Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Weapon but not of choice...

I've been spending more time pounding the pavement than spinning cranks. I did manage a 6:40 mile today; not too shabby for a guy that hates running.

Back on the bike and back to Forrest Park tomorrow, and there are rumors of singlespeed riding this weekend. There are also rumors of XC skiing. I win either way.

Next week it is back to Michigan. Riding? Running? Not sure, but there will be eating.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Quick Update

Running shoes were the weapon of choice this week. I might get a ride in this PM, but it is not locked in stone. I need to spin the pedals this week to make up for all the eating I did this weekend and all the eating/drinking/sitting I plan to do next week.

Schedule for next season is taking shape, but slowly. I'm looking for some interesting west coast races; I will try hard to get in Creampuff for sure. Any advice on other 100+ or 12/24 races that are must-do's out here would be welcome.

Oh, I almost forgot; Bike racers + Ugly Sweaters + keg of IPA = a pretty good time.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Weapons of choice?

During my last ride on the Quiring, I noticed some creaking from the bottom bracket area. Off to the shop for the external bearing removal tool (this make the 3rd bb removal tool I've had to purchase to keep up with Shimano's changing standards...) for a pull-and-lube. My hope is the grease is just in need of a refresh and I don't need new bearings. (I can hear all the wrenches out there laughing. Knock it off, Paddy!)
Anyway, I pulled the crank and bearings and everything looks good! I was surprised at how clear the bb shell is; my concerns about rust were unfounded. That Scotty Q; he builds him a mean bike! Since these mystery creaks can sometimes come from any number of places, I also pulled the seatpost and lubed the the seatube and the bolts on the Thomson.
So what else is going on? I've been lifting and running; both are going well. I've been doing massive body-weight only squat sets; 100 reps per set. Why? Cuz that's how I roll.
Getting ready for another trip back to Michigan for Christmas. My guess is that this will be my last trip back for quite a while. Maybe June for Lumberjack, but maybe not even then. Who knows? Since I will be there for over a week, any offers of a bike to use during the visit will be appreciated. (Hear that Janson and Dan?) You know whoever lends me a bike won't go thirsty at Founder's...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Misery Sticks

Skied up around Mt. Hood today. I don't ski much; I'm sore. Bernie is like a snow gazelle while I am like a snow hippo. It was a good time, even if Bernie spent most of the day waiting for me to catch up. We stopped at a great brewery on the way back and feasted on bar food and Pale Horse IPA. Mmmmmm, gotta love the 'horse.
Not in Michigan anymore.
Weapon of Choice:
You know I'm Sexy; just look at my glasses!
Jacket? Check! Glasses? Check! Skis? Check! Close mouth while breathing? Doh!
The man who made it all possible: Bernie!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Thursday? Forest Park!

Ah, winter. The smell of nasty sweat at the gym. The slosh of wet mud destroying bike parts. That 'not so fresh' funk seeping from the gear bag full of damp cycling shorts. You gotta love it!

I know I shouldn't complain. At least I'm not back in Michigan sweating my hoo-hoos off in Scott Chambers' basement while riding on a trainer and watching bad kung-fu movies. The weather for the ride tonight was 45F and no rain. Lots of water in the park, and I finished the ride pretty much covered with mud. I'm pretty sure that I have killed a set of bearings in my crankset, and I dread pulling my seatpost and bottom bracket because I'm sure it is a rust-fest in there. Steel is real, but ti don't rust. Can I get an Amen?!?

On tap for the weekend: XC skiing with Bernie! Should be a hoot, as I can't ski worth a darn. Bernie claims not to me much of a skier either. Why do I feel like I'm being suckered...? Hopefully I'll follow that up with some singletrack on Sunday. If not, it's back to the Park.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Same ol', same ol'...

Not much to report. I took most of the week off from training. I felt a little under the weather, and the weather helped out by being pretty awful. I got out for three hours on Saturday and felt pretty good.

The Industry 9 rear wheel started to drag quite a bit near the end of the ride, so it went in to the shop today. Fortunately the Hope Pro 2 SS wheel is still ready for action. I've been meaning to set aside the I-9's and save them for race season, so this is a blessing in disguise.

