Friday, December 17, 2010

This blog is dead. it doesn't represent me, and i dont want to type on it anymore. something new will emerge, let's just say it will be like the phoenix...even if it isn't... unless it is like the jean grey style phoenix... that would be cool. comic and animated series style, not last stand style.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Alpha and Omega

Well, Jingle Cross is this weekend and is basically the end of the season for this year. No events until Triple D (probably), and that is first week of January. With the end of this season coming soon I have been spending time reflecting on this season's ups and downs from 2010.

Triple D happened: I finished for the first time in three tries. I was only four minutes out of 3rd, but had nothing more to give. It was pretty cold that day, and ask people who rode about "the groomer" if you want to hear a profane rant. I screwed up by having way to low of pressure at the beginning, and was struggling through town. I had to stop and inflate, but with a mini-pump it took forever. I was in last and by the time I was actually on the Heritage trail I think I was 15 minutes back from the front so it was just a 60 mile, 100 rpm, 8mph time trial. I was happy to finish after I had a total shut down while riding the course with race creator Lance Andre about 5 days earlier.

Cirrem happened: 64 miles of gravel in February. Really fun course, but very demanding climbs as well. I was glad to ride the singlespeed, and ended up riding almost the entire race with Shockey who was (foolishly) fixed. I had a little bit of cramping, but was able to quickly take care of them. I ended up 3rd ss and think that my time would have been much better if I was on my cross bike. The roads were firmer than I thought they would be, but I played it safe.

Ouachita 60 mile happened: I finished ok on the SS. I was in much better placing and had a small melt down. I had some flat tire issues. I thought the 60 mile this year was harder than the 80 the year before. They reversed the route and so you did all the nasty climbs first. The problem is that some of the climbs are super brutal and you are walking/hiking; so after 30 miles of hiking and climbing you cant ride other things that you would have been able to, and the hiking would have happened either way on Brushy and Blow-out. I was happy though, I rode with Aaron again this year. Crazy how it worked out two years in a row, and even crazier because 2009 I had gears and he was ss, 2010 it was reversed. It also showed me that I could give a good mountain bike effort for six-plus hours. I knew I could ride on gravel, but that hadn't been tested on the mountain bike trails. This was the first real ride on the custom Eriksen, and it was glorious. I had spent a lot of time on it, but again it wasn't in the exact positions and riding style that it was intended for. I was really pleased with the ride of the bike, and still am.

Bone Bender 6hr race happened: I won singlespeed. In retrospect it feels really weird to have won my first 6hr race. I had done events of that length and longer, and I felt like I could really contend if I could be consistent. I just guessed at a pace I thought I could average and compared to other results I thought it could be top five. My 6 laps all fell in an 11 minute span. I really felt as good on lap four as I did on lap two. It was my first race in Q7 gear and was obviously the best way to start that going.

Q7 happened: Tom, Wanda: you rule. Thank you for everything. The kits have all looked awesome, and fit and functioned really well. People ask me about my t-shirts all the time. I know sometimes I am a flake and distant for long periods, but I'm dialing it in, and excited to start the 2011 season representing Q7.

That's the first third or so of the year. It set the table for Chequamegon 100, Dirty Kanza 200, and others.

Charlie Farrow's note to Transiowa rookies. Read it if you are reading this and are signed up as a rookie. I wrote something like this that only lived for about 30 minutes, mostly due to my lack of elegance and use of profanity. In my opinion this is a comment on the nature of free races, and specifically free races where bad things can happen to you. I am very well aware of many of the things that I was have to endure to be able to finish T.I. I know there is bad stuff that I don't even know about. I saw the few faces at this year's event, Mr. Farrow's being one of them, and many of these guys were just beaten down. Tough mf'ing guys, like Cornbread, who killed the field at Dirty Kanza; just worked over by the roads and the weather. There is a difference between being able to ride a long distance, and having what I assume it takes to finish something like Transiowa. I wonder if a system like what they use for Iditasport where you essentially have to have credentials to enter. There are so many free events going on through-out the Midwest that maybe somebody should actually have to finish a 100 mile race or even maybe two. The would increase attendance at more races. It doesn't cost racer's much more, just travel. Plus, it gives invaluable experience in a long distance race vs a century on the weekend. Or maybe you just have to volunteer and work a checkpoint late in the race to see the broken faces. I don't have the answer, I don't even know if there is a question. I think that when consequences can potentially be so grave, I think having some good experience is a great way to show respect to the race directors and other racers. Hosting a 100 miler myself, I loved seeing new people, but it was comforting to have the guys who I knew knew how to take care of themselves.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Where the heck have I been?

