no more Jamis

Well, not exactly sad to see it go... My Komodo FX was a fun bike and served me well for the purpose and style of riding for which I built it. However, circumstances conspired in such a manner that I was able to upgrade and go in a different direction at basically no additional cost.

I picked up the El Santo as above, but with a rock shox psylo fork, xt v brakes/xtr levers, mavic crossride wheelset and a few other things PLUS the wheelset in the pictures there for $480 yesterday... Seeing as how the wheelset is worth about that, I'm obviously pretty stoked. Stoked enough that I woke up at 8 on Thanksgiving to get to work on putting it together. I basically stripped both frames bare (El Santo and Komodo II) and put all the best parts on the El Santo then cleaned everything else and listed it on ebay.
I will post a review of the El Santo after I ride it tomorrow. For now, let's just say it is light and quick, even with that monster fork on it (it IS adjusted down to 115mm of travel though).


more summer in november!

Weather has simply continued to be amazing!

I will come back to this and post my recent training (for my own purposes) later.

Marin build-

What can I say? Got excited about having a 26" xc bike again, of course that meant going all-in. Had my friend Eric weld a rear disc tab onto the bike and remove all the unwanted braze-ons etc. etc.. I was a bit nervous initially when I let him take the frame, but things absolutely couldn't hav turned out any better. Excellent quality of work and attention to detail too. Then I spent some time of my own creating a cool custom finish for the aluminum crankarms, brake levers and bashguard. Lastly, I sold some stuff I didn't need and financed some tasty new Ritchey parts, a race quality disc wheelset and a titanium velo saddle. Things were coming together fast... Then, as the clearcoat was drying I got a call from an old friend. I hadn't heard from Lin in a couple of years, and the serendipity of randomly hearing from a custom airbrush artist on that evening was just too much to ignore. Expect big things- I'll save the pictures for later.

I've also made a few other equipment changes here recently on the other bikes- continuing to lighten things up and sell what I no longer need. The salsa got some new Easton Monkeylite sl bars among other little upgrades. The Jamis got a 70mm raceface stem and a kmc chain. The Monocog got some real SS cogs and a new chain as well. I also picked up 4 Yakima racks for the Tahoe, so we're up to being able to carry 8 bikes when necessary. It should be helpful as it will make it easier to carpool and hopefully save some gas next summer.


Went and rode there once again last Thursday and just feel that I have to mention how freaking awesome that trail system is. The main loop there is the best in the midwest that I have yet been to and by a wide margin. Nothing in the Cable or Duluth area even comes close to the absolute quality of trail. HPT is full of little technical spots and tricks and legitimate climbs in a way that is mostly unmatched in this part of the world. If you haven't been, go!


amazing weather this week

Don't even know where to start with this week- multiple great rides, creepy occurances, things to rant about, more broken bike parts and another new resurrection of the Marin.

Huge thanks to Chris for putting on the cx race today. I'm glad I didn't make the trip over to the "real" race in Northfield. The course was top-notch and it was a perfect laid-back atmosphere. Almost a full hr of "all out" was a great workout too (especially at this point in my week). Where else could I have sat down after a big effort and been handed a Hamms and a railroad tie? It was also nice to meet a few more local people. I will be in for the next local race on the 28th.

26" cross country resurrection!

After all my recent breakages I was down to basically zero working mountain bikes during the early part of the week this week. Decided to take the Marin off the trainer and take it out for a spin. I'm hooked! Quickly convinced myself that I needed to build it up with some race-ready parts and that the 26" ss hardtail certainly has a place in my 'arsenal' of regularly used bikes. I don't remember ever having so much fun riding it. I think all this riding this year has really improved my skills and am glad to see that they transfer back down from the 29er.

I will be building it up with some lighter/modern wheels, a slightly newer manitou air fork, disc brakes and single speed (of course).

You may be saying- why not rigid? What kind of a wanker builds up such a 'hardcore rig' as a mid 90s steel hardtail for xc racing 15 years later and puts a suspension fork on it? Well- I'm not trying to build an excuse. I want a build that I can choose to race on and that I can feel comfortable on. If you think your more hardcore than me- so be it. If you use your bike as an excuse- "well I was on the SS", "I was fully rigid for that race", "I was on the 26" rigid", etc. etc. then I have no patience for you. It's even worse if you are a racer making those kinds of excuses. If you are going to spend the money to travel to MNSCS races and then rock a bike that you think is an excuse rather than fast something isn't quite adding up. So that's why I won't be rigid with the 26". I WILL, or course, continue to race the 29er rigid where applicable.

I will post pictures as soon as anything actually happens with this new build.

