Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Touring Series: Time Trialing On Touring Bikes

A Guitar Ted Productions series
 Thanks for joining me again on another adventure in "The Touring Series". This tour was dubbed the "Race Against Death Tour". This tour occurred in August of 1995. The three participants, Ryan, Troy, and your's truly, left from Cedar Falls, Iowa to try and get to Winter Park, Colorado in two weeks. Here I am reproducing the tale as it was posted on the blog in 2009. I also will add new remarks and memories where appropriate at the end of each post. 

 Once again, there were no cell phones, internet, social media platforms, or digital cameras in use by we tourers in 1995. I will post images where I can, but this tour wasn't well documented in images, so there probably will be very few sprinkled throughout. A modern image will be used only where it depicts things I want to clarify, like where we were in that part of the tour via a map image, or the like.
 

The "Touring Series" will appear every Sunday until it ends. Look for past entries by scrolling back to a previous Sunday's post, or type in "Touring Series" in the search box to find more. 

The "Race Against Death Tour" moves out from South Sioux City, Nebraska into the countryside....
____________________________________________________________________________

As we pulled out of the town with our food supplies reinstated, we were at a loss as to how to find the two lane blacktop that was on my maps. We finally gave up and started down a four lane interstate feeder on Troy's suggestion. It was a bit hairy, but fortunately it didn't last all that long, as we were able to get off on a two lane highway that led away westwards. It was, in fact, Highway 20, but it was a much quieter, gentler Highway 20 than we were used to.

Troy was on point, as usual. Since we had fouled up our exit from the grips of Iowa, Troy felt it necessary to have us drop the hammer and go. Fortunately we all were feeling much the same as he, so off we went at about a 20mph clip on these fully loaded machines. Troy was happy to see us both holding his wheel, and we sped across the river plain until the road started going up and to the right around a bend. We dropped a bit of speed, but Troy turned and with some stern words of encouragement, willed us to hold pace. Fortunately our turn off caused a moment of uncertainty which allowed me to catch my breath.

Our route followed HWYs 20 & 12 near the Missouri River
The afternoon had grown hot and sunny now. We were headed up into rolling hills, but we also had a favorable tail wind, so things were easier than they might have been otherwise been. We finally reached a town named Ponca, and more importantly, a convenience store, and rest!

We hit the convenience store mostly for fluids. We did our usual sit down in front of the front door, and kicked back with our purchases much to the amazement of the locals, by the looks on their faces. I remember Troy grinding his empty Gatorade bottle on the concrete driveway until he about had a hole worn through it. Odd, but it was a habit he continued to display throughout the rest of the trip.

Before we left, we started thinking about the end of the day, but spurred on by our massive effort coming into Ponca, Troy wasn't about to let us rest just yet. We stopped in Newcastle to consult the maps. It was getting on into the late afternoon, but we all thought we could at least make it through Maskell and to Obert. Once we got that far, we would stop to reassess the situation.

The effort was not much less, and the energy reserves were being depleted. I was about set to fall off my bike at Obert, but Troy saw that we had a bit more time, and he challenged us to reach further. Up the road was the goal, and its name was Wynot, Nebraska.

We were working pretty dang hard, holding above a 15mph ride average. We had made 93 miles that day, but the heat and the lack of much stopping was taking it's toll. I was a bit disappointed to find that Wynot was a bit off the road we were on. I wanted to just roll in a ditch and go to sleep right there!
_____________________________________________________________________


What is absolutely lost in this account is that I had just about killed myself, suffered heat exhaustion the day before, yet I was able to recover to the extent that I could ride as hard as I did, and Ryan and Troy could ride as hard as they did with my extra weight on their bikes. A pannier each, if you recall.  I think back on it now and just shake my head in amazement.

The turn off onto State Highway 12 led us up into some pretty country, as I recall. Ponca was a welcomed respite. We sat there quite a while, as I recall. Troy's habit of grinding the cap off a quart bottle of empty Gatorade was something he'd started doing the year before on our tour. I always thought that was an odd habit........

Troy had a way of enticing you to push yourself harder than you thought possible. He also could get really annoyed at a perceived "lack of effort" as well. If you responded to his goading with what he could see was max effort, he would be pleased and things would go smoothly. Fortunately Ryan and I were willing pupils to his program of suffering. The year before was tense because Steve was diametrically opposed to such pursuits of pain. So, we had a more mild mannered Troy this time than we had the year before.

Next Week: Fried food, VIP's, and a moment of silence for Jerry.

The Touring Series: Time Trialing On Touring Bikes

A Guitar Ted Productions series
 Thanks for joining me again on another adventure in "The Touring Series". This tour was dubbed the "Race Against Death Tour". This tour occurred in August of 1995. The three participants, Ryan, Troy, and your's truly, left from Cedar Falls, Iowa to try and get to Winter Park, Colorado in two weeks. Here I am reproducing the tale as it was posted on the blog in 2009. I also will add new remarks and memories where appropriate at the end of each post. 

 Once again, there were no cell phones, internet, social media platforms, or digital cameras in use by we tourers in 1995. I will post images where I can, but this tour wasn't well documented in images, so there probably will be very few sprinkled throughout. A modern image will be used only where it depicts things I want to clarify, like where we were in that part of the tour via a map image, or the like.
 

The "Touring Series" will appear every Sunday until it ends. Look for past entries by scrolling back to a previous Sunday's post, or type in "Touring Series" in the search box to find more. 

The "Race Against Death Tour" moves out from South Sioux City, Nebraska into the countryside....
____________________________________________________________________________

As we pulled out of the town with our food supplies reinstated, we were at a loss as to how to find the two lane blacktop that was on my maps. We finally gave up and started down a four lane interstate feeder on Troy's suggestion. It was a bit hairy, but fortunately it didn't last all that long, as we were able to get off on a two lane highway that led away westwards. It was, in fact, Highway 20, but it was a much quieter, gentler Highway 20 than we were used to.

Troy was on point, as usual. Since we had fouled up our exit from the grips of Iowa, Troy felt it necessary to have us drop the hammer and go. Fortunately we all were feeling much the same as he, so off we went at about a 20mph clip on these fully loaded machines. Troy was happy to see us both holding his wheel, and we sped across the river plain until the road started going up and to the right around a bend. We dropped a bit of speed, but Troy turned and with some stern words of encouragement, willed us to hold pace. Fortunately our turn off caused a moment of uncertainty which allowed me to catch my breath.

Our route followed HWYs 20 & 12 near the Missouri River
The afternoon had grown hot and sunny now. We were headed up into rolling hills, but we also had a favorable tail wind, so things were easier than they might have been otherwise been. We finally reached a town named Ponca, and more importantly, a convenience store, and rest!

We hit the convenience store mostly for fluids. We did our usual sit down in front of the front door, and kicked back with our purchases much to the amazement of the locals, by the looks on their faces. I remember Troy grinding his empty Gatorade bottle on the concrete driveway until he about had a hole worn through it. Odd, but it was a habit he continued to display throughout the rest of the trip.

Before we left, we started thinking about the end of the day, but spurred on by our massive effort coming into Ponca, Troy wasn't about to let us rest just yet. We stopped in Newcastle to consult the maps. It was getting on into the late afternoon, but we all thought we could at least make it through Maskell and to Obert. Once we got that far, we would stop to reassess the situation.

The effort was not much less, and the energy reserves were being depleted. I was about set to fall off my bike at Obert, but Troy saw that we had a bit more time, and he challenged us to reach further. Up the road was the goal, and its name was Wynot, Nebraska.

