Thursday, January 31, 2008

Alienation, absurdity, and loathing

Three days 'til judgement day!!!!!

A day of reckoning is approaching....

I suspect that the 15 lb. limit regarding the Arrowhead 135 is a kind of symbolic, arbitrary, even moot that the fact of the matter is that when one starts to take stock and really weigh everything out there is no way for even the most fanatical weight-weenie to come in under the 15 lb. mark. Below I present my evidence:

*Top secret, cutting edge, new & improved footwear system including two pairs of woolie socks, but not including anything else (note: At over a one pound savings from last year's successful system)... I am at ~5 lbs.

*Down Bag (Marmot rated to 20 below), REI bivy bag, and a Granite Gear stuff sack adds another ~6 lbs.

*One very light pad adds another ~one pound

*Basic top layer system (not including a down sweater) adds another ~4 lbs

Just the above weighs in at 16 pounds...all of it is very light weight gear!!!! Does not include any food, fluids, fuel, stove, lights, etc....

Visualize, if you will, if you have the stomach for it...A stately, well aged man wearing a top secret, NASA designed footwear system, a light weight top base layer, another two mid-weight insulating layers, and a light weight fleece outer-layer...But he is completely exposed from abdomen to midcalf...He has no headgear on and no mitts and his bike has only the basic bivy gear and nothing else and YET he is already over the 15 lb. limit....NO WAY!!!! If anyone can get under even 20 lbs. I SMELL RAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There aint no way a guy can carry all that required gear and still get in under that weight limit!!! Let all my comrades be put on notice...I am gonna be watching you @ the WEIGH-IN!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Excuse me, there's an elephant in the room!

Second guessing is one of many personal flaws…Last night I rode my trusty Kelly Knobby X equipped with a Stans’ 2.0 ultra light Crow (my favorite tire) on the front and a 1.8 Bontrager low tread Jones on the back and I was able to fly on those snowmobile trails…I was staying right up with the smokin' sno-jets (well not exactly), but the set-up was appreciatively faster than the Gunnar. The Kelly is so versatile that I could run the same wheels, drive train, racks, etc. as the Gunnar. The only differences would be geometry (yet both bikes are comfortable for the long haul), weight (the Kelly is a lot lighter), and the fact that I would be limited to 2 inch tires on the Kelly. It is the tire limitation that could hurt me if the course is loose, as opposed to hard-pack. Of course, if we get any snow over about two inches, the whole equation changes and the snowbikes enjoy a major advantage, but the forecast looks promising, if not a bit too warm for my blood. …[Note: If, God Forbid, it does snow, I am versed in tracking pugsley's and even pretty good at keeping my little tires within their paw tracks]...If I was a man, a real man, like John Wayne, I’d show up at the Dance on my Kelly (I love that bike)…but it would involve a major assumption; a make or BREAK assumption—
That the entire 134+ mile trail up there is very similar to the ones that are within the immediate area near Duluth right now…thatz a great big risky “if.” Last year’s course started out relatively good and was pretty good until after the half-way point, where it abruptly turned into an unrideable morass, but the 30+ mile abyss was such a mess that even the endomorphs could not ride it (except Pramann, as the rumor is that he was able to ride much of it), so in that case, it would not have mattered…The Kelly is just as easy to walk as the Gunnar!
If the weather holds and I can get away from Duluth with enough time to test the start of the course, I might at least bring the old girl along, just for the ride...I got room in my sporty Chevy Prism. Wouldn't that get the girlz a buzzin' if I lined up at the start on a cross-bike next to all those Pugsleys!!!! From what I can ascertain from secret sources and satelite imagery, I may well be the only boy at The Ball on a standard issue bicycle.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The bookies in Las Vegas are getting fired up for the BIG Dance!!!!

Here's what they're saying right now in Vegas--
A short short short list:

D.P. (The favoritePros: holds the course record, veteran racer, nerves of steel, intelligent strategist, wily, never outwardly shows emotion. Cons: no spring chicken, has applied for an AARP card, DNFed in Iowa, has he loss the hunger?).

