Friday, December 28, 2007

Arrowhead Ultra: Training Ride

Last night I embarked on an epic 7+ hour all trail ride from Dubuque to Dyersville utilizing ROW trails... This route is one of the TripleD Race options (the entire route was 57 miles; however add another 10 for the round trip distance from my house to the Grand River Center and this route would be 67 miles). This option would be one of the hardest as there are no roads involved whatsoever (all trails).

My pace to Dyersville was way too hot, and caused me to bonk major time at Farley on the way back. A short 1 mile detour into town to stop at one of their fine drinking establishments for about 30 minutes (Mountain Dew and Snickers Bar) allowed me to gather my wits and start back to Dubuque at a more maintainable pace. After about another hour, I had found that happy indefinite pace that Arrowhead will require. The snow and trails were in excellent condition and allowed me to ride nearly 99% of the time. More snow (~6”) is arriving as I type and should be packed down in the next couple of days of sun and 30dF weather.

I’ve started carrying more gear as of late (extra clothes, survival items, water, etc.) to get used to maneuvering a loaded bike on the snow. Also, I’ve started testing a new custom clothing system which should be good to -40dF (it was 14dF last night, so I felt like I was in a sauna with this incredible single layer on).

I’m still a little concerned that I haven’t had the time to put in a 12 hour snow ride yet, In fact, the 7 hour ride last night was my longest ride sense 2006’s “24 hours of Nine Mile” National Championships. However, I must stick to an intelligent training regiment that my body can benefit from.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Race Update: Trail Report

I’m not even sure I should spend the time on this one as I’m riding again tonight and there is another 7” forecasted for after midnight…

I rode some new connector trails yesterday (Dec 26th) for just over two hours, checking out some additional sections for the bike category of the race. The new sections (conditions permitting) will make the bike section a lot more fun (as in downhill fun and easy uphill) for an additional two miles in both directions.

Temperatures the last couple of days have been close to 30d and mostly sunny. This has thickened up the oatmeal snow of the 23rd into a nice solid base again mostly rideable for standard mountain bikes on the better traveled snowmobile paths. There are still numerous short uphill sections that required me to push… but nothing more than 50-100 feet at a time. The snow bikes most likely would have cleaned 100% of the trials without problem. For the foot & bike category entrants this is again good news as we can now expect Heritage Trail to have a solid base 2 days after a heavy snow fall.

I’m still not sure how the tandem team will fair; I haven’t been able to convince Traci to ride our tandem on the trails yet to see how it works. I imagine it will be similar to the “Ore to Shore” sand hell from this last fall… Yes, you heard me right – the Eppen team may attempt the race on the tandem (remember they can change their minds 2 hours before the start)… we’ll see how this one pans out.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Race Update: Registration Deadline Extended

For more information see:

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Race Update: Lottery $

I've finished the preliminary budget for the race and it looks like we will be doing pretty good (not loosing $)! After all expenses are paid, it leaves us plenty of $ for liquid refreshments after the race and about $1200 for the lottery payout with the registrations that are already in!!! Yup over $1200 in prize money (distributed in nice $20 increments, lottery style).

Last Updated: Jan 10

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Race Update: Trail Report (2 Speed Snow Bike)

I was starting to get concerned after a couple hours of rain. We lost nearly a foot of our snow base early in the storm. However, as the temperature turned colder the snow begin to fall, and did it ever. A fresh 9" of powder fell then drifted due to 25 mph sustained winds all of this with temperatures from six to 14 degrees F made for one hell of a ride.
I headed out for a couple of hours of winter riding (turned into 4 1/2)... 35+ mph head winds on the way to Dyersville caused me to run in my lowest gear the entire time at a breakneck speed of 3-5 mph. While I was warm (a little to warm) even with the wind-chill readings to below -10F, the wind was starting to make the ride more of a challenge than originally planned. However, on the way back I was able to run all the gravel and pavement in the 44/11 somewhere at 20 mph (fells like 50 mph when you're running a 4" tire at 5 psi). There is no such thing as bad weather - only bad clothing... today I actually had to shed a layer about an hour in to keep from overheating. The cold though was real, and a short uphill took my concentration for just a little too long causing me to forget about my camel back. By the time I crested the hill (into a 45 mph headwind) I realized that my camel back hose had frozen solid (even with the neoprene over cover & rubber mouthpiece cover). I was able to continue to drink by stopping, taking off the backpack and opening the fill reservoir. They say you have to do something 20 times before it becomes habit (well so far I’ve remembered to blow air back into my camel back a total of 3 times), looks like I may need some work on this one.

