Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blogging Off-Season

What can I say? I suck.

Ok, that might be a bit harsh. But I do feel bad that I haven't updated this site in a while. I notice that it's been almost a month since my last post. Let me recap what has been going on:

The first three weeks of the last month have been great! Some of the best riding of the season, with trips to Oakridge (home of the Cream Puff 100) and Wilson River. How can I explain these trails; I've you been there, I don't need to say anything because the names are sufficient. If you haven't been there, there is nothing that I can say that will adequately describe the experience. Particularly if you come from the Midwest. How about a 9 mile climb? What to say about 10+ miles of descending on singletrack? Is there a good way to describe two-wheel drifting into a corner with a drop-off of several hundred feet only inches away? Some of the best riding of my career happened during those three weeks, and none of it more than three hours away.

God, I love Portland!

The last week has been...interesting. The biggest snowstorm in a decade dumped around 18" of snow on Portland. (For comparison, it snowed here once last year; a trace of snow that was gone in a couple of hours...) My car is buried. The city has been more or less shut down since Sunday. It is not safe to be out on the roads; not because I don't know what I'm doing, but because the poor drivers in Portland only get to drive in snow every couple of years. It shows.

In the early part of the storm a few of us were able to get out and ride. Snow riding is ok, but it's not why I came out here. After nearly a week, I'm ready for the white stuff to be gone. If I want snow, I'll drive to it thank you very much.

After the new year, I plan to revamp the site and put up some possible races for next year. Maybe clean out some of the deadwood in the links sections, add in some of the fresh faces from the Left Coast. And maybe some New Year's Resolutions: 1. Take more pictures...

Till then, take care and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yes, I'm still riding...

Who I am...

What I'm riding...
Quite a bit of riding lately. Trying to give the full-sus a workout before the rain hits. Did St. Helens up to the snow line and beyond today. That wasn't enough, so we hit up some other trail the name of which I can't recall. It was a good group; Uma, Bernie, The Youngest (and Quietest!) Mountain Biker Ever and me. About three hours all together; enough so that I was ready for a big plate of pasta at the end. I'll post up a few GPS profiles later, if I can remember my Garmin password.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Enough with the pictures...

...although I do have a few more good ones that I have yet to post. I think I'll save them for a rainy day.

Of, I forgot! It has started to rain here, and it shows no signs of stopping. I rode last night with Super-Nick. No mere rainstorm/fog-bank/dead battery combo can stop that man. He is like a force of nature.

The ride mentioned about marks the start of the winter riding season. There is a bunch of good riding to be had in and around Portland in the summer. But the riding that is available in the winter can just blow your mind. We rode stuff last night that you just can't imagine if you've only ever ridden in the midwest. Constant rain for 1.5 hours, but the trail is in fine shape. Riding in fog so thick you think in came from a foam machine. Climbs and descents that you only see in those "Cranked" videos. And not another soul on the trail...

Work will keep me off the bike tomorrow. I hope to get things wrapped up so I can do some riding on the weekend. Also, I want to spend some time thinking about an idea I have for a birthday ride. Could be interesting if things pan out...

Monday, November 10, 2008

SSCXWC: The Pictures

I made FIRE!

We Made Foam! Lots and Lots of FOAM!

Pre-Race Photo Shoot...

HOT racing action...

Post-Race Cooldown...

What half the field was forced to look at all race!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Back in Business

Usually, it takes just a couple of tools to tension Paragon Sliding Dropouts; a 5mm allen wrench and a 5mm box wrench. However, the hex bolts are made of a very soft alloy and if they are not properly lubed they can require significant torque to remove. Sometimes the amount of torque required exceeds the the ability of the bolt to maintain structural integrity; i.e. the bolt head rounds out.
At this point, a few new tools are required.

First, get a drill. Make sure it is old, the chuck is weak, and the bits are dull. Then proceed to drill a pilot hole for an ez-out. Great so far! Now, reverse the drill and attempt to use the ez-out. When the drill starts smoking and you smell ozone; stop. Let the drill cool off and then try it again. Repeat until the ez-out breaks off inside the bolt head. Ok, you are done for today and need a few more tools.

Got to the hardware store. By a dremel tool and a very wide flat screw driver. Cut a slot in the face of the bolt. Watch the pretty sparks as the cutting wheel contacts the hardened steel of the ez-out. Use the screwdriver and an adjustable wrench to work the bolt loose. Success!

Sorry for the blurry photo. Anyway, if this all works out you get to convert your mtb from psychocross to night-rider configuration and end up with something like this:

Ah, good times!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


The first night ride of the season.

