12.28.2010

Triple D

Just got word from the boss and it looks like I'll be hitting Dubuque with an entourage. No matter how the race goes, and I'll be decidedly at the mercy of the weather rocking 2.25 tires, the entire weekend should be a great time. I've got a great start on the requisite beard.




No posts the lasts few weeks. Been getting out on the bike quite a bit though. Think I have around 300 miles on the Nokians and somewhere less than that (but north of 240) on the nexus hub. I don't really try to keep track of mileage so much this time of year instead relying on keeping track of hours- it's depressing averaging 9 or 11 or 13 mph or whatever the conditions allow. I even deliberately covered my computer up with my bar mitts. I have been making almost every commute by bike and I have stretched a lot of those commutes out to 2 or 3 hours. I feel good riding- Knee feels better now with the gears, ice/snow covered roads and paths have been pushing and improving my handling skills, and generally things are good. I've even hit the trainer for 7 or 8 hrs (I've got the Mamasita on there for now).

Motivation has been high. EXTREMELY happy with the current setup on the Kona. It is perfect winter bike for mixed conditions and is simply enjoyable to ride. It's fun on gravel, fun on snow, fun jumping off curbs, fun riding up steps and comfortable for hours on end. Was worth the 'cost' of keeping the frame (rather than selling on ebay) and the other new bits I added just for the motivation it's given me. Nothing else I own or have owned would have worked as well this winter than this bike.

Christmas has come and gone. Good times seeing the family and some friends. I think I did ok with the gift giving, it seems people were happy. I was lucky enough to get some nice bike stuff which I'll probably post more about as I get it installed.


First snowy single track race is on the 9th. Hoping to get some others from Rochester to make the trip with me. Figuring I'd better go to get a feel for the Mamasita before Triple D. Also plan on making a few snowmo trail rides too (but it sucks that I'll feel compelled to drive to the trailhead in order to do so. I've been trying hard to avoid the car).

Somewhat related- I will end the year with almost exactly 90 commutes totalling 1200 miles. Next year I hope to get up in the 130-140 range. I think commuting is good for my riding and my spirits in ways that are hard to measure.

12.14.2010

cup o dirt

1/6- 63 miles on Douglas Trail
1/14- 62 miles on 2009 Almanzo course
1/21- 106 miles to Mystery Cave
2/11- 107 2009 Almanzo to St. Charles, explore, return
2/14- 63 miles to Byron, Spring Valley
2/17- 65 miles soft snow, to St. Charles
2/28?- CIRREM 65
3/12- Spring Training Decorah metric
3/13- STD century- HARD, end of first ever 20+ hr week
3/18- gravel metric (fixed)
3/26- metric to Spring Valley (fixed)
3/27- century, part of a 157 mile ride
4/11?- Ragnarok, only made a metric, fell hard!
4/18- metric
4/24- BALLS day 1, 104 miles
4/25- BALLS 65 miles
4/29- 103 mile gravel ride s of Spring Valley
5/9- Sandwich 50, broke bike/two laps on cruiser! also rode to bars later, metric
5/15- Almanzo- fast for me at 5:45!
5/22- Cheq 100, beyond lost 107 miles
5/29- rode to Elroy, WI 177 miles (dm and dc)
5/30- 67 miles, end at wi dells
6/5- dirty kanza (130ish miles completed)
6/10- rode to Milltown Cycles (110 miles)
6/18 trans-wisconsin 155 miles
6/19- 115 miles
6/20- 83 miles
6/21- 70 miles (ended in Ironwood, so DNF! spent rest of time off there and copper harbor)
6/24- 65 miles on SS around Ironwood
7/27- 151 miles- to Stillwater with Skogen, back to Hastings
7/31- Wausau 24 (team) I got 80 miles in

focused almost solely on XC races for a couple months here...

10/2- heck of the north- 80 miles (very sore back- replaced bike after this)
10/23- 118? miles at Night Nonsense (supposed to only be 90)
10/31- 82 miles at Dirt Bag

that was the end of my "season" so far as I look at things.

now-

11/14- 70 miles, group ride, bw3s etc., pretty easy/slow
11/29- Rode to Royal Wilders grave- 70ish miles

Will likely pick up a few more before the end of the year here as I'm riding more again now.

22 metrics and 15 centuries thus far!






This challenge really motivated me for a large part of the year. Hopefully I can add 3 or 4 more metrics before the end of the year. Now looking back two things really hit me- I sure changed bikes/builds a lot and wow am I ever glad I went on every one of those rides. Looking like I'll have the time tomorrow to try for another!

thanks!

Thanks for the nexus 7 speed internal hub Laura! You got it from Ron for Christmas but let me install it right away. It is making a huge difference. It has allowed me to ride and commute without knee pain no matter what the conditions and weather.

I must also thank myself for the amazing roast. It was a good idea to put it in the crock pot prior to leaving for work. It hit the spot a few minutes ago after I finally got home.

I've been doing a decent job of getting in some hours on the bike and have really enjoying battling the elements. Can't wait for the next ride.

I still intend to do some write-up about jinglecross when I have time- it was crucial that Adam let me crash at his place down there!

I will also tabulate my FAILED "cup o' dirt" challenge. I didn't ride a metric and a full century each month. In fact, I think I realized that would have been an endeavor at odds with my racing goals for a couple of months. I do believe I met my goals for total number of dirty metrics and dirty centuries (plus rode way more paved centuries than I would have anticipated) but in the end I feel like I failed. Hopefully I can find time to tally things up tomorrow while I'm at work as that's where I keep all my ride info.

12.05.2010

got a bit bored

‎18" mamasita- magic gearing 38x20, 36x18, 34x16


58cm jake the snake- 40x19, 38x17, 36x15



why would I want SS specific bikes? Seriously, 36x18 offroad on a 29er and 38x17 with 700x40s for gravel are both perfect for the majority of situations for me AND both bikes offer the opportunity to step a bit up or down from there too.

scary that I've got so many chainrings and cogs.

12.02.2010

Royal 162


It's 2011 for me.

Today was a special day for us (Jake and I). We made a pilgrimage of sorts to the grave of Mr. Royal Wilder. Big brother to the one and only Almanzo, pioneer and literary figure. His namesake race will be the sort that separates and we figured it was right and prudent to seek his blessing prior to making preparations.

Initially it was a challenge how to approach him. After all, we had no idea if he'd ever ridden a bicycle and surely would never have envisioned his current role. We sought some sort of common ground; a gift which would be salient to both his life (1847-1925) as well as our current endeavors. Without much luck toward such ends we simply saddled up and rode. All the while hoping that the answer would become clearer as the time approached. A solid plan when you consider things so often do when viewed through the timeless lens that is hours upon hours on gravel, fixed.

The wind and sun kicked up and kicked the clouds out around noon. As the temperatures soared into the low 20s we found ourselves approaching without a clearing of the mind. Finally, as though a veil was pulled, we hit 151st avenue and the clouds within lifted. We were approaching it all wrong. We would go before Royal and ask for his support. Nothing more, nothing less. Who had we thought that we were such that we thought he needed something from us. It was only me wanting. He has rested peacefully for years. It was I who had the traveling left to do. It was I who would kneel before him and ask for his blessing with no apologies, no false pretenses.

We collected a few bits of gravel from where His race would be won or lost. These would be our offering, our monument and hopefully our salvation.








Only time will tell from here.







Ride stats- 74 miles, 6 hrs including stops, hr 141 average.

11.22.2010

potluck

Been eating and drinking a lot. Tried to get "double pounded" Saturday at Glynner's... (2 lbs of beef, 1/2 lb bacon, plenty of cheese and fries) fail! Did succeed in eating quite a bit of it, still rode my bike on the potluck ride, still found room for a few drinks. Potluck ride was incredible- looking forward to next year already.

Otherwise I sent $ in for all 3 days of jinglecrossrock. A daily cat 3 race and Saturday/Sunday SS races in the AM. Been rocking the Viner on a few practice rides. Made about 5 laps of Eastwood on it last week. After I was starting to feel real good about my handling skills and the bike I decided to try to really lay one down and time it. Turns out the CX bike isn't quite as fast as the 29er! as it was only just under 37 minutes. Tons of fun though. Fell a few times and rode over some obstacles and skinnies without breaking the Zipps. Probably shouldn't really be riding trails on them with skinny tires a whole ton.

