more shimano... less everything else, knee update

I don't like to be a comformist, but the more I ride the more I realize Shimano has it right. SRAM might shift better- but the chains break and the cassettes wear too fast. Crank Brothers pedals may be easier to clip into and better for mud but they eat the soles of your shoes, accidentally eject you when you least want them to, and only last 1500 miles or so before the "wings" themselves wear out and they are garbage. Etc. Etc. Plus they know when NOT to offer a product- seems they just stay away from foisting any crap they don't have DOWN to the point of BULLETPROOF onto us. I never knew how good I had it on my 14 year old Marin's stock build until I rode most of this year with SRAM and crank brothers in place of Shimano. Along the same lines, how can crank brothers expect anyone to want to run their $$$ wheelsets, headsets etc. when they can't even make reliable pedals that retail for $140... hell, even the crankbrothers pump that I have broke.

Huge thanks to Dr. Thorson for giving me a second? opinion on my knee. He was able to find a few muscular imbalances and 'core' issues that should be able to be addressed in order to greatly help me out. I also now have a proper referral for as many physical therapy sessions as will be needed. I feel good about having more 'work' to do in order to attack this problem, rather than the crap plan that Mayo foisted on me.

I get that we are in a financial crisis. I get that healthcare costs are soaring out of control. I get that a lot of people who shouldn't be are completely incompetent (I realize this more and more each day I go to work). All that said- the Mayo Clinic's sports medecine "clinic" can't just can't be as bad as it has seemed to me. I'd almost feel better overall if I thought the crap care I've received was just because I am an employee- but I don't think they had any way of knowing. How can anyone just send someone to ONE PT appointment for a condition that could lead to (well, let's just say it could lead to pretty bad things).

I also get that I'm not a professional athlete and they don't really care if I can do what I want to do. Seems most doctors just think it isn't natural to ride a bike or run- doesn't make a lot of sense to me unless it's just because they are so used to seeing the endless parade of overweight, alcoholic, smokers that make up the general population (even of clinic employees). In a way this just motivates me more to get strong enough that the next time I have to deal with them they'll "believe" that I'm serious about this stuff... I (misguidedly I'm sure) feel like if I looked like Lance at the end of the tour that they'd have taken me more seriously.

I'll stop ranting and return to normal thought processes and grammar, NOW

wrapped the bar ends and over the grips on the monocog with bar tape- hoping the larger size diameter and added insulation keeps me warmer through the cold weather and also insulates me from some of the chatter. This has been working great since my ride Sunday. The new, comfortable, location with my hands on the bar ends is reminiscent of my favorite position on the hoods with drop bars.

mon- 120 at 8- extended commute in both directions (35 miles) monocog. Cold riding from 1:30-2:30, saw some weird stuff (blond on the lap of some guy driving a 15 year old lexus down highway 14 at about 15 mph)... got to love having a 50w headlamp that "looks" wherever you do in THAT situation, "umm, hi".

tues- 90m at 5.5 at eastwood- took it easy. Huge thanks to Charly Tri for the new trail sections! Obstacles I/we put in are still in good shape and look solid. Made log ride and rock pile to skinny first tries. Tried to get comfortable on bike salsa- race saturday.

wed- 49m full lap of leb at 8.5ish. Wanted 'race' pace but it was a bit greasy. Fell, hit knee on wood section leading up to the new, easy skinny and took it easy from there out. Racing Ralph's not ideal tires today.

120m at average of 8- rode to douglas trailhead and out to a total of 15 miles very hard, averaged 19 mph on monocog. was trying to attend a group ride that may or may not have happened (never saw anyone). rode last 45-50m of ride at a comfortable/easy pace back through town in the dark.


ooh- forgot the most important one

of course- I also have the bike that got me started. It's not my first bike, but it is definitely the first adult sized bike I ever had and it was my only mountain bike for the first 12 years I had it. Thanks mom and dad! I'll be keeping it forever-

'96 Marin Pine Mountain

well, it's set-up for being used on the trainer right now. It's a SICK build featuring a random mixture of stock parts and things I've taken off of other bikes. It's currently sort of SS (but has a derailleur mounted that can be adjusted with an allen key to switch from 13t-21t cogs to compliment the 42t chainring up front. The 42-13 gearing is necessary to get enough resistance on my ghetto trainer. The white industries crankset is sort of cool and the frame is wonderful. I'll be getting out onto the trails next summer for sure. If I enter any SS races this will probably be the ticket.


