Sunday, December 28, 2008

Terrific Day Skiing

Conditions at Elm Creek were better than expected! Thanks groomers!

Friday, December 26, 2008


I'm watching the warm weather destroy the perfect skiing conditions set up a week ago. Looking at the forecast, it's not going to get better in the foreseeable future. Well, it's not going to get me down. Today, I create my 2009 training plan, based largely on my 2008 plan. My main goals are to have a less embarrassing showing in my age group in the MNSCS series, and to reach my genetic potential in the Cheq' 40 (if I get in). I want to finish that beast in a time that I can never match again, no matter how hard I try. Side goals are to keep having fun, get on a team, eat well, and to keep kicking ass in fantasy football.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cool mayor!

Mayor R.T. posted a nice summary of the conditions on the city of lakes loppet trail. I noticed earlier in the year he posted an impessive time in the canoe leg of the tri loppet. What's next???

Winter Fun

We went up to Washburn this past weekend. We had a chance to ski Mt. Valhalla out in the National Forest. The snow was super deep and the groomers were not exactly keeping up. There was around a foot of snow on the grooming equipment. The five of us of very wide ranging abilities had tons of fun blazing a trail. Next time, I'd like to explore more of that same trail.

Back home, yesterday, I went out to Hyland Park Reserve in Bloomington. That was fun. I went alone and tried to keep a steady pace with my heart rate around 150. The trail was uncrowded between the main challet and the nature center. I even saw a few deer. I did the loop 4 times in a discouragingly long amount of time. The temperature was around 20 F, and I was using CH6 and blue extra.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The wait is almost over.

My man Skinny gots the snow Jones. Bad! I can tell you that I'm not far behind.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Nice Hike

This morning, I went with my wife for a hike at Hyland Park Reserve in west Bloomington. It was quiet and peaceful with some very light snow falling. We saw bluebirds galore - I have never seen one before. It was a nice way to start the day. There were some Nordic walkers out and about.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Fall Workout Routine

Monday: Gym
Tuesday: Racquetball
Wednesday: Try to put a slick tire on my back wheel to ride the trainer - fail, then drink beer
Thursday: Yoga
Friday: Nothing
Saturday: Cyclocross
Sunday: Hike, bike, ... , something outside

As you can imagine, I'm getting my ass kicked in cyclocross. It's way fun, though.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Red Barn CX Photos

It was a fine day for suffering. Here's some photos I took of the Category 3 Men's race. Thanks to the organizers for the hot dogs, pop, beer, and a fun race.

Monday, October 27, 2008

One More

Recumbent Biking : Speed Metal

It's my game, my rules, so there.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I had a chance to race cyclocross for the first time this weekend. It's actually more fun than I thought it would be. Running with your bike is still weird, though. I thought of some music analogies:

Road biking: Classic rock, but only Led Zepplin
Mountain biking: 80's Hip Hop
BMX: Punk / Crossover (Green Day, Offspring, etc.)
Trials: Punk / Underground
Track: Modern Jazz
Cyclocross: Marching Band (Carrying your instruments for no good reason)
Freeride: Adult Alternative
Bike Commuting: Techno/House

Monday, October 13, 2008

Karate Monkey

I had a chance to win a KM recently. It went to a better cause than me. Mine would be geared, with cement poured in the frame tubes, as heavy components as I can find, and a PowerTap. I want to feel the little, baby hills around here.

Wheel - Part II

I'm done rebuilding my Bontrager Rhythm Elite wheel off my HiFi 29". Finishing (truing and tensioning) the wheel was pretty easy. I screwed up the lacing a couple times - I forgot to mention that in the last post. I probably didn't need new spokes, but the nipples were toast. The finished wheel is pretty close, if not identical to the original. Seting both this wheel and its brother tubeless was a priority because: It's lighter (2 tubes = 1 lb.). It provides more traction because of lower pressure. You don't get flats as often (or never).