On a related note I beat the HELL out of the Kona this past weekend... rode it up some stairs, off a few drops etc. etc. and it's no worse for the wear. There is something uber fun about skinny tires and aggressive riding, or is it just that it's the end of a long year?

I'm pulling the plug on the Marin as a 69er SS rigid. Going to set it up as more of a "trail" bike and abuse the hell out of it. Will be 1x9 with xt/xtr bits and a Marzocchi 130mm 26" front fork. It worked really well the way I had it, but it was serving a purpose I didn't have. Plus, I was really starting to miss my old Jamis freeride/trail/beater bike. 130mm will be a lot of travel for a frame originally designed for much less, but the angles won't be far from where they are now with the 29" wheel out front.

Next update will probably be my thoughts on Jinglecross.

11.16.2010

mist

Found a new way to get out of my neighborhood yesterday. Sort of a deer path that drops down the back way to the highway. It was a bit muddy on the way to work, but totally rideable even fixed (this was, of course, going downhill).

Left work last night at 1:30. Mist. Visibility under 50 yards. Entire commute felt like there should be a headless horseman chasing me. I don't often get spooked anymore riding in the dark but it was creepy enough out that I observed the fact that I 'could' have been spooked. Was very careful crossing the freeway, then hard right through the hole in the fence and around the back of the Appliance Smart. Hit the, now frosted/frozen solid, deerpath and almost immediately hit the red line. Half way up and I was surrounded by the mist and trees and breathing so loud that I didn't hear the wind or any cracking of the wood that must have occured because a pretty good sized limb fell out of a tree right behind me...

Next time I'm on the Stairway to Heaven I'll try to remember how I felt right then.



This am I got out on the road bike with the REAL Design wheels on it. Sort of sucked because the roads were very wet from the mist that has continued to stick around, but they did what they should have done. Didn't notice any major flaws or really any major strengths. They should work for my needs.

I mounted my IRD tires up on the Zipps and put them on the Viner. If it dries out a bit I'll take it out for a gravel ride or two this weekend. Not sure if I'm going to Indiana Thanksgiving weekend to race in the Turkey Gobbler (or whatever it's called), but if I am, and i want to, this is the setup.





also, these showed up. Hoping to do some work with them to make them really fit right. I will need to take up extra volume (my feet are so low volume that this is true with ANY shoe) and also plan to do the heat molding thing with the footbeds and the uppers. Luckily I can do this using the Bauer hockey skate oven at my family's store.

11.14.2010

fall=gear season

Been selling and buying- figure this is a good time of year to do it. Prices should be good for used stuff this time of year, right?

No longer have-

mavic ksyrium es wheels
tubular cx/gravel wheels (the ambrosios on dt240s)
velocity p35 wheelset
racing ralph 2.4s
the 1978 raleigh competition gs with lots of 70s campy
salsa woodchipper bars (sold one set, still have the other if you want it...)
lots of other smaller items-

new stuff-

dt240 disc hub/zipp 404 wheelset. Not sure what to say about these, pretty sure I really do plan to throw some 1.8s/1.9s on them, maybe wider? and ride offroad at times. They will certainly by fun on the road. I liked the price and think they are cool...







did get out for a couple brief rides on them already. One on the road and one on the mountain bike (with cx tires). Early reviews are good.


REAL designs supersonic 40 wheelset. These were so cheap on ebay that I had to do it. They will be my day to day wheels on the road bike until I mess them up. They are 'cheap' (claimed retail was 1k), light (1600g range), and use odd spokes... it will suck if they turn out to be unreliable, but they are currently in great shape and the tires on them cost as much as I paid. I still have my ultegra/mavic open pro wheelset to fall back on if these do fail me. I'm tempted to take the yellow stickers off. First ride will be tomorrow, expecting good things-









control tech carbon road bars and bontrager xxx lite carbon stem (separate purchases, but obviously go together). Have been on the Viner CX bike since right before the Night Nonsense- couldn't be happier. 12 degree stem allows me to slam the bars for cx racing and get it up where it will be comfortable for 8+ hr days with no other changes. Bars/stem feel very solid handling wise and the ergonomics is working well for me... hands don't go numb, back doesn't hurt, I'm happy! Never really said too much about that Viner frame either, which is also obviously new! It's good enough that I'm putting it in the category of "it works, I like it and I own it" alongside the Mamasita and the 585. Don't expect a lot of changes so far as frames from me in the next year or two unless something breaks.








In addition to those changes I've also picked up a bunch of tires...

specialized 1.9 borough cx
2 kenda klimax's
2 maxxis aspen 2.1s
bontrager xr 1.8 front
700x35 ird crossfires (1 white and 1 blue for the viner)

I'll be testing the tires on various wheel combinations as the weather allows. I plan to make the Zipp's work tubeless- although possibly only for cx season. Just need to cut up some tubes to make valves.

Since the weather has been crap the last few days and may well continue to be crap I'll probably end up riding the Kona winter fixie abomination as detailed in my last post... works for me (although I'd like at least a chance to ride the REAL design wheels and the Zipps on dry gravel at some point before winter)

sorry for the long post

BALLS Preparation

http://ballsride.blogspot.com/

Is awesome. So awesome that I've decided to dedicate the next 4 months to training in order to maximize my experience at BALLS. Countless days and thousands of miles worth of gravels lie ahead.

However, before I can begin I knew I would have to build the perfect bike-



Now that THAT is out of the way... I plan to ride a lot.

If you are reading this and aren't planning on doing BALLS, you should change your mind. It's a party, it's a camping trip, it's a group ride, it's in Wisconsin (land of amazing bars, food, beer and singletrack), and YOU will have fun. The locals over there are great and they simply "get" it. This is the perfect combination of difficulty and fun- a dirty century that everyone can enjoy. It's guaranteed that you will have fun at this ride. You might say that you are against paying to ride your bike- you won't be... you're paying for the beautiful cabin and the shower at the end of day one. You might say you can't ride 100 miles- well, you can... there are NO hills. You might say that it sounds too easy... then ride faster (or drink more E&J- I'll have plenty). You might say that you are doing Trans-Iowa instead... good luck and have fun! I will follow your progress via the internet from my cabin, or from around the campfire.

Oh ya MN guys- Friday is Blue Mounds ride day... so assuming Blue Mounds is open, take Friday off as well and expect to ride 30+ miles of singletrack Friday to push the 3 day total over 200.

10.31.2010

dirt bag, health crap, sale stuff

Rested all week, major lingering effects from the Night Nonsense. Riding through the night seems to do that to me. I'm sure my continuing cold symptoms don't help either. On that topic- I had an allergy test monday which turned up negative for common MN allergens. Thus a ct scan of my sinuses was scheduled for Friday (get results tomorrow?). I made it out to the Thursday night CX practice race with the thought that 3 full days would have been plenty of rest and that it was time to use the legs a bit again. Quickly realized I felt like absolute crap. Had a decent lead early, but felt bad enough that only 2 or 3 laps in I started to think about pulling and actually stopped to pee. Did pull out after 5 laps. Knew that I wasn't helping my chances for the dirt bag by riding when I felt THAT bad. Got a good night's rest Thursday night and went out for a 20 minute "leg" test Friday after work. Decided that I felt good enough to warrant making the trip to St. Cloud for the race. Then again, it wasn't like I could think of anything else I'd rather spend my Saturday morning doing and I probably wouldn't have missed it unless I literally couldn't ride.

5:30 came early Saturday. Long drive to St. Cloud. Interesting mood at the start- all the riders keeping to themselves. Pace went sky high early after the neutral start. First 10 or 12 miles of gravel were covered at a close to 22 mph average. I was feeling suprisingly good and was able to comfortably hold a wheel throughout as well as take a couple short turns out front. Soon found myself in a lead group of 5 riders. Figured we would slow down a bit and ride together. We DID ride together, but we did not significantly reduce the pace until close to the 50 mile mark. I was looking at a 19.9 mph average at that checkpoint. Has to be the fastest I've ever ridden on gravel for that length. Still I was feeling somewhat OK and felt I had a good shot at taking 2nd or 3rd (there was no doubt in my mind about who would eventually win). Some of the others were suffering a bit and I was feeling good.

