Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Guitar Ted's Rear View Of '08: Part III


Well, I screwed up and only covered three months of 2008 in my last post! So this post will be ginormous! (Or I could just make it short and to the point, eh?)

August: This month started out with excellent weather, lots of spider webs out on the trails, and a ride with Mike Curiak. I was super humbled and thrilled to have him stop by and ride our little corner of the world with me out at The Camp. Too bad I still didn't have a good handle on the navigation of the full south side yet! We only rode half of it because I was too embarrassed to have the possibility of us getting lost happen!

Then it was more riding at The Camp leading up to the Trek Show in Madison, Wisconsin. Fun was had, cool people were met, and awesome bicycles were seen. After that little distraction, it was back to more riding. I had undertaken the task of doing the fork experiment for Twenty Nine Inches, and that was keeping me really busy. One of those rides turned out to be one of the funnest rides of the whole year for me.


September: Of course, this month is really all about ramping up to Interbike's climatic bicycle orgy in Las Vegas, Nevada. But this year there was more than just that going on.

Late in August I introduced Trans Iowa V5 and thoughts were flying on that front well into September. The venue changed and so did everything else along with it. Then on September 10th I got to do something a little extra special with my regular Wednesday test ride session. Jason from Salsa Cycles invited me to come up and ride and ride the Salsa Selma, a single speed Mamasita type rig that was to be introduced at Interbike later that month. Wow! Was I ever flattered to be invited to do that! Plus, I got to ride with my friend Jason, plus I got to ride at Murphy-Hanrahan Park! Then Jason took me into Salsa HQ and I got to get a sneak peek at the inner preparations for Interbike, which showed me how hard the Salsa and Surly folks work to get that gig done. (Yes, I know it may come as a surprise, but these folks actually do work. They were sweating and breathing hard. Really!) Then I came home and had to basically can all my excitement over the Selma because I couldn't talk about it for two more weeks. That was rough! (Yes Captain Bob, the Selma actually exists!)

Well, part of the deal with the Selma sneak peek was getting a set of the new Gordo rims to test for Twenty Nine Inches. I didn't waste anytime getting them laced up and got a few rides in just before Interbike. Then it was off to the Big Show to meet everyone I don't get to see very often, to meet new folks, and to see all the sites. This years Interbike was most memorable for me because of the Outdoor Demo and the night ride cruise up The Strip to the criterium at The Mandalay Bay resort. That was a pretty crazy night! Riding a Dahon single speed folding bike up and down the Strip with traffic will be one of my most unique cycling experiences I'll likely ever have.

October: Well, after the Interbike hangover went away, I settled back into some great Fall riding out at the Camp. There was a trail work day and The Flat Tire Festival out there. I received some more product for testing on Twenty Nine Inches, so I was pretty busy on that front as well.

There was the recon for Trans Iowa V5 that I did with d.p. and that was a great weekend. Then it was back home to finish out the month riding on one of the last nice days in the Fall. Not the last day, because there would be one more nice day to come.......

November: I think without a doubt that November was the best riding month out of the whole year. Crazy, huh? Well, it's true!

The month started out with the announcement of registration for Trans Iowa and then a big trip with Captain Bob to the Minneapolis area on Election Day. It's ironic that one of the most historic elections in our countries history will forever be remembered by me for what I was doing on a bicycle! I got to ride at Murphy-Hanrahan again with the Twin Six dudes. Then the next day it was the Fargo Adventure Ride with the Salsa Crew and friends. Awesome!

Back at home, I did my own versions of Fargo Adventures and some Cedar Bend Park rides that were totally awesome. Then a bit of Trans Iowa registration madness before a couple more rides topped off by Thanksgiving and the Turkey Burn III which once again proved to be the last real trail ride of the year, just like in '07.

December: Which brings us full circle to the present. What a great year! I was able to do much that I never thought I would ever do. I am truly blessed.

Here's a last chance to say some thanks to some folks: In no particular order.....

Captain Bob, without whom I couldn't have accomplished many of the things I needed to get done in '08. Grannygear who was a chance meeting at Interbike, (Not really "by chance" though, was it!) and turned out to be a huge asset to me in my online work, the rest of The Local Crew, MTBidwell, Deerslayer, Casey (We still need a cool nic-name for ya!), Super Saul, and anybody else that I turned pedals with from around here this year. The Blue Colnago for being a huge friend of this blog. Brett, my co-worker, who patiently deals with my items that get shipped in, Jeff Kerkove who always helps with my T.I. and GTDRI web stuff, and is my "long distance buddy". (Right Buddy? .....umm.......doode?.......don't leave me hangin'!) Sonya Looney (meeting you was really the highlight of Interbike 2008, so thanks for that!) All the folks in the cycling industry I know, and all you readers out there. Thanks for everything.

That's a wrap on The Rear View for 2008.

Here's to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2009.

Guitar Ted's Rear View Of '08: Part III


Well, I screwed up and only covered three months of 2008 in my last post! So this post will be ginormous! (Or I could just make it short and to the point, eh?)

August: This month started out with excellent weather, lots of spider webs out on the trails, and a ride with Mike Curiak. I was super humbled and thrilled to have him stop by and ride our little corner of the world with me out at The Camp. Too bad I still didn't have a good handle on the navigation of the full south side yet! We only rode half of it because I was too embarrassed to have the possibility of us getting lost happen!

Then it was more riding at The Camp leading up to the Trek Show in Madison, Wisconsin. Fun was had, cool people were met, and awesome bicycles were seen. After that little distraction, it was back to more riding. I had undertaken the task of doing the fork experiment for Twenty Nine Inches, and that was keeping me really busy. One of those rides turned out to be one of the funnest rides of the whole year for me.


September: Of course, this month is really all about ramping up to Interbike's climatic bicycle orgy in Las Vegas, Nevada. But this year there was more than just that going on.

Late in August I introduced Trans Iowa V5 and thoughts were flying on that front well into September. The venue changed and so did everything else along with it. Then on September 10th I got to do something a little extra special with my regular Wednesday test ride session. Jason from Salsa Cycles invited me to come up and ride and ride the Salsa Selma, a single speed Mamasita type rig that was to be introduced at Interbike later that month. Wow! Was I ever flattered to be invited to do that! Plus, I got to ride with my friend Jason, plus I got to ride at Murphy-Hanrahan Park! Then Jason took me into Salsa HQ and I got to get a sneak peek at the inner preparations for Interbike, which showed me how hard the Salsa and Surly folks work to get that gig done. (Yes, I know it may come as a surprise, but these folks actually do work. They were sweating and breathing hard. Really!) Then I came home and had to basically can all my excitement over the Selma because I couldn't talk about it for two more weeks. That was rough! (Yes Captain Bob, the Selma actually exists!)

Well, part of the deal with the Selma sneak peek was getting a set of the new Gordo rims to test for Twenty Nine Inches. I didn't waste anytime getting them laced up and got a few rides in just before Interbike. Then it was off to the Big Show to meet everyone I don't get to see very often, to meet new folks, and to see all the sites. This years Interbike was most memorable for me because of the Outdoor Demo and the night ride cruise up The Strip to the criterium at The Mandalay Bay resort. That was a pretty crazy night! Riding a Dahon single speed folding bike up and down the Strip with traffic will be one of my most unique cycling experiences I'll likely ever have.

October: Well, after the Interbike hangover went away, I settled back into some great Fall riding out at the Camp. There was a trail work day and The Flat Tire Festival out there. I received some more product for testing on Twenty Nine Inches, so I was pretty busy on that front as well.

There was the recon for Trans Iowa V5 that I did with d.p. and that was a great weekend. Then it was back home to finish out the month riding on one of the last nice days in the Fall. Not the last day, because there would be one more nice day to come.......

November: I think without a doubt that November was the best riding month out of the whole year. Crazy, huh? Well, it's true!

