Dirty Kanza 2015: The Dirtiest Kanza

It has been years since I rode Dirty Kanza. The last time I went I had a pretty awesome ride and while very pleased with the overall result I was disappointed that I did not pull off the win in the single speed category so I knew I would go back someday to give it another shot. While Dan Hughes is well known as the King of Kanza for his numerous overall wins I was hoping to match Cameron Chambers as the only person, by my reckoning, to have won both the overall and the single speed category, which, lets face it, are the only classifications that matter. This year a lot of things lined up to make me say this was to be the year. I have work to the point where I can take a bit more time to ride again, and I can take some time off – stress free – as well. Also one of the founders of Dirty Kanza died last winter and I wanted to go back to ride for his memory. Then, while I was already registered for my 5th DK it was announced that Dan Hughes had come up with an idea for those that had 5 DK finishes to be awarded a goblet suitable for drinking out of, looking at, and conking marauding hoards on the head with should they encroach on your castle. I wanted that goblet!


Dan Hughes and I front row by TBL Photography

So I trained, obsessed just a bit on tire choice and gearing, and found myself at the start line where as a former winner I was treated to a call up and front row start. DK has grown a lot over the years, and the atmosphere at the start used to be much more sleepy, now it is more like the start of a $20,000 criterium.


They said go, we took off and got stopped about a quarter mile down the road for a passing train. Psyche! Off again and it was brisk neutral field style to the gravel where we were set loose. Being on the single it is important to find a cozy spot to sit and just let them big geared guns tow you as far as you like / can make it. This year Kansas had gotten a lot of rain in the week (weeks?) leading up to the race and I knew from a quick pre ride of the first 10 miles of the course the day before that there was lots of soupy gravel and a few places where there was even running water across the road from the soaked farm fields.


Sure enough there was a lot of spray, then a crash, then some mad dashing to keep contact with the front. There were a few of us single speeds in there doing the spin spin spin coast game.

I felt like I was in a good spot still in contact with the leaders and then we turned onto a road made of mud. There were a couple of truck tire tracks and while I was able to grab one and ride into the mess and yeah it was kind of rideable maybe but it just did not matter because everyone was getting off bikes everywhere so there was just no way for me to even give it a good go. I don’t think it would have mattered, the best play would have been to hop off before even touching the mud and hike a bit and then try but alas. So I shouldered the bike and hiked it. Got on, rode a bit, got stuck, cleared mud, got in the ditch, cleared mud while walking, hopped on the bike and started riding the ditch next to a barb wire fence.

Progress was made and in no time I was out of the mud and back on solid gravel. I Did not have to stop to clear the frame as the tires were moving okay but I started hitting every and any mud puddle I could find to help clearance. And there were lots of puddles to choose from. As usual I had a small rear fender on to keep spray outta me crack and it was doing the job nicely even if overall I was just a sloppy dirty mess. It was a misty windy morning and I had to keep pulling off gloves (full finger was the way to go this day) to clean my lenses. The wind was buffety and it was just starting to feel like it was going to be an awfully long day and I was only about 20 miles in. I had no idea where I was for position on the road but I knew there were singles ahead of me.

I rolled along, Joe Meiser appeared and we rode together a bit. He remarked how it is good for a ride like Kanza to have good weather years like the last couple where finish times in the 12-13 hour range are the norm but it also needs years like this, or the years of extreme heat we have suffered through, to remind people that this ride is hard and deserves the respect. I got gapped after a while and kept my pace steady, stopped to try and offer a tube to Nick Frey of Boo but my stems were short and he needed long, so I rolled on assuring him someone would be along at some point with them deep dish aero tubes for him.

My rear tire blew at mile 45 on a descent. I was riding tubeless and while it looked like a good size puncture the sealant was working it’s magic so I let it do it’s thing and started working on a Salted Nut Roll. Aired the tire up with CO2 and it was still spewing. Tried the frame pump to take it up slow and met with some success so I hopped on. Made it about a quarter mile and flatcakes again. CO2 again but only up to about 30 psi maybe and it seemed a bit happier so I hopped back on and rode awhile still slowly bleeding pressure. I picked a spot ahead to climb up to where I would give it one more shot of CO2 before giving up and throwing a tube in. Got it up to what I figured was between 40-50 and it held so I rode. And it held! Made it all the way to the checkpoint even.

