Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A weekend in St. Cloud.

The singlespeed state championship kicked off the weekend of racing in St. Cloud last weekend, followed by the elite race on the same day, and the Pork Chop cyclocross race on Sunday. I was focusing my energy on the singlespeed race, ending up 2nd to Brendan by a few seconds. I was running a 2:1 on the ridged two niner wraped in Bontrager mud x tires. Anyways, we were off and I spun myself into the singletrack first. It was pretty slick in the corners but not that bad. I felt a bit rusty in the twisty stuff, as I hadn't ridden the mtb since 24 hours of Afton. I have to say, I love the big wheels, but they are definitely not an advantage at the jail trail. I was hitting by bars on trees, sending showers down on Brendan. I started to feel more comfortable on the second lap, though. I even gaped Brendan for a little while, but he caught me when things got really tight again. I should of expected his attack on one of the last open sections. Once he got around me, I made sure to stick right on his wheel for when the last open section came. This last section was really the finish sprint, as the actual finish didn't have much of a strait, so whoever came out of the corner first, baring a crash, would most likely take the win. When that last open section came up, Brendan hammered, and I gave it my all but couldn't get around him, or even stick on his wheel for that matter. And that was where the race was won. Congrats to Brendan for the win. I'll be there next year to try again.

An hour or so latter, I lined up for the elite race. It was a short lived race, however. I got my first DNF of the year, when I took a bad line though some rocks and snapped my derailleur off at the hanger. What an awful sound. It's too bad, because I was feeling pretty strong sitting behind SamO. Sam and I, by the way, had a battle to work out over 2nd place in the series. Good job with the win, Sam!

Sunday was CX. What an awsome course--lots of climbs and really fast descents, a mountain biker's cross course if one ever existed. I came out 2nd in the one twos race. The long and short of it is that Matt Allen, Jake Boyce, and myself traded pulls for the entire race. Jake dropped his chain with 2 to go. I forced the pace on the last lap, but I took a risk near the finish that ultimately made me second best. There was a set of barriers half way up a hill, Matt was on my wheel, I made the decision to hop back on the bike after the barriers instead of running the remainder of the steep hill. Problem: it was a steep hill. I couldn't turn the pedals and had to hop off. This set me back about 5 seconds. I wasn't able to take it all back before the finish, which came about 40 sec after my mistake.

This is getting long, but one last thing: I took the dubya from Matt at tonight's cross race in St. Louis Park. Three of the six barriers were hoppable, two of which were at the base of a hill, which allowed me to ride the hill while others had to get off their bikes and run. It's unreal how much time you can save by staying on your bike whenever possible. Risky, but it gets cheers, so what the hell.

I'll get some pics up soon if any exist on the nets.

Oh yeah! I'll be racing this cross season for Angry Catfish bike shop and the regional Rapha/Focus team. Bike and kits are on their way!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday Night Cross

Today I ventured over to St. Louis Park for some weekday cross racing. I got third. This is where the excuses begin... My Sham force shifter has been on its way out for a few weeks now. When I downshift, half the time it doesn't stay--it springs back into the gear I was in. So when I went down in a corner, it totally crapped itself to hell. After I got back up, spun the chain back on, I was stuck in 42x11 for the next two laps. When I attempted to downshift it made a lot of crunching noise like when those circus freaks chew on light bulbs--yea, it was like that--and as soon as I'd let go of the shifter paddle, the chain would drop back to the little cog. Luckily I have cronies stationed around the course waiting to lend me their bikes. So I spotted my buddy, Nate and told him I needed to use his bike. Immediately he started sprinting to his car. No shit--I looked back and he was sprinting. On the next lap, he was waiting with his chilli con crosso, and we did the ol switcharoo. Pretty damn smooth, too. His saddle was about two inches too low, so I stood most the way. The Challenge tires, though, were sweetness in the grass. I didn't wipe out with his bike. Nearly toppled over the barriers, but no wiping of the out. At any rate, I am happy with third given that I did two laps--hilly laps--in 42x11, and did the rest on an unfamiliar bike with a low saddle. Plus, I have a bunch of excuses to tell people. Getting third without having any excuses would just plain suck.

In related news: A study by some elementary school kids somewhere found that there is really only two reasons most of us have blogs: 1) to brag about how we won a race; and 2) to list all the reasons beyond our control why we didn't win a race. The later of which being more prevalent.

