Friday, May 28, 2010

Track Bikes and Bummin' Rides

Say hello to the Tim Machine, my new track bike that's allllmmmoooosst put together. All that's left are the wheels to be built.


The grips remind me of fishing lures. Am I right or am I right?

Fishing Lure Style Grips

Track bikes aside, I wanted to put out the request for a ride up to Stump Farm next weekend. I'd like to bum a ride, but I could drive, too. Just don't want to drive up all by my lonesome! So if you're headed up from Milwaukee and want to make something happen, let me know!


For whatever reason, packaging is one of my favorite (graphic design) things to do. I don't know what it is in general, but for this project I really liked updating the card, making the whole thing look more current. It was a simple, quick project that felt pretty good.

Old one here:

New one here:

Monday, May 24, 2010


Pizza on the grill in the alley.

Pizza on the Grill

Pizza Time

Alley Time

And tonight, getting ice cream with some attractive young professionals on a warm summer night.

Babe's Ice Cream

12hrs at Greenbush

I've decided that there's something about racing together (or opposite each other) that make you look more alike.

1st Place Duo!

Cale and I did our first twelve hour of the year up at Northern Kettles this past weekend. It was a pretty quiet race because of Chequamegon (can you believe I spelled that right on the first try!), so it was a weird dynamic all day. It started out warm and oh so moist, and stayed pretty humid throughout.

Start - Cale

Nothing seemed to dry. Up until the 6 and 3 hour races, we didn't have any teammates around (due in large part to Velocity) and my approx 38 minute rests were spent in relative silence at the tent. I chatted when I lined up to wait for Cale, but getting to take a break from that the rest of the time was kind of nice.

It had rained the day before, so the trails were wet in the morning. As the day wore on, they dried out and were better in some parts, but mysteriously worse in other places. Some sections had mud/dirt like peanut butter. Orrr velcro. It didn't stick to the tires, but it felt like a flat. The smooth, round rocks never dried out and it was slippery going in some corners and hills. I ran tubeless Race Kings (2.2") with around 21 or 22 psi, which worked out about as well as it could, I think. The tread did well with the dirt and mud, and the low pressure let me slide among the rocks instead of bouncing over them.

While I was out on the trails, I cooked up an extra special analogy. In the beginning, I rode like a pack of hungry ermine, hungry for miles. My pace was quick, but after my first lap I relaxed a little bit, though maintaining the speed. Then, Cale figured out we were in second place. After that, I rode like a pack of ravenous ermine, intensity ramping up as we cut the gap on first down. I rode a double lap as the short breaks between laps only served to make me stiff and cool. By the last lap, I was riding like the last remaining ermine of the pack, starving to death, feeble with hunger and mewling pathetically.

To steal a line from Coach McGuirk; Who didn't love that analogy?

The only way in which that stellar analogy doesn't work is that we did eclipse first place in the early afternoon and managed to hold them off.

Toward the end of the day at 6:00, I was waiting for Cale to come in, relishing the fact that I would be heading out on my last lap. When Cale came in, just before I headed out, he asked if I could do another lap after this one. Thinking that he was asking me to do a double at the end of the day, I grumpily conceded and headed out. I took it easy and just rode, knowing I'd be a few minutes slower but conserving for a possible second lap if Cale couldn't make it. Thankfully, when I completed my lap Cale was waiting to go. What with the day's riding, Cale had miscalculated- he thought I would have time to do another lap after his. I had thought the same thing, before recalculating. It's clinically proven that 12 hr races adversely affect math skills.

At the end of the day, we had done 17 laps, which put us second out of all the teams, right behind a four person team of guys! I was surprised and pleased. We usually do an even number of laps, but Cale had started and happened to end it. I did eight laps of seven miles each with 500 ft of climbing each lap. Now that I'm no longer fatigued, I can tell you that's 56 miles and 3,000 ft of climbing for the day. Not too bad.

Next up is the rescheduled Stump Farm, which I'll be doing solo as a 100 miler. I'm not sure how that'll shake out. Can I set a steady enough pace to keep going all day? Will that steady pace be fast enough to finish the 100 miles within the 12 hours? Only time will tell!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Working for the Weekend

I feel like I've got to account for my days here :)

Sunday I went to learn some sports massage techniques and borrow some books from an old friend. You all can start sucking up now, so when I've got it down I might remember you favorably. Since I was already on the other side of Madison, I pushed on through and went and visited my parents. Would you believe I'm not too old to clean out the pantry while I'm home? True story. On the way back I tried to hit up Blue Mound, hoping to get in a little riding. I feel like I never quite remember the trails there, though I do remember they're challenging. Unfortunately, it had rained recently and the trails weren't dried out yet. Not very sandy around there- more black earth.

