Sunday, December 29, 2013

Da'Fat Bike

I am really looking forward to pedaling hard on this beauty while making WOLF tracks through the woods!

Some highlights:
  • 9Zero7 Whiteout Frame.. all things considered, this is the best fat bike in the world.
  • Wolf Tooth Components Rings (and cogs) of various types for testing purposes (X9, e13, RF Next SL)
  • XTR Drivetrain and Brakes (yes Shimano Brakes in the cold)
  • Hed Yo Mamma Fat Bike rims

In speed mode, it is 23lbs or just a little under, with full fat traction as pictured it is 24.25 lbs.  Dang, I remember when my Pug had weighed 37lbs and we only  had Endomorph tires to ride on!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Fat bike time!

I will have a bit up on the fat bikes I am riding this year in the coming week.

However, if you are new to fat/winter biking or just a huge fan, go check this out today at Freewheel:

Friday, September 27, 2013

Catching up again...

I have not fallen off the face of the racing scene as one racer suggested to me last weekend at Chequamegon 100!  I finished out the season exactly how I wanted to with 2 really fun race weekends.=)  I also ended up with around 25 races on the year... right where I wanted to be.

After MDH100, I did a weekday off road time trial (at Murphy Hanrehan) and my time was the same as before MDH so I was pretty sure I avoided any detrimental effects from the heat. 

Next up was the Laddies Loppet stage race at Maplelag where I won all three races (Time Trail, Short Track, and XC all in a 2 day period for those not familiar with the race).  This further assured me that I indeed had quit at the right time out in MDH.  That said, the margin of victory was SLIM  in all three races to a very fast Jeff Hall.  He really pushed me up there and it showed in the XC time gap we had of around 7 minutes to 3rd place (and we had a sprint finish)!   It is great to see Jeff back at it and he confirmed his speed by finishing in the chase group at Chequamegon the next week.

The final goal of the season for me was to rock the Chequamegon 100, and I had plenty of MDH frustration to take out on the course!  This is 100 mile race on ALL the fun challenging trails up in the Chequamegon forest (80% singletrack or so).  The fastest finishing times in previous years was over 8 hours, so this is no gravel road race.   We lined up on a crisp morning and I gave it a go at the start riding off the front alone.  I ended up with a finishing time of 7:45 or so, about 30 min ahead of second place.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay for the festivities after because I had to head to China the next morning.

The Superfly 100 was piloted on both weekends and I continue to believe that is the fastest, best bikes out there for XC.  The Enve wheels also continue to blow me away with their stiffness and weight.  I actually have to adjust to how stiff they are relative to my other wheels!

Right now I am on a whirlwind tour of Asia.  I am to tired to write more other than to say racing the e-bikes each morning has still been entertaining (for me and them=)

Until next time....

Monday, August 19, 2013

Making the tough decisions...

First the good.  I think I still have some fast in my legs, as I finally broke 38 min at a Murphy TT.  That is the fastest it has ever been done and a good sign that my legs and high end are there even w/ the frequency of racing down. If you haven't been to a Murphy TT, come on out for a great time with free beer, pop and food after!

Now the not so good.  I DNF'd Maah Daah Hey 100 on Saturday after ~105 miles due to heat stroke sypmtoms that were getting bad (my race would have been ~113 miles given some "detours"....about 35-40 minutes total through the race is what Erik Tonkin and I figured).  Temperatures reach 105-110 on the trail and we had a 20mph headwind. 
I was in the lead comfortably riding w/ Kelly McGelky and Erik leaving checkpoint two (55 miles or so) when we took another 15-20 minute detour...the guy that was supposed to flag us onto the trail off a gravel road wasn't there ;(   My impetus left as we found out that the 4th member of our group, who had fallen off a little prior to the 2nd checkpoint, didn't miss the turn.  Erik and I soldiered on, dropped Kelly, and then got lost again for 5-10 minutes.  At this point, I just wanted to finish, and  I was more than a little frustrated.  After I lost that 25 minutes on Section 3 and sat up a bit, Kevin Ishaug caught up to me.  We rode together in the final miles to the 3rd checkpoint and beyond, and we were still on pace for a 10 hour finish.  About an hour after the 3rd checkpoint, I had the tell tail signs of heat stroke as did Kevin.  It sure felt hot, but I had no idea how hot it had really gotten...
I got to Interstate 94 and knew that there was 8 miles to go in the race and very few options to bail after that.  I laid down in a tunnel underneath the interstate to cool down a little, got up, tried to find cell service but couldn't, ended up riding down 94, almost convinced myself to turn around and get back on the trail, and finally did the smart thing and called for help.  My wonderful Father came and picked me up.  It was very strange having plenty of leg power but such debilitating cramping, dizziness, inability to focus my eyes, and near vomiting.  In the end, I think this decision save me from heat stroke (I think...haven't confirmed that but have felt ok since re-hydrating..if I did avoid heat stroke I am sure I was only minutes of riding away from it).  Kevin did finish but I had to have the race directors call an ambulance after because he could barely utter a word even sitting inside an air conditioned bar.  He ended up with heat stroke.

