11/29/13

SRAM - Twist This!!!

I have a pair of 9 speed SRAM X.0 Twist shifters that I bought in 2003.  Yup, these are the original X.0's and I am proud to say I have been twisting this pair for 11 seasons.  I lost one of the gear indicator windows two years or so ago, but twisted on without the window.  The rubber has pretty much "melted" and reshaped itself into a sticky, goo like mess that finally reached a point of no return this summer/fall.

Here's what they look like right now...

OldX0Twist

The usual ridges and shaped contours of the X.0 twist grip are long gone and the rubber has broken down into a petroleum product mess.  I researched getting replacement rubbers for the shifters and yes, they can be found.  But at what price?  Hmmm....even on sale they run high compared to alternatives.

XO grip

It would be about $31 plus shipping for new grips, and the window replacement for the one I lost would be another few bucks plus shipping.  Even though they still work great, I quickly realized that the cost of getting them up to snuff again seemed more expensive than what used pairs were selling for on eBay or a new pair of 9 speed X7's I found on eBay.  Before I committed to an eBay purchase, I put up a WTB (wanted to buy) post on Facebook at the Midwest VeloSwap page and got 2 used pair offers.  One of the offers was from my fellow BikeIowa.com Team Member Kurt Benson who lives in Des Moines and he had a pair of X.0 9 speed shifters in great shape.  How convenient?  We messaged back and forth and settled on a price of $35 for his pair.  Perfect.

I made the cash for Twist Grip exchange at the DirtyDu earlier in the month.  Kurt's pair is a generation or two newer version of the X.0 twist shift than mine - so this was a nice upgrade for me.  I finally got around to installing them during this Thanksgiving break and am back to enjoyable twisting without a handful of petroleum mess getting all over my gloves or fingers.  While I was at it, I took off the Bontrager foam grips (weight weenie delights) and went with a new pair of my favorite Avenir Palm Pillow Grips that I run on my other bikes...

New&OldX0Twist

Notice the carnage of the old rubber twist portion compared to the newer one!!!  These SRAM Twisters are so easy to install, that right out of the box I had the front and rear derailleurs working perfectly without any need to adjust anything.  It was about as painless of an install as it can get.  I hope to get another 11 seasons out of this new to me version that Kurt sold me.  Too bad my old ones still work and the cost of "fixing" them is so high.  I really hate to toss out things that work, but for the moment they are in my parts bin bucket.  Who knows?  Maybe someday I will happen on a deal for replacement rubbers that make it worthwhile to fix them.

Black Friday is over and I have to say as a family, we did some damage today while turned loose at the mall for 6 hours!!!  We picked up some things on sale for 40-50% off and I got a new pair of winter cycling pants made by Pearl Izumi.  Zack and I almost upgraded to iPhones, but the computer system was down at US Cellular so we will have to go back as the deal we were about to strike is good until December 12th.  It seems like we have accrued enough points to get a phone for free - so that's good news.  We'll be back...

We finally wore ourselves out from fighting the crowds and came home mid afternoon.  I headed out for a 90 minute ride on the Roubaix that included some singletrack at Banner Pits.  I have to say, it's pretty fun to blast through singletrack with handlebars that are only 440mm wide without any issues whatsoever.  Who needs 700mm wide bars?  Please.  The dirt is in perfect condition and things should be golden on Sunday morning for our Bacon Ride.  I had my  NiteRider lights mounted on the bike and needed them for the final 20 minutes of the ride as the sun went down.

Leftover Thanksgiving eats were enjoyed by all and now it is time to wind down with a Friday night movie...


11/28/13

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Today is the 4000+ calorie day for sure.  Although we are attempting to throttle back some of the heavier caloric things a bit with alternative dishes, but nonetheless - lots will be ingested this evening.

I saw a clip on one of the morning talk shows where a famous chef informed us that what you find in canned pumpkin - is not really pumpkin after all.  It's usually another squash - be it Butternut, Hubbard, and or Marrow.  So I searched the net and sure enough, he was right. 

