Lifetime Sport

Cycling is a lifetime sport, right?

"It's like riding a bike" pretty much covers it, no?

Golf usually makes most lists of lifetime sports as well.  A few days ago my Dad turned 70.  My gift to him was a round of golf.  My parents picked up golf about 30 years ago and continue to play a lot, usually more than once a week.  They are both really, seriously, good.  Dad shoots right around par from the whites with mom not far behind from the red tees.  They've both always been good but my mom in particular seems to be playing some of the best golf I can remember.  In no way has age slowed them down or affected the way they golf, beyond that they now do usually ride in a cart.  Even that is forced more by Mom's previous sports injuries than by age per se.

I 'used' to golf, the way I ride bikes now.  I learned how to play from Dad and have played thousands of rounds with him over the years.  That said, I have only averaged 3-4 rounds a year with literally no practicing over the last 5.

After a couple of holes on Dad's birthday we were both under par.  Recently when we play we've made a game where we play match play on the back 9 with a handicap based on our relative scores on the front.  The match was close.  We both hit great shots that worked out and some that didn't, rolled in some birdie putts.  I got robbed on 14 when the green didn't accept the shot as I expected with a pitching wedge and fell 2 down in the match, but responded with a birdie on the 15th.  The 17th was a 170 yard par 3 and I was one down with two to go and the honors.  I hit a decent shot to the middle of the green then 70 year old dad hit it to 1".  We didn't play 18.  Instead, we skipped back to number 3 and played 3-9 again because we were having so much fun.

Does cycling match up to that definition of 'lifetime sport'?  As much as I want it to I don't know if I see it.


diy fatbike rack

Posting this quick... it's not a new idea but this aluminum cargo rack is on sale at Menards right now and maybe someone else wants to build one while that is going on too.

Those fork mounts need different skewers, but once I run to the hardware store and get what I need it will run 100 and 135mm spacing forks just fine.  They bolt right to the rack with $5 in bolts.  I happen to have a couple extra ones that I'd pass on for some beer....  Let me know.

Wonder how it will fit with 29XXX tires?

Edit-  added shot of the roof rack as well.  Will get a close up of the very DIY 'foot' setup used to mount to the factory rails.



I have heard about these events for a couple of years and was excited that it was going to be in my neighborhood.  I knew it was all about having a good time, plus it was going to fit right into my 'offseason' between spring and cyclocross.  I figured I'd go and ride a funky bike and party it up.  Then I got a sinus infection and screwed up all of July, moved my schedule around a bit training wise and am beginning to feel antsy to race hard.  Still, ten days ago my plan was to ride the Pugnago in a Raoul Duke costume and just take it totally easy.  Then as the time approached a few people on my facebook kept posting stuff about thow they were excited for the race aspect of this thing and had been training.  I looked at my already SS Flash (that has been SS all month in preparation of SSCX) and couldn't make my mind up about what to do.  Never got the costume organized, eventually wound up waffling between riding that bike and my drop bar, rigid, 26" marin (which is also my SSCX bike).  The morning of the event I had two bikes in my truck with two totally different attitudes to go with them.  I know I was overthinking things!  

At the venue I hopped on the 26" bike and the rear tire went flat.   Decided that was the bike god's way of telling me to step up and race.  It was a blur of talking to friends and some foes at the start line and then we were off on way too long of a run to our bikes.  I was second into the singletrack with no one in sight in either direction.  Eventually one rider would run past me on the way up the bluff for the first time which would put my alone in third where I would sit alone for quite a while.  It isn't clear who actually "won" the XC race portion of this thing, but it is clear who deserved to win and that was Jesse L.  He was the first rider into the singletrack and he was gone.  That said, I believe both he and the other rider who had gotten a bit ahead of me early (although never more than 30 seconds up) made wrong turns at some point.  A group of 5 very strong riders caught up to me and I rode with them as people split off forward and back based on the strengths of the gearing etc..  My gear was steep in the new singletrack but I was having a great time riding.  Then about 2/3 of the way through the 35 miles I just wasn't anymore.  I got a little bit hot, it got a little too hilly for my 40x20, my friends sitting around drinking beer at the aid stations trying to hand me beer all got too enticing.  Mentally I just wanted to relax and have a good time and so I did.  I wish I could have stayed longer and gone out on the town, but my dog was home alone and I had to go before I could no longer drive.