The month started out with the announcement of registration for Trans Iowa and then a big trip with Captain Bob to the Minneapolis area on Election Day. It's ironic that one of the most historic elections in our countries history will forever be remembered by me for what I was doing on a bicycle! I got to ride at Murphy-Hanrahan again with the Twin Six dudes. Then the next day it was the Fargo Adventure Ride with the Salsa Crew and friends. Awesome!

Back at home, I did my own versions of Fargo Adventures and some Cedar Bend Park rides that were totally awesome. Then a bit of Trans Iowa registration madness before a couple more rides topped off by Thanksgiving and the Turkey Burn III which once again proved to be the last real trail ride of the year, just like in '07.

December: Which brings us full circle to the present. What a great year! I was able to do much that I never thought I would ever do. I am truly blessed.

Here's a last chance to say some thanks to some folks: In no particular order.....

Captain Bob, without whom I couldn't have accomplished many of the things I needed to get done in '08. Grannygear who was a chance meeting at Interbike, (Not really "by chance" though, was it!) and turned out to be a huge asset to me in my online work, the rest of The Local Crew, MTBidwell, Deerslayer, Casey (We still need a cool nic-name for ya!), Super Saul, and anybody else that I turned pedals with from around here this year. The Blue Colnago for being a huge friend of this blog. Brett, my co-worker, who patiently deals with my items that get shipped in, Jeff Kerkove who always helps with my T.I. and GTDRI web stuff, and is my "long distance buddy". (Right Buddy? .....umm.......doode?.......don't leave me hangin'!) Sonya Looney (meeting you was really the highlight of Interbike 2008, so thanks for that!) All the folks in the cycling industry I know, and all you readers out there. Thanks for everything.

That's a wrap on The Rear View for 2008.

Here's to a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2009.

Guitar Ted's Rear View Of '08: Part II



More rear view musings from 2008........

Honorable Mention: Before I move on into May, June, and July, I want to make a special mention on Trans Iowa V4. We had without a doubt the most epic of editions in 2008. The floods, the wind, the mudslide! Frost heaves, downed trees, and washed out roads. Re-routes on the fly, scrambling for information, and finally having to cut the event short. Wow! I hope we never have anything happen like it again, but it was pretty exciting! Thanks to David Pals, the volunteer group, and the racers who were very patient with us. That was a most memorable weekend!

May: After a crazy month which saw me all over the place with Twenty Nine Inches and Trans Iowa, I settled down into what I hoped would be a normal spring routine. I got my first Snappy Cap, made announcements concerning the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo, and 2008's Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, and then the wrench got thrown into the works....

Rain, and more rain started causing trails to become too wet to ride, and to top that all off, we had the Parkersburg Tornado. I don't know if I can properly convey what something like that can do to not just Parkersburg, but the whole region around it. I've been in an F-5 tornado before, so it really impacted me. I guess you'd have to have been here to "get it", but that was a devastating blow in a lot of ways. Still is really....

So with that and my fitness level really sucking towards the end of the month, I decided to pull the plug on the Dirty Kanza 200 race. I went and volunteered my time cleaning up in Parkersburg for a day instead, and felt much better for it.

June: This month started out by getting even worse. Wet weather plagued us here in the Upper Mid-West and flooding became the big story. Whole cities were inundated, lives were impacted forever, and a stupid little meaningless bicycle festival was one of the victims amongst the many other plans that were laid waste last June. The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo, which was to be held in Decorah, was cancelled. This precipitated some behind the scenes acrimony on the part of certain North East Iowans which I will not revisit, but suffice it to say, those feelings resulted in some written words which have totally impacted the Trans Iowa event and the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo. Not my idea, not what I would have done, but I am going to respect their wishes. Nuff said.....

Sol Sessions was a bright spot in all of this, and a much needed one at that. I got to ride Salsa Cycles Big Mama 4 inch travel full suspension 29"er for the first time. But most importantly, I got to be with a great friend at a down time in my life. Thanks Jason! That was a "pick me up" that was most definitely needed right then.

Then June ended on a brighter note when the weather started to finally straighten out and I began what would become a riding schedule that would last most of the rest of the year.

July: Well, the big deal of the month was the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational. The getting ready for it, the minimal preparations, and the actual event were all super enjoyable. It was made even better by the folks that showed up. Gnat on the prototype Fargo, aka "Black Electrical Tape", MG, MW, Jeff Bonsall, David Pals, and Michael Beck.

The month closed out with a great ride on the south side of Camp Ingawanis with Super Saul, MTBidwell, and Captain Bob. It was the first ride I'd done on that side of the Camp in about a year and a half, but it wouldn't be the last..........

Thanks again to all mentioned here, (yes...even the disgruntled folks (you know who you are!). The events of July 2008 made a big impact on my future, and I think things will be much, much better because of it. Look for another Rear View 2008 tomorrow........

Guitar Ted's Rear View Of '08: Part II



More rear view musings from 2008........

Honorable Mention: Before I move on into May, June, and July, I want to make a special mention on Trans Iowa V4. We had without a doubt the most epic of editions in 2008. The floods, the wind, the mudslide! Frost heaves, downed trees, and washed out roads. Re-routes on the fly, scrambling for information, and finally having to cut the event short. Wow! I hope we never have anything happen like it again, but it was pretty exciting! Thanks to David Pals, the volunteer group, and the racers who were very patient with us. That was a most memorable weekend!

May: After a crazy month which saw me all over the place with Twenty Nine Inches and Trans Iowa, I settled down into what I hoped would be a normal spring routine. I got my first Snappy Cap, made announcements concerning the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo, and 2008's Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, and then the wrench got thrown into the works....

Rain, and more rain started causing trails to become too wet to ride, and to top that all off, we had the Parkersburg Tornado. I don't know if I can properly convey what something like that can do to not just Parkersburg, but the whole region around it. I've been in an F-5 tornado before, so it really impacted me. I guess you'd have to have been here to "get it", but that was a devastating blow in a lot of ways. Still is really....

So with that and my fitness level really sucking towards the end of the month, I decided to pull the plug on the Dirty Kanza 200 race. I went and volunteered my time cleaning up in Parkersburg for a day instead, and felt much better for it.

June: This month started out by getting even worse. Wet weather plagued us here in the Upper Mid-West and flooding became the big story. Whole cities were inundated, lives were impacted forever, and a stupid little meaningless bicycle festival was one of the victims amongst the many other plans that were laid waste last June. The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo, which was to be held in Decorah, was cancelled. This precipitated some behind the scenes acrimony on the part of certain North East Iowans which I will not revisit, but suffice it to say, those feelings resulted in some written words which have totally impacted the Trans Iowa event and the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo. Not my idea, not what I would have done, but I am going to respect their wishes. Nuff said.....

Sol Sessions was a bright spot in all of this, and a much needed one at that. I got to ride Salsa Cycles Big Mama 4 inch travel full suspension 29"er for the first time. But most importantly, I got to be with a great friend at a down time in my life. Thanks Jason! That was a "pick me up" that was most definitely needed right then.

Then June ended on a brighter note when the weather started to finally straighten out and I began what would become a riding schedule that would last most of the rest of the year.

July: Well, the big deal of the month was the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational. The getting ready for it, the minimal preparations, and the actual event were all super enjoyable. It was made even better by the folks that showed up. Gnat on the prototype Fargo, aka "Black Electrical Tape", MG, MW, Jeff Bonsall, David Pals, and Michael Beck.

The month closed out with a great ride on the south side of Camp Ingawanis with Super Saul, MTBidwell, and Captain Bob. It was the first ride I'd done on that side of the Camp in about a year and a half, but it wouldn't be the last..........

Thanks again to all mentioned here, (yes...even the disgruntled folks (you know who you are!). The events of July 2008 made a big impact on my future, and I think things will be much, much better because of it. Look for another Rear View 2008 tomorrow........