Blue Mound = Boo Mound

On Monday night, teammate Brandon wanted to know if anyone wanted to go for a ride at Kettles. Me me me! Me, I do!


Wait, that's not Brandon, that's one of the suicidal chipmunks out there. Here's Brandon.


We did a blue, orange and white loop, for a total moving time of about 1:45. I wanted to test out my knee and see how it did. I stretched out beforehand, and I didn't get any pangs during warmup, so that was a good sign. I took it easy and did my climbing seated. The next day I was a little sore, but it shouldn't be a problem for this weekend's 12 hr race. Woo-hoo!

Tuesday night I did the soccer mom thing and took a couple of the kids down to the track. Teammates Marcus and Jon needed a ride, so I drove and watched the races. I didn't race- still not a huge fan of track racing, and I want to rest the knee. Probably next week, though.

Track - Opening Night

Tonight's the first night I've had at home, and I've largely wasted it watching movies and doing a minimal amount of housework. Ah, sometimes I relish a night at home, especially after so many late nights out and about.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sunglasses Safari

I went down to the Kettles today with the intention of making it hurt by riding every loop. Oh, and to take pictures with every pair of sunglasses Cale and I own at different points in the trail system. You know, typical training stuff. I started out and quickly realized my rear tire didn't have enough pressure in it. There was some squirm, but I didn't want to waste a CO2 cartridge on it, so I did a white loop to pump up back at the car. After that it was an out & back, over to the Emma Carlin parking lot, with an extra little loop in over there.

I wasn't focused much on technical stuff- just wanted to put in some hours, but I couldn't resist trying the one thing I've been eyeing up. Wonder of all wonders, I got it on my second try. Ta-da!


The other stuff weren't no thang.

Ain't no thang.

John Muir Sunglasses Safari

Only problem was, I started running out of sunglasses, because the other half were back at the car for the smaller loops at John Muir. All of the sunglasses are back at the car, I thought, no more sunglasses. But then I realized there were plenty of sunglasses out there... they were just on other people.

Clear ones!
Sunglasses Safari

Black ones!
Sunglasses Safari

Wonderful and rare prescription flip-downs, even!
Prescription Flip Downs! Very rare!

The day was not all sunglasses and rainbows, though. On the way over, I noticed a little rubbing in the chain (on the watcher) when I was in the higher gears and putting down power with my right leg. It didn't think much of it (or just plain don't think much) but it certainly caught my attention when the chain fell off. The chain has never fallen off on the 1x9. I looked down to find...

Weight Savings

The chainring had been flexing, rubbing the chain against the watcher, until it dumped it off. Of course, I was just about the furthest I could get from the car, about an hour and a half out, with two loose aluminum chainring bolts. I thought to myself, what would McGyver do? I channeled the Medieval Chain Guide V2, but couldn't figure out how to fashion two chainring bolts out of rocks and sunglasses. My only stroke of genius was to move one of the bolts opposite the other. Luckily, I had two multi tools along, so I could tighten up the bolts. Much better, but I was still worried about folding it over.

Weight Savings

I made it back and got in four hours all told, which isn't bad. My knee was bothering me on standing climbs and the bike wasn't in top form either, so I called it a day. Sadness, I didn't get to wear the other half of the sunglasses. Some other day.

It's not been an easy Spring for the geared bike. First, there was the derailleur incident, now a couple of chain ring bolts have been sacrificed to the mountain bike gods. Heathen, heathen gods. There was that Elite bottle cage that broke, too, but I take responsibility for that. I think the frequency of my awesomeness vibrating through the frame shook it apart.

Some people have asked how the gold rotors have been holding up. Here they are, after a good amount of use. They first changed color (getting a little darker on the brake track) in NC, with its sustained descents. Nowadays, they're looking a little worn, but I'm not overly upset about it.


I think everyone will be happy to know the Avids are gone, replaced by some one-off Stroker Trails.

Custom Brakes :)

We'll see how they perform after they bed in, but so far they're quieter and working just fine.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

One Classy Cat, etc.

Delivery for a lucky cat! Some friends found a Rock & Republic pet collar on clearance- I got it for the LOLz. This way, I can be reminded of the ridiculousness that was Rock Racing all the time. And it makes the cat's face look fatter, which is an unexpected bonus.

Snips, you lucky cat you.

