Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fear of Falling

With all of the ice on the gravel roads, I've developed a bit a fear of falling. I don't consider it an irrational fear, because the likely hood of falling on the ice is quite high. And the last time I fell off a bike things got broken.

But today was just too nice a day. I had to get out there!

We got some light snow. Believe it or not, snow on top of ice provided some pretty decent traction if you are careful.

In some spots the gravel was even showing through.

Pretty . . .

Oh, I also tried out me new secret weapon for winter ice and snow riding.

Studded snow tires! They worked great! They even provided grip on glare ice. I could start, stop. and even turn on pure ice. OK, they are not light, and they roll really, really slow. Oh well. This time of year isn't about going fast.

I'm going to try to ride with OP and Cory tomorrow morning. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

First Ride Back

Well I said I was gonna go ride my bike yesterday, so I did. The plan was to head to McFarland and ride some of the snowy trails. The trails looked ridable enough, with just 3 inches of fluffy powder on them.

Unfortunately, under that powder is a 1/2 inch crust of ice and frozen sleet, and under that is another 2 inches of snow, and under that is another inch of ice. Digging through it is like taking a walk back through our weather for the last couple of weeks. On skis I blissfully floated on top of it all, but on a bike I floated for a brief moment, then broke through. I pulled back on top, only to break through again. Rinse and repeat. It was unridable. Crap.

So I headed for home. On the way I looked wistfully down the gravel road.

It was mostly unencumbered by snow, but contained all of the previously mentioned ice. And the gravel? It was no where to be seen. It looked pretty fricken slick. But, as I said to OP yesterday, this was to be an exercise in stupidity.

It was good to get out on a bike! It was my first real ride in six weeks.

Kinds has the look of Fargo, doesn't it?

Look ma, no gravel. This is what the gravel looks like now. Mile after mile of ice road.

I stayed out for about an hour. It wasn't too bad if you kept to the side of the road where there was still some snow. I never really had any "holy crap" moments, but the road and the conditions kept my full attention.

Notes from the ride:

1) I'm looking forward to some gravel slop when this stuff melts.
2) The legs felt good and the lungs felt good, but apparently ass conditioning fades quickly.
3) Good thing it is December. I've got a long ways to go.
4) Oops, I missed out on the cold weather acclimatization phase. All of the sudden its really cold out there!
4) It is really, really good to get back on a bike.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A little Muddy

I'm guessing it's a little muddy in Kansas City at the Cyclocross nationals

I snagged this picture of Steve Tilford winning the 45-49 title.

Yup, just a little muddy. Oh, and yup, that's my age group. I've seen him race. He's just a smidge faster than me.

Our own Thad Neil finished 24th in the +30 B race on Thursday. He was less than two minutes away from a top 10 finish. Pretty damn good in a national race. These guys are all good. People don't travel 1000 miles to a race because they suck at it.

Results and more photos are here. Six inches of snow predicted for the weekend down there. It should be a good one!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Six Weeks

Six weeks is the amount of time since I have done anything even remotely cardio. It has been six weeks since I broke my collarbone, and I was determined to completely, absolutley, take that time off. I mean totally off, as in lay on the couch, watch TV, and drink adult beverages. You know, the way the rest of America lives their lives. So I did.

So hear I am six weeks later. Collarbone nearly healed (can lay on left side but can't sleep on it, can't do pushups, but couldn't do many before), a couple of pounds heavier, a couple of pounds of muscle lost, and my cardio mostly gone. Oh, well. If I'm going to be in this kind of condition, it is better to do in on December than July.

There will be lots of time to regain my fitness. And my desire has been greatly rejuvinated! If you haven't taken six weeks off lately, I highly recommend it. Although I don't recommend breaking a bone to do it.

I mention all of this because I went out for an hour of cross-country skiing tonight. It was great! The snow was good, the winds were light, and I had the trails to myself. My legs are a little sore from too much rest, but that is to be expected.

Oh, while I was out on the prairie trail I saw some bike tracks . . . It looked very ridable. Maybe tomorrow I'll get my single speed with the knobby tires and . . . .

