Saturday, December 30, 2006


The warm weather continued yesterday, so Dan and I went out to Ionia State Game Area. I had not been to that trail in years, so it was a nice change of pace. We rode for about two hours, which is about all of that trail that I needed to ride. It is fun for a while, but it is short and not all that interesting or challenging in the long run.

I borrowed a Maxxis Ignitor from Dan and used it in front. Once I got the pressure low enough, it was a great tire for that trail. It packed up with mud a bit, but the sturdy construction and grippy tread were the right answer for the roots and rocks in Ionia.

It's been fun riding the Quiring 29er in the dirt. I expected to be spending all winter riding it on the road. There is a learning curve with 29er, and I am glad I can get some of it out of the way now. I'm still learning to trust the tires and the larger contact patch to get me through corners, but the climbing traction and roll-over ability continue to impress.

I washed the Quiring today. It is a fine looking bike, if I do say so myself. It has spend most of the winter covered with mud and road grime, so it was nice to see it all shiny.

My new Garmin Edge 305 has been fun to play with as well. I changed out the batter in the HR Monitor strap, and now everything is working great. I'm a little nervous about using it during a race, as I'd hate to smack it into a rock during a crash. But for training, I really like it. It collects a ton of useful (and not-so-useful, but interesting) data. Most of that data is displayed in real-time, but some is accessed back on my computer at home. I'm looking forward to comparing times at various course during the season.

I got my YMCA membership today. That means I will be hitting the gym and spin class for the first time. I've seen what these things have done for some of my team mates, so I am looking forward to improvement in my performance.

Family events will keep me off the bike today, but I hope to get some saddle time tomorrow and/or New Years Day.

Friday, December 29, 2006


I snuck out of work yesterday afternoon for a ride. The weather was excellent, with some sun and temps in the 40's. The route was mostly road with a bit of trail thrown in, and I was out for about three hours.

I tweaked my back again, in the same way that I did before Iceman. At least this time I knew what to expect, and was able to ease off my pedal stroke when I felt the 'slipping/tearing' feeling start. It's a bit sore today, but not too bad. I'm trying to decide if I should see a doctor about this; maybe some kind of physical therapist? What do you think, Danielle?

More riding might be on tap for this afternoon. (The office is mostly empty, and I do have a bit of vacation saved up...) If the sun comes out, I don't know if I'll be able to resist. Some family and friends activity to round out the holiday weekend, but there should be time for some riding as well, although no formal ride is planned. (Marty, I deleted your message and phone number by accident; sorry for not returning the call!)

Bought a set of used Jones H-Bars this week for the 2nd bike. Also got to hold one of the new White Brother's carbon rigid forks at the shop...very nice! A small pile of parts is forming in anticipation of the NNB (Next New Bike), details should be available some time after the first of the year.

Check out the schedule for 2007 over on the right hand side of the page. I'd like to add one more 24-hour race. Any suggestions that fit in the schedule and don't involve a multi-day drive would be welcome!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Day Ride

I got in a nice 4.5 hour ride on Christmas Day. Most of the family stuff was completed on Saturday and Sunday, so I was able to fit this ride in. I used my fancy new Garmin Edge 305 for the first time; it's pretty slick. It turns out that all the little hill on my route add up to...not as much climbing as I would have thought.

Back to work tomorrow, but with warm weather in the forcast, I suspect that I will put in one or two short days and perhaps make my way down to Yankee. Best to make use of the warm weather while it lasts.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The week in review

Took Saturday off to let the mouth heal. Got a call from Scott around 8:30 PM. Seems he, Dan and Danielle went out and rode the Poto. As usual, things get a little crazy and Dan ended up riding the second lap WITHOUT A SEAT OR SEATPOST! That man is an animal. Scott was calling to invite me over to drink a beer and hear about the ride. I went, beer was drunk (see bottom of the post...) and stories were told.

Got up and rode cross bikes with Dan on Sunday. We got 3 hours in; the weather was mild and the ride was pretty gentle.

Rode my cross bike on Monday; one hour easy ride. Ran 3 miles on Tuesday.

Rode for 2.5 hours last night. Dan, Nate and Me down at Yankee. Did a short loop backwards, long loop backwards, so 'off-trail' riding and the first section of the long loop backwards again. I was running 34x15 on the 29er, so you know I was working hard. Dan was on 2x1 and Nate was running his Iceman gear on the 26er. Then we went out for Mexican food; mmmm, burrito!

I registered for the Ouachitta yesterday. I hear that the race is full already. A bunch of the Founder's people will be there; should be a good time. Anyone with advice on what gearing to go with on the 29er should feel free to post a comment to that effect.

Look for an update to the site around January 1. Updated schedule, some new links, etc.

**Adults-only Section**

I generally keep the blog rated 'G', but the following 'beer review' from Dan just has to be posted somewhere. The beer-drinking at Scott's on Saturday got a bit crazy, and we (Dan, Scott, and I) all blame the beer that is reviewed below. By the way, this beer was sold in an un-labled brown plastic jug. Read on, but you have been warned:

Michigan Brewing Hop Head Switch Double IPA

Warning: Do not drink this beer if you are required to take a urinalysis in the next 30 days. Consumption of this ale can cause you to go insane. I doubt the FDA knows much about this product as I am sure it contains some unknown ingredients that I can only guess would include psychotropic agents, crack, meth, weed, raccoon sperm and healthy B vitamins.

A mere one quart of this extremely hoppy drink will FUCK YOU UP!!! One minute it's all fun and before you know it your running around with your pants down, underwear on your head, repeatedly banging your head on house hold objects and trying to fit your self into a clothing basket.

You may find your self motivated to drunk call your non-present buddies pregnant wife and discuss such topics as who will be the father of her next child and then give her toc much information of your sex life which includes only your hand.

Lastly, you will wake up with the worst hangover you have had all year and then proceed to puke out last nights pizza. As you stare at the undigested olives and onions you will ask yourself one question... What the hell was in that shit?

All in all it is a good ale for the hops lover. Or if you just want some liquid crack.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Oral Surgeon

Man, that is never a good blog title.

I got a tooth pulled yesterday. Everything went well, but I am going to take the weekend off and let the wound heal a bit before I get back on the bike. I'm a bit pissed at the timing, since it is supposed to be trail-riding weather tomorrow. Dan, Scott, and Danielle (at least) are heading to the Poto tomorrow. I hate to miss it, but I'd rather heal up now so I don't have issues when the training rides get real long.

Now it's off to find some soft food...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Did a nice recover ride on Sunday; one hour on the cross bike around downtown.

I was on the trainer last night. Only an hour, but it was pretty intense. Some high cadence work, but some big gear work as well. It seems like my leg strengh is way ahead of last year. It's too early to comment on endurance, but it doesn't seem any worse than last year. Time will tell.

More riding this weekend. There is talk about a trip to the Poto. With the warm weather, a trail ride is not out of the question.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

4 Hours, 22 Minutes

The ride today ended up being 22 minutes longer than I had planned. Somehow I missed the road I wanted to turn on, so my loop turned into an out-and-back. Not bad, but I was looking forward to some new roads, and my planned route included some gravel. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

This is my second 3+ hour ride on the new Quiring. I have to say, it is a great bike to ride. I traded in my ti seatpost for a Thomson, and my back refuses to give me any trouble. Ditto my hands, neck and knees. I guess all the hype of steel+full custom is true, at least in this case. The bike fits and absorbs more than its share of road and trail chatter.

I mounted tires on the Velocity wheels I won at the last Kisscross race. They look pretty sweet, all stealth black. I need to get another set of disk rotors so I can swap wheels without hunting for a torx wrench.

More standard winter training on tap next week; short rides on Tuesday and Thursday, long ride on Saturday (4.5-5 hours) and short ride on Sunday. The weather is supposed to be quite warm, which is great for not freezing but bad for salt-impregnated road spray on my fancy steel frame...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Outside in the Cold

Rode outside tonight. It was dark, about 26F with a decent wind. I was only out for an hour, so the cold wasn't really an issue. I switched from a 34x17 to a 34x15 gear ratio. That's a difference you can feel, I'm here to tell ya.

Looking at 4 hours on Saturday, and 1 hour on Sunday. The weather is supposed to warm up, so I'm not too concerned about either ride. It could get a little sloppy.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Remember: Take the right gloves!

So, I went to the crazy bastard ride yesterday. I got to the parking lot, and realized that one of my gloves was all messed up by having been in the washer. You know what I mean, you put the gloves in the wash, and when you take them out the liner is all twisted inside out. Anyway, this is usually not a problem, you just stuff your fingers in there and it works itself out. Not this time. Try as I might, I could not get the glove liner squared away. I grabbed my spare (thin) glove and set out on the ride.

It was cold. Within ten minutes, I could tell that my under-gloved hand was gonna get cold. Fifteen minutes into the ride my right (rear) shifter stopped working. First the chain started skipping. They the shifter just plain stopped working. Of course, I was in my easiest gear. I bagged it and headed back to the car. So I was out for a total of 30 minutes, and my hand was completely numb. So, I did what I had to do: I called Scott and we went to the bar.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Winter Ride

Got out for a three hour ride this afternoon. It was cold, right around 32F. I had a nice tailwind on the way out and fought the headwind on the way back. This was the longest ride to date for the new Quiring. I didn't take the time to put a harder gear on, so I had to spin my brains out with 2x1. I'll fix that before next week.

No trip to Detriot for CX racing tomorrow. Family committments will keep me in town. No big deal--I plan to get plenty of use out of the DDX on Tuesdays with the Crazy Bastards this winter.

