Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good news!

All the way around this time.

Firstly, the batch of Singular Swift frames is FINALLY out of customs! Tentative delivery date is this Thursday. Those of you waiting will get your frames shipped out as they were ordered, I will work my hardest to make sure they leave by Friday if they really DO arrive here in the shop Thursday.

I also just got my re supply of Phil's eccentrics. Something about being caught in a data loop for 12[*really?* 12 days stuck in a holding pattern? wtf?], so those waiting on blemmed frames will also be getting yours soon! FWIW, I still have a couple of those. Call if you're interested!

And finally, a little bit of patience pays off. We will be staying on in the current location! A little bit of work will be done to the shop, but in the end, it'll be SO worth it!

Ta ta for now. We'll talk again soon.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

News and Changes!

Whew! The Singular Sale was a damned good success, I got a lot more riders out there on new Singular rigs! Unfortunately, the Medium Swifts never did arrive in time for the sale, so those of you looking at mediums were left out.

No so anylonger! They are here, and the sale is being extended through December 12 for those of you wanting in on the Singular brand! And to be fair to the rest of the sizes[and models] out there, sale prices are being extended on ALL the Singular products I have! Swifts, Hummingbirds and Peregrines! Sorry, no Gryphons or Kites as of yet.

We're also looking for dealers! If you know of a shop that wants to carry some Singulars, send them our way and we'll get them set up. We'd love to get more of these great bikes out there!

In other news, The Prairie Peddler will be moving soon! No worries, we're still in business, but we're going to take advantage of the cooler months here to do a proper move and get the new location up and running! Please use email, or my cell [608.412.2786]to contact us!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Nice bikes to sell! And some other stuff too.

I've got a couple personal rigs here in the store I'd like to put on the market. The beloved Kelly CX bike and a Jamis Kromo dirtjumper. Both are in quite good shape. Details? Oh! Yeah. I can get you details.

Kelly CX:
I HATE to do this, but I've got to put this fantastic bike on the market. Those familiar with Kelly will know this as one of his most well thought out bikes made. Its a master of the cyclocross circuit. It eats gravel for breakfast. Road miles disappear beneath the wheels. The frame and fork are True Temper OX Platinum, a nice light, resilient smooth riding steel. Set up on the bike is 1x10, SRAM Rival rear mech, and double tap shifters. Cranks are M951 XTR with an FSA 36T single ring. Seat post is an XTR, headset is a Campy Chorus, stem a Felt, bars are Salsa Bell Laps. Wheels are new Mavic Aksium's shod with legendary Michelin Mud and Sprint tires.

Frame Geometry is traditional, level top tube for easy shouldering. There's lots of room in there for throwing in a shoulder. Seat tube measures 61cm, and the Top tube measures 61cm. I'm 6'5" and it fits very well.

Price? $1100 shipped.

The second bike up is the Jamis Kromo dirt jumper. Fun little rig here. The frame is a burly 4130 steel. Fork is a decent SR Duro with 100mm of travel. Brakes are upgraded from a single cable actuated disc to Avid Juicy 3's front and rear. Pedals are upgraded to Atom Labs as well. Cranks are nice steel three piece with micro gearing. Tires are Kenda KRad 2.35s. This is a fun bike to ride. Strength is its strong suit. It has never been jumped [I like the ground under my tires, not my face]. Its seen only a little dirt, mostly pavement from house to work and back. This is the long version of the frame for taller folks.

Price? $600 shipped.

Enjoy the perfect weather while we've got it!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Blemishes, oh my!

As I prep frames, occasionally, I run across one that has been chipped or scratched in shipment from Taiwan. Bound to happen over such miles. My loss here is your gain! I have two Peregrines here in Medium that have chipped chainstays. One near the rear brake, one near the chainwheel/bottom braket area. Both are not totally noticable, and easily covered up with the right Testors match. Sale price on the Peregrines right now is $650. I'll be marking the blems at $625 permanently, or until sold. They come as frame fork and eccentric.

You can see, they're not bad, but I still can't sell them at full retail. $100 off should do it, eh?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

2nd annual Singular Autumn Sale!

Its that time of year again. The weather is perfect, and getting out to ride is high, very high on the list of things to do.

The sale is on frames I have in stock, or coming into stock. That would be Peregrines, and Swifts. I have all sizes of Peregrines ready to go, and Large and Xlarge Swifts here. I have Mediums and a few more Larges coming in early October. If you're of Medium stature, I'll be happy to take a $200 deposit and reserve a frame for you! Last year Mediums sold out quicker than I though they would, so I've ordered rather heavy on them this time. They are coming with a slightly shorter fork, and hipped chainstays for even better mud clearance.

Oh. You want the price too? Kind of an important item there, eh?

Peregrines are on sale for $650.
Swifts are on sale for $525.

With that price, you get the frame, fork, eccentric, headbadge and prep. I've even sold a few Swifts with out forks for those of you who know you're going straight to a suspension fork. I'll take $80 off the price tag if you'd like the frame that way.


In other news, the Singular demo fleet has been out and about! Last weekend we were up at GnomeFest 7 held at the Levis Trow Trail system. Was nice to know that at one point, all eight bikes were out on the trails!

Next up on the list is the Brown County Breakdown near Bloomington IN. If you're in that neck of the woods, and would like to try out either 29" wheels, drop bars, or single speeds, look for me! I'll be happy to get you set up with a ride.

There's been rumblings of having one in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area this fall yet too! Not sure if I'll do Lebanon or Murphy yet. Locals chime in!

Speaking of GnomeFest, here's a nice slide show to check out. This has become one of the premiere events to attend in the Midwest mountain bike scene. The trails at Levis Trow are awesome, and the group of folks that show up are top notch. It draws folks from IA, MN, WI, NE, IL and occasionally MI.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Some one turnd the heat off!

And its finally pleasant around here. Riding in this coming week will indeed be good.

Last week it wasn't quite the case though. The WORS series had a meet up event with the MNSCS series for a knock down, drag out fight at the Border Battle in River Falls WI. I had heard a few good things bout the course. Nice flowing single track and a couple wide open grassy sections for ringing it out. I was pleasantly surprised to find that was indeed the case. Trails like this suit my abilities pretty well. What didn't really suit me though was the heat. Air temp upon arriving the night before was...HOT. Just sitting there with the girls and my parents we found ourselves sweating through our clothes. A glance off to the north saw some pretty intense lightening going on. It was my hope that it would make its way south to us. See, I LIKE riding in slippery, slimey conditions. Combine what was already a Marty friendly course with a bit'o rain, and things were looking up! Besides, rain should cool things of, right?

Wrong. It did indeed rain in the night. Hard. In about two hours the course got hit with about an inch or so of rain. The girls and I stayed dry in the tent, thankfully. No getting up wet was good. The temperatures certainly weren't cool though. By the time race start came up, air temp was easily in the mid 90's, and adding the humidity into the mix drove the heat index up north of 100. Good thing I had plenty of water.

image courtesy of Velogrrl
We got the start and off we raced, torwards the only significant hill on the course. Despite the heat, I'm feeling pretty good, and make up several spots on the climb. Once on top, the rains from the previous night show their effects. The open grassy sections are soft and wet. The trails in the woods are snotty and slippery, and I begin knocking off riders left and right. I'm digging it, letting the bike do its thing under me while I just keep pedaling. At the start I noticed that there were at least 14 or so Open SS riders. I noticed the dude on the Carbon Speccy SS. He's a fast guy I have no hope of catching, and two other guys look skinny and fast. I was right, and they took off right away on the climb, never to be seen again.

Back to the race. I keep working my way through the field, passing classes that started before the open guys. Thankfully, the organizers of the race [who also did the 24 hours of Wausau, more on that on the next post] were smart enough to have two water stations on course. Insead of drinking there, I had the volunteers splash me with water, keeping my body cool. That trick seemed to work as I was certainly hot, buy not dangerously so.

Next thing I know, the Elites start passing me. This hasn't happened yet this year, so I'm a bit dis heartened, but keep riding anyways. I'm far enough up though, that I'm also passing a few of the elite female riders, so I'm still doing ok. Thankfully, it was the last lap, and had really figured out the section of single track just before the last passing lane. That section was the most fun, dancing a weaving trail! If you rode it right, you could do it fast, and with hitting your brakes. The trail had dried enough to the point that in this part it was super tacky. Let the tires do thier job, and you could fly. And I did. It was great!

I rolled through the finish, hot and spent. Gobbled down a fair bit of watermellon and waited to see how I finished.

I got fourth! Certainly the best result I've had in a while. It always feels good to be up on the podium. Here's to more this year.

listening to: Shaun the Sheep!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wausau24 this weekend!

And that means one thing for sure; the shop will be closed on Saturday. That's the unfortunatel thing.

The GOOD thing is that the whole family will be up at the 9 Mile County Forest participating in the Wausau 24 mountain bike race. I'll be racing...er make that "racing" with Team Pugsley. And Lisa will be riding with a team as well too! Yep. Lisa. Race. Same sentence. She'll be rockin' the Singular Hummingbird she's grown to love. Of course I'll have the camera along, trying to get some cool shots. Got the cards cleaned off already. I think we're going to have something like 5 teams in the compound, with numerous children around, keeping the gnomes at bay.

in Singular news, I put an order in today for 30 mediums! I'll find out soon what a rough time line is for getting them in. My rough guess is going to be September at the earliest. I'm down to four Gryphons as well. Email me for size availability.

Listening to: Arcade Fire. And a fan, valiantly trying to keep me cool.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Repair, repair, repair!

And here I am, popping up for air, and releasing a bit of news! We've been having a knock out summer here fixing and selling bikes. Good thing. I like being busy.

To keep me in that way, a nice, pleasant bit of news for you Singular fans! I got resupplied with a few more Gryphons. I now have five of them in stock, ready to ship out. I have one XL, one L and three M's. Same cost and prepwork as always, $590 plus shipping. Give us a call, and we'll get you set up!

In more bike news, the Haro's are starting to show up! They really have put out great looking bikes! The 2011's are to be released on Sept 1, and I'll be there to check them out. Can't wait! With Haro, I'll be able to get adult and BMX bikes, as well as Masi road bikes.

Speaking of road bikes...Got news today that I'm also Focus Bikes newest dealer. Another nice feather in the cap here. Check out Focus' website to find out more about these bikes. The thing I like most about them? No, not that they're all fancy and carbon, but that they happily take nice BIG 28c rubber! The local friendly rep had his bike here, and I popped my Continental Gatorskin 28's in with full on success. I may have a carbon bike in my future...

So if you're after road bike that DOESN'T start with a T, an S, or a G, I am more than happy to provide you with really nice options from Focus, Masi and or course Jamis!

In riding news, I'm happy to say that the local riding season has been flourishing! The Tuesday roads rides are always a good time, the women on Wednesday consistently pull in more riders than the men do, and the classic Saturday am ride simply can't get better. What's really turning my crank this season though, is the Monday mountain bike ride. They're turning into Kids Mountain Mondays! Its fantastic to be seeing kids out in the woods, enjoying the trails. This will certainly become a staple of the riding season for me. They're having fun, and so am I. For them, its not about going fast. Its just about being there, in the moment. Sometimes as adults, we certainly tend forget that.

A well. Off to work some more! Stop on in...I'll be happy to see you.

Listening to: Cicada's singing in the summer heat.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gryphon Headbadges!

There are five of you out there who got Gryphons with out headbadges. You know who you are! Send ma a quick email with your shipping address, and I"ll pop them in the mail for you!

Yep, Finally got them in!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chequamegon 100.

Rarely does it make sense to say that a thing was both the hardest, and yet funnest thing you've done. It takes a certain sort of individual to put those two phrases together in once sentence. A tad demented. A little bit off. A glutton for punishment. This is a story of being under prepared. And lucky. Really lucky.

See, I signed up to do this race early in the year when Tim and Joe first announced it. One hundred spots filled up in a matter of hours. I attribute this to two things. One; it was free. Really! Tim and Joe are strong proponents of the grass roots, minimal support[Joe has completed the Great Divide and also puts on the Trans Wisconsin, both free events]. the other reason is its Chequamegon, the king of Midwest single track. They were promising at least 80% single track content. That can't be bad, right? Back then, this event made all the sense in the world. I'm not really the most talented rider out there.

I'm a consistent mid pack finisher in nearly any race I do. Cyclocross or Mountain bike. Always midpack. Oh, I'll have an occasional good race, but overall I'm not particularly fast. I can ride pretty well technically, but I know folks that can ride my pants off that way too!

So I registered for the Chequamegon 100[AND the Lumberjack 100, more on that later], it was early in the year, and of course I could train and be ready for this, right?

ha! right.

I made it down to Austin, TX for a week of riding and racing. That would be a fantastic way to kick off the training. That and riding the Pugs a bunch over the winter months. Should be a good start, right? Sure was.

Problem was, that start wasn't really followed up with anything...Oh I rode my bike all right. Got plenty of road miles in. All in little spurts of 40 miles or less though. Oh, wait! One ride DID get over 60 miles. And it was a headwind the whole way. That should prepare me quite well.

Many of you who read this also know that I own and run a bike shop. This certainly takes up a bit of time to run. Then there's the family commitments too. But this is about bike riding. In the spring, EVERYONE wants to get out and ride, and its my job to make sure folks are able to do that. Spring hit, and here I am busy as all get out, repairing and selling bikes. Riding time took a dive. So I rode when I could.

The roll out.
So the fateful weekend arrives, I find Jeff to graciously cover the store for me and I drive up Friday night to Nater's inlaw's cabin near Spooner. Get there at 11ish after closing the store and leaving town at 6:30. Wake up at 4:15 to get ready and drive up for the 7am start time.

The start went well enough until about 3 miles in. Damned Shimano chain I had on the bike[converted to 1x9 for the race. Not doing something like that on a SS. I'll leave that to the crazies] snapped on me. Never broken a SRAM chain. Never. Why I put the Shimano on I don't know. Thankfully Andy came riding by and had a SRAM link that got me going. From that point on, Andy, Nate and I rode on. We also ran into a few guys from Mpls that were comfortable with out pace too. I think we had a group that changed from 5 to 10 depending on how strong riders were feeling.

The first section of 10 or so miles of single track was a private network that dumped us onto the Birkie trail until we were able to hook up with the Makwa trail for the next 30ish miles. The Makwa was an amazing peice of single track. You could frequently here comments of "THIS is what single track should be like" as we were hauling through the woods. I mean really. The trails there were just fantastic.

After the Makwa system, we were directed on to some forest service roads for about 10 miles. Telemark Road and Rock Lake Road are what you would think would be restful. Problem is that hills on the roads were actually HILLS. On trail, the route is coutoured, so you're never really sure you're climbing that far. Much easier to climb on trail vs. on the road. So that took a ton of energy out of us. The road section took us up to the Namekegon single track loop and the half way point for the full hundo.

Mile 50ish

Mile 50ish

We took a nice 15 minute break at the Namekegon Town Hall. Ate a couple peanutbutter/nutella/banana/crasin/honey roll ups and deli sammies. Then got going again. I tell ya, it was hard moving after that break. Took a bit for the legs to get back in the motion of the ride.

The riding was all super fantastic, but it was all starting to look like this to my brain:
Mile 50ish

After Telemark, we got to ride the Rock Lake Loop. Very appropriately named. Attached to that is the Hildebrand Loop that for me, was where my brain shut down. I simply couldn't handle ANY more input. This was mile 75 or so, of which, the predominant content was rather intense single track.

It was here where I stopped. Made the decision to ride in on the road and took this:
Trail section, Rock Lake Loop if I'm not mistaken
On probably the prettiest section of singletrack the whole day.

The road ride back in was long, but I'm glad I did it. Nate and I finished the loop together for about 85 miles. Something I'm very happy with. I'm glad I had the presence of mind to call the ride before I hurt myself. Or my bike. I'll for sure be back for next year.

Stats from the GPS:
84.56 miles
9.4 mph average speed
34.7 max speed
8:58 riding time
10:50 total time
32.45 uphill miles
40.29 downhill miles
11.3 flat miles
11.5% average uphill grade
10.6% average downhill grade
6:23 average pace

Listening to: Thunderstorm! So nice....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Peregrines, Ready to roll out of the door!

SIngular Peregrine

Just a reminder folks! I have the Peregrines in stock, and ready to ship! Smalls, Mediums and Larges, ready to move!

I've been riding my lager a bit here, and am really enjoying its versatility. We have lots of gravel at our disposal here over in Iowa and its seen its fair share of that.

Salsa Woodchipper


Stable at speed. Comfortable on the flats. Climbs as well as you're able to. Good stuff! Heck, I've even done some single tracking with it, and it does quite well there too. I'd call handling very similar to the old Bridgestone MB's and XO's from back in the day. nice, responsive stuff there.

Price is $725 for the frame, fork, ebb, headbadge and frame prep. A great deal on a quite a bicycle!

