Funky Times!!! – 1st Single Speed 100K

Funky Times!

I got my FUNK on at the Funk Bottoms Gravel Grinder. This was the second time that I have ventured over to the Funk Bottoms. The first time was quite the challenge and the second time didn’t disappoint. It rained an inch or so the day before, so I knew it would be similar to my race in 2015.

First, I want to send out a high five to Chris (race director) and his gang for another spectacular experience. They continue to put on a true grassroots race in the Funk Bottoms Gravel Grinder. No entry fee, a challenging course, scenic and super sweet prizes for the winners of each category. If you haven’t ventured over to the Mohican area in Ohio then you are missing a treat.

I originally signed up for the 200k but I decided to do it on my single speed mountain bike, so I changed over to the 100k distance. Lesson learned…don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Even though I won the 100k single speed division, it was a strenuous effort trying to spin that machine up 20+% grades with 2.0 tires. I was very pleased with my suffering and look forward to my next race.

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The Funk Bottoms Gravel Grinder has grown over the years and this year there were nearly 100 entrants and ~80 towed the line. The course is bit more than 100k at ~70 miles with 7000 feet of climbing. If you decide to do the 200k then you get to do the course twice! It is constant climbing with grades that will make you want to punch your own face repetitively with brass knuckles. Due to the heavy rains the day before, the course was soft for tire plowing, resistance training bonus. I rode most of the day solo, which allowed me to take in more of the surroundings. You ride through Amish country and it is beautiful, almost pristine. You ride along the Mohican River and traverse back and forth over very hilly terrain. There was very little traffic other than a few horse and buggies (like going back in time) along this course, which allows you to focus more on your effort. During the course it is very likely that you will be hike-a-biking at some point. On this day we were rewarded with a huge downed tree that required a quick jungle trek only to be followed up with a wet and rutted out one mile climb up double track that had very limited tread purchase. Lots of people were hike-a-biking that section. It is a challenge and that is why it is labeled as Ohio’s Toughest Gravel Grinder.

If you are around north central Ohio around the end of June, you should go test yourself on this course. Chris puts on a stellar event that you will remember. Everyone out on course was super chill and respectful. The well marked course travels through some very scenic areas and there is no entry fee.

Thanks to all of the volunteers that were at the start/finish and the aid station.

Thanks to my sponsors as always for keeping me outfitted with stellar products that see me through whatever is thrown my way!

Now it is time to head west and enjoy some vacation time with my lady while enjoying those libations.

Cheers!

 

Hanson Hills 100 – 1st Single Speed

fullsizeoutput_766It has been quite some time since I have done a 100 mile specific mountain bike race. The Hanson Hills 100 happened to fall at the perfect time with me starting my summer break. I was interested in the course as there happens to be a 24 hour race there in September. I wanted to get a preview of the course in order to know how the terrain and trails treat you in an endurance format.

Fun Promotions puts on a great endurance series up in Michigan. I was very pleased with the grassroots feel of the race. Fun Promotions make you feel at home and are very accomodating. I arrived the day before the race and set up my tent for an overnight and then I hit the trails for a preview. Hanson Hills Recreation Area is a ski hill in the winter time but it has a nice network of trails to enjoy in the summer. The trails have a nice feel to them as you rip around them through sand and rolling hills. The climbing is deceiving as it adds up over a long course but it is spaced out with flow and some fun descents, especially at the end with a bomber jump on an exposed hill side coming into the finish.fullsizeoutput_762

My goal was to put down my best 100 mile time on single track. Most of the racers were competing in the 50 mile version of the race. We all gathered in Grayling at the Kmart and were led out of town under a controlled pace. 3.5 miles to the trails and then it was 4 laps of 24.5 miles. I had a good start and established my pace, which lasted for the first 50 miles. After the 2nd lap, I started experiencing some spasms/minor cramps in my quads. I dialed the pace back and continued to take in my electrolytes and fluids. On the 4th lap, I began to experience stronger cramps in my quads, which resulted in me dismounting at one point to walk/stretch them out. Interesting enough I was able to manage the cramps even though they slowed me a bit over the last 2 laps. The course is very clean and beautiful as it rolls through hardwoods with very little undergrowth giving it a pristine feel. It was warm and a bit humid at times, which contributed to my cramps I suppose as well as being a bit dehydrated the day before the race. I rode with a few other racers for stretches as we paced each other. Everyone was friendly and respectful out on the course.