Here's a link...

Oh well.  I'm still going to enjoy a slice or two.  Pass the Hubbard Squash pie...

The 17 pounder came out of the brine a little after 10 AM this morning and is now in the oven.  Our Thanksgiving Feast traditionally is around dinner time, but it might be closer to 5 PM tonight based on the timing of all the food preparation.  Pies are done.  Stuffing is done.  Turkey is in the oven.  Cranberry salad is yet to be made.  Correction - it is now finished.  And the potatonik is yet to be made.

Time to stretch and work on an aggravated lower back/support system!!!

I need to burn some more calories today to prepare for ingesting the big meal, so I'll be heading north to Summerset State Park again for a couple of laps of singletrack and the 14 miles of blacktop to get there and back.  Moving from riding full suspension all year long to my road bike and Dos Niner this fall, my lower back is acting up - especially with the fall weight lifting schedule.

I need to stop avoiding the symptoms and hit the stretches to start to take care of it.

Julie always helps me...



And James helps me out on the trail...



And in the basement...



Happy Thanksgiving to all and enjoy giving thanks with friends, family, and guests that you sit with at the table.





11/27/13

Frigid Cycling....

Today was day one of my Thanksgiving vacation and it is also the first night of Hanukkah. 

Check out this killer-rad menorah...

bikemenorah

I got a new battery for Alexa's car this morning, cleaned the garage and threw out a lot of junk, and then I upgraded my SRAM shifters and grips.  I decided to take advantage of the sunshine to do a bike ride.  I grabbed the Dos Niner out of the workstand since I wanted to hit some Summerset dirt to see if it was ready for the weekend bacon ride.

The thermometer said 27 degrees, but that was the coldest 27 degrees I can remember out on the bike.  Or at the very least - it is taking me more time to adapt to the new reality of how cold it actually is.  I have cycling gear to ride at temperatures of 100, 90, 80, 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10 and at 0 I usually stay inside except for dog walks.  My winter Shimano shoes really are not too good on long rides when it is below 10-15 degrees.

I bundled up today and left on my ride to go north to Banner Pits for a pair of laps on the singletrack.  I was a bit cool the first 30 minutes - especially my fingers in the light gloves I chose to wear - and wondered if I would ever warm up thinking I had underdressed my hands and core.  Luckily I warmed up on the singletrack and felt fine for the final 2 hours of my ride.

A little facial hair thanks to Movember kept my face plenty warm...

Movember

I think I'll trim that thing into a moustache for the final days of November to be official with the "MO" and then hack it all off ASAP on December 1st.

Anyway, I managed to log in 2:45 on the bike this afternoon which is more than I thought I would get in when I left the house, but I wanted to get some calorie burn going before the big eat tomorrow.

Happy Hanukkah and Thanksgiving to all....


11/25/13

Big Green Egg Smoked Turkey Trial...

I bought a small turkey - as in 11 pounder - on sale last week with the goal of doing a trial smoke in the Big Green Egg to see if the family would allow me to smoke the big bird on Thanksgiving.  I had been meaning to try this all year, but just couldn't get myself around the need to thaw a frozen bird for a few days, brine it for 24 hours - all just to do my simple test.   In other words - it all seemed like too much work.  Actually, that's not any more difficult than some of my other smokes (like pastrami), but it was enough to keep me from conducting my test earlier.

Then, just passing through the grocery store on a recent shopping trip, I saw the butcher set out some small fresh turkeys in the counter.  I grabbed one welcoming the chance to do my trial and avoid having to thaw it out from an arctic deep freeze since it was a "fresh" turkey and not a frozen critter.

After searching around all the usual BBQ smoking guides for temperature and time, I settled in on smoking it at 325-350 for about 3 hours.  No need to go low and slow with poultry like one needs to do with red meat to break down the connective tissue.  Nope.  Higher heat (well, at least up to 350) and fast is the rule for poultry.  I did not brine the bird and went with a very simple dry rub of kosher salt, fresh black pepper, rosemary, sage, parsley, garlic powder and a bit of paprika.  I seasoned the cavity and put a chopped onion with some rosemary twigs in the carcass - leaving room for smoke and air to freely flow through the carcass during the smoke.  I used the indirect heat plate, apple and mesquite wood chips, and a 3" pan of water under the bird.  No "beer can" style turkey.  Nope.  I wanted the airflow to get through the bird for quality even cooking.

