Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dirty Kanza prep and surgery on tools.

Recovery weeks: This past week saw me riding less than any other week this far. I can be lazier, I promise.

Two leisurely rides to work. That's it. I made sure to eat plenty also. The beauty of the "recovery week." Justified laziness and slothfulness - It is reason enough to ride hard the other weeks of the year.

Yesterday was a gloomy, stay inside all day Saturday. As promised, I helped Melissa take on 10 hours of spring house cleaning. This post better get interesting in a hurry, I just realized. I have noticed when reading others' blogs out there, if the bike stuff is buried under three paragraphs of house cleaning and job complaining I will never make it to the bike stuff.

House looks awesome, BTW.

Ok, I'm ready, bike related things.

I spent a couple hours yesterday morning transforming my mountain bike into what Guitar Ted and others would affectionately call a "gravel grinder." Before I was able to muster the motivation to start swapping out tires full of sealant, I was distracted by a side project.

A multi tool that is useful: This took the better part of 45 minutes. I got distracted from the distraction and a slight hangover made my fingers just clumsy enough to drop every washer I picked up. Was it worth it? Hell yeah, it was worth it. Every multi tool I have ever owned has been full of useless stuff that just gets in my way when trying to open it with gloves on. This one is easy to open. So easy I opened it about ten times yesterday for no good reason. This started life as a Pedro's RX tool and is now pared down to the bare essentials I need:

3, 4, and 5 millimeter allen wrenches
Chain tool that actually works
Plastic body that holds it all together

Every ounce of self control in me was used to NOT weigh it before and after. I like to think I'm not that obsessive about small side projects.

Dirty Kanza prepwork: I have had parts waiting around to swap onto my mountain bike for Dirty Kanza for a good while now. I could have just as easily used this time to find a good, cheap cross bike to ride. The mountain bike was awesome at Southern Cross back in February so I decided to just go with it for the DK200. I have seen lots of talk about how rough the terrain is up there in the prairie lands and the organizers recommend at least a 45c tire. A cross bike may be a little faster but all I need is something comfortable and reliable, which are the only things that really matter when it is dark and you have been on a bike for 200 miles.

In the picture above, you can see a few parts picks which have a common goal. I refuse to carry a hydration pack that far on my back in June so it is all going on the bike. This setup may change some and I also have a King Cage top cap mount for another water bottle on top of the stem but I feel good about the storage capabilities of the bike. Current plan is one bottle on the seat tube, two on the Salsa Fargo fork, one in each of the bags on the bars, and one in the top cap cage. Six should be enough. The Jandd frame bag will carry tools and food. This means my jersey pockets are free to whatever I happen to find on the side of the road or at a gas station that looks good.

Although it looks like it, I did not take this picture to show off a horribly misaligned rear triangle. I caught it at a funny angle, that's all. The tires are Bontrager 29-3s, which measure out to around a 1.9 and have thick enough sidewalls to make me feel warm and cozy inside. Just out of the picture is the rear cog, a 15T matched up with a 32 in the front. This may be too steep on some of the hills but I cannot bear the thought of being spun out on every non climbing section for over 200 miles. No way.

I did not have time to put on the new Hitch strap from Backcountry Research before PMBAR but it now has a home. Yes, that is a total of three tubes on the seatpost. The flint up there is sharp and I want the insurance with me. The lower strap with two tubes in it will probably be moved to the downtube since the frame bag has rendered that cage unusable.

For anyone else considering using the Fargo fork on a mountain bike, think hard before throwing down for it. The 2011 model is not yet available. This is important because the newer ones have a more mountain bike friendly 470mm axle to crown height. I settled for a 2010 with a lower 447mm axle to crown height. Coming from the 100mm Reba, this was quite a change. The bike now has a 74 degree head tube angle (similar to most road bikes), a lower BB, and a shorter ETT requiring a change from a 65mm stem to a 100mm. Getting the bars in the right spot was a bit of a head scratcher but all seems well now and it actually handles really well.

Three weeks until we leave for Kansas. We have a good group going including Melissa, the Beagle, Lee, Zach D, and myself. Hopefully, the Mississippi chills out soon since we will have to cross it at some point.


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  2. You have a good set up for Kanza! I don't believe the roads for DK are much rougher than those at Cohutta, for example, but the sharp stuff piles up here and there. Just keep your eyes open for chunky stuff on the downhills, crossing washes, and going around corners.

  3. "Just keep your eyes open for chunky stuff on the downhills, crossing washes, and going around corners."

    Hm. Sounds like mountain biking. I can do that.

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