Frostbike 2012.

Frostbike.

I look forward to it every year, and it is easily the most fun show all year in my book.
The culture, people, beer, food, events, hospitality, and tomfoolery that goes on makes you stoked to be there and already excited for the next iteration.

Days 1-2 were all about driving, meeting up with Scott & Phil from Salvagetti’s for some Pizza Luce, which for the 2nd consecutive year won
the “best pizza i ate all year award”, and hanging out with our inside/outside reps Brian & Brenden at Angry Catfish, which also won my award for “best bike/coffee shop” for the 2nd consecutive year. Lots of time to hangout these days, these were good days, and more was probably learned from each other here then during the actual show.

Days 3-4 are when the show floor opened up. I will touch on some of the interesting parts i saw.

Surly Ultra New Hubs.
New bearings, and a female axle. Really clean on the bike and since it is an allen wrench there is one less tool you have to carry around with you.

Hope 170mm hub and 135mm front. These will be the hot ticket hands down.
Also note in the bottom right corner a 1 piece chainring/bashguard. really sexy.

There is a new tire from Clement that looks fantastic, i think i shall own a pair at some point in the future.  Part of the tread is inspired  by a pair of North Face boots, and all of it is inspired by the new wave of gravel grinding going on. Expect 2 different compound in this tire, with some puncture protection.

The Ridley CX bikes look pretty nifty with Disc Brakes, i have to say.

45 North had the coolest display in the whole place, totally awesome.  It was made from real ice, and over the 2 days you could see the ice melting.
These studded Husker Du’s will be available around next august sometime, more then enough time for us to get a set on your bike for winter.
Featuring studs on the outer knobs, these look like they will be awesome for all of your winter months.


All City now has a Geared CX bike, the Macho Man.
They took the loved Nature Boy, added some nice dropouts, ran some cable guides that allow continuous housing along the seatstay, and put a barrel adjuster
behind the seat tube for the front derailleur. All nice touches for a geared bicycle.

Vee Rubber has a new $60 fat bike tire. I am not going to comment on it any more then that.

The salsa booth was setup really cool, every bike in there was one of the employee’s bikes, which showed how versatile and capable of bikes they are.
Fargo with Hunting Bow Mount and Fat Front? sure.

E13 is going to have a broader selection of hubs with various flanges out, along with rims. Looks like good stuff.

Whisky is going to have some rims available in the fall. Carbon, stealth, stiff.

10spd Sram Grip shift, make your snow bike happy.

The new Fizik Kurve saddle look great. really interested in some hours on one, i spun a few mins on one that was atop a campy 11spd electronic bike, and it seemed nice.  The rails and top are replaceable, or at least will be in the near future. You can also tune the firmness or softness by changing the tension on the upper. really nifty.

Cane Creek is awesome. Soon there will be a 110 model machined to look like a Thomson stem, so it will match perfectly. I already thought they make the best headsets, so this is cool. Made in good old North Carolina.

Once Again, Pizza Luce. Go get some.

Making Macgyver Proud

A number of years ago on a non-eventful Halloween after noon around 5pm, a fellow named A-Town and myself had nothing to do. We commented that we should go riding someplace, and so we assigned numbers to a pair of dice, and rolled them. They landed on the number 5, which meant that we were in the car 2 hours later, driving to Letchworth State Park , in the State of New York. Going to a halloween party seemed lame in comparison to an instant road trip with 2 hours notice.

The trip was going to be for 3ish days, which really meant driving thursday night until we created Carcoon…………

Hanging out in Niagra Falls Friday…………………

And then going to sleep and riding all day Saturday…….

UNTIL!!!

My crank bolt snapped.

Now you see, letchworth is a 25 mile point to point ride. When my crank bolt snapped, we were about 8 miles out. Nice.
Luckily, the bolt holds the left arm on, meaning that the right arm with the chainrings was still working, just sliding around.
So i did the only thing i could, i rode back to the car with one leg, and took a pavement shortcut. Thanks to whoever invented clipless pedals.

Now, we had drove so far to ride this trail, and only rode a segment.Looking up bike shops it seemed all of them within a 2 hour radius were closed on Sunday, we had no other choice if we wanted to ride, and there was no option of giving up. Walmart.

There was no plan, it was a simple macgyver mission.  Find something and make it work.
There was discussion of just pulling out rolls of toilet paper and falling asleep behind them, hobo style in walmark, sleeping in dressing rooms, etc.
And then, after walking around for over half an hour, a trip down the the isle where the keep the bathroom hardware…….was THIS.

A super out of focus Turn Buckle and Washers!

They were not the right thread for my cranks, BUT,  i was able to Macgyver these parts to run through my crankset and hold my left arm on,and hit my ankles.

