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.