Its been a over a month since I wrote something. Night Nonsense happened and was successful I think. I switched jobs again. All kinds of things are happening. I haven't ridden for fun for a long time and my fitness is really poor right now. I have a lot of work... A LOT of work to do if I even think that T.I. is a reasonable goal. I have been doing some bke work. I have really spent time reflecting on the ups and downs of this season: winning at Bone Bender, 3rd at Dirty Kanza both times on a singlespeed, but also the fiasco that was GWC and crampfest death trudge 2010 on a geared bike. I think I can ride a geared bike reasonably fast for about 60-70 miles. The problem is that I am just not quite as strong as some of the other guys yet, and to be able to keep up I end up burying myself. I am realizing that I can ride for a long time, in the type of endurance races that I want to do well in just finishing will net you a fine finish. Consistency was the key at Bone Bender. At Levis Trow this year, I knew going in that I didn't have enough mtn. bike time in, no one did in Iowa, and instead of leaving the bike 32x20 and just riding all day, I geared it up and had a terrible day struggling to hang on to people who were MUCH more fit than I was. I really think that if I couldn't have kept up due to just being geared a little low I would have ridden 30-40 more miles that day. In just riding that distance I would have finished significantly better as far as placing goes. I think the ability to push a bigger gear will just come. Finishing can happen now if I don't wreck myself trying to ride outside of my abilities. So, now the La Cruz is a singlespeed and is geared 38x17. I will probably ride 38x18 for T.I., with 35c tires, maybe a slightly larger front tire, I'm going to test that. I got one ride on it so far and really liked it. The BB is so stiff; it is the first thing I was commenting on when I got the bike. The feeling climbing up hills on this bike vs the Crosscheck with the same gearing is wild. I am still waiting on a White Industries M15 front hub, but here are the changes:

Fork: Edge (Enve) Composites
Cranks: Bontrager (Truvativ) Race X-lite Carbon
Chainring: Salsa 38t
Chain: Sram 8-speed
Rims: Stan's Alpha 32h
Rear hub: White Industries Eno eccentric
Front hub: W.I. M15
Spokes: Wheelsmith 1.8 straight - M.G. says they're his jam, I trust him.
Tires: Schwalbe Racing Ralphs... but I think I am going to run Stan's Raven tires, we'll see.
Seatpost: the Eriksen one off of my mtb. Kevin fit me with the set-back and it is real nice. Kevin McConnell may look like a hobo, but he does a hell of a job fitting your bike to you.
Pedals: XTR, I'll get some of the new low-profile ones for the Eriksen.

I am pretty excited to be back on the ss. I think a November trip down to Chariton may be in order again. Hopefully I can talk one Aaron Robnett, or one Nick Sobocinski...or even one Ben Shockey to join. Also, if you know either of those guys, Nick not included, tell them to start updating their blog...its been months and I need some stuff to read, cause its pretty good stuff.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Its on

Yep, its official. In about two months its officially going to be time to start obsessing. I have seen Shockey and others prepare for this, and I am guessing that come March and April this blog will be a mess of rambling, questioning, riding, re-questioning, and eventually settling on all types of thing as I prepare for the new biggest goal in life: finishing Transiowa.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Goings on

In the middle of a very busy work schedule I am finally taking time to just update and organize. I realized that between the car debacle, Gnomefest, new jobs, and my laziness I have gotten chubbier. Nothing bad, maybe ten pounds heavier than I was last year this time. If I want to be successful, which doesn't necessarily mean winning, in cyclocross this year then I need to shed that little bit of extra Adam that is slowing me down. CX season started for me in Altoona last Sunday. One of my best friends, Tanner, got married on Saturday (congrats) and we raged all night long and most of Sunday morning, and so my race was more of a ride. It was good to get some experience dismounting and remounting, jumping barriers, and feeling out the new bike, but I was in no shape to race and probably finished last, I dunno. Wanda hooked it up with a new HOT Q7 jersey and so at least my outfit looked good. Kevin and Eppen went crazy and dominated. Kev barely held him off in a SS vs geared uphill sprint finish...gears won. I sat on the hill and watched, then crossed as the third man to finish the race, down "x" laps. Good experience, bad race. I also got to see a bunch of cool people I hadn't seen in a while, so that is a big positive. I started a fund for a new Salsa Spearfish. It involves selling my set of Edge Composites wheels, Waltworks 6 speed cassette, Soul Cycle Dillinger, Fox F29 fork and other stuff, as well as that is where all of my tips go. I have been talking about an 80mm travel full squish for a while and then Salsa, as usual, unveiled something awesome: the Spearfish. Named after the town where the Dakota 5-0 (an awesome race) is held, and having exactly 80 mm of travel, and coming in at a very respectable weight, AND looking super hot, the Spearfish is now my object of lust. A bike like this makes me re-excited for races like Levis Trow after they just physically dominated me on a rigid ss. Now I just have to figure out how to get one.

