Monday, December 13, 2010

Ouachita Challenge

It's 1:20am on a Monday morning in December and I'm now registered for the Ouachita Challenge.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sun Prairie CX

Photo courtesy Jolene's Raceday Photography
I almost didn't get to race this one as I forgot my helmet. Thanks to for the loaner!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cam Rock CX

I raced cat 4 in the cam rock cx yesterday. It rained hard all morning and the course was very muddy. I didn't wear glasses and I couldn't see anything because of the mud being thrown by my front tire. I'm not sure how others were handling this but it was really discouraging for me. I could never get motivated and I didn't get to enjoy the wet conditions that I had been hoping for. Someone told me I got 10th but I didn't check. Below are some pics. The rest are here: Cam-Rock Cyclocross.

I recommend the Dozer burger and a beer at Heather's in Rockdale. They should advertise at the course. The bar is so close I went by on my warm-up. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Blockhouse Roll 2010

Blockhouse Roll was great. I spent Friday marking the course and cutting firewood for the race. On Saturday I raced expert in the afternoon. Max, last year's winner, opened up a lead on the parade lap and I found myself in fourth. I had a good first lap and passed the third place rider just before the barn after waiting way too long (should have tried to stay with second). My second lap was also solid and I ended up with third place.

Race director Joe


This picture says "Blockhouse" to me

WEMS Blue Mounds - Three Hour

I didn't feel much like racing Blue Mounds. I had thought about doing the 12 hour again this year but then I decided I'd rather race the three hour after being bored at WEMS Levis Trow. When race day arrived I felt like I'd rather be racing the No Good Double Cross or maybe just doing nothing. I got on the bike anyway and, after a le mans start, was in fourth (out of only eight men and one woman). We got to the spot where the trail split, with one trail for the 3 hour and one for the 6/12. Though they meant well, the person who was at the split directing us was pointing to their right (the correct direction) but yelling "right" (the right direction from their perspective but the wrong direction from ours). We went to our right and there was chaos when we figured out the mistake.

Photo credit:

Pointed back the right direction, I soon passed the two riders in front of me and thought I was in second. I came back through the start in 34 minutes and no one said anything about what place I was in. I headed back into the woods and started wondering if I'd see the first place rider. Then I flatted both tires at the same time. One small cut in each tire that the Stan's couldn't seal for some reason. Having only one tube, I started hiking out. I ran into Walt at the road crossing and he donated and installed the second tube. Thanks Walt! To make a long story short, after another lap I  flatted again (this time the valve stem tore out of the tube) and decided to call it a day. Turns out I was in first when I flatted the first time around. Lesson learned: you can ride Blue Mound on XR1s but not at race pace.

Congratulations to Ana for dominating the women's three hour!

Photo credit: ArisaemaDracontium from CORP

Saturday, August 21, 2010


Bikepacking documentary free to watch online until 9/17/10: Salt. Australian photographer Murray Fredericks rides a Pugsley onto a salt lake to take photos.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mountain Bikes in Wilderness Areas?

Should mountain bikes be allowed in wilderness areas? In most cases, yes, I think they should provided there are appropriate trails. Many existing trails outside of wilderness areas are shared use with no problems. Well designed mtb trails do no more harm to the area than those that are only used by hikers. The Department of Agriculture wants to hear from the public:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Wilderness 101

The finish, thanks to

The Wilderness 101 was probably the most difficult course I've ever raced on. It starts and ends in Coburn, PA and is part of the National Ultra MTB Endurance Series (NUE). To compare the course to local Madison rides, the W101 has more elevation gain in a shorter distance than the Horribly Hilly (only it's on gravel, doubletrack, and singletrack) combined with singletrack that is more technical than Blue Mound. The ride has a repeated pattern: long gravel climb, single track, single track descent, gravel road descent, gravel road on level ground. There were five aid stations with great volunteers, as well as bridges, tunnels, supportive locals, and at least one rattlesnake that I heard about but didn't get to see.

I finished in 9:40, the middle of the pack. I don't think I could go a whole lot faster but I did save a lot in case there were more climbs. If I race this again or something like it (Leadville, Shenendoah 100, Breck 100?) I think I need to get a computer so I know what mileage I'm at. Also, next time I'd print the elevation profile/location of aid stations and tape it to the top tube as I noticed on some other bikes. Otherwise, it was a great ride that I would do again (except maybe for the long drive through tollroad states).

Three bridges, thanks to

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tim's Post About The Utahrado Tour this Spring

Tim wrote a great description of our tour this spring of the Kokopelli and White Rim trails in Colorado and Utah: Closer to Fine

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cable Weekend

I went riding in Cable with some friends this weekend. We rode Makwa (flowy) one day and Rock Lake (technical) the next. Some riders were mellow:

Others were looking for the podium:
A good time was had by all. Wilderness 101 is next weekend.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010


"America is about speed. Hot, nasty, bad-ass speed." - Eleanor Roosevelt, 1936

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chequamegon 100

I see a lot of blog posts that are nothing but pictures. To return balance to the universe, this one is nothing but words. Actually there are no pictures is because I'm not carrying a camera or taking pictures while racing. When I'm racing I've got better things to do than take pictures like pedal, eat, and avoid yard sale-ing down some hill in the great north woods. I raced the Chequamegon 100 yesterday, which was organized by Tim and Joe. The race is 100 unsupported miles of mountain biking in the Chequamegon National Forest. 250 people signed up and about 110 showed up. Here's what happened:

