Wrote a small piece about some awesome guys for the Trans-Sylvania Mountain Bike Epic website (and almost forgot to post up here). If you haven’t read it already you can get to the post by clicking the picture below.
Latest post via Dirt Rag.
Thanks for reading!
1st post is available by clicking this: http://www.dirtragmag.com/webrag/finding-new-motivation-ride
Please excuse my terrible grammar!
Saturday was a foggy damp day here in Pennsylvania. Unseasonably warm for January. 45 degree start and was above 50 by the time we finished. The sun even poked it’s head through the clouds for a few minutes, warming us even more. The evening before we had a few hours of rain showers and this left the roads damp almost tacky. Perfect conditions for the Holiday/Snowfalls treated tarmac to wreak havoc on our group ride.
There were 19 of us on the group road ride. There were 8 flats (9 if you count the broken valve stem during a flat fix) today. It was clear we pedaled through an agressive patch of gravel. It was when we realized the group was getting flats 3&4, at the same time too, that I asked everyone to check their tires and pick out what they could. It was a feeble attempt but worth the try.
As I watched the flat changes, my friends running their gloved hands over their spinning wheels I observed something. Almost everyone had their summer tires on. (I was able to make this observation because I was not worried with my tire/wheel set up. More on this below.)
Hence this blog post. Over the years I was taught AND learned a few things that really improved winter road riding. I’ll share them with you.
WINTER CYCLING TIRE SELECTION/SETUP RECOMMENDATIONS
1. If you can’t afford a whole new set of tires, I have had great succes with Mr. Tuffy tire liners. Easy to install and they really do work. These were essential for winter riding in State College, PA. I was dirt poor back then too. A good friend Chuck Bednarczyk turned me onto these things. I used them back in my BMX days (1980’s) as well!
2. If you can afford yourself some tires then get yourself a more durable pair! Lightweight “racing” tires are to thin to ward off the type of shredded slag, glass, stone gravel that is used so commonly here in the mid-atlantic.
Two tires that have stood the test of (winter) time:
*one more will be listed below
3. Go tubeless! A fine setup is obtaining yourself a Stan’s NoTubes converstion kit. If you have Mavic Ksyriums you won’t need the kit. All you’ll need will be a pair of valve stems, some sealant and tubeless ready tires.
If you have Shimano tubeless ready wheelsets you’ll need the Shimano valves, some sealant and tubeless ready tires.
4. Ultimate setup: Stan’s NoTubes Alpha wheelset with Hutchinson tubeless ready tires! This is my current set up and I’ve been very pleased. Not only am I able to experience the beautiful ride that tubeless provides but (jinx) I have not flatted (jinx) in over two years! I’ll take this as proof! Note: I run the Hutchinson Intensives (I highly recommend these tires) almost all season. For road events the Hutchinson Fusion 3 is brilliantly good.
So do yourself and the rest of the group a favor. Put on the appropriate rubber for the winter, then ride with confidence!
For my local community:
Have more questions about Stan’s NoTubes and their products or neat first hand help with setups? Let me know and I’ll help you out.
If you would like to demo a set of Stan’s Alpha road wheels w/ Hutchinson tires you can message me via Facebook, Email or Twitter. You must provide your own SRAM or Shimano cassette.
BONUS WINTER RIDING TIP: Get yourself some WRAP AROUND STYLE fenders!! ESSENTIAL for those wet rides. Keeps your bum and toes drier. Also reduces road spray through the group and keeps your water bottles free of gritty road grime. Stay dry to stay warm!
ps – if you have another tip, tire recommendation or fender recommendation; post it up as a comment! #community.
An amazing photo set from SSCXWC 2012 Los Angeles!
Long overdue post about Iron Cross. Thank you for reading!
Iron Cross is 62 miles of fire roads, singletrack , pavement and a steep ‘hike a bike.’ Sounds good (or crazy) right?! 2006 was my first attempt—one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. I rolled across the line. Exhausted. And in a mediocre 12th place. I gave it all I had that day. In fact, I may have burned a year off my life too. Scorned, I swore never to return.
