Monthly Archives: November 2011

Post Holiday Weekend

By now you’ve probably emerged from your Thanksgiving food coma – whew! Time to give thanks for the extra days off and head out to spend some quality time outside. Today seems to be the best day for a rain free option, but if you get out early on Saturday and Sunday, you’ll probably be just fine. Join us for our Sunday trail ride. We’ll depart from the parking lot of the Daniel Wright Woods at 8AM for a 3 hour ride, which should average 16.5mph (trail speed).
Jingle Cross. Iowa’s holiday cross series is just hours away from the kickoff. There’s plenty of action the entire weekend, for race details click here.
Chi-cross cup Series Finale. The final race in Chicago’s cross series is next Sunday with the State Championships being held at Montrose and the lakefront. What will the weather be this year? There’ve been a lot of cold and snowy Montrose courses, will this year be any different? For race info click here.
Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend!

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Ready for Thanksgiving?

November 18, 2011

Ready for Thanksgiving? It’s always a great time of year to get together, enjoy some great food and relax! Of course, some of us believe that relaxing involves getting out and enjoying the great outdoors. Join us this Sunday for an endurance ride on the trails. The ride will depart from the Daniel Wright Woods at 8AM and should average 16.5mph (trail speed) for 3 hours. And, start your Turkey day off right and join us for our Thanksgiving day ride. The 2 hour ride will depart from the Daniel Wright woods at 8AM. We’ll have a post ride gathering in the park, so bring some goodies to share : )

Current Events:
Norge Ski JumpCurious about a course that has a ski jump on it? Find out what it’s all about this Saturday. For here for details.
Ted’s Excellent Double Track Adventure – aka Chicross Cup race series #11. Formerly the Northbrook cross race, which has now been relocated to the YMCA Camp Duncan in Ingleside. Sounds like the promoters have a few tricks up their sleeves to bring a little excitement to this race. Click the links for details!
Wisconsin State Cyclocross Championship. It’s Wisconsin’s big cross weekend with the state championships being held in Hales Corner this Sunday. For details go to this PDF link
Upcoming Events:
Jingle Cross. Planning on eating too much turkey on Thanksgiving? There’s one way to burn it off and that is to head to Iowa City for three days of cross racing. For details go to
Grand Opening of Higher Gear’s Computrainer Studio: They’ve been working feverishly to create a great facility for training during the winter. During the grand opening they will have a lineup of speakers so stay tuned for details. There will be a regular schedule of workout times, but they would also like to build time slots for groups preferring to work out together. If you have a group of 5-8 friends and would like to set something up, contact Sylvie Legere at or check out the Higher Gear website
Have a wonderful weekend and a super holiday!

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Stunt Ride on the Trails

Today was another awesome day on the trails for the Higher Gear crew. The temps were right around 40 degrees with winds slightly out of the north. We started with five riders and added two more along the way. Our group was a mix of varied backgrounds; road, bmx and newbies, which made for anything but a boring ride!

Fredo and I took the lead to start, and within minutes we had our first horse poop sighting. Most road riders focus on getting around obstacles like this, making sure to warn everyone following. Fredo, Mr BMX, instead took the opportunity to have a little fun and practice his stunt riding. As we approached the pile, Fredo launched into some crazy maneuver and swept the horse poop off the trail with his rear wheel. Startled and amazed, the rest of us took a moment to grasp what we had just witnessed.

We continued on, heading north along the trail. There were lots of groups out, including one large running group. Hmmm, I wonder what they’re training for? Another group of three runners was just ahead of us when Angie announced, “On your left”. In perfect synchronicity, they went from three abreast to a line of three – very smooth!

When we met up with Rob and Don, they made for a nice addition to our group. We all took our turns at the front, but having two more in the mix made for an even more delightful ride. Unlike the previous week, we had a tailwind to head home. Does it get much better than that? It does if there’s entertainment on the ride.