Typical training week on tap: Cross ride on Tuesday, trainer on Thursday, longish ride on Saturday and short ride Sunday. Maybe some running in between. We got some snow this week, but not enough to get the skis out.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Training Ride

I went on my first ride with the Crazy Bastards last night. It was very warm ride, with temps well into the 50F's even at the end of the ride. We were out for around 2 hours. I rode my cross bike, which performed flawlessly. Dan, Scott and Chip were there from the team and Danielle was there as well. I think there were about 15 riders in all. I guess a bunch of people went to Honey Creek after the ride, but I had to help Dan move some stuff so I had to pass.

I guess they do this ride all winter long, in any weather, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm not sure if I'll do it tomorrow, since we are supposed to get some kind of major winter storm. We'll see...

First 'long' ride of the season on tap for Saturday. I have to take another look at my training calendar, now that I won't be doing Trans-Iowa. Not sure if there will be any chance, but it is something that must be evaluated.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Bad News

What a bummer! It turns out that Trans-Iowa 3 is being held on the one weekend in April that I am not available to race. I have a very important family event that day that cannot be rescheduled. I really wanted to do that race, but it just isn't going to work out.

On the plus side, I'll get to do this Dirt, Sweat & Gears thing down in Tennessee. Dan and Danielle will be going down there as well, so Michigan should be in the money in a few categories.

I managed to get my cross bike put back together. It didn't suffer as much as I thought from the mud and the crash on Sunday. I did have to rebuild the Candy pedals. I hope I got all those bushings and seals back in there correctly. I guess I'll find out tomorrow when I ride with these folks.

Here is a pic from the race in Sunday:

I love these cross pictures! I look so fast; just goes to show you can't believe everything you see on the internet. I like this shot in particular because it shows 1. slightly bent brake levers from the crash and 2. me hard on the *front* brake in a tight right-hander. Not smart, but when all you got is front brake, it's front brake you use.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Cross Nonsense

Why do I keep tormenting myself? I went out to the last 'normal' KissCross race today. The course did not favor me; lot of pavement and not much technical riding. I was sitting ok at the end of the first lap, somewhere in the top 15. At the second set of barriers, right in front of all the spectators, I managed to slip off my pedal during the dismount and crash hard. Both levers were twisted on the bar and packed with mud, as I had been hard on the brakes coming up to the barriers. It was a total rookie mistake.

I managed to get the front brakes working, but the rears were rubbing bad. After fussing with them for a few minutes, I just unhooked the brakes and rode without them. I really wanted to quite, but I quite the last cross race and felt like crap afterwards. So I put my head down, and decided to do whatever it took not to come in DFL or DNF.

In the end, I achieved my goal. I think I passed four people, including one guy on a mountain bike that I beat right at the line.

Since this was the last race of the season, Rick gives away a bunch of schwag. I scored big-time; a Velocity cross/29er wheelset and some Kenda CX tires! That more than made up for the flat tire I had to change...on my car! Thanks to Nate and Scott for the help fixing that flat.

It is looking more and more like I will head over to Waterford this coming weekend for the cross race. I'm gonna try and bluff my way into the A race, even thought I don't have any kind of race license. A bunch of people took pictures at the race today; if I can track them down I'll link to them or post them here.

In other news: Vote over at the Snob's site and check out the latest info on Trans-Iowa 3.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Thanksgiving Week Rides

It was a good week for riding. The weather was warm and sunny, exactly NOT what you should expect in Michigan in November.

I rode with a good group of folks Thanksgiving morning. A couple of hours of urban trails were tackled. Nothing special, but it was good to get out and stretch the legs. After that, it was off to the in-laws for some fabulous eats. Good times...

No riding yesterday, but I made it over to the new trail in Greenville today. Many of the same people from the first ride, with a few new faces as well. Scott showed up, and we ended up riding away from the rest of the group. Not intentional, but that is the way it went. The trail was very twisty, with some nice ledges, stunts and log piles. I went down hard twice; chalk it up to the first technical ride on the new bike.

On that note, the new bike worked very well. I am starting to get a feel for what the bike can and can't do. It lives up to the 29er hype; it kills the sand, has great traction in the turns and while climbing, and it rolls over stuff like nothing else. It does take longer to get up to speed, and my build is not super-light. Without spending too much money or sacrificing durability, I can drop a couple pounds for race day.

Cross race tomorrow; don't know if I will do it or not. Planning on riding Tuesday, Thursday and either Saturday or Sunday next week. That includes the first 'long' training ride of the season--a three hour lsd ride. Can you smell Iowa, off in the distance? I can.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ft. Custer

Did a nice off-season ride today at Ft. Custer. Dan and I made the trip. The weather was cool and we got to experience some snow, but it was not too cold to enjoy the ride. The trail was in great shape. We were going to take a few pictures, but the battery in the camera died.

The big wheels were great. The fort has a little bit of everything; twisty stuff, rocks and roots, some sand and one notable climb. We rode for about two hours. My legs are feeling it now. I'm sure I'll be stiff tomorrow.

We discussed the 2007 race season. Things are still up in the air, but I hope to have some tentative dates up on the site by the first of the year. We are going to try and hit some of the same races to share travel costs. More on this later.

Another light week of riding on tap. The riding will start to pick up again the first weekend in December. I might drive over for some cross race in Detroit that weekend, or I might just start hitting the long rides. It's hard to believe that soon I will be back to double-digit riding weeks. Iowa is only five months away...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Off Season

Novermber (after Iceman) is the off-season. I try to ride as little as possible. Since I started my new job on Monday, not riding has been pretty easy. There was a 'cross ride on Thursday, but I had a meeting that ran late in Hastings. I think there might be a ride tomorrow, but if I'm not sure.

The new job is working out great.

Training on the bike starts again in December. Got to get ready for TIv3; my hope is that they pick Option 1 or Option 3. I won't be able to attend if they go with Option 2.

Comments are now visible; there was just too much wisdom there to keep it to myself.

Some new bike news might be forthcoming soon. I know, it's like a regular bike cornicopia around here lately. Stay tuned for more details.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Club Poto

"Tonight, at Club Poto, we've got DJ Dangerous Dan, MC Farmer and Joe 2 Slo in the mix. Someone will bring sexy back, someone doesn't know your name but seems to like you *alot* and someone keeps looking at your bumps. Or is that "lumps"? It's hard to say..."

Nate, Dan and I went to the Poto for a couple of laps on Wednesday. The plan was to leave GR around 1pm, ride a lap during the day and then throw on lights and ride a lap at night. I was in because I had assurances that we would ride easy; it is the OFF SEASON! So I was running a nice 2-1 on my 29er. Nate was running his Iceman gear (which is around a 52-16, maybe a little easier) and Dan was running one tooth easier than his Iceman gear. Yeah, this is gonna be an easy ride.

In fact, the pace was not that bad, except on the hills. I had to work pretty hard on the hills even with the gear I was running and pace I was going; those guys were crushing the hills on those monster gears. Riding with national-caliber singlespeeders is a good way to get faster, but it is a guaranteed way to feel S-L-O-W.

There are a bunch of bridges on the Poto trail. The first half-dozen were fine; a bit wet but traction was not a problem. The seventh bridge was like ice. Dan was leading, and went down like someone hit him in the face with a baseball bat. I grabbed a double-handful of brake and instantly hit the deck. Nate was able to stop before he hit the bridge, which is good because he would have ploughed my under Farmer-Style. No permanent harm done, although I am sporting lots of bruises, scrapes, etc. and I still can't lift my left arm above my head.

We finish the lap, mount up our lights and head out for lap 2.

We get about a mile in and Dan notices that his front hub sounds like a chupacabra eating a handful of gravel. Some people like those American Classic wheelsets; they are light and the price is right. But I don't know anyone that has used them that hasn't replaced bearings at least once. Anyway, Dan wasn't about to try and tame the hungry chupacabra, so we headed back to the trailhead and packed it in.

The ride back was quite an experience. Both Dan and I had our ipods, so the station wagon was rocking and make no mistake. We had both kinds of music; country AND western. Emperor Justin T, nails that were well over 8.5 inches, some very dark-eyed vegetables, etc. And some songs with guitars. Good times.

We stopped at Michigan Brewing Company for some chilie. Hot, or more precisely ((HOT))! I still can't taste anything. The guys had a beer or two, and provided entertainment for the rest of the patrons; I watched, since someone had to run the music on the way home. We finished off the evening at Founder's.

Tomorrow it is psychocross, where the DDX will first turn a pedal in anger. If I get lapped I'm gonna get my money back. Otherwise I'm not really riding bikes for the rest of the month. Doing a little running, and eating all the stuff that I eat all year long, but not feeling guilty about it.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bring the Pain

A friend of a friend took this picture. It does a good job of summing up the Iceman experience. Snow is falling, I have my typical grimace of pain, and you can see my fancy handlebars. That is the Iceman.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Not much to say about this race. I felt slow at the start. I was able to get in the top six or so riders at the start, but I ran out of gas pretty early. My legs felt heavy and I was concerned that I had too big a gear. A bunch of riders passed me. As I warmed up, I felt faster and started catching a few people. Then I hit Tornado Ally, and there was a line of 30 or so "expert" riders ahead of me. I didn't want to pass in the thorn bushes, so I waited it out. By the time I got through there, I had some anger to motivate me. I felt faster as the race went on, and I passed more people and very rarely got passed.

I caught quite a few singlespeed riders near the end. Someone passed me within the last two miles, so I jumped on his wheel. We traded off until the last hill, where I gave it everything I had to make it into the singletrack at the end. There was tons of traffic, so I assumed the rider behind me was just sitting in and waiting for his chance. Sure enough, he slipped by me right at the line.

In the end, I was 13th out of 94 riders. My goal was to be in the top 10, and if I had gone 40 seconds faster I would have made it. Maybe next year.

The bike worked great. I am looking forward to getting more miles on the big wheels.

The rest of the team and friends did great. Nate won the ss race, Dan was 7th in Pro on his ss, and Danielle won the Women's ss race. Others also did well, with many top 10 age group finishes.

