Dickie Scramble Registration is Open/Finally went for some bike rides: Fat weekend

Up bright and early Saturday for a 3 or maybe 6 or maybe ??? hour tour with some LCR types.  Was an awesome good time.  Great route with a bit of everything thrown in.  Hauled ass when I wanted to on twisty snomo trails but got exposed on the super techy.  I'm years of experience behind when it comes to true singletrack.  Almost be worth driving to the cities a few times to take in some more of it.  Maybe I'll try to race Hillside this weekend.

Not up so early Sunday for a long cruise of Rochester...  hit the "not a bike shop", rode some snomo trails right in town, took in a bunch of football.

So far as the Dickie Scramble...  I received the first postcard entry today.


20.6 lb Monstercross Packrafting Adventure Bike... cannondale flash carbon mountain touring bike drop-bar build

Immediate impressions: 1.  best fit of any bike I've built right "out of the box" (or basement as it were).  Maybe I'm getting better at knowing what I want.  2.  Plush and fast.

I'm more and more drawn to two totally different things...  on one hand it's crits and cyclocross and on the other it's long touring rides over any and all available terrain and surfaces.  After a few such rides this year I was itching to build up an awesome bike in order to tackle some really big plans. Basically took what I learned from my slow Vaya and from this 'epic' trip and made it happen with parts I already had laying around.

Build highlights-

2010 Flash Carbon frame with 3/4 of the stays repaired (1 by Calfee previous to it coming into my posession)- 1020g with some bearings in it if I remember and awesome!  This is a medium which is 1/2 size small for me and happens to fit real nice with drop bars-  I will be racing XC on a 2012 in size Large.

Taiwan carbon fork (497g with steerer cut)-  this is a great fork, I rode it all year on my Caffeine offroad and absolutely think it is as good as anything out there.

Older Zipp 404s to DT240 hubs-  word is these have completed the tour divide on someone elses bike...  I pulled a spoke out in a sprint a couple years back and repaired them.  5000 hard miles later they are still going great.

Salsa Woodchippers-  what else would you use for this?

BB7s/Tektro levers-  again, what else would you use?  Full length housings.

3x9 mixed bag drivetrain-  full length cable housings and bar-end shifters make for easy SS conversion I envision being ideal for most packrafting excursions and an 18? lb bike.  Everything is durable and simple anyways and provides a great range of gears for singletrack to road use.

Not in these images are my Revelate Viscacha, Revelate frame bag (built for ???  but fits perfect), gas tank, aero bars etc. which will all surely often be on here.   Also, my packraft!  More on that coming soon.

Thanks for checking it out!


Insole test: jaztronaut, lake winter, toasty feet, cycling insole shootout

Been hearing a lot about the potential importance of special insoles in keeping your feet warm while winter cycling.  I was able to round up the likeliest suspects for warmth and do some testing:

polar wrap's toasty feet aerogel insoles

Lake winter boot insoles

QBP's Jaztronaut

then as controls some 'regular' insoles I had at home

the Nike's out of my favorite doper's signature shoes

sidi dominator insoles

Each of the above has a different "take" on being an insole.  With an extreme range of thicknesses and support provided as well.

This is the Polar wrap "toasty feet".  It is very thin and flexible by itself.  Would provide no support, but would likely fit inside your winter shoes in addition to whatever more supportive insoles you would choose.  It was a trim to fit and has already been trimmed for my size 43.5 feet.  It is heavier than expected with how thin it is- could this mean warmth? 

This is what comes inside the lake winter boots.  It is quite light compared to the aerogel options.  It is also just a "slab" type insole though that relies on the shoe itself or another insole to give you support.  It has an interesting sandwich type construction obviously designed to got a lot of air between your foot and the outside world (which is similar to the claims of the aerogel).  It is not quite as thick as the "7mm thin" (as proclaimed on the box) jaztronauts, but it is quite thick.  They would be hard to add to your existing shoes without replacing the stock insoles completely and likely without making them a bit tight for wearing thick winter socks.

The jaztronaut.  Also a cut to fit insole.  These are very thick and quite stiff.  Would be hard to add to most shoes without having ordered a larger shoe purposefully.  Have no built-in support and yet are too thick/stiff to work with an existing insole to provide any.  Have high expectations for their insulative properties based on their thickness and price.

Lance Nikes.  I put these in the test primarily because they are out of the road shoes that I personally wear when road riding is still doable but the temperature is cold...  think down to about 20 degrees F with toe covers and smartwool socks.

Not much to say here-  these serve as a control.  Just a basic cycling insole.

Now to set up appropriate testing conditions...

Weird buying blocks of ice on "snowmageddon eve"

Testing phase...

The feature of the insole that we are trying to test is how much cold they transmit through them to the riders foot in the dynamic environment that is your shoe as you ride.  One of the major claims of aerogel is that it retains it's insulative properties even under relatively high PSI.

My first thought was to use a block of ice with an insole on it and something metal, a wrench maybe?, on top.  The steel wrenches would have a high heat transfer and would hopefully serve as an adequate measure of how cold your foot would get.  However, I quickly found that they were too reflective for my thermometer gun to accurately measure them.  Decided to try ceramic bowls.  Placed two room temp. bowls on the ice and one on the countertop to serve as control.  Was hoping the bowls on the ice would transfer heat/cool rapidly enough that they could be used to measure the insole performance.