Ok, here's the trail report: If the race were today (I’d bet half of you wouldn’t show up...) the classical skiers would have experienced nirvana with 35+ mph tail winds and near prefect snow on heritage trail. The skate skiers and foot racers would have had a little more work cut out for them, as the snow was still oatmeal soft.

The bikes, well with the headwinds and deep powder even the normally euphoric 10% downhill on the Humpkie Level B road was only slightly ridable (had to push about 30% - yes. I had to push my bike down 10% grade! By the way, not a soul had attempted this road yet - virgin show. I was able to chug along on about 15 miles of heritage trail somewhere slightly faster than a brisk walk. The gravel roads and secondary paved roads couldn’t be distinguished from each other as they were all glassed with ice or knee deep in drifts... making the ride either fun (downhill with a tailwind) or a death march (uphill with a headwind). The worst of the ride was on a famous local route called "Potter Hill" a 2 mile 6%+ climb completely exposed to the 35+ mph winds. I had to push though some drifted uphill sections but was able to ride most of it... when about halfway up I passed my first 4-wheel drive stuck on the road (not in the ditch - on the road). I would see three more of them before the ride was over!

The picture was where I left Heritage trail and turned up Potter Hill. The winds on Heritage Trail where mild as the trial is sheltered for most of its 23+ mile length. Only a half mile up Potter Hill it was nearly whiteout conditions.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Triple D – Registration Status (updated daily)

The morning of the 26th we made our minimum requirement with the resort/hotel. Because of this others can now reserve rooms at the discounted rate until the hotel is filled. In addition, we are extending the entry deadline. We had to do the 26th registration deadline to get the rooms in our block filled, if we didn't I was going to be required to purchase the unbooked rooms (the 26th was the last day I could cancel). If you are on the list without a [category] email me with an update... you can even say [Bike or Run]. The last item that I’m working on coordinating is the transportation to Dyersville, so I’m, trying to come up with a worst case number for the Foot/Ski category. Thanks, Lance

* [Categories] are preliminary guesses, as racers are allowed to change category the day of the race.

Committed (recieved $):

