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Messages - MikeVK

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Thank you Dave!  It is worth noting as you talk to people in Crystal Lake, that there are several homeowners in the neighborhood who enjoy riding and hiking the trail.  I'm a long time HMBA member and moved to Crystal Lake in part because of it's proximity to the trail.  I've seen several of my neighbor's over the years since riding and/or hiking the trail as well.

Tech Bench / Re: Cold weather riding
« on: November 19, 2014, 08:30:41 AM »
I have not tried the vodka solution, but plan to this year.  My other, rather obvious tip, is to fill your water bottle with hot water (I just run it as hot as the tap will produce) so it takes a little longer to freeze.

There are a huge variety of balaclavas and neoprene face masks.  I'm a fan of Buffs (http://www.rei.com/product/691367/buff-original-buff) and will ride with a balaclava or 2 buffs (one for my head/ears, one for my nose/chin/neck) on really cold days.

I have not tried goggles, but I usually don't have too much trouble with my eyes watering (riding slow helps that!).  Of course, I don't wear sun glasses in the summer either as I seem to sweat too much from my eyebrows to keep them clear enough to see.  Oddly, this can be a problem for me in mid-winter also.

Town Run / Re: Looking for some riding friends
« on: October 27, 2014, 03:03:35 PM »
I'll be out after work.  If I'm lucking I'll be on the bike by 5:30 which would have me rolling by the parking lot around 5:45

Town Run / Re: Skills area gone
« on: October 27, 2014, 02:53:17 PM »
I'll throw out a plug for Range Line to those who are interested in a skills area.  There is a very cool skills area with skinnys, teeters, and drops built by the parking lot.  It also has a very challenging technical trail to put those skills into practice on.

I recommend as a place for those who want to work on their skills to try now, and a place for those who want to work toward building a skills area at TR to look at for an idea of what might work.

I suspect getting Indy Parks approval and someone to lead the effort will be the biggest challenge.  I'd be happy to lend a hand helping to build things, but it probably falls too far outside my skill level for me to try to take a leadership role in it.

Brown County State Park / Re: North tower loop mileage
« on: October 24, 2014, 10:03:39 AM »
GPS will almost always under-report mileage on trail.  The combination of tree cover and tight turns tends to fool it.

The best solution I've found for accurate readings is truing my bike computer to a gps on straight roads with no tree cover and then riding a trail.

Town Run / Re: Looking for some riding friends
« on: October 03, 2014, 01:38:55 PM »
I am an intermediate rider and would like find some people to ride with.  I can do almost all features at Town Run but am looking to meet new riders and have some fun.  Eventually I would like to do more trips to Brown County on weekend mornings and such with a group, rather than riding by myself all of the time!  Live in the Broad Ripple Area....just looking for some fun friends!

I'll be riding Town Run most evenings after work (5:30 - 6) while sunlight permits over the next few weeks.  I always enjoy company on a ride. 

I'd like to find a group to go to BC and/or Versailles, but I can only do longer rides on weekends.

Town Run / Re: Looking for some riding friends
« on: September 29, 2014, 11:32:09 AM »
I'll be riding tonight and/or tomorrow after work.  And would be happy for company on a ride.

Tech Bench / Re: Goin' wide (bars)
« on: September 19, 2014, 01:25:24 PM »
I went to wider bars and a shorter stem a couple years ago (after taking a betterride course with Gene Hamilton who while opinionated, is also very knowledgeable).  I've been very happy with the increased handled and control I feel with the setup.  However, I would acknowledge there is a trade-off on the heavily wooded trails we ride around here.  There are a few spots that I slow down a little more than I would otherwise to make sure the wider bars fit between trees.  I think think it is worth it for me (I am 6'2 with rather long arms for my height) because it does seem to improve my handling and control of the bike.

I will say, after riding a friends bike last fall with a longer stem and narrower bars, that I found the stem length made a more dramatic difference to me than the bar width did.