Also, if you're thinking about a ti bike, Sam is putting in another order with Nevi for the next batch of Pegasus frames. if you want in on the que, email him! Since these are more or less custom, its best to work direct with him. Cost of these is right around the $1900 + shipping mark.

Don't forget, I've got socks [$10] and T's [$15] here, ready to ship out!

In other riding news, the weather is finally broken, and is coming into summer here. the shop is busy, and the riding is turning out to be fantastic. I raced yesterday waaaaaay up there in Rhinelander on a fantastic course. It certainly harkens back to the old days of big loop races. The course there was and 11 mile monster of twisty, rocky goodness. The Gryphon handled fantastic up there. Quick and agile. And it certainly got its fair share of attention. Guess the drop bars will do that.

I managed to finish 8th in the open SS class, with team mate Eric two spots, and a couple minutes behind me. The race went well over all, I just wish I didn't drop my bottle early in the first lap. So early that I HAD to stop and grab it. Lost a couple SS spots right there that I wasn't able to get back. Guess I'll have to be more careful about the bottle grab next time.

Next up is the Chequamegon 100 on Saturday. This will certainly be a longday on the bike, but one that will be spent with good friends. Some may view it as a race, but for me, this will certainly be a tour. I'lll be getting ready for it all week. Weather looks to be nice, if a bit warm, so hydration will be the theme of the week. I'll have a camera along, so some shots will certainly come out of it!

Listening to: The Current morning show, drinking good, dark, unmolested coffee.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shenanigans, Singlespeeds and Socks!

This past Sunday was the annual Decorah Time Trials. The traditional [for the past 20 years now!] start of the upper Midwest mountain bike racing season. Deke and crew have always thrown the best event in the small college town in the north east corner of Iowa.

Conditions were typical for spring in these parts. Slimy, slickery goodness. It rained for a good part of the previous few days ensuring a nice slime was coating the trails there. The thing about Decorah is that the area handles moisture well. Almost too well. It makes the trails there really fun. I've always had my best races there in the wet.

From Screen Captures

The course this year was just over 10 miles, with plenty of climbing to be had, as is custom for the Decorah Crew. Two Singular riders went over, Eric racing his Hummingbird, and me on the Gryphon{what are you here on a road bike for ?!]. The lap started out fine enough. An immediate sprint into the rad zone in a 400 meter sprint up to the actual trail entrance, and then a good walk after a slip on a root about 10 yards into the trail. Great. So there I am, walking already. Soon enough we were on top of the bluff, and as I'm edging closer to heading into Death Valley, I here the Shenanigan's portion of the weekend whooping it up.

I get down there only to discover my favorite set up of all time in the middle of the woods. The Beer Hand Up Zone*[that which has been deemed uncouth by promoters of racing in places**{Boulder, CO} where they take racing "seriously".] I ride into the BHUZ, then come to a full stop. I had to. No one filled my hand! Shockey came to rescue though with a 40 of the Highlife that I drained half of. Awesome. Refreshed, I quickly went through the second half of the lap, knowing that I'd have another go at a refreshement. And that I did. Polished off O'Gara's remainder, and then Shockey's again as Skip Berndt was in the back ground spouting something about someone on his megaphone. Seriously, how fun is that?


So I went off to finish my lap. Despite the stop's[probably all of a minute for both of them...] I got second in class! I do like those slimey, slickery conditions...

Eric ended up getting second in his age class too. A big hearty pat on his back too. He couldn't really stick around though. The Goats back on the farm were calling for care!


Oh, and also, I just got some Singular socks in! Got a whole bunch, if you're wanting to show some Singular love, throw ten bucks my way, and I'll mail out some quality Sockguy socks your way.

Oh, and one more. I'll be changing over this blog, and the old website to a new place soon! www.theprairiepeddler.net is the new address. Please make note of this and change me in your favorites! I'm still building it all up, so bear with me as I find time to do it. I'll be mirroring here for a bit, and reminding you all the while.


Listening to: Iron + Wine Shepherd's Dog

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Action Alert: Support access for bicyclist on Stewardship lands!

Sorry to interrupt the regularly scheduled Blogging here, but we've got an important job to do here in WI. We need to increase the DNR's use spectrum to include mountain biking as a legitimate use. If you live in WI, please read below. If you know someone who lives in WI, please forward this to them, and have them comment to their legislators.

Tell the legislature to require consideration of bicycles on all Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program Funded Lands

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has proposed Administrative Code NR 52 to provide the DNR with a well defined process to exclude one of the nature-based outdoor Activities from lands purchased with Knowles-Nelson Stewardship funds. After being subject to public comment the rule has been approved by the Natural Resources Board and has been forwarded to the legislature for review. The Senate's Committee on Environment and the Assembly's Committee on Natural Resources have received this proposal under the identity of Clearinghouse Rule 09-77. Both committees have scheduled public hearings.

Please ask the legislature to include language in Chapter NR52 that requires bicycling be considered an activity allowed on Stewardship funded public land.

1. Ask the legislature to acknowledge the 2005-2010 Wisconsin SCORP report that identifies bicycling as an outdoor family activity that Wisconsinites list higher than any of the existing Nature-based Outdoor Activities (NBOA).

2. Instruct the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources department through policy included in NR 52, that bicycling must be given the exact equal considerations, protection and implantation with regards to Knowles-Nelson lands as any of the existing NBOA's per Chapter 23.

Comment must be submitted by

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

and sent to the following Committee on Environment and the Senate Committee on Natural Resources
(see contact info below)

To assure your political leaders are aware of the important of this issue, please cc your state senator, assembly-person, DNR Secretary Matt Frank, and Governor Jim Doyle on your email.