I got my gym membership all squared away last week, so it's time for the lifting to begin. I have big plans; we'll see how they hold up to real life.

No USGP for me; the SS race was pretty early in the AM. I used the time for a training ride and some much needed bike and home maintenance.

With any luck, there will be some singletrack soon. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kruger Pics

Sorry, none of me w/o the seat...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Kruger's Crossing

Ah, cross racing in Portland! I must say, it rocks the house.

I rode in the singlespeed class this week; I am convinced that I no longer want to race on a geared bike. I was doing ok, sitting in 13th place and catching folks when my coverless SLR saddle broke. Well, 'broke' perhaps isn't the best word. 'Shattered' is better. Anyway, I did the last lap-and-a-half standing up. I think I still managed to finish in the top 20. I'll check results later.

I did my first 'training' ride yesterday. Three hours of long steady distance riding. I don't know how long my long rides will be this year, but it was good to get back out on the road. Gym workouts and running start this week as well. Also, I bought a scale. Power-to-weight ration is gonna get worked from both sides this year, baby!

My race schedule for next season is still in flux, but I have decided to focus on west coast races and skip some races I have done before. So, no TI and I am doubtful about Kanza as well. Cascade Creampuff, Breckenridge, Tahoe, singlespeed worlds in Napa and a trip to Wisconsin are on the list, Lumberjack is about 80%, and there is a local 24 in Oregon that I would like to do. I need to get on the details, but it's early.

Plans are under way for an Arkansas spring training trip, a la 2006. I predict broken bikes, bruised bodies and empty beer bottles.

USGP this coming weekend. I might race one day, I might race two days: I'll be happy either way.

Porltand: if ya ain't racing cross, why are you dressed so funny?!?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Midwest Style

So, I'm back in Michigan for a week. Got on the phone to a friend Sunday AM, wanting to get a few beers in the afternoon. He says, "Aren't you doing the 'cross race?" Hmmm, didn't know there was a cross race today. It starts in two hours? You have a bike I can borrow? Heck, why not!

So I borrow a bike and off we go! Not much of a race for me, since I was not in any way prepared for competition. Still, it was a fun time and it was nice to have people cheering for me again. I still don't know enough people in Portland to have much of a cheering section.

After the race it was off to the new smoke-free Founder's Pub. Awesome! Over a few pints, the suggestion was made for some night-time singletrack riding. Well, what the heck! Another borrowed bike, and away we go. It was just like old times; me, Nate, Jansen and Shawn. I rode one of Dan's SS Niner bikes. Of course, that meant I had to run a Dan Jansen gear. Ouch! My knees still hurt.

Sounds like there will be some riding tomorrow as well; and here I thought this would be a rest week! Another ride, and another borrowed bike. This time a geared steel bike from Niner. If you have to borrow a bike, having someone with a Niner sponsorship is not a bad way to go... :)

Looking forward to getting back to Portland. It's cold here. And it looks like I'll be back in time for more cross action!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


Oh, what a painful way to spend the afternoon.

The race was an hour long. I treated it like a real race, and went as hard as I could. Others were more casual about the affair. Hence, me placement: 49th out of 74 finishers. I was able to pass most of the costume-wearing, fireworks-launching, beer-in-the-water bottle folks, but I had to be near the end of the people who were actually racing.

I'm not gonna lie to ya; I worked hard out there. Full-on for an hour; I really thought I was going to puke. The bike worked like a charm, although as expected the crank is starting to creak. I switched from the Small Blocks to the old-school Michelin muds with great success.

Sorry, no pictures! Give me a break--I'm out here alone and I was racing. I will say this; no pictures means you don't have to see Barry Wicks in a gold speedo. Consider yourself lucky...


Saturday, November 10, 2007


SSCXWC qualifier was today. The Top 30 from the 1-lap time trial got in; I was somewhere around 80th at 2 minutes back. I thought I was done, but then I learned there was a 2-lap last-chance qualifier. Oh, well. I'm here, I might as well race.

There were 30 or 40 of us still sober enough to find our helmets and shoes for the race. The top 15 would get spots in the Big Show tomorrow. Off we went!