Now it is time to relax for a month, then start working on next year.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Two More Days

Things are looking up. Brake pads have been changed, my back feels about 95%, the snow is starting to fall; looks to be a good Iceman.

I'll be taking it easy today. Bags will be packed and pasta will be eaten.

Be sure to check here for some great pictures of the Halloween ride.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Iceman Curse

I've been doing the Iceman for quite a few years. I never seem to have a good race up there, but I keep going because it is the last race of the season and I am an eternal optimist. However, I now look for the thing that is going to derail my race, which I imagine is something of a self-fulfilling prophesy.

So I made some changes to the new bike. I put on a different stem with more negative rise, the Jones HBars and a Specialized FastTrak tire on the front. Then I headed out to Cannonsburg Ski Area for a shakedown. The bike worked great! The FastTrak sticks like glue, and the increased leverage and lower bar height provided by the new setup made climbing easier. I was very pleased.

I didn't want to put in too hard an effort, so one lap was all I planned to do. There is one tough climb on the East side of the course; I rarely make it on the 26er. The course is very grippy right now, and I understand that the 29er wheel has good traction, so I gave it some gas and attempted to clean the hill. Good news: I made it, and I think I had a bit to spare. Bad news, just before the top of the climb, I felt something 'pull' in my lower back. It hurt, but not in a ride-ending sort of way. I got off the bike and stretched a bit; sure enough, the back is sore when I bend. Ah, so *that* is what will keep off the podium this year....

I took a bunch of advil yesterday, and the back feels fine for day-to-day stuff. I went on the Kiss Kross Halloween ride without a problem. It seems like the back is fine for up to 80% efforts. Of course, Iceman requires 110% efforts. I will give the race everything I've got. I just hope that whatever I did is minor enough that the four weeks I'll be off the bike after Iceman is good enough to heal it up.

Taking it easy for the next few days. Driving up to TC on Friday for a short pre-ride. Then race Saturday, post-race parties, then home Sunday. Race report to follow.

Monday, October 30, 2006

A couple of "clean" pictures

Scott took a couple pictures of the bike before it got dirty; check them out here.

I mounted the Jones Bars and threw a FastTrak on the front. More testing at the local stomping grounds tomorrow.


Ah, that new bike smell

The pictures are not great; I'll try to get something with more resolution up later.

I picked up the new bike on Saturday morning. Put it together Saturday afternoon. Had a few non-bike things to do in the evening, so the test ride had to wait until around 11 PM Saturday night.

The bike is awesome! The paint turned out exactly as I hoped; gloss black with a metallic silver fade. The silver just sparkles in the sun. Perfect.

As you can see, the bike is dirty. I left early Sunday morning to drive up to Kalkaska to pre-ride the Iceman course. A group of us went, including two former singlespeed class winners. The weather was cold but with bright sunshine, and the course was very fast. The bike felt great; stiff, solid and no frame-related mechanical problems. The Paragon sliding dropouts performed as advertised.

There are still some set-up issues to work out. The stem needs to be lower, and I need to get my Jones bars mounted. The Quiring is a bit heavier than my old 26er, and that fact combined with my lack of experience on the 29er wheels and the narrow bar I ran yesterday left me fighting some of the hills late in the day yesterday. All things considered, I am very pleased with the bike.

Now it is decision time: Which bike to ride at Iceman? I have many thousands of mile on the old bike, but it has a bad habit of throwing the chain during big races. I have less than 50 miles on the new frame, but I seems unlikely to have chain issues. Thought and comments appreciated.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Almost there...

Bike is being painted today. I will pick it up Saturday AM.


Monday, October 23, 2006


I just got an e-mail from Scotty Q: my bike will be done Thursday or Friday.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pre-Ride Problems = Race Day Success

Where to begin? Dan and I went out for a pre-ride of the Peak to Peak MTB race course Friday evening. About 2 miles into the 10 mile lap, Dan notices that his tire is soft. Half a mile latter, we are on the side of the trail fixing a flat.

At this point, I should point out that Dan runs a Stan’s tubeless tire setup. Two weeks ago at Boyne, Dan was bragging about how well this setup has worked for him all year. In fact, he didn’t even carry a tube at Boyne.

Anyway, we can’t find anything wrong with his tire so he whips out his tube…only to find that the tube had two big holes in it! I didn’t bring a tube or patchkit, so we attempted to hold it together with duct tape. We patch it up, and attempt to fill the tube with Dan’s CO2. Denied! He only had a used cartridge. We tried a couple of my cartridges, but could not get the tire to hold air. I went off back down the trial to the hotel room for tubes and a patch kit.

I got back to the room, only to find that Dan only brought cyclocross tubes! I grabbed one, along with one of my 26-inch tubes and a patch. I scoot back up the trail to find Dan shivering next to his bike. We put in my tube, and set off to finish the lap in the failing light.

The course was dead flat for the first 9 miles. Then it turned up the back side of the ski hill for about half a mile and down the face for about half a mile to the finish. We made good time for the next six miles, until I heard a ‘snap’ from my seat. Turns out I snapped one of the seat rails clean in half! I could perch myself on the very nose of the saddle if I eased down on it and was careful. Mostly, I stood.

It was dark by the time we finished the lap. We went back to the room and called a teammate that planned to drive up for the race the next day. We talked him into bringing a seat, some tubes and CO2. Dan put on a harder gear and I stripped of my seat. I didn’t sleep too well, thinking about getting the bike set up for the next day.

Morning arrived, and I got the bike set up without further drama. I was racing my singlespeed against the geared riders in the expert class. Dan was racing his singlespeed in the elite class. All Elite and Expert riders went off together. The first lap was not as fast as I thought it would be. I was able to keep the leaders in sight for most of the first lap—in fact, I spotted Dan two-thirds of the way up the final climb when I was just starting out at the bottom. I was worried he was having a bad race, as he normally is far ahead of me.

The second lap was uneventful. I was able to sit on a couple of wheels. I often felt that I could go a bit harder, but I knew I would get caught on the final climb.

I got behind a fairly fast rider for the last lap. We were in the same class (Expert 30-39), and I asked him where he thought we were sitting. He said that he thought we could be as high as first and second! I had to work pretty hard to keep up with him that lap, but I was still right behind him at the base of the final climb. Once the climb started, he pulled of into the distance. I suffered up the climb and finished the race.

I ended up in 3rd place! I was pleased with this result; I have never raced my SS against the geared riders in the expert class. I would have won the SS class by over five minutes. Dan took 2nd Place in Elite. It was a good day for Founder’s riders and for singlespeeders. It was a nice confidence booster two weeks before Iceman.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The week in review

Rode the new DDX on Tuesday on the road. It was a good ride, and I think I have the saddle position figured out. It might need to be inched forward just a bit, but otherwise it is fine.

On Thurdsay, I went to Cannonsburg with Dan and Nate. It was cold, and we had our first snow of the season. It had snowed all day, and when we hit the trail at around 6:15 PM it was cold. We messed around a bit before starting to ride; looking at lines for the 'cross race next weekend. We hit the trail, and I had no legs. It was pretty bad; I could not keep the other guys in sight. I packed it in after that lap. I don't know if I was still tired from Boyne or if I still had a bit of my cold from the week before. In any case, I was not able to finish the ride.

Today I was back at Cannonsburg for some trail maintenance. It went well, and I did the trail on the DDX. While not an awesome trail bike, it got the job done. I will be back there tomorrow with Nate. We opted out of the Poto singlespeed world championships; too long of a drive, and I just didn't feel up to it. I'm guessing we will do two hours at the 'burg tomorrow--that will be plenty.

Next week will see a couple hard efforts on Tuesday and Thursday, and then the Peak to Peak race on Saturday and Kiss Cross on Sunday. I got a new digital camera so perhaps that will be some new pictures for the blog soon.

Quiring Bike Update: I talked to Scott this week; he has machined most of the tubes and started welding the rear end. Mike Curiak shipped my wheels on Friday, and most of the major parts are sitting in my basement. I have a few small parts that should be here this week, with the bike arriving perhaps the week after. Good Times...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Cross Country

I was up at Boyne Mountain this weekend for the Fun Promotions race. There was some controversy earlier in the week, as the promoter of this race bills it as the "State Championship". Some racers took exception to that, as there is no sanctioning body involved, no series that leads up to this race, no special purse, etc. Anyway, I don't give a rip about this stuff. I have done races put on by this promoter for years, and nearly always have a good time. He can call it the super-duper all-in hyper-championship for all I care--I was just happy to be racing again.

Boyne is a fun course. I have done 24 hour events there, both solo and on teams. I have also done a few XC races there. It is always a good time; I think it is one of the best venues in the state. Usually, the fall race is wet. This course has many roots and is covered in leaves in the fall, making for very slippery conditions. This year the weather was post-card perfect, with temps in the high 60's and lots of bright sunshine. Best of all, there was not a drop of water or spec of mud on the course.

I did the singlespeed class, which in hindsight might have been a mistake as only three people signed up. Since I don't do XC races very often, I didn't know either of them. One guy was on a nice Ionic 29er and the other was on a 26er Monocog. I chatted with the Ionic guy for a minute before the race, and he seemed to know what he was doing.

The gun went off, and I put my head down and went as fast as I could for the next 90 minutes. I never saw either of the other racers until the finish line. I won the race, and passed a small handful of geared expert riders in the process. My chain stayed on and I was able to put in a hard effort despite my recent (and still lingering) sickness. I was very pleased with my effort.

