Thursday, December 24, 2009

XC whips

So I am goig to make a stab at XC racing this year, what with all the Pyscowpath and Federation of Dirt events on the calendar . In the past most of my racing has been geared more towards endurance events on the SS, but after a geared CX season I have been thinking about getting a geared bike for the XC season. I talked it over with el grande Poppi and we kicked around some different bike choices from our shop companies. I have never ridden a full suspension bike and thought that I should at least give it a whirl before investing in yet another hard tail.
I think that this will do....

Fuji DSR 1.0
word on the street is just over 22lbs, and it even comes in Bad Goat black and red
Note: Brad inspired me to do this.

Don't believe the rumors

I am not dead.
I have been stepping and fetching trying to tidy things up after the epic slaying of the thesis monster and the clean up from Barnyard CX.
I have been thinking about many things over the last few days but I stumbled across something in a shop yesterday that resuscitated a a dead project....penny stoves.
DG put me on to these (Instructions here) and I made 3 but never really found a good way to support a pot over top of the stove, then I found these windscreens that are designed to use with Trangia alcohol stoves and cost about 6 dollars at a local shop. they can be had online here

Note that my stoves are actually quarter stoves. New Heinie cans have numbers lightly embossed on the bottom, so a penny does not provide enough surface area to cover the base of the priming cup.
Boils a quart of water in about 4 and half minutes, and weighs less than a wet fart.

The hardest part of making these little things is drinking the Heineken.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The wild pack of honkies

Like a wild pack of Honkies going Tonkin we descended on the the MATC campus today with one thing in mind.

Destruction.....of snow drifts. Certain parts of the course have been scoured clean of any wild white fluff, but in other spots it is 2 feet deep.
AAA and I started cutting the lines for this weekends event, and things are looking good.
We got the first loop opened up with some fast swooping lines.

The entire course will be 3 meters wide and free of snow (yellow or otherwise).
So fear not! there will be XC and CX racing this weekend.
Remember, we will have inside registration, a warm lobby to take a break and secure some vittles, and hot racing action all afternoon

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cross courses don't set themselves up

When I first developed this grand delusion of promoting a CX race in manhattan, one of my first thoughts (as a new unaffiliated promoter) was, where am a going to appropriate enough course stakes to lay out a 2 km course?
If I was back home in my beloved dirty south I would just run over to the sawmill and get mill slats. But the scarcity of trees, and the ensuing lack of sawmills meant that I was gonna have take a more creative approach to appropriating stakes........enter Boss Cross.
Myself and Dubas, met Slater for Boss Cross IV, and afterward we were responsible for disassembling the entire course.......more on this later.
Lined up for the 3/4 race with about 15 0ther folks that think of self flagellation as being too "main stream". I managed to start out about 7 wheels back, and after the first couple of laps I managed to bridge up to Gilhousen and get by on the long pavement section. It was pretty windy, but most of the race was dealing with a crosswind so I was not worried about going it alone. And I did for about three long laps getting about a 10 second gap, and then I looked back to see Gilhousen coming around with 2 to go. I tried to jump on but I just never could close the gap until the last half lap. managed to sneak around and ride into 4th place for some monies. Zach stayed real steady all day and finished in 7th. Slater was using the "Shock and Awe" effect of his facial hair to keep the rest of the 3/4's in check. Zach found out that there were only 3 guys racing in the 1/2 race, so he rode another hour to get his entry fees back.
Then the real work started. Joe and Jeremy were joking about us taking down the course while they drank beer. I commented that they better not be planning to drive home cuz we were gonna be a while. It took Slater, Zach and I almost 3 and a half hours to clean the course up.

We were not gonna fit too many more stakes in the back of my truck. We are set to go for this weekend, and are looking forward to some good times at Barnyard CX

Friday, December 4, 2009

a pleasant heft

The thesis monster is slain.

Its always amusing to watch peoples faces when you hand them a thesis or a dissertation.

I have a committee member that grades by weight.
They hold it in their hand, gently lifting it up and down, smiling ever so slightly, as they try to figure out how many pages it is, without actually looking.

