Thursday, April 30, 2009

TI (again)

Farrow's contract with the Devil must have expired because I am headed to Iowa.

You, you should head to the copier and make those copies for work.

I am like B. Rabbit in 8 mile.

Well, looks like there is a good chance that Transiowa is a go for me still, but I'll find out more this afternoon. Just got done talking to my Mother the RN about my pain below the skin, see previous post. It seems to follow a vein in my skull, but has no visual oddities. Her thought based on professional and personnel experience is that I might have Shingles. That will not stop me attempting Transiowa, but the symptoms of tiredness, headaches, some abdominal pain, and the type of pain match what I have had the last 10 days. The rashes have not started yet. Not ideal TI prep.

This reminds me of B. Rabbit in 8 Mile(warning: link has vulgarity). He had everything going against him for his freestyle rap battle against Poppa Doc (I am a master of rapping as well); he was white, a bum, lived in a trailer with his mom, his boy Future was an Uncle Tom, his dumb friend Cheddar did shoot himself with his own gun, he did get jumped by Poppa Doc's chumps, Ray did have "relations" with his girl, but he was still standing up to the "Free World".

I am B. Rabbit. TI is my Poppa Doc. Now I have to show up and battle.



Tick tock, tick tock, I wait.

My Grandmother has been sick for a long time and passed away last night. A sad event, but expected. Here are some pictures from a visit about 2 months ago. I had just seen her last week at her nursing home. Good ol' Grandma.

If the funeral is this weekend then it is no Transiowa for me, no question.
Now I wait to here if I am still going to Iowa, tick tock, tick tock.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ego restored.

Just finished cleaning the bike. It took 2 washes to get the mud off from this weekend's race (which smelled just like cow dung). Also, I solved the case of the chain/spokes love making. On one of the running sections I must have banged the rear derailuer and bent the hanger on a tree or rock. That explains the chain into the spokes and the bad shifting afterwards. To summarize, it was not my mechanical ineptitude, it was my bike pushing incompetence.

This is the second case I solved this week. First one was the case of the missing beets.


Happy Tuesday.

What should I ask for speaking fees now that I made it into the Star Tribune? Clinton gets something like $100,000. I bet I could beat him on a bike, so maybe $150,000? Would have been nice to see a picture of myself, but while they were snapping pics at the front, I was changing a flat at the back.

Tick, tock. Transiowa this weekend. Anxious. Last minute prep. Second guess this, triple guess that. Tick, tock.

Trying to figure out what the pain is just below the skin that started near the temple and is now approaching the top of my head. No marks or swelling, just a pain that is making it's way around my head. Webmd is no help.

I need to lace up the XR1's for the first time and rip around at Eastwood.

Abi is doing well.

The 69'er hardtail is getting wrapped up for it's trip to Louisiana.

Your boss is watching.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Decorah TT

This is a fantastic race every year. This year the rain the day before and morning of was sure to make this year's time trials interesting. Set to start about 90 minutes after the first rider I was hoping that any mud on the course would get pushed out or packed down. Kuske and I had a chance to talk to the first several riders finishing and they said that the course was actually in good shape and they were able to make it up almost every hill on their single speeds. Their bikes and bodies were fairly clean as well.

Well, 100 meters in I quickly realized that this was a different course than earlier. The mud had started to solidify and gave it a sticky, flingy, slow quality. The trails were really chewed up from so many people before pushing through sections that were at one time rideable. I rode as much as I could, but some sections were completely impassable by bike now. There were many sections that I was riding (slowly because of the sticky mud) that had no sign tire tracks in front of me, just chewed up foot prints. Almost halfway through I threw my chain in to the spokes. After at least a minute of swearing, pulling, yanking, and tugging I was finally able to get the chain out and get going again. Ten minutes later it would do the same thing, but only took about 30 seconds to get out that time. Maybe I didn't get that damn set screw right (which would shock this mechanic), but I am sick of the SRAM chain that is on there. Shimano links will make that whole system shift smoother, faster, and quieter. Not saying it is the chains fault, but anything to take some blame off myself.

