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)