1.31.2012

2012 Untitled Pictures & Thoughts

We rode a lot on Sunday. Here are some pictures-










This one is off of Dave's "gopro"




There is also a video from the first part courtesy of Dave H.-









It's funny how even on a casual ride everything changes when you are "in charge" (I'm not so sure I was actually "in charge", hence the quotations). Minute route details and street crossings become something to fuss about, you worry that the pace isn't right for everyone, if you should stop in this town or not etc. etc.. All in all, I think it went great. I know I had a very good time and finished with refreshingly little left in the tank.





The Arrowhead has come and gone for most- I'm pulling for the runners and skiers yet! Looks like Buffington is having the ride, er run, of his life thus far. Most impressed with Ben Doom on the bike side, but also pleased to see Eric P. finish and on his own custom frame! Mr. Tri conquered his asthma to finish!  Congrats to all the finishers.

1.30.2012

Dickie Scramble February 11th 2012

2012 Dickie Scramble is February 11th




This 40 degree weather is awesome, but it definitely isn't looking to be compatable with riding on snow!



Plan will be to meet at the Douglas Trail trailhead for a 10am departure. Course will consist of mixed gravel and pavement heading out to Pine Island and back for an approximately 35 mile loop. Directions will be provided day of. If by some dumb luck the weather turns (again) I reserve the right to send anyone who wants to "race" down a snow covered Douglas Trail, but doubt this will happen.



Laura and Kelly will be providing coffee, sports drink and homemade cookies at the halfway point.



After the ride we will congregate at Buffalo Wild Wings for food and drink. It is Rochester Fest the same weekend so that Ice Bar and other festivities will likely be on the agenda for later. This is on a Saturday so everyone should be able to come out and enjoy themselves into the evening.



This is meant to be a fun group ride for all abilities. Come ride at your own pace. If you want to go fast, there will be a couple of prizes and some friendly competition.



Lastly, once again this is absolutely free but a donation to camp companion is encouraged.



http://www.campcompanion.org/









-Drew

1.25.2012

Untitled update, news, fat-bike.com wallpaper!

Lots of things going right this week!

Routine for the past few days has been to skate ski for an hour at Quarry Hill then stretch my commute out to 2 hours total.  Lots of fun, but legs were feeling tired and tomorrow is my "big" day.  Decided to take today to recheck the "untitled" course.








I think it's looking great out there.  Weather is looking acceptable as well.  The route is going to be right near the 70 miles target too!  Will make direction cards tonight/tomorrow.

Lastly...

Image I'm proud of linky at fat-bike.com

Got this on their Wednesday wallpaper thing!



This is my last week at my current job.  Big changes coming!  Hope things are well for you.

1.19.2012

1.18.2012

My thoughts and review of fat bikes in general, 9 zero 7 in particular

This isn't my bike, it was borrowed for a period of 1 week. This bike is owned by my good friend Trevor and was purchased as a frameset from a Mr. Tri who raced it last year. I rode it a total of 14 hours in a mixture of conditions. I rode dry riverbeds, sand, across 8" deep open water, in snow, on dry singletrack, snowy singletrack, in the city etc. as well as on my normal commute route and for the Triple D Winter Race. This was a short period of time to get to know a bike, but I rode it hard and made the most of it.



I will readily admit to a bit of a bias against fat bikes. In that I don't trust the hype. In my limited experience they simply are not the "game-changer" that some people claim. The range of conditions in which they really work better than other bikes is small and sort of esoteric. Their ideal place in winter is either a carefully groomed winter singletrack or a snowmobile trail- two things that don't exactly happen everwhere. In summer, they are "best" for really epic trips on beach or permafrost? I suppose one would also allow you to ride the Trans-wisconsin route's ATV trails from hell... but you can only do that for so long before being struck by a speeding ATV anyways. I hear talk of people needing them to commute and I look back at how I rode my 700x42 Nokians very close to every day for the last two winters. I hear talk about how they roll over things and I think about how I ride my commuter with those same Nokians in snow, up stairs, down stairs, on singletrack, in snow etc. and never feel like I'm missing something, even when riding beside people on fat bikes. All of the above pertains to living and riding in SE MN- I have traveled quite a few places where they would be a potential necessity far more of the time. I think part of my bias has also been fueled by seeing the explosion of fat bikes over the last couple years. I shouldn't let that influence me, but the more people riding them who don't use them as intended the more annoyed I have become. Also, the nicer and more "adorned" the builds have gotten for no good reason... That said, there are certainly a lot of other people in MN riding and racing these bikes in adventurous ways- a lot of the crew riding/racing up in the Hillside Cold Bear series, Deathrider riding through rivers and caves, Pramann etc. up at the Arrowhead. Don't get me wrong- I respect that stuff!



