Thursday, January 29, 2009

wednesday's ride

now that i've signed up for this cup o' dirt thing it kinda kicks me in the ass to go just a little further everyday. got metric #3 in yesterday but it meant leaving a little earlier than i'd like. so the actual temp was -4*F when i took off. headed straight for quarry hill and by the time i got to the top my goggles were so frozen over i couldn't wear them for the next three hours. damnit. i've learned not to wear them up that climb but got lazy and it bit me in the ass. anyway, 66 miles and somewhere over 5 hours later i'd found my way through the cold and a pretty fierce headwind and managed to pry my frozen eyelashes apart enough to see.
pretty cold out here this morning
all the trees had frozen over and looked like they were made of ice
only 20 minutes in...note the frost and my eyelashes already accumulating ice

3 hours in, just before i was able to see through my goggles again. that awesome breath/drool/ice goatee ended up with three distinct icicles close to an inch and a half long.

Monday, January 26, 2009

the masochist in me

decided to head for allamakee yesterday. long ride on a gorgeous day. winneshiek county has some hills, but damn. allamakee is just a beast.

Friday, January 23, 2009

dams, nipples and wolves

good weather meant lots of gravel miles this week. following sunday's big ride, got in a nice recovery ride with spinner monday night, a noon ride with ogara tuesday, semi-relaxed solo ride wednesday, took thursday off and got out and fought the wind on the maiden voyage for fisty's new wheels. apparently time/stress/miles/salt/snow had taken their toll on the blue alloy nipples and they started breaking all too frequently. travis got them built back up with some brass dt prolocks so they should be good to go for transiowa. since travis had it pulled apart anyway it gave me the right opportunity for my snow/interwolf project. the low tread 38c wtb interwolfs actually worked great on the hard snow pack gravels today. a little more width for comfort/float but rolled super fast. i wasn't totally sold on these as a gravel tire when the gravels were bare cause they kinda skated across the gravel but they rocked today. hopefully the conditions for cirrem will allow me to run them there.

wedneday's ride led to this road...
which led to this dam...perspective sucks, but the "waterfall" is probably 20 feet tall, give or take

Monday, January 19, 2009

getting caught up

on some randomness from the last few days...

1. i did in fact break jesse's finger in a fine display of derby skills. and beer freezes. click here for proof.

2. the weather finally freaking broke and i got out for an awesome 5 hour ride on sunday. harmony and this ride but haven't done it for a while. halfway to harmony it started to sleet and froze over my goggles. then the ice pellets started to stab my eyes and it hurt to keep them open but riding with them closed wasn't a great option. while enjoying a kwik star double cheeseburger in harmony the weather changed to snow and i had an incredible ride home. the snow seemed to float rather than fall. after triple d its nice to be reminded that 60+ miles in the snow can be enjoyable rather than suicidal-thought-inducing.

45 miles into sunday's ride

3. CIRREM. yes, i'll be there. fixticuff hopefully, otherwise jabber in snow mode if the weather gods don't play along. thanks and good luck to kent and jed for throwing this one.

Friday, January 16, 2009

stole this

from sov because its 253 degrees below zero outside and it made me laugh. it even led to some van halen juke box time at corner last night. check it.

Monday, January 12, 2009

would you rather...(triple d recap)

