Monday, May 24, 2010

Long time no post

I haven't posted anything in quite a while. I'll say I was too busy or something like that, but honestly I just haven't wanted to post anything. I spent hours and hours contemplating the Chequamegon 100. I worried for hours and hours about food, water, my fitness, travel, everything pertinent and many other things that aren't. Now its over. I finished.

Previous to Wisconsin and Chequamegon I had the opportunity to head out to Montana to see Karen. She graduated with honors from one of the top journalism schools in the US. The University of Montana is the only school in the nation to rank in the top ten in: print, radio/tv, and photo journalism. I am really proud of her, and had no doubts that she would succeed.
After graduation festivities and spending time with her parents and sister Tart, we embarked on the 20 hour drive home. Karen was a super-trooper and drove the entire way because I can't drive a manual... yeah I know, I'll learn sometime. We stopped for an overnight in Spearfish, SD after day one, and spent some time in Wall, SD at Wall Drug. If you are ever driving through South Dakota stop at Wall Drug. It is a crazy little tourist village with a animatronic dinosaur, mountable jackelope, shooting range, coffee shops, and more personalized mugs/signs/nic-nacs than you can shake a stick at.

We arrived Monday night, late, and on Thursday we departed again for Wisconsin. Karen and Agent accompanied Nick and I up to Nick's parents cabin which allowed us to stay only a couple hours from Seely where the race was being held. Friday sent us to Hayward to relax and prepare for what was about to be the longest and most trying day I, and many others, have ever had on a bike. I'll give the race a complete write up of its own, but the basic details are this: 11 hours of total time, 10 of it riding, the last hour without water, plenty of really good companions including officially meeting Mr. Charlie Farrow, lots of getting lost, beef jerky, dried fruits (my new jam), pop-tarts (of course), and bears/foxes/wildlife. Big thanks to Joe and Tim for putting on the race, and one thing in regards to the cue cards/course marking: Its all part of the game. Could it have been better? Probably. Could it have been worse? Definitely. If it happens next year I'll be there again. Now to focus on Dirty Kanza and 200 miles of gravel fun... and getting a real race write up done.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Finishing finals, flying out to see Karen, driving back with her, Chequamegon 100, Chariton. No riding, surgery kept me down, rain, so much to do, focus has been off. Will reap what I sow at Cheq 100, could be a very brutal day. I think I need to figure out a way to ride with Steve even while I am in Chariton. See what Cheq 100 brings, two weeks later: Dirty Kanza. Then a six hour in Des Moines and a race every month with the ultimate goal being winning Gravel World Championships on a Singlespeed. It is a VERY lofty goal. I had better get my act together.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Chequamegon 100

16 days away is the first annual Chequamegon 100 mountain bike race; epic. This is probably going to be the most intense day I have ever had on a bike. Maybe not counting the wreck a year ago or so, but we will see how I feel when/if I finish. 100 miles self supported. The self supported part is what puts it ahead of when I did the 80 mile Ouachita Challenge. All your water, all your food, clothes if you need, equipment, tools. So many things have to be accounted for. Thankfully, I do feel a level of confidence thanks to the hours on the gravel with Steve, and the way I felt at the six hour race. I know I can physically pedal a bike at least ten hours. I know that for at least seven hours (I still had some gas in the tank at the end of six and a half) I can ride singletrack at a 10-11 mph pace. I am doing it with the Niner carbon fork. This will be my longest rigid mountain ride by 50 miles. I think I am prepared with my food. I know at least I can carry enough food and water to travel 50 miles of singletrack. I am thinking 32x18 because if I walk so be it. At the same time, what if just dropping to a 19t makes it so I can climb a few more hills. I know that at the Dakota 5-0 last year I ran 32x19 and wished I had run 32x20 because the climbs were grueling and the downhills were so fast that I was spun out anyways. I think that the ability to spin more averages itself out over a longer period of time. I felt similar but not as strongly after Ouachita this year. I am hoping to get at least two: three to four hour sessions on singletrack before the 14th which is when I fly out to see Karen. Glad I can vent.

Here are some of the details of the Chequamegon 100:
"Bring the equipment, food, and hydration you need to get to the finish! There will be no drop bags, or aid stations of any kind. There will be 1-2 places for water refills." -Joe Meiser, co-creator.

