Winter and the Year Ahead

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Its that time of the year…you either hibernate or make it count. If you choose to make it count well then you must endure the cold and wet. Proper clothing and layers make this possible, so don’t think that you have to ride the trainer all winter long. Don’t get me wrong, the trainer is a convenient alternative and less prep is needed on those super cold days and dark evenings after work. On those days that winter recedes during the winter months, one must take advantage. Recently, I was able to do just that with the Ohio Gravel Grinders in Scioto Trails State Park. Great day on the bike with 50+ riders slinging gravel in the hills of Chillicothe. Look for local riding groups or visit your local bike shop and ask about weekend/group rides. It is always more fun when you are playing in the winter with others. I find that when the temps are below freezing that the single track is a treat, especially if it has a layer of snow lacing it. Before you know it spring will reenter the picture and winter will be but a memory. Make it count and come spring you will be surprised at your level of fitness.

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2016 looks to be another great year to be racing. I’m starting to select races for the year. Mountain bike racing has really exploded across the multi-disciplines and the venues across the country are numerous. First, I will be meeting up with my good friend and racing partner Paul for some grinding in Indiana next month. This summer I’m looking forward to getting back out to New Mexico and ripping it up in the high desert. I will have an endurace focus as always along with some cross country thrown in for some variety throughout the year on the single speed.

I’m stoked to have all of my sponsors back for the year. One that Im really excited about is my continuation with the Truck Co Posse Mountain Bike Team. If you don’t know then you should know that Trucker Co kicks out some amazing products for your cycling needs: Tire Sealant, Brake Pads, Grips, Cables and Housing and Valve Stems. I recommend all of their products and I use them on all of my bikes. I have stood on podiums due to my bikes being equipped with Trucker Co products.12185505_10153236187867986_3259329151881781089_o-2

Jess will be in my corner throughout the year providing care and support on my crazy tests of Metal. A huge thanks, hugs and kisses to her for all that she does.

Cheers

Niner BSB RDO Love Build

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My lady and I love to ride bikes together so we decided to do a  bike build together. We wanted something that would allow us to go on and off-road. The Niner BSB RDO frameset was an easy decision as Niner performs with flair. We chose parts to outfit it with that complement the style of the bike while giving us unhindered performance across terrain types. This was a fun project over a 4 month period and it gave us a pair of bikes that we will enjoy together for years to come.

20151015_131305_resized20151016_123544_resizedNiner BSB RDO Build Layout

FRAME: Niner BSB 9 RDO CX
FORK: Niner RDO
WHEELSET: Stans No Tubes Iron Cross Pro CX Disc 3.30 Ti Tubeless
TIRES: Clement Strada LGG 120 tpi 700x28c
CASSETTE: Shimano CS 6700
CRANK: FSA SL-K Light 50/34 Carbon BB 386 EVO Double 10 spd
BOTTOMBRACKET: 386 EVO BSA Kogel Ceramic
PEDALS: Shimano XTR
DERAILLEURS: Gevanalle BURD Dual Speed Front 34.9mm, Gevenalle BURD 10spd Rear
CHAIN: Shimano Ultegra 10spd
LEVERS/SHIFTERS: Gevanalle 10spd
CABLES/HOUSING/HOSES: Trucker Co
BRAKES: Hayes CX Pro Mechanical Disc
ROTORS: Ashima 140mm
PADS: Trucker Co
SEATPOST: Loaded Carbon X Lite Ultra 27.2mm
SADDLE: Loaded Napalm Carbon
SEAT COLLAR: Niner 29.6mm
HEADSET: Niner- Integrated 1.125-1.5
STEM: Loaded X Lite Titanium Stem 90mm
HANDLEBARS: Loaded Napalm UD Carbon
TAPE/GRIPS: ESI Wrap
BOTTLECAGES: Carbon

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CUPCAKE

 

20150928_120159_resized I decided to update my Single Speed frame and I’m thrilled with my selection. The Niner One 9 RDO is a beast. I dig the blue as it reminds me of childhood birthday cakes and cupcakes. You know the ones that had icing scribbled on them that spelled your name out on it and had a superhero stamped on it giving your imagination a dopamine release of invincibility all in honor of celebrating your 7th birthday. You know what I’m talking about!