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Touring Tuesdays: Day Three: Cranberry Country Part III

Note: The subsequent entries were all written recently. We now join the "Beg, Borrow, and Bastard Tour" as it stops for some refreshments near the end of a long, hard day.....

We scrambled across a busy roadway to a group of small wood framed buildings that made up the bulk of the town. The city was called Babcock, and it had one main attraction, the Cranberry Inn.

It was a white clapboard building with no real distinction other than the bar sign that hung off the upper story. Three or four steps led up to a door that led unmistakeably into a bar. A bar that was a happening place this late Tuesday afternoon. Troy was beside himself. He was not wanting to waste any time going in to a bar. However; Steve insisted that more "information gathering" was necessary and this may be our only good opportunity. Based upon what I saw of the previous miles since Millston, I had to agree.

So first Troy and Steve entered the bar while I stood guard over the bikes. They were in there for what seemed like an eternity when Troy finally popped out and motioned for me to go in and " get Steve out of there!" Apparently Steve had availed himself of the offerings inside, much to the consternation of Troy. This would become a sticking point later on, as we shall see.

Inside was your typical bar scene- well, rural bar scene! Guys would "belly up" to the bar, order beers, and "BS" their way through conversations about various subjects. Smoke filled the air and loud, boisterous men sodden with "barley pops" were the over riding sensory inputs. I found Steve at the far end of the bar with an empty stool beside him. I plopped myself down and made some small talk with a few locals, sipped my Coke, and convinced Steve it was time to go. My main memory of the place was of a t-shirt that they sold emblazoned with the words- "I got juiced at The Cranberry Inn" Too funny and all too true for the majority of the patrons there that day.

By the time I got Steve extracted from the grips of The Cranberry Inn, Troy was fit to be tied. Wanting to get in some more miles before sunset, he set an infernal pace on the busy, wood chip laden highway that was none too smooth. It was getting on to be evening and we had about twelve miles to go to get to the next town of any decent size.

As we approached the end of the day, we saw a big, tall smokestack emblazoned with a "GP" on it. Georgia Pacific, a paper company, had a huge mill here. The city was called Nekoosa and it looked mean and dirty. It was late enough that the light was fading fast. We were discussing possible overnight stay choices when we saw a sign for a campground. Too bad it was another seven miles down the road! We just didn't have enough light to make it that far. Just when I thought all hope was lost, Steve spied a church with cars parked in the lot. Ever the optimist, Steve said he would go in and ask to see if we could camp there. He came back out shortly after, proclaiming his good luck. Apparently the pastor and the church board were having a meeting, and we were allowed access to the "back yard" of the church to pitch our tents on.

It turned out to be a beautiful strip of lawn bordered on one side by the church and on the other by the wide Wisconsin River. It was looking like a rain was going to set in as we started to download our gear for the night. Steve was busy setting up his tent, but Troy was looking around the church. It had about a ten foot overhang to the roof and about a seven foot wide cement pathway around its base. "Why not sleep here"?, Troy wondered, and I agreed that it looked good, and too easy! We chuckled at Steve as he set about getting his stuff into his tent.

Stay tuned next week when we move to Day Four!

Touring Tuesdays: Day Three: Cranberry Country Part III

Note: The subsequent entries were all written recently. We now join the "Beg, Borrow, and Bastard Tour" as it stops for some refreshments near the end of a long, hard day.....

We scrambled across a busy roadway to a group of small wood framed buildings that made up the bulk of the town. The city was called Babcock, and it had one main attraction, the Cranberry Inn.

It was a white clapboard building with no real distinction other than the bar sign that hung off the upper story. Three or four steps led up to a door that led unmistakeably into a bar. A bar that was a happening place this late Tuesday afternoon. Troy was beside himself. He was not wanting to waste any time going in to a bar. However; Steve insisted that more "information gathering" was necessary and this may be our only good opportunity. Based upon what I saw of the previous miles since Millston, I had to agree.

So first Troy and Steve entered the bar while I stood guard over the bikes. They were in there for what seemed like an eternity when Troy finally popped out and motioned for me to go in and " get Steve out of there!" Apparently Steve had availed himself of the offerings inside, much to the consternation of Troy. This would become a sticking point later on, as we shall see.

Inside was your typical bar scene- well, rural bar scene! Guys would "belly up" to the bar, order beers, and "BS" their way through conversations about various subjects. Smoke filled the air and loud, boisterous men sodden with "barley pops" were the over riding sensory inputs. I found Steve at the far end of the bar with an empty stool beside him. I plopped myself down and made some small talk with a few locals, sipped my Coke, and convinced Steve it was time to go. My main memory of the place was of a t-shirt that they sold emblazoned with the words- "I got juiced at The Cranberry Inn" Too funny and all too true for the majority of the patrons there that day.

By the time I got Steve extracted from the grips of The Cranberry Inn, Troy was fit to be tied. Wanting to get in some more miles before sunset, he set an infernal pace on the busy, wood chip laden highway that was none too smooth. It was getting on to be evening and we had about twelve miles to go to get to the next town of any decent size.

As we approached the end of the day, we saw a big, tall smokestack emblazoned with a "GP" on it. Georgia Pacific, a paper company, had a huge mill here. The city was called Nekoosa and it looked mean and dirty. It was late enough that the light was fading fast. We were discussing possible overnight stay choices when we saw a sign for a campground. Too bad it was another seven miles down the road! We just didn't have enough light to make it that far. Just when I thought all hope was lost, Steve spied a church with cars parked in the lot. Ever the optimist, Steve said he would go in and ask to see if we could camp there. He came back out shortly after, proclaiming his good luck. Apparently the pastor and the church board were having a meeting, and we were allowed access to the "back yard" of the church to pitch our tents on.

It turned out to be a beautiful strip of lawn bordered on one side by the church and on the other by the wide Wisconsin River. It was looking like a rain was going to set in as we started to download our gear for the night. Steve was busy setting up his tent, but Troy was looking around the church. It had about a ten foot overhang to the roof and about a seven foot wide cement pathway around its base. "Why not sleep here"?, Troy wondered, and I agreed that it looked good, and too easy! We chuckled at Steve as he set about getting his stuff into his tent.

Stay tuned next week when we move to Day Four!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Guitar Ted's Rear View Of '08


Okay folks.....the end of this month rolled up fast! I was going to do month long "thank you" to several companies and folks out there and only got two posts up. So I'm reviving an old Guitar Ted Productions ploy with these "rear view" posts. I'll get my thanks in one way or the other.
I'm going to cover the first four months of '08 here, and then the next four on Wednesday, with the final four months on New Years Day. Mmmkay?
January: Wow! Mostly forgetable with the exception of my finally finishing up the Badger. I got the Blackbuck in as well, so I guess it wasn't all bad! Basically, illnesses and bad weather marked the month.
February: Things still fairly sucked weather-wise. I got out a few times on various machines. The Badger, the OS Bikes Blackbuck, the fixed Karate Monkey, and the ol' Dos Niner. Still, it was all on snow and ice which got fairly old really fast! Some Trans Iowa news was generated when d.p. and I made a short recon in -10 degree temps. Frostbike in Minneapolis was to be a highlight, that is until I managed to get my good friend Jason's Honda Element towed which cost him almost 300 bucks! I hid my head in shame in the basement bicycle mortuary of One on One Studio until Jason escorted me outta there. Then, signs that the winter's icy grip was letting go....
March: Snow melts, then.....Spring Break! Yippee! The big trip to El Paso Texas was a welcome relief from a brutal winter. When I got back, things started picking up with Twenty Nine Inches. I had several test items in the hopper, not to mention Trans Iowa and The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo. Recon of the entire T.I.V4 course finally happened at the end of the month.
April: Of course, it was all Sea Otter and Trans Iowa. A brutal month that was only made different and much better by the ride I got in with MG early on in the month. What a brutal day of slop and wind, but it felt like summer to us here after that crazy winter of '07/'08. Notable: I froze up a Onza Tensile freewheel never to be revived from that ride!
People: Gotta send a shout out of thanks to the following people and groups for their friendship, support, and good times: Matt Gersib, Jason Boucher, The Salsa Crew, The Surly Crew, Tim Grahl, Arleigh Jenkins, and last but not least, David Pals. Awesome folks. I wish you all the best in 2009!

