Saturday, May 31, 2008

Salsa Cycles' New Look



<====Salsa Cycles jersey. Me likey!

I was made aware of a jersey that would be coming my way recently and today it finally arrived!

Typically Salsa Cycles jerseys are really wild and are some of the easiest to spot out there. That's not necessarily a "bad" thing, and in fact, I love that old Pepperman playing the Strat jersey from a few years ago. (Of course I would!) But this was maybe a bit surprising to me. An understated, classy Salsa Cycles jersey? Not since the ol' woolie jersey has anything come out of Minneapolis with this much class and restraint.



<===The PepperWorld logo says it all!

Yep, what can be more classy than a subtly decorated black jersey? (Unless it was wool, of course!) I gotta say, if Salsa is going down this path graphically with other product, I won't be disappointed.

Not that the other stuff isn't cool. I mean, the orange Dos Niner and the Mamasita are hot numbers, and Salsa should maybe retain some of that, but mixing this stuff in is also way cool.

In other goings on, I went to Parkersburg yesterday to help lend a hand with the disaster cleanup. Mrs. Guitar Ted did the kitchen duty at the AmVets hall where they fed 1500 people yesterday for dinner alone! I hauled debris out of a few folks yards to the curbside, along with several hundred other volunteers, where it will be hauled away soon. The clean up necessary is massive! In the area I worked there was not one square centimeter of ground that wasn't covered in layers of debris. Tiny bits of glass and nails all the way up to slabs of roof, walls, and broken tree branches mixed in with wire, insulation, and whatever. It's absolutely stunning what a tornado of this magnitude is capable of.

The stories were unbelievable! People trapped under debris being saved by other townspeople, flying dogs, cats, and cows, deer stampedes, and other just crazy stuff. I mean, you can't believe it unless you have seen the people tell the stories that saw it first hand. Then there was the frustrations with FEMA, the Red Cross, and the National Guard. Unbelievable red tape and fear of litigation literally kept help from entering the town for two days, and then these organizations hands were tied in other ways. I watched Red Cross people sitting in their cars and watching as hundreds of volunteers from church organizations and concerned individuals were sweating and laboring with all the necessary work that needed to be done. Incredible!

Well, that's going to be going on for several weeks and months ahead, but I can say that we Iowans are a pretty resourceful and resilient folk. I was proud to be a part of that.

Anyway, that was my Friday and now I'm beat and itchy from fiberglass! Maybe I'll pedal around a bit tomorrow or later tonight. We'll see. I can't wait to fly that new Salsa jersey though!

Salsa Cycles' New Look



<====Salsa Cycles jersey. Me likey!

I was made aware of a jersey that would be coming my way recently and today it finally arrived!

Typically Salsa Cycles jerseys are really wild and are some of the easiest to spot out there. That's not necessarily a "bad" thing, and in fact, I love that old Pepperman playing the Strat jersey from a few years ago. (Of course I would!) But this was maybe a bit surprising to me. An understated, classy Salsa Cycles jersey? Not since the ol' woolie jersey has anything come out of Minneapolis with this much class and restraint.



<===The PepperWorld logo says it all!

Yep, what can be more classy than a subtly decorated black jersey? (Unless it was wool, of course!) I gotta say, if Salsa is going down this path graphically with other product, I won't be disappointed.

Not that the other stuff isn't cool. I mean, the orange Dos Niner and the Mamasita are hot numbers, and Salsa should maybe retain some of that, but mixing this stuff in is also way cool.

In other goings on, I went to Parkersburg yesterday to help lend a hand with the disaster cleanup. Mrs. Guitar Ted did the kitchen duty at the AmVets hall where they fed 1500 people yesterday for dinner alone! I hauled debris out of a few folks yards to the curbside, along with several hundred other volunteers, where it will be hauled away soon. The clean up necessary is massive! In the area I worked there was not one square centimeter of ground that wasn't covered in layers of debris. Tiny bits of glass and nails all the way up to slabs of roof, walls, and broken tree branches mixed in with wire, insulation, and whatever. It's absolutely stunning what a tornado of this magnitude is capable of.

The stories were unbelievable! People trapped under debris being saved by other townspeople, flying dogs, cats, and cows, deer stampedes, and other just crazy stuff. I mean, you can't believe it unless you have seen the people tell the stories that saw it first hand. Then there was the frustrations with FEMA, the Red Cross, and the National Guard. Unbelievable red tape and fear of litigation literally kept help from entering the town for two days, and then these organizations hands were tied in other ways. I watched Red Cross people sitting in their cars and watching as hundreds of volunteers from church organizations and concerned individuals were sweating and laboring with all the necessary work that needed to be done. Incredible!

Well, that's going to be going on for several weeks and months ahead, but I can say that we Iowans are a pretty resourceful and resilient folk. I was proud to be a part of that.

Anyway, that was my Friday and now I'm beat and itchy from fiberglass! Maybe I'll pedal around a bit tomorrow or later tonight. We'll see. I can't wait to fly that new Salsa jersey though!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday News And Views

I got up late today since I had the day off. So sue me if this is late! ha ha! Here's some bits to think about rolling into the weekend.....

Good Luck Dirty Kanza 200 Racers!: I wish you all the very best ride and great times. Wish I was there, but I have something else lined up now, so it's not like I will be just sitting around. Looking forward to the race reports afterward.

Tornado Clean Up: Today I'll be in Parkersburg, Iowa. That's where about half the town got leveled last Sunday and they need help cleaning up. I'm going to pitch in with my local church which has been called up by the local Red Cross.

Big Wheeled Ballyhoo Update: We got confirmation that Titus Cycles will be at the Ballyhoo with their demo trailer. Also, The Prairie Peddler, operated by Marty Larson will have a few Jamis models for demo too. On camping: I am pretty sure we have the same set up as last year with the big grassy area near the river being available for free camping.

Rain Rain- Just stop it! Too much wet weather recently will be putting a damper on my off road riding. I'll probably have to stick to a diet of gravel for this weekend. I've got a Spinner "2 Nine" fork to try out, but I'm afraid most of the dirt patches will be mostly mud around here. Or under water! It's okay, because next Wednesday, the 4th, I'm going to Decorah to ride and check on some Ballyhoo stuff. I'm sure the trails will be okay up there.

Get out and ride a bike this weekend!

Friday News And Views

I got up late today since I had the day off. So sue me if this is late! ha ha! Here's some bits to think about rolling into the weekend.....

Good Luck Dirty Kanza 200 Racers!: I wish you all the very best ride and great times. Wish I was there, but I have something else lined up now, so it's not like I will be just sitting around. Looking forward to the race reports afterward.

Tornado Clean Up: Today I'll be in Parkersburg, Iowa. That's where about half the town got leveled last Sunday and they need help cleaning up. I'm going to pitch in with my local church which has been called up by the local Red Cross.

Big Wheeled Ballyhoo Update: We got confirmation that Titus Cycles will be at the Ballyhoo with their demo trailer. Also, The Prairie Peddler, operated by Marty Larson will have a few Jamis models for demo too. On camping: I am pretty sure we have the same set up as last year with the big grassy area near the river being available for free camping.

Rain Rain- Just stop it! Too much wet weather recently will be putting a damper on my off road riding. I'll probably have to stick to a diet of gravel for this weekend. I've got a Spinner "2 Nine" fork to try out, but I'm afraid most of the dirt patches will be mostly mud around here. Or under water! It's okay, because next Wednesday, the 4th, I'm going to Decorah to ride and check on some Ballyhoo stuff. I'm sure the trails will be okay up there.

Get out and ride a bike this weekend!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Road Less Traveled

I have been working on an old road bike lately in the Lab. It was my first real road bike actually, and I am trading it out for a nice '07 Salsa El Mariachi in Superior blue that used to belong to Captain Bob. (Hang in there buddy! It's coming!) Anyway, this got me to thinking.......