Rock & Republic Cat

Cale also got his replacement Niner today. I think he had it built up in two hours, maybe less. Here he is, lookin' Street Tough.

Tough Stuff

Today at lunch I went for a short run, because this week has been driving me crazy. It's been either freezing, raining, gale force winds or a combo of the three. It was exercise or lose it. I think things are making a turn, though. Tonight it was warm enough for exposed skin! Well, on the way to dinner, anyway. It was pretty chilly coming back.


I tried a couple of photos of my handlebars and Cale riding, and I've gotta say this one is my favorite. The angle is just right- it looks like my bike's crazed and trying to mow him down.


Going back further, the Pegasus kit came in. Here, I wear as much as possible and the cat tries to suck it up through osmosis.

New Kit

I was excited to see how the Downhill jersey turned out. It's not exactly how I wanted it, but it works alright. Heh, the pink shape on the bottom kind of makes Joey look like an earwig, what with the little butt pincers. These are the kind of things you just don't think of until you see the design on.

Joey and Downhill Jersey

Last weekend, we went on a short but long (three+ hours) canoe trip down the Milwaukee, up in the Grafton area. Photo journal time.

Cale, Milwaukee River

Milwaukee River

Gunnar and Kelly

It was a good time, and it reminded me of going on canoe trips with my parents. Except there was 500% more booze (don't worry, that's up from a pair of O'Douls) and a jam box blaring 'Strictly Awesome' music. It was a little cold on the day we chose, but it should be really fun to do during the hot months. A+ would recommend.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Dear Hayes Disc Brakes"

It's a good thing I don't answer these things, because if I did this kid would be showered with sets of brakes. This is too awesome:

(Click on the picture to see a larger size)
Dear Hayes Disc Brakes

Dear Hayes Disc Brakes

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Going With It

It's been 'riding this' and 'riding that' this week. Since Saturday I've been doing one thing or the other- trail building & mountain biking, beach riding, commuting, the Gun Show and more mountain biking. Today I've got a day off, though, with only a short ride to Cale's mom's birthday dinner.

Last night's ride was really awesome. A few carloads of us left work a little early to hit up the Kettles with some guys from Ray's and Trek, and I got in a short nap on the way there- already this night was a success. I thought I'd probably be riding with some slower guys (sorry coworkers, but it's true) so I brought the SS for extra workout and badass points. It worked out well, even though the pace toward the front was not what I thought it would be! Ray and Michael from Trek were tearing through the forest like... Batty of Fern Gully. Though not as uncoordinated, of course. I would lose them after a little while, then catch them on climbs. It was great practice to ride behind guys who were nailing it through the corners. I'm still working on that, so to see it being done right is helpful.

At one point Jon (coworker) was riding behind me, and he told me to drop my shoulder through the corner and holy sh!t if that didn't work. For maybe the first time ever everything fell into place and I felt all the knobs in the tires really gripping the dirt. I also felt the gentle whisper of terror as I actually accelerated through the corner. Like, actually accelerated. I felt stable and fairly comfortable on the bike, but it was such a foreign feeling. But now that I've tasted it, I can go after it more aggressively.

I feel fantastic. This is my year, people.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Beach Ride

Sunday we went on a beach ride. I had packed the helmets when Cale reminded me we didn't really need them. You never get going very fast, and it's 99% sand. It feels a little strange, but you get used to it.

Go figure, it was nice and sunny up until the minute we got on the beach. Still, it was a nice ride, with the wind at our backs on the way out. We stopped up at Kohler Andrae in Sheboygan, then turned around to face the wind. It certainly was a headwind, but it wasn't bad.

Cale riding some rocks.



Another one in the books.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Trail Work and Riding

Here we have some dirt removal. Further down the trail they're building up a wall to create a berm.

And what a wall it's turning out to be! I think they've been at it for two work days, and it's still not done.
Built up Berm

Gary found an antler shaped rock.
Gary and an Antler

After the section was joined to the overlook with the felling of a final honeysuckle shrub, we broke open the cooler for beers and sodas all around.

After trail work, we drove over to the Muir parking lot and met up with Matt, who had come up from Chicago to ride. He borrowed my single speed and rocked out the full monty, even though this is only his second time on a mountain bike. Here he is, taking a drink of water. We had some pretty photogenic people out on the trails today.


And Cale...


After the ride, the new haircut was looking decent, so I asked Cale to take a picture. I had to pry him off the couch, and then he was whining "It just looks like you're standing against a wall." Thus, this face:

Disapproving Face