Saturday, February 28, 2009

Slippery When Wet...

After what seemed like an eternity, the Shawnee Mission Trails are finally open! After the Thursday night ride when temps were great and the soil was almost perfect, it was quite a change to wake-up to 4" of snow today. Andre and I headed over for a ride and enjoyed the heck out of the fresh powder. We saw a few other riders and they too seemed to be having a grand time. I had ridden in from my house and got in a total of about 2.5 hours on the fixed gear, which is just a blast in the snow! I am totally getting psyched to race the next two weekends straight!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thursday Night Farm'n...

The rain yesterday didn't help in the long wait for rideable trail. The usual Thursday night crew was discouraged, busy, out-of-town or just plain too lazy to motivate and go riding. I don't blame them, but the rain had stopped and temps were perfect. Two of us, identified only by our humble steeds, made it out for a good two-hour mixed trail ride at 'the farm'.
Yeah, we know better than to ride maintained trail after a good rain, so we opted for a 'deer trail' style, single track adventure. I don't think the deer really gave a rat's-ass that we were slinging a bit of soil; I know we didn't. We had a hella good time as usual, and I have to say ... sorry you missed out!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stumpy - The Newest of New

Stumpy, The newest addition to the mini-trail. Multiple angles, routes, really skinny or semi-skinny and of course...FUN!

And thanks to Matt, I have this GPS map of the mini-trail. How cool is that!

Monday Night Bliss...

This was my first Monday night ride since my schedule has been juggled with my wife teaching a night class and all...and though I was feeling the lethargy onset early in the day, I still managed to motivate a few bros (an myself) to get-r-done. Days ago we mounted-up Andres new bike rack system and this was the inaugural run, sweet rig!. We headed out to Swope for some out and back laps on the south facing, i.e. dry parts of the trail system. We only had an hour or so to ride but we made the best of it. It was nice to get back on my trusty SS for a change. Free-wheeling is a bit more relaxing then the unrelenting spin on the fixie. Swope is about the best place to get freaky-strong riding bikes, so an hour here is worth two somewhere else. Good times...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Time...never enough of it

I'm not going to try and sound like a negative looser just because I did zero riding over the weekend. That's just the way it goes when you have family, friends and responsibilities. Instead I will say that I had a great weekend and I did accomplish building a workbench for my sisters man ...
and got started on a new feature for the mini trail with the help of Brett and Mason (Thanks Fellas!)...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bear Hug...

Brett and Mason were over spinning a few laps on the mini-trail yesterday. I of course had to work..deadlines. Brett got to get the first ride of the Lunker. I think he rode that log a half dozen times while he was over, and at least one time I saw him take a sweet dive, ending with him bear hugging the thing laughing his ass off...It's always great to see some bros having a good time on trail you've work so hard to build.

Jesse...Stone Master aka "Manimal"

Jesse, another one of the regular crew, is a manimal. Lately he has been doing a ton of trail work on the Swope Park Trails. His expertise..moving, arranging and building sweet trail out of large slabs of rock. I swear, this guy is like an ant, he can move a stone twenty times his own weight with one hand, and place it perfectly to make for some entertaining riding. Not only is Jesse a Stone Master in the sense of the aforementioned trail building, but he is a bad-ass rock climber and has many years of experience and hundreds of ascents around the country to show for it.
I was fortunate to have the Manimal himself over to my place for some mini-trail work. Here is his sole creation, a 10-12' long, 2' high skinny made out of what else but...STONES!


Thursday night we had a great 3 hour night ride. We hit some local dirt and since the temps were below freezing, the trails were in prime shape. I am always super tore-up after these rides. Riding with the big dogs will make you least that is what I'm counting on.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mini-Trail Photo Request...

I had a request for a few more photos of the mini-trial, so here they are. Once this trail is complete I will most definitely post photos of all the obstacles.
This first one is of an older ramp-to-rock obstacle. the rocks are steeper (coming towards you as the viewer) than they appear and are quite challenging.

