Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bad Decisions

A short story of my ride yesterday...

Yesterday I ventured out after work for a ride. There was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to ride in shorts during January. The plan was for a 2 1/2 to 3 hour ride on my favorite road bike - my near vintage DEAN Castanza. I was not taking off until 4:30 so two hours of the ride were in the dark, but that is what lights are for and reflective clothing.

Ride starts off good and my legs were feeling great. I had taken off from training on Sunday to go shooting with Christopher and Carolynn. Felt I need the rest after Saturday's recon on the BB36 course. Speaking of shooting, that wife of mine is quite the shot with that old Mosin Nagant rifle, but I do believe it is a little large for her.

I only mention guns because I felt like I wanted wanted to use one a couple of time during my ride. As I mentioned above my ride was going great for the first 5 miles of the ride. As I am heading South towards Riverside on Waukomis Drive a car pulls up besides me. It is car full of young kids. I use that term loosely as they were really a bunch of black punks. They proceeded to start yelling at me and threatening me. Half the stuff they said I did not understand. I just kept riding and ignored them. I really do not like confrontation and at times like these wish my brother Joey was with me. Anyways, they start to swerve towards me and start reaching out their car. This made me very mad and at the same time scared. I did not know really what to do other than pull over. When I did they kept going. But what if they didn't? This is one reason I really hate riding on the road but is a necessary evil that I hope very few have to endure. I think I might start carrying some pepper spray but were these kids really bad or did they just make bad decisions.

I continue on and head West toward Parkville. My planned route was to take the Missouri Riverfront Trail over to Parkville and keep off the high traffic roads. That plan was nixed due to trail is still closed and I am not buying their excuse. It is a damn shame that they have kept this Northland gem closed. I end up jumping on Hwy 9 which is not that bad and does have a shoulder which I do use. Luckily today I was on the shoulder. About a mile out of Parkville I am rolling along trying to forget about those punks in Northmoor and enjoy my ride when I hear a large truck approaching. I am on the shoulder so I do not worry to much, but all of a sudden I am about blown off my bike as the semi blows past me on the shoulder. Half his vehicle was on the road and the other half was on the shoulder. He swerves back in his lane and proceeds on. I do not think he did this on purpose but instead most likely made a bad decision and was trying to text and drive.

So far my fun ride is not so fun, but I carry on my planned path. My route takes me up Crooked road and I start the climbing for the afternoon. Crooked road is a very hilly route and usually a pleasant ride with very little traffic. Not so much this evening. As I start the climb I settle into my normal climbing cadence. The days light is getting less so I turn on my flashing rear light. All is well until I hear a car behind me. I get as far as possible to the right but no one passes. There is plenty of room but the driver is being nice. I wave them to pass and finally the Volvo passes me with care. The next driver to pass is not so nice. I guess driving behind the Volvo going 8 mph pissed this bitch off big time. She starts to lay on her expensive SUV vehicles horn, yells at me, waves her hands in such a way that one would think that the world was about to come to an end and then cuts me off as she accelerates by. But the world was not coming to an end. The only thing that happened was she postponed her arrival time by about a minute and I realized that not only young punks can be assholes, but housewife's that make bad decisions can be too.

I stop atop the hill to reflect and decided that bad things usually happen in threes. The next hours was a pleasant ride and I enjoyed a nice tailwind rolling lightly travel roads. I work my way back over Zona Rosa where traffic starts to pick up so I opted to see if I could find this trail located along 152 & I 29 that I noticed a few weeks ago. Sure enough I find it and it is appropriately name - 152 Trail. Only a short section is currently built, but at least it got me away from the increasing traffic. I work my way over Barry road and feel relieved that I am almost home and should be on the Line Creek Trail soon which is only two miles from my house.

As I make my way through the residential streets I start to feel my rear tire become a little soft. I pull over and sure enough I have a soft tire. Not completely flat, but low enough that I was starting to "ping" the rim. I was a little depressed to tell you the truth. For the past several months I had been riding a tubeless road setup. Over 750 miles without trouble. A quick check of the tire and I find a shard of glass in the tire. I remove the glass and notice I still have some Stans sealant in the tire. I pump her back up and sure enough the hole seals up. That is why I just love tubeless. I am quickly off and thankful that I made a good decision when I went tubeless.

