Wednesday, September 1, 2010

leaving soon...

heading for spearfish, sd for the dakota 5-0 which is possibly the coolest race i've ever done. and i've been lucky enough to race some awesome races. perry, the director, is perfect for putting this thing on. the support, the setting, the course, the afterparty...its all amazing. adam, scotty and i will be heading that way on saturday, racing sunday, driving back monday most likely hungover with a stop to do some more cliff jumping.

packing list: shoes, bike, helmet and maybe some four loko...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

last week in pics

four loko receives adam blake's official seal of approval
riding/camping at levis with adam, zach and scotty
adam working on my bike. because i'm lazy.
we were the only three people in the entire campground. probably was a good thing.
was super happy to have ari and fam walk into the bar so we planned a gravel excursion
nice gravel ride to bluffton and back with ari on thursday
hooked up with blackford on saturday for some trail time. awesome week of riding with some really good guys.

Monday, July 26, 2010


the good: i rode my bike. i rode my mountain bike on mountain bike trails. i rode my mountain bike on mountain bike trails for 18 miles. i "raced" my bike for 18 miles. i finished the race. i can still walk. the knee doesn't seem to be swelling up in a debilitating manner.

the bad: i finished d.f.l. the ego is slightly bruised. my fitness is nowhere close to what it was 3 months ago. i have a long, long way to go. my body hurts like it hasn't for a while, back and shoulders especially.

the conclusion: trying to stay positive that i was finally able to ride again. i was able to push my knee through the climbing at 7 oaks without reaggravating it. pretty disappointed with how out of shape i felt and trying to accept how long its going to take me just to get back to where i was. gravel worlds is now unfortunately a pretty big uncertainty. 150 miles of gravels just seems a bit much with how i feel but i'll wait a little longer to make that decision. going to focus training on being in good enough shape to ride dakota 5-0 somewhat comfortably understanding i still won't be as competitive as i would like. then see how i feel by the time adam's party goes down. the day definitely went better than it could have gone...just wasn't quite ready to accept how much i've lost.

Friday, July 16, 2010

or not

nothing's torn. nasty bone bruise in the knee that pretty much means anything more aggressive than walking or riding a geared bike on a paved bike trail will aggravate the knee and make it impossible to do anything. no time frame on when i'll be back on the bike but eventually and no surgery.

Monday, July 12, 2010

that didn't last long

tried to ride back-to-back days. 90 minutes gravel then two hours gravel, the second with gears. knee blew up again. called doctor. xrays were friday and mri was this morning. ugghhh.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


got in a gravel ride and a trail ride already. both short/low intensity in relative terms. both rides left me trying to balance my intense desire to ride myself back into race shape, the necessity of taking it easy and not risking reaggravating the knee, and ultimately realizing that i should just be happy that i'm riding again. sucks being able to feel how much i've lost already but riding slow is infinitely better than not riding at all.

Monday, June 28, 2010

torn meniscus

damn. no surgery for now. gonna try to live with/manage it as long as possible hoping to prolong my now inevitable knee replacement(s?). huge suck right now but gonna start trying to ride again.

could be worse. didn't break my face. keep laughing colin...still amazed by your perspective.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

not writing=not riding

knee is pretty jacked. worst its been aggravated since i first injured it roughly 5 years ago. that time i was off the bike for over half a year. hurts to walk, work, play with the little man, ride...incredibly frustrating. ice/rest seems to be helping but not nearly fast enough to keep me from being concerned. probably get in to see someone soon if it doesn't really come around by the end of the weekend.

