Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year!

Have a happy new year everyone! Be safe, drink lots, and dance your butts off! As for new year's resolutions? Who needs em? You're gonna break them anyway!

I've been too busy at work to do much of anything lately. Trying to find a house on top of that, get my workouts in, and maybe go out on the weekends if I'm not too tired. Backlogged on pictures, but oh well. Take it easy everyone and I'll see you in 2012! Best wishes and make it a prosperous year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas! No snow, so no snow biking. But I'll take the 40s and sunny weather. Hoping that everyone gets their wishlists of overpriced biking gear fulfilled by Santa!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

MNR - 1000 miles!

Last night's Monday Night Ride was one to put down in the history books! For the first time ever, I cleared 1k miles in a year! And what better way to cross that milestone than to do it during the Monday Night Ride? Not a big deal for most, especially you roadies and you racers. But for me, the year consisted mostly of casual Monday Night Rides, tacorides, and some weekend riding on the trails. I think the generous weather provided me the chance to clear 1k. Also thanks to the friends whom I biked with this past year. I could have just as easily spent those cold Monday nights sitting on the couch watching How I Met Your Mother. Thanks everyone!

Last night's ride on the other hand was a harsh one. I got down to Tranquility and was heading towards the kiosk on the Muk. Squish. Put my foot down. Squish. Whoa! Not good! We didn't seem to be putting a dent in the trail, but a thin top layer of mud was just sticking like crazy to everyone's tires. We shortened the ride and headed to Paul's heater enabled garage. Sounded like a pretty good trade off to me! Dale, Ryan, Paul, Brian, Eric, and myself were the crazy fools braving the mud and the extreme cold just to get a few pedal strokes in. Paul had asked about where I had reached the 1k mark. It was pretty close to when we had stopped on the northside for a quick break. While resting, we got an explanation of Ryan's thru-axle and had a chance to scrape off the chunks of mud. Glad we got the ride in fellas! And thanks to Brian and Paul for the refreshments afterwards.
This was about the time that I hit the mark

Next year? I'm aiming for 1250 miles as my goal. This year brought an increase of over 150 miles as compared to 2010. A new bike, snow, and warm temps helped me to fuel that increase. Also the Tour de Cure and a few Wear Yellow NE charity rides helped me to bump up those number. To a great 2012!!!

The trails are way too muddy to ride unless the ground is still frozen. Please stay off of the trails. All of that mud on the tires made the Mukluk feel like a 40lb monster.

Yup, that's about all it took to reach 1k miles during last night's ride


Bike art more specifically. Whether it's bike photography, a wine bottle holder in the shape of a bike, or oil on canvas, I love it all! My parents were in New Orleans this past summer and bought me a painted piece of art. I finally got it framed and mounted and it looks awesome!

Notice the raised appearance of the painted bicyclist

What's cool about this piece is that it isn't simply oil on canvas. The artist said that they had to paint each section with hundreds of strokes in order to build it up and give it a 3d looking effect. And if you have ever painted with oil, you know that you have to let it dry before applying the next stroke. This is pretty cool. Thanks mom and dad!

The leather in appearance frame was the icing on the cake!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tonights the night!

I biked over the weekend, stuck to the trail that runs along 144th street. All that I can say is that Omaha drivers are terrible when it comes to watching out for bikers. I was on the bike trail, but still had to cross major intersections. And i was good, waited for the walk signals before crossing. But cars would just keep making right turns when I was ready to cross (and I had the walk signal). One time, I even had the walk signal, couldn't cross because of the idiot drivers with no manners, and had to wait for a full cycle of lights before I could cross. I was ready to throw rocks at the drivers who kept turning in front of me. And the drivers saw me, it's not like I was hiding out behind a bush or anything. I was in clear open view, even making eye contact with the turning drivers. So rude!!!
Anyway, I'm now 4 miles away from the 1k mark. I was going to finish it up yesterday. But I figured since this is a huge milestone for me, I might as well do it on the MNR tonight. It means alot to me that I made it this far, and it comes with a lot of help from the guys/gals from MNR for getting me out there to ride whenever possible. Thanks folks! See you after 1k miles!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Who likes meatloaf?

