Wednesday, December 05, 2012

25lbs and Fat

This years fatty bike is now fully assemble and Charly Tri asked me to post an update AND include weight (cause might bike is lighter), so here goes.

It started with a Large Beargrease frameset.  They have short top tubes so I had to go w/ almost no standover on the large to get a bike that fit right with respect to reach.   I don't particularly like sky blue, but luckily acetone removes the decals (and I have no obligations to Salsa).  I still have a couple left to wipe off.  I added back some color w/ reflective tape.
The components are a mix of XX and XTR.  The cockpit is pure Bontrager sweetness to match my summer ride.
The two exciting build points are the wheels and front half of the drivetrain.  The front half is loaded w/ e13:  XCX cranks with 1 32 tooth ring (these are the best and lightest out there hands down) and XCX chain keeper (I use 'em in the summer and they keep the chain on, always!).  I figure if I can't pedal through something in the 32-36, I might as well walk.   The wheels are Freewheel specials from Tyson made with the new Hope snow bike hubs, DT swiss spokes, and Large Marge Lite rims.  I didn't weigh the wheels, but they have to be some of the lightest out there.

Oh, and the weight?  25.9 lbs w/ pedals, bottle cage, and the new UL Nates tires mounted.  It should be about 25.5 lbs with an escalator in the rear.  This is at least 5 pounds lighter than Charly's bike.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

This will be fun!

If you are looking for something fun to do next Saturday, come join us!

There will be no shortage of fun stuff to try, great deals, advice on winter riding, and later on some beer and fire jumping =)

Monday, November 05, 2012

For Sale: My 18.5" Top Fuel 9.9 - $4100

It is that time of year when it is time to pass on a sweet bike at an amazing deal.  FYI-  My bikes usually don't stick around long when I put them on the block..  The MSRP is ~$9000 so this is a fantastic deal...I am just trying to pass on some of the love.
Here is a pic of the bike in action. I will try to post another bike only picture tonite.
Photo from Todd Bauer's MNMBS gallery

The bike my Trek Top Fuel 9.9 - 18.5".
  • Note that the frame was new as of September and only has ~ a dozen rides on it.  
  • The bike is as I raced it was ~20lbs (1x10, Easton wheels, racy tires).  I have some flexibility w/ parts but was planning to sell it 2x10 with Bontrager xxx DT wheels (see below) which would put it closer to 21.5 lbs.
  • As a bonus, I will throw in a brand new set of XR0 race tires so you will be set to go next race season!

The bike is stock except:
  • Upgraded wheels aerolite spoke and DT Swiss 190 rear hub and DT240 front hub - note that if you move quickly and want them, I will do and even swap for the Easton EC 90 wheels in my previous post
  • Rhythm stem - it is stiffer and better
  • Rock Shox SID World Cup fork- upgraded from Fox RL stock fork
  • I also have a 1x10 option that we could talk about if you are interested (vs Stock 2x10).  It is currently 1x10 and would include the 1x10 chain keeper for a small fee
Contact me at if interested.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

FS: Easton EC90 XC 26" Wheelset

Beautiful, stiff, 1300 grams, tubeless, total use 1 season.

These wheels spin true and have very few cosmetic scratches.  They were never raced or ridden in mud (these were for dry conditions racing).  MSRP is 2500 but they can be yours for $900.  The only maintenance required is that the rear bearings will need to be replaced some time next spring.  FYI - I replace the rear bearings on all my rear wheels at least once a year.  This is inexpensive to do (probably $25 or so if you order them up).
I will include axel conversion kits for 9mm to 15qr front and 10mm to 12mm rear (so the can go on any bike w/ a simple end cap conversion).  They are currently set up with a 15qr front and standard 10mm rear because they were used on my Top Fuel.
Note that the rotors and tires pictured are not included.
email me if you are interested:

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Trek Demos At Lebannon Hills

Come on out and try the new stuff this weekend:
The list of bikes that will be there:
Domane 6.2                        50 – 62 & 47
WSDMadone 6.2 H2          50 – 62
Cali                                     15
Lush Carbon                       16.5
Superfly 100 Elite SL        15.5 – 19
Fuel EX 9.8                        17.5 – 19.5
Rumblefish AL Pro           15.5 – 21
Remedy 9.8                        17.5 & 18.5
Slash 9                                18.5
Stache 8                              17.5 – 21  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Component upgrade considerations...

After a long season, I am going to be posting a few of my equipment findings.  Call them long term reviews after a thorough beat down of over 30 races.
One of my favorite bike component additions this year has been the E13 XCX chainguide.  Ask yourself, "Self, when was the last time I shifted my front derrailleur here in the Midwest?"  My answer to this question would be over a year ago!  I have ridden the MRP chain keeper and still had trouble with it bending and not keeping my chain on.  However, this is not the case w/ the E13.  It is SO solid and easy to adjust...I set it up at the beginning of the year and haven't touched it since.  I also haven't dropped a chain all year even on the roughest of decents including the DH race at Mont Du Lac!  Anyway, I will be putting one of these on my snow bike (the direct mount one is awesome too), and all my bikes next year.
So, do yourself a favor and drop 1/2 lb of your bike the cheap way.  Take that front shifter, front derr, and those extra chainrings off.  Put one of these babies on!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

For Sale - Fork and Wheels

For sale are a wheelset and fork to convert your 26" bike to 15QR. 15QR drastically stiffens up the steering of the bike.