Man, I suck at cross. But I really wanted to get in that race, so I put my head down and went to work.

Final Result: 14th Place! Yeah, baby! This will be my second 'worlds' event. I'm guessing I won't see 3rd Place this time around. It will be cool to toe the start line with some fast folks. I guess some dude named Ryan had the fastest lap...

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Still Here...

...but not much to report. The DD-X has been test flown. It is like butter, or like a feather, or a bee, or whatever is super-smooth. I have concerns about the fancy cranks in the SS application over the long haul, but they are fine for now and I have some shiny WI Eno's that can step in if necessary.

Oh, someone at the shop weighed it. Just a hair over 18 lbs dirty, with cages and those not-so-light wheels. I loves me some Slingshot!

Big cross nonsense this weekend that NOTHING will keep me from attending. I have missed way to many races already. This one should be a treat! Expect some pictures and a full report next week.

Looks like I will be back in Michigan for Turkey Day; unexpected but not unwelcome. It'll be nice to see the crew again.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Slingshot DD-X Singlespeed

I'll swap the seat for something with a little more padding to ease the 'cross remounts, and the bartape will have to be rewrapped when I get the brake levers replaced, and the yellow stickers on the wheels won't last long. Otherwise, she is ready for sscxwc.

The Local Trail

16ish miles; 2.5 hours. 4200 feet of climbing. 99.5% singletrack.
This trail is 45 minutes from my new apartment. This trail has a reputation similar to the reputation of Yankee Springs for riders in GR; pretty good if you don't have time to to get to something better...
This trail shattered my kneecaps. I dropped the gear to 38x20 on Friday. At the top of the first climb, I was wishing for 32x20 and/or a bucket of ice to soak my flaming kneecaps. There was lots of payoff, however; tons of swoopy downhill singletrack. I encountered just about every type of trail surface; greasy mud, frost, gravel, shale, pine needles, and super-buff tacky dirt.
I need to change my stem. The angle is right, but it is too long. That creates added...challenges during long, technical descents.
Pics to follow this evening, along with pics of my new ss xc wheelset... :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just another ride in the park...

About 25 miles, half on singletrack.

About 6500 feet of climbing.

Yeah, that's how I roll.

Swapped the 1.9" Karmas for a Nevegal up front and a 2.2" Karma out back. Lots more weight, lots more traction and comfort. I might gear up one tooth in the back; that was a bunch of climbing at 2x1. On the other hand, there were only a few small pieces that I didn't clean so maybe I should just man up and take it.

Looks like I'll be heading to the coast range for some riding on Saturday. The cross race on Sunday is pretty far away; if my new ss cross wheels are here tomorrow, I might try to mount them up and make a run for it. If not, I'll wait and hit the cross race next week.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Forest Park Yet Again

Saturday it was back to Forest Park. Just to mix things up, the weather decided to take a turn for the nasty. Pouring rain and 45F at the start. I almost didn't show up for the start, but I didn't have anything else to do that morning and I wanted to see if Brian and Frank would show up.

Sure enough, my new Saturday friends were on time and ready to ride. Our only concession to the weather was to limit the ride to 2 hours. We did about the same course as last week. I'm starting to get the hang of this trail.

On the way back I was starting to get cold. My feet were clad in Lake boots, but they were soaked through. My hands were wrapped in EMS neoprene gloves. Neither were up to the task. Feet and hands were both numb when we got back to the cars. I plan to re-waterproof the boots and wear some warmer socks next time. I think I might need to buy a new pair of gloves. Lightweight, waterproof, with just a bit of liner for warmth. Or maybe a pair of wind and waterproof shells to wear over the EMS gloves. Also, I have one gore-tex jacket that I have been using on and off the bike. With all the riding I'm doing, and the perpetually muddy state of Forest Park, I'm gonna need at least one new jacket for off the bike. I might look for an additional jacket for on the bike as well, to give the other jacket a chance to dry out between uses.