I had lost quite a few places with all this malarky but still had no idea where I was in the field. So I rode. Somewhere around here Dan Hughes caught me with a few other people and I rode with them a bit.


Photo by Emporia Gazzette full gallery here

Had an awesome creek crossing which I rode to use for full bike cleaning advantage. Single speed was a good bike for the day for sure. Chatted with Dan a bit and when he heard this was my 5th ride and I would get a goblet if I finished he told me I HAD to finish and if I needed anything to let his crew know in the checkpoint towns. Very nice, as you may have heard the DK scene is overall very supportive!

But Dan still dropped me, dammit, and I soldiered on alone. There was a course detour here I forgot to mention, it was a bit confusing but only if you thought about it too much. I was using only Garmin GPS navigation and it was working pretty well, I left it on the cue sheet page most of the time. At some point it told me COURSE FOUND so I knew all was well. Rolled it into the first check and honestly at this point my number one priority was to finish and get the goblet, screw the overall!

My support VW was there, and Rob, too, and while I had everything ready for a quick stop and go my heart just was not in it so I took my time. Rob had been trying to keep track and thought maybe 4 singles had rolled out so far. I ate a sandwich and chips, replaced the empty bottles with full (drank 64 ounces of nuun for the first leg) ones, added chamois butter, pumped up the tires with a floor pump, lubed the chain for good measure. The front tire was solid, had not lost any pressure, but the rear was sitting at 40. I took it up to my preferred 60psi and it was solid! Woot. I thought about changing socks but figured it would not do much. Turns out it wouldn’t.

I took off, and was feeling really good, actually. There was a big brick climb out of town and I drilled it. Some miles after the checkpoint town the course again encountered a road made of mud and pretty much as far as I could see people ahead of me were walking. But it looked rideable to me, so I tried, and whaddaya know it was totally rideable! So I passed a lot of people here. It was super fun, center of the road, in the tracks, take the ditch, whatever. Plus dodge all the walkers. The road got pretty sloppy mud again for maybe the last 50 meters and damn you hubris I thought I could ride it all but I got bogged down and had to walk it out. And then clean my bike enough to get it rolling. Again.


Back on and rolling this leg of the course was going to see us ride into the wind for a good long time which was actually pretty okay for the single and the gear (40×17) I had. On the drive down from Iowa I had talked with Rob, himself a finisher of DK200, about getting into a rhythm and just cranking out miles. It had only happened for a short while on the first leg what with all the start, mud and flat excitement but here I finally found a rhythm. We rode another one of those amazing roads they have down there that is remote and is basically just a rocky gravel mud 2 track on the high plain with tall grass and, on that day, lots of water everywhere. Details of mileage and time are blurry but at some point in this section I connected with Peter Chrapowski from Chicago who I had first met the last time I rode DK. We were on singles then and we were again, this time on almost the same bike even. It was fun to have someone to talk to for a while, we did not rotate or any of that malarky just rolled along chatting.

There was a really big climb and as we wondered aloud if we had to ride it we saw a rider doing just that. So I got on top of the gear and barely made it up, 3 or 4 pedal strokes I thought would be my last but I cleared it and when my breathing finally calmed down I realized Peter was not with me. I kept on rolling figuring to see him again. Miles later there was another creek crossing and my rear tire felt really soft again and I had to pee so I rode the creek and pulled over to take care of things. Just as I was getting going again Peter appeared, and then just ahead there was the neutral water support spot. Joe Fox was here filling up. We stopped, I filled a bottle I probably did not need to but what the heck, and ate another Salted Nut Roll. I ate 3 King Size on the day.

We rolled out and, as I think back on it now I may have a couple of these paragraphs out of order, but riding up a hill with Peter I just felt my stomach twist with hunger and realized I had no power, I felt empty. But I had appetite which is a good sign, so I ate a Pro Bar and put a gel on top of it and in no time was back to feeling 100%, or whatever passes for that after 100+ miles out there in the Flint Hills. Anyways more miles were covered, I rode with Joe Fox for a while and we caught up, and got caught up by a rather large group of people with gears and the squeakiest drivetrains you ever heard shortly before the second checkpoint.