We were working pretty dang hard, holding above a 15mph ride average. We had made 93 miles that day, but the heat and the lack of much stopping was taking it's toll. I was a bit disappointed to find that Wynot was a bit off the road we were on. I wanted to just roll in a ditch and go to sleep right there!
_____________________________________________________________________


What is absolutely lost in this account is that I had just about killed myself, suffered heat exhaustion the day before, yet I was able to recover to the extent that I could ride as hard as I did, and Ryan and Troy could ride as hard as they did with my extra weight on their bikes. A pannier each, if you recall.  I think back on it now and just shake my head in amazement.

The turn off onto State Highway 12 led us up into some pretty country, as I recall. Ponca was a welcomed respite. We sat there quite a while, as I recall. Troy's habit of grinding the cap off a quart bottle of empty Gatorade was something he'd started doing the year before on our tour. I always thought that was an odd habit........

Troy had a way of enticing you to push yourself harder than you thought possible. He also could get really annoyed at a perceived "lack of effort" as well. If you responded to his goading with what he could see was max effort, he would be pleased and things would go smoothly. Fortunately Ryan and I were willing pupils to his program of suffering. The year before was tense because Steve was diametrically opposed to such pursuits of pain. So, we had a more mild mannered Troy this time than we had the year before.

Next Week: Fried food, VIP's, and a moment of silence for Jerry.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Minus Ten Review - 39

I rode on a group ride down the Las Vegas Strip
Ten years ago on the blog I was recounting my trip to Interbike. This one was perhaps the pinnacle of all the trips I ever had there in terms of the impact and fun I had.

Interbike was still somewhat relevant then, so the posts we were doing about the show were making an impact and were bringing us a lot of attention at "Twenty Nine Inches". It was also a big collaborative effort with cycling blog/industry luminaries like Arleigh Greenwald and Richard Masoner, who along with Tim Grahl, I shacked up with at a rented house in Las Vegas. It was weird to be in a house that seemed to not have changed since 1972.

This was a most memorable week for a lot of reasons, but one main memory was when I met Sonya Looney. Back ten years ago, no one had heard of her. I was interested in meeting her since she was having a relationship with my old coworker, Jeff Kerkove. Our initial meeting was something pretty funny, and I don't think I've told the story here before. Maybe I have........ Heck, after 13 years of blogging, it's hard to keep track of everything. But here goes.......

I met Jeff on the show floor and after a bit I asked him about Sonya. He said she was helping in a women's clothing company's booth not far from the Ergon booth Jeff was working in. So, I went in search of this booth, which was in a section of the show floor that was deserted at the time, and found Sonya there. Now this was just after the opening of the show for that particular day. So, this would have been 9:00am or 10:00am, something like that.

Sonya was happy to meet me, but immediately she asked if I could watch over the booth so she could use the restroom. I was a bit shocked, and I said yes. But before I could get the word out of my mouth she was sprinting for the waste can in a booth next door to us and barfed in it! Then she trotted off toward the restroom, giving me an embarrassed glance as she went by. Moments passed and I was glad that no one came by to ask any questions about the wares in the booth!

Eventually Sonya came back, apologetic and embarrassed for what had happened, Apparently, she had been out with the Ergon crew the evening before and had too much to drink! Hey! It was Vegas, and you know what......I've been hungover and sick the morning after plenty of times. Who was I to judge? So we had a laugh and we got on really well.

 Jeff and Sonya went their separate ways eventually, but I am very glad I got to know her the few times I saw her at different Interbike shows. Obviously she has made quite a name for herself and is immensely popular these days. It's great to see, and I am very happy for her.

Minus Ten Review - 39

I rode on a group ride down the Las Vegas Strip
Ten years ago on the blog I was recounting my trip to Interbike. This one was perhaps the pinnacle of all the trips I ever had there in terms of the impact and fun I had.

Interbike was still somewhat relevant then, so the posts we were doing about the show were making an impact and were bringing us a lot of attention at "Twenty Nine Inches". It was also a big collaborative effort with cycling blog/industry luminaries like Arleigh Greenwald and Richard Masoner, who along with Tim Grahl, I shacked up with at a rented house in Las Vegas. It was weird to be in a house that seemed to not have changed since 1972.

This was a most memorable week for a lot of reasons, but one main memory was when I met Sonya Looney. Back ten years ago, no one had heard of her. I was interested in meeting her since she was having a relationship with my old coworker, Jeff Kerkove. Our initial meeting was something pretty funny, and I don't think I've told the story here before. Maybe I have........ Heck, after 13 years of blogging, it's hard to keep track of everything. But here goes.......

I met Jeff on the show floor and after a bit I asked him about Sonya. He said she was helping in a women's clothing company's booth not far from the Ergon booth Jeff was working in. So, I went in search of this booth, which was in a section of the show floor that was deserted at the time, and found Sonya there. Now this was just after the opening of the show for that particular day. So, this would have been 9:00am or 10:00am, something like that.

Sonya was happy to meet me, but immediately she asked if I could watch over the booth so she could use the restroom. I was a bit shocked, and I said yes. But before I could get the word out of my mouth she was sprinting for the waste can in a booth next door to us and barfed in it! Then she trotted off toward the restroom, giving me an embarrassed glance as she went by. Moments passed and I was glad that no one came by to ask any questions about the wares in the booth!

Eventually Sonya came back, apologetic and embarrassed for what had happened, Apparently, she had been out with the Ergon crew the evening before and had too much to drink! Hey! It was Vegas, and you know what......I've been hungover and sick the morning after plenty of times. Who was I to judge? So we had a laugh and we got on really well.

 Jeff and Sonya went their separate ways eventually, but I am very glad I got to know her the few times I saw her at different Interbike shows. Obviously she has made quite a name for herself and is immensely popular these days. It's great to see, and I am very happy for her.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Friday News And Views

That looks righteous.The new spec and color for the Big Fat Dummy
Surly Intros New Spec Big Fat Dummy:

The Big Fat Dummy is really an awesome idea, but fat bike wheels and tires are kind of.......well...... heavy, for one thing, and limiting for another. I mean, are you going to burn up a set of fat bike tires on pavement, or a harder surface, that you could ride a BFD on, or are you just going to stay off-pavement with it?

I'm no "insider" when it comes to what Surly does, but this new spec Big Fat Dummy makes a ton more sense to me than the fat tired version did. I don't know why they decided to roll with this, but I have opinions. With 29+ tires and wheels, the Big Fat Dummy now is more adept at everything  outside of mud and snow. Even then, 29+ would get you a long ways down the trail.

I also like the color better, but marginally so. The "military green" of the original wasn't my cup of tea, and while white bikes look stunning, they are a complete pain in the you-know-what to keep looking good. Meh! Color is subjective, I get it. So I gave a subjective opinion. Still, this gets me more excted than the original spec, and that's saying something.

Not enough for me to want to replace my Big Dummy though. Sorry Surly!

Byron the "Bike Hugger" has a take on Interbike via Facebook.
Polishing The Excrement: 

You may have seen or heard that there was an Interbike show last week. The show that used to be the focal point for the North American bicycle market has now become something of a minor event which is hardly noticed these days.

I am by no means an expert on the trade show scene, but I was at a couple Interbikes in the 1990's and then every year from 2006 to 2013. I saw what I saw. I also was witness, as were all (or most of you older folks) to what the innergoogles has done to media. That has changed to something that would have been unrecognizable to a journalist 15 years ago.

