Monday, August 29, 2011

Ah, the dirty south

TN is always good for some satire
For reference, This is the town next to where Ali grew up. My mother-in-Law (who is with us in MN right now) is gonna bust some skulls when she gets back on Saturday.
This tyranny will not stand!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Butch enhanced Cayuna Daytrip

I was watching the weather all this past week. waiting. plotting.
Then Thursday night I heard that Katie and Al had bike riding planned for Sunday. Perfect.
This (in my mind) justifed me and Butch getting together for a long ride on Saturday.
Friday I sent Butch a plot thickening text message. Turns out he was down for a trip up north.

So we left the cities at 6am on saturday morning, to hit the 30-some miles of single track and not be out all day.

Images jacked from Butch's Instagram feed
As soon as we got there I laid out the plan of attack. On my previous trip up there I rode all of the Portsmouth Mine trails first, and by the time we got over to the Yawkey Mine my compatriots were too pooped to properly shred. So I had some unfinished business that we needed to address. We took the singletrack traverse over the the Yawkey Mine. Usually butch lets me lead, since he always worries about holding me up on the climbs since I was on the SS. I, on the other hand, worry about hold Butch up on the descents, which means I sometimes go a little faster than may be prudent.
So we were cooking it over to the Yawkey mine, working the pump track rollers. we were really moving, when I got a little big for my britches, and overshot a little double gap, slamming my front wheel into the base of another roller.
In the span of a second, 100mm fork totally compresses, I see a small Jesus is sitting on my stem, waggling his finger, and try to decide how I am gonna ride this one out.

I actually had a quick flashback to this video (Warning, there is blood and bone at the end).

If you are not comfortable with this image from Joshua Abrahamson, keep scrolling

I managed to hold on long enough to scrub speed by riding into the uphill part of the benchcut. I sheepishly look back a Butch, who surmised my thoughts by commenting, "that was close". Was a little scraped up, but not really worse for wear. We proceeded on with caution and prudence, and that lasted about 5 minutes.

Images jacked from Butch's Instagram feed
Cayuna trails really allow you utilize the inherent terrain, and pump to carry speed. If you are not careful you can carry that speed right into the hospital.

Images jacked from Butch's Instagram feed
One of the things that really puzzled me was how confused people were by the maps and trail routes. Literally every time we stopped at a trail junction someone was asking for directions. Cayuna is really well marked, but its pretty obvious that most people do not have to know how to use maps. I feel much more comfortable with a good map and compass than with a GPS, but it kills me how intimidated the general public is by a topographic map. I will refrain from "a technology is making people dumb" rant. Granted, the trails are really stacked in some places.

Anyhow, we ended up with about 40 miles, and had time to get a swim before loading back up to be back in the cities by dinner time, but not until we had a DQ ice cream cones. Life, to the fullest.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Border Battling and adventures with small children

So last week my folks were in town to visit so we made the trip up too Duluth.

The lift bridge in all its glory.

Jasper gets grammy time

"We don't know nothing about what happened to your beer"

Then Ali and I had some free time for bike ride/date nights, and she squanders it taking pictures of me peeing in the woods

I made a quintessential southern dinner of Collard greens, rosemary roasted taters, and buttermilk brined fried chicken.

Jasper is mobile enough now to really begin to pester Brutus

Then on Sunday I slipped out to River Falls for my first WORS race. Not quite sure what to think. There were a ton of people. After the tar whipping I recieved at last years afton avalanche I thought that comp would be a more appropriate place for me given the depth of the fields and my disdain for actual training. I am rethinking that after sunday. I think I would rather deal with a few PRO women than have to spend half my race fighting traffic in the COMp class.

It was a good experience, but putting 200 racers on a 5 mile course with 4 passing spots made for lame racing, especially on the SS.
Getting a callup in the WORS race is a huge advantage. I got 7th in the comp SS but was only 2 minutes back from the first place time and a good minute of that difference was established in the first mile as we slogged up the BFH. My 7th place SS time would have gotten me 2nd place in my age can't say the competition isn't great.

Monday, August 22, 2011

WORS Border Battle 2011

Gave the WORS race a whirl on Sunday afternoon. More thoughts tonite, but in the future I will stick to racing the Elite Races even if I am on my SS. Being the last place elite racer (and I have been there before!) just means that only people that are faster than me are going to be in front of me.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Isolating creaks

Will sometimes drive you nuts. One of the reasons I really love singlespeeds is the quietness of the drivetrain (this is negated by most high end hubs). But I have had a creak that has really been bothering me so last night I pulled out the stops.
Normally, you should address each supposed source of noise to actually isolate where the sound is coming from. My supposition was that the creaking on my Scott Scale was coming from either:
  • The interface between my outboard BB cup, the E-type XTR front Derailleur, and the BB shell.
  • the dropouts for the rear wheel
  • the mounting screw for the E-type front derailleur (this keeps the derailleur centered, while the BB cup actually keeps it affixed to the frame)
So rather than address each location individually, I disassembled, and greased all the locations at the same time.
The Result?
Total silence. Victory. I actually suspect that it was the rear dropouts that were dry and causing the noise.

I am also faced with another BB quandry. My ISIS BB on the Ferrous is cashed. This is the 4th ISIS that I have gone through in 3 years. Word in the street is that the only truly durable ISIS BB is manufactured by SKF but the the thought of coughing up 130 bucks for a BB makes me cringe. I could get a outboard bearing crankset LX or Stylo for between 90 and 110 and hock the rings for 20 bucks as I am going to keep using the 34 tooth TomiCog. FYI I did give the LBS a shot, but no one carried ISIS BB's.

ISIS seem to be one of those failed standard attampts that so many companies wish would just go away.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Wausau Part 2: Rafal defiles my bike

Before the storm.
Photo Cred XTR Photography
So after the race restarts (at this point my 6 hour race is over) I assumed the roll of soigneur for Rafal and Wilbur as they finish their 12 hour endeavor. Rafal was on my SS for the 2nd half of the race, as he had some Superfly shifting problems before the rain started. Plus my bottom bracket and brakes were already cashed, so I might as well let Rafal finish them off.

When Rafal completed his restart lap, he was looking pretty gross. However he said that the SS was the ticket in these conditions.

Rafal keeps it PG
I am gonna take a moment to stand on the stump and preach for a minute. I like tires that roll fast just as much as the next guy, but I gave up in low profile tires last year. Not having aggressive treads is like not having a large bore firearm in Alaska. You never end up needing it, until you are already "in the thick of it". An Ardent up front, and a Ignitor in the back will keep you upright no matter what.

Rafal churns out another lap.
To be terribly honest, 12 and 24 hour events have never really had a huge appeal to me. No matter how awesome a ten mile piece of trail is, it still starts to suck after about 6 hours. The real appeal is the camaraderie and the awe of watching people do things that no normal person would ever consider doing. I also have to tip my hat to the wonderful "desperate bike wives" that support us at these events.
Good times