Skip ahead to 2012 and the 10th anniversary of Iron Cross. I’m back (glutton for punishment) and I’m bringing a single speed as added penance. She’s a beauty: Cannondale SuperX w/ Stan’s NoTubes sneakers and SRAM/ZIPP bits.
I’ll keep the race review brief. Here we go —
Gearing choice 42×20. Spin fast…and suffer at the start. Hang on. Wicked tire puncture (Stan’s spews like I stabbed a milk carton AND it works but only holds 20psi). Begin long forced tire repair. Ten plus minutes lost. Chase and suffer. Miss turn (Totally my fault.) Lose 13+ more minutes. Stop at SRAM trying to fix previous mechanical. Another lost minute. Spin, spin…and suffer more. Aid station #3. Hang out. Eat lots of food. Enjoy some rap music. Socialize, chew and hydrate for many more minutes. Good times. Off I go. Suffer and suffer more. Finish—fourth place singlespeed. Finish time = 4:31…with an extra five miles on the odometer. Upon review of the Garmin data: I lost 25+ minutes due to my issues (not including the brief stop at Aid #2)…AND I’M TOTALLY STOKED!
How could I be happy after all of that?
Was it the fourth place? Nope.
I certainly was not happy about my misfortunes…much of which was within my control.
So what made my day so great?
Answer: The people.
Due to the day’s circumstances, I pedaled past a many of friendly foes* (sometimes twice). Not one person impeded my progress. Many gave their line; I would thank them, encourage them to hang in there, and pedal on. Some even stopped to make sure I was okay: offering parts, offering wheels, offering a draft—always with something positive to say.
Post-race, the vibe was also positive and strong. Beverage flowed, food was consumed and the race stories perfumed the air. The atmosphere lasted for hours and added to the greatness of the day.
These are things I’m still trying to get used to. Coming from a primarily road racing background, it was customary to fight for any and all positions. Forget trying to be friendly. We fought for parking, start position, race position, finish position, post-race food…and recovery was done as fast as possible. Neverending. I was once told that racing isn’t meant to be friendly…that I would win more if I would stop being nice.
Don’t get me wrong; I do value a race result and have been blessed with many that are meaningful in my 22 years of racing: National Champs stuff in road, mountain bike, and track; a Top 10 at USPRO Criterium; along with some fine mountain bike and cyclocross wins.
But you know what? None of them will have the same value as the camaraderie I experienced during Iron Cross. A part of my cycling soul was baptized that day.
*Friendly foes include (but are not limited to): Bob C., Dave P., Jamie H., Darrin M., Matt S., Sandie R.., Selene Y., my fellow single speeders, and the group of amazing dudes that flew me along the road section after Lippencote to Aid#3. I raise my glass to all of you!
Special Thanks to:
Abraham Landes Photography
Mike Kuhn & Zach Adams (and all of the volunteers) for bringing us together.
Above photo memory happily purchased from Cycling Captured.
Did you catch it? No? Click here for another clue (look at the drivetrains).
Still don’t see it? No worries. I’ll share it with you: I converted my trusty Cannondale SuperX into a single speed. How? I used a Beer Components EBB30, SRAM Red GXP Crankset, SRAM Single Speed Levers and tubeless wheels by Stan’s NoTubes. Cockpit was compliments of Zipp Service Course (non SL). *More bike stats at bottom.
Why? What’s the big deal? Riding the singlespeed is silly fun and I thrive on new challenges. *It’s also because I’m part of a crew assembling something for 2013.
My next singlespeed adventure will likely be THE IRON CROSS.
*Credit to Johnny Walrod (who now lives in Portland, OR) for introducing me to SSCX back in 2004. I’ve been a fan ever since and had DreesensBicycles build me a sweet rig soon after.
*I ran Schwalbe Sammy Slicks with slightly higher than my norm tire pressure’s at 30 psi rear and 28 front. Nittany CX weekend conditions were bone dry and fast so the higher pressure was required. I currently weigh 165lbs. Bike weight as pictured: 16.03lbs.
*Saturday gear 42×16 and it felt too big. Got bogged in the tight stuff. Sunday gearing 42×18, perfect for the course, my current fitness and weather conditions.
*Announcement about my reference to 2013 in a future post.