Marketing has reacted and changed along with that, so now days, nothing is the same as it was in 2006. Then it was still a show that commanded attention. The only reason it held on so long to any level of importance was that the big brands stuck with Interbike until, one by one, they all started dropping out around 2008 or so. The combination of punches that instant, easy information dissemination brought, along with content marketing, have rendered Interbike irrelevant. Companies that once relied on the audience which attended in person and the audience which was waiting on media to report for them are now using other means to reach their customers. So, in that sense, Interbike is useless.

Even the original purpose of the trade show hasn't been viable for decades. That was writing up business. This is even more unreasonable to expect today in a climate of "just in time" inventory and consumer direct sales. So, all that was left for the show to promote was the "getting together of the tribe" aspect, which, again, is rendered pretty moot by social media now days. We pretty much already know everything everybody else is up to. Oh! Wait! There were seminars too. Bah! I can't think of anything more exciting than a seminar. Wow! Why didn't I go? Seminars....... gimme a break!

So, Interbike trumped up e-bikes to the hilt, and the show was full of that. But beyond a bicycle that you have to recharge, and has a motor installed on it, the fare I saw being hawked at Interbike wasn't very impressive. Yet, you will see nary a bad word about Interbike spoken by those who attended, or were invested into it. But c'mon folks! It ain't anything like it was. Not in terms of business, impact, or attention given to it. Nothing at all. You folks at Interbike know it, and so do we all out here. It's a "dead parrot".

Harvest Time:

My ride back on Wednesday showed how the farmers are just getting around to the harvest. Had it not rained an insane amount Tuesday, I've no doubt that the combines would be running 24-7 in the fields right now.

The soy beans are seemingly first up this year. I saw evidence of some fields being in mid-harvest and one completely "shaven" down to the ground. It won';t be long before the landscape looks desolate once again with the barren fields all brown with stubble.

Between now and when the fields are stripped of their bounty, the farmers will be busy wheeling components and equipment around. Big semi tractor-trailers and enormous grain wagons will be cruising the Iowa countryside again, just like every year. These folk are in a big hurry too, so if you are out riding, and if you come across the big ag equipment or trucks rolling up dust, step aside and let them go by. And for heaven's sake, ride on the right side up hills. Especially now. I'd hate to hear of anyone getting smoked by an 18 wheeler or fast moving pick'em up truck.

Okay, have a great weekend and get out and ride!

Friday News And Views

That looks righteous.The new spec and color for the Big Fat Dummy
Surly Intros New Spec Big Fat Dummy:

The Big Fat Dummy is really an awesome idea, but fat bike wheels and tires are kind of.......well...... heavy, for one thing, and limiting for another. I mean, are you going to burn up a set of fat bike tires on pavement, or a harder surface, that you could ride a BFD on, or are you just going to stay off-pavement with it?

I'm no "insider" when it comes to what Surly does, but this new spec Big Fat Dummy makes a ton more sense to me than the fat tired version did. I don't know why they decided to roll with this, but I have opinions. With 29+ tires and wheels, the Big Fat Dummy now is more adept at everything  outside of mud and snow. Even then, 29+ would get you a long ways down the trail.

I also like the color better, but marginally so. The "military green" of the original wasn't my cup of tea, and while white bikes look stunning, they are a complete pain in the you-know-what to keep looking good. Meh! Color is subjective, I get it. So I gave a subjective opinion. Still, this gets me more excted than the original spec, and that's saying something.

Not enough for me to want to replace my Big Dummy though. Sorry Surly!

Byron the "Bike Hugger" has a take on Interbike via Facebook.
Polishing The Excrement: 

You may have seen or heard that there was an Interbike show last week. The show that used to be the focal point for the North American bicycle market has now become something of a minor event which is hardly noticed these days.

I am by no means an expert on the trade show scene, but I was at a couple Interbikes in the 1990's and then every year from 2006 to 2013. I saw what I saw. I also was witness, as were all (or most of you older folks) to what the innergoogles has done to media. That has changed to something that would have been unrecognizable to a journalist 15 years ago.

Marketing has reacted and changed along with that, so now days, nothing is the same as it was in 2006. Then it was still a show that commanded attention. The only reason it held on so long to any level of importance was that the big brands stuck with Interbike until, one by one, they all started dropping out around 2008 or so. The combination of punches that instant, easy information dissemination brought, along with content marketing, have rendered Interbike irrelevant. Companies that once relied on the audience which attended in person and the audience which was waiting on media to report for them are now using other means to reach their customers. So, in that sense, Interbike is useless.

Even the original purpose of the trade show hasn't been viable for decades. That was writing up business. This is even more unreasonable to expect today in a climate of "just in time" inventory and consumer direct sales. So, all that was left for the show to promote was the "getting together of the tribe" aspect, which, again, is rendered pretty moot by social media now days. We pretty much already know everything everybody else is up to. Oh! Wait! There were seminars too. Bah! I can't think of anything more exciting than a seminar. Wow! Why didn't I go? Seminars....... gimme a break!

So, Interbike trumped up e-bikes to the hilt, and the show was full of that. But beyond a bicycle that you have to recharge, and has a motor installed on it, the fare I saw being hawked at Interbike wasn't very impressive. Yet, you will see nary a bad word about Interbike spoken by those who attended, or were invested into it. But c'mon folks! It ain't anything like it was. Not in terms of business, impact, or attention given to it. Nothing at all. You folks at Interbike know it, and so do we all out here. It's a "dead parrot".

Harvest Time:

My ride back on Wednesday showed how the farmers are just getting around to the harvest. Had it not rained an insane amount Tuesday, I've no doubt that the combines would be running 24-7 in the fields right now.

The soy beans are seemingly first up this year. I saw evidence of some fields being in mid-harvest and one completely "shaven" down to the ground. It won';t be long before the landscape looks desolate once again with the barren fields all brown with stubble.

Between now and when the fields are stripped of their bounty, the farmers will be busy wheeling components and equipment around. Big semi tractor-trailers and enormous grain wagons will be cruising the Iowa countryside again, just like every year. These folk are in a big hurry too, so if you are out riding, and if you come across the big ag equipment or trucks rolling up dust, step aside and let them go by. And for heaven's sake, ride on the right side up hills. Especially now. I'd hate to hear of anyone getting smoked by an 18 wheeler or fast moving pick'em up truck.

Okay, have a great weekend and get out and ride!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Barns For Jason: Fall 2018

In years past I had a bit of a contest with Jason Boucher of QBP/Salsa Cycles in regard to posting images of barns, which he happens to love. Barns that is.....

Anyway, Iowa vs Minnesota in terms of barns seems to be, and has been, a bit of an unfair advantage to me. Barns in Minnesota seem to be far more scarce than down here. So, stipulations as to how I could gather the images were made. I could only post pictures of barns seen while I was riding and I couldn't post the same barn twice. I have tried to stick to that since. But even then, I still wallop Jason in the barn pic numbers. So, eventually he bowed out. That said, I ended up loving doing this so much I keep posting new barns when I find them.

So, despite there being no "barn image contest" anymore, and whether or not Jason even sees these anymore, well.....none of that matters. I'm going to keep documenting barns as long as I ride gravel. Here are some from my ride yesterday......

