Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's been a long time...

A view of me riding away from someone. Not a view many get to see as this is usually the view I have of others.

I've been a lazy ass lately with the blog. Not that I don't have anything to say, but don't really have the time or desire to write it down. Yet, here we are, aren't we? Plus, I've got a lot of stuff going on. So, I'll detail some of it here.

First and foremost, there is going to be yet another addition to the family. First, I got a new CX bike. I don't remember if I posted anything about this or not. I did a half-assed search of my posts and didn't see anything about it, so I'll talk about that here. I know I did mention that I killed my Kona Major Jake. Making a long story short, I sent my frame in and found out it wasn't covered by warranty anymore (stupid 5 year warranty). They did offer to replace it with a "crash replacement", with a new Major Jake frame costing $550. YIKES! I told Tim at Acme Bicycles that I didn't really need a Major Jake, as a NEW one is way nicer than the 9 year old one I was riding. I told him that if he could get me just a Jake the Snake version, I'd take it and it would be every bit as good as my frame.

Well, I got a call from Tim saying they sent a whole bike instead of a frame and I could have it for $600. DONE! So, here is new bike addition #1:

Nice ride for $600, plus I was needing new shifters and derailleur, so I took care of a few birds with that stone.

So, now on to the next addition. I had a 2008 Kawasaki KLR 650 that I didn't ride. I bought it when I lived in Colorado. I loved that motorcycle, but in the last year, it was gathering a LOT of dust. Since a lot of my free time was filled with riding my bike trying to whip my sorry, fat ass back into some semblance of shape, the last thing I was about to do was take off on my motorcycle and be away from the family even more. So after discussion with my wife and son, we decided to sell it. After one jack-wagon fucked me on eBay with it, I sold it locally. And part of my sale was going to go to a NEW 29'er mountain bike! So, after a quick call to Alvin at Back Country Bikes in Sheridan, WY (he's my supplier) and I ordered a Kona King Kahuna.

Well, that didn't pan out like I wanted. The Konas weren't gonna be available for a while and part of why I was getting a new steed was for the 24 Hours of Moab (which we're down to 21 days 5 hours away). I then switched it to a Specialized Rumphumper Comp 29'er. Man, I didn't want to ride a Specialized (almost everyone I ride with rides a Specialized). I didn't want to join "Team Specialized", but it was available, it was similarly spec'd as the Kona and it was about $700 less than the Kona. So, I pulled the trigger on it. And now it is here. Well, it's actually in Sheridan and I'm going to get it next week.

Finally, I raced the tandem (Barney as my son likes to call it, 'cause it's big and purple. Which is weird, since he never did like Barney, thank GOD!) with my son last week. It was a low-key affair at Victoria Lake. I haven't been to Victoria Lake since the infamous bike tossing incident wrecked bike racing in the Black Hills for the last 13 years. It was fun to do a grassroots event like that. We initially signed up for the "expert" class, going 2 loops, but after the first one, the boy said he was done, so we rode on in. He had fun, as did I. Now that the first one is under the belt, he might be ready for another one.

Well, that should be enough barf for one week, well actually 11 days. There's been some other shit that's transpired, like a couple of REALLY fun rides, but nothing worth blabbing about. Getting ready for our impending trip to Utah, looking forward to camping and hanging out with friends, and flogging my ass for one last time on the bike this year. Hopefully, the fall riding season will be long this year and there will be a lot of rides, but no more flogging after Moab. And, I'll be doing the flogging on a new bike!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dakota Five-O Report.

Another Dakota Five-O is in the books. I'll start this whole thing out by saying I am NOT making any excuses, but just stating facts. Facts that just happened to work against me for about 38 of the 50'ish miles that the race covers.

