my riding was going to go this weekend. I was pleasantly surprised to get almost 8 hours in counting Monday morn.

Im feeling better on the bike with every ride. This week I will try a longer ride again. Maybe tomorrow. I feel if I just lose about 10 pounds I will be back in the game. At least as far into the game a 53 year old Clydesdale can get. It will be a bit yet before I get there but at least I know I can now.

Im a bit unsure of what I want to do for a MTB. The Superfly I want is out to July. I could wait for it. Or I could get a Felt today. Or I could wait till August, just a month longer and get a 2014 Superfly. That makes the most sense with Treks demo program.
But if I do that I will go most of the summer without a MTB. Unless you count the fatbike. Then its a Mountain Fat Bike, or MTFB for short.
Really, when you put these bikes in "summer mode" they are slower than a cross country rig but not by as much as you think.
When you run the lighter stuff on them I think they are fast enough to become a trail rig. Not the fastest thing in the woods but doable.

I checked out the first WORS race with the new fatbike category and was disappointed to see only 8. That will change I hope. However, if I do race that bike it most likely will not be in that category. Its a open category and those guys looked fast on paper. I'll stay in Clyde.

So Im unsure really of what I want to do this summer. I really do not see me going an entire summer without a fast MTB. But with the three options I think waiting for a early 2014 makes the most sense. Im sure I'll change my mind.

I always do.

DLD

Friday, May 17, 2013

HP REVISITED

As it turns out it was not the ride the other day that knocked me out. Soon thereafter I realized I have a bit of flu going on. Today, its full on. Im down. No riding until my temp go's down. Sometime over the weekend if history proves.

So with the down time I realized its been a long time since I explained my Happy Place, or HP for short.
Its really Kohler-Andrae State Park. Im here pretty much every day. Sometimes twice. 

Every bike ride I do from the store go's thru this place. In winter, its where I groom the ski trails. I guess I cant really explain why Im there so much. Its almost out of habit now. I think it started in 2008 when I was separated from my wife for about a year. I lived in a little cabin in the woods (which was cool and awful at the same time) very near  the park. And I walked or rode there everyday for a long time. And never stopped I guess. Its got a lot of wildlife. Tons of tame deer. Cranes, eagles. Saw my first eagle there in 2008. First time I saw one when I was not in northern Wisco. A week ago I was listening to loons out on the lake. Also a first. I think thats what I like about it. After all these years I still get a lot of firsts there. I watch ships pass. Its got a lot of things I like. At times its very quiet. During the winter most times Im the only one there.
Today, its waking up and full of campers and beach walkers. Now I must share.

As far as State Parks go, its not my favorite  That would be Peninsula Park, in Fish Creek in Door County. I get there as much as I can. Both day and weekend trips.

But for morning coffee you cant beat my HP. I could post a billion pics of that place. I would not know where to start if I did.


 Pic 1: River otters visited the park a few years ago. Saw them for about a week, then they were gone. Never returned.
Pic 2: A visit from some Swans. This was also a one time deal. Never saw them again there.
Pic 3: Where else would you see a deer running along the beach?
Pic 4: In winter, eagles spend a lot of time here fishing.

I could go on for hours here. But I gatta open the store. If you look at these pics and think what a cool place, I'll tell you this is only about 15% of it. So much there and so close to me. How can I not like it?
Im laying low this weekend, I hope you do not.

DLD

Thursday, May 16, 2013

OVER DID IT

I do this about three times a year.

Yesterday I woke and glanced at my phone when I unplugged it. It said 70 degrees. At 7am? No way.
I threw open the patio door and sure enough, it was warm. Summer warm.

I had help opening the store so it was right then I decided this was a long ride Wednesday  I got ready as soon as I could, drove to the store, grabbed the bike and I was off in what I wanted to call a 4 hour ride.

I headed north, then west to get away from the pesky lake. What a beautiful day. I just kept riding west. It started to get hilly. Just kept riding west. Before too long I realized.
I was too far west. And out of water bottles. On a ride like this my mind can wander for an hour. I flipped it and started back. But heading south put me right thru the kettle moraine and it was hill after hill. After hill.

My four hour easy ride turned into a death march that had my legs cramping twice while climbing. I have never cramped on the bike in my life. Today was twice. And here was stupid thing number two: I tried a new energy drink. It did not agree with me. So I rode too far, rode too many hills, pretty much started dehydrated and got sick on some new drink.
I was two hours away and a mess.