Fork - Brand new, never used (taken of a stock bike) 15QR Fox Fit RL with remote lockout and Kashima coating. The steer tube IS tapered (1.5" lower bearing). The steer tube is 8.5" long.

Wheels - RXXXL Bontrager Carbon wheels. The front is 15QR and the rear is standard quick release (135x10). The wheels have seen light use mostly on the road. I estimate at 1/4 of a season total use because I have 2 other carbon wheelsets for the bike that I race and mountain bike on.

If you have top fuel or other tapered head tube bike from a previous year running the front 9mm QR, this is a worthy upgrade! I am asking $1000 which is a great deal, but I don't have a use for them and just want them to go.

email me at with questions.

Monday, September 17, 2012


Chequamegon was partly successful this year in that I didn't go down like I did last time, but my result stunk!  Someone almost took me down by grinding their front wheel against my shoe and pedal (before we even hit 77!).   I am not sure what they were doing but I was going straight.
I started in a fine position near the front, but by the time we hit Rosie's I was probably 100th due to my caution after the little wheel grinding incident.  I passed ~60 people in Rosie's and was in a very long line but was way to far back in the front group.  At some point there was a split and that was all she wrote... the rest of the race I plotted along in a group until Fire Tower, passed most of them there, and rode the last 10 miles solo.
Me at the top of Firetower Hill not happy w/ how the day was going...although, that climb is definitely the most entertaining part of the course that is left.

I had a inkling that it wasn't going to be a good day, as my legs have felt pretty hollow since that stretch of racing that ended in Maplelag.  When I say hollow, I mean I just can't seem to access the high end power and intensity.  For the most part I have avoided a "bad race" this year until now, so I guess I was due=)  Either way, the weather, the scene at the finish, the Freewheel party (thanks guys!!!) and test riding a new Superfly 100 on the Ojibawa trail behind Telemark lodge all made it worth the trip. 

A couple hours after the race I took my dad out on the Makwa trail for a while...he loved it.  I could not come to the Hayward/Cable area and miss out on the sweet mountain biking!  Late afternoon we settled in on a deck of our family friends beautiful lake home and enjoyed bacon wrapped fillet medallions with a couple adult beverages.  That took some of the sting out of my poor result.  

I may do a couple more races if the weather is nice, but my body, family, and brain are telling me to just ride and get that snow bike built!


P.S.  Come on Lifetime, this is not cool:  “Our thought was, like him or not, doping or not, allegations or allegories..."
Doping of any kind, legal supplement or not, - HGH, EPO, testosterone, etc - is NOT ok at any level of any race and you should honor any USADA sanctions.  I am not for or against any one rider, but a clean race and level playing field should be paramount for any race organizer or promoter.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Slice of Heaven in MN...

Just a heads up...lots of links to great media in this post, but if a picture is worth 1000 words, mathematically a moving picture has to be at least 24x that.

Maplelag, which hosted the 9th round of the the MNMBS, is one of my family and I's favorite weekends of the year...mtbk related or otherwise.  Maplelag Resort is a little slice of Heaven perched on a little lake north of Detroit Lakes, MN, and it happens to have some of the best singletrack, maybe the best for those of us that like the tough stuff, in the Midwest.
The weekend's racing schedule is not just about an XC race though.  It is a complete stage race w/ time trial (TT), short track (STXC), and XC.  The winner is based on all the times added together.  Oh, and you can't forget about the kids race! Tegan rocked it runing 14 psi rear 12 psi front;)

We should all smile this big when we finish a race! has all kinds of pics and all the results, but here is my recap