I covered the wing tips and leg tips with foil to prevent burning and after I got it (and the neck for the dogs) loaded on the Big Green Egg, I took off to see The Women of Lockerbie over at the college.  I found it to be a very good show which included about an hour of tugging at our heart strings in the audience.   Lets just say my contacts were plenty moistened during the performance.

After the show, I headed back home to take the foil off and roll the bird over on the other side.  The temperature in the Egg had dipped a bit to around 290-300, but I managed to get it back up to the target range of 325-350 after rolling the bird over and getting airflow picked up a bit.  That only took about 15 minutes to accomplish which is normal after one opens the lid.  I worried it would extend my cook time by about 15 minutes, but I opted to pull it out exactly at the 3 hour point.  It looked fine to me.  What?  Me use a meat thermometer?  Please...

Here it is at rest...

SmokedTurkey

Perfectly moist, succulent, and the family was impressed with my effort.  Being that it was only an 11 pounder, we polished off most of it in one sitting and only had a small Tuperware container of leftovers.  1/2 of which were used on a veggie pizza Monday night for dinner (also yummy).

Bottom line is the test went well, was painless enough and we are all in discussion about the bird on Thanksgiving Thursday.  Will it be smoked?  Or will it be done traditionally in the oven?  It's pretty easy to smoke a bird in the Egg and now that I've done it - we can do that any time since turkeys are sold year round.  So there is a good chance we will do the traditional oven bird with stuffing on Thursday.  To complicate matters food wise for our cooking - it's also Hanukkah which means we will have some other foods that are pretty rich in taste and texture.  That sort of makes a smoked turkey maybe a bit too much flavor wise for Thursday.  The convergence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving is a once only in our lifetime (and several generations) event since it has been since 1888 that Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlapped.  And being that it won't happen again for another 79,043 years, I think we can certainly enjoy the convergence this year!!!!  It's nice having Alexa home and we are all enjoying each other's company catching up.

5 more days of Movember to go...


11/24/13

Is it January!!!!????

A busy cold weekend seems to be zapping me as Thanksgiving approaches.  A winter storm hit on Thursday which covered everything with nearly 1/4" of frozen rain before we got snow on top of that.  I did not have an ice scraper in my car, so when I went out to the Element after work - I had to start the engine and just sit there waiting for the heater to melt the ice off of the glaze on the windows.  That took a bit more time than I wanted, but things finally melted enough that I could see to drive home.  The roads were getting slick and I was not going out in that slop again for the evening.

Temperatures stayed cold enough on Friday to not melt much of it, but I did shovel as much of it off of the driveway and walks as I could.  And then it got really cold going into Saturday and Sunday. 

cold

Speaking of Thanksgiving, the bird has arrived and entered the fridge...

thanksgiving turkey

Friday after work, Tara and I managed to get some exercise time in - at least 60 minutes worth - on our basement bikes due to the temperatures outside being more appropriate for January than November!!!

P1010001

A quick shower and we were off to attend a Beaujolais Nouveau party at the Waugh's home.  It's the young wine made from Gamay grapes and only ferments for a few weeks before going on sale the 3rd Thursday of November.  It was a fun party with about 2 dozen of us sipping Beaujolais and eating hors d'oeuvre well into the evening.  We headed home and were in bed by 11:15 PM as we had a very busy Saturday planned.

Saturday was the day our good friends Chuck and Gayla Tighe were moving into their brand new home.  A crew of us joined forces to move everything into their new home that had been in storage in a semi-trailer and another trailer (owned by the home builder) at 9 AM on Saturday.

We picked up Gayla at 8:20 AM from their temporary apartment they had been staying in while the home was being built.

Gayla

This was the first time I had seen the new house and it was beautiful.  The top floor is perfect for Gayla's needs and it also includes a dream kitchen for Chuck.  The crew arrived around 9 and we had at least a dozen or more of us unloading, carrying, lifting, unpacking, and getting their new house set up.  It was only about 12 degrees outside, so we men were bundled up in heavy coats, hats, gloves, long johns and were quickly sweating and dripping wet underneath all of that clothing.  By 1 PM, we had all of the bedrooms set up and everything moved into the house.  Most of the crew stayed to continue to unpack boxes and put things away, but Tara and I had to leave to drive to Iowa City to pick up Alexa post Michigan/Iowa football game to come home for Thanksgiving.

I was exhausted from all of the lifting, and by the time we got to Newton I was falling asleep at the wheel.  So Tara took over and I slept all the way to Iowa City.  We picked up Alexa (and her dirty clothes bag), stopped for some coffee at Starbucks and headed back to Indianola in heavy post game traffic.  It was really cold outside with temperatures in the teens and the wind was blowing about 15 mph.  We got home right around 7 PM to fix dinner.

Needless to say, I was in bed by 8:15 dozing off and on until the lights were turned out later by my loving wife. 

Today is going to be anothery busy day with an afternoon rehearsal, possibly attending a play at Simpson (how do I fit that in?!!?), prep work on some food for a smoke, and a mile long list of chores to do.  Things quiet down in the evening where I plan on plopping myself in front of the television to watch the Broncos and Patriots do battle. 

I walked the dogs early this morning with 7 degree temperatures and a sub zero windchill.  Wait a minute?  That sounds like January!!!!

The dogs love the cold, but when temperatures go sub zero - my rear hubs on all of my bikes don't like it.  I made it on the dog walk for about 18 minutes before the rear hub stopped engaging all the time due to being frozen out in the -5 windchill.  Luckily, November returns tomorrow and the week looks more favorable for temperatures in the 20's/30's and hitting the 40's by next weekend (hopefully).

Max & Zoey after shoveling

Looks like another trainer ride in the basement today if I can squeeze it in to make my minimum weekly hours.




11/21/13

Annual Training Hours Goal Hit!!!

Back in January of this year, I made a post setting up my annual training hours for 2013 here.  The goal for 2013 was in keeping with the suggestion I not overcook it too much, and focus on raising my hours only around 10% from the previous year.  That put me at 392 hours for 2013 which I quietly hit yesterday on a simple recovery ride before work.  No bells went off.  No whistle blew.  Nobody applauded or cheered.  I just smiled to myself when I hit the number.

That seems like a lot of time sitting on a bike whether it was training on the road, or racing in XC events.

BBBanner

I had, however, upped my ATP goal to around 400 hours give or take a few simply to round it out.  With 6 weeks left in 2013 for cycling (6 if you count the rest of this week and the short 1/2 week at the end of December), I certainly am going to hit 400 hours and probably 420-425 when all is said and done.  A lot will depend on weather and if the roads/bike trails will be clear for logging some base miles outside through the Holiday season.

RAGBRAIMississippiDip

Regardless - it feels good to have met my goal of a 10% increase on the bike over last year.  In that post linked above, I had also attempted to justify or compare the amount of time spent on a bike to other things in my life which read like this...

Compared to other things I do in my life....

I'll sleep 33% of the year.
I'll be at work at Simpson 13% of the year during the 2 semesters (non May Term years).
I'll be doing food prep, cooking, clean up 4.2% of the year.
I'll watch David Letterman 3% of the year.
I'll be walking the dogs 2% of the year.

So it doesn't seem too out of line that 4.5% will be devoted to sitting on a bike and pedaling.


And so it was (or is)...

S-2 

If I make the slight adjustment for the reality of my final ATP being around 425 based on what I have planned over the next 6 weeks, then I would increase the percentage to 4.85% of my life in 2013 was devoted to sitting on a bike and pedaling.  And the 2nd mini-goal of hitting 400 hours by the end of this year will allow me to meet what I also wrote in that January post...

I am then on par with the chart on page 91 of Joe Friel's The Mountain Biker's Training Bible that says for somebody of my age with 6+ years of racing experience should be training 400 hours and above.

I will have to go back and read that chapter on the master's athlete to find out what the parameters are for the word "above" when he said training 400 hours and above.  I'm pretty sure I don't have much time in my life to add another 10% over this year without creating other stresses in my life - both in relationships and work.  I know Tara and I do want to spend more road time together as a goal in 2014.

TurnAtHerndon

I have yet to formulate a plan for 2014, but that will come once I have a chance to think it all through and set goals that include family, spouse, work, travel, chores and what not.  Regardless, I have now crossed the finish line for the goal and the rest of the year will be a cool down.  ;-)

BluffRidersChargeFinishLine




11/18/13

Singing along with a R&R Week in the bag...

This past week was a week that had me out of town for 2 days attending the Central Region NATS Conference in Rock Island, Illinois.  My son, Zack, made it to the finals in the Junior men division and took 3rd Place!!!  The guest recitalist for the conference was former student Sarah Larsen who presented a wonderful display of artistry on Saturday afternoon with a well chosen program.  She and her accompanist flew in from Seattle to share their talents.  She is right on track with her career in this her 6th year since graduating from Simpson.

The Central Region of NATS includes Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri.  Every 2 years, we gather with singers and teachers from many schools for the students to sing and the teachers to judge.  It's a great learning tool for singers and teachers alike.  Every now and then you run into somebody from way back when, and I was happy to see and reconnect with Paula Patterson (teaching at Missouri State University) and Steven Tharp (teaches at University of Missouri).  Paula and I were in Opera Iowa and at Des Moines Metro Opera together back in the 80's, and Steve and I were in some productions together in New York City (the one we remembered the most was when I was Fiorello and he was Almaviva in The Barber of Seville way back in the 80's for a touring company called Opera Northeast).  I had a lovely dinner and time visiting with Ed Andereck from Luther College, and Karen Brunnsen from Northwestern University.

We all got to hear great singing for 2 days and I congratulate all of the students on their preparation and presentations at NATS.   Zack and I stopped in Iowa City on the way home to have dinner with Alexa.  I think I scared Alexa with my Movember beard.  At first she refused to hug me and kept saying oooooo....ick at the sight of my facial stubble.  In spite of that, we had a quick dinner and visit before getting back in the car to head home.  There were big storms just south of I-80 with ominous clouds, lightening and the driving was difficult due to the high winds.  I made it home just before the rain hit and fell fast asleep.

Being that the out of town trip was on the schedule, it was a good time to organize and carry out a week of R&R in terms of bike riding.  My body informed me last week after the Dirty Du what my mind already knew - I needed a rest and recovery week after 4 consecutive weeks of building up my hours to attack my seasonal hibernation eating habit!!!  Normally, I take a R&R week after 2 or 3 weeks of hard training depending on a few factors, but delayed it this time to take advantage of the fall weather, Dirty Du, Banner Bacon rides, etc... .

The battle of the bulge and fall hibernation looks like this on the bike for the past 5 weeks:

Week of 10/14 - 6:05 hours
Week of 10/21- 6:25 hours
Week of 10/28 - 7:15 hours
Week of 11/04 - 8:00 hours
Week of 11/11 - 3:55 hours - R&R Week

I kept the metabolism fired up all week with 30 minute Zone 1/2 efforts and several days of weight lifting alternating between lower body and upper body work.  And this time, I actually did modify my eating habits with will power and food choice to reign in the need to hibernate!!  By Sunday's 30 minute Zone 2 spin - I felt recovered and my body had bounced back.  My legs and mind were raring to go, but I kept it in check to complete the R&R cycle.

Zack and I went up to Drake University to catch their Sunday 2 PM performance of Sweeney Todd.  It was very well done and we enjoyed it.  Following that, we met up with Tara at Sbracco's for a quiet dinner to wind down from the weekend before heading back to Indianola to watch the Broncos and Chiefs game.

Now....on to the 13th week of this fall semester...


11/9/13

Dirty Du Race Report!!!

Today was the 9th Annual Des Moines Dirty Du hosted by Central Iowa Trails Association.  I signed up for the relay with Simpson Alum Brandon Hyde from Fairfield, Iowa.  I've done this race solo quite a few times over the years.  I did it with my daughter as a relay team one year (we won the shortened sprint version relay division) and I did it as a relay with Brandon a couple of years ago.  I had thought about doing it solo again this year, but Brandon sent me a message on Facebook asking if I was doing the race this year and presto - we were entered in the relay division without any more thought. 

Brandon arrived at my house around 11:30 this morning and we headed up to Center Trails in Greenwood Park off of Grand Avenue in Des Moines to check in and get warmed up for the 1 p.m. start of the race.  The weather was perfect for racing with temperatures in the 50's and a nice breeze to keep us cool.

Steve Fuller gave the group the ground rules and directions prior to the race...

SteveFullerDirecting

The runners were to start with a 2 mile lap and mountain bikers would then do 4 laps, and it would end with one more lap by the runners.  The route was different for runners and bikers and it was marked with signs and colored arrows.  We were going in the opposite direction than we had the last time Brandon and I did the event.  Today was to be counterclockwise which I preferred - at least for biking. 

The starting line...

DirtyDuStartLine

Brandon looked strong off the line and was in the 2nd bunch of runners going up the 1st steep hill which gave me hope that he was in pretty good shape this year from his CrossFit, cross country coaching, etc...

DirtyDuBrandonHyde

The first runner came through and tagged off to his biking partner.  Then another.  And another.  And so on and so forth.  It was a long time before Brandon came into the finish area as he had faded quite a bit from the strong start.  No problem, we were there to finish and support CITA.  But I wasn't going to hold back as I was there to grind it out at race speed for the training effect.  I was racing the Dos Niner bike and it felt pretty good out there.  Fast, nimble, and light...

DirtyDuBruceBrown

I stayed behind an excellent solo racer named Michelle who was riding really strong in lap 1.  She kept telling me to go around her if I wanted to, but she was riding really well that I really had no reason to as I was happy with the tempo during that opening lap.  I did pass her going up the pavement climb between the swimming pool and the starting line as I entered lap 2.  I passed about 5 riders total during the 4 laps without anyone passing me.  I felt my laps were consistent and even stronger in the 3rd and 4th laps.  I was out there on the bike for at least an hour before I crossed the line and tagged off to Brandon for his final running lap.

Brandon finished up without too much pain and our relay team was done for the day...

DirtyDuFinsihBrandon

We ended up 4th in the Relay...

DirtyDuRelayResults

And 11th Overall...

DirtyDuOverallResults

We had our photo op and then headed off to a post race lunch at Palmer's Deli...

DirtyDuRelayTeam

Kudos to CITA for the event and to Steve Fuller for his handling of the timing duties.

Banner Bacon ride tomorrow morning at Summerset State Park - 9 a.m. to unwind from the race.

11/6/13

Movember...

I've joined fellow Movember team member Dave Camwell in championing Men's Health and representing the Simpson College Music Department.  Team Name:  Ban(ne)d Across America.  What about Men's Health?  Well, in particular the funds are being raised to target efforts to combat prostate and testicular cancer as well as mental health challenges.  Click on this link if you have any interest in making a donation to help raise funds for Men's Health.  And you can read all about the missioin known as Movember here.

Those participating in Movember grow a moustache or a "MO" as it is known during the 30 days in the month of November.  The moustache helps strike up a conversation concerning Men's Health.  Today is day 6 of Movember and my facial hair has yet to be tamed into any particular chosen moustache style, but current thought is to go with a modified version of what is known in today's society as a trucker style MO...

trucker

Look for pictures of my salt and pepper Schnurrbart once I've settled in and trimmed it to shape from the current form of simply not having shaved yet this month.  The end result is guaranteed not to be pretty, but all the better since talk of certain Men's Health issues seems to be avoided in society as not being pretty conversation. 

Or, if you feel the desire to join Movember - consider joining our team, or forming your own, or simply signing up solo - whatever MO makes you feel comfortable for you to pursue.

Upcoming and always eye-opening cost of hosting a race event post:  the final accounting records for The Mullet Fall Classic (the USAC check arrived and was deposited yesterday)



11/3/13

Busy November Weekend with riding...

November arrived this week as did the traditional Fall Back time change as Daylight Saving Time ended.  Friday night, Tara and I went over to join 3 other couples for a pizza night.  We had plenty of wine while enjoying our made from scratch goodies:  a salmon pizza, a green tomato pizza, and a meat pizza.  Yum-Yum!  We got home sort of late from the social evening and dropped straight in bed.

I had toyed with the idea of doing one of the Spooky Cross races this weekend, but ended up laying in bed Saturday morning as it was so cold and blustery out and I was recovering from a little too much fun at the previous evening's party.  So I watched part of the Hawkeyes vs. Badgers game before hauling myself out of bed to do some chores. 

Saturday turned out to be a great day as I got the shed organized, the lawn mowed, and trimmed some of the shrubs before going on a 2 hour bike ride to enjoy the fall colors.  A quick shower and I was off to a dinner/movie date with Tara.  After dinner, we finally got a chance to see Captain Phillips.  Great movie, by the way.  Tom Hanks was riveting - especially in the latter part of the movie.

The weather forecast looked less blustery and again, I had thoughts of heading to Altoona to do the Spooky Cross race, but I totally took the bait when Matt McCutchan posted on Facebook for a Banner Pits Bacon Ride on Sunday morning.  The idea of doing a couple of laps at Banner on a nice fall day with bacon and goodies afterwards always trumps riding around a grass circle on skinny little tires - for me anyway.  The extra hour of sleep, or rather - extra hour of time to get dressed and over to Banner was nice.

I took the Dos Niner with the big Specialzed Renegade 2.3 tires aired down to around 20 psi.  It's a fun bike to ride and in someways is faster in places than my full suspension bikes.  I just have to really pay attention to get the tire pressure low enough that I get lots of cushion.

Matt was there, Andy was there, Bob was there, and Dennis Grelk had made the 2 1/2 hour drive over from southeastern Iowa.  So we all got the bikes out and our layered clothing on for the wind and pleasant, but slightly cool fall temperatures. 

BannerBaconParking

Lap one was refreshingly slow and allowed for plenty of warm up, catch up, and group riding.  Lap 2 turned into full out race pace and got the heart rates up as we flew threw the leaf strewn trail.  It was hero dirt and fun was had by all.

BannerLeaves

A couple of other riders and their dogs joined us and chatted up Bob as he got one of the Coleman's fired up...

BannerBacon

I dug my Coleman out of the back of the Element and fired it up to cook a package of uncured, nitrate free bacon in the cast iron skillet.  Bob did the same.  Andy had prepared tacos.  And Matt whipped up a batch of his special Buckwheat pancakes.

Check out the size of those Frisbees Matt made!!!

BannerCakes

We had 7 in our group and there were 3 other riders who were out there as well, but "picnikced" on their own at the next set of tables and parking spot in the Summerset State Park.  The usual post ride chit-chat with Dennis, Bob, Matt, and Andy as we devoured the grub. 

BannerGrub

I headed out a little after 12 noon as I had a football game to watch (KC vs. Buffalo).  I'm heading off to a Simpson College Choir concert in a few minutes and then off to Iowa City with Tara to take Alexa out for dinner.  All in all - a busy weekend.

I ended the week with 7:15 on the bike which continues my nice progression and helps with the battle of the bulge...

Week of 9/23 - 5:15 hours
Week of 9/30 - 4:25 hours
Week of 10/7 - 3:15 hours
Week of 10/14 - 6:05 hours
Week of 10/21- 6:25 hours
Week of 10/27 - 7:15 hours