Monday, December 30, 2013

The Saturday Ride 12/28

It's been awhile since the bunch has gathered to ride on a Saturday morning. We lucked out, mid 30's did not seem as harsh after fighting below freezing temps lately. A solid group showed up to toil with winter and tackle 50 miles of sweet Ozark goodness. I think the Black Oak 'extension' might be the most perfect route here in NWA. It has everything, flats, hills, wind, climbs, city limit signs and tons of scenic views.

 The views have widened now that the leaves have fallen.

The bunch.

Cloudy cold start.

Whitehouse Rd. is one of the most popular cycling roads in NWA.


The same spot in spring.

The route is mostly flat with two notable climbs.

Settling into rhythm.

Mile after mile of great scenery and zero cars.

Shooting from the hip. Finally broke down and put the 25's on.

This is where the 'extension' begins.

108 climb aka Crawl Hill. 

Once you are to the guard rail it's time to toughen up and start your crawl.

A look back.

The brawl on Crawl or Brawl-Crawl as Johnny Law puts it.

Pedaling circles is virtually impossible.

Light at the end of the tunnel.

Reward. Incredible landscape views for the next 10 miles.

Layer change.

Back in on 71. Good times with good folks.

Let's Eat! Gyros from Nomads Natural Plate. Life saver.

I highly recommend the charcuterie board at Greenhouse Grill. Let's Eat!

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Spotted: New prototype shifter? Electronic? Nah...just a bell. Absolutely essential for navigating the Razorback Greenway.

MRP chain guide for 1x10 set up.

I have always appreciated the mountain bike side of the cycling industry. Seems like these companies are always tinkering and innovating. These innovations eventually trickle into all parts of the sport. Take disc brakes for example. I wouldn't ride a mtb without them. You see them now in cyclocross and I am pretty sure they will make their way to the road in a couple years. I love what SRAM is doing with their XX1 group. 1x11 is way cool. I've been running 1x10 for about a year or so. It's super easy to convert. All you need is a chain guide like the one in the pic above. MRP makes a good one. Why 1x10? A couple years ago I noticed that I never used the little chain ring so why not get rid of it. After removing the chain ring, derailleur and shifter you shed almost one pound. That's significant and practically free.  All that to say the gear geek inside of me loves to tinker.

Random tree over the trail pics.

The new section rocks!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

STRAVA Premium?

I thought Strava was a fad. Well now...I was wrong. After a year of prodding from my buddies I gave in like a 13 year old boy taking his first drag. Been using (free iPhone app) ever since. Simply put Strava is brilliant. A most helpful tool in cycling. For example, when I started organizing the Saturday ride and blogging about cycling in Arkansas I started getting tons of follow notifications. The feedback I received from people is that they enjoy finding new routes and use my Strava feed to find them. That is pretty cool. And those segments...well...they have changed the way I ride. Not all the time, but if I have good legs and I know a segment is coming I'll give it a go. Not to mention some of the hilarious ride titles providing just a touch of entertainment. You ever get pissed when it fails or you forget to hit start? That's a symptom of being hooked! it or not Strava is a big a deal. What I want to know is...

Is Strava premium worth the coin and why?

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Kudos! I really appreciate your feedback on this.


 All the basics recorded.

Ride titles. Good stuff.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Dropping the Hammer err & Chisel...

Not much to report from the world of two wheels and pedals. Winter won and county road crews lost. I totally understand. My guess is we dedicate very few tax dollars to clearing roads. Typically we get harsh weather once a season so I can see why that would be the case. This time around it was different though. It never really warmed up after the storm. We are accustom to temps warming up again quickly and natural conditions taking care of the melting. On Tuesday (five days after the storm) it took an hour each way (normally 30 minutes) to take PCG to the airport. I don't mind it much, you just need to plan differently. I will say, I am not dreaming of white a Christmas.

I spent several afternoons removing ice dams. Water started finding it's way into our home.

Started with removing the trouble spots.

Ended up clearing all the gutters. I was dropping the hammer but not on a bicycle.

I did get out Sunday finally. Mid 40's is the new Mid 70's. It's all good. I think times like this grow my appreciation for all the other times I do get to ride outside. We have it pretty good in the south. Practically year round riding.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


Winters fury swept across the US this week. Arctic chill probably describes conditions a little better. There are always positives and negatives to ice, snow and being stuck. In the work force it seems like most folks are pretty understanding when weather is terrible on a national scale. Many businesses get hit hard and some prosper because of opportunities created by conditions. Anyone with a snow plow made some coin the last couple of days. I love my home but when you start to feel confined you get sick with cabin fever. I start to look for any reason to get out and move. Walk to the grocery store. Walk to the nearest open restaurant. Shovel the driveway. Shovel the roof. I found myself at a craft fair with PCG now that's saying something. When you are someone who loves the outdoors & bicycles you gotta try!

Block Street. 

We discovered when it's cold out warm apple cider with a little Fireball hits the spot.

Even while watching Sven dominate World Cups I could only muster 45 minutes of this. 

So it was time for this. After a little text message hazing four others took the bait and it was on. 

Bowers has some creative/interesting ways of winterizing. Duck tape your vent holes.

Notice the shoe cover is inside his shoe. So really they are foot covers or glorified socks.

New place to put your Di2 battery? Nope electric sock warmers. 

Chains made a huge difference for Johnny Law.

Shimano pedals had a little trouble with icing.

One of the few times a backpack is acceptable.

Feeling 13 again. 

JV dropping in.

Good times.


Bridges were awful as expected.

Kenda Nevegals rocked.

A little more pedal icing problem. A warm liquid was later used to help resolve the issue.

Boy Scout bridge was dicey.

Great ride, pure adventure with some good dudes.