My goal was obtained as I set my fastest 100 mile specific single track mountain bike time. I finished with a time of (7 hr 33 min) and the single speed win. I’m super stoked over this result but especially with the finishing time. There isn’t much beta out there about the course numbers but it was well over 6000 feet of climbing according to my Garmin. You finish this race knowing that you have climbed.

I hung out with a few of the racers after the race and had lunch with them. I’m looking forward to going back to Hanson Hills in Grayling, MI for the 24 hour race. It is a fun course that most people can ride but it is challenging over time in an endurance format. I recommend giving the Fun Promotion events a try as I had a very enjoyable experience. This was actually my 2nd event put on by Fun Promotions and my experience was the exact same at the 8 hours of Ithaca. I’m really feeling good as I enter summer with my cycling fitness. Next up is the Funk Bottoms Gravel 200K Race. Time to get FUNKY!!!fullsizeoutput_764

 

Top 5 Single Speeder at Pisgah Stage Race = 32×19 Torture Fest of Fun!

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Cred: iconmediaasheville.com

It was my 5 days of spring training for 2017 and I thought it would be wise to use the Pisgah Stage Race as the setting, great idea! Yeah, now that it is has come and gone I’m left with one certainty…Pisgah is hard, hard and more hard but fun, fun and more fun! I had been to the Pisg before but it had been a long time and I wasn’t focused on cycling back then. I got an eye-opening experience and then some.

I raced the Single Speed division and it was stacked from top to bottom with an exceptional bunch of misfits at least the bunch I rode and hung out with, which made it a very painfully and rewarding experience. It was perfect for me and it tested me. I suspect it has propelled me forward by a month in my training.

A couple of lessons I learned about the Pisgah for those that decide to venture down to the Pisg for the first time or maybe it has been a while:

  1. Suspension is your friend
  2. 32×19 is a bit stiff for 5 days
  3. Dropper Posts are highly recommended and I will have one next time
  4. Ride with someone who knows the Pisg
  5. Don’t take yourself too seriously (have fun) and I did accomplish that mission

I could add a lot more but the picture should be crystal, do your research and there is plenty out there, so know where you are going and have a contingency plan and a buddy with you because you could easily get lost or hurt out there and it is remote. I was fortunate to have a marked course and rode with veterans of the Pisgah Stage Race or Pisgah in general.

The course was a plow fest from the start to the finish. You better be ready to climb and go down and I don’t mean your local downhill. You better be ready to ride down gnarl that had me wishing for a belay line as you catapult down boulder fields and tangles of  roots that would make an octopus envious, it will slap you silly. The beauty of the Pisg will reward you with a true back country ride that will slap a smile on your face regardless of the pain you might be temporarily experiencing and believe me more pain is a coming!

A little about the course so that you can get the picture of what 5 days of the Pisgah Stage Race looks like for you data crunchers and planners. At first glance, don’t mistake this for your EKG results, it looks like an up and down affair within a shark’s mouth and it is indeed. Credit: Blue Ridge Adventures for the profile charts below.

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River crossing to the start of Stage 1

Stage 1 – Looking Glass Route
24.71 miles / 39.77 km
4,130 ft / 1258 m elevation gainStage 2 – Promised Land Route
29 miles / 46.5 km
3878 ft / 1182 m elevation gain

Stage 3 – White Squirrel Route (HARD)
29 miles / 46.5 km
5118 ft / 1560 m elevation gain

Stage 4 – Carl Schenck Route (HARDER)
31.5 miles / 50.5 km
4113 ft / 1254 m elevation gain

Stage 5 – The Land of Waterfalls Route
25 miles / 40 km
3186+ ft / 971 m elevation gain 

It is a grind but it will reward you with some of the sweetest morsels of ripping this side of the Mississippi along with amazing views. A few routes that stood out to me that I could do over and over with a grin from ear to ear: Stage 1 was a hoot from start to finish except the hike a bike up Daniel Ridge, Squirrel Gap ascent and descent on Stage 2, Black Mountain descent on Stage 3 after barely staying upright on it during Stage 2, Laurel Creek descent and Laurel Mountain Ascent until the ridiculous hike a bike at the top on Stage 4 and the Bracken Mountain flow descent to the finish on Stage 5.

