Monday, February 1, 2016

Hugh Jass #5 report

Last weekend I went to the 5th race in the Hugh Jass Fat bike series, at Minooka park in Waukesha, WI. I have found that in these short races bike setup is crucial. So I made sure to get up there early and see what the snow was like. 

Tire choice and tire pressure are so important. Too much air and your sliding out of corners, to little and you are wasting energy. The type of snow makes for constant worry on what to run. 

Leading up to this race we had some warm days, which thawed the top layers of snow and overnight that froze into a sheet of ice on top. So during practice I was thankful I decided to run studs. Once the sun came out during the race though everything started to turn to mush and by the last lap I would have probably been better off with my regular tire with more knobs for the slush. Its always a toss up, but it worked out for me anyway as I ended up taking the third spot on the podium.

Sunday morning I got out in the warmer than average temps for a short ride. I was lucky enough to find a koozie on the road. Usually road treasures aren't to exciting but I was pretty pumped about this one!

I hope everyone had a great weekend as well. 


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hugh Jass race 4

Here is a video from the 4th race of the HughJass Fatbike series, if you look close you will see my WheelWerks Jersey going through pretty often. I suffered a little in this race, to a 7th place finish. The course was pretty slick and without studs I had a hard time. Studs are ordered and should be on the bike soon. Looking forward to the next round.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Hugh Jass Fatbike Series Race #3

Photo from

Over 100 people showed up to race the third round of the Hugh Jass Fatbike series. We finally got some snow to race to make it feel like a real fat bike race. I had never ridden the Alpha trails before, but they are worth checking out if you are in the area. We did 5 laps of the 3 mile loop, starting with a bomb run down the sledding hill, turn and come right back up to separate the field a bit.

Photo from

There is a 3 way points battle for the series going on between Brad, Dave, and myself. I had been sick the week heading up to the race so I wasn't sure how things would go. It was my lucky day though, as we went into the first corner Brad and Dave got tangled up. Not bad enough to put anyone on the ground, but enough to lose momentum and a few positions. This allowed me to sneak away behind WORS pro Cole Haus and Cat 1 racer Randy Rollins.

They both took off and left me pretty easily. So my first lap was pretty easy, then on the second lap we got into lapped traffic. The Alpha trails are tight so passing is impossible unless the rider pulls to the side. This involved a lot of communication and patience but during a race patience is not always something I have a lot of.

Brad and Dave were able to move through the traffic better than I was and on the last lap were able to work right onto me. I turned it down a bit to recover knowing they wouldn't be able to pass on the single track. It would all come down to the last sprint up the sledding hill.

I gave it everything and it hurt pretty bad, but I was able to hold them off. That is the way it has worked out every race so far. None of us has won a race yet, but we always finish together and consistently in the top 5. It makes for a fun and exciting series.

Photo from

My dad has been doing the series as well, and seems to be really enjoying himself, he finished 59th of 96 in the open men class. The promoters put on an event that is fun for all levels of skill and everyone is there to have a good time.

Next race is January 16th in Glendale, WI. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year

The Holidays are winding down, and its back to work tomorrow... That will start thing long few months of cold winter rides and no holidays off til Good Friday in March. 

Santa said I was on the naughty list this year, so I went out and by my own present.  A new Cannondale SuperX HiMod Cyclcocross bike. I only have about 200 miles on it so far so I don't have a solid opinion on it yet, but my first impressions are good. It is comfortable, light, and fast.

Cyclocross bikes can ride Gravel

56cm with tubes, without pedals.
That bike drops about 15 pounds from my current Trans Iowa rig. The rear tire clearance is pretty tight, 38mm is probably the max and even that would depend on brand, but the front could easily take a 40mm.

Silver Lake Park
It looks like the snow is finally here to stay, and I have been out on the fat bike a lot recently. The snow we got Monday was very heavy with moisture and has frozen up hard, which makes it perfect for fat biking.

I took the last podium spot at the Hugh Jass Fat Bike Series yesterdayand I will post on that soon. Have a good rest of your weekend everyone!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Hugh Jass fatbike race #2

 Round 2 of the HughJass series was in Evanston, IL last weekend. The conditions were nasty, standing water and mud.  It was warm out though, it was nice to race in a jersey and shorts on December 12th.

