And with that, the season is a wrap...

Saturday was the annual Dirty Duathlon which is a fund raiser for Central Iowa Trails Association.

I try to do the race every fall as the funds go to CITA.  This year, the funds are to help build a new section of trail at Center Trails during the Spring of 2015 that will make for a nice loop.  Some years I am unable to attend the Dirty Du due to opera rehearsals, or other plans.  It's called the "dirty" duathlon because the event takes place on the dirt singletrack trails in Des Moines in and around the Greenwood Park area.  A runner begins with a 2 mile run, then rides a mountain bike for 10 miles, and then it ends with another 2 mile run.  One can do it solo, or as a relay.

I've done it both ways - including with Alexa when we won the Sprint version a few years ago.  I've done it solo on at least 3 different occasions, and I teamed up with former student Brandon Hyde to take on the Men's relay the past two times I have done it.  It's pretty low key, but you can make it whatever you want depending on the effort you grind out.  It's usually my year end wrap for the mountain bike racing season.

This year, I teamed up for the co-ed relay full Dirty Du with 2012 Simpson Alumna, Amelia Borgomainerio.  Amelia is a runner and needed a mountain biker to join her, so we hooked up and became a team.  Amelia claimed on the CITA website that she was "in it to win it".  Tara and I had spent the evening with Alexa in Iowa City on Friday, and had breakfast with her Saturday morning before driving back.  I drove directly to the race venue and noticed that we had beautiful fall weather on Saturday in the low 70's.  The trail was in perfect condition for the race, and CITA had things set up for a great event.

Amelia began with the run at 1 pm, and when she completed her lap, tagged me and off I went for the bike laps.  I was able to work my way through the crowd quite a bit and was only passed by one bike during my 10 miles (the eventual 1st Place Winner) who was competing with his young daughter.  My laps were pretty full throttle for me as I kept my HR in the 164 - 171 area anytime I wasn't going down the hill.  I forgot to turn my Wahoo Fitness App on until about 5 minutes into the race, but managed to turn it on during one of the climbs.  It was a full out XC race effort by me that was equivalent of a CAT II race.  I felt pretty good out there and was able to keep things moving throughout.


Photo courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

I finished my portion and tagged off to Amelia who went for her final 2 mile portion.  Fun was had by all and we managed to end up in 3rd Place for the Co-Eds...


Thanks to Cheryl Dralle and CITA for hosting yet another great Dirty Du!!!

I went out for the longest ride I have done in October on Sunday to shake out the legs from Saturday's race effort.  And that was only 101 minutes to Carlisle and back on the road bike as October was me just maintaining the shape I had to do the race in Red Wing, and the Dirty Du.  I maintained my form by doing shorter rides with intensity and not many hours.  I will now move into the off season fun rides, weight lifting, and base building before heading off to Germany in January.  After the ride, I loaded up two chickens in the Big Green Egg to smoke, and then headed off to the Chamber Singers Concert at Simpson.

My racing season this year spanned from the Psycowpath Race on March 29th in Bellevue, NE - to October 25th if I count the Dirty Du.  That included 12 XC State Series events that I did in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.  My two "extra" events were the Dakota Five-0 in South Dakota, and the Dirty Du in Des Moines.  Compared to 2012 and 2013, that's a more manageable number of events considering I did 22 in 2012, and 17 in 2013.


Red Wing Race Report...

Knowing that it was near peak weekend for fall leaf colors, Tara decided to join me on a drive up to Red Wing this past Sunday to see the fall colors.  I know we did that at least once when we lived in New York City, and headed up to Vermont for a weekend.

The peak colors can vary 2-3 weeks depending on the weather, but this year they are a bit later than normal here in the upper Midwest.  Regardless, the timing worked out perfectly for us.  I wanted to race in the rescheduled Minnesota Mountain Bike Series event that originally was supposed to be in June, but rain in the forecast caused a postponement.  Luckily, the trail organization at Red Wing, and their crew, were able to figure out a date that would work for them while still providing MMBS to have their full 10 race season.

