Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Getting old, having kids, and riding

If you have been riding long enough you'll notice a pattern.  As people have kids or get a new job things change; bellies may grow, they're gone more, or disappear all together.  I disappeared some when out of college and got me a "real job".  My belly grew dramatically, riding seemed not very important, and I thought being successful meant working hard to eventually earn the big bucks.  Finally the stress caught up, I found a way out, and I went on to drop a bunch of lb's, get faster, but most importantly enjoy life more.  Then the wife went and got herself knocked up.

I had seen the pattern.  I knew that history had taught me that life in the drive thru lane was not far away.  Something else can happen though when you have a kid.  Time management becomes much more important.  Getting out for a long ride has a sweeter taste.  It is harder to accomplish, but it is great.  I managed to ride a bunch that first year and had a great season of racing.  Then the wife went and did it again.

Number 2 child has been with us for over a year now.  Last year I was determined to not let our red headed trouble maker cause problems in my hobby.  Then came the month long ordeal of a 6 month old being really, really sick last spring.  That zapped most of my motivation to be a racer boy the rest of the year, only gearing it back up for Arrowhead.  Oh, how I love to ride my fat bike.

So, here we are to 2013, and things are different.  I still want to race, but the mountain bike I plan on is one that will carry a much higher degree of fun and a lower degree of racer boy.  I am working on making this bike a reality and it should be ready here in a month or so.  There will be far less carbon.  It will weigh more.  It will not be raced less.  In fact, it will be fun to toe the line with others on the type of bikes I have been rocking for the last many summers.

As I have grown older I have been able to reflect back.  For instance, I turned 35 last week.  This summer will make it 20 years of me racing a bike, some years more than others.  I race against guys now that were born when I first hit the start line at Millville.  Deathrider, Joe Parkin, Jon Sandberg, Gene Oberpriller, Jeff Hall, Bob Boyd were some of the biggest baddest names in the local scene at that time.  Results were often found out in the mail weeks later, we all waited with baited breath for the new Chi-Chi's poster to tell us where we got to race that summer, things like the 24 Hours of Buck Hill (when it was 3 times the length) had riders running lights with powerful 10 watt bulbs that lasted maybe 90 minutes, WORS was a joke both in size and competition to the MN series, and Mike Reimer took pics of it all. 

Now, my summer will be spent with the highest emphasis on fun.  My bike will be a "fun" bike.  The last few years had me start questioning why I was racing around on a stupid light super high dollar, but ultra fast carbon wonder job.  At some point you reach the point where that stuff seems excessive, and I have passed that point.  No, I have not ruled out carbon, or ever riding a bike like my Superfly 100's from the last several years.  So look for me this year to hopefully avoid the bigger gut, but still sweating it out and all with a bigger smile than normal.  And if I can beat some carbon wonder jobs in the process, all the better.

Oh, and my summer ride will present itself when you are prepared to see my summer ride.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wanna trade?

I am looking for 2 suspension forks. Both 100mm Fox F29 or the ability to be turned into a 100mm, but more than likely one will be turned to 80mm. One or both need to be a straight 1 1/8", minimum 8" long. One can be a tapered. QR or thru axle. Both in good condition because I actually plan to ride them.

Me? I've got a Salsa 170mm rear hub (the less expensive one) and brand new 2012 15mm thru front/12X142mm rear Bontrager Race X-Lite Wheels.

Also, I have a cabin up in Cable, WI just 1/2 mile from Telemark. This is about the most ideal location for hitting up trails in the area. I ride to Rock Lake/Ojibwe/Danky Dank/Seely Pass/Esker all from the front door.

Hit me up, charlytri (@) yahoo dot com.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Taking Proto on a date.

 So I have had a bad itch for a fun ride since Arrowhead.  Saturday morning rolls around and all I hear about is the rain coming the next day.  Considering we just finally got snow again, I assumed there would be no snow for awhile again.  Soooooo, I had the time off from the family and was quickly searching the MN DNR site for nearby cool trails.  Off I went to the Mississippi valley in search of fun trails instead of repeating my same old same old trail that is riding distance from the house.