I had to miss the cross race today. I had to work in the AM for the second week in a row. Bummer. The good news is that my ss wheels from Mike Curiak should be here for the next cross race; gotta get ready for the ss cross worlds, baby!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

More Forest Park

At last, I made it out for a Thursday Night Ride at Forest Park. It was wet but in the mid-60's when Andrew, Dan and I started out from Fat Tire. Andrew was on a Monocog 29er full-rigid and Dan was on 26er FS. We rode up the big hill, down some sweet singletrack, back up a hill, and down a crazy-fast descent. I think it was about the same route I rode on Saturday.

Good times! I'm starting to get back in shape a little; at least that long hill seems easier than last week. Good company and I wore the right clothes.

Notes to self: The Niterider MiNewt is great for the dirt road, not quite good enough for the 20+ MPH downhill singletrack. The slipping bar mount didn't help. Bring the HID next time...

Also, bring your fenders, you nitwit! It's rainy her in PDX; those fancy fenders don't do you any good sitting in your hotel room.

Dan says he rides every Thursday all winter. Sounds like a plan to me!

I'll be riding again on Saturday, and might get to sneak out to the cross race this Sunday. I do have to work again, but if the training I am participating in wraps up in time, the bike and my gear will be ready to go so I won't have any excuse.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hey, what's up?

Not too much to report. Missed the Thursday ride; had some housing logistics to handle. I did manage to get out yesterday. Rode with Brian and Ken in Forrest Park. We were out for a couple of hours; it was a good ride. They have plans to ride regularly, and have generously agreed to have be tag along.

Visited with Bernie last night. Man, that guy can pick a pizza joint! It was good to catch up.

Skipped the Cross race today. Kind of a bummer, but I had a work thing this morning and by the time I finished up I didn't have enough time to get to the venue. We'll get 'em next week.

Pics for your enjoyment follow:

Forrest Park is spoooookie!
Well, maybe not *that* spookie...
My name is Bernie; I likes me some pizza!

My name is Joe; I likes me some Bernie!

Monday, October 08, 2007

More 'Cross...

OK, so I was not quite in the top half of the Master's B field. I was 42 out of 70+. Not great, but not as bad as I thought it might be. Plenty of room for improvement over the season.

There were over 1000 racers at this event. Yep, you read that right. Crazy stuff.

Here are a some links to pics from the event:

When I said I leap like a gazelle, I don't make that stuff up...

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Cross Crusade

I made my way to the Cross Crusade race. I selected the Master's B class. As I watched the C class, I started to get worried. All the riders in that group seemed to have GREAT cyclocross form. I saw myself getting shelled off the back of the B's...

It wasn't quite as bad as all that. I started at the back of the pack, but was able to find my rhythm quickly and was passing people left and right. My dismount was spot-on, and I was leaping barriers like a gazelle. However, my re-mount needs help. Still, I was able to hold my own, and I think I finished in the top half of the group. I'll post up a definitive answer when the results are made official.

The DD-X worked great! Sure, I failed to clean and lube it after my mud-fest ride earlier in the week so the shifting could have been better. But the bike itself worked very well. I have a set of Curiak ENO Eccentric wheels on the way; that will cure the shifting issues real quick.

Speaking of singlespeeding, there were about 100 ss crossers at this race. They went off just before the Men's Open B class, and promptly turned in the fastest lap of the day (up to that point). They were wicked fast-here are a few pics:

Yes, we did run up those stairs. Many times...
Anyway, it was a good day. I had fun, and I plan to go back. This was kind of a tame version of this event, as no beer was permited on site. I guess things will be a little crazier next week. I'll let you know...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Portland Update

Not much riding to report. The new job keeps me busy, and I have my hands full looking for an apartment.

I did get out to ride City Forrest. It is basically a dirt road. It starts out in the city and climbs for the first two miles. For a flat-lander like me, that is a bunch o' climbing. Then it is rough road for the next 7 miles out and 7 miles back. I was quite covered in mud by the end. I felt good until the ss cyclocrosser passed my like I was standing still, and on the climb no less. I tried to reel him in, but to no avail.

The Mt. Hood ride is off. They have like a foot of snow up there, and my cold weather gear is on a truck somewhere near Omaha right now. I will make my way over to the Cross Crusade race on Sunday. The question is this: DD-X or Quiring with cross tires? I plan to hang around and take pictures, so we'll see how that works out...