Guitar Ted's Rear View Of '08


Okay folks.....the end of this month rolled up fast! I was going to do month long "thank you" to several companies and folks out there and only got two posts up. So I'm reviving an old Guitar Ted Productions ploy with these "rear view" posts. I'll get my thanks in one way or the other.
I'm going to cover the first four months of '08 here, and then the next four on Wednesday, with the final four months on New Years Day. Mmmkay?
January: Wow! Mostly forgetable with the exception of my finally finishing up the Badger. I got the Blackbuck in as well, so I guess it wasn't all bad! Basically, illnesses and bad weather marked the month.
February: Things still fairly sucked weather-wise. I got out a few times on various machines. The Badger, the OS Bikes Blackbuck, the fixed Karate Monkey, and the ol' Dos Niner. Still, it was all on snow and ice which got fairly old really fast! Some Trans Iowa news was generated when d.p. and I made a short recon in -10 degree temps. Frostbike in Minneapolis was to be a highlight, that is until I managed to get my good friend Jason's Honda Element towed which cost him almost 300 bucks! I hid my head in shame in the basement bicycle mortuary of One on One Studio until Jason escorted me outta there. Then, signs that the winter's icy grip was letting go....
March: Snow melts, then.....Spring Break! Yippee! The big trip to El Paso Texas was a welcome relief from a brutal winter. When I got back, things started picking up with Twenty Nine Inches. I had several test items in the hopper, not to mention Trans Iowa and The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo. Recon of the entire T.I.V4 course finally happened at the end of the month.
April: Of course, it was all Sea Otter and Trans Iowa. A brutal month that was only made different and much better by the ride I got in with MG early on in the month. What a brutal day of slop and wind, but it felt like summer to us here after that crazy winter of '07/'08. Notable: I froze up a Onza Tensile freewheel never to be revived from that ride!
People: Gotta send a shout out of thanks to the following people and groups for their friendship, support, and good times: Matt Gersib, Jason Boucher, The Salsa Crew, The Surly Crew, Tim Grahl, Arleigh Jenkins, and last but not least, David Pals. Awesome folks. I wish you all the best in 2009!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

When It Rains, It Freezes!

Hmm........"What's that smacking upside the house?", I thought to myself this morning while I slowly awoke from my slumber. Freezing rain, that's what! Oh! Great! There go my ride plans right out the window!

Fortunately as of now the freezing sheets of ice are minimal here. It looks like we might escape with just a mere coating. I went out and freed up the cars, warmed them up, and scraped off the death trap right outside the front door. Heh heh! Yeah........you can fool me once, but not twice! I'll explain........

A long time ago, probably the early, early 90's, I walked outside this very same front door on a day much the same as today. It was raining, but it was cold enough that it froze right on contact to the wooden deck of my front porch. It was totally invisible too. Black ice!

So, I step one step beyond the door and off I go! I started in to sliding on one foot with the other up in the air. I was in full dress up attire too. Leather soled shoes, suit coat, long wool overcoat, the works. Well, in the second or two that I was sliding on one foot, I had that experience where time slows down to a crawl. You know how it is. It seems everything is going in slow motion, but it isn't. A weird synchronicity of fast and slow time. Anyway.......

I decided that when I reached the end of the porch deck that I would cock the leg I was sliding on and push off with all my might in an attempt to clean the four cast concrete stairs to the sidewalk. I figured, in my alarmed state, that I was better off hitting the flat surface than the saw toothed stair case. Well.........I made it!

I landed flat on my back, feet out toward the street. I lay there totally still, the rain coming down in a gray sheet on my lifeless body. Well, in reality, I was doing that "man thing" where you sit there and assess whether or not you are paralysed, in pain, or otherwise injured before you move. I was also in a state of disbelief at what had just occurred, and was shocked that I wasn't hurt at all!

I got up, walked away, wet but otherwise okay. Lesson learned! That porch wasn't going to do me in again like that! So today, I gingerly stuck my foot out the door and discovered that yes, it was like it was that day so many years ago. Ha ha! but I am older and wiser, so I defeated this latest attempt to upend me easily.

But enough about me! Anyone interested in a gravel ride? A-lo is going to be back in town next weekend and is planning a ride of about 20-30 miles on gravel. More details to come! Stay tuned.........

When It Rains, It Freezes!

Hmm........"What's that smacking upside the house?", I thought to myself this morning while I slowly awoke from my slumber. Freezing rain, that's what! Oh! Great! There go my ride plans right out the window!

Fortunately as of now the freezing sheets of ice are minimal here. It looks like we might escape with just a mere coating. I went out and freed up the cars, warmed them up, and scraped off the death trap right outside the front door. Heh heh! Yeah........you can fool me once, but not twice! I'll explain........

A long time ago, probably the early, early 90's, I walked outside this very same front door on a day much the same as today. It was raining, but it was cold enough that it froze right on contact to the wooden deck of my front porch. It was totally invisible too. Black ice!

So, I step one step beyond the door and off I go! I started in to sliding on one foot with the other up in the air. I was in full dress up attire too. Leather soled shoes, suit coat, long wool overcoat, the works. Well, in the second or two that I was sliding on one foot, I had that experience where time slows down to a crawl. You know how it is. It seems everything is going in slow motion, but it isn't. A weird synchronicity of fast and slow time. Anyway.......

I decided that when I reached the end of the porch deck that I would cock the leg I was sliding on and push off with all my might in an attempt to clean the four cast concrete stairs to the sidewalk. I figured, in my alarmed state, that I was better off hitting the flat surface than the saw toothed stair case. Well.........I made it!

I landed flat on my back, feet out toward the street. I lay there totally still, the rain coming down in a gray sheet on my lifeless body. Well, in reality, I was doing that "man thing" where you sit there and assess whether or not you are paralysed, in pain, or otherwise injured before you move. I was also in a state of disbelief at what had just occurred, and was shocked that I wasn't hurt at all!

I got up, walked away, wet but otherwise okay. Lesson learned! That porch wasn't going to do me in again like that! So today, I gingerly stuck my foot out the door and discovered that yes, it was like it was that day so many years ago. Ha ha! but I am older and wiser, so I defeated this latest attempt to upend me easily.

But enough about me! Anyone interested in a gravel ride? A-lo is going to be back in town next weekend and is planning a ride of about 20-30 miles on gravel. More details to come! Stay tuned.........

Friday, December 26, 2008

On The Wrong End Of The Stick?

Looking around, its hard not to see that we are witnessing a huge contraction in our economy. Call it what you want- recession, depression, or even a huge sucking sound, it's there and it is for real. There are indications that sales for the holiday season are way off. Folks either don't have the money, or are unwilling to let go of it, even though retailers are "giving away the store" to get them in to spend it.

So, if you recall, the bicycle industry warned us all throughout 2008 that prices were going to go up.....way up! Things like tires were supposed to end up being astronomically expensive due to oil and materials prices. We saw early '09 bicycle releases go up as much as 15% over '08 pricing. Now there is an economic downturn. I think it's time to revisit the situation in terms of bicycles.

In my opinion the market I see isn't going to support these price increases the bicycle industry instigated over the course of the latter part of '08. If the "whatever ya callit" economic situation continues, (I'm favoring depression these days) I just don't see folks buying into where the industry has set the pricing. (Pun intended) At this point, I think the high end will suffer the worst of it.

