Friday, December 30, 2011


Build should be completed tomorrow followed by an immediate shakedown ride.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Christmas Day Tradition

As a kid, I looked forward to Christmas day for lots of reasons. Of course opening presents was at the top of the list, but Christmas day also meant staying in my pajamas a little later, eating too many fresh cinnamon rolls, and driving my Lionel train around the Christmas tree.

As a married adult with no children, I still look forward to Christmas day but we have adopted our own traditions. A recently adopted tradition is to enjoy a Christmas Day snow bike ride with good friends and our loyal four-legged companions. This year our friends Brandon, Sarah, and their pup Siena joined us for a midday snow bike ride in Horseshoe Canyon. Santa was good to us this year and delivered fresh grooming followed by single-digit overnight temps that firmed up the trail nicely. As you would expect, we had the trails to ourselves and enjoyed the exercise, the company, and simply being outside on a crisp bluebird day.

Wishing you a FAT Holiday Season.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Training while sick - The "gray" area

Michelle came down with a cold last week but fought it off very quickly by getting quality rest right when she felt the cold coming on. I thought I had dodged the bullet but I woke up yesterday with a sore throat and felt "blah". I woke up today with more of the same but now I also have head congestion. I don't feel horrible but I am definitely not 100%. For me, this has always been a "gray" area in regards to training.

When you feel a cold coming on, do you:

A) Exercise anyway and if/when you feel horrible, then take a break
B) Do something mellow like riding the rollers for 30' or walking outside
C) Stop exercising altogether in an effort to shorten the duration of the illness

On one hand, I don't have an "A" race until May this year so I can probably afford a couple of days off. On the other hand, I hate the thought of losing fitness when I have put some quality work in during the month of December.

The Mayo Clinic website offers this typical recommendation for training while sick:

"Mild to moderate physical activity is usually OK if you have a garden-variety cold and no fever. Exercise may even help you feel better by opening your nasal passages and temporarily relieving nasal congestion.

As a general guide for exercise and illness, consider this:

  • Exercise is usually OK if your signs and symptoms are all "above the neck" — symptoms you may have with a common cold, such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing or minor sore throat. Consider reducing the intensity and length of your workout, though, or you may feel worse. Instead of going for a run, take a walk, for example.
  • Don't exercise if your signs and symptoms are "below the neck" — such as chest congestion, hacking cough or upset stomach.
  • Don't exercise if you have a fever, fatigue or widespread muscle aches"
- Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.

In contrast, reading Joe Friel's Blog make me cringe at missing even a single workout and fuels my paranoia:

"When there is a break in training for a few days fitness is lost and you have to step back in training and begin over again. Many athletes experience this once or twice each season and as a result never realize their full potential."

- Joe Friel

I am not known for my patience and even during the "off season" I struggle with missing workouts. Part of it is simply that I like to train. However, in the back of my mind is this lingering fear that a week off the bike will override every bit of training that I have ever done in my life.

I know, it is ridiculous.

Late Edit: The rest of the "Missed Workouts" article from Joe Friel's Blog can be found here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

My First Nordic Race

December 10th Targhee Tune-Up Nordic Race Report

It all started with an email on Thursday from my friend and summertime mountain bike rival, Mark Llinares:

(Read out loud with your best British accent for effect)


Targhee Tune up Nordic race is on Saturday, its 10K of suffering. I have an idea. You do that and I will do the Togwotee Winter classic- on a bike.


I have been bugging Marco to rent a Fat Bike and do the TWC for two years. Now he was offering to try it if I skied a measly 10K. What choice did I have? Did it matter that I hadn’t been on skate skis yet this year? Or that my skate skis were hanging in the garage with a coat of storage wax from last winter and needed some proper attention? Or that the Targhee Nordic track starts at 8,500’ and is almost never flat, meaning that it punishes those with poor technique?

It’s only 10K. I can do anything for 10K…famous last words.

Melissa, Anna, and Katie pre-race

Friday morning I scraped the storage wax off and applied a fresh coat of Toko S3 Red. No fancy wax for me. Friday afternoon I headed out to Teton Canyon for a short skate to see if I still remembered how these things work. Teton Canyon is mostly flat and straight so it can give you the false impression that you actually know how to skate ski. I left Teton Canyon Friday afternoon with supreme confidence that I could survive 10K at Targhee.