Into town and we all went our separate ways, Joe told me we could spend 10 minutes and get out of there to give ourselves 3 hours to make it in and finish before sunset. I really had no idea where I was in the field now, overall or single, but I felt really good, so I ate food, switched out bottles, pumped up the tires, lubed the chain and got all the things done in about 10 minutes and took off. The last 45 miles!


The first 10 miles or so of this section were still into the wind and had some rollers for us. I got together with Joe Fox and a guy from Soulcraft named Matt (I think?) and we started grinding it out. Being on the single I knew this was my last chance to move forward in the field, when the course turned the people with gears were going to turn it up with the wind and there would not be much I could do about it. We kept a steady strong pace going and passed lots of groups of people. At one point a couple guys from American Classic rolled by really strong and I just shook my head nope nuh-uh no way see ya later!

We turned for home and sure enough Joe and Matt rolled away from me. I had another moment of bonk and just stopped to eat a granola bar and clif bloc and be sure I was good for the finish. I was still feeling strong on the bike but I had made the call to not change my sopping wet socks at the last checkpoint and I should have, my left foot got a hotspot and trying to take pressure off the foot my knee started to feel tweaked, then my hip. Ugh. 30 miles is a nice after work ride but it feels like a long way after 165 or so. I got confused on a corner and took a turn and immediately knew it was wrong so I turned back and was just pulling out my map when Peter rolled up again! He knew where we were going and we rode just a bit together and I could not hold his pace so I backed off.

Rode over the big hill by the lake, lost more places as geared riders breezed by. The final 10 miles or so it was pretty quiet around me, there were some folks sitting out in their front yards cheering and that was nice, again it is amazing how this event has grown, the first time I did it nobody, including us, knew what the hell we were doing out there in the hinterlands! I could feel my rear tire losing pressure again but thought it would make it. Passed a few DK100 riders still gutting it out and shared some encouragement. Around 2 miles to go and a couple more geared guys came by and told me to jump on, I gave it a go but my gear was just not enough for the legs at this point. I kept the pace as high as I could and turned onto the pavement at the edge of Emporia where one more rider passed me. I did not stay right on him but stayed close across the campus, trying really hard to not roll the rear tire or slam the wheel into a curb and we hit the finish straight. The crowd was amazing and noisy and I gave high fives up to the line and coasted home.

As always Jim Cummins was there for congratulations and even a dirty hug. Tim Mohn, too. I really can’t say enough about what these guys do, you really have to see it, and experience it, to understand. So, hey you – Go ride Dirty Kanza! Anyways, Peter was getting interviewed off to the side and while I wanted to chat about the day I was now truly cooked and needed to sit down. I stumbled out of the tent and there were people everywhere. Dan Hughes was hanging out and told me to go the Sunflower pop up shop and get some recovery and a beer but I just dropped, sprawled out on the sidewalk and waited for Rob to find me.


In the end I finished in 14:40 in 45th place overall and as 5th single speed. There had been about 900 starters and only about 50% of those would finish. It was pretty nice that the awards were now done on Sunday morning so I was able to leave the finish and get showered and fed. And, I got that goblet!


It was really great to be up on the stage with all the other folks that have finished 5, and a few of the show offs who’ve finished more. I know most of them and after 10 years and as big as this race has become there are still very few of us in the 1000 mile club. I figure I will ride Kanza again but not sure when, I would still like to win the single speed category. One thing is for sure, every time I have done this ride it has been an adventure for one reason or another, or 3 or 4 reasons happening all at once, so when I do go back I will be prepared for everything and ready for anything, because while you don’t know what might happen out there – you can be sure the DK200 will be a big old badass day on the bike!

Leave a comment »

Highlight Real


Did I scare you? Months of no blogging. Months! I just won’t stand for it, so here we go.

Post Cheq 100 cashing I fell into a deep depression.

Then I felt better.


I rode the Cheq 40 in September. It was a really fun trip and I had a decent ride on the Salsa again, single again, 32×15 this time. The 40 and the 100 are different sports practically.