This particular bike-







9zero7 frame with salsa 100mm fork

rolling daryl's/larry's on x9 hubs built by Oneota River Cycles

X0 gripshift

X9 rear derailleur

990 cassette

bontrager crankset with just a 32t SS ring



The cockpit parts shown were all changed out during my testing for my own purposes. As were the pedals. I ran-



crankbrothers quattro ti pedals

ritchey seatpost

bontrager inform rxl saddle

ritchey wcs stem

580mm stylo aluminum bars

ergons plus the same bar ends shown

aero bars



Obviously, almost all of that stuff and the above build is either personal preference or pretty standard issue.





My initial impression of this bike was positive. I have not looked at detailed geometry charts for the various fat bikes, but this bike feels more like a regular mountain bike when it comes to the handling. It has less of an upright steering bias and instead asks to be leaned into and really pushed through corners. I believe this is likely primarily attributable to the "trail" measurement, but maybe someone with more time will tell me otherwise (I just haven't looked it up). Because of this I felt comfortable on the bike anytime the tire pressure was dialed for the conditions right off the bat. The medium sized frame fit my 5'11" frame properly after I tweaked the cockpit. I wound up with about 10mm of setback on the post and a 100mm stem with race style flat bars and bar ends. I was even able to closely approximate my 'ideal' or pre-existing long-distance touring aero bar position and found that it gave me pretty good weight distribution. It was obvious that this bike would work excellently on singletrack or for long distances on snowmobile trails.





I did get my feet wet getting to here. Smartwool allowed me to ride another 4 hrs in sub-freezing temperatures without issue!





The first ride took me along the route of my commute. I found lots of trouble to get into, hitting all the sand, singletrack, technical stuff I could. I was having a good time and just screwing around. I even found a couple of new fun sections. If there is one great thing to be said about riding a bike like this it is that it is an awesome prompt to change your mindset and focus on just having fun. I went on to ride a ton of singletrack and then a couple of hours of gravel that afternoon. The bike was proficient and fun to ride on all of it. The fun factor was very high, although I couldn't help looking at the average mph and thinking about how much faster one of my other bikes would be. I also put some thought into whether or not it was actually more fun to ride than my 1996 Marin 26" SS long travel hardtail would have been on the same conditions. Without snow or epically deep sand the very light Marin with its 140mm of travel up front and 26x2.5s would very likely have been at least equally enjoyable. By the end of the ride it was snowing and the wind was blowing hard, I had my fingers crossed that I'd see some better conditions for fat bike testing soon.



The next morning I got out the door early and repeated most of my route. This time I spent more time on the actual singletrack. Over night we had gotten enough blowing snow that the Larry's were now the clear tire choice on the trails. Throughout all my testing I was repeatedly impressed with how well the bike climbed for it's weight and it was pretty cool to see that continued even in low traction situations on sharp singletrack climbs. I was not as impressed with the lack of feedback given prior to the tires washing out, there almost literally was none. I went down a few times, but also pushed the bike hard into a lot of corners. I found that I was traveling roughly 1/2 as fast as I would have been with summer conditions on my Orbea Alma- quite impressive considering the conditions. The wind was blowing hard and my tracks were disappearing by the time I came back around for another lap in most parts of the park. Despite that I also noticed how incredibly easier it was to ride through an area a second time, even with 26x3.7s pushing through a few inches of fresh snow is tough work! I found that when traction was good or when I kept my speeds down to where I knew I was in control the bike handled very predictably and was easy to "place" in the corners. It was no problem to hit the exact spots I wanted to in order to rail the corners or ride obstacles.