Yes, those were sticking out on both sides, hitting my ankles for the remaining 25 miles of trail we had remaining, and it was glorious.
We were able to ride Letchworth in its entirety, and check it off the list.

There is always a solution if you work hard enough.

Ride On.
ChadQuest

The Gritty 260

First thing first.

Now that you have been hypnotized by Johan’s charm i can elaborate.

I failed to get into the Dirty Kanza 200 this year, so i wanted to do some other rides of decent length.
I was going to call this ride the Gritty 420k since the metric system > imperial system, but we might have the wrong crowd showing up that morning.
This general route had been floating around in my mind for over a year now, a neat square composed of a lot of bike paths near rivers and canals.
I said to myself “Hey remember that time we rode 262 miles and it hurt really bad? lets do it again, and get other people to hurt real bad too. For Science!”
So For Science, here we are, looking at a computer screen, imagining a silly long ride of pain and exploration. Stephen Hawking would be proud, he is proud.
So late summer/fall this ride is going down. Bring your drop bar bike with bigger tires out to Dekalb on Sunday, July 29th(tentative) behind KJ’s public lot( also the NCC public lot) at 4am, and bring your A+ game.
There is no time cut off for this ride, the only downside to taking a long time is getting fired by your boss.

You can preview the route here> http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/67379389

Snow Bike Enduro 2012

Last weekend TJ, Nick, and Myself made the drive up to Wisconson for the 2012 Snow Bike Enduro. As with every event run by the individual known as Gomez, this was an awesome time. I did not participate in the race, but was there in support of mechanical needs, selling tires to those who were unfortunate enough to be running the Endo/Larry combo,  hanging out/heckling, and representing North Central Cyclery.

I did get to make it out and poach two laps from the course early in the day, and near the end of the race, in order to feel out the course and bikes. Thanks to Brenden(of QBP fame) and myself alternating holding the fort this was possible.

Oh,I forgot to mention Cupcake.

Yes, i know what your thinking.
“Is that a Super Soaker CPS 2000 filled with Labat Blue?”
and
“Is he really shooting that at the racers? During a race?”
and
“He really calls himself “cupcake?”"

Yes, Yes, and Yes.

So our hangout was right at the Start finishline, so we had the prime position to heckle, and Cupcake had the prime position to shot people with his Beerzooka. It was a great setup, we were in the midst of the action, never felt secluded, and got the chance to hang out with lots of people coming up to chat about all the bikes/tires we had on display.

But back to that course. It was really neat. I used my onboard GPSWTFBBQ to map this exact course route.

It started with a long uphill to the east in an open field, followed by lots of switchbacks in the woods coming down. I was riding a 19″ Mukluk with the Endo/Larry combo, and after starting with 12psi or so i realized i needed way less, so i aired down to 5psi or so eventually, worked tons better, but i still had to stay on all ten of my toes. Chris Jenson(of Nuke Proof web developing fame) said that after he bought a set of Husker Du tires from us his lap times were not only way faster, but also significantly way more bad ass. Nice job 45 north. Butch has made some cool single track here, go ride it at Canopy Tours in Lake Geneva.

Luckily there was the snow for this event to happen, a gang of clouds passed over head just the day before and were very generous with their snow giving.
Many other events this year were not so lucky, and had to be cancelled. Those of us with Fat bikes can only hope for more snow for the remainder of the years events, and then keep riding our Fat bikes anyway into the summer. They are too fun to put down.

For more pics from the event check out KrateCraig’s Flickr. Good stuff.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/74888407@N03/sets/72157628974717135/

DT SWISS 36t Star Ratchet Upgrade

DT Swiss makes some seriously nice stuff. They are the gold standard for spokes in the industry, but in my view they have some of the best hubs out there too. They are light, reliable, look good on the bike, and also on a gram scale, and have decent engagement…..unless you get the $40 36t upgrade that DOUBLES the number of engagement points, then your hub is purring like a kitten on Methylenedioxymethamphetamine .
I have had  a few sets of wheels with DT Swiss made hubs and just now got around to buying the upgrade, i honestly never knew it was so affordable.

The install was easy, the hubs come apart without tools, and the parts just pop in and out, so anyone with the mechanical aptitude to work a microwave can do this in under ten minutes and be grinning from the new tight sound of quick 10 degree engagement.  It starts to sound slightly reminiscent of a Chris king hub……..but i guess i will let you decide with a video. Before and After.

With everything considered, this upgrade is a no brainer, the benefit/dollar ratio is massive, and needs to be done by anyone with a DT Swiss hub.
Another thing to note is that these weigh in around 10 grams less then the stock internals. bonus points.

Quick Summer Recap and the Future.