Sunday, September 30, 2007

SLC Pic Dump

Read 'em and weep...

Ah, like butter...

What is that white stuff?!?

More of the white stuff and the wet stuff.

Views like this *everywhere*...

The Quiring looking like a million bucks.

Your humble blogger; just to prove I didn't lift the pics from Dirt Rag.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Quick update from the road

Greetings from Salt Lake City!

I was in Lincoln, NE on Wednesday. Hooked up with the Snob for a nice spin and some great pizza and beer at Yaya's. We ran into a whole herd of endurance singlespeeders on the ride; a handful of DK and TI vets, as well as some 'regular' ss-24 racers. A few, including cornbread joined us for dinner. I crashed at the casa de snob. Good times!

Yesterday it was back on the road for 12 hours to get me to SLC. Took today off from driving to do some riding. The trails around SLC are insane! I dropped the Quiring down to 2x1 and still spend quite a bit of time walking. But when I could ride the trials were some of the best I have seen to date. They are very diverse; like rolling the NTC from Michigan in with some of the climbs and descents from Sylamore in Arkansas. And the views; well, they were just crazy. I took a bunch of pictures, and will post them as soon as I reach my final destination and get my computer up and running.

Back on the road tomorrow for another 12 hours. The weather is supposed to turn sour, so that should make the mountains interesting...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

End of an Era

I did the team ride last night. It was a special cyclocross training ride; we went through just about every orchard, two-track, golf cart path, and goat path in Kent County. Aside from a few crashes, a good time was had by all. I was on the Quiring with cross tires. Two other single speeds were on the ride, as well as a handful of 1x9's.

Good times.

We then adjourned to the Farmstead, where tasty beverages were consumed.

As good as the night was, it was also somewhat bittersweet as it was my last Founder's team ride. I have accepted a job in Portland, OR. I start on October 1. I'll ride with the Founder's folks whenever I get the chance, but my days of the regular Tuesday rides are over.

Not much will change on the blog, except hopefully the pictures will display more interesting terrain. Blog updates might be a bit slow as I will be driving out to Portland. I do hope to get a few rides in along the way, and I'll update as time and connectivity permit.

You never know what the future might hold...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cyclocross Season

Must be Cross season!



Joe #3


Joe #1

Smaller group for the first Cross Team Ride of the season. The weather was very fall-like, with cool temps, dark clouds and lots of wind. A mix of dirt roads and pavement was on tap. It was a nice introduction to cross season, or as I like to call it "Did Nate just lap me AGAIN!?!" season.

Post ride refreshments:
Our Team Motto
Shelf of Fame
Spandex Steve and The Farmer joined us post-ride

Good Times! More cross training is on tap. Next week the farmer has some kind of special treat in store for us. I assume I will be hurting...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Fancy Frame SOLD!

It goes to a new home on Monday.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fancy Frame for Sale

For Sale:
One brand new, never built-up* custom steel 29" frame from Badger Cycles. $700 + Shipping.
This was supposed to be my team bike for the 2007 season. For a variety of reasons, it got to me too late in the season to do me any good. Also, it does not fit me properly. Long story short, this was not the frame I ordered.
My loss is your gain! This frame retails for $1650. I paid $650 for it on a 'pro-deal' and am throwing in the matching team jersey. The frame did not ship with the slider hardware, so I will have to order that separately and it is included in the price. So, for all my stress and aggravation I added an extra $50 to my cost. This is still the lowest price you will ever see for a brand new, never built-up* Badger Custom frame.
Seat Tube: 18" center to center, 20" center to top
Top Tube: 23" center to center
Weight: a hair under 4.5 lbs
Hydraulic hose guides, NO cable guides. This frame is singlespeed only.
Paragon Sliding Dropouts
The frame is in as-new condition. It will be packed in the box in which it arrived on my doorstep.
*Ok, so I sprayed some T-9 in the seat tube and installed a seat post collar and a brand-new Thompson post so I could clamp it in the bike stand. Both were removed without incident.
Feel free to post any comments or questions you might have. I can take pictures of any part of this bike that might interest you.
Cash only for local pick-up or Paypal.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Slow couple of weeks

Not much on the bike stuff to report. I caught Becky's cold, so I have been off the bike for a bit. Final team road ride this Tuesday, then we switch to cross bikes.

