Showing posts with label Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles. Show all posts

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles; Life Happened

<===Congratulating an exhausted Charlie Farrow at the end of T.I.V7

It has been a long two weeks or so since I've been here with anything about the Dirty Kanza 200 event. A lot has happened since last I wrote about it.

Obviously, Trans Iowa happened and that took a big bite out of training time. Being stressed during that time about things surrounding the event took its toll, but surprisingly, I came out the other side in decent shape, really. I have had some coming back to do, but nothing like I thought I might have.

But there are things bigger than bicycling events, believe it or not. My family being one of those things. Well, something has come up- an opportunity- that I can not pass, so I am afraid the Dirty Kanza dream will remain just that.

I'll be taking my kids and Mrs. Guitar Ted to see her folks in Texas instead, starting the very weekend of the DK 200. They don't get to see their family down there very often, and a vacation time came up for my wife, and we had to take that, or leave it.

The choice was obvious.

So, this ends my ramblings on the Dirty Kanza 200. I wish everyone that makes it down there well, and I hope you all can finish of the ride, be safe, and have a good time. Thanks for reading about my lead up to this awesome event.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles: Stressed Out!

<==image by Captain Bob.

Well, this whole Trans Iowa V7 thing has me pretty occupied of late. To say I'm a bit stressed out is an understatement, and it has taken its toll on my riding.

Lately, when I get off work, instead of taking the long route home, I am headed in the shortest bee line to the house just to sit and vegetate for a bit while the house is still empty. My desire to ride gravel long time has dwindled to short time.

Still, I got in a few nice rides. The "two-fer" on Wednesday being a good example. Great stress reliever, and great riding.

This coming week? Fahgedda-boudit! I'm just going to write this week off, as Trans Iowa V7 will be pretty much my sole focus over the next week. Afterward, I will be able to buckle down and put in some more serious training.

On the bike/gear front, I swapped out the Geax Barro Race tires for the way-fast Bontrager XR-1 tires, which are not only faster, but lighter, and clear the fork a wee bit better. If you have the clearance, and especially if you are a bigger fella like me, you should try these tires. You'll be feeling far faster, and the volume of these tires is great, so running lower pressures is okay. I run about 38psi, and these tires fly.

Secondly, I am looking pretty hard at Banjo Brothers Waterproof Saddle Trunk.  Having had the unique opportunity to talk with both "Banjo Brothers" in the shop where I work  recently, I am convinced this bag may be the ticket for the ultimate gravel grinder, go ultra-long, set up. "Banjo Eric" told me this thing holds the same capacity as a regular rack top trunk bag. With the Tangle Bag being occupied by my 70 oz. Camelbak reservoir, I could use that extra room for rain gear, and a few oddments. We'll see how it holds up after I get it.

Next week will be all Trans Iowa, so look for the next installment of The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles on May 1st

Snow Dog Down: 53 Days And Counting.....

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles: A Different Gear

After last weeks Renegade Gents Race, where I felt I rode well, and quite hard, I started off the week with only some commuting, and that at a lower intensity than normal too. I could feel the effort in my legs from Saturday all the way into Wednesday.

I typically do trail testing on Wednesdays in season. Last Wednesday was my first session of the year, and I was not really feeling it. The legs were sluggish still, and so I went easy. That said, riding trails is far different than gravel grinding!

I found the constant cadence changes to be challenging, and of course, you react differently to this physically. It was good to put "the motor" through some different paces. Even though my legs were not reacting well on Wednesday. By Thursday, I had put the Fargo back on the road, and I rode it to and from work both Thursday and Friday. Each day I felt stronger, and Friday I took an extended loop back home.

Saturday I took the Stumpjumper out and this time I felt much, much more snap in the legs and I was really feeling much better. Cadence changes were not such a shock to the system, and the different gears and bikes were a good thing. That's right, I didn't ride the Orange Crush all week!

In fact, I am blessed with choices when it comes to bicycles. I could ride the Fargo quite easily at the DK 200, and it would be a fantastic choice. The Stumpjumper would be a great bike as well. That said, I am sticking to my choice for now. The only way I would switch up is if things look like they might be wet at the DK 200. The Fargo would fare much better both in handling and in terms of mud clearance if rain is in the forecast in Kansas.