I can't quite recall when my last road bike ride was. I think it was in the spring of 2007, but it might have been 2006. Hmm..........anyway, the thing is, I haven't ridden a skinny tired bike in awhile now. Probably won't either. Not that I don't like them, I just am not motivated that way. In fact, I've "culled the herd" of road bikes down to one. Yep! Even that one may go out the door to the right person, we'll see.

I did think about getting a road bike, actually just the other day I did that. I wouldn't get anything that resembles todays roadie rigs though. No way! I'd probably have to search around for just the right rig, or I could just buy a Salsa Casseroll. Looking at that rig, it has just about everything I'd ever want in a roadie rig. Steel for sure. Big tire compatible. (I can't see myself ever riding 23mm tires again......ever!) Gotta have fenders? A rack? No problema! All day riding comfort in the geometry. Gotta love it.

The thing I always didn't feel right about riding my old road bikes was that I couldn't go certain places with it. Like gravel roads. You know, when your blacktop suddenly leaves you stranded for chunky limestone? I know, I know........some of you ride road bikes on gravel. Don't even start with me on that. Every single time I try it, I flat. No fun! Give me a 32mm tire and I don't even have to think twice about gravel, and road speeds are still right where I want them. Hey! You won't ever find me at a criterium on the start line, so why should I need a skinny tired racer boy rig?

Anyway, if I ever make good on that idea, I don't want to be limited to blacktop. I want freedom to roll my roadie where I want to go, and something like the Casseroll is right up my alley. Until then, I don't mind a bit if I don't ever have another road bike.

But that's just me!

The Road Less Traveled

I have been working on an old road bike lately in the Lab. It was my first real road bike actually, and I am trading it out for a nice '07 Salsa El Mariachi in Superior blue that used to belong to Captain Bob. (Hang in there buddy! It's coming!) Anyway, this got me to thinking.......

I can't quite recall when my last road bike ride was. I think it was in the spring of 2007, but it might have been 2006. Hmm..........anyway, the thing is, I haven't ridden a skinny tired bike in awhile now. Probably won't either. Not that I don't like them, I just am not motivated that way. In fact, I've "culled the herd" of road bikes down to one. Yep! Even that one may go out the door to the right person, we'll see.

I did think about getting a road bike, actually just the other day I did that. I wouldn't get anything that resembles todays roadie rigs though. No way! I'd probably have to search around for just the right rig, or I could just buy a Salsa Casseroll. Looking at that rig, it has just about everything I'd ever want in a roadie rig. Steel for sure. Big tire compatible. (I can't see myself ever riding 23mm tires again......ever!) Gotta have fenders? A rack? No problema! All day riding comfort in the geometry. Gotta love it.

The thing I always didn't feel right about riding my old road bikes was that I couldn't go certain places with it. Like gravel roads. You know, when your blacktop suddenly leaves you stranded for chunky limestone? I know, I know........some of you ride road bikes on gravel. Don't even start with me on that. Every single time I try it, I flat. No fun! Give me a 32mm tire and I don't even have to think twice about gravel, and road speeds are still right where I want them. Hey! You won't ever find me at a criterium on the start line, so why should I need a skinny tired racer boy rig?

Anyway, if I ever make good on that idea, I don't want to be limited to blacktop. I want freedom to roll my roadie where I want to go, and something like the Casseroll is right up my alley. Until then, I don't mind a bit if I don't ever have another road bike.

But that's just me!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wednesday News and Views

With nothing really sticking in my craw of late, I will offer up these random bits for you all to check out.

Ouch!: Legs were super fatigued yesterday and I took the day off the bike. I will be spinning them out on the way to and from work today and aiming for another long day in the saddle this coming weekend, given that the weather isn't too bad.

Ouch #2: I see that the Giro went up a mountain in a time trial the other day. Well, it seems that some of those roads were "steratto", or gravel, with pitches of up to 24% as I understand it. Some of the riders were complaining about it being too tough after all the severity of the stages leading up to the mountain time trial. Guess they wouldn't like Trans Iowa too much then, eh? Might I suggest that they try a bit different type of bike next go 'round, (if there is one). Even Coppi and Bartoli knew enough not to ride a skinny tired TT rig up a steep gravel road!

Ouch #3: Think winter had it's icy claws into us far too long? Well, how about the Iron Horse Classic having to cancel it's event for the first time in 37 years due to a foot of snow measured at the finish line in Silverton, Colorado and daytime high temperatures forecast to only reach the upper 30's along the route. This happened just this past weekend! At least we had a glimpse of summer here, although yesterday had the distinct feeling of Fall in the air. Weird weather, I tell ya!

Ouch #4: Recently you may have heard the news that Dorel Industries purchased Cannondale Bicycles. A big dust up occurred over the thought that Cannondale was going to be reduced to a "department store brand" and other non-sensical hi-jinx mostly stirred up by a company that features a big red S in their logo. Well, at a recent stockholders meeting, company president and CEO, Martin Schwartz told the gathered crowd that Dorel intends to "...become the world's #1 IBD player." Hrummph! Another company looking for world domination? That sounds pretty crazy, like we should be calling The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or something. Anyway, the Dorel Corporation is into housing furnishings, which you can imagine is not a great market right about now. so they are throwing a lot of their 2 billion dollar a year might into this bicycle thing. Expect to see some "acquisitions" and other power moves from this Canadian giant soon!

Wednesday News and Views

With nothing really sticking in my craw of late, I will offer up these random bits for you all to check out.

Ouch!: Legs were super fatigued yesterday and I took the day off the bike. I will be spinning them out on the way to and from work today and aiming for another long day in the saddle this coming weekend, given that the weather isn't too bad.

Ouch #2: I see that the Giro went up a mountain in a time trial the other day. Well, it seems that some of those roads were "steratto", or gravel, with pitches of up to 24% as I understand it. Some of the riders were complaining about it being too tough after all the severity of the stages leading up to the mountain time trial. Guess they wouldn't like Trans Iowa too much then, eh? Might I suggest that they try a bit different type of bike next go 'round, (if there is one). Even Coppi and Bartoli knew enough not to ride a skinny tired TT rig up a steep gravel road!

Ouch #3: Think winter had it's icy claws into us far too long? Well, how about the Iron Horse Classic having to cancel it's event for the first time in 37 years due to a foot of snow measured at the finish line in Silverton, Colorado and daytime high temperatures forecast to only reach the upper 30's along the route. This happened just this past weekend! At least we had a glimpse of summer here, although yesterday had the distinct feeling of Fall in the air. Weird weather, I tell ya!

Ouch #4: Recently you may have heard the news that Dorel Industries purchased Cannondale Bicycles. A big dust up occurred over the thought that Cannondale was going to be reduced to a "department store brand" and other non-sensical hi-jinx mostly stirred up by a company that features a big red S in their logo. Well, at a recent stockholders meeting, company president and CEO, Martin Schwartz told the gathered crowd that Dorel intends to "...become the world's #1 IBD player." Hrummph! Another company looking for world domination? That sounds pretty crazy, like we should be calling The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or something. Anyway, the Dorel Corporation is into housing furnishings, which you can imagine is not a great market right about now. so they are throwing a lot of their 2 billion dollar a year might into this bicycle thing. Expect to see some "acquisitions" and other power moves from this Canadian giant soon!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Tough Decision

Yesterday I went out for a ride on the Dirty Kanza machine to get some miles in and see if all was ready, including me. (Sorry, no pics. Forgot the camera!) As regular readers of this blog know, I have been hard pressed to get in any riding for this event this year.

The day started out almost perfect. Hot, a bit humid, sunny, and temperatures into the low 80's. I decided to tackle the southern routes, since going north was out of the question with the recent storm damage. After tweaking a couple of things in route out of town, I was off.

Things were going all right. I didn't feel quite right though, a sensation that was niggling in the back of my mind. Not sure what it was, but I kept riding. Generally I go through a period where I feel sort of out of it before I break a sweat. Then everything is usually fine and I can ride without a problem. I went through that, just like I usually do, but I still didn't quite feel right.

Speeds were good though, so I pushed on into Tama County. I noticed a bit of Northwest wind. "Hmm.....could be trouble later coming home.", I thought. How prophetic that turned out to be! But that comes a bit later.