I'm looking into some White Industries ENO Eccentric hubs to build a set of 700c wheels; ss cross, anyone? And maybe some fixed-gear commuting next year.

Oh, as you can see I skipped Shenandoah. I really wanted to go, but it would have been my 3 weekend in a row on the road and with this cold I knew I would get killed out there. So I bagged it and am working on a quick recovery. Or trying anyway. Lots of end-of-summer stuff to do around the house.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Even though she was hit by a car six weeks ago,
Even though she has some kind of nasty upper respiratory infection,
Even though she only got three hours of sleep the night before,
Becky was able to crush the Chicago triathlon yesterday!

34th out of 256 in her age group in 2:46. This was her first International Distance triathlon.

She managed over 20 MPH for the 40k bike leg! This on her nice but heavy and non-aero road bike.

Anyway, she did awesome!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sad Question

Those of you who read this log regularly know that I was waiting all season for a custom frame. The frame finally arrived just before 9 Mile. Unfortunately, it was the *wrong* frame. The seat tube is two inches too long and the top tube is too short. This after waiting all season for the frame; it was ordered in February and delivered July.

I called the builder. He wanted to build another frame for me. I decided that I would rather have my money back and move on to another project. The builder agreed, and said they would send me a check by the end of the week. That was three weeks ago, and now he is not returning my e-mail.

My question is this: What should I do? I can't use the frame, and I'd hate to embarrass the builder by putting his $1500 frame on ebay for $650, which is what I paid. Would someone even buy a 'custom' frame built for someone else?

Oh, and should I be 'outing' this builder by describing my experience here and on the boards?

Thoughts and advice appreciated.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Round and Round

Did the team ride on Tuesday. The speeds were high; sometimes they were crazy-high. I held on for all I was worth.

I took it easy for the rest of the week.

Friday I drove to the UP for a very nice invitation-only century ride. Lots of great folks and good food to be had. This was my fourth time at this particular ride, and I had a great time!

Should be a pretty mellow week on the bike again this week. Rain in the forecast means adjustments to the ride schedule. Next week is taper for Shenandoah, where it looks like I will be camping at the race site. That should be...interesting.

Love will find a way; just give it time.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ohhh that smell...

Nate, Dan and I did 5 hours on the singlespeeds yesterday. I'm not talking about a nice trek through the woods, looking at daisies and butterflies; this was a mini-epic. It was hot and humid; maybe in the high 80's or 90's. We each went through a couple gallons of water. We did trails that were more like deer tracks than singletrack. Just like last week, I spent too much time on my back. Just like last week, I feel like I've been flushed down the toilette.

So Dan and I were packing the car. I couldn't help but notice that something old roadkill. So I sniffed the usual suspects; jersey, gloves, helmet, shoes. All smelled like flowers. Then it hit hat. That thing was like the south facing end of a north-bound goat. And the goat was on an all soy and bean diet. I mean to say that the hat was rank. For the rest of the ride, I smelled the hat. So did Nate and Dan.

On the plus side, the Quiring was full-on awesome! That bike is like rock and roll with 29" tires.

Anyway, I'm off to the U.P. this weekend for a cool invitation-only century ride. Lots of interesting folks, plenty of good food and I get to ride 100 miles. Good stuff.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Hi! I'm Joe. I like to ride bikes...

Not much saddle time this week. The weather was hot, my foot hurt, and I felt run down. Even today I wasn't feeling great. I should have went for a long slow ride. Instead I did bike maintenance and went to the farmer's market.

The Quiring is in great shape! I changed the chainring, cog and chain. I almost put the rigid fork on there, but decided to hold off until after Shenandoah. Slapped on a new front tire. The bike performed very well during the shakedown ride. My foot/toe held up as well.

I'll be out on the singlespeed tomorrow for about 5 hours. Sounds like Dan and Nate will be there; maybe a few others as well.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Broken Toe

The title about sums it up.