Next up will be a tire swap on the bike and some more gravel on the Orange Crush.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles; The Bike Part II- Geared!

The Bike Part II- Geared! This edition of the DK 200 Chronicles will focus on my bike. I did get in some fantastic training rides this past week, but since the big one was the "Renegade Gents Race", I'll defer the write up on that until tomorrow.

So, the final swap over to gears was made. This was the plan all along, but it took me awhile to gather all the parts I wanted for the switch. The "Orange Crush" machine works really great as a single speed though, so at some point I may return it to that configuration.

I had thought about going with Campy stuff that I had, but a wheel would have been necessary. It would have needed to have been built up, or purchased as a pre-built. Then I would have had the derailleur for the rear to buy as well. That was going to be a hassle and financial constraints at this time called for a more prudent choice. That ended up being Shimano stuff I scored from a customer of the shop for cheap. Here's the breakdown of what went on:

  • Shimano "non-series" crank NOS, compact drive, 50T/34T w/ Shimano bottom bracket.
  • Shimano Ultegra 9spd "brifters". Older model, but also NOS
  • Shimano Ultegra long cage rear derailleur, (Saved from a crash into a rear wheel by my straightening-free)
  • SRAM 12-32 cassette. I had it already, source unknown.
  • Bontrager "Race" rear wheel. (Swapped for something a long time ago, can't remember what.)
  • Shimano STX top pull front derailleur, shimmed to fit. (I had it. Works perfectly w/brifters)
  • SRAM PC 930 chain. New.
  • Necessary cables and housing. New.

The performance of the new stuff was awesome. No issues at all with any of it. (Although I do not remember shifting the front derailleur for the entire 65 miles. I might have, but I just don't know.)

Interestingly enough, I had a big difference in braking performance with the new levers and a fresh pad set up. These brakes are twice as powerful as they were before, and I am very satisfied with that. They were somewhat marginal before, and noisey.

The new set up also allowed me to ditch the drop out adjusters, since I want the wheel as far back as I can get it. This maximizes tire clearance and gets me the longest possible wheel base for stability. It worked well, by the way, and was tested in the powdery gravel and deep fresh chunk on the course Saturday.

The other thing that I am "signing off" on as a success is the frame bag stuffed with the 70oz Camelbak bladder. That worked really well for me without any special fussing around with gadgetry to get the job done. I simply just let the hose dangle over the handle bar from underneath and looped it together with the bite valve. I did not really need to do the loop, as the weight of the bite valve kept the hose hanging there just fine, but it was a safety measure, I suppose!

My only concern is that the GEAX Barro Race tires are a really tight fit up front, and if DK 200 gets wet, I don't think it will work real well. I could swap out the Bontrager XR-1's and I may do that and see if it gains me anything. The UST bead on the GEAX tire is a bear cat to mount on the rear wheel too, so that may be the way to go, or just go tubeless. Hmm....

More decisions to come. Look for my "Renegade Gents Race" report tomorrow.

Snow Dog Down Count: 39 days and counting.......

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles; Coming To My Senses

<===Nothing like a long, steep-ish climb to knock some sense into you!

The week of training was light this time since I had the "Secret Agent Man stuff going on mid-week, and the weather went south on us as well. There were some longer rides to and from work, at least. Then Saturday I combined a bit of recon for T.I.V7 in with the training ride. (So, I can't really say where I was!)

I did hit some steep ol' hills and the 40 X 18T was not a great choice for that. I made the hills all right, but I wouldn't have gone too many miles in that gear on that terrain, and oh yeah, did I mention that the wind was whipping on Saturday too? Yeah.....

So, I think that was just what I needed to get me motivated to put some gears on this rig soon.

I tried out the Camelbak bladder in the Tangle Bag and played around with the hose arrangement a bit. I got it to be in a place where it wasn't banging off my legs on out of the saddle climbs yet it wasn't flopping around loosely either.

I wanted to see if I could figure something out that didn't require any more gadgetry, like clips, spring loaded leashes, or whatever. I think I am there, but I am still unsure if it will work well enough to promote good hydration. Sure- the potential is there. I just have to keep at it and see if I can get it to work well enough to pass muster for the Dirty Kanza. Right now the set up is about 80% there, I think.

