Thursday, April 16, 2015

Grumpy Grind Photos

Photo by Fred Johnson

SS 29er


So after riding Ragnarok up in Minnesota, I drove straight home. I went to bed, woke up early, and drove out to Milledgeville, IL for the Grumpy Grind. It is another gravel race, 80 miles in the Northwest of the state.   The hills were much smaller than Minnesota, which was nice, but the wind was a big factor.

Out to the check point at mile 37 we were primarily against the wind.  I found that with the single speed geared pretty low, it was not too bad.  I was able to get in a group and grind, but once we turned and had a tailwind the group left me.  My top speed on a flat was 20 mph, if I were on a bike with shifters I would have clicked up and cruised back in at 30 mph no problem. That was not the case though, so I just cruised along for a couple hours with a strong tailwind and an easy ride.

Then we turned back into the wind for the last 15 miles or so, luckily the hills got bigger as well toward the end and blocked some wind.

The Grumpy Grind is a very well put on event, with many volunteers.  I was really impressed with how well the race was ran.  The que sheets were the most accurate I have ever used, typically I take a wrong turn and mess up my mileage, but not that day.  The pulled pork was an awesome treat at the end!


David S

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ragnarok 105 Report

"Don't dress warm, there are lots of hills."

Thats what I heard at sign in on Friday night. I grabbed a beer from the Red Wing Brewery, which was so nice. I hung out for a little while then headed to a "real" grocery store.  You know, the ones that aren't walmart and have 3 checking lanes with only one person working. I was so excited I had to text someone to tell them I was at a "real" grocery store!

The race went really well, except for the flat tire at mile 10.  Oh and taking a wrong turn at mile 20.  Other than that I killed it!

When I finished Ragnarok, I tried to remember a tougher race of 105 miles. I honestly can't think of one. Sure some 12 hour single track mountain bike races are tougher, but those are short laps over and over. I am talking over 100 miles of never seen before roads and trails. There are races like Trans Iowa that are tougher because of distance and time. As far as linking together 100 miles of the toughest terrain possible, I believe Ragnarok takes the cake.

It was a fantastic spring training ride, I wish I could ride those hills on a regular basis. It was windy and I hate wind, but I could hardly notice the wind with the protection of the hills.

It is Wednesday now, and I am really missing Minnesota.  I cannot wait to revisit in May for Almanzo.

-David S

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hollendale Hunnert / equinox ride / trains iowa training day 1

The last few weeks have been pretty busy for me, so busy that I got a total of 94 miles in on the bike over that time period. I was on track to have my best Trans Iowa training yet. With the winter being so mild, I was able to have above average January and February miles.  Then March hit and I went from big miles to no miles.

                Lucky for me, there is about 5 weeks left till go time. So Trans Iowa training day 1 was restarted Saturday, with a hundred miler through the “driftless.”
Driftless : free from glacial drift.  (aka: big hills)

Good Times Log Cabin in Hollendale, WI
                We left at sunrise, rode 50 miles out to Hollendale, WI(Population 230).  Then grandma cooked us lunch at an odd little bar in town, and we rode back to Madison with full bellies. 
The baby had a rough night.
Lunchtime decor

                It was a great day on the bike; I started to suffer around mile 75.  I hope my suffering was just some lingering sickness and not an indication of my current fitness.  Either way the group was riding strong Saturday.
                Good times, good suffering.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Raceface Narrow Wide on Fat

RaceFace 30T in blue

I am really impressed with the 1x chainrings.  There is a lot of machining involved compared to a typical chainring.  Looking at the picture above you can notice the threaded chainring bolt holes and the slotted teeth that form the "narrow wide" design.  

I am a big fan of 1x drive trains for bikes that spend most of their time in the dirt.  

- less weight
- cleaner look 
-fewer parts to break/adjust/wear out

I had the fat bike out for an hour yesterday, and everything was working correctly.

Monday, February 16, 2015

U.S. Fat Bike Criterium National Championships


     The title sounds so serious, but ironically it is probably the least serious race I have ever attended.  It was a 30 minute race, plus two laps.  Extra credit was given for costumes, but no one took advantage of the 30 second head start allowed to anyone wearing a speedo.  30 seconds is a lot of time, but hardly worth frostbite on nipples.


     The race was held on groomed ski trail around the Wisconsin State Capitol.  It is part of the Madison Winter Festival, which is home to the state XC ski championships.  So after the skiers were done, we took to the course at 8pm.


     They tried to put cyclocross type barriers out on the course to make things interesting, but with everyone on fat bikes we just rolled over them like speed bumps.  Scoring was done on the honor system for the top three, and everyone else was considered fourth.
Fat bikers invade the Capitol

I got a free entry to next year

     Afterward everyone headed over to the local pub, where everyone who put their name in the hat received prize.  Prizes ranged from Power Taps to socks, the amount of support and swag that they were able to round up was unbelievable.

     It was promised that anyone not having fun was to be pulled aside and beaten with a ski pole, but it never came to that because fun was had by all.  –David Swanson