Excellent cookies at the checkpoint. Refilled two of my four bottles and continued on. Around mile 65 there was an attack. I was able to cover it with relative ease and now there were 3 of us. We rode together for the next 4 or 5 miles in relative comfort. There were a couple of pace changes and one hard attack (where I even tried a counter-attack in order to try to split us down further). However, around mile 73 a switch flipped and I was just completely done. Fell back to the 2 who were chasing us, couldn't hold them, really had no interest in riding faster than 13 or 14 mph. So that's what I did. Finished with 82 miles and 4:31 on the clock and 6 minutes behind (the pace had slowed significantly between mile 50 and 65 while everyone sort of rested and thought about what to do next). Proud of how I rode. Wouldn't have wanted to 'race' for 3rd so don't feel bad that I may have lost it by trying to get 1st or 2nd and going with that attack. Really good course and nice people. Will be back next year. Maybe will get to steal some pictures soon.


I need to sell some good stuff-

Velocity p35 rims/xt hubs- barely any use $200

mavic ksyrium es- like new $475

ambrosio crono tubulars/dtswiss 240 centerlock hubs and 2 sets of tubular cx tires- $350 (likely sold)

contact me for pictures

10.27.2010

borrow a pugsley?

I'd really like the opportunity to have one for about two weeks this year (one in December and one in January).

The rest of my winter training will be spent on gravels on 700x45s as that is what is available to me right in my backyard. Simply can't justify the expense of owning one of the damn things.

Would want to get a few rides in to increase comfort level and then race the Tuscobia 75 mile event (sorry to wimp out from the "big one", but it just doesn't fit with my plans and goals) in late December. And then similar situation in mid January for Triple D.

No promises I won't show up for both on my 29er if something doesn't work out (or that I won't ride the Mamasita at both regardless based on snow conditions), but I'm having a hard time with justifying the entry without knowing I have the weapon.

10.25.2010

Dear Mr. Farrow Letter

Dear Mr. Farrow

I trust all is well in the Northland and that your preparations for this weekends Dirt Bag have come along well. Things are likewise excellent here in Rochester. We've had good turnouts for our Tuesday night social rides, Thursday night CX practice races and the indomitable Mr. Skogen's first micro cx race of the year. My health has been steadily improving over the past many weeks which is likely due in no small part to getting back to riding more gravel. Pleasantries aside I'm writing you today with regards to "The List". I understand that you generally only include performances which you have personally witnessed, but alas I am compelled to recount a performance witnessed this past weekend at the "Night Nonsense" with the hope that you will consider it for inclusion based on it's merit.

Young Tim Werts of Mankato traveled with the author to Iowa City Saturday AM. This was to be his baptism so far as gravel races go and he would be riding a borrowed bike and using borrowed lights. Upon arrival to Mr. Blakes domicile young Tim's nerves were apparent as he literally ran to and fro for 2+ hrs attempting to prepare his equipment and soul for the imminent destruction that was to be 90 miles of gravel and B road during a thunderstorm. It should be mentioned that Mr. Blake did everything he could to help young Tim to remain calm and to prepare. He opened his home, and all of his bike tools, to us in every way. I feel that we owe him a debt which will not be easily repaid. I personally spent most of this time sitting, with some of it spent offering minimal and sometimes questionable advice. When the race start neared young Tim seemed to reach a calm state and a different look came over his eyes. At the time I assumed this was a look of resignation or realization with regards to the difficulty of our shared undertaking. Perhaps it was simply determination.

At 8 pm the race began with a whimper. There was a long neutral pavement lead out. I tried to cull some of the favorites from the field during the lead out by feigning a complete lack of braking ability from my cantilevers (who knew they wouldn't work in a thunderstorm?). However, I was utterly unable to do anything but scare myself. Finally, we hit the true start of the race and I found myself up front. This was mostly out of fear as the group seemed crazed. It was almost pitch black with heavy rains as we flew through the northern suburbs of Iowa City. Ocassionally the road in front of us would be lit up by lightning which perversely was a welcome reprieve from the pounding darkness of the hour. During one of these strikes a hill formed before us and I knew that it represented an opportunity to spread out the field into something more managable. Thus split the remaining group was able to work much more cohesively for the next couple of miles. A road sign was twisted and the group altogether missed an early turn. Around this time young Tim rode up beside me to let me know that his light had died. Shamefully I quickly calculated my own need vs. his own and decided that despite having two good batteries I would do nothing. Moreover I also realized that the wrong turn had led to mass confusion in the group, quickly wished him the best of luck and took off down the road at full "go" for the next 3 or 4 miles. Despite his needs my cold calculations with regards to my own performance had taken the fore. He was left to fend for himself against the elements and the other racers with 75+ miles of hell left before him. I would not see him again until the finish.

I'll continue with my own experience of the race solely to underscore the conditions which young Tim was up against. The slight confusion mixed with my timely effort had completely broken the field. I pressed on working at a rate which I hoped would invite only my strongest fellow riders to join me. Soon we had a group of 3 and we began to work together. We were flying. We hit a dead end... We back-tracked and quickly became 5. We turned and looked for the road we had missed, eventually realizing that we hadn't missed any road, rather that we'd turned onto the wrong road (as there were two with the same name about 100 yards apart). We joined with the Eppens and took off down the right road with hopes of getting back to the front. our maps became soaked, our lights malfunctioned, we became woefully lost again. The Eppen contingent went hom. Eventually we found ourselves at the 31 mile checkpoint with close to 47 miles on our odometers, 3+ hrs on the clock and virtually no morale. The hills, soft gravel, thunderous rain and, of course, the darkness had all taken their toll. Our group had riders who had participated and finished multiple Trans-Iowas, Dirty Kanzas, 24 hr mountain bike races and scores of 100+ mile gravel events, yet all were near the breaking point. Eventually we rode on. The course did not let up. We struggled. We struggled against the resurgent wind, as whenever the storm abated it picked up, and against the slow gravels. We struggled with the darkness. Ultimately we even struggled with each other. Turning on each other in times of need despite not everyone even having a map. There was to be a checkpoint and aid station somewhere out there but it was forever coming. We hit a b-road literally covered in 3" of mud, most of us walked. Rabid dogs came out of the night, we climbed through the muck up and away from the cacaphony of the snarling animals. There it was! Shangri -La. Cold pizza has never been so necessary. We'd all been riding longer at that point than we'd expected to ride the entire course and our nutrition was lacking. Alas, due to our earlier failures the only beverages left were some sort of fruity alcohol/caffeine concoction, beer and water. We all refilled with water but only I dared try the "four loko" concoction and the beer went untouched. The difficulty of what we'd already experience had so colored our perception of the remaining 30 miles that FREE BEER went untouched... seeemingly impossible. It was nearing 3 am when we left that paradise for the darkness once again. We crossed a river of knee deep muck and water then navigating 7 or 8 miles of pot holed "trail" reminiscent of the "Dead Marshes". Finally winding our way across the gravels against the wind back to Mr. Blake's home.

I stood in the driveway straddling my bike looking at the others, at the beer and at the chairs unable to even lift my leg back over my bike to set it aside. The others I had ridden with were likewise looking quite rough- particuarly Mr. Shockey whose apparent pain was amplified by the black/blue dye that had run down from the balaclava he wore and formed some sort of a deathly mask. It was at this point when I was reacquainted with Tim. He ambled out of the house with a PBR and a grin to help me to a chair. Too modest to mention his own performance until Mr. Blake yelled out that he had gotten 2nd. Moreover he had finished with the winner in a non-contested finish out of respect and honor. He had ridden without a light just using what he could of the others' and thus felt indebted to the eventual winner enough to honorably decline from contesting. He had braved all of the things that had befallen my own strong and experienced group and he had utterly crushed us all. And with no light of his own, no map of his own, on a borrowed bike and with no previous gravel racing experience (he later admitted that this was the longest ride he'd ever been on).

I feel that Tim's performance is worthy of at least a passing mention in any recap of this years standout performances. His combination of honor and toughness represents the best of our form of cycling. I fully expect him to "show up" in a big way in the future.

best regards

-Drew Wilson

10.17.2010

good weekend

Thursday night and Friday AM I had a ton of head cold symptoms. Became frustrated enough that I called the doctor again and will now be going back in for some more testing (hopefully figuring out specifically what I'm allergic to, if that's what it really is). I also decided to change the time of day at which I take the nasal steroid they prescribed. I had been doing it when I woke up and at bed time- however, I figured it would be much more effective if I took my doses when I really needed them (the last couple days that has been when I wake up and then again right before going on an evening ride).