Needless to say I soft peddled home. Total 3 hours 45min. 55 miles. Last 15 in pain. This was my bad in not planning correctly. And using a route suggested by a skinny person.
That said, Im glad I did it. Besides the dehydration what doesn't kill me makes me stronger. I will do it again. Soon I hope. But will prep better. Drop a few pounds and those hill will still be tough, but not life threatening.

It may have been a little early in the season to try this but Im glad I did and Im glad I suffered. I'll know better next time. A buddy said maybe you over did it a little. I said when have I ever over did anything.

Maybe yesterday.

DLD

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

ANNUAL HATE LETTER

You all know by now I start my day with a visit to the lake.
I cant imagine not living here. Lake Michigan has been part of my childhood and adulthood. I look at it many times everyday. Not just notice it... look at it. Not a lot of people who lived here their entire life look at it anymore.

When you think about it, not a lot of the worlds population live next to large body of water. So I consider it a perk. Even people who live just 20 miles inland go months without seeing it. I hang out by it. Watch ships pass on it.
I must have a billion pics of that thing. I love living near the lake.
For 11 out of 12 months of the year that is.

Now is the time of year I just look at the weather and shake my head. Cooler near the lake. Sheboygan is kinda sticking out a bit as far as shoreline and we get pretty much the full lake effect. Just 5 miles inland it can be a full 15 degrees warmer. For real.

When, say, Madison,WI hits 70, we are at 45. And to make things worse the wind usually shifts off the lake in the middle of the day and temps just plummet. Sometimes I leave the store at noon and its 55 degrees, return at 2 and its 45. Thats a bummer.
Dressing for a road ride is a work of art.
45 degrees at the store, ride west for about 20 minutes and it jumps 10+ degrees. Pull off the vest, arm and knee warmers. Shove all the clothing in your jersey pockets so you look like a hunchback. Ride an hour. Return to the wall of cold. Put everything back on and finish the ride. The 10 or so degree drop completes in less than a mile.
Its just a bummer all the way around.
This phenomenon lasts about a month and is in full swing as we speak. All road rides head west. Throw the MTB on the car for a drive to warmer western climates. We do what we need to do to survive this.

So today, its damn you Lake Michigan. Damn you for stealing a month of our already much too short summer.

Alas Im not a guy to hold a grudge. Soon its all water under the bridge.
And then you will fascinate me once more. Once I put away my arm and knee warmers and not until.

DLD

Monday, May 13, 2013

ITS A MONDAY

The Wilfred Sykes running close at 915am
Weekend was not much to write about. My window of riding opportunity got washed out Saturday morn.

 Sunday I actually dressed and headed out for what I was to think a big day in the saddle, only to turn back after 20 minutes freezing my ass off. I no longer have clothing in my bag to ride at 39 degrees and windy. Its all put away.

And that was the extent of my weekend. I worked Sunday morn. I can get a lot done with no distractions so I pushed a lot of paperwork for three or so hours. Got most of the ordering done.

It appears the temps are going to rise about 30 degrees or so in a day or two. Im working ahead in the store and will be prepared to play hooky.
Will need to make up for the crappy weekend.
Just gatta wait for it.

DLD



Friday, May 10, 2013

GOODBYE

While I have been in the new store for awhile, my lease did not run out on the old store till May 1st.

I had a few odds and ends to pick up so I stopped in after work yesterday.

Its kinda weird to see this. So empty.
Where this route to bike bumness started.

So many memories here. Good and bad. And last nite was the last time I will walk in there.

Im a pretty sentimental guy so I spent quite some time walking around the joint. Wandered around the basement. Found an old bike seat in the corner of a small room down there and left it. Hoping maybe it will never be found and serve as a reminder of what was a bike store here.

I will still drive by here almost everyday. And as it will take a new shape soon I will always remember it like this.
I took the pic with my phone as I walked out.
Moving on.
Today its crappy, rainy windy. No ride today but Im happy with my week. Tomorrow Im in the store all day by myself and hope I can handle it. Might be a long day. If I do get a ride in, it will be maybe an hour being back by 10am for sure.
Sunday looks like a longer ride. And with the two days of rain most likely road.

Have a good weekend.

DLD

Thursday, May 9, 2013

SHARING WITH OTHERS

814am View from the old bench.