D.G. (The Sentimental favoritePros: last year’s winner, took second the year before, makes it look easy, designer of the Pugsley, has great support system with Dad and other funny relative, drinks whiskey, nothing seems to rattle him, unassuming, beats ya with a smile on his face, young. Cons: sustained serious hip injury last summer, upon entering Heaven will be stopped and questioned about his role in the design of the Pugsley)

J.C. (A favoritePros: 2nd place last year, had a great 2007 mountain bike and cyclocross season, easy going and yet tough, young. Cons: gets lost and very lean)

B.S. (Has a legitimate shotPros: two time finisher, lives way up North in Canada, young. Cons: obsessed with neoprene and electronic devices)

D.G. (Has a legitimate shotPros: takes a measured “scientific approach” in preparing, balanced, big aerobic base, lots of enduro-experience, has first hand knowledge of the course. Cons: Busy schedule, has lots on his mind, trusts C.F.)

D.S. (Has a legitimate shotPros: Hez one of those great guyz from Nord da Koda, young. Cons: Hez one of those great guyz from Nord da Koda, young, with a baby on the way!)

D. R. (Has a legitimate shotPros: Lots of experience traveling in the winter. Has lots of time in the saddle. Cons: Is not worried about having a legitimate shot).

J.P. (has a darn good chance-- Pros- Veteran Fast MountainBiker from way back. Young. Appears to have overcome his past cold weather wardrobe anomalies thru study and running out of errors left to make. Multiple weapons for varying conditions. Lots of riding this winter. Cons-Doesn't seem to drink whiskey much anymore. A gaggle of little kids. His wife can beat many of us on a bike. He has a real job for a living.

C.F. (A Long long shotPros: Drinks whiskey, short memory, will cheat if he thinks he won’t get caught, suffers from dementia, rides a bike made in Waterford, Wisconsin, a shameless opportunist, suffers from delusions of grandeur. Cons: confused about what it means when they say to drink a lot before a big race, ain’t no spring chicken, lacks focus, )

Monday, January 21, 2008

I wasn't gonna...but then I decided that I wouldn't be able to face my daughter as she grows into a beautiful women and global humanitarian; So...

Here's a bone....I'm throwin' ya a if anybody comes up short on the toe list, least I'll be able to sleep at night--
I have survived some wicked cold temps for extended periods of time and so not surprisingly, I have witnessed first-hand several cases of serious frost bite...and I have come close myself to being bit by the cold-hearted Prince of the Higher Latitudes and Altitudes...but I have always lucked out...or was it luck? I got one hint for surviving the Arrowhead 135 with all ten little toesies intact-- Gold Bond Foot Powder!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

So ends Week #2 of the big taper down to the Prom!!!!

Feeding the Rat: 9.8 hours for the week (an hour over the planned 8 hours)...I am pleased that we had the kinds of temps up here this week that allowed for some serious practical experimentation in terms of gear testing, etc...With just 15 days out: for next week, I will plan on just 6 hours or so and for the last week only 4 hours...The bike is dialed in, so I am good to go with the bike and the gear is 90% figured out...Now itz just a matter of getting my Tuxedo fitted out!!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Good training conditions....

Feeding but a mere morsel to the Rat: 2 hours and 10 minutes of easy riding tonight under a moon lit sky...I left at 6:00 in the fading light and turned my light off once I got to the trails. I rode up Lester and then over to Hartley...the single track at Hartley is in perfect condition while the sno-mo trails are primo...I rode for the entire time without seeing another soul (once I left the streets)...It was a perfect ride...I was plenty warm and I felt great!!!! If I wasn't in taper mode I would have gone for another two hours. I am really getting pumped for the I dare wish that these conditions hold????

I am pumped to see how da boyz did down in Iowa...Pramann is tough as nails, but Calahan has youth on his side...but since the race is comparatvely short, if I had to pick a winner, I'd have to go with Cully Todd or Team Tandem (the husband and wife team of the Eppens... real nice people) from Fat Tire and Ore-to-shore fame...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Thanks Ski Hut!!!!

I got my trusty Gunnar 29er back from the boyz @ Ski Hut last night and rode it for two and a half hours+ tonight under the sub-zero, bright moon-lit skies on the local sno-mo trails. Itz nice on cold nights cuz ya know ya aint gonna run into any snowmobilers as it just too cold for that herd (even with there heated suits and sleds and massive girth) ...Rosscoe put a new chainring on, rear cassette, chain, new cables, and dialed it all in for me and the old girl shifts like itz totally pro...and it runs like itz brand new!!! Plus no slipping in the rear free hub...I am going with a 32 in the front and a 11X34 in the back for the ARROWHEAD 135...I rode a 36 by 12X34 all summer and fall and felt like it was the perfect gearing for anything within 1000 miles of Duluth, except for the Spirit Mountain course, where I rode a 34 in the front...but the snow, especially when itz fresh snow, forces a guy to gear down considerably...I actually even thought about going with a 30 in the front (I don't know if such an animal even exists?), but it just seemed too wimpy.

Good luck to Lonny M., Dave P., and Joel Calahan in the tune-up this Saturday down in Iowa....I wish I could have pulled it many little time!!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Hope THIS Helps!!! Part III

Zippers: friend or foe; hero or villain; ally or member of the Axis of Evil?

I have a long standing working relationship with zippers. Zippers have in general made our time here on earth better (or worse)? Itz hard to say definitively whether zippers are team players or selfish soloists, there are so many variables... Having caught myself in sensitive areas in a few instances, etc..., but for the most part zippers have been friendly to this aging amateur...Yet in the 2007 version of the Arrowhead 135 I must say that I felt betrayed by the zippers. I breathe cuz I need air...but when itz 30 below the moisture in the exhaling of air freezes forming frost. The frost accumulated on my zippers to the point that I could not use them, they essentially froze shut...this caused big problems because in order to access my camelbak tubes (tucked inside the top two layers of insulation), I needed to unzip...Note: I remember that Steger and da Ely boyz back in the 80s anticipated this problem before they left for their historic run to the North Pole and therefore left the zippers home and instead went with velcro and old fashioned snaps and even buttons. Finally, I gained some respite by using a neckgator to beathe through and thus capture the frost, but that ain't me and in any event the neckgator froze up solid and then I had yet another problem to deal it goes...I guess, in hindsight, it wasn't that big of an issue, but if a guy was going for the Iditarod, a thorough investigation of exactly where the zippers' loyalties reside would be prudent...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I hope this helps!!!! Itz what I'm all about!!!!!!

The undeniable political component of wool

I have made no secret of my yearning for very cold temps with the 2008 running of the Arrowhead 135; the reason being that cold temps are systemic of a hard, snow-free, and therefore fast race course. Hard pack snow with clear frigid temperatures translates into the kind of course that will essentially render the godless Clown-bike community impotent. But with cold temperature comes the problem of staying both warm and dry. Being both warm and dry normally is not a mutually exclusive bargain, but in winter bike racing the two are often at odds with each other. Personally, it is that zero to twenty-below range that offers one the most challenging of circumstances when racing a bicycle, especially during the daylight hours when the sun can really reek havoc by warming one’s back causing profuse sweating, while the front stays cold. If it is warmer than that, it is easy to simply race cold by wearing a very light hat and layers of manipulable breathable synthetic fibers (which can be unzipped if need be) and if it is colder than that (and at night), one can wear a down sweater or some kind of techy Gore-tex type outer wear that will trap the body’s core heat. The challenge, therefore in this mid-temperature range, is how is the rider to achieve a scenario where he can have his “cake and eat it too.” In other words the question becomes: How does one stay warm, but also dry? Because without being dry, warmth is but a fleeting pleasure of the flesh. For example, with last year’s super cold temps, I was able to regulate the sweat and thus stay relatively dry and therefore warm throughout the race. In contrast, in the 2006 version where the temperatures were mostly in the zero to ten-below range, I found myself continually soaked with sweat and thus chilled throughout the entire adventure. So to the point of this dissent—wool has its place, especially when one is confronted with a situation where sweat is an inevitable negative factor.

But alas, like all things, wool has its pros and its cons: Politically, wool is remarkably bipartisan in that it is appealing in many ways to both sides of the political debate. The pros are that the liberals embrace wool because it is good for the environment and good for the sheep. Also, sheep tend to be pro-union and embrace "change". The conservatives, (especially the evangelicals) like wool because its owners are mentioned throughout the Holy Bible. Plus wool products tend to be resistant to "change". The cons are that while wool stays warm even when wet, it absorbs sweat and thus can become heavy and itchy. It does not transport sweat out like the synthetic fibers do and it takes a long time to dry out. So wool has its place in a winter rider’s arsenal. In conclusion, I will bring my classic wool long sleeved jersey and I will use it if the conditions warrant…

Resting the Rat!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cold weather on the way.....

Oxymoronical muse on a quote that could, perhaps, be related to aspects of the upcoming Arrowhead 135: “We must always be on the lookout for perverse dynamic processes which carry even good things to excess (like riding a bike, cpf). It is precisely these excesses which become the most evil things…The devil, after all, is a fallen angel.” Kenneth E. Boulding

Gear Note: This weekend promises to provide an excellent test for the reliability of my rear free-hub’s functional capacity in Arrowhead-like temps. A few weeks ago, during a stint of cold weather, the free-hub was not engaging consistently (which is a death-sentence in a race like the Arrowhead 135). Consequently, in an effort to fix the problem, I ordered the Free-hub buddy tool (and special Electric-Soup lube) from Paul Morningstar, a committed veteran cyclist and libertarian out of California. Of course, as soon as I completed the overhaul, the temps rose into the 30s and 40s….so it goes…

Culture Corner: By the way I just purchased Kurt Vonnegut’s “A Man without a Country.” Vonnegut is my favorite author, my sister generously gave me his very early works of Player Piano (1952) and Mother Night (early 1906s) for Christmas and I gobbled them up in a it goes

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Feeding the Rat...115 minutes; easy with a few bursts, (the trails are rocket fast)...on the Kelly Knobby X....Some of you maybe wondering why I have been spending all my recent training time on the Kelly...Well to be honest the Gunnar 29er is in Houston, Texas at the NASA high-tech fabrication plant having all kinds of carbon, kevlar, titanum, and other super techy stuff added to it...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hope this helps!!!!

“Detailed planning is imperative for a successful military campaign, but of course once the bullets fly, throw out the plans and run like Hell.” Uttered by some famous Civil War military leader, (whose name escapes me), that clearly maintained his sense of humor despite the ironic horrors of war…

An evolving, fluid Plan-of-Action for a successful 2008 Arrowhead 135:

In the spirit of full disclosure and transparency, coupled with my sincere desire, even commitment to share what I have learned over the years with my dear competitors for the upcoming Arrowhead 135, I have decided to publish my plan-of-action for the upcoming Grand Dance…after all I am an educator, a motivator, a catalyst for progression and enlightenment…I genuinely want my fellow competitors to have every advantage and if my sage wisdom can help, then I am doublely blessed…this is who I am!

If by reading this I am able to assist XXXX XXXXXXX, XXXX XXXX, or XXXX XXXXXXXX or some other “up-and-comer” in his or her efforts to win the 2008 Arrowhead, then I have done my duty and I will share in their victory!!!!

My personal goal is to finish among the XXXXXXXX overall. To achieve this goal, I have developed a strategy for success. This strategy is based on several essential assumptions, namely: 1.) I will make it to the half way point within XXXXXXXXX; 2.) I will consume XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXX and then refill at the half-way cabin; 3.) I will have my XXXXXX system set-up in a way that will allow me to spend the entire XXXXXXXX in the same basic core XXXXXXXX; 4.) Staying warm without XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, given the fact that I will be XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX requires that I utilize the XXXXXXXX, unprecedented use of manly XXXXXXXXXXXXX (the idea is that I will use the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX next to my XXXX, especially on my XXXXXXXX, to act as a XXXXXXXXX for my XXXXXXX The hope is that at the half-way point I will be able to XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX…allowing my XXXX to XXXX XXX and therefore XXXXX.) 5.) The T-Ek XXXXXXXXX XXXXXX, coupled with my discovery of the Samurai XXX-XX-XXX XXXXX technique for XXXXXXXX the XXXXX (thus solving the XXXXXX XXXX problem) will allow me to stay XXXXXXXX and XXXXXXXXX for both part I and part II of the event.

Consequently, if all of the above “reasonable” assumptions are met, I should be in a fairly plausible position to achieve the above stated goal. So hypothetically given the above as fact (instead of assumptive), the tactical element will play out presumably according to trail conditions: Option 1 pertains to conditions that would make the Gunnar 29er advantageous; while Option 2 applies to conditions in which the Gunnar is marginalized because of newly fallen snow and the resulting XXXXX XXXXXXXXXX.Option 1: The course is fast, the temps are super cold, all systems are go… Start with the usual XXXXXXXX, XXXXXXX, XXXX, XXXXXXX, XXXXX, etc., if this is impossible, or if not possible due to XXXXXXXXX difficulties go XXXX to the start (rather than XXXXX), watch for XXXX as he went XXXX last year. Go hard and do not XXXXXXXX at the first XXXXX-XX. The first XXXXX-XX (new this year) may provide for an opportunity to XXXXX XXXXX from the rest of the XXXXX. Given the X-Ek XXXXXX, there will be enough XXXXXX (trust this). Sign in and go. At the XXXXX XXX cabin—Follow the motto: “XXX XX and XXX out XXXX”; be business-like and XXXXXXXXXXXwhile completing the following tasks in chronological order: #1: Take XXX outer-XXXXX (top); #2. Take off next layer; #3. Take off XXXXX- XXXX; #4 Take off XXXXX XXXX layer; #5 Replace the XXXXX XXX (have the replacement XXX waiting in my half-way bag); #6 Put the XXXXX XXXX layer back on; #7. And refill the camelbaks with water and the pre-mixed XXXXXXX powders (have Xpremixed XXXXX waiting in the half-way bag, Note also have extra XXXXXXXXX in the half-way bag). Try to keep the stay less than XX XXXXXXX, do XXX XXXX for the other guyz…remember this is assuming that the course is XXXXXXX for my set-up…so go…XX XXX XXXX!!!! The half-way bag will only have the following: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXX
Option 2: The course is less than ideal. Given my bike, I will need to follow the tracks of the XXXXXXXXXXX. Given this option, I do not enjoy the fruits of freedom of choice. If Option 2, I will need to pick a XXXXXXX to follow, especially if circumstances do not allow for a XXXX start. I guess my best bet would be to XXXXXX XXXX X. Yes, XXXX X. would be the best given the history of the event. Given this option, XXXX plays a much more important role. Of course the half-way bag will be essentially the same in spite of which option I am compelled to employ. More info. in the near future…

Note: sorry about the censor's knife, but in the interest of national security, some minor details were deemed to be off limits for public digestion...but I am sure what is left will be somewhat helpful!

Coaxing the Rat: 2 Hours and 42 Minutes…for a total of 9.7 hours for the week…perfect for Taper #1 of 4 Weeks of serious Tapering...Week #2 will be even better as I will emphasize getting good and "hydrated."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Taper City...If you ain't're in too deep!!!!

Teasing the Rat: An easy 3 hours and 25 minutes on mostly sno-mo trails with my trusty training partner, Ekimov...

Note: Today Ek delivered to this amateur the super hi-tech, fully pro-customized gear item that will revolutionize winter ultra-endurance events. This item is quite simply the biggest innovation in winter cycling since the studded tire and the chemical footwarmer. Please understand, with patents pending and a plethora of legal issues to be ironed out, I can convey no more to the public at this time...but know that I will be the talk of The Ball when I unveil this product at the Arrowhead 135 pre-race meeting...all the other girlz are gonna be GREEN with envy....When Pramann, Gray, Calahan, and the guyz from Nord dakota and Da Navy see this they'll all be sobbing like little school girlz!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

The trails around Duluth are rock hard, but slippery...perfect for my set-up re: AH 135...But will these primo conditions last?

Rambling muse on the fate that awaits:

About this time last year here in Duluth, we had very similar trail conditions leading up to the Arrowhead 135. Hence, I remember seriously considering racing the Kelly Knobby X equipped with 2 inch mtb fast rolling tires. The Kelly is a great bike due to itz multiple applications, plus it is very light compared to the Gunnar 29er. I guess I am not really seriously considering the Kelly because of last year's experience with the marshlands that exist just beyond the halfway point of The Race. The Kelly, while versatile is not a mountain bike and the Gunnar certainly would be a better choice if conditions are less than rock hard. (Note: Both bikes have soul, were made by guys that I have personally met, guys that love cycling, and guys that are trying to make a well crafted product in the good ole USA--a rare thing now with the advent of the Wal-Martification of the world). Still the Kelly is fast and comfortable for just about all conditions except for snow. For example, last night I rode for 90 minutes on the local sno-mo trails on the Kelly (equipped w/ 700cX35 cross tires) and I was was scary fast as the hardpack is smooth and rockhard, it was only on the corners that the potential for a washout caused me to touch the brakes. Last year's AH 135 course was initially such that one felt like he or she was in a bike race. The Kelly would have afforded the author an advantage in the first half of the race. It was not super fast as the course was rutted and the snow was coarse and grandular. Coupled with a relative high degree of friction from the bitterly cold temperature, I would say that on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being wide-open fast (like currently here in Duluth) and 1 being unrideable, last year's initial 60 miles or so was about a 3...Of course, what no one knew was that a major section of the second half of the Arrowhead course was essentially unrideable due to inadequate snow cover. At about the 80 mile mark or so the course drops into an expansive low-lying marsh complete with briars and hummocks. Last year, with it's dismal snow depth, this span of the trail was simply impossible to ride, even for the guyz on the clown bikes. I would estimate that I walked at least 25 miles (maybe more...we walked for hours and hours and hours) and I know from speaking with others and reading race recaps, that the other finishers agree with this assessment. Finally, with about four or five hours to go to the finish, the trail vastly improved and with the addition of a significant heaven-sent tailwind the final stretch bordered on being pleasant. So...I guess what I am getting at is I better be careful about what I wish for. Still, A big snow anytime in the week leading up to the start of the Big Dance would make riding nearly impossible on a standard mountain I am praying for cold temps...but no SNOW!!!!! No Snow No Snow No Snow No Snow.....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I am a pro at Tapering!!!!! Yesterday, major overhaul on my trusty steel horse, The Gunnar Rockhound!!!!

Yesterday for the first time ever, my kid was really sick and therefore could not go to school, so I had to go to work super early with sick kid-in-tow to develop a plan for my substitute teacher. It was a tough assignment. Visualize sick kid laying on the classroom floor at 6:30 am while frantic man tries to crank out a lesson plan for a crowd of crazy teenagers! It makes me even more impressed by the committment and tenacity it takes for parents (especially a single parent) to raise kids when both work. Usually, my wife would be there to help, but she is in North Dakota working on her Master's degree...Once back home, I put the kid on the couch and then took the unexpected free time and totally overhauled the trusty Gunnar 29er. It was in terrible shape as the chemicals and sand that they put on the roads up here is super corrosive...I also took the time to add my secret front system that I will use to carry my sleeping bag, down sweater, and bivy sack for the BIG DANCE!!!!

Starving the RAT: This is Week #1 of the BIG TAPER... The goal this week is maybe ten hours if I wanna. If I don't want to ride...I don't ride...cuz I'm in taper mode...I may try and get a few high-tempo short rides in and for sure nothing longer than three hours...The fact of the matter is that with three weeks out from the Arrowhead 135 all the money is in the bank and there aint gonna be anymore deposits made, maybe some withdrawls, but nothin' goin itz just a matter of resting and getting the bike and gear all put together.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Notes for the AH 135...4 weeks out and I'm in TAPER mode.....

Below is a partial list of last year's reflections on gear issues circa. 2007 AH 135...Take it for what itz worth, but remember I was out there for 36 hours and yet came back with all my appendages intact and no worse for wear other than a powerful thirst for fermented barley/malt products :)

Notes on Arrowhead 135; Feb. 2007
Post Race Debriefing:

Ø Bring two pairs of liner gloves…wear liner gloves inside of the Granite Gear mittens…have two more pairs of liner gloves waiting for me at half way (Cancel that, gotta bring 'em with this time.) Vapor barrier between the fleece mitten liner and the glove? Note: Gloves got really wet with sweat…use the green gloves for liners…the ones Tommy has access to. Is somekind of a vapor barrier appropriate?
Ø Need some kind of tight weave breathable outer-layer like the ibex wool jacket…? I lucked out that the wind was at our backs for the second half...
Ø The camelbak system worked but rubbed my back bloody raw, itz ugly…need a pack that will keep the camelbak off my back, but will still allow me to wear it under the outer layers…
Ø Get a new pair of lake shoes…get several sizes too big...Overboots :"A+"

for warm, but "D" for weight and bulk...Is there a solution?
*The 53 single front chainring with the 11-23 cassette worked perfect! (Just kidding!)
Ø The zippers all froze…? Is there a solution? Maybe silicone?
Ø Have wool socks and vapor barriers waiting at the half-way point. Cancel that as a new rule makes the event even more self-sufficient...which is very cool!!!
Ø Tight wool weave for bottoms? Or maybe a pair of ibex wool cycling shorts and the craft pants. Note: the craft wind-block long underwear worked well...but sweat was a problem
Ø Do not bring the Patagonia bibs…too uncomfortable and baggy
Ø Maybe its time to reconsider the Patagonia ninja top…the zipper froze and made it hard to unzip and therefore hard to access the camel tubes....How to fit? Can modifications be velcro?
Ø Tubes…bring three tubes...absolutely no tubeless Stans in '08
Ø Bring a good pump…a good one, no mini pump...borrow Scotty's ?
Ø Get the ergon grips
Ø The gels and the other gel-like blocks worked great
Ø The perpetuem worked great
Ø Go with a big DAS parka, borrow from Hansi?
Ø One brake in the rear is good, no problems
Ø Keep flat repair stuff in easy access area
Ø Goggles don’t work…back to the drawing board
Ø Go with a scarf, the neck gators freeze and are un-workable
Ø Cashews worked
Ø Smaller heater packs worked…
Ø Glove don’t work in 20 below
Ø Stove worked

Monday, January 7, 2008

DBD III: The saga continues...97 Miles on Saturday

DBD III : Adventures on THE ROAD to nowhere...
Eki and I embarked on a classic DBD ride on Saturday, 97 miles in tough conditions
. [Disclaimer: Dedicated readers may recall that DBD is an acronym for a secret tactical planning force in quasi-collaboration with many high level, mega-classified super important federal agencies that make it their sole business to protect our national security. I am sure that you all understand, therefore, that much of the specific details surrounding these DBD exercises must be suppressed in the name of keeping America SAFE from those that would do it harm; especially those who question our God-given hegemony over the rest of the world.] So given these vital security restrictions the following is an abridged version of events—

Armed with a shot of good coffee, we left my dedicated DBD training partner’s house (Tim Ek) a little pass 6:00 a.m. into darkness, complete with a weird swirling fog…Yet, prior to leaving Eki’s secure compound I could not help but to be impressed by his decision to forgo winter over-boots in favor of a little neoprene toe cup-like thingy. Especially given the fact that I was sporting my new top secret set-up that will insure toasty feet throughout the AH 135. Later as the day progressed and Eki’s feet progressively got colder and colder, he embraced the pain proclaiming, “I deserve the punishment.” Also worthy of note was Eki’s decision to ride on cyclocross tires that are designed for fast conditions on a dry golf course on a sunny fall day in Saint Paul. With at least 70% of the roads ice covered with one 40 mile section being scary for me on my studded front tire and two-inch rear mtb tire, it was a miracle that he was able to keep that bike upright for the whole eight hours. Most of the ride was along a bleak desolate snow, gravel, and sand covered ROAD...seemingly at times-- a Road to nowhere...from which there is no return...(think Cormac McCarthy)

During the course of this bleak epic ride, my partner and I discussed a multitude of manly topics including the flagrant overt acts of desperation by the eunuchs that drive their snow-jet laden bank-owned mega-trucks over the backcountry roads of Northern Minnesota. One guy in particular came by us going at least 100 miles an hour pulling a cart full of toy-colored snowmobiles and purposefully swerved scary close to us…then inexplicably later down the barren gravel road he was parked and working on the sleds. Being a friendly sort, I yelled out, “hey howz it going.” Silence…so it goes. Yet, in contrast on the same road, a guy carrying a huge load of freshly fallen timber gave us ample warning and room, coupled with a Minnesota-nice wave!!!! Of course, Eki and I have been at it long enough to never take any road abuse personal. Itz all part of the game! Perhaps Eki sums up the whole affair best; “What an epic, one of my best ever! Man just think about it, a ride of that magnitude in the winter just for training, cool.”

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Huge WEEK with 23 hours on the bike, including 97 Miles with my buddy, Tim Ek on Saturday!!!!

"I am feeling fit, fit enough to maybe finish with the fast boyz. Or at least fit enough to get myself in one big world of HURT come the first Monday of February!" CPF (reflecting on two consecutive 20+ hour weeks of the bike).

A full recap of Saturday's eight hour primer for the AH 135 in the near future...also the list is forthcoming....

Thursday, January 3, 2008

I'm still here!!!!

Been loggin' some big time training...last week 21 hours and hopefully I will get close to that this week...then itz all taper taper taper for the BIG DANCE...more to come!!!!