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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Today On A Bike

2016-01-03 09.08.20

After a long while of rain and warmer temperatures, it was nice to get out on frozen dirt today with a bunch of others. I’ve been riding mainly pathways this winter staying active. I’ve been mentally somewhere between off-season fun first riding and starting to work towards race season.

I signed up for Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival again. It’s been a yearly marker for the end of my race season that I really enjoy both for the race but also the environment and hanging out with good people. If you’re interested, you should check it out. Registration is still open but the available spots will fill up. I plan on racing the Illinois Mountain Bike Series and signing up for as many crits as possible. But for now, it’s just about chasing the person in front of me and smiling, mostly.

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2015 Global Fat Bike Day

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December 5th is a fun little Holliday amongst a group of people who enjoy silly bikes, Global Fat Bike Day. This year, I joined friends and others at the Peoria Illinois participation of the event. We rode waterways and double track. Smiles were had, silly adventures enjoyed. Riding with a large group of fat bikes is the closest thing to being five with your first bicycle I’ve felt. Look at that ledge.

I. Must. Jump. It.

The ride was a lot of fun. We rode the waterways, surrounded by graffiti. Occasional ice and other slick surfaces made the off camber concrete riding surfaces interesting.

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There were lots of tunnels, some very long. Long enough to drown out the sunlight, so we brought lights to navigate to more fun.

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It’s nice that even after five or so years of regularly riding, I still find myself in new situations and experience things like this ride. I’ve ridden a lot of terrain, but never waterways like this before today. Being a cyclist given me a much wider appreciation of experiences. Everything from beautiful mountain vistas mid ride at elevation to freezing temperatures in a giant storm water tunnel, it’s all special with the right group of people enjoying the moment. I’m thankful for these moments.

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2015 Enchanted Fat Bike Stomp

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This past weekend I was able to participate in one of my favorite winter activities, riding the banks of the Mississippi river on fat bikes. Friends of Off Road Cycling do a great job of organizing fun events. Three years ago their first Enchanted Fat Bike Stomp opened my eyes to another great kind of cycling.

The river banks provide a lot for fat biking. When you get bigger groups of riders together, naturally some differences in skill levels and ride expectations emerge. The beauty of the river banks are that you can ride the smoother terrain or opt for more technical obstacles, and does the river ever provide the obstacles. Every year, when the river rises it brings with it a variety of transplanted objects from the current of the water. This makes each year I’ve ridden the banks unique and new.

I arrived a bit early and had a beer riverside at a brewery while people arrived. The amount of fat bikes that roll into these events still takes me by a bit of surprise. Even though this ride didn’t have the massive number of years past, it’s still more fat bikes than I ride with any other normal ride. Riding with thirty to one hundred fat bikes is pretty awesome. I’ll be back next year for more. Thanks again FORC for being another important and awesome piece of the puzzle that is the central Illinois cycling environment.

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Today On A Bike

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The background for toady’s ride was pretty spectacular. There was a fluffy five or so inches of fresh snow from last night. The best part was the falling snow during the ride, that always feels a bit special.

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