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Renegade Cyclocross I

I went to Rob's Renegade Cyclocross this morning. I didn't go to race, but just to hang out with a few crazys that wanted to get out and ride. The course marking consisted of a shoveled path around the park. I didn't ride it, but the conditions looked suprisingly good! I didn't see anyone fall who was not taken out by someone else. More about that later.

There were some interesting bike choices.

Rob's the man.

Quite a few crazys out today.

Lots on interesting clothing choices also.

Somehow Kyle approriated Steve's bike. It looks like he's one bike over the legal limit.

Like being chased by a Yeti, only more frightening.

And the takedown.

Gumm brought his dog and his full face helmet.

It was plenty chilly out there.

Afterwards, Steve just wanted a nap.

Rob sez he'll do another one of these in a month. I'll be ready by then.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Camera Dump

Its been a while since I posted anything substantial, no that this post will have any substance either. Here goes.

I'm not the only thing that Charlie has been tipping over.

My last ride on the dirt before state 'cross.

It was a great day.

Went to state 'cross with Bryan. He got second in cat 3. Sweet

Boredom on the ride home.

Glad somebody's watchin the road.

I won a sweet pair of Oakleys.

Damn! Put a lot of miles on the truck this summer riding my bike. Go figure.

Keep scrolling if you got a weak stomach.

Somehow I had the presence of mind to take this picture on the way to the emergency room. The bump isn't so big now, but its still there.

Bryan and I share a birthday almost. He's 21, and I'm way past 2 times that.

Apparently you can't shave with a broken collarbone. It's a rule or something.

I might get out on a bike again, if this ice ever melts.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

JingleCross Bound

Christy and I are packing up the truck for two days of JingleCross! No racing for me this time. I'll be sitting on the hill with a cold one, cheering and jeering. That reminds me I need to get beer, cookies, and dirty singles on the way out of town.

This is gonna be great!

If I can get an Internet connection, maybe I'll post a few pictures tonight. And then again, maybe I won't. I've heard rumors of a few parties.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Beer Money

I got this video from a reliable source. Apparently Hansen and Moritz have gone to extremes to earn a little beer money this holiday season. Enjoy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Back in the Saddle

I rode a bike for the first time in nearly 3 weeks! OK, it was only up the driveway and down the gravel for 100 yards or so, but it was riding.

It was just too nice a day to let it pass. A ride report? It hurt a little, and I did some of it was one handed (like most things I do these days). But now I have that first one out of the way. The next one will be a little easier, and hurt a little less.

But don't worry, I'm gonna take it slow.

During my recovery, more than once I've thought of Tyler Hamilton, who broke his collar bone in a crash during the finishing sprint on the first stage of the 2003 Tour de France. He not only rode on to finish the Tour, but won a stage doing it! That's gotta hurt!

And I can barely ride my bikw up the driveway.

You can read Tyler's account of the 2003 Tour here. It's a pretty good read.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quiet Time

There has been a minimum of posting lately because, well, this is a biking blog and well, I can't ride a bike right now. I'm actually enjoying the forced time off the bike, and am healing well. I can tell that the bones have bridged together, I've stopped wearing the sling, and and I'm back to a realtively normal life (except for not riding a bike).

I've thought about getting on a trainer, but there will be plently of time for that later. For now I'll just enjoy my time off.

Monday, November 05, 2007

MOB Racing

Regular readers will remember that my current team is disbanding at the end of the season. At the Boone 24 several of us had a powwow about how we could keep the team going.

From that discussion, MOB Racing was born.

MOB Racing is a low-key, dirt ridin', and fun luvin' race team. Although we are focused on the dirt, we do a little bit of everything. We are also open to new members. If you think this sounds like your kind of fun, let me know.

Friday, November 02, 2007

like we didn't already know this . . .

They could have just asked amountain biker . . .

It's Better To Drink Beer After Exercise Than Water

Researchers at Granada University in Spain have come across a discovery that will undoubtedly please athletes and sports enthusiasts - a pint of beer post-workout or match is better at rehydrating the human body than water.

