Sunday, January 31, 2010


With snow almost guaranteed for Sunday, the plan for the weekend was to ride Sat, ride some more Sat night, and then backcountry ski on Sunday. In hindsight, I would say it was a perfect plan...I love it when a plan comes together.

The only hiccup with my plan was the route choice for Sat. I called the grooming report Friday and was told that our favorite Horseshoe-to-Packsaddle was groomed midweek. Not. Bastards. We started riding anyway on ridable, but soft, snowmobile trail that turned to unridable fluff and forced us to backtrack earlier than planned.

I was told this trail was groomed! Where is the fresh cord?

Since I had planned on a night ride to make sure the lights are dialed in, I wasn't too bummed about the soft trails and didn't feel compelled to ride the road and pad my ride time.

The early signs of Sunday's storm obscured the full moon

JayP and T-Race had an overnighter planned so I rode to their house and then joined them for the beginning of their adventure. They were fully-loaded AK style.

Bundled up for 14F and a couple of hours of night riding

As usual, the Lupine lights worked great and I will be lit up like 747 coming in for a landing at OP. Riding light during a 24 Hour race is like cash in your cannot have enough.

Our buddy Henry the Hawk was surveying his domain this morning as the snow machine ramped up

Waking up to steady snowfall was an omen for a great day of skiing. We met up with Mike & Meagan at the top of Teton Pass for a ski tour and it was one of those days where each run was better than the previous. Skiing with smart people who share a respect for the terrain and the reality of the avalanche danger adds to the enjoyment of the day. We continually talked about our routes, up and down, and I think we made good decisions as a group. Just yesterday a snowmobiler was killed by an avalanche in the Big Holes.

Our crew at the top of Edelweiss

Justin from SLC snapped this pic. Justin was solo in the parking lot so we adopted him into our group and taught him a little about safe backcountry travel practices. We also did our best to wear him out which I think we did.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I don't ride ALL of the time

Sure, lately it may seem that way but I have photographic proof from an early lap on Teton Pass with Chris E. proving otherwise. And it was good. :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Training Camp - Day 3

84 miles on the snow bike in 8 hours of moving time.

I ran out of plowed road at the south end of Jackpine Loop so that was the far end of my out-and-back

To all my friends who skied today; I hope you made a couple of powder turns for me. I was definitely struggling with whether to ride or ski today but I was committed to sticking to my plan and riding three days in a row just as I would have in St George at Camp Lynda. Now I am tired.

This sign was north of Tetonia in the middle of nowhere. I had to snap a pic.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Training Camp - Day 2

Who stole my mojo?

T-Race is always smiling regardless of the weather

T-Race and Michelle joined me for the first half and both rode strong. 46 miles over 4.5 hours shouldn't have been that tough, even on the snow bike. I simply had a "blah" day. Mother Nature toyed with us again and gave us various combinations of snow & wind but at least it wasn't that cold.

As a simple trick to motivate myself for tomorrow, I drew up a "Snow Century" in Topofusion so that I will be "destination obsessed" rather than simply staring at the clock. It is not a perfect loop because the goal is to stay off of as much pavement on the snow bike as possible. 100 miles on snowy backroads will be a whopper and the wind will dictate the average speed. Basically the route will take me from Victor, ID north to Bitch Creek and then back.

Time to go big.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Training Camp - Day 1

The "safe" bet would have been to ride the snow bikes from Victor on the valley's back roads but Mother Nature played a cruel trick on us. She lulled us into thinking that the wonderful trails at Horseshoe might be ridable. We agreed that a day in the forest sounded much better than a day riding back roads so we gambled...and lost.

Amanda and T-Race in the calm before the storm

We started the day in cloudy but calm conditions and soft (barely ridable) trails. As if she flipped a switch, Mother Nature turned on the snow machine and our tracks were filling in quickly behind us. Even our attempt at backtracking to a quiet back road failed as the wind drifted the road in with sugary snow and had us pushing our bikes in a pretty solid snow storm.

Amanda and Tracey were awesome and stayed positive throughout our wacky adventure. I saw today playing out so differently in my mind. So I mentally kicked myself for taking that chance and came home to finish out my ride time on the trainer in the basement.

No gambles tomorrow for Day 2.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Viva La Camp Lynda

The spirit of Camp Lynda will be alive and celebrated here in the Tetons this weekend with three big days of riding, regardless of the weather. There will be snow, there will be wind, and there will be fat-tired bikes leaving tracks all over Teton Valley and beyond.

The only trick will be deciding where to go in order have the best chance for epic riding.

Friday – at least 4.5 Hours
If I had to guess, Friday will be a tour of Teton Valley backroads because Thursday’s snow will leave the trails too soft to ride.

Saturday – at least 4.5 Hours
Slide Lake to Goosewing could be a great choice for Saturday because that area gets less snow and is already firm and fast. Another option could be the Bighole trails if I can get some good grooming recon and we don't get much snow.