Saturday was a gorgeous bluebird day and the temps were mild. A small crowd of hardcore Nordic racers were milling about the lower parking lot and working their way up to the start area above the resort. There are two very rude hills to climb just to get to the start area and I was questioning my sanity on the second hill only 12 minutes into my skate. Yikes! In hindsight, I should have ridden my Fat Bike to the start line with my skis on my back.

I won’t bore you with a play-by-play of my 54 minute suffer-fest...and I did suffer. What little technique I had deteriorated quickly as I blew myself up on each hill. Poor technique means wasted energy which leads to a higher heart rate which leads to even worst's a vicious cycle. Near the end of my second lap I was duck waddling up a steep off-camber pitch when I heard a voice yelling “Stop. Stop. Stop.” It was Mark Llinares. Mark had already finished and was skating his “cool down” when he saw me in my most pathetic state. Mark skied over and immediately jumped into instructor mode. His simple tip of committing to the outside ski made such a difference and we worked on this for the remainder of my lap. This simple lesson was well worth the entry fee.

Thankfully, I am at point in my life where I am not embarrassed to be at the tail end of a race. I was in fact dead last. Despite being last, I had a great time and learned something so it was a huge success. I have a month to practice before the Spud Chase at Teton Springs.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

FAT Double Header

The highly anticipated “La Nina” winter has been a no-show as of December 18, 2011. Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. We got just the right amount of snow in late November followed by cold temps and the snow biking is goooood. On a side note, the NWS recently published an interesting read titled “Where is La Nina”?

It was a bit chilly Sunday morning along the Teton River

Saturday at Grand Targhee
A flurry of emails circulated on Friday and the planets aligned for an informal snow bike gathering of epic proportions Saturday morning at Grand Targhee. There were 18 snow bikers enjoying the great conditions on the Targhee Nordic track. We had everything from casual riders to small groups of hammer-heads trying to drill each other into the snow as if it were the Tuesday Night World Championships. It was awesome to see so many snow bikes out on the trails Saturday and everyone was smiling.

Sunday Teton Valley Combo Ride
I wanted to ride for about five hours on Sunday but I also wanted to ride with Jordie, Lis, and M. No problem. I simply started my ride at 8 am and rode for almost three hours before meeting them at the end of Horseshoe Canyon where we began our “planned” ride of the Horseshoe snowmobile trails to Packsaddle and back. The trails have not been groomed yet this season but the snowmobile traffic has packed them down nicely and the riding was great. It was slow and techie in spots but 100% rideable. We are experiencing an inversion in Teton Valley right now so temps were 9F when I left my house, much colder along the Teton River, and then warmed up into the high teens as I climbed up to Horseshoe.

Michelle riding the Targhee Nordic trails

Brandon and Sarah climbing towards Rick's Basin

Sunday's Combo Ride Route

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Training For A Frozen Epic

Cross-Post from Blog

The season of Fat Bike racing is upon us and many folks are eagerly preparing for one of the winter ultra events such as the Arrowhead 135, the Susitna 100, or the “Big One”, The Iditarod Invitational. Training for a Frozen Epic is much different than training for the typical 100-mile endurance mountain bike race because there are far more variables involved. Your success will depend on your ability to deal with changing conditions while out on the trail. This article assumes that you have the necessary fitness to pedal your bike the required race distance and will focus on the less-obvious aspects of preparing to race your bike 100+ miles on the snow.

If you played high school football, you probably heard your coach say “practice like you play.” In other words, how do you expect to perform at 100% during the game if you lollygag your way through practice? Adopting the same philosophy while training for your frozen epic will prepare you for anything the race may throw at you. Let’s talk about three aspects of preparation unique to racing frozen epics; riding a loaded bike, pushing your bike in soft snow, and dealing with extreme cold.