Professor Manuel Garzon, a member of Granada's medical faculty, made the finding after tests on 25 students over several months. Researchers believe that it is the sugars, salts, and bubbles in a beer that may help people absorb fluids more quickly.

The subjects in the study were asked to run on a treadmill at temperatures of 104F (40C) until they were close to exhaustion. Once they had reached the point of giving up, researchers measured their hydration levels, motor skills, and concentration ability.

Half of the subjects were given two half pints of Spanish lager to drink, and the other half were given just water.

Garzon said that the rehydration effection in those who were given beer was "slightly better" than those who were given only water. He also believes that the carbon dioxide in beer helps quench thirst more quickly, and that beer's carbohydrates replace calories lost during physical exertion.

The average person loses around 1 liter (33oz) of water for every hour of exercise in sweat. Rehydrating after a workout is crucial, as a lack of hydration is more likely to make one feel tired, fuzzyheaded, and suffer from headaches.

Based on the results of the study, researchers recommend moderate consumption of beer as a part of athletes' diets. "Moderate consumption" for men is 500ml per day, and for women is 250ml per day.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

another one

crap! i just got word that bruce reese's wife kristin broke her collarbone tonight at science center. and they've got triplet pre-schoolers. best of luck kristin! bruce and christy will have to form a broken collarbone supporters network.

speaking of support, i went looking on the internet for some idea of what to expect for broken collarbone recovery. this link is a long discussion thread of those suffering from a broken collar bone. it gives a pretty good idead of what to expect, what to ask for, and what to watch for.

like any internet advice, take it with a grain of salt. the only real bad advice i saw was taking advil or ibuprofen for pain. recent research has shown that these can impede the production of new bone, and because of this should not be taken for fractures.

also check out this post. apparently we're dropping like flies out there.


Thanks for all of the get well wishes, both through the blog and otherwise. It does help.

I've been dong a little reading in my spare time and I thinks I've got a plan to speed my recovery (not that I'm in a big hurry, but I want my arm back). The right nutrition, a little extra calcuim and vitamin D, and I'll be back to normal in no time.

And next time I talk the dog for a walk, I'll be on foot!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Typing one handed

I'll be typing things one-handed for the next 4-6 weeks, cause i broke my collarbone tonight. crap!

I took some pictures of their pictures . . .

My lovely wife accompanied me.

Nice threads, huh . . .

I was out riding my bike with charlie (the dog), and he cut right in front on me and took out my front wheel. i went down hard on me left shoulder. i got up, and immediately knew what i'd done. suprisingly it didn't hurt that much, as long as i kept my arm still. if i moved my arm, it was another story. btw, the dog is fine. and btw, we were at the end of the ride, and i was 150 feet from the house. i guess charlie was in a hurry to get home.

like i said, last sunday was my last race for the season. is that good timing or what?

oh, well. let the winter rest begin . . .

Sunday, October 28, 2007

State 'cross Race Report

I'll keep this short because I'm short on ambition. I did the cross race in Newton this weekend. Cool race, cool course, and cool peeps. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. It was a great race on which to end my season!

The course was PERFECT. Just enough slime to make it challenging, but not so much as to make it life theatening.

Oh, yeah. I won some Oakley stuff. Marco was on strict orders to not pull my name for a bike, and that worked out. But I did win some cool new Oakley shades, a back pack, and a t-shirt.

Oh, yeah. Bryan Moritz rode over with us, and he got 2nd in cat three, so the truck was heavy with hardware on the way home. I'll take my small victories however I can get them.

Maybe I'll post some pictures later. Maybe not. We'll see if they turned out. I took some sweet pics of Bryan, Christy, and Charlie on the way home.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Much Better Now

Does this look like the face of a guy that is depressed? I didn't think so. It's funny. As soon as the weather cleared, so did my mood.

The next (and last) race for me is the Iowa State Cyclocross Championship in Newton this Sunday. I'll be there, but don't expect me to be competing for a title. I'm afraid that's not my thing. I'll be hanging out, racing my bike (as it were), and watching the next "Cross Out Crohn's" raffle winner walk off with all of the fame and fortune that the title carries. Its been a wonderful year for me, but I'm ready to hand over that sceptre to the next heir to the throne, whoever that might be.