It seems as though the bicycle industry has found itself on the wrong end of the stick economically. In a time where, if anything, prices should be staying the same, or even going down, we find prices going up. Not a good scenario for keeping sales, or increasing them in this sort of economic climate. Not as far as I can tell it isn't.

I know a lot of folks in the cycling industry are optimistic, saying cycling will be okay through these times. That the depressed oil and gas prices won't affect the consumers motivation to cycle. I'm saying that, while that may be true, increasing pricing on bicycles isn't helping the bicycle industry weather the storm. And the thing is, a lot of these prices are locked in. There isn't much, if anything, that can be done in the short term.

Time will tell, but I think the situation is a bit more serious than the cycling industry pundits are letting on.

On The Wrong End Of The Stick?

Looking around, its hard not to see that we are witnessing a huge contraction in our economy. Call it what you want- recession, depression, or even a huge sucking sound, it's there and it is for real. There are indications that sales for the holiday season are way off. Folks either don't have the money, or are unwilling to let go of it, even though retailers are "giving away the store" to get them in to spend it.

So, if you recall, the bicycle industry warned us all throughout 2008 that prices were going to go up.....way up! Things like tires were supposed to end up being astronomically expensive due to oil and materials prices. We saw early '09 bicycle releases go up as much as 15% over '08 pricing. Now there is an economic downturn. I think it's time to revisit the situation in terms of bicycles.

In my opinion the market I see isn't going to support these price increases the bicycle industry instigated over the course of the latter part of '08. If the "whatever ya callit" economic situation continues, (I'm favoring depression these days) I just don't see folks buying into where the industry has set the pricing. (Pun intended) At this point, I think the high end will suffer the worst of it.

It seems as though the bicycle industry has found itself on the wrong end of the stick economically. In a time where, if anything, prices should be staying the same, or even going down, we find prices going up. Not a good scenario for keeping sales, or increasing them in this sort of economic climate. Not as far as I can tell it isn't.

I know a lot of folks in the cycling industry are optimistic, saying cycling will be okay through these times. That the depressed oil and gas prices won't affect the consumers motivation to cycle. I'm saying that, while that may be true, increasing pricing on bicycles isn't helping the bicycle industry weather the storm. And the thing is, a lot of these prices are locked in. There isn't much, if anything, that can be done in the short term.

Time will tell, but I think the situation is a bit more serious than the cycling industry pundits are letting on.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas From Guitar Ted And Other Bits...


<===The best 29"er carbon fork money can buy.......for now.

I was checking the blog stats yesterday and saw a bunch of hits from one mad 29"er purveyor located in merry ol' England. I investigated the source and found out that I am "near legendary". Hey.....I'm not making this up! Check it out here.


(What I said about the Carbon Superlight fork? Yeah....I mean it. It's awesome!)


In other news, I got wind of a new titanium 29"er frame with some really high end specs for a sub $1300.00 price tag. Sound interesting? See my Twenty Nine Inches post for more.....

Also, I commuted in the snow today again. Fun times in halfway decent temperatures. I will say it again: The Fargo and Geax Saguaro TNT tire combo is a killer winter set up. I was running some crazy sub-20 psi pressures the other day over black ice with no real worries. Yeah......you have to be careful! But, it still is a rideable situation for my commute, so that's cool. Today I really increased the pressures to a sky high 22 psi rear/20 psi front and I thought I was flying! No, seriously! These TNT tires have a thicker sidewall that is better at doing the low psi boogie, so I do it. What can I say? And I haven't even tried the UST version, with thicker side walls yet, out there in the snow. I can't find a reason to, but I will in the name of science!

I will be taking the day off for Christmas here on Guitar Ted Productions, so look for the next post to show up on Friday. So until then...............

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas From Guitar Ted And Other Bits...


<===The best 29"er carbon fork money can buy.......for now.

I was checking the blog stats yesterday and saw a bunch of hits from one mad 29"er purveyor located in merry ol' England. I investigated the source and found out that I am "near legendary". Hey.....I'm not making this up! Check it out here.


(What I said about the Carbon Superlight fork? Yeah....I mean it. It's awesome!)


In other news, I got wind of a new titanium 29"er frame with some really high end specs for a sub $1300.00 price tag. Sound interesting? See my Twenty Nine Inches post for more.....

Also, I commuted in the snow today again. Fun times in halfway decent temperatures. I will say it again: The Fargo and Geax Saguaro TNT tire combo is a killer winter set up. I was running some crazy sub-20 psi pressures the other day over black ice with no real worries. Yeah......you have to be careful! But, it still is a rideable situation for my commute, so that's cool. Today I really increased the pressures to a sky high 22 psi rear/20 psi front and I thought I was flying! No, seriously! These TNT tires have a thicker sidewall that is better at doing the low psi boogie, so I do it. What can I say? And I haven't even tried the UST version, with thicker side walls yet, out there in the snow. I can't find a reason to, but I will in the name of science!

I will be taking the day off for Christmas here on Guitar Ted Productions, so look for the next post to show up on Friday. So until then...............

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Touring Tuesdays: Day Three- Cranberry Country Part II

When we last left the three intrepid wanderers they were in Millston, Wisconsin. Here they are about to go in for lunch........


It was called "Granny's Place", or something of a rustic nature similar to that. Inside we found a few people who stared wildly at what they saw as our outlandish appearance. They didn't seem very impressed. Well, the menu was not very impressive to us. Tit for tat! I could not find anything that I would have considered "bike friendly food". I ended up having a hamburger and fries, as did Steve. This was once again "food trauma time" for Troy. I think he had a fish sandwich, or something else that he found disgusting. I noticed that he ate it though! The thing that really made our stop distasteful was the dirty bathroom. Apparently there was fecal matter spread around in there, but I didn't go in. I was just disgusted with the high prices of the mediocre food.

Now we were back on the road, and in somewhat of a hurry, since it was now early afternoon. The County "O" road now took us on a rolling, turning path much different than before. We came upon great cranberry farms. They featured large, rectangular plots of flooded ground with cranberry plants growing in them. Many of these plots were arranged together forming large areas of flooded ground. Alongside of these were large expanses of flooded marshlands. The marshland waters were used to flood the cranberry fields in the fall for harvest.

Now Troy was pushing the pace. He was getting me acquainted with drafting techniques so we could go faster. It was getting breezy, so this came in rather handy. The drafting allowed us all to expend less energy and go faster. However; Troy never took a draft. He always lead, never slowing down unless we did. I was amazed at this and it made me feel bad that I couldn't lead and give him a break. Well, I could have lead, but not at the pace that Troy wanted to maintain.

The pace we kept was maintained by Troy calling out for average speed updates from Steve from time to time. Steve was the only one of us that had a computer. Heck, he even had a radio, which he kept on to take our minds off of the effort being put forth. At any rate, Troy wanted to maintain a 20mph average pace. Steve's computer was showing just slightly less than that. Well, you know what that meant! Go! Go! Go!

Well after all of that "go-go-going" we were soon out of Cranberry Country and coming into logging country. We came across a logging machine at work. It looked like an end loader fitted with giant hydraulically controlled scissors. It moved from tree to tree, snipping them off at ground level. It received bad reviews from Troy and especially Steve. They both vocalized displeasure with the contraption, so I didn't say I thought it was cool!

Now we found ourselves entering the outskirts of a town that we hoped we could stop at for a drink. We were hoping for a convenience store, but our hopes were dashed. The only things we could see right away were a pulp mill and wood chips everywhere. Well, in reality it wasn't all bad. For one thing, it was pleasant to see something other than pine trees and flooded fields of cranberries for miles! A town, any town- was a sight for sore eyes.

