Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Surly MWOD Chainrings: The “Easy Button” for getting Really FAT

A few years ago the 65mm Large Marge rim with a 3.7” Surly Endomorph tire was the pinnacle of fat. With this tire and rim combo, any bike with a 100mm wide bottom bracket could easily run three chainrings in the front and all nine cogs in the back. Once 80mm, 90mm, and 100mm wide rims hit the market, drivetrain options for fat bikes became less straightforward because of chain-on-tire rub issues.

MWOD Chainrings, Silver Mr. Whirly Crank Arms, and Chris King BB

If someone wants to upgrade to a fatter setup, there are a few drivetrain options:

One solution is to remove two or three of the small cogs on your cassette and turn your nine speed cassette into a six or seven speed cassette. The downside to this is that some rear derailleurs don’t have enough adjustment in their limit screws to accommodate such a drastic outboard setting. Older Shimano rear derailleurs like the Shimano M771 are the exception.

Another solution is to run a single chainring in the front and a nine or ten speed cassette in the rear. This is certainly a clean solution but for climbing hills and/or riding in very soft conditions this setup is not ideal unless you like long walks with your fat bike.

In my opinion, Surly’s MWOD (Mr. Whirly Offset Double) chainrings are the “Easy Button” for running the fattest rear tire & rim combo that will fit in your frame.

MWOD Chainrings

Who needs it?
Anyone who wants to run an extra FAT tire & rim combo

How does it work?
MWOD rings move the granny and middle rings to the middle and outer positions of the crank, effectively increasing tire clearance at the chain by 7mm without increasing your Q-factor and without losing your crawling gear. They are available in 20/33t and 22/36t.

What parts do you need to run MWOD chainrings?
  • Shimano compatible outboard bottom bracket
  • 100mm Surly Mr. Whirly Spindle
  • Surly Mr. Whirly Crank arms - No spider required because the MWOD chainrings bolt directly to the crank arms
  • MWOD chainrings
  • 3x9 or 3x10 Front Derailleur – Although you are only running two chainrings, you need the extra outward “throw” provided by a 3x front derailleur
NOTE: Surly also sells a complete MWOD Crankset that comes with a bash guard and bottom bracket. I chose to buy the parts separately because I wanted to use a Chris King BB and don’t want a bash guard on my fat bike.

MWOD Crankset

What is the downside?
It is a very clever solution to gaining more chain clearance. The only downside is that you are limited to two chainrings in the front vs. three. Also, you need to be aware of cross-chaining in the big/big combo. I am running a 22/36t MWOD with an 11-34t cassette in the rear and I haven’t missed my standard triple front chainring. I have also been pleasantly surprised with how well the front shifts despite a 14t jump from the small ring to the big ring. I am a fan of running the biggest tire & rim combo possible for the added float and stability it provides. The MWOD has allowed me to run a 4.7” Big Fat Larry tire on a 90mm wide rim in the rear and retain all nine cogs. Greatness!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Chasing The Moose.

Nordic Racing, Take 3: The Moose Chase, Feb 18th at Trail Creek Nordic Center - Wilson, WY

The Moose Chase was my third Nordic race of the winter and my third Nordic ever. The track at Trail Creek is beautiful yet evil. At this point in my young Nordic racing career, it is by far the most challenging place I have skied and exposed all of my weaknesses as a Nordic skier...and there are many.

I decided to do the 15K instead of the 30K and I felt guilty about all the way up until we started. Endurance cycling is my thing and yet I was choosing the "Half Moose" option. Having skied a lap of the 15K course with Sir Marc Llinares on Wednesday, I was pretty sure that I was making the correct choice...but I still felt guilty. There were a couple of times during our Wednesday pre-ski that I wanted to lie down in the trail and have a good cry. It was absolutely kicking my ass. That lap was invaluable today. I knew where I could recover, where to get on the gas, and which corners to look ouy for. Next year, racing the 30K Moose will be a goal for sure.

I really enjoy the technical aspect of Nordic skiing. Plus, anything that hurts that bad must be good for me right? My V1 uphill is getting better but only on my right side. My left side is out of sync. I can't V2 to save my life. I think I can V2 Alternate but I am not positive I am doing it correctly. And then there is cornering on these silly skinny skis. My downhill cornering on skate skis is more like "survival" but I am snow plowing less and step-turning more.

Before you can chase a moose, you must prepare for the chase:

One more Nordic race for me this season: The TVTAP Alta-Vista Skate Race next Saturday. I am stepping up for the 20K!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Race Before "The Race"

The 2012 Park City Point to Point SOLD OUT 350 spots in less than 4 minutes!

I have to admit that I was a little nervous yesterday as the 7 PM deadline approached. I had two reasons to be nervous:

A) I really wanted to race the 2012 PCPP and I had to register just like everyone else.

B) My site, Athlete360, was hosting the registration and I really wanted things to go smoothly.

I called my partner Don, our Lead Developer, earlier in the day and asked if we needed to do anything special to prepare for the onslaught that was sure to occur at 7 PM. He calmly said, "If everything is working properly now, I wouldn't touch anything." I was hoping he would say "Yeah, we will turn on the turbo" or something to that effect.