Next week has no races, with the following week being the first running of the Peak to Peak race. I will be up there with a few friends and teammates, hopeful that my pre-Iceman preparations continue to be successful.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Did the Tuesday night cross training ride last night. Dan, Nate and Scott came along. It was fun for me because I was riding a fancy new Slingshot DDX. I ended up getting the bike that Slingshot built for Interbike; that is to say, it is pretty fancy. It is far fancier than I would have guessed my first cross bike would be, but the price was right and I have waited a long time to make this purchase. How fancy is it? Well, there is Dura-ace here, fancy carbon there, and some fancy green tires thrown in for good measure.

I still need to make a few adjustments to the bike, but for a first ride last night went well. There was one incident that confirmed that this was the bike for me. We were flying down a piece of two-track that was downhill and slightly off-camber. At the bottom of the hill was a sharp right-hand turn. I entered the turn way too fast, and was sure I was about to visit the bottom of the ravine off to my left. I closed my eyes, leaned to the right, and the bike just screamed through the corner! I was shocked to still be upright, and Dan commented that he thought for sure I wouldn't make the turn. Yes, that bike is gonna work out just fine...

In spite of the cool new bike, I was not as fast as I would have liked. Today, I think I figured out why. I have a bit of a cold; stuffy nose, sore throat, headache and a bit run down. Becky had it last week, and Dan mentioned that he wasn't feeling great either. This sucks, since I am supposed to be racing this Sunday. Scratch that; I WILL be racing this Sunday. It just might not be as much fun as it should be. I will be staying home from work and resting up tomorrow.

More good news: I got the first CAD drawing of my Quiring 29er today! The bike looks great; the geometry looks alot like a Niner One 9. I had a few questions for Scott, but I think we are on target.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I did the Kiss Cross race today at Richmond Park. Since the Slingshot folks were all at Interbike, I wasn't able to get the DDX deal squared away. Not a problem, I just took the single speed. I work pretty well, right up until the point that THE CHAIN CAME OFF! Cursing, wailing and the nashing of teeth was heard. I didn't loose any positions, but I was still not pleased. Thank goodness Scot Q. is hard at work building me a new bike...

Anyway, I beat almost all the people that I wanted to beat and I think I was the first singlespeed across the line. I was able to keep the pressure on for the entire ride which was another major goal. The super-secret Tuesday and Thursday rides seem to be helping.

Here is a pic:
Notice the intensity, the focus, the crazy handlebars....

Normal rides this week, and I think the Boyne race is this weekend. Hope that chain stays on!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A good week...

Two good rides happened this week. I rode cross bikes with Nate and Dan on Tuesday and singlespeed bikes with Nate and Dan on Thursday. Both were very good rides; Iceman training is in full effect.

On Tuesday, we had an interesting experience. When I arrived at Nate's to start the ride, there was a large trailer parked in the back yard filled with 4.5 cubic yards of wood chips. Nate mentioned that he had to spread those chips around the kids' swingset before he could go to bed for the night. We rode cross bikes for an hour, until Dan realized he had lost 3 of his 5 chainring bolts! We went back to Nate's so Dan could scrounge some bolts to get his bike working again. As he was doing that, Nate and I...Shoveled wood chips! There we were, fully-clad in spandex and helmet lights with shovels and rakes laying down the chips; it was a hoot! Dan took some pictures, which I will post if they turn out. We then hit the road for another hour of riding.

I was on Dan's singlespeed Cross-Check. It was a nice ride; stiff where necessary but smooth over the bumps. It had a fairly serious gear on, so I suffered. Dan and Nate are both wicked fast on the cross bike, and they were on geared DD-X frames from Slingshot. I was butt-deep in the hurt locker most of the night.

Thursday I was late for the single speed ride. I met up with the guys after they had already put in at least an hour of hard riding. We met up at the parking lot of Cannonsburg Ski Area, and proceeded to head over to ride a section of trail that is not quite open to bikes. (Note: It was not Egypt Valley...) Anyway, we took a new route to this trail. This new route went up a killer hill. Fun was had by all. I felt great, in part because I had plenty of pasta the night before and slept for a full eight hours. I still suffered some on the climbs, but all in all I felt pretty good.

Why was I late for the ride? Well, I had to visit this guy. I gave him some money, and he is going to build me one of these. Mine will have singlespeed paragon dropouts and won't be green; can you guess what color it *will* be?

"So Joe", you might be thinking, "I thought you were about to become unemployed? What's with the fancy new bike?" Well, it turns out that I accepted a job offer today. I won't go into too many details, but suffice it to say that I am very exited about my new job. And now I can get a new bike and I will complete three races before the end of the season; here, here and of course here. I wish they were endurance races, but I will settle for cross country at this point. I am very psyched to race. I am also psyched that my new bike just might be here for Iceman; I'll keep you posted.

That's it for now. I plan to race the Kiss Cross race this weekend. I'll be rideing my main singlespeed bike for this one. Chances are pretty good that I will have an actual cross bike of my own for the next cross ride. Once again, stay tuned for details...

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Park to Park

We bailed on the Tripple Trail Challenge, as the weather was sketchy and it was unclear if the ride would be held at all. So we decided to go ride the North County Trail instead.

The North Country Trail ride was called off due Bummer.

Instead, Dan Jansen and I did a four+ hour cross bike ride. I borrowed his cross-check. It was a good ride, which we dubbed the "Park to Park Epic Ride". We rode from Riverside Park to Richmond Park to Nate's house to ride his mini-cross course. We picked up Nate and rode to John Ball Park and hiked up the uber-hill. We then jotted over to Highland Park to reprise last week's cross race. After that it was over to Manhattan Park to prep for the next Kiss Cross ride after a quick tour around Reed's Lake.

Good Times.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Good Training

I skipped the Tuesday cross ride. I had a meeting that I had been trying to set up for a month, and the only time the other person could meet was 5 PM on Tuesday. I did make it over to Nate's to help him and Dan assemble Nate's new singlespeed. Good times...

Last night was the Thursday Night secret trail ride. Scott, Nate, me and a new guy named Joe threw the hammer down a bit. Nate and I were on singlespeeds (with big Iceman gears) and the other two riders were on geared bikes. The new guy had a pretty weak light, and had lost his mtb shoes (!) and was riding with road shoes and pedals (!!). The secret trails have quite a few spots where it is necessary to dab or run up loose, sandy hills. Needless to say, he had troubles with equipment. However, he seemed like a strong rider and kept a good attitude threw it all.

The ride as about two hours. I don't know if the ride was slower or if I was faster, but I was able to hang pretty well. Last week I was shelled out the back and had a rough night.

Today I took the day off work to do some errands and pack for the trip to Poto for the Triple Trail challenge. Dan and I (and maybe the new guy Joe) will head over there this afternoon for a quick preride tonight. Then we will hammer the 50 miles tomorrow, hang out for the party, and then get a quick ride in Sunday morning as well. There has also been some talk about a night ride.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Cross Pictures

I can't seem to find me digital camera, so I had to swipe these from here. It sure looks like I was giving it my all; too bad the speed didn't match the grimace.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

All Crossed up at Kiss Cross

Today was the first real cross race of the season. I had my singlespeed set up with 1.7 tires, but Jason Mead set me up with his Jake the Snake while he rode his DDX. This was my second ride on a real cross bike, and my first race on a real cross bike.

I did less well than I would have liked. I did the 'A' race, and had no intention of running with the lead group. There were some real fast guys at this race, and even some of the fast locals ended up getting lapped. The Snake was a fun bike to ride, but I really need to get my own bike. The reach was a bit short, the wheels a bit heavy, but what the heck; it's somebody's backup bike. I was glad for the opportunity to ride it. I finished near the back of the pack.

Lots of riding this week. Cross training on Tuesday, super-secret trail riding on Thursday. Triple Trail Challenge on Saturday, with some Poto riding Friday and Sunday. Got to get in shape for Iceman...

Friday, September 15, 2006

What's up?

No ride on Tuesday; it was wet and cold, people had to work late, and [insert excuse here].

Scott, Dan and I rode MTB's last night. We rode a bunch of trails around Egypt Valley State Game Area. Most of these trails were new to me, and it got dark just as we got to the tricky stuff. Lots of under-used trails with logs, short and steep hills, off-camber high-speed stuff; fun to ride, but I was perhaps a bit over-geared. This will become a weekly ride.

First cross race of the season is Sunday. I still don't have a cross bike, so I will either skip this one or use the MTB. Next weekend is the Triple Trail Challenge, a ride on the east side of the state. This will involve tents, cook-fires and lots of hard riding. Good Stuff! Perhaps I will bring...a camera?

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mother Nature and Psycocross Baptism

I did a four-hour ride on the singlespeed yesterday. The forecast included a chance for rain, so I packed a rain jacket.

Just before my turn-around point, it started to sprinkle. Just after I turned around, it started to rain in ernest. I decided to push on through. Then, the brightest flash of lightning and loudest crash of thunder I have EVER heard exploded somewhere just over my head. The rain was coming down in buckets. I pulled over to put on my jacket and take off my glasses. Did I mention it was about 8pm, and dark. I was sporting LED and HID lights, but the rain and clouds combined to make vision an issue. After a few more crashes of thunder, the rain eased off a bit and eventually stopped.

Although the rain had ended, I could see lightning off in the distance. I put the hammer down to get home before the next cell rolled through. No such luck. More thunder, lightning and rain as I hit the one hour to go mark. I saw a couple of people sitting under an overpass, and I decided to stop and make sure they didn't need any help. This couple was in t-shirts and shorts, no helmets and no lights; something I see every day. However, in this case it turned out to be Neil Scharphorn and his wife! We hung out and talked until the rain let up. They I guided them back to their car.

I got home, ate some food, and went to sleep.

Woke up this morning to find that I had no electricity. I went out for breakfast--I knew I'd need the fuel for the Kiss Cross kick-off ride. I got to the start location an hour early, because I need to help set up the Slingshot DD-X I would be using for this ride. What a sweet bike! It was light and stable. It smoothed out the stutter bumps. It climbed like a champ--what more can I say? It was a very fun and effective bike, and one that I plan to add to my quiver as soon as the job situation gets resolved.

