Kettle Moraine Snow Ride

2013-12-28 11.09.44I joined some good friends for a fat bike snow ride at Kettle Moraine this weekend. The trails were amazing. The type of amazing that makes me wonder if it even gets any better for snow riding. The area had about eight inches of fresh snow with a groomed ribbon of single track that was about three or four inches deep. The trails were windy and filled with fast flowy sections.

Our riding group consisted of two Borealis Yampas, two Trek Farleys, a Surly Pugsly, and my titanium Salsa Mukluk, all of which provided ear to ear smiles. We were given clear sky’s and temperatures hovering around 32º F. The trees we were riding under had falling snow from the warming of the sun. It was something special.
2013-12-28 10.56.06 2013-12-28 11.09.02 2013-12-28 11.46.30 2013-12-28 12.04.04 2013-12-28 12.08.45 2013-12-28 12.18.54 2013-12-28 12.42.24After we finished riding, we returned the rented Borealis and Treks to Backyard Bikes. The shop functions as a bike shop, sandwich shop, and general store with a great beer selection. The shop employees were nice and they also have a good selection of fat bike rentals to ride at the Kettle Moraine trails.
2013-12-28 13.53.58My titanium Mukluk rode great on the trails. I thoroughly enjoy the bike. My tubeless conversion is holding up well, holding air as well as my other tubeless bikes. I’m becoming less nervous about the setup after it standing up to a variety of riding. The ride was great and will stand as my favorite snow ride to date! Good people, good trails, and good times, what more can you ask for?

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2013 Miller Chill Cyclocross Race

20131215_123533_IMG_0187This past weekend I joined the Bloomington Cycle & Fitness Racing Team at the final race of the Heart Of Illinois Cyclocross series. I take great pride in my local town having a mountain bike race, a criterium, a triathlon, and also a cyclocross race. Miller Chill is our local cyclocross race, and this years event was full of snow and fun!

The course was surprisingly ride-able considering the six plus inches of snow that the previous days weather provided. The course was a perfect balance of technical aspects, turns, power sections, and unique sections capitalizing on the terrain. I rode in the open race and placed sixth overall, second in my category. More importantly, I smiled a lot!

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Lazer Dissent Helmet Review

IMG_2361I love riding in the winter. During riding last winter I realized I didn’t need the highly vented helmet I race in during the fall, spring, and summer for most winter types of riding. I wanted a helmet that provided insulation, the ability to open and close vents, an ability to tighten the helmet on the head with a ratchet system, and would interface with goggle straps.

I found all of those traits in the Lazer Dissent. I’ve ridden in the helmet for a while now and couldn’t be happier with my purchase. I really like this helmet. It fits very comfortably and is well-balanced on my head.
IMG_9778I really appreciate the functionality the helmet provides. The vents can be closed for colder riding and opened when the increased airflow is desired with the slider.
IMG_9782The helmets inner straps and retaining system are adjustable via the knob on the rear top portion of the helmet to allow for as snug of fit as you want. I appreciate how easy this system is to operate, even with snow-covered winter gloves. I also like the built-in interface for holding goggle straps.
IMG_9780The helmet secures with a neat magnet instead of the typical buckle. At first I thought this was a little gimmicky, but after realizing how easy it is to strap on the helmet with thick gloves on, I’m sold. It works.

The only downside that this and every other snow sports helmet I’ve seen is the lack of a way to attach a light for night riding. I’m not too concerned as most snow/ fat bike rides are at a slow enough pace that I can get by safely with just a bar light.

Again, I love this helmet. If you are interested in a snow sports helmet. I’d recommend giving this one a try.

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Today On A Bike

I could go on and on about how much I enjoy riding in the snow, but I’m going to let the smiles in the pictures do the talking tonight.
IMG_2361 2013-12-14 11.45.49-1 IMG_2353 2013-12-14 11.38.28 2013-12-14 12.08.54 2013-12-14 12.09.17 IMG_2350

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2013 Global Fat Bike Day

2013-12-07 10.15.50Some friends from CORBA and I joined our friends over at FORC for their celebration of the 2013 Global Fat Bike Day. We had an amazing time riding fat bikes with FORC earlier this year at another event. When they announced plans to celebrate Global Fat Bike Day, I was stoked to say the least.

Apparently others were stoked also. We counted about 60 riders at the start of the ride with all but two or three bringing fat bikes.
1479538_10151840732983581_326948330_nThe weather was cold. Cold. How cold? 6° F, factor in wind chill, it was somewhere around -14° F. It felt like this ride was going to be filed into the “Character Building Ride” category before we clipped in.

2013-12-07 09.01.13After riding away from the parking lot where the ride started, we quickly entered the banks of the Mississippi river. Smiles were abundant. The terrain that the river banks offer could be described as frozen dirt banks with sand, rocks, downed and upright trees, large and small rocks, a few pieces of broken glass, and whatever else the current deposits when the river is up for the majority of the year. That’s one way of describing it, another would be magical.

I’ve ridden in a large number of different terrains, but the Mississippi banks are something unique. They offer a non defined path where you can ride however you want.  Whether you want to ride along the icy shore, ride through the windy trees, or ride over trees and rocks, you can. Whatever your skill level or desire for technical difficulty, the Mississippi banks deliver. I think that is what I appreciate the most, everyone has a good time.

2013-12-07 09.35.54 2013-12-07 09.37.31 2013-12-07 09.48.51 2013-12-07 10.04.07After riding along the river banks for a while we rode to over to Sunderbruch Park to ride some single track. I didn’t take any pictures, mostly because I was having a blast. I’d rank the trail system among the best I’ve ever ridden.

After Sunderbruch, we rode over to eat lunch. The pile of fat bikes outside of the lunch destination was cause for a smile.
2013-12-07 13.00.39 2013-12-07 13.22.16After lunch, we rode back to the parking lot to end the ride. We stopped in a local craft brewery to change and say some goodbyes over a beer. After which, we started the drive home with the sun setting behind us.
2013-12-07 15.50.10 2013-12-07 16.16.25Big thanks to FORC, Quad City Fatbikers, and everyone else that was involved in organizing this event. It can take a lot to enjoy being outside for hours on end in single digit temperatures, but the 2013 Global Fat Bike Day celebration in the quad cities delivered!

Garmin Data

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