Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Look Forward To 2015

So, it's the end of another year, and as I look forward to the next, I am pretty stoked on the possibilities. The coming year will be busy, like any other, but I hope to have a bit more streamlined and fun time ahead than I have had in the past.

I will be partaking in several events next year- some I have no idea about, yet..... These are the ones I am sure I am going to get to. First up is Frostbike in Minneapolis. I have a very fond place in my heart for this event and what it means to me. Mostly because of the people, of course, but Frostbike is also something that is interesting in its own right. Some years more so than others, but usually there is something- or many things- I was glad to have seen and learned about. This February I hope to carry that tradition onward.....

  • Then I do know that there will be another Geezer Ride in either late March or mid-April at the latest. It will happen from Grinnell, Iowa, and it will be the 40-ish mile, no drop format with a visit to a pub afterward. I'll nail down a date soon, and then ya'all that want to come can plan on it. 
  • The Renegade Gents Race in the first week of April. I wouldn't miss this for the world. My team will hopefully return intact and we will do battle with gravel roads, Budweiser, and Four Loko. 
  • Then there will be Trans Iowa Recon and the event itself- T.I.V11. It should be a scene!
  • Odin's Revenge will be visited once more, assuming I get in......
  • Another Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational? Yes. I have a score to settle in Clayton County.
That's what I know for sure now. There may be changes- additions, subtractions, or modifications to that plan. I try to stay flexible! Then there is one more thing I have to reveal.....

Since 2005 I have been a contributor to Twenty Nine Inches.com. I was not looking to ever run a website about 29"ers, and in the beginning, I didn't even want to become anything more than an occasional contributor. I let myself be convinced that there was something advantageous to becoming a major contributor in the Fall of '06 at a meeting at Interbike. Then as things progressed, I was made promises that were not fulfilled. By '08, even though I had no reason to stay any longer, I was neck deep in commitments to the site that, at least in a personal sense, I was unwilling to leave unfulfilled. That said, being a total "noob" to anything web related, I suddenly found myself having to pull strings and push buttons I had no idea about. The previous web designer/owner just dumped it all in my lap with almost zero support. Contacts that were previously made by the previous owner were lost, sensitive info I desperately needed, and tech support were non-existent. I was in dire straits with regard to TNI.

Well, I was super blessed to have had Grannygear, and then c_g from Germany pick me up by my bootstraps and make TNI what it is today. Seeing as how the thing is on its feet, and that my contributions are a pittance in comparison to their massive efforts, and seeing as how I am being stretched in other directions, it came time for me to let something go. TNI was the obvious choice. I am a liability to that site, if you want to know the truth of it, and those guys will be far better off without me holding them back. There are a lot of behind the scenes reasons for that which I cannot talk about openly, but that's the gist of it.

So anyway, long story short- I am ceasing day to day involvement with Twenty Nine Inches.com as of today. I have one more "assignment" to fulfill for that site, but then when I file that report with Grannygear I'll be done. It was fun, it was tedious, it was rewarding, and a big learning experience. I come away from that time a better guy for the experience, but it cost me a lot in time and money lost. I hope that by cutting that loose from my life I will gain more time for family and friends. Hopefully that will be the case.

Now onward to 2015.......

A Look Forward To 2015

So, it's the end of another year, and as I look forward to the next, I am pretty stoked on the possibilities. The coming year will be busy, like any other, but I hope to have a bit more streamlined and fun time ahead than I have had in the past.

I will be partaking in several events next year- some I have no idea about, yet..... These are the ones I am sure I am going to get to. First up is Frostbike in Minneapolis. I have a very fond place in my heart for this event and what it means to me. Mostly because of the people, of course, but Frostbike is also something that is interesting in its own right. Some years more so than others, but usually there is something- or many things- I was glad to have seen and learned about. This February I hope to carry that tradition onward.....

  • Then I do know that there will be another Geezer Ride in either late March or mid-April at the latest. It will happen from Grinnell, Iowa, and it will be the 40-ish mile, no drop format with a visit to a pub afterward. I'll nail down a date soon, and then ya'all that want to come can plan on it. 
  • The Renegade Gents Race in the first week of April. I wouldn't miss this for the world. My team will hopefully return intact and we will do battle with gravel roads, Budweiser, and Four Loko. 
  • Then there will be Trans Iowa Recon and the event itself- T.I.V11. It should be a scene!
  • Odin's Revenge will be visited once more, assuming I get in......
  • Another Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational? Yes. I have a score to settle in Clayton County.
That's what I know for sure now. There may be changes- additions, subtractions, or modifications to that plan. I try to stay flexible! Then there is one more thing I have to reveal.....

Since 2005 I have been a contributor to Twenty Nine Inches.com. I was not looking to ever run a website about 29"ers, and in the beginning, I didn't even want to become anything more than an occasional contributor. I let myself be convinced that there was something advantageous to becoming a major contributor in the Fall of '06 at a meeting at Interbike. Then as things progressed, I was made promises that were not fulfilled. By '08, even though I had no reason to stay any longer, I was neck deep in commitments to the site that, at least in a personal sense, I was unwilling to leave unfulfilled. That said, being a total "noob" to anything web related, I suddenly found myself having to pull strings and push buttons I had no idea about. The previous web designer/owner just dumped it all in my lap with almost zero support. Contacts that were previously made by the previous owner were lost, sensitive info I desperately needed, and tech support were non-existent. I was in dire straits with regard to TNI.

Well, I was super blessed to have had Grannygear, and then c_g from Germany pick me up by my bootstraps and make TNI what it is today. Seeing as how the thing is on its feet, and that my contributions are a pittance in comparison to their massive efforts, and seeing as how I am being stretched in other directions, it came time for me to let something go. TNI was the obvious choice. I am a liability to that site, if you want to know the truth of it, and those guys will be far better off without me holding them back. There are a lot of behind the scenes reasons for that which I cannot talk about openly, but that's the gist of it.

So anyway, long story short- I am ceasing day to day involvement with Twenty Nine Inches.com as of today. I have one more "assignment" to fulfill for that site, but then when I file that report with Grannygear I'll be done. It was fun, it was tedious, it was rewarding, and a big learning experience. I come away from that time a better guy for the experience, but it cost me a lot in time and money lost. I hope that by cutting that loose from my life I will gain more time for family and friends. Hopefully that will be the case.

Now onward to 2015.......

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#biggrin Memorial Fund

Joel Dyke- Image courtesy of Dirty Kanza 200
A memorial fund for the late Joel Dyke has been set up to help Joel's widow Michele and his son and unborn child now and in the coming months and weeks.

If you don't know, Joel was co-founder of the Dirty Kanza 200 gravel grinder, an accomplished cyclist and a fixture of the Kansas City cycling scene. Joel is responsible for helping to kick off the gravel scene as it stands today and was a staunch supporter of grassroots, self-supported type gravel events. He has touched many of our lives and he will be deeply missed.

Joel Dyke lost his life in an accident in his workshop at home sometime late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning last weekend. Apparently he succumbed to injuries incurred when he fell off a ladder. 

Please consider helping out. Click the link and see how you can help out.

I understand that a memorial ride will be happening out of Trek Bikes of Kansas city bike shop on Saturday, if you are local to the area, maybe you could show your respect and support in this manner.

#biggrin Memorial Fund

Joel Dyke- Image courtesy of Dirty Kanza 200
A memorial fund for the late Joel Dyke has been set up to help Joel's widow Michele and his son and unborn child now and in the coming months and weeks.

