Archive for October, 2011
I bought a bike. No, the shop didn’t buy a bike that I will ride….I didn’t buy a bike for the shop…..MRSDrE didn’t buy me a bike…..I bought a bike.
Since its inception, I have always wanted a Surly Instigator. They are tough, mean, durable…..have an ICG mount, and ISO tabs. Neat huh? Well, I never had the money to buy a frame, despite their very reasonable price. So, I have been looking for more than a long time on the used market….usually after 6 drinks.
So I found one. Talked to the fella in WA who was selling it, and decided to buy it. It arrived yesterday, and was assembled at the shop. I may race it at the alleycat tomorrow night in St. George….we’ll see.
My plan for this bike is to use it an example of what the used bicycle market is out there – and what I do at Dharma Wheels as far as service – and the riding standards I set for our products. I get many emails a week from people looking at used bikes – or with service situations…and in general, they are problem ridden. It usually costs more to repair underlying issues and bring things up to snuff than people think. This is because bicycles have become so technologically complicated and advanced.
So, thanks a million to my man (name deleted for privacy) in WA for the great bike. It is in great shape for a used bike, I’m so happy to have it, the price was fair ($815 boxed and shipped) and its ride-able out of the box.
Here is a picture of my new bike. It is from the listing. In the next posting about the bike we’ll go through the ins and outs of the bike. This concludes part one with no problems. The person was honest, sent me a tracking number, the bike wasn’t damaged in shipping, it was professionally boxed (in a bike box) by a shop and all is well with the world.
This is how it should be…
There will be entertainment this weekend….
Big thanks to everybody who attended the Hurricane Mountain Bike festival. As some of you know, my parents were in town and we made a brief appearance on Friday. Thanks to all the vendors who made it as well! Big thanks to the OTE local crew Quentin, DJ and Fixie! Here is Millhouse on the porch of the shop watching the Pioneer wagon train go by. Funny thing, the Gublers (John Gubler built the house in 1900) had a wagon and draft mules….pretty sweet.
If I had a dog, it would be a greyhound, and I would pick this out for its Halloween costume.
Well its October friends, and in my youth, I would be out there on the weekend racing “the cyclocross”.
But that was before I knew what southern Utah was all about….
Big thanks to MRS.DR.E for making me go for two rides this weekend. Still lots of shop work to have to do…still lots of post interbike work to be done. But 75 and sunny the entire weekend helps. I’m quite excited to get people down there to rock.
Big props to Jim and Clara, who had “the wedding”…..uh….a little while ago. This is the most badass picture I have of Jim, in case you wanted to see.
In other news…
And Thats all I got. Remember, Hurricane Mountain bike festival this weekend. I”ll be there, but since my parents don’t ride mountain bikes too intensely, it’ll be short rides and hanging out for me….which is usually my plan anyway.
There is a comfort zone and a place that is out of our comfort zone. There is also a fine line between bravery and stupidity. In cycling, as with any other endeavor in this world, the goal is to sometimes step outside your comfort zone, and achieve a goal that may be out of reach. Which is why I signed up for LOTOJA.
That, and a certain set of circumstances were also in place…I was in need of some road miles after getting fat and out of shape on the chairlift during the past massive snowfall season. Many of our vendors at our bike shop were looking a gaps in their production schedule, so I had time to train. Kim was finishing up her Engineering job so that she could be full time at the bike shop and she was gone 2 days of the week from dawn till dusk….and some team members from the shop had a space for me. LOTOJA is a lottery….just like Leadville…you don’t always get in.
So after plunking down $180, I began dusting off the physiology books nd charted out a training schedule. Wolf Creek Pass, Mirror Lake Hwy, Weber Canyon – sometimes on the same day. It felt good to be on the road bike. After spending so much time over the past summers downhilling, the brisk pace, the voler team kit and the hum of the road were old friends who showed up for the season.