Today was the real first "bench" visit to my HP. While I do come here almost every morning, then maybe again later in the day, I don't "hang" on the beach as much as I lead on. In the cold months I'll get out of the car but not real long.
Today it was warm enough to sit a spell. I had a favorite bench to hang out on but thats gone due to a parking lot expansion in the park. Go figure.
So I need to find another.
A good bench is one thats in the sun. Along the shore. It should have a lot of trees shielding it from any road or path. Secluded is a must.

While I spend almost the entire colder seasons by myself on this beach when it warms up its packed with others. And Im used to doing this morning ritual by myself. Today, while on my old bench a ton of people showed up and I just got up and left. But not before I spent about 30 minutes on it.

I had a first today. While sitting I heard loons out on the lake. They were too far out to see but I heard them twice. Ive only heard or seen them up in northern Wisco, never this far south. Most likely just passing thru. But pretty cool all the same.

So now that I have to share the park with "others". I need to find a new place to hang. Maybe my new bench should not be a bench at all. Maybe some specific sand dune off the beaten path. Not sure where but I'll know it when I see it.

Its not a big deal. Its a big park. And Im pumped that others enjoy it too. Soon school will be out and it will be full of others. Campers and such. Thats just part of the experience I guess.
I just adjust.

DLD

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

PRO RIDERS AND (NOT) TRAINING

Start of a great day.
Yesterday I got out for what I hope is the start of many nooner bike rides. The kind of rides I schedule in advance and staff the store accordingly to do so.
Not last minute stuff. This ride is now on my day's schedule. Soon, this ride will move to mornings when school is out and I can have summer help open the store.
But for now I'll take mid day. Its warmer then anyway.

These are my get back to racing shape rides. This is the beginning of the ride more eat less somewhat training riding. Even tho I dont train.

These rides are solo. So its up to me to make myself suffer. And I am not the best at putting myself in pain. Thats why the fast group rides are so good for me even tho I get dropped. It forces me to suffer. Its times like this that I have a bit more respect for the pro or near pro riders. Even more for the full time working and still have to train pro or near pro riders. While I am no where near that level. Ive been exposed to it enough to know its not easy to reach the top five percentile. While I am no where even close, Ive been around it a long time and have seen what it takes to do so.

To stereotype pro or near pro riders, really they are very talented athletes who refuse to get a job. For the most part. Not all. If they are able to squeak out an existence while only riding and racing its all good. They are not lazy but complain when they have to get up early for travel, or dont get that nap after a training ride. Thats all part of the game. They will take out the garbage, but not before they spend two hours on the couch getting their legs compressed by some strange contraption.

If you're not a top gun riding for a Protour team you're not rich. But riding for some domestic team still allows for the bike bum lifestyle tho. Travel from race to race. Train some. See the country. Sleep late. Race bikes. Eat good food. Sleep late.
Its the life.

So as I rode yesterday and again today, trying to ride as hard as I can but then not because Im distracted. I have respect for those who are able to race to maintain a minimal existence. I'll never get to do it. Im not a athlete. Im old and overweight.  I always have to take the garbage out. I have no contraption to strap my legs to. I cant take afternoon naps. I will never be a bike pro.
But wait!
Four years ago I started a journey that is really the next best thing. I opened a bike shop. I can sleep late since the store does not open till 10am. At the time, I took a pretty good paycut to do this and as of today, it still totally worth it.
I ride bikes that retail near 10k, both MTB and road. I hang out. As long as I plan ahead (which, by the way, the bike pro's are terrible at) I can ride anytime. I can do almost everything a pro rider can do. Maybe a bit less traveling for me. But Im old and settled anyway. But I can work a lot when I need to, and a little when I want to. Im not getting rich but thats not why Im here. I always thought if your getting rich selling bikes your in it for the wrong reason.
Im here to live the life of a bike bum. As long as I can pay my bills and ride expensive bikes Im happy. As far as the store go's, I can pay someone to take out the garbage and go on a bike ride.
All this I can do without having to bust my ass on the bike almost everyday by myself. In the rain. No trainers in the basement. No  self induced intervals. How awful! My bike riding is always fun. I'll go hard but I could care less what the watt meter says (if I had one). Im never forced to ride when I dont want to and never have a chart telling me I can't.

So. As much as I talk about the pro rider lifestyle its really my lifestyle. I just got there on a different path. Whether my path is better than the other thats personal preference. But you dont need to be a freak of nature athlete to get here.
And Im proof of that.
Follow your dreams.