This too is older, a basic up-down skinny with a sally-line to the right, which can be hit as an up over the rock or a wheelie-drop coming towards you.

As I said, More photos as more is built. Stay tuned...

A Dust in Time...

Last post I described this lunker of a tree that I had brought down that was dead and leaning against another tree back at the mini-trail. Well, last night Travis D stopped by and we did a lap around the trail to get some ideas. Travis is one of the most motivated guys I know. If you are game, he is game, always. There are few things bettter than reliable friends and 'Pyro' as we some times call him is no exception. His enthusiasm made me psyched to get my chainsaw back in working order and out to do some more work on the 'Lunker' tree. Well, I won't go into too much detail until this project is complete, but I spent an hour or so working on it and I am now even more psyched than before. Witness before you now...the 'Lunker Skinny', in the works of course...
During... to be continued...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Downward Bound

So the weekend was a least the big 'V' day. I was totally sick and lonely as my sweetie headed out to do family stuff while I laid around feeling sorry for myself. I had high hopes to accomplish something...anything. As I stirred about the house, oh so crazy-bored, I decide I had to get the heck outside and move around a bit. I sometimes take walks in my backyard and try to come up with new ideas for the mini- trail. Today I had the bright idea to try and bring down a large tree that had fallen into an even larger tree during one of those classic Kansas City thunderstorms last fall. This puppy was huge, a lunker for sure. I had my doubts that I could do this feat without ending up as the wicked witch did in The Wizard of Oz, stiff and cold with only my shoes to show for my courageous attempt, but I was determined to make some art. I dawned my chainsaw and went to work, carefully de-branching the beast limb-by-limb. As I minimized the weight of the canopy I could see some real possibilities for a sweet skinny addition to the trail, not only with one fine line, but two; a fork midway with a smaller branch would make this puppy double-the-money! It was down to the last cut. I had her almost on the dirt when 'Kaboom', I lost my chain. I headed to the garage to work my magic, only to find that the chain had been destroyed in the battle. One man down. I still have great hopes to finish the tree skinny project, but for now, here she lays...

After my wife 'did herself some yoga', which is what she does at least one of the weekend days, we (Seamus and Kelly and I) headed to Lawrence to do a bit of window shopping. We had a great lunch at Zen Zero on Mass St. and visited some interesting stores. Seamus won the prize with some new kicks (sweet toddler tennis shoes) while I downed a nice double decker ice cream cone and Kelly got hooked-up with some new slacks. We love walking on Mass St. This is one of many fun signs we witnessed along the way...

This pretty much sums up my morning life right here!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Smorgasbord of Smells

The Thursday night ride was pleasurably exhausting. Typical fixed gear mountain bike crowd with a few single speeds tossed in for good measure. Good crowd of six riders with nothing but motivation for an adventure. We headed out from Brookside at around 6:30. I remember vague hints of high rise buildings, soft grass-covered dirt slopes, exposed limestone outcrops and never-ending concrete tunnels.
I am fortunate to get to ride with this group, as they seem to know every inch of this god-forsaken town. What started out as a gloomy cool day with potential for rain, turned out to have a happy happy ending. As Cotter said during the ride, something along the lines of "smorgasbord of smells", as the title claims, it is amazing what odors a large city can provide within a three hour time span of riding. Some good and many that, well, twisted my stomach. Oh how I love the city life! I would have to rate this ride on the top 5 rides so far this year, in terms of pure training, fun, pain and adventure...Thanks to my fellow Woodchucks! You guys have a true spirit for shenanigans!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Get me out of here!

