Thursday, April 30, 2009

transiowa prep and pics

-quick note...guitar ted will be doing audio again. at this point it sounds like it will be on his blog rather than the transiowa site. read his disclaimers if you want, but basically don't freak out if you don't hear someone's name. he's running a race and commenting when he can.
-weather looks good. suprisingly good. here's for not getting too optimistic.
-already not sleeping well.
-by most people's standards i probably take this "race" too serious. they can piss off.
-hoping to have new vassago team kit here today or tomorrow before i leave. it'll be cool to finally fly the colors.
-fisticuff is in as good of shape as i can get it. still love this bike but looking forward to tearing it apart and building 2 fistys instead of just one.
-huge thanks again to kris and misty at vassago for all the support. this race was basically the beginning of my relationship with them well over a year ago and they've been awesome ever since.
-i'll be in the garage tightening every bolt i can find if anyone needs me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

decorah tt pics

scotty and i relaxing at the start
moffitt...ummm..."helping" me
the king

Monday, April 27, 2009

time trials weekend

kent and ryan got to town late friday afternoon and were treated to an awesome day of dry trail riding. after their ride they came up to the bar and we waited for scotty, had a couple then moved on to corner. had a good time hanging out but it definitely cut the night's sleep short. got up saturday morning and headed to t-bock's for breakfast. squirrel showed up and met us down there then we all headed to the shop to pick up my bike and grab a couple things. as would be the theme for the weekend, it was wet out. very, very wet. the 5 of us were joined by dan from the cities and we rolled out shortly after 10 to preride the course. it was grease. dead pet was like riding on ice trying to pick your way through all the wet rocks and roots. lots of walking and enough rolling around in the mud to add some humor to the ride. after the ride i had to get cleaned up and head to work while the others went back to the shop to clean bikes and build scotty's jabber. the guys came out to the bar for dinner later and luckily i was able to get out early and get some much needed sleep.
sunday morning woke to more rain after a night full of thunderstorms. squirrel and ryan passed on helping us build an ark and headed back to dsm so kent scotty and i headed to registration to see what the story would be for the course. no pali. this would eliminate probably the biggest threat to people's safety by not having to ride the rock garden. see a bunch of the usuals, b.s. a bit, pick starting times, head back to the apt to get ready. trevor was going off first, followed by fuhrman and kent. couple other guys in the mix then i followed scotty and was 7th off. short version of the race is i rode well. conservative, but that was intentional. i could have ridden faster but i don't know that my time would have been better. every corner was drifting on the verge of washing out and laying it down. any time gained by riding faster would be lost with one crash so i chose to focus on keeping the bike upright. in the end it worked out for me. walked 3 climbs and put a foot down a couple other times but rode and cleaned a ton more than i thought i would going into the race. good enough for 3rd overall. shively won it and fuhrman was second. shively is a perennial top 3 here and fuhrman just won the 80 mile ss at ouachita and is basically a local. i can handle getting beat by those guys any day. i was done racing by 11 and we were having beers in my garage by noon. awards were a riot and i scored a sweet home made set of pbr fenders as well as some cash for 3rd. by 2 a.m. i had spent basically all of my winnings in 3 different bars and it was time for scotty and i to get some sleep. apparently having one more in the garage and staying up til 3 seemed appropriate. slow day today for sure. now focusing on getting organized for trans and spending most of the week off the bike and resting. big congrats to shively and fuhrman as well as kent for throwing down a top 5, scotty for a top 25, and troy for getting into the top 3rd of the field. doug gets the animal award for running with his bike on his shoulder through all of mother's day and boa after ripping his rear der off. big thanks to the volunteers. it was miserable out there and this race (any race) absolutely does not happen without them. pics later.

Friday, April 24, 2009

fedex brought a box of smiles

with vassago logos all over it. NEW FISTICUFF FRAME!! these guys f-ing rock. period. some new wtb tires, t-shirt and some random schwag. after transiowa there will be some transformations happening with the current fisty and an older road bike and the new fisty. will end up with one geared/road oriented fisty and one ss/fixie/gravel fisty. huge thanks to kris, misty and everyone else at vassago.

