Saturday, February 27, 2010

CIRREM - 100K Gravel Road Race = FUN

John and I ventured up to Cumming, IA for the 2nd Annual Cirrem. A 100K gravel road race. A great turnout for todays race with nearly 70 riders. Three locals headed up to compete: John Williams, Doug Long and ME.

Cumming Tap was the official start/finish of the event. Proceeds went to the Des Moines Bike Collective. Jed , Kent and crew did a great job of organizing the CIRREM.

Today was a good test to see if I am ready for this years Ouachita Challenge - my first big challenge of 2010. Today's CIRRUM is the same distance and has plenty of hills. The first 42 miles went very well for me. I was up front most of the day and even got away in a few breaks. I soon learned that it is not a good idea to breakaway with riders who do not know the course. After the third time of having to turnaround and rejoin the course, I learned to stay with someone who either had a map or knew the course. I quickly found the right guy to follow - the guy who designed the route....
Things went south just before the 45 mile mark. My bike stopped shifting due to the frozen mud accumulating on my down tube (and yes my bike has down tube cables routes). I was stuck in the 44 x 11 which is way too big of a gear to climb with. Especially with my knees. I stopped several times trying to fix the problem and beating some of the frozen ice off with my Crank Brothers multi-tool. After a few attempts I gave up and ran the big steep hills and then tried to ride. I was a little too fatigued to turn the gear effectively so I stopped again and used the limiting screw to at least get into the 15. The last 15 miles were all single speed. After awhile I got the hand of grinding up the climbs and my single speed skills started coming back to me. I slowly picked up some riders as I imagined I was a diesel engine and just chugged along at a low RPM.

Frozen mud build up was a problem for many during the day. One thing about frozen mud, it doesn'y come off very easily and can actually cause bodily harm if done incorrectly. I don't think my hand will ever be the same....

Big party after the ride.

John had a great ride and was right up there with the big boys during the first part of the ride. One too many boiled eggs before the start was his undoing :-)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Racing Season is Finally Here

This winter has flown by. I can not believe that it is already time for local races to begin. Saturday is Jim's Spring Flings and next week is Roger's Perry Road Races begin. And the local mountain bike and multi-sport season begin shortly after. It is going to be a busy year for sure.

I think I will skip the road stuff this weekend especially since I still do not have my road bike put back together. Anyways, I had been planning on heading down to the Spa City 6 Hour MtB race in Hot Springs, AR, but my work schedule is not cooperating. I do not feel like driving 7 hours through the night on Friday so it looks like the CIRREM is getting the lucky ticket. John and a few others are heading up and a 60 mile gravel road races seems like a lot more fun than chasing riders around a crit course on my old DEAN. Beside, I have about 600 miles of gravel training that I need to put to good use.

Some other races not far off......I still remember when Gerard and I put on the first God's Country event out at Clinton Lake. It was a mud fest but one of the funnest races ever. Seems like 1st year events for me get a lot of mud then there is smooth sailing with perfect weather. The BB36 started things off a little dirty last year, but this year will be perfect. Just watch....

8th Annual God's Country Off-road Duathlon
April 11, 2010 April 18, 2010
Lawrence River Trails
Lawrence Kansas

Bone Bender 3/6 Hour MTB Odyssey
April 18, 2010
Smithville Lake MTB Trails
Paradise, Missouri

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dan Made a Difference

Yesterday marked the 3 year anniversary of my good friend Dan Tenaglia's death. Last year when I remembered Dan's passing it was really hard on me. This year I didn't really know what to write or if I should say anything at all. What I do know is that Dan Tenaglia made a difference in my life.

While attending some rides this weekend with some friends, I thought about Dan and the influence that he had on me. I only knew him about 7 years, but he changed the way I think and view life. He helped me get over and understand a lot of the problems that I was dealing with including what happened to my brother John. I really missed him on Sunday's ride out at Landahl. Dan would always be there during a ride or hike to answer my questions. Sunday we came upon this old tree with some honeycomb. I stopped because I was interested in what type of tree it was and what animal would have torn it out. Dan would have been able to tell me everything I wanted to know including what animal did it and how old the tree was.

