Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Just hit play.

This is what makes me happy. This is why I like riding.

I can't ride like that, but I sure would like to.

carry on.

In the Bottle: New Glarus Organic Revolution. mmmmm, yummy!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Grand Opening Friday! This Friday!

Stop on by! We'll have some music, some food, some soda. If you would like beer, bring your own. I can't serve. It all starts around 5pm.

Family fun. That's what biking should be about, right? I started this shop to be a family oriented type of place, and haven't quite gotten there yet. This will soon change though. The last Friday of every warm month is now dedicated to a family fun night. Anyone with kids, bikes, trailers, trail-a-bikes, kiddie karriers and a hankerin' for a good time is welcome to come along.

The plan is to start at the shop, ride as a slow, fun group to a park in town, stop, set up camp and proceed to have fun. Kids playing. Parents playing. Food cooking. Eating said food. And then playing more. Lets do it!

Hey, you know, if its fun enough, we just might do it more often, who knows? I'd like to know who'd be interested in this. Please drop a line here, k?

New artists at the shop! Greg Cheesboro is a potter from Viroqua. His work has both an inspiring beauty, and a sense of functionality to it. I'll post pictures when ever we get good light in the store. His wife, Anna Rodriquez also supplied us with some great felt wallets in wonderfully vibrant colors. Hillary Berg is also bringing some works over today. We're really excited to have her works in. Again, I'll have some pics up soon.

On to bike talk - the TransIowa was this past weekend. Locals know how - WET - things were. Surprisingly, the roads over in IA were nearly bone dry by the time the start gun blasted. I figure 40 mph winds helped that out. The roads may have been dry, the streams and rivers certainly weren't. Guitar Ted is going to be reviewing the whole race in the coming days. If you're curious about this event, and how it worked from the promoters eyes, read his blog! I did some scouting for photography on Saturday afternoon and found that the Turkey River really doesn't like to be kept in its banks when its draining up to 8" of rain from the previous few days. Some of the B roads were well under water.

So like I said, I was taking pictures for Mark. I only got like three. I was slated to take shots on Sunday, on the final portion of the course. Unfortunately, with sooo much water being on the course, or crossing the course, too many re-route had to be done on the fly, adding confusion to an already slightly confusing race. Mark and David finally broke when they found a road with no easy routes to re-route to, was completely washed out. At the bottom of a steeeep hill. They called the race at about 1 am, and finished in Edgeville instead of Decorah.

So where are the pics? Uh. I don't know. They're digital dust. In transfering them from my camera to the 'puter, they were lost. I'm bummed.

I did manage to save shots from the Decorah time trials though! Since I wasn't 'working', I figured that Lisa and the girls would like to get out of dodge for a day. I proposed going to Decorah at about 7 when we woke up. By 8:30 were packed and out the door. All the rain that affected the TI, also hit the Decorah trails too. Surprisingly, they were in fantastic shape. Some sections were indeed wet, but not so bad as to be unridable. The weather must've scared off a whole metric ton of people though. This race usually has over 120 riders. 88 showed up this year. Better for me! I did pretty well, I think. 4th in my age group (34-35), and 22nd overall. Ryan did well too, getting 2nd in his age class and something like 28th over all. All the old LaCrosse homies did well too(they all beat me - which is not so unusual). On to pictures(I know thats why you come here!)

Prior to the start - the LaCross guys, Ryan, and I headed to get start times.

On trail - some guy riding a Salsa El Mariachi past the car and the most awesomeest trail head house I've seen to date.

Trail gnome, waiting to attack an unsuspecting rider ambling by.

The awesomest house.

Me, a half hour into the race, after passing four guys already(we set out at 1 minute intervals).

And me about an hour later, mostly shot, but happy with results.

In the mug: Birchwood Blend from Peace Coffee. Mmm, good! They support cycling, support them!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Scouting mission.

Sunday saw Lisa[and yes, Lisa rode! And yes, she REALLY enjoyed being on the bike again!], the girls, Ryan and I head up to Badger Camp for a scouting mission. They've been kind enough to say we can build there - but we can't really build until we see whats there, right? Right. So up we go.

