Bike Month Weeks 2 & 3 and Tyler State Park Apocalypse Ride

I didn’t post any updates for awhile and I apologize. I had finals to deal with and hardly went to the office at all. And when I did, there was bad weather brewing so I wound up driving. So Week 2 was a wash. I didn’t bike to work, but then again I hardly drove, either. Week 3 was another matter. I biked in most of the week but wound up driving a couple of days for inclement weather forecasts. The forecast bad weather those days didn’t end up happening until well after dark, so I felt cheated.

I made up for it (sortof) by doing some mountain biking on Saturday. I figured if the rapture actually WAS going to happen, I’d rather be mountain biking once the fit hit the shan. Of course nothing happened, so I still got to have a fun day in the woods. In the process, I also snagged all of the geocaches in Tyler State Park.

I deviated from the trails a couple of times while searching for geocaches. Stash the bikes in the woods and hike the rest of the way. Some of the caches in the park are pretty good ones, but the park appears to be a black hole for trackables. Eight were listed on cache inventories and none of them were actually there. It’s too bad because I had a neat geocoin that needs dropping off somewhere. I’m not going to leave it somewhere it’s likely to disappear, though.

I had the GoPro along for the trip. I think I really need to get a spare battery or the battery bacpac because I was running out of juice well before the end of the ride…and I didn’t even try to record any cache searching. I still got some good video.

It was a great ride. Mel really rocked the trails today. She rode with confidence I’ve never seen her possess on the bike before. Rooty climbs – no hesitation. She attacked them. Rooty descents with speed and small drops. She attacked those with confidence, too. I was hoping to spend some time sessioning with her on some downhills at the edge of her comfort zone, but she blew away my expectations and she tried way more than she has before. I’m totally proud, and she tells me she had fun, too. And, compared to our ride of these same trails in 2008, she rocked in the fitness department, too. She rode way more trail this time.

Tyler State Park, 21 May 2011 from TheGPSGeek on Vimeo.

I could have done without her leaving my second pair of sunglasses at one of the geocaches. But thankfully I had a waypoint for where she left them and I was able to return and retrieve them. It’s also fortunate that the boy scout troop out geocaching that day had visited the cache before we did. Otherwise, we might not have recovered the shades.

We probably should have skipped the C loop, though. Mel was getting tired by then and didn’t ride much of it. And of course by the time we got back onto the B and A loops where the trail was less technical, she was really thrashed and we had to stave off the bonk.

For my efforts, I was pretty happy overall. Commuting this past few weeks by bike has helped to strengthen my climbing legs, which is one of the things lagging a bit in my cancer recovery. I was essentially singlespeeding the A and B loops. I don’t think I shifted gears once until I hit the C loop. The C loop got me in some of the technical spots. The switchbacks were a beast, but thankfully I’m not the only one. I spoke to an older gent who went up them just after me who was dabbing in the same spots I did. It’s not so much the steepness of them, but the radius of them that gets you I think. I took a bad line on the first one and had a nice spill.

I have some work to do on my videography skillz. I changed up the POV angles more this time, which was an improvement. And despite the ease of use of the chesty mount, it really does a good job of providing shaky video. Not a fan. I think I’ll be using more helmet mount in the future. It’s a lot more stable. I should also find some locations for an adhesive mount or two on my frame. Maybe a second bar/seatpost mount so I can get some shots of my face. I have some room for improvement, at any rate.

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