Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I am in!

Wooohoo! I am officially entered in my first Cream Puff! Road trip to Oregon at the end of June.

I think that I am finally getting the upper hand on this cold that I have been fighting off for the last week. I would say that I am 96.7% at the moment.

The last little bike packing detail is driving me nuts. I can't figure out where to mount the OR insulated bottle so that it is easy to reach and open with one hand while moving. It would be easy to hang it off of the front rack but that makes it tough to reach. I may break out the Dremel tool and some aluminum later today.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Rigging, resting, and riding a little

After deciding on Friday that I would not spend 14 hours on the bike in an effort to shake this annoying cold, I had a new goal and time to spend working on it. Fri evening and Sat afternoon were spent loading and unloading the bike to see what all of my options were. It is crazy how much time one can spend on this.

For the first time in a long time, we had a couple of days without fresh snow which means the potential for firm trails was good. Sunday morning I headed for Horseshoe Canyone to ride the FatBike fully loaded and was greated by an empty trailhead and FRESH CORD! Yeehaaaaw!

Fresh cord and no tracks

Mother Nature flipped the switch about an hour into the ride.

The animals were out and about prior to the storm

My 2+ hour ride confirmed that I will definitely keep the sleeping system on the front. I feel that getting as much weight off of the back tire is the best strategy although I may pay a penalty for it if I have to push for long periods in deep snow. My big seatbag only contains puffy items; wind pants, big mittens, and a down jacket.

I have to thank Eric who makes Epic Designs bags. I had it in my head that I wanted a double-roll-top handlebar bag and he built one for me exactly the way I specified and even added a few cool things I hadn't thought of. Now that I have played with it, I realize the shortcomings of the double-roll-top design. Although my design idea didn't turn out as I had hoped, the quality of the bag is excellent and the communication with Eric has been great.

Now it is just a matter of making sure that I know exactly which pieces will comprise my mandatory 15 lbs. of gear to meet the race requirements.

Lastly, I can't seem to shake this cold. It is one of those nagging ones where I don't feel all that bad but I am not getting any better either. Argh!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Resting but not idle

The low energy, slight sniffle, and a scratch in the back of my throat are trying to tell me something. With three weeks to go until the Su, the last thing I need is a full-blown cold. Instead of 14 hours on the bike this weekend I am going to rest and dial in my gear for the race...and this is taking more time than I thought.

My hydration system alone is causing me fits but I made some slight modifications today that I am excited to try. I hope we get one more really cold snap prior to the race to test it out. You can get away with a lot at 20F but at -10F even the tiniest drops left in the tube will freeze.

Packing my sleeping system is proving to be a bit of a challenge as well so I am going to experiment a bit. I thought that I wanted everything (pad + bag + bivy) in one giant burrito on the front but the resulting mass on the front ends up "wagging the dog".

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Where the hell is Dave?

Holy whirlwind Batman! It has been a very busy two weeks since I posted last so let's get caught up:

Jan 12-14: Stayed home from Camp Lynda but logged 15.5 hours on the snow bike training for the Susitna 100.

Jan 16: Took the day off work to ride the final 100-mile route of the Togwotee Winter Classic on a snowmobile. This was my first time ever on a snowmobile but I managed to maintain a pretty solid pace all day and knocked it out in 5.5 hours. It was -19F in Moran Junction, WY at 8:30am this day. I was pretty nervous about being out there all day in those temps but I wore everything warm I own and was fine. It has been snowing so much that I had to jump on this bluebird day before the next storm rolled in.

Jan 17-18: Last-minute race details, busy time at work, etc. made for a stressful couple of days. My new Princeton Tech Apex Extreme bike light showed up! I won the contest on their Blog and now have a cool new toy to play with. I can't wait to test it out! Those Princeton Tech guys are cool.

Jan 19: Race Day. I have a new level of respect for the well-run mtn bike races now. Everyone finished and everyone was smiling. I will post more thoughts on being a "race promoter" later. Many friends offered encouragement and support before, during, and after the race and I really appreciate it.

Jan 20: Back home catching up on rest. Went for a 1:15:00 skate ski with Michelle.

Jan 21: After a good night's sleep, feeling more normal and went for another 1:15:00 skate ski.