I had a short changeover after that ride before I had to head down to work. I don't feel comfortable locking this bike up down there and so I headed down on the Trek with the 700x42s. At this point the trail was unplowed and drifted and the singletrack only had my fat bike tracks on it. I was expecting it to be a slog on the Trek but it never materialized as such, I had no issues with the 4-6" of mixed bootpacked and drifted snow. It might have been more fun to ride the fat bike in some places, but it wouldn't have been easier overall. I can't see ever wanting to make my commute on a fat bike.



The snow continued and also hit the Dubuque area. This was great news! I had prepped 3 bikes but really was hoping the fat bike would be best!




After all, the reason I had borrowed this bike was to get used to it and then to try and win the Triple D race on it. Here is my write-up from the race-


race recap


This test did nothing to change my overall impression of fat bikes. I would love to have one in order to take part in more winter singletrack riding and 2-3 snowmobile trail type races per year. I doubt I would use it much in any other context. There are too many things out there otherwise that I don't have that I would rather purchase for me to seriously consider picking one of these up. I guess, I view fat bikes as a luxury that I continue to choose not to afford in order to support the rest of my cycling habit. Sort of like Rapha jerseys or carbon 29er rims. For someone who has more $, more sponsors or less other cycling expenses (not everyone wants to race in the range of stuff that I do, or even to race at all) one of these would be an awesome way to have some fun riding a bike, which is always a good thing.

Triple D- Dubuque Dyersville Durango 2012 race and weekend recap

Failed to make hotel reservations for far too long despite having already paid the entry fee. The lack of snow just sapped my enthusiasm. Luckily, and fairly last minute Spinner moved to Platteville about a week before the race. I got down there around 3pm on Saturday and we set off to pre-ride a bit to check conditions and to check out the Durango bar-



This outfit is his uniform.  Never changes, like a super hero.






He also has a baby Hyena (for my stupid readers- it isn't really a Hyena, having a Hyena is stupid and dangerous and might lead to stripping as per the show I recently watched about a guy who had a pet baby Hyena and wound up stripping to supplement his income in order to feed it. This Hyena is actually a corgi mix). The Hyena pup was not an issue in the Durango bar!





It was pleasing to see that the conditions were "winter" and that fat bikes would absolutely be necessary (or as much so as they ever have... see last years results).



We checked in at the pre-race seminar around 6 then found our way to an eerily empty asian restaurant with a whole band of friends. Spinner and I both consumed huge quantities of Mu Shu Chicken before retiring back to Platteville.



At some point we realized it was only about 9pm and that he had only been to one bar in his new home town. We decided to go to the rest. My favorite was the one with an actual Chevy Silverado tailgate bracketed to the wall. I think he preferred the one where we could look down off the balcony at the "hot" bartenders- the one we had initialy thought was a strip club because it was called "School Girlz", this was before we were inside. We also weren't entirely sure all the "hot bartenders" were actually women, this was when we got closer to them.  We still had a great time and generally kept things moving towards being ready to race hard.



After an admittedly short, but hot night with a sexy, little, sharp-toothed, lady, hyena pup, I found myself at Country Kitchen contemplating a long day on the bike. I've been pretty careful diet wise recently, but this was no time to skimp on food... corned beef hash skillet and pancakes!



Once we got over to Dubuque the race start was fast approaching. I was guzzling water, HEED and diet soda. Decided it was going to be warm enough that I should carry my camelbak bladder in my Jandd frame bag and that I didn't need ANY extra clothing. I left with about 800 calories of food in the form of powerbar's soda gummy things, almonds, mint m&ms and HEED plus 2 Starbuck's double-shot espressos in a Jersey pocket. I also brought the IPOD set to blast with nothing but early 2000s rap on the play list and just the left headphone in (I believe Spinner also had tunes- his taking the form of Lady Gaga and speakers). I wound up only consuming 200 calories of powerbar gummy things, 40 oz of HEED and about 30 oz of water during the race.



