Winter Palo Duro With Randy

I met Randy in Palo Duro canyon outside of Amarillo Texas last weekend for a day of riding the canyon. I’m happy to get dinner and a drink or pedal around with one of my favorite people whenever possible.

We rode most of the “Baby Grand” loop and I was reminded how nice Palo Duro is. It’s not huge but you can spend twenty five of more miles pedaling a mix of rocky climbs and some flowy cross country. My critiques of the trail include sparse signage, abrupt turns after fast or twisty bits, and the downs not matching the statue of the climbs.

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The thought was, trying to understand what cycling looked like at this part of my life. Change. After moving away from the foundation of my love for cycling. After the crit crash what did my desire to race look like? Trying to find my balance of being a husband to my partner, dad to the most amazing thing in my life, prove myself in my new job, and find what I wanted out of cycling.

I thought I would turn the camera off & let the blog be. I thought I’d attend a road ride a week and maybe hit the single track on the weekends. The road riding I did in 2017 in Dallas was a mixture of really enjoying some of the group rides but others had left a bad taste in my mouth because of an end over end bike crash at 30 miles an hour. The riders in Dallas are many, lots of smiles, lots of room for me to find my place among them. But with many, comes a few knuckleheads. A stark difference from the 20 or so team mates I rode regularly with in Bloomington. A comfort of knowing my best interest were in mind of everyone pedaling. Another thing I am still trying to balance is in Bloomington Illinois I could be on singletrack in 15 minutes from home where as in Dallas my favorite trail called Northshore is 45 minutes to an hour each way for me. That makes tight for time afternoons and weekends all that much harder to make work.

I then decided to write the words All Cycles End. I didn’t want to fake it. I didn’t want to put on a face that nothing had changed.

The rest of the year was “normal”. Finding our pace in a new metro city. I dug into work and my skills as a software developer. I over worked. I have a bad habit of overdoing. While the rest of life was pretty good I wasn’t happy with my cycling. I made a few road and mountain bike rides, but a lot less than I intended too. Missing mountain bike trips with my amazing friends because of my unhappiness with cycling and my fitness was the hardest part of it.

As I look back on 2018, I’m not happy with the changes I made in my cycling. I want to try and find my way back to a balance that adds happiness to my life. Words are the easy part. Time will tell.

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All Cycles End

I’ve been thinking about it for a while and today I’m posting the last blog post.

Riding has changed for me. Shouldn’t be a surprise as life changes for us all. I still enjoy cycling. This isn’t an I’m done riding story. I still plan to ride once or twice a week on the road and a mountain bike ride on the weekends when I can. It’s hard to fit it all in a lot of the time and when there’s a fork in the road, I’m choosing smiles with my family. I also recognize there’s not enough content to do the blog justice anymore. When I lived in Illinois there were not mountains but there were amazing people who helped make not only the blog what it was but also helped make me who I am.

I’ve had more smiles than my fair share with cycling. I’ve met the best people, you know who you are. I’ve seen amazing places and accomplished some cool things. I hope none of that changes. I’ll still try to smile more than I should, love the great people I’ve met, and continue to join in on trips for amazing cycling adventures. The only change is no blog.

Thanks for reading.

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Winter Texas MTB Tour

I joined one of my best friends this past week for a tour of some of Texas’s MTB offerings. We rode some trails in Austin and then headed to Palo Duro Canyon. It was a fun week of car camping and riding some tech in mostly sunshine.

We started in Austin Texas riding at Pace Bend. It was a neat place with some rocky riding. It’s nice to be able to start and end rides from your campsite. There’s about 13 miles of trail that weaves around the peninsula that varies from windy rocky fun to smoother dirt and flow.

Our second day in Austin we opted to explore the city because it was cold and rained some. We spent some time with a friend who moved to Austin a handful of years ago. We then checked out Mt. Bonnell, the Graffiti Wall before they tear it down next month, the S.R.V. memorial statue, and finished the day with some local pizza and brewery stops. We also dropped by Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop. It’s a shop with some heritage and association with Lance Armstrong. It’s got some historic bikes and yellow jerseys inside. Form your opinions on him but the shop and seeing some of his stuff was neat from a historic perspective.

The other trail we rode in Austin was Reveille Trails. I had a great time riding this trail system. It’s got some unique rocky terrain that I really enjoyed. It was also a sunny and beautiful day.

We ended the trip by driving to Palo Duro Canyon, a really neat rather large canyon in Texas. We had great weather there in the 70º’s. The riding varied from windy smooth ribbons of fun to off your bike tech. I really liked this place and will be back.

I rode my 2018 Epic for the trip and it was great. I like that bike a lot so far. This trip did however add to me thinking I want to put a dropper post on it. I’m also thinking of a slightly more aggressive and larger volume front tire.

My Element was a great car camper vessel for the trip. With a flat flooring and full-sized air mattress and a sleeping bag, its comfortable when it’s time to rest. I made window covers last year for the non tinted windows for privacy. I can charge my laptop and things. I’ve got a cooler. Life is alright on the road in that little weird all wheel drive car.

It was a fun trip with lots of good moments. 70º’s and rocky mountain biking with a great friend is an alright way to spend a few vacation days in February. Next year we’re planning on going to Big Bend for the Texas Mountain Bike festival in February. That should be rad.

It’s about that time of the year for me to start shaving my legs and joining road bike rides. That with a weekly mountain bike ride should balance to a good year. Good times ahead.

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