Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Shoulder Season

45NRTH Ragnorok
Weather has a huge effect on how you dress for a ride on your bike. Summer is minimalist and during Winter, (if you ride at all) you layer up and armor yourself against the elements. But the inbetween seasons of Spring and Fall, which some wiseacre marketing wonk has called "Shoulder Seasons", is a different animal. Temperature swings during these times of year cause consternation. Too cold in the morning for shorts and short sleeves but where do you put the windbreaker and arm warmers at 11:00am when it is getting too hot for that stuff? Fall can be nice in the afternoon, but as the Sun lowers the air temperature may dip and the toes get cold. Wish you would have toted along those overshoes?

Call it what you will, Spring and Fall weather is challenging every day in a different way most times. Besides covering and uncovering extremities during rides, getting your feet happy was the other major issue to be faced. Many times Spring and Fall are wet and cold, which is a deadly combination for feet. Wearing shoe covers was what you did, but with their open bottoms to allow for a pedal cleat to engage the binding of the pedal, and generally sketchy construction over all, shoe covers usually didn't do a whole lot of good for very long.

That's why when 45NRTH first came out with the Fasterkatt, I was blown away. Here was a boot made to be worn during "shoulder seasons" and was built to withstand water intrusion, keep feet dry, and wind out. It worked way better than shoe covers despite some serious issues regarding the zipper and some other technical parts of the boot's construction. 45NRTH has since done two revisions, calling them different model names since, and the idea has been mimicked by other companies as well. Louis Garneau did a version that looked good, but the sizing was wonky. Now there is a newer version of this idea from Northwave called the Extreme XCM 2 GTX.

Northwave Extreme XCM GTX boots.
I received a pair of the Northwaves to test for RidingGravel.com. I got them out of the box, and much like the new 45NRTH Ragnoroks, the advances in design are impressive. The materials mate up in a seamless fashion, the construction is sleek. Where plastics and rubbers meet fabric you see no defects. The different rotating retention device, (it isn't a BOA), is awesome and works well.

It's amazing to me that shoe covers/booties/whatchamallcallem's are still a thing. Well.......yeah, they are cheaper to buy. Sure, I get that, but they are a total compromise in most situations I have ever used them for. In fact, I bought a pair of shoe covers last year to finish out testing some Summer shoes I had due to the end of the review period coming in late Fall. These were really nice covers, but they weren't going to do the basic job of keeping my feet warm when the shoe underneath was all about keeping my feet cool.

So, these boots are expensive, yes. But, if you could ride in comfort, without having your piggies go numb, then why not get a pair? I figured that a decent set of shoe covers goes for around $50.00 and can be as high as $100.00 for a pair. Spending that much money every couple of years, (because that is about how long they typically last used regularly), and you are getting into a price spent which makes these boots, which last years with reasonable care, make a lot of sense. My 45NRTH Fasterkatts are at least five years old and still going strong. These Northwave boots are made even better, so I suspect that they would last at least as long, if not longer. All those seasons of better coverage, warmer toes, and drier feet make the hundreds you spend up front worth it, in my opinion.

I mean, it's crazy to think that we spend hundreds on saddles, bars/grips, and yet feet get the frugal treatment. It doesn't make sense. By the way, this goes for socks as well. It's weird. Everyone seems to want to cheap out on their feet, and I should mention pedals also. Whatever. I'm not wearing shoe covers unless I have to. These boots are a way better solution.

Monday, November 12, 2018

700c vs 650B For Gravel Travel

700c Wheel on the Tamland
With all the new gravel bikes coming down the pike these days, I've noticed that several of them have a certain feature. That is that they are capable of being set up with 650B or 700c wheels and tires. This post will seek to convey my take on the attributes of each wheel size and why I think one or the other is good, or why one or the other may not be so much.

Let me say right up front that neither is terrible, bad, or a wheel size that you shouldn't try. Each has their merits. That said, I have a favorite and I won't be shy about telling you about it. Now, on with the show......

I suppose I should give my background for these opinions. First of all, I have 650B experience going back over a decade. I have ridden mountain bikes, road bikes, and gravel bikes set up with 650B wheels and tires of various tread patterns and on various bicycles. Of course, I have a LOT of 700c experience going back, waaaaay back, and along with this I have ridden a lot of on road and off road 26" wheel and tire combinations. All of this is being drawn upon to formulate these opinions. Basically, I have had enough time on all of these wheels that I feel that my opinion is not lacking in experience based observations.