Night Nonsense is coming up WAY to fast. I have a lot of the route still to plan out, and cue sheets to figure out. This is going to get interesting. I haven't put much time on the bike in the last few weeks, but this may be the spark I need to force me on the bike and scout the route. Wish me luck, I hope anyone reading this is coming.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes

First I have a few random tidbits:
  • I just recently noticed that Tim Ek put my blog up on his list. That is pretty cool. If you don't know Tim, he is a Salsa team rider who does very well at WEMS races, and very well in gravel endurance, top ten at Dirty Kanza.
  • Gnomefest was awesome. I will write about it from the perspective of someone who didn't ride, but still had a great time.
  • Arm and body feel good after healing up from the wreck. New parts for the bike are getting installed on Thursday, and Kevin is going to help fit me up. New Salsa Promoto Ti stem and Salsa Woodchipper bars will change position a bit.

So for people who don't know, this past month has been different than any month of my life. I am now working at Jimmy John's by day, and Airliner by night. I deliver sandwiches, salads, burgers, and pizzas all by bike. This also means that for the first time in my employment life I do not work at a bike shop, apparently a 25 year old with 10 years of experience and a fiery passion for cycling isn't worth keeping on staff. I am really enjoying making people see another situation where a bike is a viable option to replace a car and not suffer too bad. My area is roughly 320 square blocks, six south, ten north, east, and west (20x16). At Airliner that area increases. I also love getting a ride in everyday. Most days I get in at least 12 miles riding as fast as I can. A day I worked JJ in the day and Airliner at night I rode 39 miles by the time I got home. I started on the Crosscheck set-up single. It worked well, but I wanted my ss gravel bike to still be a more gravel focused bike, and didn't want it to have a rack on it. Then it became obvious: Pugsley. Most overbuilt delivery bike in history? Possibly. It rides awesome, the front rack is a Civia and it came from Geoff's. Despite my feelings about the events leading up to no longer working there, Geoff's is still my definite go to place for bike purchases, and for Kevin's professional fitting. Hit me up if you need sandwiches by day, or pizza by night. Also we are just about one month out from Night Nonsense 100 and things are still shaping up well. I could use a volunteer or two to make me really happy, but I think it will be an awesome time. Now I want to try and figure out how to head over to DM for one of the nights of Renegade Cross, and see some friends. Check out the view from the cockpit; this is what I look at for five hours some days.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Crash

Thursday, September 9th - 10 am
After eating some delicious Casey's breakfast pizza I got on my bike to continue on to work. A beautiful day that was going to be spent delivering gourmet sandwiches freakishly fast (according to the slogan) on my bicycle. Rolling south on Dubuque street I approached the intersection of Market street. A green car was stopped, waiting for other cars slightly in front of me to pass. As I began rolling through the car stated to move. Everything went into slow motion. I saw the car continuing to turn and realized there was a very small chance they knew I was there and therefore a very small chance they were going to stop. I also began to realize that based on the distances and the speed we were both going that I couldn't have accelerated quickly enough to clear the entire car, and couldn't slam on the brakes hard enough to switch positions and have me hit the car from the side. I readied myself for impact and tried as hard as I could to tuck and role like in the movies. Bam the lady nails me from the side, I hit almost the dead center of her car. I rolled up the hood and ended up smashing the windshield and coming to a stop there. Thankfully, for the first time in the sequence, the person hit their brakes. My bike was laying out in the road in front of the car looking hurt. I was laying in the windshield being hurt. I got myself up and off the car and immediately noticed that my arm was bleeding pretty bad and it only took one look to know that I didn't want to look again. I felt reasonably ok given the circumstances. My back and arms had glass in them and I could feel all kinds of little cuts on me. I stood up and walked into the intersection and asked if someone could call someone official; I was bleeding. A four and a half foot tall very elderly lady got out of the car, she didn't seem shocked or excited by the situation at all. I don't know if she really knew what was going on or what had happened. I tried to stay away from the lady mainly because most of what was going through my head was laden with profanity, and I didn't want to curse in front of her. A bike cop showed up first, then a fire truck who kept moving, and finally, oddly, the EMTs showed up. They cleaned me up a bit, asked if my neck or back was broken, and told me I could go with them to the hospital because I was going to need stitches. Now, the hospital is two blocks away and an ambulance ride is between 600-700 dollars... I don't care who has to pay for it, that is just too expensive. So I told them I'd walk there, tried to get them to swear to take my bike somewhere, not just leave it on the street. Oh yeah, it was the reasonably new Salsa La Cruz Ti...epic fail. Although I will say: luckily it is the La Cruz TI, because I won't need a new frame. Glad I went titanium over carbon. Thankfully Nick brought Will's car - thank you Nick, thank you Will - and had a bike rack, so he loaded up the bike and my and delivered one to he Mercy E.R. and one to Geoff's for inspection. Then I had to walk from Geoff's to Mercy so I could be taken care of...after they made sure the bike would survive. (foolish) 10 stitches help somewhat seal up a golf ball sized divot in my forearm, no riding for about 10 days, missed some work, and have to deal with insurance ladies. Suckfest, but whatever, I have decided that based on some events in my life: undefeated in cagefighting, hit by a car and lived, hit by a car and lived (2), 200 mile gravel bike race finisher, and other things, that I can pay just the right author to write my biography and make me seem super bad ass. Obviously there will be some editing, but if the spotlight is put in the right places I'm golden.