I got this from Mike Pfeiffers GPS (he finished strong and looked the best of anyone!)  On this chart, I dropped out at about the 10 hour mark.   My issues started at about the 9 hour mark.  OUCH!

About an hour after I got to the finish line w/ my dad, they called the race due to heat.  I think 8 racers or so out of 160 finished...crazy.

Will I go back?  Maybe.  Will I do it in heat like that?  No way.  I think that with lower temps, not getting lost, and a little different nutrition strategy, I can do it in near 9 hours.  This is the 3rd DNF I have ever had in 11 years of racing and only the 2nd non-mechanical DNF, so it is a little hard to take.  I am sad that I didn't finish, but glad I pulled the plug when I did.

Finally, Thank you DAD and TEGAN for your support!  You guys were phenomenal!!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

6+ At Wausau24

This past weekend Jen and I headed over to Wausau Nine Mile Forest sans kids (yes, JUST us!) to the race festival that is Wausau24.  They had 600+ total racers and probably 2-3x more of support staff and families...AWESOME!  I hadn't been to Wausau since 2008 when we won the 4 man 24 team National Championship, so needless to say, I had fond memories of racing Nine Mile.  I while I have done a bunch of team 24 hour racing in the past and have no desire to do that again anytime soon....those 3 am laps are NOT fun.  What took me to Wausau is the fact that I am really enjoying the new challenge of longer races this year and the 6 hour race was another opportunity to ride for a long time with a number on.

The course was just as fun as I remembered - rocky, rooty, twisty, and rough with sections of ski trail thrown in for a little relief here and there.  There were sections that I saw less than 25% of the people riding, so that is a good indicator of an awesome course (in my book!).
After a le mans style running start, I took off at only a moderately high pace for the first few minutes because it was COLD for July, it was a fast start on ski trail (making it colder), and it was a long race.  That said, I made it a point to passed everyone before the singletrack and then picked up the pace a bit.  I kept near an XC race pace going for about 90 minutes and ended up with the 2 fastest laps of the race.  The next few hours I felt fine and consistent.  After about 5 hours, I got passed by the team that won the 24 hour race (one of my goals was to lead the race for all 6 hours..bummer) so from there I just rode it out and took it pretty easy on the last lap finishing with 80 miles (8 laps) in 6 hours and 15 minutes.  I won by 22 min, so all in all not bad.  My legs never felt really good and snappy on Saturday, but I am confident that is because it never got above the mid 50s for temps (with drizzle no less).  My legs simply don't like the cold when it comes to harder efforts. 
I was pretty tired Sunday, but I am pretty sure that had more to do with the free Red Eye micro brewery beer at 11pm than the race;)  Did I mention that Jen and I had fun?