I slogged up a couple hills that usually get to me anyway, nothing abnormal yet. Speeds were still there, but I started feeling fatigue in the legs at this point. Thinking I just needed to eat more, I snarfed down another nutrition bar and kept going. It helped a little bit. I made the turn into Traer going west and felt the wind. Yeah, it was coming up for sure. Not a good sign for going back the other way.

I stopped into the convenience store for food and water refills. Got going again fairly quickly. I decided to take Ridge Road Northwesterly out of Traer. It was getting quite windy now, and I was headed right into it. I suffered up a few of the initial climbs and made my way to the intersection just before the water tower. There I stopped to take stock of what to do. I looked at the time for the first time on the ride. I was concerned. It was almost three o'clock and I'd been out for four hours. Speeds were down. I needed to head home on the most direct route. So, North it was, with a jog East here and there.

The wind was really blowing now to the point that my bike was getting knocked off line in the gusts. Fighting with that, poor legs, and that uncomfortable feeling in my head was really starting to take a toll. Pretty soon, I could feel the legs going away. Nothing for the uphills anymore. I ended up walking a fair bit off and on during my trek northward. My heart rate was elevated and I was out of breath at each stop. Still in Tama County too. It was a long way from home and I was really hurting.

So it was on a lonely stretch of gravel in Tama County that I decided that Dirty Kanza wasn't going to happen for me this year. I just am not ready. That is the biggest reason, and the only one that I'll share here, but there are other factors that have been piling up in the last week that made the decision a lot easier. In fact, you could say that I'm almost happy I'm not going now. It just wasn't meant to be.

That was all well and fine, but I still had to get home! So, off I would go, stopping every so often to walk out the legs until I finally made it to Hudson and another convenience store. I refueled there and got going again. On totally flat bike trail now, I was able to keep spinning. The wind was pretty bad at this point though, so it was all pedalling, no coasting. I actually started to feel a bit more snap in the legs before I got home and even sped up in the last miles. Maybe that was just getting close to home though. A mental boost for sure.

When I got home I saw I had been gone for seven hours and I figured later that I had done maybe a hair less than 70 miles. Not even good enough to make the first Dirty Kanza checkpoint. Decision sealed. I can't justify showing up unprepared. I will just use this to build off of and shoot for July. Right now, my attentions will be refocused on The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo and on product testing for Twenty Nine Inches and The Bike Lab. I'll get my longer rides in too. I'll be in better shape later than I wanted to be, but I'll get there.

That's the tough part about having two jobs, poor weather in the early season, and events to put on. It doesn't leave room for fudging things. I can't change that part. All I can say is, I'm moving forward from here.

A Tough Decision

Yesterday I went out for a ride on the Dirty Kanza machine to get some miles in and see if all was ready, including me. (Sorry, no pics. Forgot the camera!) As regular readers of this blog know, I have been hard pressed to get in any riding for this event this year.

The day started out almost perfect. Hot, a bit humid, sunny, and temperatures into the low 80's. I decided to tackle the southern routes, since going north was out of the question with the recent storm damage. After tweaking a couple of things in route out of town, I was off.

Things were going all right. I didn't feel quite right though, a sensation that was niggling in the back of my mind. Not sure what it was, but I kept riding. Generally I go through a period where I feel sort of out of it before I break a sweat. Then everything is usually fine and I can ride without a problem. I went through that, just like I usually do, but I still didn't quite feel right.

Speeds were good though, so I pushed on into Tama County. I noticed a bit of Northwest wind. "Hmm.....could be trouble later coming home.", I thought. How prophetic that turned out to be! But that comes a bit later.

I slogged up a couple hills that usually get to me anyway, nothing abnormal yet. Speeds were still there, but I started feeling fatigue in the legs at this point. Thinking I just needed to eat more, I snarfed down another nutrition bar and kept going. It helped a little bit. I made the turn into Traer going west and felt the wind. Yeah, it was coming up for sure. Not a good sign for going back the other way.

I stopped into the convenience store for food and water refills. Got going again fairly quickly. I decided to take Ridge Road Northwesterly out of Traer. It was getting quite windy now, and I was headed right into it. I suffered up a few of the initial climbs and made my way to the intersection just before the water tower. There I stopped to take stock of what to do. I looked at the time for the first time on the ride. I was concerned. It was almost three o'clock and I'd been out for four hours. Speeds were down. I needed to head home on the most direct route. So, North it was, with a jog East here and there.

The wind was really blowing now to the point that my bike was getting knocked off line in the gusts. Fighting with that, poor legs, and that uncomfortable feeling in my head was really starting to take a toll. Pretty soon, I could feel the legs going away. Nothing for the uphills anymore. I ended up walking a fair bit off and on during my trek northward. My heart rate was elevated and I was out of breath at each stop. Still in Tama County too. It was a long way from home and I was really hurting.

So it was on a lonely stretch of gravel in Tama County that I decided that Dirty Kanza wasn't going to happen for me this year. I just am not ready. That is the biggest reason, and the only one that I'll share here, but there are other factors that have been piling up in the last week that made the decision a lot easier. In fact, you could say that I'm almost happy I'm not going now. It just wasn't meant to be.

That was all well and fine, but I still had to get home! So, off I would go, stopping every so often to walk out the legs until I finally made it to Hudson and another convenience store. I refueled there and got going again. On totally flat bike trail now, I was able to keep spinning. The wind was pretty bad at this point though, so it was all pedalling, no coasting. I actually started to feel a bit more snap in the legs before I got home and even sped up in the last miles. Maybe that was just getting close to home though. A mental boost for sure.

When I got home I saw I had been gone for seven hours and I figured later that I had done maybe a hair less than 70 miles. Not even good enough to make the first Dirty Kanza checkpoint. Decision sealed. I can't justify showing up unprepared. I will just use this to build off of and shoot for July. Right now, my attentions will be refocused on The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo and on product testing for Twenty Nine Inches and The Bike Lab. I'll get my longer rides in too. I'll be in better shape later than I wanted to be, but I'll get there.

That's the tough part about having two jobs, poor weather in the early season, and events to put on. It doesn't leave room for fudging things. I can't change that part. All I can say is, I'm moving forward from here.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Part Of The Deal For Living Here



<===This was my home town forty years ago. Those empty lots were filled with homes and businesses just hours before this photo was taken.

Tornadoes. You live with the possibility that you will be touched by one of these storms every year you live in the mid-section of the U.S.

They say your chances of getting a direct hit by a tornado are one in three hundred thousand during any ones lifetime. Well, if you live here in the Mid-West, your chances of getting a near miss, getting a friend or family member injured by one, or just getting some damage is almost a sure thing. This year seems especially bad.



<==== The aftermath in Parkersburg yesterday. Look beyond the car wreckage and you will see where businesses and homes once stood just hours before this photo.

Forty years have passed since I was in one of these monsters and I have been very near several others since. Technology for weather prediction has changed, the world situations, and culture have changed since then, but one thing remains the same.

Tornado's are still as vicious, unpredictable, and deadly as ever.

We were spared here in my city as the damaging storms went just north of here, but Parkersburg, New Hartford, and many of the places in this storms path were devastated. These towns and places are well known to area cyclists from our training routes and mountain biking. I think I can speak for all of the local cycling community in saying that our hearts and prayers are with all those touched by this killer tornado.

Part Of The Deal For Living Here



<===This was my home town forty years ago. Those empty lots were filled with homes and businesses just hours before this photo was taken.

Tornadoes. You live with the possibility that you will be touched by one of these storms every year you live in the mid-section of the U.S.

They say your chances of getting a direct hit by a tornado are one in three hundred thousand during any ones lifetime. Well, if you live here in the Mid-West, your chances of getting a near miss, getting a friend or family member injured by one, or just getting some damage is almost a sure thing. This year seems especially bad.



<==== The aftermath in Parkersburg yesterday. Look beyond the car wreckage and you will see where businesses and homes once stood just hours before this photo.