A few "big names" (in quotes because they may only be "big names" in their own mind) had recently backed out of the race, or more precisely, had not registered at all even though they had said they probably would. Lance Andre, who really is a big name, would also not be racing this year as organizer. Plus, Mr. Charlie Farrow had given me some words of encouragement and picked me as a potential winner via the interweb. I felt a little pressure and I was nervous at the start, but knew that my recent fitness has been high and that I had a faster bike than last year. I kept telling myself it would be good, but my lack of time on the fat bike had me picturing falling over while trying to ride over ridge of snow a plow had pushed up 5' in front of where I was staged. The high temperatures predicted for the day would favor going out hard... it might potentially get soft/melty/slow later and it would be good to be as far along as possible. My best strategy would be to use some of my left-over CX fitness to just 'get the hell out of there' before anyone, and maybe more importantly the course, knew what hit them.



The first time I looked back was exactly 1 mile into the competitive part of the route (after the neutral roll-out was completed). At the point I couldn't see anyone behind me. The first few miles of the course are very hilly and soft. It was tough going. I had to hike quite a few hills and burn a lot of matches on the ones I chose to ride. I kept the perceived effort basically pinned at 8/10 or so and chose whatever route/option seemed fastest at that moment. Somewhere around 45 minutes or an hour into the race I stopped to take my Almanzo jacket (ironically? I wore the exact same thing for this that I did in the Royal 162 back in May) and was able to use the high hilltop vista to see some of my competitors back down the road. I knew it was my race to lose, but that I had to focus on proper pacing and fueling.



The hilly/soft private land snowmobile trails seemed to stretch on and on. I found that the key was to look for grass sticking up through the trail and to hit the gas when there was traction available and then to "float"/coast to the next thin patch. In general the snow was too deep and too soft for any normal riding. Finally, I got to the last big uphill. I was forced to hike about 80% of it and once again I was able to use a vista to look back on other riders. There was actually someone in what appeared to be grey no more than 8-10 minutes back at this point.



Pushed on as such, by their presence, I hammered the paved section in the aero bars and 32x11 and kept a lot of momentum up down the B road. I took care not to risk a flat or a fall, and to make sure to carry big speed out the bottom above anything else. Finally, I hit the heritage trail and found it in good shape. I rode the entire day with approximately 6 psi in the Larry's and they did well on the trail. On the return trip I would see a lot of evidence of other people not fairing so well on their fat bikes and wonder if they were running too much pressure? As it was I was able to spend most of my time on the trail in the aero bars and often at speeds north of 15 mph. I made the halfway point at 1:20 or just over 3 hours of elapsed time and was feeling great. After a very quick stop and a slog back through the last section of snowmobile trail I was back to the main Heritage Trail BEFORE I saw any competitors coming toward me. The first one was SPINNER!



I was ecstatic to see him riding hard and doing well, and I was feeling good. I also knew that I had a big enough lead that I didn't need to worry about going too hard and blowing up. From there on out I pushed even harder than I had been. I believe I averaged over 16 from that point on in the race despite going into the wind. Literally riding like I was in a time trial. Thinking about nothing but pedaling and trying to keep my cadence up. I had a few issues with coming up fast behind people and actually fell once while trying to barrel through a drift, but overall it went very fast. I was not ever able to fully shake the idea that someone might be catching me. Near the end of the race I got a big scare when somebody commuting was about half a block back!



I finished in 5:29 and there was no one there to greet me... I guess that's a good thing. I guess I had broken the course record by quite a bit (while I was riding I had it in my head that Cody's CR time last year was about 5 hours even, but I was later informed that I was wrong). Perhaps the course was faster this year.