If you don't know, Joel was co-founder of the Dirty Kanza 200 gravel grinder, an accomplished cyclist and a fixture of the Kansas City cycling scene. Joel is responsible for helping to kick off the gravel scene as it stands today and was a staunch supporter of grassroots, self-supported type gravel events. He has touched many of our lives and he will be deeply missed.

Joel Dyke lost his life in an accident in his workshop at home sometime late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning last weekend. Apparently he succumbed to injuries incurred when he fell off a ladder. 

Please consider helping out. Click the link and see how you can help out.

I understand that a memorial ride will be happening out of Trek Bikes of Kansas city bike shop on Saturday, if you are local to the area, maybe you could show your respect and support in this manner.

A Year End Visit

The last time I'll do that......
This past weekend was marked by a visit from my good friend, MG. He was up from Lincoln visiting relatives and we managed to hook up on Saturday morning for a late breakfast and some great conversation.

It was a good thing to see him after so long a time. No bikes were ridden on trails, but MG did take a short spin on my Blackborow and deemed it pretty nice. There was MG's dog, Amy, and she was sweet as could be. She even gave me a tiny lick. Guess I'm okay in her book!

Anyway, I was glad to have seen him and after this weekend's events I am reminded again how tenuous and precious life is. Making time for friends......well, I say don't miss the chances you get. You never know. That's all I'll say about that.

Then on Sunday I got out for a proper ride. I did something I'll never do again, (which you'll figure out after tomorrow's post), and that was kind of an interesting deal on top of what would normally have been a pretty fun ride any other time. The ground was melted in spots, and frozen and firm most every where else. This made for a ride where you weren't sure when you'd get real loose, or be railing with great traction. I did one of those diggers which always seem like they happen in slow motion. No harm done, so it was just kind of an interesting experience to have. Kind of like sliding into home plate, only on a bicycle.

Now its time for a New Year and I'm looking forward to doing a lot of cool stuff. I'll get around to detailing some of that in tomorrow's post........

A Year End Visit

The last time I'll do that......
This past weekend was marked by a visit from my good friend, MG. He was up from Lincoln visiting relatives and we managed to hook up on Saturday morning for a late breakfast and some great conversation.

It was a good thing to see him after so long a time. No bikes were ridden on trails, but MG did take a short spin on my Blackborow and deemed it pretty nice. There was MG's dog, Amy, and she was sweet as could be. She even gave me a tiny lick. Guess I'm okay in her book!

Anyway, I was glad to have seen him and after this weekend's events I am reminded again how tenuous and precious life is. Making time for friends......well, I say don't miss the chances you get. You never know. That's all I'll say about that.

Then on Sunday I got out for a proper ride. I did something I'll never do again, (which you'll figure out after tomorrow's post), and that was kind of an interesting deal on top of what would normally have been a pretty fun ride any other time. The ground was melted in spots, and frozen and firm most every where else. This made for a ride where you weren't sure when you'd get real loose, or be railing with great traction. I did one of those diggers which always seem like they happen in slow motion. No harm done, so it was just kind of an interesting experience to have. Kind of like sliding into home plate, only on a bicycle.

Now its time for a New Year and I'm looking forward to doing a lot of cool stuff. I'll get around to detailing some of that in tomorrow's post........

Monday, December 29, 2014

Rear View 2014: Part 4

Well, as I forewarned, and as I have done about every year end now, here is my series on a look back over at 2014 before it is gone. Rear View Part 3 can be seen HERE

September came on and I was still getting over being sick and injured from back in late July, but I was out riding again. I had a box of tires to test and I had to build up two sets of wheels to test them on. I had Labor Day tradition to uphold as well, so I went to the Iowa Falls car show and had a great time with my family.


Two things were on the radar- One was Trans Iowa recon and registration, the other was not going to Interbike. One was necessary for an event next year and the other traditionally was a total pain and very disruptive to my life every Fall. Yes.....I met many great folks and had awesome experiences. Obviously none of those things would have happened had I not gone to eight straight Interbike shows. But that was enough. I am truly grateful for those times with good people and the things that came from that, but I don't like Las Vegas and the show was pure tedium by the time I went there last year. It was time for me to take a break from it all, and in regard to how I feel about the trip and being here instead, well I was super happy this Fall to stay at home. That was the right decision for me at this point.


Trans Iowa recon happened and it was a frustrating day from the standpoint of the sketched out route, which didn't pan out at all the way I had hoped it would. I came home from that very concerned and unhappy with the several reroutes we had to figure out. However; it was a fun day with Jeremy and it was good to get a jump on the process of figuring out a route for T.I.V11.


One of the cool roads we had to cut out of the route in September.
Then it was setting up for registration for T.I.V11. I announced the details in early October right after the first recon, and right on the heels of that, I announced fine details for the mid-October grinder, "The Geezer Ride". Meanwhile, the body started coming around and with the awesome Fall weather I was able to string together some great night rides on an old trail I made and on gravel roads as well.

My Fargo Gen I bike went down with a bad free hub right before the Geezer Ride and so I took the Tamland. I hadn't really ridden it much since the GTDRI crash, but I did sneak in  one longer ride just before the Geezer Ride to reacquaint myself with it. The Geezer Ride itself was an amazing success. It went over far better than I had ever imagined it would, and as it turns out, it was one of the major highlights of the year for me. Requests to hold other Geezer Rides were heard from many folks and I do plan on having one in the Springtime out of Grinnell Iowa. Look for a date on that sometime soon in the New Year.


The scene at the beginning of the Geezer Ride. I was astounded by the turnout.
The T.I.V11 registration kicked off soon after and post cards rolled in for past Winners and Finishers of the event. It was shaping up to be a stacked field just from this group alone, but the real fireworks regarding the registration were yet to come.


Fat bike musings were many, and I transferred the "ultra-fat" set up from the old Snow Dog to the Ti Muk by month's end, relegating the 29+ wheels that were on the Muk to the parts bin. I eventually sold them off in December to fund a guitar for Mrs. Guitar Ted's Master's Degree accomplishments. Honestly, I don't think I would dabble in 29+ again unless it were for a frame and fork designed around the platform. Grafting them onto the Mukluk was a good experience, but the bike didn't suit me well in that guise and so the experiment ended.


November! What can I say! It was a November to remember for sure. Way crazier and busier than ever before for me. First was the finishing touches on the Trans Iowa route, which went really well. Then the Trans Iowa registration madness with the Rookies was unprecedented. The process was amped up even more by a prank card entry supposedly sent in by a disgraced former Pro roadie. Fall officially ended on November 12th when a cold front came in and we went into the deep freeze. Then it was on to an early delivery of my Blackborow DS, which I figured wouldn't show up until maybe around now. Not only that, but after Brian left the employment of the shop where I work, I came in to find the old shop employee owned Surly 1X1 on my bench one morning.


It came just in time for the only snow we've had so far this Winter.
Bad news came in the form of Steve Hed's death and then it was Thanksgiving, which I spent with my family. This marked a warm up and the end of the snow. Oh, and the end of November as well.


The beginning of December was no less busy, as a behind the scenes plan came into the light of day on December 3rd when I announced that Gravel Grinder News was merging with RidingGravel.com. Then it was on to the second Trans Iowa Clinic in Des Moines which went over pretty well, I think.


