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...