I Slammed the pinkie toe of my left foot into the wall this AM. There was a nice 'POP!' noise, and it hurt like hell all day. Tonight it is all black and blue and quite sore. I 'buddy tapped' it to the toe next door and went for a spin on the road bike. It hurt, but wasn't terrible.

I'll try the team ride tomorrow, but if it hurts too much I might take the rest of the week off the bike.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Something old, something new...

I did my first fixie ride this week. On Friday I borrowed a fixed Surly Steamroller. As someone who had been riding singlespeeds for a long time, I thought it would be a pretty easy transition. Not so much. I'm not saying I didn't like it or that I won't try it again, but it definitely felt a little sketchy at times. Downhill was...interesting.

Today saw Dan Jansen and I out on SS MTB's for about four hours. Lots of hills, lots of finding hidden trails tucked away and forgot by nearly everyone. I crashed more today than in my last 10 MTB rides combined, including one impressive flip-over-and-lay-on-my-back crash and a total "Hey, where did that tree come from?" crash. Also, I got stung by a bee.

I feel like I am nearly recovered from 9 Mile. Two toes are still a little numb and my lower neck/shoulder area is still not right. The legs are flat, but starting to respond when called upon. Also, I'm dealing with a bit of lingering knee soreness from a midnight rock garden get-off.

On tap this week: Tuesday Team Road Smackdown, some recovery, Thursday MTB SS early pre-Iceman training, some recovery and some SS endurance training on Sunday. 'Bout what you'd expect for August.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

24-9 Report

What does finishing a 24 solo singlespeed feel like? About like this:

No, not the woman to the right; she looks great. (It's Namrita btw, from whose blog I swiped the pic.) I mean that nasty looking gent to the left. I look exactly how I felt; like a warmed-over piece of a$$-meat.

I was going to do one of those lap-by-lap reports, but lots of folks beat me to it. I'll just focus on the things that were maybe a little different for me.

First, I started the race without my usual compliment of ointments for 'down under', if you catch my drift. I left all my personal lubes and whatnot at the hotel. My support person went back to get them, but for reasons beyond his control (more on this later) he didn't get back in time. I was able to get some chamois cream from Eddie but I didn't have my lidocane jelly or my Body Glide. Not a great way to start. I have to say that this lack had less effect on my race than I would have expected. However, I am paying for it now. Let's just say that things down there are a little sore and, well...scabby. Not great.

The race went very well for me. Sure, it hurt. My feet hurt, but not as bad as in some other races. I never had to switch shoes or pedals. My neck hurt, but not as much as at other times. I never got nauseous, probably because I was only eating about 175-200 calories per hour. Yet I never really bonked, although I came very close.

I had a couple of slow laps that were due more to mental than physical weakness. I stopped at the IMBA tent to eat chips, because chips were the only thing that really sounded good. I also spent a bit more time in the pits than was necessary during those laps. And lets face it; I was walking a bunch of the course at that point. I felt like hell and just wanted the race to be over; like I always do.

Funny story; I stopped at the big bonfire at the road crossing located about 2/3 of the way around the course. I was cold, tired, and needed to stop and drink from my bottle. One of the guys there recognized me from earlier in the race. He had invited me to stop by and have a cocktail, and he reiterated his offer. I declined and sipped my Hammer cocktail instead. Then, from out of the shadows steps a tall man, his face concealed by a mosquito net. He says, "Man, you can't say here; you can't quite now. Everybody wants to quite now, this is the worse time of the night. You are doing great, you have to get moving!" You know what? He was right, and I'm glad he reminded me of what I needed to do.

During the night I went from 5th to 2nd to 1st (I guess for a while) to 4th. The last night lap I was trying to figure out if the podium was for 1st through 3rd or 1st though 5th. I was ready to settle for 4th in the latter case and just finish the race already. But then dawn broke, and *as always happens*, I suddenly became a ball of fire. I ripped off two strong(ish) laps, and my pit crew told me Dallas Sigurdur, a cool guy and TI veteran, was sitting right in from of me and in 3rd position. This was bad for me, since on the last lap *when I was feeling strong* he had blown past me like I was standing still. I had tried to get on his wheel without success.

