Saturday, July 21, 2018

Levis Snow

I was just going through my blog and found this unfinished post from winter. It was the day that Jeff and I went up to Levis Mound.

I looked at the forecast before we left and the high temp for the day was going to be 6 degrees F. I texted Jeff hoping he would want to bail on the plan and ride around home instead. He's a trooper though and made sure that we absolutely were not wussing out on this. 

I am glad we went because the cold was manageable and the ride was awesome.

The trail head has a heated shelter and bathrooms. That allowed us to change in comfort, go out for a loop, and come back to warm up before heading back out.

The snow was in great shape with some fluffy on top and a solid base below. We rode for awhile then went into town for some lunch in Hatfield, WI at the bar/gas station. 

Then back to the trails!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

45nrth studs vs Terrene Low rolling resistance studs

I got a set of Bontrager Gnarwhal tires for my fat bike, but the Bontrager studs were out of stock. So I ordered some 45nrth concave studs and some Terrene Low Rolling Resistance Studs.

Terrene left, 45nrth Right
Both studs installed easily with the Bontrager Stud tool. The two types are only .020" difference in height but in the tire its a noticeable difference.
5.9mm (.230") Tall

5.4 mm (.210") Tall

I like the "tripletraction" profile of the Terrene studs, the sharp edges should dig into the ice better than the 45nrth. The only issue there would be durability, I feel like a sharp edge will wear quicker than the concave shape of the 45nrth. That will tell with time.

I ended up setting the tires up with the terrene studs down the center rows for lower rolling resistance and the taller studs  on the outside rows to dig in on corners. The trails are snow covered right now so studs really aren't really necessary. I'm sure we will get a thaw soon and everything will re-freeze and I will get to test the setup. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hugh Jass Fat Bike Race at Canopy

Saturday morning we received our first measurable snow of the year. Just in time for my first fat bike race of the season. The race was at Canopy Tours in Lake Geneva, nice and close to home. 

The course was pretty long compared to most of the Hugh Jass series. It is also tight and technical, so the fastest time of the day still only averaged 9 miles per hour. It sure felt like we rode a lot further than 12 miles.

Photo by Bryan Scheel
There was a great turnout, around 150 riders. I got a good start, 4th into the woods behind Jason, Mike and Nick. Jason took off pretty hard on the first lap and made a gap, I hung back with Nick for a bit till he made a mistake and I went after Jason. Once I caught him I got the sense that he was probably resting a bit before I got there. I tried to ride past and leave him, but he didn't let me get away. We rode together for two laps, toward the end the trail started to wear down to a smooth icy surface and Jason was riding it better than me. He created a gap and got the win.

Photo by Bryan Scheel
I was still pretty pumped with second in Elite, my teammate Bryan Scheel got second in the citizen class so the Bike Haven was well represented. It was a great time riding bikes.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dairy Roubaix 2016

 Great Scenery
Turns out I forgot to post about this ride! Back in the spring time I went up to Wisconsin to check out this ride. It was the week before Trans Iowa and TI just takes up a huge space in my brain and I completely forgot about posting the Dairy Roubaix.

It was my first warm ride of the year and I remember being pretty uncomfortably hot, and the crazy amount of hills did not help that at all. I started off in the lead group, they were pushing harder than I wanted to work, but it was nice to ride in a group and let someone else do the hard work. One of the fast dudes yelled out "who else is doing the 100 mile?" I said I was, and Jackson also was. I was shocked that the fast dude was doing the 100 because all he had were two water bottles and there were very few spots to refill on this route.

I was amazed that all these guys could pack so light. It really had me questioning my setup, until we got to the turn off point. This is where the 50 milers turn left and the 100 milers turn right. Jackson and I were the only ones who turned right. They pulled a swift one on us!

So now my new friend Jackson and I were leading the 100 miler. Turns out Jackson was also doing Trans Iowa the next weekend, we talked for a bit but he was riding strong and left me on a climb. I rode alone for quite some time until another rider on a trek went by me. He would later flat and I'd pass him back.

Photo by Mike, he almost busted me walking up this hill!

The hills on the second half of the route are no joke and it makes for a tough ride. I did end up catching Jackson again, at the very last long climb back to the state park where the start/finish area was. He was sitting on the side of the road, I asked if he was OK and he just looked at me with a strange look and was obviously quite tired. I couldn't wait long because I knew that dude on the trek was coming. I pushed as hard as I could up that last climb, but the cramps were coming on strong now. Trek guy was catching me rapidly. I made it to the state park and took a wrong turn on a roundabout and that was all it took for him to get by me. 

I pulled into the finish line area in second place to find that no one was keeping track of finishers at all, had I known that I would have hung out at the bottom of that giant hill with Jackson! That is the spirit of the brutal spring gravel races though, results don't matter, it is the experience that counts.