As the training miles increased, the power up 13% grades increased, the body fat dropped, the legs became more veiny, and I became more surly, thoughts entered my head about this one day event. 206 miles. What if it snows? How much does it mean to me? Didn’t I learn in Leadville that you can train all season and then in a few moments win or loose your race? I’m referring to my leadville experience, when I refused to “hustle” for a starting spot close to the front – despite the pleading of Dr. Jeff and Jake the Snake. Nope, I did it my way….warming up perfectly to start 1500 people back in the pack. Yup, I walked 5 miles of leadville that year….at 1 Mph…almost finishing out of the hardware because of my hard head. So it goes.
So as I prepared my fitness for LOTOJA, I wondered about the ride itself. I have a 16 lb Moots racing bike that is wonderful, but after about 130 miles, I start to fall apart. On the flip side, I have a custom made Independent Fabrication Ti Touring bike….but that thing is better suited for RAGBRAI than a race….at 25 lbs (when I take the racks off). Same with shoes. My 20 year old Sidi’s for my road bike are great, but after 130 miles, my feet do hurt….where as I survived the Crusher in the Tusher 8 weeks before LOTOJA on the touring bike with my Shimano shoes. What to do? In the end, I went for the touring bike. I finished up my training, had a hell of a week at the office and shop, tipped a 40 for Jeffrey Bates who succumbed to his Melanoma a few days earlier, and on Friday Sept 9th drove to Logan for the race.
Part of having success in races, events, fun rides, festivals, gran fondo’s, etc is getting information from people who have done this before. The Dharma Wheels cycling team is an incredible resource for all sorts of events – including LOTOJA. Special thanks to Andy Wheeler, a veteran LOTOJA racer, and team captain, for dialing in the overnight accommodations and tweaking the final game plan. For a race like this, everything matters.
So we check in, have dinner at the Blue Bird, and go home to study the race bible.
206 miles, lots of pointy things, looks like fun, eh?
So our start time is 7:13 am. We’re ready after a racers breakfast of rice, bananas and milk.
The first “stage” is from Logan to Preston ID. And its fast. I was concerned about this stage because the profile of myself on my touring bike is basically a Mack Truck and the forecast called for a NE wind. What are the odds, usually its SW, but those are the breaks. No pulls for me thank you – just sit in and hope I get there. The Cat 3 mens group that we were with was full of racers and they were jittery from the start. The “stage” is flat, but the speeds average from 25-30mph and there were many accelerations into the gale headwind that broke the field into a long echelon. Monitoring my heartrate and power, I was not impressed with my hard efforts, especially when I got sawed off the back at 19 miles and Andy was kind enough to drop back to pace me back into the field. I hit Preston feeling OK, but concerned about my super hard effort, and MAX 195 BPM heartrate to stay in the field. Oh well “it is a good day to fight….it is a good day to die”.
From Preston to Strawberry summit saw improvement for my condition. Though I am almost as far from a climber as you can get, I was able to channel my inner Rouleur and pace it up the climbs. Hammer nutrition was in charge of my fuel, Buckcherry was in charge of the tunes I had coming out of my handlebar bag, and the Garmin ticked away the miles as I picked off riders left and right.
The decent to Montpelier was uneventful, except for the headwind. Our bike fitter, also from the great midwest, seems to just ignore headwind. Tim also has the brains to ignore 206 mile races. After the 2nd feed from Kim, we tackled the last 2 climbs of the day, Geneva Summit and the Salt River Pass. Once again, Hammer Nutrition provides the balanced fuel to keep me going. Andy Wheeler kept me posted about what came next over the twists and turns.
Before the summit of Salt River Pass, Andy was feeling it. We stopped for a minute while he adjusted his shoe. It was mile 103, and the pain cave was coming into clearer and clearer view. We descended into Afton where we had another feed from Kim. The stretch from Afton to Alpine was FAST. We plugged into a group of Jackson Cat 3 racers who motored along at almost 30 mph. The entire stretch is downhill. Riding a paceline at 30mph for 30 miles is a unique experience similar to talking to a drunk. You think you know whats going on, but at certain intervals, you never know what comes next. Here is a picture from the front of the pack.
