Friday, October 31, 2008

chuck liddell

says happy halloween

Thursday, October 30, 2008

i need to spend more time at the bar

yesterday was officially my last day working at the shop. all in all it was more of a necessary decision than a good or bad decision. i certainly wish travis and the shop all the best in years to come and have yet to meet someone i trust working on my bike more than him. as for me, its back up to the bar i've been at part time for the last year but now i'll be there full time as the bar manager. a couple of positives in all of this...i'll be keeping larsson out of daycare two days a week so we can either party at home or i can use his slave labor to help maintain the trails and it means i'll have more daylight hours during the winter to train. hooray sun. random thought for licorice gummy bears and grape gatorade taste like crap together.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

how not to end a season (night race recap)

everything was perfect for the night race. the organizers and volunteers had done a great job, the trails were in perfect shape and the weather was holding just well enough to not have to dress very heavy. a little over 50 people showed up and everyone was in a great mood. group rollout to the start, ogara says readysetgo and we're off. climb the long gravel, left into van peenen and head for the single track. trevor olsen was first onto the singletrack at fred's with me in second and max anderson in third. pretty happy with my position at this point cause i know trevor's had some great results in expert wors races this year and i was right on his wheel. didn't know who was in third but felt like the three of us were starting to pull away. knew trevor was down to just his handlebar lights because of problems with his helmet light so i almost asked to get around before the downhill but chose not to. fuck. start bombing down fred's (less than 10 minutes into the race and maybe a half mile into the singletrack). we were moving. and just like that the race was over. wrapped my bike around a tree. i remember the instant recognition of what was happening when my bars hit the tree, and i remember getting to my feet and realizing i was a good ten yards from my bike. don't remember anything in between. apparently it was so bad trevor, who was in front of me, heard it and stopped. max (in third) stopped to check on me. nothing hurt but the bike which is yet to be assessed (hoping nothing's broken, but definitely unrideable). max and trevor rolled on around the hairpin halfway down fred's then trevor slashes a sidewall at the bottom of fred's. max had a good run after that and took the race by something like 3 minutes. huge congrats to marc folkedahl for reminding everyone that he's still one of the fast guys in town with a second place finish. congrats to sarge and brad crawford for third and fourth, respectively. trevor rockwell, eric clement, jimmy tripp and travis grawin made it 7 locals in the top 10. spinner finished the race pedaling with only one leg after breaking a pedal off. biggest congrats of the night goes to garrett mcalister for deciding to do this race on a borrowed bike, borrowed light and only his fourth mountain bike ride ever. dude is a total roadie and finished in the top half of the field...couldn't be happier for him and the rest of the locals that showed up and threw down. as for me...last mountain bike race of the year as far as i know. coming out of the debacle that was september i was really looking forward to finishing the season on a good note and had very high expectations for myself going into this. i know i should be pretty happy that i walked away from what was one of my worst crashes in a really long time but its pretty hard not to be frustrated. but, so it is. been putting my schedule together for next year and there's plenty to be excited about. in the meantime, travis will be working his magic to make sure nothing's seriously wrong with the jabber (broken black sheep fork? trashed king headset? cracked carbon bars?). gonna overhaul the whole thing while he's at it...thanks travis. maybe a few more cross races and back to the gravel grind.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


cold and windy...dark and twisty. how can you not have fun at this thing?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

vassago and transiowa!!

man this makes me happy...just got the heads up from misty and went over to check out the transiowa website. vassago has worked out a deal with guitar ted and transiowa to give away a fisticuff at transiowa 5. as of right now i'm still rocking the prototype i was allowed to debut at transiowa last year and it will undoubtedly be my weapon of choice again this year.'s hoping a few people finish so somebody can walk off with this gem. yeah, i might be biased, but vassago and the people behind it are pretty fucking cool.

Monday, October 20, 2008

devil's cross

traveled down to the quad cities for the devil's cross race put on by local riding club D.I.C.E. honestly, this course was awesome. there wasn't one thing that was totally outstanding, but as a package it was just cool. a beautiful park, gently rolling, tough cornering over walnuts and acorns, well-placed barriers, downhill turns through soft mud, a tough but manageable run-up and a spectator friendly course of which about 90% could be seen by barely moving. as i lined up for the 3/4 race i looked around and instantly felt a little silly for wondering if there was going to be a single speed category. i was the single speed category. not one other ss seen except what another guy was just rolling around on. oh well, nothing wrong with having my vassago fisticuff stand out in a crowd. ready set go and we're off on a flat, paved sprint to the first corner. the shifty riders big ring it and i'm somewhere mid-pack. the big run-up was about 2/3 through the lap and the first time we got to it i realized that it could be big for me. i ran my way back into the top 5 at the top of the hill, then got picked off by a couple guys and found myself looking at the backs of the top 5 as we got near the end of the first lap. a muddy downhill corner ended one guys race and put me into the top 5. a quick look around made it obvious that we had pulled away from the field, but the top 4 had split into pairs and pulled away from me. one and two were running a tight race and i started gauging my gap to three and four. by the end of the second lap i had a decent grasp on how far behind i was. halfway through the third lap (of seven) i saw fourth falling off. i put everything i had into laps 4 and 5, making up big chunks every lap on the run-up. i passed him at the start of lap six but couldn't shake him. i was afraid i had put everything into passing him and not left enough to hold the pass. the run-up on lap 6 gave me less than 10 yards of breathing room so i just kept hammering. through the final lap he didn't seem to be closing the gap so when i hit the run-up i shouldered the bike in stride, put my head down and dug in. by the time i got to the top and doubled back i was pretty confident all i had to do was keep the bike upright. i finished fourth in the 3/4 race as the only single speed in the field. considering i still don't consider myself much of a cross racer, terribly inexperienced at best, i'll take it. the bike rode flawlessly and the getting rid of the carbon seatpost for the thomson masterpiece with a wtb carbon devo saddle gave me a bit more confidence hopping back on the saddle. anyway, race was awesome. thanks to dad for the hand-ups and trudy for hanging with larsson so julie could take pics. say andy for probably the last time before he heads out to colorado...probably for good. he's a great guy and its been awesome racing against him for the last however many years. favorite memory...check out the picture of him and kyle sedore stopping to pose DURING a race like 4 years ago. during the pose i made my final pass and finished the last 2 miles of that race on a flat front tire. the only reason andy didn't pass me was because he rode the last 2 miles on a blown up wheel with only one break and a handful fewer spokes than one should. we still had enough time to stand at the finish and laugh about the way it ended while waiting for third place to come in a few minutes later. good luck in colorado.
mad barrier skills
finally catching fourth near the end of lap 5
run-up on lap're still f-ing there?!?!?! damnit.

fisty can fly!!

devil's cross race this sunday in bettendorf was an absolute riot. race recap soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

soul rides

they just aren't something you can plan. pretty hard to define too. sometimes its about hammering for an hour and making every climb and just putting down the fastest time of your life. sometimes its about riding dabless over your most technical trails. sometimes its hours on end of riding until you forget about the world. regardless, its always about a ride that leaves you with nothing but a smile and a reminder of why you do this. today was somewhere in the middle of all that. 4 hours of riding on literally 99% singletrack without leaving city limits. it was cold...damn cold last night and that left the leaf-covered trails nice and slippery. spent the first two hours of the ride practicing my two-wheel drifting technique and hammering out a real common loop for the locals, then rode it backwards and did a few more things then headed back to the apt for some leftover chili. the apt is about 2 minutes from the trailhead which is fairly convenient when doing this long of a ride over the lunch hour. then headed back out for another 2 hours. this time the trail was drying up and carrying speed was easier, but climbing got way harder. climbing here is always hard...3 hours in it gets brutal. but the weather was amazing. the color in the trees and leaves is almost gone but the sun was shining and it was somewhere around 40 degrees when i started and 50 when i ended. that and the day started out picking up a couple new goodies from the shop for the jabber. in the 4 hours i rode i saw probably 8 deer, never more than two at a time, two pairs of turkeys and the biggest "oh shit" moment came as i railed through a corner, i pod blasting, eyes looking too close to my front wheel when something caught my attention just in time. a flock (gaggle? i don't hunt) of about 10 turkeys right in middle of the trail. pretty well locked up the brakes and skidded to a stop and the turkeys scattered in every direction. i'm sure the look on my face was comical, so i had a short laugh at myself and headed on down the trail.