  1. Mark Vanderwoude – Burnsville, MN [Bike]
  2. Lance Andre – Free Flight / Dubuque, IA [Bike] ah
  3. Chad Bailey – Trek / Watertown, WI [Foot]
  4. Ben Shockey – Decorah Bicycles, IA [Bike]
  5. Scott Marx – Decorah Bicycles, IA [Bike]
  6. Jeff Barns – Iowa City, IA [Ski or Bike]
  7. Tyler Graham – Santa Barbara, CA
  8. Sean Mullins – Metamora / Peoria, IL [Bike]
  9. Traci Andre – Dubuque, IA [Ski]
  10. James Zimmerman – Wild Turkey / Riverside, IA [Bike]
  11. Anjanette "AJ" Clark – Team Grief / Des Moines, IA [Bike]
  12. Jason "Poncho" Taggatz – Cedar Rapids, WI [Bike]
  13. Matthew Maxwell – Ames, IA ah
  14. Frank Hassler – Madison, WI [Bike]
  15. Jerome Full – Wild Turkey / Iowa City, IA [Bike]
  16. Todd Erickson – Wild Turkey / Cedar Rapids, IA [Bike]
  17. Adam Blake – Wild Turkey / Iowa City, IA [Bike]
  18. David Allen – Winona, MN [Bike]
  19. Tim Ingram – Momentum Bikes / Platteville, WI [Bike]
  20. Nate Van Der Weide – Wild Turkey / Iowa City, IA [Bike]
  21. Nick Martin – Atlas Cycling Team, Iowa City, IA [Foot]
  22. Paul Jacobson – Gilbert, IA [Bike]
  23. Dave Pramann – Burnsville, MN [Bike]
  24. Matt "SignMeUp" Brakeville – Burlington, IA [Bike]
  25. Doug Zickuhr – AllSportsScreenPrinting / Bettendorf, IA [Bike]
  26. Lisa Paulos – Cedar Rapids, IA [Foot]
  27. Brian Eppen – Iowa City, IA [Bike]
  28. Kim Eppen – Iowa City, IA [Bike]
  29. Cully Todd – North Liberty, IA [Bike]
  30. Bruce Grell – Healthy Habits Bicycle Shop / Bettendorf, IA
  31. Craig Schutte – Dubuque, IA [Foot]
  32. Josh Peterson – Burnsville, MN [Bike]
  33. Lonny Mahoney – Prior Lake, MN [Bike]
  34. Bruce Nelsen – Eldridge, IA [Bike]
  35. David Thompson – Moline, IL [Bike]
  36. Dennis Grelk – Donnellson, IA
  37. Gary Aronson – Bettendorf, IA [Bike]
  38. Matthew Byrne – Rasmussen Cycling / Manson, IA
  39. Corey Kronser – UWP Cycling / Oregon, WI [Bike]
  40. Terry Brannick – Eagen, MN [Bike]
  41. Maxwell Anderson – Waukesha, WI [Bike] ah
  42. Mike Zeigle – Trek / Sun Prairie, WI [Ski/Ultra Ski]
  43. Dustin Quade – Peosta, IA [Bike]
  44. Will Neumeister – Dubuque, IA
  45. W. Keith Marshall – Iowa City, IA [Foot]
  46. Lee Unwin – Madison, WI [Bike]
  47. Jami Todd – North Liberty, IA [Foot]
  48. Jean Gilpin – IA [Foot]
  49. Joel Cahalan – The Hub Bike Co-Op / Minneapolis, MN ah
  50. Ned Gall – Freeflight / Dubuque, IA [Bike]
  51. Brian Benson – West Des Moines, IA [Bike]
  52. Jeff Anker – Polk City, IA [Foot]
  53. Annette J Hall – Dubuque, IA [Foot]
  54. Mike Hodge – Dubuque, IA [Foot]
  55. Joe Heilmann – Prior Lake, MN [Bike]**
  56. Steve Geering – Davenport, IA [Bike/Run]**

Last Update: Jan. 19-2008 AM

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Its done! The ultimate 28.1 lbs Snow Bike...

Sam at FFB finished the early modifications on my Arrowhead Ultra Frankenbike. While there are still a number of planned modifications, (new extra wide custom rear disk wheel with stardrive engagement - being the major one). I'll give an update on my first ride tonight. Plan is to ride about 4-5 hours on the snowmobile trails and open snow.

Is snow biking contagious?

…if you conceder biking contagious, then a big yes for snow biking. Because it offers more of what makes biking enjoyable (as long as you have the correct clothing)…
I convinced my wife Traci to give it a shot... she does have studded snow tires on her bike now (an addition that I made so that I wouldn't have to keep changing tires on my snow bike for a city or river ride)... We took it easy a "short" 1-hour ride from our house to the local snowmobile trails. With her lightweight and good bike handling skills, she made the ride with ease. Her skinny 1.8 Nokkian extremes were just as good as my 2.3 tires at keeping the above the "crust" that has developed on the trails because of our alternating warm and cold days and weekly new snow. In addition they allowed her to clean a couple of the iced over sections at the creek crossing that I had to walk. Her main comment was how much of workout she got with a short 1+ hour ride. Snow riding your pedaling the entire time - there's no coasting. She's now committed to a weekly snow ride.
There’s a number of good blog sites for snow bikers, a couple that I enjoy reading from time to time are: - one of the greats in snow riding - a great 24 hour mountain biker - average Joe from SD, with I think a dark sense of humor - great photographs - journalist with beautiful writing skills – this may be the only snow biking blog you need to read – other than mine of course…

Friday, December 14, 2007

Race Update: Trail Report

I'll continue to post these about every week, so check back:

I tried to incorporate the various different surfaces planed for the bike section in last nights 4 hour ride. So, here’s the trail report:

1. Heritage trail was in excellent condition for all three categories: soft enough that traditional skiers will not slide out, but firm enough for skate skiers to get some good speed. For the mountain bikers, it was firm enough for me to maintain double digit speed (~12 mph) with 2.3 tires at 15 PSI. The trail has a couple of thick base layers on it, so, even with heavy traffic I believe the trail will stay in this primo shape for the next couple of weeks, beyond that, check back for more trail reports. In addition, for the runners it provided good firm stability allowing me to put a good kick down without having worry about digging in.