I have another commitee member that just finished his PhD less than a year ago and when I handed him his copy (hot off the press), he took it in boths hands, and said" its still warm" like I had handed him a loaf of bread.

Monday, November 30, 2009

mind bullets....shooting blanks

I suck at working at night. I have come terms with it, but sometimes I still feel obligated to go into the office after dinner to attempt to lay wastes to the thesis monster after ceaseless toil all day. Well I wrote about a page of a impact chapter (something that my advisor thought of over the weekend) but at this point I really do not care. I need to not think about Nitrogen right now
I spent a lot of time working on this thesis early in the game so that I would not be running wild trying to get everything done at the last minute, and a day before it needs to go to my committee he comes up with "interesting" things that we (I) should add........hey, shouldn't you have thought about that 6 months ago!
As a side note, I am pretty grammatically apathetic regarding the blog right now.
All out of mind bullets.

I have been looking around at what I am gonna try to do this next year, and I am going to spend as much time as possible going to races in the upper midwest. There are a few events that are on the horizon, but I will have to speak to the rest of the motley flock regarding what events we will travel to. I personally would like to see us travel to a mountain state race......I hear great things about the Laramie Enduro good distance, relatively low altitude, modest price, and its somewhere I have never raced before. Its also in the end of July/early August, which is a great time not to be in the great plains. We could also have a front range foray the week leading up to the LE. They also have a tandem category! Its also off of Happy Jack Rd. in the Curt Goudy State Park which coincidentally is the source of much debate in our house (we have talked about naming male progeny Happy Jack.....Al was not amused) I though it sounded fun!

In other MTB news The Ouachita (pronounced watch-ih-tah) Challenge dropped the 80 mile race, so now its just the 60 mile tour and the 60 mile race. meh. Chalybeate mountain on the 80 mile race was no fun anyway, a blight on a otherwise fun weekend.

Been running again, its a good kind of discomfort. The dull ache after a long run. lets you know you are alive. and out of shape.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Linclon CX weekend

While we were house hunting this weekend we were able to sneak down to Lincoln for some CX action. Managed a top five Finish. Results are here

Full Details will be at the Bad Goat Blog later tonight. The thesis monster consumes much of my time these days. It must be to my commitee by monday. It will be about 100 pages.

All pictures were lifted from the Michael Dixon Gallery
Cornbread asserted his dominance in the SS race!
Seriously, Mad props to the Lincolnites for a great low key race at a awesome venue. Hooligan hill certainly lived up to its billing! There was all sorts of sketchiness up there! Bacon and hotdog handups.......

Monday, November 16, 2009

How Prophetic.....

That a couple of years ago I would stutter the epic line
that was in response to the question that is omnipresent regarding a head injury.
Do you know where you are?

As an aside, I was not in NE at the time. Rather I was, knocked quite senseless, just outside of Redwing , MN at a collegiate mountain bike race....but thats another story

As noble and enigmatic as my stutterings were, it was a prophetic moment none-the-less.
I have somehow managed to dupe a company (a large multi-national company at that) into believing that I possess the means and determination to be a valuable asset to their organization. In short,
I got a job outside of Omaha, Nebraska.
Ah....the good life. The land of Lincoln.........shut up, you know what I meant.
I will be able to continue conducting agronomic research, and learn more about the genetic and breeding side of Agronomy. I think that my official title is Production and Research Agronomist. I am pretty stoked. Now we just have to find a place to live that is west of Omaha. I cannot bear the thought of having to live in town.
In some ways I was kind of sad that I am not going to be going back to my beloved "dirty South", but ultimately I have had to come to terms with the fact that there are not many opportunities for agronomists in southern Appalachia. Social workers, yes. Agronomists, no.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Perspective on sandbagging