Things quieted down a lot after that, and that was okay after a whirlwind of a year. But what's new, right? Anyway, that brings us up to the moment and the end of my "Rear View" for 2014. I had mentioned a year ago that there would be changes in my life and a big one I expected never happened. Trans Iowa carries onward! Much to the delight of many riders, I am sure. The other thing wasn't planned specifically, but RidingGravel.com came along and helped provide a piece of the puzzle that was missing.

A Look Forward into 2015 will finish up the year........



Rear View 2014: Part 4

Well, as I forewarned, and as I have done about every year end now, here is my series on a look back over at 2014 before it is gone. Rear View Part 3 can be seen HERE

September came on and I was still getting over being sick and injured from back in late July, but I was out riding again. I had a box of tires to test and I had to build up two sets of wheels to test them on. I had Labor Day tradition to uphold as well, so I went to the Iowa Falls car show and had a great time with my family.


Two things were on the radar- One was Trans Iowa recon and registration, the other was not going to Interbike. One was necessary for an event next year and the other traditionally was a total pain and very disruptive to my life every Fall. Yes.....I met many great folks and had awesome experiences. Obviously none of those things would have happened had I not gone to eight straight Interbike shows. But that was enough. I am truly grateful for those times with good people and the things that came from that, but I don't like Las Vegas and the show was pure tedium by the time I went there last year. It was time for me to take a break from it all, and in regard to how I feel about the trip and being here instead, well I was super happy this Fall to stay at home. That was the right decision for me at this point.


Trans Iowa recon happened and it was a frustrating day from the standpoint of the sketched out route, which didn't pan out at all the way I had hoped it would. I came home from that very concerned and unhappy with the several reroutes we had to figure out. However; it was a fun day with Jeremy and it was good to get a jump on the process of figuring out a route for T.I.V11.


One of the cool roads we had to cut out of the route in September.
Then it was setting up for registration for T.I.V11. I announced the details in early October right after the first recon, and right on the heels of that, I announced fine details for the mid-October grinder, "The Geezer Ride". Meanwhile, the body started coming around and with the awesome Fall weather I was able to string together some great night rides on an old trail I made and on gravel roads as well.

My Fargo Gen I bike went down with a bad free hub right before the Geezer Ride and so I took the Tamland. I hadn't really ridden it much since the GTDRI crash, but I did sneak in  one longer ride just before the Geezer Ride to reacquaint myself with it. The Geezer Ride itself was an amazing success. It went over far better than I had ever imagined it would, and as it turns out, it was one of the major highlights of the year for me. Requests to hold other Geezer Rides were heard from many folks and I do plan on having one in the Springtime out of Grinnell Iowa. Look for a date on that sometime soon in the New Year.


The scene at the beginning of the Geezer Ride. I was astounded by the turnout.
The T.I.V11 registration kicked off soon after and post cards rolled in for past Winners and Finishers of the event. It was shaping up to be a stacked field just from this group alone, but the real fireworks regarding the registration were yet to come.


Fat bike musings were many, and I transferred the "ultra-fat" set up from the old Snow Dog to the Ti Muk by month's end, relegating the 29+ wheels that were on the Muk to the parts bin. I eventually sold them off in December to fund a guitar for Mrs. Guitar Ted's Master's Degree accomplishments. Honestly, I don't think I would dabble in 29+ again unless it were for a frame and fork designed around the platform. Grafting them onto the Mukluk was a good experience, but the bike didn't suit me well in that guise and so the experiment ended.


November! What can I say! It was a November to remember for sure. Way crazier and busier than ever before for me. First was the finishing touches on the Trans Iowa route, which went really well. Then the Trans Iowa registration madness with the Rookies was unprecedented. The process was amped up even more by a prank card entry supposedly sent in by a disgraced former Pro roadie. Fall officially ended on November 12th when a cold front came in and we went into the deep freeze. Then it was on to an early delivery of my Blackborow DS, which I figured wouldn't show up until maybe around now. Not only that, but after Brian left the employment of the shop where I work, I came in to find the old shop employee owned Surly 1X1 on my bench one morning.


It came just in time for the only snow we've had so far this Winter.
Bad news came in the form of Steve Hed's death and then it was Thanksgiving, which I spent with my family. This marked a warm up and the end of the snow. Oh, and the end of November as well.


The beginning of December was no less busy, as a behind the scenes plan came into the light of day on December 3rd when I announced that Gravel Grinder News was merging with RidingGravel.com. Then it was on to the second Trans Iowa Clinic in Des Moines which went over pretty well, I think.


Things quieted down a lot after that, and that was okay after a whirlwind of a year. But what's new, right? Anyway, that brings us up to the moment and the end of my "Rear View" for 2014. I had mentioned a year ago that there would be changes in my life and a big one I expected never happened. Trans Iowa carries onward! Much to the delight of many riders, I am sure. The other thing wasn't planned specifically, but RidingGravel.com came along and helped provide a piece of the puzzle that was missing.

A Look Forward into 2015 will finish up the year........



Sunday, December 28, 2014

#biggrin

The Dirty Kanza 200 was co-founded by Joel Dyke
Got some sad news today. Joel Dyke, the affable, wiry guy that helped start the Dirty Kanza 200, was found dead this morning due to a tragic accident in his home.

I always liked Joel from the minute I met the guy. I first found out about him when he got in contact with Jeff Kerkove and I concerning how someone could put on such an event as Trans Iowa. Joel and his friend, Jim Cummings, were interested in maybe doing something similar down in Kansas. Jeff and I were really excited to find out about this and we did what we could to encourage them. In fact, Joel even came up and rode in the first and second versions of Trans Iowa.

Joel Dyke, (L) at T.I.V2
Joel was a kind, sweet soul and I will always remember that when ever he e-mailed me he would refer to me in his notes as "sexy pants". At first, that took me aback, but I came to realize it was just his sense of humor towards those he thought well of.

He also would be quick to encourage me if he sensed I was struggling with something having to do with Trans Iowa. He would often message me or e-mail me, always ending his encouragement with "big grin".

It's been a long while since I have seen Joel and now I won't ever again here. I'll miss his encouragement and all he did to encourage cycling and especially self-supported gravel rides. However; his memory and his influence will live on. Every time I see wild flowers lining a lonely stretch of gravel with a horizon of blue sky punctuated by puffy clouds, I'll look beside me and see a ghostly image of a lanky gent with a toothy grin on bike with a rug snake and think about Joel Dyke.

Ride On..............#biggrin

#biggrin

The Dirty Kanza 200 was co-founded by Joel Dyke
Got some sad news today. Joel Dyke, the affable, wiry guy that helped start the Dirty Kanza 200, was found dead this morning due to a tragic accident in his home.

I always liked Joel from the minute I met the guy. I first found out about him when he got in contact with Jeff Kerkove and I concerning how someone could put on such an event as Trans Iowa. Joel and his friend, Jim Cummings, were interested in maybe doing something similar down in Kansas. Jeff and I were really excited to find out about this and we did what we could to encourage them. In fact, Joel even came up and rode in the first and second versions of Trans Iowa.

Joel Dyke, (L) at T.I.V2
Joel was a kind, sweet soul and I will always remember that when ever he e-mailed me he would refer to me in his notes as "sexy pants". At first, that took me aback, but I came to realize it was just his sense of humor towards those he thought well of.

He also would be quick to encourage me if he sensed I was struggling with something having to do with Trans Iowa. He would often message me or e-mail me, always ending his encouragement with "big grin".