I felt prepared and ready to go when the start of the race went down. T'aint sufficiently lubed? Check. Nipples covered with New-Skin to prevent chaffing? Check. Bike working well? FUCK NO, but we'll talk about that later. The group went out faster than hell as usual, but it was no matter. The first 4 or so miles take off on a paved road/gravel road climb, so it gives the peloton (of approximately 550 people this year) a chance to thin out a bit before hitting the first stretch of singletrack. I was feeling pretty good when we hit Tinton Trail, even though it was grid lock once we got onto the trail itself. Funneling that many people onto a 12" wide dirt ribbon didn't work too well at first.

Anyhow, once on that singletrack, the group spread out enough that the bottlenecks quit after a mile or so. We rolled along nicely to the first aid station at Big Hill (not the first-aid station, but the first of many aid stations). At Big Hill, I took a Clif Shot Block from my AWESOME support crew of my wife and son, and rolled off. A quick, short down hill section, then a fairly tough, but short climb up through a beautiful aspen grove were next on the menu which is where things went all wonky for me. The climb was really tough. My heartrate went through the roof, my legs felt heavy, the pedals were hard to push and I couldn't figure out why. I felt good up 'til that point. I kept pushing on. Down the next descent things were good, but then there was a big ol' climb, called Cardiac Climb I and II. Same shit for me on those climbs. I thought there was something drastically wrong with me. It was really an emotional time. It's kinda funny how your mind works when shit has gone all completely wrong in a brutal race (or any tough situation like this). I personally alternate between thinking I can make it to wondering where my life went wrong. Maybe it was when I was a little kid...maybe I did something wrong and this is retribution. Shit, I just need to make it to the next aid station and I can assess what the hell is wrong.
The 13 or so miles from station 1 to station 2 felt REALLY long to me, but I finally made it. When I got there I told my wife that there was something very, VERY wrong with me, which at this point I just thought I was being a fucking wimp, not realizing that there were strange things afoot at the Circle K. Again, I took on some food and took off. I forced myself up the trail about 200 yards or so and decided that I couldn't continue on like this so I turned around to go back to my wife and quit.

In hindsight, thankfully, my wife was being the ultra-efficient-being that she is, when I got there, she had already left, going to the last aid station. "Son-of-a-bitch" I said out loud. "What's wrong?" says a lady, sitting in her convertible with the top down that I didn't see. "Nothing..." I say as I get back on my bike. I realize that I'll need to ride to the area called Ballpark if I'm going to get back to town. So once again I leave this second aid station.

Part way around Old Baldy I discover that there is something wrong with my freehub. I cannot pedal backwards, or at least when I do, the chain goes all kiddy-whomp-assed. Well, THAT must be my problem. I was in WAY better shape than last year, way more prepared for the day and I at least felt better that it wasn't necessarily me. Keep forging on and I can make a decision of where I'm at once I get to the last aid station.

I get there and show my wife what is going on. She asks if I want to quit. Yes. No. I don't fucking know. Yes, I want to quit because this has been unbelievably hard. No, because (wait a minute, let me wrap myself in the American flag and stand on the podium) I am not a quitter. I don't quit stuff. It isn't in my character. I am already sore and tired. I don't want to add being a quitter to this list. Sore, tired, quitter. Pick two...and I already had sore and tired under my belt. One last (maybe the worst) shitty climb left, a sweet stretch of singletrack, a gradual fire road climb and the screaming downhill left to go to town (all about 15 miles). Fuck it. I'm gonna finish this damn race if it kills me, and it surely could today.

I make it up through the climb, past Hobo Camp (where they were serving bacon sandwiches and PBR on tap) which isn't really an aid station as much as it is a party station. Down the DakoTA Ridge trail, up Johnson Fire Road, and finally to Tinton Road. I passed a couple of people that passed me on the last little climb, and let 'er rip. I get on Tinton Trail and am absolutely flying! I pass two guys like they had broken freehubs (I couldn't resist) and am completely railing the trail. This is the best I've felt the whole race. On one of the little climbs on this descent, I hear a voice behind me say, "Holy SHIT. You're killing this trail. Are you from here?" "No" I respond. "I used to live here when this trail was kind of a secret trail, but I haven't ridden it since last year." He then follows up with "When you passed us, I saw the roost you were throwing up and I thought I needed to grab your wheel. This is unreal."