Brown County State Park / Re: Advice for a first-timer to BC
« on: June 20, 2014, 10:05:53 AM »
I would say that (as you can tell from the responses above) there is enough variation in rider preference that you will encounter about the same amount of traffic no matter which route you take. 

Aynes loop contains a very long climb in either direction, so if you're looking to save your legs for Hesitation Point you will want to avoid it.  Otter describes the shortest way through.  Dave Kuehnen's route backtracks a little in order to ride every bit of trail which might be more of a challenge than you are looking for on your first BC trip (but I'm going make a note of to attempt). 

I like going right (counter-clockwise) where North Gate meets North Tower.  I go right again on Green Valley, then right again on Aynes (a very short distance) to the Hesitation Point trail which is another right.  That gets the very fun Green Valley ride and makes the trip to HP in almost exactly 10 miles.

Anyone would benefit form good training, regardless of skill level.  That's why the pro's all have coaches.  It does become a question of time and money.  Especially, for those of us who are riding for fitness and recreation rather than racing.

I do think I have become a much safer rider (one of the nicest benefits) since attending the camp.  Prior to that, I was off balance a lot riding and any little root or mistake would cause a crash.  Now the first mistake, rock or root may take me off balance but I won't crash unless I make a second mistake while recovering.

I did a BetterRide Clinic a couple years ago and loved it.  You will definitely have a blast and learn a lot!

Newbies Corner / Re: newbie, any advice on a good bike?
« on: April 23, 2014, 08:38:11 AM »

There are lots of great options for bike.  A lot of it comes down to personal preference and budget.  I rode 29er hard tails for years and finally switched to full suspension a couple years ago.   If you are going to be doing a lot of jumping, you'll appreciate the full suspension and it adds comfort and stability.  I think my carbon hard tail was a faster bike, however.

My best advice is to visit a few of the local bike shops (Nebo Ridge, BGI, Mathew's, Indy Cycle), ask questions and get them to let you try out a couple bikes.  You can ride a few in the parking lot, and most of the shops will let you take one to a trail for a day so you can get a feel.

As the weather gets better some of the manufacturers do demo days (I've seen Giant, Specialized, and Trek out).  Those are great opportunities to see how different types feel.  Unfortunately, they aren't always advertised very well in advance.

This article has some good advice on bike setup.  Which won't necessarily help you pick a bike, but will give you some things to look for in size and setup while deciding:  http://betterride.net/blog/2014/mountain-bike-cockpit-setup-better-handling-bike-industry-slowly-catching-lucky/

Brown County State Park / Re: Mountain Bikers that OWN Road Bikes also
« on: March 07, 2014, 08:49:18 AM »
I'm working on N+1 bikes having just added a Single Speed to go with my Niner and an aging LeMond road bike.  I mix in road rides as well as running for variety and to stay in shape.  Of the 3, Mountain Biking is by far the most fun, but there are certainly plenty of fun challenges and events for runners and roadies.

James Wilson (a good resource for training specifically targeted to Mountain Biking) has a blog post on this exact subject:  https://www.bikejames.com/strength/how-to-use-road-riding-as-a-mountain-biker/

Town Run / Re: Town Run Closed 2 21 14: Flooding
« on: February 27, 2014, 08:20:08 AM »
You mean we could have a Wallyword!!!??? 

I tried to run the south loop after work yesterday and found that despite the 17 degree temps much of it was muddy and unfrozen so I had to bail.  It was weird out there as parts of the trail were still snow packed, parts had shear ice, and parts were soft and muddy. 

There was a lot of flotsam on the back side of the levee just past the hairpin and a handful of mostly small downed branches scattered over the rest of what I saw.

Tech Bench / Re: Helmet for cold weather?
« on: October 30, 2013, 04:03:27 PM »
They make neoprene (and other material) shoe covers for biking also.  Prices start around $10 and go up to more than you paid for your shoes, but even a cheap pair will really cut down on the wind flow so a combination of warm socks and the effort of riding will keep your feet warm.

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