TT:  This is the most painful 10 min of my year...every year.  It is a 3 mile course that is ~75% ski trail and 25% singletrack.  For whatever reason I prize this race the most...the race of truth as TT's are often called.  This year it wasn't a cool morning which suits me well, and it helped me to set a new course record of 9:28.  TJ Woodruff, a very strong Pro from Wisco/Tuscon/Boulder (depends on the time of year=) was ~15 seconds back.  I knew TJ was going to be tough all weekend.
STXC:  This is like a dirt crit on a course that was ~2 min per lap.  The first few laps saw little separation and lots of positioning.  Then a few of us stirred things up getting it down to 5 in the lead group including Scotty KJ, Mason Basco, Paul Hanson, and TJ.  Near the end, I decided to get on the front and just pull the last 4 laps.  Well my non-tactical approach to a tactical form of racing almost worked out (got it down to TJ and I) but TJ went around me the last lap for the win.  I was a couple seconds back.  Video recap here.
XC:  The course is long at 10 miles or so, and I much prefer 2 long tough laps over a bunch of short ones (as I think most racers do).  I am not joking when I say it is tough, and the dry conditions made some spots even more difficult.  Soon after I passed TJ at the beginning of the race, he fell victim to a race ending mechanical.  I kept on it and ended the lap with a large gap of nearly 4 minutes.  I found out about TJs misfortune (had no idea before that) about 1/4 of the way through the second lap and eased up a little, but just a little.  I expanded that to over 5 min by the end of the race.  I was COMPLETELY blown after the race...well until I got some dinner and a beer!  The weekend had included 3 race starts, 2 TT efforts (end of the STXC was like a TT), and finished out a 8 race in 15 day stretch for me.  That is probably my most intensive stretch of racing ever. Video recap of Sunday here.
While I was really happy to win the stage race again, I still had a significant, maybe most difficult, challenge to overcome.  After seeing tempting video of the lakeside jumps on Jay's blog I just HAD to do it, but I was quite nervous.  That said, what kind of stage race winner would I be if I wussed out on the famous lake jump?  While I wasn't nearly as impressive as Jake or Jon Richards... I did it, twice!  Video and picture proof:

With my tasks complete, we finished the night w/ a complimentary keg of Fat Tire and a bonfire by the lake.  You really cannot beat this weekend for fun IMO.  Try it next year if you like relaxing, family, great food, and mountain biking.  No, you don't have to be a crazy racer, and they have trails to suit everyone.

Next up will be that big gravel and XC ski trail race in the north woods.  I haven't been there in a while but figured I should give it another go.  The course does not suit me, but it will be good to see all the Wisco boys again.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Du Lac Weekend

My weekend recap can be found here.  I was bummed miss the WORS race but had a blast in Duluth:
As I mention in the report, there is no more challenging, equitable, and safer way to start an XC race (profile of the Du Lac start):

Next up is a Murphy TT and maybe the Murphy Menace 50.  It is a lot of racing at the same place, but it is hard to turn down a 5 mile drive to a fun race w/ great people!  After that, the following weekend is my families favorite race weekend of the summer, Laddies Loppet up at Maplelag.  I am looking forward to some hot stage racing action with all the fast guys! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vaca, Rhino, TT, and Border

So catching up, I was on Vaca, then doing the Rhino Rally, then a Murphy Hanrehan TT, finally the Border Crossing (MNMBS#7).
Vacation was a vacation in my eyes but it might be closer to a nightmare for some.  I started the 8 day break with a 6.5 hour epic on the Chequamegon trail network, hit up Cayuna a couple times (my family rented a big house to share up in Cross Lake for a week), a century on my mountain bike with my brothers that took just over 5 hours (ouch!), and I finished it with the 5 hour Rhino Rally Cancer Benefit race at Murphy Hanrehan.  That put me at something like 23 hours of riding in 8 days.  I was fried and in a big time hole... by accident.  There was certainly no reason to bike that much this time of year...other than I was on vacation=)
As a side note, I had ALL kinds of good reasons to be at the Rhino Rally and for those that missed it, you missed a great low key even that supports a great cause and was followed by free Surly Beer and grill goodies!  Come next year.  You won't be disappointed.

I raced the Murphy TT (back at Murphy again!) on Wednesday down a gear still but had a great time chilling w/ the Freewheel gang.  If finished in just over 40 min with some additional beginner trail having been added.  My goal will be to break 40 min this year!  BTW,the beginner trail at Murphy is ridiculous (not in a good way) and was the only downer on the night.
I tried to rest but did not have much success between commuting, kids/trampoline, lawn, etc the next few days.
I finally was able to lay low and even got a short nap on Saturday before MNMBS number 7.  I felt a little better on Sunday, but my legs still had the "I need rest" ache.  However, the Border Crossing course at River Falls is one of the best in the series.  Even lacking a little leg snap, the single track there is so ROCK'N it makes you forget you are suffering.  I gave it a go on my own from the start so I could get a clean look at the singletrack.  I never looked back....I was having too much fun!  Thanks to Nick, Bob, and the KORC gang for a great venue and race.
Border Crossing Photo from Todd Schaefer

I will continue to recover this week with only 3 races planned=)  I will be doing the Murphy TT again.  Tegan is looking to break his U6 record from last week, and I want to try to go sub 40 min.  This weekend, I am completely torn on what to do.  I really want to do the Mont Du Lac Super D + XC + camping.  That just sounds like an absolute blast.  I also want to test myself against the nations best over at the National in Wisconsin Saturday then Du Lac XC Sunday.  We will see, but I am leaning towards just Du Lac to reduce the weekend driving from 14 hours to 5 hours.  Time off and weekends are precious!!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Stuff FS

Some stuff for sale:
2012 9Zero7 - 135 offset rear size Medium with SRAM XX and Snowpack fork; 27 lbs!!; tires negotiable (I have several types); MSRP ~$4800 - $2200
2011 Trek Remedy 9.7 18.5" - 1x10 w/ SRAM XX and XX brakes. Stock wheels and suspension. Barely a scratch on it; 24-26lbs depending on tires; msrp w/ Sram stuff $5000 - $2400

