<===The ditch flowers are awesome already. Get out and see the show on the gravel roads!
The Renegade Sportsman: In a few days time, the book that Trans Iowa V3 played a part in will be released to the public. "The Renegade Sportsman" by Zach Dundas will have a lot of cool, under the radar type sports stuff in it besides Trans Iowa, but interestingly, much of the book has cycling events in it. So, I can already recommend it to those folks looking for a good read this summer that has a cycling bent to it. (I'm getting a copy, so look for my review soon) Maybe you can get it for your significant other, have them read the bits about cycling, and try to get them to understand it all through Zach's eyes while you sneak away for a long ride somewhere. (Hey, don't say I didn't try to help ya out here!) Zach has been (understandably) teasing the book for the last few days before it is released and some of what he is saying about Trans Iowa is pretty flattering, really. Things like, "Readers will also find me half-naked on the side of an Iowa backroad at 4 o'clock in the morning, semi-insane with sleep deprivation and waiting for the leaders of the brutal Trans-Iowa endurance cycling race." (quoted from The Huffington Post) and this: "In deepest, darkest Iowa, I tracked the inspiring and insane Trans-Iowa endurance race, a 300+-mile amateur exorcism of cycling’s Lance Armstrong-ish demons.", as he describes what is in the book.
And Speaking Of Lance.... Of course, last week the "news" hit about Floyd and all the accusations. Interestingly there were convincing arguments on both sides. Look, I don't have a horse in this race, so I don't really care one way or the other, but the fear that I see when I read things like, "if Lance goes down, so will professional cycling...", well...... That's just plain rediculous. I mean, he isn't that big a deal, is he? And if profesional cycling's fate is tied to one man's fate, there is a huge problem. I don't for one second think that is the case at all, at least in a world-wide sense. So what if he is guilty. I mean, how many dopers does it take to make a sport look laughable? In my opinion, it's been that way for several years now. What is "one more" going to do, or if he isn't guilty, then what difference does that make? Lance Armstrong may or may not have doped, but there is enough goofiness going on without adding him into the pile that it really doesn't change the fact that pro road racing is screwy. And that's a fact.
In The "They Said It Couldn't Be Done" File: I am seeing some very interesting things in the 29"er world in the last year or so. No, not carbon fiber single speeds! (Although that has some sick attraction for me, I'll admit) No, I am talking about longer travel 29"er forks and bikes. I won't say, "I told ya so", but this is something I figured would happen sooner or later despite the naysayers. And there were plenty of naysayers! (Still are) The thing is, quietly, almost without fanfare, bigger tires, rims, and forks are out. Now. You don't have to wait for "someday". Why would anyone try to make this happen with 29 inch wheels? Well, that's a great question that I am hoping to get answered in a few days here. Look, most folks probably do not need or want a seven or eight inch travel front and rear bike with 29"er wheels, but that day is coming, and 5.5 inches is already here. Some folks are stoked about it. I hope to find out more about where this is going and why, so stay tuned for that.
Gearing Up: I have been doing some experimenting with using a bigger/tougher gear on the gravel grinding single speed. Interestingly enough, I am finding I am okay with something much tougher than I would have given myself credit for, even on steep, hilly terrain. Maybe I have a bit of Jan Ullrich in me or something.................naaah! Who am I kidding! But I am thinking I am better off pushing a big gear than spinning a small one out on the gravels. I have done a 55.48" to as high as a little over 61" with good success. These all on very hilly courses and without having to walk a hill. With big 29"er rubber, no less. Knees have been okay with it too. Hmm............. Funny thing is, I could never approach that high a gear inch off road! Nope! I like spinning there and typically am under 50". Singlespeeders- We're an odd sort! (Well.......at least I am!)