11 November, 2016

The Iceman Cometh

Last weekend marked a milestone in cycling - my first mountain bike race! As I've been looking for new challenges since turning 50, this seemed a logical choice. Especially after learning that Northern Michigan's infamous Iceman ride also had a more beginner-friendly Slush Cup (8 miles, instead of the full 27). Sign me up!

I was completely unprepared for the scope of this event. Thousands of mountain bikers blasting through the woods. Races in waves to accommodate all the riders. A huge festival at the finish line. And so much more!

The shorter ride had two benefits - first my slacker training didn't kill me. And second, I've never ridden in a competitive environment on a mountain bike. As a kid, I raced bmx extensively, but the two have almost nothing in common. I had to learn to pace myself. When it was a good opportunity to pass. What it felt like to get passed. And how to spot and avoid other riders who offered the potential for danger (perhaps I was one of those riders to others).

My Specialized Stumpjumper Expert World Cup Carbon bike was awesome. Fast. Stable. Nimble. My only complaint as that the fairly narrow 1.9" rear tire was fairly scary in sandy terrain. Note to self -- time for some bigger tires.

Perhaps the most thrilling part was blasting through the finish area and then hearing my name on the PA as I crossed the finish line. Later I found out I'd scored 13th in my age category -- a nice start for my first race!

I learned a lot about myself. And I learned a lot about the sport. I will be back. Next year - full Iceman! More to follow about my awesome experience!


10 November, 2016

Gravel Therapy

It's been a stressful week of Presidential chaos. I hesitate to say that "my" candidate didn't win because I really didn't like either option. And social media has been blowing up with wailing about how crushed people are at the outcome.

Yesterday I was working from home and making good progress when a 55 degree, sunny November day spoke to me. It was time to finally go ride the gravel near my new house!

This was my first outing, but I'd already been thinking of places I wanted to explore. Since time was limited, I set off toward a known road, rather than meandering. I'll save that for this weekend.

I haven't been able to ride much with the shorter days and a busy schedule. It's been at least a couple of months since I've been on the Crux. But as soon as I was in the saddle, I knew I'd made the right call.

After only a mile or so, I could feel the stress of this week's events melting away. The sun. The sounds. The beautiful countryside in my area. They all combined in this perfect mix of gravel-induced euphoria. 

I'm so happy I discovered the joys of dirt roads. They really are gravel therapy. So much so that I'm considering selling my Giant Defy Advanced road bike and putting the money toward a custom built-for-me Seven Evergreen gravel bike. I'm already plotting the build I'd want, the options I'd add, and all that. Perhaps it's a nice fantasy. Perhaps it will become reality.

At the end of my ride, I'd logged a few miles, and shed a pile of stress. As simple reminder to get out there!


15 September, 2016

Shifting Gears

Recent events have me significantly changing my riding preferences. Road cycling has simply become dangerous. Between the dramatic increase in distracted drivers peering at little teeny screens, increasing traffic on roads, and a blooming of driver road rage, I'm rethinking how I want to spend my time on two wheels.

A recent tragedy on what has been my regular training route really brought it home for me. While riding on Dexter-Chelsea Road, triathlete Karen McKeachie was hit and killed by a driver who didn't see her. Head on. I can only imagine the horror of seeing an SUV at full-tilt bearing down on me. This road doesn't have wide shoulders, and in the place where the accident occurred there really is no escape route. Recently I rode past a small memorial to McKeachie and a simple thought filled my head:

"That could have been me."

On the day the accident happened, before details had been released, I received texts from three friends checking in to make sure it wasn't me. It could have been me. I've ridden that stretch dozens of times.

Couple this with incidents like Kalamazoo, and my own experiences, and I'm making a fundamental shift. I can't count the number of middle fingers, red-faced yelling, and other stupid behavior I've experienced. And, it seems to be escalating over the past year.

Who wouldn't love this view on a ride?
Fortunately, last year I discovered the joys of riding gravel roads. Where I used to see 10 cars per mile, now I see 10 cars per RIDE. And, when I am passed, its usually with a wide berth and a friendly wave. Combine that with my recent move to western Washtenaw County, with easy access to the Waterloo Rec Area and miles of dirt roads (like the one I live on), and this becomes pretty damn appealing.