After 30 minutes the bowls on ice were both right around 38.5 degrees

The control bowl was at 66.5

I decided to go on using the bowls.  The next test would be if the bowls would cool enough when placed on top of an insole such that comparisons could be made.  If the control insole only cooled it's bowl a couple of degrees then there wouldn't be enough variability in the results to really draw any conclusions.  I decided to keep track of this while running the rest of the experiment concurrently.

But first:

a quick Dickie Dog bath

And then here is the rest of how I set things up:
Basically, weight them evenly, set a timer for 30 minutes...


Polar Wrap Toasty feet after 30 minutes

Lake Winter insoles after 30 minutes

Jaztronaut after 30 minutes

Lance Nike after 30 minutes

Sidi insole after 30 minutes (control)

First off, not exactly the results I was expecting!  However, the range in values was enough for me to call it a successful experiment.  The method would work and the results were appropriate enough that it would be possible to differentiate between the different insoles and draw some conclusions.  I ran all of the insoles two more times such that they had each been run in each position and starting with room temperature (66 degree) bowls and insoles on each run.  I won't post all the pictures but I found the results were repeatable and precise in that all 3 runs for each insole were within +/- 0.5 degrees.

Next I thought a bit about how the insoles were likely to be used and ran two more options:

I had noticed the sidi soaked up a lot of moisture from the ice previously and hoped this aluminum backed waterproof tape might help that as well as provide some added insulation.

The "cheap" aerogels had done poorly initially, but they are very thin (maybe 1.5-2mm "thin" at most) and it followed in my mind that the above was the most appropriate way to run them.  By adding them to your existing, supportive insoles you actually wind up with the least added material in your shoe and you don't sacrifice comfort or performance.

modifying the sidi insole didn't accomplish much

the combo of the cheap aerogel insole and the doper insole was as successful as any other in this test and still thinner/easier to fit than either of the winter boot type insoles.

My conclusions:

The lake boots or the wolvhammers each come with insoles that work but neither is a very good option to add to some other shoe, at all.

The aerogel technology isn't a big deal in this application.  Neither of the aerogel insoles were surprisingly "NASA technology" style warm. 

Buying the jaztronauts for $50 or $55 is a terrible idea-  but they certainly work and if you sprung for wolvhammers be happy with them. 

Buying the cheap aerogels and expecting miracles is silly, but they do provide something.  They are best for adding to your existing shoe to provide extra warmth.  This would be great for your road shoes or if you work in a warehouse with a cold floor and want to use the same boots you wear all summer too. 

Right after completing this test I went for a ride with my regular old winter shoes as shown here
and my feet got way too hot.

I wonder how these would perform


snowmageddon or whatever

I wanted to be cool like Larry and cooler than Matt (or something like that) so I hopped on my fatbike and headed to Eastwood to get first tracks before Matt could get out of work.

I fell a lot.

Although, I did make this one on my second try...

but honestly, the rest of the time I pretty much fell over.

The frozen ground was very slippery under the fresh snow and a lot of what I rode was too deep for me to do real well-  I actually sometimes found myself wondering if the 720 wouldn't have worked better due to finding a solid bottom to the fresh snow..  I suck and I should have stuck to the parts of Eastwood that are both flat and protected from the wind.  I did ride one such part twice and found it was a lot easier the second time...  hopefully a few others get out there as well, it will be good.

Eventually, I rode some other places and went home where my, apparently wounded, tire slowly deflated while Dickie did what he could to save it (or maybe just ate the snow as it dripped onto my living room floor).


Fatbike ride, Minnesota State, Wisconsin State and Midwest Championships CX weekends

I'm going to stick mostly to pictures...


Day 1 (the actual state championship)...  came out sick, simple as that.  Felt like hell and hung in there but dropped.

Day 2...  better, but not great.  Still had a lot of fun and pushed it hard.  Finished 6th in the "senior age category State Championship" (23-34 age group)

Took it relatively easy during the week, but did ride 4 or 5 hours on the fatbike and one short CX skills practice type ride.

As unbelievable as fatbikes are (and that's still pretty debatable in my mind...) being a dog would be incredibly better.  He showed me what was up all week...  We went on one 8 mile or so ride on ATV trails with a dozen or so creek crossings and lots of hills.  As I struggled to just stay upright and maintain 5-6 mph her danced up and down the ridges alongside the trail and swam in the 33 degree water.

Madison this weekend-

Again I came out terrible on Saturday.  I finished, but it was hell!  I was 22nd in the Wisconsin State race that day and almost last.

Today it snowed...  I love snow.   It was a mess and right from the start I felt better and knew the conditions would help me.  I wound up 8th and I think it was likely my best CX race yet!  Almost makes me want to shell out the cash for nationals, but I can't quite justify it on a few different levels.

My next plan is to rest and go back to base miles...  maybe try to defend my title at Triple D...

Also, the photos are a mix of my own and Kim's  if you like them they are probably her's.