Smiley Shock

Wet. Muddy. Smiley.

That’s how I described myself after today’s ride. I was lucky when I started my ride since I had beaten the rain. The first ten minutes or so my hands were pretty cold and I was doing what I could to warm them up. Once I started climbing some hills the blood got flowing and they warmed up.

I took fireroads up quite a way and descended down North Ridge and South Ridge trails. I certianly could stand to ride more though since I found myself walking a lot of the uphill portions. My legs just don’t have the strength they used to so getting the big bike to the top now seems to take a lot more effort than it used to.

One thing I love about riding in the wet is that the technique come back fairly quickly. Using body english and lunging the bike to get over roots. No front brakes to get down slippery rocks. Avoiding mud on corners. I love being able to see a tree root and be able to accurately envision what will happen to my wheel if I hit it in a certain way.

Just today I was slithering down a steep rocky section when I started to go off course. I purposely rolled over an off camber tree root knowing my tire would slip. This slip got me centred on the trail again.

Nearing what was supposed to be the end of my ride I took a wrong turn on a new trail. This took me down a fun trail with lots of berms. At first I wasn’t going fast enough to actually use the berms. A few pedal strokes and I could hit higher in the berm. The next one that I hit I was going a little too hard and felt the bike start doing a two wheel drift around the corner. All of a sudden the tires bit into solid ground, I shot out of the corner and straightened out. Very fun, and a good little adrenaline rush.

My brakes were feeling awesome today and that little bit of confidence was a nice bonus. I knew I could attack the trail and not worry about whether I could slow down or not. I’m glad I changed those front pads and after a slight adjustment, the rear brakes felt balanced with the front.

As I exited the trees and made my way to Shock Treatment the rain started. It wasn’t a hard rain, but it made me pick up the pace to get back to the truck quicker. I couldn’t have timed that ride any better.

A nice hot shower and home and good cup of coffee were the perfect caps to the ride. Those and a foot long sub from Subway. 🙂

Last Work

November 30th was my last day at work. I have voluntarily left two other jobs, and on both occasions it was a rather sad last day as I packed up my belongings and removed any personal information from the company computer.

Nov 30th was more sad for a number of reasons. I didn’t really want to leave. The people I worked with were awesome, and I loved the work I did. Sure, the company I was working for was starting to clamp down and institute from policies that I found rather distasteful, but the people and tasks were what kept me going.

That day I had nothing to do except pack and clean. Once that was done there was a final lunch with the gang, and then I loaded my truck and left.

My plan is to take the month of December off from work related activities. There are a couple opportunities that I plan to explore, but I am not launching a huge job search just yet.

Dropped Busy

Today I have:

  • dropped kids off at daycare
  • walked the dog
  • visited the soap exchange
  • returned a library book
  • retrieved sick daughter from daycare
  • made chili

Later I will

  • pick up my son from daycare and wife from work
  • work on my Christmas gifts
  • relax a bit

This unemployment thing is certainly keeping me busy.

Today was also supposed to be my riding day, and raking up the leaves, but the chilly temps and wind put a damper on those.

Bookstore Recommend

Today was my first Wednesday playing the role of Sox. She worked while I had the kids out of daycare. The plan was to meet up with Sox, then head down to Tall Tales Bookstore for story time. Every Wednesday at 11 am they have someone from the story tellers guild come and entertain the kids. They also provide some coffee for the parents.

Elliot and Amy really enjoyed the stories. In fact Elliot was completely involved with the story teller, answering questions, singing along with the songs, offering information, and listening intently when she was talking.

For the most part Amy sat still on Sox’s lap. She too listened and enjoyed the stories. I might try to get out there again with the kids.

I also highly recommend the store to anyone shopping for kids books. Lots of selection for all age ranges.

Mountain Bullit

I got out for a nice mountain bike ride today. Today was my first day of unemployment, as well as the first day of December. It was chilly out, but I dressed warmly and headed out.

At the first climb I could tell it had been a long time since I rode last. My legs definitely are not as strong as they used to be, so hefting my Bullit up the hills was a chore.

I also found that my bike felt jarring and harsh. The suspension seemed stiff, but it was actually fine. It turned out I had filled the tires too full, so after deflating the tires a bit, the ride quality improved dramatically.

My brakes were feeling a little off. I think the pads need replacing. Due to wonky brakes I chose to stay on the lower trails in case I needed to do some walking. This lead to a very fun ride.

The lower trails are the old-school trails to me. I know them well. They are still a blast, especially when the ground is soft and muddy from rain. You just never know when you are railing a corned if the ground will hold, or if the tires will break loose. If they break loose, can I recover?

After 1.5 hours I was done. My legs were toast, my bike was muddy. It was time to go. The shower when I got home felt wonderful and well deserved.

There was one unfortunate thing that happened on the ride though. I took my camera out of my pack to take a picture of a stunning stream. Picture a rushing babbling stream flowing over moss covered rocks. I planned to keep a small aperture so that I could get the water blurred. Woops, no card in the camera. Oh well. It made me focus on the ride, and the trails, not look for photo opportunities.