I like the Red Wing course a lot, and saw that I had Sunday free to travel to the race, so that's what we did.  We made a road trip for fall colors and mountain bike racing.

We left the house at 6 am and Tara got a picture of the sunrise as we headed north...


Thanks to sharing driving duties, I was able to work on a flat tire my rear bike wheel had while we motored up I-35.  I added sealant, and pumped the tire back up (which is not easy while sitting in the front seat).  We arrived a bit later than I would have liked, but I got dressed, made my drink mix, and headed to the registration table to pick up my number plate.  Then I headed out for a 15-20 minute brief warm-up in the blustery fall morning, that was filled with beautiful sunshine and fall colors every where one looked.

I lined up about 10 minutes before the start and noticed that the 2nd Wave would be all the 40-49, 50-59, and 60+ racers.  Usually we are near the rear of all the start waves, but this time we would go second.

Tara snapped a shot of me with my game face starting to develop...


I got some final tips and directions from a fellow racer in my group before we took off...


After the call ups for our combined wave of three age categories had been completed, I was lined up back in the bunch at the line.  On the "GO!", I was able to move up to the top 10-12 quite easily in the opening meadow section as my legs were feeling good for racing.  I knew that this race was going to be a lot longer than the typical 60 - 70 minute version of a Sport race due to the number of laps we were slated to do - 3.  So I didn't want to get too excited right off the bat, and thought about pacing to remain strong throughout the race.


I recognized a racer (Steve Kapaun) in front of me that is usually near or on the podium, and managed to settle in behind him.  I have finished behind Steve before, as well as ahead of him - so he was a good marker for me to tuck in behind.  By my count of who had lined up at the start, Steve was the final podium spot with Craig Brown right in front of him.  I remained on Steve's wheel and when we came into the final open meadow section after a long climb, I really thought about passing both he and Craig in front of him as my HR monitor said we were just cruising along in that meadow at Tempo, rather than in race pace.  Again, my strategy was to follow these two riders, pace myself well, and the strategy developed - whether it was good or bad at the time - to making the decision I would attempt to make my move in either the 2nd or the 3rd lap at or around that same spot.

As we came around the start/finish area for the 2nd lap, Tara snapped a shot of me which shows the vivid fall colors we were all fortunate to experience out there...


In that opening meadow section where I noticed Steve had slowed down during lap one - he took off, and I gave pursuit to stay in contact.  So, that adjusted my strategy to wait until the 3rd lap to make my move.  Lap three had some of the faster racers from waves that started behind us catching up and asking to pass.  Other than that, it was going according to plan and I was hanging on the wheel of the rider in front of me.  I was riding my Dos Niner which has wider handlebars than my Niner bikes, and negotiating between some of the tight trees was going fine, but took good timing, balance and coordination at this race speed.

About 2/3's of the way through lap three on a tight tree section that didn't give me any troubles before, I snagged the right side of my handlebar on a tree.  That stopped me dead in my tracks and threw me as well as the bike into a tree on the left side where my helmet smashed into the tree.  My chain also flew off and the 2 guys behind me screamed at me to "Get out of the way!!!".  There were no "Are you okay?" sympathies shared from what they had just seen.  So I moved out of the way and it took far too long to get my chain back on than I would have liked.  I fumbled with it in 3 or 4 attempts to get the chain on and get going again.  Rats!!!  "Game Over" I thought, but there was no way I was going to go down without a fight.


So digging deep, I gave chase in hopes I could make up a 20+ second deficit before we ran out of singletrack real estate.  I pushed my heart rate higher than I thought I could take, but was heroics or nothing at this point if I wanted it that bad.   I felt like I was slowly crawling my way back into it, but was still about 15-18 seconds or so behind where I had been before hitting the tree by my count.  Since we were already nearing the 90 minute point, I was in a deeper pain and suffering mode than usual, and the extra effort spent trying to catch up was draining my tank.  I just didn't have it in my legs to catch back up to Steve who finished 18 seconds ahead of me for the final podium spot.  I gave it my all though, and had the tree hit not happened, who knows if I would have had enough left in the tank to pull off a pass and make it stick?  Regardless, I was happy with my effort at this level of competition.