This was about a quarter mile off my route.
And this one was practically in the road!
Sometimes they are tucked away in a wild growth of trees and underbrush.
I saw a couple unusual cinder block barns with rounded roofs.
Typical barn in my area.
The other cinder block barn I saw.
Barn quilts aren't super common in Black Hawk County. Note the apple tree and apples on the ground.
So, to illustrate how "unfair" an advantage I have over Jason, most of these barns on this post are all on the same road! Generally speaking, if I haven't been on a specific stretch of road, I can take it and pretty much be guaranteed I'll find at least a few new-to-me barns.

Hope ya'all enjoyed that!

Barns For Jason: Fall 2018

In years past I had a bit of a contest with Jason Boucher of QBP/Salsa Cycles in regard to posting images of barns, which he happens to love. Barns that is.....

Anyway, Iowa vs Minnesota in terms of barns seems to be, and has been, a bit of an unfair advantage to me. Barns in Minnesota seem to be far more scarce than down here. So, stipulations as to how I could gather the images were made. I could only post pictures of barns seen while I was riding and I couldn't post the same barn twice. I have tried to stick to that since. But even then, I still wallop Jason in the barn pic numbers. So, eventually he bowed out. That said, I ended up loving doing this so much I keep posting new barns when I find them.

So, despite there being no "barn image contest" anymore, and whether or not Jason even sees these anymore, well.....none of that matters. I'm going to keep documenting barns as long as I ride gravel. Here are some from my ride yesterday......

This was about a quarter mile off my route.
And this one was practically in the road!
Sometimes they are tucked away in a wild growth of trees and underbrush.
I saw a couple unusual cinder block barns with rounded roofs.
Typical barn in my area.
The other cinder block barn I saw.
Barn quilts aren't super common in Black Hawk County. Note the apple tree and apples on the ground.
So, to illustrate how "unfair" an advantage I have over Jason, most of these barns on this post are all on the same road! Generally speaking, if I haven't been on a specific stretch of road, I can take it and pretty much be guaranteed I'll find at least a few new-to-me barns.

Hope ya'all enjoyed that!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Single Speed Spitballin' Part 2

Conditions in March could be brutal. Rider- Mark Johnson.  Image credit Jon Duke
Okay, the idea of a race on gravel specifically for the single speed nut jobs out there seems to resonate. I got plenty of feedback from you, the readers, and from elsewhere as well. I didn't really think answering all the comments and questions in that forum would be the best, because I wanted to let the other folks out there who won't dig that deep to see what is being discussed here. So, let's dig in point by point:
  • Thoughts On Classes For The Event: Essentially, for the sake of simplicity and streamlining, I don't want to get into slicing and dicing every permutation of bicycle into their own classes. Single speed is.......single speed. It's very nature suggests simplicity. So, no distinctions between fixed or free here. Needless to say, anything geared is out of the question. (More on this below) Now, I would definitely do a Male and Female class, but beyond that, initially, I don't see age breakdowns........yet. If the thing took off, well.....maybe. If certain organizational things happen, quite possibly age groups would be instigated. Stay tuned......
  • Distance: A couple of you made reference to an "odd numbered distance" in miles. I don't understand that concept. Never heard of it. So, that's kind of lost on me. But besides my ignorance, I will say that the course will end up being whatever it will be. I would aim at 100 miles, but it could be that 97.7 miles works out and it could be that 102.5 miles is what it is. The roads used will determine the final mileage, not some predetermined, "odd number" goal. 
  • Geared Bike Use: As mentioned above, there is no room for a geared bike here. This is why I am being strict on this. First off, enforcing the "SS Only!" rule would require an inspection before and after the event of everyone bringing a hacked geared bike. I don't have time for such things. Also, it becomes a "he said-she said" accusation opportunity for those who feel slighted if they get their dander up about whether or not someone shifted, etc. I cannot referee every inch of a 100 mile course, so the easiest thing to do is to make all riders bring singled out bikes. If there are dingles, three speed hubs, locked out derailleurs, or whatever, don't bother thinking I'll allow it. I wouldn't. Singulators and other means of making bikes single speed in reality exist and are easily attainable by the average cyclist. This is a single speed event idea, and I'm not envisioning that everyone could actually make it work. I'm okay with that. If you feel strongly enough about participating, then you could get a single speed, borrow one, or convert something you have to one chainring-one cog only. Single speeding is about commitment.
  • Time Of Year? Weather Conditions: I'm not married to any particular time of the year for this event, but to my mind, here is how things stack up from an Iowa perspective- First, CIRREM is always late Feb/early March, The Gent's race is early April, the new Iowa Wind And Rock is late April, mid-May is Almanzo, and the DK200 is early June. (DK200 thrown in there due to my having to cover the All Things Gravel Expo for RidingGravel.com) Personally, my daughter graduates in May as well. So, we either do a late March date, or I wait until mid-June through mid-July. I'm okay with either. Weather would be VASTLY different between those two choices. March can still be very Winter-like, wet, rainy, cold, and WINDY. June/July would be HOT, HUMID, and WINDY. Pick yer poison..... Late Summer is out of the question for me due to GTDRI and Gravel Worlds. Then Fall comes and it gets to be cyclo cross season here and that cuts into possible participation numbers too much. More discussion is always welcomed here....
  • People Are Excited: Thank you! Some pointed out they were up for anything I produced, and that means a lot to me. I appreciate your feelings there. That said- this wouldn't be a Trans Iowa. It is a 100-ish mile event, (maybe), and this is just like the title says- spitballin'. Nothing says this would happen, but I get it..... Many would be behind this idea. Enough to say that I think it is a viable idea, so thank you for showing support here. 
 
One Gear To Rule Them All.....
  • Team Possibility: Maybe, if this thing gets going, we will have a Team category. 100 miles might be too much, but doing 50, 33, or 25, or however I decide to divvy it up might be appealing to some. This would fit the next item on my list, which is........
  • Social Side: My vision includes having an after-party/gathering. A hundy might take you 10-12 hours, but if we start good and early, that leaves you with some time to hang afterward. One of the reasons we gather is to be around each other, so this is important to me. A town with a decent venue is being researched in the event there is an event.......or something along those lines...,
Okay, so that's a lot to digest and again- I'm still mulling this over. Give me comments, thoughts, feelings you may have about this. I plan on updating things regarding this on a weekly basis until either an event is formally announced or the thing tanks before it is born.

Stay tuned.........