I decided to ride down to the Skogen house on Friday night for a bonfire- which turned out to be a great time btw, thanks Chris! Took my "night" dose before that ride and was happy to note that I felt pretty good riding, at the fire and also through the rest of the night.

Saturday AM I got out on a nice 45 mile road ride with some of the Velo guys. It was windy, but we kept the pace up pretty well and finished our loop almost 20 minutes faster than we'd expected. We all hit Dunn Bros. after the ride and heard some sobering war stories from Terry about his big fall two weeks prior out in California. He does seem to be recovering well.

Saturday PM was the first of the local "micro cross" races of the year. Chris did a great job with this one! The course was about perfect! We had a rocks, sand, fast sections with technical turns and plenty of obstacles. A course which was fun for all while also being plenty true to form so far as being a cross race goes.

My legs were a bit tired from the morning ride, but I had a mechanical advantage with my cx bike vs. most of the other competitors. I wound up making a move at around the halfway point which resulted in taking home a relatively easy win. Perhaps more importantly I didn't have any major knee pain issues with my ace knee band thingy on! Being able to do cx pain free going into the future would make me hugely happy. Here are some pictures I stole-





10.14.2010

...



hopefully this link works- impressive slideshow, captures the essence of the event AND somehow makes me look like a badass (I usually look like an idiot).



Had a good ride tonight in the CX practice race- was able to keep the hammer down the whole way for 10 laps. Felt good breathing wise and pretty good getting on and off the bike. Seems I may be faster compared to a few of the others than last year. Wore my new knee brace and feel that it helped the knee pain some (will know better tomorrow). Had a nice ride down there on the gravel backroads, then back via Moffit's with Karlene. A 45 minute race quickly turned into 3+ hrs on my bike.

10.13.2010

limbo

Not sure what is going on with me. Got my blood tests back and everything is fine. Have been on antibiotics and allergy meds for 9 full days now. Haven't really ridden hard or trained at all since my trip to Blue Mounds. Yet I still wake up every morning with clogged sinuses and random aches.

Have gotten to ride a few times and really enjoyed racing in Winona last Saturday (http://www.29nsngl.com/page/show/217708-event-details only tells a small part of the, 8 hrs of partying with awesome people, story) as well as my first ride on the new bike on Sunday. Should probably note that I had a reasonably fast time Saturday, just missing top 5- particularly when weighed vs. how I've been feeling.

Still have the Night Nonsense, Dirt Bag ride, local micro-cross races and the possibility of some real cx races to come THIS year... but it just feels like I've shut down. Not that I'm burnt out either exactly, just that I'm frustrated with my health and current level of fitness (or is that my health?) and I'm feeling the pull of the gravel. Ready for the blank-slate that is training. I need the hrs of work and the possibilities that go along with it. The chance to improve myself and outwork my own expectations. I wish I could take a magic pill that would clear up sinuses and whatever else is going on, give me 4 or 6 weeks of 'rest' and let me get started tomorrow.

I spent some time this evening converting the Kona frame into my current best idea of a winter training ride. It's weird and it's ugly, but I think it's going to work. I like the way it fits and I think it's a logical improvement to the old Mono/fixocog from last year. I'll be primarily riding "it" as a 38x17 fixie-





Laura and I both had today and the rest of the week off from work. We went to the zoo today, here are a couple pictures from the zoo including a great one of my "Loris" by the a real Loris' enclosure.




10.10.2010

first ride on the Viner







a quick video showing a bit of our mountain bike trail (it's got a nice view)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1uV1OJzDm8

or






Got a good mix of regular gravel, some minimum maint./b roads, and 6 miles or so of singletrack (the real stuff, not any manicured easy crap). Feeling pretty happy with the bike so far.

10.07.2010

wish me luck (fedex)

Turns out my frame has shipped via fedex with a proposed delivery date of tomorrow. All they will tell me is that the delivery hours are from 7am-around 7pm and that it needs to be signed for. I wonder what the odds are of it being delivered during the hrs I'm here (until 11:30 and after 5:30)? If not, it will be returned to Holmen Wisconsin and delivery will be tried again (likely with the same result, no?). I'd rather not wind up driving 2+ hrs round trip to get my frame.

10.06.2010

new info

Back is still hurting. Having a hard time sitting in my desk at work without pain or even cramping. I don't think the pain is because of my fall 10 days ago. The 58cm Kona just isn't working. I knew it was too large when I bought it and the intension was for it to be a very short term fix. At the time I thought my custom frame was only a few weeks away. I knew this bike would better fit me if set up with flat bars for commuting/winter use and really liked the idea of it as such. Jump forward 5 or 6 months and it's still here and attempting to fill quite a niche. I remember having problems with the fit to some degree early in the year (back cramp issues late in the Almanzo and on a couple other rides), but I wonder how I did manage to ride it as much as I did. In a way I think I more or less "got used to it". The vast majority of the rides I made on it were in the 2-3 hr range as well, which I think masked the problem. I hadn't ridden it much at all since June, my other bikes fit properly and it shocked my system to get back on it and try to race.

I started looking into other cx frames early this week. I had tried the comfort oriented gravel grinder thing with the Vaya in the past and had gotten a decent feel for the ride characteristics fo the aluminum Kona (even if it didnt' fit). I knew I wanted an aluminum CX race bike- the other options were likely to be out of my price range (someday I'll get a Ti bike, but I really better be sure I'm going to like the frame/fit/geo etc. before hand). I found a few options right away and settled on this-

http://www.viner.it/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=104&Itemid=85&lang=en

well, not exactly... that's as close as I can find in a link though. It's a 2009 version of their Vigor Cross. It's brand new and comes with their carbon fork and headset for a very reasonable price. The effective top tube is 545mm which should be an awful lot closer to proper fit for me with a 110 or 120mm stem and a non-offset seatpost (from the geometry chart is looks like the layback post won't be an option in order to get my knees in the right range of motion). I didn't set out to find something so "odd", would have been happy with another Kona in the right size, but this bike seemed to be the best value and likely to fit my needs well. The only real drawback I see with it is that it's WHITE, like really WHITE... not ideal for a gravel/cx bike in the hands of someone who doesn't like to clean things.




We shall see where that takes me.











Have struggled this year with my health. Spent some time looking over my training log and there has been quite a pattern. Early this year I was sick a ton- didnt' feel well for a total of 4 or 5 weeks between February and April. Since the Wausau 24 hr race I've never gone an entire week without noting on at least one day that I was trying to get "extra" rest due to not feeling well or cold symptoms. I've certainly had some good rides in there as well, but also really haven't been myself. It has seemed like every time I ride hard my nose runs (I even remember noticing that during some of my better rides).

I went in to the doctor yesterday- I will be going on a few medications in order to try to alleviate the issues. Apparently I've likely developed a sinus infection which we will treat with nasonex and antibiotics. Once that is cleared up (actually starting immediately) I will also go on a couple of allergy medications. I am supposed to try that for 6 weeks and to monitor any reaction or any return of my symptoms. The theory is that the combination of mild allergies and the stress of training has made me very susceptable to infection over the last year.

I went in out of frustration more than any particularly bad symptoms this week. However, now that I've been in and talked over my symptoms with them I wish I would have done so much sooner. I have been struggling with what to blame for how I've felt for quite a while... And have blamed the intensity of the summer, race, type workouts and my own shortcomings etc.. I guess I didn't want to make excuses, but it seems that something was really wrong and I was stupid for not taking some action sooner.

Hopefully they are correct in their initial diagnosis and it is as easy as taking some pills, feeling better and being less likely to really get sick. If not, this is a good time of year to deal with trying a few different things until something works. For what it's worth, they are also doing a blood test to rule out something more extreme. I will be going back in 6 weeks from now regardless to assess any progress.




So there are two huge excuses, but I guess I hope they aren't just excuses.... hopefully, they were actionable items that needed to come up and the actions I'm taking will prove beneficial. I know that if I could go through the entire year without feeling sick I'd be a lot happier.

9.26.2010

crap





Well, that might be the only picture quite like that one for a while. CX race today in St. Cloud (thanks Mom for being there and taking the picture and on her birthday!). Rode about 16 minutes and quit due to back pain/spasms related to a fall I took late yesterday. Was doing alright, but was really wishing for gears too. Unsure of how much of those feeling were due to my lack of fitness, poor gearing choice, or possibly just this specific course layout. Regardless, it's not going to matter...

