Monthly Archives: September 2016

Looking Ahead

I have two fall trips lined up. Both to Hayward,WI. Or.. Cable and Seeley,WI to be exact.

On Oct 18th thru the 20th, yes, thats a Tuesday thru Thursday, I’ve been invited to a Trek Ride Camp in Cable. Just a get together of dealers to hang and ride. Trek will have some bikes to demo but they stressed to bring your own. Besides, what could I possibly want to demo when Im already riding the coolest bike out there. There’s a chance my EX will be Di2 by that time and would make it the coolest bike alive. Just waiting for the XT Di2 to hit. But if its fashionably late like most of the bike stuff in this world I’ll lose my patience and just go XTR. Either way the bike will be awesome. I’ll be the talk of the campfire.


Most will be camping at the new Birkie start area but Im going to be staying at my usual motel in Seely, about 7 miles away. Day rides, nite rides and campfires. I won’t know anyone there but a few but Im sure I’ll be fine. And I know Im big and slow so I would have no problem riding alone. Im kinda used to that. I just might bring Pinkie out too for maybe a gravel ride ( if its done). That would be fun.


Another Hayward adventure with a few of the guys on November 10,11 and 12. Staying at the same place (Lenroot Lodge) and again fill three days with riding. This time besides the woods we might try and incorporate some gravel also. The locals can hook us up with some amazing gravel routes up there. But mostly in the woods. Its close to the middle of November so snow is not out of the question. That would be an awesome weekend if they had snow.

And still, Marquette for a quickie at some point. This weekend for the Enduro has now been ruled out but maybe sometime this fall. I would love to hit a high point there and see the colors. The other two trips are set in stone and I still  need to work on Marquette. Either way Im looking forward to this fall. I have good help in the store.

Last nite I brought the EX home to get in a ride this morn before work. But it was one of those mornings where it was so dark and hard to get up so I decided to not ride. And of course I kinda felt bad about that until the rains came and took me totally off the hook again. But I dont really feel any better. I have the new oval chainring on and want to ride it. And it looks like rain all day and all day tomorrow. In fact the entire weekend looks like crap with maybe a break on Sunday.

This weekend is the local MTB race that has been a mainstay here for years. I was the director of that race for awhile many years ago but since has stepped back from it. I might show up a bit on Sunday to watch. Maybe. Better chance I will just go for a bike ride now that I have Sundays off and the weather looks pretty good.

Get outside and have a great weekend.


Call Out.


Not sure why I get to the store so early. I certainly dont have to.

Got in about an hour in the woods last nite before the rain hit. Its starting to get kinda dark by then anyway. Soon we will break out the lights. The Tuesday ride originally was a night ride only that we started up after daylight savings. This is the first year we did it all summer long.

I gatta call myself out on yesterday’s post. I mentioned my seat height changing when the suspension sags. It does not. That’s what I get for not riding a full suspension for two years. The seat post and crank are on the same piece of bike and does not move in relation to each other. Only the seat angle changes a little as the suspension moves up and down. And not by a lot. So my knee problems I spoke of yesterday had nothing to do with the seat\pedal relationship. Im so embarrassed.

Last nite the knees were not so bad. But I didnt ride that hard. Today I get the oval chainring to try out. Will see how that works.

Sometimes its just a change in bikes that get my knees going. Just from one geometry to another. I could jump from my road bike which I never have a problem with, to a cross bike and even tho the seat is the same height it is just a little bit different. Enough for my knees to notice. Then, after a while it goes way and starts over when I switch back to the road bike. I guess this may be a over weight\old age thing.

In the store today I actually have a couple bikes to tune up but then my thoughts turn to winter. This aft I will take inventory of ski and snowshoe stuff and put my first winter order in. I can’t believe its that time again.

When you get old (like me) the days seem long and the years seem short.


Setup Not Normal


One thing I got out of my attempted hot lap Sunday was the EX’s suspension setup.

Being a bigger guy, and add in my unforeseen weight gain the last month, I can’t set up my suspension like a normal person. Most normal (skinny) riders set up their suspension with sag. Just set the pressure based on how far down your weight activates the travel of shock or fork. So you set up based on the top end. I weigh too much to do that so I have to set up my pressures based on bottom end. Basically riding the damn thing and put in just enough pressure not to bottom out but still get full travel. Its just two ways of doing the same thing.