DNR Secretary Matt Frank - dnr.secretary.frank@wisconsin.gov
Governor Jim Doyle - governor@wisconsin.gov

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The last week was spent in Texas.

I have not previously had any interest in Texas. Not really sure why, it just never registered to me as a place to visit. That has changed after spending a week there. I'll be taking a couple posts to go through it though. I took over 500 pictures while I was there, so there's lots to look at.

We started by going to the Flat Rock Ranch near Comfort for the second TMBRA race, the Stormhill Classic. This was really the first test of my 'racing' skills for the year. In previous years, I was a racing hack. I'd do a few races a year. Maybe three at most, and revel in the mediocrity that resulted. I always finished mid-pack. An occasional foray into the top ten, and a rare top three was always possible. This year, I want to change that. With Eric's prodding, I'll be racing a whole lot more this year, with an aim to improve through to the year.

As this first test, I felt I did pretty good. Its been a while since I've lined up for a race(last July for a MTB race), and it caught me off guard when the SS Cat2 class was called up first. Guess they figured we'd catch most every one else anyways...So the called us up and yelled GO! Both Eric and I have not really ridden that much yet this year. An occasional Pusgley ride, and a ride a couple times a week on the trainer in the shop.

So that's where I/we were fitness wise coming to the start line. Not really well prepared. I mean, we're racing guys from Texas here, they've been riding all 'winter', right? We'll see.

Life has taught me that when racing, start quick, but start modestly. Aim for the front of the mid packers. There's always rabbits that take off and are never seen again, but there's also a group of riders that like to THINK they're rabbits. These guys are the targets. They go out and with in a mile or three blow them selves up. And just like the theory goes, that's what happened. Before I knew it, I was top ten, and flying back through the spectator area. Over heard were comments such as, "who IS that big Singular guy?", and "Where did they come from? He'd flying!" Flattering, really. I was just having fun. For the moment.
That picture was taken about mile 12 of 23. At mile 15 or 16, I started feeling a bit crampy. No problem, I say. I'll just coast the rest of the way in. There's only one tech section, then its mostly downhill. No problem!

Pah! Right after thinking that, on the new techy rock section probably, I picked up a cactus thorn. Just like that, a slow leak. Over the course of the last 4 miles or so, I lost 6:30, or at least 6 spots. Oh well. I still finished. Sure, I should have just changed the tube...Sure would have been easier. Even easier yet would have been if I used Stans. I know. I know. I heard from Eric the rest of the week. I know I'll hear it from you lot of readers too. I'm still not gonna convert. Not a bad way to begin the racing season. Next up: The Decorah Time Trials April 25. See you there!

Enough with the racing. Lets look at the course. I really have to give props to the team that built these trails. I have not ridden anything as good as these trails for a good long time. They hit all the good stuff about mountain biking. Long, snaky switch backing climbs. Long, gradual, flowing down hills that just get faster, and faster. Flat, rocky technical sections that tested anaerobic riding skills, and super fun, ledgy down hills. Easily the best trail I rode down there.

Short Track
I love the Live Oaks. Such character in them!

And I'll leave the first Austin report with this shot. My favorite from the trip. Fireside, sipping a beer, grooving on the fire watching a group of night riders coming back in from the trail. Can't get much better.
night riders by the firelight

Listening to: The Current, the Spring Theme Show! Riding season is upon us!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

This weekend is made for bike geeks of the higest order. Many of the nations most talented builders convene to show off their skills, and maybe sell a few to unsuspecting riders. So many bikes, so little cashola.
Here's a few I've found that have really turned my crank. Credit due to Urban Velo.
Possibly my favorite. I'm a sucker for orange.

I also like Cross bikes. Same builder. I can't make out the name though. Attendees?

This is a close second to the above orange one.

I dig fenders.

Peacock Groove; always ready to bling.

Flat brown. Coaster brake. Kick back? Awesome!

I like the use of the vintage XT parts on this one. Plus its orange.

Favorite mtb. The flat green is pure stealth. Love the swinger drop outs and the graceful curve to the seat tube. And its fillet brazed.

Can't say I've EVAR wanted a recumbent, and a big yard. A really big yard. Until now. goddam.

Yeah. So there. I know there'll be more coming out today, and I know that this has little to do with the shop, but these are all so damned pretty that I can't NOT put them up. Good stuff. Bikes rock.

Listening to: Weekend Edition Sunday, MPR, coffee mug in hand, drinking Love Buzz from Equal Exchange. Its a good Sunday morning.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

QBP Frostbike Show favorites

This past weekend was the Quality Bicycle Products annual open house. This is a trade only event that the megadistributor throws each year at this time. Lots of shops attend to see the newest stuff from many of the Vendors. Of course QBP's house brands are well represented.

There were a few things that quite impressed me this past weekend.

If you're an avid cyclist, one that rides road and trail, you are most likely familiar with Salsa's grand Fargo. A bike of many talents and abilities ridden by many talented and passionate riders[see Gnat, Meiser, et all]. Salsa saw that while there were plenty of racks out there that could suit a bike this this[and the new Vaya for that matter], there just wasn't a 'perfect' rack out there.

So they made one. Well, actually, a few. Low rider, standard rear, light front. All made of aluminum, able to carry medium loads[a solid figure isn't known quite yet].
new rack
Front mounted on the rear:
new rack
Don't ask about the seat post collar mount, I forgot to, so I don't know.

These will also look really quite nice on the Peregrine!

Salsa also introduced a couple nice new forks. One we knew about, Gnat has been riding the Enabler fat fork for a bit now. It is a production item, and will be available soon. There are three bottle mounts on it, similar to the Fargo fork, the racks you see are works in progress, but are going to be Salsa items.
Salsa Enabler

The other fork is the yet to be named, but promises to be quite popular. Suspension adjusted, 20mm drop outs, Maxle axle. There are quite a few custom forks out there now with this system, but promise to cost a ton. This fork is estimated to cost $120. WITH the Maxle. Really. They're going to have a hard time holding onto this fork.
maxle rigid fork.

