Friday, June 19, 2009

Fuzzy's SS Racing Tips...

A good read for those of who dare to ride "More Pure"... Click HERE.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Mad Props......

A BIG Congrats to the local Woodchucks for kicking some major a$$ at the 24 Hours of Big Bear race in West Verginia over the weekend. Scott Capstack, Jason Gaikowski, Cameron Chambers and Craig Stoeltzing (Team Star Spangled Bangers) made the drive from Kansas City to represent and make us all proud with a 2nd place finish in the Men's Expert class and 3rd place overall. I know these fellas are f-ing fast, but you really just don't know how fast until you get to compare them to other riders in other parts of the country. Damn! Cameron had some bitchen-fast lap times, with 3 of the top 20 fastest lap times for the event. They also were one of three teams to do a total of 18 laps, holy crap!
Check out Cameron's race report HERE.
Nice work fellas! Best of luck with the rest of the race season!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Beta...

Product Review: The Kuat BETA

Before I even start into this product review, I have to give you some background as to why you’d trust or even consider my opinion. First thing, I have owned at least a dozen various types of bicycle racks over about 20 years of transporting bikes. I am a gear guy, and I don’t skimp on getting the best product available, at least that is what I’ve learned over the years through trial and error, recommendations from friends and personal experience.
To be fair, I have been a loyal customer for a better part of said years to one of Kuat’s competitors, Yakima. I cannot say anything bad about Yakima, they make some great products; the best in my opinion for roof racks and roof mounted luggage/bike/boating racks. I also have used/owned products from Thule, another one of Kuat’s competition. I can’t say anything really bad about this company either, except that I prefer Yakima over Thule.
With that said, let’s talk about hitch-mounted bike racks in general. I have owned a few of these mega-lunkers in the past. I’m not going to go into too many details about what I liked with my past rigs, but rather what I didn’t like. First thing is the weight. All of these hitch-mounted carriers worth mentioning are made to last, fabricated of beefy 2” x 2” tube steel or variations thereof. This makes the rig so freaking heavy that it takes Rambo to comfortably slide the thing into your hitch. Even storing the monster is a real pain since none of the versions I used would fold-down completely for storage. Another issue is the cradles that your bike frame rests in. Many of these cradles would be a pain to use, wouldn’t keep the bike from swinging to and fro, and the rubber straps would tend to rot over time and fail, leaving your $3000 titanium bling-machine bouncing down the highway. I also hated the fact that no matter what I did, I could not keep the rack from swaying side-to-side. No company had addressed this issue with any type of success…until now.
May I proudly introduce Kuat…and the BETA Kuat (Koo-at) is based out of Springfield, Missouri. This cycling enthusiast-owned business is run by two fellas, Luke Kuschmeader and Brian Atkinson, who’s partial last names have been combined to form the company name. Talk about a great newer company, I tell ya, these guys have a good thing going. First off the customer service is totally 1980’s. You call and you have to talk directly with a real person, can you believe that crap? Second, they actually ride bicycles, and I’m not talking some Wally-world special to go to and from the liquor store on, but real bikes. I’ve even met Luke in person at a 50 mile endurance race, what a personable guy. Now for my favorite part about Kuat; all they make are hitched mounted racks, it’s all they do, of course they are going to be the BEST at it, period!

Onto the BETA review…Lets start with the specs & random facts- Material – 6061 T6 Aluminum 11 lbs Bike Capacity: 2 bikes (up to 40 lbs) Available in 2” & 1.25” receivers Cinch Tight™ hitch cam system Folds up small for storage, really small Easy to use Stylish Tilts for trunk/hatch access Will not rust Lifetime warranty

I ordered my Beta rack directly from Kuat. Luke was easy to chat with and had my goods in the mail and at my door before we even got off the phone (not really, but the shipping was fast!). I got the 1.25” receiver version to fit my girly-hitch, and noted that the shipping box felt nearly empty (they are that light)! The first thing I noticed is the Beta has an upward-bent, lower arm to keep my bikes well away from the ground - nice thinking since most vehicles with a 1.25” receiver are small cars or wagons that sit too low for hauling bikes. Kuat’s Cinch Tight™ mechanism is an engineering masterpiece. It’s simple in realty, and consists of a large ergonomic wing-nut tightening handle which forces a wedge-type cam between your rack & your hitch, resulting in no side to side swaying of my expensive steeds – awesome! The whole rig is beautifully crafted out of aluminum and hence will never rust or look ghetto like the steel versions made by the ‘other guys’. The cradles on this particular model are very simple, with (2) easy-to-use straps per cradle and anti-sway built-in. The narrow width of the support bars allows for a better chance getting funky full-suspension frames to fit - while it’s a breeze for hard-tails. I never had to grunt or moan to carry the Beta from my garage and mount it on my car. Folding down the rig to access my hatch was no problem either. I opted for the locking hitch pin and the 2” adapter as well. The 2” adapter is ingenious and allows the Cinch Tight cam to still do its job while at the same time does not extend your rack outward like a typical hitch adapter would do. Having the ability to lock the Beta to my car and in turn my bike to the Beta is a great piece-of-mind during errands to and from a race or local trails. No complaints! The only thing I wish they would add to the Beta is a place to hold my post-ride beer…maybe even a built-in bottle opener. Am I asking too much?

