December 20, 2009

Heading back for more

Filed under: Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 5:38 pm

Luckily for me, whatever type of flu bug I’d caught was short-lived. I was able to ride by Saturday and went out for a miserably cold & windy 4 hour ride with a few of the Marx & Bensdorf guys. Johnny Mac gets ride leader of the year props for putting together an outing that included scenes such as these:




Today, Ryan and I slept in a bit and went for a post-lunch MTB ride around Shelby Farms. The North trail is in phenomenal shape right now! Now it’s time to pack & get the bikes ready to head back to Mountain View in the morning so I can get a few more days of mountain riding in before I come back home for family stuff happening on December 25th. Gonna take a better camera this time- maybe I can get a few trail photos with something other than my camera phone…

December 17, 2009

Gravel Killer

Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 9:05 am

I realized this morning that I never posted any photos of my latest project bike. I converted my BH Carbon Cross into a winter training bike to take with me over to Mountain View.


BH Carbon Cross Frame
SRAM Force right shifter/left brake (previous owner took the shift paddle off of the left side when he converted to single ring)
Dura-ace bar end shifter for FD
SRAM Red FD w/Speen Umlaker top-pull adaptor
Force RD
Ridley Canti Brakes
SRAM SRM crank w/38t small ring
SRAM 1070 11-28 cassette (not in the pic, but it’ll be on there soon)
Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 32c touring tires
Speedplay Zero (or Crank Bros Candy SL for CX) Pedals
Jagwire cable liner & gold cable housing
Deda Gold bartape



Honeymoon = Over

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 8:52 am

Literally- yesterday morning, I woke up feeling achy & crappy. This quickly progressed into chills/fever/upset stomach/full-body aches. I laid around the cabin all day in a fevered stupor. We decided to make the trip home… which is on my top 5 list of “worst 3 hour period” of my life ever. The muscle aches were horrible.

This morning, I’m feeling slightly better. The upset stomach seems to be gone, so I was able to eat a little bit and take some asprin, which knocked the fever and aches down a little. Now I’m just stuck in the house. The weather is supposed to be really nice today, which sucks, but I guess I should follow the advice I gave my students all semester to keep myself quarintined until I’ve been without a fever for 24 hours. Blah.

December 6, 2009

You are What you Drink

Filed under: non-bike,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 8:41 pm

New addition to the Air9 courtesy of Jeff T. out in Hollywood…




You can get your own from Niner’s website!

December 4, 2009

Off the Grid

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 9:01 pm

We’re now running off of a cat-toast generator. No more fossil fuel here…


November 30, 2009

Winter Training Mule- AKA Mountain Road Killer

Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 12:56 pm

I’ll be spending a large portion of my Winter Break from work in Mountain View, AR for a solo “training camp” of sorts, and I have been debating what bikes I want to take with me for the adventure. Of course, I’ll bring the MTB along for some Epic-worthy Syllamo Trails rides, but some training on the road will be integral. Problem is, a lot of the non-highway roads in the Stone County area are gravel (I’d wager that MOST of the non-highway roads in the area are gravel!)

This sounds like a job for the cyclocross bike! (Yes, I have been known to take the road bike on occasional gravel road adventures, but I am thinking long distance comfort here).

The only problem is that I really like having my SRM computer. Also, the current gearing on the CX bike is a 40t single ring and 11-26 in the back. Not quite what I want for steep (gravel) mountain roads!


  • Move the SRM from my road bike to the cross bike
  • Install a bar-end shifter for the front derailleur (I’ve got an extra SRAM Red one that was supposed to go on the Air9, but that didn’t work out because of chainstay clearance issues)
  • Put a 38t small ring on the SRM (it’s the smallest available for the 130bcd). Yeah, I know it’s just 1 tooth smaller than what I’ve got now, but I figure that every bit helps.
  • Swap the 11-26 for an 11-28
  • Throw in some Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires (size 700×32) for comfort on both pavement and gravel
  • Tie it all together with sealed cable housing, and you’ve got a machine ready for just about anything the Ozark Roads bring to the ride.

Keep watching…

November 27, 2009

It’s not a habit, I swear…

Filed under: Trails — Andrea @ 8:02 pm

So… if you’ve been reading a while, you may remember this post back in April where I’d broken a derailleur hanger and cage exactly 1 week after getting the Jet9.

Well, today I managed to snap another hanger. The rear plate of the DR cage is bent in one spot, but I’m pretty confident that I can fix it. Ryan and I were almost 2 miles into the Bald Scrappy loop when a stick popped up and momentarily lodged back there. I heard it and stopped pedaling immediately, but the damage was already done…


I had chain repair stuff with me, so I removed the DR and attempted to convert to single speed…


However, even trying a few different combinations of chain length/gearing, the chain was always really loose or waaaaay too tight, so I ended up removing it and doing the walk of (mechanical) shame back to the car… which is a lot like writing “I will always bring a spare hanger” 1000x on the chalkboard during detention.