Despite the latest "Ride The Supple Life", or whatever the slogan is, marketing, and despite the efforts of marketing wonks, the simple truth is that 650B is basically going to end up being your "mtb-ish" wheel for gravel bikes going forward. This is for good reason. Taking into account the limitations of "gravel bikes", the 650B option allows riders to put the biggest footprint on the trail possible. Add in aggressive tread and you have, what I call, "mini-mtb" wheels. They are about 1.8" wide, and essentially turn a gravel going bike into a late 80's XC mtb bike with drop bars. This is cool, fun, and useful, if you want that sort of deal. Obviously, it is a flavor not everyone will desire, or even understand.

The Tamland with 650B tires and wheels
Smoother, more "gravel" oriented treads, are certainly out there for 650B. Basically, the only time I'm opting fr the 650B gravel type tires is when things are really loose, wetter, or when the course is going to present a lot of looser dirt and gravel. Basically anytime I want more flotation. I might also opt for 650B if there are a lot of quick accelerations or short sight lines between turns- basically single track. This would be because these wheels and tires accelerate a bit easier than 700c, generally speaking, that is. Obviously a 700c X 35 tire might actually accelerate easier than a 650B X 50mm wheel and tire just due to weight differences. But all else being the same, I would say 650B accelerates a bit easier. Especially so at 47+mm widths.

The other way I would use 650B and smoother tires is for loaded touring on roads. The wheels would be stronger, the tires fitted could be wider, more comfort might be eeked out, and again, looser gravel and dirt would't present an issue. Not that you couldn't do a wider 700c tire, but keep in mind, some of these "dual wheel size" gravel rigs are limited to 42mm-45mm tires. That may not be big enough for some. There could be an argument made that says it doesn't matter with the wheel strength thing too, but I'm giving the nod here to smaller wheels.

In fact, you could make a really stout case for 26" wheels and loaded touring. Especially "world touring", but I won't get into all the why and why nots about that. Just know that 26" isn't dead in that area of cycling. Almost all my loaded touring experiences were on 26" wheels.

650B gravel rigs are very reminiscent of this 80's era Ibis. Image courtesy of VintageMTBworkshop.com
My predilections run toward 700c for gravel travel because of the way a 700c wheel tackles the loose gravel, dirt roads, and rolling hills I encounter most often. 650B is okay, but 700c is definitely better in ride quality and in terms of performance. This is my experience talking, but you may have a different take on it. My 700c set ups carry momentum just a bit better too. It just is a better tool for the job I am doing.

As far as ride quality goes, a thing many 650B enthusiasts like to hang their hat on, I'm not pickin' up what they are layin' down. 700c is every bit as smooth if you have quality tires and wheels as 650B is. All things relatively equal, that is. Of course, a 700c X 28 at 100psi is not going to feel as smooth and pillowy as a 650B X 47mm tire. However, I have a 700c X 42 set of tires on some wheels here I'd put up against anything 650B for smoothness. So, "supple life" can be had in bigger diameters.

So, which wheels should you get? My advice would be that if you are going to ride wide open gravel roads, maybe some pavement, and if you'd never consider loaded touring, single track drop bar bike action, and would never ride in adverse, softer conditions, stick with 700c. Otherwise, get both sizes. My ideal set up is going to be a 650B tire with some tooth to it for single track/dirt/looser stuff and 700c the rest of the time. Almost every inch of in-town trail here could be easily tackled, when it is dry, with a drop bar mtb bike. Slapping on some "mini-mtb" 650B wheels and tires would be great for doing that activity here. I might do smoother tread 650B in Spring around here when things are softer and 700c tires tend to push into the softer road ways. But that kind of condition is only about two weeks out of the year, so........maybe not so much. I will say that 650B X 47mm was a boon when it was like that last Spring around here. So, it is a viable option when things are wetter and/or looser and deep.

But yeah, I'm primarily going to opt for 700c most of the time for gravel travel.


Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Touring Series: Festus And The Bombed Out Town

A Guitar Ted Productions series
 Thanks for joining me again on another adventure in "The Touring Series". This tour was dubbed the "Race Against Death Tour". This tour occurred in August of 1995. The three participants, Ryan, Troy, and your's truly, left from Cedar Falls, Iowa to try and get to Winter Park, Colorado in two weeks. Here I am reproducing the tale as it was posted on the blog in 2009. I also will add new remarks and memories where appropriate at the end of each post. 