I stop at the entrance to the Line Creek Trail and send a picture of the trail to Carolynn and let her know that I am o.k. and will be home in about 10 minutes. I continue along the dark path, which you guessed it, travels along Line Creek and through Robinhood Park. Robinhood park also is adjacent to several hundred acres of undeveloped land. Very peaceful place and one that I hike/trail run in since it is very close to my house. As I ride along I hear some noise in the woods and realize that it is something large. Most likely several deer. Nothing wrong with with Bamby per say, but when deer get spooked and start running you best watch out. Before I knew it a small herd of deer coming buzzing in front of me with one just behind me that narrowly misses me. I have heard of riders getting hit by dear before and with my luck tonight I thought that was next. I escape with only a scare and laugh off the indecent as par for the course tonight.

I decide to ride the sidewalk along 68th street back home. As I crest the hill and begin descending I remember there is a section of sidewalk that is broken up and would most likely damage my tire/wheel if I hit it at speed. I decided to jump on 68th street to avoid the damaged sidewalk and had to ride against traffic for a short time. At the time no traffic was on 68th street but soon several cars pulled on and headed West directly into my path. I could not get back onto the sidewalk yet so I quickly shoot across the road cutting between several cars. One of which just happened to be a police officer. Just my luck tonight. The officer turns on her lights and proceeds to chase me down. Wisely I pull over. The female officer asked me "What the hell was I doing". I explain about the sidewalk, my tubeless setup, my expensive wheelset and not wanting to damage my vintage DEAN bike. She then ask me "how long have I been riding" I said, well 30 years total, but only 3 hours tonight. "Don't you know better". Yes officer I do know better I stated, but sometimes you just make bad decisions.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mini Review: Komanndo 29er MTB Tire

For the past year I have been riding/testing the Kenda Komanndo cyclocross tire (my current personal favorite for both gravel and cross) so when I saw that Kenda was coming out with a MTB version in a 29er I knew that I wanted to get a set. Specs are 29 x 2.20, 120 TPI, DCT compound, folding bead and 660 gram weight. The tire has ramped center knobs for speed and aggressive knobs for traction. This is a dual direction tire - mount on way for hard pack and the reverse for muddy/wet conditions.

I mounted the Komanndo's on the new Crank Brothers colbalt 2 29er wheelset. The colbalt wheelset is tubeless, but the tire are not. Installation of the tires was very easy. Just add a couple of scoops of Stans and air up. I did notice some leaking around the bead and it took a couple of shakes and flips to seal them up. I would suggest a layer a tape on the rims to tighten the seal.

Overall first impression is I am just as impressed with the MTB version of the Kommando. It is a very meaty tire but also is light. It offers plenty of grip and rolls very well thanks to the ramped center knobs. We tested the tires out on the 2012 Bone Bender 3/6 Hour course, which has a mix of terrain including single track, dirt trails exhibiting rocks, tree roots, creek crossings, loose rocky sections, tight turns, off camber sections, fast flowy trails. In other words the perfect trails :-) The tires offered plenty of grip and gave me confidence to clear some sections that I have never been able to. I was especially impressed with the ability to climb the rocky/rooty sections. The knobs were spaced wide enough to grip the rocks/roots and offer great traction.

A note on air pressure. Kenda recommends a minimum of 40 psi. I was able to run 28 to 32 psi very comfortably and with no issues. I did try to drop down to under 25 psi, but ended up burping the rear tire some and the feel was not good. A quick increase in pressure to above 30 and I was back enjoying the days ride with plenty of traction and speed. I plan to place a layer of tape on my wheels this weekend and again try lower pressure just to see how they feel.

Check back for a long term test and updates.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Monkey Mountain Orienteering Report

It is off-season for cyclist here in the Midwest. Time to put in those base miles and work on some cross training to keep the fitness up. One of the things I like to do during the winter is to participate in some Orienteering meets. The Possum Trot Orienteering Club hosted a round Sunday out a Monkey Mountain Park in Grain Valley. A nice park with a good combination of dense woods, open fields, rolling hills, creeks, valleys and such.

I normally do these solo, but I really want to get an Adventure Race team together so I invited Sean Gaulter, Mark Krause, Chris Love out to the event. Mark brought his friend Steven out and Chris's girl friend Cynthia Twibell joined in the fun.

