new commuter, post race write-up etc.

I've been half-assed searching craigslist and garage sales the last few weeks for an uber cheap commuter bike. I intend to use my Kona set up single speed after my custom frame gets done for most commuting, but that date is looking a bit murky yet and it's always fun to look at bikes. I found this (actually, "these" as I got the matching women's one as well).

I'd already swapped the bars out at that point and have since changed seatposts and added my old brooks. Tomorrow should be my first actual commute on it (but I do already have about 12 miles of singletrack on the "rio cruz"... more on this later). Tomorrow should also be a great day. A few hrs of work and then-


I rode hard on Tuesday/Wednesday and then more or less took the rest of the week off in order to recover a bit and get ready for the Sandwich 50. Which itself was going to be all about getting ready for the Cheq 100.

Tim was also riding in the 50 and made the trip over from Mankato Saturday evening. We spent a few hrs talking and preparing our food/drink for the race and I turned in as early as I could.

Race day turned out to be beautiful weather wise (no small surprise after the SNOW not so long ago) and the race was impressively organized and overall had a great atmosphere right from the beginning. I had a plan and I wanted to stick to it. The key details were that I thought I could make consistent 38-40 minute laps without getting too tired early on, that I would hope to turn it up a bit with 2 laps to go and then really turn it on after cardiac on the 2nd to last lap (if possible), and that I would follow a reasonably strict schedule of perpetuem and accelerade bottle drinking (trying to test the viability of not taking in any "food" calories). My main goals were to have a showing I could be proud of and that would show improvement from what I've done in the past, to follow my "plan" and to get a better feel for how to ride the cheq 100 race.

The race started poorly- I was uncomfortable with the moisture in the trail with my racing ralphs and burned more energy in the first lap than I wanted to because I had to pedal harder out of corners to keep the spot I wanted. It also simply caused me stress because I felt technically deficient compared to the people around me whom I wanted to beat. However, things dried out fairly quickly and I was able to settle into a rhythm of making laps reasonably close to what I had wanted to do. I stopped to pee on lap 3 and went just over 40 minutes, but the others were right in there with what I wanted. I definitely felt like I was pushing it as hard as I wanted to for the first 4 laps and I was watching a few of my competitors put a lot of distance on me, but I tried to stay calm and wait it out. I told myself that pushing it harder would lead to slowing down later. By lap 5 I could tell I was regaining on some and actually making a pass or two with the potential for more to come if i could maintain my pace. I started lap 6 feeling pretty strong and was about a minute ahead of my earlier pace through the 15 minute mark (when I first hit the field). However, I broke my chain and quickly found out that the spare quick-link I had on me was for a 10-speed. All the way around this was unexcusable- I knew the chain was a bit old, I knew I'd also broken it once at Ragnarok, I remembered my past mechanicals (particularly the chain related ones), I didn't prioritize this race quite high enough to change it and now I deeply regret it. Putting the new one on before this rather than after it would have saved me $5 of wear and tear on the new chain???? MAYBE. Never again. At least my crankarm didn't fall off.

What I had learned-

I still felt strong and cramp/sore spot free after the 40 miles on the salsa. Maybe I should have pushed harder, but regardless this bodes will for the future races. This one is pretty short compared to my next 3.

My nutrition/hydration was working great- will try similar system for the Almanzo.

I shouldn't be afraid to swap to the mud tires- or did I learn that I shouldn't be afraid to go slower early before things dry out???

I hate watching people I want to beat get ahead of me, but I can stick to my plan and hopefully reel them in later. Probably a good thing.

I need new pedals for the rio cruz... ones not made of smooth plastic designed to be used barefoot.

I asked a few riders if they had a quick link as they came by. I fixed my chain by just pushing a pin through, but it broke again soon thereafter. I knew I wouldn't be able to hammer out the last 10 miles like I wanted to. Ron Moffit was incredibly awesome all day and was handing out beer and bacon less than 200 yards away in the woods... I partook. I then walked the rest of the way back to the gazebo with my bike and grabbed another beer and the rio cruz and finished the lap (59 minute total!). I stopped 3 times to "reload" and 2 or 3 other times to go over the bars when I forgot I couldn't pedal backwards to "level" my pedals before going over a log or other obstacle. The last lap took 1:15, but it was a great time. Sadly, I don't think anyone got any pictures of me riding the cruiser. Here are a couple from the race-

That was on the first lap and the gap got bigger, but I spent much of the day very aware of how far behind Mark C. I was, he was the guy directly in front of my 95% of the time. I was hoping to be able to catch him late- but in the end he's the one who caught a bunch of people late. Strong rider, and he made a running lap after the race (which mostly just made me really jealous that he can run and I can't, but I'll give him props for being a badass).

Tim, looking awesome. Makes Eastwood look good there too. His day went about like mine and he too ended on a bike other than what he started with (but his was a borrowed fs). I'm pretty sure he still had a great time. I'm hoping to get him out for a few more long things like this this year- maybe WEMS at LaCrosse and Blue Mounds???

After the race, and Tim collected his prize (not sure what he won? but he is really cool and he certainly deserved a vhs sopranos box set! even if he did leave it in my Tahoe and not take it with him when he went home) we hit up Whistle Binkies, cleaned/fixed our bikes as much as possible and then rode downtown to hit up the bars etc.. I was thinking I'd show him what was good in Rochester- bike trail, outdoor beers by the river at Gilligans (ok, maybe that isn't that good anyways- but I thought it would be relaxed and nice on a Sunday), Kathy's rooftop. Of course they didn't have the outside open at Gilligans or the rooftop open at Kathy's... heh. We still had a good time.

Early morning today, alarm at 9! Meeting at 10. Got to work and found it had been cancelled. Crap. Headed home and Tim, his friend Luke, and I took off for Stagecoach. Luke brought his DH bike so we spent some time running the DH and also made an almost complete lap of the xc. Luke was impressive and hit everything I showed him, which is definitely some of the gnarliest dh in the midwest. Tim and I stayed off the big stuff, but I had some fun with the smaller drops and kickers. The p35s tubeless and the 80mm of plush reba travel were working together to feel mega-plush to me. It's amazing what riding rigid for a while will do to your perception. I may post pictures or videos if I get them from Tim, but it wouldn't be a 'secret' trail if I posted too much either... of course. I believe it's ALL going to be on state land here very soon and the DH may be completely going away. I wonder if it might be possible to work together with a larger group of people and really get the area opened up for use. I'm sort of scared to mess with the status-quo and after other recent trail related disappointments here in the Rochester area I'm afraid to call extra attention to it for fear that it will have the opposite effect from what I'd want. I will ask around a bit though for sure.

For now- need to sleep. Work will come early tomorrow. Plan is to get in by 10:30 at the latest. The rest of my week is all crazy schedule wise too, but the good news is that it should let me get out and ride a bit Wednesday and then rest Thursday and Friday before the Almanzo. The plan for the Almanzo will be a bit different- I will do everything in my power not to let anyone get ahead of me there until the last couple miles even if it means I wind up laying beside the road somewhere. In it to win it, so to speak... (although I won't need to actually win "win" to feel like I won)

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