Plus, over the last year I've rediscovered the thrill of mountain biking. Some of this was fueled by purchasing a Salsa Beargrease X5 this Spring. I've had so much fun riding that! Getting out on the trail, with no cars and relatively few other cyclists is a blast. While my rides are shorter in duration, they make up in intensity. Plus, mountain biking is more of a total body workout as you're using your upper body, too. Add to this the joy of being in the woods and you've got a combo that's hard to beat.

To further fuel this, my house is 2.5 miles from the DTE Energy Trail (formerly Waterloo). This great 5 mile route will eventually expand to over 20 miles. I did my first ride on it from home this week. Wow! What a blast! I've also had the good fortune to ride the VASA Trail outside Traverse City several times this year - also great fun!

Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon World Cup
Naturally, this fueled another bike purchase. After discovering the joy of a mountain bike with gears in the fat bike, I found I wanted a faster, more nimble ride. Fortunately, I stumbled on a great deal on a lightly used Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon World Cup. After only a few rides, I've grown to love this bike. It's fast, smooth, and I love the 1X drivetrain.

Can't wait to run the fat bike in the snow, too! That will bring a whole new dimension to fun Winter fitness.

So, my love affair with bikes and riding hasn't waned. It's just matured and changed direction. Away from the road riding that was getting increasingly scary and toward gravel roads and dirt paths. I certainly haven't given up road riding. It's just that I will spend considerably less time doing it, at least for a while.

02 August, 2016

Road Rage

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted here! My apologies to my regular visitors. Been living life and enjoying miles on the bikes. Yeah, bikes, and there are more of them than before. It's all good - more to follow in this soon.

But I digress...

It seems lately that the auto/cyclist conflict is escalating. This seems odd to me, especially in the wake of numerous well-publicized cyclist deaths, like those in Kalamazoo earlier this year. I would think these events would heighten awareness and perhaps even improve safety on the roads.

Nope, that assumption would be wrong.

Last night I did a group ride with the Ann Arbor Velo Club. Our group of rough 15 riders were all safe, courteous, and on the lookout for potential problems. We rode a single file paceline, even when there weren't cars around. We generally kept on, or near, the white line. And at the mid-point one of the organizers reminded us about the next section of road and the importance of being a good citizen of the road.

And, for our efforts, what did we get? Several full-out acceleration, way-to-close, yelling out the window passes. A person backing out of a pizza place who looked at us, and then still backed out in front of us.

Yes, I get that many cyclists SUCK at obeying the rules of the road (see the above NSFW video). And, I know we slowed down your drive ever so slightly. But really? That makes a red-faced rant, the full horn, and a double-bird thrown my way justified?

I've written on this topic before, so it's not news. What's struck me in recent weeks is how much I'm enjoying my gravel and mountain bikes. When I ride gravel, I see 10-15 cars per RIDE, as opposed to 10-15 per MILE on a road ride. And, on the mountain bike trail - ZERO cars! I flat-out feel safer when I'm not on the road.

I'll be moving to a more rural part of the area soon. I'll be near a top-notch mountain bike trail, miles of gravel, AND some good roads, too. I'm sure I'll still ride all three types, but I see the proportion of gravel and trail riding to increase.

Oh, yeah, I scored a SWEET mountain bike. More on that later!


02 June, 2016

Fattie Fun Follow-Up

"Why didn't I buy one of these a long time ago?"

That's been about the only burning issue with my Salsa Beargrease X5 Aluminum. After a nice local run on urban trails, as well as a long weekend in Northern Michigan, I just love this fat beast!

For the local urban trails, I turned to friend and tour guide, John. I follow John on Strava and I'm always seeing these goofy, loopy routes. It never looks like he gets far from home base and he's practically always in the City limits. Turns our he's found a collection of trails on park lands that link up and lead to a blast of a ride! For these trails, the Beargrease offers some nice flotation through loose gravel or muck. And, it bounces over nearly anything. But the big advantage? GEARS! While I love my single-speed 29er, it only has one gear. Usually the wrong one. Now I can shift to get in the right place and chug up climbs and slither down hills.

But Northern Michigan was where she shined! The trails I rode included a lot of loose sand. On a standard 2"ish tire these would have been a pain. With the 4" 45nrth Husker Du tires you just float through! And hill climbing is no big deal with the gigantic contact patch.

What continues to surprise me is how nimble this big beast is. I would have thought that between the gargantuan wheels and the added weight, she'd ride like a pig. Not so.

Looking forward to many, many more adventures with this special ride!


20 May, 2016

Fat for Fun - Salsa Beargrease X5 Initial Review

Been resisting the lure of the fat tire mountain bike for a while. I knew what a blast they looked like. And how much fun being able to ride in snow all Winter, or UP sand in the Summer was really appealing.