Single Speed Spitballin' Part 2

Conditions in March could be brutal. Rider- Mark Johnson.  Image credit Jon Duke
Okay, the idea of a race on gravel specifically for the single speed nut jobs out there seems to resonate. I got plenty of feedback from you, the readers, and from elsewhere as well. I didn't really think answering all the comments and questions in that forum would be the best, because I wanted to let the other folks out there who won't dig that deep to see what is being discussed here. So, let's dig in point by point:
  • Thoughts On Classes For The Event: Essentially, for the sake of simplicity and streamlining, I don't want to get into slicing and dicing every permutation of bicycle into their own classes. Single speed is.......single speed. It's very nature suggests simplicity. So, no distinctions between fixed or free here. Needless to say, anything geared is out of the question. (More on this below) Now, I would definitely do a Male and Female class, but beyond that, initially, I don't see age breakdowns........yet. If the thing took off, well.....maybe. If certain organizational things happen, quite possibly age groups would be instigated. Stay tuned......
  • Distance: A couple of you made reference to an "odd numbered distance" in miles. I don't understand that concept. Never heard of it. So, that's kind of lost on me. But besides my ignorance, I will say that the course will end up being whatever it will be. I would aim at 100 miles, but it could be that 97.7 miles works out and it could be that 102.5 miles is what it is. The roads used will determine the final mileage, not some predetermined, "odd number" goal. 
  • Geared Bike Use: As mentioned above, there is no room for a geared bike here. This is why I am being strict on this. First off, enforcing the "SS Only!" rule would require an inspection before and after the event of everyone bringing a hacked geared bike. I don't have time for such things. Also, it becomes a "he said-she said" accusation opportunity for those who feel slighted if they get their dander up about whether or not someone shifted, etc. I cannot referee every inch of a 100 mile course, so the easiest thing to do is to make all riders bring singled out bikes. If there are dingles, three speed hubs, locked out derailleurs, or whatever, don't bother thinking I'll allow it. I wouldn't. Singulators and other means of making bikes single speed in reality exist and are easily attainable by the average cyclist. This is a single speed event idea, and I'm not envisioning that everyone could actually make it work. I'm okay with that. If you feel strongly enough about participating, then you could get a single speed, borrow one, or convert something you have to one chainring-one cog only. Single speeding is about commitment.
  • Time Of Year? Weather Conditions: I'm not married to any particular time of the year for this event, but to my mind, here is how things stack up from an Iowa perspective- First, CIRREM is always late Feb/early March, The Gent's race is early April, the new Iowa Wind And Rock is late April, mid-May is Almanzo, and the DK200 is early June. (DK200 thrown in there due to my having to cover the All Things Gravel Expo for RidingGravel.com) Personally, my daughter graduates in May as well. So, we either do a late March date, or I wait until mid-June through mid-July. I'm okay with either. Weather would be VASTLY different between those two choices. March can still be very Winter-like, wet, rainy, cold, and WINDY. June/July would be HOT, HUMID, and WINDY. Pick yer poison..... Late Summer is out of the question for me due to GTDRI and Gravel Worlds. Then Fall comes and it gets to be cyclo cross season here and that cuts into possible participation numbers too much. More discussion is always welcomed here....
  • People Are Excited: Thank you! Some pointed out they were up for anything I produced, and that means a lot to me. I appreciate your feelings there. That said- this wouldn't be a Trans Iowa. It is a 100-ish mile event, (maybe), and this is just like the title says- spitballin'. Nothing says this would happen, but I get it..... Many would be behind this idea. Enough to say that I think it is a viable idea, so thank you for showing support here. 
 
One Gear To Rule Them All.....
  • Team Possibility: Maybe, if this thing gets going, we will have a Team category. 100 miles might be too much, but doing 50, 33, or 25, or however I decide to divvy it up might be appealing to some. This would fit the next item on my list, which is........
  • Social Side: My vision includes having an after-party/gathering. A hundy might take you 10-12 hours, but if we start good and early, that leaves you with some time to hang afterward. One of the reasons we gather is to be around each other, so this is important to me. A town with a decent venue is being researched in the event there is an event.......or something along those lines...,
Okay, so that's a lot to digest and again- I'm still mulling this over. Give me comments, thoughts, feelings you may have about this. I plan on updating things regarding this on a weekly basis until either an event is formally announced or the thing tanks before it is born.

Stay tuned.........

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Flooded Out

That shiny stuff down below? Water that doesn't belong there!
Wow! What a Fall we've started out having here. Water everywhere. Water in places we normally ride single track. Fall usually has this "golden time" for riding which is just awesome and I look forward to it every year. It looks like this time we're going to miss out.

Compare this to last year at this time when I was riding on the creek bed. Water levels were so low I was actually worried about a drought. The ground was rock hard, cracked, and everything was dusty or loose sand otherwise.

At least we could ride!

I suppose when they do the averages for this decade it will come out as, well........average. One year way over the line, the other way under it. Add together, divide by two, equals average. It won't tell the story though.

The bottom line is that I am terrible at math (just ask my old Trans Iowa recon buddy, J-Fry) and I am complaining about something that is, for sure, a first world problem. There are a lot bigger issues out there. I just am disappointed. That's all. I have miles of gravel to ride and if I were a pavement sort of guy, miles of that as well. Good, decent stuff. Nothing to sneeze at. So there is that to get to.

That said, it does affect business at the bike shops and it disappoints more folks than just myself. We've got a single track park about 12 miles from town that has been getting hit harder by traffic since that place is one of the only non-river bed single track systems around. The effects this has had are detrimental to the trails, which are seeing some erosion and breaking down due to the heavy traffic on the trails there of late. So, this flooding has been a real bummer.

With September on the way out the door and October coming on hard, we may be able to squeeze in some late fall activity. Of course, if snow holds off and the temperatures are moderate we may get November as a month to ride as well. So all is not lost. There is hope. That said, if we get a heavy rain anytime soon it won't take much to send the rivers and creeks back out of their banks. Let's hope that the rains hold off.

Flooded Out

That shiny stuff down below? Water that doesn't belong there!
Wow! What a Fall we've started out having here. Water everywhere. Water in places we normally ride single track. Fall usually has this "golden time" for riding which is just awesome and I look forward to it every year. It looks like this time we're going to miss out.

Compare this to last year at this time when I was riding on the creek bed. Water levels were so low I was actually worried about a drought. The ground was rock hard, cracked, and everything was dusty or loose sand otherwise.

At least we could ride!

I suppose when they do the averages for this decade it will come out as, well........average. One year way over the line, the other way under it. Add together, divide by two, equals average. It won't tell the story though.

The bottom line is that I am terrible at math (just ask my old Trans Iowa recon buddy, J-Fry) and I am complaining about something that is, for sure, a first world problem. There are a lot bigger issues out there. I just am disappointed. That's all. I have miles of gravel to ride and if I were a pavement sort of guy, miles of that as well. Good, decent stuff. Nothing to sneeze at. So there is that to get to.

That said, it does affect business at the bike shops and it disappoints more folks than just myself. We've got a single track park about 12 miles from town that has been getting hit harder by traffic since that place is one of the only non-river bed single track systems around. The effects this has had are detrimental to the trails, which are seeing some erosion and breaking down due to the heavy traffic on the trails there of late. So, this flooding has been a real bummer.

With September on the way out the door and October coming on hard, we may be able to squeeze in some late fall activity. Of course, if snow holds off and the temperatures are moderate we may get November as a month to ride as well. So all is not lost. There is hope. That said, if we get a heavy rain anytime soon it won't take much to send the rivers and creeks back out of their banks. Let's hope that the rains hold off.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Single Speed Spitballin'

So, when I quit Trans Iowa I said that I wasn't completely out of producing or dreaming up events. I knew I would still be doing the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, and maybe a Geezer Ride, but I also left the door open for thinking up other nonsense. Gravel based nonesense, mind you.

So it was that I was over at N.Y. Roll's house dropping off a wheel set and quaffing a PBR when, suddenly, I had an idea.

"Why hasn't anyone done anything single speed specific for gravel? Why shouldn't we have an Iowa Single Speed Gravel Championship?

Ideas can be dangerous. 

N.Y. Roll got a bit excited after his initial confusion about just what the heck it was I was spouting off about, but he was excited in the end. Ideas were bounced around. Grand ideas too. Hard to say that someone of my meager assets could pull it off, but then again, single speed hooligans never need much motivation to get out there and prove that they are never in the right gear. Or right mind, some would suggest, but that's another story.