There's a couple pictures of each of them. Salsa is right before heading to the blufflands epic race so that's the "endurance" look there with the suspension fork and the manual pump etc.
current builds-
'08 Salsa Mamasita (Medium)
hope pro II/salsa delgado wheelset w. racing ralphs
reba sl at 80mm or exotic carbon fork
160mm juicy 7s
raceface deus xc crankset with 24/36
xt trigger shifters
xt rear derailleur
xtr front derailleur
xtr cables with bontrager housings (gold)
sram 990 cassette and 991 hollowpin chain
fsa stem (titanium hardware) and headset
ritchey pro aluminum flatbars (130 grams)
easton ec70 seatpost
wtb devo saddle
'04 Jamis Komodo FX (large)
azonic outlaw wheelset w. holy rollers/swamp things
marzocchi all-mountain sl fork ('06)- was cheap used because it's quick release
203mm/160mm juicy 5s
raceface atlas crankset 24/36t
e13 chainguide
x5 level sram drivetrain
bontrager 50mm stem
easton ea50 riser bars (the bars and stem are not pictured)
titec pluto seatpost
wtb saddle
'07 Monocog (medium)
mostly stock for now
the bars/stems were upgraded to specialized take-offs be previous owner
front brake is now a hayes mechanical disc with 203mm rotor
saddle is 1960s Brooks
ghetto install of the rack
32/15t gearing- needs bigger chainring bad
I have quite a few different sets of tires that I can fit to this beast (or the salsa when needed) but generally plan to run my hutchinson piranha 700x35cs or nokian studs on here. I don't think it will get a lot of actual offroad mountain biking use, but we will see.

something positive

Been icing both knees after each ride and doing my pt exercises etc. which has allowed me to get quite a bit of training in the last few days. Right knee (the not really injured one) seems to be responded well to that and isn't getting as painful.

Have appointment Wednesday for a 2nd opinion and more information about the chondromalacia (the proper term for my actual injury). Will post details after that.

I know enough at this point about it that I know I can start training and that I will more or less be "ok". I've been going at it relatively hard now the last few days. Feeling fresh and motivated...

last week-

mon- rested and rode Jamis for extended commute

Tues- left work early after bad news with the knee. 2 hrs on the trainer. fairly even effort with a few run ups to harder effort and back down. 120min at 6.5 effort.

wed- had pt appointment. mowed lawn etc.. monocog commute.

thurs- 90m at 7 on trainer. picked laura up at airport. 75m at 7 on trainer after work. no commute (went in late)

friday- 60m at 4 on trainer (just spin and then ice knee- cycle seems to help the rt one). 60m at 7 on trainer after work

sat- 60m at 5 (salsa needed tuning- went home and worked it out), 120m at 6 on trainer watching gophers- commercials=sprints, 60m at 8 on monocog just before dark. lots of stretching and pt stuff

sun- 55 miles in 195m at 7.5ish on monocog. rode end section of Almanzo course. Felt very strong.



Nothing concrete yet- will post some goals, plans and the like after I get the knee issue sorted out. In a bit of a frustrating holding pattern for now. Have been hitting the trainer though at least.



knee got me down

as the time ticks down to 4pm tomorrow the hrs are going slower and slower. I no longer care about the extent of the injuries or if I need surgey... I just want to know so that I can make a plan to move forward with appropriate goals for next year. frustrated.


it's 4:36 and I'm at home

Made 5 nice laps at a reasonable pace, broke chain, couldn't fix without going back to "pit", realized knee was killing me, drove home with left foot so I could keep leg up, not as disappointed as I might be.


blufflands epic enduro race

well- This is the 2nd time around after the original date was rained out. I've gone through 3 potential partners who have had to back out for various reasons between the two dates. I have spent too much time on two Friday nights preparing food and drink for the race. At this point I'm going and I'm going no matter what. If it's cancelled due to rain or armeggedon or whatever else I will be riding 8 hrs or so of gravel. I will not be stopped from riding until I can't ride anymore on 10/17/09.

I also snapped a couple pictures of the Homegrown I just built up for for mom-

Mom's bike-

2000 Homegrown

Tange rigid steel fork (for now)

XT hubs/mavic wheels/blue nips

Tiagra STIs

Deore LX crankset (1x9 with 32t)

Deore XT rear derailleur

she will be adding her own pedals (105s?), saddle and center pull brakes

another day of rain-

some say the end is near
some say we'll see armageddon soon
i certainly hope we will
i sure could use a vacation from this

bullshit three ring circus

...learn to swim

aenima has been getting a lot of play recently- to be honest dating all the way back to the "heck" (where I just about went through the whole catalog). It seems even more fitting after dealing with the circus, that is the clinic, during regular business hrs the last two days. I can't say I feel like I have anything in common with 99% of the people you run into downtown Rochester.

