Saturday, March 27, 2010

takin' it home

We finished up the Gravel Rouser last Sunday. Only 13 riders showed for the 4th and final stage, the Strouds Run Death Loop, after 3 days of racing we all had some tired legs. The trails at Strouds Run are amazing and we had another day of awesome weather. The crew at Athens Bicycle has done an amazing job over the years developing the trail system in town. So we all met in the parking lot, did a group warm up, and then ripped some singletrack. The climbs in Athens are steep....here is a good photo of Andrea showing the guys how to climb to the top of the hill.

















After the days race I squeaked in one more ride with dad. Monday morning was the painful drive back home. Its amazing how 30 hours out to Tucson went by in the blink of an eye, but the 9 hours from Athens to Sheboygan seemed like an eternity.

So we've been home for a little under a week. Its taken a little time to get settled in....a week off the bike was definitely in order. I needed a little time to organize new gutters, new attic venting and insulation, and possibly a new central dehumidifier. Also needed little time to get back into the swing of things at the shop too. I'm looking forward to getting the bikes dialed next week and coming up with a master plan for training and the race season. Pretty soon its time to let the games begin for 2010.

Thanks to the Fat Kats mtb club for one final donation for last years cross campaign and thanks to the boss man at SBC for letting me take some time away from work to straighten out after a long, long season in 09.

2010 looks like its going to be a good one though with our first trophy proudly displayed over the new fireplace!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rousin'


Another double victory for Team Matter....throw in a little road kill and ya win a duck!

The weather was beautiful in Athens today.....couldn't have asked for a better day of riding with a bunch of great people. Thanks Athens Bicycle

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rumble in the Jungle


The 2010 season kicked off last night at the Gravel Rouser Classic. Stage 1 was the Rumble in the Jungle downhill TT. If ever there was a course where there was a local home field advantage this was it.....

The course was 1 mile in length and started slightly above 1000 ft elevation and finished just below 600ft. The course had an old school feel to it.....it started straight down the fall line of the hill.....a muddy, leaf filled, eroded rut, with lots of blind drops off rocks and roots, the locals call the drop 'the mean and nasty'. Then the trail traversed the mountain in a much more imba friendly fashion, only to drop once more down to the finish. Andrea and I both came home with our first victory of the season!!! The Top Fuel was the bike of choice to be able to take the big hits, yet still pedal with efficiency on the traverse.

Tonight is the Grab & Git.....visit Athens Bicycle for details and full race results or check them out on Facebook for photos.

Before the big race I got in a solid warm up ride w/ dad on his new Steelers themed Madone.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

the drive

We finished up our last two days in Tucson this past weekend with a bunch of time in the dirt....luckily we hooked up with a high school buddy, Jason Massey and his dad Dennis(former soccer coach) for a good ride on Saturday. I also hooked up with Kevin Clegg for a sweet ride earlier in the morning that same day. On Sunday Andrea and I squeezed in one final ride on the Sweetwater trails before loading up the car and heading back home. video

30+ hours and 2,000 + miles.....it's always tougher heading back to the Midwest rather than heading out west. And little did we know.....

8 hours into the drive we cruised through Albuquerque NM. It was 8 pm and I was ready for another 2 hours of driving before finding our first dive of a motel. Unfortunately things were about to take a turn for the worse...

As we were leaving Albuquerque we saw a highway sign that read 'Winter Driving Conditions Ahead'. Being from WI it didn't really phase us....an hour later we were slowed to 10mph by the worst road conditions I had ever seen. 3 inches of snow = 2 inches of choppy ice on the HWY.....the snow removal techniques in WI are far superior than NM.

We pushed on for another hour at 10mph until we saw the brake lights. 2 or 3 cars in the ditch and 2 jackknifed semis on the West bound side of I-40. Then traffic came to a halt. We were at a stop for a good 45 minutes. Once they finally cleared the truck on the East bound side we tried to get off the road in Moriarity NM. Every hotel was full, every parking spot taken. It's now 11:30 and we pull back on to the HWY....another 20 minutes of driving at 10mph with semi's shredding the hwy at 60+ mph almost blowing us off the road. These guys must have been watching Ice Truckers on the History channel, but clearly didn't have the skills. By midnight we were stopped again....by 1:00am we turned off the car and tried to sleep. Freezing temps and 30mph winds kept the car rocking back and forth and kept Andrea from going outside to pee. She used her resources and turned to the dog dish. At about 3:30am an officer knocked on the window and we fired up the car. Another 10 minutes down the road we arrived in Clives Corners.....along with 200 other vehicles we battled for 100 parking spots and finally settled in for the night.