So, that didn't last...

On a visit to Tree Fort Bikes in Ypsilanti a couple of weeks back, I inquired about deals on fat bikes. Turns out they've got a couple of Salsa Beargrease X5's demos that they want to move. After sleeping on it, I decide to pull the trigger. A pair of AtomLab Pimp flat pedals and I'm ready to rock!

The Beargrease is Salsa's race bike line, and the aluminum X5 is the entry level model. I've long liked this strategy. It lets you buy a high-performance frameset, with more affordable components. Then you can upgrade as-needed. That's not to say the X5 is lacking -- SunRingle Mulefut rims, Novatec sealed bearing hubs, a Cane Creek headset, 45nrth Husker Du tires. Pretty good stuff. And seriously, Husker Du is among my favorite bands. How could I not buy a bike with Husker Du tires.

Last Sunday, it's windy, cold, and spitting snowflakes. This squashed my thoughts of getting in some road miles. So, I grab the Beargrease and head for Island Lake Recreation Area to hide in the trees and play on the dirt. Island Lake is one of my favorite local rides. With both a 9.8 mile and a 5 mile loop, it's perfect to put together a "just the right length" ride. It's got a little technical stuff, but nothing major. And the climbs are manageable. I've ridden it a fair bit on the singlespeed 29er.

First discovery: The fat bike is just big. The tires are twice the width of my other mountain bike. So, just sticking it in the Jeep is a pain. Eventually I get it wedge in there. Note to self: probably time for a bike rack. Breaking down bikes, folding down seats, and then stuffing them in there is getting old.

Second discovery: I should have gotten one of these a long time ago. It's just a blast to ride! The huge tires absorb bumps, ruts, and roots like a full suspension. And the contact patch of the rear tire is MASSIVE; so it climbs like a goat. I've described it to friends as the "cartoon character of bikes". It's fat and goofy, but it's also a great ride.

I'd expected it to be a bit bulky to maneuver, but that proves not to be the case. For a big bike, the Beargrease is surprisingly nimble. You're not going to see Danny Macaskill's next video shot on one of these, but you're also not going to be hammering trees because you couldn't turn.

Also, gears are cool. I love the simplicity and ruggedness of my singlespeed. But this is a really cool alternative. Big hill? No problem; click it down a notch and motor up! The SRAM X5 drivetrain shifts cleanly and quietly. In the future, I may swap to an X9 rear and convert to a 1x, just for simplicity. But I want to get in some miles first.

My only complaint is the stock WTB saddle. Ouch! Not comfortable! I run the SQ Labs 611 Race on both my road and cyclocross bikes, so I think one will be finding it's way onto the fat boy soon.

All in all -- I'm really happy with my purchase! Even at full list, the Beargrease X5 is a solid deal. If you're looking for an entry-level fattie, this is a significant step up over the glut of $1,000 bikes with inferior components, poor frame geometries, and questionable warranty.  Highly recommended! Now to put some more miles on it!


13 May, 2016

Mind Your Manners

For the past 6 weeks I've been taking some yoga classes. This is something I've dabbled in unsuccessfully before, but am really enjoying this time - the benefit of finding a studio I like and instructors I enjoy. Last night I went to what would have been a great class, only it included some rude folks.

This got me thinking about a posting I've long been meaning to write here - etiquette. Every sport or activity has rules, traditions, and unsaid things you should and shouldn't do. Social norms, if you will. Many of these are simply common courtesy and considering others. Some are safety. And others are just tradition.

Here are just a few examples that spring to mind:

  • Skiing - the singles line is for singles. Don't cram three of your buddies in there and then hop in front of everyone else as a group. 
  • Cycling - the paceline is a unique place with rules all its own. Most of them are for your own safety (NEVER overlap wheels). Some are courtesy - take your turn on the front, unless you're a weaker rider than the rest and in that case, own it and admit to it.
  • Fly Fishing - again, lots of courtesies. Not low-holing the other angler is one. But there are some interesting ones relating to being a guest in another's boat - offer to bring lunch or beer, NO cleated boots, if you can row, offer to.
  • Shooting - issues here are principally related to safety. Muzzle downrange. Don't shoot others targets. Treat every gun as a loaded gun. But there are some courtesy issues, too. Like sweeping up your brass and removing shot-up targets before you leave. Or offering to pick up post-range drinks or buy ammo when someone lets you try their gun.
The common theme here is courtesy and respect for others. Something our society is increasingly lacking. No matter the sport or activity, you can bet there are etiquette standards. In most cases, simple asking will get you a gentle introduction. For example, I was recently invited on an organized group bike ride. I've not spent much time riding in serious pacelines, so I knew I had some learning to do. Fortunately, my buddy Josh was there to guide me. As a result, I had a comfortable, fun, safe ride. I'm lucky enough to be friends with some fly fishing guides. They've taught me a TON - mostly because they'll be more candid with a friend than a client. I've learned things like holding your boot out to drain before stepping into a drift boat, is appreciated. Or that if a guide takes you to a spot, they don't want to see you there the next day. 