Riding a Loaded Bike

In all three races mentioned above, racers will carry overnight gear, emergency clothing, possibly a stove, and extra calories for the duration of the race. A loaded fat bike will weigh 15 to 25 lbs more than that same bike in “everyday” mode. Obviously a 50+ lb. fat bike is going to handle much differently than a 30 lb. fat bike, and it’s important to get used to this before race day.

I personally prefer more weight on the front of my bike

The cockpit can get crowded quickly when loading a fat bike

In addition to simply getting used to the overall weight, training on your loaded fat bike will teach you how to distribute your load and whether you prefer more weight on the front or the rear of the bike. Here are a few things to consider when organizing your gear:

  • Does your seat bag or rear rack allow you to get on and off the bike easily in soft snow?
  • If you strap your sleeping system to your bars, do you still have room for your pogies, lights, and any other gadget you need?
  • Will your load stay in place during a high speed descent on a bumpy trail or a crash?
  • Can you access the most important items easily?

Ride your fat bike “fully loaded” as much as possible before your race, and tweak your packing system each time as you figure out your preferences.

Pushing Your Bike in Soft Snow

In a perfect world, snow bike races would take place on firm, groomed trails in 10F sunshine with no wind. The reality is conditions are different every time you head out on your fat bike, and often times they are not favorable for riding. Pushing your bike at some point during a frozen epic is almost a given. Being forced off the bike to push may be the result of wind, fresh snow, warming temps, a steep hill, or sugary snow that has been churned up by a herd of snowmobilers. Regardless, if you are mentally and physically prepared to push your bike, you will be at an advantage.

Head out immediately after a fresh snow to get some quality pushing practice

Here are a few suggestions for preparing to push, and for pushing your bike, during the race:

  • Dedicate some pre-race training time to pushing your loaded bike and think about a few things such as:
  1. How is your posture? Can you maintain that posture for a long time?
  2. How are your feet? Will pushing for a long time result in blisters?
  3. Does any part of your clothing or boots rub on your bike or gear?
  4. What modifications can you make to your bike that would make pushing more efficient?
  • Push with a purpose by taking long and efficient strides. The pushing is part of the race too so use it to your advantage. I am guilty of shuffling along with my head down and moving too slowly at times.
  • Use the time pushing to catch up on hydration and calories.
  • Never stop moving forward.

Dealing with Extreme Cold

Racers are likely to experience extreme cold at any of the winter ultra events. To keep things simple, let’s define extreme cold as 0 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. At these temps, typical tasks become a little more challenging. Experienced winter ultra racers will watch the weather for an arctic cold snap the way skiers watch for snow in the forecast. Nothing can prepare you for the extreme cold like being out in it.

By cutting a hole for my mouth, I can easily eat and drink while the Fog eVader funnels my breath away from my glasses.

Here are some basic yet important things to consider when preparing to race in extreme cold:

  • Will you race with insulated water bottles or a hydration pack? If your hydration hose freezes, what will you do? Have you practiced thawing the hose out while on the bike? Consider using a combination of both systems so you have a backup option.
  • If your balaclava or facemask totally covers your face, how will you eat and drink?
  • Will your glasses fog up and then freeze? Can you race with goggles instead of glasses?
  • Do your clothing layers breathe? At -20F, trapped sweat can freeze on your base layers and form an icy layer against your skin.
  • Are you prepared to change a flat at -20F…at night? There is nothing fun about this task but flats do happen and often at the worst possible time. Consider carrying your pump on your body instead of in your frame bag so the pump seals are warm and work effectively. Add baby powder to your tires to reduce friction between the tire and tube. Lastly, check your valve stem’s lock ring and make sure it is snug but not overly tight.
  • Choose your food wisely. For example, Original Clif Bars are delicious at room temperature but when frozen they are like chewing at hockey puck. In contrast, dark chocolate covered almonds are delicious and edible regardless of temperature.
Fitness is only part of the equation when racing a frozen epic. Load up your fat bike, pray for a cold snap, and get out there and practice!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grand Targhee is first ski resort to promote snow biking

Cross-post from the Blog

Grand Targhee Resort has become the first ski resort in the country to promote snow biking. Beginning this ski season, Grand Targhee will allow snow bikes on their groomed Nordic Trails as long as riders purchase a Nordic ticket for $10 per day or a Nordic season pass for $115. Grand Targhee is also hosting their first snow bike race on Sunday, January 15th to coincide with Teton Valley’s Winter Festival.

