Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fall Colors, Smackdown, and Looks Like I Picked a Bad Week

You'd think that having been a forester for 26 years would make me a shoe-in for RANTWICK's Autumn Tree Smackdown. I haven't been able to find any Smackdown-worthy trees since the contest began. I decided today I'd better get out and try to find some colorful trees before the leaves are all gone.

These trees aren't too bad, but look at the big tree to the left. We're losing our leaves, man, and they're going fast.

A green tree and one with color. We've had many frosts, but only one mild freeze so far. Most of the trees with green leaves (mainly oaks) are turning brown. In some years oaks can show beautiful color, particularly white oak, which can turn a magnificent deep purple color. Not this year.

A very nice sugar maple, but not much red.

Here are our sugar maples. Not too much color this year. The tree closest to the road usually turns yellow, whereas the big maple to the left turns a beautiful reddish orange, but apparently not this year.

Me and the tricross. It is a beautiful day today. I should have taken a photo of myself yesterday - I was a lovely red color.

Yesterday's club ride was a blazing fast 50 miler, but I rode 5 miles to the start, and 5 miles home, so my ride was 60. After riding 35 miles in the pack, I couldn't keep up anymore with the group. As we headed southwest and directly into the wind, I was looking at the prospect of 2 hours of misery. As I plodded along, I pondered the reason for my lack of energy. This past week, I decided to:

- limit myself to no more than 3 cups of coffee per day

- started working out at the gym again (my eye lids are the only body parts that aren't sore right now)

- started a new diet plan at SparkPeople

Looks like I picked a bad week to do all of these things, and then go balls-out for 60 miles.

Seems like I've heard that somewhere before...

Well, I hope you have lactic acid-free rides!


Steve A said...

Aren't sugar maples ineligible?

Big Oak said...

Steve, I don't know, maybe I didn't read the rules closely enough.

Big Oak said...

Steve, Nice try! I've checked Rantwick's comment to JRA, and these are his exact words, "RANTWICK said...

JRA - There will be no restrictions on species, whether they be native or invasive. My only stipulation is that the submission be something that is growing outside that isn't wintered in a greenhouse or anything."

While sugar maples are usually the tree most people think of for fall color, there are many others that are quite striking. I've done a little checking (you might find this website helpful and a tree you might want to locate is Sweet Gum. A good sweet gum in full autumn color will put a sugar maple to shame. We don't have any around here, so I resort to sugar maple.

Blackgum also makes a nice fall tree, with deep purple color.

Good Luck!

rlove2bike said...

We just spent four days somewhat near your stomping grounds...actually Rhinelander...and the leaves there are far and few between. Even a lot of Tamarack have lost their needles. I guess when I think about it, most of them gone near home also.

Big Oak said...

rlove2bike - It doesn't surprise me they're mostly gone there. From your post-before last, I think, it looked like the leaves were pretty well gone then.

Apertome said...

Yeah, our colors down here aren't too great this year, either. It's just been too damn dry. And it's still awfully warm much of the time. not sure how that affects color, but there it is.

You had been talking about riding the Hilly Hundred. Did you end up doing it?

Big Oak said...

Apertome - no, that was our daughter's fall break from Purdue. Since this is her first year there, we wanted to be home that weekend - that was the first weekend she's been home since school started.

I talked to several people from the 3RVS club who went down there - they enjoyed the beautiful weather down there, although it sounds like Sunday was a little warm. One guy didn't like the new route on Saturday, though.

Apertome said...

Understandable. I didn't end up doing the Hilly this year, either. Maybe next year. I'm curious to try the Saturday route, I'll have to see if I can find a map.