Monday, May 17, 2010

debacles, failures, successes, almanzo and a few more pictures

finally getting some pics up now that i have time and my camera was graciously mailed back to me by gersib after my inability to keep track of it during post transiowa recovery.

recovery in said hotel room after t.i. with bonsall, scotty and mg
bailing on sugar bottom with adam after the rain picked up last monday. headed into town for some local dirt
thirsty? this is what last tuesday's metric was like. the bike was worse and so was i.
scotty. says. hi.
mere seconds before scotty and i both passed out headed back to the hotel after being saved sixty some miles into t.i.

yes. following transiowa i cry dirt.
the breaking point. bonsall walking the b road that officially ended transiowa v.6 for me.
scotty and i with a shred of optimism remaining at the starting line just before t.i.
the almanzo setup: fisty fixed at 37x16 with mary bars and foam grips


verbage: almanzo was a throwdown and a beatdown, as expected. if was glaringly obvious from the start...everything was perfect. the weather conditions as well as the gravel conditions. throw in an eppen tandem and the stage was set...people were going to hard and fast and it was going to go off like that from the start. the best part about this is that i'm an idiot. and i will go with them. as long and hard as i can. fixed. and. i. will. die. so we go off and about 3 1/2 miles in we come screaming down a winding descent and there are bodies and bikes EVERYWHERE. scary doesn't even come close to explaining the scene. nobody seemed to be screaming anything other than "slow down!" so it didn't seem anyone was hurt too bad but you couldn't even tell who was hurt and who was helping or what had happened. it was just carnage. continuing on, the race was pretty much the same the whole way. i was going way faster than i had any right to but it felt good so i went with it. rode with some great people, hooked up with gunner and wes from time to time as the yo-yo effect of trying to ride fixed with geared guys did its thing. chose to blow through preston 40-some miles in and rode up on a lady from geoff's in iowa city (sorry i suck at names). she had ended up solo and didn't know where she was at on her cue sheets. we rode a couple miles and she was frustrated by a stem that was off center and i needed to stop and rest the legs anyway so we pulled off and i straightened things out for her while a group caught us. we hooked up with the group and rode into the checkpiont 65ish miles in. knowing how these things can play out i quickly refilled 2 bottles, grabbed a sandwich out of my camelbak and the new cue sheets and was out as fast as i could. best estimate is i picked up 20 spots on people just hanging out. i'm no expert but a lesson to people new at this...the single easiest place to cut time out of long events is at aid stations/checkpoints. its so easy to get lulled into relaxing. get in, get out and don't get stuck there mentally or physically. back on the bike, up a big paved climb, down into a valley, up a big gravel climb, down into a big valley, POP!!! there go the legs. third big climb right out of the checkpoint and i was a bit toasted. got my shit back together for a while but had to solo to the finish. about 80 miles in i was beat up from the effort i was putting out. i had considered the realistic possiblity of a sub-7hour century fixed and i would have been ecstatic with it. after passing 80 miles and feeling the body start to fail the math was becoming simple. i would be close but would have to ride as well as i did at the start to make it under 7. i just didn't have it in me. came to a very cool water crossing that i cleaned which i think should take 20 minutes off my time thus giving me my sub-7 century. anyway, somewhere around 90 miles in the cramps hit hard and i walked 3 pretty big hills and was stuck pedaling in the flats through cramps that simply alternated legs. limped in just shy of 7hrs20min and finished in the top 100 of a field almost 300 deep. pretty sure one guy fixed behind me and sounds like maybe one guy killing it fixed ahead of me. kinda hard to compare myself from a competitive standpoint so i try to find other measurements. happy, not ecstatic, but happy with my time. happy with how long my body held up but disappionted it wasn't to the end but considering how hard i rode from the start i shouldn't complain too much. food/water was well planned and effective (minus the cramping). i will be stronger because of this.

the race itself was incredibly well put together. many have said much about chris skogen and what he has put together and pulled off with this race and i would simply echo those setiments. not gonna lie, i had my doubts with the size of field but i was beyond impressed. well done chris. as usual, the number of people i got to see and ride is a list beyond my capabilities. but i'll try: gunner, wes, kirk (all from decorah), squirrel, rick, steve, kent (dsm boys), HUGE iowa city/geoff's/q7 crew, dennis the grelk, cornbread, charlie, drew, mr. skogen, shively, moffit, paul jacobsen, joe meiser, i'm sure i'm missing people and i apologize. it was a long, beautiful day and i got my ass the course, the bike, myself and a whole lot of crazy strong riders.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

