Sunday, October 16, 2011

Barnyard Classic 2011 Data

I collected some data at the Barnyard Classic using the Garmin Edge 205. I missed the first lap and then started it while my partner was on his one and only lap. It looks like each lap is about 1.1 miles long. I'd like to know how much climbing but I'm not sure how to figure that out.

From Garmin Training Center:

Uploaded to, over a USGS aerial photo:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WEMS Pitch Black Singletrack 2011

Last Saturday I found myself on the top of the picnic table podium of the WEMS Pitch Black Singletrack three-hour race. Since it was a night race I used two 150 lumen lights, one on the bars and one on my helmet. Unfortunately the helmet light came unplugged on the last lap, making it much harder to see around corners. Next time I'd tape the connections together. After the race I spent some time promoting bacon and beer to the racers going past Checkpoint Victor Bravo Charlie.

Thanks to Josh G for loaning me a light, Coleman for putting on the race, Josh H for making Checkpoint VBC happen, and Heather's bar for hosting the event.

Picture from Dyreson Photography at

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Repairing Garmin Edge 205 or 305 Battery Bounce

I have a Garmin Edge 205 that I bought used from a friend. It has worked great for about a year but recently it has been turning off during rides. I looked into this and found out it is a common problem for the Edge that even has a name - "battery bounce". Here are two sites that I found useful:

It turns out that the problem is that the spring loaded contacts that provide battery power to the main board become weak and no longer contact the board. This means that the device can lose power when bumped. To fix this I could either wire the battery directly to the main board or add a spacer to increase the pressure on the connectors. I decided to add a spacer since it is the easier solution.

The first and most difficult step in fixing the Edge is getting it apart. To do this, I used the back of a small knife to carefully scrape all of the glue out of the seam between the top and bottom of the case. The seam is the line between the black back of the case and the part of the case between the buttons. Don't try to separate the buttons from the gray part of the case. See the above links for pics of the seam.

It took at least half an hour to remove the glue - long enough that I started to have doubts that I was doing it right. Once enough glue was removed it almost fell apart. Don't pry apart the case without removing the glue!

Once the case was open I had a new problem. I needed to unscrew the two small Phillips head screws that secure the small board (with the USB port). Unfortunately I only had a #0 Phillips and it was too big. I bought a Harbor Freight 33 Piece Precision Screwdriver Set only to find the #00 and #000 wouldn't fit quite right either. I ended up using the smallest flat blade screwdriver bit and it came apart easily.

Once the small board was detached from the case I pulled the rubber grommet off of the USB port. I traced its shape onto a piece of old tube and cut the tracing out with a razor. An X-acto knife would have been useful here but it doesn't have to be that precise anyway.

I placed the new spacer onto the USB port followed by the original one. The original has a slot for the case built into it so I wanted those to line up. I didn't crank the screws all the way down because it seemed like it was deforming the board. Ideally the new spacer probably would have been a little thinner but I didn't have any other material.

I next cleaned the contacts with electronics cleaner. Then I applied silicone adhesive to the seam and reassembled the case. To hold it together I stacked some books on it over night.

After I was sure the glue was dried I gave the Edge a few test rides and it is fixed with no battery bounce. This project was a success!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sights from the 2011 Dakota 5-O

The Dakota Five-O is one of the best races around and not just because of the great singletrack. I've raced it two years in a row and the after party and awards are great. Here are a few of the interesting things I saw this year:

Tall bike powered ice cream churn by the Spearfish Bike Coop.

There are two kinds of Gary Fishers: those that have broken and those that will break. This one's a Hi-Fi.

Smokey the Bear.

The first band - sorry I didn't get their name.

Plenty of beer from Crow Peak Brewery.

Dakota 5-O bottle from Salsa, mug from a Spearfish artist.

Does a Shimano XT SM BB70 Bottom Bracket Work With an XTR M970 Crankset?