So, besides some overall crazy idea, here are some ideas we were spit ballin' to share with ya'all.
  • Single speed only can enter, duh!
  • Course for a championship needs to be 100 miles, in my opinion. No other distances offered.
  • No support.
  • Course would be maybe marked. I still don't like GPS crap. Yes......you can call me a retrogrouch.
  • Might be cue sheets for nav...... 
  • Possibly a jersey up for grabs. Special. Single Speed specific and all. 
  • No classes other than Male and Female. 
  • Adult beverages might be involved.
  • Thinking late March....... That way ya got a jersey to sport all year. Plus the weather might suck. Which would be a bonus in my mind. Besides, single speeds are best when the weather is bad anyway.
  • Likely it would be in Central or North Central Iowa. 
Now, don't go planning anything just yet. This is just being put out as a feeler for reaction to this idea. Good, bad, or ugly, let me have it. I just figured there needs to be a Single Speed Championship in Iowa. Maybe that's just dumb. Who knows. You should let me know if you know that it is dumb. Then I would know. 

Otherwise this will just go into the scrap heap of ideas and never be done. That's all......... 

Single Speed Spitballin'

So, when I quit Trans Iowa I said that I wasn't completely out of producing or dreaming up events. I knew I would still be doing the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, and maybe a Geezer Ride, but I also left the door open for thinking up other nonsense. Gravel based nonesense, mind you.

So it was that I was over at N.Y. Roll's house dropping off a wheel set and quaffing a PBR when, suddenly, I had an idea.

"Why hasn't anyone done anything single speed specific for gravel? Why shouldn't we have an Iowa Single Speed Gravel Championship?

Ideas can be dangerous. 

N.Y. Roll got a bit excited after his initial confusion about just what the heck it was I was spouting off about, but he was excited in the end. Ideas were bounced around. Grand ideas too. Hard to say that someone of my meager assets could pull it off, but then again, single speed hooligans never need much motivation to get out there and prove that they are never in the right gear. Or right mind, some would suggest, but that's another story.

So, besides some overall crazy idea, here are some ideas we were spit ballin' to share with ya'all.
  • Single speed only can enter, duh!
  • Course for a championship needs to be 100 miles, in my opinion. No other distances offered.
  • No support.
  • Course would be maybe marked. I still don't like GPS crap. Yes......you can call me a retrogrouch.
  • Might be cue sheets for nav...... 
  • Possibly a jersey up for grabs. Special. Single Speed specific and all. 
  • No classes other than Male and Female. 
  • Adult beverages might be involved.
  • Thinking late March....... That way ya got a jersey to sport all year. Plus the weather might suck. Which would be a bonus in my mind. Besides, single speeds are best when the weather is bad anyway.
  • Likely it would be in Central or North Central Iowa. 
Now, don't go planning anything just yet. This is just being put out as a feeler for reaction to this idea. Good, bad, or ugly, let me have it. I just figured there needs to be a Single Speed Championship in Iowa. Maybe that's just dumb. Who knows. You should let me know if you know that it is dumb. Then I would know. 

Otherwise this will just go into the scrap heap of ideas and never be done. That's all......... 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Touring Series: Over The Border

A Guitar Ted Productions series

 Thanks for joining me again on another adventure in "The Touring Series". This tour was dubbed the "Race Against Death Tour". This tour occurred in August of 1995. The three participants, Ryan, Troy, and your's truly, left from Cedar Falls, Iowa to try and get to Winter Park, Colorado in two weeks. Here I am reproducing the tale as it was posted on the blog in 2009. I also will add new remarks and memories where appropriate at the end of each post. 

 Once again, there were no cell phones, internet, social media platforms, or digital cameras in use by we tourers in 1995. I will post images where I can, but this tour wasn't well documented in images, so there probably will be very few sprinkled throughout. A modern image will be used only where it depicts things I want to clarify, like where we were in that part of the tour via a map image, or the like.
 

The "Touring Series" will appear every Sunday until it ends. Look for past entries by scrolling back to a previous Sunday's post, or type in "Touring Series" in the search box to find more. 

After a brutal 83 miles on Day Two, the "Race Against Death Tour" riders depart Correctionville, Iowa to cross the border.....

___________________________________________________________________________
Wednesday, August 9th, Correctionville, Iowa: We awake to cloudy skies and warm, humid air. Getting packed up and ready to go doesn't take too long. I am informed that until I can show that I am recovered, Troy and Ryan will carry one of my front panniers each. We get settled in without much conversation and try to get back on track with the tour route.

Troy was getting a bit frustrated with the route and with the direction we were heading in, so he made a call to stop at Moville, Iowa to wash clothes and figure out some alternative route. Originally we were going to go slightly north to include Tim's hometown on the ride, but since he wasn't with us, it didn't make sense anymore. Troy suggested running straight into Sioux City on Highway 20, which was a four lane at this point with a wide paved shoulder. I wasn't too keen on it, but Ryan didn't think it would be too bad, so after the clothes were dry, we were off again on the road.

Of course, we didn't get in too much conversation on this busy, noisy road. Troy led at his usual fast pace up the long grades. This was actually a good route from the standpoint of the grade of this road versus the county roads, which would have been steeper and had more climbing.

Once we reached the outskirts of Sioux City, the intensity level went way up. Adrenaline caused about a five to ten mile an hour increase in our already fast speed. Shouts and responses were given as commands and suggestions were made in haste to avoid traffic and get us downtown where we hoped to find food. Once off the main highway, we were all breathless and needed a stop. We wandered a bit to come right by a Godfather's Pizza at about the noon hour. Troy used to work at a Godfather's and knew about the noon buffet that they had. It was cheap, we were right there, so we went in.

It was quite a sight, as we three grubby travelers were rubbing shoulders with businessmen and office girls on their lunch hours. Lots of weird sideways glances, but we took it all in stride. We figured on being a bit different, on sticking out, so it wasn't any big deal.

Upon leaving Sioux City, the intensity level shot back up for a bit. The road we took was a major highway across the Missouri. We were out of Iowa, but no time to take note of that right then. We had our hands full with getting through traffic, navigating, and trying to keep up maximum speed right after plowing through a buffet line.

We got across the river, off on a side street, and we were lost. Consulting the maps a bit, we decided we were in South Sioux City, and that we needed to resupply our grub at the next supermarket. So we opted to head up a major through way to see if we could find something. On the way, we had to stop for the passage of a rather long freight train. Troy was nonplussed. After the train went by, we got to a grocery store within a few blocks.

After resupply, I was getting mounted up and as I started rolling away, I noted a fine looking lass at the vending machines, so I impersonated Butthead, from the then popular "Beavis and Butthead Show", and spouted out, " Hey Baby! uhh....heh heh!" To which a flabbergasted Ryan responded with a burst of laughter. This started a theme for the rest of the trip: Comedic relief, which would rear it's head at the oddest of times.
____________________________________________________________________________

It was amazing that I could wake up a day after nearly having died from heat stroke and pedal as hard as we did through Sioux City. The stop in Moville at the laundry was probably helpful in that way, but we literally were riding fully loaded touring bikes like we weren't loaded up in a desperate move to avoid becoming fodder for a 18 wheeler's crushing weight. Not to mention the various speeding cars and smaller trucks.

The escape from the Sioux City area seemed nigh unto impossible, and that train, the grocery  store stop, and unsure route finding made things worse. We finally got out of there though, and the absurdity of our situation probably accounted for my outburst when I saw the pretty young lady. I didn't mention it in the original posting, but Troy was embarrassed by my remark, despite his thinking it was funny. This would continue all throughout the rest of the tour at random times- either Ryan or myself would make some off-hand commentary or impersonation which would help us to blow off steam and made the trip a lot easier to bear.