I have to admit that for the past two years I have considered donning a black ninja suit and poaching Targhee’s Nordic track at night just to experience the undulating terrain that we enjoy all summer on our mountain bikes…but I resisted the temptation. Now it is perfectly legal thanks to Grand Targhee’s Andy Williams.

Grand Targhee’s 2011/2012 winter season opened on Friday, Nov 25th so we rallied a posse of snow bike enthusiasts and headed up to Targhee to experience the Nordic trails on fat tires. The first thing that popped into my head as we left the parking lot and jumped onto the freshly groomed Nordic Connector Trail was that I felt guilty for riding on such pristine corduroy. That guilt quickly faded and turned into perma-grin as we climbed up to Rick’s Basin under bluebird skies and mild temps.

Melissa Davidson on the Snowdrift Loop

What is the riding like? My face is still sore from smiling so much. There are 6.15 miles of Nordic trails with 700’ of elevation gain available to snow bikers at Grand Targhee and the loop took us just under an hour to ride at a moderate pace. The trails are almost never flat and wind through numerous Aspen groves. The views do not suck either.

Check out the little snow bikes on the trail map

I applaud Grand Targhee Resort for their forward thinking and willingness to try something new. As long as snow bikers follow the rules and respect the trails when conditions are soft, I feel as if snow bikers and the Nordic skiers can coexist peacefully on the trails. When I head to the “Ghee” to ride the snow bike, I plan to also take a pair of skate skis with me just in case the trails are too soft to ride. It never hurts to have a “Plan B”.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Revisiting the Togwotee Winter Classic 100-Mile Route

When I started organizing the Togwotee Winter Classic races back in 2007, I envisioned a 25-mile race and a 100-mile race. As I prepared maps, scouted the trails, and rode the entire 100-mile route on a snowmobile, I feared that I had created a monster that couldn't be tamed. Was it simply too difficult?

As race day approached, my stress level increased as I worried about racers biting off more than they could chew. Mother Nature made it a mute point and dropped so much snow in the days before the race that nobody attempted the 100-mile route that year and it took most racers over six hours to complete the 25-mile loop. I have not offered the 100-mile race option ever since.

To complete the 100-mile loop would take a strong rider with winter camping/survival skills, careful gear selection, and a good (cold, calm, & dry) weather window. No other snow bike race in the world has this kind of terrain and this amount of climbing. This route scares the crap out of me but I can't stop thinking about it. Is it time to reinstate the 100-mile option again? Maybe...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

5th Annual Togwotee Winter Classic Date Announcement

The 5th Annual Togwotee Winter Classic will be March 3rd, 2012. Save the date and book your cool log cabin at Togwotee Mountain Lodge.

Can you believe we are on year number five of the Togwotee Winter Classic? How cool is that? Let's blow the lid off of this thing and fill it up this year! Maybe Chris "The Viking" Erickson will come out of retirement. Maybe we entice some of the snow bikers from the great state of Montana to come down for this one. (I am limited to 50 racers or less per the Forest Service's definition of an "endurance event")

We will only offer one snow bike race at Togwotee this year so please make plans to join us. I will be helping Andy Williams put on a new snow bike race at Grand Targhee on Sunday, January 15th. (More info coming soon on this new race) The Grand Targhee snow bike race will be held on the Rick's Basin Nordic trails with plenty of climbing and descending each lap. In addition to the snow bike race, there will be snow bike demos happening around Teton Valley as part of the TVF Winter Festival.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Snow Bike Etiquette

Cross-post from the Blog

The 2011/2012 snow bike season is just ramping up here in the Tetons and therefore it seems like the perfect time discuss snow bike etiquette. Why is etiquette a topic for snow biking? Anytime more than one user group share the same trails it is a good idea to have etiquette in place to keep all parties safe and smiling while enjoying the trails.