While I missed Afton on Sunday, I can't say that I MISSED Afton!  I have ridden enough laps there for several lifetimes=)

Finally on equipment: The Superfly100 still continues to impress me.  It is the fastest most capable and comfortable bike I have ever ridden.  Other than my legs, my body didn't hurt after the race and attribute some of that to the bike.  Given the rocky course I did run the tubeless ready (TLR) version of the Bontrager XR1 tire.  The TLR tires have about 100grams of extra sidewall and tread protection, which is worth it on rocky trails...especially long races on rocky trails.  The only other thing to report is that I rode nearly the entire race with my stand-bys of Gu Roctane drink mix and gu packets.   I say nearly because I did throw in 2 packs of peanut M&Ms to switch it up=)

Next up?  Who knows...Murphy TT's, Buck Hills, White Tail, Man-Weekend at Kevin Ishaug's is hard to tell at this point where I will be in the next week!
What I do know is that Maah Daah Hey 100 is in 3 weeks.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Rhino Rally

Because CANCER SUCKS some great people put together the Rhino Rally 5 hour race at Murphy Hanrehan to benefit families going through tough times.  Our family was there not long ago, and it is selfless people like these race organizers that are the true heros of this world.

I rode for my Nephew Andrew who died of an aggressive form of Sarcoma about 2 years ago.  I rode damn hard too because no pain in my legs could match what he toughed through for the last 3 months of his short life. 

7 laps, 70 miles of singletrack, in 4 hours and 40 minutes, close to my TT pace the entire time, with the first lap at 37 min...ALL for you buddy!  That is an entire lap more than last year in only 10 minutes more so you must have been pushing me harder=)

Monday, June 24, 2013


Racing this year in MN and WI has kind of been a bust with the weather =(  The weather has left us all monitoring the radar and twitter feeds daily for trail conditions (racing or just riding). 

Anyway, here is my early season update, well almost mid season now I guess:

1.  The Camba Epic was a great race. I had a great battle w/ some fast guys on sweet trails up there.  Gone are the days of double XC weekends so I missed MNMBS Mankato that weekend.  It just is not in the cards for me to pull doubles, as family time is too important to me.
2.  I had planned to do Cheq 100 this past weekend, but they postponed the race at the 11th hour.  We had a family get away planned at a cabin for the weekend and everything.  I was VERY disappointed but respect their decision.  Lets just say that I was prepared for this race.  I will definitely be there in Sept to give it a go.  Then Sunday, the day of the Red Wing MNMBS, was my wife Jen's birthday.  I am not going to try that one after all her patience w/ racin!  Plus, I have done enough muddy Red Wing races for a lifetime.
3.  I really want to do about 25 races this year (including 5-7 snow bike races).  I have done 35 mountain bike races per year for the past 5 years.  My family has been patient and enjoyed time doing this, but they no longer want to spend 2 out of 3 summer Sundays baking out in the hot sun.  I don't blame them.  That said, the kids still LOVE the shorter closer buck hill races=)
4.  Races like Cheq 100 and Maah Daah Hey 100, which I am also doing, are interesting and exciting to me because they are true mtbk races (not just mtbks on gravel).  After 10 year of only XC racing (yes, it is has been that long) it is time to try something different.  These longer mountain bike races also pair well with fewer races, as long races mean longer rides during the summer and more rest after the races.  I do still have interest in some grass roots gravel road racing, but NOT the corporate stuff.
5.  I just love riding my bike every day=)   Too much racing can get in the way of that if you want to be ready and rested on race day.  I don't ride to race, I race to ride. 

So near term, I will be back at Buck this week and plan to do Buck this weekend.  Then it will be off to Hayward for family vaca.  Ben, Brad and I plan to rock the trails there for a week.
Looking further out I plan to be at the Lester Park race in a couple weeks.  Looking beyond that, I have a mish-mash of MNMBS, the MDH 100, maybe Wausau 12 hour, and for SURE Laddies Loppet.  I am guessing I will have no trouble filling out that 25 race schedule!!

Now, if it would just not rain for more than 24 hours...


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Quick Update...

Yes, I am still here and have been racing.

Over the previous couple weeks I did a couple Buck Hill races, the Wooly MNMBS race, and the EPIC up in Cable/Hayward.

The Buck races have been a blast for my family.  Tegan even did an entire lap at the first race!  It was pretty hard on his early season 6-year-old legs, but he toughed it out and made Daddy very proud=)

Wolly was great as well, but I could have gone faster on my dual suspension given some of the open rough sections.  The course up there is a nice mix of everything (singletrack, double track gravel, and a tiny bit of paved path) that reminded me of the Mammoth trail in Chaska.

