Monday, December 29, 2008

Thursday, December 25, 2008

That time of year


Living in the weakest backcountry scene....

.... but dreaming of the best.

Talkeetna Glacier - Climbing and Skiing from Eric Parsons on Vimeo.

I really need to do something about this....


Monday, December 15, 2008

CX Nationals 08

I managed to miss my race start, but there was plenty of spectating to be done. Highlights included Amanda Miller pulling off a 2nd place finish in womens collegiate D1, the weather doing a 180flip in in about five seconds as the womens collegiate races were waiting to start, and a pack of sharks chasing the pack.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Visiting old friends

I was hoping to get out for another century this weekend, but my Garmin was dead(I think the battery is failing). So I decided to make a trail ride/gear test day out of it. I was testing my frame mounted winter hydration system, vaper barrior clothing, and my first real attempt to ride platform pedals in about 15years.

Started out at Dehns in Burlington. Unfortunately the trail is already an ice holed, hiker rutted, bumpy mess. And apparently the fourwheelers came back for Thanksgiving, as there's a whole new batch of wheeler ruts. Damn, I was hoping maybe it would stay smooth for the winter, but I think Shimek's equestrian trails are smoother right now.

So I did a lap, loaded up, and headed for Spring Lake in Macomb. I haven't ridden over there in a year or so, so I wasn't sure what I'd find.

Freakin sweet trail, as always, is what I found. Perfect conditions, minus the slightly icy bridges.



I chickened out on this one and took the hill next to it. The spiral bridge above the drop way pretty slick, and that drop ramp has paint on it under that snow. That thing is slick when it's dry.

So the results of my testing:
Frame mounted hydration system: works sort of. The hose is still the weak point, gotta be real sure you get all the water to drain back into the bottle.

Vapor barrior clothing: Also works sort of. The vapor barrior did indeed keep my insulating layers dry. All I need to do now is find some XL long cuff nitril gloves to keep my cuffs from getting soaked, and wear my RBH Next to Skin shirt next to my skin instead of leaving a base to soak underneath, and find some insulation layers with pit zips so I can adjust my venting before sweating out in the first place.

Platforms: Umm. I don't think I lose anything climbing as I can still granny spin and mash my way up everything. I do feel like I'm losing a little control on the tech stuff though. Place where I would normally be able to put the bike where I want it are a little harder to ride. It's been awhile, more rides should improve that. For really cold winter riding I may not have a choice, as they really are warmer than clipless.

On a somber note, cycling legend of Burlington, Dan Ring, passed away last week. Dan was a botany professor at SouthEastern Community College, daily bicycle commuter and advocate, and a super nice guy. The kind of guy that always had a nice thing to say and a smile on his face. I regretfully missed the ride to his funeral services last weekend. He died at a wisened age of a heart attack while riding his bike. I suppose there are worse ways to go. He was fit and functioning till the end, and died doing something he loved. I hope I am so lucky. I wish I would have known him better. Dan, you will be missed.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Welcome to CX weather

Got some miles in Thursday: 40 in the forest on the newly rigid Monkey and 60 on gravel on the SS CX.

Rode from home up to IA City for Jingle CX on Friday. Nice little 9 hour bikepacking practice day, 15lb pack with all my gear for three days on my back. Saturdays' race was alright, though I could definitely feel Thursday and Friday in my legs. Course was slimy in spots, but mostly frozen.

Sunday was much, much more entertaining. Inch or two of snow and rain made the course worthy of true CX racing, much drifting, sliping, and laughing ensued.
Amanda Miller rocked the womens elite field with her mad mud skillz taking the win.

Syd took a well earned third.

A few more pics of the weekend here.

Geoff's crash.

and another view of that:

Good times.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jumping bandwagon

Yup I'm posting it too, it's just that friggen cool.

Red Fang

And here's my new wagon. Needs some streamers yet.

With spikes.

And the second revision of my doublestand.

Works both ways even.

Here's the jumping.

This should be in every library: Chicago Ten

Off to Farm CX

Oh, and there's another new batch of crap on my yard sale blog, too: Map cases, map cases, handlebar bag, stem bag, rims, ect.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Weekend Update

Lots of stuff to report: the Hawkeye Downs HPV race, laps on the IA speedway and Nuvinci testing, Downfalls of my current hybrid design and the improvements in progress, redesigning my doublestand to fit the Big Dummy, Pugsley and Big Dummy builds, gathering gear for the upcoming snowbike season, adventure racing, and next years touring.

