Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Fatback is now the Phat Cruiser

Before leaving Victor, I ordered two pairs of Surly's Black Floyd tires from Fitzgerald's Bicycles because I didn't want our Fatbacks to sit and collect dust in Boise.  I had no idea they would be the bikes we ride most frequently here in Boise.

The Black Floyd tires have turned our fat bikes into super-fun urban assault vehicles.  We ride them to dinner on "date nights", to the Boise Farmer's Market, to Albertson's or the Co-Op for groceries, to the post office, and to yoga class.  The most surprising thing is how nice these bike are to ride in "cruiser" mode.  We run the tires at about 20 PSI and the bikes don't feel slow at all. Plus, they are very stable at slow speeds and/or with a heavy load.

I absolutely plan to seek out some snowy trails to ride near Boise this winter, but for the summer, the Fatback will remain in Phat Cruiser mode.  If you have a fat bike sitting in your garage, you should consider a pair of Black Floyds for summertime use and enjoy the fatness year-round.

The Surly Black Floyd tires transformed my Fatback into a Phat Cruiser

The Phat Cruiser has seen a lot of ride time over the last two months

The Light & Motion Commuter Light on a custom mount below the rack

The KUAT Bottle Lock makes it SO easy to lock up the Phat Cruiser

The Arkel Handlebar Shopper Bag is perfect for picking up Bombay Burritos from  Parilla Grill or grabbing  a six-pack at Albertson's

A Princeton Tec Byte clipped directly onto the front of the Arkel Bag 

For trips to the Boise Farmers Market or Albertsons, I use Arkel's The Shopper folding bag

I can get a LOT of groceries in the three bags 

The rear view with The Shopper bags unfolded

Friday, May 18, 2012

Post-Race Mesa Verde Ramblings

In full-on YEEHAW mode on Lap #3

I told Coach LW that I felt as if I went pretty deep at Mesa Verde this year.  Based on how I felt Monday & Tuesday this week, I would say that was an accurate statement.  I will definitely keep it mellow through the weekend and into early next week to make sure I am recovered before ramping it up again.

Its perfect timing for a recovery week because I have a few bike projects stacked up.  First and foremost, I need to tear the Salsa Selma singlespeed down to its frame and start over.  I have a horrible creak that is driving me crazy.  During the third lap of the race, a rider came up behind me and said, "That sure isn't the quietest singlespeed I have ever heard."  Doh! I hung my head in shame.  Even though I am 95% sure that the creak is in the rear end, I am starting over and putting anti-seize on everything; headset cups, bottom bracket, pedal washers, in between the frame & Alternator dropouts, etc.  I am also going to convert my singlespeed rear hub from a quick-release axle to a RWS 10mm thru-bolt.  This will add a few grams but should stiffen things up nicely.

Selma needs some love

That creak is in there somewhere

The road bikes have been neglected for far too long and need the full service as well; wash, lube, cables & housing, and new bar tape.

The other little project for the week is my lower back.  No, I don't think I am going to fix it in one week.  However, I feel as if my lower back issue has regressed so I am going to review my notes, do some more research, and come up with a new plan.  Over the last year I have put more of an emphasis on stretching & yoga than challenging core work and that might need to change.  Yoga will absolutely remain in the program but I see a lot more planks and bridging in my future.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2012 12 Hours of Mesa Verde Race Report

Quick Stats:
Place: 7th Place, Solo Singlespeed Male
Laps: 7
SS Gearing:  32 x 20
Time:  11:41:38
Distance:  114.8 Miles
Climbing:  7,369’

A “great” race at Mesa Verde still eludes me.  I did set a new PR by shaving five minutes off of last year’s time but I had much higher expectations for this year.  Based on how I felt during the race and the fact that I didn't achieve my goal, I have to say that I had a good, not great, race.  Before I dive into that, let’s talk about something far more positive. 

Fast forward to the end of Lap #1 as I pulled into my pit for a super fast hydration pack swap.  As I skidded to stop, I heard someone yell, “I am passing you Dave Byers!!!” and giggle as they rode by.  Doh!  I didn’t know who it was at the time but I scrambled to get back in the saddle and within 100 yards I was riding behind my long-time friend Cat Morrison.  Cat was also racing Solo Singlespeed and we immediately fell into a great pace with me following her around the track for Lap #2.

After a bit of catching up chit-chat, the silliness began.  Those riding around us either got a good chuckle or were totally annoyed by our silliness but we could care less.  We were riding fast and smiling and it was fun.  There was still a lot of traffic on Lap #2 and a constant stream of team racers were trying to pass their way through the field.  We complimented the polite passers and heckled the bad passers.  We even told one guy he was in the penalty box, 2 minutes, for a botched pass.  At least he laughed.   

We did our share of passing as well.  I reminded Cat of Ricky Bobby’s excellent technique for passing, Shake-N-Bake, and we used it effectively.  I had to pull out a Talladega Nights reference for my homie Fiddee Cent who couldn't race Mesa Verde this year.