A bunch of people showed up for this ride, a couple dozen at least. Dan Jansen, Nate Versluis, Danielle Musto, Russ Tiles, half of the Priority Health road team; it was a who's who of Michigan racing. One guy in particular I was happy to see. We had a nice chat about steel, ti, Paragon drop-outs and the like. Are my days of using a converted singlespeed frame nearing an end? Could be...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Quick Update

A busy week, with a wee bit of riding thrown in. Spent the weekend in Chicago, where I saw more 'core singlespeed road bikes than you could shake a stick at. I'm talking about old-skool, mid-'70s, slotted drops, flopped-and-chopped bars and aluminum toe-clips. I saw very few pre-packaged track bikes. Pretty cool stuff. This was mostly in Wicker Park, by the way. No bikes on Michigan Ave, thank you very much.

Anyway, the trip was good, but no riding was done. I think I rode some on Monday, but I don't remember exactly. Great ride with the team on Tuesday. Dan (National Endurance Series SingleSpeed Champion) Jansen came out, as did Nate, and Jason. Scot and Danielle showed up for pizza and beer after, but were absent from the ride. Good Times.

Did a little spinning around tonight, but have serious miles on tap for the next two weeks.

Also, things are happening with the job search. Nothing to report yet, but perhaps soon. Stay tuned...

Friday, September 01, 2006

People need to chill...

This is just...silly.

First, the 'Snob is a stand-up guy.

Second, anyone that races endurance events knows that you can't race a frame that is damaged. After training for months and spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to do a race, you have to have perfect faith in your equipment. Suggesting that someone ride the frame until it breaks shows a lack of understanding regarding what goes into getting ready for and completing an endurance race.

Third, if the frame shipped out of alignment, then Niner needs to make it right. If the frame was knocked out of alignment during less than a year of normal use, I would argue that Niner needs to make that right as well. You may disagree, and that is fine. I guess I hold companies that I respect to a higher standard.

Finally, it is my guess is that Niner is going to take care of the 'Snob. I believe that that are a company that stands behind their product.

Just my $.02.

Three Days, 300 Miles

I had a brainstorm last night. Becky will be out of town next weekend, and I will have some time ride my bike. I'm thinking that I will do 100 mile night ride on Friday on the White Pine Trail, 100 mile road ride to Holland on Saturday and cap it all off with a 100 mile road ride to Grand Haven on Sunday.

I need to practice my night riding. I figure it will be dark for three or four hours of the Friday ride. The road riding is just for the heck of it.

Three days, 300 miles. It's like a slow-motion TI, but with road bikes thrown in....

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Weekly Update?

I guess I am on the weekly update schedule these days.

I did something yesterday that I haven't done in several years; I rode a geared bike. I rode three, in fact. It was Cannondale Demo Days, and demo I did. I rode a Rush 500, a XT-level Scalpel, and the semi-mythical Carbon Rush.

I last rode a geared bike in 2003. That bike was equipped with SRAM grip shift. The bikes I used yesterday had SRAM trigger shifters or Shimano duel-control. So not only was I trying to relearn how and when to shift, I had to master two different shifting systems.

My verdict: The Rush 500 is a tank. The suspention worked great, but it was heavy. I liked the Scalpel; it felt snappy and fairly light. The longer top tube was a good fit for my riding style. I was not blown away by the Carbon Rush. Don't get me wrong; it is a nice bike. The suspention was set up for someone 30 pounds heavier than me, which made the ride somewhat harsh. It was light, but light for a full suspention bike isn't *really* light. For $2500, it would be a very good bike. For $5500, I'll buy two Santa Cruz Superlights and go endurance racing.

My take-away from all this? Geared bikes are ok, but I prefer singlespeeds. The drivetrain added a ton of weight and made all kinds of noise. And it didn't seem to make me faster. The only upside was how easy the ride was on my knee (and the rest of my body). If the knee isn't 100% by spring, I'll have to revisit this topic.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Long Time, No Post

Well, it has been an interesting week. Last Tuesday, two pros joined us for out team ride. It is not uncommon for Mark Hendershot to show up, but to have this guy ride along was rare. He used to ride with us all the time, but went off to ride the Big Time instead. Funny thing was, the ride was slower than usual. Go figure.

Saturday, while many friends and teammates were racing at Pando, I was up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for the Upper Loop. This is a semi-formal ride hosted by a brother of a friend of mine. I did this ride in 2003, but since it is on the same day as Pando, I have skipped it for the last two years. Since I am not racing right now, I saw no reason not to make a return trip. It was well worth the drive-I had a great time. The Upper Loop is 100 miles, and the people that are invited to participate are a varied and interesting group. I won the sprint competition, but was relegated to second place in the hill climb. A good time was had by all, even thought most of the last 50 miles were in a steady downpour.

This week's team ride was a hoot! A ton of people showed up for what was billed as a "moderate" ride with a cook-out to follow. Instead, it turned into a hammer-fest with several fast riders pushed to near-upchuck levels of effort. No less than three (3) pro's showed up for the ride: Mark Hendershot, Danielle Musto, and Amy Stauffer. Rick of Kiss Cross fame was there, as was the overall winner of the Pando 12 hour (and the 3rd Place guy as well) the 3rd Place Expert Men 35-44 (sandbagger!) guy from the Pontiac Lake XC race. The ride was fun, and much food (and some beer) was consumed afterward. Someone took pictures, which I bet will show up here.

As indicated, I did 100 on Saturday. I also did 50ish on Sunday. I think we did something over 40 on the team ride. I plan to get a few more miles in this week off-road. Next weekend I will be in Chicago, so no riding. Need to keep getting faster for psychocross and Iceman.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Interesting couple of rides

Rode Friday with Becky at Egypt Valley. She did great, but I was tired. We ended up with just one lap.

Saturday I joined Dan Jansen for the final four of his ten laps out at Cannonsburg Ski Area. The secret to riding with Dan is to let him ride for three hours before you show up. I rode with him for about 2.5 hours; it had been a hot day and he was looking a little rough when I showed up. The new singletrack at this site is great--if you are in the area and have not done the new parts of the trail, you will be impressed. Anyway, it was nice to be able to keep pace with Dan. When I got home I told my wife I was 40% of the man Dan was, as he did 10 laps and I did 4. Good times, good times.

Today four of us did a longish ride. Mark Hendershot and Dan Jansen were in the group. It was supposed to be a 100, but my computer showed 91.5 at the end of the day. The pace was pretty good for the first 50, somewhere north of 24mph. After a quick lunch at the beachside taco stand, the headed back home. One of the riders was having some tailbone issues, so the pace was more relaxed on the way back. The highlight of this ride (outside of the beers at Founder's) was watching Dan pedal away from the group on a singlespeed, no-handed, hitting around 30 mph; did I mention that he was on a singlespeed and he was riding NO-HANDED!?! That just isn't right...

This week should see lots of miles; 91 today, 50 on Tuesday, 20-40 on Thursday and 100 on Saturday. Like I say, good times.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Quick Update

I had a great ride on Tuesday. A bunch of fast people showed up, and the hammer was thrown down. This was the first team ride all year where I worked so hard I started to cramp up. The weather was good, the pace was high, and a good time was had by all.

I failed to win any sprints. Dan Jansen showed up, and he smoked everybody on (I think) all the sprints. On his fixed-gear. I don't know what size chainring he had, but it looked like one of those industial-sized buzz-saw blades. It was huge, and he had the legs to back it up. That guy is scary-fast.

Had a friend in from out of town tonight, so no ride. I do plan to ride for the next three days, capping the set off with a hundred-plus on Sunday.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Those of you that ride with me know I don't like to climb. I can get up the hills OK, but I can't get up them fast. Slow and steady is fine for endurance racing; in fact, I end up walking most hills by the end of a 24-hour race. But for shorter races or throwing down with the locals, speed up the hills is important.

Last season, I didn't work on climbing at all. This season, I am working on it when I can. Yesterday I did Dan Jansen's Climbing Loop. It's a collection of just about all the hills in and around Cannonsburg Ski Area and Egypt Valley Stage Game Area. It takes about two hours to complete, and it is a decent workout. I rode my backup bike. Something is wrong with that machine, and I think I have figured out what that something is. The bottom bracket. It creaks like that is no tomorrow. By paying careful attention to the noise, and when and where it shows itself, I think I have eliminated every other source of this creak. Also, the chain stayed on without any problem during the ride.

Today I took the main bike out for some road climbing. Two climbs up Serenity Ridge and two climbs up Scenic Drive. Not quite as much work as Dan's loop, but it allows me to focus on power output as opposed to technique. No dropped chains, but the chain did loosen up a bit. I am going to install some washers between the axel end and the frame on the ENO hub. I have read that others with ti frames have had slipping issues, and washers can help.

Easy ride tomorrow, team ride on Tuesday, easy ride or run on Wednesday, back to the ski area for Dan's Loop on Thursday, weather permitting. Got to get the legs ready for psychocross season and Iceman.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Random Thoughts

I spent some time today talking to someone who is going to do a 12-hour race on a singlespeed later this month. This conversation got me thinking about racing and how much I miss it. Riding is fun, and I have been able to ride enough to keep my base of fitness. But endurance racing on singlespeed bikes is...Awesome. As in, I am in awe of the people that do it. I really miss it, and missing it makes me want to work 24/7 to find my new job so I can get back to racing.

Also on the topic of racing, people are starting to talk about TransIowa III. It looks like Mark and Jeff are planning a loop instead of a point-to-point race. Sounds good to me, as that should make the logistics easier for both racers and organizers. Every year I leave that race thinking I've seen all of Iowa that I need to see, and every year I find myself strangely compelled to return. I suspect I know where I will be in early April '07...