The trail had just enough snow to make it "real".  No grooming, high 20's, soft snow, but oh so fun.  The 2 bluff climbs and rolling hills added to the fun.  The trail went slower than expected plus it went far longer than the online map said.  Finished with 3 1/2 hours of snow fun and then an hour of gravel/pavement shortcut for 4 1/2 total.  Proto and I had a good date.

Picture dump ahead.

The beginning was through a river valley surrounded by bluffs.

Up and over.

The occasional fort.

About 30 minutes in it gets nice and hilly as well as plenty wooded.  With the soft snow, it was especially tough on the hills.

I rode without my jacket, just my base and vapor barrier.

If you look close you can see the flags placed on the corner to prevent drunk sled heads from going into river.

My view to the right for much of the ride.

Proto really loved this bridge.  He might just get his chance to see it this spring on April 13th.

Rolling downhill to ride next to a different river.

Another bridge crossing.

Looks like we need flags on the barbed wire fences as well.

Winter or summer, I see a tree covering the trail and I try to remove it.  There were a ton of branches in between me and Proto.

Starting the first of 2 bluff climbs.

More flags.

Did plenty of this towards the end.

The loop I had planned was taking too long with soft snow and pushing up the majority of 2 bluffs.  I had to high tail it back on gravel to get back in time.

The farthest bluff was conquered earlier in the ride.

It was either a mile of this, ditch, or busy highway to get back to the car.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Arrowhead cont.

Just some short snippets from the memory and thoughts:

-The race is well put on and I hope as the organization changes it only continues or gets better

-I keep thinking about a 100mm rear rim.  I have it.  Next year maybe.

-I really do love my bike.  I think 9:zero:7 makes a fantastic product.  I plan on using this same bike for pretty much all my races this year, so look out!  Also, the Cold Avenger makes my Arrowhead finishes possible.  And that is amazing.

-The people of the race go a long ways to making this the race it is.  I can say in 4 years of this race I have only found one person that I didn't want to continue our conversation.  That one person may surprise you.

-This year I saw a ton of wolf tracks.  Mainly from checkpoint #1 to #2.  I also saw 5 piles of scat, I assume wolf, in that area.

-During my 10 mile stand and grunt finish the snow was falling heavy.  I couldn't even make out the tracks well at all of the riders that were about 45 minutes in front of me.  At one point I did notice tracks pop out of the woods, go up the line I was riding, and then back into the woods 8 feet later.  Those were wolf tracks and they were fresh.  Fresh as in the dumping snow had not touched them yet.  It was at that time I yelled to scare him away further, but also wished I had been looking up as I am sure I would have gotten to see the tuff of fur run off.

-I have been confused about my body's lack of need for calorie replenishment.  Hydration yes.  Muscle soreness check.  But food not much.

-There is a lot of MN vs. AK rivalry.  I join in on it.  That being said, everyone I have met from "up there" is super nice and I enjoyed their company.

-My asthma was a pain...again.  I wonder how things would go if I could breath normally without a mask as opposed to gingerly with.  The other way to look at it is the fact I should pat myself on the back to push through those times and finish at all.

-This race is getting popular.  I worry too popular.  I wonder if it might someday the bike portion would be run separately.  That would be too bad in the sense that I have met a lot of great people that run and ski the event.

-I worried out loud at the finish during the snowstorm if people were prepared to bivy.  I think a lot of people come to the race barely having looked at their equipment.  I was one of those the first year.  If it had been pouring snow AND -20 there would have been a lot of people in serious hurt as I think they don't prepare enough for the "what if's".

-I desperately want to take my bike to the Iditarod Trail Invitational.  Only problem is I would be looking at a $4,000 or so trip ($1,000 just on the race entry).  That is about $3,500 more than I could plan on.  Yes, I am a landlord with properties.  That essentially means I am land rich and cash poor.  Well actually I will EVENTUALLY be land rich.  Ben Doom has already volunteered to hide in my luggage so we can split an airfare (about $700 round trip, btw).  Factor in bike transport costs (Maybe $500), lodging (???), flight back to the start (????), new gear for the adventure (?????), and I think $4,000 sounds about right.