Post race posing...


I think Kyle Williams (who raced Sport in the 30-39 age class, and got 3rd in that group) said it best.  Something like "COMP in Minnesota is like Elite in Iowa, and Sport in Minnesota is like COMP in Iowa".

However one says it, any time I make it to the top 5 in Wisconsin or Minnesota is a good effort for me as the competition is really high.  After the race and results were posted, we took off to find a suitable lunch spot in Red Wing.  We wandered in at Marie's Underground Grill and Tavern which turned out to be a nice local spot for lunch.  Then we hopped in the car for the return trip.

Full color in Red Wing...


567 miles round trip was a bit much for the day when you add in a 90 minute race, but seeing the colors on or near the peak weekend made the trip worth it - as did the always well run Minnesota Mountain Bike Series events.  I'm glad they were able to have the race as it was a fun one - as always.  Kudo to all those involved in the MMBS and to the local crew at Red Wing for getting the course ready and hosting the event!!!

We rolled into Indianola about 7:30 pm tired and tuckered out...


What a weekend!!!!

It is no wonder I slept for 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep last night after the busiest week of the year for me.  Not even the dogs could stir me before 7 am this morning!!!!

Services on Friday night (2 hours), Saturday morning (2 hours), Saturday afternoon (4pm, 5pm and 6 pm - which morphed into the 7 pm service) singing with this excellent group of musicians...


...made for a spiritual and musical highlight this Yom Kippur.  Not being Jewish, it is pretty easy to follow along with all the Old Testament stuff due to the similarities to my upbringing in the United Methodist Church.

Tara awoke long before the crows were up on Sunday morning and I think was out of the house at 4 am on her way to the airport and California.  I managed to sort of stay awake, then get ready for The Mullet Fall Classic race day which had me out of the house by 6:30 am with my U-Haul behind the Element to drive down to Lake Ahquabi and set up shop.

Bob Matthews pulled in about 15 minutes later and we went to work to make The Mullet happen.  Lake Ahquabi at 7 am...


The trail was groomed to perfection and in perfect condition for racing.




Bob and Andy built a nice zig-zag style maze at the start/finish area to please spectators and provide for plenty of heckling and teasing that went on during the racing...



160 racers toed the line this year (down from last year where we had 168) and enjoyed sunshine, fall weather (high was 64), potluck, a beer garden, a generous prize table (ended up with 134 prizes)...


...awards, fun, and frivolity to end the 2014 IMBCS season.   I had a tremendous group of volunteers that handled registration, timing, course set-up/tear-down, marshalling duties, prize table distribution duty, potluck, gopher duty, and could not be more pleased with each and every one of them.

After the long day, and very successful day of racing - I rolled out of Lake Ahquabi State Park at 7:12 pm confident we had left the park in a better condition than we had found it 12 hours prior.  I got home, had dinner with Zack and was sound asleep by 9 pm.  The High Holy Days singing, the lead up to the race, and the race day itself took a lot out of me.  All good, but combining the two on the same weekend was more draining than I thought it would be 10 months ago when I scheduled everything.

Since I did not race The Mullet this year by choice so I could focus on being an actual race director, I went out after work today to ride 2 laps at race speed.  I wanted to jump start the legs and just see where I would have stacked up on my home course.  It's always difficult to emulate true race conditions when riding by yourself, but I tried as best I could.  I had turned 32:16 laps the prior weekend on Sunday and Monday making sure I had the course set up right for this year.  Not having ridden since Monday, and without any warm-up after work -  I turned two laps in 1:04:35.  My 2nd lap was a minute quicker than my first lap as I was warmed up and in the groove.  Not a fair comparison, but had I rolled a 1:04:35 if I had raced on Sunday it would have been good enough for 3rd overall in CAT II Sport, and 1st in my age group.  At least it was good enough for my peace of mind.  More importantly, I got to see the course in the counterclockwise direction in the same conditions all the racers saw it yesterday.  It was perfect and really, really fun. 