It's been 9 weeks now since I walked off the field at soccer with knee issues and self-diagnosed as having a cartilage problem. I finally received an MRI today and will truly find out what's going on next Tuesday. In the meantime, I've been told by a general practitioner and two different physical therapists that I didn't need an MRI and that I had a chronic use (from running) problem. I'll stay away from further judgement until Tuesday, but I have not been in any way impressed with the care I've received thus far.

I'm fretting that the WEMS race this weekend will be cancelled due to the rain. Bike is ready- got the 24/36t double installed with the Shimano shifting now and everything seems good.


First winter riding!

Woke up excited about the prospect of snow and riding in the snow. Turns out I was a bit ahead of myself as it was really much more like rain, but my mind was already turning and I wanted to ride. Off down my 20 mile TT "loop" I went with plans to ride the first 14 miles or so and then head into the city for lunch before work. It felt great to be riding in such crappy conditions and I ended up riding a bit more than planned. The ride home was even better- the temperatures had dropped and the road had dried, sure is desolate out there at 2 am and more so the "worse" the weather gets.

Had another idea today about why I like riding so much... the freedom. When you are a kid you love your bike but in the back of your mind is turning 16 and getting a car. It's sort of the american dream to get the car and the freedom that goes with it (I remember a rhetoric class I took where we listed all the things "the car" allows you the freedom to do--- from skip school to a place of your own for sex). However, the car never really provides that freedom. With cars you are hassled by the cops when you do anything fun and you have to feed them gas. The combination means that driving becomes a chore and just one more reason you are bound to stay plugged in to the matrix. This is a sad realization for me- I really love fun cars and driving and I'm sure I always will, but I think this is true. There is so much more legal (mostly) fun to be had on a bike and all you have to do is eat, something I already do a lot of, to fuel it. Not only that, but the more you ride the more freedom you get. Your motor gets bigger and bigger and all the sudden you can ride to the cities if you want to and truly be free. You can leave Rochester in a rain with a 30 mph headwind at noon and cross the river into St. Paul at sunset with a 4 pack of Surly's on your rack and a tear in your eye.


why, again?

so now that I got bored enough to actually start this thing (I've been thinking about it all year) I'm not sure who I want reading it... Therefore, I've basically told two people of it's existence and obviously no one is reading it. Of course, no one is likely to read it a whole lot anyways. I think I'll add the link to my signature on morcmtb.org as well for now.

Pictures of the "family" and my backyard. No images of Sunny the recluse cat (she hides in cardboard boxes all day and they make for poor images). Lucky the GSD, Sam the beagle and Dickie the crazy bastard.
Will try to get pictures of my bike stable soon as well. Go Vikings btw!


Wish www.ride424.com had 2010 stuff posted- Farrow not mentioning me in the heck of the north recap (and more so my tactical/directional error) are making me search.


I ride on purpose

to inspire others to do the same

to have fun

to get faster

as therapy

to see the world differently

to remember (and forget)

because I can

to prove I can

not because I don't have a car

I've been commuting by bike for a few years now. Going back for years and years I had always enjoyed riding, but mostly had only rode offroad and only for crosstraining for other sports. 20 months ago I purchased a nice road bike used (2003 s-works) and told myself I was going to use it. 14 months ago nothing had happened- I was out of shape, 190 lbs and feeling unsure of who I was. I had always identified as an "athlete" but it had been years since I had actually been competitive in anything. I was unhappy and trying to compensate by partying etc.. I felt stuck in Rochester because of my job and the economy and couldn't think of anything worthwhile to do here. Last August a mutual friend introduced me to some guys who said they had a mountain bike trail locally... I went the next weekend and got my ass kicked, had fun and realized that I had found something I could do in Rochester.

"Ride on purpose" to me means that I'm riding because it's my way "out". I am purposely doing it because it's a way to make Rochester seem more hospitable. We may lack mountains, real rivers, much wildlife (other than geese), "cool" people, a soul, good restaurants and so on- but through riding my bike I can make the most of what is here. If I ride my bike hard enough (on purpose) it can not only take me away from here, both literally for races/rides and figuratively, but it can also change what's here. Through riding I have realized there are more great people here and more fun things going on than I ever knew- huge thanks to all of you. I have also come to see the beauty that does exist in the area.