Three Mountain Bikes. Zero operational Mountain Bikes. They are either suffering from stripped bolts, serving at a parts-donor, or set up as a cross bike.

Nick Gibson to the rescue!

"Here man, ride this bike." Titanium Merlin, Full XTR, 4 inches of Fox at each end...

It was like heaven, except for the little girl wheels.

Did I mention that my HID was DOA? I rode behind Nick all night. His light guided me home.

Proof that I'm still riding...


First off, I don't want to hear any shit about how I have water bottle cages on my 'cross bike.
Second, I don't want to hear anything about the flat bars, disk brakes, leg hair, etc.

This is my off-season, people!

Anyway, I wound up 60th out of 80 finishers in the ss class. Not much of a result, but at least nothing broke. There was one long climb on the course that just killed me every lap. No snap in the legs, no fire in the belly. Like I said, this is the off-season.

Anyway, no racing this weekend. There are two races on the coast, but I will be going to a wedding and/or hanging out with friends from out of town. But since I can't seem to get enough of this humiliation and pain, I'll be back racing again on November 2nd.

And then the SSCXWC looms on the horizon. Will I have a fancy new bike? Will I get through the qualifying rounds? Will Dylan ride in a dress? Only time will tell...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Nobody likes to DNF...

...but when you look behind yourself and see this laying on the ground, there isn't much you can do.

On the other hand, I did look good rolling up to the race like this:

Those Quiring bikes just look great. I had to take off the Jones Bars for cross, but even with skinny tires and flat bars the bikes look the part, even if I can only make them go so fast.

So, back to the drawing board for next week. I guess we are racing in Rainier. Hopefully all the parts will stay on the bike...

Monday, October 06, 2008

I don't look good...

...in any of the pictures from this race. I've got to work on my posing skills.

Cross Dressing

Ah, Alpenrose. This was my second year racing at this venue. (Can you believe it? I've been in Portland for over a year now...) The recent rains made for a slick course, and I opted for the ti Quiring with cross tires. It was a good choice. Added in old-skool Michelin mud tires and some 34x16 gearing and I was ready to rumble.

And rumble I did. If you look closely at the photo, I am bleeding from the arm and leg. Got into a slick corner just a little too fast. If you're not crashing, you're not going fast enough.

So how did I do? I have no idea. As you can see in the photo, my number is kind of flapping around so I was only scored for one lap. I sent a note to the organizer, and expect that I will be placed accurately after the film is reviewed. I was on the lead lap (although not in the lead group...) so I should be in the top third at least. We'll see.

Other team mates had good races. Dave won the C race, and Nick won B's. Look for Nick to be tearing it up with the A's from now on. Serves him right for being so fast.

More cross racing in store, pretty much every weekend from here on out through the end of the year.

That's about all for now. I'll post up some more pic's later if I can find any.


Both computer and internet are working again! I'll post some race reports, photos, and all kinds of other great stuff later.

Monday, September 22, 2008

For those about to 'cross...

I salute you!

Did Starcrossed up in Seattle this weekend. It hasn't rained out here for about two months, but the skies opened up just in time for the start of 'cross season. It rained most of the day Saturday, and by the time we got to the venue it was full on wet and 50F with rain still falling.

Traffic was awful on the way up; I missed the start of the B Masters race and had to toe the line with the young guys. Oh, and I got to start in the last row of a 80+ racers. On my singlespeed. With a 200-yard paved start.

All that aside, I had a good race. Passed people all day. I need to learn how to be more aggressive early in the race. I spent the first two laps being polite and wearing out my brake pads. My bike was handling like a dream; I could corner inside almost everyone. I just started going real hot into the corners and nipping underneath my competition. I get into someones wheel once and went down, but otherwise had a clean race.

Long story short, the team had a good day. I had a fair day performance-wise, but I really enjoyed the experience. Ryan got 1st, Nick got 2nd. I ended up 50th. Hey, what can I say? It beats sitting on the couch.

I'll post some pics later if I can find any. Seems like there were 20 cameras on the course.

After my race I got to hang around and watch the pros. That was a treat; it was like watching Formula 1 cars head out after the go-carts get finished. I ride with a few of the local pros from time to time, and am used to watching them pull away from me like I am sitting still. In this race, they worked hard to break the top 20. There is always someone faster out there somewhere.

Next up, there is a race down in the Willamette valley this weekend. Note sure if I'm up for that with most of the team out in Vegas. Then the first weekend in October starts Cross Crusade...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hi! Is this the Pain Cave?