For those not local, Sunday was as perfect a spring day as we can get 'round these parts. Low to moderate humidity, clear skies. It rained in the days before, so things were tacky, if not just a tad wet. All was fine though.

Ryan and I took off first, almost immediately riding off property, past some great rock formations. Too bad we won't be able to incorporate them...So we go back up the way we came, trudging along at a much slower pace, and I spy out of the corner of my eye, a trail darting to the right. After a short, very short consultation, off we went, down, down an trail waaaay too steep to even think about being sustainable. It eventually leveled out to a sweet contour trail. That was no where near long enough. Then it went DOWN again. At the bottom of the ravine, we had no choice but to head back UP. Thankfully, there was a newly cut road we followed that let us ride for a while.

It was kind of hard to ride and watch the passing hill sides for ridable terrain, so we got off and walked. Yeah - that's the ticket. hah! There most definitely IS some choice terrain to look at. The next step is get off the bike and hike the hills. Any locals game? Give me a call! At this point, more eyes are critical.

Up top once again, we headed out on the south lobe of the property. Carissa said the trail won't run to the property line, just keep going. Alrighty then! We did as she instructed, and as we got further and further out, the trail got progressively narrower until we were on an inspiring trail.

A short section was on a ridge top, with fantastic views. It ended up rounding a knoll of a Oak Stand that would support an amazing ride/hike in camp site. If only it didn't overlook Hwy 18...Oh well. It'd still be pretty cool!

Me rockin the Bluedog colors and the new Hbars. Love 'em!

This trail section will most definitely be included in the system once its up and running. Badger Camp is gonna rock.

Like an idiot, I forgot the card for my camera, so I didn't get some shots I wanted, but soon, very soon, I'll have my own shots to throw up. These were all courtesy of Ryan. At least one of us was thinking...

On another note - Friday, May 2. Keep the date open! Make sure you can find your way over to the PdC for our Grand Opening! We'll be having music courtesy of the local highschool talent pool, some food, some root beer(maybe, and I stress maybe a small barrel of barley pop), some sale items (yet to be determined), and garunteed good times. Pop over if'n ya can!

Anyways. Off to ride. Monday night Mountain rides are here!

I hope someone shows up.

Listening to: Atmosphere, God Loves Ugly

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Has the weather finally broken?

Here's to hoping so!

Last week was miserable. To get over it, I went down to the Quad Cities for my first race of the year at Sylvan Island. The trail was interesting. Its located on an old Military Industrial site that was on an island. So its flat, with the trail wandering amongst construction debris. Strange but fun. I decided to do the sport class instead of singlespeed. I chose to bring the Haro down.

I had a good start and was feeling really good halfway through the race, passing a few and moving up. I figure I was top 15 or so. Not bad for not really racing all that much in the past few years. On the third of 5 laps though, it all went south. The combination of all the odd materials[think bricks sticking out of the ground at every odd angle] and blocky/rooty transitions finally conspired against me. I flatted out! Gah! I hardly ever flat. Such a bummer.

A few shots from the Expert/SS race:

This was the 'climb' on the course. All of 10' or so.

On an equipment choice theme, I ran new to me Continental Mountain King 2.4 tires. Considering that they got a whole ton of rain down there, just like we did, last week, I figured the agressive, widely spaced knobs would treat me well there. Did they ever! I LOVE these tires. They're my new favorite for soft, mixed or wet conditions. They didn't clog at all. They gripped like there was no tomorrow.

I also ran Jones Hbars for the first time in a race. I used them on a few gravel rides 'round these parts, and the were comfortable. But they shined out on the trail. My wrists were in a very comfortable neutral position. I found it easy to slide around on them to find the ideal comfortable position. I owe some money now!

Enough words. On to work! Its gonna be a great week. Wednesday and Saturday are on for riding. Probably Monday for mountain too!

Listening to: Minnesota Public Radio News. Morning fix.

Monday, April 7, 2008

And the hits just keep comin'!