It's been a long while since I have seen Joel and now I won't ever again here. I'll miss his encouragement and all he did to encourage cycling and especially self-supported gravel rides. However; his memory and his influence will live on. Every time I see wild flowers lining a lonely stretch of gravel with a horizon of blue sky punctuated by puffy clouds, I'll look beside me and see a ghostly image of a lanky gent with a toothy grin on bike with a rug snake and think about Joel Dyke.

Ride On..............#biggrin

Trans Iowa V11: A Look At The Rules Part 15

Last year I did a historical overview of each Trans Iowa up to T.I.V9. This year I am going to revisit something that I feel many folks have overlooked for a long time; The "Race Rules".

Last week I talked about weather related stuff HERE, and now it's time to talk more about navigation:

17: No GPS Systems allowed for navigation. GPS's are allowed for personal data and recording your ride.

I'll be completely honest here, I don't know exactly where this one comes from. Be that as it may, I certainly do know how this rule has affected Trans Iowa, as it is something that pops up as a question every year. GPS units have become increasingly popular and used for all sorts of things. Not only that, but you have Strava and all kinds of odd ball applications for GPS including cell phones and cameras! Tracking an individual has become quite easy if you aren't careful. Or maybe you want to be tracked!

Whatever the case, early on in Trans Iowa we were only concerned with letting folks know we weren't going to provide a GPS track for the course, and quite frankly, it would have been impossible for us. We were on a shoestring budget and gadgets were not on our radar. We were contacted by the Trackleaders/SPOT guys and at one point I even reached out to them on the suggestion of T.I.V5 winner, Joe Meiser. It never really worked out for several logistical reasons, so that never happened. Now GPS tracking units come in several forms, and we even have some riders carry SPOT units on their own. But that doesn't help with navigation......

Navigating by GPS was our concern, but we figured out later on that if anyone were to try to download the cues given to them into a GPS tracker/Nav unit, they would have maybe 50 miles of the course, (and you probably could easily follow someone in the event anyway at that point), then you'd have a handful of cues to try to get into a GPS unit at CP#1, and then what? Yeah......logistically it just doesn't work. Plus, we just couldn't figure out how the heck folks would read their nav unit and ride, and whatever..... It probably could be done, but it would be very impractical.

So, what most folks want anyway is to have a track of their ride with stats. We made a decision for riders to be able to do that as long as the unit wasn't being used for navigation, which again, would be highly impractical anyway. As far as we know, GPS, while becoming much more prevalent, hasn't impacted Trans Iowa negatively so far.

Next Week: You Are Responsible For You......again!

Trans Iowa V11: A Look At The Rules Part 15

Last year I did a historical overview of each Trans Iowa up to T.I.V9. This year I am going to revisit something that I feel many folks have overlooked for a long time; The "Race Rules".

Last week I talked about weather related stuff HERE, and now it's time to talk more about navigation:

17: No GPS Systems allowed for navigation. GPS's are allowed for personal data and recording your ride.

I'll be completely honest here, I don't know exactly where this one comes from. Be that as it may, I certainly do know how this rule has affected Trans Iowa, as it is something that pops up as a question every year. GPS units have become increasingly popular and used for all sorts of things. Not only that, but you have Strava and all kinds of odd ball applications for GPS including cell phones and cameras! Tracking an individual has become quite easy if you aren't careful. Or maybe you want to be tracked!

Whatever the case, early on in Trans Iowa we were only concerned with letting folks know we weren't going to provide a GPS track for the course, and quite frankly, it would have been impossible for us. We were on a shoestring budget and gadgets were not on our radar. We were contacted by the Trackleaders/SPOT guys and at one point I even reached out to them on the suggestion of T.I.V5 winner, Joe Meiser. It never really worked out for several logistical reasons, so that never happened. Now GPS tracking units come in several forms, and we even have some riders carry SPOT units on their own. But that doesn't help with navigation......

Navigating by GPS was our concern, but we figured out later on that if anyone were to try to download the cues given to them into a GPS tracker/Nav unit, they would have maybe 50 miles of the course, (and you probably could easily follow someone in the event anyway at that point), then you'd have a handful of cues to try to get into a GPS unit at CP#1, and then what? Yeah......logistically it just doesn't work. Plus, we just couldn't figure out how the heck folks would read their nav unit and ride, and whatever..... It probably could be done, but it would be very impractical.

So, what most folks want anyway is to have a track of their ride with stats. We made a decision for riders to be able to do that as long as the unit wasn't being used for navigation, which again, would be highly impractical anyway. As far as we know, GPS, while becoming much more prevalent, hasn't impacted Trans Iowa negatively so far.

Next Week: You Are Responsible For You......again!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Muddy Musings

Gooey mud!
I've been doing some purposeful forays into mud and clay of late with both the fat bikes I have up and running now. The reasons are many, and fun is definitely way up there on the list. I may be old, but the "boy" in me still likes playing in the mud!

The main reason for all the muddy mud puppy action is that I know some riders are showing up for next Spring's Trans Iowa on fat bikes. This has not been tried before now. Having seen first hand what the mud does to "normal" Trans Iowa rigs, I was curious as to what the Iowa mud would do to a fat bike.

The typical river silt mud I get to ride on around here is one thing, but out on the gravel roads, it typically is clay you'll run into, more often than not, and this isn't something I get to ride on around here much. Fortunately, the powers that be dug up my little stretch of the former Starlite Theater grounds I used to cut across on my way to work every day. This uncovered a swath of clay right where I can still ride through until they fence me out, do something to block my way, or make it uninteresting to ride through there.

Anyway, the temperatures and moisture have conspired twice in the past week, week and a half or so to make for a perfect trial run. It was........not very surprising what the results were. If Trans Iowa V11 is wet at all, the fat bikers will be getting schooled in the ways of Iowa dirt. I won't say that they should or should not show up on fat bikes. I will say that it could get very, very interesting out there if they do. Anyway, my curiosity is satisfied. Back to my regularly scheduled programming for now......

Muddy Musings

Gooey mud!
I've been doing some purposeful forays into mud and clay of late with both the fat bikes I have up and running now. The reasons are many, and fun is definitely way up there on the list. I may be old, but the "boy" in me still likes playing in the mud!

The main reason for all the muddy mud puppy action is that I know some riders are showing up for next Spring's Trans Iowa on fat bikes. This has not been tried before now. Having seen first hand what the mud does to "normal" Trans Iowa rigs, I was curious as to what the Iowa mud would do to a fat bike.

The typical river silt mud I get to ride on around here is one thing, but out on the gravel roads, it typically is clay you'll run into, more often than not, and this isn't something I get to ride on around here much. Fortunately, the powers that be dug up my little stretch of the former Starlite Theater grounds I used to cut across on my way to work every day. This uncovered a swath of clay right where I can still ride through until they fence me out, do something to block my way, or make it uninteresting to ride through there.

Anyway, the temperatures and moisture have conspired twice in the past week, week and a half or so to make for a perfect trial run. It was........not very surprising what the results were. If Trans Iowa V11 is wet at all, the fat bikers will be getting schooled in the ways of Iowa dirt. I won't say that they should or should not show up on fat bikes. I will say that it could get very, very interesting out there if they do. Anyway, my curiosity is satisfied. Back to my regularly scheduled programming for now......