To wrap things up, I love my Beta and would recommend one to you, your mother and even little Tim. The guys at Kuat addressed all of my past frustration with hitch-mounted racks and more. Thanks Kuat! To check one out for yourself, or one of the other fine products from Kuat, click HERE.

For MTBR's product review on Kuat's Alpha Rack, click HERE.

And another Beta review at Pink Bike, click HERE.

Monday, June 15, 2009


With the Help of Travis @ BikeSource, The Podium 29er Single Speed Machine is a runner. I got out on a great solo ride at the most kick-ass trails in KC over the weekend to give her a test. Photos of the complete build will be posted soon, but for now I am wanting to show off the sweet wheel set that Dale built for me last week.
What we have here are the Chub Single Speed Disc hubs mentioned in a previous post, laced 3-cross with double-butted DT Swiss Competition spokes to a Stans Arch 29er rims. For rubber I went with the ever-trustworthy and bomb-proof Specialized 'The Captain" Armadillo Elite, set-up tubeless (2.2 up front and 2.0 in the rear). For drive train I have a White Industries 18t ENO freewheel and the matching 32t crank set up front with a SRAM 8-speed chain (Hands down the best chain for SS'ing).
Overall these are a pretty feather-weight set of wheels considering they are built to withstand maximum impact. They performed flawlessly over the aggressive terrain at Swope, and I am psyched to get these babies out and stack-on some miles this summer. I can't say enough great things about this wheel set, not to mention the constant 'I can't believe how BIG those hubs are" or "Man, Those are lite!".

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ode to Ranski...

Randy (a.k.a. Ranski) is the type of guy who is always smiling or making some kind of funny remark. He is always game for some fun and adventure. Ranski and I met some years ago during time spent climbing mountains, ice and rock with the Kansas City Climbing Club. We've enjoyed some fun times around the campfire and I am sure there will be many more.
Just before the race last Saturday, Ranski showed some interest in joining us and shooting photos of the event. I thought this would be a great opportunity for him to get outside and have some fun. We had an extra seat in the truck and since I look so good in photos, why not drag him along?
We get to the race venue and Ranski instantly disappears. He is off scoping locations on the course to shoot from. I love it when a fella is psyched about his work.
I'm ready for my pre-lap and he is still no where to be found. Once on the course I finally run into him; he is setting up his climbing rope in a tree so he can suspend himself above the course and get some birds-eye shots...sweet! Now I'm even more psyched to see some post-race photos.
I'll leave it at that for now, just a tease... and the 'tease' is in direct correlation to Ranski sending me over these few 'teaser' post race images. I will show-off more of his work as soon as he gives me his blessing. Thanks Ranski!

'Money Shot' of Cameron

Post race photo of yours truly testing out the newly found research on rehydration.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rhett's Run MTB Race Report

Sunday morning Cliff, John, Randy and I headed out to meet Cameron and Travis in Columbia, Missouri for the Midwest Fat Tire Series Race # 6, Rhett's Run. We arrived an hour or so before the start time to get our bikes ready and check out the course. The weather was not looking so great and it was raining or had been raining off and on. Travis and Cam headed out for a pre-lap. They arrived back at the cars covered in mud but looking pretty psyched and giving the classic "It's not that bad" with regards to the trail conditions. John and I decided to go check it out for ourselves and indeed, it was not too bad, just slippery in a few spots and not too muddy. John headed back early and I continued my pre-ride. I was feeling good. I looked at my watch and it was getting close to start time so I took a gravel road short cut to get back to the pit area. I made a wrong turn and frantically tried to find my way but I was lost. A jogger appeared out of nowhere and gave me directions the direction I had just come from. I had to back-track and climb out this big-ass hill. I was anxious and really caused my body a bit of grief getting back in time to start the race.