A newish entity from the Qship is Allcity. Thus far, the primary product from them is hipster fixie...crap. Certainly nothing I'm interested in, even though they admitedly look pretty cool. And now they come out with this:
All City SS CX

Neat touches are the hidden fender mounts, fancy track ends with built in adjusters and good tire clearance. The example they had built up was specced quite nice, with Avid's new ultimate Shorty and Force cranks.
All City SS CX

Its late, and I'm going to bed. Enjoy the pictures. Thanks for looking. Oh, and don't forget the Cabin Fever sale!

Listening to: sweet silence!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gryphon and Peregrine = in stock!

Fresh off the truck, I have 32 new frames to get ready for y'all! If you've been waiting on a Gryphon, or a Peregrine now is the time!

If you're new to this, you may be asking just what are they?

I'm happy to help you out here.

The Gryphon is a drop bar specific 29" wheeled mountain bike. Yes, similar to the drop bar specific Salsa Fargo, but the Gryphon doesn't have all those braze ons for loading up. Think of the Gryphon as a stripped down racer. Its ideal terrain varies between gravel epics, fire road bombing and singletrack slaying. If you're curious about the drop bar phenomena that's been growing recently, check out Guitar Ted's blog. The man knows a thing or two about how to set one of these up.
As an example, this is the bike that I'll be using for the Lumberjack 100 in June. Perfect bike for that terrain me thinks!

Price on the Gryphons is a normal $590. These will be included on the Cabin Fever Sale. Jump on them now for $500! Good deal, eh?

The Peregrine should prove to be quite a versatile bike too. This one differs a bit from the rest of the line thus far. Its a Lugged, cyclocross bike that likes to think that it's a mountain bike that can also tour.

I know. Kind of all over the place there, innit? I can't really begin to post all the varied builds that are possible with this bike, so here's one shot[my favorite of it] and a link to Sam's shots.
Yes, that IS the Arenberg from the Paris Roubaix course. EPIC!

These will also be included in on the sale. Normal price is $725, sale price will be $650.

I now have good stock on both frames in all sizes. Please call with any questions!

listening to: Ugly Cassanova, and moving boxes upon boxes of bikes!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cabin Fever!

I has it!

The Shop has it!

Best cure?

The Cabin Fever Sale at The Prairie Peddler! Now [February 17] through March 12 stop in at the shop and pick up fantastic deals on bikes and accessories. Need warm gloves for those cool spring rides? I have them! 25% off! Need a warmer jersey for the cooler[yet warmer!] days ahead? I have those, and some jackets and vests too! Also 25% off.

All remaining 2009 bikes are marked down too! 25% off those! I have a couple Jamis road bikes, Some Redline bikes, and Jamis Comfort bikes. Stop in, and we'll get you set up!

What about Singular you say? Well, I'll even include those in the sale too! Normal price for the Swift and Hummingbirds is $590. During the sale, $500 will take one home for you! If you've been thinking about a Singular, stop and pull the trigger!

In Singular news, I have Peregrines and more Gryphons coming into the shop very soon. They're on US soil, being shipped on to me as I type this. With any luck, I'll have them in and ready to start shipping by the weekend. There's a few of you out there that have deposits on Peregrine's that'll get first dibs.

Next weekend is the Quality Bicycle Products open house, or rather Frostbike as they call it. I'll be headed up to check out all the latest gadgets and make contact with old friends. Should be a good weekend.

Listening to: Godspeed You! Black Emporer

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday wake up rides.

Since I've got these big rides that I previously told you about coming up this season, I figured its high time for me to get out and actually ride my bike. For some reason, this winter has found me riding less, and committing to more.


So last week, Wayne and I started the season a bit early, and will be doing the Saturday Wake Up Rides from here on in. This morning was a brisk -4 according to Waynes truck. A full ten degrees cooler than my house gauge read. hrm...well we're here, lets ride!

Sure, it was cold, but cold enough that the snow was in awesome condition. It was cold enough that the snow had that squeaky crunch to it. The kind of snow that feels almost like dirt when you ride on it. It was great being able to ride all the way up the hills with out spinning out. Of course, the fresh 4" of snow we got, along with the groomer certainly helped, but it was a nice ride. Short, but nice.

And at 0 degrees, short is fine with me. Miles is miles at this point. There's time later for more.

Have a good weekend, and hey, we might see you at the bike swap at the Blain Sports Center this Sunday!

Listening to: Silence. Except for that annoying tinnitus hum. But silence no less. Its good.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The training has begun...

This, my 37th year of existence here on Earth is going to be one of, if not the most challenging years I've had. Nothing personal or business mind you. My marriage is as strong as it ever has been, and the shop is doing well enough to keep me happy.

No, this is all about physical tests this year. It started innocently enough. Eric talked me into travelling down to Austin TX in March. Fun! I think, warm weather, pleasant trails. Maybe a beer or three. Then Eric tells me that racing is on the agenda. But I'm not in shape enough to race I protest. Big deal he says. Its not like anyone knows us down there(do you?). So if you're from the Austin area, and will be going to the Storm XC race weekend near Comfort, TX, look for the boys in Singular gear. Stop by and say hey, sweet talk me enough, and we'll probably let you out on a demo ride(we'll be bringing down a few bikes to let folks try out).

So that was the start. An innocent trip to race bikes in Texas. Then this one popped up on my radar. I've heard many great things about it, from course to organizers to general vibe of the event. I got up early to register for it as well. I figured I had enough time to get one 100 miler in this year. The Lumberjack 100 will certainly be a test of my will, if not my endurance. I can't wait! Adam and few guys from Iowa City will also be going over to contest it too.

