Another great day for biking. It was -3 degrees C when I rode out and the sun was shining. Today I just wanted to do a relaxing ride in the forest so I chose to follow the Blue and Red Bloso routes in my home forest. The wind was still blowing from the same direction and I cut out the parts of the track that went outside the forest. I also included some extra trails to avoid some of the big forest roads and I included a parallel track in the Bierbeek area which had me avoid the cobble road at the start of the Red route. There was an organised ride which followed the Bloso tracks for a while but since I started out around 11am I didn't have too much bother of other bikers. These days the Bloso tracks is about all some organisers will get permission for. That is a good thing. That way the nicer routes are kept to those 'in the know' and that leaves them nice for a longer time. When I was making my way back towards the point where the Red meets the Blue again there were already bikers removing the yellow-black arrowing. This is another thing the forestry demands. All arrowing must be removed within 24hrs. From the small portion of the organised ride I followed I could see they did a good arrowing job. Plenty of time before the turn there was an arrow pointing into the new direction and then another one in the turn itself. Some useless arrows as well, but I guess they were just reminders you were on the right track, not a thing to be scoffed at in these meteorological conditions.
Ride Stats : 40K and 495/506 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 2h28mins
Another clear, crisp and cold day and I was eager to ride out. I had been contemplating doing the O2 Bikers Grez Doiceau roadbook for a while now and in these sub-zero conditions the trails would be ideal. No mud, at least I expected none, just dry hard trails. I know the region around Grez Doiceau intimately, it is one of my favorite training spots. I know the trails of the Accro Bike and the Belgian XC Marathon Championships by heart. My club - the Velo Club Grez Doiceau - organised those championships this year with start and finish in neighboring Pecrot. The Accro Bike is a ride that has been organised for many years and I frequently ride along its 42 and 55K versions. O2 Bikers had contacted me a while back to help with a roadbook but in the end they decided to take another guide. In the crucial period I was lying in my bed with a slipped disc. So I was curious what they had concocted. I downloaded the roadbook into my Garmin Edge 705 GPS and around noon I started out. The first 10K took me towards Grez Doiceau and they helped me warm up - the word is ill-chosen - and acclimatize to the sub-zero temperatures. A strong easterly wind made it feel a lot colder than it already was. It was this wind that I feared the most. From the town square the track immediately ascends towards the Bois de Bercuit. At the end it was too steep to ride, especially since a lot of horses hooves has made a fine mess of the trail , mess that was frozen solid and does not help you keeping things rolling when on a 20% incline. So I walked, no shame, it was winter and I would need all my strength to get me around these trails. The trail then descended towards Dion Valmont only to ascend again via a hollow road and a field track towards the N25 . From there I plunged back into Dion and gradually made my way towards Bonlez. The steep ascent towards Les Gottes had me walking again but the section that followed was quite nice. Into the Bois des Gottes they had found a nice track with some high grass next to it. This section was new to me. Into Bonlez then where the trail veered to the left between two houses to reach the river 'Le Train'. Obviously there was some ice and at places even mud here, so close to the river borders. Again, horses hooves had made a mess of an otherwise fine trail. But after a couple of hundred meters the track became dryer and I could follow the singletrail along the river all the way to Inchebroux. A great section into the Bois de Chaumont, with some familiar trails and also some opportunities for extra climbing they did not include. The tricky downhill towards the Rue du Try - or rather an extension of that road leading into the forest and consisting of nothing more than a little river which the trail follows - had me concentrating myself on negotiating the steps, gullies and debris. Down into the gulley - which was partly frozen so dryer than usual, thank God This gulley actually feeds the Glabais rivulet which merges into the Train in Bas Bonlez . I followed the forest road obviously and arrived at the Pink Fishery. Here the trail veered to the right along a singletrack between fields to plunge down into the forest de Glabais. A nice and well known section here with a lot of climbing and descending to arrive finally into downtown Hèze.
The trail then climbed up towards the road to Longueville. I would follow this road briefly before plunging into a field road again which led me towards a forest. Here the trail was nicely blocked by trees . I had to walk a couple of hundred meters which was a pity because it is a nice track plunging into and climbing out of this forest. A little later I was plunging into another forest, very steeply , to follow another singletrack which led me nicely into Pietrebais. Here I got a little surprise - an unknown track close to the river Pietrebais which led to the Rue de la Frene. Here I encountered a well know track which led me up towards the Ferme de la Sarte. I then descended into Cocrou, crossed the Chaussee de Jodoigne and began the last climb into the Bois de Beausart. Steep rooty downhill alongside the Bois de Linsmeau and a few fieldroads later I was back in Grez Doiceau. In all a very interesting trail and certainly a good alternative to the Accro 42 trail. With 34.8K and between 550 and 580 heightmeters its well worth checking it out. The last 10K which took me back home from Grez Doiceau had me exposed to the wind and I was glad I reached Hamme Mille where the shelter of Meerdael Forest protected me nicely until I was home.
