Sunday, October 28, 2007

Trans Iowa Tune Up Ride!

Yesterday, Matt and I headed down to Margengo, Iowa to meet up with other crazies to do (hopefully!) one of many Trans Iowa Tune Up Rides. I rolled out of bed at 3:00 AM and picked up Matt at 3:45. We drove to Marengo and got there around 5:40 or so. We were riding shortly after 6 as my friends Jim McGuire and Jerry Boran drove up right at six.

This ride was going to be a good one as I had just ridden 57 miles the weekend before and had not gone over that since May and I was going to be riding my first single speed century. We took off at a moderate pace and the hills started right away. These hills are of the ideal size for riding. Most of them are steep, but not so long that you are hating them. Just enough to wake you up. We were heading northwest into the wind and I actually was pretty happy to finally do a ride the right way... ride into the wind and then ride the wind back. Unfortunately, I usually ride out with the wind thinking it is easy, until I turn around! While the wind was somewhat still at 15-25 miles per hour it wasn't so horrible that we were hating it.

The course was amazing with incredible views of the rural landscape. The company was awesome. A guy from Milwaukee was there who goes by the name Squidbuzz on the mtbr forums and he had a musical bike bag that was incredible. I think I just might be picking one of those up just for my solo rides. My friends wouldn't appreciate my musical tastes!

I can't say enough how much I am loving the Redline Monocog Flight 29er. This bike rocks! I am loving single speeding and am (as of now!) finding it easier to ride single speed than I thought it would be. I was addicted to shifting whenever things got hard and now I don't have a choice. I am finding that I am climbing faster than before and even the little bit of riding I have done with the bike I think I am getting stronger as well. I can't wait to really start riding to see what happens. Hopefully I will get more comfortable with a bit tougher gear so that I can go faster and not spin out on the pavement sections of my rides.

Here are some photos of the ride.

Here is Guitar Ted and Squidbuzz at one of our early stops. What an incredible day it was for a ride.

The course was running long the Iowa River so we were following a lot of curvy roads. In Iowa there just isn't enough curvy gravel roads and when you do find them we Iowan's think they are scenic! %^)

AWWWWWW the beautiful Iowa landscape!

Jim McGuire and Jerry Boran enjoying every minute of the ride! They were hammering it today!

The faithful steed! Loving the 29er single speed!

What B roads are suppose to look like!

The end of the road. We certainly didn't set any records, but we had a ball nonetheless!

Thanks to Dave Pals and Guitar Ted for organizing a great ride!

I am organizing a ride for Dec. 8 leaving from Gilbert, Iowa. We will have a 70 mile route, a 100+ mile route and a 150 mile route to choose from! Go large! Check the blog in the coming days for more details!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What I should be doing every day.

Tonight I rode into Ames to see Matt at Skunk River Cycles to set up our plans for the weekend. I rode around Ames some and enjoyed the trails. I put in about 2 hours of riding and then headed home. I have no clue how many miles I put in, but I sure had fun riding around the city. Jumping curbs just like when I was a kid.... and on a single speed. I now understand so clearly why people ride single speeds. I have yet to ride my Flight longer than 60 miles, but I can now see how people can ride singles for long distances. I guess I will find out on Saturday if I can be one of those people. Matt and I, along with Jim McGuire and Jerry Boran, will be riding the Trans Iowa Tune Up ride that my good friends Dave Pals and Guitar Ted. I hope that we have more than the six of us!

Happy training!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Great Day for a Ride

Alex and I took off around 1:00 for a nice long ride. Here is the route. We took off going east with the 15-20 mph SSW wind. We were going about 15+ mph pretty comfortably until we had to head south. Alex is a lot stronger than me and with his skinny tire Cross Check he was on a stroll while I was pushing hard into the wind just to stay on top of the gear. After another turn going east we had a bit of a break. Another 5-6 miles south got us to Hickory Grove Park outside of Colo. I refilled my bottles and we were off again. My lunch wasn't digesting and the Ensure that I just downed was making my stomach upset so I told Alex that I had to take it easy or I just might hurl. Fortunately, within a couple of miles or so I was feeling a lot better all of a sudden, but my legs were still pretty tired. You can see on the route slip map that from mile 41-47 it was a constant climb. It wasn't steep, more like just a long incline, but going into the wind a bit was just taking my legs out from under me. I was pushing to stay on top of the gear, but it took a lot of work to do it. Being out of shape certainly doesn't help that is for sure! We rolled down a little hill around mile 47 or so and then headed north just for a bit and that gave my legs just enough of a break, until the next climb and I had to stand, but really had nothing left in the tank and was cramping up everywhere! I made it into the paved roads of Ames another 4-5 miles down the road and it was all better! Roadies have it so easy! %^)

We rolled into Gilbert just around 5:30. We ended up averaging 13.4 mph and rode 57 miles (Alex actually was closer to 70) which for me is pretty decent considering my fitness right now. All I know is that I could barely stand when I got home so I certainly know I got a work out in today.