Last Friday I got a call from Tim down at Momentum Bikes in Platteville. He told me about Badger Camp, located just a few miles from the shop. It seems that they're interested in developing some more trails on the camp land itself. The main office for Badger Camp is located in Platteville, so it makes sense that they'd call Tim first. Tim's got a few other trail systems to think about down there to even consider driving an hour to work on another, hence the call on Friday.

I was glad to hear from him, and took his advice and drove up to the Badger Camp site on Sunday. WOW. We ran into Carrissa, the camp director, and talked to her about the camp itself, the programs they run, what happens there in the off season [Boy Scout camps, etc. = trail building scout badges!], and what they're interested in from me/us. Talk about a beautiful setting. And the potential there is just stunning. 630 acres. Two ridges. And LOTS of available terrain for building trails. I really look forward to exploring the possibilities there further.

Lisa is super excited about the camp activities and adaptive cycling too. I could hardly tear her away from the internet last night. She found lots of neat adaptive cycles. I think she was more excited about this whole deal than I am. Very cool!

Hearing and seeing news like this last two posts has me all fired up and happy about opening the shop in town here. I can't wait for people to start discovering what we'll have down here. I'll be sure to keep y'all updated as to what's happening on the trails here as news comes down the line. These next few years look REALLY promising.

And this isn't even touching on the cool stuff happening up Viroqua way with Vernon Trails and the HPT crew. Hoo boy, SW Wisco is gonna blow up soon!

Friday, April 4, 2008

BIG trail news. This is gonna be SO good!

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of trails. Specifically, hiking/biking trails. I like building 'em. I like designing 'em. I like being on 'em. This area is surprisingly well blessed with trails. And its about to get better. A lot better. As many locals remember, we were hit pretty hard last summer with some torrential rainfall. All this water was pretty devastating to the local trails. Particularly hard hit was Wyalusing State Park. I've been talking with the powers-that-be with in the State Parks system about redesigning their system with more mountain bike trails Much to my surprise, they've agreed that MTB's could stand to see more miles out there. I just found out how serious they are about doing sustainable trail design too. Jeff Prey of the WI State Parks/DNR just informed me that Mike Ritter will be coming to help with design and layout.

For those not familiar, Mike was part of IMBA's first Trail Care Crew. He's also been running his own trail design and construction business for years. Brigit Brown who will also be attending is the State Trails Coordinator for Wisconsin. Two big names attending shows big committment for trails at the Park.

I can't wait!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Has it really been almost a week?

Yep. Sure has. And a lot has happened. Mainly I've been getting busy with repairs in the shop. This is a good thing! I like repairs. Keep 'em coming.

Also had a computer blow up at home, rendering my time to update this little blog, um gone. While perusing a few blogs this morning - it appears as if Guitar Ted may have had the same issues. Or maybe he just upgraded. Anyways, we've got a new machine at home that's pretty dang quick. Nice to work with a speedy computer!

I got a few new bikes in the shop this week too. The Jamis Coda and Allegro flat bar roadish bikes are in, as at the Jamis Citizen 1.0[entry level] hybrids. Stop in and see 'em. The Allegro is impressive! Really nice parts for the price.

Pay attention for an announcement about a grand opening this month! Yep, keep your Saturdays free, cause one will have a party on it. Hopefully the weather will hold out!

I'll be taking pictures for Guitar Ted again for TransIowa v4 later this month too. I took shots last year and had a great time. Looking forward to it this year too. TI is a crazy event and those who do it are even crazier. I admire them for sure.

Group rides are going great. Last Saturday was the first of what should be many. Thanks to Carl for coming all the way from Waterloo. Good to meet you, and great to ride with you! The ride schedule will be as follows:
Monday Mountain rides - as weather and trail conditions allow
Wednesday Road - 5 pm at the shop. If you're coming from out of town, send an email and we'll wait to 5:15 or so.
Saturday Road - 7 am at the shop. This one will start earlier as we go into summer so we can ride longer.
Lisa and I are talking about doing a family based fun ride too. Something that kids will be encouraged to come along on. Think short, think fun. Parks, picnics and playing will most likely be involved.

That is all!

Listening to: MPR. Gotta get my news fix in the a.m.!