Tuesday, March 30, 2010

dirt. ;)


It's suppose to get over 70 today! Mountain biking after dinner from 6ish till my legs give way or lights run out. Hoping that the rest of Center trails dry soon so I can get a single track metric in in April. Still planning to hit a full century down there this year though before trans-wisconsin.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Metric 5

North-west ride Van meter, Adel, Redfield, and Middle of nowhere. The wind was 28 mile per hour out of the north-west and I figured it would be a good time to try out bags on the touring bike. It's like doubling your surface area on the front of the bike you can't even draft because the front bags are so low to the ground drafting doesn't help. After 36 miles we turned out of the wind and then of course in died down as the sun set. Good training and a lot of fun started with 4 people and finished just me and Billy. My 5th metric for Cup of dirt and Billy's second. I have to work the next 9 days so a week from tuesday is the 6th metric plan at the moment. I should have all 12 in by June then I can focus on the 12 full centuries for the Cup-o-dirt all 3 this year :)

Last nights rain ride

mmmm muddy.


Saturday, March 27, 2010


Started riding single track with gears, front shock and tubeless tires this year. It has been a learning exsperiance, I unfortunately ride slower when I have gears. I have started to figure out how to use the gears effctively on the dirt though, some places I can shift up on smaller climbs and catch up to the group then downshift into switchback to climb over smoothly without pulling any muscles. Tubeless is great I did burb a little air on my first ride but a little co2 and I was good to go, the tires seem to grab the roots a lot better on hillside. Not sure about the front shock it seems to wiegh down the front end of the bike a lot and I have it locked out most of the time. I though the shock would be a bigger deal but I guess only time will tell.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Exploring is one of my favorite parts of cycling, the question 'were does that road go' is almost to much for me. I always go and find out sometimes I think Google maps is a spoiler other times it is a life saver. I do try to not be to tech addicted though sometimes you get far enough from civilization that you can get an internet connection. I found a good route last night to Adel on gravel it's not as far as I thought it would be but and 10 miles of pavement but it gets me to Adel then I can carry on into Redfield on a gravel road that crosses the trail a couple times I think loop around north for a full metric and call it good. So my plan for Sunday afternoon is Gravel Metric 5 since I won't be getting another day off for 2 weeks I really need to make it. Plus it give me a chance to explore my out and back route to somewhere around Carrol for next months back2back Centuries with a night of camping in between. A little practice for trans-wisconsin.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

First Park Ride '10

Took the Family to Raccoon River Park last night for a picnic and 7 mile bike ride. You don't think about 7 miles as distance but to little legs seven miles is a long way. They all have a great time, and are actually very good on the trail and the road.
Austyn and Patrick had been ready all day

Abbie wore her PJ's
Stopped for some Mountain Biking several times through the ditch.

Austyn did really good riding through the ditch!
Watch out for Future PRC Mountain biker

For Patrick everything is a race.
Picnic time burgers and chips and beer ;)
Patrick and bike in the burley, Abbie got to use the 'cool' light
rechargeable helmet light
His and Hers

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


the ride to work is great, always save time to take pictures. Funny that cars have a devise to block out this view.

Time to ride with the kids again :)

Tonight I hope to take the family on a park ride, it's nice now that 2 of them can power themselves the 2.5 miles to Raccoon river park. We take some charcoal, beer, food and grill on one of those big iron grills they have cemented to the ground. There is a nice gravel loop around the lake 4 miles or so that is a great intro to kids for road riding, not as many pedestrians as the bike trails and a little more like mountain biking. They always complain about how "long" and "far" it is around the lake but you mention go for a bike ride and they are dressed and ready to go. My oldest I hope to get into Denmans (if it ever resurfaces) this year her new 20" bike has 6 speeds and a "shock". I'm ready for summer!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bike Trails :)

65 miles last night of bike trails and gravel taught me something, I like the gravel roads. My single speed cross bike was a little undergeared for the pavement 38x17 and 40 psi knobby tires made the bike trail a ton of work, and a good workout. After Adel we encountered big piles of snow everywhere so we hopped of onto the gravel. This is were my gearing was perfect and I had my doubts on tubeless CX but it really works great in the fresh gravel and muddy stuff. This was my first ride more than like 25 miles on pavement this year and I believe I will be sticking mostly to the dirt this year. My milage is a bit short of last years so far but it is a lot of dirt miles so I'm okay with that.