The tubeless setup was super easy to put together. I did it with just the Stan's yellow tape - no rim strip. It's holding air after 2 weeks. I wanted to make sure the spoke holes were protected enough, but I didn't want to build the shoulder of the rim up so much that the tire bead would not seat. Instead of adding a double or triple layer of tape, which would start to encroach on that space, I cut little squares of tape and ploped them right over the holes. After that, I went over all that with a continuous layer of tape. Before taping, I knocked of the burrs on the rim with some sandpaper. To summarize:

28 spokes, 2-cross lacing
Hub: Bontrager Rhythm Elite (DT Swiss 240?)
Rim: (new) Bontrager Rhythm Comp/Elite 29"
Spokes: (new) DT Swiss 2.0/1.8 X 286mm - Black
Nipples: (new) DT Swiss 2.0 X 12 mm - Silver
Tape: Stan's yellow tape 25 mm Flow
Sealant: Stan's, 2 scoops
Valve stem: Stan's Standard

I'm running around 25 psi in the tires, currently. It's surprising how much traction that gives you. Lovely!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Wheel - Part I

In the process of pumping a tire up too much, it blew off the rim. The rim was pretty far gone from the event, but I trued it up enough to ride the rest of the bike racing season. I fixed the wheel with a new rim and all new spokes. That's the first wheel I ever built. I didn't have any tools except a spoke wrench. I used my rear wheel dropouts to spin the wheel as I tightened the spokes and kept it true. My only regret is that I used a really light oil (3 in 1) to lubricate the spokes. There is special spoke prep on the market which would have been better. At least I have a wheel again.

I'm experimenting with a tubeless setup that I will explain in a later post. Almost time to get out the XC skis!

Monday, September 15, 2008

I need a new kit

This is what my race outfit has evolved into (thanks to skinnyski for the photo). Definitely not a candidate for the Ralph Loren mountain bike team.

Chequamegon 40

A summary of my ride:
I didn't get to sleep until 2:00 am on Friday. Saturday, it rained (actually, this didn't effect my speed, but it did f-up my chain), I cramped, my bike cramped, but I shaved 12 minutes off my time last year and beat my goal time of 3 hours with a 2:55. I'm pretty sure my theoretical limit is somewhere around 2:40 - I will shoot for that now.

For a great on-course report of the real race for the podium spots, look here.

Jesse LaLonde was too ill to defend his '07 win. I don't know him and I'm kind of a hater of the single speed thing, but my heart goes out to the guy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sneakin' in a Ride

I wasn't going to ride today. After an hour reading bike blogs on the 'net, I said screw it and decided to take a couple slow laps around Harriet. It's fun to tool around, hitting curbs and sticks on purpose, but going slow enough to get passed by senior citizens.

With a new chain, and softer grips, the bike feels smooth. I took the pressure in the tires down to 25 and they feel squishy up and down, but not side to side. They might need a couple more psi.

I like to get song going in my head for races. I'm brainstorming for Chequamegon:

Born to Run - The Boss
Move on Up - Curtis Mayfield
Galaxy 500 - Reverend Horton Heat
On a Plain - Nirvana
Ice ice baby - Noooo! Get out of my head!
Dancing queen - Crap!

That's the problem with a brain-based mp3 player.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Resting Up

It's four days until Chequamegon, and I'm nursing a big bruise on my leg. I rode pretty hard for 2.5 hours last Sunday and I must have connected with something on the trail.

Right now, I'm trying to rest, and eat healthy to be as fresh as possible for Saturday. Everything I see looks like a beer.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


This is my blog about bikes and stuff. I'm a sport category mountain bike racer and road racing fan. I hope to share my ideas about training, equipment, bike related current events, and whatever else.

I'm at the end of my 2nd season of racing. It's been fun, and not the least bit brutal. I used to associate distance sports with pain and nausea and a feeling that I hate what I've been working toward. This year, I've dialed back the intensity during races and it's made all the difference. Now, I'm focused on finishing in a good position, rather than going as fast as possible. When there's nobody around you with 200 yards to go, there's no reason to sprint for it. The fun in racing is the people. Without people, you are on the moon, measuring yourself against nobody. You can't apply strategy against nobody. You can't "win" (or "lose").

I have been riding an unconventional, but mostly effective bike in my races. There are elements of my setup that I feel give any mountain bike a boost. I used to be a disk brake hater (weight), but now, I'm a participator. I haven't quite learned to use them to full effect, but I'm getting there. Going tubelesss with your wheels/tires is a huge improvement over convention. Wheels have evolved to recently include the option of 29" wheels. You really need to ride the biggest wheels your height will allow. For 5'8" me, it's the 29". Full suspension is not a necessity for XC mountain bike racing in the midwest. However, that's what I'm using, cause it's more fun. With air shocks, a light aluminum/carbon fiber frame, and racing tires, my complete bike weighs in at 25 lb. It is way too good for me.