Angry Minnow Brewpub

Northern Wisco is great! I talked my way into a preferred start, sort of, Gate 3. First time I have ever warmed up at Chequamegon.

Cheq40StagedBrief race report: I went faster than I ever had, but everyone else did, too.

Moonshine Metric was up next, a 100k gravel ride up in Mount Vernon. I rode up and back as is my custom. It was a good night out on the bike, a fun course, only got off course once.


Moonshine Metric by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

The wackiest route I have ever ridden, maybe. Did not just feel like I was going in circles, I was going in circles!

I did another mountain bike race, the Mullet Fall Classic. This was a hard ride. I geared out the Salsa 1×10 style and was glad I did. I rode the marathon category which gave us 3 hours and 15 minutes to ride as far as we could, and whatever lap we had started before 3 pm would count. I looked at last years results and it looked like 6 laps was the jams, so that is what I was banking on. This was a silly idea, wound up doing 7 and hurting a lot. Garmin was on the fritz so no pretty map, but the splits tell the tale, I went slower and slower until I stopped.

Mullets n Dreads

Then, a cyclocross race in actual muddy rainy conditions – way to be Iowa! I rode out and back dodging the rain and won some money so it was a good day.


That wound up being my only CX race of the season. Fall life was more about cutting splitting and stacking wood which is pretty satisfying work. Heated the house with the woodstove exclusively until the Triple D weekend when I had to leave town. And thus I turned on the furnace.

Triple Dumb Salsa 1×9 by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.


The TD was interesting. I felt pretty good for the duration, and warm, too, which is always nice. I repeated my mantra <I am not taking this seriously> many times through the day. I ate pizza while riders came in and breezed out of the halfway check. And I took a 10 minute Pabst break with 10 miles to go. Still had a satisfying finish based on these criteria:

  1. I did not take it seriously
  2. I had a beer
  3. Finished in daylight
  4. Stayed warm
  5. Top 10 (bonus)

That gets us pretty close to now. I went to Cyclocross Worlds and coached Sven Nys to victory from the sidelines. (true) I went to the NAHBS and cluttered the internet with pics of bikes not many people can afford.

NAHBS 2013 Denver

I also hurt my leg while I was there walking around, standing around, drinking around, etc. Trouble persists to this very day and I have wondered if I was dealing with a muscle strain, or some vascular issue, or just lame old plain old tendonitis. As I fumble my way towards warmer temps and the healing powers they always bring to my extremities I am fairly certain it is all tendon. Despite this, I did a bike race yesterday, full on road style with skinny tires and one token rider in shorts, as required by the cycling gawds. They also took a shift lever from said beshorted participant so that none of us should suffer flat tires. Praise!

Masi CXR Hills Classic 40 by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Raced the 40+ category, I am old and happy about it. That gets us up to now. I missed a few things, but hell this is just a blog. Upcoming excitement consists of working a lot at the bike shop, Kent Park this weekend if my leg allows it, hopefully a mountain bike race in April, Almanzo Royal 162 in May, another crack at the Chequamegon 100 in June with multiple gears this time, then another blogging depression before a strong push through the autumn season possibly starting with the Chequamegon 40 which I may or may not have signed up for geared this year. I can’t remember!

See ya around.

Leave a comment »

Chequamegon 100 Report

30¢ Squad went up to north Wisco for a mountain bike race this weekend. It was a great trip, stayed at Lakewoods Resort, the host for the event. I booked a room in a huge cabin with 8 private rooms and huge common living area that somehow we were the only ones to get a room in? I will never understand that, but it was nice!

The race. So much happened out there, I don’t feel I can do a proper race report, here is some of what I remember. We rolled at 7am. Big group, I was sitting in the middle maybe? We took off and predictably the front hit it hard. 3 miles to trail and a few hills on the way served to separate things a bit. I lost the first group, (riding rigid 29’er singlespeed 32×18) then the second, and hit the trail somewhere just behind. Even with 3 miles to sort it out it was still a bit of a parking lot getting into the trail.