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The One 9 RDO was designed for single speeding with its beefed up bottom bracket housing for stomping out that 60:1 gear ratio. It is agile-light and the geometry allows for Bambi Deer Flow through and over the course of your desire.

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I outfitted my cupcake with the already precise and tested components that I was using on my previous single speed and they bolted right up and I was on the trails in no time. The Niner Biocentric II is a dream and allows for chain adjustment to be done with ease and it holds tension over the course which allows you to ride without having to fumble over chain issues that other setups are prone to do.  I have it dialed in now after riding in Dayton and Cincinnati. I’m super stoked to push it further and line it up for future races.

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Niner hit it out of the park with the One 9 RDO frame and with my setup filling it out…oh yeah it is cupcake time!

Cheers

1st Overall at 24 Hours of DINO

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Versailles State Park in Indiana is where it all went down. This park is beautiful and I really have to commend Indiana on a job well done. The terrain was an up and down affair on a course consisting of 13 mile laps with a 1000 feet of elevation gain per lap. I was impressed with the course, which consisted of a good mix of everything a mountain biker craves from ruggedness to flat-out ripping berms. I chose to race single speed [rigid]…note to self, “Idiot”! The course had a lot more rock and technical terrain then what I was anticipating and I felt it in the end. It is very difficult to complete a 24 hour race without support in the pits. Jess ran the pits for me and did an exceptional job keeping me on the go for 24 hours. The DINO crew put on a stellar event and I recommend their races. The 24 hours of DINO had a 6 hour and 12 hour option if you didn’t have 24 hours of abuse to spare.

The race started with a short run with either your saddle or a wheel around the pool to your bike. Once my front wheel was attached I began my 24 hours of nonstop boogie woogie. I settled into a steady pace with an emphasis on pace control. 24 hours is a long time and pacing is key. The key is to always move no matter how slow you get. Once you stop it becomes very difficult to get going again. This was even more true as the low reached down to 45 degrees that night. I was able to adhere to my plan and with Jess and the Grave Yard Shift Sergeant running the pits my pit stops were always smooth and quick. DSC_4567

This allowed me to always be on the move. My goal was to get 200 miles. The course was a lot of fun but it beats you up after 24 hours and because I’m so smart and ran a rigid fork the beating was compounded. As I type this report my hands are still numb. I don’t recommend a rigid fork on this course for 24 hours. What was I to do though as I couldn’t ride wheelies for 200 miles, so I adopted my new favorite mantra of “Suck it up, Cupcake!”. About 12 hours in to the race I was told that I had the overall lead. The DINO crew thought that I was a 12 hour racer and was confused as to why I went back out for another lap at midnight. Come to find out had I done the 12 hour race I would have won the overall solo.DSC_4563

My pace was solid throughout the race and I was pleased with my fitness. In August I raced short and fast races successfully with little emphasis on endurance. My endurance seemed to be right on as I went through the night without issue. My nutrition was good and no gut distress was experienced. I think I have honed that process down to what works for me in these types of races. The issue I dealt with that caused the greatest struggle was the impact of plowing down the rocky and rooty sections on the course. The rigid fork beat me and it really became a struggle to hang on at times. Due to the exposure on some parts of the trail and the bone rattling my body was feeling, I had some moments where I thought I was going to have to eject due to loss of control. In the end, I was able to hang on and this cupcake did suck it up. I won the single speed and overall male title. I completed 208 miles and 16,000 feet of climbing on a strong course in 21.5 hours. I could have done 2 more laps but there was no need as my pacing and steady movement afforded me that luxury and my rigor mortis stricken body was thankful to unsaddle from the bike.