Slept outside on a deck.
Woke up way too early because of all the noise the loons were making.
Switched to a shorter stem (Salsa Pro Moto Ti).
Drove to the race, got ready,set keys in the trunk, slammed trunk.
Started at the back.
Passed people like it was a WORS race.
Caught up to Matt while he was standing next to the trail.
Rode with Matt, Charlie Farrow, and two other people.
Got a tiny puncture in a tire and watched as the Stan's did nothing despite lots of spinning and shaking.
Got lost trying to find the town hall.
Found the town hall.
Ate a Clif Bar and rode out with Charlie and Joe.
Got another puncture. Pumped frantically forever. Bring C02!
Got lost again.
Borrowed a backup (29") tube from someone who had a mechanical.
Rode with some people that knew where they were.
Donated the 29er tube to someone that needed one.
Ran into Joe again.
Finished the race in 10:11:60. 12th place. Completely the result of getting lost less than a lot of other, faster riders.
Realized I had a frame bag full of food I never ate. It's tough to eat on this course since it's almost all singletrack.
Called tow truck to unlock the car.
Won a twin-six shirt.
Drove home in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


The Big-Ass Long Loop Shindig, or BALLS Ride, was last weekend. The ride started in Barneveld on Saturday at 7am. From there, the 25 riders rode the Military Ridge Trail 15 miles west to Dodgeville. From Dodgeville we rode the roads to the beginning of the Cheese Country Trail in Mineral Point. The Cheese Country Trail is another rails to trails but is typically used by atvs, making it very rough on a bicycle with whoops, gravel, sand, and mud. After 45 miles the Cheese Country Trail ended in Monroe where we turned north onto the Badger State Trail. 11 miles later we came to the intersection of the Badger State and Sugar River trails and turned onto the Sugar River Trail. The Sugar River Trail ends in Brodhead where we rode a mile out of town to the Crazy Horse Campground, with just over 100 miles completed. It had rained often and misted when it wasn't raining. Not great weather for biking but a good time anyway.

Regrouping outside Dodgeville:

On the Cheese Country:

At the crossroads:

The beginning of Sunday was the reverse of Saturday. I rode alone back up the Sugar River Trail and turned onto the Badger State toward Madison. It really started raining after an hour or two and I had to put all my rain gear on. When I got to Madison, I took the roads back onto the Military Ridge Trail. 60 or so miles and countless episodes of On Point later, I was in Barneveld.

The tunnel outside Belleville:

Turning back onto Military Ridge outside Madison:

Riley is the halfway point from Madison to Barneveld:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Red Dog Ramble Time Trial

I raced the Red Dog Ramble TT in Platteville on Saturday, 4/17/10. There was perfect weather and some good trails that are not usually available to ride. I received a pair of strange Trek gloves out of the deal. Though fingerless, they had complete thumbs (that are getting cut off). Unfortunately, no pics because I didn't remember to bring the camera (it's kind of hard to take pics while racing on singletrack anyway).

Monday, March 22, 2010

How to Build a Seat Bag

Note: This post was originally written in 2010. I made the seatbag because I was into sewing projects and because seatbags at the time were rare and expensive. If I was doing this now I would probably buy the Revelate Designs Viscacha. I would also consider this Ideashop bag if I was on a budget since it costs about one quarter what the Revelate bag does. The seatbag below was used mainly on a six day ride of the Kokopelli and White Rim trails and it worked great except for the adjustable straps slipping, which was easily solved by making them fixed.

I built my own seat bag to go a with my homemade frame bag for some bikepacking adventures I have planned.


White Widow Spectra fabric
400 denier Cordura fabric (you don't have to use two types of fabric, I just liked the way it looked).
1" nylon webbing
5 side release buckles
1" velcro (all of the above from Seattle Fabrics)
Something to stiffen the bottom - foam? Coroplast? I haven't tried anything yet

I started out with two "Y" shaped pieces for the top and bottom. Most of the seat bags I have seen are equal height/width but I couldn't make mine very tall because the suspension moves the wheel towards the bag.

Next I cut out rectangles of fabric for the sides and sewed them to the top and bottom. DON'T DO THIS! Pin the top, bottom, and sides together but don't sew them. Or use a basting stitch. If you sew the pieces together now makes it very difficult (impossible without the right sewing machine) to sew the straps on later because the sewing machine won't fit inside the bag.

Next I sewed buckles to the ends of a piece of webbing and sewed the webbing to what will be the opening of the bag. It's just like the opening of a dry bag. I added webbing all the way around to make it easier to close and to prevent fraying.

Next I cut out a two pieces to hold the bag to the seatpost.

I trimmed these pieces down and attached straps and buckles. Then I sewed them to the sides of the bag.

Next I made the piece that attaches the bag to the underside of the seat. It's got a piece of webbing that goes to the back of the bag and another that goes around the seat rails

What the bag should look like now:

Next I made a similar piece for the bottom and sewed it on.

Next I sewed the opening next to the seatpost together.

Next I sewed velcro to the seatpost flaps. Be sure to sew it to the correct side of the flap or it won't connect.

Here's where you can finally sew the top and bottom to the sides if you didn't do this up front like I did. Final result:

I'm happy with the results but I think it could be improved. I'm not happy with the way it sags right at the seatpost. I think this could be solved by using heavier Cordura or with something stiffening it from the inside. Since this bag is made and I'm not going to tear it apart, I'm going to try adding some foam or plastic to the inside near the post and on the bottom of the bag. It's not too bad in these pics but the bag can hold a lot more and it sags with more weight. The bottom of the bag has the same problem. As you add more weight and the bag gets longer it sags more at the end and between the vertical webbing and the seatpost. I don't think it's going to fail but it doesn't look right.

I also built a front bag to hold my sleeping bag. I'll post that next.