Well, I was hoping to go for a top 5 finish. I felt strong and rode well, but my chain problems and the mud convinced me that I was well outside the top ten. Luckily, I still pulled out a ninth place at 51 minutes and some odd seconds. I was very happy with that and happy that my legs had "good sensations". The bike and body were covered in mud, a far different picture then those first finishers I saw.

The top 5 were littered with guys from the first 30 starters. Strong guys indeed, but I wish I had preregistered and was starting near them. A well deserved win goes to Josh Shively from LaCrosse. My former manager from Smith's Cycling and Fitness crushed the field by 3 minutes to come in at 44 minutes. He was rocking a single speed Gary Fisher Rig with 1/2 ratio for gearing. Tough indeed and you could not find a nicer guy. Kuske took 7th, 2 minutes in front of me and other local Trevor Olson rocked out a 6th place.

The Paragon was awesome and except for the chain (probably my fault) was a fantastic bike. Did I mention that I love this bike? I do have to say I tried the Bontrager Mud X tires. Kuske and I had fantastic experiences from these tires in the race. There are hands down the only reason I did as well as I did with the mud that I encountered. They are a must have if you are getting mixed up in the mud. Absolutely, amazing condition specific tire. Ran them at under 20psi and got them to air up tubeless with a pump. No air leakage. Awesome.

Now here it comes. Wait for it, wait for it....


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Gonna hang with the Iowegians

Next stop on the Charly Tri midwestern tour. This has always been one of my favorite races (raced it 7 or 8 times) of the year and I have been disappointed by not being able to attend for a long while. Fun course, fun crowds, great organisors, and big food spread after! Then the week after is this.

Those trails have changed a lot since I rode them last several years ago. I got to witness that after trashing around down there for a couple of hours the day after the Rök w/Kuske (a favorite for the win if you ask me). Yeah I did. It wasn't too bad except for the steeper climbs, but I was definitely hurting some. The double header left me a little tired for a couple of days. What does not kill you....

Sometimes, we all need a nap.

Monday, April 20, 2009


My Ragnarok 105, the long version.

More pics to come when available.


I was fighting a cold leading to the race. Saturday morning I woke at 4:30am feeling like poo. Headache, sniffles, very tired from little sleep the night before. Took off from the house at 5:30am, STRONG coffee in hand, and with a stop in Zumbro Falls planned (the halfway point and where we would pick up our second set of directions). Dropped off a gallon jug of water and went to Red Wing to register. Crappy radio did not help how I was feeling, but then I started playing around with the CD changer that has sat used for months. Soon, I was jamming to some old school gangsta rap from Eazy-E (warning: lots of vulgarity) and feeling like an O.G.. Signed in, met the organisers, got the bike ready, chatted with fellow riders, and figured out what to wear. The valve on my front wheel was acting goofy, but seemed to be fine after I messed with it.


The Start, tale of woe, 105 miles to go: The start was conversational until Chris Skogen got to the front and drilled it. We all lined up behind and followed. Four miles into it we were about to start the first climb when I realized that I had almost no air left in the front tire thanks to a faulty valve. I sprinted clear of the group and pulled over to attempt my own Nascar pit stop. My original goal for the race was to try for a top placing. That had now changed. Now I wanted to work my tail off and see if I could make contact with the front group again, knowing full well it would hurt me the rest of the race. This was now a day for a super hard training effort. So off I went at a full on TT pace. Up the first hill, down the back, up the second hill, down the again, and onward to the third hill. During this time I was full on the gas, passing lots of riders, forearms on the tops of the bars whenever possible to go aero, out of breath, burning a lot of matches; ie. hurting. Up the third climb of the day I caught back onto the group after about 8 miles of chasing. We then went down a super sketchy minimum maintenance downhill that would have been tricky on a mountain bike. I struggled to get the body to drop down from 5th to 4th gear. It either wanted to keep going hard or super easy.

