Sunday, November 25, 2012

"My Tweets" Top and "Seam Fix" Ripper

I'm sorry for the bad picture, but it's the best I could do.  Here's the top for "My Tweets".  I'm still cutting out the center pieces but hope to have a finished top w/o the borders soon.

My LQS happened to have some new fancy seam ripper that is supposed to clean out the threads after you rip out the threads.  It's called "Seam Fix" and I figured "What the heck" and bought one.

This product has two obvious major flaws that the person designing it should have figured out before mass production.  Flaw one is that it's entirely round and rolls off the table.  Flaw two is that you can't put the cover on the end of the ripper so you don't lose the top.  Highly annoying.  The seam ripper part isn't any different than the ones I already own.  However; the top and end of the handle section do a pretty good job of getting the threads out of the way.  Is it worth the purchase?  That's up to you.  The design flaws drive me crazy so I don't really use it.  I figure I should tape a toothpick or something flat to the ripper so it doesn't roll around.

Easiest way to rip seams?  Your rotary cutter.  However; if you are prone to cutting yourself or don't feel comfortable doing that, get a seam ripper of some kind.  Masking tape works just as fast or faster to get rid of the frayed ends.    

Monday, November 19, 2012

Charity Lake Ride

Happened to find a park locally while looking at Google Maps and the website said it had bike trails.  Obviously I had to check it out.  It's overlooking the Bluffs in Missouri.  Well, they sorta lied, but it's a nice lake with some beautiful views.  The "trail" is a grassy road that goes around the lake and is about a mile long.  It does have some hills to it, but nothing spectacular.  The Bluffs are basically straight up and straight down which makes for hard riding.  Indian Cave Park is the same way even though it's on the Nebraska side.  

The lake at the parking area:

I thought this was the trail, but it's a short trail overlooking the lake:

 View of the lake from the trail I found:

The actual trail..wide enough for trucks and is mowed grass:

"My Tweets" Blocks Ready To Go

I have almost all my blocks done.  I ran out of green thread on block four and have to wait until she orders more.  Oops..forgot a leaf on the block under the layout.  I made the strips finish at 1 inch, but I haven't sewn the blocks together to see how it looks.  If I make them finish at 1.5, which is how wide the strips are in the picture, would it look better?  Center panel is still questionable.  Part of me wants to take the extra white fabric off, add blue and then add white fabric around it.

Swanson and Tranquility Park

Saturday was beyond fun.  Since I had gas to blow a trip to Omaha for the bike parks was in order.  Two teenagers, myself, food to feed them and three bikes in tow headed up to Swanson and Tranquility.  

We unloaded the bikes and headed out on the trail.  Swanson was a blast because of all the roots, hills and dips.  This was the first trip with the Mukluk and she did amazing.  I did my first skinny bridge without the railing (you better decide which side you'll fall off of before you cross), made it up hills I hadn't been able to before, and hit some serious speeds on the downhills.  The hills aren't steep, but there are a lot of them.  

Since we finished up Swanson and the kids hadn't been to Tranquility we headed over there.  I've been there once on a Monday Night Ride so I was familiar with where I'd been.  Somehow I managed to find myself going on trails I hadn't been on before with longer, steeper hills and lots of twists of turns.  It wasn't until I hit the pine trees that I knew where I was.  

Again, Mukluk rocked the trails.  I hit the berms (curve with high sides) going down the hills with ease and was able to do turns without braking the entire time.  The only thing I wouldn't do is a steep mound of dirt with a tight turn back up the mound.  I don't have the physical strength or turning ability on the Mukluk to do it.  I wasn't about to try the top of the hill stuff either.  

My cardio still sucks as I'd have to stop and catch my breath for about 5 minutes at a time.  If it wasn't for the stops, I'd have some serious time put in.  

The only thing that has totally baffled me is how I had the strength and flexibility to do all of this.  I went out Wednesday and practically cried the entire way back to the car.  Friday I got my Fargo fixed and headed up to the LQS.  I was in agony going up the 1/2 mile hill to the store.  Friday night it hit me that my fibromyalgia had flared up and took an Aleve and a muscle relaxer.  Muscle relaxer had to be why.  I'm always stiff on bike rides and never thought that it could be the fibromyalgia causing the setbacks.  I think you get used to the muscles being sore that you forget how bad it really is.

Had a great time with the boys even though they left me but my confidence has improved immensely and so have my skills.  Get out and ride a bike!  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wilderness Trail Ride

Here's my trip to Wilderness Park:

I did 10 miles of single track and this trip it was physically exhausting.  I lowered my psi to 5 instead of my usual 25psi for road.  The lower the psi the more grip your tire has but it means you have to work harder to keep the bike moving.  The handling of the bike was improved, but my legs were protesting.

I still chickened out on this part of the trail.  It's much steeper than it looks and if you don't cross the rocks just right, you'll probably end up going over the bars.  I just have more to live for at 37.  Now if I was close to my death bed and it didn't matter, maybe.

From Drop Box

By the time I crawled back to the beginning of the trail I realized I just had to get across the other creek bed.  I've done it once, but nearly fell off the bike when my legs gave out going up the hill and nearly landed on the top tube.  The bike really is too big.

