Posts tagged ‘p2p’

A very cold adventure

Welcome to Wisconsin - when we made a gas / food stop at the Wisconsin dells at 5 in the morning, the temp had fallen to 12 degF. Eventually it would bottom out at -2 degF.Welcome to Wisconsin – when we made a gas / food stop at the Wisconsin dells at 5 in the morning, the temp had fallen to 12 degF. Eventually it would bottom out at -2 degF.

We are in cold, snowy Wisconsin after twenty hours of driving. The temperature fell from 50s degF in Alabama when we left to -2 degF by the time we arrived in Shell Lake. But the coldest I felt all day was at the end of my six hour ride to Cullman where Kristine was picking me up on our way to Wisconsin. It had started to rain hard at the bottom of Skyball Mountain and never let up in the final 26 miles of the nearly 100 mile route I took from my house to downtown Cullman. When Kristine met me, I was shivering uncontrollably and huddled behind a pillar to block the wind, which had fortunately been mostly a tailwind while I was still riding but immediately sent my core body temp plummeting as soon as I stopped riding.

My day started out early leaving my house shortly after 7AM to put in my Strava Shoot-out KOM effort on Vestavia Dr. After a long week of riding and only one day of rest, I didn’t know how it would go, but I ended up setting a new power record in the process of setting the KOM. I held just under 360 watts for the 11.5 minute climb (see graph below).

Critical power curve new power record on Vestavia Dr

The ride highlight for me, though, was discovering a super steep climb (possibly the steepest in Alabama) back in the Emerald Lakes neighborhood. It’s one of the only times I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it up a climb due to the severity of the gradient. Unfortunately, the GPS data from my Garmin was erased in the monsoon thunderstorm that hit at the bottom of Skyball mountain. The first video below documents one of the steep sections of the Emerald lake backside climb. The second video documents the status of my Garmin after it had unexpectedly powered down. I was able to power it back up, but the GPS data was gone for a majority of the ride.

Despite the GPS fail and the hypothermia at the end, it was still a great ride, and I’m super motivated to repeat the first part of the ride out to Skyball and back as soon as we make it back to Alabama so I can get the data on the Emerald Lakes backside climb. The kids were already skiing around the house this afternoon after we got a little bit of sleep, and they have a 1K kids ski race tomorrow in Spooner. Should be fun!

December 26, 2012 at 10:23 pm 2 comments

Sweet Home Alabama

Slushy road and huge snow drifts - can you tell which way the wind is blowing from?

It was an awesome trip to the midwest to visit Kristine’s family and enjoy a brief winter vacation, but now it’s back home to sweet home Alabama. Our long road back home started with a 9 hour drive from Shell Lake, WI to La Porte, IN. We went right by Madison, WI where cyclocross nationals is currently being held. It felt weird to be simply driving by such a major cycling event without stopping, but we had to get the kids back for school. There was no snow at all in Madison or anywhere in southern Wisconsin even though we had just left an 8 inch snowstorm in northern Wisconsin. There was also no snow in Illinois, but shortly after crossing the border into Indiana we ran into a pretty big lake effect snowstorm.

We finished the drive pretty slowly on snow covered roads, but made it safely to Kristine’s grandmother’s house in La Porte. It was 11PM and the kids had been sleeping for a while so Kristine went in with Analise first while I took a few pictures of the snow with Josiah still asleep in the car. It was very cold so I only took pictures for a minute and by then Josiah had woken up. So I helped him get his coat and boots on and told him to run to the front door while I got the suitcase we needed. A few seconds later I entered the house and Kristine asked where Josiah was? I thought she was joking at first and then thought he must have gone straight into the bedroom or bathroom. We looked briefly in the house and after not finding him ran back outside calling out for him. I ended up following his footprints in the snow to find him standing in front of the door of the house two doors down from Grandma Vivian’s. It gave us all a big scare for a minute because it was really cold and the wind was blowing 20+mph steady with higher gusts. I guess Josiah was still half asleep!

The next morning we had a 12 hour drive in front of us. I started about 2 hours early on my bike heading south hoping to make it 60 or 70 miles with a nice tailwind, but during the night the wind had changed direction so that is was a nasty side/headwind. I averaged 15mph on very flat roads to give you an idea of the nastiness of the wind. When I left La Porte, I had to negotiate about 1/2 mile of unplowed roads before making it to the state highway which was still slushy and wet, but at least had two clear tracks between the snow. I knew that this wouldn’t last long so I rode my road bike fishtailing through the snow for that first half-mile. Then it was just really wet with an air temp of 15 degF and a constant 15+mph sidewind. This was by far the coldest ride I did during our trip. Also, because of the slow speed I was traveling I didn’t get a chance to make it through the flatlands to the nice hills around the Wabash river basin. Instead, I took Kristine on a drive through those same roads that I would have been riding. There was some really fun hills and drop-offs in the car. The kids loved it!