I still remember the first day I met Dan. I was out on a training ride trying to find my way back to Carolynn's parents house (we had just moved to Kansas City and were staying in their basement). I was up near Platte City on some back country road lost and very tired and I come upon a bike along side the road. No rider, just a bike and some gear. After a few minutes Dan comes out from the woods with some leaf from a plant in his hand and a camera. Dan was working on his Missouri Plants web page. Dan was a little lost also, be he did not care. He was out enjoying life and doing what he loved. We rode several more hours exploring and stopping every time Dan saw an interesting plant or wanted to take a picture. After nearly a full day on the bike I was exhausted, we both were. We kept going and finally made it back mainly due to Dan's motivation and positive attitude. "Failure is not an Option"

Dan Tenaglia made a difference in many peoples lives including mine. Do I make a difference? Do you? I look back on the people I have met and the friends I have made. In reality, I only have a couple of good friends. Sometimes I do not think I have any. They act like they are your friends, but they are not. Dan was one of the few that I call a true friend. Even in his passing, he is there for me. I ride with him often and he inspires me to keep going.

Dan Tenaglia Foundation for the Preservation of Natural Areas. Donations will be used to purchase land for conservation in his name. Please make all checks payable to the "Dan Tenaglia Foundation" and send them to: P.O. Box 4281, Opelika, Alabama 36803-4281.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Mullet Ride

Thank you to everyone who came out to the winter edition of the Mullet Ride. Held twice yearly from the sleepy little town of Baldwin City. Pictures are below. Full report coming later and will be posted on Gravel Grinders.

A special Thanks to Gerard Arantowicz for leading us on our journey.

Note: No mullets were harmed on this ride. We can not say the same for our little squirrel friends....

Friday, February 12, 2010

Traction Needed

After getting stuck in the mud on Wednesday night at Swope park, I have decided to get a Traction Mat. Still cannot believe I got stuck in the parking lot. A big "Thank You" to JP Brocket and John Williams for helping push my ole truck out. It is a good thing I did not have to make a quick get away from the Locals. I would have been in deep trouble.

While I was out looking for a product to help my little old grey Ranger get out of slick spots, I found this cool product. It says it works on bicycle tires. I wonder if it is legal with the UCI? Hopefully it will arrive today. Looks like I might be able to use it on my Sunday morning MTB ride.

Sunday's MTB Ride
Landahl Park / Argo trail head
Blue Springs, MO

I will be rolling out at 0800 for several hours of single track fun if anyone is interested. Running either before or after (or both) my ride for anyone training for the Fat Tire Duathlon events.

Don't forget Saturday's Mullet Ride....

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chucky's Challenge

The 3rd Annual Chucky's Challenge was our Gravel Grinder for the day. Held annual in the Amish town of Jamesport, Missouri. Jamesport is famous for pies, an Amish community, horse drawn buggies and selling guns upstairs at the local tavern. After the ride I checked out the collection and it was nice. I will have to return soon to purchase one for Christopher. He is really getting into guns. But I digress...

This years CC featured a 57 mile course held mainly on snow packed gravel rounds. Most of the course was on rolling terrain with only a few hard climbs. Just as Doug Long advertised, the course was flat and fast. That was if you could handle the snow and icy road conditions. Luckily for me I could :-)

A record setting turnout this year despite the recent snow we received. Around 24 riders ventured to Jamesport for this years edition. That is really cool considering the condition. These Gravel Grinders are really getting popular and can see them growing in the coming years. They are fun, newbie friendly and gets you outside riding during the winter. I for one can not stand riding a trainer or a set of rollers.

I really enjoyed the route today. Some sections were icy and for what ever reason, I have been enjoying riding on the icy stuff as of late. On some flat sections by the river, where the snow had either been blown away or the roads plowed, it got a little muddy. I had fenders on the ole' Jake the Snake which caused some tire clearance problems when the mud started to build up on my tires. I soon found that it was best to ride in what ever snow was still left in this area which really helped. Soon I was rolling alone as before enjoying a nice winter ride with some great like minded riders like myself. Along the route we encountered a few of Amish hard at work. Check out the steel wheels on their rig. Man those guys are hard core. Just like everyone who cam out to this years Chucky's Challenge. Everyone who finished today deserves a nice cold beer like I got to enjoy after the ride.

Here are the rest of the pictures from today. Chucky's Challenge Pictures.