So when I ride my EX hard like I did Sunday I end up with two sore knees.And thats because I cant take enough sag away. I can set my seat high based on measurements but when I sit on the bike I lose over an inch.

I’ll back up a little bit.

I have bad knees. I guess its from being over weight my entire life ( talk about that later). My right knee has been a candidate for replacement since 2012. My left knee I screwed up with a MTB crash this spring (bad luck) so now I have two screwed up knees. On my road and cross bikes I img_1114have been raising the seat to the point of my hips rocking a bit to help my knees out. If I had a dime for every time someone rode up to me and told me my seat was too high. But it helps.

So I apply that to the EX and it does not work. Obviously the seat goes down when I sit on it. So when I ride a bit harder and sit my seat is low and my knees hurt. So it became obvious that I needed to pump up that rear shock. And I will.

Another goofy deal is when I acually raise the seat a ton to offset the sag its so high I can’t get on the thing easily. Its way up there. I look like a clown trying to get on a circus bike. People laugh.

So after I ride I always look at the travel ring as to how far the shock moved. If you look at the pic thats a pretty good setting. Pretty close but not quite all the way. That measurement is my “sag” to others and its what I base my pressure on. Not how far it goes down sitting on it in the store.

Im trying another thing. The oval chainring. The two that come to mind are Absolute Black and Wolftooth. Now this theory has been around for years but its not until just recently that its being applied correctly. Let’s say I have a 30 tooth ring ( I do). When the pedal stroke is at its weakest at top dead center its like a 28 tooth. When the pedals are at strongest point, say 3 andabsolute-black-oval-sram-spiderless-32t-chainring01 9 o’clock its like a 32 tooth. So you get a break when you’re at the weakest point and push a bit bigger ratio and the strongest.

Im going to give this a try and I’ll have it on by the weekend. To compare apples to apples I will use a 30 tooth as I am now. Im hoping this helps out my knees especially during seated climbing which is about 95% of my uphill riding now.

So between the chainring, maybe setting my seat a bit higher and cranking up the suspension pressure a bit will help an old guy out here.

And maybe lose a few pound would not hurt (more on that later) (I say that a lot).


Good Weekend.


Not a bad weekend. On Saturday I woke up too late to get a ride in before work so I got one in after. With the ton of rain we had the last few days some extra time to dry was not a bad thing anyway. Grabbed the EX and in the woods I went. Was riding in the park that the MTB race will be in next weekend (more on that later) and met up with a few others who were nice enough to slow down for me. But I was feeling pretty good on the bike.

So good in fact that I decided to head out to Greenbush, my nemesis trail system, on Sunday morn. As Ive mentioned before, the new EX has opened up these trail to me again. I was getting the crap beat out of me with the hardtails even when the hardtail was a fatbike. Being a bigger guy I could not run the air pressures the others were using to help smooth out the rocks and roots. I would get to many rim strikes so I had to pressure up.

Now with the EX I can pressure up to save the rims. So I had this crazy thought in my head to go there Sunday and try to get a PR on the full lap. Mind you my PR’s on this are very slow. My fastest lap out there was a hour seven minutes. That was before I figured out Strava (more on that later).  Here’s the lap yesterday.

I started out wearing a HR strap and everything. Trying to keep my HR under 160 as much as I could which was never. I was feeling pretty good at the half way point but I knew all the climbing was in the second half of the lap and as I finished the first set of climbs, at about the 32 minute mark I knew I had gone out too hard. I was pretty destroyed and had to stop a sec and get my HR down. For about a minute.

I then continued at a much easier pace and as I started to come up to the fourth tree across the trail I decided to ditch the effort and ride out easy. I really felt like crap and pretty much thought that was a stupid idea. Now the rest of my day was pretty shot and I would be looking for the couch when I got home.

But then as I got closer it seemed that my time would not be as bad. In fact, according to Mr Garmin I ended the lap at a hour ten minutes. Just two minutes off. Surely if I started out a bit slower and finished a bit harder I could for sure break the hour seven. Who knows. Strava shows my moving time as a hour 12 but thats tooling around in the lot after. Also it shows my lap as a hour 23 minutes? That must be counting the down time as my Garmin stops when I stop. Whatever. Not important.

So that was my weekend. Next weekend is the Enduro in Marquette and there still is a chance I might go. A small chance but still a chance.