Here's the other creek:

From Drop Box

I came down from the back, sucked up the leg pain, prayed I would make it, crossed the creek and almost cleared the hill back up.  I was so close.  I'm not ready to cross from where I was standing when I took the picture because of the last two rocks in the back.  They stick up and I have horrible visions of the front wheel bouncing up and getting knocked off.

It was a great day.  I know for some people crossing those creeks would be so easy, but for me it's a feat of courage.

Bike Shops Are Evil

After getting most of the "My Tweets" blocks fused and almost satin stitched, I finally got out on my fat bike the other day up to Wilderness Park in Lincoln.   Just like quilt LQS, I had to check out my favorite LBS.  Sigh.  Too. Much. Stuff.  Good thing cycling crap is all overpriced so it was easy to walk out except for this temptation:

But I already have a fat bike right?   
My problem is my bike is too big.  I've just dealt with it and tried to tweak it as much as I can to "make" it fit.  It's not a huge problem on the road, but it is on a mountain bike trail.  The hardest part is the stand over clearance.  I just barely fit over and that's not really safe.  The reach becomes a problem on hills.

The 9:zero:7 has a much lower top tube and I can get the frame (comes in frame only) in my size.  Then I can move over all the parts on my Mukluk and have a bike that actually "fits".  The problem?  The frame and fork (not the one pictured here) are 800 dollars.  I could sell my Fargo hoping to get enough, but I like that bike too.  In reality it isn't happening unless some kind of miracle happens.

Yup.  Bike shops are evil.  

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Still Cutting Out Pieces

I haven't done any riding as I've been wanting to get the blocks done for this quilt and get the top done if possible.  I'm so sick of cutting leaves especially as they disappear when you go to press the pieces together.  I don't have every piece on, but have all twelve blocks up and ready.  I had to make and redo about 5 blocks. 

I've lost some leaves AGAIN and I need to get the flower centers done on the left one. 

I've got one block done and the others in various states of finishing.  Hopefully in the next few days I can get them completely satin stitched and then work out the center. 


Couple of guys at the MTBR forum have come up with "Fatterday" where those of us with fat bikes spend the day riding and posting pics of the trip showing off where we'd been. I think it started with the UK fat bike guys all getting together but quickly exploded to include the rest of us.  Genius idea really.  Some are going in groups and others are braving it out on their own.  I think the NE guys that have fat bikes are planning something, but whether or not I can make it is another thing.  I'll plan something else if I can't.

Wilderness Park

Spent last Saturday with my son and his friend at Wilderness Park:

My son has never been out there but the trail is twisty and flat.  I knew he'd leave me in the dust since he's so much better and it's really easy.  The only thing I told him was that there are two ravines that are steep and the "bridges" are rocks.  Walk them as I don't want to take you to the hospital and they took off.

I come up around a corner and hear my son yelling at Greg over something.  Turns out Greg's chain came off and Josh was struggling to put it back on.  I set my bike down, take a look at Greg's bike and within a few minutes get the chain back on.  I'm a pro at chain suck as you can see from the scrapes on my bike so getting the chain back on wasn't hard.  Pulled out a couple of baby wipes from my pack, handed one to Josh and cleaned up our hands.

I gave Greg a quick lesson on shifting so the chain doesn't come off again.  Once he figured it out, he yelled back at me "Thanks!  This bike is awesome!" and took off behind Josh.  The bike is my daughter's, a Trek 3500, and she likes him just enough to let him borrow it for the day since he doesn't have a bike.    

I come up to the second ravine and the boys are waiting for me.  They both agreed that I was right and walked that section.  It's not that it's hard, but you'd need some serious speed to get back up the other side of the ravine and I'm not strong enough to do it.  I've made it over the rocks of the first ravine but stall out going up. 

I kept lowering the pressure on my fat bike as I went along hoping to find that magic "sweet" spot.  I came really close as all of the sudden the bike started handling so much better and I wasn't sliding out into the bushes or trees.  I would have gone lower, but I worried about the tire coming off the rim.

The advice from the guys on the MTBR forum really helped about tire pressure and how to do cornering.  This bike is truly amazing when set up right.  I found myself struggling with physical strength because of the lowered pressure but when I looked at the Strava results, I was going the same speeds I was before.

Surprisingly I'm able to keep up and we finish up at the bridge about 5 miles from where we started.  Josh is panting and wants to go back to the car.  Huh?  This is the kid that complains that we only went 4 miles on the last trail that was far more technical because I was dying?  Even Greg told Josh to "Shut up as I don't get to do this very often".   We head back out via Old Cheney and the Jamaica Trail to the car.

Later that night I found out why Josh was so put out and why I could keep up.  Turns out the twisty parts were more technical than he thought and he kept sliding into the trees/branches and had to slow down making him mad.  Yup.  I've taken out my share of trees/bushes on this trail and have patches on my inner tubes to prove it.  Just because it looks easy doesn't mean it is. 

At least Greg had a great time and can't wait to go back.  He did great for his second time on a trail.  Josh, on the other hand needs some cheese with his whine.