jeff o'gara crashed

and i saw it. gave me a reason to smile in the midst of my worst day riding in a long time. i rode like i was drunk and blindfolded and felt like i had weights hanging from my feet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

transiowa tinkering

the hand is doing fairly well but the island certainly took its toll. made it obvious that the transiowa modifications under consideration were now a necessity. so today brought the first trial run with the ergons and mary bars. partially because i can't ride the jabber now that all hub bearings and brake pads have to be replaced and brake calipers had to be entirely disassembled and overhauled (big thanks to ouachita and the island :))

one ride and no doubt i'll be running this set up for transiowa

awesome day for a ride

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

sylvan island

the stampede=mud. crazy, crazy amounts of mud. the last time i raced in anything like this was at seven oaks a few years ago. the difference there was it turned into clay and there was enough climbing that it forced you to walk a lot. the island is so flat that everything was rideable, it was just a beast to ride through some of it. lots of two wheel drifting through corners. lots of outriggers. ended up 5th overall in the expert race. two years ago i never thought i'd be in the expert class so i need to keep things in perspective. in that sense i'm happy enough. no ss class in the expert field but had there been i would have been second. not thrilled about that but when aaron (pretty sure i'm finally getting names figured out) passed me he looked crazy fresh and i was attempting to slog my way out of a mud filled pain cave. congrats to him on this one as well as finishing the 80 down in arkansas. ran into adam who was down in arkansas with aaron and i almost didn't recognize him. 4 days after ouachita dude was on his bike and went through a windshield face first. intensive care and shit ton of stitches in his face and he's happy to be walking. perspective. i'm happy i can walk. i'm happy i can ride my bike for two and a half hours through sloppy mud and feel like a little kid for a while. good luck with the recovery man. good to see them and the rest of the iowa city crew, chatted with cam a bit about squirrel rockin the bone bender (huge congrats on first overall 6 hour on an ss), perkins (who got on the podium in the ss race), neipert and kingsbury who controlled the sport class...huge thanks to the organizers and volunteers. it was a mess out there but an absolute riot. there's gotta be pics somewhere, unfortunately i don't have any of them. i'll try to find a link eventually. my own dad couldn't even tell me apart from the other racers after a couple of laps. time trials this weekend and transiowa next.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

like heroin for a cross addict...

imagine the nastiest mud pit you've seen at a cross race. make it 12 inches wide and 24 miles long. add copious amounts of rocks and tree roots. turn every 10 yards. sylvan island stampede was not the same animal it was last year. better race report later. my eyes still burn more than i care to keep typing.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

post race meal

stopped by jd's and picked up this week's goodies. should be able to find some people to share with at the island.

Friday, April 17, 2009

trial runs

rode trails last night with the brace. pretty happy with how the hand felt, not so much the brace. took the brace off and tried the bar tape over the grip this morning and adjusted the brake lever setup a little.
happy enough with how it felt. pain-wise i'm doing pretty well but i can still tell the grip strength just isn't there. good enough to race this weekend.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

fixie porn

found this on ari's blog. probably kinda cool if you're not into bikes. if you've ridden a fixed gear or just "get it" then you'll probably find it a lot more amazing.

kinda like carbon

might need a little more trimming to keep it from cutting me open on the bike but otherwise feels like it might work. test run with it later tonight but really don't think i'm gonna miss much time. no pics yet but trying out a mary bar/ergon set up on the fisty to see if that might be the way to go for trans. might also try some bar tape around the esi chunky's on the jabber to see if the extra cush helps with the pain. right now grip strength in the right hand is less than half that of the left but hopefully enough to hold on to the bars.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

nothing broken

but a fair amount of damage to the ligaments. good news is i'm going in this afternoon to get fitted so they can fabricate a custom brace that will allow me to keep riding as long as i can tolerate the pain. the island is still up in the air, but the trials and transiowa seem for sure now. still contemplating alternative bar setups for trans.

initial fears

of broken fingers and/or hand after yesterdays crash have subsided...a little. was riding the trials course and went over the bars while making good time through dead pet. hand hit the ground, fingers wrenched back, lots of pain. fingers seem to have regained full motion without much pain but the hand isn't doing so well. with sylvan island this weekend, trials next and transiowa the following weekend i'm a bit nervous. can't really carry a tray at work or really grab anything with the hand. gonna go see the doc today. willing to give up sylvan island for healing time, don't wanna miss the time trials and already considering swtiching to a flat bar set up on the fisticuff for trans cause i'm not sure i can handle drop bars. who knows...maybe its just bruised and will be fine in a couple days.

Monday, April 13, 2009

trail day

larsson and i met up with jeff, wes and svestka for some more work a new extension of mothers day. lots of work got done over two days of work friday and saturday that i wasn't able to make it to. huge thanks to everyone that made it out, the trails look awesome. gonna head back out this afternoon and give this new section a slight alternate route option that should give it a little bit of personality. rode a rough draft version of the time trials always hurts but it looks like this year its gonna be crazy fast.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

star struck

i'm really not a person to get star struck...its just not my thing. i don't ask for autographs or faint when pop singers look at me. however, every once in a while that goes out the window. this time its really just jealousy. a star of such magnitude and all i can do is live vicariously through my brother's good fortune. actually, chris is principal of an elementarly school that raised a bunch of money for one of their students who has a brain tumor. the money raised is going to help offset the student's cost for staying at the ronald mcdonald house.