Lets face it, this is a touchy subject and one that in the past has been pretty subjective But with the advent of statistical software and people with too much time on there hands we have quantitative methods to sniff out sandbaggers like a Terrier after a rat.
Typically you can get called out after you win a few races in the Cat. 4's. This is the natural progression of things if you are a non-master age racer (if you are a Masters racer the best you can do is get faster or hope someone dies). You get some experience to build on you fitness, and you learn strategy and what it takes to win.
Its the next step, the jump from 3/4's to 1/2/3's that get alot of people worked up. Here is why
  • Its a huge jump from 3's to the 123/open class and it takes a certain level of commitment and training to do that.
  • There are many racers that see the the bottleneck (or impaction, as I like to call it) in the upper echelon of the Cat. 3 riders. Riders that are fast and competitive in the 3's but never make the jump, and for rational reasons! But, it still pisses all the guys that just made the leap from 4's to 3's to see the same guys winning every race. Here is my solution.
  • If you want to dominate the 3's races without the pressure to jump to 123/open class you need to start traveling. Go race USGP in Louisville, Jingle Cross, Check out the NE cross scene. I think that this goes for everyone, not just the "Baggers". The KC scene has been really strong the last few years with Nationals and there are a ton of races close by, but the domestic CX scene does not revolve around us anymore.
  • Check out the Lincoln CX race coming up soon.
  • I have also seen several racers make solid progression over the years, and make the leap beyond the Cat 3 races. My hat is off to them. They know who they are. They have set a excellent example on how riders and racers should develop over time. But that leap takes a huge commitment that not everyone is capable of making.
  • Ultimately you also have to ask yourself why you are doing it. Its not the money. Have fun, don't take things to seriously, and take those beer handups (regardless of what Margretta says).
Granted not every person is born a great racer, and many times people only race for their own enjoyment, for social reasons (can't figure out why, we are a pretty ugly bunch?), or just because they have a certain level of self loathing and self flagellation has gone out of style.
These are the people that make the sport what it is! Who else would ride a bike dressed in a hotdog costume? Stand around in the rain and snow cheering for their friends and foes? We salute you.
Just some thoughts.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grand Prix HTP at night under the lights

Pic courtesy of Mel
There was a lot of hate in my heart. I unleashed it to finish 7th in the cat. 3 race. Best finish ever in the 3's especially considering super fast race courses are not really my forte.
The rest of the story

Monday, November 9, 2009

new wheels and it started raining

Found B-nast loafing this evening since we got some precip and things have been kinda wet. Its always best to let sleeping dogs lie.

New wheels for the SS CX bike finally showed up. I decided that I wanted some light wheels for my out and about bike, and I really like the ZTR rims. I also cannot figure out why all of this is underlined?

ZTR 355's laced to American Classic Hubs with DT Aero Speed bladed spokes with Hutchinson Bulldogs. Found them for a song and a dance. Yah, new gravel wheels!

Finally put the SS gravel machine back together. The challenge is that the wider ZTR rims dont really interface with my brakes as well as the narrower Open Pro's. The wider rims also really plump up the already voluminous Bulldogs. I may have to respace the brake pads.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Whats it like?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


So I have been taking part in a supplement study at the Bad Goat Racing Center for Unethical Studies, and it is evaluating different "supplements" in near lactate threshold activities.
This is done by establishing what our maximum output is through a step-wise torture session. After this torture session, the coordinator (whom we will call Himmler) flexes his mathematical muscles, and calculates what we can theoretically put out watt-wise for 50 minutes and remain under our lactate threshold.

Then he gives us the call and starts us on this program where we eat the same thing the day before our test, and fast for 12 hours preceding the test (If there is anything worse than riding as hard as you can, its riding as hard as you can on a empty tank).Then
  • Consume supplement and proceed to ride a "Wall" workout for 50 minutes. Wattage remains constant and the slower you pedal the greater the increase in resistance.
Blood is drawn continuously to measure hemocrit, and our VO2 is also measured at intervals.
  • After the wall workout we have 3 minutes to draw some blood, and spin with no resistance. then the hammer drops with a uphill 10k TT with VO2 being measured continuously. We can choose our gearing and speed on the TT, but as Shad says about gears, "that just allows you to dial in your pain setting".