BTW: Racoon river trail is ridable to Adel right now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Single Speed and Blacklabel

This winter has left one thing out for me that is single speed riding. I took the single speed on one ride this winter and that was the first metric gravel century. Friday night I fixed up my single speed 29r and took it out yesterday for a putt putt with Blackford and a newbie rider. I hope to get out this afternoon and hit a metric on the blacklabel on the Mary SS with Billie. I've been ready to ride some of my favorite trails like the racoon river trail. I also haven't had the fixie out for like 6 months this 60 degree weather this week should be nice.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Snow

4 inches of sludge have fallen on the ground again. I did get out and hit almost 200 miles of dirt, gravel, and single track on the 3 day warm spell we had so a couple days of rest were in order anyway. This give me a perfect excuse to go putt putt on black labels (wait White label) this afternoon. I spent last night having some brews and getting the single speed mountain bike fixed up for the season (haven't used it since dec 6 center trail metric). I had to bend the seat back to were it is suppose to be, and figured why not go tubeless. So several beers and hours later and I have to say wtb Exiwolves are a pain in the arse to mount tubeless but I win.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dirty metric #4

Catholic Drinking Holiday provided me with another metric for the year. Took a new route due to the flooding of the gravel road outside of Booneville that I usually take to 105 wound around Badger creek st park and caught 105 out to Ealrham. Then plan was to go 2 miles south and take 120 back, but 120 is gone close to Ealrham. So seeing the sign for the Hogback bridge that looked like a good photo op. Since my Facebook photo was a little old I proceeded to ride 20 miles out of the way to get a picture. It was great some old crumbling structures mark the way as I flew down Hogback bridge rd. Went from 800ft elevation to 500ft in 3 miles and I knew that would be killer to climb out of but I got my picture. I had to talk a post into hold my camera for me but it was great the sun came out just as I got to the bridge and everything was perfect. I had planned to go through Bevington on the way home to get the full century but lack of planning on my part stopped me. I failed to bring enough water or to bring any chain lube, and by this point the bike sounded like a rusty gate so the cumming tap was in order for a couple beers. I figured since I shorted my plan on the way home I'd hit some good heart rates on the connector, who knew a touring bike would do 30mph if you really push it. ouch!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Feel the Rush

I thought this morning why not ride over to hillside and see how it looks. Finally after lunch I got to go, as I approached the connector trail is all under water so I jumped onto the railroad tracks. Headed down the tracks for a mile or so to the Bill railly trail. I got to hillside and the entrance is washed out and water is flowing down the middle, but after that short 3 foot section it is all in very good shape. All I'm saying is I made the first track in the mud at the entrance, but didn't leave tire marks on the rest of the trail. The rush hit me as so
on as I got on the dirt I stood up and up shifted (I know gears) cranked up the climb to the top didn't even slow down into the first turn all the way around then the second my heart is still pounding and sweat running down my face back around straight down the long decent (left at the top of the hill) came around the second corner and up to a small log over. I must get use to new bike before hitting the speed (lol) but hit to fast and didn't get my weight back and rode a front wheel wheelie several feet before setting the back tire down and riding on. The only thing I could think was I wish someone was here to see that. Finished the first lap and then straight back up for another. This lap on the long decent I jumped the second drop and must have hit the edge of a root or something and poof out comes a cloud of white gas from the front tire. I even got some leaves in the bead, put a co2 in and finished the lap then hit the railroad the other way. Had some fun riding about 5 miles of railroad gravel checking out the flooding and other wonderful things in spring in Iowa. So I'm ready to get out on the dirt and drop the hammer, ride until my legs burn, lungs bleed, and I'm ready to vomit. After months of putt-putt it's great to feel that rush again!


Mmmm Tacky!

hillside is tacky everything else is under water.

Gravel Time

I went out riding with Billy last night. The plan was a Booneville loop, but the road off of grand not sure what it's called but it's underwater. So took a detour onto badger road, missed a turn back to g14 and ended up about 5 miles outside of Winterset. The hills outside of Winterset are great some of the dissents were on the brakes however do to not being able to see the bottom of the hill. Came back through Cumming fortunately the Tap was closed so we headed back to Giffs for a couple post ride beers. 40 miles of southern gravel in 3 hours good times.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Took the commuter down dirty connector.

Denmans is full. But the snow is all gone!

road tires only made a slight dent maybe next week for hilside (entrance of dirty connector)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Adventure Bike

The last week I have tested the Masi touring bike for gravel/off road tracks. Found that I need a very much lower gear than my 34x28. I got in my 36/24 Stylo 2.2 yesterday so I will be trying that out. I did hit the 'water'belt (greenbelt) trail yesterday for what turned out to be some off road urban assault. Had to climb out at every underpass up the grass and mud. I was impressed that I was able to handle the off road sections so well with front bags this is very encouraging for trans wisconsin in June.
Thursday night I got Mike Dunker out of the house for a short ride to the Cumming Tap. Had a good time on the southern gravel south of norwalk. The gravel is in great shape considering the rain fall lately. So go out and get dirty!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

B-day lunch with Austyn

Some Changes are good right?

I always beat around the bush on stuff, like I'm going to change this or that or maybe not. I have had some trouble lately with my stomach and I have 'tried' a lot of things but finally narrowed it down. With some inspiration from Elaine and the whole 'healthy lifestyle' I figured out the first problem. Diet Pop. So the experiment was stop drinking it, without changing anything else for a week and see how it goes. It's been 5 days and my stomach doesn't hurt anymore, I sleep better like a lot better and feel refreshed in the morning my mood is better and I have some mild headaches (probably some chemical dependancy). Now I didn't cut caffein I still have my 3+ cups of coffee and homemade tea so it is just the chemicals in the diet pop. I find it amazing that something so simple makes such a big deal. So I think I'll just stay away from the pop I really don't even miss it.