Next: Time Trial On A Touring Bike

The Touring Series: Over The Border

A Guitar Ted Productions series

 Thanks for joining me again on another adventure in "The Touring Series". This tour was dubbed the "Race Against Death Tour". This tour occurred in August of 1995. The three participants, Ryan, Troy, and your's truly, left from Cedar Falls, Iowa to try and get to Winter Park, Colorado in two weeks. Here I am reproducing the tale as it was posted on the blog in 2009. I also will add new remarks and memories where appropriate at the end of each post. 

 Once again, there were no cell phones, internet, social media platforms, or digital cameras in use by we tourers in 1995. I will post images where I can, but this tour wasn't well documented in images, so there probably will be very few sprinkled throughout. A modern image will be used only where it depicts things I want to clarify, like where we were in that part of the tour via a map image, or the like.
 

The "Touring Series" will appear every Sunday until it ends. Look for past entries by scrolling back to a previous Sunday's post, or type in "Touring Series" in the search box to find more. 

After a brutal 83 miles on Day Two, the "Race Against Death Tour" riders depart Correctionville, Iowa to cross the border.....

___________________________________________________________________________
Wednesday, August 9th, Correctionville, Iowa: We awake to cloudy skies and warm, humid air. Getting packed up and ready to go doesn't take too long. I am informed that until I can show that I am recovered, Troy and Ryan will carry one of my front panniers each. We get settled in without much conversation and try to get back on track with the tour route.

Troy was getting a bit frustrated with the route and with the direction we were heading in, so he made a call to stop at Moville, Iowa to wash clothes and figure out some alternative route. Originally we were going to go slightly north to include Tim's hometown on the ride, but since he wasn't with us, it didn't make sense anymore. Troy suggested running straight into Sioux City on Highway 20, which was a four lane at this point with a wide paved shoulder. I wasn't too keen on it, but Ryan didn't think it would be too bad, so after the clothes were dry, we were off again on the road.

Of course, we didn't get in too much conversation on this busy, noisy road. Troy led at his usual fast pace up the long grades. This was actually a good route from the standpoint of the grade of this road versus the county roads, which would have been steeper and had more climbing.

Once we reached the outskirts of Sioux City, the intensity level went way up. Adrenaline caused about a five to ten mile an hour increase in our already fast speed. Shouts and responses were given as commands and suggestions were made in haste to avoid traffic and get us downtown where we hoped to find food. Once off the main highway, we were all breathless and needed a stop. We wandered a bit to come right by a Godfather's Pizza at about the noon hour. Troy used to work at a Godfather's and knew about the noon buffet that they had. It was cheap, we were right there, so we went in.

It was quite a sight, as we three grubby travelers were rubbing shoulders with businessmen and office girls on their lunch hours. Lots of weird sideways glances, but we took it all in stride. We figured on being a bit different, on sticking out, so it wasn't any big deal.

Upon leaving Sioux City, the intensity level shot back up for a bit. The road we took was a major highway across the Missouri. We were out of Iowa, but no time to take note of that right then. We had our hands full with getting through traffic, navigating, and trying to keep up maximum speed right after plowing through a buffet line.

We got across the river, off on a side street, and we were lost. Consulting the maps a bit, we decided we were in South Sioux City, and that we needed to resupply our grub at the next supermarket. So we opted to head up a major through way to see if we could find something. On the way, we had to stop for the passage of a rather long freight train. Troy was nonplussed. After the train went by, we got to a grocery store within a few blocks.

After resupply, I was getting mounted up and as I started rolling away, I noted a fine looking lass at the vending machines, so I impersonated Butthead, from the then popular "Beavis and Butthead Show", and spouted out, " Hey Baby! uhh....heh heh!" To which a flabbergasted Ryan responded with a burst of laughter. This started a theme for the rest of the trip: Comedic relief, which would rear it's head at the oddest of times.
____________________________________________________________________________

It was amazing that I could wake up a day after nearly having died from heat stroke and pedal as hard as we did through Sioux City. The stop in Moville at the laundry was probably helpful in that way, but we literally were riding fully loaded touring bikes like we weren't loaded up in a desperate move to avoid becoming fodder for a 18 wheeler's crushing weight. Not to mention the various speeding cars and smaller trucks.

The escape from the Sioux City area seemed nigh unto impossible, and that train, the grocery  store stop, and unsure route finding made things worse. We finally got out of there though, and the absurdity of our situation probably accounted for my outburst when I saw the pretty young lady. I didn't mention it in the original posting, but Troy was embarrassed by my remark, despite his thinking it was funny. This would continue all throughout the rest of the tour at random times- either Ryan or myself would make some off-hand commentary or impersonation which would help us to blow off steam and made the trip a lot easier to bear.

Next: Time Trial On A Touring Bike

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Minus Ten Review - 38

Pics from ten years ago were sucked into a digital black hole, so you get a pic of an owl in a tree instead.
Ten years ago on the blog, thanks to the mismanagement of Tim Grahl mentioned in my last "Minus Ten Review", all my images are kaput. Nothing I posted image-wise survived from that time ten years ago this week. Bah! It is what it is......

However; the words did survive since they weren't on that server Mr. Grahl neglected to pay for the use of. So, let's see what I was yakking about..... Hmm.... Trans Iowa v5, of course, was a topic being discussed for sure. In my opinion, v5 was the version where Trans Iowa finally matured into its final form, if you will. There weren't any major changes, outside of moving to Grinnell, after this one. Here's a succinct description of the former event I wrote ten years ago:

"Your first set of cue sheets will guide you about the first 45 miles or so where you will stop at a check point and pick up a second set of cue sheets that will guide you on to the next checkpoint, and so on. Expect there to be about three checkpoints total. The course length will be in the 320-350 mile neighborhood. You will be required to self navigate, and self support your way on Iowa's gravel roads in a time limit of around 34 hours, give or take an hour or two. (Totals will be set at a later date) On top of that, you will have a time limit to reach each checkpoint before the checkpoint closes. If a checkpoint closes before you reach it, your event is over."

Again, my only regret about any of the above is that we didn't hold on to the cues until the moments before the race started. I really wish we'd have thought of that before the final T.I. It would have made such a big difference in the way the event went and the outcomes would have been totally different. Otherwise, this was spot on.

Another topic which came up, and is relevant to the blog today, was my announcement on September 15th, 2008, that I would be writing up my touring experiences as a series dubbed "Touring Tuesdays". I was inspired by Jason Boucher's recounting of a tour he rode which sparked memories of my own adventures. You can see re-postings every Sunday, for a while yet, concerning my second self-supported, fully loaded bicycle tour dubbed "The Race Against Death Tour". The series has been in re-post mode for a while, so you can search it by using the title, "The Touring Series" in the search box on the upper left of the header area here. I may have to make a separate page with links to all the entries at some point if there is enough interest in that.

Minus Ten Review - 38

Pics from ten years ago were sucked into a digital black hole, so you get a pic of an owl in a tree instead.
Ten years ago on the blog, thanks to the mismanagement of Tim Grahl mentioned in my last "Minus Ten Review", all my images are kaput. Nothing I posted image-wise survived from that time ten years ago this week. Bah! It is what it is......