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Looking Glass Falls

When considering your trip to visit the Pisg rather it be for a bike vacation or to do the Pisgah Stage Race, these venues and resources were bomber for me: Sunset Motel (lodging convenience that caters to cyclists), The Hub (afternoon ale refreshments and food truck delicacies), The Square Root restaurant (dining pleasures and evening chill time), Davidson River (cooling those battered legs) and great weather which we had everyday so I recommend a spring time frame.

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Sunset Motel

 

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The Hub

 

My bike shredded and climbed like a beast! It was the first real test for my Lynskey Ti build and  the Captain came out with a 5 star crash test certified rating. A few of the pieces that made it a success on the Pisg-gnar: ESI grips kept me from having nerve damage in my hands, Trucker Co tire sealant kept me from having any flats nor did I put air in them one time during the entire race, Maxxis Crossmark tires provided great traction across all surfaces (it was dry), Industry Nine wheels that hooked up while absorbing the pounding of the Pisg, KMC chain that I put out at least 500 lb-ft of torque on those vertical climbs and last but not least some cold hops with classy folks!

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This bike rocks!

A few things that would have made it even more pleasurable: A dropper post would be advisable for you hard-tail lovers like me as it would make the extreme vertical descents so much more ridable, instead of a 32×19 gear setup on the single which I ran every stage for added training bonus (idiot)…a 32×20-21 would be more forgiving on the climbs,

I want to thank my sponsors for their superior support that aided me in my survival: Trucker Co brakes and tire sealant, ESI grips, Kogel bottom brackets, Squirt lube, Twin Six kits, Loaded components and Wolftooth cogs!

In the end, I revisited a terrain that I don’t get exposed to often, especially the technical descending. It was a blast and very rewarding! I’m glad to have been a part of this mayhem. I have done several stage races in sweet spots across the globe and the Pisg is the most challenging technically, so be prepared. I want to thank a certain few individuals that suffered alongside me while hooliganing all along the way. These guys are single speeding machines of madness, cheers to my fellow one-cogging brothers: Dave and Dave, Stephen, Cam and Joe!

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Dave, Joe, Stephen, Cam, Dave and a suspect character

Blue Ridge Adventures put on a memorable and delightful stage race experience. Thanks to all of the volunteers that were out there everyday supporting us. The course was marked perfectly. The food and libations were delicious. This is a very affordable race compared to the others out there and Brevard is a very cool town to hang out. I had a great time mingling with all of the racers who were very social and positive. Racers came from all over the world. It was a pleasure getting to know some of them.

Now it is time to focus on endurance racing and I will be stronger having had the Pisg stamp of fitness and beat down etched into my bones. I’m very pleased with my top 5 finish alongside these wily bunch of single speeders. XC racing, I have always found to be a great way to supplement your endurance racing with that extra bit of power and cardio fitness that will kick in during those wee hours of the night when you are battling it out with another crazy and you need that little boost to get you over that mountain top in front!

First, before I get ahead of myself I have to go check all of my wheel and bottom bracket bearings after I went swimming in the creek with my bike on Stage 3, oh yeah!

Cheers and all the best to your 2017 season of ripping and roaring!

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Salute

 

 

 

 

 

1st at TommyKnocker 10

Jackhammering Effect

First race of the year was a big success. I was able to ride hard and consistent for 9 hours while amassing 100 miles and 8000 feet of climbing. The TommyKnocker went down in Silver City, NM. The trails were amazing in the high desert at 6000 feet elevation. We rode on the trails at Fort Bayard and they were high desert winding zip and pop. The first half of the course was a climb that was steady and gradual with a few rollers. The second half was a roller coaster with a few technical pop ups. The course consisted of gravelly sand and rock. The rocky course did beat you over time especially on my rigid setup. By the time I finished I was feeling the post jackhammering effect in my body. The fuzzy podium picture represents my vision at the time. Cactus was prevelant but not too close to the trail. You definitely want to run sealant as I did pick up some cactus burrs. The weather was grand and a nice break from what we have been subject to on the east coast. I was impressed with Zia Rides as they put on a stellar event and gave it a down home flavor. The single speed division was fairly big for an endurance lap race and there were some strong riders. The “OO” Buckshot that I just did a build write up on in the previous post was bomber. It rocked and even though I ran rigid the carbon absorbed and responded well to the undulating of the course rather that was tight turns on an uphill requiring massive torque or the bouncing through a rock garden. I was especially pleased with my Loaded Precision Ultra  XLite carbon wheels. They flat out hooked up.