With 150 miles in, our group was feeling pain. Many of the riders had very sore asses and very sore backs. It was inspiring to see them mush on despite the pain. As for Jonny, I’m tired, but no pain…I’m on my touring bike after all.
After our feed at Alpine, things were looking peachy. The cutoff time to get your metal is 8:15pm and it seemed like if we maintained 18mph or so, we’d make it no problem. So after fueling up, we head out. Little rollers and descents occur, and for the first time, we actually had a tailwind for a few miles. Andy is guiding me on the course telling me what comes next, and I’m strong enough to share the pulls with him.
We are both tired, but out there on the road are spots of inspiration. How about doing JOTOJA hearing impared?
So we get to the 175 mile mark and things start to not add up. It seems that we need to average 22mph to be able to make it to the finish line by 8:15. With about 20 miles to go, I tell Andy that it is 100% okay if he wants to charge off and make that time cut. I’m chugging along at 19mph and 300 watts, but I”m too tired to go any harder. So we split. In my head, there is some anger that I wouldn’t make the hardware cut, but its funny how pain has a way of bringing thing into clear focus. Ask anybody who has had a toothache if they mind taking off work or missing their family event to get it taken care of. Ask anybody who has had an ulcer, how easy it is to redefine the priorities in their lives. So I’m riding along…and a fella from Park City slowly rides up to me. He’s going 20, so now I’m going 20. We ride together, and he mostly pulls me. He’s done this race before….its flat to the finish with about 15 miles to go.
The sun is now setting and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we are going to finish the race at 8:17….2 minutes out of the hardware. Then the train comes screaming by.
During the entire race, you pass people….they pass you…You sit in with them. You talk and get to know them. We left Alpine before the Cat 3 group that we came in with did…and here they are! Cat 3 dudes and ladies, many of them from Jackson, who do this race every year and sneak in right before the buzzer! And they are going 23.5 miles an hour!
Man do we plug in…and the miles drop. 10…9…8…7….at 5KM to go, we see red signs. 4K to go – the group is cheering. 3K to go the pace goes from about 25 mph to 27mph. With 2K to go I find myself near the front and realize that the sprinters at the front of the group are winding it up for a sprint finish. “I think I remember how this goes” I say to myself. The speed lifts to 30mph and the group splits into two – 10 sprinters and 25 in the peloton.
With 1K to go there is a 2 person move to the right and an out of the saddle acceleration. This puts me in the front of the chase group and I go hard left, “slamming the door” on the people behind me who can go no further left due to the finish barriers, but cannot accelerate enough to change position to come around right. Then its time to give it some stick. 300 meters to go, accelerating to 35 and 37mph, passing those two dogs on the right, mouths hanging open, looking at me as I pass them, 38mph, 39, I pull out in front…The crowd at the finish – used to seeing one at a time stragglers limp across the line – was now banging on the boards and screaming as they saw the final big group roll in at top speed like a freight train in the twighlight. 100 meters to go – in front – all alone – I can hear the wheels of the men behind me on the ground, over the crowd noise, and the sound gets quieter. They are falling away. 41 mph and its the most beautiful sound in the world – my tires alone on the pavement. At the line, I ease ever so slightly and salute the finish. The racers, the event, my team and everything that is good in the world.
I know its for 999th place. I know its a joke. But its a victory. And in this unfair world – you take as many as you can get.
After the finish, I controlled my deceleration and tossed my timing chip to the last collector in the line. She said “Wow” when I stopped on a dime (the touring bike has MTB brakes) and I replied “yeah, I used to do that all the time a long time ago”. Then the racers from the group all came up and congratulated me on an excellent sprint and how much fun it was to end the race like that. That meant a lot. I’m even guilty of loosing a sprint and then turning sour after a race.
So there is was. LOTOJA completed at 8:13pm, 13 hrs after it started. I was tired, but not too sore in any part of my body. The sun had set after I picked up my medal, and the day was done.
I don’t plan on doing LOTOJA again…unless as part of a relay team. I’d rather fill up my pack with beer and go ride with my buddies. I’m sure I”ll find something else to get myself into one of these days.