It’s been a while, but Ryan and I are packing up the single speeds and heading to Syllamo again this weekend. It’s been long enough since I’ve ridden there, that I’ve never actually had the One9 on those particular trails. Unless, of course, you count the epic fail that was my attempted Summer ride a few months ago. Still got scars from that one.

Hopefully the green trail logging that I’ve heard about recently isn’t as horrible as everyone says it is. Somehow, though, I doubt that. I’ve already got 1 mile of brush-infested logging area on my adopted 4 miles of orange trail. It was nearly overgrown by May this year. Unless the Forest Service can provide volunteer trail workers with Roundup and a backpack, there’s no way that the logged parts are going to stay clear. I keep saying that I’m going to write an email to someone, but like most other people that complain, there’s a sizable gap between what I complain about and what I’m willing to deal with in order to be lazy and do nothing at all.

At least the fall colors will still be pretty.

Random point of interest: Remember my Formula R1s that were trashed at Fool’s Gold? I ended up sending them in to Formula for repairs. The diaphragms inside the brake bodies had imploded, and one of the pistons needed to be replaced. I asked the tech if there was a different model that he’d recommend for extreme conditions such as those, and he (rahter snidely) informed me that there was no brake of ANY brand that would continue to work when the pads were worn through, and that there would be riders at La Ruta on Formula Brakes.

Uh, yeah.

I guess I should have clarified that what I really meant was “what brake will I be able to service at home following a race of brake pad doom the magnitude of Fool’s Gold?” The damaged piston, I understand- that’s going to happen to any brake once the pad is (literally) gone. The imploded diaphragms? Not so sure that every brake will experience such a malady. I think I’ll put the Formulas back onto my Jet9 since I likely won’t be racing it in adverse conditions.

Speaking of components, I’ve decided that I’m going to be slightly more open minded on component choice when it comes to building my next mountain bike. It’s mostly the availability of some sweet employee pricing on either major manufacturers (SRAM and Shimano), but it’s also a little bit of “hell hath no fury”… I sent a race resume and whatnot to the Grassroots folks at SRAM a couple of times and never got so much as a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” back from them. That doesn’t mean I am automatically a Shimano person now, it just means that I’m willing to at least research the latest/greatest Shimano componentry before I decide what’s going on the A9C that I’m hoping to get in December…

Well, that was random.

Outdoors, Inc Cyclocross Championship

I was hoping to have a great race report for you all to read, but yesterday’s race was not really deserving.

I was really stoked when I saw that some other 1/2/3 women had signed up for the race. One of them- Kat Williams- was borrowing my Surly Crosscheck. I learned later that when she was warming up, she’d ridden part of a lap of the course then gone back to the car to ask how she was supposed to shift (it’s a singlespeed).

When the race started, I took the holeshot. For the first and part of the second lap, I swapped leads with Heather Ladd from Little Rock (the last time I raced Heather was at the Ouachita Challenge- we were leapfrogging each other on the first part of the race when I had to stop and pee. She ended up beating me by a little less than a minute.) Then, over a bumpy, rooty section, I dropped my chain. Damned single ring…

So, I stopped and put my chain back on, then started chasing. The top-end power I needed for chasing was not there. Eventually, Kat caught up to me and passed me (she caught Heather as well and ended up winning- considering she’d never ridden a singlespeed, and the bike weight was likely equal to a quarter of her body weight, it was a monumental case of “it’s not about the bike”). I hung out in 3rd place, hoping that none of the cat 4 women would catch up to me. Heather was never more than about 20 seconds ahead of me, I just couldn’t get the power out to close the gap.

A couple of photos that Ryan took before he went to warm up for his race…

I know that cyclocross intensity has not been the focus of my training. I went for a 3 hour endurance ride in the rain on Saturday. That’s generally been my training lately. I guess this is relevant to my previous post. It’s a sacrifice I’ve made in pursuit of a more important goal.

Losing still sucks ass, though.

In other news- we just got a new kitty from a local rescue group! He’s super sweet, has already gained 20 grams (we weighed him on the kitchen/bike parts scale), and he’s quite fearless.



In pursuit of…



No, I’m not in the pursuit of a cover on “Road” Magazine or the handsome man that graces it. I’m in pursuit of the raw emotion that’s going on there. It’s the payoff for hours of hard work and the myriads of sacrifices you make.