almost 3 hours in, about to climb larson's. yuck.

one of my 17 required pieces of flare. i'm working on 32.
if the bike was clean and you could see it in person, its almost as if crank brothers should have named their iodine color molten brimstone.

yes, its a road stem. get over it. its light, not carbon and the "red" is pushing an orange tint that also works awesome with the paint. the carbon wrap on my titec pluto stem was actually flaking of like shitty paint.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

thoughts on october

its been almost 6 months since transiowa. my last post and ari's comment got me thinking more about it again. i'm not sure i've spent many days without at least a fleeting thought about it. yeah, its easy to be disappointed in how it ended this year, but luckily its easier to be excited about next year. there are many, many stories from transiowa...some of them very personal and some of them involving the awesome people i spent time suffering with. moment will always stand moment burned into my memory. one that i won't ever forget, but hopefully one that will soften when...yes WHEN i finish this fucking race. after everything i'd gone through fighting the wind, getting lost, paralyzing cramps, then the graciousness of the group of single speeders that i met up with as i killed myself trying to get back on schedule...the feeling of hitting the pavement at the top of that small rise on the final gravel road. hitting the top of that hill and looking down into wadena, then looking at my computer. we could see all of wadena and had it not been for a row of houses, we could have seen the group gathered at the checkpoint. look back at my computer...2:00 p.m. i was standing on the edge of wadena, blocks from the checkpoint, only a third of the way into the race but having already gone through hell...and it was over. a calm acceptance hit harder than i expected, but my race was over. going into transiowa i knew my race would end when i finished, my bike broke or my legs stopped functioning. a time cutoff was never in the plans and i had no idea how to handle it. it was a strange feeling standing on the top of that hill looking into that i can still feel everytime i think about it. somedays its still a tough feeling to manage...its certainly a feeling of something left unfinished. somedays its a feeling that makes me smile knowing i will have another shot at this thing. yeah...that definitely makes me smile.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

had an awesome conversation

with brother chris last night. dude finished his first marathon at the chicago version this weekend. you see, chris was an all-american when he ran track at luther and was a damn good cross country runner. its always been his thing and when he has/makes the time to train you can tell it comes back pretty quick. being a principal with a family including three young boys hasn't always made training easy or a priority (understandably). but this summer he started busting his ass and he was seeing the results. then the school year came and his miles started dropping off. then a chainsaw went after his knee. not terrible, but the stitches dictated he couldn't run a step for the last three weeks leading up to the race. when he got the stitches out the doctor was about 50/50 he'd rip the knee open again during the race. chris being chris...those are pretty good odds. apparently the race was almost as hot as last year and the first half of the race went well, followed by the easily anitcipated cramping and other ill effects the heat can cause. yes, easy to empathize. but he stuck it out. he finished and spent the next however many hours still battling cramps and the physical beatdown a marathon puts on the body. he couldn't even finish a beer for like 24 hours. damn. point being...i love hearing these stories. obviously being family makes it more meaningful, but these are the stories that get me out there. these are the stories that make me want to ride, want to race, push myself, see how far i can go. if you push yourself you might not make might not finish that marathon...i might not finish transiowa...but i'm sure as shit gonna find out what i'm made of. just like chris did...congrats man.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

just so we're all on the same page...

cross racing hurts. hating it is easy, racing it is miserable and you can't help but smile everytime you think about it. the fisticuff got its first taste of a true cross race today. i'm still not sold on single speed cross bikes IF you're trying to be competitive with fast geared guys. really hard to find a gear combination that will allow you to accelerate, climb, and hit a high top speed over and over again. regardless, marty and friends put together a course that can easily be described as challenging. maybe a bit longer than what some might consider traditional, but brutal climbs, a steep run-up and high speed descents into sand pits made for a good time. the temperature spiking this weekend made things a bit more difficult after getting so used to the nice cool fall. big thanks to marty and everyone involved in putting this race together. oh...i finished somewhere mid-pack in a pretty small field but was the only single speed. what that means damn hot weather made the high life warm by the time the race was over. fisty gets another shot at cross racing next weekend down in bettendorf. gearing will be contemplated repeatedly between now and then.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