I can't believe I bought one of these! What is wrong with me??? So the story is that I saw it on tv during the summer, thought about getting one, and the price sounded great on tv. Buy one, get a second one free. Just pay separate shipping and handling fees. I have never bought anything off of the tv, so I was leary and did some research online.

Those shipping and handling fees through the tv offer? People were getting charged $75 a piece to have them shipped. As soon as you enter your credit card number online and hit next, it wouldn't even tell you the final price for verification but instead tell you that your card has been charged without the final approval. People were outraged! No phone number to contact, no email. Nothing.

I saw it while walking through Walmart tonight. Sold! The only shipping fee I paid was my buddy's gas to get out there! If any of you readers have heard bad news about this product, let me know and I'll just return it. Now who's ready for some meatloaf?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Snowbiking video is DONE

This video is the first of many to come. It was filmed on December 3rd at Tranquility Park after we got 6 inches of snow on the ground. Temps were perfect, about 28 degrees. The snow was powdery, but still easy to ride in (once we broke in the trail).

Video was all shot in 1080p hi def using a GoPro and a Canon Elph HS300. If the video looks of low quality, change the resolution setting on youtube to 720p or 1080p. Some still photos are inserted and one of the pics of me on my Mukluk was taken by Paul. There is sound, music, a little surprise at the very end of the clip. Day two and three will come eventually and should be of better quality. Skies were blue and I learned from my mistake of the bouncing GoPro on a gorillapod tripod on the back of the bike rack

It took me about four nights to get all of the video arranged, edited, and picked out to my liking. Then it took me two nights to figure out how to render it all using Sony Vegas. I kept getting an error at 30% through and it would say unable to render due to unknown reasons. It was really making me angry. After looking online, it sounds like a lot of people have the same problem. But it was usually due to memory issues. My Dell has 8gb RAM, 2gb video card, and about 700gb of free space on the hd so I doubted it was my computer. The fix? Render the video in sections, then do one final render of all the sections at the end. Turns out that the program was having problems with rendering mixed media such as still photos and video. Anyway, it is done. Kind of a nightmare, but it turned out pretty good IMO. This was my first time doing a video of this nature. Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

If the blog chops the edges of the video, here is the actual link to the youtube.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lack of updates???

Sorry about the lack of updates...been busy working on videos for the blog. And training for work until 11:30pm at night doesn't help either. Almost done making a video for day 1 of snowbiking, can't wait to start on days 2 and 3. Also need to figure out some music for the videos. I'm slowly figuring out the limitations of what does and doesn't work when it comes to the GoPro on a bike. The bumpiness of the trail really shows in the videos, even disrupts the quality of the video in certain spots. It doesn't help that I used my Gorillapod on the Mukrak on soft bouncy tires. It also doesn't help that I shot almost all of the videos upside down on accident and have to fix the orientation, which probably degrades the quality. Oh well, you live you learn!
What kind of music goes along with biking? Do I want vocals or instrumental? Maintstream music or something that few people have heard of. While yes, I should worry about copyright issues, I'll just pull the video or modify it if it ever comes down to it. Electronic music, rock, alternative, hip hop? Who knows.
Hope that everyone is having a great week!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Four snowshoers on a mission...

Our goal for tonight's venture out at Tranquility wasn't based on two wheels. Instead it would consist entirely of walking on snowshoes. Between the four of us, we think that we helped to pack in some of the trails at Tranquility. All done under moonlight and a starry filled sky.

It's been a good three days since I've been out to Tranquility. It appears that somebody went through most of the trail with a snowblower and made a foot wide path throughout the park. Whether this is a good thing or not, I'm not sure. It got rid of the fluff and created a path to bike on. But unfortunately the way the temps have been it is getting pretty hardpack. There really isn't much snow left under the path of where the snowblower went, so once the temps rise again, this will instantly become slush and end up showing some muddy spots. Then probably icey. Maybe I'm just biased because I have a snowbike and wish to float over the pow pow year round. Eh. Whatever. The winter is young and there will be plenty more snow to come. Maybe even tomorrow is what I hear?
The silhouettes of Greg, Paul, and Dave making their way towards Fort Street

Really hard to see, but if you click to enlarge the picture, there is a jagged line of geese flying through the sky. They are located centrally on the picture, about 2/3 of the way down. 

