Bike Update: 2012 Salsa Mukluk Ti

IMG_9899I’m fortunate to have a few bikes to pick from when my inner child wants to go for a ride. These bicycles can all be labeled with terms like race bike, road bike, mountain bike, cyclocross bike, and the such. All of these have their place and I enjoy them all and the experiences they provide, however when someone asks me which I have the most fun on, I always think of my fat bike.

My motives for any given ride are typically dictated by what I’m pedaling. When riding my road bike, I am usually on a training ride, often times focused on the wheel in front of me trying to hang on and think out when I can put in some serious efforts. When riding my mountain bikes, at least in the last year, I have typically found myself racing or scouting trail systems for upcoming races. However, unlike all the others, when I throw a leg over my fat bike, regardless of if I am commuting in the summer, riding in fresh snow, or anything in between, my focus is entirely on having as much fun as possible. I know I’m doing this right when my face hurts, not from the cold, but rather from smiling so much.

IMG_9737This titanium Salsa Mukluk isn’t my first fat bike, as I previously had a Surly Pugsley. I had tremendous fun on my Pug, but I wanted something lighter, non offset, and a titanium frame. Since purchasing, I have made some changes to further align the bike with my wants. I have added a Carver O’Beast carbon fiber fork, Thomson stem, Salsa titanium handlebar, Salsa titanium seat post, Specialized titanium railed saddle, swapped the tires around depending on conditions resulting currently in a Big Fat Larry 120 tpi on the front and a Knard 120 tpi on the rear, Niner YAWYD stem cap, and converted the wheels to tubeless.

IMG_9747IMG_9723IMG_9731IMG_9907IMG_9900IMG_9754IMG_9917IMG_9727IMG_9923I recently found this sticker and placed it on my top tube to help enforce that smiling is the priority on this bike.

IMG_9911 IMG_9920As with everything I pedal, it comes from Bloomington Cycle & Fitness, the best bike shop around!
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2013 Hilly Hundred

This past weekend I joined a good friend to participate in the 46th annual Hilly Hundred, a two-day bicycle century. As this ride’s date approached, I was looking forward to the mixture of riding in southern Indiana and distances that are challenging, yet not overwhelming. The century was roughly split into a 58 mile first day and a 46 mile second day.

Upon arriving, we checked in to the event, giving me my first understanding of how many volunteers it takes to put on an event like this. If I had to estimate the number of volunteers, it would be well over 100, including police officers to marshal road intersections. I can’t say enough about how well-organized the event was or how friendly the volunteers were! Our campsite:
2013-10-19 11.46.16Day One:

I woke up Saturday morning to the sound of rain drops on the roof of my Element (Sports Utility Camper). I pulled up the weather on my phone and then sent a text to my friend in the next tent over with the message, “Character Building Ride?”.

40’s and rainy…

We decided to hold off on starting the ride for a few hours to wait for the rain to die down, using our new-found time to grab some hot breakfast from a local diner.

We set off on the first mile of the two-day century around noon on Saturday. The weather was chilly, but the rain had stopped for the most part. Getting clothing correct seemed difficult at first as I overheated quickly, removing layers as the first miles started to tick away. About a half hour in, I was settling into the ride. I had my clothing figured out, and life was good. The check stops provided a chance to stretch legs off the bicycle, take in some nutrition and hydration.
2013-10-19 13.07.172013-10-19 15.05.57The lunch stop of the first day left me pretty cold, as the sun was unable to shine through thick clouds and the wind was evil. The time spent eating lunch let the cold seep into my bones. After lunch we set off to finish the ride and I made extra efforts to regain warmth by climbing fairly hard which resulted in me bonking with about 10 miles to go on the first day and I suffered through the last climbs. Finishing day one with a smile!
2013-10-19 16.17.22My trusty Specialized Roubaix performed great, providing a comfortable and efficient ride.
2013-10-19 16.17.41Garmin data for day one

Day Two:

We set out day two with much better weather. While riding Sunday we saw many more people enjoying the blue sky, sunshine, and warmer weather. I’m guessing the colder and wetter weather was responsible for the lower perceived participation on day one. The rest stops were a great opportunity for me to take in how great the experience was. There is something special about being surrounded by hundreds of cyclist, all partaking in a great ride, each of us knowing the secret of how amazing moments on a bicycle can be.
2013-10-20 10.56.402013-10-20 11.47.40 2013-10-20 12.57.10Garmin data for day two

Overall, I had a great time! I enjoyed the route. We managed to ride 103.54 miles in six hours and twelve minutes. As for the numbers related to the “hilly” aspect, we climbed a total of 7,952 feet with some pitches exceeding 20%. I set a new maximum speed personal record of 45.2 miles per hour on one of the downs on day two. Something tells me this won’t be my last Hilly Hundred.

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2013 Dan Ryan Woods Cyclocross Race

20131013_141138_IMG_9993This past weekend I joined the Bloomington Cycle & Fitness Racing Team at the third race of the 2013 Chicago Cross Cup series. The weather was great, much better than the previous race in the series. My awesome wife and I took a few pictures, admittedly the awesome ones all came from her this week!

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Fatbike History

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqX0vZ9VALI

If you like adventure biking or fat bikes, you owe it to yourself to watch this short documentary.

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2013 Hopkins Park Cyclocross Race

IMG_2798sThis past weekend I joined the Bloomington Cycle & Fitness Racing Team at the second race of the 2013 Chicago Cross Cup series. The weather was a little colder and there were far less turns on the course than the previous weekends race at Jackson Park. I took a few pictures of the early races, but less than I did the previous week. Without my wife at the race, I was unable to split my time between taking pictures and preriding the course effectively.

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My Intro Into Gravel Goodness

2013-10-04 15.05.00-2s

This weekend a few friends and myself traveled to Streator’s Marilla Park to ride some gravel roads. We intended to ride the Dirty Mudder course, but the lack of daylight mandated cutting it a little short. We ended the day with 45 miles, most of which were on ridden on gravel.

This was my first time riding gravel. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into it, but I had high hopes of liking it as this type of riding seems to be gaining popularity. Shortly into the ride I had my first realization, it was very relaxing, almost hypnotic. There was no abundance of passing vehicles to worry about. There was no single track to dictate what path you had to take. There was no rotating pace line of crazy speed riding. There was only the gravel, the sun, vast scenery, and you pedaling.

A little further into the ride I began to gain a better understanding of the different types of gravel we were riding. There was deep gravel, almost snow like. There was big rocked gravel, small rocked gravel, smoother sections of earth with little to no gravel, and areas of mixed water gravel mush around puddles. All of those provided a different riding experience.

Nearing the third hour, I began to feel the my legs getting tired. We decided to head back with the sun setting in front of us. We all agreed that we enjoyed the experience and would be returning. Thinking about the ride today, I think the aspect of riding on the gravel that I most enjoyed was the consistent change the ride provided. The longest straight of the 45 mile day was only five miles long. The turning, the variety of gravel types, the stark difference compared to a training road ride and mountain biking, all equated to a fun new experience. I like the idea of having a new option for riding.

2013-10-04 16.59.17s

2013-10-04 15.40.20s

2013-10-04 16.13.12s

2013-10-04 17.07.09s

2013-10-04 17.33.55s

Garmin Data

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2013 Jackson Park Cyclocross Race

IMG_2299sThis past weekend I joined the Bloomington Cycle & Fitness Racing Team at the first race of the 2013 Chicago Cross Cup series. The event was a blast! The course was fun and included a rumored 72 turns. My wife and I took a few pictures of the team and a few friends.

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