 Once again, there were no cell phones, internet, social media platforms, or digital cameras in use by we tourers in 1995. I will post images where I can, but this tour wasn't well documented in images, so there probably will be very few sprinkled throughout. A modern image will be used only where it depicts things I want to clarify, like where we were in that part of the tour via a map image, or the like.
 

The "Touring Series" will appear every Sunday until it ends. Look for past entries by scrolling back to a previous Sunday's post, or type in "Touring Series" in the search box to find more. 


The "Race Against Death Tour" rides into another blazing hot summer day on a lonely stretch of State Highway 44 in South Dakota.....
_______________________________________________________________________

As we rolled along, the heat increased and the cloudy haze began to give way to more intense, bright sunshine. We were going through water like crazy with the temperatures hitting around 100 degrees that day. So it was that we came to a tiny spot in the road that on our maps said was a town named  Witten. We pulled off the road to see what looked like a feed mill and grain elevator operation in a dusty, unpaved "cul de sac" with a few houses back behind that. We noted that there was a little water spigot located right behind a small shack. We didn't need to knock, as our conversation alerted a few of the operation's employees to step outside in the blazing heat to see what the heck all the commotion was about.

After one of them gave the okay to use the water spigot, he quickly ducked back into the air conditioned shack, leaving a short-ish, wiry fellow to speak with us. I quickly found Troy taking my bottles so I would have to be the one to talk to this fellow. Ryan sort of shadowed me for a bit, but when it became apparent this guy was slightly odd, he too shrank away, leaving me to deal with our latest "V.I.P".  Actually, I thought this guy was okay, just sheltered, shall we say?

He kind of was a cross between that character on the 60's show "Gunsmoke" named "Festus" and a town drunk. We'll call him Festus since I didn't get his right name.  He was not what you'd call "sensitive to cultural differences", and I am not going to sugarcoat his language here. This is exactly how it went down in '95. Anyway, you have to think of his dialogue in a western drawl....

Festus: "So, where ya'all headed?

Me: "We're going to the Black Hills, and then to Rocky Mountain National Park."

 Festus: "So, yer goin straight up 44, eh? That's Injun country, ya know. Those folks is a little waspy. 

Why I carry me a pistol by my side on the seat in the truck whenever I go through there.

Me: So those folks aren't too friendly?


Festus: "Well theys shoot ya soon as talk ta ya, but it depends on what yer doin'.

Me: "Huh! No kiddin? "
He then goes on to tell me he trades in horses. He says he carries large sums of money at times from the sales of the animals, and that he needs the protection of the side arm.

 Festus: "Did yew know that it's zactly two hunnert miles from here ta the race track at the edge of Rapid City? Two hunnert miles! From right here!" He points to the ground at his feet.

Me: "No kiddin?"

 Festus: "Yep! And didja ever go up in any of them caves? "He goes on to tell me of a family vacation where he describes the stalagmites and stalactites as "icicles" that shown like "jew-wells" in the lights and "didja know its a constant 49 degrees in there?

Our route from Witten to Wood, South Dakota

Well, you get the point by now, I am sure! Troy and Ryan finally tore me away from this guy and we were off to the road, but not before Troy could voice his fear of the Native Americans. He had overheard Festus'  comments about the "waspy" folks and heard "guns" and was thinking we should re-route. I said that we were not in danger of anything. Heck, the guys that Festus was afraid of were after his horse money, and we had nothing any Native American could want. We were about as poor, destitute, and stinky as they came. What would they point a gun at us for? Our stinky chamois? And with that we went off down the road again.

It wasn't long though, and we were in need of more water. We saw a spot on the map and aimed our bikes for there. The town was named Wood, and it was slightly off the road. As we approached on the blacktop leading into this tiny town, we saw busted off trees, broken buildings, and there wasn't a green leaf to be found. A small pack of dogs took up to barking and gave chase as we rode up to the first outliers.

It wasn't so much like a tornado had hit this place, even though it may have, but it looked like one of those WWII pictures from my high school history books. Bombed. That's what Wood looked like. A bombed out town. We scattered as the dogs approached. Ryan with his frame pump held high, ready to strike, me barking back, and Troy yelling at them in a stern tone of voice. The dogs finally relented, we rolled up to a gas station, and searched for something to drink.
__________________________________________________________________________
This tour would be one for the ages if this was the only weird day we had, but it wasn't, and it wouldn't be the last. Oh no! Anyway, the guy in Witten! I could have listened to him talk all day. What a character! I'd never met anyone that sounded like a character straight out of an old Western movie, but this guy was a dead ringer for the "typical" cowboy.

