Thursday, December 30, 2010

Lost Control (again)

It's happened again, just when I thought I was cured, I lost control...not one but two bikes showed up at my home within a few days of each other (I did not plan this, but that is the way it worked out). I'm so weak when it comes to either cool looking or rocket fast single-speed bikes...yeah I'm a sucker for fun.

The Trek Sawyer (aka USS Sawyer) is an ultra cool retro looking SS Battleship ready for anything...not light by any means, but ready for the long haul and it's all steel which we know is the best for smooth rides.

Then there is the Raleigh cyclocross single-speed (CXSS) carbon rocket...the only carbon CXSS bike made (that I know of). Raleigh made only 40 of these (so far). I must say that this lighter-than-air frame is a perfect addition to my recent addiction to CX. The ride so far is incredible...

Hmmm...what could possibly turn up next. Well, I'll try to maintain some control for a while longer (like a year or more I hope).

Dirt riding rules!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Give me More Mud - Cyclocross

"Racing into shape" is what a friend told me was his plan for cyclocross racing this year. Well I personally thought that was a little insane, but it was his fun and I was egotistically thinking how good of shape I was in after the last 8-months of endurance training and racing. Then reality hit me on my 1st cyclocross "fun" race of the year at SkyCross Ranch in Moscow...POP! (the sound of my bubble bursting was like a sonic boom to me and not the tiny pop that others may not have even noticed).

My mindset that I was fit and only needed to tune up my cross biking skills was a nice fantasy that abruptly ended when I got my butt kicked (really bad) in that first eye-opening event. The real truth was that endurance training and cyclocross training have nothing in common except that both are done using a bicycle.

So there I was with no ability to power out repeated max intensity efforts over an hour...and when I say max intensity I mean breathing-hard-almost-puking-seeing-stars-maximum-output and when you're done you can hardly walk. That's part of what cyclocross is - the other part is riding a "road-type" bike off road with knobby tires in the dirt, mud, snow, or what ever at high's fun in a dark, diabolical sort of way. Did I mention steep run-ups...

Barrier and water crossings...

I haven't had this much fun on a bike since I raced mountain bikes in the old WIM Series. Actually I think this is more fun, I'm hooked so bad that I think this will become a yearly torture focus for me.

Well after the reality set in, racing into shape all of the sudden sounded like a good plan, in part. The other part of my plan involved shorter high output rides at home vs. the long mediocre outputs I have been doing (aka: focused training vs. aimless riding). My original fantasy goal was to win a few of these events this year, however my reality goal (after my bubble was burst) was to produce some top-10 finishes by the end of the season and get out of the mid-pack finishes.

It seems that I have achieved that goal quite well so maybe I should aim a little higher now with the 2-races left. Hmmm, got mud?

By-the-way, I'm racing on a Single-Speed cyclocross bike against guys running an uncountable number of gears. In my opinion they're at a disadvantage with gears, but that is offset with my poor cyclocross fitness compared the those that are in the top-5 consistently.

Photo credits: Bryan MacDonald (thanks!).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Road-Bike Single Speed Rules

It seems that I have not been here for a while...well I've been busy to say the least. Cyclocross season is here and for some diabolical reason I love thrashing what is essentially a road-type bike on the dirt in a steeple-chase kind of race. Of course it's all the better in the mud-yuk that fall weather provides...more on this later.

For now it seems that the darkness of my ever growing single-speed mindset has masterminded another success. My Gunnar road bike has morphed into a SS...

I used a cool CNC'd eccentric bottom bracket made by Forward Components (basically it converts an awful geared bike into a SS by allowing 15mm of chain tension adjustment). I've used one of these bottom brackets with great success on my Gunnar cyclocross bike for some time now.

Before this bike was a SS I sadly had put only 230-miles on it since the beginning of the year. A week after its conversion to the dark side of SS I had more than doubled that mileage simply because the bike is so much more fun now. Let's see I now have 2-geared bikes and 5-single speeds...hmmm

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Hitting the Reset Button

I've been trying to re-boot myself and change up my riding from super endurance to short-fast-done-before-I'm-warmed-up-events, like cyclocross. I'm not sure why the insanity of cyclocross stirs my soul...I mean I've never been good at short events and cyclocross events are an hour or less of pure muscle-burning torture, plus running which we all know I think is stupid and to top that I've never done well at cyclocross events (typically mid-pack finisher, never been lapped though). There's just something diabolical about this whole picture for me...

