After yet more snow today, it was an extremely pleasant surprise to be greeted this morning by a strange Orange glow in the sky.  Watching closely from my desk all day I was willing it to stay dry, sure enough I was in luck although by the time I got home at 6.15pm there was very little daylight remaining so I had to act fast.

I'm pleased to say its clear my fitness is increasing and since the last time I did this exact same route (give or take a turn or two) I managed to shave 5 minutes and 30 seconds off of my time.

8 days left!
After being confined to the trainer this week again after yet more snow falling, I'd been eagerly awaiting the weekend and the prospect of getting out for a proper ride!  However the weather decided it had other ideas and it has not stopped raining since the early hours.  I am officially sick of the sight of the inside of my garage so there was no keeping me inside today.

OK so a rather long update this one.  After last weekend, I'm afraid it was back on the trainer for the next 3 days but upon day 13 this is where sticking to spinning the legs for a full 30 days became a true challenge!

My wife and I had a few vacation days to use up with work and rather than doing the usual stuff we decided to do a mini road trip and make the drive down to slightly warmer climes and headed south to Charleston, South Carolina.

Charleston Harbor
Charleston was a great place with lots of extremely interesting history and style of architecture that I'd never experienced before.  It also had a bustling nightlife and some great shopping.  We definitely weren't bored.

Anyway niceties over it was time to focus on exercising and maintaining the riding, thankfully the hotel had a gym/exercise room.  I must admit though I was a little disappointed to find a solitary recumbent exercise bike.  So here was my home and my go to solution for the next few days.

Not a position I am used to when cycling
The hotel gym offered a single recumbent

As much as I was hoping for something a little more exciting in the hotel gym than the recumbent to pass the next few days I have to say the view from our hotel room more than made up for it.  Who wouldn't want to wake up to this on a morning?
A room with a view: Charleston Waterfront
 Driving back we broke up the journey with an overnight stay in Raleigh, NC.  Again back to the hotel gym and this time yet another recumbent.

Another recumbent at Raleigh, NC

Looking South on Glenwood Ave, Raleigh, NC
As much I have enjoyed the mini get away I can't wait to get some more proper riding in!  Watch this space as the quest continues, hopefully with a more Adrenalin fueled next update.

Today's ride was my second on the Kona Kapu and took me back onto the W&OD trail.  I decided to head out towards Vienna, VA as I've not ridden that way before.  With it being almost exactly 10 miles form home it would be a perfect morning ride.

Its back to being cold here in Northern, VA and we are expecting another blast of snow this evening, so I fear I may be soon relegated back to the trainer again for my next round of rides.

Vienna Caboose
Lake Audubon - Reston, VA

Day 8 already, I can't believe it is now over a week since I first started doing this.  Wherever possible and weather permitting Saturday mornings for me are for mountain biking.  With the local trails having been battered by the recent snow and no hard freeze overnight I wasn't sure I'd be able to give the Goblin a ride today.  I woke up stupidly early this morning for a Saturday and logged into Facebook, to my delight Fountainhead said the trail was open.

Arrival at Fountainhead.  New bike rack!! Write up to follow.
I arrived around 8am and got out there, although much more ride-able than last Saturday in the remaining snow and ice, the trails could be better, some areas rode fine while others are still rutted and a little sticky.  There was also a new problem as very few people had ridden the trail of late that there are lots of trees down along the way.  I was pleased to see that other than myself there were good Samaritans along the way moving some of the debris off the trail as the went, however, some was just too big to shift.

Too big to bunny hop?
Again it was pretty slow progress as I took my time riding round, but I can definitely feel myself getting much, much fitter.  A couple more rides and I'll be well on my way to getting 'Fountainhead fit'.  There's a race there towards the end of the month so with any luck I'll be able to enter and perhaps log a half decent this space.

Rowers training

I'm pleased to say I've been managing to continue my quest to ride for 30 consecutive days.   I've been enjoying it immensely and can feel the fitness benefits already.  I knew it would be a cheelenge to keep up the riding during the week and its sure was, especially with work commitments and the weather making things tough.  This meant that unfortunately there were no outside miles logged on days 4, 5 and 6 but mileage was logged on the trainer.

Although the Zebrakenko road bike I've been riding has been a great servant it was time for me to push on and try and get something a little more up to date.  For the last few weeks I've been scouring Craigslist for a new steed which wouldn't blow the budget (under $400).  Thursday threw up something very interesting in my price range and form a manufacturer I've always admired but never owned.

Kona Kapu
Although the Orange and black paint scheme may not have been my number 1 choice, I'm pretty pleased with the purchase.  Its a late 1990s bike, steel frame, specced with Campagnolo Veloce Groupset and Mavis Askium wheels & Hubs.

I managed to get away form work at a reasonable hour on Friday and took the Kona out for my first ride, a short out and back on the W&OD trail to just south of Leesburg, VA.  The bike handled great, felt quick and steel gives a great ride.  I'm looking forward to logging some miles on this one.

I'm sat at home writing this and feeling pretty proud of myself tonight.  I thought about kicking off a little challenge to lick me back into shape and keep me rolling and so far I've managed to stick to it.  I talked about the 30 days of riding in yesterday's blog but it was always going to be a challenge to fit something in now I'm back to the work routine.

I decided that I want to give this a shot so left the office shortly after 5pm today, and jumped on the bike.  It was a quick loop mixing the W&OD trail with some neighborhood roads on the way back.