Well, needless to say, I made it through the finish line. Way slower than I wanted, but finished none the less. I got my bike put away, I got cleaned up, ate some food, drank some beer and then had fun socializing with my friends and family (and about 1000 others crammed into the park). There was a kid's race that went down and we watched kids from our families tear it up. When I was watching the kids go round and round, I was looking around and knowing no matter how slow or fast a person that raced completed their ride today, we all suffered out there. Some maybe a bit more than others, but it was tough for everyone. Perry and crew put on a stellar event and I'm looking forward to next year's race.

No work on Monday because of the holiday meant clean-up day from the race. Got the truck all cleaned out and the gear all washed and put away. I was avoiding my bike 'cause I didn't really want to know what was wrong. I pulled the rear wheel off to discover that the lock ring that holds the cassette on had backed itself out a little bit. Enough to drag on the two bolts that hold the replaceable derailleur hanger on. Enough drag to wear a goddamn groove into the lock ring! (You can see the groove arcing around the top of the lock ring in the picture.) I wore a groove into a piece of hardened steel. It was like riding with a brake on for about 38 or so miles. Wow. Now I vacillate between being happy with how I finished with that dragging and being pissed at myself for not having my bike dialed in.

Right now as I type, I am thinking I am happy that I finished and it was good training for our next event. 31 days to go until Teamfubar takes on THE 24 HOURS OF MOAB! I can't wait. I don't know how I'll do but I will guarantee my lock ring will be tight.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why do I do the things I do?

Short post. 4:35 am. Need to leave in just about an hour. And yet, here I sit, PROcrastinating, typing this bullshit onto virtual paper for no one except a small handful of people to read. I don't understand how my brain is wired and works.

Anyhoo, went to Speardog last night for the registration. Took 1 1/2 hours to get my registration packet. I lined up at 5:00 and got it at 6:30. Registration started at 3:00. 550 racers. I was number 281. You do the math. That was going to be one long assed night for Perry's wife and friends manning that table, yet they were in good spirits and taking care of business. I hope no one was hating on 'em too much. I realize that 90 minutes in line was a long time, but you know they'll do something to change it for next year. Regardless, it was unreal to see an actual population percentage increase (2-3%) in the town and having the majority of them on bikes. Fuck Sturgis, the real V-Twin power is coming from the legs of the 550 in the Five-O!

Good grub and friends at JT's last night after the registration. JT put on a nice gig for everyone. It was cool to get together with friends, old and new, break bread and know we're all gonna be in a world of pain in 12 hours (at least from last night). From the fastest guys to the slowest ones, we're all gonna hurt just the same.

All right, I gotta finish getting ready for the day. I got most of my stuff ready last night, slept like shit, tossing and turning all night, now I can casually get ready to leave. Good stuff! Look for a full on, more fluid and less disjointed (than this) report in the next day or two.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Why am I nervous???

Well, school has started and it feels a little bit like summer never happened. We're right back into our normal school morning routines, after school routines, and trying to cram some riding into the day/week. And, as I've alluded to previously, the Dakota Five-O is coming up this weekend, having us try to squeeze a bit more summer into our lives.
Which leads me to the point of this whole post. I am FUCKING nervous about a stupid assed race! What the hell? I don't get nervous about stuff, especially races, yet here I am, feeling all tense and stressed out about it this year.

I don't know why. Maybe I'm putting pressure on myself about it (I do have a personal goal for the race), maybe because I've been more "serious" about riding this year than ever before. I have no idea, but even as I type this, I feel the butterflies cruising around in my ample gut.

Well, I'll keep it short and sweet today, but come back with a full-on Five-O report on Monday. Just know that I have about 48 hours of stress ahead of me. then I can start worrying about the 24 Hours of Moab.