for anyone that has done the triple d both years, the question seemed simple. would you rather ride in -30 degree windchills or +30 degrees with around 6" of new snow. as the "race" became a timed hike-a-bike the answer changed until it was as simple as the question. first those who pushed further and further (corey, lance, dennis, dave, tom, joel)...congrats. to the group i ended up with (trevor, scotty, jesse, max, and the guy from iowa city who's name i'm ashamedly forgetting)...thanks for making a great time out of the most well organized death march i've ever been a part of. our story goes something like this...ride thru downtown/residential dubuque laughing at people trying to keep upright through the slush for a mile or so, then hit a flat, untouched stretch of bike trail and make our way through fresh powder for another mile. then we head for the huge hill. we climbed this mile or so long hill covered in however many inches of fresh snow looking like a paceline of fools who had no idea what was in store. we had no idea how happy we should be that we were actually riding. we were on and off pavement and snowmobile trails for the next few miles while we headed out of town. whenever we were on the snow we were walking at least 75% of the time. made our way to the "b" road that was the highlight of last year. not so much this year. pugsleys and studded folk made their way down okay...i crashed a lot. the b road was 6" of powder over glare ice. somehow the b road still provide one of the more memorable moments as i started to crash and decided it was a good idea to reach over and pull scotty down with me. no one was hurt, so we pushed on. finally we got to the heritage trail. there were about 15 people stretched out over a couple hundred yards. EVERYONE was walking. this is pretty much where the story doesn't change...we walked, and walked, and walked. "leaders" changed, groups changed, conversations ebbed and flowed, emotions ranged from incredulous to angry to delirious to hungry. discussions of when to pack it in were slow to emerge. it was obvious no one wanted to be "that guy". so we marched on. for hours. it is impossible to explain to anyone who wasn't there what its like to try to walk in cycling shoes on 6-12" of fresh snow covering glare ice while pushing a bike for hours on end. finally a couple guys on pusgleys and a "skinny" bike pulled off the front and our well separated line regrouped. scotty and i had been walking together when we came around a corner to trevor waiting on a bridge. corey had been right behind us and we thought jesse was back there as well. after jesse came around the corner we saw the guy from iowa city and max from platteville. the 7 of us made a pact to walk together until we came up with a better idea. 7 guys, lined up, pushing their bikes in the snow. the fact that it seemed so normal may trump the absurdity of the actual situation. finally we saw signs of life...the photographer/support crew standing at a road that the heritage trail crosses. the 7 of us stopped and quickly did some math/re-evaluation. from what we had been told it was about 37 miles to get to dyersville which was the halfway point. we were at roughly mile 25 (although we were told we only had 8 miles left, not sure on the math but whatever). 3 things became clear. 1. no one was finishing. not just our group...NO ONE. 2. if we chose to make it to dyersville we probably had 3-4 more hours of walking through the snow (found out later there were a couple miles we would have ridden which would have left us about 2 hours of walking). 3. if we chose to make it to dyersville it would have taken longer to get halfway than it took me to finish last year. one thing that was uncertain was how we were getting back should we make it to dyersville. none of us were in the mindset to ride back, even by road, to dubuque after that. the conversation quickly turned to the best way to get from where we were to the handlebar/finish line. during the conversation we picked up another lost soul that had exited the trail elsewhere. then, quietly, corey bid us farewell and soldiered on. damn dude. good luck and much respect. for the rest of us, time to take advantage of the liquor we were smart enough to pack. dry socks, dry gloves, warm throats, we headed off for a gas station in epworth. we cleaned them out of every crumb of hot food they had made then discovered they had $1.39 24oz cans of high life. support gave the decorah crew a ride to the finish line from epworth and this is where things finally started going downhill (which seemed like the right direction). spent however many hours there, back to the hotel for showers, awards then off to the bars. the first bar was a little high class for us but entertainment was provided by jenna's school of dance with scotty as her assistant. from there to the busted lift for some live rock and somehow jesse ended up as the guest lead singer. at some point before the night ended i received an excellent outside leg kick followed by a single leg takedown followed by some less than impressed bar patrons. scotty and trevor helped themselves to some peanuts that came from somewhere (the bar doesn't serve them...not sure exactly on this one) and in true scotty form he was asleep before we left the bar. the bike ride back to the hotel narrowly escaped becoming a derby. sunday brought brunch and a few hours of water slides before heading back. lance...thanks for the opportunity to suffer. corey...much respect for pushing as long as you did. joel...much respect for making it to dyersville and living to tell the story. to everybody i walked with, laughed with, drank with and occasionally rode with...thanks for a great day. as for not finishing, as for not making it halfway, as for not pushing any further than i did...walking your bike for hours on end staring at your feet drudging through snow gives a person plenty of time to fight those demons. had i made it to dyersville i would have made it 37 miles, and in the course of that i would have literally walked a marathon. in the snow. pushing my bike. maybe i'll regret not proving to myself that i could do that but in making the decision i did i got to spend a lot of time with some awesome people. i can live with that.
normally not having a seat would be terrible...this race it probably wouldn't have mattered
if you're ever in the durango area, ask sov for directions to the handlebar...pretty sure he knows the easiest way there. no hills at all.
jesse and i at the finish line. i have other pictures of jesse that were taken after i stupidly left my camera on the table...those will be saved until necessary.
scotty...who eventually found out that these glasses belonged to sov. i think this was before the head butting competition began.
jenna, trevor, and my cell phone insulator which doubles as a coozie.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

here's hoping...