Knee pain is pretty bad tonight. Haven't had any significant issues with it since early, early this spring when I was doing a lot of landscaping work. Not at all cool that it was so quick to flare up. Ran a total of a hundred steps? I'm sure cyclocross is particularly rough on it, but I'm also sure that I should not be doing any cyclocross at this point if my knee is going to respond in this manner. I am having trouble with steps and getting off the couch. I may start trying random braces to see if any of them help.

I suppose it won't kill me to get back to the gravel plus maybe find some late season mountain bike races (anyone know of any?).



The rest of my weekend was a lot of fun-

Good times Friday night hanging out with Tyler (thanks for the couch man!). Was interesting to be at a "college party" as it seems my point of view has changed a bit since I used to commonly frequent them. Funny how I had to head back to his place alone in order to turn-in at a reasonable hr. He has 3 female room mates I've never met. In the end I never even saw any of them, but on the way over there I was expecting to let myself in and have to try to explain to them who I was. Could have been an interesting conversation.

Saturday was the SS State Championship. The Jail Trail is a twisty, twisty course that had seen a ton of rain over the last few days. Sort of reminded me of Eastwood, but with even less climbing. Probably not the ideal course for my skills, but I didn't have time to pre-ride or to think about such things as that until long after the race was over. Guessed that a 38x18 gearing would be a good idea based primarily on the prologue (figured it would be nice to get ahead of some people). Raced hard. Got to singletrack in 4th and realized how slick the turns were and how sluggish I felt coming out of them in that gear. Slowly fell back and got passed by a couple people. Josh Collins was the first and he went by with a vengeance- way to go on 3rd place! The others seemed to be traveling about as fast as I was and I was able to stay right with them. I'd reel them in on the open sections and fall back on the twisties and hills. It was a challenge to keep the bike upright and the pedal down throughout the course due to the mud. I went off a bridge on the first lap, but didn't lose too much time and tried hard to avoid the trap of pushing to get it all back right away. I felt pretty good about avoiding hat pitfall. Then late in the 2nd lap I clipped a bar end, spun into a tree back first and knocked the wind out of myself. Ouch! Was able to continue, but I dropped well out of contention for a top 5 and wound up sort of limping in for 8th. I was just over 6 minutes behind Mr. Brendan Moore, but only just over 2 behind 3rd. Wish I could have had a bit better day, but am also happy with that result. Plus, it was a lot of fun to race with no mechanical or physical issues preventing me from really racing.

sale-

29x2.1 Nokian 294s- 1 season of use, all studs present- $110



26x2.5 swamp things- as new other than one spot with 4 or 5 knobs worn from a bike rack incident. These are pretty great on snow and that's all I used them for. $30



Bontrager xr tubless tires- $15



26" rim-brake wheelset- nothing special, deore front hub with dh19 rim, lx rear with older mavic rim and some slightly bent spokes from chain being thrown onto them. Both wheels are true, tensioned correctly and spin freely- would be good for a winter beater $35



revo sunglasses- $40



tifosi sunglasses- camo with 3 sets of lenses, close to new condition $40



salsa pro road bars- 44cm I think $20



salsa woodchippers (os clamp, cut down 1" on ends) $30



pictures here-



http://s138.photobucket.com/albums/q243/teamsilence1/



lots of other random pictures too if you look around, sorry about that.

9.24.2010

Wisconsin Weekend part 2

Trevor and I got back to my house around 10:15 Thursday night and I threw my clothes/gear into the cooper for the rest of the weekend. I wanted to be able to leave asap after work. It was a struggle, but I managed to get the Mamasita, 585 and all the rest of my gear INSIDE the car. It was worth the effor though as I was able to obtain 29-30 mpg despite driving as fast as I could to Barneveld. Took the "southern route" this time down through Decorah, Prairie du chien etc. and was rewarded with some nice terrain and beautiful views until the sun went down just past Prairie.

Upon arrival at Scott's place (thanks for the hospitality- really nice to have a bed and a hot shower! Felt just like home, other than your dog wanting to kill me. I'm grateful) the plan was to run out for some food and, maybe, a beer or two. Scott recommended the Hooterville Inn, located just down the road in Blue Mounds. Wow! Great food, great beer and even great company (turns out the organizers were having their post set-up/pre-race meeting there as well. Friday night fish fry and a beer was followed by a perfect mushroom swiss burger and 3? more beers. Good times. Maybe we need to do more exploring, but it just doesn't seem that there are many little places like that on this side of the River. I don't think it's a stretch to say that the Hooterville Inn has better food and beer than any place in Rochester, that's for sure! It was nice to catch up with Scott and talk to the rest of the crew as well. I also found out that I wouldn't have to pay separately for the SS State Championship race and the 3 hr- mega bonus, and seemed somewhat fair given the circumstances (little did I know just what those circumstances would be at that point).

Saturday am dawned cold, wet, and cloudy with weather reports suggesting it would only get worse. There was some talk of delaying the race, but in the end they just delayed the 12 hr race 2 hrs and our race 15 minutes. Small, but strong field present for the SS race. We agreed to ride 3 laps. I had some trouble early with a stick I ran over (almost 20 minute delay), but pressed on in good spirits. Could tell then that the day was going to be all about attrition and survival. There aren't too many places to ride like Blue Mounds- as much climbing as Afton per same length lap, more rocks than all of MN south of Duluth and all of them sharp. On a nice dry summer day it's amazingly challenging and even more rewarding to ride. However, on a wet day in a race it's closer to hell. Add in the SS factor and it is the perfect venue.

I was in third after my dismal first lap. Pushed hard the 2nd and gained very little ground on the leader. It was apparent that this day was to be a personal challenge much more so than a "race" against the others. I had said I was going to ride the SS race and the 3 hr and I would do so. By the middle of the third lap I'd already ridden well over 3 hrs in a race that I had expected to only take around 2... The rocks, hills and mud had taken their toll, as had the 38x20 gearing. I also had only taken in nutrition for a 2 hr race prior to the race start. The plan had been to finish the 1st race then feed right away in order to recover for the 3 hr. It was starting to look like I'd have no gap at all between the races. I knew I had to stop and consume what I could so I stopped at the water stop and ate everything I had on me and 3 full bottles of HEED. I was worried that I might be passed, but figured I'd be able to jump back on my bike and kick it in to the finish if need be, but the need didn't arise.

I got back on the bike and finished the race in just under 3:45? total time. I was truly proud to finish in one piece. What a course and what a challenge. Was proud to accept the handmade wooden medal for 3rd. Any disappointment in the 3rd place finish was easily brushed away by the accomplishment of finishing despite some issues and the prospects of the 3 hr race to come.

Late to the start, running, crap! Was on the toilet when the count-down to the start began. It started and guys were running! Ouch! Tried hard to push and catch up. Really wishing for gears, legs were TIRED at this point and I needed to spin but couldn't. Did work my way within touch of the lead then went down hard. Repeated that process a couple times. The last resulted in a charly horse in my left thigh and left me riding slowly and eventually walking. I fell WAY back. Pushed on for a while as such then decided to regroup a minute, stretch and then try to give it a real go one more time. Results were positive, but after that lap I decided to call it quits. Was a bit embarassed to not finish more of the 3 hr- but in the end I'd ridden more than I'd expected to for the whole day and I knew it was time to get some food. If I'd had a better grasp on how long the SS race was going to be I'm sure I could have continued longer- heck, I know I could ride 12 hrs, right? (although surely not on shitty nutrition and in 38x20). Plus, I had another race to recover for and a lot more riding to go.

Pulled into the pit for the final time and relaxed. Thankfully, the organizers shared some of the Subway they had for volunteers and there was plenty of free beer. Soon I was feeling like myself and enjoying the good company. It's great how cool everyone is at the WEMS races. Total aside- but earlier in the year I volunteered to help out at a MMBS series race. Worked with a few people for 5 or 6 hrs... then two weeks later was treated like crap by the same people when I asked for a simple favor. Not something that would ever happen at Blue Mounds and that's enough about that.

here are some images- Thanks to Frank Hassler





















I rode the 4 or 5 miles down to Scott's house and spent the rest of the night with my legs elevated while watching college football (and what a night for that too).