I still have to fit a computer and see about the cue sheet holder system. Last year I used a wireless and for cues, I just followed tracks and occasionally looked at the sheets as they were stuffed in zip-locs and tucked in my bento-bag. This year I think I want something a bit more easily seen. Then there are the lights, which I have zeroed in, but I just need to re-test them once the nights get warmer again.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles; Tweaking The Set-Up

I have been tweaking the set up on the Black Mountain Cycles "Monster Cross" bike, which I am re-naming "Orange Crush", since it looks the color of that delectable soda that once came in 16 ounce glass bottles.

So, anyway, here is the bike all dressed up in bags, minus a possible seat bag. This is getting real close to how I will leave the bike for the Dirty Kanza. Maybe even single speed!

The changes made include a new stem, seat post, and a "Joe Mesier Set Up" for the water bladder. Joe may not have invented this way of doing your hydration, but he was the first guy I heard about it from, and he's all about bags anyway!

I topped off the deal with one of my ever-present Banjo Brothers Top Tube bags, which is a great way to carry gels and a camera.

Here is a closer look at the Revelate Designs tangle bag with the 70oz Camelbak reservoir stuffed inside it. I laid it in there sideways, so to speak, to keep the width down to a minimum. I filled it completely up and it sat in there, pretty as a pea, for my entire training ride with no issues.

Now I arranged things so the long hose comes from down low and in the back end of the bag so that gravity will help feed the drink tube, although that isn't entirely necessary. It does make all that hose length easier to manage though! The Wide Mouth openng is at the front of the bag. There is still a little room up there for some smaller items as well. Maybe a spare tube will reside there for the DK 200.

Here is a look from up top. This particular hose has one of those fancy-pants Flowmeters on it, which as far as I am concerned makes a great hangar for the hose and not much more than that. Although, it is a pretty accurate way to see what is left "in the tank".

I simply hang the Flowmeter on the brake cable as it comes out from under the bar tape. It stays put really well on gravel too. Notice I have the end of the hose sticking straight up here to illustrate how you do have to bend downwards a bit to get the bite valve in the mouth. On riding this set up, the hose is typically laying down across the top tube bag, and that pulls in that loop to the left you see here against the bike and it isn't rubbing or catching on anything.

And that bad ol' black Bontrager Select stem has been swapped out for this good ol' polished silver Ritchey Classic series "4 Axis" stem. Wow! Not only good looking, but insanely light. (As light as I'd ever feel comfortable with using)

Now I just need to make that ol' black GT branded cable hangar all nice and silvery. Either that or track down something silver to replace it with. A minor detail? Yes- but since I am bothering to go to the trouble of making the bike look classic with the silver bits, I may as well finish off the job.

Finally, the silver Ritchey Classic Two Bolt post. This replaces the arguably better, (from a "classic" standpoint), Campy Aero post. The thing is, the Campy post was at minimum insertion, and I wasn't totally comfortable with that. This Ritchey post is a 350mm one, and allows me to go up a "smidge" if needed, while assuring me that I won't be damaging my BMC "Orange Crush" by running too little seat post insertion.

Okay, so what about training? Well, I did get in some slower training rides, focusing on constant power output, spinning circles, and concentrating on not pushing too hard. The bigger gear is treating me just fine. I have not noticed too much of a negative on hills, and flats are faster for sure. The double wrapped tape job is great. No hand issues so far.

The next step will be getting some bigger rides in occasionally. Something in the 3+ hour range is needed to start to assess comfort issues and for just getting used to living on the bicycle.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles; Light Training

It has been a lighter week in terms of time and mileage on the bike for training. Weather and circumstances have played into this somewhat. Even with that, I got in some solid, albeit shorter, rides in, and made a few minor changes to the BMC that I'll share with you this time.

Here we are with the Velocity Bottle Traps, Revelate Tangle Bag, and single speed set up yet. Minor changes include another layer of bar tape and a two tooth lower gear in the back.

My position seems really good on the bike, so I have decided upon a couple of new components in silver to match the rest of the look here. There will be a swap in stems to a Ritchey 4 Axis Classic and a switch to a Ritchey Classic two bolt seat post. I really like the looks of the high-polish silver of these components and the functionality of them is proven to me. (I have used a Ritchey two bolt post before on my Karate Monkey, and the 4 Axis stem is a great design) Besides those things, these components will be slightly lighter as well.