A few guys got ahead of Spinner while he ate pizza and he gave a strong chase. He caught one, but the other two got lost a bit and so we will never know if he could have run them down. He finished in 2nd! First ever Triple D finisher on a Moonlander and first ever wearing shorts (or did he finish previously?). A few very strong riders came in soon after Spinner and then the two of us had to run. I haven't seen full results yet, but they may be posted by the time you read this. I checked into a hotel and he got the Hyena then we hit the awards. Lots of good conversation about fat bikes, Almanzo stuff, bike parts in general, riding etc. and then the actual ceremony. Tons of beer and free food were consumed. Awesome time all the way around. A lot of great sponsors including two of my favorites- Milltown Cycles and Phil Wood. Plus a 9 zero 7 frame was given away to the winner of the "skinny bike" class thanks to Chain Reaction Cycles, the same as the borrowed one I had raced on.



Then, the Busted Lift. Everything the Dakota 5-0 after party was lacking. We had an incredible time- even had dozens of hamburgers picked up and brought to the bar! Thanks to all involved in making that happen. 9 am alarm came awful early, but I had to get back to Rochester.



Next race is CIRREM. In the meantime I hope to see you on January 29th for the Untitled Almanzo ride and/or the Dickie Scramble on February 11th...

1.11.2012

Triple D prep., 9 zero 7 "on test", "olympic gangster"

I wrote a book review that can be found at almanzo.com.  I would love feedback and suggestions for other cycling related reading.

Rode my borrowed fat bike for about 4 hours today.  Will save my thoughts for later, plan to write some sort of a review.  Here it is-




and the most likey candidates for what bike will work best at Triple D...



In other words-  I don't have a clue.

1.09.2012

Untitled ride details

Can't make it or can't get enough?  http://dickiescramble.blogspot.com/

I've made a facebook group for this event as well, but all the information is posted here.  Feel free to friend me on facebook or respond there if you have anything.


There is no registration process, charge associated with, or postcard needed. Just show up On January 29th and ride. We will be beginning and ending in the Glynner's/Fiesta Mexicana parking lot.  We will support the local businesses and it is a large parking lot but it would be nice if you carpool or ride.



I will provide hand-written route notes. This is not a race, although I anticipate multiple groups forming, and as such I will make a guess as to how many copies to bring. The 70-75 mile route has a refreshingly small number of turns or other notations needed and will fit neatly on two normal "tulip diagram" type sized pages. Dover's Road Trip Bar and Grill is a fine establishment which has a full menu and bar and is just 2 blocks off the route roughly 1/3 of the way through. Chatfield is also on our route, located just past half-way. If you are cold, hungry, uncertain etc., take care to replenish as needed while in Chatfield. The route directly passes a Subway, Quik Trip and a couple of small town bars. We will be riding up Magnum Rd soon thereafter which I'm sure some of you may remember from past Almanzo 100s. 80% of the way through their is a brief out and back option to check out some interesting heritage and the Old Dubuque Stagecoach Route. The final 12 miles or so are pavement and bike path. We intend to sit down and share some good food and drink at the finish.



Here is a final teaser image-
 


Can't make it or can't get enough...  http://dickiescramble.blogspot.com/

1.04.2012

My "re-imagined" trek 720 multitrack

Commuter type bikes are my favorites. Race bikes are boring because they all have to conform to a norm in order to work well. A commuter bike is where someones personality, or lack thereof, shows. It's also where you see all sorts of interesting home solutions and odd-cobble jobs.



The last few winters I've spent a lot of time on my bike riding Rochester area gravel roads, bike paths and commuting. I've gone through quite a few frames and parts while I've searched for what worked best for me. I also use this bike for almost all my summer commuting and for non-offroad touring. Here is what I'm riding (or at least the important parts) and a bit about why...









Frame- 1999 Trek 720 Multitrack. Stable, durable, cx type frame that fits 700x42s with fenders or 29x1.9 without.



Fork- Nashbar carbon 1" cyclocross disc fork. I debated about spending the $40 for this, but it dropped a lot of weight off the frame and improved the geometry for my use... PLUS it allowed me to switch to a disc brake.