Gnomefest still happened. It was awesome even without being able to ride. I'll give my recount soon. It was one of the best weekends of the year, as always. Keep riding as it cools off, Gritty Brevet is coming up, CX season is upon us, and of course Night Nonsense 100 on October 23. Just got word a few Pirates may be here, should make things fun.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gravel World Championships

First a big big thanks to Cornbread and other volunteers for making the race happen. Thank you to MG for letting me crash (literally on Saturday) at your place and just being a good dude. Thanks to C.V.O. for the hospitality and saving my life and helping me salvage my race. We met on Friday night and had burritos, said hellos to a lot of regular riders, chatted it up, and prepped the bikes. As things went, the race overshadows the rest of the entire weekend so I don't have as much details of the hanging out. Although, I will say that Oso Burrito makes a dang fine burrito; kind of Pancheros style.

Woke up at 4:15 Saturday morning for the 6 am start and 5:20 sign-in time. MG and I had gotten most everything ready the previous night so thankfully it didn't take too much effort on our part to get ready. We had a 15-20 minute ride to the edge of town where the race appropriately started about 1/2 mile off gravel. Rode up, chatted in the darkness with friends, and prepared for a long day on the bike. About 100 guys and gals rode from the start into a dense fog. We neutrally rolled out with some Pirates leading the way; I tried to sit one-two wheels behind MG at all times...that was the plan at least. I am guessing that about 30 guys worked in the front group, but that number deteriorated quickly as the pace kept rising. The hills started rolling and the group kept separating but the pace stayed high. I was settling in, no one was really attacking the front or forcing the pace uncomfortably, and then in a blink of an eye I saw MG falling to his right, a guy veer left, one guy kind of run over the pile but then endo, and another guy fall. I was lucky the guy right in front of me was heads up, and we slammed our brakes and he went left and I went right to end the carnage. A few of us stopped and waited and word got up to the group so they let off the gas a bit. Everyone seemed to be ok, and more people were coming up so I continued to roll. I never quite got fully back on the group, and after seeing a couple of the guys from the wreck come up I hoped the MG would get up there as I was using him as my rabbit, but he had some mechanical problems he had to address. So I rode by myself for a little while and then I got lulled into a false sense of direction and took a wrong turn at mile 36. Mile 37 was the first checkpoint, by the way, and I really felt like if I got to the first checkpoint was a reasonable group, I would do well in the race, but this wrong turn messed up those plans. I hammered some rolling hills with a tailwind thinking that the town was just a mile or so away. After about a half mile extra I began to get worried, and at two miles the road T'ed off and ended. I cursed and turned around. Now, unfortunately, I had gradual rolling uphills and a headwind to contend with, and I foolishly decided to put in a big effort to try and get to the town and at least be able to hook up with the second group. I rolled into town and saw Kent riding away from the gas station so I knew the front groups couldn't be too far away, but unfortunately for me when I got to the gas station there were only about three guys standing around talking. I went in and got my powerball ticket and a Redbull and decided to continue on. In hindsight, I should have grabbed something to eat and made sure that all of my hydration and eating was going as planned; I knew it was going to be a hot one. The miles up until 50-55 were fairly uneventful. Then out of nowhere my right calf started cramping a little.