A Plan B for Saturday could be Fall Creek + Fish Creek Roads in Wilson, WY if we get a ton of snow.

Sunday – 10 Hours
The BIG one. If the weather AND grooming gods line up properly, I want to attempt a huge loop in the Mesa Falls area using the Fish Creek Trail. Fish Creek Rd is an abandoned logging road that is chip sealed and climbs over 2,000’ out of Warm River Campground. In the winter, Fish Creek Rd get groomed and is a favorite snowmobile route. I have used Topofusion to create loops of 55 miles and 70 miles with 5,000’ and 5,500’ of climbing respectively. Since both loops are 100% groomed snowmobile trails, I expect speeds will average about 6-7 mph at best.

The 70-mile option for Sunday

Let me know if you want to join me for one or more days of epic-ness. My plan is ride steady, minimize stops, and have fun!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

10-Day Update

Whoa! How did 10 days pass since my last post? Let's recap shall we?

The Togwotee Winter Classic went off in near perfect conditions on Jan 9th and allowed us to race as if it were the WYDAHO XC race. Most importantly, everyone had a great time and that is why I get stoked to organize these events.

Camp Lynda 3.0 was officially cancelled due to Mother Nature's evil conspiracy against riding dry glorious red dirt in moderate temps with like-minded enduro junkies. Lynda, thanks for all of your thoughts and effort in planning a three-day binge for us.

And there was also some riding...and it was good. In particular, today's ride in the Bigholes was crisp, firm, fast, quiet, and left me with perma-grin. A new corner of the map was added to the arsenal today and there is so much more to explore.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Togwotee Winter Classic - Jan 9th

The 2010 Togwotee Winter Classic, Race #1 is almost here. Are you ready?

With both previous Togwotee Winter Classic champions, JayP and Mike Piker, signed up this year, we are guaranteed to have some serious racing at the front. But will a dark horse emerge from the pack and steal their thunder? Will this year be a 6-hour slog or a firm & fast cross-country throw down? Regardless, it will be glorious and you don't want to miss it!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Should Endurance Athletes Take Vitamin C Supplements?

In 2010 I want to A) train harder, B) get leaner, C) go faster, and do all of this while D) remaining healthy.

Thanks to Coach Lynda, I have the “train harder” part nailed. The “get leaner” part is up to me and my ability to resist Michelle’s incredible baked goodies which seem to magically appear in a perfectly timed succession so as to ensure that there is always something tempting and delicious on the kitchen counter. If I nail A and B, the result will be C. But how can I ensure D? There is nothing fun about getting sick and even a simple cold can derail your training for a week or more.

In the past I have increased my dosage of Vitamin C during and/or immediately following big training blocks. Why? Because “they” say it is the right thing to do. But I recently asked myself, "Who are 'they' and when did this become an accepted practice?"

Where it all began
From the Article “Vitamin C: Do High Doses Prevent Colds?” by Charles W. Marshall, Ph.D.

Few things have stirred the imagination and hopes of the public in matters of nutrition or vexed nutrition scientists as much as Linus Pauling's 1970 book, Vitamin C and the Common Cold. The book's main claim was that taking 1 gram (1,000 mg) of vitamin C daily would reduce the incidence of colds by 45% for most people, but that some persons might need much larger amounts. It recommended that if symptoms of a cold do start, you should take 500 or 1,000 mg every hour for several hours -- or 4 to 10 grams daily if symptoms don't disappear with smaller amounts. Without question, publication of this book, combined with Pauling's reputation as a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, has made vitamin C a best seller. When his theory was announced, millions of Americans rushed to try it for themselves.

Many concerned persons have wondered whether Pauling's advice was prudent, and millions have experimented upon themselves to see whether they could tell. Pauling himself reportedly took 12,000 mg daily and raised it to 40,000 mg when symptoms of a cold appeared! Pauling apparently adapted to such dosage, but most people would suffer chronic diarrhea and the risk of kidney stones. Also, the vast majority of reputable medical and nutritional scientists strongly disagree with him.

In addition to taking basic Vitamin C in larger doses, I have been lured in by the various “immunity products” such as Airborne and Emergen-C which are all based on 1000mg doses of Vitamin C. Vitamin C increases your immune system’s defenses right? Not so fast my friend. A little digging around revealed some interesting articles.

This study suggests that Vitamin C does nothing to prevent illness following a big effort.

This article suggests that Oral Vitamin C prevents improvement in VO2 max and endurance capacity.

These are just two articles in a sea of thousands but it is enough to leave me questioning my previous practice. More digging to follow...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Last week was a whopper

Ride, skate ski, ride some more, backcountry ski, and then finally ride some more...and don't forget the core exercises. With a slow week at work in between Christmas and New Year and the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo approaching fast I logged some solid time last week. The same number of "outside" hours in the winter leaves me more tired than the same number of hours in the summer for sure.