Bottom line? Pay attention. Understand that no matter what any sport of activity (not just golf or tennis) has protocols and etiquette. Take some time to observe, and if needed ask questions.You'll likely have a better experience, make some friends, and be welcomed back!


P.S. March 7th was my last post? Geez. Gotta' get after this...

07 March, 2016

Silver Age

Had my best ski day of the season yesterday at Caberfae Peaks. Really great snow all day, no lift lines, perfect temps and was really on my game. Pretty early I ended up chatting with a couple on the chairlift, and then skiing with them for most of the morning. A bit later, we were joined by Batman (there's a whole other blog post on this coming...). The four of us were just hot lapping the hill skiing fast and smooth. It was really a blast.

Mid-way through the morning talk on the chair turned to what year we all graduated from High School. My three companions all graduated in '97. After hearing this, I remark that I'm a bit older then as I graduated in '84. Marcy turns to me and says, "Damn, I'd have never guessed that. Then you're really on it - especially with how you ski...". This was a bit of an introspective moment for me. And skiing is an introspective place where I can pause and reflect on life, it's milestones, and other big thoughts.

I turned 50 in February. Oddly, I wasn't dreading the birthday, in fact, I was looking forward to it. One of my favorite musicians, Bob Mould, has a song called "Silver Age" (listen here, if you like) that really kind of sums up how it feels to be 50 for me. Bob's a few years older than I am and the last time I saw him live he put on the most energetic, powerful, raw performance I've seen in a long time. Not bad for 55.

I realized that in my 49th year, I rode my bicycle more miles than I've ever ridden, completed my first Century, skied hard in Michigan and Colorado, and caught a 36" muskie on the fly. Since my birthday, I've dropped a few pounds, being skiing and riding the trainer pretty intensely, and am setting up to really get in the best shape in decades. I'm heading to Northern Wisconsin in October to chase really big Muskies. And, in two weeks I'll be skiing in Colorado.

All of this really gave me some positive mental energy. I'm not slowing down. If anything, I'm speeding up (one could argue that you gain momentum when you're going downhill, but I'll take a more positive interpretation). And, that feels pretty fucking good. Or, as Bob so eloquently says:

"Stupid little kid wanna hate my game
I don't need a spot in your hall of fame, no
What a fucking game, yo
I'm wiping my face of the shit you say
In the silver age I walk away singing
The silver age is calling out a melody"

Rock on, Bob. Thanks for inspiring old guys like me to be better. The Silver Age is indeed calling out a melody...


29 February, 2016

On the Road Again

Specialized Crux Comp
View from the cockpit
Took advantage of a wonderful 62 degree day to get in a road ride yesterday. Words can't even express how good it felt to get out and stretch my legs, get my heart rate up, and cleanse both mind and soul. The trainer is a reasonable Winter fitness solution, but it really does rather suck. It's the exercise of cycling, only without any of the richness.

Yesterday, I enjoyed the sunshine, the remnants of a foot of snow from earlier in the week, and just how fucking great it was to be outside, doing something I love. I was talking to a friend about churches over the weekend and observed that by and large, the outdoors is my church. It's where I go to re-connect and re-center.

Well, so much for the deep BS, how was the ride?

Legs were surprisingly strong, as was cardio. I felt like I had a reasonable amount of jump, and even the daunting Delhi Hill wasn't too bad. Wind was up pretty high, but I really didn't notice. So, all things considered, I think my Winter regimen of riding the trainer and skiing has worked. I also haven't gained the weight I normally do. Double-bonus!