Here are a couple Garmin screenshots that illustrate how flat the ride was that I did.

Side by side comparison of a flat ride through the farmlands south of La Porte and a small portion of my commute into work yesterday back here in Birmingham. Note the 15.5 degF temp on the left, 7.85 miles into the ride with only 81' of climbing. On the right, I already had 699' of climbing only 3.9 miles into the ride, which was almost the total amount of climbing in my 43 mile ride in Indiana (710').

January 5, 2012 at 10:28 am Leave a comment

83 miles of epic snow biking

Beautiful winter scene - Imagine 9 miles of riding on a snowy road through pristine winter wilderness. That was the first 9 miles of my ride!

Another amazing day of riding up here. This time I braved the snow-covered roads leaving the Telemark resort having gained confidence riding in the snow yesterday for a mile or so. It was well worth it to be in such a remote location on winding, hilly, beautiful roads and trails that pretty much paralleled the Birkie trail all the way to Hayward. If I had done the Seely fire tower climb, then I might have even crossed part of the trail. But, unfortunately, I had to turn around shortly into my ride because I had forgotten to upload the course to my Garmin. So, I turned around and headed back to meet Kristine just as she and the kids were driving out to head back to Shell Lake. Right there on the side of the Telemark entrance road, I connected my Garmin to the laptop and transferred the file. Then I set off again on what was an 83 mile, 5+ hour, mountain bike adventure.

I spent most of the morning with a good internet connection while the kids went skiing again with Kristine and Poppa Dale. I plotted out a course that would take me from Telemark back to the Cardwell house in Shell Lake over an hour away by car. The course took me onto 9 miles of untreated snow covered roads and trails behind Telemark that were just amazing and fun to ride. Spider Lake Fire Lane started out well packed from cars driving out to cabins along the road. But eventually, once I made it past the last cabin, the snow got really deep and loose since not very many cars had driven over it. Still, it was possible to go slow on the downhills with minimal fishtailing and then crush the uphills. I would imagine that my speed on some of the uphills was faster than the downhills. It’s amazing what the extra traction of a spinning tire will do. Theoretically, I suppose you could hammer the downhills and achieve the same effect but the consequences of a fall at 30+mph make me choose the more saner option of riding the rear brake gently down the hill at a comfortable 10-15mph.

For those of you who have ridden through sand, but never ridden through snow, think of packed snow the same way you would think of packed/wet sand. Loose snow, however, is just like riding through loose sand with the same fishtailing effects. The only difference is that you are expecting the fishtailing in the sand, but not on the snow when it has been hard packed and suddenly transitions to loose or when you lose the car track you were following. Also, turning on the snow is tricky. On one downhill, I was running out of room for the turn and ended up all the way on the side of the road – but it was pretty heavily banked and I ended up sliding through the turn with my wheel still pointed off to the side. This got to me to a straighter section where I could straighten out the wheel.

I only had one bike problem on the ride, when I couldn’t shift back into the big chainring. I spent a few minutes about an hour into my ride trying to figure out what was wrong and eventually just cranked the inside limiting screw until it would shift back up and that worked for the rest of the ride although I had quite a bit of chain rub on the front derailleur so that was a little annoying to have to put up with for four hours.

Here’s the ride map and interactive data from Strava -
http://app.strava.com/rides/2982931

And here is the super hi-res topocreator map -

Telemark to Shell Lake via Meteor Hill - click on the map for a super hi-res version (13MB)

Finally, enjoy the pics and Garmin screenshots that I took on the ride –

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

December 30, 2011 at 11:26 pm Leave a comment

Kicking off a winter adventure with an epic

I left Birmingham, Alabama yesterday at 6:30AM and a little over 32 hours later we arrived at the Telemark ski resort in Cable, WI. To get here from Alabama involved an epic 123 mile bike ride and over 1000 miles of driving. Kristine started about 6 hours behind me in the car and caught up to me just south of Faulkville, AL north of Cullman. I started out doing a normal climbing route through Rocky Ridge, Vestavia Hills, Homewood, and Birmingham before merging in Gate City with the route that I had tried out last week on my way up to Smoke Rise.

This time I wanted to try out more climbs on the same ridge as Smoke Rise and Skyball so I diverted my route near Kimberly to head up through Trafford towards AL-160 and all the climbs that start on 160 and climb up the ridge. I had intended to do 4 different climbs and 4 different descents off the ridge, but on the way over on ??? rd which turned into ??? rd I was chased by numerous dogs. I decided since I was also running a bit behind to skip one of the climbs and only ended up doing Graves Gap, Co Rd 45, and Skyball.

I’ll let the pictures (and captions) tell the rest of the story. Clicking on a picture will take you to flickr where you can flip through all the pictures.

Abandoned road near Airport HighlandsSunrise over dolly ridgeSteepMountain goatsRed mountain ridge and trussville mountainsHomewood, Red Mountain, and the Vulcan
Samford UniversityDowntown Birmingham, St Vincents Hospital and Sloss FurnaceLooking towards the airport and along the Red Mountain ridgeGate City / East Lake hillSteep narrow road up Gate City hillSouthern museum of flight
Historic blackbird bomberProp plane and torpedoesCrane helicopterAirplane landing at the airportAirport rd, Red MountainIndian Valley Rollers
Large rockMore rollersTrain tracks near TraffordGrafitti on the bridge over the tracksRoad leading to wooden bridgeWooden bridge

Trip to Wisconsin 2012, a set on Flickr.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=109615

December 29, 2011 at 9:33 am Leave a comment

Sunday Adventure

Summary
Wow, what a great adventure yesterday was! We had tickets for the Andrew Peterson Christmas concert “Behold the Lamb” last night at the Ryman Center in Nashville and went on a fun double date with my cousins in Nashville. I left right after my daughter sang in a trio at Lakeside in the morning church service and rode north to Smoke Rise, AL where Kristine picked me up to drive the rest of the way to Nashville in time for the concert. The drive was highlighted by a u-turn on I-65 which had been blocked from an accident and then AWESOME rally car driving with Kristine as the navigator calling out distances to turns on very narrow country roads following my GPS set on bicycle directions. After a great dinner at Demos with Richard and Christy, an AMAZING concert, and a three hour drive back to Birmingham we were home by 2AM.

The Details
Analise was singing in a trio at the 10:30 church service at Lakeside so my original plans to ride from Birmingham to Huntsville and have Kristine pick me up got shortened to riding from Birmingham to Smoke Rise – a rural community south of Cullman atop the same ridge line as the finishing climb for the Tour de Cullman. I went ahead and rode to Lakeside so that I could leave straight from there after Analise finished singing and still make it to Smoke Rise in time for Kristine to pick me up to drive the rest of the way to Nashville.

The route was amazing. Check out the annotated topocreator maps of the route below the picture gallery. Low traffic, lots of great climbing, nearly half the route on roads I have never ridden before, and some fun adventure to boot! Adventure highlights from the bike ride include:

  • Exploring a neighborhood abandoned years ago after the streets were built but before any houses were built
  • Getting stung by a wasp or yellow jacket on my head just above my ear
  • Exploring new roads
  • The cool boat landing climb up from the Warrior river
  • And finally the Smoke Rise climb and descent

Probably the most adventuresome thing that happened on our drive up to Nashville was an accident that blocked the interstate causing us to do some rally car driving through the rural Tennessee countryside between exit 22 and exit 27. What I mean by rally car driving is that I set my GPS to biking directions and asked it to give us directions to the next exit, which it did by taking us on these really small, sometimes gravel roads. There were lots of sudden turns so I put the GPS on the screen which shows distances to the next turn, and Kristine counted down the distance to the next turn, which means we could drive fast without worrying about missing a turn. It was absolutely awesome because the terrain was really steep and there were a bunch of turns. I was careful though to slow down at any blind spots in case there were any cyclists, horses, people, or cars just around the corner. We saw nobody!

There’s a lot more I could say about the ride, but I’ll just leave this post with a lot of pictures. Most of these were taken while riding, which is not easy with an iphone.

topocreator map of the route

topocreator map of the route

December 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm 2 comments


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Josiah at the top after I shuttled his bike up the hill. Also, playing with the shutter speed settings at the bottom. Getting even closer to the waterfall Getting closer to the waterfall, tricky along the cave cliff.

Kristine’s ToonesFanClub

  • @CoachTimHall @briantoone Well, it wasn't NBD :) hardest thing I've ever seen him finish. Last 70 were harder than all other 430. 1 week ago
  • Last - thanks so much for all the encouragement. It meant a ton to know y'all were cheering us on virtually!! #sogladyobedone #HOTS500 1 week ago
  • Here's his comment from Facebook about the last 70 miles. For the record, I was struggling to stay awake behind him. http://t.co/AmwVzBnYeV 1 week ago
  • Sorry to leave y'all hanging! @briantoone -rather, WE - finished the brutal effort this am at 3:48, so 31hrs and 48min in 1st place. 1 week ago
  • We've been finishing these last miles from Talladega forever, like 3.5hrs. Currently zig-zagging up a hill on Sicard Hollow. #almosthome 1 week ago

Brian Toone

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Quick reference stats

Anaerobic Threshold:
Power:315 watts
Heart rate:180 bpm
Maximums:
Power:1097 watts (5s)
Heart rate:198 bpm (5s)
AT power estimated by critical power curve in Golden Cheetah, which predicts I should be able to maintain 315 watts for 1 hour.

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