Notes: This brings us to the end of the original 27 page handwritten manuscript that I worked up shortly after the trip back in '94. (You'll notice that the last three lines of today's installment were in regular text) The story will be picked up now on my memories 14 years down the road. Fortunately, some of the most memorable parts of the tour are coming up. Things I won't likely ever forget! To help out, I have consulted a Wisconsin Atlas to jog my memories of places passed through and the roads we took.


Look forward to continued updates on Tuesdays. The ride must go on!

Touring Tuesdays: Day Three- Cranberry Country Part II

When we last left the three intrepid wanderers they were in Millston, Wisconsin. Here they are about to go in for lunch........


It was called "Granny's Place", or something of a rustic nature similar to that. Inside we found a few people who stared wildly at what they saw as our outlandish appearance. They didn't seem very impressed. Well, the menu was not very impressive to us. Tit for tat! I could not find anything that I would have considered "bike friendly food". I ended up having a hamburger and fries, as did Steve. This was once again "food trauma time" for Troy. I think he had a fish sandwich, or something else that he found disgusting. I noticed that he ate it though! The thing that really made our stop distasteful was the dirty bathroom. Apparently there was fecal matter spread around in there, but I didn't go in. I was just disgusted with the high prices of the mediocre food.

Now we were back on the road, and in somewhat of a hurry, since it was now early afternoon. The County "O" road now took us on a rolling, turning path much different than before. We came upon great cranberry farms. They featured large, rectangular plots of flooded ground with cranberry plants growing in them. Many of these plots were arranged together forming large areas of flooded ground. Alongside of these were large expanses of flooded marshlands. The marshland waters were used to flood the cranberry fields in the fall for harvest.

Now Troy was pushing the pace. He was getting me acquainted with drafting techniques so we could go faster. It was getting breezy, so this came in rather handy. The drafting allowed us all to expend less energy and go faster. However; Troy never took a draft. He always lead, never slowing down unless we did. I was amazed at this and it made me feel bad that I couldn't lead and give him a break. Well, I could have lead, but not at the pace that Troy wanted to maintain.

The pace we kept was maintained by Troy calling out for average speed updates from Steve from time to time. Steve was the only one of us that had a computer. Heck, he even had a radio, which he kept on to take our minds off of the effort being put forth. At any rate, Troy wanted to maintain a 20mph average pace. Steve's computer was showing just slightly less than that. Well, you know what that meant! Go! Go! Go!

Well after all of that "go-go-going" we were soon out of Cranberry Country and coming into logging country. We came across a logging machine at work. It looked like an end loader fitted with giant hydraulically controlled scissors. It moved from tree to tree, snipping them off at ground level. It received bad reviews from Troy and especially Steve. They both vocalized displeasure with the contraption, so I didn't say I thought it was cool!

Now we found ourselves entering the outskirts of a town that we hoped we could stop at for a drink. We were hoping for a convenience store, but our hopes were dashed. The only things we could see right away were a pulp mill and wood chips everywhere. Well, in reality it wasn't all bad. For one thing, it was pleasant to see something other than pine trees and flooded fields of cranberries for miles! A town, any town- was a sight for sore eyes.

Notes: This brings us to the end of the original 27 page handwritten manuscript that I worked up shortly after the trip back in '94. (You'll notice that the last three lines of today's installment were in regular text) The story will be picked up now on my memories 14 years down the road. Fortunately, some of the most memorable parts of the tour are coming up. Things I won't likely ever forget! To help out, I have consulted a Wisconsin Atlas to jog my memories of places passed through and the roads we took.


Look forward to continued updates on Tuesdays. The ride must go on!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The State Of 29"ers: Going Worldwide



This Niner bike with American Classic wheels was shown at this years Eurobike. Is Europe on the verge of accepting the big wheels?

Throughout my time on 29"ers, Europe has been a market place that has been highly resistant to the idea of a "wagon wheeled" mountain bike. In fact, I have heard in the past that the never would accept them.

Well, all I have to say to that is the old cliche' "Never say never!" Especially now that there seems to be a hint of hope that the big wheels are going to grow in popularity in the Old World.

To say that the big wheels have taken root there is an understatement. The last two Eurobikes have shown an increase in the numbers of 29"ers shown. I have personally seen the numbers of hits to this blog from foreign countries increase steadily over the past two years. Many of those hits represent individual national 29"er forums, or mountain biking forums that host small groups of big wheelers posts.

Then recently, a thread has popped up on mtbr.com that I have found very interesting. This thread has shown me that the 29"er is truly an international phenomenon. There are pictures and rider stories from all over the sub-continent and the thread is an eye opener for sure. Certainly there is still much resistance to the idea of 29"ers, but there is also enough evidence of things happening that I feel that now it is only a matter of time.

A matter of time before 29"ers.......what? Become as big as they are here? Hmm.......that is a tall order and maybe not likely to happen. Of course, there is a long ways to go for the 29"er in North America. The future looks bright all around, the current economic crisis not withstanding. I look for 29"ers to become bigger parts of the cycling marketplace both here and abroad. 2009 should be an interesting year.

There is only one thing that concerns me about this Old World 29"er stuff: Does this mean I will have to go to Eurobike next Fall? (shuddering at the thought of the length of a Trans Atlantic flight.)

The State Of 29"ers: Going Worldwide



This Niner bike with American Classic wheels was shown at this years Eurobike. Is Europe on the verge of accepting the big wheels?

Throughout my time on 29"ers, Europe has been a market place that has been highly resistant to the idea of a "wagon wheeled" mountain bike. In fact, I have heard in the past that the never would accept them.

Well, all I have to say to that is the old cliche' "Never say never!" Especially now that there seems to be a hint of hope that the big wheels are going to grow in popularity in the Old World.

To say that the big wheels have taken root there is an understatement. The last two Eurobikes have shown an increase in the numbers of 29"ers shown. I have personally seen the numbers of hits to this blog from foreign countries increase steadily over the past two years. Many of those hits represent individual national 29"er forums, or mountain biking forums that host small groups of big wheelers posts.

Then recently, a thread has popped up on mtbr.com that I have found very interesting. This thread has shown me that the 29"er is truly an international phenomenon. There are pictures and rider stories from all over the sub-continent and the thread is an eye opener for sure. Certainly there is still much resistance to the idea of 29"ers, but there is also enough evidence of things happening that I feel that now it is only a matter of time.

A matter of time before 29"ers.......what? Become as big as they are here? Hmm.......that is a tall order and maybe not likely to happen. Of course, there is a long ways to go for the 29"er in North America. The future looks bright all around, the current economic crisis not withstanding. I look for 29"ers to become bigger parts of the cycling marketplace both here and abroad. 2009 should be an interesting year.

There is only one thing that concerns me about this Old World 29"er stuff: Does this mean I will have to go to Eurobike next Fall? (shuddering at the thought of the length of a Trans Atlantic flight.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Grinding Ice Wind

Yeah........negative eight. Massive wind chill. No ridey bikey...

The sun came up today like an orange smudge in the Eastern sky. Accompanied by Sun Dogs. You know, when you see those apparitions flanking the morning sun, you know it's not fit for man or beast out there. Well.......unless you are this guy! I don't have near a tenth the knowledge or craziness he does. I mean that as a compliment and yes: Craziness and knowledge are both very important qualities to have if you are going to survive out there in that brutal world.

Craziness. You have to have it to be able to think outside the "normal", approved ways. Some might say its creativeness, but really...... If you are going to figure out how to survive to ride a bike in that atmosphere, that is crazy defined! Still, to be successful at that gig, you need one more thing.

Knowledge: All the craziness leads to things learned. If you can remember those things, recall them at the correct time, and implement them with surgical precision, you will survive. Knowledge is power, as they say.