Once at the start line, I felt ready to rumble. We were off and I was fourth into the single track. I was feeling pretty good. The first few hundred yards consisted of a steep down hill section that was sick and covered with random rocks. I heard the guy behind my crash hard, probably taking down a few others with him. This gave the four of us time to make a big gap. The course was super fun; tight corners, steep hills, long downs, lots of rocks, just awesome all around. Soon a couple of the team Seagal fellas passed me looking strong. On lap two I started feeling sick. I was trying to tell myself to just keep going. I was cramping on my right side and could not take it anymore. I stopped, sat on a log, removed my helmet and rested for probably 5-10 minutes. After the rest, some food and water, I was feeling better and got back on my bike to finish the race, though at this point I was just wanting to finish, period.

Single Speed Start with John and I representing Cow Town

The third lap was not too bad, but I was moving slow ever since the stop. I came into the finish just 50 seconds past the cut-off for a fourth lap. I finished 8th which was 'not last', so i was o.k. with that, but wishing I had performed better. I guess working the day before at my folks farm, removing eleven huge bushes, digging a french drain and moving a bunch of rock and gravel must not have been the optimal pre-race day rest that my body needed. Live and learn! Overall I had a fun time with friends, which is what it's all about.

Cameron takes 2nd Place in Expert

Travis Takes 1st Place in Sport Class

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

May You Continue to Soar...

Above the Clouds...
The latest news of Wade and Johnny's bodies and Micah's equipment being recovered in avalanche debris on Mt. Edgar in China has all but left me speechless.
I don't even know what to write. My fingers are trembling and I feel sick to my stomach. I am having trouble trying to be a man; holding back tears and fits of rage.
To my climbing brothers - You are already missed. You have lived a life only a climber can know. You have experienced what few men have come to know, and you call this home. Your days of looking down at the world below from the highest summit will continue always. May your families find peace in the understanding that you have left this physical place with no regrets, living life to it's fullest everyday, never looking back. Peace to you fellas, and peace to those of us left behind with only the fondest of memories.
Great past climbing footage of Johny & Micah HERE

From Pete:

Dear friends, As you all know by now, Jonny Copp, Micah Dash and Wade Johnson are missing on Mt Edgar in China and we are working on a multi-pronged search and rescue operation. The support for this operation has been unbelievable, and I can’t thank those of you enough who have contributed by offering connections, resources, emotional support and, most importantly, financial support.

These three guys have given so much to the climbing community in so many ways: their dedication to pushing the barriers of the sport on rock and in alpine terrain; their extensive community outreach through slide presentations and film festivals; their work with clothing and gear companies in designing and promoting cutting-edge equipment; and their dedication to capturing the most inspiring photos and footage from the most extreme places on earth. Their lives have been dedicated to one thing: a celebration of climbing. And when you give as much to the climbing community as they have, I now see that the community gives back. In spades.

I wanted to share with you a few small examples of gestures performed in the last day alone: At midnight last night, a notoriously impoverished local climber – and good friend of the team – showed up at search headquarters, threw his passport on the table and said that for the first time in his life he has two thousand dollars to his name, and he wants to spend it on a flight to Chengdu to be one of the first Americans on the ground to help out with the search.

This morning at 9 AM, a guiding client of Micah’s wired $25,000 to search headquarters to make sure the search did not slow down due to a financial bog-down.

Companies who compete with the sponsors of these athletes are paying for their own athletes with Chinese visas to get to get to China as quickly as possible.

People have offered up the 65,000 frequent flyer miles needed on United to get to China.

Senators have pressured the Chinese embassy to expedite visas for American search volunteers.

The list goes on. This is an expensive operation that will cost well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. But there is every reason to believe that these guys are alive and trapped only a few hours from base camp. While there is hope, there is life. We need to do all we can to get people on the ground quickly, to get a helicopter in the air, and to keep communication flowing. If these guys ever gave anything to your life, or ever inspired you in any way, now would be the time to give them something back. As climbers, we are one big family and it is amazing to see how we look out for each other.