It was a good day.  However, the overall, curated?, vibe of what I saw of this thing was something I just can't get my mind or my words totally around.  I'll just leave it at that.


1982 Trek 400 modern rebuild

As many of you know I've been riding THIS 1999 Trek 720 a whole lot for a few years now.  Kim has an awesome fargo (more on that build sometime soon), a nice full squish Santa Cruz and a 9zero7 fatbike.  We moved into our new place "out" in the country at the beginning of the month (more on that soon too) and she thought it might be nice to have something faster than the fargo that would work for our 10 mile mixed-surface commute.   I started half-assed looking for a carbon road bike in her size to repair.  Half-assed because it seems like 90% of all broken bikes are 56 cm, which I can't complain about because then they all fit me, but which does mean finding a 48 or 50cm is a tall order.  Then I saw a craigslist advertisement for a 51cm 1982 Trek 400 at $150.  Emailed the guy right away and wound up heading home with a bone-stock bike for $120 that evening.

We wanted to build it up for years or reliable use as cheaply but solidly as possible.  This wasn't going to be a gravel 'mutt' or a 'parts-bin' bike or whatever (although you might call it both), it was going to be her bike that we both hoped would serve her as well as my beloved 720.  In the end we did use many parts that I had laying around, spending just an additional $175 out of pocket including the $95 shifters.  If I were to try to charge her for the inter-familial parts-swapping a la Dayton's failed tax plan maybe the total actual value investment would have been closer to $450.


The stock wheel size was 27".  We were able to swap to 700c wheels without any modifications whatsoever with the adjustment given by the brakes.  I also swapped to modern pad holders and pads just to improve braking/ease.

The bars that came on the bike were seriously, seriously long reach and got swapped right away (along with the too-long for her stem).

Stock seatpost/saddle were insanely heavy and were swapped for more adjustability.

Entire drivetrain was swapped to modern 10 speed.  I had to 'cold-set' the rear spacing to 130, but now all of my, dozens?, or road wheelsets are useable on this bike.

The whole package worked out pretty well.  Only real 'issue' currently is that there is no way with the modern 10 speed brake/shifters (microshift branded) and the vintage brakes to 'open' the brakes for wheel removal.  With the 700x30 tires on it currently you can only install or remove the wheels with a flatted tire.  This could be solved in the future in a variety of ways, or just let be.


51cm Trek 400 frame/fork
stock brakeset with upgraded pads/holders
700c bontrager SSR wheelset
700x30 Challenge Almanzo tires
PZ Racing compact crankset
105 derailleurs
microshift 10 speed shifters/brake levers
shimano 6600 cassette (12-25)
thomson post
wtb speed she saddle
vintage ITM stem
3T short reach/drop ergo bars

We've been out on a couple or rides already totalling about 40 miles.  She seems very happy with it both on pavement and off.


Shots Fired

Called 911 today.

Rode up the gravel hill to the upper parking lot to find a white s10, a teenage girl looking like she just woke up and a boy in camo.  Nodded, said hello.  Noted the sheepish grin on the girls face.  Figured I had maybe  just missed something which I was glad I had missed.  I turned and continued up the road past the gate.  Noticed a newspaper on a tree but did not think much of it.  Cleaned the tough climb, remembering how hard it used to be, enjoyed most of a lap.  Then boom!