What is up with the Mercedes "AMG" SLS? As an AMG owner I am embarassed that they have stooped to bastardizing the legend that is the 300sl. Beyond that, they are about 5 years late into the retro styling game. I don't even care about the performance numbers of the car (which is roughly fast as mine if I had decent traction from launch or if we raced on the freeway and costs about exactly 10x what I've spent). What a bunch of sellouts.

What is up with the old dudes who hang out at Eastwood park? I don't approve of what they are doing out there in general (obviously) but this Friday took it to a whole 'nother level. In the past we've had to call the cops about things out there on two different occasions (one of which involved me 'catching' someone with their pants completely down at 5:30pm on a Friday 10' from an oft traveled trail and 500' from a playground) but this was just beyond creepy for me personally. I showed up out there alone at 6:30 packing my 10lb battery and light set-up hoping to make a couple laps. In no way was I expecting to have any company from weirdos in the woods. I noticed that the "green car guy" was there (when is he not?) and was sitting in his car with the parking lights on reading a paper (again- when is he not? Seriously if I've been to Eastwood 100x he has been there 85 of them). I took off on my lap and got into it a little bit, soon becoming comfortable in the dark. After 1 lap his car was still there, but now with the lights off. Any feelings of comfort vanished. As I rode by I had to glance toward it. My headlamp illuminated the front seat. I saw nothing but saturn interior... For a minute I fell into the normal training dialogue, "be tough, don't quit now" but it quickly turned to "let's just go ride on the road and get out of here". I won't be going back to Eastwood alone after dark, not sure I ever should have thought it was a good idea regardless of who else might be out there. I'm mostly worried that if I infringe on their "space" that they'll mess with the trail in some way that might become dangerous. It could also be quite scarring to accidentally illuminate certain things with 25w of light.

mon- 90m x 7.5 at eastwood on the Jamis. Jamis around downtown 'after' work. no commute.

tues- jamis commute and ride after work (90m total)

wed- rest- marin commute

thurs- stagecoach with tim 100m at 6- fun riding marin out there. 30m at 9.5 of cyclocross at Eastwood. crankarm fell off before finish- pretty dumb. no commute (late shift).

friday- no commute. took marin for about 35 total miles including some gravel, the eastwood incident above, and almost all the bike trails in town. 150m at 8.

saturday- 3 laps plus at eastwood on marin (two with mike) approx. 20 miles 120m at 7

sunday- cx behind beer bellyz. 60 at 9.5- won! riding down there and back approx 15 miles 60m at 4.

kept things "short" due to a little knee pain. things seem to be better overall- felt pretty strong and knee feels that it's continuing to get "better". Am a bit concerned that SS riding will make things worse- but no actual evidence of that yet.


Halloween is over

Fun weekend- spent a ton of time on the couch watching football or baseball. Vikings v. Packers, USC v. Oregon were both worth sitting through. Nice to see the Gophers do something right too...

Raced Saturday up at Hillside in a very "low key" event. A couple of the fast guys showed up and I was excited to try to hang with them a little bit and get a feel for what I'm in for next year. Start was pretty good and I got into a comfortable rhythm before breaking the chain about 25 minutes in. This one was very frustrating, would have loved to sneak in there with a finish amongst the expert folks even in a super low priority race like this. Regardless, I'll be significantly faster the next time I race than I would have been had everything gone perfect Saturday and it's ok.

Probably spent too much time/effort trying to figure out what chain to switch to (heck- if I could have made up my mind two weeks ago I'd have had it for Hillside). I ended up taking the advice of one of my competitors fathers and going with the KMC x9sl. I picked one up for the Monocog as well- their $20ish SS chain in gold. Looking forward to not having to worry about chains for a while.

I appreciate all the advice I get from everyone, but the chain issues have got me thinking about how much of a 'crapshoot' my first year of racing has been equipment wise (and probably training as well). It's hard to know who knows what they are talking about when it comes to equipment- it seems some, particularly the bike shop guys, don't use their stuff as hard or as much as I want to be able to. The $$$ that's poured into little upgrades and replacement parts has really added up, but I've quickly realized I'd much rather pay even $100 more to not have an equipment problem. The costs of entry fees, traveling, being away from home add up to the point that almost ANY added expense in componentry would be worth it.

Halloween was fun- I'll post some pictures later. I raced in my german beer girl costume and went out later in the evening as myself. I figured I didn't really need a costume and would rather just wear whatever I wanted to- what other day can you get away with wearing a flannel, jeans, CLOGS, a ridiculous mustache, and can bring a flask into a bar, can't waste that opportunity by wearing a costume. That reminds me- I'm doing the movember.com thing for the next month. I already have a 2.5 week headstart, the mustache is going to be nuts.