Thursday, July 20, 2017

40K Day

After riding 30Km with Finnegan on Tuesday and not having any trouble, I thought I'd try and push him a little further and find a 40Km route we could ride on Wednesday. I tired to plot out a route on Google maps but had to kind of guesstimate as the route we would take was along some trails that google maps doesn't recognize. but I had a general idea of a destination and an option to go a bit farther if the route I planned turned out to be shorter than I'd estimated.

We started out by heading down Spadina and across the south bridge to hook up with the Meewasin Trail.

There's one steep little section of the trail that's a little hard to ride - and with the recent rains it's almost unridable (going up, at least) with all the deep cut channels the rain water carved through it. It's a very odd section of the path - most of the trail is almost wheelchair accessible - in that there are no terrible steep grades and it's all fairly well packed... and then there's this one short super steep section - when there's, what seems to be, a pretty clear route that they could have built the path that wouldn't have been so steep. It's almost like two teams were building the trail from opposite directions, completely oblivious to each other and when they met up the found they were 10m off with a short steep slope between them... so they just cut a trail straight down that slope to join the two trails - instead of saying "hey, let's bag this trail up 30m and run the other one up across this slope so it's not so steep....

Farmers have been out bailing hay.

We cut through Chief Whitecap park.

It's a nice ride and avoids a bit of pavement.

Nothing too technical on these trails. They're mostly used by dog walkers.

In many places it's double track.

At the South end of Chief Whitecap we stopped for our first break to check the boy's blood-sugar levels and get a snack in him.

Then we rolled past the Riverside Country Club and through Riverside Estates.

exiting the East end of Riverside Estates we joined Range Road 3055 and started heading South.

Dang, I think he's been growing... Time to raise that seat a bit...

We rolled past the Cranberry Flats Conservation Area.

At Township Road 354 the pavement ended and the gravel began.

At least there were fairly packed sections and it wasn't washboardy at all. At times I wondered if it had been pavement that had been gravelled over...?

And on it went.

Getting closer to our turn around point.

This dog came charging out howling at us. No barking - just a loud bellowing howl.

A little bend before we met the highway.

Highway 219. I used to ride this highway a lot - it had really nice wide smooth paved shoulders. Two cyclists could ride side by side and there was still lots of room between them and the traffic lane. A cou[le years ago the department of highways chip sealed it - covering the shoulders with gravel. I have no idea why - it's not like the shoulder was deteriorating or anything. Perhaps it was a poorman's  rumble strip to keep drunks driving home from the casino (for whom this highway was built) from careening off the road...? I don't know. It didn't look too bad. But we ran into another cyclists who said it's not great a bit further up - they hadn't done any near the intersection as the shoulder effectively disappeared to make turning lanes.

This was the 20Km turn around point. If it hadn't been quite 20Km, I had planned to ride up the highway just a bit to the Beaver Creek Conservation Area. I had thought we'd roll up there even if we were at 20Km at this point, but I didn't want to push the lad TOO far... so we had a quick second break and turned around.

and back we went.

I have to say it was a lovely day for it. Not to hot. I think it was about 17°C when we left and was only just getting to 20°C when we got home. We were heading into a headwind for the return trip - but it was fairly light (10Kph). Just enough to keep us cool.

As we neared Riverside Estates we decided to skip it and carry on up Range Road 3055/Stratchcona Avenue - which would also skip Chief Whitecap Park.

We watched some hawks swooping overhead for a moment.

We rolled through Furdale, which brought us to Cartwright street.

And just a little way down Cartwright Street we rejoined the Meewasin Trail we'd come out on.

There we had one last check of blood-sugar and a snack to get The Boy home.

I don't know if it's that we finally got the new insulin regime dialed or if the regular exercise from these bike rides has had anything to do with it, but the blood sugar levels have been totally in the green these last few days!

Because we'd cut off the route through Riverside Estates and Chief Whitecap park we didn't go straight back across the south bridge, but instead rolled through Diefenbaker and Gabriel Dumont Parks to cross at the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge (a little north of our place) to make up the Kms we skipped coming back.

The final count. 40.05 Km. It took us two hours and 36 minutes of riding (we actually left just before 10am and got home just after 1pm - so there was also about 20-30 minutes of breaks in there somewhere.

Today we are planning to go for a mountain bike ride - as soon as I get off this computer! Tomorrow we'd planned to push a little further and go for a 50Km ride (probably the same route I took last week up to Wanuskewin Park and Cathedral Bluffs) but the forecast is calling for rain, so we may hold off on that until the weekend or possibly next week...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Gravel Again

This week The Girl is in a week long "camp" at the Persephone Theatre School, so I told Finnegan that he and I could go for a ride everyday this week. I was hoping we'd go out for longer rides pushing a little further each day.

Today we headed out for gravel roads Southwest of town. After a couple of weeks of riding in temperatures in the high 20s and 30s (°C) it was night to head out in mid morning with a temperature in the teens and a light breeze out of the east.