The other thing was the addition of the Specialized Crux Comp to my stable is huge and doing exactly what I planned by extending my seasons. My road bike is still set-up on the trainer, so I have that when it snows again (tomorrow...). And, with the road bike being carbon with carbon wheels, it's nice to have a more rugged alternative. She's just too pretty to ride in the slop and debris of late Winter. I also found the November Nimbus Alloy TI wheels really enjoyable on the roads. Those White Industries hubs are SO smooooooooth!

In two weeks, I head to Colorado for a Spring ski trip. I'm sure I will return satiated by Winter and eager for Spring! Yesterday was proof.


17 February, 2016

Monster Boards

I love my Blizzard Bonafides. They are hands-down the best skis I've ever owned. At 98mm underfoot, they're great in powder and crud. The rockered construction and the Flipcore technology make them equally at-home on groomers. I've skied them in Michigan and Colorado in a wide range of conditions and found them incredibly versatile. But, not QUITE the one ski quiver.

The past two seasons in Michigan have been unique. With nearly perfect snow, we've missed out on what I affectionately call "Michigan Boilerplate". If you've skied the Midwest or the East, you know what I mean. That thaw-freeze-that-freeze again snow that's then coated with a bit of man-made stuff. It's more like a hockey rink than a ski hill. This is tough stuff that demands a certain ski to really tame it. And the Bonafides are NOT that ski. Honestly, I really think the core issue is largely width. They're just too wide to get consistently on-edge. We've had some of those conditions in SE Michigan this year. So, I decided it was time to look for a hardpack ski. Stiff. Torsionally rigid. And with an edge like a hockey skate.

Head Monster M78 skis
A quick visit to the always-resourceful Rob Parent at Sun & Snow Sports yields a few options. Oh, yeah, and I want something over 175cm and I won't ski them a ton, so I don't want to invest a fortune. At the last moment, Rob asks, "What about some Head Monsters? I have an M78 demo ski in 178cm that I'd let go for a good price...". Done. Here's my Visa.

This weekend I got them out on local ice bump, Mt. Brighton. Saturday is a perfect example of the day I bought these for. Started the day at around 1 degree F. High winds. A brutal round of freeze-thaw, followed by a chilly end to the week. The snow is ROCK hard.

In a word - HELL YEAH! True to their name, the Monsters grip like a demon. They're damp and stable, even on the chunkiest of ice. Even when the wind comes up and visibility drops to zero, I feel comfortable and confident. By the end of Sunday, I'm blasting through smooth, fast GS turns. Even pure ice isn't completely scary.

Are they perfect? Well, they just may be the heaviest ski I've ever owned, but I mostly notice that hauling them through the parking lot. And the graphics leave a lot to be desired. But for what I bought them for, they RIP! I am one very happy skier.

15 February, 2016

New Brain Bucket - Giro G9 Helmet First Impressions Review

Been thinking for a while about replacing my decade-old Giro ski helmet. In addition to being at least ten years old (with the potential to have its protection compromised), the advent of MIPS helmets which protect against the rotational injuries the produce concussions is pretty significant. And, I'm guessing that a few other things have advanced in helmet technology as well.

I started looking last year, but pricing for MIPS helmets from Scott, Giro, and POC were all still pretty high.This season, most manufacturers seem to have brought this technology into their mid-range helmets. Pretty early on, I became interested in the Giro Nine MIPS model. I've generally had pretty solid experience with the Giro brand in terms of fit, quality, and performance. Also, they generally have solid audio solutions - a key element to me.

Giro Nine MIPS Ski Helmet
A local shop is kind enough to have a 20% off sale so a Nine MIPS and a set of Outdoor Tech X Wired Chips is secured in a stylish Smurf Blue color to match my Marmot and Marker jackets. So, was it worth the money? In a word, absolutely!

Helmets are made of polymers and expanded polystyrene for impact absorption. Both degrade with time, with UV exposure, and with a gazillion impacts large and small. I learn while reading the Giro manual that helmet life is considered 3-5 years. Oops. This, plus the MIPS features have me feeling much better about my safety in the event of a fall or hit.

My previous Giro helmet was fairly comfortable, so that was never an issue. The only real problem came when I bought some Oakley Canopy goggles. The larger lenses of this google were great as they fit nicely over glasses and gave an awesome field of vision. What wasn't so good was that due to hitting the helmet, they pressed down pretty aggressively on my nose and cheeks. By the end of the day, not so comfortable! From the get-go, I could tell the new helmet was a huge leap forward in this area. Giro has clearly recognized the trend toward larger goggle frames, and addressed it. Also, as a side benefit, the helmet really is a bit more comfortable fit!