Headset- aheadset 1" headset, had to swap to this to run the fork as I went from threaded to threadless.



stem/bars/post/saddle- 130mm 3T stem (slammed!), truvativ stylo mtb bars in 580mm, Thomson 0 setback post, Ti railed WTB saddle. Tried to skimp on post, but the infinite adjustability that cheap posts lack keeps my taint from hurting! This stuff is relatively light, but also likely to last forever.



Wheels- front- no name front 32 spoke 29er wheel with 160mm lock-on disc. rear- coda rear hub (dt swiss internals) laced with 40 spokes to a sun tandem rim. Needed something beefy that wouldn't need much work to keep going, rear hub is the place to spend the money! Front hub is simple and bearings could be replaced if needed.



brakes- BB7 road front, Shimano lx canti rear, old school avid flat bar levers (SD7?)



tires- 700x42c nokian 240s in winter or Bontrager XR 29x1.9/1.8 in summer.



fenders- planet bike, modified to mount with the disc brake up front



crankset- Ultegra 6500 triple with only a 39t middle ring, bashguard. Internal bottom bracket for durability in crud, bashguard keeps my pants out of chainring.



cassette- Ultegra 6500 12-27. Good, higher end cassette that gives me final gearing similar to what I ride in summer. No taking a nap and totally spinning up hills.



chain- kmc x9. I've had a lot of issues with chains over the years. These are my favorite cheap 9sp chains, prefer DA 7700 for "race" bikes.



derailleurs- no front derailleur, XTR M952 rear. Awesome quality sealed bearings that worked until I wore out the teeth and had to replace them!



shifters- sram attack gripshift- simple and durable. Not different in feel than the X0 on my race mountain bike. I run a full-length cable housing.



pedals- crankbrothers quattro sl. I use them or the Ti ones on everything. They are holding up great.





All in all this is a bike I feel comfortable with. I can take a quick-link, multi-tool and a couple tubes and be confident in making it home in any conditions. I am also comfortable on it for long rides and find that it handles quite well. Building up a winter bike/commuter with this level of compenentry has greatly increased it's functionality such that I now use it a ton, easily enough to justify the cost. I find it appealing visually as well, but I think it flies under the radar too... I'm not having to constantly worried that it will be stolen from a gas station or bike rack.


I've since gone back to dropbars as shown here.




Here is a link to a similar post by my friend Will...



http://stockdell.org/blog/2011/12/15/building-a-bike-for-minnesota-winters/







What are you riding?

1.03.2012

I do believe the world is going to end in 2012

The sure sign of the pugacalypse

http://fat-bike.com/2012/01/new-contest-pimp-my-pugs/

I'm tempted to send in a picture of my beach cruiser. 
"hoopty" fat bike???  Or would that be a Mukluk that doesn't have red grips and chain?


Who has a "hoopty" of a fat bike anyways?  In the spirit of the original show the winner should be that dude you see riding down the sidewalk on a walmart bike who has to get to work in a blizzard (except, what he really needs is a cx bike with studs).



In all seriousness, it's a good idea and solid marketing...  maybe you want to enter?  I'm sure you'll get some cool parts!

On a related note-  my time with the 9 zero 7 is rapidly approaching.  Really looking forward to putting a few miles on it and riding it in Triple D.  Thank you Trevor for letting me borrow it! 

On a more distantly related note-  don't get all pissed at me for picking on fat bikes.  I'm all for anyone and everyone riding their bikes.  I'm also all for fat bikes.  I just can't help but notice the proliferation or expansion of hipster like culture within the ranks of the fat bikers (this certainly doesn't apply to everyone who has one either) and it's hilarious because so many of the owners are the same people who have recently picked on other cycling trends...  particularly the ones they now seem to be emulating.  I certainly hope to own one myself sometime soon!  I'd even take a real "hoopty" one.  I just don't have the funds to keep up all my other bikes, travel to races, etc., and buy one just yet.  It also seems that each time I do have the funding some other bike or sports equipment item becomes a higher priority (road bike, new 29er, fast road/gravel wheels, cyclocross bike, skate skis...  the list is likely to go on if we don't get a ton of snow and fast!)

