Thursday, October 30, 2008

Be My Frankenstein

It seems fitting that with Halloween tomorrow, I introduce you to my frankenstein.

Yes it's the Rockhopper. Arrived Tuesday evening at about 5:05 CST.

My assistant Igor has already secured the next piece to the puzzle. A brand new Suntour suspension what seemed to be a graveyard discount. I will continue to post pics when new pieces begin to emerge. Until then, I must return to my laboratory.

Happy All Hallows Eve,


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

WORS '08 Season Movie

Hey all,

Here's a link to the WORS site with a movie high lighting the '08 season. Kinda cool to watch (it's about 15 minutes long though so make sure you've got some time).

Still waiting on the Rockhopper. FedEx tells me it has made it to Wisconsin though. Here's a good one. I e-mailed Specialized's online help page and asked them about a steerer column length for a 21" rockhopper frame. The response came back: " I would check with your local Specialized dealer. They'd be more than willing to help out." What kinda crap answer is that? Oh well, I'll just do it my damn self.

On a more serious note, those of you that read the Fat Cyclist know the struggles that he and family are going through with his wife's battle with cancer. Latest update is she's not doing so great, so let's keep them in our thoughts and prayers.



Friday, October 24, 2008

Two Birds with One Stone

Those of you that read this regularly will probably remember my "I hate weathermen" post from a few weeks ago. Well the ride that I was trying to complete that morning, finally got completed yesterday morning. I completed the Prairie Trail (which I had done before), and the Peebles Trail (which I had only completed a part of thanks to the weather that day).

The Prairie Trail is a 7 mile paved trail that runs along Hwy 151 and skirts the outlying city of Fond du Lac. The only good thing to come out of the botched 151 by pass project is this trail. I run this one on a regular basis as part of a training ride for endurance races and rides, and just to get out as it is a nice trail for family rides as well.

The Peebles Trail is a 5.6 mile stretch of abandoned rail road bed that runs from Fond du Lac to St. Peter. Not a real long trail, but the challenge here being the ascent from the "bowl" of Fond du lac, up the Niagra Escarpment (yes Niagra, the same stretch of limestone cliffs the gives us Niagra Falls), into St. Peter. This time I finally made it. One small step for the Trail Dog, one giant leap for....well it's a giant leap for something anyway. The descent was well worth the pain of the ascent.

You can see by the trail maps that I've linked(if they work), that the Prairie and the Peebles cross right around Taycheedah. There is a section then where the Peebles breaks off and goes in to Fond du Lac to the west, while the Prairie continues south. This section of the Peebles is crushed limestone and a real nice jaunt through the woods.

The Rockhopper is enroute from Idaho. Currently somewhere between Spokane, WA and Wisconsin. I'm starting to get anxious. Everyone have a great weekend if you can help it. Get those bikes dirty and stay warm.



Monday, October 20, 2008

Racing frame is on it's way

I won the high bid on a frame on Saturday. Its' a Specialized Rockhopper. The pic from the seller doesn't show well on here, so when I get it, I'll take some neew pics and post them. So now I have the frame and the front and rear deraileurs. Looking at front suspension forks next. I plan on racing at least 2 WORS races and 1WEMS race next year. Hey Big Cat, what do you think about throwing some 29" wheels on that trike and forming a 4 man, 12 hour endurance team?

On a sad note, Jonny K has accepted a new position at a different employer. While I'm excited and happy for Jonny and his family, I can't help but be a little selfish and wish that he would stay here. After all, he was the person that got me back into cycling seriously, and I find it makes for a more pleasurable work environment with him around. All the best Jon.

Looks to be a miserable week weatherwise in the great state of Wisconsin. Hopefully by the weekend things will dry up a bit so I can get in the 33 miles I need to reach my season goal. I think I should be able to reach the 300 mile mark without any issue, as November and somtimes even December can prove to be bike worthy months. Until next time.



Friday, October 17, 2008

Boston Bike Film Festival

If you guys are interested, check out

I guess two short films about Peter Mulvey's "No Gasoline Tour" will be shown at the film fest. Peter is a great folk musician from Milwaukee that does a bike tour of Wisconsin for the past two years. Not sure if you can watch the films on the website, but I'll take the opportunity to plug Peter.