Me? I haven't the "crazy" itch for that sort of thing to begin with. Some folks think I'm crazy for riding for 12 hours on gravel roads. Okay, so that's my "itch", I guess. Not everybody has that in them.

One thing I know, I won't be plying any frozen crushed rock roads this weekend. I'll just be watching that orangey smudge disappear into a black curtain of frigid arctic air tonight.

The Grinding Ice Wind

Yeah........negative eight. Massive wind chill. No ridey bikey...

The sun came up today like an orange smudge in the Eastern sky. Accompanied by Sun Dogs. You know, when you see those apparitions flanking the morning sun, you know it's not fit for man or beast out there. Well.......unless you are this guy! I don't have near a tenth the knowledge or craziness he does. I mean that as a compliment and yes: Craziness and knowledge are both very important qualities to have if you are going to survive out there in that brutal world.

Craziness. You have to have it to be able to think outside the "normal", approved ways. Some might say its creativeness, but really...... If you are going to figure out how to survive to ride a bike in that atmosphere, that is crazy defined! Still, to be successful at that gig, you need one more thing.

Knowledge: All the craziness leads to things learned. If you can remember those things, recall them at the correct time, and implement them with surgical precision, you will survive. Knowledge is power, as they say.

Me? I haven't the "crazy" itch for that sort of thing to begin with. Some folks think I'm crazy for riding for 12 hours on gravel roads. Okay, so that's my "itch", I guess. Not everybody has that in them.

One thing I know, I won't be plying any frozen crushed rock roads this weekend. I'll just be watching that orangey smudge disappear into a black curtain of frigid arctic air tonight.

Friday, December 19, 2008

This Counts As A Workout, Right?



Winter Workout, Iowa Style!

First you shovel off the front porch, steps and approach......











Then you shovel over to your neighbor's approach to the east.........













Then you shovel the side walk over to and including some of the neighbor's side walk to the west........













Then you clean off and shovel all the way around the wife's rig......













Then you top all that off by cleaning off your own car and shoveling all the way around that!








My back is killing me!

This Counts As A Workout, Right?



Winter Workout, Iowa Style!

First you shovel off the front porch, steps and approach......











Then you shovel over to your neighbor's approach to the east.........













Then you shovel the side walk over to and including some of the neighbor's side walk to the west........













Then you clean off and shovel all the way around the wife's rig......













Then you top all that off by cleaning off your own car and shoveling all the way around that!








My back is killing me!

Break Out The Snow Sports Gear!

Well it came! The big snow that they predicted, and it is still falling as I speak, although it should end soon. I will be trudging out to shovel soon.

So, the skis will see some action now. XC skiing is pretty decent around here and it gives me a great way to stay in shape and still be out doors. Plus, even if I had a fat bike, the XC skiing crowd would have me tarred and feathered if I sullied their trail with bicycle tracks!

Short post today, so enjoy your weekend. If you are leaving for Christmas, have a great Holiday! If you can still ride a bicycle, do it!

I may be back later with another post.....gotta run now though!

Break Out The Snow Sports Gear!

Well it came! The big snow that they predicted, and it is still falling as I speak, although it should end soon. I will be trudging out to shovel soon.

So, the skis will see some action now. XC skiing is pretty decent around here and it gives me a great way to stay in shape and still be out doors. Plus, even if I had a fat bike, the XC skiing crowd would have me tarred and feathered if I sullied their trail with bicycle tracks!

Short post today, so enjoy your weekend. If you are leaving for Christmas, have a great Holiday! If you can still ride a bicycle, do it!

I may be back later with another post.....gotta run now though!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Ride On The Fargo


Yesterday I did a little, teensy-weensy snow ride on the frozen streets of Waterloo. At the balmy temp of 7 degrees, I didn't stay out too long. I'm still coming off a sinus cold/flu thing too, so the decision to keep it short and sweet was probably a good one.
I will say this- the Salsa Fargo is a super snow rig! The way the geometry lays out, it just makes the bike feel a lot more stable in snow and ice than any other 29"er I have ridden. Yeah....the lower bottom bracket can get your pedals in the snow more quickly, but I'll take that annoyance for the way the bike is riding for me. I'm growing more fond of this rig everyday. It really is pretty good at everything I've thrown at it so far.
The Geax Saguaro TNT tires have also been surprisingly great in the snow. I rode a set of the folding bead tires with tubes on snow awhile back now, and if the tires had something to bite into I was okay. However; if the folding bead Saguaro got on anything hard, like packed snow or ice, you were hurtin' for certain! Those hard rubber knobs would slip away. Not so the TNT version! They are grippy. I am quite certain the rubber compound on these is something softer and of course, running them tubeless at insanely low pressure helps as well.
I also got to try out my new kicks for the first time. I got a pair of Bontrager "Race" mtb shoes. They are the entry level shoe, but they have features that much more expensive shoes offer. Things like a removable insole that is very supportive, high quality synthetic leather uppers, and a great, grippy sole for off the bike scrambles. In fact, I think it blows the two upper level Bontrager mtb shoes out of the water in that regard. The RL and RXL model shoe soles are hard, slippery plastic. No thanks! At any rate, I find the Race shoe to be a great deal so far. Very comfortable, it fits well, and again....nice to hike-a-bike in if you have to. And those regular readers here know that walking is an essential part of my mountain biking style!
Just be aware though that the Bontrager shoes are sized way small. I got size 47 shoes, which Bontrager claims are equivalent to U.S. size 13 shoes. Not! How about U.S. size 11 shoes guys? Yeah.....make sure you can try some on before buying, but I'm betting you'll end up with something that sounds too big, but fits just right! For more keep an eye on The Bike Lab. I'll be rollin' out a report there soon.
Okay, so we're supposedly getting more snow......or ice......or something. Maybe next time I get out it will be on skis! Stay tuned............

Snow Ride On The Fargo


Yesterday I did a little, teensy-weensy snow ride on the frozen streets of Waterloo. At the balmy temp of 7 degrees, I didn't stay out too long. I'm still coming off a sinus cold/flu thing too, so the decision to keep it short and sweet was probably a good one.
I will say this- the Salsa Fargo is a super snow rig! The way the geometry lays out, it just makes the bike feel a lot more stable in snow and ice than any other 29"er I have ridden. Yeah....the lower bottom bracket can get your pedals in the snow more quickly, but I'll take that annoyance for the way the bike is riding for me. I'm growing more fond of this rig everyday. It really is pretty good at everything I've thrown at it so far.
The Geax Saguaro TNT tires have also been surprisingly great in the snow. I rode a set of the folding bead tires with tubes on snow awhile back now, and if the tires had something to bite into I was okay. However; if the folding bead Saguaro got on anything hard, like packed snow or ice, you were hurtin' for certain! Those hard rubber knobs would slip away. Not so the TNT version! They are grippy. I am quite certain the rubber compound on these is something softer and of course, running them tubeless at insanely low pressure helps as well.
I also got to try out my new kicks for the first time. I got a pair of Bontrager "Race" mtb shoes. They are the entry level shoe, but they have features that much more expensive shoes offer. Things like a removable insole that is very supportive, high quality synthetic leather uppers, and a great, grippy sole for off the bike scrambles. In fact, I think it blows the two upper level Bontrager mtb shoes out of the water in that regard. The RL and RXL model shoe soles are hard, slippery plastic. No thanks! At any rate, I find the Race shoe to be a great deal so far. Very comfortable, it fits well, and again....nice to hike-a-bike in if you have to. And those regular readers here know that walking is an essential part of my mountain biking style!
Just be aware though that the Bontrager shoes are sized way small. I got size 47 shoes, which Bontrager claims are equivalent to U.S. size 13 shoes. Not! How about U.S. size 11 shoes guys? Yeah.....make sure you can try some on before buying, but I'm betting you'll end up with something that sounds too big, but fits just right! For more keep an eye on The Bike Lab. I'll be rollin' out a report there soon.
Okay, so we're supposedly getting more snow......or ice......or something. Maybe next time I get out it will be on skis! Stay tuned............