W&OD Trail at Sunrise Valley Drive

So I've set myself a little challenge as the clocks have now gone forward and there's a little extra daylight time.  During the next 30 days I want to get out there and ride as many days as possible, possibly even turn it into a complete 30 days of riding.  It will help kick start my fitness for spring into summer and help me burn off the few excess winter lbs.

After yesterday's MTB ride its clear that the local trails will be nowhere near ready to ride for a good few days yet while they thaw & dry out completely.  Those who've been following the blog will know that I recently overhauled my Vintage Zebrakenko road bike so I decided to hit the W&OD trail and log some miles.

Add caption
I wanted to ride approx 20 miles or so and there's a nice out and back route on the W&OD trail heading up from Reston, VA, up into Ashburn.  It's a bright clear morning this morning however its still extremely cold and unfortunately the out section was riding into a freezing cold headwind.  I kept pushing on, reassuring myself that the wind would be behind me on the way back and the ride would be a lot more tolerable.  In essence, the sooner I could get to the turning point the warmer I'd be able to get.

The halfway point, shame it was closed
Indeed the ride back was much more pleasant and a few minutes quicker.  I'm definitely feeling a little fitter and I'm pleased to say the bike held up well.  I need to adjust the gear cables a little but all being well should be no more than 5 mins work.

Thankfully my knee injury has healed itself up pretty well and is now no longer troubling me.  All that has been standing in my way to getting out on the Goblin is the weather and a fresh round of snow here in Northern Virginia seemed like I would have to put any mountain bike ideas to one side for a little longer.

I woke up pretty early this morning (for a Saturday) at around 6.30am, and checked Facebook, to my delight Fountainhead's page said the trails were open!  I knew I'd only have a short window of time before they started thawing out so I grabbed my gear loaded up the car and headed out.

I was very pleased to see this sign when I arrived
The parking lot was almost empty and I must have been just about the only early bird to take advantage of the Facebook post.

The trails had been practically untouched with one possibly two bike tracks ahead of me in the remaining snow come ice.  This wasn't a fast paced ride by any means due to the trails becoming much more sticky as they started to thaw.  But all being said I'm extremely happy, I got my MTB fix, and some miles back in my legs, check out some pics from the ride below I can't wait until the next time!

Sparkling clean
The trail had been practically untouched

End of the ride and considerably dirtier than when I arrived
Here's a write up of a slightly different project to my usual work on the Airborne Goblin.  Almost a year ago I needed an inexpensive set of wheels to tie me over for a few months and get me to work and back.  The usual scouring of Craigslist threw up this vintage roadie for a bargain basement price.  The bike itself is a Zebrekenko Golden Sport - Wind edition.  Zebrekenko manufactured and imported Japenese road bikes into the states in the 70's and 80's, mostly specced with mid range Suntour components, they had a reasonable reputation. but ceased trading around the mid 80's.

I'd had this bike in a variety of different forms, including single speed, however, having used it on the recently acquired turbo trainer, I felt I was doing it an injustice not letting an old bike such as this ride in the manner it was intended so I decided to return it (as best I could) to its former glory.

Time to get the bike back to its former glory
The frame although not great, is pretty solid with no signs of rust, there's the chips and scratches expected of a steel bike of this age, but it does seem as if prior to my ownership it had spent most of its life in storage.  I began by breaking down some of the main components down ready for a clean up.

MTB riser bars used when I was making the short commute to work
MTB bars made the bike a little more comfortable when it was used for commuting, they were donated from my wife's GT Laguna.  The grips are from an old Kona.

Chain rings cleaned and rusty old bolts replaced with fresh black ones
Using mineral spirits I cleaned and de-greased the chain rings replacing the rusty old bolts with a fresh set of black bolts to match the frame.

Vintage Suntour rear derailleur 
The headset had seen better days and needed a good cleanup
The headset was in a sorry state and clearly hadn't been greased for a long time, this was next on the list for a cleanup, it also has a distinct bump when the bars were straightened.

Headset bearings before
Headset bearings after
Dropper bars back on along with rear wheel and chain
After refitting the chain rings and rear derailleur, a new chain was added, along with switching out the MTB riser bars for drop bars.

NOS vintage Shimano front derailleur
The old Suntour front derailleur was rusted up and in very poor condition, a previous owner had brush painted (very poorly) it in matte and it was beyond saving.  Thankfully eBay is a source for all things bike and I managed to pick up a NOS Shimano FD, in excellent shape for a little over $15. 

New derailleur on frame
Time for new brake cables
No rebuild is complete without a fresh set of cables, so starting with the brakes a fresh set was offered up along with new housing.

Checking the adjustment
New gear cables
Gear cables were next and thankfully the Suntour friction shifters are extremely easy to set up.  Once you have the High and Low limits set correctly on the front and rear derailleurs they work as smooth as butter.  I had the gears shifting crisply after a matter of minutes...not bad for 40 year old components.  I wish the shifting on the Green Goblin was as easy to get right.

Threading the cables through the shifters
Here's the finished item in all its glory and with some new bar tape.  All in all this has been a lot of fun and my first road bike project.  I'm really pleased with the end result, the bike rides and handles great.  I'll be using this on the trainer a little more until the weather turns and then hope to get some enjoyment out in the fresh air.  In the meantime I'm on the lookout for my next project, suggestions more than welcome.
The finished article