 Here is a closer look at my wrap job on the extensions of the Ragley Luxy Bar. I wrapped the first layer in the same green, Bontrager gel tape, and when I did the over-wrap, I concentrated the layers in a place where I will get a fatter diameter of the bar into my palms. You can kind of see that here in the image. It's almost like a cork grip shape, which is an idea I got from looking at late 19th/early 20th Century grips made from wood that folks were using on the ends of their "droopy-bars", which were the precursors of drop bars later. Another cool little detail I discovered by doing this is that the hook, which has a slightly slimmer profile now, is a great place to rest my paws in the rough stuff, because that fatter section behind kind of keeps my hands tucked into the hook of the drop and won't get bounced backward out of there as easily.

Well, it isn't for everybody, but I did some trial and error testing on my fixie-rat-ride-Raleigh with this idea, and I really liked it. So far, it has been good on the BMC too. More riding will ferret out any necessary changes. Matt Chester does something similar, he just uses a different way to get there. Check out his style here. My style is a little more subtle, and you could modify it easily by how much, or by how little, you stack the wraps.

I've tried padding underneath the tape, and it was too much for my tastes and seemed to migrate a bit on me. This over-wrap seems to be working out better for me, and that's the main thing. Everybody should experiment by riding a system and deciding for themselves. I just wanted to point out my way of tackling the issue for a chance that it might help someone else develop their own style.

  Here is a look at the entire bar from head on. My brake levers are a smidgen too high, but I erred on the high side to give myself the option of a better place to sit on the hoods when I get really tired. If I were doing this for pure single track, I would lower the levers about 10mm.

In the drive train department, I decided that (1), I wanted to get the rear tire back a smidge to allow for better clearances, and (2), I wanted to go to a slightly taller gear, since the 40X20 was a bit on the easy side.

To my surprise, the two tooth change in the rear cog was easily accommodated by the BMC's horizontal drop outs. Good, old technology! As you can see, I could slam it back a smidge more if necessary. It wouldn't surprise me if the bike could accommodate a three tooth change in cogs without breaking the chain. By the way, the outer cog in the picture is only there as a lock-ring. (Old seven speed cassette style!)

I am contemplating doing something different with the geared set up. I may do a 1 X 7 with a bar end shifter. I have a line on an old seven speed cassette which I can modify with my own ratios, and I have a seven speed bar end shifter already. Simpler and lighter, with durability in mind. Uses what I have, and I won't have to change anything much about the bike as is. We'll see......

In other training news, I have become pretty enamored of the Clif Shot drink mix and the gel packets. I'll have some more to say, along with my co-writer, Grannygear, on The Cyclist in a review on the Clif Bar products soon. The gel packet design is rad, and the electrolytes in the Clif Shot mix is good stuff. So check that out soon on The Cyclist. (Should be sometime this coming week) I'll still be using elete, because I just can't imagine not using it now after it totally eliminated cramping issues for me. Their additive for water is clean and tasteless.

Been talking about some stretching exercises with folks and I am looking into getting a foam roller for self-massage. Seems like it may help a lot.

Okay, that's it for this edition of The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles; Big Rides

Last weekend I did the CIRREM event, which you can read about here. As I mentioned last week, I missed my time goal, but only by 12 minutes, and that easily could have been made up with a few less stops for dinking around with my shoes and the dropped chain. But, be that as it may, I did ride well, and recovery was great. I was feeling fine again by Monday.

I did ride Monday, (commute to work and back), but Tuesday and Wednesday I got snookered out of riding since I had to be with my kids for their conference days off. I did get in a good little hike with them on Tuesday, so that was great.

The rest of the week was standard commuting fare, with the longer route being thrown in a few times for good measure. Saturday was a good day. I got in 3 1/3rd hours, 12 miles of which were straight into a 20mph headwind. This was on the BMC single speed. The fatter GEAX tires are working out great so far. All in all, I felt pretty good at the end of the ride and I could have gone farther given more time, but again, it was sub 30F, and with the wind, my feet were pretty cold by the end of the ride.