The course will be consisting of singletrack, doubletrack and fire road over all 4 major trail areas of the CAMBA system, Hayward, Cable, Rock Lake and Namakagon. While it is not yet finalized, it will consist of at least 70, and maybe up to 85 miles of singletrack, while not lapping over the same piece again and again. And of course, it will be 100 miles in total. With over 300 miles of trail to choose from (see graphic), there is a lot to ride, and the route will only be finalized and issued the Monday before race day. It will be issued in GPX, map and cue sheet formats, you pick your favorite. - the crazy thing about this is that I don't think that the trail will be marked at all. You must navigate the singletrack. I hope my dirtcat navigation skills from GF come back out.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I have been doing a lot of stuff lately and haven't had much of a chance to post as regularly as I want. I HAVE been able to take a bunch of good pictures. I'll let them somewhat speak for themselves. Surgery on Monday is keeping me off the bike for a few days but then time to unleash hell in preparation for the Chequamegon 100.

Went to Sylvan Island to ride with Seth (his first time there) and Brian (his 1,000,435th time there)

Had some crazy weather too. A double rainbow is a rare sight.

Lots of grilling. Buffalo burgers the other night thanks to Tom and Wanda.
Unicorn cuts of meat thanks to Tonya.
Got this
It went on this
Which weighs this now
Without these on it...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

April 27 metric by amblake50 at Garmin Connect - Details

April 27 metric by amblake50 at Garmin Connect - Details

Great customer service/Gravel metric/random elses

I have had some great dealings with companies in the past week or so and I wanted to start by giving the credit to these companies and getting the names out. First off, Edge Composites put themselves back into my good graces after the Aaron thing. I was riding down at Sylvan only a couple days before Ouachita and I ran directly into a rock and it flatted my tires by putting two holes in it, and worse than that it put a crack/dent into the bead of my rim...epic fail. So I rode it and after doing some real mountain biking I could tell that the tire was losing some air very gradually, and it wasn't doing it just casually riding on the streets and it wasn't losing air otherwise. So I called the guys at Edge, talked to Johnny who was the one who took care of Aaron, told him the story and he told me to send it in. I figured what the heck, regular crash replacement was $300 and either way I had to get the rim replaced for that amount. I heard from them after about a week and they said they would warranty my rim. I told them I ran it directly into a rock and they warrantied it. I like that. I got the rim the other day including new spoke nipples and rim strip. Very pleased. The second was in dealing with and my Magicshine 900 light. I am just going to post the e-mails, ALL SENT TODAY, on Saturday, as a testament to their customer service.
I wrote:
I have had my Magicshine 900 racer kit for about 4 months now and love it. I have turned other guys in our shop onto the light and have had great luck so far. With the exception of one of the battery packs doesn't seem to take a charge. When I plug it into the charger the light on the charger goes green immediately. When I plug the light onto it it doesn't turn on. The other pack works perfectly. Is this a possible warranty/replacement issue?

They wrote:
Hi Adam

Yes we will warranty that for you, a replacement battery will be sent out
on Monday, you will receive further warranty info via separate email later
today when the warranty is processed. Thanks for your support.

Is this still the current shipping address?

Adam Blake
552 Foster Rd
Iowa City, Iowa 52245


I think that is customer service at the highest level. No questions, prompt shipment out, I assume I am sending the battery pack back, but they are sending a replacement out immediately. This Magicshine light is one of my favorite purchases this year. Good run times, durable light, VERY reasonably priced IMO. I don't know what I was doing riding trails previously without a nice helmet mounted light. I wish I could carry these at the shop... sell the crap out of them.

On a bummer note I did not get a century in this month. I am kind of sad because I didn't think that April would be the month I messed up on. I still have to look back onto this month fondly with the victory at the six hour. Last Wednesday was my last real good chance at getting in 100. The problem is that I couldn't go out until after work. I was planning on leaving straight from the shop ad stupidly forgot my wallet at home. I had cash but being out on the gravel roads with no ID and minimal funds is not a situation that I like to be in during the day; at night it is just not a good idea. I headed out westward and eventually looped up to Oxford. I stopped there and had some pizza and a Red Bull. Then I got on some really loose, freshly gated gravel. After a squirrelly truck pass I decided that 100 miles were not in my future and headed towards North Liberty. I added on riding the Coralville trail at the end of the ride and had a really good 62 mile ride with some good gravel, some nasty gravel, some level b's, and then singletrack. I am happy with that. I felt good all night. I loaded the bike down with four bottles, food, clothes. I basically tried to pack like if I was headed to Chariton or a ride like Dirty Kanza. The ride info is up above. I will keep doing the ride details, but I have to stay on top of it a little better.

I am going riding. I have been riding some new in-town trails that are progressing and shaping up really nicely. Another endorsement: Stan's No Tubes make all the difference. This would have been a flat in a tubed system, but with the sealant and some shaking I was back in shape. If you aren't tubeless on your mountain bike you should seriously consider the advantages and benefits of tubeless technology. The white on the tire is where the latex sealant sealed up a hole in the tire.