Saturday, December 27, 2014


Who knew all I had to do was buy a fat bike and we would be blessed with some really nice weather.  The mountain bike trails are completely thawed and muddy, but 50 degrees and sunshine make for some really comfortable road rides.  I was planning a fat bike trip up north next week, but even they are not at ideal snow conditions.  I put a comfy 80 miles in yesterday, winter will be here soon enough…

Sunday, December 14, 2014

More 2015 Beargrease pictures... you sick of it yet? I'm not!

Tubeless Dillingers

Birds nest

Chain lube

My one complaint about the bike, white grips on an offroad bike.  Thats just silly.

I finally got a long ride in on the new fat bike.  Even better it was in elements that would have been no fun on a 29er.  I put a 110mm stem in place of the 90mm and it made a huge difference, I was surprised at how much better the bike felt with a longer stem.  

I am rethinking my 1x10 idea after todays ride.  There were some steep mud covered hills that had me using the tiny chainring.

I am really looking forward to more time on the beargrease.  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Beargrease Update

I got pretty sick last weekend so I wasn’t able to ride my new Beargrease at all.  It was a big bummer having this awesome brand new bicycle just sitting around, but I didn’t really have a choice in the matter.

Since then I have gotten a couple rides in, enough for a good first impression.  All of my observations of the bike will be comparing it to my 2012 Salsa El Mariachi, which is a 29er hardtail, listed in the Salsa catalog for endurance mtb racing and bike packing. 

The El Mariachi is a 21” frame so I assumed I would need the same on the Beargrease, but Bob from Wheelwerks said no way, that the 21” frame on the beargrease is big.  So we went with the 19” frame.  I roughed out the dimensions on auto cad and turns out Bob knew what he was talking about.  The seat tube is two inches shorter, but the rest of the lengths are very similar.

So far I have noticed that the bike turns FAST, I don’t know which feature of the bike causes this feeling, but it feels much lighter and quicker turning than my Mariachi.  It is a lot of fun in tight switch backs, the extra traction and quick handling make me feel like a hero. 

Part of that feeling may be coming from the short stem and wide bars.  I need a longer stem, but I like the wide bars.  I could see this bike becoming my full time mountain bike, I just wish they put the alternator dropouts on it so I could run single speed when I feel like it.

I have already converted it to tubeless using gorilla tape, and I plan on going to a 1x10 setup instead of the 2x10.  The bike comes with a “clutch type derailleur” so all that is needed to convert to 1x is a Wolf Tooth or Raceface Narrow Wide chain ring.  I am also considering getting some studs for the Dillengers, but I am still deciding on that.

Overall I am thrilled with my new bike, more miles coming this weekend.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New Beargrease Photos

Ryan from Wheel Werks getting her ready.

I finally gave in and bought a fat bike.  Not only did I buy one, but I bought a pretty nice one. 

I am so pumped... I went out in 30 degrees dressed in long johns and a t-shirt and was too warm, the woods block the wind and the snow makes you work harder so it is warm.  

I have only spent an hour and a half on the bike so its hard to form solid opinions on it.  All I can say for now is that any other form of cycling today would have been uncomfortable or indoors.  Its winter, I rode my bike outside, and it didn't hurt.  How much better can it get?!

Update 12/14/14:  With more time on the bike I have a couple updates here and here.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Cyclocross from a year ago

I searched online on how to setup a fat bike tubeless and found this blog.  I looked at some of the other posts and found this picture of me...

The dude takes nice pictures and has a sweet fat bike.  Check it out!

Monday, November 10, 2014


I've been off the bike for a few weeks, but still outside...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

WEMS Championship Race

At the end of the year the WEMSeries has a "Championship Race."  It counts for double points for series standings, so if you're into that kind of thing, it is an important race to go to.

I didn't do enough races to qualify for series awards, so I just went to have a good time and hammer down.  I raced the single speed championship, a four hour race, the idea is to do as many laps as possible in four hours.

It was cold and rainy all day and this lead to a poor turnout, which is a shame because the the trails held up to the rain very well.  Alpine Valley has a thick roof top of leaves over the trails and steep hills for the water to run-off.  So standing water and deep mud were never an issue.  

They had a giant campfire to keep spectators warm and the results were ready very quickly after the race.  For winning the SS race I received a coupon with a large discount toward a new Velocity wheelset.  That worked out perfectly, because this season has basically trashed my current wheelset.

So it was a great day on the bike, a challenging course, and sweet prizes.  Hopefully this course is on the schedule again for next year.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lake Geneva Cross '14

I raced cross this weekend.  It went pretty well, I took 8th of 74 riders in Cat 4, which earns 0 upgrade points.  After the race we ate lunch and watched the Cat 1's, then I raced the single speed class on my mountain bike.  I was 30 seconds a lap faster on my mountain bike than on my cross bike and that was good enough for a win.