So the first few sessions were just awful, with my TT times being around 23 minutes, but today I easily spun through the workout, and crushed the TT in just under 21 minutes.
I personally have always believed that it does not matter what fuel you put in the furnace as long as its is burning hot enough. HHHmmmhhh...........sort of crushes that idea.
So, I was like Himmler, buddy , ol' pal, what the hump was in that supplement?
In a faint northern European accent he mumbled something about academic integrity and refused to tell me. All I know is whatever it was I want more of it.
The other variable that could have affected today was that I got to choose the radio station, Classic Country!
Self loathing and suffering was just a little more bearable when Merle Haggard is crooning in my ear. I tried singing along through the mouth piece that was hooked up to the respirometer, but stopped when my HR hit 165 and and the "slobber" catchment on my tube filled up. Himmler was not amused, kept mumbling about the old days with Basso. More will be revealed in the following weeks

In other news I won the early career division of the ASA/Tri-Societies 5k fun run in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, and finished 3rd overall turning sub 6 minute miles.
I still don't have a job though........

Friday, October 30, 2009

Last minute dinner parties

Lots of last minute conniving to bust out some quick dinner, paused, surveyed the kitchen and decided it was time to call in some troops to lay waste to some butternut Squash soup with Ravioli. Two phone calls later there is a dinner party happening. I have a tendency to let things get out of control

On the other side of the food front........
The Review of 4 Olives
I generally keep my mouth shut when something sucks, I have worked in the fine dining industry and I understand that things happen. Plates get dropped, orders do not get fired, things happen. But, when the service staff is apathetic I will never return there. Waiting 10 minutes between courses of dinner is acceptable in my mind, however having to wait 50 minutes between courses is not acceptable.
I will make no qualms about the food. The duck was very good, and Ali liked her salmon. However, we were most of the way through our entree before our wine ever came out.
The wine list is extensive, overpriced, and the house reccomendations are marginal. Meh.
I am a service oriented person and have very high expectations. I could have built a set of new cross wheels with what that meal cost me. Restaurateurs need to recognize that people come to a fine dining establishment with certain expectations, and if those expectations are not met, then no matter how good the food and wine is it will not get the bitter taste out of a customers mouth.
I should have saved myself the grief and gone where I knew the service would be exceptional, the wine list just as expansive, and the food is exceptional.
I have never been disappointed by a Noah Reagan experience.

On the low brow front, I can't really come up with much positive to say about Buffalo Wild Wings in Manhattan. Ordered the lunch special, and still had to wait 45 minutes to get it and they were not even slammed! Seriously, its chicken wings and French Fries........throw them in the fryer. maybe 5 minutes. Its not exactly haute cuisine.

I am flying into Pittsburgh, PA later this weekend for the annual tri-societies meeting. Lots of geeking out to the tune of soil carbon, soil hydrology, and Nitrogen Use Efficiency
I also have to try to retain my title as the fastest agronomist at the 5-k running race. Might have to hamstring those skinny little geologists before the race.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Photo Cred for this portrait of pain goes to the venerable Roger of Lantern Rouge infamy

Shad S was killing it in the Cat 123. Great Job!

What am I doing in the drops? I never ride in the drops

The monster

Trying to scrape that wheel sucking ner' do well off my tail

Fjorm....take that dicky

Paul rode with us and got his first taste of the difference between a 4's and 3/4's race. Coincidentally he also learned what "sandbagging" means

The worst sand section I have ever encountered.
I managed to drop my chain with 2 to go, and had to spend a lot of time chasing Waller back down.

Tall Paul leaning into the corners

Getting Pwned in a sprint to the finish.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

How Fortuitous.......

That I should drop a headset full of bearings and I was able to recover all of them.....its almost like a proverb.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The cost of hard living

