Monday, June 27, 2011

Surly hub chainlines

120mm - 43.5mm chainline
130mm - 47.5mm chainline

dammit, i dislike measuring chainlines. i think my eyes are crossing.

nature boy is in the house. right here. in the dining room.

using XTR vs with cable adapters until they make me mad enough to join the cant stop wont stop clan.

more cohesive post with pictures, stick figures, and hieroglyphics if i am feeling up to it when it is not so close to an old man's bedtime.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Singlespeed CX: not as hip as PBR but close.

Rumors abound that Bamacross is getting with the program and doing a singlespeed class this year. Might as well build a bike and do a couple of the races I can ride to from the house. Yeah, I could do the whole convert the mountain bike over thing but that just makes it mediocre at two things instead of good at one.
 I'm getting an All City Nature Boy, which will be gradually built over the next few months. I initially wrote down my planned build on a Post It but threw it away so my plans will live on here, easily changed and never lost.

Planned build:
Frame and Fork: All City Nature Boy
Headset: Cane Creek S3
Bars: Salsa Cowbell 2, Nitto Noodle, or Salsa Bell Lap. Not too sure on this one.
Stem: Something aluminum
Post: Who cares. Not carbon. Actually, a Moots post would be nice.
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR
Brakes: SRAM S500 levers and Tektro CX9 calipers
Crank: Ancient SR Suntour 165mm
Chain: KMC Z610HX. Best SS chain out there.
Wheels: Surly flip flop hubs to Stans ZTR 340 Alpha rims
Tires: Stans Raven 700x35

I'm not too familiar with cyclocross stuff so if any of this stuff blows let me know what doesn't blow that I should get instead. Much thanks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tour Divide time

It is yet again time for the Tour Divide - 2700 miles on a mountain bike north to south (or vice versa) across the big peaks of the Western United States. For some reason, compared to RAAM, it seems downright pleasant.

Follow the race here: Race Tracker

One can also listen to the tired ramblings of the riders here: MTBCast call ins.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


In a quest to toughen up my bitch ass weak feet (this is a real condition, a close cousin of the tender foot) for bike racing and the inevitable mud hike that accompanies at least a few races during the year I have been trying to go barefoot a bit more around the house. PMBAR freakin' killed my feet, Turkey Pen Gap > me. I have done well so far, my feet are dirty and I stepped on a toothpick earlier.

More importantly, my feet felt good even after hiking for 7 miles in gravel filled shoes while we were in Kansas.

I have never really like running but I think I am going to give it another shot this summer. I feel like a huge lemming being intrigued by Born To Run, but damn there is a huge pile of research out there advocating going without the clodhoppers. From what I have seen in the physical therapy clinic I work in, there is little connection between all the "super shoes" out there and  a decrease in foot pathology among runners.

I guess I will just go run in socks at the UAB track here in Birmingham. I bought some Vivo Barefoot Oak's to wear to work but am hesitant to run in my non smell bad work shoes. Damn, they are awesomely comfortable. Some of the best shoes I have had. No, I did not pay full price.

The "training plan" is to go and run some on days I don't ride to work. I have done this a few times so far and felt good. I ran with the dogs some when I took them out at night and ran once to the store to get beer...hey, I wanted beer and it seemed like the most efficient way to get it fast. Oh, and yes, you can run holding a six pack without frothing it up. The key is a gentle stride.

This should be a good experiment and I will try it and keep it semi documented on here.

Oh yeah, the I9s are here and setup on the bike...first ride tomorrow.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dirty Kanza 2011

First things first.

I DNFd this one...and I'm still going to write about it. Pics at the bottom if reading is too hard.

Why do a write up on a race I didn't finish? Finishing is the ultimate goal after all. In a nutshell, this race blew my mind and my body in more ways than I ever imagined so I might as well share the adventure. I came into it assuming it would be the hardest race I have done. This was one of the very few correct assumptions I made this weekend.

I looked down at my heart rate monitor three minutes before the start to see it flashing 198 BPM at me. I decided it was confused from the other riders with gadgets around me and turned it forward so I would no longer think about it. With my pacing plan for the day staring at the pavement we rolled out of Emporia, KS for two hundred and five miles of gravel "fun". My new and revised plan was to go sorta hard til it got hot then ease up until dark. Lee and I had planned from the get go to try and stay together but this lasted about five minutes amidst the frenzied double paceline that formed once we hit gravel. During the roll out I met Thad, another singlespeeder who had graciously provided me with his top secret Kanza gravel tips a couple months ago via the Facebook.

The first leg of the race was 62 miles from Emporia to Cassoday and contained some of the most beautiful scenery of the whole race. I had seen plenty of good pictures of the Flint Hills before this race but was still awed by the landscape. It really is different from anything I have seen but I just don't feel I have the words to properly describe. Let's go with beautiful and leave it at that.