We actually bought a new kick-ass server last year just before this event in order to ensure that we could handle the load. That sever handled last year's 6 minute PCPP sellout and has been a rock star ever since so there was no reason to think that it wouldn't handle the pressure this year. I was still a little nervous. We are young company and a "meltdown" during a high profile registration would totally suck. I sincerely appreciate that the Park City Point to Point gave us, Athlete360, a "shot at the title" and I absolutely wanted to deliver. I am stoked that we did.

A little before 7 PM I sat down in front of two computers. One computer had Athlete360's PCPP page loaded for registration. The other computer had Facebook, Twitter, and another Athlete360 PCPP page for monitoring purposes. Like hundreds of other folks, I hit refresh at 7 PM and when the little green "Add To Cart" button appeared I went into "panicked racer" mode. I think I mis-typed my credit card number two or three times and I thought I had blown my chance but I got in. Phew! This was real world system testing at its finest. I immediately jumped over to the second computer and began to monitor the madness and shoot out a few updates to the PCPP main man, Jay Burke via Facebook Chat. I watched in amazement as the number of slots remaining went from 350 to 220 to 40 to None Remaining in under 4 minutes. Meanwhile, a few of my homies shot me notes that they were in as well so it looks like a good crew from Jackson/Teton Valley is heading to the PCPP again in 2012.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Camp Lynda V5, Day 3

Day 3 Quick Stats
Route: 2 Counterclockwise Laps of Goulds + Jem (including out-and-back to Sheep Bridge) + Hurricane Rim
Miles: 46 Miles
Climbing: 5,853'
Ride Time: 4:38:00
Lap 1: 2:21:00
Lap 2: 2:17:00 (yeah, this hurt a little)

The Day 3 route is one of my favorite rides anywhere so I was really looking forward to it. Coach LW had me on a specific training mission today which was to "even split" my two laps while riding at my max sustainable pace. I am stoked to have nailed it.

Jem Trail Stoke, photo by Fixie Dave

Goulds + Jem + Hurricane Rim = Pure Greatness!

My nemesis, lower back pain, showed up for the majority of Day 3 and definitely affected my power at times. Having spent the last year working on becoming more flexible through stretching and yoga, this was very frustrating. My next attempt at eliminating my back pain will involve targeting the Psoas.

Strengthening my Psoas will be my next attempt at fixing my lower back issue

This year's Camp Lynda was the best ever. The routes were fun and challenging, the weather was perfect, and the people were AWESOME! After chasing the speedsters around the desert for three days I am highly motivated to work on my game.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Camp Lynda V5, Day 2

Like most Camp Lynda campers this weekend, I am sore tonight. And I dig that. You don't drive 9 hours to ride glorious dry red dirt with a group of endurance super-freaks and NOT ride yourself into the ground. At least I don't. My current soreness makes me happy.

Today's route was the entire True Grit 50-mile course and I chose to ride it on the singlespeed. Having not ridden the singlespeed since last October, it was a little awkward right out of the gate but Selma quickly warmed up to the idea of us "dating" again. If I race the True Grit in March it will be on the singlespeed...I am just not sure which gear I would run.

Today's Quick Stats
Distance: 45 miles (we skipped the pavement section of the True Grit course)
Climbing: 5,000'

Maybe the biggest Camp Lynda group start ever?

I rode the Salsa Selma Ti SS today and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now if I can just figure out how to push a taller gear before True Grit...

We rode the entire True Grit course, minus the pavement.

Friday, February 3, 2012

We Interrupt this Fat Bike Program...

To bring you the 5th annual Camp Lynda.

I left this...

...for this!

photo by the one and only Fixie Dave

Camp Lynda V5, Day 1 is in the books and I need to go to bed so that I can keep up with all of the freaky-fast peeps tomorrow. I think today's route was my favorite Camp Lynda route yet. The Icehouse trail in particular is just so unique to St. George and so fun.

Quick Stats
Route: Church Rocks – Prospector – Leeds Reef – Silver Reef – Icehouse – Dino Cliffs
Distance: 39 miles
Climbing: 5,000'
Time: 3:54:00* (5:04:00)

*It was so nice out that I rode for another hour of "extra credit" after completing the planned loop.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Grand Targhee...So FAT Right Now!

From Grand Targhee's Press Release:
Andy Williams, Grand Targhee's Special Events/ Summer Trails and long time snow biker, was pivotal in paving the way for Grand Targhee to encourage snow biking on the Nordic trails. "After enjoying the mountain bike trails in Rick's Basin during the summer, I couldn't help but think that the winter riding would be amazing," said Williams, "Snow biking provides another opportunity for guests to enjoy nature in the Tetons."

Dave Byers, a local snow bike race organizer and cyclist agrees and recently blogged "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."

The snow bike was created to go where standard "all terrain" bikes flounder. The floatation and traction afforded by large-volume, low-pressure tires can get you over and through otherwise unrideable terrain...sand, mud, wet rocks and roots, ice and many kinds of snow. The snow bike is purpose built for snow and sand with wide, high flotation tires that enable travel on a variety of low pressure surfaces. Huge tires make for a comfy ride and distribute weight for FLOAT and TRACTION IN THE SNOW.