You can see it in the faded paint, nicks, scalloped chainrings, mavic wheels that no longer have a machined braking surface, .......I can flatout make a bike old quickly.
A life of riding gravel road will age you really quickly especially given the weather that we see out here.
I found this picture from when I first got my new frame

and I have to admit that the IRO Rob Roy has not had a easy life. But, man!, I looked at the old girl this evening and the paint is looking pretty haggard (kinda like the waitresses at Denny's). I am waiting for some new(ish) wheels to bring some spring back to her step, and am entertaining the idea of having the frame stripped and powdercoated since I have another cross bike to ride over the winter. Know any body in eastern KS that does a good powder coat? lemme know
In case you were wondering I am switching to Stans ZTR 355 rims for my cross bikes. I really like the utility of stans rims and the ability to reliably run tubeless. The SS will get American Classic hubs laced to 355s, and the Redline will see my Kings relaced to 355's in the spring.
Why the wait?
My man in Damascus tells me that Stans is gonna bust out 29 inch ZTR 355's with a machined braking surface in the next few months. Word!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Ride 2 Paradise

Holy nuts! we left for the hill country of north central KS on Saturday after getting a text from Waller that went like this:
JW: hey you guys left yet?
Me: You blickety-blank, no account, so and so..........
JW: I will take that as a no, go sit on your thumb, I will grace you with my presence in an hour.

What I did not tell Waller was that 3 people and one dog were gonna drive 3 hours in the cab of my truck, which seats 2 uncomfortably.

He was not amused.

We met Tanner and Mina in Hays and went out for dinner at The Liquid Bread Company in Hays, America. The vittles were spectacular!

The next morning we went out loaded for bear, as the temps were not forecast to get out of the mid 30's all day.

After Tanner knocked off a liquor store he finally showed up.

He was rocking the pimpest shoe covers I have ever laid eyes on

Big Al was all smiles as we caffeinated prior to rolling out, Tanners outlook was not so positive.

He warmed up quickly once he was astride The (pseudo)recumbent gravel road machine from RANS (note that wheelsucking ner' do well loafing in the side mirror)

Never Doubt the gnar hucking potential of a pseudo-recumbent (especially when it has Juicy Carbon disc brakes and comes with a Sid fork)

Taking a break at a sag stop

Someone pointed out that it could effect my ability to operate a car or machinery......pppssshhhh. Al was like, "shut up and get on the bike!"

Al finally cracks the whip and we finally get the freight train of pain underway. High temp for the day was sweltering 36 degrees. It was a brutal ride with lots of climbs, that eventually saw us resorting to the granny gear on the tandem.

Making love to the camera with seductive looks during my Velonews interview at the lunch stop regarding our current domination of the "midwest endurance gravel road tandem racing scene". Mina quietly gagged behind the lens.

Things quickly turned ugly when someone pointed out there was no such "scene".

This is a common look I get from J. Dub regarding how I deal with fame. Disbelief, contempt, pity......whatever..... jealousy it a bitter pill.

Once again We have gotten caught "ridin dirty" at another great grass roots event in north-central KS. Many thanks to The Renard family, the gracious volunteers, and all the other folks that braved the weather to make this a great event and helped raise money for the NKDSVS
Also many thanks to Mina for taking picture, being the Hostess with the Mostess, and for keeping Tanner from dragging his knuckles.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Western NC

Ok I am writing this forDG, the intrepid Iowegian, who is spending a week in Western NC, but primarily in the NW high country. I intend to list the must ride trails in that area and in the "Asheville Trifecta". If the readers have any suggestions or tidbits of info please post them in the comments section.
  • Kerr Scott lake: Home of the Overmountain Victory trail, Warriors creek trail, and Dark Mountain. I think this is the must ride trail system that is not in the backcountry of NW NC. BMCC has all the trail maps and info. If you want a really good day (35-40 miles) I would recommend 2 laps at WC, and then an out and back on the OVT. Dark Mountain is a great trails system, but I prefer the flow of the the other 2 more.
  • Jefferson National Forest and the grayson high lands: There are not a lot of true mtb trails in this area, but it is unmatched in remote rugged backcountry and challenges (Its like Pisgah, but less refined) The same group that does the shenadoah 100 did a 100k race there earlier this year. Map is here.
  • In the same area is also hundreds of miles of forest service road and rural gravel. Here is a route I have ridden most of before. 40 miles does not sound like a long ride, but up there its some soul crushing climbs and lots of winding roads. Its in a figure 8 so you can stop at the subaru to re-supply since there are not alot (any) stores out there.
  • Pisgah : you can find all you ever wanted to know about riding in the mountain valleys here. You could spend weeks riding everything down there. I would devote at least 2 days to pisgah proper. If you really hate yourself (and I know you do!) you can follow the trail of the race formerly known as The Most Horrible Thing Ever
If there is anything I forgot or you want the 411 on just let me know. I expect the East TN crowd to chime too.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Frisco CX 2009