I relaxed and settled in for the long day. The first trail was awesome! Flowy, rocks, some cool features, and we just ripped it through there. I saw some early mechanicals, crashes, lost bottles and multitools. It started to spread out a bit and I got around some people and was just having a great time. Things kept seperating, and I found myself sitting on a guy’s wheel a lot. His name was Mick as I recall and he was riding just my pace and style so I just enjoyed the ride.

After a time we popped out at a parking lot and there were lots of people standing around eating and such. I rolled straight through, and hooked up with some Des Moines guys just as we went back into trails. I had managed to cram food in my mouth in the parking lot and it took me about 5 minutes to chew it and get it down. I was now sitting on a Salsa guy’s wheel, and was liking his pace, too. Then he took us off course. Just a bit, but we lost 5 places or so. Not a problem, I just went to sitting on a different wheel. This was about 20 miles in, and I started to not feel so good in the legs. I was expecting this to happen throughout the day so I just went with it and lost some ground to the riders ahead. Nobody coming up behind so I just tried to keep it smooth and let the legs come back.

At mile 28 we popped out of trail ( we had just done 25 miles of singletrack and a bit of doubletrack, it was pretty awesome!) and back onto gravel road. There was a tent here, I stopped for a moment, grabbed a Clif Shot from their stores, and took off. Into the rain. It had started raining while we were in the trees and I had not really noticed it yet, but on the gravel road it was easy to tell that it was coming down good.

I rolled the gravel mostly solo, my gear would not let me catch the group just ahead so I did not push it, just rolled and tried to stretch. After a time we got back into trails and it was still raining so things were getting slippery and sloppery. This was a super fun trail, lots of built berms and features by the trail crews. Then more singletrack, I was again hanging on some good wheels through here, and at mile 35 we hit the first super steep sustained slope of the day and I jumped off and walked it. Back on, more singletrack, then back on road.

This was a long section on the gravel to move us over to more trails. It was still raining and I was again riding alone. There were lots of bikes around, I was in the thick of it. It is hard to figure how long we were on the road, but maybe 7 miles? Jumping back onto trails at around mile 45 it was still raining.

This trail was a good deal sloppier than the last one I had been on. It was super fun though, flowy, and not too many rocks to dodge. This is all very confusing to me for time, but wherever the shelter at OO was I stopped and ate some food, there were a few other riders hanging out, then went back on my way. I rode well for a while, but sometime after mile 50 I started to lose it. The checkpoint and my cooler were at mile 60 and I had hoped to make it, especially with the food I ate at OO, but hunger was coming on strong, and I was starting to feel that I might cramp up on a lot of the climbs. So I stopped a couple of times to cram food in my mouth. Got passed by a couple of riders, tried to hang on but could not.

When you are cooked on trails it is amazing how long it can take to ride 2 miles. With the thought of my cooler teasing me and cramps threatening I just did as well as I could and hoped for a proper recharge at the checkpoint. It stopped raining, but everything was soaked,  and it kept dripping off the trees so it was just a wet and sloppy day.

Finally, the checkpoint! I got to the cooler, ate some food, cleaned up a small bit, filled my hydration pack, changed gloves, cleaned up the bike a small bit, and lubed the chain. I spent longer here than I wanted too, but it was the smart move for me, had to recharge for the 30 miles still ahead.

Took off and was feeling better but not great by any stretch. More trail, still muddy, very few people around, and onto the Birkie trail for a long run back up to OO. I have ridden the Cheq 40 a couple of times and was hoping I could roll this section strong but I quickly knew it was not going to happen. So I plodded along, got caught by a couple of people, walked a couple (few?) of the bigger climbs, and generally felt tired while I kept the pedals turning over.

There were some deep water holes on the trail, and some downed trees, too, but nothing that could not be gotten around, just more slowing down and momentum sucking. I rode not with, but near a woman for a while and we had a couple of those painful laughs that come so easy in these situations like how I was walking a climb about as fast as she was riding it…

Finally the return to OO and I decided to take another breather, now 73 miles or so into the course. There were some “civilian” riders here so we chatted and a 100 mile rider who had called it a day, and then a guy rolled in and just laid down on a picnic table with his hands over his face, and then Tim Ek came barreling through, looking peevish, and then my 10 minutes were up and I was ready to ride my last 20 miles so I took off.