Why yes it is! Come on in and have a seat!

Cross racing started today. I did two races, Masters B and Singlespeed. I rode my singlespeed for both. I was overgeared (again) and never really had a chance. I should receive two (smallish) chainrings this week...

First race, I was doing pretty well until I crashed going fast down a fairly steep hill with a pair of left-hand turns at the bottom. The first two laps I railed the turns; I could feel the tires sliding, but I kept it in control. The third lap the bike slid out from beneath me, and I hit the ground pretty had. I lost on position, but got right back into it. On the next lap, I crashed in the same spot, perhaps a bit harder this time. Tore my shorts, got a nice patch of road rash, jammed a bunch of dirt up in the brake lever, and generally had a miserable rest of the race. I finished. DFL, but I finished.

I swapped tires after that race. Is there ever a good reason to run Kenda Small Block 8 tires? I'm not sure there is. I threw on some tires with a bit more bit, and prepared for 45 more minutes of suffering.

Suffer I did. Being overgeared, sore, bleeding, and dealing with brake rub meant I was pretty much just trying to fight my way to the finish. I did finish, and managed to avoid the DFL spot. But not by much...

Gotta get healed up for starcross in Seattle next weekend. As noted, I should have a wider set of chainrings to choose from and I will run some tires with grip from the get-go. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go rub some ointment on my wounds...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Am I still riding?

Yeah, I guess you could say I get out once in a while.

130 miles, 13,300 feet of climbing.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I've been a bad, bad blogger...

1. I still need to finish the UP Trip Report

2. I've been up to St. Helen's; that should be worth a report (Hint; I killed an I-9 wheel...)

3. I won a sprint at the 3/4 race at PIR (Yakima went 1-2-3!), and I got in a 2-man breakaway that nearly went the distance.

4. I got my ass handed to me at the Kruger Kermesse.

And there is some really interesting riding just around the corner. Starcross, the Gentleman's Race, more cross racing (and a new singlespeed cross bike!) to write about.

Portland: I (heart) U!!!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Yooper Loop Road Trip

After logging 170 miles at 24/9, I rested my legs, back and butt Sunday evening. Monday I was up early, transforming my steel quiring MTB into a road touring bike. This consisted of:

-removing Reba suspension fork, installing rigid carbon fork

-removing heavy dirt tires, installing 'flat proof' specialized armadillo 23/25c road tires

-installing a 44x15 gear ratio

That accomplished, it was time to get some rest and prepare for the first day on the road...

I was up early Tuesday as I wanted to get on the road and get the first day of travel under my belt. Right away, I noticed that I had over-estimated what I could cram into my Ergon BD1 pack and under-estimated what I would like to carry with me on the trip. I ended up leaving some things behind at the hotel in Wausau; two books, a few items of clothing, etc. Still, I headed out on the road with a very full pack with two bundles strapped to the outside.

I got about 7 miles down the road before things started to get interesting. The unmistakable sound of air escaping from my rear tire did not fill be with joy. I've had great luck with the specialized armadillo tires; prior to this ride they have never let me down. Anyway, I got off the bike and looked at the tire and tube--no visible problems. Oh, well. Just bad luck I guess.

Continued on down the road, until about mile 44. The unmistakable sound of air escaping from the rear tire was even less welcome this time around. Off the bike, dismount the tire and tube. Flip tire inside-out; still not visible problem. Super-close inspection of tube reveals no damage. Hmmm, this is not good. Review of repair supplies reveals one (1) spare tube remaining, three CO2 cartridges, and zero (0) pumps on hand. This could get interesting.

Mile 50 brings me to an interesting site; a gas station/county library/personal residence. I walk in and started talking to the station attendant/librarian/homeowner; did she have a tire pump that would fit a presta tube? (A pretzel tube?!? What's that?) How about a tire patch kit? (Yep, for a car tire...) Perhaps some CO2 cartridges? (You mean like for a BB gun? Sure, I've got a few right here...) I also picked up a bungee cord to strap some of the crap hanging off my pack to the handlebar instead.

Anyway, I headed off with not much more than 50 miles to go. The rest of the day passed without significant event. The roads were good, the weather was hot but not awful. I had no problems with dogs or irate drivers. My a$$ was a bit some, but my legs and back were doing just fine. I have to hand it to the people at Ergon; the BD1 was comfortable on my back all day long and that thing had to have 40-50 pounds of gear and water stuffed inside.