Yes. As far as I can tell they are the same except for the color and maybe bearing quality. If you need a bottom bracket Amazon always has good prices.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011 Chequamegon 100

This year's Cheq 100 was good ride despite a rainstorm just before the end. I didn't take it very seriously and ended up 25 out of 85 finishers.

Eating and drinking: 2 bottles of Perpetuem, 4 liters of Heed, 4 packs of Clif Shot Bloks, 2 bananas. One Old Milwaukee at the finish. I need to find something to replace the Perpetuem. I dislike the taste so I end up not eating enough food.

Here's a pic from the top of firetower climb (from Joe's album):
2011 Chequamegon 100

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How to Fix a Sansa Clip

Although this is not directly bike related I mostly listen to my Sansa Clip 4gb while riding. It gets me through my commute and solo rides. Recently it stopped turning on, except when it was connected to a power source. After reading some forum posts it seemed likely that the problem was either a bad connection to the battery or a bad battery. I pried it apart with a knife and found that one of the tiny wires connecting the battery to the motherboard was broken. I stripped it back with a pair of scissors and very carefully used a soldering iron to reconnect the wire and the board. It took about 30 minutes and now it's working again.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

New Bike - Performance Access XCL 29r

I recently decided to retire the commuter bike (an old Specialized Crossroads set up to be as close to a cx bike as possible: and replace it with something newer. I wanted something that would be:
  • Relatively unappealing to thieves
  • Disc brakes
  • Mountain bars
  • Easy to mount racks and fenders to
  • Cheap
  • Good for bikepacking
I ended up with the Access frame because it met the criteria and even had mounts for the upper part of a rear rack and two sets of water bottle mounts (turns out this isn't the case for the smallest size - the one I bought). Here's what it took to upgrade:
  • Frame $90+$10 for derailler hanger new (ebay - performance was sold out)
  • Shimano hubs/Velocity Blunt rims used $80 (cronometro bike swap)
  • Mystery steel fork $40 (swap)
  • SRAM X7 shifters new $15 (swap)
  • SRAM X7rear derailler new $15 (swap)
  • SRAM X9 front derailler used $0 (had this)
  • FSA V drive extreme cranks used $0 (had this)
  • Cassette used $0 (had this)
  • Chain used $0 (had this)
  • On One Mary bars used $20 (swap)
  • Headset new $10 (swap)
  • Stem used $0 (had this)
  • Carbon headset spacer new $6 (ebay)
  • Oury grips used $1 (swap)
  • Avid levers used $0 (had this)
  • Avid BB7 brakes used $40 (swap)
  • Bontrager seatpost used $10 (swap) 
  • Axiom seatpost clamp with integrated rack mounts new $12 (Machinery Row)
  • WTB seat used $0 (had this)
  • Planet Bike Cascadia fenders used $0 (had this)
  • Racktime rack used $0 (had this)
  • Wellgo pedals used $0 (had this)
  • Cables and housing new $10 (Pricepoint)
  • Nokian Hakkapeliitta W106 used $0 (had this)
 A total of $359, but I basically ended up with a mostly new bike with a good spec of components. The fenders and rack took a little effort to install (see pics below) but everything worked out. I really like the Mary bars now that I figured out they need to be rotated down, though they do flex more than I would want for a race bike. I'm very happy with the end result - it's a lot more comfortable and versatile than the old bike.

I do need to buy locking skewers since I'm already tired of using a cable to lock up the wheels and they would most likely disappear downtown if they weren't locked.

Picnic Point in Madison. Note the bar I made to drop the front fender down to the tire. It's a piece of aluminum with a hole drilled in either end. Thanks Sector 67!

I used the spacer provided with the fenders to clear the brake in front.

I also used a spacer on the fender and rack to clear the brake in the rear. Unfortunately this means that the rack is shifted left relative to the wheel but it (just) works.