2011 Trek Madone 6.9 ssl 54cm - Stock, 14.5 lbs, not a scratch on it; $8700 msrp - $4200

Bontrager 26" XXX lite carbon wheels - new this year. Use almost exclusively on the road; includes tubeless strips and valves - $800

This stuff is all very well cared for and I am asking less than the going rate for the same gear in this condition on ebay.

contact me at if interested or with questions.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


You can find my race recap on

Equipment:  I am officially crazy about my new Rock Shox Monarch RT3 rear shock.  The Shimano Shadow Plus rear derr continues to impress as well.  Also, I will be trying a hardtail solution again (in addition to dually) this fall and into next year.  This looks sweet, but bigger things might be coming out in a few weeks.

Next up is vacation.  I am bummed to be missing Elk River, but this will be a much needed break after 20 races so far this year...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Run, Run, Run Away Baby

My family and I headed up to Duluth early Sunday for the MNMBS race at Lester Park.  Casey has never been a good traveler, and this trip was no exception.  Jen, Tegan and I were serenaded with crying, some screaming, and whining... until Jen put on the right hip-hop song.  I think it is called “Run Away Baby,” although that type of music is WAY out of my wheelhouse.  That said, a course like Lester is right in my wheelhouse…
The course at Lester is rocky, rooty, and punchy.  Simply put, Lester park is another classic Duluth-style trail that requires a lot more than just a motor to do well.  At the start, Jesse set a hard but not too hard pace up the couple mile gradual grassy ski trail climb (only done on the first lap). Jesse, Scotty, and I knew what was coming in the woods and everyone else in the lead group of 6 or so must have too, because as soon as  the trail hit the woods it got very punchy and it is easy to go POP …something like 5-10s full on then 5-10s handling/down for the next ½ lap.  I jumped ahead of Jesse as did Scotty KJ when we entered the singletrack.  As I mentioned, this kind of track suits me well, and I thoroughly enjoy trying to go fast when 2 wheel slides, up hill sprinting, and bike flicking are part of the game.  I never looked back and had ~3 min going into the final lap.  Disappointingly, I did suffer some slight cramping for the first time this year, but downing most of my Gu Roctane bottle fixed that in about 1 minute (that drink mix has magical powers…my brother and wife have experienced it as well on hard rides/races).   I slowed it down on the uphills the last lap and finished with that same 3 min on Jesse who picked up his pace and put a gap on Scotty KJ.  I am pretty sure my dehydration was a buildup of nearly 4 days of constantly fighting 95 degree temps with mid 70’s dew points….and not resting, as Ben was in town=)
Equipment: I am totally sold on the new XR1 up front and XR0 in the rear for racing.  I would throw the XR1 on the rear in dustier or slightly moist conditions.   I also finally got a Monarch RT3 rear shock to match my SID fork… I haven’t had it long enough to do an honest review, but initial impressions are great.
Sunday night we stayed down on Canal Park in Duluth.  We had a nice relaxing evening throwing rocks in the lake (one of our smaller household members’ favorite past times).  Monday, we hung out for a while before the limited sleep induced melt-downs started ;-)
Until next time (Buck Hill)….    

Monday, July 02, 2012

Some Equipment Notes

Without much other than Buck Hill for racing the past couple weeks (IMO the best way to stay fit or get fit are mid week races), I figured I should update on a few equipment things.
Oh, I should mention that I skipped my second planned gravel road race of the year (first being Ragnarok), Lutsen 99er.  After Red Wing I wasn't up for any more mud, and I guess I was not alone, as I don't see anyone that finished the Red Wing Elite race in the Lutsen results!

Ok, equipment:
1.  I got a hold of a new Shadow Plus Shimano Rear Derailleur.  The thing is ridiculously awesome.  Remember that debacle in Red Wing a couple weeks ago?  Yeah, I had no chain suck or shifting issues in that muck.  Besides keeping the drivetrain silent, it is a little known fact that the shadow plus eliminates chain suck!  All manf will be putting a clutch like this on the rear derr's in the near future...or they will be left behind.
2.  As things dry out (and get dusty), I am falling more in love with the Bontrager XR1 tire.  I have that on the front and a XR0 on the rear now.  I raced it at buck last week and am going to keep it that way for a while.
3.  For grips this year, I am doing 1 layer of bar tape over the ESI silicon grips.  This is holding its shape over time better than 2 layers of tape.  If you like a bigger soft grip, try this.
4.  The Rock Shox SID continues to impress me.  It is definitely the best fork I have ridden from a stiffness and adjustability perspective.  I don't have the remote version so I can simply set the platform to match my rear platform.  That way I can concentrate on pedaling during a race rather than messing around w/ lockouts.

In other news, I blew myself apart yesterday.  I like the heat, but it still takes it's toll when I can't convince myself to pedal slower....