After reaching the hotel in Crivitz, WI I wandered over the the grocery store, bought some neosporin with pain reliever (a bit of ass chap in the works...), some beer and a magazine. Then next door to subway for a foot-long steak sub. Eat, drink, read, hit the sack. 104 miles down, 261 to go...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I know I owe you all some updates from my road trip, but since I got back to Portland I haven't been feeling my best; you know, aversion to light, craving for human brains, etc.

Also, it has been blasted hot here and that plays havoc with my compy. As soon as it cools down I'll post some updates.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Not *quite* what I had in mind...

Twelve laps. 7th place.

Some races, everything goes just like it should. See Spokane 24 for details. Sometimes things just don't go your way. This was one of those races.

I don't feel like getting down into the gritty details, but I had just about every kind of problem; mechanical, physical, psychological. None catastrophic alone, but together they were more than I wanted to deal with. And as always, I came away with a bunch of lessons learned. Here are a few:

-Flying to a 24 Hour race is a pain
-Heavy tires are great for 12 hours
-I9 wheels are too stiff for a 24-hour race
-a fork that is set too stiff isn't cool
-a fork that is blowing oil isn't cool
-you can never have a gear that is *too easy*

Oh, the list could go on. But I think that is enough for now.

Later this week, I'll share the story of the 450 miles I logged on the singlespeed in the week *after* 24/9.

Hint: It's a *much* happier story.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tick Tock; Tick Tock

The watch keeps ticking.

The time of reckoning is drawing near.

Tick tock; tick tock...

Photo swiped from here.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Things that are awsome

1. 54mm carbon tubular wheels
2. Super-light tubular tires
3. Flying up the hills and on the flats.

Things that suck:

1. Flatting on tubulars.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Still here...

... still doing what I do.

Rode tabor last week. I was not a dominant force. Nick killed it, however, and won the race and the series. Good on ya, Nick!

Had a great ride out a Larch Mountain in Washington this weekend. Some crazy ups and even crazier downs. I'm talking about exposed, 300+ foot drops, flint-edged rocks over the edge, with dinner-plate sized loose rocks on the trail. At 20+ mph. My fancy I-9 wheels may never be the same...

As Paddy pointed out, I have strayed a bit from the singlespeed orthodoxy of the past few years. Don't get me wrong; I still turn to the single when I need to get the job done and I can't imaging doing a 24 on anything but a single. But for some of the straight-up fun rides out here on the left coast, a handful of gears and 3" of cushy suspension is just the ticket. And the team hooked me up with a pretty sweet deal on the Kona Hei-Hei 29er, so I couldn't say 'no'. All in all, I've been very happy with my purchase.

Sounds like some MTB and some road this weekend. The weather has taken a turn for the best out here, and I plan to make the most of it. Between rides, I'll finish prep work for 9 Mile. I have plans for that race. Big plans. Redemption plans.

Don't test me.

Just kidding.

But really; don't test me...

Saturday, July 05, 2008


...are for riding, so that's what I did yesterday.

Took the kona out for an easy ride with Nick and Dylan. "A couple of guys might show up on downhill rigs..." we were told. No sweat, I didn't want to go too fast today anyway.

Too bad it was Matt Slavin and the guy that got 4th at Cream Puff (in singlespeed) the week before. And a sprinkling of other fast dudes from Tonkin's MTB School and elsewhere. Ouch. 25 miles, 4 hours and about 5000 feet of climbing later, I was bushed. But I've just about got the suspension dialed on the kona.

The new road frame is nearly built up. Just need some h-bars and tape from my boy Jeff Palma. Mt. Tabor will be tamed!

Also need to make a few small adjustments to the Short Track Weapon. 8th Place was ok, but podium is better. Or at least top 5.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

News Flash - I've got my eye on you...

1. I bought my airline ticket for 9 Mile today. The die has been cast.

2. I did an all-michigan MTB ride tonight. Me, Bernie, Jeff Palma, and Nate from the Hellriders. We rode Scapoose. Then we feasted on Mexican food. Good Times!

3. I broke down and ordered a cheap road frame to replace the Airborne that was cracked at the Mississippi Crit. Mt. Tabor must be Dominated!

Monday, June 23, 2008


Tried to race short track. 5 minutes late to start, but that didn't stop them from selling me an entry...
Anyway, the Quiring Ti is set up for the super-fast short stuff. Dirty, with 2 cages, a computer mount and an Ignitor on the front it is sitting at 19.4 pounds.
Oh, I likes me some Quiring... :)


30 miles, 5000 feet of climbing, lots of vigilantes and non-vigilantes, only one flat and lots of laughter and good times.