Then Troy's reaction was a surprise. He really was seriously scared to go down Highway 44 any further. I was not scared at all. (Although not more than 24hrs later I would be.) These people in this area seemed okay with me as long as we didn't get crossways with anyone, and as I said, we had nothing of value which anyone would want. We actually did look fairly odd and destitute ourselves, in a way. Hauling all our belongings on two wheels and living on the road.

  The town of Wood has lived on in my life as a reference I use when people get all proud about somewhere they've been and I haven't been there. I listen politely, then I ask them if they've ever been to Wood, South Dakota. I usually get blank stares with that comment. Then I look very proud and walk away. Ha!

Next week: The Tour continues to the shock and horror of our overnight stop......

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Minus Ten Review - 45

The first, (unofficial) Fargo Adventure Ride
Ten years ago on the blog here I was detailing the "Fargo Adventure Ride" I was on with the Salsa Crew up in the Minneapolis area. This was, arguably, one of the most pivotal couple of days I've had in my lifetime in terms of cycling.

So much happened on these days. It all started on a Tuesday. I voted as soon as I could, then a friend of mine at the time and I went on to Minneapolis to meet up with the Twin Six guys. They were still in their "small phase", located at the time in their second place they had as a headquarters/warehouse. The day continued as we hit up the single track of Murphy-Hanrahan South of the Twin Cities. Then we met with then Salsa head honch, Jason Boucher. We stayed at his home that evening. We spent the last wee hours dialing in Salsa Fargo rigs we were to ride the following day. The big day to come was an unforgettable day.

First, we awoke and had a quick breakfast and then off to the Sibley House area where we started out on our journey. We hightailed it over to another point where we met up with the rest of the Salsa Crew who were mostly on El Mariachis and Fargo prototypes of various colors. Then it was off down the trail along the Minnesota River where we stopped at one point to have "field coffee" and a first time treat for me. Kid Riemer had hard boiled eggs which he was sharing and then he produced a red bottle of sauce and said I had to put some on my egg. It wasn't ketchup. It was sriracha sauce. Something I had never had up to that point. After hanging out and yakking it up, it was time to pull out and head on over to QBP for a short tour.

We got to use the famous Nine Mile Creek ferry.
Then we wrapped up our day with a meal at a burrito place, I think, (hey! It's been ten years ago.) Then we repaired back to Jason Boucher's home and a certain exchange took place which I won't forget soon. It resulted in my taking home a Gen I Fargo, the very same one I still have to this day.

One other thing I have to mention. It was while we were riding that day that we found out our new President would be Barack Obama. Historic. So, there was that. Then it was also the last temperate day of the year in 2008. It got colder and blustery after this. You can tell it wasn't too bad by the clothes we were wearing, and trust me, we were over dressed!

Anyway, yeah..... A most memorable two days. The ride that began my love affair with the Gen I Fargo. A fitting "first ride" since it was such an adventure machine for me in the coming years. The Fargo and I have been closely linked ever since this day.

There were reviews done, of course, but I just recall being excited about doing multi-terrain stuff and, of course, gravel, on the Fargo in the coming years. I had no idea at the time that I would grow to be so attached to this bike. All I knew then was that the whole experience, the bike, the crew, the friends...... That's what really hit it off for me back then. Sadly, not everyone involved in that fateful day remain friends, but most of us do. Cannot say why that is. I just don't know........

Anyway, that's the single thing that dominated the blog that week ten years ago. I got home and immediately was spending time tweaking out the set up to my tastes and taking the Fargo out on rides that closely mimicked the "Fargo Adventure Ride" as possible. I should say here that Jason didn't ever consider that first ride I had with him on Fargos a "true" Fargo Adventure Ride, but in my mind, what else could it be? 

Already tweaked out several things on the Gen I Fargo just days after getting it home.
So, back to the tweaks. I removed the original saddle and put on my old WTB SST sparkle gold saddle on the bike that would remain there until just a couple of years ago. The Bell Lap bars came off right away and were replaced by a set of Midge Bars. Keep in mind that dirt drops/off road drops were rare back then. Salsa didn't have a Woodchipper, Cowbell, or Cowchipper bar until much later. The Bell Lap was their only suitable bar at that time.