The Hawkeye Downs race weekend was a small but fun affair this year. I lucked out with some of the best weather October in IA has to offer. Minimal mishaps and hangups running the event, mostly due to the help of a few volunteers keeping things moving. Many thanks to Warren Beauchamp, Rick Gritters, Ted Wheeler, and my parents.

Lots of velomobiles at the race, most of them were Garrie Hills', at least at some point. I managed to trick Tracy Thompson into racing one, and then he ended up taking it home for next season's use. This is going to be interesting.
I had Garries' WAW for a couple of days before I could get it over to Tracy's. I've come to the conclusion that pretty much all Velomobiles are made for people under 5'8" and I still don't like three wheels or u-bar-ish steering. I got some good pics for further study and comparison though. Maybe I'll build a quad velomobile with tiller steering someday.

The weekend after my HPV race I hauled the Cuda over to Des Moines for the Track and Back charity ride. As suspected the route was to follow F70 from Des Moines to Monroe, same as I did on the loaded longtail two weeks proir during my Tour to race. This was concerning, as those are some really monsterous rollers on F70. This was afterall test number two for the Nuvinci, hills were on the menu for a reason. Turns out, climbing Grand Ave from Squirrels' house was a harder climb than anything I found on F70. There was no momentum to be had cranking up Grand and the Nuvinci obviously didn't have the low range I was needing. I almost fell over on my first climb of the day. Then I rode bike path from Ashworth park over to the El Bait Shop. On the corner under the tracks by Science center, I found a pair of unleashed dogs, one of which I missed, the other, not so much. Then I did fall over. Neither of us were injured, just annoyed, so I continued on. Did I mention it was super foggy? Cause it was. Somehow I managed to get to the start on time, only did a couple laps lost in the stadium parking lot. There were a good three donut holes left for breakfast. Within fifteen minutes we rolled out with police escort and soon enough we were clear of town. I glided off the front of the group towards the first climb, Blackford caught back up by the time I cranked to the top, then I bombed the next hill and I was on my own till I stopped in Monroe. The rollers on F70 were mostly defeated by the momentum of streamlining, though the recent road construction/speed bumps before the bridges were less than appreciated. Makes me rethink the need for full suspension again. A few miles further and I make it to the IA Speedway. I'm met by a flock of kids from the Central IA Boy and Girls Club. The spaceship has landed. They all seem to be really interested in the bike, I talked a bit with them, and with any luck we may see them build something of their own. A few more people start showing up and get out on the track, so I go out for a few laps. The track is smooth and flat, the corners are large enough that g forces at 36mph are not noticable at all. This would be a really nice track for an HPV race. The ride back was faster without the fog and I only fell over once.

I was hoping the Nuvinci would be the solution to my gearing woes on the streamliner, but it's not to be. There is just too much drag for race use and it's too hard to gauge your efforts without shift detents. It is nearly indestructable and a great bargain for utility uses, but I'll stick with gears and chains for the race liner.

Speaking of the Nuvinci in the utility bike role, the one on the Xtracycle has been working flawlessly. I wish I could say the same for the rest of the drivetrain, but they don't call it research and development for nothin. I've gone through two primary drive chains, two sets of idler bearings one set of jackshaft bearings, and four motor drive freewheels, an now the jackshaft is in for repair/redesign. Basically what I've learned is that when you add a 1hp(746watts continuous)motor plus one semi-fit human(150-350watts continuous) through one primary drive chain, plus gravel dust, equals lots and lots of chain streach. To the point of streaching 1/8" chains in half actually. Keeping all three chains taught and in working order has become a weekly chore, to the point that I've decided to rethink my drivetrain. I've also learned there is no such thing as a sealed skate bearing, I don't like 1/8" industrial chain(they don't twist at all and behave even worse than bicyle chain in dust), and all freewheels used on the motor drive box will unscrew their innards if you do not peen the threads. Anyways, the redesign involves putting two freewheels on the hub via the adapter shown in the pic above. Turns out Dicta and Shimano 1/8 freewheels have threads that run all the way through, makes it easy to just turn out a super long threaded freehub adaptor. I'll end up with two chains instead of three, one going from the motor to the hub, and another going from the pedals to the hub. Almost normal. Actually, just like this:
Just need a little idler on the slack side of the pedal chain to keep it off the frame, a tension bar in line between the motor and rear axle, and an idleron the slack side of the motor chain to keep it of the frame a little better. Worked out way easier than I would have guessed. Now if I can get the Dummy setup to work even better.