<===At the checkpoint last weekend at CIRREM. (image credit Kent Carlson)

Nutrition: I have been demoing some Clif Bar product lately, and it has been working out really well. The Clif Shot mix, for my water, has electrolytes and some carbs. The gels are pretty decent, and they have caffeine. Plus the usual Clif Bars and what not. I also have tried the Clif Protein Bloks for post ride and I have Shot Bloks, which are awesome, but it isn't near warm enough for that as yet. So far, so good.

I'm sure that on longer rides of over three hours I'll have to mix in some "real" foods, but as of now I am pretty pleased with how the Clif product and my body are getting along.

Let's see, in other DK 200 related news I am still making good progress on the diet. Some slight weight loss has been noticed, so that's good. The shoulder I crashed on several times last year, and that has been a huge pain, (literally and figuratively), all winter made a huge leap of improvement after CIRREM. I narrowed down the reasons to the increased blood flow due to extended exercise, but most importantly, the way I was rowing on the bars over climbs seems to be the ticket to making the shoulder stronger. I am continuing using the bike in that way when I ride and so far, it seems to be working.

Until next time......

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles; More On The Bike & More!

Updates To The Bike Set Up: This week saw a longer training ride in a pretty stiff head wind, (more on that in a bit), and some tweaks/additions to the bike were tried out. It is my belief that you need to train with the set up you will be running during the event, at least a few times, so you can "de-bug" anything that isn't quite working for you. In my case, I am going to train my race set up as much as possible this time.

Additions to the Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross #42 are as follows:

  1. Two Velocity Bottle Traps. I like these mostly because they hold a bottle well and it is virtually impossible to launch a bottle in the rough stuff. That they come in colors is a bonus. 
  2. Revelate Designs tangle Bag. This one is the "Mountain" sized one. I can stuff all my repair gear in here and an extra water bottle. The contents of the bag are still "Under Construction", but I'll detail that out once I have settled on a set up. 
  3. Geax Barro Race TNT 29"er tires. These are really 1.85-1.9"ers and not 2.0's as marked. They fit with about a couple millimeters clearance and more importantly, lend me more suspension with the higher volume. Barro Race TNT's also have stiffer, more resilient sidewalls, can be run at lower pressures with no detriment to tubes and rims, and of course, can be run tubeless, if I so choose to. These could be the "sleeper tire" of "monster cross". Weight is 630 grams each. I think they will be tough enough for Dirty Kanza, but light enough to still keep some snap in the wheels. 
More on the bike and how it is doing later.

Details On Training: I'm still sticking to the diet plan, and as expected, my body is not responding as quickly as others might. Just for reference, I practically have to stop eating at all, with detrimental effect to performance, to lose weight at a quick pace. My body just never has responded to increased levels of activity and less food intake like others do.  All that said, there has been a slight decrease in weight so far.

Training rides have been happening, albeit sporadically due to the wonky weather of late. Wednesday I got a great 30 miler in with some strong headwinds for good measure on half of that. Yesterday I participated in CIRREM down in the southwest  Des Moines area. Details on the ride will go up tomorrow, but here were my goals going in. #1- Finish, and #2 do it in less than six hours if possible. I met one goal and just missed the other. Finishing was awesome, but I had a bit of a frozen up left foot that put me behind schedule in the second half of the event. (Temps were low 20's F and there was about an inch to two inches of snow covering the roads depending on where you were at on course.) There also was freezing rain which made seeing through eyewear difficult and without eyewear it stung your eyes badly.  Under better conditions I may have had a much better chance at the time. As it was, I only missed it by about 15 minutes or so.

Okay, that's it for this week. As always, feel free to ask questions in the comments section. Look for a full CIRREM race report tomorrow.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles; The Bike

This week in the Dirty Kanza Chronicles I am introducing what I hope to be my rig for the big event. I searched many spec sheets and models of cyclo-cross type bikes before arriving upon this frame and fork. I'll get into more of that decision later, but for now, let's take a look at the bike as it is now....

Black Mountain Cycles "Monster Cross": I've been talking about Black Mountain Cycles for awhile now, so I won't get into that too much. (You can use the search term "Black Mountain Cycles" in my search box or Google to learn more.)