What a busy summer filled with great rides! As we move forward into the fall/winter i have been thinking about what a good summer this was, a few new personal bests got taken care of, including “Longest Continuous Ride”, and also “Longest Ride with a power nap in a hardware store shed”, which land at 182 & 260 miles respectively.

This winter shapes up to be the proving ground for my training ambition and how next years events could go. I really want to commit to a solid 4 days of spinning pedals a week during the entire winter, so i will be ready to ramp up at the sign of first good weather. I am planning on utilizing both the fantastically fun Mukluk, and the also rather fun Bushido some mornings before work. My main goal for 2012 is to finish the Dirty Kanza 200 in early june, i am hoping with my plan that i will be able to do 1 or 2 doubles before starting the DK200 and in good shape to finish. i just want to finish.

With all that in mind, i hope to get some fun events together that we can have fun on, and encourage each other to get out and ride and make 2012 the best ever. Get out and Pedal!

180- Mile Practice Ride

With the looming terror known as Fruit Loop approaching quickly i decided that i needed to do a longer ride to see how my equipment and nutrition selections were doing.

The plan was to do about 180 miles from my house in Plano, to Genoa City Wisconson, then out east to Wheaton, then back to my house. Jim Sip accepted the invite and came along for the scenery. Having Jimmy along kept the pace a bit higher then if had i been alone, and his conversation was nice, however he did have a rather inconveniently located hole in his lycra that kept me from having someone to draft off of the entire time.

I learned some important things about nutrition, and the most important one is probably just to intake more of it. Unless i eat bars non-stop i absolutely have to get some real solid food for my stomach to process. I learned around mile 80 that Veggie Burritos are very quickly digested by your body when it is craving food, i also learned shortly after around mile 95 that Bib Shorts do in fact have a weakness, most notably when combined with a public restroom.

The ride was actually very easy until mile 150, this is when we hit a wall and just wanted to sleep. I think our bodies had just used all available energy and nutrients and had nothing to run off of, and wanted to go lights out. We managed to get the additional 30 miles home and even had strength in our legs, it was just mentally very challenging.

Things I will do different for Fruit Loop:
-Take Chamois Butter
-Eat/Drink even more
-Sleep well night before
-Install compact crank

On the hunt for Sand Worms

Spent the day at the Warren Dunes up in Michigan the other day and i decided i had to take my Mukluk. I had the chance to ride it a good amount in the snow this last winter, including a 18″ blizzard, but sand was an all new experience.

The sand along the beach was packed smooth from the water and was really easy to ride on, almost as if pavement due to the wide tires, though slower rolling of course, it was when i got away from the waters influence that things got harder.

The rest of the sand was as loose as it gets, and pushed about by thousands of beach people,  and i was basically riding in my lowest 3 gears the whole time.
It was manageable to ride in for sure, i just had to be careful not to turn to sharp at all. I know had i ran a lower air pressure this would have been much easier, as i left it up near 10psi.

Being at the dunes i knew i had to carry this monster to the top of the big dune and ride it down. I have climbed it many times, turns out it’s a bit more strenuous with a 33lb bike in your arms.  It was worth it, alot of fun.

So the next plans for the Mukluk are going to be Front/Rear Minimalist Racks, Anything Cages W/ Nalgene bottles, a cage & flask inside, and a bashguard where the  big ring is and a guard on the inside leaving 2 rings i can switch manually. we’ll see how that works. This is a really fun bike, and i’ve been having fun on it year round on the snow, the beach, and running errands around town.

215K bike ride

This fall i am planning on hosting a 215k bike ride for my friends, it is going to cover some beautiful roads and have some decent climbs, about 2,100ft of them. There will also be a few sections on gravel/crushed limestone. nothing so wild you cant ride it on 23c tires, but 25-32 is probally optimal.  I have rode 95% of the route already and it is fantastic, i am really excited to spend a day on these roads with my friends. I hope to see you there…..after i set a date.

http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/34205412

First Century of 2011

Written April 12th 2011.

After i got out of school today i got the word that the rest of my day was open. There actually was alot of things i could have done, but when the weather is 70f and sunny in april, you gotta take advantage of it.

So i hoped on the road bike and pedaled, not really having much more of a plan then checking out 3 roads i had never been down before, i wanted to see what they were like and where they went.

I explored for hours, and found quite a few massive(illinois) hills, one of them so steep and gravel that in my lowest 34/28t gear i could not climb it because it was too steep and loose. It was amazing and i was laughing. I really love the illinois river valley for this reason. I ended up riding over 100-miles, and climbing 1,600 feet vertically, pretty good for a afternoon exploring ride. I lerned alot of new roads that im sure i will take others on this year too. Get out and explore.