Real BOOM.  I'm familiar with gun fire.  I'm not a sportsman but I've spent some time shooting and gone hunting more than a few times with friends.  This was way loud, and close.  I stopped, listened, scanned the forest.  It had been so close that the words "warning shot" crossed my mind.  Straddled my bike and waited.  BOOM.  The same as the first.  BOOM again.  I thought while I scanned the woods, the shooter had to be so close.  What were the shooting at?  How close were the shots?  BOOM.  Decision, I called out and walked the 40 or 50 steps up to the main road.  I was now about 100 yards up the road (above the aforementioned gate).  The same access road used by people on horseback, walking their dog.  The one I had countless times come down on my bike to leave the trails.  The one that my friend's kids, families, pets etc. all use.  The tree with the paper on it was just to my right and there were now two cars, two more boys down by the truck now with a military style rifle steadied on the tonneau cover.  It was aimed up the hill towards that tree, and me.

I went straight down that hill and explained my point of view.  Took a couple of pictures.

Called 911.  They had lots of questions for me.  I must have answered them wrong because 70 minutes later nothing had happened, I called back.  The operator said, "It is legal for them to be shooting on that land"...  Yes, I knew this, hadn't I explained to you that they were doing so in an unsafe manner and also hadn't I called 911?  Doesn't that merit a response?  Even if you are telling me my call was frivolous doesn't every 911 call merit a response?  I, and this is embarassing as well as recorded somewhere, somewhat lost it with the operator.  She told me that her supervisor would call me (which has not yet happened).  Eventually an officer came, I spoke to him.  He hadn't been told anything other than that I was complaining they were shooting.  Explained that they were shooting uphill, with an upward trajectory and into a multi-use area.  He investigated?  I went to work.  I haven't heard anything more.  I have felt awful since.  I don't know how to reconcile the complete disregard/disinterest shown mainly by the 911 operator with my fear of getting shot while riding my bike.

I think tomorrow I will go back and finish my ride.  Perhaps by doing so I can get the pit in my stomach to go away. I do not think I'll ever ride directly down the upper part of that road again.


Copper Harbor 2013- stuck on the Pugnago?

That was how I felt at first when I got up there.  Stupid crank issue on the Flash Carbon meant I was stuck on the fatbike...  didn't take much riding before I changed that mindset.  Pulled the Marge Lites/Husker Du combo off of Kim's 9 zero 7 instead of my wider/heavier rims.  Didn't take long before I forgot I was on a 'fat' bike and was simply enjoying myself.  Riding the Red Trail and The Flow at speed on that bike was incredibly fun.  I've always been confident in my carbon construction process etc., but when you are heading down the Red Trail at 28 mph over it makes things real.

Sorry, for the total lack of pictures from most of the good parts of the trails, no stopping...  pictures lean heavily towards places it seems natural to stop!

After I managed to fix the 'good' bike I was almost reluctant to take it up for a ride due to all the fun I'd been having on the Pugnago.  When I hit the bottom of Stairway to Heaven on the 16 lb SS it felt pretty natural though too. !

Can't really see not owning both.  Now I just need a full squish enduro type thing...

More pictures later as well from this trip and some other news.

Weekend to the Keweenaw: Adventure Mine and "The Beach in Gay"

Adventure Mine trails are techy!  We both struggled with the wet roots, rocks and steep climbs.  I haven't felt that out of place on a mountain bike for years.  Would be a really fun place to ride if it were a little less wet and also probably with gears (I was riding 40x18 which is just not ideal there).  Here is Kim on a really fun descent from the mountain top above the mine.

After this ride I realized that my crank on the Flash Carbon was moving in the spindle and my chainring was sometimes contacting the stay...  wtf.  Tried to get this fixed at the shop in Houghton but to no avail.  Eventually I sorted it out with parts from my own tool box and was able to ride Copper Harbor on that bike.

After lunch we headed north of Houghton to the town of Gay.  Here are a bunch of pictures from our ride there...

Pretty much fatbike paradise.  There should be some sort of group ride/race/party/camping trip out there.  If it were any closer to my house I would make it happen.

Next up is Copper Harbor, back to work for now...