Last Saturday was finally our first ski day of the season. Admittedly, I am a snow snob and the snow biking has been very good so I hadn't missed the skiing. But when we got 9" of new snow Friday night it was all-systems-go and we scrambled to pull the backcountry packs out of the basement. Two great runs down Columbia Bowls in knee-deep powder brought the ski stoke back in a hurry.

Our first backcountry ski day started with a short tour from the top of Teton Pass

This little untracked lane was calling to us

My favorite tree, located at the top of Columbia Bowls

It's not called medium-ride Sunday, or kinda-sorta-big ride called Big Ride Sunday and we did our best to honor that name.
- 58+ Miles on the snow bikes
- 6:09:00 moving time
- Quiet Teton Valley backroads and one attempt at trail riding in very soft conditions

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Snow Bike State Of The Union

I can't think of a better way to kick off the New Year than with a 2010 Snow Bike State of the Union post. Thanks largely to the passion of two competing shops in AK, snow bikers have more choices now than ever before. The bikes are lighter and the rim offerings are wider which means you will ride where you used to push your bike. I compiled a similar post back in Oct 2007 and it is cool to see how much has changed since then.

The Bikes

Titanium FatBack: Speedway Cycles' Ti FatBack is made by Lynskey Performance exclusively for Speedway Cycles.
Specs: BB width-100mm, rear dropout spacing-165mm symmetrical

Titanium 9Zero7: Chain Reaction Cycles' Ti 9Zero7 snow bike is made by Merlin Metalworks exclusively for Chain Reaction Cycles.
Specs: BB width-100mm, rear dropout spacing-160mm symmetrical or 135mm with 17.5mm drive side offset

Aluminum FatBack: The Aluminum FatBack shares the same geometry and rear spacing as the Ti version but offers the consumer a less expensive option to get into a high-performance snow bike.
Specs: BB width-100 mm, rear dropout spacing-165mm symmetrical

Aluminum 9Zero7: The Aluminum 9Zero7 is welded in Portland, OR and was designed to be an easy upgrade from the Surely Pugsley for someone looking to save some weight. The BB and rear spacing are identical to the Pugsley so all parts can simply be moved over.
Specs: BB width-100mm, rear dropout spacing-135mm with 17.5 mm drive side offset

Wildfire FatBike: The Wildfire FatBike is one of the original snow bikes and has evolved nicely over time. The frame & fork are made of chromoly steel and built for Wildfire by DeSalvo.
Specs: BB width-100mm, rear dropout spacing-160mm symmetrical

Surly Pugsley: The 2010 Surly Pugsley has changed slightly as well. Still made of steel and offering horizontal rear dropout for singlespeeders, the Pugsley top tube has been lowered slightly to offer more standover clearance. Any bike shop with a QBP account can order a Pugsley.
Specs: BB width-100 mm, rear dropout spacing-135 mm with 17.5mm drive side offset

I intentionally left out the Vicious Thunderwing and the Moots Snoots because neither frame appears to be readily available.

New Snow Bike Components
In addition to new frames, we have an assortment of snow-bike-specific components to pimp out our rides in 2010.

Salsa Enabler: Salsa's Enabler Fork has not been officially released but photos and info have been leaked. The steel fork is 135mm non-offset and will feature bottle cage mounts on each leg for expedition-style rigging.

FatBack Crankset: The FatBack crankset is a 100mm wide outboard-bearing crankset built specifically for snow bikes. Speedway Cycles has an exclusive on these. Yeah, no more over-built DH cranksets on snow bikes! This system provides a nice option to the expensive but trick Phil Wood BB/Middleburn crank.

FatBack Hubs: The FatBack branded hubs come in 135mm Front/165mm Rear spacing and are built exclusively for Speedway Cycles.

Paul Disc WHUB: The Paul 135mm front disc hub offers the widest flange of any front disc hub and allows you to build a very strong, symmetrical front wheel.

70mm Uma II Rim: Another Speedway Cycles exclusive product, the Uma II 70mm rims weigh in at a mere 860 grams each.

Vicious Cycles Graceful Fat Sheba: The Vicious Cycles 80mm Fat Sheba (great name) rims offer an additonal 15mm of width over the 65mm Large Marge rims with almost no weight penalty. Many have successfully drilled 1 1/4" holes in this rim to shed additional weight.

100mm Rims: The fattest of the Phat! If you are loading your snow bike up for an epic adventure, you might want to consider 100mm rims. Yes, they are heavy. However, they might provide just enough extra float to be the difference between riding and pushing...and pushing sucks.

3.8" Surly Larry Tire: A second snow bike tire option is on the way and his name is Larry! Samples are already circulating and initial reports are good. A 3.8" tire, Larry has extra side lugs to help with cornering in the loose fluff.