Back with the front, worked over: Well the legs were hurting. I tried to eye up those in the group that was about 12 strong. I am not good with identifying riders, but I knew that I needed to keep an eye on Charlie Farrow, Heath Weisbrod, Tim Ek, David Pramann, Larry Sauber, Brandt Elson, and local Jim Palmer based on how they were riding. We would continue on with some riders starting to fall off the back, Tim flatting, and about 3 riders sprinting for the remaining KOM points. I spent my time trying to recover from my earlier effort.

Leading the front group a few miles before the halfway point. Pic taken from here.

Halfway point, getting in a flow, 55miles to go: This was a race. It is never good to lose time, so I had my strategy going in to get our second half of notes and stocking up on supplies. Rolling towards Zumbro Falls with about 7 others, I removed my camelback and almost fully took off the cap. I rolled up to the checkpoint quickly so I could grab my notes early and not wait behind others. Grabbed my stashed jug, filled up the camelback, stashed the arm warmers and empty gel flasks, reloaded the directions in the map case, and off I went. It seemed only Charlie Farrow was quicker with the transition and the others were still messing around. Charlie waited up for me and we started out our own 2 man TT; 30 second pulls, look back for riders, and hope not to see anyone.

Second half, a good way to end a race:
We could see 2 riders way back at one point before we descended into Millville. We kept up our TT action and built on what we hoped was the race winning break. Twenty five miles into the second half, I thought that Charlie may be struggling a little. This was confirmed when I had a 20 foot gap at the top of a medium sized hill. We were high up at that point and had a full on headwind. Despite not wanting to solo it for what would be roughly 30 miles, there were perfect conditions to escape. So instead of waiting up I stayed on the gas, hoping to build a gap. It worked. Rolling through Lake City I could not see Charlie. A wrong turn (completely my fault) saw me lose a couple of minutes leaving Lake City, but still ahead. That last 30 miles were spent going as fast as I could considering my previous efforts and all of the climbing. I was very worried about another flat as I only had a patch kit left, and no tube. Steep uphill sections were starting to really hurt, but I could manage fine on everything else. With 10 miles left I rolled past Deb Carson's house and got to yell out to her as she enjoyed the day out on her porch. I knew the area was extremely hilly still and figured there was at least 1 big climb left, probably 2. Sure enough with 5 to go I could see the second climb. The route had one last kick in the pants left, and the last 150 meters of that climb were very, very steep. I had not touched the one bottle I had all day, so I dumped it at the bottom of the climb to get me that extra 1/4 of a second over the rise. No doubt many would walk on that last section. Down the next hill and into Red Wing I rolled. Anyone in town at that time would have seen a smiling idiot rolling by on his way to Colville Park for the win.

The equipment, cause you asked:
This year I am riding for the 29er Crew (and Velorochester still) on Gary Fisher bikes. So the for the race I chose my Gary Fisher cyclocross bike. I have people try to tell me that this is actually a Trek XO-2 with the downtube poorly relabeled as a Gary Fisher. Not sure where they get that from as you can clearly see in the pictures it is obviously not relabeled. Either way, both bikes are awesome. The Bontrager parts throughout worked top notch and those Race X-lite wheels stayed true from the day I built the bike. Front gearing was a 39/53 combo. Rear was a custom tuned 12-30 cassette. Rubber for the day was the Michelin Jet tire. Though it is labeled as a 30c, it measures as wide as everyone else's 35c tire. Rolls very fast. The one caveat with that tire is that is has little traction, so those without much experience (like off road riding) may lose traction some when standing on climbs and certain corners. I had no problems.

Hope to have more pics as they become available.

-Took in about 1800 calories only from EFS shot gel.
-Drank roughly 100-120 ounces of water.
-Finished in 6 hours and 6 minutes.
-Average of about 17.2 mph (that is with flat repair and course deviation)
-So far I have not gotten sicker, which is not what I expected.
-Yeah, and you should work now.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ragnarok 105

Very quick summary. More to come.