Hmm...odd?! Although it's a bit too late for me to really change up my riding focus, I'm doing it anyway in hopes that I can finish in the top 10 this year...if I don't I'm going to die having fun with it.

The bike of choice is once again is my slighly heavy, ultra-smooth, steel-is-real, Gunnar Crosshairs (aka: The Black Pearl) that has been set up single speed (of course). Right now it's sporting some nearly bald 38c heavier-than-your-sins gravel grider tires and water bottle cages...on race days it will loose the cages and I'm fairly certain it will be sporting some speedo-like wheels.

Ramming speed!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Butte 100 - Ouch!

The Butte 100 schooled me well on one thing - climbing. I was not as well prepared as I'd like to have been for the relentless climbing intensity the Butte 100 course offered. It's hard to compare it to anything around here except it's like the steepest part of George Creek that goes on for many miles, then you get a nice break fearing for your life on some treacherous white-knuckled downhill only to start another straight-up-never-ending-climb again...and all this is happening at elevations greater than our highest elevations here. So what I'm saying is that I really had fun thrash testing both my bike and my body...whoohoo!!!

The 6-AM start was a new one for me, which required me to be up around 4:30. I had a restless night of sleep in the motel, but I still felt chipper at 5:30-AM...

But, by 6:00-AM I was ready to release some nervous tension.

The race start was nothing new for me, lots of blurry hustling and trying to stay out of harms way while the giddy-up factor is raging amongst so many adrenalin doping mountain bike junkies...

There were some rather long flat sections (some of the only flat areas on the entire course) in the first 20-miles, which made me work the super fast spinning so I could keep my one-geared SS rolling along at 18-20 mph...

Very little pavement was not appreciated much by me, but it was a necessary evil to get to the sweet (steep, torturous) trails that I so enjoyed...

So during all this fun and adventure I need to mention that it was hot, even at the elevations we were at. My hydration and nutrition were right on schedule, however I could feel that I was starting to dehydrate too much at about mile 50. At this point I was little late on this discovery and not to mention I was sweating heavily up a relentless climb with almost no shade at this point.

To make a long suffering story short, I pulled out at mile 74 (on my odometer) due to severe dehydration...I had puked once by this time and being well schooled in dehydration in previous events, I knew it would be futile to continue. I was sick for 3-hours after dropping out so my decision to stop was a good one and I am happily awaiting my chance to do this race again next year.

Two days after the race I was back on my bike having some fun exploring some of my old favorite riding areas in Bozeman, MT...I mountain biked there in the mid-80's while going to college at MSU. The trails seem easier and shorter than I remember, but still the same.

It was beyond fun to say the least. I can not wait until next year.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Number 3 going for 4

Last week I put in another single-speed hundie+ on the SuperFly SS (a hundie is a 100-mile ride on a mountain bike - roadtoads call such a pedalling event a century).

This one made it 3-hundies this month on the single-speed. I'm not sure where I'm getting the energy to do these, but I hope it lasts until the end of the week (July 31st) when I do a 4th hundie in the Butte-100.

I'm a tad apprehensive about the Butte-100 since there is a claimed 18,000-ft of climbing plus most of the race is at an elevation above my highest elevation here. I've been really fretting gearing for such an event (of course I'm competing on a Single-Speed)...undergeared and you walk steep climbs, overgeared and you loose mega time on the flat stuff spinning. Since I've never done the course before or even ridden the area I have no idea what I'm in for. Plus information about the course is sketchy at best. Hmmm...this is a best guess and live with it racing plan.

No matter what, I plan on having fun riding this event!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

2 For 2

For my last 2-rides I been rained on both times while up in the Blue Mtns...cold also, enough so that I did not have the option to stop too long or I would chill down - so I rode in the rain. I am thankful I carry a rain jacket, which made these adventures much more pleasant.

I'm getting in some fun rides where the miles just seem to tick away effortlessly...yesterday when I got off the SuperFly SS and checked the mileage, my eyes were popping out with wow-factor - I had just put in over a 100-miles on the SS...whoohoo! Sure did not feel like it.

We'll see how I feel today since I'm off for a ride with Doug of unknown proportion as of yet.

