Sunday, December 21, 2008

This Weekend . . .

. . . was really good. Even though Spokane was a way different place than when I left a week ago, and even though it was a thousand times colder than the place I came from, Spokane holds everything I love. Home sweet home.

By some miracle, I arrived relatively on time, at 8:30 on Friday night. The airport was totally littered with luggages that had become disconnected from their peoples. Patty faded not long after we got home and I was left with myself to endure an evening of zombie time-zone-change fun.

First order of business: Stick the new tires on the monkey. These are Nokian Extreme 294's (meaning 294 studs per tire). The tread pattern is way over the top agressive for what I need, but choices are pretty limited for 29er bikes. My whole winter philosphy is based on float and this is what's available in the float department.

The Nokian slogan exactly captures the way I feel about this company's tires. They're the best, and if you're gonna put yourself through everthing that winter riding entails, you deserve a pair of these. This is the third pair of Nokians I own.

My plan this winter was to go studless and get as much float as possible. Why? The lone reason is that studs are as slow as molasses. The weight and drag are unbelievable. But in the end, I chickened out. I'm old, and everything breaks easier and takes a lot longer to heal. So slow is good. But if I could place a Christmas wish for the bestest winter tire, it would be the Schwalbe Winter Marathon, except instead of the available 40 mm's, I would like it in a 60 mm (2.4"), please. I promise to be good for one entire year, Santa, if you will bring this to me next December.

When Scott set my bike up, he made it so that I could seasonly vary the gearing by using either a 33 or 36 tooth chainring without modifying the chain length (thanks Surly, for the long dropouts!). This is 33 weather, for sure.

If you're a newb to dyno hubs, dont' be a dork like me and forget to disconnect the wires before you pull the front wheel!

Mounted and ready to roll, at long last. (I won't even begin to tell you about the trauma of dealing with the Alfine rear wheel. Serious love-hate stuff going on here.)

The maiden voyage was a run to the park to play frisbee at somewhere between 2 and 3 am. Brandy's a born-ready, 24/7 dog. Let's roll!

By far the highlight of my bike weekend was the Saturday ride with Mike and Alan. These guys are exponentially more athletic and faster than me, but we all love to have fun on bikes and sometimes it works out that we can ride together. Saturday was one of those special days.

Tonight, after another round of dog fris, I headed solo into the park. I was jacked to see that some other bikes had rolled through. Until, duh, I realize those were cross-country ski tracks. Who in the hell would be dumb enough to ride a bike through here in this kind of weather?

This x-country skier single-track looked sweet to me. But those guys have no idea how to pack a trail and I crashed about 3 seconds in. Skiers and snow-shoe'ers rule this snowy kingdom tongight. I'm hike-a-bikin'.

Breaking trail just about exploded my heart. They say that every winter mile ridden is good for three on dry ground. I believe it's closer to 7:1.

Winter's an ever-changing adventure and it's hard to say what Christmas week has in store for us, but we'll figure it out. See you on the snowy streets!


Hank said...

What a blast! But it looks like bringing the bikes back up the hill was the biggest workout.

Pat, what do you have your camera mounted on while you're riding? If it's digital how do you keep it from turning off from all the vibration and shock?

Jason said...

I was wondering the same thing as Hank about how you were keeping your camera steady.

The last several days have been tough riding for me. My single speed snow bike failed (back tire slipped forward under load) during the night of the big snow on Wednesday and I haven't gotten around to fixing it (plus it doesn't have studs and this winter has been colder and icier). My everyday bike is adequate when the roads are plowed and well packed, but not great beyond a couple inches of snow.

Derek said...

Hey man, I don't think we've met, but next time you plan on riding you should let me know by posting it on my blog or sending me an e-mail ( That looks like tons of fun and I would love to go for a ride through the snow with a group.

Anonymous said...

Riding to that music makes us look so cool! Thanks for posting.
-Mike S

Jacque Hendrix said...

Welcome home Pat. I'm gonna hit the road on my my winter bike on Tuesday. It'll be fun.

Pat S said...

Hank and Jason: Sorry to be so low-tech, but my right hand holds my cheap digital camera while my left hand stays on the bars. A helmet mount cam would be sweet. I was just up at North Division Bike Shop tonight and they have a really cool self-contained one for under $200. Ummm, Santa . . .

Derek: I'll let you know if another ride comes up.

Mike: I think it't the cool riding that makes the music sound so good. ;-)

Jacque: Have fun in the snow and keep the rubber side down!