2014 Giant City Trip

2014-04-27 11.31.34This weekend I joined some teammates and friends at the Giant City Lodge in southern Illinois for four days of riding, smiling, and making memories. The weather, roads, and company were great. We set out Thursday on the first ride of the trip with 13 riders.
2014-04-24 14.11.31The weekend was filled with climbing hills and being treated to great views for Illinois.
2014-04-24 15.37.40 2014-04-24 15.40.32 2014-04-24 15.58.32The lodging was great and the breakfasts were as good as I remembered from last year.
2014-04-25 09.29.15Day 1’s Garmin Data

Friday I wore the Illinois State Champ jersey and put in a hard ride with the group. I felt a bit guilty wearing it on the road as I earned it on a mountain bike, but I think I did it justice, although it drained me for the next days ride.
2014-04-25 11.18.32 2014-04-25 13.19.38 2014-04-25 13.44.04 2014-04-25 15.07.27Day 2’s Garmin Data

Saturday I paid greatly for my efforts from the previous day’s ride. I didn’t make any long pulls and sat in the pack for most of the day.
2014-04-26 10.53.38 2014-04-25 10.37.23 2014-04-26 12.51.03Day 3’s Garmin Data

Sunday we set off for an easier recovery ride. There was an effort towards the end of the ride as we rolled back to the lodge.
2014-04-27 16.14.57Day 4’s Garmin Data

The roads were great and a key ingredient to the weekends enjoyment. There is a short but painfully steep hill near the cabin that is a staple for the ride named Baptist Hill. I believe the incline percent tops out around 20%. Pictures don’t do the snail crawling leg burning it induces justice.
2014-04-27 11.24.28The roads in general are filled with curves, rock formations, and hills.
2014-04-27 11.32.472014-04-27 11.18.05 2014-04-27 11.38.27I ended the weekend with 187.18 miles ridden, 10,632 feet climbed, 5,862 calories burned, and set a new personal record for fastest speed down one of the hills hitting 47.5 miles per hour. I can’t wait for next year!

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!

Today On A Bike

2014-04-19 13.22.17I’ve been riding a lot during the last couple of weeks, making some good progress on fitness and having a lot of fun while riding. Today’s adventure was riding to the local mountain bike trails, joining some good company, riding around a lake and then ending by riding all of the singletrack at Comlara.

2014-04-19 13.20.44-1 2014-04-19 13.44.23 2014-04-19 15.04.55Garmin Data

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!

Bike Update: 2013 S-Works Epic Carbon 29 XTR

MJ5L0669Last year I purchased a 2013 S-Works Epic and since getting the Epic I’ve raced it throughout the 2013 Illinois Cross Country Series, ridden it in Crestted Butte CO, and ridden it for countless rides of enjoyment. My initial impressions after getting the bike were all positive, I remember thinking on an early ride that this was how mountain biking should feel. For the vast majority of the trails I ride, I don’t think an Epic can be beat. The bike is versatility enough via the adjustable brain suspension to be a rocket ship on race day and with the few turns of the brains, provide a comfortable platform to descend down a mountain.

Since purchasing, I have made a couple of changes to further align the bike with what I want. The current total weight as pictured is down a touch from stock weighing in at 23.02 lbs. I swapped the tires for 29 X 1.95″ Specialized Renegades, a 75mm┬áSyntace stem to better fit my reach, a Specialized Phenom Pro saddle with carbon rails, and converted it to tubeless using Stans stems because tubeless makes everything better.

The full Shimano XTR group leaves nothing to be desired. Everything from the precision modulation of the brakes to the fast reliable shifting of the derailleurs, the group just works perfectly, and more importantly, it works exactly as amazing today as it did a year ago when it was new.
MJ5L0716The suspension technology is what sells me on the Epic as a platform. The brain suspension effectively makes the bike as rigid as desirable while pedaling to optimize rider effort until a bump arises from the ground that triggers valving to make the bikes suspension become active and compliant. I always race and typically ride with both the front suspension brain and the rear suspension brain in full firm, making the bike pedal and climb like a hard tail.
MJ5L0680 MJ5L0715 MJ5L0677 MJ5L0701The bike’s wheels are the stock Specialized Roval Control SL’s. They are carbon, tubeless, and use DT Swiss’s 240 internals, making them awesome on all counts. The brake rotors are Shimano units as well, and while I won’t get too scientific about cooling versus other rotors, I will say that they stay true far better than any other rotors I’ve ever ridden, so much so that I raced for the entire 2013 season without making a rotor true adjustment.
MJ5L0682So by this point I sound like a broken record, the bike is amazing. I love it. All bikes expensive and affordable eventually need maintenance to stay in great shape and luckily the fine folks at Bloomington Cycle & Fitness keep this rig in top shape for me.
MJ5L0699 MJ5L0675

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!

Today On A Bike

2014-04-06 14.55.33-1Today on a bike was a great! It was the first ride of at our local mountain bike trail system, Comlara since the thawing of the trails. There was a positive trail report yesterday followed by a group ride invite last night. I expected around 10 riders to show for some dirt fun, and then 25 riders showed up!
2014-04-06 13.12.002014-04-06 13.31.53 2014-04-06 14.44.13 2014-04-06 14.53.54After the ride, some of us shared a few beers, stories, and smiles. I forgot how much better a post ride beer tastes. It’s going to be a great year!
2014-04-06 15.26.07

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!

Today On A Bike

2014-04-03 19.00.03Today’s ride was a little wetter and colder than they have been as of late, but smiles were had all around. Surrounding myself with great people and riding a rad bike has this weird side effect of making me smile, lots. I’m ready to trade the base layers and jackets for shorts though :)

2014-04-03 17.48.07 2014-04-03 17.51.20 2014-04-03 17.50.05

Enjoy what you read? Subscribe to be notified of future posts via email by either clicking the Follow button at the bottom or the Subscribe section on the right!