I hadn’t thought as much about it until a conversation I had with a customer the other day. I don’t remember the exact topic, but it was something along the lines of, “no, I’ve never gone to that place, never watch that show, and never do X other things, because from the moment I wake up at 5:00am until I go to bed at 9:3opm, my life revolves around cycling.”

I’m not complaining. I like it. But, other people (even some cycling friends I have) don’t always understand just how dedicated you have to get in order to experience what the young man in the photo above is experiencing. It’s those few seconds when you come to the realization that everything you’ve been working towards for weeks/months/years is finally culminating into epic win.

It means I have mornings like today, where I am up at 4:30, have fed the dogs/eaten/had multiple servings of coffee by 5:30, go to the grocery store (they’re a lot different at 5:30am than they are at 5:30pm), ride for 1-1.5 hours, shower, have 2nd breakfast, clean house, do laundry, write a blog post, etc. before leaving to go to work at 9:40.

Work has turned out a little differently than I’d expected when I started a month and a half ago. Not bad different, but since both of my original coworkers have now moved on to other jobs, I’m unofficially “in charge” of the Outdoors, Inc. Cordova bike shop. I have very high standards, and it makes for days where I eat lunch during the 5-10 minutes it takes to enter stock/customer orders into the request form we use and am otherwise on the phone or elbows deep in bike repairs. It’s prettymuch non-stop from the minute I get there.

Once I’m home, sometimes I’ll go to the gym for some circuit training. I usually don’t want to go because I’m tired, but, once again, see photo above. I do my best to make a decent dinner for Ryan and myself, though, I admit, since I started working ’til 6 most weekdays, we’ve been hitting the Kashi frozen pizzas pretty damn hard. By the time we eat, we might have time to watch an episode or two of Ice Road Truckers on Hulu before passing out.

No, it’s not for everyone. I have a hard time imagining it any other way, though.

…and I still don’t stink.

A while back, I posted that I’d stopped using soap. Well, it’s been since March, and other than handwashing, I’m still soap and antiperspirant free. I figured I’d post an update since apparently it’s a trend that’s become a bit more mainstream: NYT Article

In other news, I’ve got a short interview/profile in the latest issue of Memphis’s Health and Fitness Magazine. It looks like traffic around is up since it hit the stands. If you’re reading this for the first time, drop a comment & let me know!

In the pursuit of more bike bling…

Back before Cyclocrunk, I decided that the 40cm FSA Compact bars were too narrow. Actually, I’d decided that they were too narrow about a year before that, but I didn’t work at a shop then, so I was being cheap and just dealing with them. I swapped the 40s out for a pair of **Edge 42s I had laying around on the spare parts shelf. I liked the width, but the shape was pretty lame (ignore the dirty hoods):



So a couple of weeks ago, I ordered some “wet white” FSA compacts in 42cm.

This morning, while waiting for it to warm up outside, I swapped the bars over with the intention of re-wrapping them with some pretty blue Fizik tape that I’d had around the house for a while. Once I’d perfected the bar angle and position of the shifters, I broke out said tape, only to find that it wanted to crack and split when I pulled it tight…



I sent an email with photos to Fizik’s warranty department, and they wrote me back this morning letting me know that they would immediately send some new tape to me (yay for customer service!) Hopefully it gets here by next weekend so I can be ready for the Outdoors, Inc Midsouth Championship race, because as of right now, this is how it stands (Mr Clean Magic Eraser for the hoods, BTW):



**The story of the Edge bars is slightly mosr interesting than the bars themselves. The summer after my post-Metro nervous breakdown (go back & search March/April 2009 posts if you don’t know what I’m talking about), I raced the Oxford Crit Series on a composite team with Debbie Milne. The 2nd day, she was off the front and won a prime (matching Edge bars and stem) while I baby-sat the other women back in the field. After the race, she gave me the bars.

Tweed Ride, etc.

Last night we celebrated Memphis’s 2nd foray into cycling culture past the comfort zone of spandex, asphalt, and/or singletrack. In other cities, tweed rides are a big deal- lots of people show up, the dress is fantastic, and the bikes are unique (just check out photos that pop up on a Google Image search). Last night, about 15 very dapper and dashingly dressed individuals showed up at Peddler Bikes for the leisurely ride to Celtic Crossing.

Odd, I thought… because the first Tweed Ride back in March seemed much less publicized and much more attended. More on that in a minute.