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dear Weather Man

Dear Weather Man,
You told me Saturday night that the fathers day weather was going to be sunny with a few high level cirrus clouds.  How then did this happen:

I finished because I hate quitting more than I dislike dragging my bike sideways through sticky clay-filled mud because the wheels won't roll.  The results were screwed up last I checked, but I know Paul Hanson was second,Owen Thoelle third, Doug fourth, Jesse fifth.  I was told that I had the same gap at the end of the race that I had after 2 laps... I guess I need to work on my running and semi-slick tire mud skills!  Getting less frustrated would have helped too.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I HATE it when people cheat!!!

Unfortunately at the last MNMBS in Mankato a local rider in the elite class got caught receiving outside assistance AND cutting the course.  I am actually ok w/ minimal outside or other rider assistance like air or a tube even though it is technically not allowed.  However,  intentionally cutting the course is NOT ok under any circumstances.

Summary: After getting outside assistance to fix your broken chain, you rejoined the race, cut the course (multiple times probably given your placing), got caught doing it by one of my friends/racers, told that friend of mine were dropping out, then proceeded to finish.  We know who you are, we know you cheated, and you should not come back to any MNMBS events until next year.  If we (myself or any of the others 5-10 people that saw and know you cheated) see you at any future events, USA cycling, the MNMBS, and better yet the socal media mountain biking community will know your name...

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Racing, Racing, Racing

Thursday night:  Dadddy bike race, Tegan bike race, Wawa (Casey's nickname given by Tegan) bike race, Tegan running race.
Saturday: Mommy 5k race, Tegan 1/4 mile running race, Wawa/Mommy (mommy carrying Wawa) 1/4 mile running
Sunday: Daddy and Tegan bike race (MNMBS#2 Mt Kato and the "USA Cycling State Championship Race")


Sunday went well and the weather was perfecto.  The course was tacky and in great shape too.  I stand my claim that Mankota is one of the best pure race courses in the series (technical enough to keep me entertained, ample passing, hard climbs to separate things, and some of the best XC descending in the state).   Regarding the actual racing action, I followed wheels, Doug and Jesse's to be specific, for the first lap and then made my move.  From there I suffered up the climbs, passed a lot of lapped traffic (inherent in a 5 lap race), and smiled as I rocked the downhills.  Riding the Luge downhill is about as much fun as you can have on 2 wheels!  I rolled across the line for the win a few minutes ahead of Jesse who was followed by none other than Mr Hinkens.

Next up is Buck Hill (hopefully, need to find kid care) and a team Duathlon w/ Jen Sunday.  Also, Tegan starts Baseball "Rookie Camp" Saturday.  I am putting the head coach hat on for the Rookie Brewer's team=)  My passion growing up was baseball and I want to be sure Tegan is exposed to as many different activity options as possible (not just racing!).
Life will slow down soon right?

Buck Hill #1 for Tegan

Buck Hill #1 for Casey.  This was her first bike race and I think she may have been the only 2 year old racing...  I am surprised there aren't more in the 2 year old category ;)

What we race for..candy

Mixing running races in (after mom's 5k)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

30 degree drop...

The MNMBS (Minnesota Mountain Bike Series) kicked off Sunday with the Freewheel Frolic at Afton Alps.  Afton is physically the hardest race in the series now that we don't race at Spirit Mountain any more.  The 55 degrees (30 degree drop from the day before!) and drizzle made it even harder, especially for me.  It is no secret that I don't like cold weather racing because my legs just don't have the snap they do once it hits about 70.

The race started fast w/ a hard charging Doug Swanson taking the lead out.  Doug is flying this year, and LOVES cool weather racing (crazy???).  I was fine w/ him leading because my legs were cold and tight.  Doug proceeded to put a 20-30 second gap on me the first lap.  I had to let him go because while my cardio was under control, my legs continued to stay tight.  Finally things started loosening and warming up a little in the second lap.  By that point, I couldn't see anyone chasing behind us.  I caught Doug at the start of the 3rd lap and put a small charge in to gain a quick gap.  Then, I pushed solo through another round of drizzle in the last laps and pulled off the win by a couple minutes.  I have to admit that much of the race was a mental battle with me asking myself why I wasn't home laying on the couch watching the Stanley Cup playoffs, but how rewarding would that have been?

It was great to see our Freewheel team take 3 of the top 4 spots, and even better that the top 4 spots were all Daddies=)  For all you single racers or racers w/out kids, if you think fitting in riding/training/racing is tough now, just wait!

I want to thank Freewheel and all the volunteers for their work on pulling this even off.  It was first class, per the MNMBS norm, even given less than ideal conditions.

Pictures are from Jake at Freewheel.  Thanks Jake.  Also, thanks to Chris "I can out wheelie you" Ames for the handups.

Final equipment note/hint on the race:  7 of the first 8 tires across the line were Bontrager XR1, same as 29-1 (Jesse's front tire being the exception).  Trust me that we all have access to different brands of tires...

