Monday, July 31, 2017

Sunday Ride(s)

Sunday morning we finally got out for a longer ride again - and this time we dragged Amanda along!

Maybe dragged isn't quite the word, she came quite willingly.

She hasn't done much riding - other than to work and back everyday - and certainly not much mountainbiking since last August. So it didn't take much to get her working a sweat! We're going to have to drag her out a few more times over the next few weeks or she won't be in any shape at all for our little trip up to Prince Albert National Park - where we are going pretty much to ride mountain bikes for a few days later in August.

I ended up hanging back and riding with The Girl.

I'd ride ahead... wait for a while for her to catch up... then ride ahead...

Eventually we caught up with Amanda and Finnegan.

We didn't actually ride very far before it was determined we should call it a day... for... reasons... Partly involving grumpy kids and extreme heat (it was nearing 30°C). We rode for an hour and covered about 10Km.

Having not done much riding over the past week, I was feeling like 10Km wasn't quite enough and since no one wanted to go riding anymore in the steadily rising heat (I think it got up to about 34°C) I switched bikes and went out for a ride on my own. I decided to take, more or less, the same route I rode with Finnegan a the last time we went out for a gravel ride.

When I got to Chief Whitecap park I could not believe how many cars were there! The parking lot was over full and there were cars just parked at the side of the rode for as far as the eye could see. As I got closer I could see there were loads of people on the trails - but I figure they were mostly heading out on the trails along the west side of the park to access the river.

I rode past the parking lot and further down the gravel road to another entrance to the park on the east side.

 Then took a trail that ran along the East side of the park - no one there at all...

I didn't see a single person all the way to the South entrance to the park.

Back onto pavement on Grasswood Road past the Riverside Country Club.

South along Range Road 3055 to where it turns to gravel at Township Road 354.


...and then Highway 219 where I turned around. I did the 40Km in just over 2 hours. Not super speedy by any stretch, but it was probably a bit too fast for a fat old buy like me on a 34°C day with clear skies and no shade... I had water, but I didn't drink enough of it and was suffering by the end of the ride.

Also for the last 5Km or so my freehub started to stick and whenever I tried to coast the cogs would just keep rotating with the wheel and feeding chain through, pulling the drear derailleur in a way it wasn't meant to be pulled. So I had to ride it like a fixie - always pedalling, no stopping! Which was really unfortunate because I was really needing the rest that a bit of coasting could have afforded me. Luckily I got home without wrecking the derailleur.

Took the Fargo into the shop today, should have a new freehub on there tomorrow. Hopefully get back out on it later in the week.


Last week Finnegan was in a Drama "camp" all week at Persephone Theatre School, so I was hanging with The Girl all day. She wasn't so excited about the idea of going for longer rides everyday - and has been hounding me to go flat landing for some time. So we made a pact that we'd go out every morning all week long. I think we actually did get out most mornings...

We found a little place that's fairly flat - maybe not as smooth as it could be - but there's never anyone around, and not too far from our place. There is a skatepark very near our place, but there isn't really enough open space to do what we're trying to do and it's usually pretty busy.

Of course once in a while no one's there and we'll have the place to ourselves...

We were hoping it would start up a regular routine of getting out for a half hour to an hour every morning... alas, we haven't gone out so far THIS week... It is only Monday, however. Maybe tomorrow.

This is about the extent of what I can do on a flatland bike. Probably why we should get out more... 

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!