Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday News And Views

Got T.I.V9 jitters? Are you confused by all this Trans Iowa nonsense and want some answers? Looking for some way to be entertained for an hour or so?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above, you are a perfect candidate to listen to the next "Guitar Ted Show" on Mountain Bike Radio. Here's the skinny straight from Ben Welnak of Mountain Bike Radio:

This show is going to be forum style and we want other past Trans Iowa riders and current people on the roster to chime in. We'd love to hear from others that love riding gravel. Call in and share!

Guitar Ted is the man behind the Trans Iowa curtain. He spends countless hours of his own time to concoct one of the toughest races in the country.

Salsa Cycles rider and frequent MBR guest, Tim Ek, will join the show to answer my rookie questions. Guitar Ted will give both me and Tim Trans Iowa knowledge tidbits.

While I have a lot of endurance racing experience, I'm racing Trans Iowa for the first time and have some rookie thoughts and questions and I'm going to pick their brains for the answers.

Some of the topics we'll cover:
  • Weather
  • Checkpoints
  • Nighttime
  • Tires
  • Clothing
  • Gravel
Sound interesting? Check in on Wednesday April 3rd at 8:00pm Central. Call up and Tim and I would be glad to answer questions or comment on anything T.I.V9 related. 

 Wall Mart's Mongoose Fat Bike
Sticking It To "The Man"- 
(Meanwhile "The Man" Gets One Over )

There has been a big dust up concerning a "big box" retailer making a fat bike for $200.00 retail. Many fantastic and nonsensical claims have been put forward by several online posters and Hottentots of the blogosphere ranging from "it is the end of  the fat bikes trend", to "it's nearly as good as a $1700.00 fat bike for far less money."'s a Walmart bike with enormous wheels folks. Not that this is a "bad" thing, necessarily, but it is what it is- nothing more-nothing less. It has, (even from the perspective of fat bikes), very heavy rims and tires. It has one gear, and a fairly tall one at that. It has a cheap coaster brake. The frame is mild steel.  Called the "Beast", it weighs significantly North of 40lbs.

From the standpoint of making Surly, Salsa, Fatback, 9 Zero 7, and Sandman look bad for being "sooo expensive", and for that being some kind of criminals for charging so much money, as some have been claiming, I find that argument rather weak. If that is the case, then all big box bikes are really where the value is at, right? Why are any specialty bikes "so damn expensive"?

Because they are far better bikes for special tasks and people are willing to pay for that. Period.

I used to work in the jewelry industry for a decade. Talk about a tough sell. How do you sell a shiny rock that is the size of your thumbnail for $35,000.00? (Which yes- I have done before.) By convincing someone that it is worth that. Whatever people are  willing to pay, that is what it is worth. So- there is always that factor. Then you have "perceived value", which can be based solely on a belief, or on demonstrated "benefits". So there is also these things. In all these, the specialty fat bikes are "superior", and therefore, "worth it" for folks to buy, just like a Yeti SB66 is "worth it" to buy over a Mongoose XR-200. Or not- in which case the big-box bikes suffice, and you get what you get.

Someone posted on-line that they swapped tires out on the Mongoose fatty and severed 7.5lbs going to Surly treads. Is anyone surprised by this? You shouldn't be, if you are even at least casually aware of big box bikes versus specialty retail.

Again- some folks are totally going to love this bike and will understand it fits in at a certain "level", but all the pundits and punters making these grandiose claims are just plain goofy. It's a bike. A cheap, big box brand bike. That's all, really.

From the first "stealth" 3GR of '13

Anyone remember these gravel group rides I did last year? Yes? Well......they have already started again! Last week I didn't know it was a 3GR ride until it was almost over, but thanks to Mike, he "conned me" and I fell for the ruse. So it was that last week, unbeknownst to me beforehand, I did my first 3GR of 2013. 

Saturday looks to be a possible rain day, but I don't know when it might for certain. It looks as though it may rain around noon. As I would want to be beating the rain, I think I may start from Gateway Park at 7am. The call will be made on "game day"! So, if you want to get ahold of me, I can be reached by e-mail, (found here), and we can work something out, otherwise I'm going solo.

There will be a regular Saturday ride from here on out with a few exceptions, a couple of which are coming soon in the form of the Trans Iowa weekends  on April 13th-14th, (final recon), and on April 27th-28th for the event. Also, the next weekend, (April 6th), I will be doing the Renegade Gents Race in Ankeny. So, pretty much every weekend in April but the 20th-21st.  Otherwise it looks like this 3GR gig will take off again every Saturday at 8am from Gateway Park in Cedar Falls unless weather prevents this, or the route is changed. Look here every Friday for word on what is going to happen.

1 comment:

MG said...

Wow... You hit the nail on the head with the comments about that Mongoose "fatbike". You definitely get what you pay for, and the old phrase, "it's tough to polish a turd" comes to mind for me with that one. When you buy a mild steel frame, you're stuck with a mild steel frame... That's not a good deal on any level for me. It's just throwing money into the toilet.

A bicycle is an investment in an experience. It shouldn't be thought of as the cheapest way in... unless that's the only way in. In that case, it's okay.