I had a great time, and they have some really great cyclocross races out there in CO. I rolled up planning to race the Cat 4's (call me what you will). ACA sanctioned CX races are all 45 minutes whether you are racing open/elite or cat 4.
They race one Category at a time, so races start at 9 am and go on until 5 pm. ACA takes a very loose interpretation of barriers, and they used logs that were bunny hopped almost exclusively in the mens open class. The course had 1 long open climb, and a couple short tech sections that were uphill. Probably the collest part of the course was the downhill "slash pile" descents. You would come screaming through a section with a well defined swoopy line, but if you got off the line you were in trouble. Several parts of the course were very rocky and rooty. There was a super steep gnarly run up through this really powdery dirt. I would say that about 50% of the course would be classified more as singletrack than CX course, but you play with what you have got and the promoter did a great job(It would make a great mtb short track course) .
There was a bunch of cat 4's lined up, and they proceeded to call up about 20. Being a new face I did not elbow my way to the front after the call up (but i should have). I started on the back row. I quickly realized that this was gonna suck. A lot.

The course was very dry, dusty and the wind was whipping at about 15-20 mph with temps in the mid 40's. being towards the back in a mass (cat 4) start really made for a interesting first lap and a half. You could see that there were obviously some riders in the field with some huge motors, but were operating without technical skills.
The front of the field was quicly out of site as I negotiated traffic and got into the open after a lap. The second lap was chasing down few folks while trying no to die.
Racing CX at 9000 feet brought a new level of pain and asphyxiation to my world.

In the above two sequences you can see that I was able to move through the pack quickly when we were off the bike, but I would suffer mightily.
Sometimes after a run up or barriers I would just keep running to make sure I did not get bumped, bobble or wreck in the sketch that is remounts in a Cat 4 CX race.

I found myself chasing the same few folks after about 4 laps, occasionally I would surge, but I just did not have the gas or the legs to keep anything going. The last 2 laps were spent trying to hang on. It was a very humbling way to start my CX season

Front Range Foray (in two parts)

So we made our trip to FC this weekend to see whats afoot. We were able to sit down with Mike Weber with Northern Colorado Realty and talk about what the housing outlook is for that part of the world. Mike also spent at least an hour talking mtb and local riding info with us. He was a great resource and the person to talk to if you are thinking about buying a home in the FC-Loveland area. I actually found Mike by searching MTBR.......who says its completely worthless?

A touching moment

Some sweet veiws after crossing Pennock Pass on road 44H then proceeded to descend all the way down to Poudre Canyon

Thats a new one for me

Still climbing up to Pennock

We camped in Poudre (pronouced pooh-der) Canyon and went into FC on Saturday night to eat some dinner and look about old town. We ate at the Rustic Oven and I must say it was a spectacular culinary affair. We really did not spend very much time in FC, I was more interested in what was around it. Some Observations:
  • The "Boulder affect" is present especially in the recreational areas near town. lots of regulations (no swimming, no camping, no dogs off leash, no fun....etc)
  • Lots of sign ordinances (signs can only be like 10 feet off the ground, neutral colors, etc) which is great unless you are trying to find the dark.
  • Its a college town. It reminded me of Lawrence, but more pedestrian friendly. Old Town was pretty cool.
  • I have never seen so many bike lanes that are respected by drivers.
  • We really did not stop to see the usual tourist sites (New Belgium.......I hate Fat Tire...come to think of it I do not like any of their beverages)
  • The locals in Masonville (ie the old crusty tatooed biker/trash crowd) were the most friendly people we encountered on the whole trip. They were just really friendly people, and Brutus made a lot of friends when we stopped for lunch at a biker bar/grill (it was more of a bar than a grill).
Then we headed to Frisco......