brother adam

and his fam are finally back from the desert. well...they've been back for a few months but finally made it up to the north country from the state of des moines. they showed up yesterday in time for us to grab some mabe's and a beer then get ready to head up for the monthly dhpt time trials. julie was out of town with soccer so heather stayed at the apt with caden and larsson while adam joined me for the festivities. this months randomly have to ride someone else's bike with whatever pedals they brought and whatever shoes you brought. i showed up with my 3-speed/69er/coaster brake/trek comfort bike. awesomely not the only coaster brake at the event. a couple of urban bikes showed up, some "real" mountain bikes and a couple of "used-to-be" mountain bikes. i ended up on a 16" trek 3700 with plaftform pedals in my spd shoes and was unprepared with a light of the wrong bar clamp size. so i rode most of the course totally in the dark and like most people ended up somewhere between cheating and improvising. it was an absolute time trial yet. i think somebody won, nobody got hurt, adam got to see a group of avid riders reduced to social degenerates as the fire raged and the beers got emptied. at some point we ran out of fire wood and beer so adam and i headed for t-bock's. eventually we left t-bock's after closing it with spinner. took them out for a nice hike this morning then got on the road bike for about an hour to blow some of the lingering crap from sunday's ride out of my legs and to push some of the remaining toxins from last night out of the body. most of my bikes are now completely trashed or not fully assembled. looks like saturday night will be spent in the garage acting like i know how to wrench on bikes, definitely focusing on prepping fisty for its first actual cross race sunday.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

still racing...

the last couple of races haver certainly taken their toll...both physically and mentally. luckily the ups help conquer the downs pretty quickly. the body is certainly recovering, the weather is turning cold and kinda shitty and i'm finding more time to ride...all reasons to get excited about getting on the bike again. then there's the upcoming schedule. marty from prairie called and gave me the heads up on a cross race he's hosting this sunday so i'm definitely headed over there, then headed down to the quad cities for another cross race next weekend, then its time for the night race. this is gonna be a fun stretch of races. low-key, tons of fun, high intensity...took a while but i'm definitely excited to get back out racing again.

Monday, October 6, 2008

sunday long day

85-ish miles. just under 6 hours. 2/3 gravel. 45 degrees to start. 2 hours in the rain. 20 minutes dodging lightning. cheeseburger halfway (not zach's hamburger-a-lap theory but always good on a long ride). 2 roads closed totalling probably 5 miles of gravel/mud that used to be pavement. great ride, closed roads were good cross practice, still feeling good on the bike on long rides. fisty got trashed and needs a bath.

Friday, October 3, 2008


weird thing is they were somewhere out past the lower dam. not sure how they got there but i found them on a 4 hour gravel ride yesterday up to dorchester and back. luckily found them before i got to balsam hill otherwise i might've been in for a nice walk. weather was gorgeous, leaves are just starting to turn, and i felt pretty good. yeah, it feels good to feel good again. a note on some stuff i was riding...i still can't get over how much i love riding the fisticuff. i think the general public is in for a treat when this thing hits the market. i never thought it was possible that my favorite bike wouldn't be a trail bike...i'm not saying it is...i'm just saying. also, got some new stuff on there from wtb that i thought is worth mentioning. rocket v saddle...still one of my favorite mtb saddles ever. i'm sure it would be just fine for cross racing but that's just not how i ride this thing. i'd love to get another devo for it and if i wasn't doing endurance training with this bike the rocket would be back on there. dirt drops...i ran midge bars since i built this and this is my second real ride on the wtb dirt drops. my first one left me scratching my head and after doing some math i'm now running a slightly shorter and taller stem. impressions...this bar set up is way stiffer. i'm sure some of that is the 31.8 clamp diameter but i really dig it. definitely feels like more power transfer, the wider hand position feels better climbing and the drops feel more natural. don't get me wrong...i really liked my midge bars. at this point, however, they might be hitting ebay sometime soon. also got a set of interwolf' rolling for their size. i'll probably take them off when i get ahold of some crosswolf's to try and save the inter's for the snow and see how they hook up then.
and...on a happier note, my ambulance ride to the e.r. only cost me $1200. i sure am glad the emt's wouldn't let misty take me (especially since as it turns out she would have had me there sooner and on i.v.'s sooner). really lucked out on that one.