Thursday, October 16, 2008

I need practice / First snow of the season

WORS posted the results from the Wigwam MTB Challenge on their website. I need some major practice. They don't post first timer times, but the next class after that is Citizen and I would clearly be Citizen Clydesdale 34 & under. The fella that won that class did 10 miles in about 50 minutes. Now if this was on the road, I could pull off 10 miles in 50 minutes with a little more effort. My time for the Wigwam was 45 minutes for 5 miles. I clearly need to work on this. I'll be varying my training through the winter to do more short, fast rides, rather than all endurance. And maybe get in some single track as long as I can fit it in between hunting weekends. I don't feel a need to get shot by some idiot that cant tell the difference between the sound of a deer and the sound of a clydesdale (biker that is). It's better to just stay in the city on hunting weekends and do the short & fast rides.

On a lighter note, my friends in Nye, Montana got their first snow fall over the last weekend and have sent some pictures. Around 19" I belive the news said on Sunday. Winter's comming! These pics, while beautiful, are a grim reminder of last seasons snow fall in Wisconsin. Let's hope we can keep it a little more reasonable this winter. With that being said, enjoy the pics



Monday, October 13, 2008

Separation of Men and Boys

I now realize how much younger my body was 15 years ago. The Wigwam MTB Challenge really separated the men from the boys. Believe me, although I am 32 years of age, I was not only a "boy" when it came to this race, I was a "baby".

First off, let me appologize for having no pictures but I was much more concerned with staying alive and not "angrifying" any of the elite racers with my slow pace and lack of singletrack knowledge.

With that being said, everything started out pretty normal. Ascending a paved road to one of the higher points of the course. Then through a nice wide open off road area. "Take the best line", I kept telling myself. Back onto a paved parking lot. Wow, if this is as hard as it gets, I've got this thing licked.

We stopped and got the group back together. Don (the clinic leader and race director) told everyone that this was where the real singletrack started. Ok, I can handle that. Pedal, pedal, pedal, LOG! Whew, that was close. Ok I'm bleeding now. I think it's time to take this a little more seriously.

Listen to Don. He'll help everyone through this. Now we're entering Witches Hollow. Switchbacks...going down hill. Wasn't prepared for that, but at least I didn't fall off. A little muddy down here in the hollow. Slippery too. Whoa, stay on the trail not in the creek (yet).

Now it's time to go in the creek. Some people had enough sack to do it. I was not among them. Up hill out of the hollow. Through the mud. Not prepared for that. I walked my bike for the first time. Got out of the hollow.

Nice ride along the lower river. Pretty easy going (or I was just getting used to this offroad stuff). All of a sudden we stop. There's a group of people stopped, some from my group of first timers, some not. I asked some guy what we we're all waiting for. And he replied "to do the equalizer". I then looked straight ahead and realized that the part of the woods that I thought we surely wouldn't be stupid enough to ride through, was in fact where everyone was going. I tell you this, that hill was at a 60 degree angle if it was a foot tall. I made it 3/4 of the way up, and it felt tlike my bike was going to flip over backwards.

From there the group was back together, and we had a nice run back to the finish line. That 5 mile course was as taxing as doing 50 miles on the road. I am still rather sore as I right this some 40 hours later. Would I do it again? Hell yes!

Thanks to Don Edberg and everyone at WORS for making this fun and non-threatening for a 30 year old virgin (so to speak). Once some pics are posted of the race from yesterday, I'll try to provide a link to the WORS site.

Pedal through it


Thursday, October 9, 2008


The Wigwam Mountain Bike Challenge is this weekend in Sheboygan, WI. It's a fun weekend of racing activities. Check out for more info. Here's a map of the single track trail course that goes through Quarry and Evergreen parks.

I'm only going to do the racing clinic for extreme first timers to learn the basics of MTB racing. It's a 2 hour clinic to show folks the basics and then give a ride through of the course (which is highlighted on the map).

I must admit that I am feeling a little nervous. I haven't done any kind of singletrack riding in 15 years. Gary is a much better ride than "Murray" was (my bike 15 years ago). Imagine someone that you know either from TV or in real life named Murray. My stereotypical Murray would be an old Jewish fella bitching that his soup is too cold at some NYC deli. That's kind of how Murray rode. Old and stale. By the way, Murray still resides in my basement. A sort of rest home for old bikes.

The weather at least is now supposed to be nice. 76 degrees and sunny. But we all know how my experience with weathermen goes. My luck they'll change their stories at 2:30 when the clinic starts at 3:00.

So if I can get past my nerves and put on some kind of good showing on this trail (at least a good showing in my own mind), I think I'll probably register as a first time racer for next year's WORS series(I think I should still try to find some kind of sponsor). If I do register, then I think I'll need to buy (or build) a bike specific to racing, and use Gary for road and joy rides. Any thoughts as to racing bikes from anyone is appreciated.