Today was HELL. My son is sick and I am trying to meet a deadline at work (which for me is working form home watching a sick kid). The weather is PERFECT and it is supposed to rain and get crappy out for the rest of the week. I need to get outside!
Finally my boy appears to be feeling better, and he too enjoys getting out of the house, so we decided to escape with an evening ride on the Mill Creek trail system with our pal Matt. These are paved trails mind you, but we know how to spice things up. First off, I wore blue jeans for added friction and drag. Second, I pulled my son in the bike trailer (40lbs). Third, I was on my trusty single speed bike. Fourth, these trails, heading south from Midland Drive into Shawnee Mission Park, have some crazy-steep and shall I say 'painful' hills to climb. I can't remember ever going that slow up a hill without puking my guts out.
We rode for a few hours and all was grand. Just what was needed at the end of a super-long-ass work day. When we got back to the house, Matt showed us his skills in the backyard by riding the newly built skinny, several times, with no blood shed. Nice riding Matt!
Today it is raining, pouring and dumping tons of water all over the place. No trail riding for a while. Maybe it's time for me to look into one of these...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Parts Bin #1

After a few seasons of riding bikes, building bikes and just playing with bikes, you end up with piles of extra bike parts laying around. I decided that it was time to build. Usually I have found that if you keep your ears open, a friend in need is a friend that can take some of the crap out of your garage for you. You can get rid of endless parts to friends. I love this, it's like a never ending parts bartering extravaganza. This time however, I just wanted to try to build up something from these parts and see what we ended up with. Here is what I have going so far...
Old Gary Fisher Steel Frame - Rear Wheel is a Bontrager rim w/Paul word hub - Front wheel is a Mavic Cross Roc Tubeless - Tires are Specialized Roll X set-up tubeless - Race Face riser bar - Specialized Stem - Cane Creek Aheadset - FSA Dyno Drive cranks - Cranks Bros Smarty Pedals - Surly 1x1 rigid fork - XTR V-brakes and Avid FR5 levers.

I just need to round-up a seat post, saddle, chain ring, bash guard and then figure out if I'm going fixed or single speed with this one...and...will I be able to run this baby w/o a chain tensioner? I have a half-link for the chain and am ready to experiment. Keep your eyes peeled for Parts Bin #2 for the final build...coming soon to a blog near you.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Be Skinny, Live FAT...

Yes, today I treated myself to a Winsteads double with cheese, a large onion ring and strawberry shake. I was in heaven...for a time. Now I'm experiencing the backlash..gross stomach feelings. I can't say that it was worth it. Today was yoga intense for my wife, so meatball and I held the fort. While he was taking a pre-lunch nap, I added this skinny link-up to the backyard trail...Kinda ghetto, but it works!

After lunch me and the family headed over to elude working on the trails at SWOPE by pretending that we were on a family hike. This worked quite well and we were amazed to see all of the folks out helping. The trails at Swope are amazing and are very labor intensive to build. If you run into anyone who has worked on the trails here, give them a nice thanks, they deserve it! Don't worry, I'll put in my time...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dirt and more dirt...

Today was an exhausting day to say the least. In brief, My son and I headed over to SMP to meet some folks doing work on a new section of trail. I wanted to see what had been flagged and check out the progress. So far, so good! We hiked (Me with my son in the backpack) for a while on the marked and somewhat benched trail, then did a very brief bit of bench cutting ourselves before heading to the KC Zoo. The Zoo was a blast! We got in some mileage there as well, fed some wildlife and saw a handful of elephants. What more could you ask for? After the zoo my son spent some time with his mom while I headed over to do some laps at Swope. I met Travis and Kevin and we did I think four or five laps. Swope trails are fun and I got a good work-out in, which is why we were there. I am still hesitant on the fixed gear, but I figure you just have to keep trying. After a great day, we had some garden burgers for dinner followed by hot chocolate, yum! Last but not least my wife hands me this bit of mail...