Ripping it at the Tommyknocker

My training has been limited this winter but my power was solid as well as my endurance which I was a bit worried about since my rides have been short. Adjusting to the altitude and sleep deprivation from the quick travel to the race was a challenge. I seemed to make it happen and I was very pleased as I was able to take the lead on lap 1 and ended up lapping the single speed field. I was able to stop an hour early due to my lead. I could have done another lap but my body was thankful that it wasn’t needed. I credit my girlfriend for keeping me fueled and smiling out on the course. Thank you baby. I would also like to thank my sponsors especially Loaded Precision for the carbon wheels and cockpit, ESI for the grips, xpedo for the pedals, Kogel Bearings for the bottom bracket and Twin Six for the stylish and functional Metal bike kits. Also, Trucker Co. has brought me on as one of their posse and I will be running their brake pads and tire sealant. I’m super pumped about being with these guys. It was a hoot and I’m pumped for the year as I have some amazing challenges in front of me that I’m eager to face. Again thanks to Zia Rides for hosting such a great event.  Jess Moore was a jewel out there and I’m very thankful that I have her in my corner. We are wrapping up an amazing tour across the southwest that has taken us from Albuquerque, NM to Idyllwild, CA. Thank you baby.

Celebrating the Victory

Get out and jam people. Spring is upon us.

Riding the Chutes in Tucson, AZ

Riding in Idyllwild, CA

Cheers!

On One ‘OO’ Single Speed Build

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‘OO’ (Double-Ought Buckshot), my moniker for this beast. It is a lightweight, single-speed, carbonic-flexing puncher of a machine. I am so looking forward to getting this puncher out on the race courses this year. I expect it to slice and dice the single track in my endurance races over the year and beyond. I have tested it out over the winter in various places and I have been super impressed with it. I have swapped a few parts in and out over this time. I have settled on the below list of componentry, which I feel will accommodate my needs and style like a disco inferno going off in the pale moonlight. It is light and agile. It climbs and descends while sticking to the rail of the trail. The frame (On-One Lurcher) is solid and durable with a sleekly commando presence. The geometry seems to be dialed in well for a cued in responsiveness to the trail. A few noteworthy standouts on the frame: Optional hanger plates to run it as single speed or geared, beefy bottom bracket housing and tapered head set tube for steering stability, lightweight carbon that is stiff and responsive. The all black look is the look for me as I like to sneak around stealthily and “BAM” there I am, hahaha!

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As for the parts that I used to piece this solid frame together, well I did some research as I always do in my lab of madness and delved into my jumbled contortion of experience with builds and use of parts over the years with an emphasis towards effective and durable lightweight components. After all is said and done, the ‘OO’ weighs in at 18.5 lbs. 20150226_172333 (3)Yes, that is with pedals, grips, valve stems, water-bottle cage and tire sealant. The ‘OO’ is super light but yet strong and it will PUNCH!

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It will get a full test next weekend at the Tommy Knocker 10 Hour in Silver City, NM. Can’t wait to leave this snow encrusted tundra of the East and rock it in the sunshine of the southwest for spring break.

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Build Up:

Wheelset- Loaded Ultra X-Lite Carbon Tubeless Rims (29″, 32 H) with Industry 9 Classic Torch Hubs

Tires- Continental Race King 2.2

Crank- SRAM XX1 Carbon Crank 170 mm

Bottom Bracket- Kogel Ceramic Pressfit 92 mm

Pedals- xpedo M-Force 4 Ti

Chain Rings- Blackspire 32 T  on the front accompanied by a Chris King 19 T on the rear

Chain- Shimano XTR

Chain Tensioner- Surly Tuggnut

Fork- Whisky No. 9

Headset- Cane Creek 110 ZS 44 Upper 49 Lower

Handlebar- Loaded X-Lite Carbon Flat 710 mm

Stem- Loaded X-Lite w/Ti 90 mm

Seat Post- Loaded X-Lite w/Ti 31.6 mm

Saddle- SDG Fly

Grips- ESI

Brakes- Avid XX

Rotors- Clarks Floating 160 mm

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Cheerios!!!