Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bikes are cool.  Got out on mine on Sunday.  Can't wait to do it again!  Got a new bike.  Maybe I'll share some pics in the future.  Hope everyone is doing well.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunny Day, taking the clouds away!


I was lucky enough to get out on a bike ride while the rest of my household took a nap.  It seems that these are my only opportunities any more.  It's been busy, and that means biking takes a bit of a backseat.  Yesterday was a rare opportunity that it was "ok" for me to go ride.  I wanted to race, but that just wasn't in the cards I guess.  A leisurely ride may have been more of what I needed though.  The pics above are pictures down my the St. Croix River in Afton.  I ventured down by the marina and the views were great.  I had to snap a picture or two with my phone.  I'm hoping to get to a race today.  Hopefully the weather doesn't completely crap on us.  But seeing that this is my only chance to race, I might have to take what's given to me. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Scratch that itch (no, not that itch)

Lately I've really felt the need to scratch my adventurous itch.  I just have this deep need to explore.  And since I can't pick up and run off to all corners of the earth, I'll just have to settle for riding some new routes and exploring dirt paths when I can.  It's been fun exploring some dirt farm roads here and there but with harvest here, it might be tougher and tougher to feel like I'm actually getting away from civilization. 

The beauty of this hankering for adventure is that I don't need much to get me excited.  Literally a dirt road off my usual route is all it takes to feel like I'm exploring.  I'm hoping to do more of this this fall.  Just get out there and explore.  That's the beauty of bikes in my eyes.  Kind of ironic considering how much I like racing, but really, it's about the journey, not the destination.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Post-A-Rama!

It's been a while since I've posted a picture of bikes. That's what this is about, right? Well, I decided to put a few picks of my bikes since I've tweeked them. I just got done pulling the drop bars off the Singular Gryphon to make more of a neighborhood cruiser for my wife (and me!). Mission accomplished. It's single speed right now but it might be "upgraded" to gears at a later date. So far I'm going to keep it as is. Maybe throw on some cross tires for a little faster road rolling. It feels like riding a giant beach cruiser. Very upright riding position, very high bottom bracket, and tons of fun!
Next I wanted to show my Niner Air 9 with the new Fox fork. This is my setup for the Dakota 50. It served me well. At this point, I can't really see a reason to upgrade or want something else. Maybe carbon in the future, but right now, this this is very capable and I will be riding it for another season or two.
After riding the suspension fork, it's going to be hard to convince me to go back to the Niner Carbon rigid fork up front. I could see maybe using it for a race like Chequamegon, but not much else. But I'll keep it around for now. It's just that the Fox fork is so nice. Last but not least is my new 'cross bike.
It's pretty nice. I was worried about the lower spec of the components (SRAM Apex), but they seem to work as well as anything I've used in the past. They aren't quite as polished as some higher-end offerings, but they work great. The wheels aren't the greatest things since sliced bread though. They don't roll as well as other stuff I've ridden and they seem to have a very slight bit of side-to-side slop. It feels like when the cones needed to be tighted on old ball bearing hubs. Unfortunately these are sealed bearings and can't be adjusted. So I'll just ride them until they self-destruct and upgrade at a later date. The real gem of the setup is the frame and fork. Quite a nice package and will allow me to build around it without wasting my money on components when the frame and fork don't support it. Should be a nice bike for years to come. Another very solid side benefit is that it fits me better than the new road bike frames. It's a 56cm and just fits better everywhere than my old road bike. I'm quite happy with that aspect too. I'll leave you with a few more pics. Take care!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The REAL DEAL!