The ride and the company were great, of course. I managed to win “best dressed,” the prize for which was a shiny new Brooks saddle. If I can scare up a seatpost with more setback than my Thompson (not too hard- the Thompson is pretty mild), then it’s going on the One9.

Speaking of bikes, the decision has been made (thanks for all the input!). I will get an Air9 carbon sometime in the next couple of months. It will be mine… oh yes, it will be mine. I love Niner too much to mess around on them with other bikes.

So, back to the low turnout of the Tweed Ride…Â Last night was also the showing of the 2010 Race Across the Sky documentary (about the Leadville 100 mountain bike race). I am reasonably sure that it took away from the attendance of said ride. What I’m about to say might upset a lot more people than that time I dropped an F-bomb or posted a gangsta rap song.

To Hell with the LT100 hype.

There, I said it.

I’ll preface this by saying yes, it is a hard race. If you’ve finished this race, you’ve done a great thing that a lot of other humans view as “impossible.” By no means am I calling it easy or saying what you’ve done isn’t a great accomplishment …but NO 100 mile race is easy.

The media has hyped this race sooooo much that people are viewing it as the end-all, be-all endurance race of a lifetime. Newsflash, people- there are other 100s out there that are harder. You wouldn’t know about those, though, because they don’t have their own movie, and L*nce has never entered them. In fact, I’d venture to say that without a film crew that are both very capable bike handlers/hikers and in excellent physical condition, a large portion of races more difficult than the LT100 couldn’t have their own movie because you couldn’t get physically get to most of the trails that make up the race course. I recently realized that most people (even some very accomplished riders) don’t know that the LT100 easily lends itself to filming because most of it is on jeep roads (except for that couple of miles of singletrack between Pipeline and Twin Lakes). The altitude is a factor, as are the 1500 people that show up to race (many of them accomplished pros), but the course itself is generally run-of-the-mill when compared to other 100 mile courses.

I’m not going to blow smoke here- I will likely race in the LT100 some day… it’s a 100 mile race, and I like racing 100s. And yes, being the vain and self-centered person I am, I will probably then go to that year’s showing of Race Across the Sky in hopes of seeing myself on the silver screen. But I encourage any of you reading- if you are wanting to set a lifelong goal of finishing a 100 mile MTB race, then do a little searching. There are others out there that are more, less, or equally challenging. Read. Look for past race reports. Look at photos and course maps. Think for yourself and don’t just go with the one that’s on the front page of the magazines.

If you’re an LT100 finisher and this makes you mad, then please refer back to the above preface to my rant. You’ve accomplished something great, and I’m not trying to take that away from you. But now that you’ve done that, how about branching out?

Did I mention…

That Ibex wool stuff is on my top 10 list of favorite things in the world?

During my usual 3 hour Wednesday ride, it was a misty start, a dreary middle, and the final hour was in the rain. Temps hovered in the high 50s, but I didn’t really feel too cold because I was nearly head to toe in wool- socks, knee warmers, shorts, base layer, and arm warmers. My toes were not too happy, but otherwise, I was comfortable.

Need. More.

Decisions, decisions…

I’m going to be getting a new MTB this winter. Ever since I saw the first photos of the Air9 Carbon, I’ve wanted one. Not only is it dead freaking sexy, but also the frame is compatible with gears or SS because the BB shell is sized to accept various inserts from EBB to BB30.

There’s a problem, though- Outdoors, Inc. does not sell Niner Bikes.

Don’t get me wrong- I can find a place to buy my precious A9C, but the thing is, I can get something like the Scott Scale 29 RC for a good bit less through the Outdoors employee purchase program. Other than a 15mm thru-axle/fox fork, it comes prettymuch kitted out how I would build the A9C if I were to do such a thing as ride one of those crazy geared bikes. The problem is those pesky gears- the Scott isn’t really made to be a SS frame. I know there are conversion options (I’d probably try something like the White Eccentric ENO hub), but I’m still hesitant.

The Air 9 Carbon is just dead freaking sexy…


I haven’t computed the exact cost of each one, but I know for sure the Scott would be a smaller hit to the pocket book- even if I had to build up a separate SS rear wheel. I’m having a hard time selling myself on that idea, though, because I have LOVED my Niners, and the A9C has been my dream bike for more than a hot minute.

What does The Brickhouse Readership think?

Edit to add: Of course, I’d love it if Outdoors would sell Niner. However, there is already a shop in town that sells Niners, so they aren’t really looking to add another dealer in the same area.