Back into the Birkie then back to singletrack. I don’t remember much of this section of trail, we hit road again and then were maybe on trail but anyways we wound up back on a fireroad and it seemed really familiar to me and the road sign said something about a fire tower. As I said I have ridden the Cheq 40 a couple of times so I was despairing that we were going to do that climb which for me at this point in the game was just going to be a loooong walk. But no, we rode up the backside of the climb, much more rideable! So I rode it, topped it, and down we went back to more trail. I was ready-ready-ready to be done with singletrack, but this looked like it would have to be the final section. I had a Salted Nut Roll, Clif Shots and drank a hearty pull out the hydration pack before diving in.

I don’t remember if indeed this was all singletrack all the way to the edge of town or not, I only remember that the last 10 miles were very hard for me in my current condition. Rocks, climbs, downed trees, I was moving slowly and feeling lowly. Then, at mile 84, I saw a bear! It was coming at me on the trail and as we locked eyes I said, “Whoah Bear!” and it kind of made a rearing turn into the brush and thundered off into it as only a bear can do. I was pretty excited to see a bear during the race, and a mile or 2 later I thought  I was seeing another one, much smaller, scurrying around the base of a tree, but this turned out to be a Porcupine! I stopped and yelled at it as it was right next to the trail, and it just walked out into the trail and lumbered away from me, right down the path. I followed at a respectful distance and kept yelling at it, but it just kept lumbering. Shit, I thought, I am never going to finish, when he dodged over a few feet so I jumped on and yelled as I started moving, it scurried away and went back to it’s day.

That was pretty cool! But then the reality of 4 or 5 more miles of trail got in my face and I was back to suffering it home. Which I finally did. Popping out on the last road was a good feeling, riding no hands and less than 2 miles to finish was a great feeling, and when the road turned to pavement it was all I could do to not get down off the bike and kiss the ground.

Rolled it in, lots of pretty clean bikes on cars, happy looking folks standing around drinking beers and I was done! Just under 11 hours total, they told me, and 40th finisher. I’m good with that.

Chequamegon 100 by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Big thanks to the organizers, CAMBA, and all the sponsors and other riders for being part of this, it was a great big day out on the bike that I will not soon forget. I had no crashes, mechanicals or serious navigational challenges, just a couple of stops to look around and be sure where I was going.

As I was falling asleep that night I could not stop riding singletrack in my head, dodging rocks, carving corners, hopping logs. It was strange.

Comments (5) »

100 Mile Cheq to Cash

Alright, the only reason to look at this blog lately is to waste time. So waste a little looking at the gear I am going to use for the Chequamegon 100 this Saturday!

I would ride this bike if I were cooler.

But I am not cooler, I am exactly this cool. So I will ride this bike. 32×18, we shall see. Not sure about the bag yet. Going to use a big old hydration pack with 100 oz, plus 2 bottles on the frame. Not sure what to expect for weather yet, I won’t trust the forecast until Friday, or maybe Saturday night… Of course I can adjust right up to go time, but this is the plan.

I put on some new tires. The old ones are old, the rear was especially worn of course. Plus the new ones have bigger logos!

Big logo! Treadier than before! Also, after a looong wait, I got a new pair of mtb shoes. I am not sure this is a good idea, and I only started wearing them last week.

I am a big believer in the don’t rock the boat Jettero Heller theory of if it is working just relax, it will keep working. But them Sidi shoes had been worn out years ago, and my toes were paying the price. So I got some Giro shoes and so far I like them fine. They fit better, the insoles are not destroyed. The cleat area is much more solid, too, I have long been worried that I was going to pull out of pedals or just rip out the bottoms. That is what happened to my last pair of mtb shoes, back in 1999 while warming up for a cx race. Got my entry fee back, which is better than I usually fare when I race!

Okay seriously, how cool would this ride be up there? Pink pedals, ready to roll. Maybe I will bring it along. Or there is always the 40!

Leave a comment »

Good Effort

Just finished up another 2 weeks of “on” or what passes for that in my life nowadays. Mostly pretty standard stuff, got to do some group rides, did some solo rides and a couple of easy rides. But I also did back to back long rides this weekend on my Salsa 29’er, singlespeed style, fully loaded for bike camping.