I'll be back to this ride for sure!

Photo Credit :

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Friday, September 23, 2016

10 speed to 11 speed hub conversion

So a separated shoulder has provided me with some spare time to dick around. The project? Convert the 10 speed rear wheel off my All City to an 11 speed wheel I can use on the new Cannondale.

The uncoated metal next to the spokes is the material I removed to fit the 11speed.
I disassembled the hub and removed the freewheel so that I could machine it on a lathe to fit the 11 speed cassette. Once I had the freewheel off the hub I could machine off .070" to fit the extra gear.

The finished project
All put back together I didn't even need to adjust the shifter cable. This will be my training wheel during cyclocross season. I did run into a small snag with my disc brake rotor being 160mm and the cannondale is set up for 140mm, so I will need to get a new rotor. Once I get the new rotor I will be able to swap between my race wheel and my trainer wheel with no issues.

Friday, August 12, 2016

WORS Report

I went for a ride today and saw a crow eating a dead crow. I thought to myself "that reminds me of our presidential candidates." I don't know how I got sucked into it, but lately I have been spending considerable amounts of time paying attention to politics. As sad as that is, I am happy to report that bikes are still cool.

My new Cannondale FSI - this thing rocks
I skipped the Eau Claire round because its a pretty far drive for me. Next was at Minooka Park, in Waukesha, WI. I showed up there with sore legs and it showed in my results with 24th overall in Cat1. It also showed in my training the following week. I felt horrible after that race.

Enduro Course at Cascade Mountain for the Midwest Mountain Bike Championships

The Midwest Mountain bike Championships is a 2 day event, so I packed up the family and all our camping gear and headed up. We got there and it rained for 6 hours straight. The race was a disaster anyway, but it didn't help that I missed my start. I considered skipping the race since I missed the start, but the way it works is you don't get any points for Sundays races if you don't race on Saturday. So I went out and suffered in the mud and rain for a couple hours and rolled in dead last.

I came back Sunday to blue skies and sunshine. The short track course dried up pretty nicely and was not a mudfest. It had some slick spots but that just kept it interesting. A short track race is very similar to cyclocross, and it is definitely short. 18 minutes of pain.

That was Sunday morning, in the afternoon we had the enduro. The idea of an enduro is a group ride to the top of the hill, then every 30 seconds a rider is sent barreling down. The shortest time to the bottom is the winner. It had rock gardens, some whoops, berms, stairs, single track, drop offs and other obstacles along the way. I had a really great time with this format of racing. There was a social aspect to it, as if we were all just hanging out. Once it is your turn to go down though, its balls to the wall. 

Got my first ever call up in La Crosse

Next race was in La Crosse, WI. I was debating on going because I am kind of a lazy turd and like races that are close to my house. I am glad I decided to go, that course was really great. You start off with about 3 miles of descending on a dirt road with heavy erosion. I honestly thought I was going as fast as I possibly could, and was fearing for my life, when David Carew passed me and several others like we were standing still. I can picture it perfectly in my mind, and I still don't understand how he didn't go flying into the trees.

After that long down hill we climb back up 2 miles of wide single track and hop out on a paved road. We take that back toward the start area and dive into the woods. This section was the tightest single track I have seen at a WORS event, very challenging at speed and all descending. Back up the hill again, this time with lots of spectators who were giving out marshmallow peanut hand ups. Then we head into some nice flowy single track. I don't know what my problem was in the flowy stuff but I lost time there every lap. 

I was finally able to break the top 20 with a 16th overall in La Crosse, which was awesome considering I have been stuck at 21, 22, and 24 up till now. I am starting to get used to the new bike, but I don't feel like I am using it to its full potential yet.

Next race is near Green Bay, WI. I may skip it depending on if I feel like making the 3 hour drive or not. I will for sure be at the Lake Geneva round September 11th. I hope to see you there.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Long Easy Day in Iowa

Bonk king and I were texting back and forth regarding our plans for the weekend. "I want to ride some gravel, but Dekalb is flat."  "Orangeville has the rail trails, but that isn't too exciting either." Then Bonk suggests we head to Iowa. Done.

So we headed out to Sabula, IA. If you haven't heard of Sabula, it is right on the Mississippi near Savanna, IL. FYI It is hilly there.

We rode out together, but split up after 15 miles as Bonk had to get back to air conditioning and big screens.

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It wasn't too hot, but I did go through a lot of water. I made two stops for fill ups, and kept plenty of food and water with me. I wanted to be comfortable, not hungry. 

B roads in the summer

Bellevue State Park overlook

I didn't have a route planned, but I did want to get 100 miles in. I was not in a hurry to get those miles though. As long as I got back before dark.

It was a good day.