Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cherry Cordials and Caramels

It's the time of year of too much crap food and short days. It's time for the holidays to be celebrated and for everyone to act like everything is great and good and all that crap.

It is also a favorite time of year of mine. I hate the holidays, but I love that I take two weeks off over Christmas and New Years - maximizing time off while using the least amount of PTO possible.

Usually I get a lot of riding in over this break time. And that's what I hope for again this year. I've been getting out quite a bit and riding some great trails. I haven't bothered with taking any pictures because:
  1. I'm riding here, damnit!
  2. Most of my rides are in the dark. Not much to see
  3. I'm riding.

And it has been a while since I've posted anything here. While I've been riding a lot, they haven't been exciting or new rides. Just rides. You know, out there earning it, but not seeing new things or anything.

I mean, there's been a few rides in new places, but mostly rides in the familiar terrains.

I am trying some new approaches to footwear this year. Granted, this winter has been a bit weak so far. Hardly any snow and our coldest day so far has barely made it to the mid-teens. So, not really the best test for winter gear.

In fact I've not once used my BD Guide glove liners this year. Only a handful of times have I even used the outer glove over thin liners. In fact, on the coldest days so far I've worn a thin wind and waterproof shell glove over rag wool gloves and been too hot. So my footwear experiments are probably not real accurate.

So far this year I've been wearing Scott Team BOA shoes with a pair of Endura merino wool socks as the base (super thin and breathable) with a pair of Darn Tough hiking socks over top. Then over the top of the shoes I'm wearing Endura MT 500 overshoes. The few days that it's been in the teens I've thrown a vapor barrier (bagel bags) between the sock layers.

Works pretty well. I do find that my toes will still get cold in this set up, but I think that's just as much to do with the shoes being a bit tight as it does with the insulative properties of the setup.

I've also flipped over to flats with Vasque Snoburban boots a few times as well. The boots work well as they have grippy, stiff soles, but more and more I hate peddling flats. More and more I'm convinced that I just need to get a pair of winter cycling boots like those from Lake or 45 North. I'm just loath to spend that much money on a unitasker…

Rides I want to do over the break:
  1. Knik to Iditarod. Well, not the whole thing, but part of it. This is part of the ITI race route. Need to get out there and check out some of the terrain.
  2. Frosty bottom route. I'm not one to join organized races, but would love to do the race route - the 50 mile version - to see how fast I can do it. A good part of the route is multiuse trail.
  3. Jim Creek towards Knik glacier. ATV trail that I've heard some good reports about this year. The ride to the glacier isn't quite doable yet as there is a lot of open water yet and not enough daylight to make the ride, but this might be a good warm up
  4. Snowmachine trails out of Willow. I hear there's some good snow up there and we can make a nice circuit on these trails.
  5. Gold Mint - want to see just how far back in the valley I can go this time of year this year.
  6. Reed Lakes trail - Not sure how ridable this trail is - there was some ski traffic on it last week when I was up there, but it was still quite soft.
  7. Whatever else catches my fancy.

So there it is - my list of rides to look at doing over the next two weeks. Throw in sundry quick scoots on trails in the valley as well as in Anchorage when the kids are skiing and it's going to be a pretty busy vacation. Couple with that a desire to start running regularly and, well, I'll be a bit wiped by the time I go back to work.


And because you want a picture, here are two or maybe more: