Friday, November 28, 2014

Recent adventures, photos + gear talk

It's been some time since I've posted.  Being tangled up in life, work, and outings squeezed in where possible makes it easy to skip this rarely read blog, but I always enjoy throwing down a few words and recording our adventures if only to relive them myself.  We've been rock climbing again in the desert areas now that the temperatures have finally cooled.  We've got the tandem trike tricked out and ready to tour.  It's too bad work gets in the way of all the awesome things we've got planned.  Above and below are a few photos from recent outings to the Alabama Hills, a little piece of heaven for this rock scrambling couple.

We've been climbing pretty well this season, something we attribute to finally being consistent about training.  For those who understand climbing ratings, I was able to on-sight a short 5.10d, which is quite hard for us, although merely a warmup for truly hard climbers.  After 37 years in this climbing game, it feels good to be doing routes as hard as I could manage in my 20's.  Here's to good nutrition, good beer, and good training!

Below are some shots of the new Greenspeed tandem trike (GTT) in action on a recent hard training ride.  We're gearing up for a ride that will take us through most of the Mojave desert, north to south, Lone Pine, CA, through Death Valley, the Mojave National Preserve, and Joshua Tree National Park.  It's a tour we did years ago, and I've always considered it one of the great tours of North America and one of the best I've ever done.  To be enjoyed, it must be done late fall through very early spring.  The summers are dangerously hot.  A small number of lunatics do ride through the area in the summer, but that's too much suffering for this duo who, admittedly, enjoy a little suffering.

Of note to the gear heads will be the Smoky Mountain recumbent bags on both the front and rear seats.  These are well made and reasonably priced bags that add about 1,000 cu. in. of storage for each rider.  In the front I'll be storing, in addition to some personal kit, tools, tubes, spare parts, etc. for the tour.  Plenty of room for that and misc. personal stuff, windbreaker, etc.  On the rear of the GTT is a set of Easy Rider Lloonngg panniers.  These are totally waterproof with a roll top seal and liners.  These are not designed for use on trikes but rather for hanging underneath seats on two-wheeled recumbents.  Years ago, just to see how it would go, I threw a set of these on a previous GTT incarnation.  They seemed to fit okay, so this time, after looking at other options, I decided to order another set and see if we could really make them work.  It was something of a gamble, given we'd never loaded them up and taken a ride, but all the alternative panniers were A LOT heavier and at least $100 more expensive, so it seemed worth a try.  Ortlieb recumbent panniers run 3.5 lbs heavier; Arkel recumbent bags run 4.5 lbs. and $135 more.  Both of these options also have smaller capacities than the ERRC Lloonngg's.  We loaded them up and hit the road--success!  I did have to piece together a brace to make sure the bags are held clear of the derailleur because we did have some interference that affected shifting.  The brace you see keeps everything free and easy. I have a whole box of brackets and mounts from lights and reflectors I've had over the years.  It's handy to hold on to those nick-knacks.

Bracket to keep cable and derailleur clear:

 At the top of a 1,400 ft. climb fully loaded:

So I'm battling what is for now a mild infection, probably ebola, but I should be back in action soon.  No blood from the eyes or nipples yet.  I've got dishes to do, papers to grade, an adventure to plan, and a perfect autumn sun streaming through the windows. Life is good, eh?

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all.