Saturday, October 4, 2014

Pali Returns

I hear the Palisades Trail at the northern end of California’s famed Napa Valley is a magnificent spectacle. What is lacks in height and dimension it makes up for in mystery and uniqueness and it's incredibly rugged. My Marin - Palisades Trail is a bike which has it's own mystery, uniqueness and ruggedness. I don't know the original owner because I purchased Pali from a pawnshop in downtown Omaha several years ago. I bought it as a backup to my 2005 steel Marin - Bear Valley. At the time I was getting ready to convert to disc brakes and a new wheel set and didn't want to be without a bike while I was gathering up parts for the upgrade. I used Pali to get to work for a while.
At one point Pali was the only bike I had working on a trip out to Colorado.
I rode Devil's Backbone and Pali did great!
Later that year I was doing trail work with Doug. He wanted to ride a section of trail we were working on. He was surprised that this bike, which was already six years old at the time, was so nice to ride. I always thought so too. I had plans to update the bike with a red paint job and put on the set of decals Marin was kind enough to send me. Those plans were put on the back burner but I still loaned Pali out to friends that wanted to ride single track but did not have their own bike yet. One morning, a little over a year ago, I found the garage door open. Pali was gone. Funny that my more valuable Surly bikes were still there. But they saw the shininess of Pali and made off with it. At the time Pali had no paint just shiny aluminum. I filed a police report with the serial number I had on record. Then I spread the word an hoped for the bike to show up. More than a year went by when I got a letter from the Omaha police. It informed me that a pawn shop in downtown Omaha had Pali. Yup, the same shop I bought it from. I was going to have to pay $75 to get it back. I looked it over. It was rough and had obviously been left outside but it was basically the same as when it was taken from me.
I decided to resurrect Pali with my previous plans of red and a state of newness. After cleaning up the frame I took it to Trail Performance Coatings. I dropped it off and said "make it red", simple as that. The frame came back to me perfectly beautiful red. I got some new parts for it from Bike Masters and put it together.
Well here it is, like new. Great to have it back!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Oak Creek Trail Ride

Just when you thought I completely abandoned this blog I make a post!
My phone app tells me that my girl Linda and I have been on 947 miles of rides together since Jan. 26th of this year. These miles encompass all kinds of good rides: cold gravel rides, fast road rides, spring race rides, hot Monday Night dirt rides and many many miles of Rail-Trail rides. Our most recent bike adventure was the Oak Creek Trail ride from Valparaiso, NE. to Brainard, Nebraska.
The Oak Creek Trail occupies a former Union Pacific Railroad corridor in the eastern part of Nebraska. It is the most rural and peaceful trail we have found. While the trail is only about 1 hour from both Omaha and Lincoln, it connects two towns with populations of less than 600 with little development in between. The Oak Creek Trail has great views. Linda and I began our journey at the trail's southeast point in Valparaiso. From here the trail has an oak tree corridor. It has some high bridges crossing creeks that were recently very full. Just north of the trail's midpoint, trail users enter the tiny community of Loma. Restrooms are located just off the trail near St. Luke's Czech Catholic Shrine—established by Czech immigrants in 1911—in the center of town. This town had several abandoned houses and businesses that appear to have been untouched for years.
As we rode northwest, the trail follows the top of a picturesque ridge. Here we found some of the nicest wild plums we have encountered so far this year.
For the next several miles, natural prairie stretches as far as the eye can see. At Brainard we found the original train tracks were still laid adjacent to the trail. After a little searching I was able to find a loose railroad tie as a souvenir of our ride.
We rode the same trail back but faster since we did not need to sightsee as much. Also the trail is more downhill in the southeast direction. Linda screamed loudly as she ran over a large bull snake. But then we she found a small turtle that she was not afraid of.
This was an unexpectedly great ride and one of many fantastic memories Linda and I have made together. We are looking forward to some great fall night rides coming up soon.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Manawa MNR

I'm averaging about a post a month here lately. I'll try to keep things going with a Monday Night Ride post. Last Saturday a group of about 10 THOR volunteers gathered at the Manawa Trails to cut brush and do maintenance on about 6 miles of existing trail. Once the work was done we were too tired to ride so we decided the MNR should take place at Manawa this week.
The rain we got in the morning only settled the dust and the trail was in great shape for this ride. We rode two laps. On the second lap we were noticing more moisture in the air. By the time we were finished a bit of fog rolled in along the river and it felt like we were riding in a cloud.
Back in the parking lot, Dave P surprised us by cutting his second lap short and firing up his grill which was really nice. We did some good carpooling and Chris P rode over from his job by the westroads and got a ride back to the hood. Good times!
Dale's Ogre
...and the creepy van by the river.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Demolisher

Mike at Ciaccio Roofing is skilled and knowledgable about roofing. But what you might not know is that he started his training at demolition at a young age. Here is proof of those skills taking down my old nasty storage shed.
Thanks Mike! I always disliked that shed. Now what to do with this big patch of dirt.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A full rack and some sides

It's the second day of "Bike To Work Week". The cycling commuters here at work are off to a good start. The rack is full and the late arrivals just locked up their bikes to the railing of the parking garage stairwell. If you are interested in joining in on the bike to work challenge just visit the web site http://www.endomondo.com/campaign/nbc2013. Use endomondo to track your rides, earn points and maybe win prizes. My ride in this morning was peaceful. Looks like I will get a nice tailwind heading north to go home this evening. Ride on!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Creek Ride with my Dad

