Gear Test Well after reading that Chris was going to test out his sleeping gear last night. I too decided to brave the cold. I plopped down my Thermarest Prolite 4 sleeping pad and Northface Tundra -20 sleeping bag on the deck and climbed in for a good nights sleep. I just wore minimal clothing. A long sleeve midweight polypro top, a pair of sweatpants (real quality technical wear), a pair of expedition weight Smartwool socks and a Patagonia beanie. The temperature only made it down to 4 degrees F, so I was plenty warm. I slept until 3:30am when I got up to go to the bathroom. After going inside I decided that I had enough for one night and layed down in my cozy bed. Overall a good way to start off the winter gear testing. Now I need to get out and test it in real world conditions. Rick and I are still planning on going up to the Arrowhead Trail the 3rd weekend in December. That should be a better test under "race conditions". If anyone else wants to come along that weekend I think we'll have room. How about it pw? That's all for today. Later.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
More snowbike stuff Has anyone seen this setup before? Looks like it would be a lot of fun. Talk about good traction. With a four inch Endomorph tire you get a good 4x4 patch of contact or better. With a track system I bet you get a foot or more in length and a couple inches in width of contact. The ski seems a little scary though. Hit an icy spot on the trail and I would think that would scoot right out from under you. $400 for the rear track kit and $140 for the ski kit. That's pretty cheap compared to what it costs for a Large Marge wheelset. I'm tempted to try the rear track kit out next winter unless Ktrak would like to sponsor me for the Arrowhead 135 this year : ) Today I ordered up a 9-speed XT hub and a 9-speed bar end shifter. Now I just need to get a Paul Components thumbie adapter and the Pugs will be ready for anything. Don't worry all you single speed fans out there. I'll still have the 20t freewheel on the front. I hope the SBS can fit me into their busy winter schedule : ) Here's a good article that I saw on the Alaska MTBR forum. At the end there is talk of making a carbon fiber snow rim. Very interesting stuff. I think I'll go for a ride now. I got some catching up to do in the Winter Challenge Ride Series. Later.
Posted by Simmons at 2:32 PM
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Posted by Simmons at 12:04 PM
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Lightening the load After reading Chris P's blog, and seeing what a weight watcher he is, I started to look at my gear to see where I could lose some weight. There's a backpack that he uses that I thought was a good place to start. Only 10 ounces, and cost just 25 bucks. Thanks Chris. I still have to do some testing to see how much I can carry in it. I'm striving to be the anti-Rick, and be a minimalist when packing for a long ride : ) I also have been searching the net for a lighter stove set-up. I remember Cellerat building one not too long ago out of a beer bottle. What kind of fuel did that use Dave? Anyone have experience with Esbit-style stoves? I found a couple of them on Backpackinglight.com. Very light weight and this one even makes good use out of a beer can as a pot. Might be worth trying. There is a bunch of good info on this site. It appeals to my weight weenie side. Any other good advice on stoves or fuel that you guys might have would be greatly appreciated. I also found a super light weight bivy sack that only weighs 6.5 oz! Might be a little too light weight for winter use though. I might have trouble getting up to the minimum 15lbs. of gear for Arrowhead this year : ) Speaking of Arrowhead. Rick and I have been talking about maybe pre-riding portions of the Arrowhead Trail in early December. Anyone else interested in something like that? That's all for now. Good luck to Team Brown Bear at the Wisconsin CX State Championships. As much as I hate it. I'll be wearing my TBB t-shirt in support tomorrow : )
Posted by Simmons at 7:24 PM
Friday, November 10, 2006
Arrowhead Ultra 2007 I'm already getting excited for the Arrowhead 135 in February. Last year's DNF is a real motivator to get training this winter. Looks like there is going to be quite a few more runners this year. Still 14 spots left for anyone that wants to do a great race to start off the 2007 season. I was doing some research on vapor barriers for winter riding. Looks like a bunch of the top guys in the Alaska races use them with great success. RBH designs looks to be the top choice, but might be kind of spendy. There are some great stories in the expeditions section of their website. Stephenson's Warmlite is another company that looks good, and their prices are cheaper. There's a good section on how vapor barriers work. Lots of nude camping going on with that company. Check out the PDF version of their catalog. Very funny stuff. I think I'm going to order some socks and see how they work once it cools down here. Looks like you guys futher east and south got some snow to play in. Lets see some pictures of bikes in the snow : ) That's all for today. Have a good weekend.
Posted by Simmons at 6:26 PM
Monday, November 06, 2006
Sunday Funday! Well the Sunday ride was a great success. "Success" meaning Rick didn't die on me : ) We started at 7:00am and a 100 miles later we got back at 7:00pm. A good 12 hour LSD ride with numerous breaks and a burger stop at the Tuel Shed in Warsaw, ND. Their burger and fries seriously rival the Hub Special. The fries are definitely better. Only two dogs got close to catching us. There were countless others that were tied up or fenced in that wanted to. We stopped outside of Oslo, MN for a rest and counted 8 gunshots in the 2 minutes we we're standing there. Thankfully we stayed out of Minnesota on opening weekend. One section of B-road between Warsaw and Minto was the highlight of the course. Some good muddy pictures below. Once the roads turned south there was a slight headwind and not a whole lot to look at until we got to the Kelly Slough. Overall a fun ride. There was talk of doing a similar route once a month all winter long. So those of you who hemmed and hawed will have numerous chances to join us next time : ) Now, on to the pictures.
Rick, in full EnduroSnob Epic gear, looking back to make sure he hasn't dropped me.
Someone has tried this route before : ) and failed : ( A Huffy just doesn't cut it.I grabbed it so Rick could put it in his backpack : ) A quick sausage muffin break in Manvel. Finger lickin' good.
The killing fields across the bridge in Oslo, MN.Quick break before Warsaw.
Rick still having fun after 80 some miles.Sun's going down. It's going to get cool again.
Last picture of the night. A frozen Kelly Slough. Hope you liked em. Later.
Posted by Simmons at 8:28 PM
Friday, November 03, 2006
Sunday Opener Well it was brought to my attention that the Minnesota deer season opens this weekend. Soooo, instead of dressing up in blaze orange and dodging stray bullets I have taken out the Minnesota side of Sunday's route. I actually found a great road that runs along the Red River of the North. Should be "scenic" by Eastern North Dakota standards. The reroute only shaved off a few miles, and now we get to enjoy a great burger at The Tuel Shed in the land of the Polish - Warsaw, ND. There are also numerous bailout points for those who aren't up to an all day ride. Rick and I are in for sure, Sears is on the fence (I think he'll cave in tomorrow), Greg is interested (I think he'll cave in as well) and I'm still waiting to hear if Pw's back is up to it. I think a 7:00am start would be good. The forecast is looking pretty favorable. Am I forgetting anything else? I'll check in tomorrow to finalize the ride roster and details with everyone that has expressed interest. Leave a comment or give me a call if you have any questions or suggestions. Thanks. See you Sunday, Sunday Sunday! Here is the final draft of the route.
Posted by Simmons at 11:06 PM