Ryan decided to finish the remaining 5.5 miles of the loop. I got back to the car, loaded up my disabled bike, and hiked up the other end of the trail about a 1/4 of a mile until I found a good spot to stop and wait for a photo opportunity.


Afterward, we went back to the cabin, changed, and headed back over to the trailhead to hike the White River Bluff trail (shortest & most scenic of the trail system). While we were out, we did a nice bit of trail clearing. We moved several low-hanging widowmakers as well as some large fallen branches and countless “spoke killer” sticks from the track. The last part of the loop (or first, if you’re going clockwise) features a gorgeous view from the bluffs high above the White River (hence the name of the trail) Oh yeah… and see the speck of a house near the top of the mountain just under where that branch is pointing down at the top of the photo? That’s the cabin! It’s freakin’ sweet!


Tomorrow Ryan is going to ride some more, and I’m going to hike/clear the Bald Scrappy loop much like I did to the White River Bluff loop today. Afterward, we’re going to head back to Memphis and ride on the road Sunday morning before the rain moves in.

November 26, 2009


Filed under: Trail Riding — Andrea @ 7:13 pm

What a great day!

Ryan and I drive over to my parents’ new place in Mountain View, AR on Wednesday. Since a lot of my family was staying in the cabin, we checked in to a little cabin on Sylamore Creek just down the road from their place.

This morning, we slept in until almost 7:00, then had some breakfast and headed out for our first ride on the Syllamo MTB Trails. Other than being slightly chilly, it was a perfect day- we climbed up Green Mountain Road to the Bad Branch Trailhead. This loop is the “easy” one (as well as the best maintained) out of the 50+ miles of trails in the system, so we figured that it’d be a good for the first time out. It was a gorgeous ride, and we made it back in time to get the car packed and head up the hill to my parents’ place for the tail end of Thanksgiving lunch. After laying around for a while, we helped my dad move a rock.

Yes. A rock. It was his favorite rock on the property because it is “shaped like a bench.”

It was an exercise in simple machines. Between the use of an antiquated pulley (I think my dad bought the pulley then started looking for something to do with it), a lever, and a tractor with several lengths of chain and cable, we moved a giant rock about 70 feet up a hill and into a spot near a random tree in the front yard.

Tomorrow, we’re heading out for more riding. Since we don’t have a checkout/lunch deadline, we’re going to check out the more difficult loops over the next couple of days. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll get a few extra photos :)

November 20, 2009

Home this Weekend… and other stuff

Filed under: non-bike,Trail Riding,Training — Andrea @ 8:07 am

Can you believe it? After going to going to (mostly cyclocross) races every weekend for the past 6 weeks or so, Ryan and I are actually not going anywhere this weekend.

Ok, so I was mildly tempted to go to Hot Springs for a Sunday MTB race…

…but I’m not feeling another road trip right now when we’re about to head over to the cabin in Mountain View, AR for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I’m really looking forward to the trip.
In general, I’m pretty ready for this semester of school to be over so I can get into the meat of my off-season training. I plan on swapping my SRM over to my CX bike and taking it and my MTB over to the cabin and just staying there for most of XMas break (mid Dec-Jan). With those two bikes, I should be able to ride anywhere I please (paved road, gravel road, trail, etc). The goal is to build up to all-day MTB rides by the time the Spring semester starts up next year. This should be a huge step in readying myself for NUE and other races that start in the spring.

November 19, 2009

Low Back Help

Filed under: Training — Andrea @ 7:16 am

I’m not fond of losing races due to things other than fitness, so I’ve been working on ways to make sure I don’t have low back issues again in the future.

#1: New hydration pack. Based on some internet testimonials from people that have had some pain similar to mine, I purchased a Wingnut Splitback hydration pack. It sits low on the back and distributes weight to the hips rather than the upper back. My chiropractor agrees that this seems like a much better way to carry weight on a bike.

#2: Bike fit adjustments. I visited Matt at Peddler Bike Shop the other day for a 3D fit on my road bike. I didn’t want to change anything dramatically on my MTB before the race, but I’ll likely adjust my cleat position and saddle to match the changes he made with my road setup. I decided I need a different MTB saddle, too. The one I have may be a bit on the narrow side and gave me some “unmentionable” chafing last Saturday.

#3: Kinesiotape. I’m going to try some Rocktape kinesiotape on my low back. Unlike standard tape, Rocktape was created for athletic therapeutic use- it’s more durable, stretchy, and water/sweat resistant than your standard tape. I’m looking forward to giving it a shot on my next long ride.

Bonus for all my loyal readers: if you want to try Rocktape yourself, use the discount code “brickhouse” when you make a purchase from their website, and get 20% off at checkout!

That’s about it… I’m hoping that with these changes and more hours in the saddle, I won’t have excuses when the next race rolls around.

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