The Gloves are coming off

All winter you ride with layers of gloves. I thought on the way to work today i'd take them off and feel the handle grips and shifter again. I also wanted to take pictures of the flooding. The ride home tonight I decided to ride around the trails alittle. I could see the flooding from earlier in the day on the downtown connecter. The snow was washed up onto the trail like a slow moving glacier. I only got to the underpass at the rail bridge, the water level was still up to high and dress slacks and shoes are not for hiking in the mud over the top. So here I find myself on the bench at the exit of denmans one of my favorite summer spots to stop, have a beer and type out blog posts on my cell phone. Listening to the train slowly coming this way and the dogs and cyotes howling. A least I can loose the gloves and type away in the middle of Des moines in the middle of nowere.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Catholic Drinking Holiday

Next Wednesday is the famous catholic drinking holiday. Along time ago some guy named Patrick who died in a bar fight in Great Britain, so every year the Irish get drunk on that day in his honor. Wait That can't be right an Irish man thats only drunk once a year... I must be missing something, oh well have another beer. I will be attempting a gravel century instead of drinking at noon so if anyone wants to go on a real St Patties ride... did I mention beer afterwards.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Is thinking about a detour on the commute home if its not raining to hard. Downtown for a trail beer sounds great at this point.

1st day of spring

The skinny tires are back.

Muddy Mess

Yesterday I took off at 2 with hopes of a gravel metric. As soon as I got to the gravel I realized that wasn't even close to happening. The roads north of Des Moines are very sandy so the wet conditions makes them very difficult to ride after a rain storm but not as dirty as gravel roads with limestone. I found that every couple hundred yards there was a muddy bog area were the snow pile next to the road was taller and trucks had spun out trying to drive through. I thought about how my gearing was not going to work and I need a smaller crankset, but I was glad I didn't have any gear with me so I could stand up and grind through. The touring bike works very well as a gravel machine the extra weight of the rack on the front seem to ad some stability and the bike overall is very comfortable. I finally got the seat in just the right place. I would have no problem doing several hundred miles on this bike.

I am going to change the crankset though the compact double with the 11-28 is not a low enough gear range for what I'm going to use it for. I'm hoping that my new tires (Schwalbe Marathon Extreme) come in soon. And I will be ordering a small double (thinking stylo 2.2) with gearing more like 36/24 for a better range. Then I'm ready to explore.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Ready for Distance

With Spring FINALLY ready to break I find myself more and more ready to be outside. Last night I started the fire pit up so Anna and I could sit outside and enjoy a couple beers. Couple ya. Got the thing really smoking the kids were building a 'fort' out of some left over lumber that was next to the house and we watched the fire dance, until the rain chased us in.
This afternoon I'm ready for the 4th gravel metric of the year it looks like a couple people will at least be starting with me. Taking the touring bike out for its first gravel ride, since I have built it like a cross between a Fargo and road bike. Still waiting on my Marathon extreme tires but I have some cheap 32c cross tires that came with my bianchi on it for the moment.
I have since BRR felt the need to go farther and the weather is looking good at this point. I should be able to hit the first full century in the next couple weeks. I was inspired this morning by a quote on some ones FB page:
"Don’t run if you can walk, don’t walk if you can stand, don’t stand if you can sit, and if you can sit you might as well take a nap"

So with that said I decided to make my own saying I'm not to bad at it most of the one I have a work catch on like "I have no idea why Courtney would have done that". It's bad but I actually started that one and it has stuck. So here goes:

"Why sit when you can stand, why stand when you can walk, why walk when you can run, why run when you can bike, and now that you're riding why stop?" - Courtney Hilton

Friday, March 5, 2010

Not feeling it.

After the last week of 12 hour work days this wonderful cold and the inability to breathe everytime I get on a bike I'm ready for a short rest. I'm not going to get one but maybe with Sunday as my only day off I can get some light spinning in, or a gravel metric. I think I might go north in the afternoon sunshine for some muddy, muddy gravel fun, anyone game? Maybe I'll be feeling human by then.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Spring in 3 days

Got a short 20 miler in last night with Rick, Bruce, Megan, and started with couple others. A little episode of when animals attack (hope the head heals up Kim) and Chris I'll do better with what bike to bring in the future. I took the Masi out since I know I can't keep up with Rick anyway I figured some good miles OTB. That is exactly what I got did one loop on the connector and bombed down 63rd street to Giffs. After a couple hours 1 taco 2 slices of pizza and I think the group had 5 pitchers of Fat tire (5 of us) I headed home. So back to the 3 day thing I have sunday off this week so I will be dusting off the summer commuter and taking apart the winter commuter (full of salt and other garbage) this means it is spring for me! It was nice riding a bike with more than 30psi in the tires last night.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I've been on the fence on this one but I'm pulling the trigger now. Trans-Wisconsin I will be going more as a tour ride than competing, but couldn't resist being in it the first year. The Masi touring bike will get it's first real action, well I'm sure I'll get a couple overnights in before that. I will need to practice some single track with bags and gear and my crankset (50x34) might get reconsidered for something more mountain bikish. The 34X28 being the lowest gear might come back to bite me.