The EPIC race was properly named.  Of the 33 miles, 30 of it were singletrack.  Point to point races (this one going from Cable to Hayward) are always a treat.  Jason Sager, Jesse Lalonde and I had a good battle. At the finish they out kicked me, but the race was just the warm up I needed for the Cheq 100!

On the equipment, I am loving the 29ers.  I think the superfly 100 might be the fastest bike I have ever ridden off road considering a variety of conditions.  For smooth or punchy courses, the Superfly HT will be tough to beat though.  The XR0 and 1 tires are even better in the 29er form than 26er form, which I didn't expect but am pleasantly surprised by.  XTR stuff is completely flawless and is the best drivetrain on earth, IMO, when paired w/ a WTC ring.  The ENVE and Bonti wheels are both great, but I reach for the ENVEs on race day.  They are just so dang still, light and snappy.
The Kuat rack continues to exceed my expectations as well.  The integrated bike stand feature is SO useful.  Plus the rack looks amazing on my FJ.... and 1/2 of going fast is looking good right?

 Really, I can't think of one complaint about my equipment, which is one of the benefits of being a "privateer" and not being forced into using equipment because a sponsor said so=)

Sorry for the lack or pictures, but if you are reading this, you probably know what I look like;)


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Bikes and Factory Demo!

Ok, so this is a long time coming on the new bikes, but here goes a brief overview of my new rides.

Superfly Pro SL Hardtail and 100 (Dually)
  • I stripped the XX drivetrains off and am running my much preferred Shimano XTR groups as 1x10 with a WTC chainrings. 
  • I also put on XTR brakes.  Anyone that has ridden XTR brakes probably agrees that they are the best performing disc brakes ever (I have ridden LOTS different kinds).
  • I will be running a mix of ENVE 29 XC wheels and the stock Bontrager RXL wheels.  Both are set up w/ DT Swiss 240 hubs and Areolite spokes, and going solely to DT Swiss stuff was a conscious effort after hub issues in past years.
  • I switched the carbon stems out for the stiff but lite Bontrager Rhythm Pro Stems
  • Tires this year will be the full XR range (0,1,2,mud) from Bontrager.
  • The rest of the bike including cockpit and suspension are stock.
  • The weights came in VERY impressive at 18.5lbs for the HT and 20.75lbs for the dually (with XR0 tires and ENVE wheels)
Here is your chance to try the bikes for FREE!  Hopefully the weather cooperates.

I did do a race last weekend.  It was cold, my legs felt tight the whole time, but it was a good kick in the pants to start the season with 50 miles of tight, twisty singletrack at or near XC race pace.  I did feel strong pretty much the entire 4 hours other than my legs being cold.  My trophy for winning was a signed copy of a picture of me (signed by me ...not sure if it was authentic) .  Thanks to the race directors for that ;)


Monday, April 29, 2013


I spent about 4 non-sleeping hours inside from Friday mid-afternoon until Sunday night.  It felt SOOOO good to be out and be warm.

First, the Shimano Fairy, Trek Fairy, and Enve fairy made their deliveries over the past month.  The bikes this year are outrageous (in an awesome way)!

Next, I had to get the bikes finished up...reports coming.  Tyson at Freewheel once again did some of the critical stuff like internal brake routing.  Every time my bike comes back from FW, it is perfect!

Then I set up shop outside.  I was too nice to hole up in the mancave for the final build on the dually.  That new Kuat NV rack I mentioned has a bike stand option, which works awesome!  It will come in super handy at the trail or at races.

Finally, Snow Tuesday to DIRT on Sunday.  Yes, the trails with sandy soil are mostly dry already.  I have been doing this long enough to know=)  The iron curtain won't be lifted on the mainstream trails for a couple weeks (I would guess).  Just remember this spring, or any time really, if you are making more than a tread print in the dirt on the majority of the trail, save the token muddy/wet spots, then you are doing damage.  This is the CAMBA rule (Chequamegon Area) and it is the best and easiest to follow that I have found.  Below is how my bike looked Sunday after following these rules.

Next up is a Bacon Sandwich...


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Last chance...

I have tried to be patient with the weather, but I am starting to lose it.  My pedaling has not diminished, but it is full of anger, which is good for fitness but bad for morale.  My kids are going nuts bouncing off the same wall they have been for 5 months.

