Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday News And Views

The map of the Trans Iowa Masters Program course
Back when I proposed the Trans Iowa Masters Program idea, I figured that some folks would give it the cursory, "oh....that's cool", and then that would be it. You know- no one was really going to be excited about this idea. Once again, I was proven totally wrong about that. In fact, not only was I wrong, but two fellows have already successfully navigated the entire process. They rode the course, wrote up their individual tales and submitted them with photographs. So, I had to own up to my promises after all! Here is the TIMP Ride Report site. Under the header you will see the two gentleman's names and you can click those to take you to their reports. It's good stuff, really.

The Certificate
Also, I am sending these certificates of achievement out, which are mostly hand drawn, cause that's how I've always rolled. No, they aren't "perfect" and neither is TIMP or anything I put my hands to, so I think this reflects the nature of the whole deal. Obviously these are based off the design I came up with for the t-shirts for T.I.V10. I didn't simply just copy and paste that though, this is all new. Again- it's how I like to do things.

In other TIMP news, the weather of late has severely flooded the Big Sioux River on the South Dakota/Iowa border, so the start line for the TIMP is not accessible at this point. When it will be again, I do not know, but the next scheduled ride is June 27th, so it may affect that starting point a bit. I have word that the rest of the route is unaffected, so that was good to hear. There is one more ride scheduled in July and I am hearing that another is pending. We'll see how many end up actually pulling the trigger on this, but it only runs through to the end of August, so time is limited. After August 31st, I will pull down all the info on TIMP located on the T.I.V10 site and it will not be offered again. The Ride Reports will be up on the other site I announced this week indefinitely.

2015 Specialized Fat Boy Pro
Fat Bike or MTB?

With the announcement earlier in the year of the long rumored Rock Shox Bluto suspension fork, the push to make a fat bike an "everyday mountain bike" is full on. Take a look here at this leaked shot of the 2015 Specialized Fat Boy Pro. You can see a dropper post, and obviously, the original Fat Boy has a different geometry that promotes better trail handling, eschewing the previous fat bike grail of ultimate soft conditions stability. Now the rage is to get these bikes to be more playful and fun to "shred on" than the earlier fat bike types were.

While I have advocated all along that fat bikes are indeed a great choice for fun all year long, I hesitate to say it could replace your mountain bike. I find that one a bit tough to swallow. Here's why.....
  • Wheels: While carbon fiber and materials technology is ever advancing to lessen the load we humans have to try to spin around on our bicycles, fat bikes will always have much heavier wheels and tires than any other mountain bike. How much "playfulness" and mtb shredability can be squeezed out of a fat bike will probably always pale in comparison to a "mid-fat" "plus sized" wheel, (think 29+ and the upcoming B+ wheels), and there will never be any comparison to "normal" mtb wheels in any of the three sizes still available. 
  • Price: To get closer to a lighter weight, more maneuverable mountain bike with fatter, 3.8"-4.8" tires, one will necessarily have to throw large wads of cash at the project. Could less money get you into a similarly shred-able mountain bike with slightly less corpulent wheels? I think that answer will always be "yes".
However; having all this "trail bike" innovation is still cool, and I am liking what I see. I just don't advocate for something like this as being "better" than having a regular mountain bike, or that it is a mtb replacement. Surely, there will be many that go that route, but I think the vast majority of folks will see the "fat bike as trail bike" movement as a supplemental rig to their regular mountain bikes. That or replacement 700c wheels built on fat bike hubs that can be mounted with 29 X 3" tires will start to become a thing. I could totally see that. Fat bike tires for when conditions are soft, then swap out to the lighter weight, faster, mid-fat wheels for drier conditions.

Calling up the reserves?
More Contemplating Madness:

By now you regular readers have figured out that all these "Contemplating Madness" posts are about my run up to this year's Odin's Revenge attempt.  I have been focusing on using my Titanium Mukluk in this pursuit, and I have been refining the set up into something I'm pretty sure would work really well, but then......

Walking up the stairs in the house Thursday morning, my right knee went sideways all of a sudden and I felt a sharp pain underneath my knee cap. I've felt a dull sensation there at times after riding the Ti Muk in its current form, and I figured it was likely the wider bottom braket raising a little cain with me. This is why I haven't tried clipless pedals on that bike, since I can kind of move my feet around to optimize my comfort in my joints when I need to. Being locked in would not allow for such tweakage. It's worked for me in three Triple D attempts and finishes and countless long rides outside of that. However; this Spring and Summer I've noticed a change in that and it has been just an annoyance and never has been anything even worth mentioning.......until now! 

The Fargo Gen 1 was used last year, and honestly, it was just geared too high, and that torched me out sooner than I probably needed to be, since I could not spin the cranks on that set up. It was mashing gears all the way! I have a triple crank on it now with much more reasonable gearing, and  otherwise it stands ready to go as it is. I'm going to go for a short ride today, and if the knee starts to hurt, I'm cutting the By-Tor from the roster and going to go back to the Fargo Gen 1 rig. Stay tuned.......this could get interesting!


Exhausted_Auk said...

Sorry to hear about the knee. Injuries are always really frustrating!

MG said...

Sorry to hear about your knee too... The narrower BB of the Fargo may be just the ticket for you.

You should be receiving a package in the mail today with a part that'd be well-suited to the Odin's course. Enjoy!!

Irishtsunami said...

We moved into a much smaller home and I had to cull the heard. I decided to go all in with the fat-bike-is-a-do-it-all-bike and sold my 29ers. Admittedly, I do not "shred" anymore but I will see how much I miss the others. Once I got a Mukluk, the others saw a lot less time as it became my go to ride.

Good luck with your ride.