Felt like crap this morning.
Start was fast.
Flatted 1 mile into it.
Chased back.
About six of us roll into the half point.
Hooked up with Charlie Farrow out of the halfpoint.
Gapped the rest of the field.
Thirty miles to go gapped Charlie.
Soloed the rest of the way for the win.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

2 days in a row?

Just going to type random crap...

I am sick. Zicom, vitamins, water; all down the gullet. Healthy for this weekend?

Last year, I thought about trying to upgrade to semi-pro. Do I deserve it? I would argue no, but I had some results in enduro races that may have made the difference. Only reason for me to upgrade would so I could say I was semi pro, no other reason. Well, this year USA Cycling changed the categories and all semi pros got upgraded to pro. That would have been funny to say I was pro, but then people would expect something of me at races. I would only disappoint.


Another pic of the hard tail for this year.

Some pet peeves:
-People that are too lazy to put their shopping carts in the corral in the parking lot. It is four feet away, walk your butt the distance.
-Cigarette smoke. I don't care if you smoke, I just don't want to breath it in.
-Buying bred dogs when so many great dogs are put to sleep each day in pounds.
-When people don't confront obvious problems.
-When racers yell at others because someone held them up for 2 additional seconds. Dude, chill out. Your sponsor will still give you 10% off your next purchase no matter how you finish and you are a mid pack sport rider that will never see a paycheck from racing.
-When people listen to the media. Because of them this recession is far worse off (my opinion). Why? All the talk about now is how we are all broke and have to cut back or die. They are there to get ratings and the best way to do that is scare tactics.
-People that physically or sexually abuse another living creature. I have never punched someone in the face, but could easily break that streak with someone like that.
-People that own several dogs, that sit in a kennel outside all year.
-You getting paid to work when most of your time is spent surfing blogs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Long time no bloggy. New post, in sections.

Going on the Rag:
My first race is this weekend. The Ragnarok should be interesting as in the fact it is 105 miles of gravel. I am confident of my ability to finish it, but curious as how I stack up physically. This is significantly different in physical demand and strategy compared to my experiences in 12 hour races.

Getting Dirty:
I have been out on one of my Paragon now a couple of times (the working man's Superfly). First was a group road ride and then off road a few times. I still have to transform the Rig from winter beater to single speed beast. Also, the Hi-Fi is in need of some loving to get that fully functional as well. Just too busy. So far, I LOVE THIS BIKE, no fooling.

Going well, feeling strong. In fact, the strongest I have ever felt for this time of year. How I feel and how I race could be 2 very different things.

Review- Rhythm Pro Wheels:
I thought I would post up a review of the wheels I am running this year. At only 60 grams heavier than the Race X-Lites(1800 grams total), my Rhythm Pros are the bizzle my nizzle. I tried these wheels out on a 26 inch bike and it made it ride so much better that I decided to roll them on my big wheels. A 28mm instead of 24mm wide rim allows me to run 10 psi lower tire pressure without tire squirm and give the tire more volume ( I am running around 20 psi now). The bearings are probably the smoothest I have ever felt. They could go on for days. Super easy to set up tubeless with just a pump. The first couple of rides I would keep letting air out until I could feel the rim make contact with the ground. Add a couple of psi and it is go time. I notice NO additional weight, but immense ride performance gain. Better traction, nice and stiff, fast acceleration, and the ability to forget about the smaller undulations in the trail when riding, especially standing, make these wheels my all time favorite. In fact, I am not converting my Fox shock to 100mm because I feel I don't need it anymore. I can not say enough good things about converting to the wider rim. I have ridden lighter wheels, and would never go back, too much lost in ride quality.

These wheels make me faster.

The wife is sick, baby is sick, and I am hoping I don't get it. I have a race this weekend remember?

The Office:
I was at the cabin enjoying the Northwoods Thursday thru Monday. I missed The Office, but we watched both episodes last night. I understand the need to develop a storyline for the ongoing shows, but I wish they would concentrate on making it funny again. One word to describe the last several shows, disappointing.

You should get back to it.