See you all on Sunday - rain or shine!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


OK. I admit it. I'm depressed. Maybe its because there is only one race left on my calender this year. Maybe its because I skipped out on the now epic race that everyone will still be talking about years from now. Or maybe (likely) because we've now had RAIN for 5 days straight! This sucks. Oh, well. I guess my long winter break started a few days early.

I'm hoping for total slop at Newton on the 28th! I'm gonna be there regardless of the conditions. I've had my 'cross wimp out for the year.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


–noun 1. a weak, ineffectual, timid person.
—Verb phrase 2. wimp out, a. to be or act like a wimp. b. to show timidity or cowardice; chicken out.

OK. I wimped out today and didn't go to the second day of Spooky Cross (more like Rainy Cross). I'm sitting here drinking coffee and watching rain of biblical proportions falling outside. The truck is loaded with bike and gear, but I'm not going anywhere. I've been in total slop races before, and they just aren't any fun. Total slop days are also expensive. There is no better way to fry a drivetrain.

I'm a wimp.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Spooky Cross Day 1

Just a brief report on the day. It was only a little muddy. I've raced in worse. In the first couple of laps I was riding with Scott Sumptner and Taylor Web. After a while it was just Taylor and I, as Scott decided that he wanted to go faster. I chased Taylor until the last lap, when he let me by. His words at the time, "What took you so long?". I stayed ahead of him for exactly 1/2 lap minus 2 feet. I say minus 2 feet because he caught me at the at the line (according the the offical scoring - I'm still not convinced).

I was happy with how the race turned out for me. I got to hang with some cool peeps. It was a good day. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Many Names of Mud

With rain in the forecast for the weekend, I was looking into some mud riding tips, and found Dave Carr's Mud Index. I hope we don't see it this weekend, but here goes:

Dave Carr's Mud Index

Mud is ranked on a scale of 0 to 10, zero being hard dry dirt and 10 being liquid water. Other properties include material content, color, stickiness, and so on.

Grade 0 - Dirt, and all facsimiles thereof like adobe, clay, hardpack, dust, rock and pavement. Fails to give your bike and body that virtuous muddy look that lets people know you're a cyclocross god. Not really relevant to a discussion of Mud.

Grade 1 - Damp Earth. Nice and soft, tacky. Makes a pleasant sound as tires roll over it. Fun and effortless to ride on. Ultimate traction. Never separates from the ground, or if it does it doesn't stick to the bike. Your bike could be so clean after a ride that friends think you never went out.

Grade 2 - Adobe Clay. A bad kind of damp earth, found in certain regions of the US. Soft and sticky enough that it sticks to shoes, but doesn't separate from the ground very easily. Slows down the bike and drains a rider's energy without apparent cause. Low moisture content. Fills the pedal cleats on the shoes, rendering them heavy and useless. Following a rain, this type quickly transforms into Grade 3.

Grade 3 - Play-Doh. Water content is up to about 20-30%, leading to major sticking action. Literally jumps from the earth to your bike. Accretes to the tires, filling the treads. Fills up the tight spots between the tire and frame tubes, and in between the cassette cogs. Causes the bike to gain ten pounds in a matter of minutes. Requires pressure sprayer and brush to remove.

Grade 4 - Peanut Butter. Less sticky than Play-doh; more likely to stay on the ground. Moisture content is up to 40% or so. This stuff is sticky enough that one can't really plow through it, yet it's slippery and makes it hard to control the bike. Ruts form which may yield to a tire, or send the bike careening off in an unanticipated direction. Requires ferocious pedaling to keep momentum. Occasionally a piece sticks to the tire and is thrown into the air; subsequently lands on another rider's face.

Grade 5 - Goo. About as thick and sticky as the energy gel you eat during a race, only brown and slightly less tasty, and more likely to be lumpy. Like Peanut Butter, Goo stays on the ground, but is less resistant to the advancing tire. At East Bay CX races this type often includes some content of cow dung or rotting flesh. In more pleasant venues Goo may be found on the verge of a wet grassy area where a few tires have passed.