who's got two thumbs and gets paid to hang out with clowns?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

trail work

got back on the trails today despite the looming expectations that my legs would still be trashed. i felt surprisingly good...or at least better than expected so i rode about twice as long as i intended to heading out. highlight of the day was realizing that someone has already been out to clean up little bighorn, dustbowl, north 40 and maybe more. i was off in my own world through gunnar and julia and didn't notice if that had gotten done yet or not. big thanks to whoever's gotten out there and gotten after it already. trails look great. time to get out and pay my dues in the next few days. IF YOU RIDE TRAILS...WORK TRAILS.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ouachita (as much as i can remember)

got to adam's thursday and met up with kent for some dsm style dirt riding. good to finally see most of what they have. totally different than here but lots of fun. really dug kyle's skinny in denman's...a little surprised by the random tractor tire but rode it...child's play looked like a blast but chose not to take a stab at it with the race on sunday. basically skipped lunch and dinner before the ride so bonked early, chased kent for a while then headed back to do final touches on my jabber and help adam with his jabber following his thumb-breaking realization that wet bridges are dangerous.
trevor showed up friday morning, left larsson with adam's fam and the forbes fam for weekend duties, loaded up the child molesting race van with trevor and julie and headed south. very, very far south. we made it to mena (hotel location) in about 8.5 hours. not a bad trip, really. absolutely gorgeous once we left misery. i think that's how you spell it. maybe missouri. checked into the clean though. good enough to sleep in. drove to oden and checked in for the race and got some grub. trevor scored some race x lite 29'er wheels as schwag just for eating some a little jealous. got back to the motel knowing i hadn't put enough calories (read "crap") into my body. so a walk to sonic for some late night cheeseburger and fries was in order. got my stuff ready for the morning and tried to sleep. woke up every hour, maybe a bit anxious.
woke up to rain. and much colder. happy for the cold, not the rain. too hot saturday, would have been in the hospital by the end. got to the race, got dressed, met jj (still haven't seen results for him), warmed up a bit, ran into a couple iowa city guys (god i suck at names), brian and brother were there as well. rain stopped. readysetgo. controlled roll out on pavement SUCKED. fast and sorta fast geared folk out front, big mob of single speeds all rocking similar gears and spinning miserably together. then came a big ass climb. gravel for a while, then atv-ish. i passed a lot of people. i passed a lot of people fixing flats. A LOT. never seen so many flats. and we were still climbing. this did make me a bit nervous. i was running about 23 psi in the nano out back and about 21 in the big comfy weirwolf up front. mental note from the start...protect the tires. so many more flatted on the way down the backside after that climb. the trail was absolutely littered with people fixing flats, never seen anything like it. i felt good so i rode hard...or kinda hard. did a decent job of controlling the adrenaline out of the gates. got stuck in the first couple sections of single track behind down-shifting geared folks so i ran a couple hills just to give the legs a break. never lost ground, just trotted along behind some guys spinning crazy high cadence. it was obvious early...these trails were awesome. super flowy, amazing views, rocky, long sustained climbs, rippin fast downhills. even sight-unseen you could rip through this stuff. for only being on trails for about a week i felt very dialed technically. nutritionally i was doing pretty well. 100 oz. of water on my back and 2 24oz. bottles of carborocket. doing well nutritionally til i blew past the first aid station where i had planned to stop and sort some stuff out. turned out to not be a problem since we now had a ridiculously long stretch of pavement. i was able to eat and hydrate a lot. two very cool geared riders time trialed up to me but let me latch on. i spun my ass off in their draft and they pulled me graciously all the way to the next gravel section. super cool guys, don't remember names, but huge thanks to those guys. more gravel, more water crossings, had to walk the big one, mandatory dismount. started tearing into my beef sticks, which others found amusing but i say they are the shit. i'll take them above any bar or gu on a long ride. luckily i take all of those.
basically at this point it was settle in and ride. push it when i felt good, back off a little as i was starting to feel fatigue a little. most importantly...ride smart! every 2 seconds there was something to flat on. i felt my front rim bottom out on rocks more times than i care to admit. you had to be mentally sharp or you'd be patching something. the course continued its mix of gravel and sweet singletrack and i felt good. riding with a smile and very happy that my nutritional plans were working out. then we hit blowout mountain. wow. walk, walk, hike, hike, ride, walk, hike, ride, walk, hike. holy shit it was rocky. and it climbed forever. by now my hands hurt...a lot. having to battle to the top of blowout was bad enough, but i almost had to walk the downhill side because my hands hurt so bad i could barely ride over the rocks anymore. i will buy a suspension fork someday. got to aid station 2 thrilled for a break. refilled the bottles with some pre-portioned carborocket, then it was back into the trails. more hike a bike. more rocks...huge gnarly rock gardens that were difficult to walk through. i gave up on trying so many of these because walking would lose so much less time than fixing a flat or dealing with a taco'd wheel. starting doing a yo-yo game with some geared full suspension guys. i'd catch them climbing what i could, they'd pass me going downhill. finally the bonk started to come. i could tell and it was too late. too little food, too much gu and i was about to be in bad shape. the hunger came, then the feeling of overheating, then the dizziness. fuck. i knew there had to be an aid station soon so i started sucking down as much water as i could. needed to eat but was stubborn about it. finally saw julie again and she said aid was just up the road. stopped for some food. shoved down some fig newtons that had baked in the sun and guzzled more water. the bonk was going away (a VERY quick bonk/recovery by my standards) and i headed down the gravel. less than a quarter mile of gravel to the next singletrack and just as i was about to warning...just BOOM!...there goes the hammy. first cramp of the day. damn it. this one took a long time to rub out. back on the trail...very gingerly. basically couldn't pedal up hill. ride the flats, coast the downs, as soon as it went back up i'd push a few strokes then walk. every hill that came i got a couple strokes further up til the strength started to return and with it came renewed confidence in my body. super fun last section of singletrack. last group of volunteers..."all gravel and road from here". me..."how far?" them..."8.5 miles". christ. totally spent, here we go for 8.5 miles of ripping fast downhill gravels with a few climbing efforts thrown in. about a mile or so onto the gravel and spinning my legs like the road runner my hamstring blew up again. no stopping now. unclipped the right foot and let the leg hang while the left one continued to spin and propel me forward. got the cramp worked out and sucked down every bit of water i had.
in the end i had absolutely no idea how i was doing. but i knew this...i could not have done much better. going into the race a good friend asked me my goals...realistic was top 5 ss, top 50 overall and sub 6 hours. what i wanted was top 3 ss, top 25 overall, sub 5 1/2 hours. while recovering on the good side of the finish line someone from the tent hollared at me not to go anywhere. huh? she told me she owed me a check for winning the ss category. "are you fucking kidding me?" so much for acting like you've been here before. so much for acting appropriately on elementary school grounds. sorry, i was just a bit surprised. 1st ss, 19th overall, 5:44 and change. judging from results it looks like this years times were pushed back about 20 minutes by the difficulty of the ride so even my time goal was achieved. i've ridden my ass off this winter, and really for the last year and a half. i've worked hard on getting my nutrition figured out. my jabber is a phenomenal weapon. sometimes things just come together.
time for pics and time for me to get out on the road bike and spin the littlest gear i can for a few minutes. legs are still garbage. still don't have all my grip strength back. glad to have a two week break before the next race. congrats to brian on taking the 80 ss. write up eventually about carborocket. been using this stuff for about 6 months now and i'm hooked.