My Dad is no stranger to a bike. I'm pretty sure riding single track dirt trails was not any kind of cycling my Dad has done in the past. His most recent riding has been the crushed limestone of the Mopac Trail in Lincoln. You couldn't tell he was new to mountain biking by his riding skills. He did great. We rode the creek sections at Tranquility. While there was not much climbing or fast descents those trails can be twisty and tricky. At first he followed but I think it was better for him to lead the way and see more of the trail ahead. We met up with Greg and he joined us for part of the ride. Solid quote of the day from my Dad sending these photos, "Here's proof that you do run into good friends while bike riding on dirt trails." Agreed... My Dad seemed to be enjoying the stability of the 29+ Surly Krampus. So the timing of it's arrival this week could not have been better. We stopped a few times to talk and meet up with some of the other regulars out on the trail. My Dad was seeing parts of the papio creek that he has not seen in several decades. Back then his viewing was from a national guard helicopter while surveying flood damage on the papio creek. There have been many rides around Tranquility over the years. Some have been better than others. Today's was by far the best. Thanks for wanting to ride some trails Dad!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Panama Enduro - The Northern Route

It turned out to be a nice day for a bike race in Panama. Right from the start the race registration it was well organized and everything was on time and good. Thanks to Jim Craig and all the volunteers for putting on a great event. By the 1:30 start time there was a stiff SE wind but the sun and temps around 40 made it comfortable enough. I felt like I wore the right gear for the day and I did stay comforatble. Once again, I was probably the only one in shorts but my zombie legs are fine until below 30 degrees. In the pre-race meeting we learned that the course was marked with yellow caution tape on the stop signs where we made our turns. We also learned that if you get off course you will be out "enjoying the ride" because this is a self supported gravel road race. The course was a big square with left turns. It was a rolling start and for the first couple miles of gravel my stomach was feeling upset. I was riding with Dave N. for a couple miles. And I felt like I needed to take a slower pace. Then Dale appeared next to me. At this point Dale and I were off the pace of most of the pack. Dale just had too low a gear on his fixed single speed bike. So we rode together for the first two thirds of the distance. At about the eighth mile I started feeling much better. When I made the turn to have the wind at my back I started feeling like Dale and I might be catching back up with some of the riders ahead. I could see someone, maybe it was Brian H's red coat, getting closer over each hill. Being somewhat hilly I could see them about a half mile ahead. Then I would not see them as I was climbing. So I was in my zone going with the wind and put all my effort into catching back up. The concept of time and distance completely left me. After a while I was trying to figure out if I was slowing down again because I kept looking for that stop sign with the yellow tape and it was not showing up. My intuition was bad because I thought Dale was just maybe a football fields length back. But I was also enjoying the ride and the countryside views. I just kept cranking the pedals out of the saddle with the wind at my back on crest of every hill. Then I started getting a strange feeling. I started noticing the roads I was crossing had names I did not notice when we were going south into the wind. Then I stopped. I stood there in the middle of the gravel thinking Dale would be coming over the hill any second. Roca? That last road I crossed was ROCA! I thought to myself, "I must have gone a mile too far". So I turned around. Into the wind. AGAIN. But soon I realized I was not a mile north of the last turn. I was actually just south of Bennet, NE. five miles north of the turn into Panama that I was supposed to take. So my 15 mile race was now a 25+ mile ride in the country. My phone rang, It was Dave N. and you can imagine what the words were starting with "Where are you?". Once I called him back and found out what color the Panana water tower was I was rolling again. There were two towers not far from me. The blue one would have been the wrong choice so thanks for guiding me in Dave.
View Panama Enduro in a larger map So I was rolling back into Panama into the wind. It was nice to be back from the the north. Not that I'm really trying to fine tune my racing skills, but there is always something to learn. I did not eat good that morning and it messed up my stomach. And it turns out I was that guy who was talked about in the drivers meeting that would be out "enjoying the ride". And even though I really wanted to cross the finish line going north instead of coming from there, it was fun. Congratulations to Nick and Alroy for their first and third place finishes. They have been doing some great training and this was the first time racing for both of them.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Elkhorn River Ride

Riding gravel roads can be great in the winter but sometimes the views can be boring. I've been looking for a road on google maps that follows the Elkhorn River and found some gravel between Arlington and Fontanelle, Nebraska that looked like it might be interesting.
Friday night Dale and I were building bikes at the shop. We decided little adventure would fit into our lives. It was time to ride someplace we have never ridden before. So today, at a little past high noon, we rode out of Arlington, Ne. on a northwest path. It started with paved rollers for the first 3 miles. As we got closer to the river we found ourselves on gravel on a ridge that overlooked the river. This was just the kind of riding adventure we were looking for. Even for February winter grayness the views were fantastic.
We stopped to take a photo and this friendly black lab made an appearance. Not long after the dog was getting aqquainted a passerby motorist from the area told us that his name was Bob. So we called him "Friendly Bob" because the dogs we typically meet out riding gravel are not very nice.
Once we got to Fontanelle we found a historic building that was worth investigating. The Fontanelle Township Hall is also pictured here. This was our halfway point for the day. We turned our bikes around into the wind and headed south.
After an 8 mile ride back in Arlington we stopped to refuel at "Our Place". Turns out it's a good place to start/finish the ride. We were happy with the adventure and decided it would be worth doing again.
View Elkhorn River Gravel Ride in a larger map

Who is Stratomatic?

My photo
Stratomatica - is my blog place where I document things happening around me or that interest me. The name Strata, geologically speaking, are layers of sedimentary rock or soil with internally consistent characteristics that distinguish it from other layers. Too deep? Well, I like guitars. Mostly I like the sound and feel of Stratocasters.