Forty years have passed since I was in one of these monsters and I have been very near several others since. Technology for weather prediction has changed, the world situations, and culture have changed since then, but one thing remains the same.

Tornado's are still as vicious, unpredictable, and deadly as ever.

We were spared here in my city as the damaging storms went just north of here, but Parkersburg, New Hartford, and many of the places in this storms path were devastated. These towns and places are well known to area cyclists from our training routes and mountain biking. I think I can speak for all of the local cycling community in saying that our hearts and prayers are with all those touched by this killer tornado.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday News And Views



<=== Here's to the fantastic weather we've been having of late. Can it last?

I have to say that this last week of commuting has been some of the nicest weather and most relaxing fun I have had in a long time. A long, long time!

Somebody was telling us just the other day that the temperatures at night never got above 32 degrees for six months. Something about the daytime highs that I can't remember, but suffice it to say that weather has been an issue for far too long now. I am just relieved to be able to ride in pleasant weather!

Big Wheeled Ballyhoo Update: This is a regularly scheduled feature for awhile now. First of all, it will be a pretty cool deal again this year as we have some quality vendors showing up that will be offering demo rides. Companies like Niner Bikes, Salsa Cycles, Origin 8, and Gary Fisher Bikes. But the really cool things will be all the folks riding and all the stellar trails to ride on. The Decorah Human Powered Trails group is currently grooming trails for this event and I will personally be overseeing some of the preparations in the next couple of weeks. Make sure you attend if you are in the area because there will be some surprises. You will be the first in the nation to see some pretty cool stuff, guaranteed!

Dirty Kanza 200 Prep: Setting up a tubeless wheelset special for the event right now. I'm about a third of the way into it now. (Things take longer when you have two jobs and a family!) I also have a long training ride and some regular mountain biking fun mixed in to cap off my major preparations. (Meager at best!) Then it is a few days of commuting and off to Kansas! We'll see how it all shakes out in about a week or so. Oh yeah, audio-blogging will be happening, so stay tuned for that.

Regular Test Rides Schedule: Starting in June my "other job" will be requiring me to take Wednesdays off throughout the summer for testing of product. Look for ride updates from some of my favorite riding spots throughout the summer months. (Well, that is if gas prices don't put the clamp down on that)

Okay, it's the first big summer holiday, (seems weird to say that with the weather we've had!) get out and ride!

Friday News And Views



<=== Here's to the fantastic weather we've been having of late. Can it last?

I have to say that this last week of commuting has been some of the nicest weather and most relaxing fun I have had in a long time. A long, long time!

Somebody was telling us just the other day that the temperatures at night never got above 32 degrees for six months. Something about the daytime highs that I can't remember, but suffice it to say that weather has been an issue for far too long now. I am just relieved to be able to ride in pleasant weather!

Big Wheeled Ballyhoo Update: This is a regularly scheduled feature for awhile now. First of all, it will be a pretty cool deal again this year as we have some quality vendors showing up that will be offering demo rides. Companies like Niner Bikes, Salsa Cycles, Origin 8, and Gary Fisher Bikes. But the really cool things will be all the folks riding and all the stellar trails to ride on. The Decorah Human Powered Trails group is currently grooming trails for this event and I will personally be overseeing some of the preparations in the next couple of weeks. Make sure you attend if you are in the area because there will be some surprises. You will be the first in the nation to see some pretty cool stuff, guaranteed!

Dirty Kanza 200 Prep: Setting up a tubeless wheelset special for the event right now. I'm about a third of the way into it now. (Things take longer when you have two jobs and a family!) I also have a long training ride and some regular mountain biking fun mixed in to cap off my major preparations. (Meager at best!) Then it is a few days of commuting and off to Kansas! We'll see how it all shakes out in about a week or so. Oh yeah, audio-blogging will be happening, so stay tuned for that.

Regular Test Rides Schedule: Starting in June my "other job" will be requiring me to take Wednesdays off throughout the summer for testing of product. Look for ride updates from some of my favorite riding spots throughout the summer months. (Well, that is if gas prices don't put the clamp down on that)

Okay, it's the first big summer holiday, (seems weird to say that with the weather we've had!) get out and ride!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

So, What Are You Gonna Do?

Wow! I read the headlines today and saw the price of a barrel of oil. Nuts! I'm sure gas prices are going to be well above $4.00 a gallon for most of the summer. So, that begs a question: "What are you going to do?"

As a cyclist, I know I'm going to keep on pedaling. Going to work on a bike- no brainer! Now though, I think there will be even more trips by bicycle. Little errands, maybe even doing some shopping by bicycle. I'll definitely be using my bikes more and more. I can't afford to dump that kind of money into my car all the time. It's obscene, and I want to do something about it.

Then there are other considerations. Things like riding to the Camp trails for mountain biking. Yeah, it's 12 miles each way, but if I have the time, I'm going to ride, or choose a trail right here in town.

What about racing? I mean, event fees are pretty tough already, but if you add on travel expenses, well it gets to a point where you can hardly afford to go. I am going to the Dirty Kanza 200 in a week and that gas bill will be pretty steep. I will be taking stock after that as to what it costs to do things like that for sure. Then again, how can you just stay at home all summer? Tough decisions!

Added to that I just got my utilities bill. Holy cow! This winter is going to really suck at this rate! Anyway.......... Not to be a downer, but this is getting crazy and I don't see any signs of change around here yet. People are still flying down the road in huge SUV's and driving like mad men. I'm quite sure prices won't go down as long as the majority shows it isn't going to affect their buying habits. I just know that it affects me, and I'm going to ride more and drive even less than I already do.

To me, it's the only thing that makes sense concerning oil prices. See ya out there on my bike!

So, What Are You Gonna Do?

Wow! I read the headlines today and saw the price of a barrel of oil. Nuts! I'm sure gas prices are going to be well above $4.00 a gallon for most of the summer. So, that begs a question: "What are you going to do?"

As a cyclist, I know I'm going to keep on pedaling. Going to work on a bike- no brainer! Now though, I think there will be even more trips by bicycle. Little errands, maybe even doing some shopping by bicycle. I'll definitely be using my bikes more and more. I can't afford to dump that kind of money into my car all the time. It's obscene, and I want to do something about it.

Then there are other considerations. Things like riding to the Camp trails for mountain biking. Yeah, it's 12 miles each way, but if I have the time, I'm going to ride, or choose a trail right here in town.

What about racing? I mean, event fees are pretty tough already, but if you add on travel expenses, well it gets to a point where you can hardly afford to go. I am going to the Dirty Kanza 200 in a week and that gas bill will be pretty steep. I will be taking stock after that as to what it costs to do things like that for sure. Then again, how can you just stay at home all summer? Tough decisions!

Added to that I just got my utilities bill. Holy cow! This winter is going to really suck at this rate! Anyway.......... Not to be a downer, but this is getting crazy and I don't see any signs of change around here yet. People are still flying down the road in huge SUV's and driving like mad men. I'm quite sure prices won't go down as long as the majority shows it isn't going to affect their buying habits. I just know that it affects me, and I'm going to ride more and drive even less than I already do.

To me, it's the only thing that makes sense concerning oil prices. See ya out there on my bike!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What It Is

Just a short post today about something I think about from time to time. Something that keeps me motivated some days. It gives me hope for mankind. Really........I'm not kidding.

It's the reason I do things like Trans Iowa, the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, and The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo. If it weren't for this, those rides and events would never have happened. In fact, I may not even be a cyclist at all if it were not for this one important factor.

That would be all the cool people into cycling.

Here's a post to say, "Thank you!"

I just thought about it almost right after waking up today, "What a cool bunch of folks that are into bicycles. " Of course, there are the fools, charlatans, and downright bad folks that ride bikes too. You always have that in anything involving humans, but on the whole I've found that cycling has a fair amount of pretty stellar souls populating it's ranks.

So, anyway, I'm glad to just be a small part of this and I wouldn't change a thing about my experiences so far. I look forward to adding to those experiences in the future. Thanks again, and have a great ride wherever you are riding.