I'm sorry not more could experience it, but I realize people are busy, some are under the weather, and a myriad of reasons always leads to who shows up and who doesn't show up.  In spite of that, I was really pleased with how the event turned out this year as I thought it was my best effort of the 7 years I have hosted this race.  Ma Nature has been more than kind to me each and every year.  For that, I feel very fortunate....


Singing tonight, and all day tomorrow...

Tonight at sunset begins with the Kol Nidre service to usher in Yom Kippur....


I'll be singing the service tonight, as well as starting tomorrow morning at 10 am with continuous services until a bit after 7:00 pm when the fast is broken.  Yes, that is a big, long day tomorrow with lots of great music on tap for me to sing.

Special thanks to my colleague at Simpson - Jamie Poulsen - for the arrangement of Avinu Malkeinu with organ.  Hey, when two United Methodist Minister's sons get together - we can do great things!  ;-)  It's quickly become my favorite prayer to sing this year.  It mirrors the version Sherrill Milnes recorded with Jon Spong.  Milnes sang in Janowski's Temple Choir in Chicago in the early 60's and nailed the style in his recording.  I'm sure working with Janowski would have been fun.  I have to assume that Milnes sang it in the style Janowski taught it to him, so of all the versions I've listented to - I keep going back to the Milnes version as a reference. 

In honor of Yom Kippur and the great prayer, here's Jan Peerce singing the great Janowksi piece as originally written...


The Mullet Fall Classic week is here...!!!

This is the week, and....


A trail work day on Saturday morning yielded 22 of us to take on the grooming, raking, trimming, tree cutting, erosion spot filling, etc... of the 6.5 mile loop we will use this year for Sunday's race.  Three more erosion spots will get attention this week, and then everything is good to go.

A few shots from Saturday...






I mowed the grassy areas on Friday, worked with the crew and made breakfast for them with Tara on Saturday, did more work on Saturady afternoon, and tested out the trail Saturday late afternoon before setting up the camping site.  Tara and I camped out on Saturday night, then I did more trail work on Sunday before doing another lap to really figure out what still needed attention.  I hated missing the Night Cap up in Des Moines with BikeIowa.com, but this was the only weekend I could set aside to get the race course in shape.  Usually, the Oakley Night Cap has been held after The Mullet Fall Classic.  This year, however, they scheduled it a week before my event which meant being in two places at one time is simply not possible.  

In terms of the course at Ahquabi, a few spots could use a bit more trimming if I am being picky, but they are fine as is and won't hamper the race.  My time is limited this week with work, Yom Kippur rehearsals (singing lots of great music this year), and last minute details of picking up a trailer, the P.A. System, going over final to do lists and checklists, loading everything up so it is ready to go for the weekend.  In short, there are not enough hours in the day this week that I would like to have at my disposal.

Somehow, I managed to mow our own lawn this weekend, go to Yom Kippur rehearsal, have a meal with Tara at Centro, and get some sleep.

Although the forecast is a week out and I don't trust a forecast more than 24 hours, Ma Nature does look like she is going cooperate this weekend with sunshine and a high of 71 for The Mullet Fall Classic on Sunday.  Rain on Wednesday/Thursday in the forecasted amount of .6 - 1.3" which should dry out well on Friday with cool temperatures and wind before sunshine and warmth on Saturday and Sunday finish the course off into perfect conditions.  I may have to trim some of the grass again as the rain this past Friday, and what is coming mid-week will ignite the growth a bit quicker than I prefer.  Time being the issue to get everything done...

Enjoy National Coffee Day and drink up!!!


Fall Begins....Oktoberfest....Birthdays....and IMBCS Summerset Shootout Race Report!!!

I just had one of the best weekends of my 53 years to close out the Summer of 2014.  Saturday was my 53rd Birthday, and the family had plans for a unique celebration (which was all kept as a surprise to me).  Alexa arrived home on Thursday night for a 4 day weekend.

