Well, folks, registration has closed for the 11th running of the Trans Iowa and it looks like I made the cut. I’m pretty stoked to be a part of this glorious event again, and as with every year I have thrown my glove in the ring there is much work to do. I have the bike setup, my trusty 2014 Ti Fargo will make a second TI appearance, but my 09 Chili will be getting a little gearing re-tool and upgrade and my SS 09 Chili will be getting gearing adjust too… just in case I get a little itch to train on something different.
I’m not super stoked on this sudden Polar Vortex action that has popped up this week…but the training show must go on…
Hey, it’s my first bike race of the year and I DIDN’T DFL! I was feeling strong on this 7.5 mile per lap course. The race was a total of 30 miles with one solid painful climb and was set up for a nice rhythm, which I hit about lap three of four. I chose to ride the Ti Fargo with Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.2 tires. The gearing was perfect for the climbing, but those tires… they provided some great stability while bombing the loose-gravel hills, but they were a bit too aggressive for the course. I would have done well with switching tires to my good ole standby, the Ritchey Speed Max folder in a 35 or 40. I know you are probably thinking “why wouldn’t you use (insert new specialty gravel racing tire name),” and I want to remind those of you with that mindset that
1. People have been riding gravel on all sorts of tires forever
2. I have been riding Ritchey Speed Max on gravel almost exclusively for at least 4 years. I have had 2 flats in thousands of miles. They roll fast, and feel stable and sure-footed when the roads get dicey. And I just found out they make a 40mm. Ordering some today.
3. It’s really tempting to pick up some new school gravel tires. I have heard great things about a few of them. BUT see #2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Speaking of picking up new tires and not wanting to change from old favorites, I am eagerly awaiting the release of the WTB Nano in 40mm. I have been riding the 2.1 for a few years, and I love them for fast, reliable all around dirt travel. The possibilities of having this baby in a lighter, faster rolling size bridges a gap in tire selection for me, and these will more than likely be the go to tire for the Targo.
Back to the race, all in all it was a great day to be on the bike. My only minor complaint was the dustiness of the trail. I neglected to bring along a handkerchief to protect my lungs from gravel grime. This made for a few days of me hacking up like I was still a smoker
Did I mention that I did not DFL?
Sometimes I have a hard time not speaking in an ancient language, a language I tried to drop from my vernacular a while back. Today is one of those days when I feel its appropriate to revert back to the old ancient language of EXCUSES.
I recently opened a second location of my restaurant, Tacopocalypse, in Fairfield, Iowa. This town is really cool, and the gravel starts right outside of town. Like blocks from where I am sitting now. Fuck. Yes. I’m a big fan of this fact, and you can bet that once I get things sailing smoothly in Tacoland, the boss will be out on his new Ti steed grinding the ever loving poo poo platter out of those rocky roads. One of the things about owning a business is that while when times are good and everything is going as planned, there is very little (extra) to worry about than making sure day to day operations are being completed, bills are paid, and people are smiling. I like when that is happening, but it’s generally a short lived time because well, shit happens.
The Friday before CIRREM, shit happened. I was going to be stuck in Fairfield until Saturday afternoon. My plan was to leave town and head towards DSM around 7, load up both my SS Chili and my SS Dilinger (no way was I going to bring out anything with shifting components, and in hindsight a few other people are probably thinking they should have shared the same attitude), get a little dinner, hydration, and a nap, then roll out to the Cumming Tap to tackle the beast known as CIRREM. My gear was all selected and ready to be donned, my nutrition sitting out in a mesh bag, and my trusty Oakleys were sitting right next. Where they all still sit, waiting for old Dad to get out on that CIRREM course.
I ended up spending my day shopping and doing prep for the restaurant, which was I am sure the wisest decision. I’m not real happy about missing out on this race, as I was determined to finally complete the damn course during the actual race for once. Well, on to other things, the Spring Gravel Series starts in March, and I am hoping to get in as many of those races as possible, because any chance to toe the line before the end of April is a good thing. Trans Iowa is looming…
My 2014 Ti Fargo meets up with its sister, a First Gen fargo. I’m pretty excited for the weather to get above 10 degrees so I can take this bad momma out for an extended spin (Yes, I have put some limits on my cold weather cycling. I have trouble breathing at temps under 10) You will most likely see a lot more posts about me and the “Targo” (thanks, AC) in the future.
I did zero bike related things today. I didn’t even browse EBay for my usual array of parts and pedals. Nothin. Except write about something in a bike blog.
Well, it’s almost new bike day. I have been waiting for Salsa to ship my 2014 for nearly a third of a year. It’s been at my LBS awaiting my Coveted Ragley Luxy bars (out of town business trip delayed that), and a shim for the front thru-axle…to solve a “wiggle” problem. It’s also awaiting the Ti seat post which the bike was spec’d with when it was ordered, but has since changed to a Thudbuster (!?!?!?). So if you know anyone looking for a clunky seat post…
All in all I am so fucking stoked to get my buns in the saddle on this thing, fingers crossed that the quick fix parts come in today so I can get a little tiny ride in before she meets CIRREM this coming Saturday.
She is almost ready to roll. I’m stoked. Hoping to ride this beauty at CIRREM this coming Saturday.