Great news to end a great day! And in case you can't read...I am IN! Leadville 100 here I come.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Thursday nights I've been trying to ride with a group of guys that can't freewheel, can't go slow and stay out until the wee hours of night riding bikes followed by a brew and some food. Tonight that did not happen. Instead, Old faithful Travis, Andre and I headed over to take our chances on some favorite local dirt, BURP.
The Local Mountain Bike Club has a website. On the website is a forum area where members and non-members alike can post info on trail conditions, etc. It seems as though this causes quite a stressful un-rest between the club and outsiders as to who to blame if the trails get trashed from being ridden when they ought not be. In my humble opinion, a few of those overbearing, worried, police-state minded folks need to get off the damn computer and get on the trails. Yes it's been a long winter, but hell man, you gotta ride the trails to know the trails. I am so sick and tired of hearing all the hand-slapping talk, but no real 'I was there' trail reports.
Enough of my crap-talk. Lets go ride...
So Travis, Andre and I headed to BURP. We had scoped out the trails two days ago, and even then, there were good spots and some bad spots. We knew it was risky driving all the way to BURP with the chance we'd not be able to ride. Today however, with perfect temps and dusty trail, we were bound and determined to have a blast or die trying. We took the connector from the bridge over the the East side... dry! The trails were in great shape, and I was literally eating dust behind Travis and having a great time. We did laps on High, Middle and Low over and over again for three hours. There were only a few muddy sections that we'd walk, then re-mount and get back to warp speed. YES! It's like spring is here!
Did I mention that this was my first ride on Highline with the new Fixed gear? All I can say is that I was humbled! We ran Highline at least three times from each direction and I only cleaned it once. The times I did not clean it I wrecked hard or just would fall over. I even fell into T.D. at one point trying to avoid a large rock that I should have 'Monster-Trucked'.
I have a great feeling about this warm spell we are having for the next few days. With some common sense we should all be able to get out and ride some dirt!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Other Passion...

Long before I was psyched about riding bikes, I traveled the country like a vagabond, living out of my truck and climbing all of the rock I could find. I have been climbing now for 20 years, how time flies! I might say I'm a Rock Climber before I'd say Cyclist, but I have too many responsibilities now days to claim either one as my life, but both are certainly pieces of my life puzzle. Here are a few Climbing photos for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
Arkansas Sandstone - 1990's
Missouri Limestone - 2006ish
Ouray Colorado Ice Climbing - My Bride - 2004ish Colorado Granite - Late 90's Grand Teton - Wyoming - Honeymoon

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday Blues...

After the near perfect day I had yesterday, (, bike ride, trail building, food and friends) today just seemed a little less-awesome. I had full intent of getting in a good ride somewhere, somehow and a few bros and I decided to give the Blue River Trails a look-see. Travis, Jesse, Kevin and I headed in from the bridge around 12:30 and things were in good shape...until we got near the soccer fields on the newer trail, which was a total, muddy mess. We hopped off our bikes and bushwhacked out of there and onto the soccer fields. Once across the street at the East side, things were looking better...but every now and then we'd still hit some snotty trail and have to walk our bikes (as not to damage the trail). The higher we rode (the east side has three trails that parallel one another; High, Middle and Low) The more mud we encountered and the less motivated we became. We finally just hit the old gravel road bed and got the heck down and out of there. Even though conditions were not optimal, we did get in two hours of hard, fun riding. I can't wait for this freeze-thaw cycle to be over so we can get in some solid, long rides.

Can you say YAHOO!!!

YAHOO!!! Finally we get a perfect warm day on a weekend! I'm guessing it was around 60 degrees today. With trails still potentially soupy, I decided to do some trail work here at my house. I have been working on this training trail for a while now and am adding some technical and more interesting features to keep me motivated. Here is what I built today...

After trail work and lunch, My wife, two of our close friends and I went on a 12 mile, paved trail ride. I decided to pull my Son in the Burly bike trailer. I had yet to haul 40 extra lbs around on my fixed gear so I went for it. Can you say hella-good-training? Not that the going was so much harder but the stopping! We had a great ride! It was just a great day to enjoy being outside!

Here is a great photo of the Ultimate Pirate (my wife) and our Son after a ride last summer while pulling the Burly bike trailer (yep, sometimes even I get a break!). Note the Flag Flying at our casa.