People often say "oh well, there is nothing you can do about the cold horrible weather."  That is false, as we can move.  If next spring is even close to this horrible, Jen and I will be looking to leave this state.  We are both marketable enough to move pretty much anywhere.  So Cal, NC, SC, and So CO will be on our short list.  I hope it doesn't come to this, but I don't like cold and can't take 5 months of suck.
Then you hear "the grass isn't always greener".  That too is false.  Based on the physics of light, our area cannot be less green with 5" of white snow on it.

Record lows this morning, more snow tonite, and more snow tomorrow night into has to end sometime right?  And how about 2 dry days in a row, or normal temperatures, or heck, even temperatures within 5 degrees of normal.
Throw us a bone mother nature.

The equipment this year is more exciting than ever, but even that isn't cheering me up because I can't use it.  I will share more when I can actually ride the stuff.

Rant over.  Back to the pain cave.

Monday, April 01, 2013

The SW

Our Moab and Fruita adventure is over.  It ended at the right time, as I missed my family and my legs were on "E" after 5 days of riding

Things I learned on the trip:
1.  Amasa Back is now my favorite trail out there.  Hands down.  The brand new (opened weeks ago) upper and lower Captain Ahab in addition to Pothole, Rockstacker, and Jackson make it the best out there IMO.
2.  The Rumblefish was like an "easier button" downhill, but you pay for it on the uphills a bit with the heavier bigger wheels.  The suspension on the bike is spot on for having fun and staying fresh in the rough stuff.  The new bontrager XR3 TLR (tubeless ready) tires held up great in the super abrasive conditions.  The TLR tires now have additional sidewall protection...don't leave for the SW without it.
3.  There is still stuff that scares me too much to do out there.  I try a little more each time I go.
4.  Fruita is fun.  The Kokopelli trials are much more fun than the 18 road trails.
5.  The Hot Tomato in Fruita is the place to eat if you have one night.  If you have more than one night, eat there more than once.
6.  The Moab trails are still more fun than Fruita trails IMO.  Some argue the opposite, but to each his own.
7.  Watching off road vehicles, mostly Jeeps, do wicked thing on the edge of cliffs is super fun.  This was the second time of the 1/2 dozen that I have been there where my trip has coincided with "Jeep Week".  I am glad it was not my $50k super modified Jeep making those crunching sounds while rock crawling.
8.  The trails marked "Easiest" in Fruita's Kokopelli group were on par with the toughest at Mammoth.  Everything is relative out there, but there are some easy trails that I would take my son on (Bar M in Moab and 18 road in Fruita)
9.  I remember this every time I take a bike trip, but it is relatively easy to get really fit when all you have to attend to is your own needs...
Really hard stuff.  This one took me 5 tries to clear.

  The new Shimano hydration packs are really nice.  I highly suggest them if you are due for an upgrade/update like I was. 
The Porcupine descent is still a gem!
 Yes we had "Moore" fun.  This climb put the hurt on me like no other out there.

 The playground that is Fruita (Kokopelli Area)...yes those are trails all over the hillsides

Racing starts in a while.  I have some different plans for the year and as I mentioned in another post, some different equipment.   For now, I am concentrating on suffering in the cold=(

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

SOOOO Over it

This weather has really started to wear on me (just ask Jen) and I am so over ice, snow, and cold.  Luckily, I am headed somewhere much nicer soon.
In tow will be my new Rumblefish Elite with another proto drive train=)  I am testing one of the first 30 tooth Wolf Tooth Drop Stop 104 BCD rings (for those that don't know with a 104 BCD the smallest ring is 32 teeth using traditional designs).  The 30 tooth will be perfect for 1x snow biking and it allowed me to run the same gearing range I had on my Remedy out in Moab on my last trip. 

There is lots of other equipment and gear that I will be posting on once I actually get to use the stuff (see my first comments on the weather).  One non-bike thing I am most excited to try is my new car rack.  I went with a Kuat NV rack for my new ride.  As an engineer, I really appreciate the thought put into to the design, and my favorite part is the bike stand extension!

My next update will probably be from the other side of the Rockies....