Ride Stats : 56K and 725/726 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 3h37mins
O2 Roadbook Grez Doiceau Stats : 35K and 543/554 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 2h32mins
Great, it froze -4 degrees C last night so the mud and muck in the forest has been rendered in a more solid state. It was still freezing lightly when I left around 11am and a strong easterly wind made me happy to be able to ride in the forest. Or - at least - most of the time, since I was doing my Meerdael perimeter ride and every now and then this meant riding very close to the forests' edge, with as a result that the wind could reach me. I was riding it in the reverse direction today, starting out along the Heverleebos perimeter and moving on towards the Kouterbos and finishing off with the Meerdaelbos sections. The forest floor was frozen and I made good progress. It took me a while to adapt to the -1 degree temperature but after 15 minutes or so I was settling in. Stopping from time to time to take a picture I could feel the forest floor become softer and softer while the temps slowly rose over 0 degrees. This was a ride were I would have enjoyed the Moots YBB even more than the Litespeed, but the Moots was still at Filip Sport - waiting for a postmount to IS disc adapter that must surely be coming from the moon or something. I mean,when I need a Hope adapter, I can just order it and its at my place 2 or 3 days later. Why it takes more than 3 weeks for a dealer to take delivery of the same piece is beyond me and all reason. So I rode the Litespeed, which is of course a bit harsher due to the lack of suspension in the back.
Even then the mud was still too viscous to splatter on my bike. For the next days the temperatures will remain below zero during the day as well. Great ! Lets just hope that the wind settles a bit because the chill factor is more influential than the temperature these days.
On another note Took delivery of my Lumicycle LEDSYSTEM 3 lighthead today. It looks very smart and offers an amazing 850 lumen light output in the highest stand with its 3 LED lights. I plugged it into my NiMH battery - I have been using a Lumicycle HID Halide for 6 years now and after setting the LED system into NIMH mode I could make myself familiar with it. It has 4 power modes and one SOS mode . Switching between them is done by toggling the switch either upwards or down. Powering down is achieved by holding the toggle down for more than one second. I'm looking forward to ride out with this light. Its a 6 degree spot unit (Lumicycle also offers a 13 degree 'flood' lighthead which is unsuited for commuting because of its blinding white wide beam. Some pictures of the unit.
Here is an idea of the light
output at the different settings. I made these with the D2X and a 28-70
f2.8 lens set at f3.5. I stopped it down afterwards in Nikon Editor to
have the same intensity of background sky. This might not be optimal
but it gives an idea of the beam color and intensity. The different intensity stages are: Commute - Low - High and Boost. I also included a
comparison shot of the 40W HID Halide (which has a 13 degree beam as
compared to the LedSystem3 6 degree beam.
As you can see the Halide has a cooler lightcolor, I find the LedSystem3 light color more natural.
Ride Stats : 33.5K and 365/354 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 1h59mins
A nightride on Christmas Eve. After two days of rest I wanted to ride out tonight. I took along the Lupine Tesla 4 unit because I wanted to test that out as well. Starting out with the 20W Halogen Lumicycle I decided to ride until its battery would be nearly empty, and switch on the Lupine to continue the ride. I stopped in the beginning of the ride in a pitch black backroad to make some comparison pictures between the different light units. I ran the 20W Halogen, then added the Lupine at its 1.5, 4 and 12W setting. Unfortunately my Sony Ericsson k850i isn't the greatest camera in dark conditions but the pics might already give an idea of the difference in clarity between a halogen and a led light. In real life the Tesla provides an astounding beam of bright white light.
I started out towards the Zoete Waters , Korbeek Dyle and Leefdaal and then rode over Duisburg and Huldenberg to reach Overijse and Maleizen. From here I descended into Tombeek and then climbed out of Terlanen to reach Ottenburg. A few steep climbs and descents later I was in Archennes where - precisely after 2 hours - my Lumicycle light began to fade. I think its amazing that after 6 years this battery still delivers its claimed lifetime when using a 20W light. On came the Tesla and I switched it in its lowest mode - 1.5 Watts. Even then I needed no more light to ride along fast towards Pecrot, climb out of there towards Nethen and then further on to Hamme Mille. Its beam made some automobilists signal me they were blinded but with a light mounted on a helmet its easy - you just look the other way until the car has crossed you. When I got home the Lupines battery didn't even need charging. It can deliver a whopping 24 hrs to the light in its 1.5W mode. The lighthead is hardly noticed on your helmet - it weighs 105g - and the small battery tucks away nicely into my backpack. The weather was calm and with 6 degrees rather clement. I had no worries of any wind either. The roads were all but deserted - Christmas Eve remember - and in all I had a very nice quiet ride, accompanied by some good guiding lights.
Ride Stats : 58.5K and 515/538 heightmeters (Polar/Garmin) in 2h41mins