laying low

transiowa officially left me not feeling the need for much gravel riding, a feeling which was encouraged by a bottom bracket that was left almost completely seized up from said gravel adventure. fortunately the trails up here have been in phenomenal shape following the time trials so i've spent a fair amount of time on those. good to get back to the mountain bike for a while. also spent a little time mushroom hunting for the first time. always enjoyed eating them and finally getting out to find some of my own. in the meantime i've been making some small changes with the fisticuff as well. new bottom bracket out of necessity, went back to the mary bars, removed the rear brake entirely and switched it back to a fixed gear. planning to do almanzo and gravel worlds fixed as well as heck of the north if they go ridiculously deep into the waiting list. honestly, i just felt stronger/faster when i was doing all of my gravel riding/training fixed and i've realized that long rides hurt no matter what...geared/single/fixed/hiking b-roads/etc. might as well get more out of it so i'll be pushing the fixed gear again...most likely for a while.

took off monday and headed down to iowa city and met up with adam and borrowed his buddy brett's bike for which i am extremely grateful. got in what i think i understand to be about half of sugar bottom. grew up an hour from there and had never ridden it. planned to ride more of it but the rain had other ideas. knowing how protective they are of that trail system we decided to bail before doing any damage and headed back into town. adam showed me around some local, in-town trails that some guys are working on. always fun to ride with adam and definitely worth the trip despite the weather, which really just seemed fitting for a ride the two of us planned.

headed out tuesday then to take care of some unfinished business. a few months ago adam and i failed a gravel metric due to winter weather and a road not marked as a b-road but apparently not plowed in the winter. wanting to get some good time on the new fisty set-up before this weekend's almanzo, this seemed an appropriate route. it rained all day on us while we rode monday but stopped overnight so i had hopes of a not-so-awful ride. hope is dumb. i got dominated. hit the metric distance at around 5 hours and ended up somewhere around 66 miles in 5.5 hours. bike is absolutely trashed. i'm pretty beat up. gravels were certainly not as bad as transiowa but man they were awful. first time riding fixed since cirrem i think and the back took a solid beating. gonna take a couple rest days to let the body recover before this weekend and hope (dumb) the weather cooperates.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

one pic...

thanks to paul jacobson for this picture. its at the 45 mile checkpiont. no way did i think i'd look or feel like this so early in the race.

thank you cornbread...

for your comment in my last post. i am reminded of some work that must be done prior to next year. "TEAM LIMIT" shirts. that's right, anyone who wants in on this slow rolling train that plans to use up ever second of our time limits is more than welcome. wills, bonsall, scotty-i'm looking squarely in your direction. gersib, i'll hang on to yours til the first checkpoint. if you're there waiting for us again i'll give it to you there. don't doubt this groups ability to finish or their willingness to have a riot of a good time as the founding members of team limit. man...really wish i could make a list of all the guys i was excited to see again this year. hopefully gravel worlds means i won't go a full year without see many of them again.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

got drunk and lost my camera

so no pics from me from transiowa. or the time trials. maybe i'll find it. in the meantime just know that transiowa was an absolute beatdown and the time trials were some of the most fun i've ever had at a bike race. and i didn't race. our little setup in death valley was a hell of a good time and from what i can tell the racers really enjoyed it as well. marty killed half my 40 the first time through then half my pint can the second time through, chased mr. sedore a long way down the trail, gave adam a rabbit to chase, witnessed more than i care to admit to when jesse came through, heard something over a megaphone about a muffin top, some trail hippies, something about following the pink and i'm not sure what else. congrats to those that really threw down some hellish times and thanks to everyone for making it such a great time.

until i get my camera back i'm officially stealing from others...really dug this post from defending t.i. champ joe meiser. i have a ton of respect for both joe and charlie farrow (pictured). the picture tells a lot of stories, the words have certainly helped me put this year's transiowa in perspective.
Look at this man. He is whole. All of his desires have been fullfilled. To what does this man owe his fulfillment? To TransIowa.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Wilson, gracious volunteer and observer of the grotesque.