2. The Snowmobile/ATV trails (most likely only to be used for the bike part) were a different story. While I was able to ride 50% of the time with 2.3” tires, 4” tires would have allowed me to ride about 95% of the time. The ATV trails that were in better shape were those exposed to the sun, the trails tucked down in the valley and back in the woods were still soft foot+ deep & rutted corn like snow.

3. The gravel roads were… well, like concrete roads, top gear fast. A couple of fast corners had me wishing for studded tires, but with a little breaking before hand were still easily maneuvered.

Event Poster

I'm still working on a couple additional key sponsors... but here it is. If you'd like the high-res original please email me.

A big thanks to Traci for her standard high quality creative work (old school style this time)!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Winter Biking Videos...

I love YouTube and every now and then a classic will turn up... was directed to these from another snow biker.... A short three part documentary about the 1988 Iditabike race when it was 210 miles and they did it on normal mountain bikes! 210 miles in only 30 hours in Alaska! WOW. Maybe next year (but now its 350+ & 1100+ miles). Enjoy:

Part 1:


Part 3:

In addition to the classics above, no list of links for winter biking should exclude my all-time fav created by Miller:

TripleD Race Update

We've added to the list of sponsors the Dubuque County Conservation Board (the governing body for the Heritage Trail)! This is encouraging, as they will be present on the trail system during the event and welcome our usage of this local treasure. While a couple of dollars from each racer will go to the trail access fees for Heritage Trail its well worth it as this trial is critical to a successful foot category with any distance over 5 miles. THANKS DCCB! For more information on Heritage Trail visit: (Note: for the bike category, additional trails & roads will be utilized).

Total sponsorship list as of today is: DCCB, Dyersville Area Chamber, & the Grand River Center.

Also, For the family members that may accompany you to the race the Grand River Center in conjunction with the Dubuque Audubon Society is hosting the "Bald Eagle Watch" on the 19th. For more information on this event (you will see LOTS of these beautiful birds feasting on the Mississippi fish) go to

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Race Update - Triple D (Dubuque Winter Adventure Race)

Quick Race Updates:

  1. There was a mix up with the Hotel Reservations… If you call now they will have the group discount rates available. Make sure you specify you are with the “Dubuque-Dyersville Winter Adventure Race”
  2. We’ve added an “Ultra Distance” category for the Skiers. The course will be the same as the “short” distance foot category but will start and finish at the Dubuque trailhead and will utilize the same turn around location as the bikers (approximately 47 miles).
  3. The Dyersville Area Chamber of Commerce has secured a wonderful turnaround point for us. It is very close to the Dyersville trailhead and has food, tables / chairs, restroom facilities, etc. For those familiar with the area it is the “Quik-n-Handi.”

Remember: 14 days left to reserve your room under the discounted rate and register for the race – Don’t wait for see what the weather will be like, the course will be modified as conditions dictate. However, it will not be easy.

More Arrowhead Training - Rolling Resistance Prediction

-picture of monday night 3 hour snowmobile training ride

This weekend I’ve tried a number of alternate cross training activities to integrate the family into my long training session… Cross country skiing with Josie in a backpack… hiking with Josie in a backpack… but by far the best cross training was 3 hours of sledding at the local golf course (pulling Josie up the hill with her on the sled). In addition, she got a huge kick out of this (not having to walk back up the hill). After this cross training session I attempted to go out for a short 2 hour ride during which I realized I had nothing left in the quads and hams. Note to self: “sledding is a good workout”, who whould have thought.

The last 2 weeks I’ve been experimenting with tires, tire pressure and other variables based on snow condition and temperature in an attempt to find a nice correlation of the results to help reduce rolling resistance during Arrowhead. Eureka! I believe I’ve been able to create a formula the will for each tire type that I’ve been riding suggest the optimal pressure to produce the minimal rolling resistance.

