29 June 2010

Bikewright Has Past The One Year Mark

That's right the Bikewright Blog is a year old.It has been fun over the last year sharing my rides and working on my bikes.I hope this year will be just as fun. For those of you that stop in to read, I want to say thanks.
So stop reading and get out and ride!


21 June 2010

Father's Day Ride, Load the Pockets

Happy belated Father's Day! My Father's Gift was a day out to ride the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. This was going to be a training ride for the upcoming Devil's Backbone Mountain CX event.

First off I like to thank Mrs. Bikewright for holding down the fort so I could get in a long mountain ride. Next I would like to thank the wrenches down at Rowlett's for finding that noise that the bike was making and getting the shifting spot on.

My ride starts at Rockfish Gap where the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive meet. At 08:30 the day was starting out at a temperature 75 degrees 89% relative humidity with a strong wind from the west. Funny thing is the weather sites are showing that the wind was calm. My plan was to ride from Rockfish Gap to loft Mountain Wayside. There would be a place to get food and water for the trip back and giving me a total mileage of 50 plus miles.

Rockfish Gap sits at and elevation of 1903 ft and is one of the lowest gaps in the southern district in the park. Also bring some cash because between March -November it cost a person coming into the parkway $8.00

At 09:30 the Skyline is quite with few cars and a few backpackers heading back to the parking lots after a weekend on the trail.Here are a few things I saw on the way.

This picture was taken on the eastern side of the park. It could be a UFO landing site or maybe a landing zone for government black operations or maybe its just open fields on Pasture Fence Mountain.

The climb up Turk Mountain was a hard pull with an ascent of around 1100 ft. Here is a map of the route.

I took a break at Loft Mountain Wayside. When it was time to go I wanted to get a couple more miles north so I could make the total trip 60 miles. A good around number. After leaving Loft Mountain I pass going the other way a group of cyclist that where touring. What I saw next was cool! The more I think about this it is crazy. Check this bike out!

A homemade recumbent! This kids dad made this recumbent out of a regular bike. See where the back crank is located. Same as on a regular bike. His dad and little brother was riding this bike together. It has disk brakes and the rear had a mountain bike drive train. I know I hit speeds of over 40 mph but I don't think I would want to be on the front of this bike with those speeds. They where riding 64 miles and would spend the night at Wintergreen. There trip would end in Gatlinburg, TN.

On another note I ran into a thru-hiker aka (Yogamatt) he had been on the trail since 31 March 2010. I wish him luck and I hope he makes it to the end.

Here are the facts:

60 miles
6 Bottles of water
1 Mt Dew
1 Cookie
1 Pretzel
4 Clif Gels
3111 Cals Burn

I ended my trip here I had the Beer-Boiled Bratwurst from the Double H farm and I wash it down with The Drunken Weasel and a Kolsch 151. Both are Germany Style Beers. You get the theme!

18 June 2010

Last Weekends Road Ride-A History Lesson

Just getting around to posting a couple of pictures from last weeks training ride. Looking at the pictures you would think that I am riding in some far off rural area but I am only 12-15 minutes, if that from every store that you would want to go to.

Another 15 minutes riding would put me out of the county. I think know matter where you ride in Virginia you get a history lesson. Let class begin!

Winterpock Va. is area in the western part of the county and Winterpock and Clover Hill is area where coal was found in the late 1830's. Winterpock was the name that was giving to the mining community. Here is a picture of an old country store.

The Winterpock Grocery

Just across from the store was a sign for Lee's Retreat. Yep, The route of Lee's retreat from Petersburg to Appomattox Virginia where the Civil War ended.

Click here to learn more about Lee's Retreat

Next up is Eppington Plantation. I pass the road to this plantation about three days a week for the last 9 years. So this day I plan to check it out. One thing I could not believe is that there is a dirt road in Chesterfield County that is over 2 1/2 miles long.That was cool! Then to see this old plantation home.

Click here to learn more

That's it boys & girls the lesson is over. Stay tune for my Father's Day ride

10 June 2010

Picking Your Battles

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend I made my mind up that I am going to ride the Devil's Backbone Mountain Cross event again this year. That was day 93 days out from the event and I have started to get ready.

I wish that I had pulled the trigger months earlier on getting my Waltworks cyclocross built for this event, but I was a little late in doing that. The cross bike is the weapon of choice for this event.

So just like last year I will be riding my Bontrager. I have started training on the fire roads in Pocahontas State Park. I can make a nice 23 mile ride without crossing the stream at the base of the dam. One of the guys on the local forum said "That not the same type of fire roads. That not going to help." Well, I think it does and this is what I have learn so far.

1)Fire road riding (aka gravel grinder) can be as easy or hard as you want to make it. It doesn't have to be single track to be hard.

2)Riding up a hill it is best to ride in the middle of the trail and not where truck tires have made tracks. I find that when I have to ride out of the saddle if I ride in the track my wheel will loose traction. The rocks are loose in this area. If you ride in the middle the rocks will stay in place and this is helped by the grass.

3) If it has rain or the grass is wet, it is best to ride in the tracks on a downhill. This is because your front tire will pick-up water and dirt and it will get in your eye every time.

4) Square off curves or corners. Remember back in school, the shortest distance between to points is a straight line. There can be some danger to this as I found out the other morning when I almost hit a tree.

5) Test different tires. I have been running WTB Velociraptors and they are a great XC tire but I felt that they are slow on the fire roads. So the other day I change them out for a set of Bontrager Connection tires. I used these last year during the DB event and they did a good job. They are 1.6 in and I run them at about 45lbs. The difference in the change was about 14 minutes off my time over 23 miles. I think that is a big difference! But I don't know if this is the best tire for the job. That is a course made up of 50% road and 50% gravel/dirt roads. So if you know of a better tire let me know.

I will need to step the training up a bit and on Father's Day I will head to the mountains for some hill training. Over the next couple of days I will plan out the route and I will post on the blog.