I found a fast moving paceline -a bit too fast I think looking back on it- and latched on for the next ten or fifteen miles until I decided I was just wasting energy early and peeled off to wait on Lee, who happened to show up in the next ten minutes. We held a good pace and made it to the first checkpoint in right under four hours where Zach was waiting on us. Many thanks to him for the support, made the day so much better. We were both feeling great and after a quick refill we grabbed our maps for the next section and took off. Well, I should say that differently - Lee grabbed the map for the next section and I grabbed his old map from the first leg. Ooops.

Emily Brock, last year's winner of the lady riders, joined us for a long chat as we started the 44 mile trek to Florence. We pedaled along, chatting merrily for the next few miles, before we came to a halt to look at the map. Missed a turn and not by a little bit. Oh well, missed turns are part of a race with maps and lots of turns. No biggie. I tried to avoid doing the mental math of how much time we wasted with this missed turn and we fell in with another fast group. We met a guy named Steven (I think) from Texas on a fixed gear (!) who said he knew Bamacross, small world. Not more than ten miles later we were lost. Someone had torn down the course markings and we had a group of fifteen exhausted guys arguing over which unmarked road to take. This is where things began to get a bit hazy.

It was close to noon and oh so hot. Not Alabama hot with humidity and shade, but Flint Hills hot, totally exposed and scorching. I put everything out of my mind except looking at the countryside around us and not missing anymore turns. Our average speed was still upwards of 14 mph but with all the extra miles it was over eight hours from the start when we made it to the halfway point. Lee and I both agreed we felt like death at this point and were no longer able to eat due to the intense heat. I considered quitting while I refilled my bottles and surveyed the riders laying on the ground around us. Freakin' rough, lots of DNFs already. We rolled on to the third checkpoint 60 miles away in Council Grove. We had both improved our condition from death to shitty and discussed ways to boost morale for the longest and hottest section of the course. Despite our wishes, we did not find Ted Nugent singing to us in the next yard we passed. Dammit, more disappointment.

After fifteen more miles of 99 degree heat, a stiff headwind, and no relief in sight I was in a dark place. Dehydrated, confused, and becoming more nauseous by the minute I asked Lee to stop. The horizon and the prairie grass had a bit of a lava lamp look to them. Hmmm. We discussed how bad off I would have to be to quit and get someone to take me to a hospital. I decided I was not quite there so I chugged a bottle of water and pedaled on. This is not a method of rehydration recommended by anyone with a brain but I was desperate and had to do something besides mope and stare off into the distance. Lee neglected to tell me about the dark rings forming under my eyes until later. Good thing, that probably would have been my undoing. I don't remember what the course was like at this point besides climbing a lot of hills. I simply pedaled. We suffered through the next couple hours and were rewarded with some cloud cover and shade around 5PM.

I gnawed on some Twizzlers as we rode along and my world slowly turned back to a happy place. A creek to cool off in served to further elevate my state of mind. I was feeling like a champ and happy to be out riding. Halfway through this leg we noticed a wall cloud and some intense cloud to ground lightning directly in our path. The road slowly became wetter and slicker so we got off to walk. We were able to take cover behind a tree when the storm really hit - sixty mph winds, hail, rain, tornadoes reported by some riders. The aftermath of the storm in the form of muddy B roads was worse than the actual storm. The wheels were so clogged with mud I couldn't even push the bike so we crawled under some barbed wire and rode in a cow pasture for a few miles after scraping off mud.

NOTE: Do NOT climb over barbed wire in muddy bike shoes unless you absolutely have to. Just crawl, it's way safer.

The roads were showing no improvement and were totally undrideable. After pushing bikes in a ditch for five miles trying to avoid horseflies we met a farmer who told us most of the B roads were about the same. Same meaning horrible. Hm, flashbacks to DSG in 2009 began playing in my head as I did the figures on how long it would take to get through another 25 miles of this. Too long.

A guy we were riding with said he "had heard if you could make it back to the third checkpoint on the road they would let you continue..."

Things got weird after this. We eventually found a busy two lane and began hammering the 35 miles to Council Grove. I called Zach to get the word on the course situation. Official word was we were disqualified since we were on the road. Yes, he was 300% sure. No, we could not continue on to the finish. We got to the last checkpoint to announce our DNF to the official there and he gave us another map to go on to the finish!

We stopped at this point with 180 miles in the bag and accepted our DNFs. My legs still felt good, I wanted more but it was not to be this day. Some riders who bailed off the B roads continued on to the finish somehow and I guess....didn't DNF? 65 people out of 350 riders finished. Yikes. Congrats to the overall winners on the tandem, so awesome. The Flint Hills were absolutely brutal, epic, soul crushing and whatever else you want to call it to describe how thoroughly it will kick your ass. Hardest race I've been a part of and I will be back next year. Loved it. Good job to everyone that helped put this on and the town/citizens of Emporia. Some of the nicest people I have ever met were up in Kansas this weekend.

Director sportif

Parking courtesy of broken jacuzzi

Springfield, MO was a nice spot to rest

Still felt good at this point...

Fargo fork held mud as well as it did bottles

Leaving the Flint Hills

As remote as it gets