B Ride Cheesehouse by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

My first group ride of the year was quite spirited, and is one of the longer loops we ever do. I was happy with how it went.

Edens Loop B Ride by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Second group ride, not quite as spirited, classic Edens Loop, also happy with how it went.

Sugar for breakfast by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Saturday morning I got out early again for another mountain bike ride. Rode a bit more of the trails than the last time out, and felt a bit better after, too.

Sunday Frytown by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Met a small group for a ride on Sunday, the basic Frytown loop, at a basic pace. Feeling pretty good at this point.

B ride Cheesehouse by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Tuesday night another group ride. I was a bit more annoyed with some riders this night, people were rotating the wrong way, guttering the ride while looking over their shoulder for help, playing cat and mouse 2 miles away from a sprint. I won the “classic” sprint finish of the ride and then sat up before the hilly denoument, enough was enough!

For the weekend, which I got off work, and to finish up my 2 weeks “on” I took a down and back tour to Burlington to watch Snake Alley.

Loaded Salsa SS to Burlington by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

I rode my 29’er, single speed 32×16, loaded. I bought Revelate bags for the saddle and top tube, and a sling to carry a tent on the handlebars. It is pretty cool stuff, and I am very impressed with the weight of it, and how it rides. If I were going to take an overnight bike trip to a friends house I don’t think I would need anything other than the seat bag. I also had a big hydration pack on that was stuffed with the tubes and tools and sandals and toothbrush and what nots.

I was awakened early by screeching owls and thought what the hell and got up and was rolling at 4:30 in the morning. It was a nice ride down. I know the way to Columbus Jct just fine, took the Gritty Brevet course for a while. From there down I used googlemaps.com bike there directions, which kept it mostly gravel. There were a couple of trouble spots, but mostly it went smoothly and I got to ride some cool roads every once in a while. I had thought to try and get a century in, but I wanted to watch some Snake Alley so when Burlington was close I just went in to see the action.

Loaded Salsa SS home by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

I stayed the night in Burlington and left early again Sunday morning to ride home. It was hot, 80 at 7 in the morning as I rolled out of town. There was a good south wind for me, with a bit of west to it. So mostly I had tailwind except for when jogging west. It was a tour of convenience stores as I was not in a hurry and had time to stop at every one I passed for gatorade and ice cream sandwiches. Past Riverside I turned west for 10 miles on the Gritty Brevet course to see if I could come up with 100 for the day. As I was laboring out into the wind I considered that I don’t much enjoy riding 29’ers on gravel, just because they are slow. And I don’t recommend loaded single speed touring. But here I was doing both! It all worked out okay, once I turned for home I basically had 20 miles of tailwind. I thought I might not quite get the 100, but it clicked over just a few blocks from my house. Whew! Rode out for a burrito later, so I padded it nicely. I took a bunch of pictures, will try and get them on here soon – much more interesting than the words. I did find a tool, and saw a possum, and a raccoon, and a deer or 3, and a turkey, and a wild cat, and some dogs, and a bunch of run over snakes, and got pestered by lots of red wing blackbirds.

So that is what I have been up to, rest week time for me! 2 more weeks of on, then another week off, and then – dun-Dun-DUN – the Chequamegon 100!

Leave a comment »

Rest Week Activity

All over but the resting. Had a good week off, got in some quality active recoveration. Slept. Ate too much. Drank too much once. Rode my mountain bike on trails for the first time this year! The Chequamegon 100 will fall to the forces of the 30¢ Squad!

Hills recovery ride by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Sharon Center easy by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Sugarbottom SS cruise by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Frytown by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

The other days were townie bike miles, usually an hour or so. And that is it, I am rested. Tried to pick it up a bit today on the Frytown loop, get the legs moving before doing group rides this week. Six more weeks to peak, hope I can keep it up!

Leave a comment »


Another good week of riding behind me as the Cheq 100 gets ever closer in front of me. Got a couple of hours of recovery on the townie on Monday, then a couple of good rides during the week.

Sharon Center by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Morning Solon by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

All in all a good week, after a different good week, is encouraging.

