Weekend Singletrack!!!

I enjoyed the Dirty Du last weekend so much (raced it with one of my voice students who did the running portion to get him in shape for singing!!!), I decided to head out for 2 hours of singletrack sweetness yesterday. I was surprised that there wasn't that much mud. In fact, I was on the Raven 2.2's with minimal tread and only slipped and slid a few times during the entire 2 hours. I was on the 4" travel Sugar 293 and noticed my back got pretty hammered as I had the rear shock aired up for racing which limits the rear squish. My 48 year old back is a little sore this morning.

I'm going to head out today for another ride with a combination of pavement and singletrack (going to Banner Pits and back), but I'll climb aboard the much cushier and autumn season oriented (Fire XC Pro tires) RIP 9. No need to do intervals on that machine as the entire ride is like one big interval thanks to the fun factor, the big meat tires and the weight of the bike. ;-) Actually, it's not that bad. I've got it built up around 28 lbs. which isn't too bad for such a bike.

After the week of rain, I was finally able to commute to work on Friday with the bike and my lights. I love the wide berth cars give me in the evening on my way home due to my flashing tail light. In the day, cars whiz by me ranging from 3 feet to 8 feet. In the evening, they are almost over the curb and up on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. Pretty amazing how they react to a bike with lights at night, but I've always found that to be the case whether I was commuting in Austria or here in the states.

I set up our new 55" television yesterday and got the Bose sound system working again in the basement. We haven't had things set up down there since the basement flooding and got repaired last year. It was time to get things organized in our family room and we got a good deal on this Samsung 7100 LED HDTV this week. I'll hook up the PS III today and then mount the screen on the wall. I've got to repair one of the speaker grills with some DIY troubleshooting since the plastic pegs broke off that snap into the speaker box. I think moving it around so much during the flood repair process is what caused those plastic pegs to snap off. Regardless, dealing with that should waste an hour or more of my time today.

Wednesday morning we fly out to San Francisco for Thanksgiving with my wife's family. I probably won't get to do any cycling out there, but I'll hit the gym every day with my father-in-law and son to start up my off season weight program.

Back to my weekend agenda....


Just like riding a bike...

I performed a bit of Don Giovanni this evening at a student/faculty concert and it was just like riding a bike. Boy, I'm getting the itch to sing in an opera soon to get all my blood flowing again! I'll have to work on that...

I've been investigating a helmet light to pair with my NiteRider MiNewt X.2 Duals I bought at the Boone 24 a couple of years ago. It is dark so early (what, about 4:30 pm these days?) that I am having to ride in the dark. The X.2's are working great, but on singletrack it's nice to have a light on the helmet so I can turn my head and see what is coming up. At the Boone race, the NiteRider demo truck let me borrow a helmet light and it was a great system to have both the handlebar lights and the helmet light. I'll keep looking for something in stock and within my budget.

My X.2's...

New Night Rider MiNewts

Today was off the bike (outside of walking the dogs in the neighborhood). I will do a little tune up tomorrow afternoon after our auditions all morning for prospective students who are here for the weekend. I'm looking forward to Sunday's Dirty Du up in Des Moines. Temperatures will be dropping from the low 60's to the high 40's, so it will be chilly out there on Sunday.


Fall Weather Delights!!!!

I certainly cannot complain about the fall weather we have been having lately. I just don't like it getting dark so early as it means if I am going to ride the bike after work, it will be in the dark. I've got the battery pack all charged up and ready to go for some night riding out at Lake Ahquabi, but I haven't had time to get out there yet after work. I've been sneaking in fall rides during the day when I can on the new trail bike....


I've got to get this thing out to the Black Hills to hit the rocks. In the meantime, I never really thought I would have this much fun around central Iowa on a bike with so much travel thanks to the 4.7" up front and in the rear. I am running an older Octalink XT crankset on it, I ran into the problem everyone else is having on the RIP when trying to run a 44T big ring with an XT crankset and a 50mm chainline. Forget about running it at 47.5mm chainline with that size ring. It doesn't work as there are clearance issues with the yoke. And the 44T fits with a 50mm chainline, but the chain will get stuck between the ring and the yoke after a few suspension movements. Odd, but Niner says all works well with a 51mm chainline. I don't want to go that wide due to Q-Factor issues, so I swapped out to a 38T big ring and all has been well. I'll swap the 118mm spindle for a 113mm spindle to get my 47.5mm chainline and narrower Q-Factor back this weekend. There is a 30/40 ring combo available from a guy in Texas that was designed for the XT crankset, but in an effort to save $155 I'll run my 22/32/38 set up for now. Or maybe I'll drop the 38T and toss a bash ring on there.

The RIP eats up anything I can throw at it. I put my favorite all around Fire XC Pro tires on it and have been tearing through the fall foliage and having a huge grin on my face while doing it.

I'm going to race the Des Moines Dirty Duathlon this weekend with a student of mine who will do the running portion. I just did not get any time to train for the run this year and trail running takes a lot of different muscles than pavement or track running. No visions of placing well, we're just doing it to help Capital Striders and CITA raise some funds for trail development.

I'll race the old standby this weekend...


Max even gave it the sniff of approval on Sunday while we were cleaning the garage floor...


I'm trying to track down a leak in our Mercury Villager mini-van. It must have a clogged drain hole or hose somewhere as water is getting into the interior (and it does not smell or taste like anti-freeze). I've got an appointment on Friday morning to find the culprit. I did manage to back into it last week as my son parked on the opposite side of the driveway and as a creature of habit, I was expecting it to be where it wasn't. Not much damage, just cosmetic scrapes on both my Element and the mini-van.