Chris Akrigg Freeride/Trials in Spain

A Hill in Spain from chris akrigg on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Travel Journal

Madagascar, carnet de voyage, extrait... from bastien dubois on Vimeo.


I'm not sure I agree with the end result but I like the low budget nature of the project. A new challenge would be to build one that makes a peace sign, a happy face, or emoticons.

robo-rainbow from mudlevel on Vimeo.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Trail Pass

I found a trail pass while skiing at Pleasant View a while back. Passes have the owner's address on them so I put it in an envelope and sent it off. I looked in the mailbox today and I was surprised to find a thank you note. Good karma all around.

A completely unrelated song:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

About $10 Homemade Ski Waxing Bench

After struggling to wax skis on top of two chairs or a milk crate I decided to make my own ski waxing bench based loosely on other homemade benches I found online. The idea is to create something to clamp the ski in so that it won't move when I scrape the excess wax off of it.

The design below will work with SNS, NNN, or three pin style bindings. Thanks to Sector 67 for the workspace and tools.

Parts list:
  • One 2x6" (about $2, Home Depot)
  • One 1x4" (about $2, Home Depot)
  • One bicycle inner tube (free). Preferably one that is no longer useful for cycling - ask at a bike shop.
  • Staples (about $2 for a pack, Home Depot, or use the Amazon link to the left).
  • About six 3" or so wood screws (about $1, Ace Hardware, or use the Amazon link to the left)
  • One 6" 8-32 threaded rod ($.85, Ace Hardware, or use the Amazon link to the left)
  • Four 8-32 wingnuts (about $1, Ace Hardware, or use the Amazon link to the left)
  • Two 8-32 hanger bolts (about $2, Ace Hardware, or use the Amazon link to the left). Hanger bolts have 8-32 machine thread on one side and wood screw thread on the other. If you want to use the bench with more than one pair of skis you may need more pairs of these if the bindings don't end up in the same place. See pictures below or link.
  • Two 5/32" x 3 1/4" turnbuckles (about $2, Ace Hardware, or use the Amazon link to the left)
  • Two C-clamps (about $2, Harbor Freight). These will be use to clamp the ski waxing bench to a table or workbench.
  • Jigsaw or bandsaw
  • Stapler
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Scissors
  1. Lay the ski on the 2x6 and trace the pattern. Use the jigsaw or bandsaw to cut along the line, cutting out extra space for the bindings (see pictures). Make sure that the cut is square to the board. If it's not you will have a hard time waxing because one edge of the ski will not be supported. Luckily, the same curve will work for all my skis.
  2. Use the wood screws to attach the 2x6 to the 1x4 from the bottom.
  3. Cut the valve out of the bicycle tube and slit it down the middle so it's a sheet instead of a tube shape. Staple it to the bench whereever the ski will touch. The tube is to protect the ski and prevent it from sliding.
  4. Place the ski on the bench and look at where the binding lines up. Drill a pilot hole for the dowel pin in the edge of the 1x4 below the binding. Thread a wingnut onto the dowel pin. Using the wingnut as a handle, screw the dowel pin into the 1x4. Do the same on the other side.
  5. Clamp the 8-32 threaded rod in the ski binding as if it was part of a ski boot. Put the ski on the bench.
  6. Put one of the eyelets of the turnbuckle over the dowel pin and follow it with a wingnut.
  7. Put the other eyelet of the turnbuckle over the end of the threaded rod and follow it with a wingnut.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the other turnbuckle on the other side of the ski.
  9. Tighten both turnbuckles until the ski is secure.
  10. Clamp the bench to a table or whatever using c-clamps.
  11. Wax the ski!
If you are just starting to wax skis you may also need ski waxing gear. Here are the basics:
If this is starting to seem like a lot of work and expense or you're just getting into skiing don't worry too much about iron-in waxes. Instead you could apply a rub on wax before you ski and have someone else apply a iron-in wax once a season or so (to keep the skis in good condition). Happy skiing! Think snow!