While some people always say higher the pressure the lower the rolling resistance… they are WRONG! Under numerous situations I’ve recorded a 20% decrease in rolling resistance with LOWER tire pressures. However too low and the numbers start going the opposite direction. Add to this formula the ability to predict which tire is the best selection and the reduction in rolling resistance goes up to nearly 50%!

I’ll be continuing to add ride data to the matrix to improve the regression formulas in addition to adding additional tire types (front and rear – loaded and unloaded). While there is still a lot of work to do with a couple of variables not taken into account (primarily weight distribution), I believe this may be one of the key factors to turning out a record course time at Arrowhead Ultra and possible TransIowa. However, the correlation matrix is currently based on snow conditions and would require substantial modification for gravel and pavement. In addition, I’d guess that the improvements of rolling resistance would be in the single digits (an hour vs. up to 15 hours for Arrowhead).

Note: Increasing the number of unknowns in a correlation matrix doesn’t add that much additional time for the predicted results… the difficult part is determining what factors are influences and which are not, in addition to collecting enough valid measurements.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Winter Race Update...

See below for the entire race information ( consider this post an addendum to the earlier one.

Because of popular demand we've also added an ultra distance to the foot category for the skiers. The ultra distance skiers will be shuttled to the Dubuque trailhead where they will start and finish.

Also, an important note for those planning on skiing - the trail is groomed for skate skiing. Classical style skiers will have a little more of a challenge, as there will not be groomed groves. Remember, you can bring boots too, if some sections you want to walk/run.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Ah, to actually ride with someone...

Karl Steichen and I meet up for a short two hour jaunt through the streets of Dubuque and the desolate Eagle Point park... great winter riding weather (it was snowing enough that our tracks were nearly covered before we ended our return trip.

Pic of Karl at the edge of the Eagle Point bluff overlooking Lock & Dam #12 about midway into our ride.

Neat picture of us descending out of the park on the old trolley trail from the early 1900's.
Note to self: A helmet mounted light doesn’t work well when its snowing heavily... handlebar mounted works much better.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Its on! Winter Survival Race is set for January 19th

It’s official I’ve gotten enough responses that the first Dubuque to Dyersville to Dubuque Winter Survival Race (TripleD for short) is on for January 19Th (note: "the 19th" not the other date as seen in prior posts)! I’ll be posting updates and flyers for this event in the days to come… However, below is the critical information that you’ll need to know right now:

Ultra Bike (~60 miles Dubuque to Dyersville and back + some)
Ultra Ski (~48 miles Dubuque to Dyersville and back)
Foot [Run/Ski] (~20 miles Dyersville to Dubuque)
Estimated finish time between 5 - 10 hours.

Please forward this to all that you know who bike, run, ski, snowshoe. This event is more about completing the event than it is a race, but a race it is...

Rules and deadlines:

  1. Registration with check or money order must be received at least two weeks before event start (by Jan 8th 2008). See Address below.
  2. Hotel reservations can be made anytime before the event! We have negotiated hotel sponsorship and have a great rate for all… see Hotel Information below. This is a great race to bring the family along to, let them enjoy the resort while you enjoy… well you get the idea. Need to specify that you are with this event to receive the discounted rooms. If you want to share a room send me an email, and i'll get you into a group.
  3. Entry fee is only $40 for all categories (tandems, if your crazy enough to attempt this is $40 total, if you decide the day of the race to ride singles the other rider must pay $40 – this is the only exception to pre registration).
  4. There are multiple categories (Bike and Foot [run, snow shoe, ski, etc.]
  5. The ultra courses will be 48 miles for the skiers and 60+ miles for the bikes. The “short” foot course is ~20 miles.
  6. No refunds will be allowed. However, you may change categories the day of the race.
  7. Sign in will be at 10 am on January 19th in the Platinum B suite at the Grand Harbor resort (Dubuque, Iowa) Directions will be posted in the near future (its next to the river boat casino). You will be required to sign a release form at this time. Also, it is recommended that you carry a cell phone, and include this on your release at sign in. We will use these if you go missing from an eta checkpoint.
  8. Pre race meeting will also be held in the Platinum B suite at 11 am. Bikers, you will then have about 45 min afterwards to get ready. All foot racers (ski, run) will be transported to the “Heritage Trail” Dyersville Trailhead where they will also start at 12:00 noon.
  9. Race will start at 12 Noon sharp. For the bikers in the parking ramp of the Grand River Center (across the street) from the resort and connected with a sky walk. Runners and Skiers at the respective Trailheads.
  10. No outside help from anyone except other racers. This means that there are no support crews of any kind. If you take a ride, you are forfeiting your right to finish the race and you must contact race officials to notify us when/where you are dropping out of the race. However, participants are encouraged to help each other. The buddy system is a good way to do this race.
  11. Any combination of forward motion is allowed (i.e., skiers can run, runners can snow shoe, bikers can push, etc.). No towing/pushing other racers, you can assist them but not in the forward direction.
  12. No littering (and no stashes). This should be obvious but it is so important to us that we thought we should put it in the rules. Leave no trace. Make use of sanitation facilities provided along the trail (there are a couple of restrooms on Heritage trail and at Dyersville. Bring your own t.p. just incase.
  13. If you leave the race course for some reason, you must re-enter the course exactly where you left it or notify race officials that you are dropping out as soon as is feasible. Short-cutting the course is not allowed and may be grounds for disqualification, at the discretion of the Race Director.
  14. Stop at all intersections and obey traffic laws.
  15. The course will be marked and maps will be provided (compass is recommended, GPS and cycling computers are also allowed - but temperatures may prevent them from working).
  16. There will be no cut off time! This race is about finishing! However, we will have sag available. It is recommended that everyone have two lights: a. white head light, b. red flashing tail light (even foot category racers).
  17. Stay safe, stay warm, warn other trail users when passing, etc…
  18. Awards & cash will be given for first place in each category (categories TBD, but they will be something like [Male/Female], [Bike/Tandem/Ski/Foot], [Ultra Distance/Short] etc. ).
  19. Awards will take place at 10 PM on the 19th (same room)
  20. Cash: Numbered tickets will be given to all starters. Additional tickets will be issued to finishers. The better you finish the more tickets. We will then give away all race profits lottery style. Exactly the same as the Colesburg 40 Gravel Race. I estimate based on the number of “Yes” replies that I received that we will have about $600 to work with. However this could be much higher if you pass the word… race expenses will be kept to an absolute minimum, no profits to anybody (expenses include: event room, insurance, trail access fees, shuttle, sag, course markings, 6 pack of beer for the race director)

Send $40 per person to:
Triple D c/o
Lance Andre
1735 Eden Lane
Dubuque, Iowa 52001-4027
Must be received by Jan 9th, roster will be updated daily.

Race Director Contact Information:
(563) 543-2784
(800) 678-6565 ext 3166 (9-5 m-f)
Race updates at:

Hotel information:
Grand Harbor Resort & Water Park
When reserving rooms: “Group rate for Dubuque to Dyersville Survival Race”
$129 per night, Includes:
Occupancy = 4 (Extra Occupancy & extra water park pass = $15)
Four Water Park Passes for two days
King Suite (includes pullout sleeper) or Two Doubles
Morning Buffet, microwave, refrigerator, etc.
350 Bell Street
Dubuque, IA 52001
563-690-4000 (in the Dubuque area)
866-690-4006 (toll free)

SNOW!!! Well, more like ICE!!!

What a night of riding (last night)! Three hours of all off-road trail riding at +12F with a 25+ MPH winds, and an average riding speed of 16.5 MPH! yup, at that speed I’d finish Arrowhead in under 9 hours! However, I do have to admit that I wasn’t carrying 35+ lbs of gear and the 2-3" of snow had formed a near concrete crust from the warm temperatures earlier in the day. The Nokkian studded tires create such an aura of confidence when I ride them and even on the step downhill’s with iced over rims (riding my wife's ice bike, no disks) I wasn’t even worried about sliding out. They are the best ice tire! Yes, expensive, but so much better than the home made ones.

You'll notice by the picture that my tire tracks are barely even noticeable. If this were the trail conditions for the upcoming winter race here in Dubuque the finish time would be about 3.5 hours... but I’m sure Mother Nature wont let that happen.