I was happy there. The plan was to also do a selection of WORS, ICORR, and MNSCS races. Certainly should have been enough to keep the summer full.

Then I caught wind of a nice little event being put on by some friends up in the Chequamegon National Forest. The Chequamegon 100 was simply too iresistable to NOT do. So I signed up for it too. This will actually work out quite well. I'll use it as a shake down for the Lumberjack on nutrition, as well as fitness. Should be fun!

In real shop news, I have two Singular Peregrines in the store I'd like to sell. Both are brand new, but have some cosmetic issues from shipping. Number 1 has about a centimeter square chip on the lower headtube lug, right out front. I'm selling it for $675 instead of the normal $750. The other one has two scratches. One on the chainstay, about an inch long, and the other on the seat stay. I'm selling it for $625. Both are sized Medium. Both are prepped and ready ship. Ask for pictures, I've got some if you want to see the spots.

I also have some fresh new Gryphon's and Peregrines coming into port as I type. With any luck, I'll be able to have them in the store, ready to get prepped by this weekend!

Speaking of this weekend, on Sunday, there's a nice bike swap happening at the Velodrome in Blaine MN. Bike love at its best! I'll be sharing tables with Sean from Rawland. Stop by and check some frames out! I'll certainly have a few up with me to sell. I'll be having a swap special of $500 going. If you're from the Cities, and have been pining after a Singular Swift, Gryphon or Hummingbird, swing by!

Listening to: Sidra, the 5 year old reading a book to me as I type. Its amazing what the Kindegardners are doing now! Oh, and Johnny Cash, FTMFW.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A little bit of a diversion.

Today's post is going to be a bit different. I have a guest blogger here that just did something that I think deserves attention. Colin is a local to Prairie here. Grew up here, and is one of those talented individuals that many of us secretly fear. They're just too damned good. See, there's a race near here called the Triple D. It starts in Dubuque IA, and goes to Dyersville and back, following the Heritage trail. Total distance? About 60 miles. Sure. Not long you say. Add in snow and subfreezing temps. We'll see how YOU do. Colin not only finished on his first attempt, he was one of 9 finishers out of 31 starters. Not bad. This is a bit long, but the read is well worth it.

Alrighty, so yesterday I took part in the Triple D race, which is a race of about 60 miles that starts in Dubuque and runs on the Heritage Trail through Durango to Dyersville and back to Dubuque. I chose to do it on a bike, but there are running and CC skiing categories as well.

It was a beautiful sunny morning. I came a little over-packed with extra clothes, but I figure I would rather haul around an extra couple pounds than sag out because I got cold. I was getting myself situated for the briefing, and I see a guy dressed to race, in shorts, drinking a Sparks. I started to make guesses on how long I thought he would last.

At 10 AM, we rolled out along downtown Dubuque. Marty Larson kindly let me borrow the Prairie Peddler demonstration Pugsley, a photograph of which can be found at the bottom of the page. Its good on snow, but lousy on concrete. There were about 32 bikers I think, everyone riding around on some unique set-up. I'll see if I can dig up some photos, cuz I thought it looked pretty cool at least.

We reach the mouth of the heritage trail and endured a mile of untouched snow. I was able to ride through some of it and nailed down a spot in the middle of the pack. Lots of pushing the bike around, but we finally reached the snowmobile-packed section of the trail and we were off! It was nice and smooth, and I was able to cruise much faster than I originally anticipated. The snow was just hard enough that I found myself wishing I had used my mountain bike, which would have been a bit lighter and faster, but the conditions were still ideal. I ended up riding behind "Sparks-drinking shorts guy" for a little while to take a little bit of the drag off myself.

I was so excited! We were cruising at around 12mph, and I thought that I would be able to put this one in the bag by sundown. We were going strong for about maybe 1.5 hrs, when I look up and see a large machine coming towards us. It was the trail groomer. I pulled off and let it pass, and my heart sank as I began to ride again. The groomer took our wonderful high speed trail and crapped all over it. It was like riding through thick mashed potatoes it seemed. I spent the rest of the trip out to Dyersville slipping around and trying to find chunks of packed snow. Average speed slowed to 7 mph. I let a ton of air out of my big tires, which helped a bit with the sliding around.

I still wanted to make good time at this point. I was starving so I snarfed down a couple mini snickers and a clif bar while I rode. I was wearing my camelbak under my jacket to keep it from freezing, yet when I reached for that long-awaited refreshing blast of water, I realized that water had frozen in the tube. I tucked it under my arm and waited a while for it to thaw, slightly frustrated at the lingering taste of black cherry almond clif bar that remained the entire time.

It was a beautiful sunny day, and the trail was incredibly scenic, but by about 1 PM I was starting to get pretty worn out, and I had no idea how much longer I had to go to Dyersville. It was a never-ending uphill journey for the next 2 hours, but I managed to drag myself into Dyersville around 3 PM. I checked in at the BP halfway point and darted to purchase the strawberry soda I had been CRAVING for the last several hours. Never before has a strawberry Crush tasted so good:) I ate a muffin and shot the poo with a couple other riders who were taking a breather. After a nice 20 minutes of warmth, I switched out my soaked wick-away base shirt, filled my camelbak, threw on the toe warmers and the ski mask and hit the road. I had sweat through my jacket and it now weighed a ton, but I was still pretty warm and I had no other weather-resistant top layer. Plus, a bunch of guys sagged out at the BP in Dyersville----including "shorts Sparks guy", who made it farther than I thought he would----so my plan was to try to enjoy a little bit of a downhill ride on the way back and call it quits at a good point. I got back on the bipolar Heritage trail and rode for about 15 minutes.