Look for a full report when the sand and grit are washed away. Until then ponder the great unknowns, the questions of your life, while knowing that this man no longer needs to.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

tiv6 recap...already

short version: brutal gravel conditions=epic failure. honestly have doubts that anyone will finish. if anyone does i will be impressed beyond words by their superhuman efforts. felt like i was riding in wet concrete. on a positive note the 5a.m. lightning storm was absolutely amazing.

Friday, April 23, 2010

possible transiowa updates

just over 11 hours from the start of this year's spring monster and im pretty well situated in grinnell. scotty and i headed to the prerace dinner/meeting soon. a note on updates: guitar ted will understandably not be doing the radio updates he has done in the past. this is unfortunate but completely understandable. he is encouraging twitter updates so if you're into twitter check out his blog on how to find updates from riders and possibly himself. if it works and falls within the rules, i may have some periodic updates on my facebook page as well. not sure if it will be kosher or if it will work out at all so no promises. just picked up some strawberry cheesecake to go with the summer sausage, cojack cheese and slimfast breakfast. sometimes i think riding is just a really good excuse to eat like a hippo. and i'm okay with that.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

solitary, 60/60, 4

random thoughts from the last few days and on the next few.

solitary: took off on sunday for yellow river for about 24 hours of self-imposed solitude trying to get my head straight and relax a little bit. made good time getting out there and getting camp set up (spotted a couple cars in the parking lot...pretty sure marty and the fuhrnmanator were out on the trails somewhere) so got out for a hike and then jumped in the van to check out more of the park that i'd never seen before. fire, beer, brats, dark, sleep, cold, sunrise, fire, bacon, lemon streussel, coke, ride. ride was awesome and pretty sure it became recon for next years std. if i can find a route out that direction, through what i rode and back and still have it fall within 100 miles it will be next years century. between what i saw in person and on the map, it looks like there could be some pretty cool unimproved adventures along the way as well but it wasn't the day for me to be exploring. lunch, break down camp, realization that the night away was exactly what i needed.

60/60: percent chance of rain saturday and sunday. listen, i want to finish transiowa. transiowa is brutal in perfect weather. but something about the challenge of epic brutality makes me smile a little a bit. how miserable can we be and still finish? what can we push our bodies through and still come out the other side? that being said...i think i'd prefer sunny and 60 degrees.

4: days. vomit. brush teeth to remove vomit taste. ride, check list, get organized. realize vomiting won't help. try to avoid vomiting again. try to avoid last minute changes to bike that i'm tempted to do but will inevitably cause catastrophic failure mid-ride. working tonight, tomorrow night, double thursday, leaving friday. figure out saturday's 3a.m. breakfast. sleeping arrangements secured. need to purchase pre-cooked bacon and orange slices. make a decision on fenders in light of the forecast. amazing this is what i'm left with despite all the good sunday night's camping trip did for me. maybe the thoughts haven't changed much, but there organization has which really does help the stress.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

one more

from sylvan island. brother adam got this from someone and sent it on to me. good look at the train we had rolling for the first couple laps.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

epic designs seat bag-first impressions

opened the box, looked at the bag, thought...this isn't as big as i expected.

installed on bike, started packing the bag, thought...holy shit this thing is huge.

finished packing 90% of what i'll take on transiowa,, i think i've barely filled half the bag.

strapped on lights, left for solo gravel night mission fully packed, thought...yikes this bike is heavy, but my back feels a hell of a lot lighter/more relaxed than last year.

hit first big climb,, this bag actually has a fair amount of sway in it.

finished ride, rode again fully packed the next day, thought...same as the night before.

final thoughts: TONS of room to pack in this thing. overall ecstatic with the bag. better for geared riders because it doesn't get much sway until you attempt to stand and climb. obviously well constructed and presumably very waterproof. definitely thinking it will be better than last year without all the weight on my back but that much weight on the bike is noticeable, especially into the headwinds i've ridden into the last couple of days.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the island, the t.i., the bag, the photos

so...the pictures in this post make absolutely no sense in the order that they're in...get over it. for some reason this laptop sucks at reordering pics. or i do. don't care.