As we approached the bridge over the Des Plaines river heading back from Independence Grove, Fredo built up speed and bunny hopped onto the bridge, getting major air. Yee-haa! It’s not something necessarily advisable or welcomed on a group ride, but on this ride, it was pure entertainment. Fredo and Don were still at the front when we rolled through Adler Park. Don was still pulling strong, but with maybe just a half-wheel too much enthusiasm. Instead of working harder to match him, Fredo decided to even things up by grabbing Don’s seat bag and letting him work a little harder. Handlebar to handlebar – that’s the rule 🙂

With about a mile to go, we were confronted with our last oddity of the day. Running towards us was a man probably in his 60’s and pretty fit. The odd thing was he was running only in a pair of shorts and no shirt – just like Baywatch! Now we could all appreciate that he was pretty fit, but running in 40 degree temps with no shirt on. That’s weird!

Anyway, lots of laughs and bit of work made for a fun and rewarding ride. I sure hope we can get in a few more before winter settles in…

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Filed under Cycling, Trail Rides

Clothing Tips –November 11, 2011

Ride temps for Saturday AM are predicted to be 40 degrees. To prepare for my ride I’ll pack the following
Top: Long sleeve base layer, probably my Craft long sleeve t-shirt. I’ll wear a long sleeve jersey and a wind vest. By the time I’m finished with my warm-up, I’ll need to stuff the vest in my pocket.
Bottom: I’ll wear regular bike shorts and leg warmers.
Toes: It’ll be cold, but not that cold, so I’ll go with sock-style shoe covers. Another option would be toe covers. Just enough, but not too much!
Fingers: I’ll admit I’m a wimp, so I’ll go with the lighter version of my lobster gloves. I’ll be happy when I start, but pretty warm by the time the workout is over.
Head: I like to keep my ears covered to protect them from the wind, so a thin headband will be perfect. It’ll also help prevent any potential brain freeze at the start of the ride.
Ride temps for Sunday AM are predicted to be 50 degrees, but there’s a 30% chance of rain. To prepare for my ride, I’ll pack the following:
Top: Short sleeve base layer, again, I love my Craft t-shirts, so I’ll go for that. I’ll wear a short sleeve jersey, wind vest and arm warmers.
Bottom: I’ll wear regular bike shorts and knee warmers.
Toes: The sock-style shoe covers will again be perfect.
Fingers: I’ll wear a pair of long fingered gloves, the style worn by mt. bikers. They’re heavy enough to keep out any chill, but not too much that I want to pull them off. I never ride without gloves!
Head: At 50 degrees I should be okay to ride without a headband, but I might just put one in my pocket, just in case.
Rain Prevention: It’s a well-known fact that by packing a rain jacket, the rain will stay away for the duration of your ride. I’ll be stuffing mine in my jersey pocket!

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A Mighty Wind

Last Sunday the forecast called for sixty degree temps. It’s
November in Chicago, so a sixty degree day is a real treat and one not to be
wasted. I planned to head out on the Judson ride and get in one more fast and fun
filled road ride.

I hadn’t thought much about what might bring warm temps in
November, but it didn’t’ take long to figure it out – wind! You might think
that a tailwind to start would be a good thing, but it’s not. Not if you want
to sit in for a free ride. The ride started out at a comfortable pace, but soon
enough the tempo picked up and the troubles began.

Gaps were opening. I closed down a few, but I couldn’t keep
that up for long. Trying unsuccessfully to close one gap, a guy came around and
said, “Come on honey, get on my wheel.” I thought about the comment for a
moment, and then hopped right on, thankful for a friendly helper. Eventually
the ride became too much for me and just about everyone else (all but a select
few made the cut). The ride was fractured, leaving small groups of dropped
riders all along the route.

I was able to hook up with a small group of riders and we
took a conservative approach to the balance of our ride. Keeping a nice steady
pace, the ride home was work, but still fun

Not exactly the ride I planned, but a great one nonetheless.
Sixty degrees in November – an opportunity not to be missed!

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