The two types of trails I ride frequently are groomed Nordic trails and groomed snowmobile trails within the National Forest. With both types of trails, there is a primary user group that pays for the grooming of that trail. In Idaho, the state oversees a snowmobile trail grooming program that is funded by the sales of annual snowmobile stickers. Our local Nordic grooming program is funded by a non-profit organization, Teton Valley Trails & Pathways, which raises money through memberships, donations, and special events. As snow bikers, we reap the benefits of these grooming programs and have a symbiotic relationship with snowmobilers and/or Nordic skiers. Without the established grooming programs we would be relegated to snow packed roads for our winter riding fix.

Recommended snow bike etiquette for snowmobile trails
- Flashing white light on handlebar, day and night
- Flashing red tail light, day and night
- Always yield to snowmobiles
- Pull over and stop to let snowmobiles pass
- Call your local grooming district and ask whether you can make donation equal to the amount of the annual snowmobile sticker as a gesture of goodwill

Having a flashing light on the bars and a flashing red taillight is cheap insurance when sharing the trail with loud machines that can go 70+ MPH. A snow biker can hear snowmobiles coming from a long way off but they cannot hear us. My two favorite lights for making myself visible while snow biking are the Princeton Tec Push and the Princeton Tec Swerve. Both lights are easy to mount, run on AAA batteries, and are visible day & night.

Recommended snow bike etiquette for Nordic trails
- Do not ride if the Nordic track is posted for skiing only
- Do not ride if the snow is too soft
- Give skate skiers a wide berth
- Do not ride in the classic ski tracks
- Make a donation to the club or organization who grooms your local Nordic trail

This pic shows groomed snow that is firm enough to support snowmobiles, snow bikes, and Nordic skiers

How soft is too soft to ride? As a general rule, if you have to get off and push your bike, the snow is too soft and you absolutely shouldn’t be on the Nordic trails. If you are leaving a trough deeper than an inch or are having a hard time riding in a straight line, it is probably too soft to be on the Nordic trails.

The act of making a donation to a grooming program does not give a snowmobiler or Nordic skier the right of exclusivity. However, it is important that snow bikers take a “let’s get along” attitude and be respectful of the established grooming programs. Making a small donation to your local Nordic club or purchasing an annual snowmobile sticker can go a long way towards establishing goodwill.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

25 Hours of Frog Hollow Race Report

I was nervous prior to the 25 Hours of Frog Hollow and I am not just referring to the hours before the start. I had pre-race jitters starting the Tuesday before this race. WTF? Maybe it was because my last 24 Hour Solo didn’t go so well. Maybe it was because the weather forecast was looking a little ominous. Maybe it was because I had high expectations for my performance. It was probably all of the above.

My pit location was excellent and right on the course. As an added bonus, I was setup next to friends Jonathan Davis & Eszter Horyani who were racing Duo-Coed. Pitting next to friendly faces is always nice and can provide little bursts of stoke throughout a 24 hour race.

The two hours before the race were anxious with last-minute pit setup, organization, and trying to guess what the weather was going to do. We had rain turn to light snow 30 minutes before the start and it looked as if the race could turn really epic…and then it cleared up. Literally minutes before the start, the skies cleared and a cold north wind began to blow.

I had a two-part strategy for this race because I knew I would have great support later in the race. Dave & Lynda offered to support me from sunset Saturday through the finish Sunday morning so I needed to be self-sufficient from 10 AM until about 6 PM. I pre-mixed eight bottles of Carbo Rocket, made a thermos of hot tea, and left plenty of snacks & gels within easy reach to minimize my time in the pits.

Eszter and I discussing the lovely weather

The Early Laps
I am not a fast starter and I intentionally settled into a conservative pace and governed my HR during the opening laps. I know that if I go too hard early, even for short bursts, I will pay dearly for it later. However, even with my conservative pacing, the “warning light” came on very early as my lower back tightened up and I immediately had flashbacks to February’s Old Pueblo DNF. Lower back pain in endurance races continues to be my “crux” and a mystery I have yet to solve.

The moisture just before the start of the race left the JEM Trail in super-hero condition and I was “en fuego” every time I began the JEM descent. In fact, I was pretty confident that I was the “best mountain bike racer on the planet” every time down the JEM. Euphoria does funny things to the brain. Ha!