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

SE Racing Stout And Some Other Non-Sense!



<===The 2009 SE Racing "Stout" 29"er

I have noticed on my stat counter that many folks are doing web searches on the 2009 SE Racing Stout. Well, we happen to have one or two now in stock where I work, so I thought I'd lay down some images and give a bit of my impressions on the bike. Although I have reviewed a Stout 29"er before, there are enough changes on the 2009 model to warrant another look.





<===The classic plate drop out and loop tail.

SE Racing has adopted steel as the material of choice for the '09 Stout. The frame has many new details that the previous models did not have. For one thing, SE Racing has adopted the classic "loop tail" stay design and welded a plate drop out that has the "SE" logo cut through it. Cool! A drive side chain tug is stock as is an aluminum derailleur hangar for those that would want to gear this rig out. Also, the frame has cable stops for the rear derailleur only. If you were to run a front double crank or triple crank, your cable run would have to be full housing with the housing zip tied to the frame. At first I thought this was rather odd, but now I think I get it! SE may have been thinking that some of you may have top pull front mechs, and some of you may have bottom pull mechs, so the lack of cable stops for the front derailleur may have been intentional based on that, or not! At any rate, it leaves a cleaner appearance when running the bike as a single speed or "one by" set up. Finally, the rear wheel is a geared cassette wheel with a single speed spacer kit, which makes swapping over to the geared set up that much easier.


<===Disc brake ready hubs!

The SE Stout has traditionally been a cantilever braked model, and the '09 is no exception. By the way, the stock linear pull brakes work really well! However; if you would rather run disc brakes, SE Racing has made it very easy to do that. The hubs are disc brake hubs and there are International Standard tabs on the frame and fork. All you need to do is to throw on your favorite disc brake set up. The only downer is that these hubs are boat anchors. Obviously, a new disc brake wheel set would carve out a lot of pork from the SE's nearly 30lb weight.


<===The cool head badge.

Over all the steel frame is beefy and stiff. My short little test ride revealed no flex to be concerned with in the bottom bracket area. The frame uses an old way to attach the bottom bracket shell to the chain stays that is a hold over from Schwinn cruiser frame days. The rear of the bottom bracket shell has a short stub welded to it. In turn, the chain stays are attached to the stub. This yields a very stiff connection to the rear of the bike. However; this also creates a "shelf" for mud to collect on, so be aware of that if mud clearance is an issue. Also, the frame loses the integrated head set and now utilizes a traditional head set, which I am glad to see. The top tube length is a bit more stretched out compared to the '07 model I tested previously. The frame angles list out at 72 degrees for the head tube and 73 degrees for the seat tube.

The SE Racing Stout for 2009 strikes me as a traditional 29"er type bike. The handling leans more to the stable side, and I would say it is very "29"er-ish". Not a "quick" handling, 26"er-ish feel at all. Some may dig it, but a fork swap might be required for those who feel the SE is too sluggish in the front end for them.

Finally, I will say that SE Racing has stepped up and offered a great value packed rig for $580.00. When you factor in the price, all the features make this bike reek with value and the nits are no big deal. A great first time 29"er rig and a great addition to a stable that needs a "knock around" townie rig, or just a bike to play on.



<=====Somebody has a good sense of humor at the shop!

This is pretty funny, well.......at least to me! This is a printing plate from the Waterloo Courier, (which is no longer printed here) about the first Trans Iowa event in 2005. It shows Jeff Kerkove in his sponsors team kit hamming it up for a Courier staff photographer. There was a little story written up on the event there too. Pretty heady stuff for a first time event. Anyway, if you come and visit the shop, you can see this plate, but I won't promise that the stick up note will still be there!

Okay, as far as Trans Iowa goes, we're still waiting to recon the last bit and cue sheet production is set to begin after the holidays. Stay tuned for more updates, but honestly, that won't happen until after the first of the year.

SE Racing Stout And Some Other Non-Sense!



<===The 2009 SE Racing "Stout" 29"er

I have noticed on my stat counter that many folks are doing web searches on the 2009 SE Racing Stout. Well, we happen to have one or two now in stock where I work, so I thought I'd lay down some images and give a bit of my impressions on the bike. Although I have reviewed a Stout 29"er before, there are enough changes on the 2009 model to warrant another look.





<===The classic plate drop out and loop tail.

SE Racing has adopted steel as the material of choice for the '09 Stout. The frame has many new details that the previous models did not have. For one thing, SE Racing has adopted the classic "loop tail" stay design and welded a plate drop out that has the "SE" logo cut through it. Cool! A drive side chain tug is stock as is an aluminum derailleur hangar for those that would want to gear this rig out. Also, the frame has cable stops for the rear derailleur only. If you were to run a front double crank or triple crank, your cable run would have to be full housing with the housing zip tied to the frame. At first I thought this was rather odd, but now I think I get it! SE may have been thinking that some of you may have top pull front mechs, and some of you may have bottom pull mechs, so the lack of cable stops for the front derailleur may have been intentional based on that, or not! At any rate, it leaves a cleaner appearance when running the bike as a single speed or "one by" set up. Finally, the rear wheel is a geared cassette wheel with a single speed spacer kit, which makes swapping over to the geared set up that much easier.


<===Disc brake ready hubs!

The SE Stout has traditionally been a cantilever braked model, and the '09 is no exception. By the way, the stock linear pull brakes work really well! However; if you would rather run disc brakes, SE Racing has made it very easy to do that. The hubs are disc brake hubs and there are International Standard tabs on the frame and fork. All you need to do is to throw on your favorite disc brake set up. The only downer is that these hubs are boat anchors. Obviously, a new disc brake wheel set would carve out a lot of pork from the SE's nearly 30lb weight.


<===The cool head badge.

Over all the steel frame is beefy and stiff. My short little test ride revealed no flex to be concerned with in the bottom bracket area. The frame uses an old way to attach the bottom bracket shell to the chain stays that is a hold over from Schwinn cruiser frame days. The rear of the bottom bracket shell has a short stub welded to it. In turn, the chain stays are attached to the stub. This yields a very stiff connection to the rear of the bike. However; this also creates a "shelf" for mud to collect on, so be aware of that if mud clearance is an issue. Also, the frame loses the integrated head set and now utilizes a traditional head set, which I am glad to see. The top tube length is a bit more stretched out compared to the '07 model I tested previously. The frame angles list out at 72 degrees for the head tube and 73 degrees for the seat tube.

The SE Racing Stout for 2009 strikes me as a traditional 29"er type bike. The handling leans more to the stable side, and I would say it is very "29"er-ish". Not a "quick" handling, 26"er-ish feel at all. Some may dig it, but a fork swap might be required for those who feel the SE is too sluggish in the front end for them.

Finally, I will say that SE Racing has stepped up and offered a great value packed rig for $580.00. When you factor in the price, all the features make this bike reek with value and the nits are no big deal. A great first time 29"er rig and a great addition to a stable that needs a "knock around" townie rig, or just a bike to play on.



<=====Somebody has a good sense of humor at the shop!

This is pretty funny, well.......at least to me! This is a printing plate from the Waterloo Courier, (which is no longer printed here) about the first Trans Iowa event in 2005. It shows Jeff Kerkove in his sponsors team kit hamming it up for a Courier staff photographer. There was a little story written up on the event there too. Pretty heady stuff for a first time event. Anyway, if you come and visit the shop, you can see this plate, but I won't promise that the stick up note will still be there!

Okay, as far as Trans Iowa goes, we're still waiting to recon the last bit and cue sheet production is set to begin after the holidays. Stay tuned for more updates, but honestly, that won't happen until after the first of the year.