Grade 6 - Slime. This is the level of mud where a rider really begins to have fun. Slime is wet enough that it sticks to everything but doesn't really build up on the bike. Sticks together well enough that it will fly through the air in large masses. This grade is used in TV commercials for four-wheel drive trucks, in which the truck slides around all over the place shucking mud in every direction. In a 'cross race, Slime often is found in corners where it can wreak havoc with traction, leading to a slide on your butt on the wet ground.

Grade 7 - Glop. This is the wettest consistency of mud that can still hold a shape. When tires pass through Glop, a furrow is left that heals up slowly over time to a smooth surface. Liquid water may come to the top. It's better to have thin 'cross tires to slice through this stuff, while fat MTB tires will float and plow and generally make a mess. Imparts a shiny appearance to bicycle and body parts.

Grade 8 - Slop. The bottom of a very wet mud puddle that is not refreshed by a creek. Still retains some lumpy qualities, unlike Grade 9 Soup. Splatters very nicely and stains clothing better than any other type. Renders your glasses completely opaque. Remember not to smile at your friends after a dunk in this stuff unless you want them to laugh hysterically at the mud between your teeth. Requires a good hose-off to clean, plus a few cycles in the laundry.

Grade 9 - Soup. 80-90% water, heavily laden with sand, particulate and goo, but without the lumps characteristic of Slop. Scientists might classify this grade as a "Non-Newtonian Fluid." Typical of a stream crossing where the stream flow isn't fast enough to refresh the mud. Will soak your jersey completely, while leaving the particulate matter all over the front. Doesn't stick to the bike, instead just runs off onto the ground.

Grade 10 - River Water. Might feature some residual brown color but doesn't stick to anything. Just wet and cold without any redeeming qualities other than it may loosen up thicker grades of mud from your tires and shoes.

Stolen from here . There are also some nice pics of that various grades of mud.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Barrier Hopping Nonsense II

I went out for a ride today with Bryan and Alex.

We started at Ada Hayden and went to McFarland Park, where I had stashed my 'cross barriers. Once we got to McFarland and set up a 'cross course, we sent Bryan off as the rabbit. I started off chasing, but that didn't last long. Alex went around me and grabbed Bryan's wheel. After that I was able to keep up only by skipping the run-up on most laps. It was fun to watch from my perspective, until Bryan went down on an off-camber corner with Alex on his wheel. Ouch!

We decided to slow down after that, and carried the barriers back to my place.

You can guess what happened next . . .

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Barrier Hopping Nonsense

Bryan and I are going to meet at the Ada Hayden north Shelter at 4:00 tomorrow. We're gonna be riding 'cross bikes on gravel to McFarland. At Mcfarland we're going to do some more of that barrier hopping nonsense. I've got to work on my form so that I can defend my 23rd place in the cat 4 ICCS standings this weekend at Spooky Cross!

All are welcome. You don't have to ride a 'cross bike to come with us, and we won't make fun of you if you ride around the barriers. OK, we might have a little fun with that.

Oh, one more thing. Remember this weekend when I told you to go ride your nbike in the nice weather? It gonna be cold tomorrow (high of 52 with gusty NW winds) so dress the part. Its time to drag out the winter riding gear.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Nice Fall Ride

I went for a fun ride in the local dirt on Saturday. It had a littel bit of everything

Some tall grass prairie:

Some singletrack (natch):

Some gravel:

A little woodland prairie:

Some two track:

There were several nice views of the river:

I wore my new Oakley Radars with G30 lenses. These things rock.

Their field of vision is huge, and you can wear the G30s in everything from full sun to dark shade. If I could only have one set of sunglasses (the horror!) these would be it.

Good this I saw this before it saw me. I wouldn't want to run into it.

Apparently Fat Tire has hit the mainstream. It is now consumed by guys with pickups and gun racks that chuck empties out on the side of the gravel road.

Go ride your bike. These nice days won't last forever.