Jan 22: L3 Intervals on the rollers; it feels good to be back on the training program after last week.

Jan 23: 1 hour snow bike ride before work to test out the cold-weather prep in -2F temps and spin the legs out. I need more practice! My Camelbak hose froze again 30 minutes into it and I could not get it thawed out.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Despite my best efforts to plan and arrange my life, I have too many balls in the air at the moment so I am going to stay home this weekend, train on the snow bike, and use the 20-24 hours (best case scenario) that I would have spent in the car to knock down "the list". I have been looking forward to Camp Lynda for months and I am extremely bummed to miss it. The three days of excellent training is only a part of it...the people were an even bigger draw for me.

Lynda's pic of the Jem Trai...I would have gladly honored the singleness of the track!

A major item on "the list" is to do a final recon of the Togwotee Winter Classic 100-mile route. I have been in communication with Togwotee Lodge and/or the head of Wyoming's snowmobile grooming program almost daily. The state is a bit behind this year in getting their trails marked and groomed and our constant stream of storms has added to the challenge. I feel confident in the current route but I also feel a responsibility to the racers to see it in it's entirety prior to the race.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Big ride Sunday

Sunday would have been an excellent day at the Ghee...but it would be a stretch to call skiing pow at the Ghee "training" for the Su. When I called Chis E's house Saturday afternoon and learned that he was out riding his Pugsley in some of the worst conditions I could imagine, I was inspired. Chris E has been quietly, and very seriously, training for the Su as well.

Fish Creek Road is a great ride during and after a storm

As if I needed more motivation, I was riding with JayP. We met in Wilson, WY in order to maximize our riding and minimize our bike pushing. The big weekend storm left the trails too soft and too deep to ride so we opted for snow-packed backroads which proved to be an excellent call. Even the roads had a layer of soft snow and required a serious effort to pedal in the middle chain ring. Sunday's 6 hour ride was a solid effort and another valuable learning experience.

Random post-ride thoughts:
- I REALLY need to do a better job of eating while moving.
- I need to drink more
- Stopping, if already sweat-soaked, results in a cold core and then cold hands immediately
- Don't stop (see above)

Friday, January 4, 2008

The calm before the storm

Another big storm is in the forecast. We seem to be in a cycle of big storms on the weekends which rocks for skiing but is not so sweet if you are trying to accumulate big hours on the snow bike. I know what Jeny & Ed would do. Ha!

Here is the latest from the National Weather Service

The view from my one hour snow bike ride at lunch today

Between now and Feb 16th I have a little bit going on:
- Train for Susitna 100
- Survive three days at Camp Lynda
- Ride the 100-Mile loop of the Togwotee Winter Classic on a snowmobile with the GPS
- Run a fun, safe, and successful Togwotee Winter Classic
- Do an overnighter with final Susitna 100 gear choices
- Travel to Alaska

And I need to do all of this without slacking off in my day job

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Perfect start to 2008

I love activities on New Year's Day that kick off the new year properly so today Michelle and I went for a great snow bike ride in the Big Holes. We have been riding our snow bikes a bit but our trails haven't been "just right"...until today. The big storm over the weekend had enough wind to pack the trail surface just a bit and it made all of the difference in the world. It was soft and challenging but rideable.

Kenai insisted on breaking in the new year properly as well

A few random thoughts from today's ride:
1) I think wearing a light wicking layer (Craft) under an Icebreaker wool top is more effective than wearing the wool against the skin. The wool is great, but when it gets wet it stays wet for a long time.
2) I think I am the only snow biker who cannot seem to keep his Camelbak from freezing although I blow back into it after every drink.
3) Outdoor Research PL 400 mittens are the shizzle for aerobic activities like skate skiing and snow biking
4) Dark chocolate covered almonds don't suck for quick energy
5) I am still in search of the perfect snow biking pants. The pant must have windproof front, full side-zip, breatheable back, and have a drawstring/belt.
6) I am now a fan of Alka-Seltzer Immunity Complex. I was sure I was coming down with a cold/flu during the day Saturday so I started taking this stuff in hopes of fighting it off. Although I felt run down, it never fully latched onto me. Yahoo!
Happy New Year!