Edit Update: I rode with Doug today on an ultra cool ride. I thought my legs would be rather dead after yesterday's 100-mile adventure, but I ended up covering 92-miles on the SuperFly SS with Doug. When I rolled up to the house Lucy, SuperDog Extraordinaire, decided that it was her turn. So after I had some good eats to refuel I pack up the SuperFly SS and we headed out for some trail at Asotin Creek. Lucy was not disappointed and neither was total ride mileage for the day was another hundie! That's 2-hundred+ mile days in a row...Whoohoo!!! Thanks for a great ride Doug!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Getting Back to Business

After the 8-hr race I took a few weeks off the bike, not on purpose mind you, but life happens in the most unpredictable ways which can circumvent the best mental plans to ride...OK I admit I was a tad lazy too.

Well I got an attitude adjustment last week, which really means I got a hair cut...always makes me feel alive again. How good do I feel now? Well let's just say that the 80+ mile ride on the single-speed today felt easy...hmmm I'm still not sure what to think about that.

I'm still finding flowers some ultra cool flowers blooming and the colors up high are pure eye-candy.

I also constantly run across what I consider "road-art" in the oddest places, so I decided I should take a few moments to share them - like this fire truck near the headwaters of Charlie Creek (which is in a rather deep canyon in the Blue Mtns.)...even after a new fence was put up the fire truck remains just as it was when I first discovered it 6-yrs ago...

...Miss Lucy Tippy Socks seems to have attached herself to us...whoohoo - trail dog!

Friday, June 11, 2010

SuperFly SS - Rocket Ship One...Blast Off!!!

This last weekend I rode my Fisher SuperFly SS (that's a 1-geared bike to you) to a solo overall win in the Adventure Sports Week 8-hr Mad Dash Mountain Bike Race...Whoohoo!!!

What a great ride that was - 7.5 hrs total riding time, 91-miles travelled on Rocket Ship-One...the first 4.5 hrs of riding was in fast, dry conditions. I started at the front off the starting line and stayed out front the entire time...

After a short distance I was riding with 3-other guys and after I realized that they were all 4-hr solo guys I let them go, but no one else (team or otherwise) passed me the entire time so I knew where I was at in the standings without a doubt.

I had rolling pit stops with the help of my pit man - The Kevinator!

The real fun started when it started to down pour rain during hours 4 through 7 making the course ultra-sloppy, wet, and muddy...

I was smiling every time I hit a corner and stayed upright during 2-wheel slides. I never went down, but had a few close calls nearly sliding into trees. I did experience two hard rock strikes on my right pedal which broke, but amazingly remained functional. I loved riding my SS in the mud-yuk - I knew it was the ultimate ride for this course and the conditions. I'm not so sure anyone else had my appreciation as I was passing them (smiling big).

The wet stuff really slowed my lap times down due to that slickness, but I figured everyone else was having the same issues with traction.

Next up? Hmmmm...I'm not absolutely sure yet, but the Butte 100 looks kind of interesting...but I'm not so sure about 16,000-ft of climbing over a 100-miles on my single speed.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Flying Single Speed

The Spokane 24-Hr Race was a blast...low stress, high output riding was my plan upon arrival. However, I was stressed out until I got to my first lap which was late in the day and in the dark with lights on (due to the size of the team - The Cranky Bottom Brackets). I volunteered to do 2-night laps back-to-back for some insane tortuous reasoning that I have yet to recall. I was sooooo happy to get started and waste my fresh legs on maximum speed...I had way too much fun ripping around the course on the Fisher SuperFly single speed (SS) in the dark. My Ay-Up lights provided enough lumens to allow aggressive riding on a dark rainy night...whoohoo!!! My lap times at night were only a few minutes more than my day lap time the next day. Our team plan was to have fun and that we did. I'm glad those insane Sandpoint, ID guys invited me.

The suspects - aka "The Cranky Bottom Brackets"

Next up is the 8-Hr Mad Dash Mountain Bike Race this weekend put on by Adventure Sports Week. I rode this event last year and thought it was so much painful, fun that I decided to ride it again this year. However, last year I rode my super-butt-saving Ellsworth Truth full-suspension bike (which I sold last fall), this year I am riding the Fisher SuperFly SS (aka RocketShip-One). I'm curious to find out how many miles I will get in on the SS compared to the previous year...hmmmm???