Sunday morning came fast! Once again it was raining, but I layered on the clothing and prepped the road bike. My left thigh was extremely stiff, but I know it would work itself out as I warmed up. We were supposed to park at the top of the Mound and register (We'd be starting in the city), but I figured I was close enough that I may as well ride there. That thing is seriously tall and steep! Plus I had gone up the easy way and it was going to be a LOT harder in the TT. Got registered and got back to the bottom of the mound to warm-up. Sadly, the weather turned some people away. I think they wound up with about 50 riders.

My warm-up was horrible, I wanted to pull the plug. I could remember every dagger-like rock in every uphill rock garden from the day before, every pedal stroke, particularly my fall onto my thigh. The $35 I'd dropped for the opportunity to ride kept me in it. My time came and I went. kept my head down for the first 3 or 4 minutes and held the most aero position I could and the biggest gears I could over the little rises and down the back sides. I passed 3 or 4 riders by the first turn, continued on and got 2 more before the next. Next was the HILL, close to 1k feet in a couple miles, pushed hard. Felt my lack of strength so shifted to trying to spin. Found myself in my easiest gear, but still pushing a good cadence. Passed a few more people. Near the top (too near, in fact) I lost my focus and concentration and slacked for a minute or two. If only I'd known how close I was I could have pushed it harder. Hard to look back on that section positively- the weight of all the riding caught up to me MENTALLY. I began to see things I recognized and could smell the finish. Was able to push hard the last thousand hards or so and really fly up the last steep bit for a time under 30 minutes. This was good enough for a decent finish (I guess), only 3.5 minutes behind the fastest time. This was a hard race, like pulling a Burly with a fat kid in it, but I was happy.


Back to the bed with the legs up for more football...

Met Scott and we caravanned our way to Plover to Scotch's beautiful house, thanks for the hospitality! The three of us went for a relatively short ride on bike paths plus some real fun rogue singletrack. I STRUGGLED to keep up on the paths with my SS gearing and my legs felt totally shot at that point. Tried not to complain, but I can admit that Scotch was far stronger than I.

Upon our return Scotch's wife had a great dinner ready to go. We ate, talked and watched football until it became apparent that the Giants had ZERO chance of being competitive. Then we jumped in the hot tub naked... well, some of us did anyways, listened to some good tunes (pretty cool how so much music is so cross-generational) and drank some good beers (other than the one I wound up with that was mixed with pomegranate juice). In the end I had to spend less time in the hot tub and drink less than those guys, or else I knew I'd be useless Monday. I'm blaming that on the extensive riding. I was a bit worried about the effects the heat would have on my sore leg too.

Monday AM a few more of the CORP guys drove up and we all met at the Standing Rocks trailhead. It was a good group of riders and a surprisingly fun, flowy trail. Would be a great site for a WORS race too... lots of flowy singletrack, a few really nice techy spots and with tons of double track available for passing sections. Hope it gets added.

Monday PM was a "lap" (meaning 2+ hrs of wandering around) at 9 mile. Interestingly, it seemed more technical not in the race. I think I was so focused on going fast in the 24 hr race that I didn't notice just how many rocks there were. Tons of fun riding there. Also, really felt myself become more comfortable with the Ss riding. By the end of the day at 9 mile I felt more confident on my bike that I can remember. Hopefully that bodes well for the future.

a few pictures and a video available here-

http://www.motoscotch.blogspot.com/

I think everyone had a great time Monday! I look forward to riding with those guys again sometime soon. Hopefully, another ride this fall, but the BALLS ride isn't all that far away anymore either. Spent a lot of time on the drive ruminating on how great Wisconsin is. The people, terrain, towns and recreational activities are all excellent. I'd want to move there if it weren't for the damn Packers. I think a lot of those feelings come down to the hospitality of the people, thanks again guys! The weekend couldn't have been better.

Returned home around 8 and collapsed. Work at 6:30 am Tuesday! Local gravel/beer/whiskey ride Tuesday night. No rest for the wicked.

9.23.2010

Big Wisconsin Week Part 1

Epic is incredibly overused these days. So much so that it's even become cliche to make fun of the whole "EPIC" thing. Regardless, my plan for last week was to be epic. Tons of extra hrs at work, Tuesday night test ride on the Mamasita at Eastwood, Wednesday night group ride (turned into a 90 minute 34 mile hammerfest with Bob and I pulling 80% of the time due to impending thunderstorms), WTR Thursday race, 10 hrs of work and packing and driving to Madison for the weekend Friday, Wisconsin SS championships Saturday AM followed by the 3 hr WEMS race in the evening, L'Alpe Bleu Huez road TT/hill climb Sunday AM and rogue Steven's Point trails plus hot tubbing in the evening, then both Standing Rocks and 9 Mile Monday plus the return 3.5 hr drive.


River Falls Thursday nights are done for the year. Trevor and I went over for the last one with the single speeds. I wanted to give my setup one legit test prior to trying to race it this weekend. Turns out Heath W. also made the trip (and was riding Ss too), the competition was going to be fierce. I think roughly 20 other riders showed up too. Heath took off pretty hot at the start and it took some work to hang on through the first section. The course had seen about an inch of rain the night before and many of the corners were treacherous. I noted that I would have been better off on my Mountain Kings. We came to the Jeep Trail climb and I had to let Heath go. I don't know what he was geared at, but it was much stronger than my 38x20, I doubt he had much of a choice other than to hammer the climb. At that point Trevor had worked his way through some lap traffic and was up with me. We caught back up to Heath early into the single track and the 3 of us would, more or less, ride together for about a lap. At one point I did fall pretty hard in a corner and was forced to work alone for a bit to catch back on. Then Heath went down and Trevor attacked. From there it was everyone for themselves. Heath and I had a bit of a battle, but I think I was mostly just in his way and he went by with about a lap to go. I considered really pushing hard to catch up and started to crank up the intensity but that almost instantly resulted in the hardest mtb fall I've taken this year... I don't even really know what happened, but I was over the bars and flying near horizontally at 10 or 12 mph then landing on hands and knees in a stinking puddle of mud with a rock hard bottom. Shook it off and rode a bit easier the rest of the way in. I was 4 minutes behind Trevor and 2? behind Heath.

It was a great season of races over there. KORC has things right- can't beat the friendly competitive environment, excellent trails and fun-for-all format. Look forward to trying to close some of that gap in the "off" season and certainly look forward to more of these races next year. Thanks KORC! I'll be renewing my membership.




o, btw- check this out


9.20.2010

Olson Family Vacation (Five-0 part 2)

Yeah, I'm not an Olson.

Was grateful to ride along with Trevor and Karlene for the Dakota Five-0. Thanks to them I was able to save some gas $, a lot of potential time spent behind the wheel and have some great company for the ride. Trevor's brother, his brother's wife and Trevor's parent's would all be meeting us out there. I was going to be a sort of 7th wheel. Little did I know that would mean I'd wind up with such great company, race support and virtually all my meals fresh cooked for me. THANKS!

Highlights-

Karlene got super excited about the giant Green Giant before we even really got going

Trevor drove the whole way there while I slept

We ate Mongolian Grill Friday night

I never had to pay for camping because I just slept in the open under the easy-up

Everybody got out and pre-rode together from the 4th aid station (some amazing views and good times at group ride pace)

On Monday Trevor got horrible gas (to the point of clearing out large area, OUTDOORS)

My gas was about as bad

We ate all the Prime Rib we could at a Casino buffet in Deadwood for Trevor's birthday (certainly not related to the gas)

Trevor's birthday presents- Canada themed!

The whole crew climbed Mt. Theodore Roosevelt despite 40 degree temperatures, 40 mph winds and hail

We drove to the top of the ski area which was just about as high as Mt. Theodore Roosevelt

We camped in a corral Monday night (so where are the tent sites? o, there aren't any... but you guys can have the WHOLE corral)

The corral was basically a part of this- http://www.1880town.com/1880town.html

We got all excited to go on a "virtual, guided tour of the homestake mine" but then got sniped by about 50 AARP members who had called ahead

Trevor's Mom got pretty worried about a LOT of things

We never got close to running out of good beer

http://www.senorwiener.com/ (even if we didn't make it there)

Trevor drove the whole way back while I slept



I'm very grateful that I was allowed to tag along.