Given how we've been going through water the last few weeks I decided to quickly add another bottle cage under the downtube on the Fargo - to carry an extra. When I put the bottle in I was a little surprised to see it only had about a centimetre of clearance! Looked a bit dodgy. But turned out just fine. With the cooler temperatures and light breeze, we ended up not really needing any extra.

Heading out the washboardy gravel of Spadina Crescent West - our usual route out of the city. Spadina Crescent turns into Township Road 362 (Google maps shows it as Hodgson Road, and the new Maps program I have on my iMac shows it as Cartwright Street...?). We usually carry on out that way crossing Valley Road. I used to ride down Valley Road a lot, but it has a bit more traffic that I like for a pleasurable country ride.

On previous trips with Finnegan we've usually turned north on Range Road 3062, but today we turned south to go exploring a bit!

a little way up the road I spied something cresting a rise and heading towards us.

It was a deer - it stopped when it spotted us and watched and waited as we approached and then scarpered off into the nearby brush.

When we got to where the deer had been we found a bottle in the middle of the road. Darned boozing deer - leaving their bottles all over!

Approaching the intersection of Range Road 3062 and Township Road 360 (Merrill School Road)

At that intersection there were swarms of grasshoppers. (if you look careful like you can see them) they'd jump up and bounce off of us and the bikes as we rode through them. None seemed to land on us though.

At the intersection of  Township Road 360 and Range Road 3063 (Cedar Villa Road) we'd been out riding almost an hour so we stopped to check the lads blood-sugar level and he had a snack.

Heading north on Range Road 3063.

Still heading north on Range Road 3063.

Originally I'd planned to head back when we hit Township Road 362, but instead we carried on across Township Road 362 and did a loop around Cedar Villa estates before heading back south towards Township Road 362.

Near the Chappell Marsh Conservation Area we spotted ducks and DUCKLINGS!

Mama and baby ducks!

MORE mamas and duckings.

Still more pictures of baby ducks.

I know, I know... Enough with the pictures of baby ducks already!

Finally back at Township Road 362 heading east towards home - which had a fair bit of traffic on it today!

We were out for a little over two hours and covered 30Km. Not bad for a scrawny bookish kid and his fat old dad.

Tomorrow, we shall go FURTHER!

Monday, July 17, 2017

STILL MORE Trail Rides

At the end of last last week we went out for another trail ride - heading back to the trails south of here, on the east side of the river.

As I mentioned in the last post, the new handlebars I'd ordered for the karate Monkey had showed up! I ordered some Salsa Woodchippers (the same handlebars that are one my Salsa Fargo!?) On Thursday I installed the handlebars, new brakes and some Brooks rubber bar tape. I'd picked up the Brooks green tape hoping it'd be a closer match for the Brooks Apple Green saddle I'd picked up for this bike... I guess it's not too far off...

It's been a while since I wrapped any bar tape and as RUBBER bar tape is kind of new to me I did some google searching to see if I could find any special installation instruction, guidelines, or advice. Instead I found a few reviews that said the tape wasn't very flexible and difficult to make look nice. Less generous reviews referred to them as "garbage". Which caused me a little anxiety! They weren't inexpensive - had I really spent that much on something that might not work out here!? GAH!

As it turned out i had no problems at all installing the tape and I think it looks rather nice.

New view of the Purple Surly Karate Monkey Cockpit.

Happened upon a snake that was sunning itself in the middle of the road. It scarpered as we drew near.


Trails with Girl.

Finnegan riding the ramp again. I moved the handlebar bag back to his "gravel bike" and found the bladder to his hydration pack, so he's now carrying that for mountain bike rides.

Today The Girl even tried riding the ramp. It's really not that difficult, but she was super excited about it and feeling positive and confident in her abilities - and that can only lead to further pushing her boundaries and further improvement.

Little Log.

Rest stop at Diefenbaker Park. Checking Blood-Sugar levels and having snacks and water. Finnegan had actually drained his entire hydration bladder (1.5L!). Luckily I had a spare bottle in my seat pack which I shared with him.

Finished off the ride with an easy roll down along the water's edge.

We'd hoped to get out for a ride over the weekend with Amanda. But it just didn't work out... Saturday was filled with errands and meeting up with some friends from out of town who were leaving soon and we wouldn't see them for another year. The back up plan had been Sunday morning - but we ended up sleeping in as everyone had been up late the night before - Amanda preparing for the kids yoga dance class she's teaching this week, and the rest of us hiding in the basement watching movies... Sunday afternoon we all had different activities planned and in the evening another thunderstorms rolled in! Unfortunately Amanda's away next weekend... so unless we can drag her out on some evening after work, we're looking at the last weekend in July for a mountain bike ride with her! Not much practice for her considering we're heading up to Prince Albert National Park to do some mountain biking in August!

This week The Girl is in a class at Persephone Theatre School, so Finnegan and I will hopefully get some rides in together. The following week Finnegan's taking a class and I promised The Girl we'd get out and do some Flatlanding.