Kindest regards,

Pete Mortimer

Boulder, CO

June 5, 2009

I Told You So...( a.k.a. Amen Brother )

It's Better To Drink Beer After Exercise Than Water
Researchers at Granada University in Spain have come across a discovery that will undoubtedly please athletes and sports enthusiasts - a pint of beer post-workout or match is better at rehydrating the human body than water. Professor Manuel Garzon, a member of Granada's medical faculty, made the finding after tests on 25 students over several months. Researchers believe that it is the sugars, salts, and bubbles in a beer that may help people absorb fluids more quickly. The subjects in the study were asked to run on a treadmill at temperatures of 104F (40C) until they were close to exhaustion. Once they had reached the point of giving up, researchers measured their hydration levels, motor skills, and concentration ability. Half of the subjects were given two half pints of Spanish lager to drink, and the other half were given just water. Garzon said that the rehydration effection in those who were given beer was "slightly better" than those who were given only water. He also believes that the carbon dioxide in beer helps quench thirst more quickly, and that beer's carbohydrates replace calories lost during physical exertion. The average person loses around 1 liter (33oz) of water for every hour of exercise in sweat. Rehydrating after a workout is crucial, as a lack of hydration is more likely to make one feel tired, fuzzyheaded, and suffer from headaches. Based on the results of the study, researchers recommend moderate consumption of beer as a part of athletes' diets. "Moderate consumption" for men is 500ml per day, and for women is 250ml per day. So that explains why Babe Ruth was so good. His method of training was nearly 100 years ahead of its time. Read more HERE

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Morning CHUB...

This morning I awoke to a HUGE CHUB! Actually, a pair of chubs (and it was last night, not this morning). Chubs that make a Chipotle Burrito look small (that's a big Chub!).
All kidding aside, I'm super psyched to get these sweet, giant, lite, smooth rolling and shall I say 'work of art' hubs built into a nice wheel set and onto my new 29er project. Special thanks to Charlie at The Hive for sending these my way. YAHOO!
I'm keeping my digits crossed that I can have these built into a nice wheel set and on a functional bike for this weekends Missouri State Championship Race, Rhett's Run in Columbia, MO.
Last night I ran up to the great Northland to do a 10 mile lap at the Smithville Lake MTB Trails. There is something enlightening about riding alone on dirt on a singlespeed; no noise, no people, just the faint hum of rubber on earth...bliss.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dream Project 29er...

If new shoes can make you run faster and jump higher, then there must be some kind of rationalization for me building a new bike...right?
It seems as though the fellas on those big-wheeled bikes are always going sooooo fast! I want to be sooooo fast! I have started a killer build (but am awaiting some key parts to finish her up!).
I am going to have Chris Chambers of Podium Cycles (Denver, CO.) build a custom steel frame for me. Cameron was kind enough to let me test ride one of his Podium frames so I could get a feel for exactly what i want. Chris builds some really, really great looking frames!
So I have some Stans Arch 29er rims and these ridiculously pimp hubs coming this week (fingers crossed) and will be having Dale @ BikeSource build up a wheel set for me. Dale comes highly recommend from just about every guy who knows whats up. For cranks, I will be temporarily using my old XT set-up, anxiously awaiting some sweet fifteen.G's in the not so distant future.
I stole parts from my bin to finish the build, typical stuff I like; Thomspon Stem & Post, WTB Saddle, King head set, Truvative OS Carbon bars and White Brothers Magic 29er suspension fork (yeah, I've gone soft, but when you get gotta have some luxury).
I'll keep everyone posted as I get this rig built and out for some rides. I have a good feeling about the rest of the race season, ride season and am really getting psyched for Leadville. I think this will be the bike to roll those 100 miles at altitude!

Buy My Steel...

For Sale
My Surly 1x1 Single Speed Steel Frame, Size Large, White.
Used, not abused (although white shows everything)
Includes Hard to find Kooka 175cm Cranks, Shimano BB, Surly Constrictor seat post clamp, Shimano 34t SS chain ring & Spot bash guard.
Disc OR V-Brake compatible.
$200 OBO
I also have a green Surly 1x1 fork and a Cane Creek Headset that I'd let go for cheap with the frame.
And...The PACE RC31 Carbon fork is also for sale...hard to find with the v-brake or disc mounts $150

I heart riding my bike...especially at PERRY!

It had been WAY to freakin' long since I had just gone out riding with my closest riding pals for a day of fun. All the races and race prep had torn me away from my true self and I had forgotten that riding bikes is really fun, you don't have to go so fast all of the time and that riding with your bros is what it is truly all about. Jesse, Travis, Scott, Travis, Richard, Q, Mike and I all met early Saturday for a morning of riding at the Perry Lake trails near Lawrence, Kansas. I had never been to these trails but had heard all of the fishing stories; hard, long climbs, hard, ass kicker, hard and long. I'd have to say that the stories were all true, that the trail was awesome and up hill both ways. We spun about 98% of the trail system out there and just had a helluva good time. We finished up by splitting a sweet watermelon for post-ride desert and headed back to KC with dreams of making it out to ride at Perry more often, as this was my first time with Travis leading the posse. Next time I'll bring the camera...