Friday, December 26, 2014

Friday News And Views

B+...."Mid-Fat".....or whatever you wanna callit!
On One Teases Proto "Mid-Fat" Design

First of all, "mid-fat" is the name I'm going with for any tire that is between 2.5" wide and 3.8" wide of any diameter! It is just so much easier to figure out what the heck you are talking about when it is put that way. Then you can just say, "this is a mid-fat bike that uses 27.5" rims and that mid-fat bike uses 29"er rims" and so on. Enough of this "plus" business, okay? Mid-Fat. Makes sense and communicates the idea in an easy to understand and compare way. It slots into "normal" mountain bike nomenclature well.

Now if we could only go back to calling 2.25" tires "fat" like they used to and the current fat bike tires? Obese? Nah......that's probably too offensive for tender minded types. Hmm...... Anyway.

Back to business here! This bike is .........well, it is hard to say, really. The image was staged very carefully, make no mistake. The angle of the image does not show how wide the hubs are, nor how wide the bottom bracket may be. This could be a ploy to hide a fat bike here. Or......maybe not. Hard to say. Those are 27.5" rims and Vee Tire Trax Fatty tires in the 27.5" format, which if set onto wide rims, are 3" wide tires. We can see that the rims have cut outs, indicating a wider rim. Gotta be at least a 50mm wide rim for holes that big, I would think. That means the Trax Fattys may even be measuring wider than 3" by a bit.

WARNING! HIGHLY SPECULATIVE PARAGRAPH FOLLOWS===> The frame looks to be of steel. Makes sense, especially being something from On One. NOTE: The 27.5" based 3" wide tire would come out to be 29" in diameter, or just shy of that. This would be the same diameter, or very close to it, of a 26" rim based 4" wide tire on a 65mm wide rim. Could this be a bike that can be a fat bike or mid-fat? Maybe. I'm saying that it is not the case.

Another Highly Speculative Paragraph!! ===> I think this is a specifically formatted frame for Mid-Fat wheels. It certainly will have a wider rear hub, but not fat bike wide. I am thinking it will have an 83mm bottom bracket. This does two things: (1) It makes several crank sets from SRAM, Shimano, and others immediately compatible and is a standardized width coming from the down hill mtb side of things. Heavy? Yes, but available. No need for new components. Keeps the "Q" factor within reason for many. (2) It has a mechanical advantage with the right rear hub spacing, (again, most likely DH based at 150mm, but it maybe that Boost nonsense Trek developed), which means shifting has been dialed for years already and hubs exist from many manufacturers. All that means that we could have full drive trains and the chain would easily clear the rear tires.

The 150mm wide front hub is a game changer.
Oh What The Heck! Here's Another Load Of Speculation!! ====> Look at that fork. Seriously? This bike clearly has "trail bike radness" written all over it. Why the rigid fork? Well.....I think a Mid-Fat specific fork is on the way. It will be clearanced for the 3" wide tires on wide rims and it will have wider hubs. I am betting you that Mid-Fat and Fat Bikes will share the 150mm front hub standard going forward. The Bluto proved it works well, and let's face it, the 100mm wide front fork spacing is antiquated and sub-par for any bike with larger than 26" wheels. So......yeah, I think 29"ers go this way as well. At least the longer traveled, more aggressive 29"ers. They would really benefit from that. Or.....all long travel, rad hard tailed 29"ers go away in favor of Mid-Fat. Those bikes would essentially be 29"ers, (technically speaking, and that's how 29"ers came to be anyway- It was based on overall wheel diameter), so the industry could do away with 29"ers altogether and just have one wheel size- 27.5"- in several different width formats. 29+ might be an outlier, but this bike industry likes to streamline stuff for ease of business purposes, so I feel a culling of this wheel madness coming on. I could be wrong about 29"ers going away, but I bet less of the longer traveled stuff will exist and it will be an XC dominated category instead.

All righty then! That's enough speculating for one post! I do know that the bicycle industry is going to push the Mid-Fat deal hard for 2016. You'll start seeing it pop up at Sea Wease......er, Sea Otter, that is! Then the various dealer show/private roll outs will happen and then you'll be getting the idea that this Mid-Fat thing is for real. Hints are coming in from many sources already that this will be the case. It will get pushed on the enduro side, it will get pushed on the "rad hard tail bike" side, and I figure it will be the antidote to the fat bike full suspension ideas that Salsa Cycles and a few micro-companies are pushing out now.

This will mean more business. In a flat market, new ideas that require new components to be purchased are exactly where the industry will go to and hope that they get more unit sales. It will work because folks seem to gravitate to the next big thing in mountain biking like white on rice, and I see this as being no different. Besides, these bikes do look like fun! I know that between the 29+ Borealis Echo I rode and the B+ WTB Trailblazer wheels I have on the Sawyer that the fatter, more voluminous, but not quite fat bike, tires are loads of fun.

For more on where the Mid-Fat thing is coming from and going to, see this Bike Radar article I just found that was published back in October. 

Have a great weekend- the last one of 2014!!- and get outside and enjoy life!

Friday News And Views

B+...."Mid-Fat".....or whatever you wanna callit!
On One Teases Proto "Mid-Fat" Design

First of all, "mid-fat" is the name I'm going with for any tire that is between 2.5" wide and 3.8" wide of any diameter! It is just so much easier to figure out what the heck you are talking about when it is put that way. Then you can just say, "this is a mid-fat bike that uses 27.5" rims and that mid-fat bike uses 29"er rims" and so on. Enough of this "plus" business, okay? Mid-Fat. Makes sense and communicates the idea in an easy to understand and compare way. It slots into "normal" mountain bike nomenclature well.

Now if we could only go back to calling 2.25" tires "fat" like they used to and the current fat bike tires? Obese? Nah......that's probably too offensive for tender minded types. Hmm...... Anyway.

Back to business here! This bike is .........well, it is hard to say, really. The image was staged very carefully, make no mistake. The angle of the image does not show how wide the hubs are, nor how wide the bottom bracket may be. This could be a ploy to hide a fat bike here. Or......maybe not. Hard to say. Those are 27.5" rims and Vee Tire Trax Fatty tires in the 27.5" format, which if set onto wide rims, are 3" wide tires. We can see that the rims have cut outs, indicating a wider rim. Gotta be at least a 50mm wide rim for holes that big, I would think. That means the Trax Fattys may even be measuring wider than 3" by a bit.

WARNING! HIGHLY SPECULATIVE PARAGRAPH FOLLOWS===> The frame looks to be of steel. Makes sense, especially being something from On One. NOTE: The 27.5" based 3" wide tire would come out to be 29" in diameter, or just shy of that. This would be the same diameter, or very close to it, of a 26" rim based 4" wide tire on a 65mm wide rim. Could this be a bike that can be a fat bike or mid-fat? Maybe. I'm saying that it is not the case.

Another Highly Speculative Paragraph!! ===> I think this is a specifically formatted frame for Mid-Fat wheels. It certainly will have a wider rear hub, but not fat bike wide. I am thinking it will have an 83mm bottom bracket. This does two things: (1) It makes several crank sets from SRAM, Shimano, and others immediately compatible and is a standardized width coming from the down hill mtb side of things. Heavy? Yes, but available. No need for new components. Keeps the "Q" factor within reason for many. (2) It has a mechanical advantage with the right rear hub spacing, (again, most likely DH based at 150mm, but it maybe that Boost nonsense Trek developed), which means shifting has been dialed for years already and hubs exist from many manufacturers. All that means that we could have full drive trains and the chain would easily clear the rear tires.