Out of the saddle, trying to stretch the lower back out early in the race. Photo by Miller Perspectives

The Transition
After completing Lap #7, I rolled into the pit and Dave & Lynda were there and ready to rock. It was about 6:30 PM and it was time to add lights. Their stoke level was high but I was in a bit of a funk at the time. I was getting cold, my hands were numb, and I was kind of down on myself for my performance up to that point in the race. Basically, I was calling for the “Whaaaaaa-mbulance” for no good reason. I am not sure of my standing but it was nowhere near the top. Seeing Dave & Lynda definitely picked up my spirits and I let them to know that I was absolutely committed to seeing this thing through. This particular pit stop was the worst of my race and I fumbled around trying to decide what layers to put on and how to warm up my hands. When you look at my splits, Lap #8 is the worst and includes this sloppy 16’ pit stop.

Every minute counts

Own The Night
I love the night laps. My Lupine Betty lights turn the darkness into daylight and I simply enjoy riding at night. My pre-race planning was also paying off as I had changed into my Lake winter mtb shoes and installed Moose Mitts on my handlebars which allowed me to wear regular mountain bike gloves under them and have full dexterity despite the below-freezing temps. I was able to keep it rolling through the night with minimal stops in between laps to sip hot tea and eat one or two of Michelle’s homemade peanut butter chocolate chip bars. Three things absolutely kicked ass all night long:
1)My pit crew
2)Moose Mitts
3)Michelle’s peanut butter bars

Actually, there was a fourth thing that kicked ass during the night: The Fire Jump. Team Honey Stinger built a little kicker on course next to their campsite and lit a small fire on the backside of the jump. I hit that jump every lap throughout the night and there was usually an appreciative crowd on hand armed with cowbells. Nice!

By the early morning hours it was evident that the cold was taking its toll on some racers. I saw racers walking their bikes because they were too cold to ride and I saw many dark camps where it had been festive earlier in the night. These early morning hours were when I made my biggest gains in the standings and I had moved into 3rd place by 5:00 AM. It might have actually been earlier but the results being displayed in the timing tent were not always accurate during the event.

The Fire Jump

Sunrise to the Finish
My last three laps were the best of my entire race from a mental standpoint. I was proud to have overcome my early race funk and self-doubt, I was stoked to reward my rock-star crew with a big effort, and it was looking really good for a podium. Sure, a lot of body parts hurt at this point but I was riding on adrenaline and it was easy to push the pain to side and smile. Plus, I was still feeling like the “best mountain biker on the planet” every time down the JEM Trail. Ha!

I should be stoked with 2nd place right? Normally the answer would be "Hell yeah!" There is a part of me that is disappointed with 2nd place this time. I have never won a bicycle race of any distance or discipline. I have finished 2nd or 3rd many times. To lose a 25+ hour mountain bike race by three minutes stings more than a little. Let’s just say that I won’t have to look far for motivation this winter while riding the trainer in the basement.

Coming into the pit prior to my last lap

Dave Harris gives the bike some love one final time

My Raynaud's was a challenge throughout the entire race and I had to warm my hands by the fire at times in order to shift & brake

Men's Solo Podium; Me, Bill Martin, Tim Lutz

Coach Lynda and her athletes; Jonathan Davis & Eszter Horyani (1st Duo-Coed w/25 Laps), Me

Sunday, November 6, 2011

25 Hours of Frog Hollow Quick Report

Wow, that was an emotional and physical roller coaster of a race. This could potentially be a long race report.

Quick Stats
Place: 2nd Solo Male
Time Riding: 25 hours, 15 minutes
Miles: 256
Climbing: 18,600'

I could not have finished this race without the incredible race support from two good friends and mentors, Dave Harris & Lynda Wallenfels. We had snow 30 minutes before the race started, a soul-crushing north wind for the first 6+ hours, and then bitter cold from sunset through the finish. There was a lot that "could" go wrong in this race.

A quick warmup next to the fire with hot tea before heading out for my last lap

Full report to come...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

T-Minus One Week

This year I am extending the Endurance MTB race season a bit and racing the 25 Hours of Frog Hollow next weekend...Solo. ALL. NIGHT. LONG. Sing it with me! (JenyJo might be the only one who gets this).