Mr. Love was so kind as to give the first timers in our group a crash course in Orienteering. Both Chris and Cynthia helped get our maps all marked with our first course of the day- the white course. We split up in two teams with All Ready Lost (Love/Twibell) and Gravel Grinders (Mark, Sean, Steven & Me) The White course was a short 1.9 kilometers long but still offered a challenge as even our instructor of the day got lost once :-) The Gravel Grinders did what they do best and grinded along at a steady pace and hit all the controls without getting lost. Well, we got a little off track trying to find control #2, but we will not mention who (cough ...Sean) lead us a stray. Once back on track we used a lot of team work and kept up the pace well enough to finish with the quickest time of the day (1st out of 5 teams) for the White course. Not bad for three beginners and and old fart like myself.

After a short break we decided to run the 3.8 kilometer Orange course. This time Chris and Cynthia joined the Gravel Grinders as a team. The Orange course was double the distance and the controls were at a lot harder locations to find. Again we worked as a team and was able to stay on track and my encouragement keep the pace high enough to stay a top the leader board with a time of 42:18 We we left for the day were were 1st out of 10 teams for the Orange course. I will check back tomorrow to make sure we stayed there and hopefully we did. It is official. We kicked butt - Monkey Mountain Results

With 1, and possibly 2 wins, this season is already starting off better than last. Some pictures from the day posted below.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2012 Mountain Biking Events

Finally, we are one big happy family - Unified Federation of Dirt.

I have always been an advocate of having one organization/series. I am also excited that we are all finally using USA Cycling to permit/insure events. In my opinion, having different organizations/series (Midwest Fat Tire Championship Series, Heartland, St. Louis, Individual) wasn't good for our sport, nor did it support our national governing body. We are a niche sport as it is, and working against each other simply wasn't good. I would like to see us become a local chapter with USA Cycling or develop into something like WORS. Of course this would take a lot of work and a group of dedicated people to organize it. I believe we are on great path now and I see good things ahead for mountain biking, especially seeing the tremendous growth on the endurance side and gravel adventures.

The 2012 Unified Federation of Dirt Mountain Bike Series:

East Series

March 25: (Sun) Mesa Lost Valley Luau (Mesa/Matt James) XC (Maybe even push back into April? )
May 12: (Sat) Greensfelder (DRJ Racing/Bob Arnold) XC
May 20: (Sun) Broemmelsiek Challenge (Mitch Johnson) XC
June 17 (Sun) Leadbelt XC. St. Joe Park (Mark Grumke) XC
July Dirt Crits Castlewood (Every Thursday) Dirt Crits
July 14: (Sat) Castlewood (Ballwin Cycles/Pfoodman) XC
Aug 19: (Sun) Cyclewerx Crankfest. Cape Girardeau, MO (Cyclewerx/John Dodd) XC
Aug 26 (Sun) Matson Hill - St. Charles (Walter Davis/Mike Barro - Momentum) XC
September 30: (Sun) Rhetts Run (Andy Shuette/CBC) XC
October 6 (Sat): Castlewood Race - St. Louis (Rich Pierce/ICCC) XC

West Series
March 24 & 25 - God's Country Fat Tire Festival @ Lawrence River Trail (Chris Locke)
April 7 - Team Colavita Mountain Bike Races @ Perry Lake Trails (Brett Shoffner)
April 22 - OMBA Caramba- Springfield, MO (Ryan Meschke)
May 5 and 6 - Kansas Fat Tire Festival @ Wilson Lake (Doug Chambers)
May 20 - Dirty Little Secret @ Fancy Creek State Park (Aaron Apel)
May 26 - Robidoux Roundup @ Krug Park (Randy Tracy)
June 10 - Down and Dirty @ Warsaw, MO (Mac Vorce)
July 29 - Show Me State Games @ Rock Island State Park (Sarah Ashman)
September 9 - Tour de Lizard @ Camp Horizon (Bobby Smith)
September 30 - Rhett's Run @ Cosmo Park (Andy Schuette)