Saturday, December 1, 2007


An email from Mark Wyatt at the Iowa Bicycle Coaliation:
Good news, good news and bad news.First of all the bad news. We have 402 paid Share the Road licenseplate applications. This is 98 short of our goal of 500 plates. Thegood news is I know many people put them in the mail on Friday orSaturday, so we still may have a chance. The final good news is we can still take plate applications until wehit the 500 mark and beyond. We have an extension since we are soclose. This is a second chance - so let's finish it up and get theplates on the road.Mark WyattIowa Bicycle CoalitionGet your plate application at
I have TWO reserved and paid for! what about YOU?

Winter Race Anybody?

I'm contemplating hosting a ~60 mile winter race (from Dubuque Iowa to Dyersville and back) on January 12th or 19th.

The race headquarters would be the Dubuque Grand Harbor Casino / Indoor Water Park & Resort (great to bring the family and let them enjoy the “fun life” while we experiment with the “tortuous life”. This is also a great place to warm up at after the race (super sized hot tub party afterwards). The Grand Harbor has extended a great group discount for us. For those who do not plan on brining the family, room sharing can be organized as well.

The race course would be mostly pancake flat with about 5 miles of Dubuque style hills at the start and finish. The race would be 95% off road on groomed & packed trails (four wheeler, & heritage trail – rails to trails system). I ride this system of trials routinely for my TransIowa and Arrowhead training and estimate finish times between 5 to 10 hours depending on trail conditions and how often you stop to enjoy the scenery. If the trail conditions are awful, alternate segments of level b and gravel roads would be substituted to keep finishing times under 12 hours and keep the race "fun".

Race entry fee would be kept to a minimum about $40 (cover expenses and fund the lottery payout to finishers – identical to what I do at the Colesburg 40 gravel race every labor day, the better you finish the more chances you get for the $). The race will be no outside support (racers can support other racers). The turn around point in Dyersville will offer all the amenities needed for the return trip. There will be sag & emergency assistance support via cell phone.

If you’re interested in participating in this crazy winter bike race please send me an email with the first line being something like “ABSOLUTLY”, or “MAYBE”. Please don’t email “ARE YOU CRAZY” and “NO #&@*’N WAY”.

Note: If there is interest in a foot category I will create this also (foot category, includes: runners & skiers or both).

Friday, November 30, 2007

Its colder, but still no snow...

Ok, its getting colder here so that's good, but nowhere near what International Falls is getting. I can find a little ice on the Level'B's but its bone dry, no snow. I've resorted to riding on the grass to simulate the drag of deep snow. Its better than nothing. If doesn’t finish my snow bike by tonight, I think I drive over and put it together myself. getting tired of having to adjust the wife’s bike every time one of us wants to ride (everyday).
I rode for about 3 hours at 17d F with my typical winter riding gear. And while its cold by some peoples standard, I was still warm and sweating with just tights, fleece top & winter jersey.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Old Tandem For Sale...

We are listing our old Trek 1000 tandem "frame" on eBay. It’s just the frame with some extra parts thrown in to sweeten the deal. The pictures are of it built up as a cycle cross tandem (it was fast) but just did not have the clearance for the big rubber that’s needed to race Cheq40 (it's a road frame, and is best used as one)... It is the lightest yet stiffest tandem frame I’ve ever ridden. There are two paint defects (1. scratch on the top tube [didn’t get my leg high enough on a dismount, and hit it with my shoe] 2. scratch on the left rear triangle. The frame holds 5 bottles, has disk brake and standard rim peg mounts. Size is Medium Small, but can easily fit two Medium people. Will let it go for $650.

Below is what we replaced it with...

Trail Running

I've added a little cross training to my schedule this year (based on research of Arrowhead, and my past experience with TransIowa 2006, both having numerous sections which could be labeled "death marches". Last night was a 2 hour trail run and today much unlike last weeks 2 hour run (first run in 6 months) i can actually walk without much pain!.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Trek STP400 - Bike Hall of Fame

There is always that bike that now mater how much you spend on a new one you still enjoy riding the "Old Bike". My wife’s STP400 is one of them... originally purchased by me many years ago, it’s the bike that every time I get on it I just love riding it forever!

During last years 24 Hour Mountain Bike Nations I had brought her bike as simply a “backup” incase my 9.8 had a major mech. Well, after 3 hours of getting severely abused by this brutal hard tail (even equipped with a Thudbuster LT), it was drop from the race or ride the "slower softtail"... the time on the next two laps spoke for themselves as my time was nearly identical as my first fresh lap! For the rest of the race and event (even through thunderstorms), I rode on…

While there may be some small design defects (tracks a bit loose in corners), it is by far the best epic riding bike I've ridden! It has the incredible ability to almost completely remove the gravel and snowmobile treed vibrations from the hands, feet and ass, allowing one to just ride and ride…

SNOW - Its time to start riding!

Wednesday night we got a little over 2" of the good white stuff. But it was late after 10 PM, and Thursday (Thanksgiving) we were going up to La Crosse, WI for (where they have no snow). So what to do? Well Epic bike ride of course!

I had put the studded snow tires on the wife’s Trek STP400, and with mine still at the shop - hers was the obvious selection. My ride started with about 2 miles of city streets to get me to my first reward of 10 miles 4-wheeler trails (picture was typical of these trails). I road the 4-wheeler trails to Dubuque counties Heritage Trail (a rails to trails system). Heritage trail was smooth going as its protected from the 20 MPH wind gusts and the maximum grade is somewhere around 1-2 %. I rod this trail for a good 2+ hours, after which I returned to Dubuque via one of the best Level-B roads in the state (a 1 mile exposed bedrock climb with grades approaching 10% at the top). Once back to Dubuque I rode a couple remaining 4-wheeler trails to within about two miles of home. Had no idea how long I had been out (no watch), I knew it was late as there weren’t even drunks on the road. I didn’t know how hard I had road (no HRM), but I was tired and getting cold. But what I did know was that I was looking forward to more snow riding!

The ride ended at 3 am with about 4.5 hours of fantastic “early season” riding...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

TransIowa & Arrowhead here I come! - First snow of the Year

My entries have been accepted at both events, and oh boy... what a list of names at both of these events! The rosters are a who's who in ultra mountain bike racing. Looks like I’ll need to hit the freshly snow covered trails for some good training… and lower my expectations of winning either of these too events. OK top 10 is still respectable with this crowd.

We've just gotten our first snow of the year!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Race Entry Status (Arrowhead 135 & TransIowa)

Well last week I sent in my registration for Arrowhead 135, and today I sent in my post card for TransIowa.

Guess I’m committed to anther year of ultra racing (if I make the entry list for these events).

In addition, to my normal winter riding schedule, I’ll be working on building a new racing bike for both of these races. I'll be soliciting some of you for ideas on what makes the best (read fastest & most reliable) snow bike... my goals this winter riding season are:
  1. Build a fast sub 30 lbs ultimate winter bike
  2. Finish (and win) Arrowhead 135
  3. Finish (and win) TransIowa (I rode the year we had 30+ mph headwinds, rain, sleet, unimaginable mud). Joe Frost and Jeff Spahn shamed me into giving it another shot.
2006 was a disappointing year for me when it comes to Ultra racing (between the mandatory time cutoff at TransIowa (was tied for second at 12 hours), and my support crew letting me sleep for 6 hours at the 24 hour US Nationals @ 9 Mile – was supposed to be 30 minutes)… Although that extra training did pay off, the week before TransIowa I smoked the field at the USCF Eagle Point Crit (first place always sooths the sole) and the wife and I podiummed (2nd) for the first time at the beloved Cheq 40 on a fixie tandem! So not all was bad.

2007 was a rest year for the most part, rode a number of my usual shorter events:
  • Colesburg 40 Gravel (2nd place overall with my wife on our new custom-built 29” Vicious tandem – such a sweet ride!)
  • Cheq40 (2nd place mixed tandem with my wife – second year in a row and 10+ minutes faster on our new monster)
  • Ore2Shore (Major mechanicals & flats but still pulled off a 4th place class finish)
  • Blockhouse Roll (never a good event for me, but I stuck it out and raced the expert class)