Ok in all honesty with starting two new jobs, and being in my actual home for a full week for the first time since May, I have been writing this report for over a week. I am losing recollection of the event, and there are other things to talk about. So here are the facts for the rest of the race:

  • Miles 50-85 saw the race heat up, temperature wise. It got into the 90's.
  • First 65 miles took 3.5 hours...18.8 mph pace.
  • I walked my first hill at mile 86 due to cramps.
  • The next 64 miles took me approximately 10 hours to finish... 6.4 mph pace.
  • The longest stretch of road that I walked was about 4 miles.
  • I cramped riding up a hill and couldn't twist either leg to unclip, so I fell over and laid there waiting to uncramp.
  • C.V.O. had to save my life on, I believe, 5 separate occasions.
  • I wanted to quit at mile 107, 111 (an hour apart), and 123.
  • I slept in a parking lot for an hour and a half...after sitting in a gas station for 30 minutes.
  • I couldn't quit at mile 123 because Suvivor's "Eye of the Tiger" randomly came on the radio, and no one can quit during "Eye of the Tiger".
That's it. I got wrecked by cramps. I haven't ever suffered to that extent for that long. Thanks Thanks Thanks to everyone who helped me. Thanks to my man Z, who played personal nutritionist, cause he's smart like that. All in all though, 152 miles done, the finishing and pushing through gives a great deposit in the pain memory bank.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back from Wisconsin

A beautiful week in Wisconsin has come to a close. Great weather, great people, great trails makes for a good week. I think I got in about 15 hours of riding singletrack, doubletrack, and xc skis. About half the miles were on the Eriksen, and the other half on the new Salsa La Cruz. I have about 100 miles on the new bike and have been really happy with how it rides. The typical ride qualities of titanium, a stiffer bottom bracket than I had anticipated, and getting used to having shifters have made the transition onto a geared cross bike as pleasurable as possible. We'll see how a 150% increase in miles on the bike will treat me at Gravel World Championships this weekend. We stopped for a few days at Kettle Moraine, Wausau, and Levis Trow. Kettle had the most mosquitoes I have ever seen. If you stopped for even five seconds they would be attacking you like crazy. Even with that I got to ride some really cool trails. Thanks to Gary among other people for working on the trails at John Muir. The coolest section of trail was some burmed downhill turns with rock "ramps" at the exit of the burm... flowed real nice and brought a smile to my face.

Some pics from Kettle area. Yes, that is approximately 12 Leinenkugel cans on the table, we were in Chippewa Falls, brewery location for "Leinies", one day during our travels. Next update will cover Wausau, rain, and seeing a great old friend. Plus, Gravel World Championship recap and maybe New Belgium Urban Assault ride on Sunday. I'll try to start updating more frequently now that I''m somewhat back in the real world.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Great first ride/ leaving on a NIGHT TRAIN

First ride on the new La Cruz= total success. I felt great all day, I am comfortable in basically all hand positions, the frame rides really well. The frame felt quite stiff initially. Nick and I rode 65 miles of good gravel and a fair amount of level b roads. There was some definite soft spots in the level b dirt and I was out of the saddle cranking up hills. I had high expectations for the first geared gravel ride and they were all met. Sub-four hours is the time that I consider a real good gravel metric. Just over 16 mph depending on if you stop and for how long. We had strong winds for sections, and rode along the edge of a storm. The temperatures at the edge mercifully dropped about ten degrees on a hot day, and we only felt about five raindrops. I was happy to feel like I had more in the legs at basically all times during the ride. Riding with Nick was really good too. I had missed the drive that riding with a friend promotes: more stop ahead sprints, aggressive hill climbs. The ride was one of the most productive rides of the year for me. I not only got in a great physical work out, but got to check out some roads that neither Nick or I had ridden. Great Night Nonsense 100 recon was done, and time on the gravel on the new bike.
I'll get some more time in on the La Cruz this week, but LOTS of time on the Eriksen. I'm headed up to Wisconsin with Mr. Zach Loew...awesome. Headed to Levis Trow, Nine Mile, maybe Kettle, and who knows what else. Camping and disappearing for a while will be really cool, and hanging out with Z is always awesome. I am excited to see Z out on the trails. He has been riding a lot lately and is really excited about it. It is cool that, although it took three extra years, I maybe rubbed off on him a bit and now he is digging riding a lot.
Unfortunately probably no updates before Gravel Worlds, but I will be riding a lot, and trying to mix up the gravel and singletrack. There are a few more things coming up: Dakota 5-0, getting teef, GF7, and then I'll really buckle down and focus 100% on Night Nonsense.