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


I attended yet another snow bike race and this time w/ the Family in tow.  The kids and Jen were looking for a getaway weekend so we headed up to the Cayuna Whiteout.  The weekend was fun and the only mistake I made was not bringing my ice racing year!
The fatbike race was not a technical challenge for the most part, but I still got some good intensity in.  Yes, I got caught on camera trying to cheat the wind by getting in the fat bike TT position. 

Next year I hear they will have more than one short stretch of singletrack.  If so, I will be back.

In Tech news, I have been running a super secret drive train.  It is a standard 10 speed rear, but with my beloved XTR Shadow Plus  rear derailleur (clutch type...I will never run a non-clutch rear der again) and a chain ring from a new company called Wolf Tooth Components.  The super secret part is that w/ this combo, no chain guide is needed because of the wide and narrow teeth on the chain ring which keep the chain more aligned on the chain ring (a  la XX1 but can  be run much cheaper  with XT, XO or X9 clutch type rear der).  There are a handful of us testing these chain rings including some guys aggressively riding dirt in CA and Mike Curiak who currently crossing the AK wilderness with a middleburn direct mount version.   The summary of the testing is that the performance has been flawless with no chain dropping, so go order yourself one!  Check out the sram direct spline mount option that is in development (product page), and recall that SRAM just announce X9 and X5 fat bike cranks.

I hear a carbon fat bike is still coming my way... soon.  Look for the all the details in the next couple weeks.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hidden Beauty

The beauty of the forest in Elk River at Hillside Park on Sunday was stunning.  With 4 inches of fresh snow fallen(ing), it was proverbial winter wonderland

Most of us racing Fatbike Fest (the original Fat Bike XC Intergalactic Championship) don't remember any of that beauty.  The first lap was an exercise in the art of frustration - pushing, falling, frozen pedals.
I got away early on the trail that had a few tracks.   

When those tracks ended, the suck began.  I couldn't see the 8-12" wide trail and not being on the trail meant a dab followed by walking followed by trying to remount w/ iced up pedals.  After a bit, I decided to sit up and share the load w/ the ~5 guys chasing.  It was quite nice being 3-4 wheel kind of like sitting in an armchair=)  
We still hiked for more than 1/2 that first lap.  At that point, the course flattened out so I hopped on, spent a minute pounding my cleats free (on my pedals) and rode away.  Once I got riding I just put my head down.  There was still plenty of hike a bike on the last lap, but much less than the first lap. 
I rode home alone in just over 3 hours...this course on a normal rideable day takes 1.5 hours.
The finishers, only 1/2 of the starters in the "advanced 2-lap" class all looked like ghosts, as no one had enough food or drink on board for 3 hours of XC level intensity. 
I really wanted to quit, but the only thing I hate worse than running in the snow with my bike is quitting!  I quit a race once ever, and I still think about that sour memory often.

Finally, equipment you ask?  My "too skinny" 65mm rims worked great.  I was running the same pressure as everyone else at 3-4 PSI.  Oh, and Nates are king in the snow.  No question.

All the pics are from Chris Gibbs.  He did a wonderful job capturing the event.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


In an effort to race my studded tires for as much time as I spent making them, I did this last Saturday:

On Sunday I rode the Freewheel top secret snow only (lots of adjectives I know) singletrack around Bloomington and Eden Prairie.  It was quite possibly the best snow ride of the season with no grooming and on trails where only fat would do.

Next is Fatbike Fest this weekend.  Could we be in for mashed potatoes?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Self Tapping

In a moment of weakness, well 12,000 of them if a moment is a second, I broke down and shot some self tapping sheet metal screws into tires to do this:

Thanks to Freewheel and Hollywood for introducing me to the most novel form of racing I have done in years...maybe ever.

I am not sure about this coming weekend.  There are a couple options that will be tempting if there is snow.  I hear that there is another ice race coming soon.  I do plan to finally make it up to Elk River for that final race in a couple of weeks. 

My own Proto (better than yours):
Something special was birthed at the Pidde household.  Jen mentioned that she wanted a new carbon fiber family member in our household...or at least that is my interpretation of what she said:

When we no longer need studs or fat tires:
Along the lines of adding carbon family members, This and This should be coming soon, but I have learned that soon is a loosely used term in the bike industry.  Needless to say, Jen is excited about these two additions as well.