And of the Dummy, I've got it together too....sort of. It still needs it's own freeloaders, fenders, and tires. The Gazzalodis just don't roll all that well, and I keep getting flats with the rear one(and its a freakin doublewall tire!). I think I'll get another dynohub to replace the totally out of place blue King front hub.
The super tall stack and Nitto North Road bar make for the least aero position I've ever ridden. Feels kinda like riding an old cruiser, only this one climbs better. The bars are really a little straighter than I'd hoped for. They really do work well when standing and climbing though.

As far as adding an assist to this one goes, I think I'll go the modified GEBE route this time around. I kinda want to keep the derailer to see how it compares to the Nuvinci when fully loaded. Finding or making a syncronous belt cog in the large-ish size turned out to be way more expensive than I'm willing to bother with, but then I remembered GEBEs' 148t ring. Add to that the cost of ordering another EH035 and clutch housing from Staton and I may as well just buy a whole kit from GEBE and modify it.

I'm well on my way to having a couple doublestands made for some Big Dummies. Who knew that oval boom tube would cause so much trouble in my original design? The new attaching bracket is completely different, and quite frankly, entirely too much time was involved making these. I'm gonna have to simplify the process of making that thing somehow if ever want to make them for anything but a loss.

The Super Puglsley Adventure Machine is a crankset away from being rideable. Damnit Phil and White Ind. Hurry up already!

Epic Eric is gonna build me some Epic luggage to haul all the essentials.

My Warmlite bag showed up yesterday. Holy crap that thing is awsome. Makes my TNF Cats Meow look like a baby sleeping bag. Good for 4 seasons and down to -65F. Vapor barrior and down air mattress built in. Cushy.

Luxerylite cot showed up last week. Also cushy. This thing is gonna be the bomb for summer camping. The DOM in the Warmlite makes it pretty unnecessary for winter camping, but I'm thinking the light top off the Warmlite used as a quilt plus the cot should be perfect for summer camp weather.

And my RBH vapor barrior socks and cap showed up, as well as the PsolarX facemask, and Forty below bottle boots. All I need now is some weather to test all this stuff in cause it's way the heck too warm for any of it yet. I bet this'll be the year it'll be in the 50s all winter long now isn't it? Being well prepared for a snowbike season is akin to owning a set of CX ski's or a snowmobile. No better way to garauntee a mild winter.


Thursday, October 09, 2008

Like minds

I've been finding alot of inspiring reading lately. Really cool folks living right and thinking left. Maybe someday I'll run into a few of them.

Andrei Codrescu. It's like he's reading my mind, and recently, forcasting my future.

Kent Peterson. Bike druid. I only wish I could get my thoughts out on the page as eliquently as he does: "Wiser men than us have noted that you don't have adventures by sticking to the main roads and staying at the Holiday Inn. Our planes and automobiles have made it possible for us to go anywhere and see nothing, but our simpler, slower means of conveyance, our feet and our bicycles and wind-powered boats, still connect us to this earth that is not ours to master, but to treasure." See what I mean?

Micheal and Emilie. Living simply, simply living. Awsome. I've already got the vanagon...

Ward and Jacky Budweg. Fellow Iowans. I knew they were on tour for a couple of years, I didn't realize they sold their house and everything, and went..... everywhere!

Eric Parsons is always doing fun stuff and building interesting equipement.

The Long Road North. Awsome site, can't wait to see the film. Here's the trailer:

Erin and Higs Another awsome site. Erin just blew my mind with her last post. One little detail that really changes a big part of their trip. Congrats to them.

Some of the News, Most of the time. I hate political crap, but this is my new political news source.

And just in case you give a crap about the financial fiasco, heres a good explaination:


Yard sale is still growing strong, more stuff found, check it out. Free shipping to Hawkeye Downs this weekend if you contact me... now.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Fall HPV race season

Well my HPV race at Hawkeye Downs is coming up in about a week. Man, I hope somebody shows up, track rates went up and I'm playing Russian roulet with the the weather even more here in October. But the track's in good shape, the bikes are prepped, the goodies are baking.

I'll be testing a Nuvinci hub in the Cuda for my upcoming streamliner build. I've been pretty happy with the performance of the one I've got on my assisted longtail, it's definitely held up to some abuse. Now it's time to see how efficient it really is in the race bike. If it passes the test it will allow me to build a much needed much wider gear range on the next liner for some of the more difficult events I have planned. I've got a plan for the new liner worked out, and I'm in the process of gathering components before the build starts. I'm hoping to have the bike part finished out before the end of November, and have a good bit of progress on the fairing plug before the end of the year.