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I’m always impressed with the mountain bike endurance community in regards to how the racers are generous and positive out there on the trail. This held true at the 24 hours of DINO. I ran into a buddy of mine, Matt Curry, and it was great catching up with him as he took 2nd place in the Solo Male Division. Nothing but good vibes from me to the DINO race scene. I had a great time and it is always special to have Jess in my corner. I have had an exceptional year racing and I want to thank all of my sponsors for their support.

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I have been running the Loaded X-lite Ultra Carbon 29 Wheelset this year. They have been remarkable. I have won more than a few races on them this year from XC to 24 Hours. Here is the process in which Loaded creates and describes one of their master pieces…“Ultra light weight, ultra durable. Utilizing the state of the art manufacturing processes and cutting edge technology, Loaded Precision has produced quite possibly the strongest and lightest tubeless carbon fiber mountain bike rims available today. They use a Carbon Knitting Technique (CKT), securing the carbon layers together through a refined knitting and bonding process. All X-lite Ultra Rims feature True Bead Technology- Loaded’s very own Tubeless System that provides an efficient interface between the tire and rim for easy installation and inflation”. The way they hook up and respond is amazing. The lateral stiffness is impressive when railing through turns and berms. I have to admit I have never had a wheelset that responds and holds like these babies. They seem to track exceptionally well no matter what you throw at them. The trueness of the wheel seems to never get thwarted. Durable they are as I have pounded them all year-long on a rigid fork setup. They are light and incredibly strong as you should expect. Mounting tubeless tires up is easy and I recommend Trucker Co tire sealant, the best cream tire sealant in the universe.

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Suck it up, Cupcake!

1st at 8 Hours of Ithaca

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Jail House Growler

It was hot and humid…the trails were slick and the bridges were booby traps. Another one in the books and another win. It has been a great year of racing. I wanted to try out the Michigan scene and I wasn’t disappointed. Some great competition to be had up there. Ithaca is a small little town in central Michigan that contains the Jail House Trail at the local fairground. It is a twisted maze of weave that accumulates into 5.6 miles of a ripping good time of dizzy. Fun Promotions runs this event along with several other endurance events in the Michigan Cup Endurance Series. Fun Promotions put on a great race in the 8 hours of Ithaca. After driving 4.5 hours north from Dayton with my lady on one of the hottest days of the year without A/C, we arrived with 50 minutes until the start. A quick hustle to setup the pits and I was off with an impressive field of single speeders. A bit of rain and a thunderstorm made a visit, which buttered up the already peanut butter slick trails and it was a slip/slide affair. I settled into 2nd place early and rode steady. I haven’t raced this year in conditions that were really hot and humid, so I wanted to pace myself. It paid off as the first place rider, Alex from Tree Fort Bikes, held the lead with me always within ~5 minutes the entire race until the last lap and I passed him out of the pits and made the run to the finish. 19 laps (106 miles) in 8 hours. It was a close one for the entire 8 hours and steady pacing won it for me on this day. Alex was solid and hats off to him for running a solid race. Jess was always smiling while running the pits and kept me going without delay. It really makes a positive impact when the pits are smooth and items are easily accessible. In the end, I felt good and easily could have laid down more laps. The humidity was rough and hydration was key out there. The trails were fun and fast.

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Wolf Tooth Components did me well with my drivetrain setup. I ran a 32T front chain ring and 17T rear cog. I really like the chainring and single speed cog setup. I drove it hard and the chain just locked in and propelled on these gears. The chainring has the Drop Stop tooth design which forms to the anatomy of a chain. Made out of aluminum, so that keeps the drive train setup light.

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Trucker Co tire sealant once again saved the day. I didn’t realize it until the next morning after the race when I noticed a small stick impaled in the front tire. I never lost any air pressure. Solid sealant and I highly recommend it for tubeless setups, it can make a huge difference in winning or losing as it did in this race for me.

Im hoping that the wet summer starts to dry up some here in the midwest, so that more riding and racing can be undertaken.

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Pedal On!

Cheers!