Friday night, Tara and I went to La Casa and joined up with Ron and Barb Albrecht for a nice visit and meal sitting outside on the patio enjoying the late summer weather.  A pair of Margaritas began my weekend festivities, and Saturday was a scheduled IMBCS mountain bike race at Summerset State Park.  Unfortunately, a storm brewed up in the early morning hours and dumped enough rain (1/2") to force a postponement to Sunday for the race.

That actually turned out well for us, as Alexa took me to a wonderful Birthday breakfast at La Mie.  Zack had work call for the opera, and Tara was getting her hair cut.  I ran into Fred Lorber at La Mie and we visited for a few minutes before Alexa informed me we needed to "be out of the house for a few more hours".  So we headed over to Rassy's to get my rear wheel spoke fixed and get the wheel trued.  Adam dug around and actually found a derailleur hanger for the JET 9.  Greg ordered a replacement derailleur that would replace the one I was about to steal from my wife's Air 9.  Then we headed over to Jordan Creek to see the new iPhone 6 and 6+ (very nice, by the way).  There was a line outside the store for those waiting to buy the new iPhone that had well over 150 people standing in it.  Alexa and I moved on to other stores and she bought me a nice new pair of cold weather riding gloves as a birthday present.

My cousin Marilyn reminded everyone on Facebook it was my Birthday with a photograph she had of me as an infant...


Since the race was postponed a day, I flip-flopped what I had planned for Sunday morning and did it Saturday afternoon instead.  That was to do several hours of trail work out at Lake Ahquabi.  I was told I needed to be home, showered, and dressed in a nice clothes for a 5:30 pm departure.  I didn't want to wear myself out too much doing trail work, so I chose to trim the canopy which means I would be moving slowly and conserving energy.  I got the Mickey Mouse ears section of the trail trimmed and cleaned up, as well as two connector sections, and removed two fallen trees.  The mosquitoes didn't seem to care that I was lathered up in bug spray as I guess they knew summer was about to end.

I got home, showered, dressed in my suit and was ushered into the dining room area where I was presented with a surprise gift of a two temperature wine storage cellar unit (top for red wine, bottom for white wine) that was full of 12 premium bottles of select stuff from around the world.  Wow!  That was not expected at all and is quite a gift.  Bottles from Austria, France, Napa Valley, and beyond filled the storage unit.  Then I read the birthday cards and was told we needed to leave for our next step in the process.  I was informed that Zack and Alexa would not be dining with us.  Yet, they were all smiles about it.  Hmmm....

Off I was whisked in Tara's car and we headed south out of Indianola which I thought was odd.  I wasn't sure where we were going, or if there was some restaurant south of town or in another town that she had discovered via a recommendation.

Low and behold, we pulled into Lake Ahquabi State Park and there stood Lisa Seidenkranz and her son, the chef, Tyler who had prepared our first course of the evening's meal and set up a romantic, candlelit table in the shelter overlooking the lake.  Once we were greeted, they left us to enjoy our first course.  I left the suit jacket in the car as temperatures were in the 80's as we arrived.

The view...


The setting...


The date...



Enjoying the Cakebread (one of my favorite wines)...


This was a unique evening to say the least.  There were three young girls that had been swimming in the lake that kept walking by us where we were sitting.  We heard one whisper to the other "I think it's a date!" which tickled us.  After we ate the wonderful appetizer, and had a glass of wine, Tara took it an emotional step or two deeper than I was expecting.  Suffice it to say, she really touched me on a level that left me in tears (all in a good way).  We made a commitment to each other, and that will be symbolically carried out in December.

As beautiful as the setting was at Lake Ahquabi, and the time we were enjoying with each other - she had me on the move again at 7 pm to make the next stop in our evening's journey.  So we packed up and headed to Des Moines where we landed at the 801 Chophouse for the main dinner.  Much discussion and fun was had between us - along with some wonderful food.

