First Impressions: 45NRTH Sturmfist 5

MJ5L2611I’ve been looking for gloves for a while that fit my needs and when 45NRTH announced the Sturmfist 4 and 5 I was intrigued instantly.  If the gloves are half as good as the Wolvhammer boots they make, I’ll be happy!

My local bike shop was unable to get a set of gloves for me from the first shipment.  An unfortunate situation as I love supporting my local bike shop Bloomington Cycle & Fitness!  QBP/ 45NRTH, you make cool stuff, please make more of the cool stuff so it’s easier to get…  Still wanting to support local bike shops and not some internet store, I reached out to the great folks at North Central Cyclery and the owner was able to get me a set of 5’s and a set of 4’s should be coming soon also.  Big thanks to Tobie from North Central Cyclery!

I’ve not spent enough time riding with these gloves to give a full review yet, but so far I can tell you I like them.
MJ5L2612The pads of the gloves have leather.  This with the aerogel should keep the cold from the handlebars separated from your hand.  They are 100% Merino wool inside and are soft and smooth.  My hands get dry in the winter and I’ve had a lot of gloves that love to snag and rip my cuticles on my fingernails.  These don’t seem to do that at all.

The detail and craftsmanship are great!
MJ5L2614I like the cuffs in terms of length and closure.
MJ5L2623 MJ5L2624I’ll post detailed thoughts after more use.  I’m looking forward to using them this weekend on the Mississippi river banks with the FORC folks at the 2014 Global Fat Bike Day celebration!

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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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