Frytown in the morning by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

And a solid weekend, 8 hours riding!

Gritty Briefet by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Sunday I went out on the MASI SSCX for the first time in a while. Set out on the Gritty Brevet, and it was going smashingly well until I left Riverside after lunch. The wind picked up and switched a bit, a big storm looked me right in the eye before blowing by, and the gravel was often fresher than it had been. So, I rode 70 of the route and then turned for Iowa City to watch some Old Cap Crit.

This week is rest time, which I love, then next week is back to work, and Cody is done with her semester so I can start doing group rides again! Wonder how that’s going to go?


Leave a comment »

2 Month Warning

Last week it dawned on me that the Chequamegon 100 was now 2 months away. Time to get off my ass and start riding! So I put in a pretty good week on the bike last week. For me at least.

Got out everyday for 10 days now. Intervals. Recovery. Tempo. LSD. Headwind. Rain. Warm. Beer. Cold. Coffee. Group. Solo. Solo. Solo. Solo. I’m so lonely. Solo. Gravel. Mtb. Road. 1 hour. 5 hours.

The highlights:

Morning Intervals by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Sugarbottom out n back by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Long time riding, masi cxr last hour in the rain by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

This last one I even outlasted the Garmin, and as a bonus I got rained on for the last 45 minutes. Did I mention it was cold?

Comments (3) »

Here We Go

Lots to report! I finally rode my new cross bike. Built it up last fall SRAM Red 1×10 with lots of stuff I would normally never ride.

Like a carbon BB30 crankset, really expensive brakes that work just about as well as the much cheaper kind, and a SRAM Red drivetrain. I mean really, with as many beautiful deraillers as I have seen twisted, snapped and just plain broken out in the hinterlands of Iowa it does not make much sense to spend lots of cents on the shifty bits. But here we are. So after months of looking all shiny and just sitting on the shop floor with never even a test ride I got it out yesterday. It was a good ride, this is my second CXR so I figured I would like it, need a slightly longer stem. What a fine way to get over the idea of a new bike: 55 miles of gravel, snow, muck, ice, mud and beer. One of these years I am going to figure out how to just drop the little Garmin map on this page for you, but for now, here we go:

Amana geared MASI by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

Notice the 10:30am departure time for a 10am ride. Also note the long stop from 1hr45mins in until 3hr24mins. That is where the beers disappeared. A fine day out, but it is hard to justify a 6 hour / 55 mile ride. Tendon report, it felt fine on the ride, had a good stretch after, and feels okay today, but it is sore. Not healthy yet, I guess…

Other BIG news for me, I am registered for the Chequamegon 100 in June. This is exactly the kind of thing I am interested in spending more time doing. It is months away, so hopefully my leg will be 100%, I will be happy if it is 95%! Depending on the fitness I am either going to race it or ride it, single or geared, loaded or unloaded. That meaning if I have a good handle on getting my gear together for future projects like riding the Colorado Trail and touring the GDMBR I might load the bike up and use this event as a great way to test how I like the loaded bike, and how much stuff may or may not fall off the bike while riding it. We shall see.

Last thing that has caught my interest lately, the Arrowhead 136. Yep, that’s right, I am planning to tackle the Arrowhead, and do an extra mile, too. Probably before the start. I have always thought to do it someday, and that day is approaching. Might go volunteer this coming year to see it up close. First attempt will be on foot. I have been reading all reports from this year and it is very appealing to me. Think I’m crazy? Just look at these pictures!

Last thing, we got our first utility bill for a full month since the woodstove went in, $50.

Leave a comment »

Going Commando

Not much riding last week. I did get out last evening for an hour. I had the hiccups for the first half of the ride.

Sunday evening stroll with hiccups by gpickle at Garmin Connect – Details.

There were a couple of other outings, but I just kept not getting time to go out and ride.

In other fitness pursuits, we got a woodstove in our house! It is really great, and as a bonus we get to chop wood all the time!

Here is the woodpile. We have a lot of work to do.

The chopping block. We keep it under a bucket. Here is a scene from yesterday’s woodchopping experience, our lives are so peaceful now. And our muscles are bulging!

I hope nothing ever comes to disturb our serenity!

Leave a comment »