The 150mm wide front hub is a game changer.
Oh What The Heck! Here's Another Load Of Speculation!! ====> Look at that fork. Seriously? This bike clearly has "trail bike radness" written all over it. Why the rigid fork? Well.....I think a Mid-Fat specific fork is on the way. It will be clearanced for the 3" wide tires on wide rims and it will have wider hubs. I am betting you that Mid-Fat and Fat Bikes will share the 150mm front hub standard going forward. The Bluto proved it works well, and let's face it, the 100mm wide front fork spacing is antiquated and sub-par for any bike with larger than 26" wheels. So......yeah, I think 29"ers go this way as well. At least the longer traveled, more aggressive 29"ers. They would really benefit from that. Or.....all long travel, rad hard tailed 29"ers go away in favor of Mid-Fat. Those bikes would essentially be 29"ers, (technically speaking, and that's how 29"ers came to be anyway- It was based on overall wheel diameter), so the industry could do away with 29"ers altogether and just have one wheel size- 27.5"- in several different width formats. 29+ might be an outlier, but this bike industry likes to streamline stuff for ease of business purposes, so I feel a culling of this wheel madness coming on. I could be wrong about 29"ers going away, but I bet less of the longer traveled stuff will exist and it will be an XC dominated category instead.

All righty then! That's enough speculating for one post! I do know that the bicycle industry is going to push the Mid-Fat deal hard for 2016. You'll start seeing it pop up at Sea Wease......er, Sea Otter, that is! Then the various dealer show/private roll outs will happen and then you'll be getting the idea that this Mid-Fat thing is for real. Hints are coming in from many sources already that this will be the case. It will get pushed on the enduro side, it will get pushed on the "rad hard tail bike" side, and I figure it will be the antidote to the fat bike full suspension ideas that Salsa Cycles and a few micro-companies are pushing out now.

This will mean more business. In a flat market, new ideas that require new components to be purchased are exactly where the industry will go to and hope that they get more unit sales. It will work because folks seem to gravitate to the next big thing in mountain biking like white on rice, and I see this as being no different. Besides, these bikes do look like fun! I know that between the 29+ Borealis Echo I rode and the B+ WTB Trailblazer wheels I have on the Sawyer that the fatter, more voluminous, but not quite fat bike, tires are loads of fun.

For more on where the Mid-Fat thing is coming from and going to, see this Bike Radar article I just found that was published back in October. 

Have a great weekend- the last one of 2014!!- and get outside and enjoy life!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Rear View 2014: Part 3

Leaving for the last time? I thought so here as I left T.I.V10
Well, as I forewarned, and as I have done about every year end now, here is my series on a look back over at 2014 before it is gone. Rear View Part 2 can be seen HERE

Going into May I was being slowly convinced by several e-mails and by my own inner thoughts that there would indeed be a T.I.V11. As tired as I was after T.I.V10 I didn't think it would be possible to think about doing anymore, and after all, I had decided to quit years ago after T.I.V10's completion. Well, that thought slowly died during May!

Trans Iowa thoughts continued in the form of getting things set up for the Trans Iowa Master's Program route/challenge. I also continued on with the discussion of gravel road riding and bicycles in light of many pundits negative articles about the genre. Seems that getting "hits" was more important than actually looking into the deal. I have a standing invite to any poo-pooers of gravel road riding to come out and do Trans Iowa this April.

Seriously.

If any pundits that have published "negative nancy" articles on gravel riding in 2014 want to check out the real deal, I'm all for it. Then we'll talk.

Anyway, back to the Rear View here..... It finally warmed up and I was on the road to getting ready for another crack at Odin's Revenge. I was going to ride the Ti Mukluk with 29"er wheels, but knee pain issues forced me to go with the Fargo Gen I and I also had an unusual Cirrus Cycles titanium suspension seat post to check out along with that. Meanwhile, the first two to finish the TIMP were Scott Sumpter and Andy Zeiner who had a pretty epic adventure with rain, mud, and late night visions all wrapped into one big ride of 380 miles.

Slick, muddy roads and big hills deep sixed my '14 Odin's attempt
My own muddy adventure to Odin's Revenge was marked by a failure to be on pace to reach the checkpoint on time, so I bailed after CP#1 and rode back to the start. It was by far the hardest 40+ miles I have ever ridden in years. Maybe the first time I did Triple D was tougher, but that only lasted 20-ish miles and then there was relief. This was non-stop tough riding in wet, mushy gravel and slick-as-snot Minimum Maintenance road mud. It was all good though as I had an awesome time with Mike, Mike, and Amy along with the other Odin's Revengers.

I went to a couple of NASCAR events with my son, which was a good time except for the epic thunderstorm we rode out in our tent at Rock Creek State Park. I never want to have to do that again! Speaking of my son, he "graduated" from elementary school and we walked home together from school for the last time ever. A big milestone, I'd say. I'll miss walking those two kids of mine to school and back! Glad I decided to commit to that up front. July brought heat and we still were having really windy days which was a theme since Spring.

Next on the menu was the Guitar Ted Death Ride invitational and I was busy getting the route dialled in for that and trying to prepare for the ride as well. I got a new camera, the Olympus Tough TG-3, which replaced the battered and beaten Fuji I busted at the Gents Race back in April. Rides happened and one of them was a fun ride at Volga Recreation Area on a Borealis Echo I was testing/reviewing. That was a great day on the bike!

The GTDRI ended with this view for me.
A not so great end of a day on the bike, but everything leading up to that end was good- The GTDRI unfortunately ended in calamity as an impaired driver veered into our group standing alongside the road and sent me sailing into the ditch at Mile 95 of our ride. I got carted to a hospital, and checked over, but no serious injuries were detected. All is well, right? Not so fast......

The crash effects were subtle, but they were definitely noticed throughout the Fall. I had messed up GI tract functions, inflammation that caused numbness in my extremities off and on throughout the following months, and every time I see a late model GMC or Chevy truck in white, I get a strange ache in my right kidney area. I may not have communicated that I found it rather difficult to even look at my Tamland Two- the bike I rode on GTDRI- for a good month and a half. I forced myself to use it for the Geezer Ride in October, which was maybe the second or third day I'd ridden it since getting hit. Oh, by the way, I got deathly ill right after the crash as well. I think I was off the bike most of September.

Speaking of September I'll get to that in my next installment.

Rear View 2014: Part 3

Leaving for the last time? I thought so here as I left T.I.V10
Well, as I forewarned, and as I have done about every year end now, here is my series on a look back over at 2014 before it is gone. Rear View Part 2 can be seen HERE

Going into May I was being slowly convinced by several e-mails and by my own inner thoughts that there would indeed be a T.I.V11. As tired as I was after T.I.V10 I didn't think it would be possible to think about doing anymore, and after all, I had decided to quit years ago after T.I.V10's completion. Well, that thought slowly died during May!

Trans Iowa thoughts continued in the form of getting things set up for the Trans Iowa Master's Program route/challenge. I also continued on with the discussion of gravel road riding and bicycles in light of many pundits negative articles about the genre. Seems that getting "hits" was more important than actually looking into the deal. I have a standing invite to any poo-pooers of gravel road riding to come out and do Trans Iowa this April.

Seriously.

If any pundits that have published "negative nancy" articles on gravel riding in 2014 want to check out the real deal, I'm all for it. Then we'll talk.