This was largely how I had the Fargo set up for several years until probably sometime around 2012 or so when I radically changed the bike again. Now there isn't much stock on the bike at all. Everything but the frame and fork, head set, and maybe the seat collar has been swapped. But, that's kind of how I operate when it comes to stock bikes. I switch out lots of stuff. The Fargo was no exception. But with all of that, the basic way that bike fits me is like no other that I have, with the possible exception of my new Black Mountain Cycles MCD, the bike I call the Bubblegum Princess. That is very much like the Fargo in how I fit it.

While Salsa was quick to point out back then that the Fargo was a drop bar mountain bike, I ended up using it almost exclusively as a gravel road rig. My earliest impressions ten years ago of the Fargo were very prophetic in this regard. I said in a post ten years ago the following: "Even though I only did this shortish piece of gravel on my ride, I was totally stoked on how the Fargo handled the gravel. The smallish vibrations from tractor tires and the road grader were all absorbed really well by the Classico CroMoly tubing. Nice! I can't wait to throw down some multi-hour rides on the gravel aboard this rig. It will be a good one to use for this, as the water bottle count can go up to six and there is room for my frame pump which will help keep weight off my back."

In my opinion subsequent Fargo models, with the possible exception of the titanium ones, became more and more stiff and mountain bike-ish.  They lost that special magic the Classico tubing had along with the non-suspension corrected geometry. In many ways, the Gen 1 Fargo is an anomaly. I really doubt Salsa Cycles will ever pull off anything like that again, not like they did in 2008. 

Friday, November 09, 2018

Friday News And Views

The Blackburn "Honest" digital air gauge
Keepin' The Air Honest:

When you ride in colder temperatures, and especially if you ride voluminous tires, you should be monitoring air pressure more vigilantly. Why? Because if you set your plus bike's tires at, say 18psi, and you do that indoors, your pressure will be different outside at 28°F on the trail. In fact, it will be lower, and as you may know, 1psi can be a huge difference in feel, grip, and makes the difference between "fun" and, well.......not fun. 

Digital air gauges are nothing new. In fact, I've had one before. It was a PRO (Shimano accesory brand) digital gauge that was awesome. It was small, read very accurately, and was easy to use. Unfortunately, when the small battery went dead and I opened up the unit with expectations of replacing it, I found out I couldn't. The geniuses that manufactured the gauge tack welded in the battery.

Brilliant!  

So, I got a mechanical gauge, and my son got a hold of it, dropped it, and broke the glass over the gauge face.

Doh!

I went without a gauge last year, but I knew I needed another, and the shop where I work just got in these Blackburn "Honest" digital air gauges. I figured I'd give it a try. It has a pivoting head, holds the reading until you dismiss it, and reads in Bar or PSI. It's light and is about the size of a slightly plump BIC lighter. (Does anyone even use those anymore?) You can get one for about $24.99. NOTE- I bought this with my own damn money.

Velocity USA- More than just rims and hubs.
Taped Up:

My old polished set of A-23's from Velocity USA were quite tarnished and soiled. It was time for a clean up. This included changing the tape, which had been on there since 2012, and through various tire changes. It was time to re-do the tape, clean up the rim well, and get the wheels ready for a tire test I have to do.

Now, I could use Stan's yellow tape, and that would be fine, but did you know that Velocity USA also makes a tubeless tape and valve kit for their various wheels and rims? Yes, and it is good stuff too. So, since they make stuff made to measure for their rims, I ordered up and purchased this tubeless tape and valve kit. The tape has just the right consistency. A great mix of stretch, toughness, and sticky adhesive. It isn't like Stan's, but it is similar. The valves come with nice plastic spacers which sit between the rim and the Presta valve nut which helps lock in the valve inside the rim well better.

My old A-23's are polished, as I said, and are laced to polished Velocity branded hubs too. Classic looking stuff, but re-polishing cruddy, neglected rims is a chore! Ha! No one to blame but myself there! It took quite a while, but I got them looking pretty spiffy again. Next will be the new tape, valves, and then on to mounting the tires I need to test. By the way, if you haven't replaced your tape and/or valves in several years, you should. It may help to avoid a failure. Valves corrode and tape adhesive degrades over time. Another thing you should be doing is to replace your removable valve cores about every other time you re-up on sealant.  

Anyway, these wheels will be going on the "Orange Crush" Black Mountain Cycles bike which is being converted to single speed. I found some killer 80's era Sugino AX cranks in 180mm length in my stash that are going on there with a UN-55 sealed cartridge bottom bracket. It's going to be awesome. Stay tuned........