Endurance Series
April 15 Bone Bender 3/6 Hour MTB Odyssey @Lawrence, Kansas (Cow Town/Chris Locke)
June 2 - Dirty Kanza (Jim Cummings)
June 23: (Sat) Indian Camp Creek 3/6/12 @ St.Charles (Off the Front/Todd Holtman)
July 21 - Rapture in the Midwest @ Perry Lake (Colavita/Ethos)
August 25 - Cruise the Blues @ the Farm (Doug Palen)
September 8 - Sac River 6/12 hour (Jason Feagans)
September 23 - Tall Oak Challenge @ Binder Lake (Jeff City, MO)
Oct 13 (Sat) Burnin at the Bluff 2011 Endurance @ Potosi, MO (Mesa Cycles/John Farinella)
Oct 20 (Sat) BT EPIC (Springfield Bikes / Scott Davis)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How to Start Bone Bender?


First, Thank you to everyone who voted over the last 24 hours. I really value your opinion.

Here are some results from the first 100 votes. I personally was a little surprised with the results. As you can see it is about divided between starting on your bike and a Le Mans start. I plan to close the voting once we reach 200 votes and then make a decision.

Please help me sleep tonight by helping me answer this question. Visit the Bone Bender blog link below and answer the question - How should we start this years Bone Bender?


Thank you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Paraskevidekatriaphobia Night Ride

What: Friday the 13th Night Ride
When: Friday, January 13, 2012, 6:00 pm
Where: Smithville, MO
Why: To ride at night and to cure yourself of the dreaded aliment known as paraskevidekatriaphobia

Ride starts at Smoke N Davey Trailhead off of W Highway. All skill levels welcome. Lights needed. Helmets required.

Route depends on trail conditions. MTB trails if dry/frozen, gravel/paved trail if not. Maybe a nice night time snow ride?


Thanks for coming out Steve and Tim. Small turnout, but a great ride. I guess everyone else that said they were coming was either afraid or is a candy ass.....Temps were great and the trails were in awesome condition. Just a small amount of snow to keep things interesting. We got in 1 1/2 laps and hit every trail the Smithville has to offer.

Tip of the day: I reduced the pressure in my Kenda Nevagals (26 x 2.1 UST) to 20 psi for added traction. I usually run about 28 to 30 psi in them. I was very impressed with the feel and traction that they provided in some of the slick spots. I am liking less pressure more and more as I try to find the optimal psi.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Do you have the Desire?

It is that time of year again. Time for News Years resolutions and new goals for the year. I personally really enjoy this time of year. I get to wipe the slate clean and forget about last years shortcomings (which there were many for me this year).

I am basically a really goal oriented person. I need something to work towards to keep myself motivated. Over the years I have had some very great years where I reached all my goals. Other years not so much. Why is that you ask? I believe it come down to one thing. Desire and how bad do you want it?

I have helped some of my friends with their training programs over the years. When we get to setting goals for the year most of the time their goals are really lofty. I ask them do they realize what it is going to take to reach those goals. The sacrifices that are going to have to be made. I believe most goals can be reached but you have to have that one thing to reach them. The dirty little secret about reaching goals isn’t a complex secret: Those who succeed do not know the word quit. They want to taste success and are willing to do anything to taste it.

Setting goals for 2012 is my next task at hand. I am almost done and feel good about most of them. However, some of them are a little far reaching and I keep asking myself "Do you have the desire you work for these goals and make the necessary sacrifices?" As I get older the advice my mother once gave to me comes up more and more - "you only have one body and you better take care of it and not abuse it". Early in my life I did not heed this advice very well. I now wish I would have now because my body tells me every morning that I should have. My advice to you is just realize that anything is possible, but there is a price to pay. You just have to be willing to pay that price for what could be the rest of your life.

Good luck with your goals for 2012. I have many of them and believe this year is going to be a good one.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

LMBC New Years Day Ride

The annual Lawrence Mountain Bike Clubs New Years Day ride was held today. A great turnout with 50+ riders. Heck, there might have been over 60. We always come out for this ride if we are in town. This years ride was blessed with great weather which is usually not the case.

Trail conditions were awesome. I was testing out some new tires from Kenda. The Slant Six tires so far have been very nice in a variety of terrain including Swope, Landahl and LRT. Look for a complete write-up soon including my impressions at various air pressures.

Some pictures from the day:

The video of the start:

Video of a group of riders including Carolynn in the back section: