The B Word

IMG_0748I’ve found myself a bit burnt-out this fall.  In my typical over analytical fashion I’d pinpoint the cause at almost a full year of competitive riding.  I know lots of people who do it but I mentally need a break every fall it seems.  I find it harder to get on a bike and ride hard for two hours when there is no goal in site.

I struggled for a bit about whether this post had a place on my blog, but when I reread the first post I was reminded of my original intention with this project.  Cycles In Life.  This lull is my current cycle and if I hide that, I’m not being honest.  I’ve also been receiving a lot of positive feedback from readers and the community both local and beyond.  Special thanks to those people, it means a lot.

I think I’m going to make a few changes for next year.  I think I’m going to focus on crits next season as they are new and exciting to me.  I enjoy that there are multiple measures for personal success on any given race day.  The tactics appeal to me.  I’m sure I will race a fair share of mountain bike races and cross races, but I don’t think I will have a full season of either.

Thinking about this coming winter season of non competitive, fun first riding with good people puts a smile on my face.  I’m ready for that.  I plan making several return trips to the Mississippi river banks to join what I presume will be the largest gathering of fat bikes ever amassed.  I’m ready to feel the cold on my face and hear the silence of the wind while pedaling in the snow.

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Bike Update: 2012 Salsa Mukluk Ti

MJ5L2536I’ve made some changes to my fat bike this summer and fall I’m pretty jazzed about it.  The planed changes were simple enough of moving to a one by drivetrain with Shimano XTR bits and adding Shimano XTR brakes for good measure too.

MJ5L2539 MJ5L2541 MJ5L2578While adding the Shimano XTR brakes and rotors my old Carver carbon fork didn’t want to behave with the new setup so I had to change the fork from that to the MRP carbon fatbike fork (previously named White Brothers).  More thoughts on the fork are coming but for now let me say that when compared to the Carver fork I had the MRP is stiffer, heavier, more expensive, and less attractive, but I’m happy with it.  I just can’t believe they put the sticker under the clear coat…

MJ5L2546 MJ5L2559 MJ5L2563I love how clean the bottom bracket area is with the one by!  The gearing seems perfect for me with a 28 tooth chainring and a normal 11-36 cassette.
MJ5L2577While I was reinstalling a brake rotor with the non extended bolts I had a bone head moment and over torqued the bolts.  Expensive lesson learned and with a set of Hope Fatsno hubs things could return back to normal.
MJ5L2553The bike is a lot of fun and I can’t wait to smile a lot in the cold this winter riding it.
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What Heckling Isn’t

MJ5L2372I love cross season.  I think it is a great cycling sport as it seems to bring the roadies and the mountain bikers all into the same circus ring.  When I was first introduced to cyclocross racing I was told about all the fun aspects such as feeling like you can’t breathe because you’ve been pegged for the last 30 minutes, the bacon hand ups, and the hecklers.

It sounded great, the crowd being into the racing is good for the sport as a whole.  It drives the racers to do the best they can and the spectators feed off of each other to have a great time.  It should work like that.  It should, but when I go to big cross races, the hecklers are getting it wrong in my opinion.

I’d like to think that we are all at a race to promote cycling, racing, and have a good time, but I can’t understand how telling the over weight 40 something year old rider towards last place that he is losing or he sucks is bettering anyone’s experience but the side liners.  Even more frustrating is when I see this coming from people who clearly didn’t race that day.

Look, I’m all for heckling.  I’m all for calling the riders out who are clearly sandbagging the cat 4 or cat 5 race, but that’s different.  I think a proper heckle to the field should make both the racer and the spectators laugh.  A perfect example from this past weekends Chi Cross race was a spectator yelling that he had seen a particular racer in an adult movie because he had a 1970’s porn mustache.  Hilarity followed and the racer smiled and kept pedaling because he knew when he decided to wear that man trophy what was involved with such a decision.

We should want people, both spectators and racers to enjoy this sport.  Enjoyment and enthusiasm are good for progression.  I feel bad for the middle to back of the pack racers who are trying, who maybe at their first race ever, and the crowd is cruel for the sake of approval from the person next to them.

We can do better.

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Today On A Bike

2014-09-24 17.11.48-2The fall is always a weird time for me and cycling.  I am usually a little burnt out from the MTB and road season that started back in January.  After racing the Chequamegon fat 40 a few weeks ago, I’ve spent less time on a bike in an effort to not burn myself out.  Today’s cross practice was a lot of fun and re-energized me a bit for the season!

2014-09-24 17.30.14 2014-09-24 17.48.07

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I Love My Honda Element

MJ5L1932I love my Honda Element, so much so that I’m on my second one.  I previously had a 2006 4WD and sold it to buy another car but less than a year later, I knew I needed another one.  Why?  Versatility!

I love that I can set up a comfortable sleeping quarter and or transport and store bicycles inside.  Bike locks are great, storing a bicycle inside of a car is better in my opinion.  You can fold the rear seats into the sides of the vehicle and have something close to a box van, and if that’s not enough, you can remove the rear seats all together with a push of a button.
MJ5L1979The rear of Elements can function like other vehicles.  Dad Mode.
MJ5L1953I can fold one seat up into the side and put a bike inside (with the front wheel on) for transport or storage.
MJ5L1975I have camped in my Element more than a few times and really enjoy it!  With a good air mattress it’s often better than most other temporary sleeping arrangements.  The floor of Elements are completely flat which makes things much easier and more comfortable.  I used to put an air mattress directly on the floor with a sleeping bag like this.
MJ5L1961I have recently started placing my air mattress on top of the folded down front and rear seat.  This is more comfortable and provides more storage under the folded down seats.
MJ5L1965 MJ5L1963Here you can see how there are no B pillars in Elements making accessing anything easy.
MJ5L1974To gain even more space while sleeping I often lock my bike on the hitch rack.
MJ5L1940I love that my Element automatically switches to all wheel drive when the front wheels lose traction!  It’s proven more capable than I’ve thought in past situations.  This thing gets me to the snow ride when it counts!
MJ5L1983 I love my Element!  I love my Honda!
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