However; the words did survive since they weren't on that server Mr. Grahl neglected to pay for the use of. So, let's see what I was yakking about..... Hmm.... Trans Iowa v5, of course, was a topic being discussed for sure. In my opinion, v5 was the version where Trans Iowa finally matured into its final form, if you will. There weren't any major changes, outside of moving to Grinnell, after this one. Here's a succinct description of the former event I wrote ten years ago:

"Your first set of cue sheets will guide you about the first 45 miles or so where you will stop at a check point and pick up a second set of cue sheets that will guide you on to the next checkpoint, and so on. Expect there to be about three checkpoints total. The course length will be in the 320-350 mile neighborhood. You will be required to self navigate, and self support your way on Iowa's gravel roads in a time limit of around 34 hours, give or take an hour or two. (Totals will be set at a later date) On top of that, you will have a time limit to reach each checkpoint before the checkpoint closes. If a checkpoint closes before you reach it, your event is over."

Again, my only regret about any of the above is that we didn't hold on to the cues until the moments before the race started. I really wish we'd have thought of that before the final T.I. It would have made such a big difference in the way the event went and the outcomes would have been totally different. Otherwise, this was spot on.

Another topic which came up, and is relevant to the blog today, was my announcement on September 15th, 2008, that I would be writing up my touring experiences as a series dubbed "Touring Tuesdays". I was inspired by Jason Boucher's recounting of a tour he rode which sparked memories of my own adventures. You can see re-postings every Sunday, for a while yet, concerning my second self-supported, fully loaded bicycle tour dubbed "The Race Against Death Tour". The series has been in re-post mode for a while, so you can search it by using the title, "The Touring Series" in the search box on the upper left of the header area here. I may have to make a separate page with links to all the entries at some point if there is enough interest in that.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Friday News And Views

Remember when white was a component color choice? What the heck were we thinking?! From I-bike '11
Interbike 2018 Closes: 

Well folks, "that time of year" is over. Interbike, the industry trade show, ended, and I didn't go......again.  I used to go every year for the defunct "Twenty Nine Inches" site, but I stopped going in 2014 and haven't been back since. Now when this time of year comes around I start to think of the things I liked and disliked about going to the show.

Number one on the list of dislikes has to be getting in an airplane. I get it.......you have to fly to make travel make sense, but I just dislike airplanes and everything about the process of flying. Being canned into a small space with no freedom (relatively) to move makes me think that this must be what it is like to be a dog in a kennel. That lasts for maybe 3.5 to four hours and then you have all the shuffle, hustle, and bustle of getting into and out of airports. That would have been worse, for me, this year, as Interbike went to Reno, Nevada, which would have added even more complexity and airport transfers to a flight itinerary for me.

I didn't like being away from my family either. That's never fun, and when I went to Interbike all those years it was in Las Vegas, which kind of amplified those feelings of missing my family even more. The whole "Las Vegas experience" was a negative one for me. Sorry if you live there and all, but I just wasn't into it. The only saving grace I could find was Great Buns Bakery on Flamingo. Check it out if you ever find yourself out that way.

Pluses were seeing bicycles, riding bicycles, meeting old friends, acquaintances, and meeting new folks. A few nights out were notable...... That's about all. I could do without it since the negatives were outweighing the positives, which honestly, I could get elsewhere without all the hassles of air travel. Add in that the show itself was contracting at an alarming rate and the appeal was just not there anymore.

I hear this year's show was tiny compared to ten years ago. If that is true, boy! I am really glad I didn't make the effort to go again.

 Enjoying The Sawyer:

I wrote about my Sawyer a while back, wondering if I shouldn't just get rid of the thing because I rarely ride it anymore. Then I got it out and started riding it again. I'll be danged if I didn't end up really liking it........again. 

This wasn't ever designed to be a 27.5+ wheeled bike, but this bike is so much better as a B+ rig, I cannot imagine going back to 29"er wheels on it. I have 27.5 X 2.8 WTB Trailblazers on it right now, but I was curious. Would the full 3.0 fit? Well, I found out.

At work there is a take-off set of 27.5 X 3.0 WTB Ranger tires on WTB Scraper rims from a Fargo we switched out wheels on. I rode the Sawyer in and did a little test fitting. Amazingly, even with the wide Scraper rims, the 3.0 tires cleared. Not with any appreciable mud clearances, but they cleared. If I could run the sliding drops all the way back, I'd be better, but the gates Carbon Drive belt won't allow for that. I'd likely have to commit to a 1X drivetrain to get that right, and that would make more sense anyway.

The downside is that I would have to go with the original rigid fork, or buy a brand new fork from Fox, since they do just about anything in straight steer tubed forks if you want it. Or get some other brand that isn't quite as good. The straight 1 1/8th head tube really keeps my choices limited. One cool idea I had was that I could use my idle Ti Mukluk uni-crown steel fork and get a wheel built up for that using a 27.5" hoop. I have the hub, and the fork has Three Pack bosses on it, so that would make for a cool set up with fat 27.5" rubber.

Then again, I could just get a new set of 2.8" tires and ride this as is. Cheaper and less fuss. But it is fun to consider possibilities and since this bike is so fun and has versatility, I figured I better keep it around. Not to mention its cool frame, which I have waxed poetic about here before. That said, I found a story about how Merlin, freshly sold to Dean Bicycles, is going to make the Newsboy again. That was a titanium framed 26"er cruiser bike from the 90's that was a cult classic. This new one will be a 29"er, but that's not why I was intrigued by the story.

The story told of how the cantilever stays took a week to bend and fabricate. I've said that the Sawyer's frame had to have been a money loser for Trek, because of the complexity of the Sawyer's frame tubing. The bends in two planes, and all the details in it. Well, that Merlin story confirmed this to my mind. Consider that if you want one of the eight frames Merlin is going to make you have to pony up $5,000.00. That's not with a fork either! Makes me think that the Sawyer should have been a really expensive frame. Not 5G, but in steel, it would be less. I bet it would cost 2G plus to have a person make you a copy today.

I think I'll hang onto this ol' bike.

Speaking of bikes I think I'll just hold on to......
Dreaming Of Fat Bike Rides:

I'll tell ya what..... We've had a LOT of rain in September here and it has just about killed my riding opportunities for now and the foreseeable future. Especially for off road. Gravel travel will bounce right back, but anything else is going to be tough sledding for a while.

With the prospects for a shortened Fall mtb season upon us, I am looking more and more at my fat bikes for some off road salvation. Trails will likely be a mess once things do dry out around here, so fat biking makes a lot of sense when you've got debris, muddy patches, and softer trails anyway.

I'm happy and satisfied that I have that ol' Blackborow DS sitting there in the shadows waiting to roll out when the time comes. I must say that I was a little apprehensive about getting a fat bike with only two gears. But I haven't had any issues riding it around these parts this way. So, it remains a dinglespeed. In fact, the drive train hasn't been touched besides having the occasional cleaning and lubrication done to it. Low maintenance and durable.

Anyway, it should be good to go here after a brief inspection and clean up from last Winter's abuse. While I have been really happy with this bike, it has been on my mind a time or two to sell it. I never went much beyond the occasional thinking stages though. The bike is just too good, and alternatives available just cannot measure up. Not even the new Blackborow long tail, which has been touted to me as something I should get by trusted friends. I just don't see it being better for me and my situation. Just storing a bigger fat bike, for instance, would cause me a LOT of trouble. So, yeah. I am sticking with the ol' dinglespeed, thank you very much!

That's all for this week. Have a great weekend and get out to ride if you can!