I have never won a bicycle race so I was pretty pumped about that.  About 3/4's of the way through the last lap, a bee flew in under my glasses. It stung me just below my eye, and I must have looked like a crazy person punching myself in the face to get it out.  Luckily I was far enough out front that it didn't matter and I finished it out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Treadfest 2014

Every year for the last few years or so I have gone to Treadfest in Lake Geneva, WI.  It is less than a half hour from my house and is a lot of fun, so it would take a pretty important event to keep me from returning next year.

I felt like I ran a pretty good race, pushing balls to the wall on the start and getting into the mix, but that quickly caught up to me and the second lap was very, very painful.

I was a little surprised when I finished and saw I was in 36th place, and last in my age group, but I guess that is how it goes sometimes.  I did really well in cat 2 last year, but the cat 1 is a different game.

Evan got to do the kids race, which is a pretty cool event.  A whole pack of kids on striders and little bikes.  They said ready, set, go! and he looked around confused while everyone else took off.  I had to remind him its go time.  He weaved through the crashed kids and had a great time.  So that was pretty cool.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wausau24 2014

Pre race light figuring outing
     I have been planning on racing Wausua 24 since early this year, but somehow it showed up before I was fully ready.  I had been doing a lot of riding, but the fun kind, not the training kind.  In fact I remember realizing that it was coming up soon and decided to go do a long ride on the road.  Thus starting and concluding my endurance training.

Wausau in the morning

     Christina and I drove up Saturday morning, and for some reason I was awfully grumpy for a guy that was about to spend the entire weekend riding his bike.  That's just how I get sometimes I guess, I don't like rushing to a race, and next year we will be showing up the day before instead.  

     Once we got up toward the venue my mood instantly changed.  I felt good, it was foggy, and cool.  I could smell the pines, and feel the excitement. Something fun was about to happen.

Why is everyone in such a hurry?

     The start was pretty crazy, I don't know the total number of riders, but trust me, it was a lot.  I sprinted hard in the lemans start and ended up with a great start.  Top 10ish, which when it comes to racing single track in the woods getting out front of the slow guys and bottlenecks early is always a bonus.

     I pushed hard through my first lap, then backed off a little anticipating a long ride.  All was going well till about 4 hours in when the heat was getting to me and I got a flat.  The flat happened to be in an area of no shade and I got hot.  I drank two bottles while changing the flat then, refilled at the checkpoint and drank another two before getting back to the pits.

     I put in a couple more good laps, but something was coming undone.  Around dinner time I was ready to quit, Chris Schotz was also having a hard time and said "if you go back out, I'll go back out." I changed my clothes and was getting ready to go back out, but Chris seemed to be hoping for a partner to drop out with.  We both went back out.

     About half way through that lap Chris stopped and said he was feeling "bonky."  I laughed thinking "bonky" was awhile ago, we are trashed.  He told me to go on without him, he would finish the lap, but not without stopping for some brats with the spectators.  

     I did a couple more laps and stopped in the pits to get some food.  Christina was sleeping by this time as it was 2 am ish.  I grabbed a sandwich and sat down, then fell asleep.  I didn't want to sleep but it really wasn't up to me anymore.  The uncomfortable chair was too comfortable. I ended up sleeping for 4 hours.

     I woke up and rode two more laps to finish out the race.  I was the last finisher in the single speed class.  Considering how long I slept, I didn't finish too poorly.  I got 6th in single speed solo, and 15th solo overall.

I spent the entire weekend riding the northwoods of Wisconsin, and it was absolutely awesome.  I forgot how bad it hurts to ride that long, but when I look back the night laps were really the most fun.  I will be doing more rides under the headlights.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Productive Sunday

Crystal Lake Crit

Tour de Crystal Lake

Crit race in the morning, century in the afternoon.

The crit went pretty well, I am still learning this road race thing.  It all comes down to the end, and if your not in position to strike it doesn't matter how strong you are.  I ended up 4th in Cat 5, I had a strategy to win, but as usual I grew impatient and took off to early.  I do love that style of racing, diving into the corners, watching for the guy skidding across the road in front of you, then an all out close your eyes and sprint for your life at the end.

After the race, I didn't really feel I got a full workout.  So I headed out with a goal of 100 miles, but I told myself if I fell short no big deal.  Luckily it was a beautiful day, and I kept a good pace so I felt fine the whole time.  I headed into Wisconsin and found some hills, and didn't have any route planned.  

I ended up finding some great roads that I will definitely be returning too and some decent hills.

Oh I forgot to mention, all on heavy ass a cross bike.