Sunday, July 26, 2009

Yet Another Decent Weekend

Just mashing around the Muir trails again. There were some wet spots out there, so I didn't take any more time off. In fact, I was feeling pretty slow. Though in the end, my time wasn't really that slow.

After one lap, I ran into Coop and Anne. Anne let me lead out my second lap and never had to climb over me. It was cool to have some like-speeded company. Coop went blowing by at some point.

The win for the day. I cleared the hill just after mile 9. Now I just have a few spots to get right/regular and I'm on the the blue loop clean. Sounds easier than it might be for a bit.

Catch you out there.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alienating Half My Base

Over the past weekend, I was signed up for the Spirit of Racine Half. I had Friday off to get all my race gear ready. I have done the race every year it has been there, starting back in 2002.

I bagged it. The official reason was my heel had me not running for the last few months. I went trail riding Friday, and again Sunday. I had an absolute blast. I'm getting (oh so slightly) faster. It was totally worth bagging the race. I'm off the hook and never have to go back unless I want to.

On the other side, I saw some folks in the results that I would have liked to have seen, and encouraged.

On to Chequamegon!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

This last weekend was the Levis Trow WEMS race. It included the Wisconsin Single Speed State Championship race. Here are some random thoughts with respect to my experience there. No excuses, just observations.

It was only the third trail bound excursion I've had on my new 29er Singular Swift. Yep, love the bike.

Two grueling 12+ mile loops. It was a beautiful, if not increasingly warm day. I rode up with a good group and met a few other regulars responsible for me even attempting the race. I recall last year TmonT saying "you need to check this place out, but might want to get your chops up first". Yet this year there was no mention of chops. So, I went. (probably should have had more chops).

The lead out and the beginning single track was delightful. I was even equipped to handle this part with my beginner riding.

Ascending the bluffs was something else. I had a gear that could do it in some spots, and legs that couldn't in others.

Occasionally, my brain talked me out of a few semi difficult spots. I've assured myself that any one of these spots on it's own would be very doable, but stacked up into this 25 miles of "what did I get myself into?" went slightly beyond my reach.

I rode planks, bridges, rocks, roots, switchbacks, ascents, descents and any number of other fun little obstacles. I had some minor hiccups, to be expected. Thankfully, nothing left me laying there for the ticks to devour me.

Somewhere past 1.5 laps, I went full-on-toast mode. Upon reflection, I was perhaps dehydrated in addition to being cooked. I pushed in spots, cursing my inability to pedal no more. I stopped at the last aid station, grabbing a few orange slices for the coast into the finish.

Not far from the end, I heard "here comes the elusive one". Then an announcer that I know not where his all-day-enthusiasm comes from called me in as the last SS champs racer of the day. I'm sure they were all really happy they didn't have to come out and save me somewhere on the trail!

I'm looking forward to taking my new experience back to the Muir trails.

Last, and most important.. It's good to finish with a smile.

Big thanks to Velogrrl for the photo.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Or it didn't happen.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

First Ride on the Singular Swift 29er

While it's fresh. This morning I hit the South Kettles on my new rigid, steel framed, Hayes Stroker, Sun Ringle disc-o-flea, Sugino crank, Phil ebb, 19T endless kickass cog, Singular Swift via the Peddler of Prairie himself. Here, in no particular order, are my thoughts.

It was a beautiful day. I abstained from any brewed beverages last night for the full, early rise effect of getting more riding in. I was going to go for a 5am alarm, but once we were home and crashed it was later than I thought. So, 5:30am would have to do. Jump in the rain-box, grabbed my stuff, made some espresso, and one trip back in for my forgotten ipod, and I was out the door minutes past 6am.

At Muir and ready to ride about 7:30, I tweaked things and just made sure it was all ready to go. Tightened up the pedals. Realigned the front brake, fixing the UFO sound. And one red loop just for warm-up and grins.

The momentum of the ride is incredible. The bike wants to go much faster than me. It doesn't lose speed, save when I am braking or heading up a hill. When I'm "just peddling along" I feel like I'm going faster and much easier than I was on my old bike. (insert tidbit about 15 years of improvements in bike geometry advances).

It took me a bit just to get used to how it felt over bumps. I'm accustomed to a squishy old front suspension. I'm much more upright on the swift and could lean in and bend my elbows. Though, I felt I had to duck quite a bit more.

The good and bad of uphills. The momentum factor had me speeding up some hills and struggling on others. It seemed much more difficult for me to buckle down and hurk the rest of the way up the hill once it was too steep. This could just be a matter of finding the right spot to be in when I am climbing. Also, I'll guess the wider bars on my list will help the up hills.

Dare I say, everywhere else was a win/win. I won't talk times because mine are pretty slow. But, my first loop was a medium effort with a few short stops for a sip of water (not long enough to let the mosquitoes gather). It was at least 5 minutes faster than my last loop on my old bike, where I was really pushing it. I went for loop 2 and wore out at the end. I did well the front half, but wore out on the back half.

The big win, I was grinning most of the time. Which is what counts.

If I didn't mention it before, a big thanks / shout out go to the folks that helped me put this together (and listened to my whining waiting for it).


And of course my wife.

Now I just gotta get this thing out to a ride/race or two before the big Fat Tire. I'll have to chat with my council about Levis.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Riding in the Rain

This morning I took off for my regular 20 miler on the fixed gear. I've been doing this the last couple days and most of last week. It was just below 60 degrees and there was a slight drizzle. This was somewhat cooler than it has been for a few weeks on my rides.

I had all sorts of wonderful ideas of how to make a great post about this. My rush to get home and off to work peels those from me never to be heard again. Here's what's left.

There is such a cleansing effect to riding in the rain. I won't say it was tough to go. It wasn't. Rain jacket or not, I knew I would be soaked by ride's end.

I started easy, with my turnaround point in mind.

Heading north past Silver Spring, the runners I see remind me to wish Robin a "Happy Birthday". Still the rain comes down.

As my Fat Cyclist arm warmers soak to the core, I am reminded "Win Susan". Still the rain comes down.

Once I headed back, I picked it up to medium pace with a few pushes up hills to keep the momentum going. I have to make faster cadence easy on one gear this year. The rain cools me and I am steady.

Returning home, I had time to ditch the soaked clothes and hit the shower before the rest of the family was up.

No, this was nowhere near the post I had in mind this morning.

In spite of a poor night's sleep, it was a good ride today. I highly recommend a regular rain ride.