Race preparations are in full-swing and yes, there are spreadsheets involved. My stoke level is high for this one and I am looking forward to ending the MTB race season with a big effort in desert. Let's rock.

Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 Giant Glory 0 For Sale

For Sale: A very nice Giant Glory O Downhill Bike, size large, with a few upgrades. This bike was used very lightly on Teton Pass & the Grand Targhee downhill trails. There are a few scuffs on the frame and fork legs from riding the lifts at Targhee.

2011 Retail Price: $5,700
Asking: $3,600
Shipping: $75
Payment Methods: PayPal, Cash, or personal check if I know you
Email me at "dave dot byers at" with questions.

(Full specs are below the pics)


SIZE: Large
COLOR: Smoke/Gold
FRAME: ALUXX SL-Grade Aluminum, 8" Maestro Suspension
FORK: Fox 40 RC2, 203mm Travel
SHOCK: Fox DHX RC4, (Upgrade) RCS Titanium Spring

HANDLEBAR: Giant Contact AM, 750mm, 31.8
GRIPS: Oury Lock-Ons, Twenty6 GasCaps, Gold
STEM: (Upgrade)Twenty6 F1 Stem, Gold
SEATPOST: Giant Contact, 30.9, (Upgrade)
SEATPOST CLAMP: (upgrade) Twenty6, Gold
SADDLE: Fi'zi:k Tundra2 (Giant LTD Edition) w/ Manganese Rails
PEDALS: (Upgrade) Twenty6 Ti Prerunner Pedals, Gold

SHIFTERS: Shimano Saint
FRONT DERAILLEUR: MRP G2 Guide, Custom for Giant
REAR DERAILLEUR: Shimano Saint, Top Normal
BRAKES: Shimano Saint, [F] 203mm [R] 180mm
CASSETTE: Shimano Saint 11x28, 9-Speed
CHAIN: Shimano HG-93
CRANKSET: Shimano Saint, 38T
BOTTOM BRACKET: Shimano Saint, External

RIMS: DT Swiss EX-500
HUBS: Shimano Saint [F] 20mm Thru Axle, [R] 12mm Thru Axle, 32h
SPOKES: DT Competition, 14/15g w/ Alloy Nipples
TIRES: Maxxis Minion DHF 3C / DHR 3C 26X2.5 (currently setup tubeless)

Link to Giant Bicycles page for the 2011 Glory 0

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Works Components 1.5 Degree Headcup to the rescue

The Giant XTC Composite 29er has been in my stable most of the summer but I have only ridden it sporadically and have not mentioned it on this blog. Honestly, I just didn't love riding it so I haven't talked about it.

The XTC 29er has always felt twitchy to me and going back and forth between the rock-solid AnthemX 29er only highlighted this aspect of the XTC 29er. In my opinion, Giant made a mistake with the geometry of this bike. Giant put a steep 71.5 head angle on the XTC 29er AND they used very short chainstays. The result is an overly quick handling bike.

This is where the Works Components 1.5 Degree Headcup comes in. Basically, the 1.5 degree headcup changed my head angle from 71.5 degrees to 70 degrees, lowered the BB just a fuzz, and tranformed the XTC 29er from the "anti-fun bike" to a bike that I enjoy riding. I had the choice of a 1.0, 1.5, or 2.0 degree headcup. (More after the pics)

The Works Components Headcups are sold as a complete headset including star nut & top cap

The 1.5 degree offset is machined into the cups so there are no moving parts to creak & pop

Just line up the headset and press it in. Simple.

My complete XTC, pre-Works Components Headset

The massive downtube makes the XTC Composite super-stiff and responsive. This results in excellent power transfer AND an unforgiving ride.

I would guess that UK-based Works Components sells the majority of their offset headcups to the gravity crowd as it is pretty common for a downhiller to want to slacken their bike by a degree or two. However, I think you will start to see more offset headsets on XC, trail bikes, and even cross bikes, as they are a great tool for customizing the ride of your bike.