My geared bike inclination seems to have passed, for the most part. The chain is staying on the main bike, and I think I have the chain tension issues on the backup bike sorted out as well. I have been drawn to this website more often than I'd care to admit; I really don't need to replace the frames I have but it is hard to argue with Mr. Jansen.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Hey, it's hot out!

Did the team ride last night, if you can call three guys with matching jerseys a "team ride". Seems like 98F degrees and humid was too much for most of the regulars. We did about 50 miles. I suffered on the hills, and Nate took most of the green jersey points--neither Chip nor I really seems to have the legs or the lungs to duke it out with him.

Looks like the weather will break this weekend. There is talk of work on a secret trail, eating tasty fresh roasted corn and maybe even drinking a beer or two on Saturday. Oh, and a couple of hours riding on that secret trail as well.

Congratulations to Danielle, Mark, and Paddy (and Naomi!) at Nationals! I was very sad that I could not be there as well. I hear that Nationals will be back at 9 Mile next year, so I *will* get my chance to race there. Watch your back, Paddy...

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Floyd, say it ain't so! That's all I've got to say on that subject.

Did a road ride on Tuesday with the team. Well, a few members of the team. Only five people started the ride, and one bailed out along the way. Seems he needed to rest up for this weekend. Good luck, Mark.

The four remaining riders enjoyed the heat. Many sprints were contested, and I took my fair share. Not as many as Nate, but enough to feel like I earned the beer and mini-burrito afterward.

Speaking of hot, I will be riding this weekend. I don't know when or where, but it should involve knobby tires. I'll drink a cool glass of water out of respect to all the riders at Nationals. Then I will go to sleep and enjoy the AC and eight hours of rest.


Sunday, July 23, 2006

Super Secret Trail Ride

A few lucky members of the Founder's Ale team gathered yesterday afternoon to ride some secret trail. The weather was great, sunny but not too warm or humid. The trail was in great condition. There were six of us: Martin, Scott, Jason, Rick, Tim, and me. Two fully-rigid singlespeeds, two hardtails and two full suspention bikes. We managed to have one flat, three chain drops (two were mine), and a couple crashes. No bodies or bikes were damaged beyond repair on this ride.

I won't say too much about the trail, since you can't ride it anyway! :) I have driven past this trail many times, and never knew it was there. A small group of riders have put alot of time into keeping this trail in top shape. I'm glad I made the time to join this ride.

After a couple of hours of riding, we headed back to Martin's place for some brats and homebrew beer. Marin is a master of both the grill and the brewery. Rick also brought some of his homebrew--On the Founder's team, we take out beer quite seriously. Several teammates that couldn't make the ride joined us for dinner. Good times were had by all.

I had two bike issues on this ride. I let the chain get slack, and eventually it fell off. I put it back on and it lasted for another hour before I had to snug it up. I think I have solved the bulk of my chain issues; of course, I have thought I had this problem beat before.

The second problem I had was with my camelback. As I was riding along, I felt a little drip of liquid on my backside. The little drip developed into a stream and then into a geyser! The drinking tube had pulled away from the bladder, and about a liter of Gu20 spilled down my back! My socks and shoes were filled with it. This was not ideal. We only had about 30 minutes to ride, so I toughed it out.

After the ride, I took a short spin on a cannondale rush. Going from a fully-rigid bike to a full-suspention bike with 4 inches of travel at each end is...quite an experience! The bike was not set up for me; the seat was too high and I can't believe I would run it quite so plush. But I am interested in giving it another try at some point. It was so comfortable, I couldn't believe it. I wonder how it goes up-hill. I also wonder how it would feel after 16 or so hours in the saddle.

This week has the team ride on Tuesday and some trail riding later in the week at the new and improved Cannonsburg Ski Area.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Good Week

It's been a good week on the bike. I did the team road ride on Tuesday. It was fun; I haven't ridden fast on the road in quite a while. The pace was not excessively fast and the climbing was limited. We did have some nice sprints and I was able to win my share.

I took the ss out on the road tonight for some climbing. It was a good time; the weather cooled off a bit and I was able to put in some good efforts. I passed someone on a geared bike on the second climb of the ride. He caught me on the flat section of road on the way to the third climb. Well, can't have that. I got into TT mode and chased him down. I was spinning like crazy to get the 40x17 to hit 22 MPH, but I caught him. He peeled off shortly after that, and I finished up my climbing and headed home. Had to watch the tour recap--How about that Floyd?

Team secret trail ride on Saturday followed by some road riding on Sunday. Running when I'm not riding to get ready for psychocross season. No need to taper for Nine Mile, since I won't be there...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Parts Test and 100k

Rode the new parts on Thursday. It was on the road, but I hammered a few hills. the chain stayed on without any problems. I plan to take it off-road tomorrow and see how things go there. I have to say that the 44t-sized bash guard makes the bike look tough! Now if I can just get my legs to back it up...

Becky and I did 100k today on road bikes. That is the longest ride she has ever done, and she did great! We planned to avereage 15 MPH, and ended up doing 16. I turned it up a little near the end, getting up around 20-21 MPH for most of the last hour. She sat on my wheel like a pro--I kept waiting for her to blow by me on the left! :)

Anyway, it was a good ride. Looking forward to the dirt tomorrow and a report on chain retention.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Gear Update

I installed the rest of the new parts. A bashguard and 40t ring join the Jumpstop in the never-ending quest to keep my chain from falling off.

It is raining tonight, so I won't get to test the new setup. Tomorrow or Thursday I should have a report.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Surprise Workout

The Jumpstop arrived on Thursday, so I installed it at lunch and went out for a test ride. I dropped chain three times in the first seven mile lap, which pissed me off. I tightened up the ENO in the parking lot, thinking that I would do one more lap.

As I was crossing the road to enter the trail, who do I see but Dan and Nate. You may remember Dan and Nate from my Arkansas trip earlier this year. They convinced me to ride with them for a while.

We did Dan's training loop. It consists of pretty much all the hills in and around Cannonsburg and Egypt Valley. We rode the ski hill (three versions), some dirt road climbs, some secret trails and some not so secret trails.

Riding with those guys is great! They are so much faster than me that is just isn't funny. It reminds me of how fast it is possible to go. I could most keep up with them, but only because they were taking it pretty easy. And they smoked me on all the hills. All the hills, every time.

And here is the kicker--My chain didn't drop once while riding with those guys! We rode for over two hours, with lots of climbing and hard efforts. The chain didn't even think about dropping. I just don't get it.

Monday, July 03, 2006


While cleaning my main bike in anticipation of parts arriving later this week, I noticed that the master link was loose. Could this have been the cause of my chain trouble at Lumberjack?


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Two Rides, no chain drop

I was able to ride a bit yesterday with Becky. The pace was moderate, but we still had a good ride. My bike worked fine, at least from the perspective of chain drop. However, the bike did have a awful 'creak' that just would not go away. I think it is the seat/seatpost interface. Anyway, I need to get that fixed. It nearly drove Becky and me crazy!

I got a status update on the new bike parts--they won't be here until Thursday or Friday. I want to give the main bike a workout this weekend, so I hope there isn't any delay in the arrival of those bits.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A ride without chain drop... the best kind of ride! I put another set of washers in the stack that space my rear brake caliper, tightened the Eno and went out for a ride. I hammered a local trail (Egypt valley SGA) and was not able to dislodge the chain.

The ride felt good. The weather was perfect and the trail was in great condition. My computer isn't working, so I don't know how fast I went, but it felt pretty fast. I'll take it.

I might be doing Poto this weekend. I also might not be doing Poto this weekend. I have some other plans that will take up one full day of the weekend, so I don't know if I can spare another full day for riding. In a year where I was full-on racing, the answer would be clear-poto would get ridden hard and put away wet. As it stands, I might spend Saturday scraping and painting garage trim. Blah...

The anti-chain-drop parts shipped today. They should be here early next week. I want to get them installed and get back to hammering the big gear. The back-up is just under 2x1 (34-18), so riding it is fun but only so much of a workout. The main bike will be sporting 40-17; that'll break a sweat for sure.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


Last night I...

I assembled a geared crankset. I dusted off a set of shifters.

What is wrong with me?!?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

More Frustration

I rode the back-up bike today. The chain won't stay on.


I'm very close to converting one bike back to gears.

Somebody talk me out of it!


Friday, June 23, 2006

One Last Try

From time to time, the chain falls off my bike. Most often, this happens when I am riding hard. For example, during Iceman 2005 or the first Milkjug race. However, it doesn't fall off every time I ride hard. I rode extremely hard at DK, and had no chain issues at all.

Every time I think I have this figured out, something new creeps into the equation. I now believe that when all drivetrain parts are out-of-the-box new, the chain will not fall off for at least 200 miles of hard riding. After that, the chain will not fall off during light or moderate riding, and can even put up with some hard riding. However, the combination of slightly worn parts and frame flex causes the chain to fall off during repeated hard efforts.

I will not let chain issues ruin another race for me.

To that end, I have the following parts on order; A Raceface 40t bashguard, a new 40t Blackspire DH chainring, and an N-Gear Jumpstop. This combination should keep the chain on; it works for some Very Fast People who must flex their frame more than I ever could. If it doesn't work, I will retire my current bikes from singlespeed use. Perhaps I will give up the singlespeed thing at that point. Or perhaps I will get a new frame. I just don't know yet.

As far as riding is concerned, I have been taking it a bit easy this week. I was frustrated with my performance at Lumberjack, and I wanted to sort through my chain issues before I got that bike out again. My other ss is set up with 34x18, so riding that hardly counts as a workout. I did get the road bike out on Monday and Tuesday for rides with Becky. I hope to put in some harder efforts this weekend. No endurance racing on the horizon until the job situation is more stable. If I get all the chain issues worked out, I'd like to do a XC race or two so I don't get too rusty.