Anyway, back to the Rear View here..... It finally warmed up and I was on the road to getting ready for another crack at Odin's Revenge. I was going to ride the Ti Mukluk with 29"er wheels, but knee pain issues forced me to go with the Fargo Gen I and I also had an unusual Cirrus Cycles titanium suspension seat post to check out along with that. Meanwhile, the first two to finish the TIMP were Scott Sumpter and Andy Zeiner who had a pretty epic adventure with rain, mud, and late night visions all wrapped into one big ride of 380 miles.

Slick, muddy roads and big hills deep sixed my '14 Odin's attempt
My own muddy adventure to Odin's Revenge was marked by a failure to be on pace to reach the checkpoint on time, so I bailed after CP#1 and rode back to the start. It was by far the hardest 40+ miles I have ever ridden in years. Maybe the first time I did Triple D was tougher, but that only lasted 20-ish miles and then there was relief. This was non-stop tough riding in wet, mushy gravel and slick-as-snot Minimum Maintenance road mud. It was all good though as I had an awesome time with Mike, Mike, and Amy along with the other Odin's Revengers.

I went to a couple of NASCAR events with my son, which was a good time except for the epic thunderstorm we rode out in our tent at Rock Creek State Park. I never want to have to do that again! Speaking of my son, he "graduated" from elementary school and we walked home together from school for the last time ever. A big milestone, I'd say. I'll miss walking those two kids of mine to school and back! Glad I decided to commit to that up front. July brought heat and we still were having really windy days which was a theme since Spring.

Next on the menu was the Guitar Ted Death Ride invitational and I was busy getting the route dialled in for that and trying to prepare for the ride as well. I got a new camera, the Olympus Tough TG-3, which replaced the battered and beaten Fuji I busted at the Gents Race back in April. Rides happened and one of them was a fun ride at Volga Recreation Area on a Borealis Echo I was testing/reviewing. That was a great day on the bike!

The GTDRI ended with this view for me.
A not so great end of a day on the bike, but everything leading up to that end was good- The GTDRI unfortunately ended in calamity as an impaired driver veered into our group standing alongside the road and sent me sailing into the ditch at Mile 95 of our ride. I got carted to a hospital, and checked over, but no serious injuries were detected. All is well, right? Not so fast......

The crash effects were subtle, but they were definitely noticed throughout the Fall. I had messed up GI tract functions, inflammation that caused numbness in my extremities off and on throughout the following months, and every time I see a late model GMC or Chevy truck in white, I get a strange ache in my right kidney area. I may not have communicated that I found it rather difficult to even look at my Tamland Two- the bike I rode on GTDRI- for a good month and a half. I forced myself to use it for the Geezer Ride in October, which was maybe the second or third day I'd ridden it since getting hit. Oh, by the way, I got deathly ill right after the crash as well. I think I was off the bike most of September.

Speaking of September I'll get to that in my next installment.

Merry Christmas!

Are those Santa's sleigh tracks in the snow?
Guitar Ted Productions Wishes You A Merry Christmas!

Wherever you are, my hope is that you find joy in your heart, a warm hug from a loved one, and that you never lose hope.

Have a safe and wonderful day!

Merry Christmas!

Are those Santa's sleigh tracks in the snow?
Guitar Ted Productions Wishes You A Merry Christmas!

Wherever you are, my hope is that you find joy in your heart, a warm hug from a loved one, and that you never lose hope.

Have a safe and wonderful day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rear View 2014: Part 2

Well, as I forewarned, and as I have done about every year end now, here is my series on a look back over at 2014 before it is gone. Rear View Part 1 can be seen HERE.

In the last post, I left off with the end of February and the brutal grip Winter had over the area here was vice like. That extended into March. The month was marked by a lot of Trans Iowa and gravel road talk. In personal news, I was sick to the point of being incapacitated for the second time in a month and a half. To say that between the cold and the illnesses that I wasn't riding is an understatement. Somehow or another I squeezed in a few rides, and in very raw, windy conditions, for the most part. It was mostly a forgettable month with the exception of one thing.

I was informed that my close friend MG was coming up to the area to visit relatives and he wanted to know if I could meet him. I agreed and we had a great ride that day, talking, exploring, getting lost, and just goofing around. Then it was back to the deep freeze and not feeling so great for a couple more weeks. In the meantime, I got another new bicycle! This was a bit more special to me since it was a Raleigh Tamland that I had some influence on in terms of geometry and certain frame details. It showed up in late March and I was able to get enough rides in on it to dial in a fit and use it during the 4th Annual Renegade Gent's Race.

This perfectly sums up the Gents Race for me (Image by S. Auen)
Four years and eight months ago I was invited to be on a "team" for the first "Renegade Gent's Race" to be held near Ankeny, Iowa. Our "Team Captain" was the organizer of the team and invited me to be a part of the five man squad. The thing was, I didn't know anyone on the team but Steve, the Captain.

It's one of those things that could have gone very wrong, but every April since then this event has become a highlight of my year, and apparently, that of the other four as well, since the "Careless Whispers", as we've named our team, is the only intact from the beginning team to have been at every Renegade Gent's race.

I used the Tamland on this 4th running of the Gent's race and had a great time doing it. This event has grown to the point that several folks come from miles around now to get in on the action. I remember the first one where I was the odd man out coming from as far away as I did. Now that is routine. I'm already looking forward to going again next Spring and I hope the Careless Whispers can make it five straight years in a row.

That's generally the last "fun" thing I get to do until Trans Iowa is over at the end of April. The rest of the month after the Gent's Race is almost all preparation for the big event and I had a recon with Wally and George, (well......that's more fun, actually, so.....), I met Chris Skogen of the Almanzo 100, (again- more fun), and then making cue sheets and getting all the "I's" dotted and "T's" crossed before I head down to Grinnell once again. The tenth Trans Iowa would prove to be an awesome event, but an exhausting one both physically and mentally. I could go on and on about that, but I won't.......

One of the things I expected to do was quit Trans Iowa after that event was done. I didn't, and obviously, a Trans Iowa V11 will occur next Spring. I guess I'll never learn! Anyway, June was coming fast and Odin's Revenge was in my sights.

Next Up- Summertime!

Rear View 2014: Part 2

Well, as I forewarned, and as I have done about every year end now, here is my series on a look back over at 2014 before it is gone. Rear View Part 1 can be seen HERE.

In the last post, I left off with the end of February and the brutal grip Winter had over the area here was vice like. That extended into March. The month was marked by a lot of Trans Iowa and gravel road talk. In personal news, I was sick to the point of being incapacitated for the second time in a month and a half. To say that between the cold and the illnesses that I wasn't riding is an understatement. Somehow or another I squeezed in a few rides, and in very raw, windy conditions, for the most part. It was mostly a forgettable month with the exception of one thing.

I was informed that my close friend MG was coming up to the area to visit relatives and he wanted to know if I could meet him. I agreed and we had a great ride that day, talking, exploring, getting lost, and just goofing around. Then it was back to the deep freeze and not feeling so great for a couple more weeks. In the meantime, I got another new bicycle! This was a bit more special to me since it was a Raleigh Tamland that I had some influence on in terms of geometry and certain frame details. It showed up in late March and I was able to get enough rides in on it to dial in a fit and use it during the 4th Annual Renegade Gent's Race.

This perfectly sums up the Gents Race for me (Image by S. Auen)
Four years and eight months ago I was invited to be on a "team" for the first "Renegade Gent's Race" to be held near Ankeny, Iowa. Our "Team Captain" was the organizer of the team and invited me to be a part of the five man squad. The thing was, I didn't know anyone on the team but Steve, the Captain.

