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

Thursday, April 8, 2010

125 miles...

according to the most recent information provided by mr. guitar ted that's roughly how far we'll be riding to end transiowa without a refueling station along the route. apparently if we're willing to add a couple miles and venture off course we can find something but otherwise the last stop is approx 10 miles from the final checkpoint which is approx 115 miles from the finish. damn. 125 miles. from experience we'll be lucky to still be moving at 10mph. that means we're looking at needing to pack enough food and water to ride self-sustained for 10-14 hours. two things come to mind. 1) this sucks. 2) i like it. i've seen a lot of people very stripped down at the starting line. i've been very jealous of them as i am a notorious over-packer but i guess for me i've always felt like a self-supported 320 mile gravel race shouldn't be accomplished with two water bottles, a tube, pump, multi-tool, clif bar and 2 gus. i want to see people suffer. i want to see people survive. huge props to those possessing the physical body and mental fortitude to truly race this thing. but i'd be lying if i said i'm not a little bit excited to see how people handle 125 miles without refueling after having already ridden 200 miles while packing only minimal supplies. i wish them absolutely no ill will...maybe i just want a little company in the pain cave. something about collective suffering and all...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


after getting the jabber put back together and riding trails a couple times i broke down and took it to travis to have him set up the brakes. because. i. suck. left it for a few days cuz he's busy and figured i wouldn't get in any trail time. i was wrong. so grabbed the pugsley and tried my best to rage trails but raging doesn't really happen with a pug. fun anyway. ran into matt (i think-in case i haven't said it for a while i suck at names) from roch down riding trails in what i'm assuming is getting ready for the trials. lots of fun and a hell of a workout pushing trails with that beast.

later that day (saturday) worked trails with a good size group from dhpt. built a new section through the top of pali. i don't do the most work on the trails, but i do a hell of a lot more than some people. i don't care where you live or what your trail system is like-you can find something to do to make them better. if you ride trails, work trails. build, clean, maintain, fix...pick up litter if nothing else. and tell your friends they suck at life if they refuse to do anything.

transiowa is about two and a half weeks away. yikes.

15 deep on the waiting list for heck of the north. not gonna hold my breath for that one but i guess i have a chance.

sylvan island this weekend. funny much less worked up i get about xc races these last couple of years. don't care any less, don't look any less forward to them, just starting to relax a bit. also accepting my endurance training and its affect on my xc racing. mostly excited hoping brother adam will throw down his first ever attempt at racing a bicycle like the rest of us overgrown children. hoping to see a solid group of friends hanging out there as well.

still waiting on new seatpack from epic design which hopefully will be here soon. that will leave me with a couple weeks to dial in bike setup and pack organization.

hopefully get a break in this rain and go slow roll some gravels for a bit today.