Sunday, June 18, 2006



My first real dnf in an endurance race. It was hot, well over 90F. I had some bike problems. Mostly, however, I just had other things on my mind. I was not focused the week before the race. The race was just too hard without the proper focus.

Congratulations to singlespeed winners Dan Jansen and Danielle Musto! They did great under horrible conditions. Chris Eatough, the overall winner, was amazing.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Still riding, not much blogging

I did a nice century last week. 5.5 hours, so the pace was not too hard. No drama, which is the way I like it. The only interesting thing was my food consumption, or lack thereof. I ate two Hammer Gel packets, 2 bottles of Gu2O, 2 bottles of water, and a cheeseburger from Burger King. That was it. I eat more than that just sitting at my desk all morning at work! :)

Becky and I rode together quite a bit this week. We were out on road bikes twice and MTB's once. Here riding is coming along great; I am sure she will do fine for the metric century in July. It's too bad she doesn't have more time to train; she would be hella-fast!

This will be a pretty easy week. I'm thinking about another easy-pace 100 tomorrow, with one-hour spins the rest of the week. I will drive up to Lumberjack on Friday afternoon, and hammer like there was no tomorrow on Saturday.

More on Lumberjack gear and expectations later in the week.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Ah, Old Seatpost. You have served me well these past six seasons. I know you served another master for two years before you came to serve me. Now, you are but a shattered image of your former self. At least you did not impale my manhood when you decided to slip this mortal coil...

Alas, my old Airborne Ti seatpost snapped during yesterday's Milkjug race. During my pre-ride, it felt like my rear tire was a bit low on air. I stopped to check it, and it was fine. The race started, and I managed to get through 3/4 of a lap without incident. Just after cresting the last big climb, I dropped onto my seat. The post gave two funny creaks and snapped in half, right at the point where it enters the seat tube. I was not hurt, but that was it for my race.

On the plus side, I received a certificate for a new Thompson seatpost at TI. I filled it out today, and will have it in the mail tomorrow. I will run that for a while, but I suspect that I will go back to another ti post before too long.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day Update

It has been a nice, relaxing Memorial Day weekend. Becky and I spent some time with family and friends. We got in a nice road ride this morning. We knew it was going to get warm, so we were on the road by 9 AM. We got in 27 miles, which is what Becky's training schedule called for today. She is preparing for the Holland Hundred, where she will complete her first Metric Century.

I feel fully rested from Kanza. My knees are still giving me a bit of trouble, so I am getting out ahead of the pain with advil. I have scrapped up $10 to race the Milkjug event this week; that will let me know how things are going with the knees for sure!

I hope to get in quite a few miles this week, along with some nice climbs. I want to be tuned and trim for Lumberjack, as that may well be my last race until I find a new job. I plan to have nothing left in the tank after that race, and a nice sub-8 hour finish to my credit. That means I need to get out and ride in the heat this week.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Post-Kanza Riding

My recover from DK has gone very well. I rode my road bike for an hour Tuesday and Thursday and took my singlespeed out to a local trail for 1.5 hours on Friday. The road bike rides were fine; mostly flat and very slow speeds. The SS ride was not quite as smooth. I didn't push the pace, but my legs felt a little flat and my knees were (and are!) a bit sore. This is odd, becasue I never get sore knees.

Anyway, I plan to ride today and tomorow. This week will see a return to bigger miles and more intensity. I will also be crafting a plan for the final weeks before the Lumberjack 100.


My eating plan for the first 88 miles was to carry everything that I would need with me so I would not have to stop. I carried a 3 liter camelback with Gu2O and two water bottles with 6 scoops of Perpetum each. I also carried 6 Hammer Gels and 6 Hammer Nutrition bars. That was it.

It worked. I drank Gu2O whenever I wanted, and ate a gel or bar every 15 miles. I drank from the Perpetum every 5 miles. When I got to the checkpoint, I had one sip of Gu2O and half a bottle of Perpetum left over. I ate 5 gels and 1 bar. I wasn't hungry or thirsty, and my stomach was doing ok as well.

I also took 2 advil every 4 hours and 2 endurolytes capsuls every two hours. I think I also had 1 or 2 tums.

The second half of the race also went well. I did end up stopping for a liter of water in Eureka and a liter of water in the last town before the finish. I think I ate 2 bars and 8 gels. I did feel bloated at times, but this was never more than a minor distraction. I was starting to get hungry near the end of the ride. I think I was due for a nutrition bar with an hour or two left to go, and I just didn't feel like eating it.

All things considered, my eating plan went very well. I could have done the second half of the race with one stop instead of two, but I was getting a sore spot at the base of my neck and I didn't want to carry a full three liters of water out of Eureka. If this was a 300 mile race or a 24-hour race, I would have wanted some pizza or a bean burrito around 10PM.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Kanza Equipment Review

Frame and Fork: Airborne Ti Lucky Strike Frame/Spicer Ti Rigid For
Both worked great! I have been riding this combo for two years now, and it has never let me down. Light, strong, and just flexy enough to take the edge off. *Great* for gravel. And yeah, it's a 26'er.

Handlebar: Jones H-Bar
What can I say that hasn't been said? This is the cats PJ's. At TIv1 I used riser bars and Ergon grips. My pinkie and ring fingers were numb for weeks. After DK, no pain, no numbness. If you ride long, do yourself a favor and get this bar.

Singlespeed conversion Device: White Industries Eccentric ENO Hub
Super. No problems, no slipping, no nothing for 206 fun-filled miles.

Freewheel: White Industries ENO Freewheel, 16t
Again, why would you run anything else? I'm pretty sure I saw one on Paddy's bike as well...

Tires: Kenda Kozmik Lite
Kenda is a sponsor, but I have to say that there tires did not get the job done. I have used them on and off for a few years, and they seem to let me down every time. They are wicked light, but not worth the two flats and one crash they (at least partially) caused. If they can't get it done on gravel, they are never gonna get it done.

Pedals: Crank Brothers Eggbeaters
Tried and true; they got the job done again. This is the same pair I used at Iowa last year, and they are still going strong.

Seat: Selle Italia SLR w/o leather cover
Yes, it looks like hell. The leather cover is gone, and the foam padding is slowing wearing away. But that thing fits my butt like a glove. Combined with Body Glide and Butt Butter, I came away with no saddle sores! (Yes, I'm a little tender down there, but I rode for an hour yesterday without trouble.

That about wraps it up. I left out a few pieces (ti seatpost, King Front Hub and Headset, etc) that don't need to be mentioned unless they crap out. Feel free to ask if you have any specific questions.

Tomorrow I will cover nutrition and my eating plan.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Super-Long Dirty Kanza Post

I didn't think I had much to say on this topic, but I was wrong! Tomorrow I will talk about equipment performance and nutrition.

Dirty Kanza Race Report

I was on the road at 6:20 EDT on Friday. There were some clouds and light rain early, but after I passed Chicago it was bright sky and warm temps. After KC, it was bright sky and freaking *hot* temps. My car thermometer read 104 F! This made me quite nervous, as I have not done many miles in warm weather this year.

Got to the hotel around 7 PM. Met up with Garth Prosser, my roomie for the weekend. We unpacked bikes and gear. Lots of racers were staying at the hotel, including Paddy Humenny. Paddy made me very nervous when he told me he was running 38x17 on his ss. He tends to run a bigger gear that I do, and I was running 36X16! I thought perhaps I would have a long day of overgeared suffering. I didn’t bring any other freewheels, so there wasn’t anything I could do about it anyway.

I got a bite to eat (chicken parmesan) and then went back to the room to finish race prep and watch the weather channel. The weatherman said the high would only be near 80F! Excellent! Now most of my nervousness went away; I knew if the weather cooperated I could at least finish this race.

Garth was kind of funny to watch. He is very fast, and has done well at various 100-125 mile races. This was his first 200-mile gravel assault. I gave him a few small tips dealing with food, drop bag, and map placement. This was the first race like this were I got to feel like I knew what I was doing, and I could lend a hand to a less experienced racer. Also, seeing a great rider like Garth all nervous while I felt pretty calm was a strange but good feeling.

Slept pretty good Friday night. Got up, ate some bagel and Hammer Nutrition Bar for breakfast. Had a nice cup of grounds, er, coffee (thanks, Garth!) and wheeled the bike out for the start. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits

The race got off to a very fast start. I think we warmed up for about 15 minutes and then the pace picked up. Garth and Dan Hughes were strong from the get-go, and pulled away some time before Mile 25.

A group of four or five, which included me, Paddy, a geared MTB rider and a couple cross bikes hung together for a while. Between Mile 30 and Mile 36 we must have averaged 20 MPH. We were flying—it was all I could do to keep up. I knew I was going much too hard, but I sensed that this was ‘make it or break it’ time. I knew I wanted to stay with Paddy, as I figured him to be the strongest SS’er in the race. I also noticed that there was nobody else around; we had left the pack far, far behind. So, I decided to spend the energy now and hope for the best later.

Somewhere around Mile 50 I went down pretty hard. We were crossing a bridge on a section of low-maintenance road when my front wheel washed out. I landed on my right hip, tore a nice hole in my shorts and picked up some nice road rash with a sprinkle of gravel on top. Abrasive grit got in my gloves and (shudder!) in my shorts. I was sore, but the bike was in fine shape, so I soldiered on.

Shortly after the crash, the course turned southeast and into the wind a bit. Paddy was looking strong, and he started to pull away. I decided to let him go; I was feeling a bit tired and we still had 140ish miles to go. He got about 200 yards ahead of me and pulled over to the side of the road. As I passed him, he said he had a flat. I told him I would see him in a bit when he caught me.