Special (Undeserved) Delivery:

The "gravel family" continues to amaze me with their thoughtfulness and generosity. The latest example comes from the IC Gravel event, which occurred October 27th. Originally I was scheduled to take part in the event. However; something came up within the family, (my own), and I had to cancel. I regretted doing so, and sent my notice and apology in to the race director.

I figured that was that. I would try to rectify my absenteeism next year. Although, I still am serving a self-imposed ban from the Spotted Horse for bailing on them two years in a row. Maybe I should do that in this instance. If there was anything that stuck in my craw about Trans Iowa was drop outs for no reason. While I had my reasons, I still feel like a heel for not coming, but I digress.......

Anyway.... The day was like any other day yesterday, but when my son brought the mail in, he had a package. Hmmm......... What could this be? I opened it up and it was my race packet for the IC Gravel replete with my race number, t-shirt, patches, and stickers. Wow! I was blown away!

Look, I didn't expect any of this because I didn't deserve it. Why should I get something others got because they toed the line? But that's not how IC Gravel saw it, and I have to say I am humbled. Thank you! I will wear the event t-shirt proudly and tell everyone that sees it about this great gravel event.

That's it for this week. It may have snowed where you are, but don't let that stop you from riding!

Thursday, November 08, 2018

It's About Materials Technology

The things that come down the pike never cease to amaze me.
The shop where I work at, now going on past 16 years, is a wealth of old knowledge. I've heard, seen, and done, so many things I never would have dreamed about, that it makes my head spin to think on it all. One thing I've learned is to never think you've seen it all. 

Many times this can be applied to something new. My boss and I always shake our heads and say, "It's all about the materials technology". Many ideas have existed in cycling for years, decades even, just waiting for technology to catch up so it can become a viable product for you and I.

Take these wheels, as a for instance. They are from Enve Composites. Ten years ago now I got to test some 700c hoops from them, back when they were still called "Edge Composites". This was for the old "Twenty Nine Inches" gig I once was involved in. Well, you know, ten years ago, anything carbon meant for 29"ers was rare. Like super rare. So, rims for 29"ers in carbon? I mean, we were barely seeing mountain bike rims of any sort made from carbon fiber in 2008. It was an amazing thing.

Those ended up being sub-1500 gram wheels. At that time it was considered super-light for a 29" wheel set with disc hubs. Now days? Pffft! That's average. Why? Materials technologies. Plain and simple.

These Enve wheels pictured here? Sub-1300 gram wheels. Not only that, but they have a wider internal rim width, wider rim edges, (for anti-pinch flat characteristics), and through axle compatibility. They are tested to mountain bike standards, and are tubeless compatible. Those old Edge wheels were narrower, had clincher hook beads, and weren't tubeless. Crazy how far things have come in ten years. Heck, Tour de France riders weren't on wheels this light ten, fifteen years ago. Now anyone can have wheels like this. Well...........if you can afford them.

Remember- never think you've seen it all.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

C.O.G. 100: Update

Registration News: the registration for the inaugural C.O.G.100 is being worked out, but in the meantime, here is what you need to know if you want in on this nutty idea of mine. First, be prepared for on-line registration via Tikly on January 2nd, 2019. I'll have a specific time for that to go live, but for now, that's the date.

Secondly, a reminder that our field limit is 75 people. Now, in my mind, finding seventy five nut jobs that want to ride 100 miles of gravel in late March is going to be a tough thing to do. On the other hand, I'm hearing from several folks that are building special bikes and getting their first gravel road single speed bikes together just for this event.

Wow!

I find that humbling and surprising, to be quite honest. My brother, MG, tells me he thinks this will sell out. Hmm..... Take that info with a grain of salt, y'all, but I have heard from several out of state folks that they are coming. So......

Course recon should happen this month. I rough drafted a course just the other day which came out at 106 miles. Gonna have to edit a bit to get it down a few miles, but that shouldn't be too tough. As of right now, this will be 100 miles with zero towns to pass through. I may modify that to allow for some folks that need it to get into a convenience store. I'm still thinking that bit through. If you feel strongly about that, one way or the other, hit me with a comment.

While I am not going out of my way to have any big sponsors or schwag, I am cooking up a little sumthin-sumthin for every rider to take away with them. Stay tuned........ That said, if anyone reading this wants to sponsor the C.O.G.100, let me know. I am all ears.....

More soon.