I'll update again after the weekend and let everyone know if that section of the trail that is noted as "Puker Factor", actually forced me into full cookie heave.

Pedal Through It


Monday, October 6, 2008

WOW, That's Cold!

Alright, I finally got to test my cold weather gear in dry weather. It consists of cold weather compression pants, a long sleeve compression shirt, shorts over the pants, a fleece 1/4 zip over the shirt, sock, shoes, a stocking cap, and my usual riding gloves(Lizard Skin Kimono (Cheap plug - still looking for a sponsor)).

Saturday - 3:57 A.M./31 Degrees
I planned on getting in my 20 loop around the city. Sure seems cold. About 20 minutes into it, the blood started flowing and I was pretty comfortable. About 40 minutes into it, my toes started to tingle. At 1 hour my toes were numb. I had reached a decision point. If I keep going on the loop here, I will need to finish the full 20 miles. If I divert, and turn off, I'll get less than 20 in but I should be able to keep my toes. I decided to divert. Finished the day with 16 miles. Guess who's going to get some warmer socks?

Sunday - 3:57 A.M./35 Degrees
I knew that today would only be a 10 miler. I picked up some Columbia Cold Weather Socks(another cheap plug). These socks are worht every penny of the $10 for two pair. I was completely comfortable for the whole 10. Seasons total now up to 232. Not alot, but quite the feat for a guy that only had 37 in at the August mid-point. I hope to crack 300 miles before the snow flies. Should be "do-able". If I get in more that that, even better.

I've decided that at the first post of every month, I would share some stats with you. Not just stats on my month of riding, but stats on my "life change". I know not everyone wants to hear about the fat boy's 2 lb weight loss, but I feel it necessary to convey my progress, as this is a huge change in lifestyle. As of the first of October, I weighed in at 276 lbs. A 9 lb loss since the beginning of August, and a 29 lb loss since January '07. My heaviest weight was 305 lbs. I fluctuated a bit through '08 as I finally quit smoking as well. Amazing what a 7 lb little pesron can do to you. I'll keep you all updated through this journey.

Pedal through it


Friday, October 3, 2008

I HATE Weathermen

WANTED: Patrick Powell (I think this may be an alias) AKA, Forest Gump. For not knowing his arse from a hole in the ground and still being gainfully compensated for doing as such. If you see this man do not turn over to the authorities. Please beat him unmerciful and leave him lying in a puddle of his own blood and feces.
"We'll see no rain until tomorrow afternoon." Tomorrow actually being yesterday. This fool says this with a straight face. So like a lemming I believe him and go forward with my plan to take a half day off and get some good saddle time in in the morning.
I wake up, and while it is a touch on the cold side, it is dry. Good day to test out my new cold weather gear. About a 1/2 hour into my ride, i begin to feel some slight sprinkles. Nothing major, and I can still see the sun coming up, so I proceed. 10 minutes later the sprinkles become a bit harder. I keep going.
I begin a new section of trail that I have not had the nerve to try before. It's part of the Peebles trail from Fond du Lac to St. Peter. My hesitation with this bad boy has been the acsent from the "bowl" that is the city of Fond du Lac up the Niagra Escarpment. Not biking the Rockies by any stretch of the immagination, but still more than what I'm used to.
As I begin the ascent, the rain now is coming harder, and whilst my cold weather gear worked great in the colder temps (40 degrees or so) and the wind (10-15 mph), the rain was something I hadn't prepard for thatnks to the focus of my rage that I introduced earlier. I'm almost there I can see the top(I think).
It's too much. I've been broken by mother nature. The wetness has infiltrated my wind jacket. I trun around and prepare for descent. Descent. Typically a fun time. A reward after a long and diffcult ascent. Not today. Rain peppering my face. Back splash from my rear tire. All of these things added to my misery.
I made the trip back to the house with my tail between my legs. People on their way to work and school, staring at me like I was some kind of circus freak, probably thinking to themselves, "DUH! Why didn't that idiot watch the weather?" (Thanks Powell).
As I came in the door, my wife looked at me and said, "You know this is like the only place in the state that's getting any rain." (Thanks Powell).
I only got in 15 miles. I proceeded to have some breakfast, and soak my frozen self in a hot tub. If there is any one out there inclined to purchase me a Christmas present, and weather radio would be a great gift. ( Thanks Powell)
Pedal Through It