Next up?  Maplelag is between that and a family visit down to Madison.  Either way, I won't make Buck this week because Tegan is graduating from Pre-School.   Because I never graduated from pre-school, this is an important accomplishment for our family.  While Tegan and I proposed (after much plotting) forgoing the the graduation and attending Buck Hill instead, we were overruled by the Queen Bee (or Queen J)  ;)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Racing Continues

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So I did a couple more races this week.Buck Hill Thursday Night Worlds kicked off with 137 advanced mens starters.  That is as larger or larger than the comp and expert class combined for MNMBS and WORS races....awesome.  I kept the start at a manageable pace and continued to turn the screws for 50 min taking the win.  Pic at the left is from Jeff Gude of the race start.

Today I did the Elk River Spring Fling.  If you don't attend Richzilla's races up there, you are missing out on the essence of mountain bike racing ($10 entry fee that goes to the trails=).  I was a bit concerned w/ a heavy hitting field including my new teammate Doug Swanson and perrenial fast guys like Luke Nelson and Josh Tesch.  Doug led it out strong and let me by mid lap.  I was not under pressure and felt good even when I went aerobic once I got out front.  I wheeled home alone and got 2 loaves of bread for my prize...what better prize could one ask for - case and point: essence of mountain biking.

Ok, so more importantly and interestingly are some equipment things.  With Trek and the Freewheel Elite Team as Co-sponsors, I have the option to run pretty much anything I want outside of being lucky enough to be on a Trek bike again.  Some of the things below are sponsored  items, some are not.
Tires: Even with multiple options, the decision was easy to stick w/ Bontrager tires.  Today I ran the NEW XR1 (same as 29-1) up front and XR0 in the back because the corners were sandy and a few were slippery.  At Buck I ran double XR0s. The XR1 is a nice compliment and option to the XR0. It is just about as fast rolling, a little heavier, but better in the loose over hard pack stuff.  The XR0 is still the king of race tires, no question.  If you don't believe me, try them.  Bontrager guarantees there performance.
Bike: Top Fuel...this continues to be the best bike I have ridden.  Don't try it unless you want to buy one, because you will love it too much.  Trek Demo's are next weekend
Fork: The Top Fuel comes w/ a Fox fork but I have always preferred the dual air and platform (I DON'T do lockouts) of the Rock Shox SIDs.  So thanks to Rockshox, I swapped out the Fox for a SID. The new SID is stiff and 1/3 lb lighter.... so far, I love it.  I may try the Monarch rear shock...time will tell, but I am very picky about suspension.
Wheels:  EC90 XC again.  If you have extra money or are looking for an upgrade that will matter, these are it.  You will immediately feel the difference and realize the benefit.  THe 15QR this year has made an awesome wheelset even more ridiculously better.
Food:  GU.  Roctane.  Plus, the new Roctane drink has 240 calories per bottle!  This is great if you do endurance racing and hate battling to get that magic 350 kcal per hour down.  Also Stinger Waffles - when nothing else sounds good, these do.  The are my favorite bike food, but they are NOT good in short XC events.
Helmet: Bell Volt. They fit me well and never give me a head ache.
Pedals: Crank Brothers.  Kevin (Freewheel owner) and Tyson will attest to the fact that these are the best pedals around.
Bike shop: Freewheel.  They know their stuff.  I am an engineer, I know and understand the technical side of mtbking, as mentioned I am very picky (too picky if you ask Tyson -he puts up with me well as does Kevin), but they keep my on my toes and will get you rolling as FAST as your legs will let you.

More to come later on equipment.  If you are looking for an early season upgrade to enhance your results, look at wheels and tires. If you see me at a race and have questions on anything equipment wise, feel free to ask.

Next up, Mother's Day and gardening (Jen's choice!).

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

This is my trophy from winning the Sandwich 50.  My little sweetie Casey was quite pleased.

The exclusive race report is on skinnyski:

Result, pics, and partially truthful recollections of the race from Charly and Kuske can be found at the race blog:

I am in Longmont, CO now staring longingly out the window at the mountains while we discuss the finer points of disc drive design and manufacturing.  While this is difficult, I probably need the rest.
Next up will be some Buck Hill suffering and maybe an appearance at Elk River….

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Moving and the Rok

It has been a while since I visited my site here in on the interweb. I assure you though, this is for good reason. Since Moab I have put in some good long weeks on the bike and moved my family to boot! Yep, we moved from Savage to Prior Lake. So far we are really happy with the move and starting fresh w/ new construction has been nice. We are now on the south end of Prior Lake on a little lake called Lake Crystal. Jen has been posting plenty of inside pics on The Facebook, so I will just show this one of the outside. The driveway and sod should be here soon...
Our view from them master of the selling points for me was .7 acres on a lake w/ beautiful sunrises over the lake.
The other selling point for me was a 1900 sqft unfinished basement, a mancave and a half! I can actually ride my bikes and test things like suspension damping down there (in the part not pictured)...