The groomer was back. Coming right at me. I wish someone had a picture of my face at that point, it would have been a winner I'm sure. I just stood there and stared as it turned off. I wanted to quit. There was no way I was gonna argue with crazy uneven snow, in the dark, for 25 miles. Tyler, a rider I talked with at the BP, decided he was gonna give it a shot, so I reluctantly went along. The sun was just starting to set, so at least I would have something to look at. Plus I wanted to see if the downhill would be as pleasant as it was hyped up to be. It was, and I found my pace around maybe 8-10 mph until the sun disappeared. I tried to save my headlight, but I needed to see the grooves in the snow to have some point of reference, so I turned it on a little after 6.

It was crystal clear night sky, and there was a sense of serenity for a while. I found it pretty enjoyable, even though my ski mask was frozen to my face and my goggles were beginning to fog. At about 7:30 my hands began to burn, so I stopped for about 5 minutes. I shut off my lights, enjoyed the night scenery, ate, watered, bathroomed, chewed some instant coffee, warmed up some hot-hands, and put on my last-resort mittens. Much better:) I flipped on my light and continued on. 2 minutes later, my light died. I shouted at it. I now wanted to quit again. I got to a road and called in my Sag, but changed my mind when I was told I only had about 8-10 miles to go. I dug out my little princeton tec headlamp and ran it on low, and talked to myself all the way to Durango. I had to forfeit my goggles, so I found my eyelashes beginning to freeze to my ski mask from time to time. My jacket had begun to freeze as well, but my base-layer was still plenty warm, so I pressed on.

I rode past a fully-lit Sundown Mountain, and it was magnificent in many ways. I knew I was getting close, and I had something cool to look at besides snow. In the dark, I found my light playing tricks on me. I kept seeing things, and therefore every sound started to set me on edge. I began to imagine how I would react if i spotted one of those cave-crawler things from "The Descent". I was growing bored, so I was willing to entertain any thought at this point.

I finally reached Durango! Wait, Durango? Are you kidding me? I thought I had passed the Durango entrance already for some reason. I thought Sundown Mountain was my welcome mat for Dubuque. Its 9 pm now, but the folks at base camp tell me I only have 45 minutes to go. Why not finish it out?

I was humping along, and my legs were beginning to lock. My jacket sounded like brown packing paper every time I moved. My base layer was still surprisingly warm considering I could see my jacket turning white. I went for about 30 minutes, and I saw a fork that looked just like the one we took to enter the trail almost 11 hours ago, so I took the turn.

I was imagining the excitement I would feel when I would get to the road crossing.
I was dreaming about sitting in the conference room stuffing my face with pizza and getting a massage.
I was making a mental list of every delicious item of food I would buy at various fast food restaurants.

I soon realized that I was not where I thought I was. I had gotten lost. I called in, and I think there was a miscommunication somewhere. Perhaps they thought I was at another point. I wanted to get to the final crossing. I was told to ride a half a mile and jump back on the trail with the blue reflectors. Half a mile turned into 2 miles uphill, on concrete, on a slow, low-pressure Pugsley. I was getting more confused and more lost. Now, I discovered today that there had been stolen and moved course markings. That sucks that someone would go out of there way to take an orange arrow and put it somewhere else, or whatever. I don't know how that's funny. At 10:15 pm, I somehow ended up in Sageville, with a big dumb sign taunting me, shouting at me: "Dubuque - 5 miles". Did I backtrack or something? How did I possibly end up there? I reluctantly called in for a ride. I had been riding for over 12 hours, and 5 miles on concrete sounded like a nightmare. I couldn't feel my feet anymore, and my fingers kept going numb from the handlebars and the constant vibration and bad circulation.
I was covered in frost. It was fascinating.

I got to the hotel, and I stumbled upstairs to the conference room. I could almost taste the pizza. I had to wait for my ski mask to thaw out before I could take it off without removing my beard. I was greeted with so many levels of warmth, and I received a medal, some cash, and I won the "Frozen Seat" award for being out the longest! I was told that I technically came in 8th place, being the last biker out there.

The pizza was gone.
The pizza was gone!
There was no more pizza to be eaten!
And the masseuse had left as well!
That's ok, I decided priority 1 was to get into some dry clothes. I went and changed and came back and began to drink whatever soda I could find. Oh the sweet sugar, it was perfect. The carbonation was attacking my nose, but I needed that sugar like it was the anti-venom that would save my life. Then I started to shiver. I couldn't stop.

This is the kicker.

This very kind and talkative inebriated girl saw me shivering and said I needed to get into some hot water somehow. She asked if I was staying at the hotel.

Once I managed to control my clicking teeth, I told her I was planning on driving all the way back to PdC.

She walked out and came back with a room key. She had bought me my own room! From what I understand, she worked for Budweiser, and she found a way to put it on the company card. I didn't even get her name, so I have no way to send her a formal note of thanks, but that room was a life-saver. I immediately ordered 3 mediums from Dominos and kicked back with some Chris Rock and talked with Kristin for a while, and once the food arrived I was immediately flown to cloud nine. It felt pretty cool having the Pugsley in the room. It looked like such a workhorse, and I couldn't believe that I just spent the whole day on that bicycle. I took a nice hot bath, and hit the hay. It was a perfect end to an interesting day:)

Thanks to:

Marty for lending me the bike and misc gear, the cool job, and the good advice
Kristin for the last-resort mittens and support
Kate for giving me the Princeton tec headlamp last year
Kayla for putting me up the night before
Talkative Inebriated Girl for being so kind to get me a bed
Lance and all the volunteers who put this on and hooked me up with the tight schwag and prizes

Now, to get the feeling back into my fingers.....

Listening to: Sweet golden sounds of Silence.