It was also nice to see a lot of other rider friends who were out there. Had a great time at the after race parties. Epic bike pile, interesting peanut fight, too many PBRs (what kind of a bar sells beer by the case, and for $1 a beer).









sorry for the incredible lack of images from all the other stuff

Can't wait to go back next year

9.17.2010

failed my century goal




Ever since the Trans-Wisconsin I've been focusing on shorter rides. 28-35 mile XC mountain bike races in particular. At times it's felt like a bit of a scramble or a game of "catch-up". I knew going into the year that it would be a tough year when it came to those races (with my schedule, plans to move up to cat1 and dislike of finishing far behind). Throw in the issues I've had with mechanicals recently (right when I started to feel confident and strong enough to have some good races too) and things start looking really bleak.

However, that's not at all how I'm feeling! The Thursday night races at River Falls and the road group rides have been an excellent opportunity to gauge my progress, and it seems I'm still seeing solid improvements every couple of weeks. One big thing that could really help would be finding a way to spend more time on my mountain bike. I've been riding a lot with Trevor and certainly he can get a bit more out of his effort due to better technical skills. This too has been improving, but I still find a way to take 2 or 3 falls each Thursday night while he rides cleanly. When you add that to the fact that he's 1-2 minutes "stronger" per lap I really get to push my limits to try to keep up. Thanks Trevor for making it to so many of the races. Perhaps next year we can get the trail cleared a bit better out at Stagecoach and I will make it a point to put in one more day per week of XC specific training (both technical and training for the kind of strength needed for accerating over small hills and out of corners).

I've gained 10 lbs since spring!!! I suppose that really goes along with the last bit there- but all these shorter rides and the repeated "strength" needed to ride the mountain bike and sprint on the road has led to some muscle gains. I think I've also gained a bit of fat, as I've really eaten a lot recently. My theory is that I need to be certain I get enough fuel in my body in order to avoid getting sick when doing high intensity work.

My plan all along was to focus on shorter and shorter races throughout the year- However, I've had so much fun with them this year (even without having a single "good" finish, well- YET) that I'm making plans for next year to continue more in that direction. I've made plans to attend and/or entered PTO requests for time at or around the following races-

TRIPLE D
CIRREM
RAGNAROK
ALMANZO
CHEQ 100 (making the assumption it's the "same" weekend as last year, and happens)
DK200

then shifting gears and hitting MMBS and WORS throughout the summer plus (if possible)-

CHAIN DRIVE
ORE TO SHORE
DAKOTA FIVE-0
CHEQ 40

I can tell you right now that I'd love to have my best races at Almanzo/Cheq100 and then the FIVE-O/CHEQ40


One casualty of this focus shift has been my goal of riding a metric and a full century on dirt or gravel each month of the year. I didn't do it in AUGUST of all months. You'd think that would be the easiest month of the year, eh? I thought about fitting a ride or two in, but it just wasn't in the cards. I did get out for a couple of longish road rides though, but they just aren't the same. The longest gravel ride I've been on in the last 6 weeks was about 12 miles...

The Heck of the North is fast approaching. Interesting to see how that goes for me with the current combination of training etc.. I vow to be aggressive. I don't know how well I will feel 60 or 70 miles into it, but I know that with my choice of equipment and my skill set that I'd like to go out fast and limp in (somewhat like how I rode the Almanzo). I'll be very pleased with a solid overall placing and at least feeling of being competitive with the other SS guys. The course sets itself up well for riding SS (or at least it did last year), but to do exceptionally well on an Ss will require an emphasis on consistend speed on the flatter areas with the knowledge that the final climb will be a slog and a strong geared rider is likely to walk away from you. Conversely, gearing for the final climb would mean putting oneself out of contention from the start. Currently on my bike is a 46/18 gear combo.

Wish me luck at the WI SS State Championships this weekend- If the weather cooperates I'll be riding that race at 10 am tomorrow, the 3 hr "enduro" from 3-6 and then the road time trial from Blue Mounds to Barneveld and on up to the top of the "Mound" Sunday am (around 1k feel of climbing in the last 3 miles there!). After that I will be heading to Steven's Point and relaxing on the local trails there and in Wausau plus partying with some of the capital off-road crew.

9.13.2010

sugar bottoms

The Sugar Bottom Scramble was a fun race on an excellent course that ended in disappointment. Traveled to Iowa City Saturday with my parents with plenty of time to pre-ride the course. Very impressive trails there! The first half was very fast singletrack with a few tight twists and the second half was much more technical and up and down. In a lot of ways the mix of terrain reminded me of the Maplelag course I had done well on last year (and which I would be skipping this year in order to ride the Dakota five-0).

It was only $30 entry for the Cat1 race, even with a t-shirt, and the atmosphere was great. I could tell it was going to be an enjoyable race. Got a reasonable start and was able to stay with the lead group of 5 or 6 for the first half of lap 1. When we hit the more technical side the group split up, but I hung in there and did my own thing. Supposedly I was around 5 minutes behind by the end of the lap, but had also opened almost that much of a lead on the portion of the field that was behind me. Near the end of lap 1 I fell and flatted my front tire. I was able to quickly inflate the tire with c02 and continue. I passed my Dad and got a water hand-up (but didn't ask him to get more more c02...). In the middle of lap 2 I felt the tire go flat again and went to re-inflate with the 2nd c02 canister I carried, it did nothing. Had I brought a spend cartridge? Lame.


Spent some time thinking about how much trouble I've had with my tubeless setup this year and decided it was a combination of 2 things that were the likely cause- 1. too wide of a front tire, 2.4 on a 22mm rim 2. not running enough stans in order to try to save weight. My solution would be to buy a new rear tire and move the rear 2.25 racing ralph to the front. The Dakota five-0 was coming up fast and I wanted to give myself every chance to ride well. After some research I went with a 2.1 WTB NanoRaptor.

The Nano turned out to be a total failure- after 25-30 miles of use (and right in the middle of the Dakota five-0) the bead "cracked" or "broke" within the tire, the tire stretched such that the bead wouldn't hold and the whole thing became impossible to run even with a tube.

I'm now back to the 2.4/2.25 Racing Ralph combination, but currently with tubes. I've also taken all the geared bits off the Mamasita. She is now set up with 38x20 gearing and a DMR chain tensioner. I'm looking forward to racing a couple of SS races the next two weekends. Hoping to get out and get used to the SS thing a bit more sometime soon- in fact, hopefully about as soon as I get out of work.

I will do more of a write-up of the Dakota Five-0 a bit later and with more of an emphasis on how much fun it was to hang out with everyone. I'd rather not say too much more about the race- it was frustrating and it's definitely best that I just move on. The road bike has really helped me to stay sane with some of the bad luck (or bad mechanic work) that has plagued me recently. On the road I can feel myself getting stronger and know that strength will eventually transfer to a mountain bike race or two. Without that feeling this last month or so would have been mightily frustrating.

8.25.2010

Resting

Been resting a lot (other than the debacle that ensued when I tried to race Saturday). Realistically last night's TT was my first ride since the River Falls race last week.

We rode the same 18.9 mile course, but the conditions were a bit more difficult with a nasty wind that always seemed to be hurting. There also weren't quite so many riders out. I put in a good effort, but couldn't quite bring myself to really lay it out there. I kept asking myself what I was saving my energy for? In the end though I was only about 90 seconds slower than last week AND I didn't kill myself to do it. My legs feel stronger already this morning, hopefully that can be a good kick-start back into activity.

After the TT I quickly said my thanks and good byes to the "tri folks" and headed downtown to Dooley's for a "cruiser ride". The plan was to get some food and some beers and hit a few of the local bars. It was great to see everyone and fun to ride around. As per the usual (on group rides anyways) I flatted- I don't think the thin rubber rim strip is enough to protect the tube from the 140 spokes per wheel on that beast... bring on the gorilla tape! The highlights of this would definitely be the riding and Chris Skogen wearing his Almanzo kit in the Northstar Bar during Tuesday Poker Night. Quite the crowd.

8.19.2010

Probably need to rest

Been having so much fun with the new road bike that I've not even noticed that I've ridden hard daily for almost a full week!

60-75 mile rides last Saturday, Sunday and Monday complete with 20+ mph paces and sprints!

an 18.9 mile road TT on a pretty hilly/tough course Tuesday which I completed with a 23.6 average (48 minutes) and was able to beat all but one of the 8 guys who showed up with full-on TT setups as well as all others in the non-aero classes. Hard to use this ride as any sort of a reference because I don't know where I stood vs. any of the other riders at any time in the past, but this was a lot of fun and seemed to point toward my fitness going in the right direction.