It had been a long day for me since I awoke in the very early am thinking I would be racing, then the day out and about with Alexa, the trail work, the emotional release, and needless to say a few glasses of wine and good food led me to a bit of a nap on the way home in the car.  Thanks to my loving, wonderful wife - this was one of the most memorable birthdays for me that I will cherish for years to come.

Who needs Oktoberfest when you have a unique evening like that?  However, Oktoberfest was ushered in on Saturday with the opening celebrations in Munich.   The Summerset Shootout race was scheduled to usher it in, and The Mullet Fall Classic is scheduled to usher it out with the 9/20 - 10/5 dates bookmarking the festival.  Sunday morning had a nice breeze, full sunshine, and temperatures that were 10-15 degrees cooler than Saturday.  So the race was on for Sunday with an additional hour of drying time to make sure that the trails were in good hero dirt condition after Saturday's thunderstorm.  I had a nice relaxing morning at home with Tara as there was no need to drive two hours or more to this race as it was 10 minutes north of town.

I went out in the garage to tinker with the JET 9 and get the hanger and derailleur installed.  That went smoothly, but I soon realized that the SRAM X.9 derailleur required a longer cable than my destroyed X.0 - and I didn't have a spare derailleur cable in my parts bin!!!  OK - so the Dos Niner would be my bike of choice for the race instead.  No biggie as I had thrown the ST Thudbuster on there for a bit of extra cushion and have done more races on a Dos Niner over the years than any other bike.
I arrived at Summerset around noon, got registered, and went out for a 30 minute warm-up on the Summerset Trail.  My legs did feel stiff from all the bending over I had done on Saturday picking up the limbs I cut from the canopy.  Luckily, the warm-up helped flush all of that stiffness away.  I headed to the line to visit with everyone and get ready for the day's effort.

My wave lined up, and I got in the front row with Anthony Branch, Andre Rethman, and a younger rider who was wearing a full face mask helmet.  When Steve Fuller told us to go, I sprinted off the line pretty hard with Anthony content to sit in behind Anthony for the first part of the race.  I was surprised that the kid with the full helmet, shot around us before the singletrack.  Anthony went in behind him, and I was in the third spot.  Andy Peterson had moved up to the Comp race since he leads the Sport Class in points for the year and has that wrapped up.  And we were missing a few other usuals as well, so I was only up that far in the pack due to who was there (or rather not there).

It wasn't long before the kid with the full face helmet slowed as his match was burned out.  So 4 of us went around him.  This group of 4 of us traded places off and on throughout the first lap.  Finally, coming out of the Extra Credit section at the end of the first lap, I passed Anthony Branch to take the lead and never looked back. Everyone latched onto me for the start of lap two, but I slowly started to build a gap, and just kept adding to it refusing to back off.  This was the highest my heart rate had averaged for any race this year, and I was really breathing heavily as I hammered through what I have to consider one of my "home courses".  The Dos Niner was doing great and it felt good to race on it again.  It's quite a bit more flexy than my Niners, but no adjustment was needed with all the miles and races I have under my belt with the bike.

Eric Roccasecca captured me flying down the last section of Corner Pocket...


I kept pushing myself all the way to the end, passed a few riders in the Comp Class, and crossed the line in 1st Place for my Age Class and in 1st Place overall for the Sport Category.  Again - that had more to do with who showed up to race and who didn't show up to race than anything different from me.  However, I did feel really strong in this race as I did in the prior two races.  Almost like I had hit a second peak in the season with the way I structured my training for mid-August until now.  So I ended the season (not sure if I'll race again this fall) with three 1st Place wins at George Wyth, Sugar Bottom, and Summerset which is a nice way to close out what has been an improved year of racing for me.

One of my favorite sections of Banner on top of the piles of whatever remnants are left from the coal mining days...