By the time we got to the Rib Cage section, we were in full-on “Yeehaw” mode and getting “Rad” air.  No, I am serious…my wheels totally left the ground and I have photographic proof.  We threw down a very respectable lap time and it was amazing how our silliness took our minds off of the effort.  Cat and I got separated during our third lap but Cat went on to crush the women’s Solo Singlespeed field and win by a full lap.  Awesome! 

Good vs. Great
Why didn’t I have a "great" race this year?  I had a great build-up to this race and then a nice taper leading into it.  I felt really good during my little "openers" ride on Tuesday.  However, when I arrived in Cortez late Thursday night I was stiff and sore. My main issue was once again my lower back.  I realize that everyone’s lower back hurts at the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde because Tuffy Rim simply beats your ass and the cumulative effect of this lap after lap takes its toll.  However, my back has been bothering me on-and-off for a few weeks and it really felt jacked up after the 11+ hour drive to Cortez on Thursday. 

Note to self:  If you are going to travel to races that far away, plan to break up the drive or don’t go at all. 

Fifteen minutes into the first lap of Saturday’s race, my back pain was already affecting the way I had to ride.  Thoughts of quitting crept into my brain.  At one point during the first lap I remember thinking to myself, “Maybe you should stop racing your bike until you figure out what the fuck is wrong with your back.”  However, the post-race euphoria and sense of accomplishment wash those types of thoughts away just like the shower washes away the fine dust from the Phil’s World trails.

I was able to push through it and have a solid race and I am proud of that.  From a pacing & strategy standpoint, I wouldn’t change a thing except to maybe run a little faster next year.  Speaking of next year, now I HAVE to go back in 2013.

2012 Lap Splits

Despite my little physical drama, it will be the people that I remember from the 2012 12 Hours of Mesa Verde.  The people are what I love about mountain bike racing.  Racing with my friend Cat, watching Jonathan & Eszter win the Duo Co-Ed race, and meeting new friends Brian & Brandon were highlights.

Now I will take a bit of time to recover and dig even further into my lower back issue.  Lastly, I would like to publicly apologize to everyone who rode near me during the race and had to listen to my creaking Salsa Selma Ti.  It was so loud it was embarrassing...so now I have that little project to attend to.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

12 Hours of Mesa Verde Quick Report

So now I have raced the 12 Hours of Mesa Verde four times; 3 times with gears, 1 time on the SS.  I believe it absolutely possible to go just as fast on the singlespeed on this course...it just hurts more. Damn you Tuffy Rim!

Place:  7th, Solo Singlespeed Male
Laps:  7 (11:42 unofficial)
  • Hanging with many good friends and meeting new ones
  • Riding Laps 2 & 3 with my buddy Cat Morrison, Female Solo Singlespeed winner
  • The Rib Cage section. How friggin' good is that?
  • The weather. It was warm but then a thundershower blew in and cooled things off nicely.
A full report will happen soon.  Thanks to all the great folks who helped me in between laps today.  Mountain bikers are nice people...and I dig that.


Friday, May 4, 2012

Carbon Teaser

Carbon teaser...

The Scott Scale 29 is finally built and I took it out for an easy spin today at lunch before the afternoon thundershowers hit.  I was totally shredding the bike path on this thing. Ha!  When Fitzgerald's Bicycles became a Scott dealer, I knew I had to have one so I ordered the frame and moved the parts over from my Giant XTC.  Our move to Boise severely cut into my "workshop" time and the build kept getting pushed out.  Now I just need to dial in the fit a little and spend some quality time on dirt with it.  More later...     

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bike-Centric Weekend

"Drive less, Ride more" has been our theme since arriving in Boise and I LOVE it.  Our central location in the North End allows us to ride our bikes to dinner, to yoga class, to run errands, and to ride sweet singletrack from our house.     

I LOVE Radishes! These came home with me.

We rode our bikes to the Boise Farmer's Market Saturday morning and I am now a big fan.  Local vendors had everything from fresh produce, to fresh herbs, locally raised bison & elk, organic honey, and the best fresh-roasted peanut butter I have ever had in my life.

Fresh everything at the Boise Farmer's Market

Next Saturday, I am going to show up hungry for The Creperie

After a big week on the bike, this past week of riding was pretty mellow and my rides over the weekend were two hours or less.  I took M on a tour of new-to-her trails including Red Cliffs (downhill), Fat Tire Traverse, and Freestone Ridge.  She loved it.  Next weekend I will show her Orchard, 5-Mile Gulch, and Watchman's!

Michelle's first ride on the Fat Tire Traverse...

...she liked it!

The weekend ended in perfect style with a quick trip to the grocery store Sunday late afternoon, by bike of course, followed by grillin' and chillin'.

Two of my favorite things; The Phat Cruiser and Alaskan Brewing Co. Black IPA