New Years Resolution

I didn't make one. Regardless, there is something to starting the year off right. On New Years Day I was up at 5:30 headed to Wolverine Village via the MSP airport where I was to drop the Loris' sister off around 8. We got out of the door so early due to the high winds and freezing rain of the night before and that extra time was needed. Despite only minor disruptions including, but not limited to her cat pissing in the back of the car and having to get gas, I was free and clear and headed north at 75 mph by 8:20 or so.



I arrived around 12:30 and immediately hit the ski trails. Conditions were pretty solid and my new, actually first xc stuff since about age 6, was great. I should thank Henry Wisnewski and Bob Alleva for helping me out on this point. For those who care I am on 191 2011 Atomic Red Cheetahs and the world cup boots. Might seem like massive overkill for someone who has only been skating for a few days, but I had the opportunity to pick it up and plan to make proper use of it. I can certainly say that the skis are incredibly stable compared to the older atomic race skis I used last year which, at least according to Henry, does not come at any cost to how fast they are either.







I forgot to put on my knee brace and didn't even notice until I had been out for over 2 hours! This, I believe, is attributable to the time I've spent away from running and the extra strength I've built up around it this year. On that topic- I am currently trying to lose weight from a high of 192 or 193 around the time of the Dirt Bag but do think that gaining that weight and deliberately training to build leg muscle had paid off in the stability of my knee and in reducing those issues. I'm grateful to be seeing some positive results with the knee thing! 8 weeks of cyclocross and now skate skiing pain free is a huge step from where I was just last year. The trick now is to lose the "extra" parts of that mass without losing that strength. At this point I am somewhere around 178 most mornings with intermediate goals of 175 at Triple D and 170 at CIRREM. I know that IF I can drop 25 or 30 lbs without losing strength and explosiveness that it will serve me well throughout next year. I also know that I've gone "fast" while relatively heavy and that it will be a balancing act. I suppose I also need to keep in mind how many of my races are either long endurance races where the extra weight almost seems to help or end in sprints where any loss of strength would be quickly noticed. All that aside, knee doing better=great news!





It snowed hard over night and I woke up to this (well, it also helped that I rallyed the Mini Cooper pretty hard to get to the hill first)!













Sadly, powder days in the Midwest are for chumps and I relearned that lesson once again... There simply isn't enough sustained vertical, even at our better ski areas, for any real approximation of what it "should be". I can't even imagine trying to snowboard out there as you truly never would have gotten going faster than 8 or 10 mph other than the final steep pitch that is about 10 seconds long. I wound up switching off the GS skis and hitting a couple of the more narrow/gladed runs on slalom skis in an attempt to actually avoid the deepest powder and the wind (which was coming straight up the hill and adding to how slow everything was). For what it's worth I'm skiing on 12 year old Nordica Dobermans and 2006? Atomic world cup slaloms in 165 and Giant Slaloms in 190? (or close to that). They are hand me downs from my brother as my last year racing was one year prior to these skis. I'm not entirely sure why these are the ones I have now but they suit my needs well. I don't think there will ever be a time when my preference wouldn't be for giant slalom race skis for virtually any condition on a real mountain and for slalom skis on our midwestern "hills". Don't get me started on all the new equipment "innovations"...



Back on topic- Wolverine Village was awesome as always! I'm grateful for all the time I get to spend up there. After a couple hours of skating and a quick snowshoe after the sun decided to pop out I had to head back to Rochester. I wasn't sure how a one night trip that far away would work out, but it was definitely worth it given how little snow we continue to have down here.



This week is a planned rest week for me, but the way I see it I started resting Saturday and I will turn it back up late this week and the early part of next week prior to resting up for whatever it is that Triple D will turn out to be. I plan to pre-ride the "Untitled" Almanzo ride course and sort of finalize/check that after which I will post some more information on Almanzo.com, really hope to see you there (here?)!



Here are random teaser pics for that ride












and a shot of my new toebooties (the zippers broke and I had another "full" pair anyways. Paired with these 1/2 size too big Sidis and smartwool socks I'm good for road riding down to about 20 degrees as shown).







Hope you had a good Holiday