So there we were....4 bikes, Andrea, Rosco and myself crammed into the 2 door Hyundai Accent w/ 4 weeks worth of gear and 3 bags full of groceries. Luckily we also had a full tank of gas to keep us warm. It continued to snow and by 6:30am we were awaken by the sound of rumbling trucks and honking horns.

By 8:00am my inner WI lumberjack had arrived and one by one had to start pushing cars singlehandedly out of the parking lot, just so we could make an attempt ourselves. After I cleared out 2 or 3 cars, Andrea had a go at it with the green machine....great success. I wanted to hit the road, but stranded women and children were still stuck. Another 2 or 3 cars clear and we were down the road. I was soaked, cold and wet......one lady was in a puddle of water 6 inches deep, and the other lady really wanted to be heavy on the gas and managed to spin herself 2 inches deep in the ice...in the process soaking me and my clothes with wet snow.

Mind you I had just left from Tucson and was wearing shorts and t-shirt.....you know how men and women have distinct body temp differences....well Andrea likes to wear her jeans in the car along with a sweatshirt and down jacket even though it is 80 degrees in Tucson and I am getting blasted by the sun sweating like crazy....thankfully she let me borrow her jacket that cold morning. I had no way of getting to my clothes or camera as they were buried in the back of the car.....yep...no photos to document the epic night...just memories.

That day on the hill in Clives Corners will go down in history....

Monday, March 08, 2010

One more week

The time has been flying now that I have a mtn bike here in Tucson. The riding opportunities are endless....I need to stay longer! We have 6 more days in Tucson and are going to try to cram in as much time on the bikes as possible. Last week I ended up with over 18 hours on the bike! I wasn't even trying....just out riding and having fun. I'm hurting today though....
This morning was 46 and raining and I spent most of the morning in bed drinking coffee and surfing the net....I'm close to finishing a really good book called Of Tigers and Men; Entering the Age of Extinction. As soon as the rain clears up we are off to the park to play with Rosco. He has had the week off with a thorn in his paw that he won't really let us pull out. Yesterday we finally got it....now he is feeling frisky again!

I spent the majority of the weekend on the mtn bike, testing out the new XX, and riding the new trails on the west side of Tucson. Saturday after a 3 hour ride on the road with Andrea I hopped on the Fuel and went to explore some new trails off of Sweetwater Rd. I could hardly wipe the smile off of my face.....perfect desert singletrack, beautiful scenery, and just technical enough to keep you on your toes.


















Sunday I went out for another 3 hours on the Fuel w. TJ and Chloe. This time we headed over to Star Pass, but quickly cruised over to the other side of Ajo Hwy(Tucson Mtn???) The trails here were quite a bit more technical. One loop in particular was really good, but wasn't finished so it was an out an back...TJ had recently run into the trail builder whose goal was to only have 10 guys in the area clean the trail! The Fuel and Trav's new Superfly 100 were able to clear everything except 1 tricky uphill turn with a huge boulder in the middle. With a little practice we both could have done it.....

As far as the XX goes...I'm liking it...last years Fuel was spec'd with XTR and an FSA carbon crankset.....the front shifting never seemed quite right....the XX is perfect and the gearing seems really good(42-28)(11-36). In the big, big the chain line is the best I've ever ridden. The testing will continue this week....I'm still trying to dial in Fox's RP23 with 'pro-pedal'....I really liked the carbon DT rear shock on last years fuel that made the bike feel like a hardtail. The new FOX F1 seems to stack up pretty good against last years Rock Shox World Cup, but I was really wanting to try that new hydraullic lock out. More trail riding to come and more testing is in the really near future! Until then I'm hiding from the rain...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Fantasy Time

Things in the desert are going great. I really needed a little mental break to recover from last season, all the work on the house, and then the skin cancer. It is pretty darn nice to hang out and enjoy life. I have been riding a lot, but not training, playing with Rosco at the local soccer fields in the afternoons, and then spending some quality time eating good food and watching movies with Andrea.


















On Monday we took a trip into town to visit Dave at Trek Bicycles of Tucson. My new Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SSL arrived!!! It's sweet. I'm not too sure about the Sram XX stuff, but I'm going to test it out today. I think I'd rather ride Shimano, but we'll see. I'm most pumped about the super light weight Bontrager XXX carbon wheelset. Andrea and I are heading over to Fantasy Island for the first true off-road ride of the year soon.

It's been a long time since I have been on a mtb(Iceman) and even longer on anything technical(Vermont 2004). We'll see how rusty the skills really are.

I'm still waiting patiently for my photo opp with a coyote. I got a good one of a road runner the other day.

Tonight we might try to hit up Cafe Poca Cosa for the best Carne Seca Burrito in town!