In a word, mixed. The Outdoor Tech Chips sound OK. I don't think the bass is as robust as my previous Skull Candy pads. And the controls to change volume and mute/stop my iPod don't seem to work. I did swap out the cable to my old one so at least I could mute my jams if riding up on a lift with someone. I did just notice something about a "10 hour play time" on their web site. So, perhaps I need to investigate if I'm missing a battery or something... ah, user error.

I'm glad I waited, and equally happy that I didn't wait any longer. The price came down, but having the latest safety technology, as well as the better goggle fit are totally worth the investment. I suspect that I'm the issue with some of the audio problems. If you're looking for a new helmet, give the Giro Nine MIPS a look -- I don't think you'll be disappointed!

14 January, 2016

A Special Day

In mid-December I got the opportunity to fish a river I've long wanted to explore. A good friend offered to show my Dad and I around this piece of water with a walk-and-wade. No, I'm not telling you where. That just spoils it. You all have a piece of water like this - it's been on your bucket list (or whatever you call it) for years. It intrigues and allures. But it's just remote enough, or has complex access, or is a true challenge to read and fish. Or all of the aforementioned. This was that river.

It's one of those locations where you wish you hadn't put that fly rod company sticker on your truck. Or where you wished you could leave your performance gear at home. Carhartt blends in better than Simms. After some two-trackin' following my buddy we drop one truck and then head upriver.

Stepping into the water was like arriving in mecca. For a steelheader at-heart, this was home. Things just looked fishy. But the holes were small, swift, and challenging to fish. Let's not even talk about what happens when you hook-up. Hang on and good luck!

Though I've been spoiled by owning a drift boat, I must say I still enjoy a good point-to-point wade. You get to see some pretty water in a way that's more intimate. You have the time to read a spot, find the flow, get the right drift, fish several depths, and just generally do it "the right way" as opposed to the drive-by shooting of drift boat fishing.

Early on we set the precedent for my day. Quickly, I am King of the Dinks. I think I ended the day pushing 20 bitty browns and steelhead. But it's cool. I'm catching fish. I'm seeing water I've never seen before. And I'm spending a day sharing this new experience with my Dad (who LOVES exploring) and a great friend.

On a whim we decide Dad should run a shallow trough. Maybe there's someone sitting there looking for a meal? Second drift, the bobber stutters, Dad sets and it's fish on! Funny part is that he thinks he's hooked up on one of my Teeny Tiny's. Nope! After a solid fight, Dad's got a nice dime-bright fish - probably a bit over 8 pounds. 

Later that day, I farm a couple. But I don't really care. I've learned some new water. I've spent time outdoors with people I care about. Most importantly, I've put my mind at-rest over some upcoming surgery that I'm a bit apprehensive about. Outdoor therapy. For me, the best kind.

Get Outside!


13 January, 2016

A Body in Motion

It's an old saw "A body in motion stays in motion...". Over the past month, I've learned that the corollary is equally applicable. Got to have some relatively serious surgery last month (carotid angiogram with stent placement - big fun). While this is a minimally invasive procedure as compared to the external carotid endarterectomy version, it's still got a significant impact on activity.

Recovery was basically a hospital overnight (in the neuro ICU - yet more big fun), followed by a few days taking it easy at home. In reality, it slowed me down for the better part of a couple of weeks. I got a bit too good at watching TV and taking naps. Given that it was December, that's not terrible. 

The more unexpected impact was the healing process for my mobility and activity. Basically, they start in your femoral artery in the groin and then run some gear up in you. This takes a decent sized poke to gain access. My first few days were spent celebrating small victories - like putting on my own socks, or wearing real pants. After that my mobility returned quickly. 

What did not were two things - endurance and motivation. I suppose the two are interlinked. If I know I can't go very far or very hard, I'm not that eager to try. The problem is that this quickly settles in to a bit too much couch time and a few added pounds.

So now I find myself trying to turn the corner. I got out and skied the local bump for a couple of hours - that went well enough. This weekend I may push for a half day. And it's time to get my lazy ass back on the trainer before cycling season returns. Peel off a few Holiday pounds, get my cardio solid again, and get my legs back.

It's funny how motivators work though. Recently I've started to think about a trip West for a few days skiing. And I realize that in order to do that, I'm going to need to get back on it. So we'll see if we can't go from a "body at rest" to a "body in motion" once again! I have a whole ski season in front of me, then cycling will beckon, and before I know it I should be back on my game. Wish me luck!