I figured there was no point in chasing. But I chased anyway. I had no energy, but I found some energy. I didn't care anymore, but damned if I didn't care just enough. I threw everything I had into catching Dallas, and did so pretty quickly. I blew right by him and just kept my head down and pedals turning. I assumed he was right on my wheel and I never looked back. I caught Nat Ross (!) and told him I was trying to hold on to 3rd place in solo singlespeed. Would he mind if I sat on his wheel? Not a problem says Nat. Awesome.

I crank out the last two laps on adrenalin and I don't know what else. My knees are on fire; my feet are really starting to hurt, my neck and shoulders are just burning. I was ready to be done.

Then, like these things always do, it ends. Sure enough, I held off Dallas. Sure enough, I got 3rd Place. Sure enough, the podium was 5 deep--good thing I didn't know that!

As I was just starting to enjoy the afterglow, my support guy Dan says "I guess this is as good a time as any to tell you why I was late getting back with you lube products. There is a problem with your car..." Hmmm, not what you want to hear when you are supposed to be on the road in about four hours. We decided to skip the awards (Sorry race promoters!) to try and find someone to fix the trusty VW. Well, believe it or not, two guys that have been up for about 30 hours might have a hard time finding someone to fix a VW in small town in Wisconsin on a Sunday afternoon. After much head scratching and calling around, we figured out that we just weren't going to get it fixed that day. So we did what any red-blooded American men would do: Took a nap, then went out for steak and beer!

In some ways, it was good that we didn't have to leave right away. We got to have dinner with Eddie and Namrita, Scott and Danielle, Aaron, Jason and the rest of the Slingshot crew, and maybe a few more people that I forget. It was great to chat about races past and future; the good and bad seeds in the sport; and, well, the state of our nether regions. Good times.

The car was fixed the next day without further event. Strangely, I started to feel very good. I mean, *very good* considering I just did a 24-hour race. My drive home was fine; I had achieved the sort of rare calm state that I sometimes get after these races. I had done all I had set out to do; now I got to enjoy it for a bit.

Work up today feeling almost...normal. Not quite; my legs are sluggish and my neck and shoulder are quite sore. But I was able to do the team ride tonight, and I could hang with the pack for the most part. That is just incredible--usually after a 24 I don't ride my bike at all for most of a week and don't do any hard efforts for two weeks. I wasn't on top of my game tonight, but I did far better than I ever would have thought possible. I'll have to think about what this means...

Anyway, special thanks to Dan for pulling his first (only?) stint as a support guy. Thanks to Jason for all the help with bottles and, well, that was an awesome sponge bath.

It was great to meet and spend time with Namrita and Eddie. I knew of them before the race; now I feel like I *know* them, at least to some extent. I look forward to racing near them again. It was great to see Paddy, Dallas, and Skip. You guys rule; you almost make me want to camp next time so we could hang out more. Or, on the other had, you could all join me at the Hotel. You know, where there are no bugs but there is ample air conditioning and a very nice pool/hot tub. I'm just saying...

Picture to follow. Dan took a bunch, now if he would just send them to me. (Hint hint)

Monday, July 30, 2007

24-9 Quickie

3th Place.

Had a couple rough laps, but overall a good race. Feel pretty good today. Had car trouble, had to spend an extra day in Wisconsin. All is well now.

Report and pictures to follow shortly.

Special thanks to Dan, Jason, Scott, Eddie and Namrita. More on all this later.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Car? Packed.
Chains? Lubed.
Carbs? Loaded.
Chamois? Buttered.

Time to rock and roll...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Quick Random Update

Scrambled to find a back-up bike for this weekend when my long-awaited bike arrived and turned out to the be the wrong bike. Sigh. Bike found, parts being transferred. Future bike #2 plans still up in the air.

Traveled to Toronto to see The Police reunion tour. Awesome. Spent part of the day in Toronto today; lots of fixie hipsters. Saw some cool bike shops and a neat bicycle co-op.

Becky is doing very well. Her training for the Chicago Triathlon is back on track. Thanks to everybody for asking about her and wishing her well.

Resting up for this weekend. Feeling good, but more importantly, looking good.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007