In other liner testing/impromptu race news I'm thinking about doing the Track and Back charity ride in the liner as a way of getting on the IA Speedway for a few laps and possibly finding some contacts for a chance at organizing an HPV race there. 7/8's mile NASCAR track with a road course inside it, that would make a sweet HPRA venue. In the mean time, anybody else wanna show up in DsM Oct 18th and do a little impromptu 100mile ultra race with some hot laps on the track in the middle? There's food at the track and sag stops along the way. The route out to Newton and back will be plenty challenging I'm guessing. I rode through that area last weekend and there are some killer hills out there.


I'm still setting on a pile of stuff, check it out.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tour to race

Click for pics

Three days, 369miles, 41,149 feet of elevation change, 2 races, 2 flats, 1 win, 1 broken chain, $7 in fuel. Nice ride. I see a trend starting.



Yard sale is still going, check it out.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Yard Sale

If you haven't noticed yet, I've got a bit of a virtual yard sale going on. The link is also in the sidebar under my profile. Less is more, help me out here. And check back often, I keep finding more crap.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Seasons heatings

I've always had a thing for architecture and well planned/utilized space. One of these days I'm gonna get myself organized enough and reduce the clutter enough to simplify my house. As it is I've got more crap than I can remember where I put it, and more space than I need or want containing that crap. At least all that crap and the container it's in is payed for, I guess.

I ran across this little write-up today. Lots of cool design features.

I really like the dish dryer/storage system here.

Something about those little sleeping lofts are so appealing, yet the thought of having to get up there somehow (or even worse, back down) after an ultra distance race makes me think I'd need another way up there besides stairs. Maybe a 3/4 ground house with an egress window in the loft so you could use it as an upstairs outside door.

Here's another interesting link, though most of these are simply too small. If there isn't enough room for two people to live, cook, and dance, there isn't enough room to live. And there would have to be a bike room/shop of equal proportions. But in general 1000sq foot living quarters with a loft would be plenty if designed carefully, I think.

A couple more interesting sites:
Bottleworld "Like dogs on speed" this site is great.
Resources for Life from IA City, no less.

Incentive to pare down my collection of crap to the essentials. Maybe I should start a yard sale blog.....anybody need any size 46.5 bike shoes, Camelbacks, or VW parts? Or how about a good cheap car?

In another recent thought pattern I found which is packed with extreme cold weather knowledge and noteworthy causes.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seasons change

Can you feel it? Focus is changing. Time to start gearing up.


(time to get that fairing done for the commuter too, it's getting brisk and windy too!)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mother Nature always wins

XKCD has the perfect commentary for everything.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Going for a little ride(literally)

24 Hours of Seven Oaks Recap: Ben Shockey and I raced for heat stroke, he won.
I played with some sort of respiratory/sinus thing that caused me to have to stop and sit down to catch my breath everytime I tried to push a decent pace. Also made the sinus cavities to my ears plug to the point of messing with my balance. Cold sweats on lap two, hand and hamstring cramping started on lap three, walking every hill by lap four, getting sick to the stomach and a little dizzy on lap five, and that was about enough for me.

Spent the rest of the event cheering on, feeding, and equiping others in their pursuit for pain. Andrew Carney, Jesse Bergmann, and Matt Gersib earned the top spots for solo 24. Robin Williams beat down Kyle Williams in solo 24. The Rasmussen's team once again demoralised everyone by letting Andy ride without a cape.

Good times.


Thursday, August 28, 2008


Lots of work being done to version one:

$375 for a doublestand? Screw that, build it.

Folds up nice too.

Nuvinci hub finally showed up...

...but the tension bar didn't line up with the Xtracycle der hole and there wasn't enough room under the shifter pod to get any sort of chain tensioner in there. So I made that too.

Shimano DH-3D71 Nexus disc brake dyno hub, for my upcoming dyno powered DIY led headlight.

Made another integrated light mount/stem faceplate for said upcoming DIY light.

Innertube seals to keep the dust, water, and grime out of the V-rack tubes.

I've also had to swap all bolts to stainless, remake rear idler cog in stainless, make an offset cog for the Nuvinci hub in stainless to match my jackshaft's chainline, replace the jackshaft and rear idler bearings with better sealed bearings, replace the creaking ISIS crankset with a square taper crankset, and paint everything thats not stainless to stave off the massive amount of corrosive crap this bike is aparently riding through.

It rained all day last Thursday, and I got to ride through it. Gravels turned to mud roads by the end of the day. I think whatever the county is putting on their gravels is toxic. Definitely found my design flaws in a hurry. Everything has to be built highly non-corrosive, well sealed, and preferably enclosed. I've still got some thinking to do on how I'm gonna enclose my driveline, but I've gotta do it. That is the plan for the belt drive on V2 anyhows so I may as well get the thought process started.

Beats the alternative.