Why the Works Components Headcup vs. a Cane Creek Angleset? I did a lot of research on the Cane Creek Angleset and I kept reading the same thing; they can be noisy and finicky. I wanted quiet and simple. Whereas the Cane Creek Angleset is adjustable, the Works Components Headcups are machined to a specific degree of offset. I am a huge fan of the Cane Creek 110 Series headsets but for this project I decided to go across the pond.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sneaking one in.

Quick Stats:
- 53 Miles
- 6K’ of climbing
- 6 hours of moving time
- 3 weeks to 25 Hours of Frog Hollow, Solo

It was very quiet on the Ridge Trail Sunday morning

I watched the NWS forecasts all week knowing that I had some serious riding ambitions for the weekend and as Sunday crept closer, the forecast looked grim. The glimmer of hope was that the “heavy stuff” wasn’t supposed to come down until after noon on Sunday.

In hindsight, I should have mounted the lights and started really early. Instead, I enjoyed breakfast & coffee with M and was riding by 8:30 AM. The first three hours was some of the best mountain biking I have done this year. Crisp air, tacky trail, lingering fall colors, and zero people made for a perfect morning on the bike.

I parked at Phillip’s Canyon TH so that I could do a couple of big loops and have the option to grab more layers and/or raingear when I needed them. This proved to be a good plan. I got lightly rained on 3.5 hours into my ride and then with 1.5 hours to go, the skies parted and I got shelled. No big deal. I would like to find some good shoe covers with a tight seal above the ankle though.

Much of the trail was covered in Aspen leaves but there are plenty of fall colors left

I just had to stop and give this guy some head-scratches

No trails were harmed during this ride

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

2011 Moose Cross - Bigger. Faster. Awesomer.

The 4th annual Moose Cross Cyclocross Festival is in the books and it was the best yet by far. With two weeks to go, I have to admit that I was nervous that it wouldn't come together but our team rallied as usual and our volunteers stepped up big-time. We could spend a lot less time on the event and put on an "average" cyclocross race but that is not how we roll. We want the racer who travels from Missoula, MT or Boise, ID or Elko, NV to leave Victor feeling as if it was worth every hour they spent in the car to get here.

THANK YOU to all of the racers, volunteers, spectators, and my fellow Victor Velo Board members. It takes a team effort to pull this off each year.

Why do we do it?
Victor Velo exists to promote healthy lifestyles and economic development in Victor, ID by providing diverse cycling opportunities.

Every cent of profit generated by our cyclocross races goes back into Victor Velo and specifically the Victor Bike Park. We try to make our races affordable and attractive for both locals and the traveling racers. This year, every racer got a free entry into Oktoberfest, a Moose Cross t-shirt, and a yummy Tram Bar.

JayP leads out the kid's race. Kids, don't follow JayP's example and ride with a sucker in your mouth. Photo by Chris Larson

This little ripper exemplifies the Moose Cross stoke. Photo by Chris Larson

It wouldn't be Moose Cross without Peeto on the mic all day. Photo by Chris Larson

The Men's 1/2/3 leaders railing the "Narrows" section. Photo by Chris Larson

Frank Gonzalez, John Curry, and Owen Gue broke free early. Photo by Chris Larson

The chase group in Saturday's Men's 1/2/3 race. Photo by Chris Larson

Gabe "Fiddee Cent" Klamer airing Sunday's mini barriers. Photo by Tracey Petervary

Tim Kelley, always a Fitzy Teammate at heart, runs the railroad ties. Photo by Tracey Petervary

Frank "The Tank" Gonzalez won Saturday's Men's 1/2/3 race. Photo by Chris Larson

BC/DC rocked Victor's ice rink following Saturday's racing. Their version of "Thunderstruck" was especially good. Crappy pic by me

A few closing thoughts:
1) We are better race organizers than we are race promoters. Doing a better job at promotion is the only way we will continue to increase our racer numbers.
2) Seeing many racers attend their 4th consecutive Moose Cross was very cool.
3) Moose Cross + Oktoberfest + Live Music = Good Times!
4) As we do every year, we are already making notes on how to improve the race next year.
5) Timing and results still kick my ass but for the first time in the history of Moose Cross we had results online Monday morning. Woot Woot!