Photo courtesy of Eric Roccasecca

Plenty of beers, chit-chatting, and fun was had in the Oktoberfest climate after the race as we all hung out post-race.  Kudos to Rick Blackford and the Rassy crew for hosting one of our signature events in the IMBS.  Having to deal with the weather and pulling off a postponement adds plenty of stress to the race director and crew - but it worked out well for everyone with the better weather and trail conditions on Sunday.

That's how my summer ended.  A great birthday, a wonderful wife, a caring family, good friends, and mountain bike racing.  If I could have a do over for the weekend - I wouldn't want it to be any different than it was.  Thanks to all!!!

Fall arrives this evening around 9:29 pm making the transition into cooler weather, fall colors, riding for fun, eating, and what not begin in earnest tomorrow.


Race Bike damage...

"When you least expect it, expect it"....I guess.

My schedule this year at work is overloaded which means I don't have time to hop on my bike until 6 pm or later this fall semester, so I try to get what I can when I can.  Yesterday, I wanted to head out early before school to see what conditions the trails were in at Lake Ahquabi due to the upcoming race I host out there on October 5th.

So I grabbed the JET 9, loaded up the Element and headed out for a lap.  About 7 minutes into the race course loop on a benign corner my ride ended thanks to a twig that hopped up and in a brief second ripped my rear derailleur into the spokes.  "Ya gotta be kiddin' me!!!!" was my immediate response considering I really only have about 1 more race to do this season on that bike.  Why now?!!!  I guess running over thousands of twigs all season long for several seasons, I was due.  No way to get it fixed in time for tomorrow's race as I can't get all the parts in time.

I suppose this is about the 3rd time in a dozen years I've had that happen to me - and it always surprises me how quickly it happens and how fragile things are down there on the drivetrain.  The snap and break takes place quicker than you can "HEY!", so there is no stopping it from happening once the process begins.  The last time it happened to me (a SRAM X.0 rear derailleur on my Karate Monkey), it led me to choose lower end, lower cost rear derailleurs for the sheer sake of dealing with replacing a $75 part being less painful than a $200+ part.

Well, low and behold - I have been running a SRAM X.0 Black Box medium cage carbon derailleur on my JET 9 for quite a while now - and there is some serious $$$ pain involved in this loss.  The hanger was bent sufficiently...


...and that is the low cost portion of the fix.  The hanger is $12, but the pain involved is that I have to order it which takes time - so there is no chance to get the race bike ready for Saturday's race unless by some fluke, somebody in the Des Moines area has a spare one sitting around.  I could cannibalize a rear derailleur from another bike if I had a hanger, but the good news is I have the RIP 9 and the Dos Niner I can race on Saturday.

The expensive part of the loss was the weight weenie rear mechanical SRAM X.0 Black Box Carbon bit...


Ouch!!  I know that photo is way out of focus, but that's how everything looks to me these days without my reading glasses.  ;-)

Looks like I'll be on eBay scouting around for something comprable - or give in and purchase a lower end, lower cost SRAM 9 speed rear mechanical like I have on all my other bikes due to my previous history of having this happen that I mentioned above.  The cable housing also got damaged, so a little fix back there with the final segment of housing run is in order as well.

My ride cut short, I hiked back to the car and drove home to get ready for work.  I snuck in a ride after 6 pm at Banner Pits to make up for it on my RIP 9 to get a race speed lap in on the RIP to adjust.  It doesn't handle the same as the JET, but I am used to riding it out there so all will be well in spite of my JET being in the sick bay until all the new parts arrive.  I managed to continue breaking things at the dinner table.  I was trying to give the dogs a bowl to lick after I had finished my dinner and managed to drop it on the floor where it broke into a dozen pieces.  One of those days, I guess.

Alexa is home for the weekend and will help celebrate my 53rd Birthday.  We sat at the kitchen table last night until the late hours (she had a paper due by midnight) and I was catching up on emails, recommendation letters, school business, and what not while fighting to stay awake.  I'm not sure what is planned or on tap with the family this weekend outside of the Summerset Shootout Race, and a 1 - 5 pm rehearsal I have on Sunday.

Bon Weekend to all!  Try not to break things.  ;-)