Seriously, though. It's time to drink more beer. Seven dollar and seventy-nine cent a pint beer. Imported from the land of wooden shoes beer. Tastes like it was brewed in a gym shoe beer. The titanium--no, carbon fibre--of beer. Yes, that kind of beer.

Or whatever you got. Cheers to getting third and having the excuses to back it up.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010


Today Rawland Cycles announced the Snekka as a concept design. After several days of input from the public, it is a 700c, canti bike made of quality, light weight steel tubing. Up for discussion today on the blog (link here) is geometry. Sean, owner of Rawland, has posted preliminary geometry as a starting point. As it stands, this looks to be a great bike for Gravel road riding and racing, as it will be a bit more stable than the common Cyclocross bikes that most people use for these events, which are not designed for descending at 40 mph down loose, rocky gravel. I like the way this design is going. Maybe next year I'll be on one of these as I ride in a 350 mile loop around Iowa.

Time for a run. A run with a bike on my back. And up a hill. Over and over and over.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rawland Cycles is talking about doing a bike called the Sogn, the namesake being the wonderful Sogn Valley. The floks at Rawland are leaving the design, in part, up to us. On their blog, rawlandcycles.blogspot.com, each day will bring a new topic of discussion. For me this bike would be the ultimate gravel machine. 700c. Steel. Canti. Geometry similar to a cross bike but with a lower BB. Tire clearance for 38c... Go to the blog and tell Rawland what your perfect multi-surface bike would be like.

I'm off to school now. bye, bye.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sogn Valley Gravel Loop

One of the great things about not living in the metro is gravel. No cars, no stoplights; I'd eat the stuff for breakfast, lunch and occasionally even dinner if I could. And whats more, it's hard to get board on those long rides--you can always play "whats that smell", trying to guess if it's a hog or turkey farm you're passing; or try to guess the denomination of the next church you'll see (tip: always go with Lutheran. The things rise up out of the hills ever mile or two); and as your mind starts to fail you, you can play the always entertaining, "where in de heck am I?"

No getting lost for me today. I kept it to a 50 mile loop I know quite well, a trip to the scenic Sogn Valley. The glaciers that passed through some time ago were angry with this land. My Norwegian kinfolk in later years found it a nice place to settle no doubt because there were plenty of hills to build churches upon. So many in fact they ran out of church building supplies and left a few hills bare, but not many. Needless to say, all that climbing drains a man's canteen right quick, and I was soon looking for a house with a spigot to fill my bottles. I thought about taking a drink from one of the many streams which run through the valley (I hear there is a rainbow trout or two in these streams), but decided I could make it to the Dennison gas station.
On the way, I ran into a little detour...

I may come off as a macho man (not unlike Randy Savage) to some, but as you may infer from my fear of dairy cows, I am really a sensitive guy who enjoys long rides on the beach-sand that is gravel, watching the sun set behind hills and churches, drinking my fruity sports drinks with a straw. And the endless fields of tassel-topped corn, gold with sun, galloping with wind, remind me of the ocean and make me cry. If you need help getting in touch with your sensitive side, and think a ride in Sogn Valley would do just that, then I have good news...

I will be there hosting a clinic titled "you, too, have a sensitive side. It may be buried deep within your Slim-Jim-snappin, single-speed-pushin, cheep-beer-drinkin exterior, but by golly it's there." The title was too long, which is why it's not on the poster. In the clinic I will teach all who are interested how to not ride a casual tour as if you were in a race, how to coast, how to shift into an easier gear (we will go over both front and rear derailleurs), and lastly, how to drink from a water bottle using only your thumb and pointer while jutting your pinkie finger out and up. The trick is getting the angle of your pinkie just right. This will bring you exactly half the way to being fully in touch with your sensitive side. That is all I can do. The rest you will have to find within yourself.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Back at it

My pseudo-coach, Kirk, wanted me to take a full week off the bike after the salsa 2-4. Beings he's not certified to coach at any professional capacity, I only took 5 days off the bike. I did, however, keep it simple. I went out on gravel a 1.5 hour gravel loop on the fixie (47x19). It felt great. Arm warmers, or as I like to call them, snot wipers, were a must, which brings me to my next topic...

Enough said.