Next, I could no longer ignore the gravel road ride/race craze, so I signed up for the Ragnarok 105 this year. I think Ragnarok and Almonzo are the two queen gravel road races. Anyway Ragnarok was supposed to be 105 miles of 95%+ gravel. These are a far different animal than mtbk riding or racing w/ bike handling being a non-factor and this thing called "tactics" coming in to play for those near the front.

As far as this year's event goes, the front group got the 95%+ of grave part right...we missed a little on the 105. You see, they give you directions at the start and then every 40 miles. It is up to the riders to navigate. This is easy if you are following, but harder if you are in the front. The lead group and many of the other riders took a 6.5 mile detour at about mile 10, which made people pedal harder. About 5 of us were together when we were the first to hit the first checkpoint together. We took our time going to the bathroom and refilling water so a few people joined us again. After we got going, every hill would shrink the group to 3 guys, but then we would have to stop on the downhill to make sure we didn't miss another turn. Finally at some point, Drew Wilson, Brandon Krawczyk, and I got our act together with directions and started planning ahead. Even with our planning, we still took another wrong turn adding more unnecessary miles (not sure how many)! Somehow we were still in the lead after correcting our mistake and were able to basically soft pedaled the last 20 miles with a hard ride up the last climb. Brandon followed my wheel and then nipped me at the line...I am told that these are called tactics.
Pic of the last climb...
We ended with 118 miles and 18mph average despite what the Rok website says (it's not their fault we can read directions!). We could have easily gone faster than 18mph avg with lots of soft pedaling at various times, but it was nice to chat w/ the guys and enjoy the BEAUTIFUL scenery. I think my favorite parts were all the minimum maintenance roads.

Having finished I understand why people like these gravel events. They are kind of a race in that some guys at the front ride faster (yet as I mentioned not super fast and lots of friendly riding), but they are much more friendly with 90%+ of the people seemingly just there for the ride. I think these events can be best described as gravel "Grand Fondos" (if you are familiar w/ the similar road ride craze going on).
My ride went fine, but my legs were never good. That said I never was under pressure to hang on. I pretty much trained through this one, and my last bike rest period was spent moving, so I am very much looking forward to a rest week this week!
Equipment wise, the Trek Cronus CX performed flawlessly and is a ridiculously awesome bike.... 17 lbs out of the box, super stiff yet vertically compliant. If you want a road bike but don't race, buy the Cronus CX instead and explore gravel too. It will server you very well in both applications with just a tire swap.

Finally, Thank you SO MUCH to the Ragnarok organizers and volunteers. That is one fantastic event you have going. We, the riders, appreciate all that you do!

Next up is the Sandwich 50 in Rochester a couple weeks from now. I am pumped to ride 50 miles of the tight and twisties again this year.


Friday, March 02, 2012

Still my favorite

Slickrock is still my favorite out here, as it is just the most novel and unique. The Trek Remedy rocked the downs, but sucked some serious watts on the ups. Yes, it is really that steep (those that have done it know exactly what I am talking about)... Now off to the Moab Brewery for dinner=)


at Amasa Back....I came out for work training, Particle College in Boulder (learning the physics of particle counting...quite entertaining), and after I finished I found myself on the other side of the mountains with my brother doing a more physical form of training.
Yesterday was the first time in a long time I have been scared on a bike as we explored "exposed technical single track", that is in Moab terms so off the charts for Midwest riding, coming down the side of the Colorado River valley (new singletrack down from Amasa Back). It was pretty amazing to say the least, and per my wifes request, I did walk the parts that looked life threatening=)

Monday, February 20, 2012


The best video yet capturing the Cold Bear and Fat Bike Fest vibe...

Also, the guys were there and did a write up:

Finally, I spent a bunch of time last weekend with boys from 9Zero7, Will, Jamie, and Bill. If you liked this years bikes, just WAIT until you see what they have for next year...think options. I will have details for you in few months.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Basketball shoes or Hockey Skates?

Studded tires or regular rubber... would you bring basketball shoes to a play in a hockey game? Given no hockey skates (studs), I was forced to try to compete on a single track skating rink with basketball shoes (Husker Du fat bike tires).
Just like the mashed potatoes incident a few years ago, Fat Bike Fest 2012 will not be forgotten. Fat bike racing at Hillside Park in Elk River seems to have a knack for creating memorable know the ones you won't forget not be cause of how you did, but how tough the conditions were.

You get the picture, 40% skatable ice, 40% slippery glazed snow (less slippery than ice though), 5% packed snow, 15% dirt...that is my estimate anyway. These conditions made for a pretty stressful day on the bike both mentally and physically. Physically, it was constantly being slid/whipped around, thrown to the ground, or putting down full power. Mentally It was either "steady, steady, find some grip, spin, slip, oh there is a little traction", "I am sliding backwards down this hill I wonder what I should do", or "I am on dirt, go FAST." The surprising thing is that Jeff Colbert (the namesake of the Elk River ColdBear racing series) and were not on studs, and we held the studded fat bike riders off. He was dealing w/ the ice better than I was, but there was just enough dirt for me to stay away for another Fat Bike Fest win. Rich and crew put on such a great show up in Elk River, and in combination w/ the 9Zero7 sponsorship of the race (free frame and fork give away), it is a must do on my calendar even in less than ideal conditions. Thanks to all the sponsor, volunteers, and especially, Rich!!!