And lastly a Wednesday night "recovery" ride that wound up being just over 90 minutes at a decent pace as well.



I've been feeling very strong and have been happy with the way my fitness for "short" events seems to be coming around, but I knew that the Thursday night race would be tough this week!

Regardless, Trevor and I loaded up and headed to River Falls. The Buck Hill Thursday night series is done for the year and the border battle has come and gone. This means that some of the racers who normally do Buck Hill are now free to come over to WTR and that some people are likely to stop showing up because they can no longer use it as preparation for the border battle. Functionally that combination led to a small, but very strong field featuring Barry Tungseth, Chris Fisher, Matt Muraski and (of course) Trevor as well as a few others.

Apparently no one felt a whole lot more inclined to race hard early on than I did because I was allowed to take an early lead and hold it for most of a lap (Trevor and I traded off a bit just to ease the load). However, I touched a tree on the steep climb during the 2nd lap and had to put my foot down. I expected to be able to jump on right after those four passed, waited for Chris to go by and jumped on my bike... but didn't go anywhere. Somehow my chain had dropped. I tried to get organized and back on, but I'd let a gap form that I was never able to close again. The rest of the night I went back and forth between pushing too hard to try to catch back up and then being forced to rest. In the end I wound up about 2.5 minutes behind. All in all, not a bad result for me but not something great either. Who knows how tired those guys were going in too. Thursdays could be a day when someone has nothing in the tank or when they are well rested and ready to fly at race pace and you just never know.

We had a good conversation and a few good beers afterwards. Somewhat sadly the conversation quickly shifted toward cx season and then onto snow sports... I guess winter is coming.

8.15.2010

two rides today

am- 65 mile road ride. Most of the "usuals" showed up. Tons of wind made for a challenge. Felt like I got a great workout in. Highlights- riding back downwind at 32-35 mph, winning both contested sprints (again was able to jump by Dan due to lucky positioning/timing), realizing once again how awesome it is to have the new bike.

vs.

pm- Stagecoach mtb- rode the rigid SS marin with Joe and Neil etc.. Spent an hr sitting at the teepee, two hrs clearing trail and maybe 90 minutes actually riding. Highlights- falling on my face on the sidehill, falling on my face after bunnyhopping a downed tree at least 40" in diameter and riding a bit of a nose-wheelie, watching Neil fall over into the mud in the stream crossing and then riding through it/splashing him (had to go the "wrong" way and ride through a lot of water/mud in order to do it). The dogs had an awesome time too.

8.11.2010

Look 585




2008 Look 585 frame/fork
Mavic ksyrium es w. specialized roubaix tires

lots of random parts, but they seem to work together just fine-

Ultegra shifters
Ultegra front derailleur
Ultegra cassette
dura-ace chain
xtr rear derailleur
sram force crankset

I guess in a lot of respects the drivetrain is similar to my mountain bike- sram carbon crankset and shimano otherwise

ritchey wcs stem
fetish cycles carbon bars (super shaped with flat tops and short "modern" drops)
fetish cycles carbon seatpost
selle italia slr saddle
bontrager gel tape
crank brothers quattro sl pedals



Been sick the last few days- ended up resting entirely since last Thursday's WTR race. Woke up this morning feeling well enough that I knew I'd be able to go on the group ride today if I took it a bit easy and be able to race WTR tomorrow. Figured I wasn't necessarily 100%, but that is was definitely time to get out on the new bike.

Tonight's group ride was about a 45 mile loop. The bike felt good from the beginning- the lack of weight was noticeable on even the slightest hill and it felt extremely responsive to any input both handling and acceleration (and without any harshness in the ride quality). I eased into things for the first 30 miles or so and worked my turns at the front, tried to get used to the handling and fit of the new bike etc.. There was going to be a town line sprint at mile 30 though and in the back of my mind I was hoping it would be contested (they aren't always contested due to individuals position in the paceline and car traffic etc.). I was sitting in the second row and the strongest guys on the ride (and two of the stronger sprinters around down here anyways) were somewhere behind me. Sure enough Dan flew by on the left with Trevor right on his tail. I had to let them pass for safety reasons (had to be sure there wasn't someone else trying to follow), but knew that I wanted to test the new bike. Eased out of the paceling, double tapped the shifter and was rewarded with instant acceleration. Closed the gap to them with about 200 yards left to go to the sign and fell into the draft a bit. A space opened up between them, I stood up, I literally lifted the front wheel and shot through the gap and far enough ahead that neither were on my wheel then pushed hard to take the sign easily. Obviously, I got into a good position for this sprint and in no way does it mean I can actually outsprint either Dan or Trevor on fair ground, but wow did it ever feel good. The only experience I've had that was similar to the feeling was the first time I was in a car with a big turbo or nitrous. What a difference having the right tool for the job makes! It's that fast and it's more comfortable too, absolutely amazing.

8.07.2010

been a while- now I'm tired out and having nothing better to do but to catch ya'll up

Am continuing with the day shift work thing through the end of October! This has been working out well and has allowed me to continue to hit some group road rides and the White Tail Ridge Thursday night rides.

Group rides have been fun. Particularly two Sundays ago when we made a loop all the way to the Mississippi and back at about 20.5 mph (117 miles for me that day). I've been riding my Kona as of yet with 52x18 gearing- and as well as that's been going I've also decided that I would prefer a real road bike and have been pursuing that.

The White Tail Ridge races have been awesome and, I'm sure, very beneficial to my xc style race fitness. I've been finishing 2nd or 3rd the last few weeks with relatively strong fields. Trevor has come over the last two weeks with me and he has taken the win. I've been able to take early leads (due to the jeep climb) and ride the singletrack at a fast enough pace to hold them for about the first two laps (of 3), but have run out of juice or had technical mistakes before the end. I say it every time I mention WTR, but what an awesome place to race!

My friend, and Almanzo organizer, Chris recently rode to Northern Minnesota. I joined him for day one. We wound our way down beautiful gravel roads through Douglas, Pine Island, Zumbrota, Welch, Hastings, Afton and on into Stillwater. I snapped some pictures, but haven't uploaded them yet. Now that we have a new computer I should be able to stay on top of that a bit more. We had a snack at the Stillwater Bikery and then I parted ways, crossed the River and road pavement down to Hudson and finally back to Hastings (thanks for giving me a ride home from there Dad!). In the end this was a 145 or so mile ride on a day with temperatures well into the upper 90s, and on a day when I had to work the next morning! This wound up being my last ride on the Vaya as I have since sold it. More on my gravel grinding plans later.

I also participated in the Wausau 24 on a four-man team with David, Tim and Frank. It was a great time! A wonderful course and a good training opportunity for me. I got to ride a few laps "all-out" and experience the atmosphere of riding through the middle of the night. In the end I made 7 laps with 3 of them being TT style, 3 of them consecutively from 1-4am, and the other just being plain slow in the late afternoon. In the end though that weekend was mostly about hanging out with friends, talking about and wrenching on bikes and having a few beers... all things we did a ton of. It was also nice to see a lot of friends I've made on various other rides out there in various capacities.

I was really looking forward to the White Tail Ridge "Border Battle" this weekend, but now I have a bit of a cold and am feeling a little run-down. It looks like I'll be taking a few days off now.

As I look forward from here I'm planning to pick one 8 or 12 hr mtb race later in the month, continue to hit the White Tail Ridge races and prep to do my best up in Duluth and also at St. Cloud in MN series races. I'm also currently planning on the Maplelag weekend, but have allowed thoughts of the Dakota 5-0 to enter in as well. We will see how I feel. I'm definitely looking forward to the Heck of the North and Night Nonsense as well...

So far as that gravel stuff goes (and with no Vaya as mentioned above) I've decided to go back to the Kona exclusively. I will be riding it single speed for the remaining gravel races and for the cx season. The decision to sell the Vaya came down to my deciding that I just didn't need it... What ride do I ever go on that I wouldn't go on if I didn't have it? I'm plenty comfortable on the Kona for long rides and for something like the trans-wisconsin in the future (next year???) I'm thinking I'd prefer to ride my Mamasita with some custom bags. Selling it off will also allow me to have a road bike. Should have pictures soon.