What It Is

Just a short post today about something I think about from time to time. Something that keeps me motivated some days. It gives me hope for mankind. Really........I'm not kidding.

It's the reason I do things like Trans Iowa, the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, and The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo. If it weren't for this, those rides and events would never have happened. In fact, I may not even be a cyclist at all if it were not for this one important factor.

That would be all the cool people into cycling.

Here's a post to say, "Thank you!"

I just thought about it almost right after waking up today, "What a cool bunch of folks that are into bicycles. " Of course, there are the fools, charlatans, and downright bad folks that ride bikes too. You always have that in anything involving humans, but on the whole I've found that cycling has a fair amount of pretty stellar souls populating it's ranks.

So, anyway, I'm glad to just be a small part of this and I wouldn't change a thing about my experiences so far. I look forward to adding to those experiences in the future. Thanks again, and have a great ride wherever you are riding.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Skinned Knuckles



<===The Space Bar. Upside down or right side up, it's a winner!

I spent some time down in "the lab" tinkering with the Pofahl last night. I made a few changes that should really make a big difference to the positive side.

All along I and Ben Witt felt that the Pofahl needed a custom bar that was a take-off of the old "bull moose" style bars popular on mtb's from the early to mid eighties. There was a plan in place to make that happen last year, but the builder that was contacted about the project never delivered and I went forward with the drop bar idea that I originally set up the bike with.

Well, the Gary Bar is a great bar, but the Pofahl wasn't really built with one in mind. The position was okay, but "okay" isn't going to cut the mustard for 200 gravely miles in Kansas. this point was driven home to me on my training ride Sunday. So, off came the Gary Bar to be replaced by the Space Bar. The Space Bar has a 25.4mm clamp diameter and takes mtb controls, which is what makes it attractive on this project, since I can run my beloved Ergon grips. They work really well with the highly swept Space Bar and are super comfy on long rides.

Okay- So far, so good. Now I had to re-configure the other necessities for this ride. The Minoura BH-60 clamp on cage holders and SG-200 "Swing Grip" for the water bottles and lights to be mounted to. The Space Bar worked well with the bottle mounts, but the Swing Grip was a challenge. With all the angles to the Space Bar, the Swing Grip was looking to be a crooked, goofy add on. Fortunately the Swing Grip comes with a long enough band clamp that it can go around my stubby Salsa Moto Ace stem and be centrally mounted to not only look good, but get my Blackburn Voyager 4.0 pointed in the right direction. Once everything was mounted up, I re-attached the brakes to my Avid SD-1 levers and futzed with the brake adjustments.

I found out that my rear disc pad was dragging on my rotor. No wonder the bike felt dead coasting! I thought it was the wind, but after the brake adjustments, I went out for a quick round the block and the bike was fantastic. It rolled like it hadn't in awhile. No doubt, that brake had been rubbing for awhile without making any noises to alert me to the problem. The rest of the set up was waaaay better than before. Everything clicked and I was super stoked. I wanted to head out on a long ride right then and there, but I do need my beauty sleep, so I decided against that!

The conclusion: The Pofahl isn't a drop bar bike, wasn't ever really designed to be one, and is far better with the upside down Space Bar and current set up than it was before. I can't wait to ride it on a long gravel grinder soon!

Skinned Knuckles



<===The Space Bar. Upside down or right side up, it's a winner!

I spent some time down in "the lab" tinkering with the Pofahl last night. I made a few changes that should really make a big difference to the positive side.

All along I and Ben Witt felt that the Pofahl needed a custom bar that was a take-off of the old "bull moose" style bars popular on mtb's from the early to mid eighties. There was a plan in place to make that happen last year, but the builder that was contacted about the project never delivered and I went forward with the drop bar idea that I originally set up the bike with.

Well, the Gary Bar is a great bar, but the Pofahl wasn't really built with one in mind. The position was okay, but "okay" isn't going to cut the mustard for 200 gravely miles in Kansas. this point was driven home to me on my training ride Sunday. So, off came the Gary Bar to be replaced by the Space Bar. The Space Bar has a 25.4mm clamp diameter and takes mtb controls, which is what makes it attractive on this project, since I can run my beloved Ergon grips. They work really well with the highly swept Space Bar and are super comfy on long rides.

Okay- So far, so good. Now I had to re-configure the other necessities for this ride. The Minoura BH-60 clamp on cage holders and SG-200 "Swing Grip" for the water bottles and lights to be mounted to. The Space Bar worked well with the bottle mounts, but the Swing Grip was a challenge. With all the angles to the Space Bar, the Swing Grip was looking to be a crooked, goofy add on. Fortunately the Swing Grip comes with a long enough band clamp that it can go around my stubby Salsa Moto Ace stem and be centrally mounted to not only look good, but get my Blackburn Voyager 4.0 pointed in the right direction. Once everything was mounted up, I re-attached the brakes to my Avid SD-1 levers and futzed with the brake adjustments.

I found out that my rear disc pad was dragging on my rotor. No wonder the bike felt dead coasting! I thought it was the wind, but after the brake adjustments, I went out for a quick round the block and the bike was fantastic. It rolled like it hadn't in awhile. No doubt, that brake had been rubbing for awhile without making any noises to alert me to the problem. The rest of the set up was waaaay better than before. Everything clicked and I was super stoked. I wanted to head out on a long ride right then and there, but I do need my beauty sleep, so I decided against that!

The conclusion: The Pofahl isn't a drop bar bike, wasn't ever really designed to be one, and is far better with the upside down Space Bar and current set up than it was before. I can't wait to ride it on a long gravel grinder soon!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Against The Wind



<====Twas a stiff wind today that met my face!

Well, I finally logged a somewhat long ride today. Not what I would have wanted to by past years standards, but it will have to do. This year, with the weather we've had and the month of April being what it is now for me, the training has been woefully missing. I am afraid it shows too!

Of course, there were some contributing factors, so I am not going to be too hard on myself. I did find out some good things, so I am at a place of being torn between being happy and being down in the dumps a bit.




<===So, this winter wasn't so hot for your plans either, eh?

The good things are really encouraging and some other things can be fixed. My fitness level? Ehh.........let's just say the suffering meter will get pegged in two weeks. I am going in with that firmly established!

The good things include the switch to a Bontrager Inform RL saddle. I think that when I get into even longer rides, it will shine even more as a great choice, but as for now, I can confidently say that it works a charm for me. The sizing thing, with the Bontrager Fit System is really a big difference maker. I had no idea I needed a saddle that wide, but now I can't even ride my narrow saddles! That Bontrager saddle has spoilt me already!



<===The gravel is loose and chunky. Add a really stiff wind and the pain cave opens wide to greet you!

I have a couple issues with the bike that need looking into. A serious creak from the ol' Syncros 26.8mm post, too low a handle bar, and a loose bearing in the rear hub. Manageable, yes. But if any one of these issues gets beyond "easy fix status" then I'll have to bail out on the bike and go to "Plan B". (There is a "Plan C" waiting in the wings if that doesn't work out!)

The thing is, time is running out, and I am a busy, busy guy, what with Big Wheeled Ballyhoo stuff coming up too.



<===One of several tractors in the field today. That's Hudson's water tower in the distance there for you locals.

Well, whatever happens, I am just going to have fun. Maybe all this stuff coming up will just flop and ya know what? I don't have any fear about it. I'll just do what I can do and have some fun doing it. There's always another bike ride just around the corner. Another trail to explore. Another chance to have some fun with like minded riders riding bikes.

Whether it is with or against the wind, it is all just about riding my bicycle. I hope you all got the joy of riding your bike, whatever it is, this past weekend. If you didn't, then get out there as soon as you can!

Against The Wind



<====Twas a stiff wind today that met my face!

Well, I finally logged a somewhat long ride today. Not what I would have wanted to by past years standards, but it will have to do. This year, with the weather we've had and the month of April being what it is now for me, the training has been woefully missing. I am afraid it shows too!

Of course, there were some contributing factors, so I am not going to be too hard on myself. I did find out some good things, so I am at a place of being torn between being happy and being down in the dumps a bit.




<===So, this winter wasn't so hot for your plans either, eh?

The good things are really encouraging and some other things can be fixed. My fitness level? Ehh.........let's just say the suffering meter will get pegged in two weeks. I am going in with that firmly established!

The good things include the switch to a Bontrager Inform RL saddle. I think that when I get into even longer rides, it will shine even more as a great choice, but as for now, I can confidently say that it works a charm for me. The sizing thing, with the Bontrager Fit System is really a big difference maker. I had no idea I needed a saddle that wide, but now I can't even ride my narrow saddles! That Bontrager saddle has spoilt me already!



<===The gravel is loose and chunky. Add a really stiff wind and the pain cave opens wide to greet you!

I have a couple issues with the bike that need looking into. A serious creak from the ol' Syncros 26.8mm post, too low a handle bar, and a loose bearing in the rear hub. Manageable, yes. But if any one of these issues gets beyond "easy fix status" then I'll have to bail out on the bike and go to "Plan B". (There is a "Plan C" waiting in the wings if that doesn't work out!)

The thing is, time is running out, and I am a busy, busy guy, what with Big Wheeled Ballyhoo stuff coming up too.



<===One of several tractors in the field today. That's Hudson's water tower in the distance there for you locals.

Well, whatever happens, I am just going to have fun. Maybe all this stuff coming up will just flop and ya know what? I don't have any fear about it. I'll just do what I can do and have some fun doing it. There's always another bike ride just around the corner. Another trail to explore. Another chance to have some fun with like minded riders riding bikes.

Whether it is with or against the wind, it is all just about riding my bicycle. I hope you all got the joy of riding your bike, whatever it is, this past weekend. If you didn't, then get out there as soon as you can!

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo 2008



<===Get Your Big Wheeled Freak On June 21st and 22nd!

Well, it's going to be here soon. The 2008 version of the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo.
Plans are starting to come into fruition for this little celebration of 29"ers on Decorah, Iowa's great trails. There will be demo rides again and we'll be seeing some really cool things from Salsa, Niner, Fisher, and more.

There will be activities throughout the day on Saturday, a get together at a local watering hole on Saturday night, more stuff on Sunday including a raffle, and other hijinx.

Camping will be available onsite right within walking distance of downtown Decorah and the trails.


Look for this poster to start popping up here and there too to remind you.





<===Tri state distributed, the "inspire(d)" will be featuring a back cover ad for the Ballyhoo. Look for this free edition in the upper Mid-West soon!

Okay, so the really big deal about The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo is just getting together to ride trails on the excellent system up in Decorah and to have a bunch-o-fun. Bring your own mountain bike, little or big wheeled, and check out some shiny new steeds along with all the other trail rats and fun hogs around the Mid West and beyond.

You can camp right by the Upper Iowa River, hob-nob with your buddies in a cool little Iowa town and generally spend a weekend having a ball with your bicycle. Decorah also has some most excellent gravel road riding and road riding too. Even a municipal bike path that runs right through the Ballyhoo's exhibit area and campground.

I hope you'll come and have fun. I know I will!


The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo 2008



<===Get Your Big Wheeled Freak On June 21st and 22nd!

Well, it's going to be here soon. The 2008 version of the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo.
Plans are starting to come into fruition for this little celebration of 29"ers on Decorah, Iowa's great trails. There will be demo rides again and we'll be seeing some really cool things from Salsa, Niner, Fisher, and more.

There will be activities throughout the day on Saturday, a get together at a local watering hole on Saturday night, more stuff on Sunday including a raffle, and other hijinx.

Camping will be available onsite right within walking distance of downtown Decorah and the trails.


Look for this poster to start popping up here and there too to remind you.





<===Tri state distributed, the "inspire(d)" will be featuring a back cover ad for the Ballyhoo. Look for this free edition in the upper Mid-West soon!

Okay, so the really big deal about The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo is just getting together to ride trails on the excellent system up in Decorah and to have a bunch-o-fun. Bring your own mountain bike, little or big wheeled, and check out some shiny new steeds along with all the other trail rats and fun hogs around the Mid West and beyond.

You can camp right by the Upper Iowa River, hob-nob with your buddies in a cool little Iowa town and generally spend a weekend having a ball with your bicycle. Decorah also has some most excellent gravel road riding and road riding too. Even a municipal bike path that runs right through the Ballyhoo's exhibit area and campground.

I hope you'll come and have fun. I know I will!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Snappy Cap: A Fine New Lid!


<===="We're on a mission from God"
Wow! That's my first reaction to my new Snappy Cap. This thing rocks!
Let me just say for the record that other cycling caps out there are really cool too, but I'm telling ya, the custom fit aspect here is what sets Snappy Caps off from the reat of the competitors.
That's what I was attracted to here mainly, as I stated in my earlier post. However, that isn't all there is to Snappy Caps. Of course there is the totally unique look, which I happen to like alot. There also is the construction of the cap. It isn't the usual three panel hat. The Snappy Cap has eight panels plus the bill, which is a heck of a lot more sewing, for one thing. The other thing is, it fits in a totally different way than any other cycling hat I've tried on. Actually, when I envisioned what I thought would make a great hat for myself, this is how I thought it should be done.
The bill is not too stiff, nor lifeless, and true to company name, it "snaps" up rather smartly without digging into your forehead. Nice touch there.
My Snappy Cap was a "Custom" made to measure option and cost $35.00 plus shipping. For that money you get some lattitude in choosing your look as well. "Standard" Snappy Caps come in at $30.00 plus shipping. There are usually some standard, (calling them "standard" is sooo understated. They are anything but that) choices in stock at the online store, so go take a look.
GTDRI Note: Just to let you all know, the site has been updated and you can go there for updates. I'll alert you all here too when news has appeared there. My next step is to drive the course, so I'll report back when I have accomplished that feat.

Snappy Cap: A Fine New Lid!


<===="We're on a mission from God"
Wow! That's my first reaction to my new Snappy Cap. This thing rocks!
Let me just say for the record that other cycling caps out there are really cool too, but I'm telling ya, the custom fit aspect here is what sets Snappy Caps off from the reat of the competitors.
That's what I was attracted to here mainly, as I stated in my earlier post. However, that isn't all there is to Snappy Caps. Of course there is the totally unique look, which I happen to like alot. There also is the construction of the cap. It isn't the usual three panel hat. The Snappy Cap has eight panels plus the bill, which is a heck of a lot more sewing, for one thing. The other thing is, it fits in a totally different way than any other cycling hat I've tried on. Actually, when I envisioned what I thought would make a great hat for myself, this is how I thought it should be done.
The bill is not too stiff, nor lifeless, and true to company name, it "snaps" up rather smartly without digging into your forehead. Nice touch there.
My Snappy Cap was a "Custom" made to measure option and cost $35.00 plus shipping. For that money you get some lattitude in choosing your look as well. "Standard" Snappy Caps come in at $30.00 plus shipping. There are usually some standard, (calling them "standard" is sooo understated. They are anything but that) choices in stock at the online store, so go take a look.
GTDRI Note: Just to let you all know, the site has been updated and you can go there for updates. I'll alert you all here too when news has appeared there. My next step is to drive the course, so I'll report back when I have accomplished that feat.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Grey Matter



<===Titanium Inbred 29"er prototype. Coming soon to a trail near you.

I spend a lot of time scouring the inner-web-o-sphere for all the latest in 29"er stuff, so I've been noticing a marked uptick in titanium offerings. In some ways, I find it rather odd.

First off, these rigs all seem to be appearing at a time when the economy would seem to indicate that it's not the right time. You probably realize that titanium is a spendy frame material, (the Inbred here is rumored to be coming in at $1850.00 just for what you see there) With costs of living on the rise, a titanium frame introduction seems a bit more iffy right about now. Yet that doesn't seem to be stemming the flow of new frame offerings in the grayish metal one bit. I can think of at least four companies right off the top of my head......whoops! Make that five! ,......that have introduced, or announced plans for a new titanium frame in the last six months.

Then there is the "green" factor, which I haven't seen brought up in regards to titanium. With all of today's concerns about the environment, I am reminded of how enviromentally unfriendly refining titanium is. Titanium doesn't exist in nature as an element on it's own. It is intermingled with other elements that have to be refined out of the titanium using vast amounts of energy and some pretty nasty chemicals. Not the sort of backround any "greenies" would be proud of, I would think. But to be fair, steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber are no real gems in that regard either. Perhaps Calfee has it right and we should all be riding bamboo rigs, eh?

There are those, who over the course of the years, have touted certain "benefits" of titanium that I find amusing too. Like it's resistance to corrosion. Okay, fine. It resists corrosion. But how many of you out there have ridden the same steel bike that has rusted out from underneath you? Not many, I'm sure. Then you have to wonder, what about aluminum? Yeah, yeah....fatigue life, blah blah..... Again, I don't see mass evidence of aluminum frames breaking that would scare me into buying a titanium frame. At least not to the degree that it would overcome the cost barrier. Then you have the "it's the last frame you'll ever buy" arguement. Yeah...........right! Bikes are like Pringles, you can't just buy one!

Well, however it may be, we are going to be seeing a lot of new titanium bikes rolling out soon. And to be perfectly honest, some of them are just plain hot! I love the looks of some of these new rigs, and titanium is a great riding material. If you ever get a chance to ride one of the gray metal steeds, do it. You'll be amazed. Would I own one? You bet! And it may be sooner than later!

Grey Matter



<===Titanium Inbred 29"er prototype. Coming soon to a trail near you.

I spend a lot of time scouring the inner-web-o-sphere for all the latest in 29"er stuff, so I've been noticing a marked uptick in titanium offerings. In some ways, I find it rather odd.

First off, these rigs all seem to be appearing at a time when the economy would seem to indicate that it's not the right time. You probably realize that titanium is a spendy frame material, (the Inbred here is rumored to be coming in at $1850.00 just for what you see there) With costs of living on the rise, a titanium frame introduction seems a bit more iffy right about now. Yet that doesn't seem to be stemming the flow of new frame offerings in the grayish metal one bit. I can think of at least four companies right off the top of my head......whoops! Make that five! ,......that have introduced, or announced plans for a new titanium frame in the last six months.

Then there is the "green" factor, which I haven't seen brought up in regards to titanium. With all of today's concerns about the environment, I am reminded of how enviromentally unfriendly refining titanium is. Titanium doesn't exist in nature as an element on it's own. It is intermingled with other elements that have to be refined out of the titanium using vast amounts of energy and some pretty nasty chemicals. Not the sort of backround any "greenies" would be proud of, I would think. But to be fair, steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber are no real gems in that regard either. Perhaps Calfee has it right and we should all be riding bamboo rigs, eh?

There are those, who over the course of the years, have touted certain "benefits" of titanium that I find amusing too. Like it's resistance to corrosion. Okay, fine. It resists corrosion. But how many of you out there have ridden the same steel bike that has rusted out from underneath you? Not many, I'm sure. Then you have to wonder, what about aluminum? Yeah, yeah....fatigue life, blah blah..... Again, I don't see mass evidence of aluminum frames breaking that would scare me into buying a titanium frame. At least not to the degree that it would overcome the cost barrier. Then you have the "it's the last frame you'll ever buy" arguement. Yeah...........right! Bikes are like Pringles, you can't just buy one!

Well, however it may be, we are going to be seeing a lot of new titanium bikes rolling out soon. And to be perfectly honest, some of them are just plain hot! I love the looks of some of these new rigs, and titanium is a great riding material. If you ever get a chance to ride one of the gray metal steeds, do it. You'll be amazed. Would I own one? You bet! And it may be sooner than later!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational 2008


The Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational 2008

What: A long gravel road group ride for fun. Nobody gets left behind.

Who: For anyone that loves to ride gravel, loves a challenge, and likes to have fun.

Where: In and around the North East Iowa communities of West Union, Strawberry Point, Elkader, and Elgin Iowa, with a few smaller burgs thrown in.

When: Saturday, July 19th, 2008 We'll probably start sometime early morning, just after sunup till sundown or just after, who knows?!!

The Commentary: The GTDRI is nothing to fear, it's just a fun, yet challenging ride that anybody can come and try. The approximate distance of this years trek will be about 115 miles. Here's a look at the proposed route: http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united-states/ia/west-union/787324184315 You can expect lots of hills! I figured this route on another program that indicates total climbing and it shows around 6,000 plus feet overall. That's only a guesstimate though. The point is, there will be lots and lots of hills. Part of the course will take in sections of the T.I.V4 route, (including the dreaded Dove Road section) and some of it will be totally new course. Keep in mind that I have used parts of former GTDRI courses on Trans Iowa routes. (hint-hint!)

Typical modus operandi is as follows: Get up at dark-thirty, gather for a pre-event breakfast, or not. (More on that in a minute) Get riding by first light. Take an easy pace, yet keep moving as much as possible. There will be breaks to keep the group together. Stop somewhere for lunch. Continue onwards until the finish. Maybe a group supper, maybe everyone will go home, and maybe everyone will just want a cold beer! Who knows? Find out and join the fun.

Things to seriously consider: While GTDRI is a group ride that "leaves no one behind", you are still responsible for you! It is a self supported ride, so be aware that none of us are going to bail you out in the boonies. Ya gotta ride out yerself, or have a "Plan B" for getting picked up if you can't make it. Bring plenty of water, energy food, anti-cramp remedies, whiskey, or silver bullets to bite on in case of pain! Bring money, you'll need it! A cell phone wouldn't hurt either. There will be cue sheets, so if you fall off the back, or feel adventurous and racy, you can self navigate it, but most prefer the group mentality and follow the leaders.

You had better be in some semblance of riding condition since this course will be brutal. We've been known to slog it through storms, heat, and wind. We've also finished well after dark before too, so think about bringing a light. Oh! Yeah.......there will be B roads too!



Time for a Survey! This is where I'm going to ask you to comment using the comment link at the top of this post. I am considering where to start along the loop. There are two choices. Each choice has motel accomodations or camping options nearby in State Parks equipped with all the facilities. The difference being that one option has a great breakfast joint, the other......ah.......not-so-much! The decision will be left in your hands. Wanna eat before the ride with all the crazies on board for GTDRI? Then Option #1: Strawberry Point is your choice. Don't really care about getting together for a pre-event breakfast because you would rather just get on with the ride? Then Option #2: West Union is your choice. Please indicate whether you want Option #1 or Option #2 by commenting. I'll go with the majority.

Hopefully I can get a new, updated look on the GTDRI site soon and I'll strt posting news there. Stay tuned and I hope to see you on the GTDRI this coming July! Note: New site graphics by Mr. 24 are up! Check it out on the link ^ ^ ^

Not Interested? Well, for those of you that can not come to GTDRI or are just not interested, here's a bit about 29"ers that I did from Sea Otter that was posted by Rich Kelly of Interbike Times. Not often that I do interviews, so this is a rare look at Guitar Ted in action. Enjoy! (Note: Rich got the title a bit wrong- "Gutar Ted on What's New in 29'ers". That'd be an awfully big wheel!)

http://www.interbiketimes.com/2008/04/23/sea-otter-video-guitar-ted-on-the-latest-from-29er-land/

Thanks to Rich Kelly for taking the time to interview me and post this.

Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational 2008


The Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational 2008

What: A long gravel road group ride for fun. Nobody gets left behind.

Who: For anyone that loves to ride gravel, loves a challenge, and likes to have fun.

Where: In and around the North East Iowa communities of West Union, Strawberry Point, Elkader, and Elgin Iowa, with a few smaller burgs thrown in.

When: Saturday, July 19th, 2008 We'll probably start sometime early morning, just after sunup till sundown or just after, who knows?!!