Alex, thanks for going! I appreciated the company even though I don't talk much on rides. I can't wait to do it again!

Next weekend I am suppose to ride 107 hilly miles! Hmmmmm. I might be dropping a tooth on the single speed!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Saturday Gravel Grinder

I am planning a Saturday afternoon Gravel Grinder of about 60 miles. We will start around 1:00 give or take 10 minutes and then follow head over to McFarland Park to take the double track over to OP's house to pick him up! HINT to OP! We will then head east on 170th until near Fernald and then will follow the roads south near Indian Creek. We can stop for a water break if we need to at Hickory Grove Park outside of Colo. We will then head back west heading towards Kelley and then come into Ames from the west on Ontario. Then we can grab a drink somewhere if we want before I head back to Gilbert. Let me know if you are in! I am guessing it will take around 4:45-5 hours at my speed.

Here is a route slip map!

Matt, Alex, OP, Emily? Everyone is welcome! The more the merrier!


Morning Ride

I was itching to get out for a morning ride today so I was out the door by 5:45. It has finally stopped raining for a few hours so I had the opportunity to get out on the smooth gravel. I was riding 32 X 17 this morning which is a nice gear for the gravel. In my current horrible fitness I don't think it would be a good gear for a century ride so for the TI ride I may go back to 32 X 18 since there will be hills and some off roading. I am going to continue to ride with the 32 X 17 set up to get a bit stronger and see how it goes. I may find that it is the right gear as I get stronger.

Happy training.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

No riding

We have been having rain nearly constantly all weekend. I just didn't want to ride in it, especially with the new bike. I did throw on the new 17 tooth cog so I am excited to give it a go, but looking at the forecast that doesn't look like it will be happening anytime soon.

A hell ya out to Chris Plesko for a great job at 24 Hours of Moab!

Friday, October 12, 2007


I would like to go on a 40-50 mile gravel ride on Saturday morning leaving around 8-9 am. If you are in leave a comment. I am thinking on riding over to the Colo area and then south around Indian Creek and towards Maxwell then back to Ames.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


I went out on a perfect day (50 degrees and sunny! Sorry. I love the cooler weather) and put in about 2.5 hours of riding. It was probably around 30 plus miles of gravel and single track.

I think I have found my gear for now. I am running 32 X 18 and it isn't hard. I just ordered a 17 tooth cog last night so I will throw that on to test that out. It actually should be better for the flats and the small hills around Gilbert, but not so good for the single track around here (for me anyway!). It should get me standing a bit more on some of the bigger hills in the area. Of course, I haven't gone over to the Des Moines River valley yet either! Heck, I will probably want my 20 tooth back on and that might not be enough!

Looking forward to the Trans Iowa ride coming up!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

What it is all about

This morning I slept in, rolled out of bed, made a pot of coffee and watched a movie with my wife while laying on the couch together.

Both of us complained about how we miss out on a segment of life when we aren't out working out and enjoying exercise. We didn't leave the couch for 3 hours. I went out and mowed the lawn and came back in to eating french toast and fried potatoes. Only and hour earlier I had told Tammy that I really missed french toast. I am living the good life.

Now I just need to get a workout in to top it all off.

Happy training.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Loving Being Single

Single speed that is! I am absolutely loving my Monocog Flight 29er ss. I threw on a new gear last week so I am running 32 X 18 now. It is still an easy gear except for the toughest of hills, which I have not ridden yet. I am still spinning pretty good on the flats, but I can also sit through nearly all the hills around hear just fine (while fresh) and it is tough against some of the 20-25 mph winds we have been having. I took off for a gravel grinder ride on 160th west and then north on what must be V Ave to 150th and came back home. The ride ended up being around 19 miles and I averaged something like 14.3 or so. I really thought this was good for me as I am not in shape, I was spinning quite nicely (which I like) on the flats and all of the hills were very doable. With one more tooth on the back I think I would have been around the 15 mph range for the ride and would have been just fine. What I love about the single speed is that I can tell that I am not pushing a cassette. I feel like the power I am putting into the pedals are more directly connected to the wheel and that I have less drag than with my geared bike. Also, with the 29er wheels I feel that this one gear has more variety than a single speed 26er. It is hard to describe but it feels like the gear has more range than what that gear would have on a 26er. Make sense?

Well, my next long ride is going to be the Trans Iowa get together. Click the link for more info!

Do you think GT would want to come and ride 100 miles around the Des Moines River Valley for a Trans Iowa training ride in early December? Would you want to?