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


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

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
DERAILLEURS: Gevanalle BURD Dual Speed Front 34.9mm, Gevenalle BURD 10spd Rear
CHAIN: Shimano Ultegra 10spd
LEVERS/SHIFTERS: Gevanalle 10spd
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


1st at Funk Bottoms Gravel Grinder

A true cycling race award!

A true cycling race award!

Welcome to Ohio! The best way to adapt to a new environment is to get out and race, I say. The Funk Bottoms Gravel Grinder (Ohio’s Toughest Gravel Grinder) takes place south of Cleveland in the Mohican Wilderness out of a little town called Lakeville, OH. I must say that Ohio has some legit climbing. I thought I would be finding myself struggling to find some climbing here but all is in good order as the Funk gave me plenty. I signed up for the 200k but that was relegated to a 100k before the start after the area received a torrential downpour and flooding was a real threat. I had to get up early around 4:20 and make my way north for almost 3 hours. The interstate was flooded…a little fish tailing here and a little fish tailing there if you know what I mean. I made it none the less with about a half hour to prep in the rain. Not much talking at the pre-race meeting as everyone was huddled under the roof of a park picnic area. Im sure they were like me wondering what in the world am I doing here…this is going to be a bit insane. In other words it wasn’t the most ideal day to be out racing. We started off in a controlled lead out for the first 2 miles and made a right turn onto gravel that went UP. The race was on and I got in the lead group and pushed the pace on the first of many steep climbs. After about 3 or 4 miles, a guy from Indiana was with me on his cross bike. I chose to ride the Niner Air Carbon mountain bike that I recently finished building up. We chatted off and on…nice guy. Not long into the race as we were descending the pitchy course, I noticed that my handlebars were loose. I was like…what…for real!!! I continued on by applying pressure to the bars in order to stabilize them in the stem mounting cup as I went speeding down the bumpy, washed out and slippery gravel roads at high speeds. Once I realized that my wishing them to retighten on their own wasn’t going to happen and that I would have to tighten them or risk a nasty crash. At mile 20 we came through the little town of Killbuck. As I continued to race, I proceeded to unfasten my GPS and place it in my mouth. I then removed my tool kit and tightened the stem cap bolts. Once all was back snug and my tool kit was put away, I replaced my GPS back to its mount and continued on as if nothing had ever happened. That takes skill people. My fellow racer from Indiana and I continued to go up and down for the first 30 miles together as the rain continued to be unrelentless. The gravel roads were soft and plowing the muck we were. We made a turn and the gravel went up up up. As I made my way along and pedaled steady, I looked back and he was gone. At that moment a dog came out to greet me with a snarling attitude. Now that I was on my own, I continued to move along the course as I knew there was a checkpoint coming up that was put in place to make sure that no one cut the course. I arrived at the checkpoint and signed in. I refilled my water and dropped off my rain jacket…it was useless by this point as I was soaked through and covered in grit and mud. I spent a few minutes there chatting with the race support guy and then off I went with about 2o miles or so to the finish. The climbs just kept coming and coming. I thought the course had 3500 feet of climbing but as it turns out it had over 7000 feet. Thats a lot of climbing over a 63 mile course, especially in the rain and mud. I looked back here and there and never saw anyone in the distance, so I kept the same tempo. After a few downed tree crossings from the early morning storms, I made my final turn that would lead me to the finish. I started backing off and just coasted in to the finish. My legs were slammed. Two minutes later, Chris Karpowicz came flying in to the finish for 2nd place. 20150627_130507_resized Chris is the race director and a super nice guy. He is really into the gravel scene. I was presented a case of Yuengling Beer and the winners plaque. I must say it was a tough race, especially with the conditions that were present and the climbing that caught me off guard. Chris put on a great and challenging event. The course was marked very well and the volunteers were all smiles. I would put this one on your calendar for next year if you dig gravel racing but be ready as it is no cakewalk. The course is absolutely beautiful as you climb and descend through some beautiful forest and farmlands. I do believe I will have plenty of solid racing and riding here in Ohio. All smiles!

Haven't seen one of these in a while.

Haven’t seen one of these in a while.


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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Loaded Precision Cockpit Review


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I have been racing and training on the Loaded Precision cockpit (handlebar, stem and seat post) for about a year now. I have been very impressed with it  and in fact I just equipped another bike I built up with the same Loaded cockpit. Loaded makes stylishly impressive carbon fiber, lightweight aluminum and titanium components for mountain bikes. I have been running the Loaded: X-Lite Carbon UD Handlebar (Flat, 710mm), X-Lite Titanium Stem (90mm), X-Lite Ultra Aluminum Seatpost (400mm, 31.6mm).

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The X-Lite Carbon UD (Uni-directional)Flat Handlebar with a width of 710mm (27.95 inches) delivers a setup that I find spot on. The wide stance allows me to breathe fully while I climb, which I find myself mostly doing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The carbon makeup of the bar provides a sweet balance of responsive flex and stiffness that I find crucial as I navigate through rock gardens or come barreling into a sharp turn and burn. The weight of the bar is incredibly light and ones first impression might be ‘how strong can it really be’, but it is without a doubt. I mostly do ultra endurance racing, so having the ample width of the bar allows me to place my accessories (lights, bags, gps, etc) needed for such an event.

The X-Lite Titanium Stem with a 90mm length comes in all black aka ‘stealth cool’. Stem length is important as any racer or devoted rider knows when it comes to bike fit (effective comfort). The X-Lite Ti Stem is made out of T6 7075 Aluminum (light weight) with a carbon face plate while adorned with Titanium bolt hardware. It comes in at an impressive <100 grams. Titanium is very well-known for its weight to strength qualities. The X-Lite Ti Stem fits that bill without a doubt and provides the contact platform needed to take on the line grinding of single track. The milling on the stem provides an aesthetic quality that I find high-end classy.

The X-Lite Ultra Aluminum Seatpost comes in the varied sizes anyone might need for a typical mountain bike setup. I’m running the ‘stealth cool” version with a 31.6 mm diameter. Very light weight and comparable to any high-end seatpost when it comes to craftsmanship and quality. The X-Lite Seatpost comes with Titanium bolt hardware and is made out of T6 7075 Aluminum. I personally have an affinity to Titanium hardware due to its strength, light weight and rust avoidance properties. I have found that this seatpost provides me with a seamless integration on my bike to round out my cockpit. I swap saddles at certain times and setting up the saddle is easy and the mounting base is wide enough for the stability needed when it comes to the stresses placed by your rump on it.

Loaded Precision makes high-end quality components and you get what you pay for, atleast in my opinion. Aesthetically pleasing and more importantly functional and up to the task at hand. I will continue to adorn my racing rigs with Loaded. Loaded makes a lot more than just cockpit items and a nice color selection of select components. Check them out, I believe you will be impressed as I have been.