The Commentary: The GTDRI is nothing to fear, it's just a fun, yet challenging ride that anybody can come and try. The approximate distance of this years trek will be about 115 miles. Here's a look at the proposed route: http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united-states/ia/west-union/787324184315 You can expect lots of hills! I figured this route on another program that indicates total climbing and it shows around 6,000 plus feet overall. That's only a guesstimate though. The point is, there will be lots and lots of hills. Part of the course will take in sections of the T.I.V4 route, (including the dreaded Dove Road section) and some of it will be totally new course. Keep in mind that I have used parts of former GTDRI courses on Trans Iowa routes. (hint-hint!)

Typical modus operandi is as follows: Get up at dark-thirty, gather for a pre-event breakfast, or not. (More on that in a minute) Get riding by first light. Take an easy pace, yet keep moving as much as possible. There will be breaks to keep the group together. Stop somewhere for lunch. Continue onwards until the finish. Maybe a group supper, maybe everyone will go home, and maybe everyone will just want a cold beer! Who knows? Find out and join the fun.

Things to seriously consider: While GTDRI is a group ride that "leaves no one behind", you are still responsible for you! It is a self supported ride, so be aware that none of us are going to bail you out in the boonies. Ya gotta ride out yerself, or have a "Plan B" for getting picked up if you can't make it. Bring plenty of water, energy food, anti-cramp remedies, whiskey, or silver bullets to bite on in case of pain! Bring money, you'll need it! A cell phone wouldn't hurt either. There will be cue sheets, so if you fall off the back, or feel adventurous and racy, you can self navigate it, but most prefer the group mentality and follow the leaders.

You had better be in some semblance of riding condition since this course will be brutal. We've been known to slog it through storms, heat, and wind. We've also finished well after dark before too, so think about bringing a light. Oh! Yeah.......there will be B roads too!



Time for a Survey! This is where I'm going to ask you to comment using the comment link at the top of this post. I am considering where to start along the loop. There are two choices. Each choice has motel accomodations or camping options nearby in State Parks equipped with all the facilities. The difference being that one option has a great breakfast joint, the other......ah.......not-so-much! The decision will be left in your hands. Wanna eat before the ride with all the crazies on board for GTDRI? Then Option #1: Strawberry Point is your choice. Don't really care about getting together for a pre-event breakfast because you would rather just get on with the ride? Then Option #2: West Union is your choice. Please indicate whether you want Option #1 or Option #2 by commenting. I'll go with the majority.

Hopefully I can get a new, updated look on the GTDRI site soon and I'll strt posting news there. Stay tuned and I hope to see you on the GTDRI this coming July! Note: New site graphics by Mr. 24 are up! Check it out on the link ^ ^ ^

Not Interested? Well, for those of you that can not come to GTDRI or are just not interested, here's a bit about 29"ers that I did from Sea Otter that was posted by Rich Kelly of Interbike Times. Not often that I do interviews, so this is a rare look at Guitar Ted in action. Enjoy! (Note: Rich got the title a bit wrong- "Gutar Ted on What's New in 29'ers". That'd be an awfully big wheel!)

http://www.interbiketimes.com/2008/04/23/sea-otter-video-guitar-ted-on-the-latest-from-29er-land/

Thanks to Rich Kelly for taking the time to interview me and post this.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mud, Damage, and Flower Power


<===Hi Fi Deluxe in the fast growing jungle.

This weekend was going to be a tough one to squeeze a ride in because of Mrs. Guitar Ted's being on call at the hospital and Mother's Day. I figured I was pretty blessed to get an hour and a half of mountain biking in, ya know?

Anyway, it rained here again overnight on Saturday, so the trails were slop in more places than last week. Soupy sections were everywhere and after riding through, I examined them and I couldn't even tell I'd been through some of them. The slop just re-formed into one contiguous mass again after my passing. Weird! While it's not cool to do trail damage, this trail can't really be damaged in spots by riding it wet. It's kind of the nature of a riverside trail in these parts. That's not to say that the trails there can't be damaged though. There were parts I refused to ride because of this.

One newer "development" I hadn't been aware of is a new housing section at the "back end" of Ulrich (locals will know this park) that you will find if you cross over the creek and ride that little section. At the outermost curve of that trail there is signage for "Private Property". Umm......okay, you signed a ten foot section of trail that is overgrown with trees and underbrush. I suppose it's okay and the "right thing" not to encroach on someone's property, so I rode back thinking maybe I ought to re-route that section.

Well, with development comes other problems. Like kids on ATV's. Yeah, I found a section in the park proper where there had been ATV's ridden straight up the fall line from the creek to the main hiking trail and, I suppose, out onto the park road. (Although the ground is so firm on the hiking trail you can't see evidence of the ATV's passing) So, this sweet little downhill section that had never eroded before is now getting ravaged by the recent rains. The underbrush has actually been cut back widening the trail by about three feet. The section where the singletrack used to curve away from the hiking trail has been blocked off and a new cut through to the hiking trail has been made there. Nice! Now I don't feel quite so bad about riding ten feet of private property on singletrack leaving no evidence but the footprints of my Conti Mountain Kings.

Anyway, it chaps my hide even more because I'm the guy that put that trail in there in the first place. (With the help of Mr. 24, oddly enough)


<===At least I found some new flowers to help forget the scars.

I continued on my ride, with a couple grinds up to the county blacktop and back for some extended climbing action, and found some new flowers blooming in the underbrush. I figured I'd bag as many flower shots as I can this year and see what I get. The flowers are just getting going out there, so not much to find yet. The Bluebells were on last weekend, but are already going away. Now it's these little yellow guys turn. They looked like stars in the underbrush as I wheeled on by.

Tomorrow I'm making an announcement on the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational so stay tuned!

Mud, Damage, and Flower Power


<===Hi Fi Deluxe in the fast growing jungle.

This weekend was going to be a tough one to squeeze a ride in because of Mrs. Guitar Ted's being on call at the hospital and Mother's Day. I figured I was pretty blessed to get an hour and a half of mountain biking in, ya know?

Anyway, it rained here again overnight on Saturday, so the trails were slop in more places than last week. Soupy sections were everywhere and after riding through, I examined them and I couldn't even tell I'd been through some of them. The slop just re-formed into one contiguous mass again after my passing. Weird! While it's not cool to do trail damage, this trail can't really be damaged in spots by riding it wet. It's kind of the nature of a riverside trail in these parts. That's not to say that the trails there can't be damaged though. There were parts I refused to ride because of this.

One newer "development" I hadn't been aware of is a new housing section at the "back end" of Ulrich (locals will know this park) that you will find if you cross over the creek and ride that little section. At the outermost curve of that trail there is signage for "Private Property". Umm......okay, you signed a ten foot section of trail that is overgrown with trees and underbrush. I suppose it's okay and the "right thing" not to encroach on someone's property, so I rode back thinking maybe I ought to re-route that section.

Well, with development comes other problems. Like kids on ATV's. Yeah, I found a section in the park proper where there had been ATV's ridden straight up the fall line from the creek to the main hiking trail and, I suppose, out onto the park road. (Although the ground is so firm on the hiking trail you can't see evidence of the ATV's passing) So, this sweet little downhill section that had never eroded before is now getting ravaged by the recent rains. The underbrush has actually been cut back widening the trail by about three feet. The section where the singletrack used to curve away from the hiking trail has been blocked off and a new cut through to the hiking trail has been made there. Nice! Now I don't feel quite so bad about riding ten feet of private property on singletrack leaving no evidence but the footprints of my Conti Mountain Kings.

Anyway, it chaps my hide even more because I'm the guy that put that trail in there in the first place. (With the help of Mr. 24, oddly enough)


<===At least I found some new flowers to help forget the scars.

I continued on my ride, with a couple grinds up to the county blacktop and back for some extended climbing action, and found some new flowers blooming in the underbrush. I figured I'd bag as many flower shots as I can this year and see what I get. The flowers are just getting going out there, so not much to find yet. The Bluebells were on last weekend, but are already going away. Now it's these little yellow guys turn. They looked like stars in the underbrush as I wheeled on by.

Tomorrow I'm making an announcement on the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational so stay tuned!