Monday, April 6, 2009

ouachita challenge (short version)

awesome race. 1st single speed, 19th overall. way above expectations. ecstatic with how i raced and how the body held up. just got back and not even done unpacking yet. longer version with pics tomorrow. jabber rode amazing and the nano rear/weirwolf front proved a perfect set up. will most definitely have a suspension fork before august.

Friday, April 3, 2009

about that time

van's basically packed. just need some gas in the tank and some ice for the beer. headed down to des moines first to hopefully get some trail time with squirrel and kent, crash with adam and fam and leave larsson with them as well as amy's fam. big thanks to them for helping with junior. saturday is supposed to be high 70's in the mountains but back to the upper 50's for race day on sunday (yes, i'm thrilled about that). super excited about this race. and speaking of van's...for those that don't know, i am officially rocking (pimping?) a sweet minivan. took the place of the vue. way more loaded than i ever wanted a vehicle but the price was right. and now i'm somewhat ashamedly hooked on heated seats. and larsson's loving the built-in dvd player. kinda feel like a hypocrit, but at least i'm a comfy one. this being its first official trip as "race van" i can say already that it rocks. so i'm cool with soccer mom status.

its white. its a van. and i have candy...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

getting ready

this week was planned to be a bit of a taper week which is a good thing with what the weather's doing outside. took sunday off. rode trails with o'gara on monday. rain yesterday so started getting organized for ouachita. snowing today. wtf. might get out for a short gravel ride but otherwise tying up loose ends before packing thursday and leaving friday. hopefully get in a group ride thursday night. need to pick up a couple things at the shop and get the tool kit/spare parts organized. swung by j's place yesterday and he hooked me up with some post-race beers to take with. big thanks there. if you're in town check him out. cold beer less than half a mile from the river trail. not much else happening...