While I love my 9Zero7, I think I am done racing my fat bike, maybe even riding it, unless we get some snow. It just isn't the same rolling 4" tires on pavement. Also, the frozen dirt is rough and the studded Remedy is ready to go. The Top Fuel for this year, well, Happy Valentines day to me...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Proper Winter Racing..

We finally had a winter race with proper snow and conditions that gave fat bikes an advantage.
I felt much better this week and certainly had more fun riding the single track at Murphy rather than those blasted hills! My new 9Zero7 hasn't been tested on snowy single track as much as I would like (no SNOW!), but it continues to impress me when the opportunity arrises. Sunday I felt right at home on her, just as I do on my Top Fuel in the summer.

All the details, results, and a pretty cool video here:

Next up? Who knows... I am taking hits from a group of men who refer to their brothers as sisters (and sisters as brothers?) on my skinny riding maybe I should forget trying to get fit and just work on my skillz ;)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Team and Murphilly

First, it is official that I will be riding for the Freewheel Elite Team this year with Trek and Bontragers as co-sponsors. I am excited to be a part of this team and have the support from Trek, as it is a combination that will provide me with everything I need to pedal hard.

On to some racing:
Remember the old Murphy Hanrehan course? Yeah, the one consisting of world class XC ski trials that only go up and down...almost never flat. Mr Hinkens and I took turns beating on each other Sunday at that course because the singletrack was still to icy. Jack and I agreed that it was the hardest we have gone since last fall, and he ended up besting me by 15 seconds or so I think. With a wipe out on a slippery rut and some time lost on the hills, I was down 30+ s after the first lap but pulled it back some in the last lap. While I think he had me either way, it was an interesting battle of different tire set ups with almost all else equal and both of us on beautiful 9Zero7s.

Jack's setup - Nate rear, Larry front, ~15 PSI min
My setup- Husker front and rear ~8-9 PSI.

The huskers roll better on really hard pack, which the trails were not Sunday at least on the first lap. The Huskers were much better on the second lap after the trail had been packed.
On the staircase steep climbs I was losing 5-10 seconds slipping the rear tire. Jack said he did not slip at all and climbed the hills like he had claws on his tires (technically he did w/ the Nate=).
Higher PSI, to a point, is advantageous as well for going fast because the tire casings don't comply/flex well in the cold, and the tire sidewall obviously flexes a lot less at higher PSI.

There will be more to come as we actually get to ride on snow in the coming weeks, but my initial takeaway is that unless it is very hard pack (nearly icy), the Nate will be a superior snow tire because you can run it at higher PSI and still have more grip.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cold Bear #1

"Snow" bike racing started last Sunday with only about 50% snow cover on the trail. That said I rode the 9Zero7 anyway along with ~35-40 other Fat Bikers. Additionally, there were 40 or so skinny tire riders braving the dirt, snow and ice trail up at Elk River (very little ice actually).

Regarding the race itself, I took it easy-ish (relative to summer XC racing) at the start to get the motor has been a long time since I did an XC race! Overall I felt strong through the whole race and did not overdo it, as there are a lot more races ahead (if I was unclear, I am not racing less this year, I am just planning to do some different types of racing).

Key takeaway: Rich and the Dirt/Snowwerx crew did a great job in making this an awesome event. If you didn't come, you missed out!

In other news, winter is hear.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Bimodal distribution?

I never would have thought that Tegan I would be riding dirt over Christmas break...

One afternoon during my nice long 10-day break from work I was discussing with my well educated weather guru of a Brother how the weather does not seem to follow Gaussian statistics. Hopefully he will look into it further and get back to us all, and maybe I just remember the weather oddities. However, last winter was a snowfest...a top 5 winter in snowfall amounts as I recall. I had to shovel my shoveled snow to make room for more shoveled snow. Spring was wet and cold. My feet nearly fell of at the Cable Classic. Summer was hot...super hot (awesome!). Fall was very warm and super dry, and Winter has followed Fall's lead.
This has all made for a interesting, sometimes difficult, and entertaining year of riding and racing. I counted and I toed 32 starting lines this year, almost all mtbk. That seems like a lot. A time will come, probably sooner rather than later, that I/we won't have time for that many.

2012 will hold some changes new challenges for me. What all those are is yet to be determined, but there is more than 1 endurance race on my radar and probably fewer XC races.

I don't know which Team I will be riding for yet in 2012 (down to two options), but in the near term at least there are 13 XC snow bike races to choose from in the Twin Cities area. I do know that I will be riding my 9Zero7 rocket of a snow bike for Freewheel/9Zero7 in those...that is, assuming we get some snow this winter!

Cheers and Happy New Year.