Monday, October 27, 2008

Tragedy and Pain or Whats Eric looking at now?

I've got a customer, Eric, who like any true bike geek values his steeds highly. They're all personalized and unique to their owners riding nature. And, like any bike lover, he's equipped for nearly any riding situation, be it snow, trail or road. And of course each of these rigs was put together painstakingly slowly, bit by bit as he found what worked for him and what didn't. The more interesting part is that Eric and his wife moved here(he's originally from this area) from Austin TX about a year and half ago. Since then he hasn't been riding a ton for a few reasons. Since finding my shop though, he's been a regular, and enthusiastic attendee for the rides, and I can count on him showing up in the shop on Friday and uh doing what bike guys do.

But all that passion and effort literally went up in smoke a few weeks back. Eric kept his bikes in a tool shed along with other stuff you'll find on a working farm. This includes lots of flammable fuel. Most certainly something that any of us would never want to have happen to our own collections. Receiving the call from Eric telling me what had happened was hard enough. Going through it would've been tougher for sure.

From The Prairie Peddler

Pugsly, Karate Monkey, and Raliegh road.

From The Prairie Peddler

What's left of a Pinarello Surprise.

From The Prairie Peddler

Thomson stem that WAS black and a cardon bar.

From The Prairie Peddler

Yeti FRO and bits.

From The Prairie Peddler

The barn.

Thankfully, insurance is doing what it actually should for once. The whole kit'n kaboodle is being covered. This is proving to be fun for Eric, and benefiting the shop. Both of us are getting to play with build options that are....unusual.

So what IS Eric looking at? The first bike coming into the store is a Rawland Olaf.

These are sold primarily as a 650b or 27.5" mountain bike. As my friend Ben has happily discovered, they will also accept 2.1ish 29" rubber, making for a very versitle bike. Eric will be setting his up initially as a 650b, testing the waters. This will be a fun build up to document(as will all of these), so check back, eh?

Now I just have to get a camera... Yes, BOTH of my camera's took a dump on me. At least the Nikon is repairable. Having fun looking for a point-n-shoot though.

Listening to: RadioHead Weird Fishes/Arpeggi from Itunes Genius mix based on Iron + Wine; Boy with a Coin.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The First Prairie Cross is in the Bag!


First a BIG thank you to all the volunteer help. I don't think I said it enough yesterday. All you volunteers did a tremendous job. Couldn't have done it with out you.

Second, thanks to ALL the riders who came over. Turnout was good with about 40 riders total. Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, and of course Wisconsin were represented. From all the talking I did with racers afterwards, every liked the course, even though it ended being harder than anticipated. Was it the lenght? Or was it the soul sucking long gradual climb right in the middle of the loop? Or was it the heat? MAN was it hot out there! 80+ degrees hot. Talk about unseasonable...And there I was wearing black. Go figure.

My race went uh...poorly. I was off the back almost immediately. I foolishly let out too much air from my tires at the start line. I thought it would make the bumpy course a bit smoother. Not so. I had to ride SO gingerly that first lap. I was waaaay off the back almost immediately. Oh well, I'll jut suffer along and hope I can catch some one by the last lap. Well, I DID catch someone [Dale] who promptly pulled a Benken[long standing inside joke from the 'kato scene] on me. Completely took the wind outta me and my effort. I fell back again and suffered through the heat of the last lap.

I need to give a big thanks to Renee and her crew from Madison for supporting us and coming over. She's the brains behind MadCross, and puts a ton of effort into expanding the 'cross world here in WI.

Will I do it again next year? You betcha! And I sure hope to get even more riders here. For a first year event, I'm glad that 40 showed. Lets me find the errors while they're small and unobtrusive. Will I go for full WCA series calendar status? Probably not. I like keeping this affordable and fun. Should bring out more racers/riders that way.

Some photos: credit for them to Dale. Thanks for coming up from Ill-noise Dale.






In other news, it appears that Mike and I are working on the same bikes. Odd that, since he's in Northern California, and I'm here in Wisconsin. His last two posts in particular are eyebrow raising. I swear I've had this conversation about bar tape with Gita as she's ambling about the shop babbling about babies and puppies.

There must be something in the air with camera's too. Jason seems to be having issues with his stuff too. As any photographer will know, it sucks being with out your gear at any time. If that time happens to be now though. During autumn. With out. a. camera. hurts!

Listening too: The Current. In the mug: black gold from McGregor Coffee Roasters.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cryptic, eh?

That last post I mean. What is it? Well, stating the obvious, its a map. But you didn't need me to point that out for you. More specifically, its a map to the site of the Cyclocross race being put on by me, The Prairie Peddler and Chris from Viroqua Cross. I'm excited to get this off the ground. I've mailed flyers to other area shops, hoping to pull some riders from there. Hear that La Crosse? Decorah? Platteville? Viroqua? Even you Madison people not heading to Chicago! Come on down for $5 worth of garunteed fun!

On another cyclocross note, I went over to Laphan Peak State Park for the WCA cross race there on Sunday. When I woke at 5:30/dark oclock. I could here the steady pitterpatter of rain on the roof. Great. No really. Great! I love racing in wet, sloppy miserable conditions. Its just more fun that way. Well, that plan/thought lasted untill Dodge Center where it stopped raining. When RT and I got to LPSP, its was all dry and almost sunny. Wish I left the fast tires on the bike now...oh well.

Since I haven't really done a cross race in a few years, and RT not at all, we both decided that we'd start at the back of the 4's and gut it out for 30 minutes or so.

That thought didn't last very long. As soon as the officail said GO!, my latent competitive streak kicked in and I gunned it. I immediately passed a good number of racers and settled into a good pace. Other racers couldn't maintain what they started with though, and I started passing fading riders. Lap two I think I got four in all. Lap three and four, I still felt really good, and started pushing it a little harder, bridging gaps of 50 meters or more between places. Pulled a few nice passes, and made some really good time on the downhills. What really surprised me is that I was able continue closing gaps on the hillclimbs. I would normally expect to loose a bit of ground there, seeing as that I'm certainly above the 200lb mark. I guess living in and riding these hills here has really worked for me!

As I rolled in for the last lap bell, I could see one last rider I though I'd be able to catch, I kept pushing hard, and I was slowly gaining, but not fast enough. I didn't really feel like pushing it TOO hard and crashing out, so I let the gap stay where it was and rode it in.

And this is where the surprise came in. I got 9th of 31 in the field.

Yup, I'm happy with that.

There were lots of cameras there from a photography club in Mwke. Hopefully, I can find some of them. I'll post up if I do!

listening to: Man or AstroMan 1000x