forecast is showing a few inches of snow possible between now and the start of the race in dubuque. hopefully the studs won't be necessary (especially since i won't be running them regardless). as for gravel mess to ridgeway for pizza, beers and some football. final gear test for triple d. pack tomorrow. leave stupid early saturday. scotty should be down tomorrow to make a guest appearance at the bar.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

f-ing ice...

fisty's getting its wheels rebuilt so no studs for me today. took out the jabber in triple d mode (wtb stout in back and weirwolf up front...seems to work great in snow). about 20 miles in i laid it down doing somewhere between 20-25 mph downhill on ice and gravel. i like winter. love snow. ice can piss off.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


the new vassago fisticuff...check it. dig it.

on a totally unrelated topic, i discovered this morning that my wii fit age drops dramatically when i'm sober. weird.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

license upgrade

last year i argued with myself periodically as to whether or not to ask for an upgrade from a sport class license to an expert. the problem for me was that i felt strong enough to race expert in iowa but i was doing enough racing in minnesota and considering a few in wisconsin and felt that i belonged in the comp class there (which iowa doesn't have and wasn't an actual license category). upgrading to an expert license would have meant jumping from sport to expert in those races and getting my ass handed to me. i decided to ride out the year without the upgrade then do it over the off season and take this coming year for what it will be racing expert at the bigger races. learn from it, hurt because of it, get faster, get better, move forward. then usa cycling went and changed licensing formats to be similar to road racing and now we have numbered categories. cat 3 is for beginners, cat 2 is the new sport class, cat 1 is expert AND semi-pro, and then you have your pro category. by combining experts and semi-pros into cat 1 it means that my upgrade would be an even bigger jump in strength of competition (or so my understanding of all of this goes). long story short, i renewed my license and was carried over into cat 2 and decided to ask for my uprgade at the same time. just found out that i got it. which is cool. certainly not life changing, but cool. in the middle of winter surrounded by snow covered trails and ice covered gravels its nice to have little things like this happen that help justify all the hours, all the suffering. really, anything to help me swing a leg over my bike when i could just as easily stay inside where its warm and safe is more than welcome.'s looking forward to a new year, bigger races, faster classes, longer distances, getting ridden into the fucking ground repeatedly by myself and my competition and hopefully doing well enough from time to time to smile when its over.

Friday, January 2, 2009

what a way to start a new year

15 people strong, we rolled out of decorah sometime around 10:30 i think. unfortunately the trailer that was supposed to be carrying all of our beer as well as a radio to listen to the iowa game didn't work out. so we all packed as many beers as we could and headed out for bluffton. we made it a couple miles before our first beer stop which successfully lightened our load a bit. a few more stops along the way and we were having a great time. saw one true crash on the ice as well as a minor derby incident which served as foreshadowing for the ride home. randy's bluffton store was once again more than welcoming for our troop on new year's day. meat and cheese and veggie trays were brought out while the grills and fryers started working on our lunches. plenty of beer, multiple bottles of dr., some jager bombs and stomach-warming bar food and people were on their way. the group of 15 ended up splitting into 3 different groups of 5 as some people were ready to head back before others. o'gara, jesse, sov, deke and i were not surprisingly the last 5 to leave the bar. armed with another 12 pack and i think 6 flasks between the five of us the stage was set for an epic 15-mile derby. counting the number of crashes and people forced off the road into ditches would be pointless. unfortunately the battery in my camera died when we got to bluffton so there is no more evidence but as best i can recollect there was a broken bottle cage, broken tail light, bent brake lever, and one well tacoed wheel which was expertly sorta straightened enough to limp home. thankfully t-bock's was still open when we got into town and a good portion of the riders who left earlier were there to welcome us. somehow the jukebox turned into a group karaoke machine as "my first concert" stories were discussed with utmost importance. t-bock's finally shut down hours after they told us they would (thanks mike) so jesse and i headed to corner. then they kicked us out so we went for pizza and a few more beers before finally calling it a night some 11 hours after the day began. good people, great time, must remember not to ride good bikes around sov. seriously, he's a wheel eating monster.
gathering behind the shop pre-ride
triple d mode minus a light
first beer stop at berdo's place
some started the ride hungover...spinner was still drunk
it really is
beer stop #2
final stop on the way out on the bridge outside bluffton. pbr light...who knew?