Today On A Bike

2014-07-21 07.31.30Sometimes it’s nice to escape.  Be it unplugging from the world or putting aside stress or thoughts that weigh on happiness.  Today’s commute to work was a bit of an escape and really enjoyable.  For thirty minutes all that existed was pedaling, sun, and the wind.

2014-07-21 07.37.52-6 2014-07-21 07.14.51My commute is filled with little fun segments.  One such segment is a tiny bit of singletrack and only lasts about two seconds, but that two seconds is as close to being five years old and out on summer break as it gets.  The best part is if you want to enjoy riding, you can find lots of things like this and link them together for an amazing commute.
2014-07-21 07.23.03 2014-07-21 07.25.04 2014-07-21 07.05.38This summer’s riding so far has been a bit different from what I thought it would be.  I’m having a harder time getting the same level of enjoyment out of racing cat 1 cross-country mountain bikes as I did with cat 2.  I think it’s a combination of putting in more riding and training time and seeing lower ranking results as a product of the field being stronger overall.  I feel like I’m in the best cycling shape I’ve ever been in but the race results don’t reflect that.  I know it’s a part of racing but it can feel discouraging.

I’ve found more enjoyment in road riding with my team and riding my fat bike on mountain bike rides than ever before.  I love the cooler summer temperatures.  I’m looking forward to longer rides more so than ever before, but today I found a lot of happiness in the thirty minutes and seven miles to and from work.

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Today On A Bike

2014-07-14 18.42.59-2It’s always a great ride when I get to spend time pedaling with my best friend, who also happens to be my wife.  I still don’t know how I got so lucky!  We had a family member watch our little girl for a couple of hours and we grabbed our bikes for a fun road ride together!  Today was a good day :)

2014-07-14 18.22.23 2014-07-14 19.29.53 2014-07-14 18.14.42 2014-07-14 18.18.32 2014-07-14 19.02.55

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Today On A Bike

2014-07-05 12.46.20Yesterday I joined a couple of friends on a road trip to ride mountain bikes in St. Louis MO, specifically Greensfelder and Chubb trail systems.  Both trails offered tech above what I typically ride in the form of rocky terrain.  Greensfelder offered equal parts side of hill flow and rocky terrain.  I really enjoyed it.  The tech wasn’t too far outside of my comfort zone and allowed me to push my boundaries comfortably.  My ride data from Greensfelder is here.
2014-07-05 14.30.54 2014-07-05 13.10.03After finishing the main loop at Greensfelder we wanted to ride a bit more before driving home and instead of doubling up on the same trail we decided to go to Chubb trail.  Chubb was a fun trail but it was more technical, demanding, and less flowly.  I walked at least a three sections of downs and climb sections.  The pictures of the trail don’t do the level of tech justice.
2014-07-05 14.33.02 This section of trail had a few drop options, none of which I felt comfortable with.
2014-07-05 15.01.49A far more skilled friend made the 3-4 foot drop look easy!
2014-07-05 15.02.29-3Chubb trail system is fun and I’d recommend riding it, especially if you are looking for some Midwest tech.  My ride data from Chubb is here.  It was a great day on a bike with good friends, a refreshing change of terrain, and smiles.
2014-07-05 16.09.56

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2014 Morton Criterium

20140628_093655_IMG_0512This weekend I raced at the 2014 Morton Criterium.  It was my first crit and I had a lot of fun!  It was a completely different animal than the mountain bike races or cyclocross races I’ve done in the past.  I’m really happy with my race.  I raced in the cat 5 race as this was my first crit.  I was in the action for the majority of the race sitting in second or third.  My numbers were an average of 25.1 mph for the 30 minute race and a top speed of 33.4.  My full Garmin data is here.  A big thanks to my teammates for the advice and help with the preparation and Bloomington Cycle & Fitness for making sure my Tarmac was in tip-top shape!  I’m looking forward to the next crit!

READ MORE  & FULL GALLERY >>

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Sram XX1 Fatbike Crank & Wolf Tooth Chainring Review

MJ5L0044I love my fatbike.  I’ve been riding my Salsa Ti Mukluk a lot more this summer as overtime the notion of it being a “snow bike” has been completely removed in my mind.  I’ve wanted to do a one by conversion on my fatbike for a while and recently ordered the required parts from my local bike shop.

I knew I wanted to run a Wolf Tooth chainring for a few reasons.  I’ve read a lot of positive things, I have friends who love them, and I prefer to support the little guys when I can.  It doesn’t hurt that it’s beautiful, seriously, and it is also light weight.  The 28 tooth chainring from Wolf Tooth I purchased weighed 60 grams as advertised.  One benefit over Sram’s own XX1 chainrings are that Wolf Tooth offers a 26 tooth chainring and Sram’s smallest option is a 28 tooth chainring.

Once I made the decision to use a Wolf Tooth chainring, I had to start looking for a replacement crank as the E13 that came spec’d on my Mukluk features proprietary interfaces.  I knew I wanted to have the option of running small chainrings as deep snow can be difficult to pedal through.  With a normal 104 bcd crank spider, you are limited to chainrings that are 32 teeth or higher as numbers below that throw off the chain line and would start to interfere with the spider.  The solution is to not run a spider.  When looking for a crank that is compatible with Wolf Tooth direct mount chainrings and has a 100mm spindle for fatbikes, the choices are somewhat limited.  My search came down to either a Sram X9 or a Sram XX1 crank.  To be honest neither of the options was appealing.  I am replacing all of the drivetrain and brakes with Shimano XTR bits and I was a bit hung up on having a Sram crank in that mix, but in the end, the XX1 was the best choice for me as I’m a bike parts snob.

The Sram XX1 crank is light, and simple.  I appreciated that the fatbike version does not come with chainrings so there is no added cost of unused parts.  As a fan of simplicity, it looks great.  It feels stiff but then again, I don’t know that I’ve ever felt a modern-day crank flex.

Overall the combo of the XX1 Crank and the Wolf Tooth chainring is great.  With those components and removing the front derailleur, cable, and shifter, the bike looks much better.  I think I nailed the gearing with a standard 10 speed 11-36 cassette and a 28 tooth chainring.  I have yet to spin out the gearing while riding singletrack and it climbs very well.  The chain refuses to drop even with no chain guide and a rear derailleur without a clutch, although I plan on adding a rear derailleur with a clutch as soon as parts come into stock.  I’d highly recommend both Wolf Tooth and the Sram XX1 fatbike crank if you’re looking for a light weight one by solution for your fatbike.

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