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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Today On A Bike

Hairy legs, no fitness, and smiles in the sunshine. I rode Northshore Sunday and had a good time. Early season feels. It’s still a little weird to be riding in shorts and a jersey in January but 65º and sunny is easy to get used to.

It’s fun to see how trails weather over winter, some lines becoming easier, some harder. Erosion, moved rocks, downed trees. It’s like getting to talk to a good friend after not seeing them for a while.

The Epic continues to be a great bike. I enjoy it. The ability to carry two bottles and all the needed things like tubes on the bike are freeing. No pockets full of stuff. Jump on the bike and have a great time. The tires do surprisingly well in the rocks. I’m considering a stealth dropper post though.

I’m figuring out what weekly rides I want to start attending. I think I’m going to aim for the Tuesday and Thursday Pop Rides, but opt for the B group to avoid the recklessness and unnecessary risk from measuring egos in dangerous ways on a group ride. I know I want to also ride the Wednesday McKinney Velo ride too, I like that ride a lot. Great people and great country roads.

Mid February I’m joining one of my best friends who is coming from Illinois on a Southern tour for a few days. We may check out Arkansas, and in Texas area Dallas, Austin, and Big Bend for the mountain bike festival. The plans are loose but I’m sure we’ll have a good time. I hope we have good weather.

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My 2016 Fitness Started This Week

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My winter of smile first riding has me good and hungry for 2016. I’m not dreading the trainer, rollers, or outdoor team rides. I’m enjoying them, and looking forward to the fitness they bring. I had a surprise KOM earlier this week on a team ride, wasn’t expecting that.

This is the third year I’ve used a 10 week Sufferfest training plan that outlines both indoors and outdoors rides and other activities. It’s a good kick in the but, but as they preach #IWBMATTKYT.

Time to do work. 2016’s gonna be fast and fun.

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Today On A Bike

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I joined some friends for a night ride at Lake Evergreen yesterday. My friend Tom took some great pictures during the ride, thanks! When I saw the one of me by the bridge, I really liked it and asked to share it here. It captures a lot of what night riding on snow during the winter feels like.

The conditions were great despite it being about 15º F. Riding in the wind blocking woods coupled with some good layering made it really enjoyable, besides my out of shape legs being slightly angry with me. The thin layer of snow over hard frozen dirt provided a lot of traction and good times.

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Today On A Bike

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It was so quiet. It was as if I was the only person on the planet. For years I’ve looked out on this lake as I rode single track that winds around it, but today I experienced it completely different, and it was made possible by a silly bicycle.

I’ve ridden countless hours at Comlara mountain bike trails since moving to Bloomington in 2007. It’s been a big part of who I am. The trails have led me down a path where I’ve met amazing people. I’ve had life experiences that I may not have had if these trails didn’t exist ten minutes away from town. I’ve traveled to far away mountain ranges and spent great vacations with amazing people.

For years, I’ve looked out at the lake that lies at the center of the local mountain bike trails. It was something that always looked back but never really inspired anything from me. But today, when I was on a ride I noticed that the lake was frozen pretty solid and some tracks were out on it. Where I’d taken a right hundreds of times I choose to take a left, out onto the ice-covered lake.

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It was a pretty special thing to look in on the single track that’s changed my life in so many ways. I saw views I’ve never seen. It was areas that I know very well, but viewed from a perspective I’ve never had the privilege to see before. I rode around the lake for a little while, enjoying the serenity and looking in at sections of single track that I’ve spent so much time on. It was like looking in on the setting from a period of my life from a foreign perspective.

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Today I was reminded why these silly fat bikes strike a chord with myself. They allow me these experiences that are unique and enjoyable.

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