This frame is double butted chrome molybdenum steel alloy that is TIG welded. Horizontal drop outs allow the single speed set up. Cantilever brakes, of course, and all cables are routed over the top tube. Two water bottle mounts, rack mounts, fender mounts, and threaded rear brake cable stop and front derailleur cable stop with derailleur type adjusters are a nice touch.

The front fork is also steel featuring an investment cast sloping crown with plenty of clearance for big tires. Probably up to 1.9's will shoe horn into this fork and frame.

There's the STX Shimano cantilevers with Kool Stop brake pads. The hangar is an unknown model. It was floating around in my parts bin attached to some odd ball Dia Compe brakes, so it could be that manufacture. The head set is an Origin 8 cartridge type.

Here is a look at the Sante' hubbed, Matrix rimmed front wheel. The rear matches. These wheel were pretty much NOS condition, yet aged from over 20 years of sitting around. Gotta love that pearl anodized glow Shimano used to put on some of their nicer components. Best looking finish they've ever used, in my opinion.

There never has been a nicer looking quick release made by Shimano than their Sante' QR from the late 80's.

That's a big dust seal, eh?

36 hole wheels insure plenty of strength.

Ragley Luxy Bars in silver. Some unknown model of Dia Compe brake levers. Clunky Bontrager 31.8mm stem. The levers and stem will be up for replacement at some point. (The stem has to be silver, ya know?)

The Luxy bars are nice, but really, really wide. I may not stay with these. Time will tell.

Sugino crank found in the parts bin. 170mm length crank. Steel 40T ring. Old, pretty worn out WTB branded "Spud" type pedals. (Hand-me-downs from Jeff Kerkove!) Hiding inside is a Shimano UN-52 square taper cartridge bottom bracket.

20 tooth Surly cog and various spacers I had. Note that early 7 speed cassettes had no lock rings. They used a threaded on final cog instead. So I did too!

You get a peek at the drop ot adjusters there, and rack and fender mounts.

Campy aero seat post, Bontrager RL Inform saddle. Lurking at the bottom of the image is the brake cable adjuster on the brake bridge, and the IRC 42mm tire. The seat collar is stock BMC fare.

Why This Bike: The BMC was chosen based upon a few criteria I had going in: Steel frame, single speed capability, big tire clearances for at least 42mm tires, and geometry. My search landed me upon three choices: Surly Bikes CrossCheck, the Fisher Collection Presidio, and the BMC Monster Cross. I was able to straddle an Erwin, (model just below the Presdio), and it just wasn't quite right. The price was a bit steeper than the other two as well. The final came down to the Surly and the BMC. The BMC wins me over due to a few details. The head tube is longer on the BMC by 24mm. This keeps the bars up there without resorting to a ton of spacers. The BMC is also 3/4's of a pound lighter to begin with. That's substantial. (I'll take advantage of this in my later incarnations of this bike) Finally, the chain stays are 13mm longer, which translates into a bit longer chassis for a more stable, more comfortable ride.

Granted, any of the three would have been awesome bikes for my purposes. No "losers" here. I just found a few things about the Black Mountain Cycles flavor to be more tasty than the others. Plus, who can argue against orange? (Okay- well maybe a few of you!)

Training Update: Last weekend I got in a nice, almost three hour gravel grinder at a moderate pace. Commutes to work have been lengthened to gain more miles. With warmer weather I will begin to add night rides.  Diet is holding well. I am going to get a bit more disciplined concerning that after the weekend at Frostbike. CIRREM is next weekend, which will work well as a training ride. More next week.....

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday News And Views

Frostbike '11: First up is Frostbike and I am attending again on both Saturday and Sunday. Tonight I'll be hanging out in Northfield, Minnesota and maybe doing some silly things, who knows. However that falls out will get reported on here throughout the weekend. Stay tuned for that. Also, I already have gotten some 29"er specific news that is pretty cool, so stay tuned to Twenty Nine Inches for that as well.

Orange Crush #42: Here she is all built up after the maiden voyage to work yesterday. I'll do a separate build list and photo essay on this rig, but please keep in mind- this is a total parts bin build!