It's one of those things that could have gone very wrong, but every April since then this event has become a highlight of my year, and apparently, that of the other four as well, since the "Careless Whispers", as we've named our team, is the only intact from the beginning team to have been at every Renegade Gent's race.

I used the Tamland on this 4th running of the Gent's race and had a great time doing it. This event has grown to the point that several folks come from miles around now to get in on the action. I remember the first one where I was the odd man out coming from as far away as I did. Now that is routine. I'm already looking forward to going again next Spring and I hope the Careless Whispers can make it five straight years in a row.

That's generally the last "fun" thing I get to do until Trans Iowa is over at the end of April. The rest of the month after the Gent's Race is almost all preparation for the big event and I had a recon with Wally and George, (well......that's more fun, actually, so.....), I met Chris Skogen of the Almanzo 100, (again- more fun), and then making cue sheets and getting all the "I's" dotted and "T's" crossed before I head down to Grinnell once again. The tenth Trans Iowa would prove to be an awesome event, but an exhausting one both physically and mentally. I could go on and on about that, but I won't.......

One of the things I expected to do was quit Trans Iowa after that event was done. I didn't, and obviously, a Trans Iowa V11 will occur next Spring. I guess I'll never learn! Anyway, June was coming fast and Odin's Revenge was in my sights.

Next Up- Summertime!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Grey Sky Gravel

Sunday I left to the Northwest on a multi-terrain beginning to a gravel ride. The trails on the way over saw me run across grass, dirt, chip seal, double track, and busted up pavement. Then I hit the bike trails to get out of town to the North and the old 3GR course beginnings. My intentions were to ride that entire course.

I ran across my old neighbor on the Big Woods bike path, which was nice. We chatted a bit then I rolled onward. It was almost the same temperature and humidity as last week when I about burnt up with overheating, but this time it was strangely fine. I did ride with my jacket unzipped a bit. Otherwise it was windy from the South/Southwest and I was getting pushed along well by it. I decided I needed to get worked coming back, which is the old Jeff Kerkove way to do a ride.

#unlearnpavement 
Off into the gloom!
I got out there and saw that the light was not good already. Looking at the clock on the computer I ascertained that I would run out of light long before I got around the old 3GR course. Hmm......a modified route was in order then. I went straight on Mount Vernon road until I reached Sage Road. That was a long stretch into a quartering headwind, but there wasn't enough time and I probably need the harder work.

Once again the gravel wasn't really wet. It was "damp", and the wind and humidity were not letting up, so I have to assume that the roads are soaking a lot of this up now, which would indicate that they are not frozen anymore either. Either way, it wasn't very messy at all, which was fine with me. Once again, the vapors would form if I turned my head, and everything facing forward was dripping wet. It seems odd to have this cool, moisture rich atmosphere this time of the year. This is very "late Fall-ish", not at all what I would expect for a date so close to Christmas. Oh yeah.......it happened to be the Solstice. I didn't feel anything magical or different in that regard. Just a "day".

The legs felt a lot better this time, which was a good thing, even after a ride the day before. But that isn't to say that I was flying. I wasn't, but I was able to hold a steady tempo and I didn't bog down on the climbs.

A grain auger sales lot in the middle of nowhere.
The rural church at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Sage Road.
Visiting The namesake rock.
By the time I turned down Sage Road I was seriously running low on light. I figured out that I shouldn't spend a lot of time at the big rock of Big Rock Road, but I had to stop for just a short visit! Unzipped the coats and let some heat out. Everything was damp, but I was comfortable in my two under layers of wool clothing.

I snarfed down an Apple Cinnamon Hammer Gel packet here. Man......it's like liquid apple pie! That was tasty. Some water to wash it all down, a couple of images snapped, zip up and take off. Oddly enough, where I turned onto Sage Road and here at the big rock were the only two places I ran into soft, wet gravel.

Now it was a race to see how soon I could get back into town before it got completely dark. I had a tail light on, but I had no head lamp. Once I reached Waterloo, the street lights would be my guide, but I didn't want to get stuck out here in the rolling hills without some light. There would be no moon, and the grey, dun atmosphere would make discerning features harder in the dark. I pedaled onward at a pretty decent clip now. My good fortune was that I reached town at the last possible moment and the street lights were all ablaze in the town so I could easily find my way back home.

It was a good ride, and I got two plus hours in. Better than sitting on the couch and another bonus gravel day at the end of 2014! I'll take it.

Grey Sky Gravel

Sunday I left to the Northwest on a multi-terrain beginning to a gravel ride. The trails on the way over saw me run across grass, dirt, chip seal, double track, and busted up pavement. Then I hit the bike trails to get out of town to the North and the old 3GR course beginnings. My intentions were to ride that entire course.

I ran across my old neighbor on the Big Woods bike path, which was nice. We chatted a bit then I rolled onward. It was almost the same temperature and humidity as last week when I about burnt up with overheating, but this time it was strangely fine. I did ride with my jacket unzipped a bit. Otherwise it was windy from the South/Southwest and I was getting pushed along well by it. I decided I needed to get worked coming back, which is the old Jeff Kerkove way to do a ride.

#unlearnpavement 
Off into the gloom!
I got out there and saw that the light was not good already. Looking at the clock on the computer I ascertained that I would run out of light long before I got around the old 3GR course. Hmm......a modified route was in order then. I went straight on Mount Vernon road until I reached Sage Road. That was a long stretch into a quartering headwind, but there wasn't enough time and I probably need the harder work.

Once again the gravel wasn't really wet. It was "damp", and the wind and humidity were not letting up, so I have to assume that the roads are soaking a lot of this up now, which would indicate that they are not frozen anymore either. Either way, it wasn't very messy at all, which was fine with me. Once again, the vapors would form if I turned my head, and everything facing forward was dripping wet. It seems odd to have this cool, moisture rich atmosphere this time of the year. This is very "late Fall-ish", not at all what I would expect for a date so close to Christmas. Oh yeah.......it happened to be the Solstice. I didn't feel anything magical or different in that regard. Just a "day".

The legs felt a lot better this time, which was a good thing, even after a ride the day before. But that isn't to say that I was flying. I wasn't, but I was able to hold a steady tempo and I didn't bog down on the climbs.

A grain auger sales lot in the middle of nowhere.
The rural church at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Sage Road.
Visiting The namesake rock.
By the time I turned down Sage Road I was seriously running low on light. I figured out that I shouldn't spend a lot of time at the big rock of Big Rock Road, but I had to stop for just a short visit! Unzipped the coats and let some heat out. Everything was damp, but I was comfortable in my two under layers of wool clothing.

I snarfed down an Apple Cinnamon Hammer Gel packet here. Man......it's like liquid apple pie! That was tasty. Some water to wash it all down, a couple of images snapped, zip up and take off. Oddly enough, where I turned onto Sage Road and here at the big rock were the only two places I ran into soft, wet gravel.

Now it was a race to see how soon I could get back into town before it got completely dark. I had a tail light on, but I had no head lamp. Once I reached Waterloo, the street lights would be my guide, but I didn't want to get stuck out here in the rolling hills without some light. There would be no moon, and the grey, dun atmosphere would make discerning features harder in the dark. I pedaled onward at a pretty decent clip now. My good fortune was that I reached town at the last possible moment and the street lights were all ablaze in the town so I could easily find my way back home.

It was a good ride, and I got two plus hours in. Better than sitting on the couch and another bonus gravel day at the end of 2014! I'll take it.