Finally, a request for Mama Nature:
If I am going to be continue to face -40 windchills commuting in, at least give me some snow to ride on.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Know when to fold em...

Mother nature is trying to take away our winter fun=(  Here in the south metro, after the rain last week we lost almost all our snow and the trails, singletrack and snowmobile, are skateable.
Murphy Frigid Race Series number 2 this last weekend was a TT (staggered start due to conditions) on lumpy glare ice singletrack.  Unfortunately, conditions forced me to ride my trusty Nokian studded "skinny" tires.  They made the trail rideable, but their well worn and rounded studs provided only enough grip for a slow careful ride. 
After a couple near misses, I shut 'er down early and just rode out the shorten lap (cut out ~1.5 miles of trail for this race).  I tried putting power down multiple times, but even when seated the bike would start fish-tailing.  My heart rate and exertion were the lowest I can remember in any mtbk or snow race, but the race made up for that lack of physical stress with plenty of mental stress! 

Results (figured I would provide links because they are hard to locate on the Freewheel site):
Snow Race #1:
Ice Race #2:

I will race again this winter, with vigor, if we get more snow.  I will not be buying or making new studded tires just so I can keep racing skinny tires... there is plenty of skinny tire racing to do in nicer weather.

In other news, it appears that I didn't get in to Ragnarok this year.  I did send a card in, but I am pretty sure they didn't get it because I never received the confirmation email.  If they did get my card and my name just wasn't drawn, I think that means I missed an entry by 5 feet after the 118 mile trek last year (I hear they let the previous winner in).  Bummer!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Back at it...

Winter racing started up this weekend with 2 great choices: Saturday the Freewheel Frigid Murphy race and Sunday Coldbear #1 in Elk River.  I am simply not interested in 2 races per weekend this time of year so I chose Murphy due to it being a Freewheel event and the fact that it is only ~6 miles from my house.

The course was in primo 12-18" wide groomed condition, but that didn't make the race easy.  Chris Fisher showed up with skinny sharp (home brew studs) tires.  I know he is riding well and peaking right now for CX races.  It looks like he destroyed the competition up at Elk River on Sunday.
Anyway, the start, which will see some modifications next week, was crazy w/ a down hill into a basically un-ridden stretch of double track.  I got behind Hollywood (he really wanted the hole shot) and a guy wearing blue who I didn't know.  It was hectic with Fisher running by me CX style and the guy in blue falling all over the place as Hollywood rode away.  Once that got sorted out, Fisher, Charly "Proto" Tri and I rode behind Hollywood for a few minutes.  Like a gentleman, he eventually  let us by.  I got by Fisher when he slid out on a corner and from there I tried not to look back...but I knew Fisher was close the whole time.  I had about a 30 second gap w/ 10 min left in the lap/race, and sometime soon after Fisher, who is lean and mean at only about 150lbs, shattered (literally) his crank spider (what a beast!).  I didn't know of course and rode hard all the way to the finish.
Given the hard pack groomed conditions, it was an interesting battle between fat and skinny tires.  His tires + wheels were probably 3+lbs lighter making the tight, twisty punch stuff easier, but I had the luxury of fat tires for cornering and stability.  Either way it was close despite what the result show.

After the race, I headed home to get Tegan out sledding and skating (Casey isn't to keen on either yet).  My neighbor and I are maintaining a rink on our lake, and it has been SO much fun teaching my boy the art of skating and hockey.  The sledding hill in our neighborhood is really fast and showing signs of wear.  We need more snow!
Sunday saw more sledding, skating, and a nice long solo 2-wheeled trudge that had my neighbor who saw me leave saying "are you just getting back???"  Most of my new neighbors think I am crazy... they might be right.
Today it is good to be back at work resting my body while my brain does some heavy lifting.

Final comments:
The bike worked well, as it is a no-frills snow machine.  I ran Nate tires front and rear with just the right pressure on my "too skinny" 65mm rims (remember when that was the only width??).  I heard from others that Escalator tires worked well too.  Maybe one of these days, I will do a mechanical dynamics lesson on this blog explaining why 100mm rims are for the most part unnecessary even for "ungroomed" hard-core riding... or maybe I will keep that to myself=)

Oh and mid-Februrary, I may retire the Beargrease for something better...