first...the stampede. got to sylvan island feeling pretty good. walked up to the registration tent and signed up for the expert class. a 5th place finish in last year's mudfest in the expert class left me feeling plenty comfortable racing expert again this year. then ran into adam. first words out of his mouth "did you see who all is here? yeah, a bunch of us are just doing the single speed race." my first thought...damn, that was eppen that i saw. so i headed back to the tent completely comfortable dropping to the ss class, especially since i was standing in line behind jesse lalonde as he registered. considered tapping him on the shoulder and informing him that he was one of the reasons i wasn't racing expert, smiled to myself and left him alone to avoid seeming like a stalker. experts went off and i was happy to not be with them. along with eppen and lalonde, cam made his mark and knowing robnett was there and then the ride that kingsbury put in...i'm completely comfortable with my decision. our group went off a couple minutes after the experts and i was into the singletrack first after a couple hundred yard sprint. was feeling pretty good about not blowing up completely at the start then totally blew a 180 degree turn (should probably pre-ride in the future). adam took the lead and looked strong. i got it back and led a fair amount of the first 2 laps feeling pretty strong and being coached around the course by local guy ryan neipert. was wondering why he wasn't coming around but he seemed comfortable and i was appreciative of the advice. lap 3 came and i got passed like i had an orange triangle on my back. neipert recommended we chase him down. i wanted to recommend that neipert fuck off but my manners were still in tact. he metioned that he was inclined to do it so i made room and never saw them again. the next guy in line then sat on my wheel for the remainder of the 3rd and all of the 4th lap. as expected on the 5th and final lap he was done toying with me, moved around me and was gone. i settled into cruise control accepting the fact that i could have ridden another 5 hours but was powerless to accelerate, chase or really race at all. my acceptance of 4th overall was short lived when i got tracked down and passed again and rolled in for a 5th place finish ecstatic not to have another 2 laps like the experts did. the race was a blast, justified my decision to bail on the experts and a testament to my training. realistically evaluating my performance, not making excuses, i have lost my high end. i averaged 164 heartrate for 1hr45min. that hurt and my back is toast. but i was smiling in the end and more and more that's all the reward i need. maybe someday i'll get back to focusing on xc racing but for now i'm happy riding as hard as i can as long as i can. huge congrats to neipert for taking the ss race. eppen, lalonde and cam killed the expert race but for me kingsbury was the story. 4th place and the first of what i would consider non-pros. pretty damn impressive. good to see everyone else out there as well...all the iowa city folk, trevor, brian, grelk, jed (tough day with the tubeless set-up), i'm sure i'm missing people cause that's what i do...tons of people out for this one and was cool to see the big fields.

the new seatpack came in from epic designs and is looking every bit as promised. got it installed this morning and looking to get out for a ride with it today. probably pack it with useless shit just to see what its like. the next week will be a lot of shorter gravel rides making sure everything is dialed.

transiowa v.6 is virtually upon us. i leave in 10 days. getting lodging/support/food/packing/etc dialed so i can pretty much wake up friday and leave. anxious, nervous, excited, scared, hopeful and a whole host of other emotions. the 2nd guessing is hitting the point of absurdity. most of all is the excitement though. having been through 2 and finished 1 i have an idea what i'm in for and i know how much i enjoy it. having scotty along this year will add a whole other reason to be excited. we've trained hard together in the past and i know what its like to put in some truly suffering-filled rides with him. looking forward to tackling this monster together.

now...the pics. again, totally random order cause i suck.
jesse lalonde: reason #1 i bailed on the expert race

the fuhrmanator

the little man showing off the fully packed ride

the new bag installed and in its smallest state

recovering with adam

recovering with a tallboy of highlife

brian eppen: reason #2 (cam: reason #3, not pictured)

single speed race pain train (before i derailed)

coming off the wall with neipert and adam in tow

plenty of places to have fun once you know you're out of the race

early on, before neipert took charge of the race