Great photo by Keen Eye Photographs
The course was completely flat, so they added in some cyclocross obstacles to make it interesting.

Scoring by putting your number plate in a bucket.

Brody, Dave, Brad, and Dave.

POS Bike Toss Challenge

Mens Podium
Another great race put on by the hughjass guys and gals. The after race festivities are bigger than any other race I've been to.  DJ's, beer, food, prizes, bike toss, and good times. You should come to the next one, January 2nd in Franklin, WI.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Blog Motivation

Whenever I choose a photo to put in my blog, I put it in a folder so it is easy to find when I need to upload it. This folder is creatively named "blog photos."

I was going through that folder tonight and noticed that most of those photos are from the "off-season" for riding bikes. Which makes sense, because Summer is such a busy time of year and I would rather be outside than on the computer anyway. 

So I guess that would make this "blog season."

Added some bar mits to Evans bike
Started the weekend out on a mountain bike ride with Mike and Pat.  My kid, Evan, has been bugging me for sometime now to bring him along on these rides with Mike so I finally gave in and told him to come along. 

I figured he would have the best time of his life, because that is what I do every time I get a leisure ride in the woods with friends. Unfortunately Evan is still getting used to his coaster brake. So when he gets freaked out on a downhill he takes his feet off the pedals and tries to stop with his feet, which doesn't work. 

I have seen some pretty fast riders go through trails, but none as fast as my 4 year old that doesn't understand how to use his brakes. The speed he carried down the hill was incredible. I was so proud.

I just wish that tree hadn't gotten in his way and sent him flying through the air. He just clipped it with his right hand, which started a handlebar swap that no one could have recovered from.

Now Evan doesn't want to ride in the woods anymore... Hopefully he changes his mind by next weekend because I thought we had a great time.

The Pabst Theater
After the bike riding, my wife and I did something we never do. We went out without the children.  Not by choice of course, we were invited by Brian and Janel to go see Larry the Cable Guy in Milwaukee. I did not know that we would also see Jeff Foxworthy there as well, which was awesome. These guys will have you laughing so hard you'd think you spent the night doing sit ups, because your sides are so sore.

All you need for 100 miles

Sunday I got out for a long one. My goal was to find a good route to my new job in Rockford, but after 88 miles of scouting I hadn't found anything I would recommend on a regular basis. In town isn't bad, because everyone is doing 35 and hitting stop lights. and 10 miles out of town is good too, because it's country roads. The dangerous part is the 45 mph zones in between, where there are no shoulders and everyone is doing 60 mph on an overpopulated two lane road.

For example look at the photo below, a 45 mph zone with a telephone pole broken in half and car parts 100 yds into the field.

When you see it...
Not ideal for riding bikes. Not 5 miles after taking this picture I was ran off the road by some bitch on a cell phone. That is another long story I am not ready to get into. 

I am not writing off the bike to work idea just yet, I have a couple more ideas. For now though, I will be driving.

So here is to another season of base miles, cold weather, and good times.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hugh Jass Fat bike race #1 at Minooka

The Hugh Jass fat bike Series put on by Wheel and Sprocket and Badger Bikes started off last weekend.  It was an extremely well run event, and definitely offered some "twists" from typical bike racing. 

I think the biggest twist was the hammerschlagen. In between each lap you had to hammer a nail into a board in order to pass go and begin your next lap.  I had a hard time with this, it was almost like a duathlon, just when you get done climbing this giant hill you turn and sprint to the bottom then hammer a nail. It was a challenge and made things interesting.

My dude and I getting ready for the start


Unfortunately last weeks snow melted with some rain during the week and left the single track a mess. So the course was made up of entirely cross country ski trail. This time of year that is just the way it goes.  That makes a course that favors someone who is in good shape and can turn a big chainring. 

Currently I am not that person...  Spent too much time drinking beers and hunting deer, instead of grinding gears the last couple months.  So my plan was to start hard, hold on to the top guys as long as possible, then back off  and save some for the end.  

Everything went to plan, I got a really good start. Hung out with the lead 3 guys for a lap or two then backed off.  When I backed off two guys got by, but I was able to get one back on the last lap for 5th overall.

Like I said earlier, it was obvious that the promoters of this series really wants it to succeed.  I was really impressed with the prizes, the turn out, the smooth registration, the timely results, the free beer, and the not so typical bike race routine.