Friday, August 22, 2008

Roads. Gravel. Dirt. Chip seal.

You name it. I like 'em. And there are lots of other folks around that like 'em. All you have to do is look at the proliferation of events like the Dirty Kanza, Trans Iowa and the great grand daddy, the Great Divide Route that take advantage of these off-the-beaten-tracks. Its even gotten to the point that Bicycling Magazine had a spot in the latest issue about hitting up the dirt on your road loop! The horrors....I jest!

Why do I like them so? They take you to places rarely seen by the casual person. Cars are a rarity. Of course yo do still see them occasionally, and they're typically going slower(unless you run into and Iowan - they know how to drive on gravel) Riding sketchy surfaces on skinny tires makes you learn to handle the bike, become comfortable with it floating beneath you. Downhills of a sudden interesting endeavors.

You see farms. Actual working farms. Friendly waves are easy to come by. Conversations are sometimes even easier to come by. Its not often some of these roads get traveled, and a new face is welcomed.

You pedal along streams on your left, and sheer limestone walls on your right. Pedaling past pastures so green it hurts. Pedaling through tree tunnels, with cool moist air acting as a natural air conditioner on hot summer days. 

Go to flickr and there's even a group dedicated to the Backroad. I find myself browsing through there frequently. 

Ok readers, its time to do yourself a favor. Go out and find a gravel road, and take it all in. I feel like you'll be addicted, just like me, in no time.

Listening to: SO much better than I love the internet!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Tag Game.

I was just hit by Scott over at The Haraldsons. Scott's a long time friend from the old MTBR days. He and his wife also happen to be muy excelente photographers. Be sure to check out his(and her) stuff, eh?

On with this:
If you could have any one — and only one — bike in the world, what would it be?
I've already had it. And I let it go. A custom filletbrazed steel 29"er, with an eccentric and a derailleur hanger. I want one back. Some day...

Do you already have that coveted dream bike? If so, is it everything you hoped it would be? If not, are you working toward getting it? If you’re not working toward getting it, why not?
I liked what I had, but the Top tube was too short. Too old school. Not really working toward it right now, since I have this little shop thing to really focus on.

If you had to choose one — and only one — bike route to do every day for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?
It would HAVE to be a mellow, swoopy single track through aspens with a slight downhill in, and a possibilty of peeling off for an after work epic. Can't get too sweaty on the way into work, right? Something like that would simply put me in a great mood. I get happy just thinking about it.

What kind of sick person would force another person to ride one and only one bike ride for the rest of her / his life?
At least my wife understands my affliction. So it wouldn't be her. She actually suggested that I have one bike of genre not too long back. I love her! Other wise I like Scotts answer.

Do you ride both road and mountain bikes? If both, which do you prefer and why? If only one or the other, why are you so narrowminded? I ride both.
Both. And Cyclocross. In the past it would have been mountain only. 'Cause I wasn't that smart. Road/cross has its place. The roads(gravel and tarmac) where I live are awesome. Twisty, hilly, remote, and devoid of cars. Its cycling nirvana. Our trails are good, and options will soon be getting much better. After I put a ton of work into them that is.

Have you ever ridden a recumbent? If so, why? If not, describe the circumstances under which you would ride a recumbent?
Yes. Did I like it? Yes. Will I own one? Nope. I'm neither eccentric enough, nor do I have enough hair.

Have you ever raced a triathlon? If so, have you also ever tried strangling yourself with dental floss?
Are you kidding? Of course not. I can't swim a lick. Wouldn't do one if I could swim.

Suppose you were forced to either give up ice cream or bicycles for the rest of your life. Which would you give up, and why?
Duh. Now if the question were chocolate chip cookies....

What is a question you think this questionnaire should have asked, but has not? Also, answer it.

How does one truly avoid the bummer life?

And to the last one. Who reads me? Mike at BlackMountain Cycles. I'm callin' you out.
Ben at Milltown. And Jason at Gnatlikesbikes. Fess up y'all!

listening to: MPR, The Current. Minnesota has it SO good. Wisconsin Public Radio blows. Thank god for the Internets!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Save the date!

Sunday, October 12, 2008.


The Prairie Peddler is happy to announce that we'll be putting on a cyclocross race! It is part of the Viroqua Cross Series. As such, it is a points race for what's happening up there. Newlin, time to get down here and do some planning! And to top it all off, there's no WCA races that weekend. Think we'll get an influx of 'easterner's' here? Lets hope so.

The course promises to be fast and furious. It'll be scenic for those not in the pain cave, and with good light, a great photographers course.

Of course I'll be posting updates as organization progresses.

Have suggestions for a name? Mississippi Cross? PdC Cross? Border Cross?

Listening to: Nothing. The shop is quiet. Peaceful.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Yellow River Gravel Grinder

Ryan and I headed out for a nice mellow-ish grinder yesterday. I'm really not sure if I've been out on a more perfect day this year yet. Temperature(mid 70's). Moisture(none). Clouds(none). Roads (empty). I mean really. Perfect. I will be doing this loop again. Ended up with 30 miles and 3200' of climbing. Really, a good day on the bike. I needed that.

My ankle is still sore from last weeks trail riding debacle though.

On with the pics!

The last 4 miles was on this two track road through the Yellow River State Forest. Nice stuff.

listening to:; Clap Your Hands Say Yeah radio. playing RadioHead and Sonic Youth.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

One of THOSE rides.

You know what I'm talking about. You've been having a great season thus far. Killin' it on the trails, and putting on good miles on the road. You're strong. You feel good.

Then 'that' day hits. Oh, you're fine through most of the day. There are only slight hints as too the mayhem that is approaching. A dropped soda can. Walking into the doorway. Forgetting where you put your glasses(on yer head dumass!)

You head to the trail for the planned ride. You've been thinking of the route all day long, and are looking forward to swooping through sun dappled trails, freshly tacky from the mornings rain.

But what's this? Does your bike want to jettison you, or is something just not right here? I know I've been talking about selling you, but damn. No need to react like this, bike. Stay under me.


You're heading for the root. And the rut. And that tree.

STOP! Stopping.


Foot out, grasping for traction. Damned slippery Sidi soles. Damned slippery rotting logs hidden underneath wet slimy undergrowth.

Was that my ankle?

I can recover. Yep, just a small bobble. No...wait...not...recovering...

Where's the seat going? That doesn't feel good.

I'm not landing in poison ivy am I?

Where's that laughter coming from? Oh, your entertained riding partner. Thanks. Thanks for that.

All right. You're sore. Ego's bruised. Lets keep going before the ankle protests too much. A mile later, and a rim hit or two that you just [I]know[/I] gave you a pinch flat, you give up. You're 3 miles into a ride that started ok, but quickly progressed down hill.

Cash it in, called the wife to have an ice bucket ready for the ankle and come back for another day.

Yep I had one of those yesterday. Could have been a great day in the woods, but NOOOOOO. Anyone want a Vassago?

Listening to: Minnesota Public Radio. And fighting children.