DLD






Monday, May 6, 2013

SOLO WEEKEND

815am

Just one of those weekend where I could not hook up with any of the rides. I had to work Saturday so I solo'd on the road bike. I somewhat dislike when the bike store cuts into my bike riding. And that's my fault. I need to plan a bit ahead with the schedule here to assure I get my ride time.
It was pretty cold along the lake and I rode maybe two hours at the most.
Sunday I laid around the house waiting for it to warm up. Predictions of 60 degrees get dashed here pretty quick. At 2pm it was still 44 degrees and I decided it was now or never. The never came pretty close.

But I dressed and planned to ride the fatbike over to our local park, which is only a 10 minute ride from where I live. Still a little wet but pretty ridable. There was a ton of people there and as I rode away from the lake the temps soared. 
I had to stop to take off my knee warmers. Then I stopped to take one layer off the top. Such a change of temps. Living close to Lake Michigan my entire life one would think I would have this figured out but no. And I dont like it much either.
I love the lake for 11 months out of the year. And this is the bad month.

So I rode the fatbike around. Just for an experiment as I was planning to race this thing this summer. I had 25 pounds of air since no float needed. And I was surprised on how rough the ride was. I would have thought that the bigger tires would make a rigid bike smoother, even with a ton of air but they really did not. All the roots and rocks beat the crap out of me. And made me think Im too old to race any kind of rigid bike. Even a fat one.

Sure, I could pull some air out and I will kinda experiment with "summer" air as opposed to "winter" air. But the bottom like is the squishier the tire the harder to peddle. Its going to be quite a while until Im in race shape anyway. And even tho I was planning to ride the fatbike to start the summer and not get a MTB until Aug I just might have to re think that.

So it was solo for me this weekend. I do love company when I ride but sometimes it just easier to ride when the time is best for you.

An awesome weekend coming up as far as temps. I should get 10 hours in the week easy. And that will push my fitness along..

DLD

Friday, May 3, 2013

TIME

910am
Quick visit to the HP today. Had a bike club meeting that ran a bit late last nite. And had some work to do afterwards. So I slept in.

Im in a bit of a transition with my time during the day. Now that Im getting out on the bike its a scramble to try and do the same things per day with two less hours. 
First thing to go those days was this blog. I missed two days this week as a direct result of my midday rides.

I'll need to work on my personal schedule to clear this up. Soon I will be riding at least three days during the workweek. Maybe four. 

But as it gets warmer I can get the majority of my saddletime before the store opens maybe only taking an hour of of my workday. But thats not for awhile. I'll wait till noon and let the temp rise at least a few degrees.

This Saturday starts the group ride in summer mode and thats good and bad for me. Bad, as its now a almost 20 minutes drive form the store. And I could ride there in the morn but I need to get back to the store sooner than later. I dont have the time to ride back. Bad, that its way harder for me. I will get dropped and have to ride back myself. Good, thats its way harder for me. I need to get pushed to the point of puking more. So I have a love\hate relationship with the summer ride. While my attendance with the ride in winter mode is near 100%, it falls to about 50% in summer mode.
Sometimes Im just as well riding from the store in the morning and doing my own thing.

And thats what I might do tomorrow morn. Get in a few hours solo. Maybe I'll ride out to the ride, and ditch out and solo home way early.
Or maybe it will be raining and I'll stay in bed.

Have a great weekend!

DLD

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A GOOD DAY

815am
Todays going to be a good day. 
I had a lot going on yesterday and did not find time to ride. Or post here for that matter.

Yesterday was business tax day for quarter one. And of course, I save everything I need to do for that day. Yesterday.

Then, as Im ready to print out forms to send to the Gov. my computer takes a left turn and things stop working. So it was a bit of panic.
But one of my employees, Ben, is a computer wiz and writes code for a living so he came in and saved the day.

So today Im taking it easy. Spent some time on the beach this morn. Coffee and a muffin. Closer to noon I plan a pretty nice road ride. Couple hours. Should be close to 60 degrees then.

Its weird that its May 1st. Maybe not weird but strange. Maybe not strange.
Soon we have to stop praying for spring. Cuz its gonna be summer. Northern Wisco is getting another dose of snow again tonite. Up to 6 inches in Hayward area. Thats bananas.
I feel grateful cuz at least the snow is all gone here. As bad as this spring has been on this bike store I cant imagine how it would be up there. Although they do way more ski biz over winter.

Im hopefully going to get a little sunburn today on the bike. That is the only thing I want to accomplish today. Wish me luck.

DLD