The only part I had to buy for this as you see it was the frame/fork, and head set. The rest was all sitting around in The Lab, being unused. Notes: The lighting at work washed out the color here. It actually looks brighter and darker outside. It is obviously set up as a single speed, and will stay that way for a while as we work our way through the crap weather. So far, I am super stoked about the ride. I went for a bit more aggressive position than I would have on my 29"ers and so far it has been great. The #42 refers to the serial number. Less than 100 Black Mountain Cycles bikes exist and only about 50 of them are cross bikes.  More later......

Trans Iowa V7 Updates: Due to the Frostbike weekend, the regularly scheduled Trans Iowa update will not happen this week. In fact, I may put it on hiatus for a couple weeks unless I come up with a worthy reason for updating. Hopefully, all the training is going well out there and everyone is getting a plan together. Remember: If you can't make it for any reason, please let me know ASAP!!

DK 200 Chronicles: This may still happen for Sunday, which is the day I have chosen to post these. I can tell you now it will be most likely the build out post for the BMC bike above, but there may be more. Stay tuned....

Off Road Bar Update: I'm going to do a massive off road drop bar post on Gravel Grinder News and an update on the Ragley Luxy Bar on Twenty Nine Inches soon. Stay tuned for that.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles; Introduction

The Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles: A Training, Gear, And Experience Log: Intro: Well, Friday I asked and nobody said no. So......even though I think you are all crazy, I am going to write my doings, my comings and goings, that have to do with getting ready for the Dirty Kanza 200 June 4th, 2011.

These updates will be posted on Sundays.

Background: Since getting into the event, I have been contemplating what to do different from my past when it comes to the DK200. I have tried and failed three previous times at this event. Once at the inaugural running of the DK200 in '06, and then again in '09, and '10. I have used three different bikes in all three attempts. The first try was aborted due to dizziness, and the last two due to extreme dehydration and heat problems. The last two times I ran out of water before getting to Checkpoint #1 which killed my efforts both times.

A bit about me is in order here as well, I think. I am married, have a part time bicycle shop job, run a website or three, and have two children in elementary school. Family is a priority for me, so training times are limited. I understand about sacrificing some things, and I have to decide what to set aside to gain a bit more on the training side to get better prepared this time. 

Analyisis: First of all, if the DK200 gets crazy hot and windy again this year, I will not expect my efforts to be successful. I can't imagine how having 100oz of water in a hydration pack and two or three extra water bottles couldn't be enough water, but it wasn't for 66 miles. I'm not sure how I can overcome that issue at this point. (Open to suggestions here) Be that as it may, I am going to try and tackle this event again, and throw my best effort at it.

Last year's rig from the DK200 ===>

Last year, (and probably the year before), my training was pretty limited. So, that may have played into the failures. Normally I can deal with some pretty hot and humid stuff, but the drier winds and heat of Kansas seem to be my nemesis.

The Plan: (Subject To Change!) So, this year the training has already started. Longer rides at a moderate pace have already occurred. I am also focusing on losing weight now. I am building up a cross bike to test as a DK200 rig. Nutritional supplements are going to be tested in training. I will be working out a strategy for carrying things on the bike as opposed to the body. (Done it both ways and I'll cover the advantages/disadvantages of both).I'll be doing some stretching and core body stuff as well.

<===I've used a Salsa Cycles Fargo at the DK200 before. 

 My Take On Race Strategy: The DK200 started out as a self-supported, time limited event. It really isn't either of those things anymore. You can pretty much come into a checkpoint a bit late, and the organizers let it go. There is no real "end" to the event. (Last year, riders were still being scored well after the old cut off time of 2am) Support is "discouraged", which means nearly everyone  gets support. Riders are catered to at every checkpoint with anything they want or need as long as they can find someone who will do it. That wasn't true of the early DK200's where a rider could only have a drop bag forwarded to a checkpoint.

It's pretty tempting to take the bait thrown out and "finish" whenever I can with all kinds of hand ups and people catering to me at checkpoints. And listen- you can do it that way if you want. I am not judging the organizers of the DK200 or anyone that wants to push the advantages to the limit. Those are decisions those people have made/will make, and I am okay with that. So, with that said, I am going the full-on self supported route, or nothing, and I will finish by 2am, or I'll just quietly ride back to my motel and accept a DNF. That's my decision, and how I am looking at this event. Your mileage may vary.

Okay, so there you have it. Next update will include some background on my bike choice and what has worked and what I have seen that doesn't.