This was about the highpoint of the race for me. I was sitting first in SS, and about 4th or 5th overall. Paddy and I had decided that the rest of the singlespeeders were undergeared, so I didn’t think that that I would get caught. I was hopeful of a Top 5 overall finish.

Just after Elmdale at around Mile 80, the course ran along a major highway for a while. Thinking that this is where I could increase the gap over the undergeared riders, I put my head down and hammered. I must have put my head down just a bit too far, as I blew by the turnoff for Cottonwood Falls and the midway checkpoint. I went about 3 miles too far, pushing super hard with a tail wind. I sensed something was wrong—nobody would keep a MTB race on a highway for this long. I check the map and turned around. Now I am pushing a slight uphill into a headwind. I see another rider coming towards me. He thinks he is going in the right direction. We consult maps, look at a compass, scratch our heads. He thinks he has it figured out, and heads off. I notice that I have a flat tire! Grrr, get out the tools and fix the fat after pulling a small thorn out of the tire. I take another look at the map and decide that the other rider is going the wrong way, and that I should retrace my steps back to the last known course marking and go from there. At this point I see two riders making the turn that I missed! I catch up to them and we all get to Cottonwood Falls together.

I sign in and see that Paddy was about 30 minutes ahead of me, and that I had dropped from a Top 5 spot to somewhere around 15th! I was not happy. Naomi, Paddy’s wife, had my drop bag. She helped me switch bladders and clean up my road rash a bit.

I noticed that there were quite a few people just sitting around the checkpoint. Some were sitting in lawn chairs, some lying on the grass. This struck me as very strange, since that is not the kind of thing you want to do if you still have 112 miles left to ride. I found out later that many of those folks just called it quits at that point.

With a full camelback and pockets full of food, I headed out to try and do some damage control. I doubt I’ll catch Paddy, but I want to make sure there are no other singlespeed riders ahead of me. I’d also like to get back into the Top 10.

After about Mile 94 we get into the most interesting part of this course. There are no roads, no towns, no people, no nothing! The terrain is very hilly. No steep pitches, but some seriously long, sustained climbs. I catch Josh Patterson on his cross bike. He says he was 8th into CF, and that he hasn’t seen anyone since then. We chat for a bit, and then the climbing starts. I decided to keep my heart rate at 145, and just put my head down and climb. The hill is tricky, in that it just seems to get longer around every corner. Eventually I make it to the top only to find no Josh anywhere in sight. I notice that my rear tire is getting soft, and I have a bit of downhill ahead. I pump some air in the tire and take off.

I get back on the flats, and notice that the rear tire is getting soft yet again. I check it out and discover that there is a bit of thin wire sticking out of the tire! Fed up with the tiny tires, I put on the heavier but more durable tire I brought as a back-up. Josh passes me as I make the change. I figured I would catch him again, as he was having a bit of trouble on the hills. No such luck; I’d next see him eating pizza in Emporia.

I was solo through Eureka. At the gas station there I found out that I was in 7th place overall, second place singlespeed. It seems that Paddy was still only about 30 minutes up on me. I bought more water and got back on the road with about 60 miles to go.

The last big east-bound section of the course was a killer. It was hilly and long, and I could see a rider out ahead of me that I really wanted to catch. I figured it was Josh, and that I the hills would wear him down eventually. It became clear that I would not catch him before making the turn north, but I did catch him shortly thereafter. Turns out it wasn’t Josh, but Matt Maxwell. We would ride most of the rest of the way together.

We were both pretty beat at this point. We chatted, but not much. We stopped for water again in Madison, and it occurred to me that I had consumed about 4 liters of water since Mile 88, but hadn’t gone to the bathroom! Hmmm, not a great sign. But I felt fine, no dry mouth or anything weird, so I just kept drinking as much as I could and hoped for the best.

Somewhere after Olpe, someone on a geared bike flew by us. I think it was Aaron Benetti. He was on fire, and Matt thought about chasing him but decided against it. We watched him ride off into the sunset.

It got dark with about an hour left to ride. I had my handlebar light, but didn’t bring a helmet light. That made reading the map and looking for course markers difficult. Fortunately Matt had a bright helmet light. We made it in without further incident.

We rolled into Emporia a few minutes after 10 PM. I was 8th overall and 2nd in singlespeed. Paddy finished about 40 minutes ahead of me, but only because he did an extra 35 miles on the course! That guy is an animal! The next singlespeeders were an hour back.

Overall, this was a very good race. The riders were cool, the vibe was relaxed, and I had fun. It was hard, but not so hard that I wanted to shoot myself in the face for signing up. The section of hilly gravel between Cottonwood Falls and Eureka was super, and was just about worth the drive by itself.

Thanks to Joel and the rest of the crew for putting on a great race!

Ridin' Dirty (Kanza)

Short Post.

2nd Place Singlespeed. 8th Place overall. 16 Hours, 4 miuntes. 15 Finishers, 5 Singlespeed.

Wrong turns=Bad
Crashes and road rash=Bad
Driving home, alone, for 13 hours with road rash=Very, Very Bad. Don't do it.

More later,


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Kansas Prep

My knees seem to be recovering from Tuesday's mayhem. My right leg is fine, although I think I will have a pretty good scar. My left knee is still stiff and sore, but it is better than I thought it would be. I was able to do the Ride of Silence last night without problem. In fact, the knee feels better on the bike than it does after a day of sitting at my desk!

Still not sure which bike I will be riding in Kansas. The Backup bike is ready to go, but it is set up with front suspention and 2:1 gearing. I am pretty sure that is too easy of a gear for Dirty Kanza. On the other hand, with my knee still being somewhat questionable, do I really want to ride a fully-rigid hardtail with 36x16 gearing? I hear the course is somewhat hill, with the downhills being somewhat rough. Decisions, decisions...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


I did the Milkjug race tonight. It was a great time! It rained just before the race, which packed down the otherwise sandy course. The sun came out just before the race started, and we all had a great time on our bikes.

Right up until the end of the last lap. I crashed, *hard*, on the last downhill. I was able to ride to the finish, but only just. I now have a lump on my right shin the size of a gerbil. Or maybe a hampster. Anyway, it is big. And I have a nice set of gashes to go along with it. Someone took pictures, so maybe I can share those later. Of course, to get the full effect, you need to see the lumpasaurus in profile. It's like the Cul du Tourmalet.

And that is not the bad news.

My left knee, which looks fine, is very sore. I have a hard time putting any weight on it. There is no crunching or grinding, and I have full range of motion. But getting up and down stairs is not fun, and pedaling is going to be a chore. I expect that I will have trouble walking when I wake up. I just hope it loosens up fast, since I have a 200-mile ride on Saturday.

The backup bike worked great! I ran it at 2:1, so I know I would not be in contention for the win in the 'A' group. I think I ended up somewhere mid-pack. The new brakes worked great, although I did notice some chattering of the rear wheel during hard braking. Everything is tight, so perhaps this is a technique issue.

I plan to spin easy for the next two days, and drive out to Kansas on Friday. I'll post more on the knee condition later in the week.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

New Brakes = Nice!

I got a nice three-hour ride in today. I took the back-up bike with the new brakes out to the local ski hill. After a few trips up and down, I can say that the the Magura Julie brakes work very well; lots of power with good modulation. My special modification to the rear mount worked fine--no problems and complete lack of rubbing or squealing.

I felt ok on the ride. The bike is set up with a 2:1 ratio, and I spent most of the time on the road. I was spinning out all the time, but still struggled a bit on the trail. Clearly I need to spend more time on the bike. However, I was able to make several trips up the ski hill so all hope is not lost.

It rained almost all the time I was out today. I feel bad for the people riding the 12 Hours of Addison Oaks--I assume they are getting wet. I have to admit that I am getting tired of riding in the rain. The forecast calls for nothing of cool and cloudy for the rest of the week. I wonder what the weather will be like in Kansas next weekend?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Not a good week for riding

This week was not good for riding. I was jet-lagged early in the week, and I had a bunch of stuff to do not related to riding. Buy the time I was ready to ride, it started raining. And it has just kept raining...

I used some of this time to install disk brakes on my back-up bike. I just finished the installation tonight. I used Magura Julie brakes with WI hubs; Eccentric rear and M16 front. The front brakes were a breeze to install. The rear took a bit more work. I am not using the eccentric adapter that WI makes, because it is not designed to work with Magura brakes. I had to get creative, which is not something you usually want to do with brakes! Anyway, it seems to be working. I'll post pictures when my camera gets back from London.

I hope to get a longish ride in tomorrow, and some kind of ride on Sunday. Right now, I am not feeling in the best of shape for Kanza. I'm *rested*, but I'm not sure about my fitness anymore.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Sorry for the lack of posts. I just got back from England, London to be specific. Nothing bike related (except that I saw quite a few bike couriers) but lots of walking and cool sight-seeing. My camera with the Iowa pics is still in England with my wife, so I will post them when she gets back.

It looks like Kanza will be a go! It looks like Big Bear is out :( More as details become clearer.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Quick Iowa Report

I didn't finish. Nobody finished.

It rained the entire time I was in Iowa. I don't mind the rain, but the roads were like peanut butter. Many of the roads were not rideable, and I walked in ditches for a long time. These two factors combined to keep my average speed well under 10 miles per hour.

Physically, I could have kept going. Mentally, I couldn't justify the suffering. I knew I couldn't get to Algona before the cut-off time. In retrospect, I wish I would have kept going, since distance covered seems to be how the placings are being listed this year. I think I could have kept going until it got dark, but it would have been hard going after that--my average heart rate was high, and my HID lights were in my drop bag in Algona. Something to keep in mind for next time.

That's about it. I will post some pictures later, but I don't think they will be anything you haven't seen before: Lots of long, muddy roads with wet cyclists sprinkled across them.