The fam and I had a nice little weekend in the Black Hills. We went to enjoy all of the sights, but mainly to go race the Dakota 5-0 on Sunday. We prerode on Friday when we got into town and I prerode again on Saturday morning early before sightseeing all day. I felt great on Friday, less-so on Saturday and pretty good on Sunday. I rode up the initial climb on both Friday and Saturday. It was a lot harder on Saturday for some reason (although I did eat a big breakfast before the ride). But it reminded me of the "quality" of the climb. My strategy was to go out as hard as I could sustain to get to the singletrack as early as possible. Then back off a little and hoping that I'd be ready to go after all the climbing was done. Unfortunately, the climbing was never done. Hell, there was even a monster hill coming out of the 4th Aid Station. I would have stayed at the Aid Station longer had I known that was ahead. After that it was mainly downhill (yes, 15 miles worth). I got a 3rd-4th row start so I was primed to get the start I wanted. We took off and the atmosphere was of a focused determination. A little different than the Chequamegon start, but then again I was much closer to the front than I was at Cheq. The climb started as planned. It was hard and I went hard. Then it got harder, and I went harder. Then it stayed that way all the way to the singletrack. My legs were totally pumped with lactic acid for about 1/2 of the climb but I pushed through. The lead group of 20 riders broke away from the second group of 20 riders which I was in. There were a number of points where I thought, "maybe I should go for it". But then I remembered that I'm going to try to ride my own race and bridging the gap to the first group might not be the wisest thing to do. It's a good thing too because shortly after those thoughts (I thought about it twice), the hurt started to set in. The initial climb lasted about 20 minutes and the intial climb in the singletrack lasted another 40 minutes putting the first climb right around an hour total. That's when I reached the first Aid STation. My goal was to get there around 1:15 so I thought things were going really well. 15 minutes ahead of my goal. But then the second stretch of climbing came between Aid Stations 1 & 2. This climbing was very hard and my legs were so full of lactic acid that I couldn't get it to clear. The leg pump seemed to last forever. I reached the 2nd Aid Station around 2:30 and was worried that I blew up and I'd never make my goal. Plus my heartrate hadn't slowed down yet either and I was hurting. I heard the words I needed to hear, "long downhill ahead". Angie met some friends at the Aid Stations and they were cheering me on. They were also 5-0 veterans so they knew the course pretty well. That was what I needed. See Angie and Kenzie and have the knowledge that I finally got to ride downhill. I started losing spots but I was feeling pretty good. I wasn't supertired, but my legs were just rocks seeing that they were so full of lactic acid. I just kept spinning and I got a little break with mostly flat or downhill trails from here on. Climbs still really hurt but I just tried to get up them the best I could and ride hard on the flats. I caught people like crazy on the flats and decents but lost them like crazy on the climbs. But I felt decent on the flats so I knew my legs were coming back. Once I finally reached the 4th Aid station game was on again. I started to ride much better and my heartrate was finally normal again. I was able to power up climbs, albiet short ones, and concentrate on the decents. I rode pretty hard all the way to the finish but cramped a little on the small climb right before the finish. That kept me from really pouring it on. Although, after the climb I could really get on the pedals again. I could fly on the flats, it was those darn climbs that my legs fought back. My only issues during the race were as follows: 2 unexpected pee stops and getting lost once. The pee stops were fine. I actually didn't lose any spots either time, although I obviously lost some time. But the getting lost part kind of annoyed me. There were about 2 feet of ticker tape hanging in the trees on a complete 90 degree turn while the trail clearly continues on straight. Luckily for me, I noticed there weren't any tire tracks on the ground. But by then I was .5 mile down the trail. Then I went back and continued down another wrong trail. Again I realized no tire tracks. I backtracked even farther. Finally found the trail. Very hard to find even though I was looking for it (very hard). I was just glad to find the trail, honestly, as I could have been out there forever had I lost the trail. Other than that, I think I did really well. My goal was 4:30 and I was within seconds of my goal. Can't complain there. Hopefully I'll get a chance next year to beat it!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Posting for the hell of it

A few of my friends and I have been talking about new bikes with some demo days being done and new models coming out. Riding bikes is quite a bit like motorcycles in the regard that once you're on the bike, it really doesn't matter what's underneath you. It's not like you can admire your bike while you're riding it. Same goes for motorcycling. Scooters supposedly aren't "cool" but you show me a person that hasn't had fun while riding one. Kind of ironic when you think about it.

That's kinda how I feel about bikes sometimes too. I have this little voice in the back of my head that says, "better, better, better". When in actuality "better" is such a small increment. But soon enough you think you need better and here you are staring at the shiny bits in bike shop e-windows. That's where I'm at with a cross bike. I can get an aluminum frame and swap my road bike parts over to it and call it a day with minimal fuss (I would need cantilever brakes). But of course I want the carbon fiber version that I have to take a second mortgage out on the house for. I think I just need to reel in my expectations and be satisfied with the aluminum frame that isn't chi-chi but is more than adequate for my skill level.

So that's the route I'm going....for now. Inevitably, I'm sure I'll be posed with this dilemma again before the year is over. Just the way my brain works.

Monday, August 22, 2011

And we're racing...

What a fun time racing yesterday at the Border Battle. Got to see lots of friends and had fun racing. I ended up with three stiches in my abdomen, but overall, none the worse for the wear. Just an awkward fall landing on the handlebars. It was good to get some really hard miles in prior to the Dakota 5-0. I needed that. It'll take me a ride or two to work out the cobwebs in my legs after this one. I like the fact that they added a second climb to the course. It helped and hurt me in competition but I like to have a few sections like that that separate the field a little. Plus, I'm sure there are guys that are good climbers that aren't all that great in singletrack that it helped. I like to see sections that cater to individuals' strengths. That way it takes a good all-rounder to race well.