The tracks that we saw tonight? Of course deer and rabbits. But we also saw cross country skis, somebody else's fat bike tire tread, a minibike of some sort, ATV treads, lots of "skinny" bike treads, and now our snowshoes. Glad to see that the THOR trails are getting used year round by humans, machines, and animals!

Most of tonight's snowshoeing adventure was done by moonlight. The heavy snow on the pine trees made for awesome scenery even in the dark. I even limboed under a branch covered in snow! The pics taken tonight were done with my little Canon Elph HS. I'm not a huge fan of it's softer focused daylight pictures, but its CMOS sensor is truly awesome at picking up lowlight situations. None of the pictures tonight were shot using a flash. Just low light settings on the camera and all handheld. Some of the pics might have a little bit of post processing in them, but not much.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Bike art on wheels?

Aaron, this one is for you at 52 seconds. Dropping the hammers!!! Pretty cool, creating animation with cutouts of paper or some media on the bike wheel

The other pics

As stated previously, I had three cameras on me while biking. Yeah, I'm kinda crazy like that. GoPro, Canon Elph, and my Canon 40D with my new 50mm lens. I wasn't going to pass up the chance to get some great photos with the snow on the trees. Only problem was that the day was cloudy. The sun eventually came out, once we got home that was!

The Mukluk's first encounter with snow!

Last Sunday's snowbiking endeavor proved fruitful. It was fun, it was warm, the scenery was beautiful, and it was one heck of a workout! Decided to stay close to home, partly due to existing road conditions. It's pretty nice to have Tranquility trail less than three miles away! Temps remained in the upper 20s and this made for perfect snowbiking weather. The snow stayed on the trees and there was  fresh powder galore! It doesn't get any better than that!

Picture by Paul

Chris enjoying some fat. Soon...soon

Paul and I met up at Kelley field and later Chris would join us during our last few laps. It was pretty slow going, no time trial records would be broken that day! Our first lap was like biking through a long uphill battle. Our lungs and legs had yet to warm up and our bikes were just trying to push through the six inches of fluffy. We fell many times, but just laughed each time it would happen. Yes...we were having fun. Do a lap, rest. Do a lap, rest. We repeated this at least five or six times. Came out with just under 10 miles in 5 hours. Told you we weren't breaking any records!

For the most part, we stayed on the north side of Fort Street. Just kept making a short loop by the creek. It was plenty. After Chris joined us, we decided to do some exploring and found out that there were ATV tracks (from the night before) by the wetlands! If we would have known, we would have been riding that also!

Chris was tackling the ravines

How did the Salsa Mukluk perform? Amazing! I dropped the psi all the way down on the Larry and the Endomorph. You could basically grip the tire with your hand and give it a full squeeze. Pretty crazy. The bike just floated on the snow. Paul and Chris had aired down on their "skinnies" and I rode their bikes for a little bit while they hopped on the Muk. Totally different feeling! You just have to experience it to understand the feeling of riding a snowbike. It doesn't dig  for the trail. Instead it just floats and gets enough traction to keep you going.

Falling down:
This hump was very off camber. First three times over it I fell. Standing on it I fell. Was finally able to clear it.

The trip up

After the second or third laps, our lap speeds were improving. I wouldn't necessarily say that we were falling less. But getting around took less effort and the trails was getting to be more fun. The parts that kept tripping us up were the off camber stuff. And sometimes you would end up on the lip of the trail and it was just wipe you out.

Our first lap. Animal tracks ahead!
Picture within a picture. Also notice the large number of tracks that we made.
Another picture within a picture

The coolest thing of the ride was during our first lap, I had noticed that the bunnies and possibly the deer had made tracks before us. What surprised me was that the animals chose the exact same path on the trails as us! Even over the log crossings! It was as if the animals have been watching all of the riders and chose to mimick their every move on the trail. Yes, it was that intense!

I shot lots of video, using 2 of the 3 cameras that I had with me. I'm going to try to put together all of the videos into one big inaugural snow biking video. So pictures for now, video will come later. Some of it is choppy, the GoPro on the gorillapod on the Muk rak wasn't the best idea. At the time, it was fast and easy to setup. Especially with it being cold and Paul waiting for me.

Even the bunnies enjoy the log crossing

The tracks...

We'll be making more tracks next weekend at Tranquility. Get a hold of us if you wish to ride!

Strato's take on snowbiking