Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dirty Kanza 200

 Some who follow my blog might of thought i expired! Not so, all's well & BUSY! Between some gravel riding, an occasional S24O, attending DK 200, helping host Odin's Revenge AND doing an entire re-model/addition to our house, well, yep...I've been BUSY!

my 18 yr old son Lane decided back in January to up his pain threshold & wake up at 3 am one morning to enter Dirty Kanza 200 & he made it in so was then committed to an actual training regime, which for him wasn't entirely serious by any means but it was a good excuse for me to get out there & ride plenty of gravel miles with him & back in April I even got my first ever gravel century in with Bob "Captain Cowbell" Wiek who also was entered in DK 200. So June 2 found us in downtown Emporia, KS anxiously awaiting the start of 420 riders from 35 states, Canada & a rider from the UK, heck I even decided to get a taste of it at the last minute & entered to ride the DK Lite, a casual 50 miler to get a taste of it.

Spending over 20 yrs. as a cowhand making my living with cows/horses I've heard of the Flint Hills of Kansas for many years but had never had the opportunity to visit, I just assumed they were very similar to our beloved Sandhills here in western Nebraska, man was I WRONG! This is some of the most spectacular country I've ever seen & I couldn't believe the huge expanses of wide open country & never ending vistas of natural prairie.

I also got to say the surface is much different than our loose, sandy roads here, knife edged flint that's just waiting to shred your bike tires without warning, fortunately for both my son & I we both survived the miles unscathed. I was riding my Salsa Fargo with the Continental Race Kings it came with which are wearing thin & Lane was running Schwalbe Marathon Mondial's in a 35mm on his new Kona Major Jake carbon cross bike

pretty tough to beat a view like this while out for a bike ride!

this is Lane's new set-up for his long gravel miles & it proved to be a reliable platform for his first ever DK 200, a full set of custom made bags by Rob Robert's of Burbank, CA The top of that bag holds a 100 oz Camelback bladder & there's plenty of room for tubes, tools, snacks, etc. between the whole set, good for 200 miles! 

This is Lane 16 hrs & 45 min after he left the starting line at 6 am that morning, yep, he finished his first ever attempt at the DK 200 with a few extra miles for a wrong turn for a total of 208 miles, what an incredible finish for him at only 18 yrs old, he may have a future in this sport yet! It was just an incredible experience for ALL of our family, between the beautiful country, the brotherhood of over 400 gravel riders in town for the weekend & the actual hospitality of Emporia I'd have to bet the odds are pretty good that we will be back for a good many more years.

Hopefully I won't disappear for quite as long this time but ya never know, like I said, it's been busy & will stay that way for a few more months, I do have some future posts planned so stop back by to see what's going on!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fendered Fargo!

in anticipation of winter muck I installed Planet Bike Cascadia fenders on the Fargo but much to my dismay the winter riding here has been balmy most days, I'm sure that will change though!

Sweet coverage & easy installation with plenty of space for add-on graphics!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Another stellar weekend in Paxton!

it all started out with the Lucas Cates Band on Saturday night at the Windy Gap Saloon with some fine music & too many beers & the meeting of new friend Bob "Captain Cowbell" Wiek driving out from 3 hrs west of here to join in on the festivities. What better way to recuperate from a wild night at the Gap than some pancakes, eggs & 30 miles of Vitamin G roads to set the mind right!

clear blue skies & balmy temps for December

not sure I was worthy riding with these two legends today, I did my very best to keep their pace & kind of bonked on the last hill to home

part of the legend of Capt Cowbell is of course, THE COWBELL!

this is one sleek, classic, beautiful bike here folks!

just a GREAT weekend spent with family, friends, great musicians & memories! Thanks for traveling to Paxton to join in on the fun Bob, was great getting to know you & hope we have many more rides together in the future!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hobo Camp pizzaria

the temps here have been balmy for November so what's a bike rider to do? Leave work early & RIDE OF COURSE! That's what I did last Friday, leaving home at 2:30 pm & returning home under a full moon well after dark thirty

another sentinel of the plains

the cyclocross barrier across the dam has an addition that will make it a bit easier to cross from now on, HOWEVER...it's not Woodchipper handle bar friendly, just a bit to narrow!

the South Platte river has got good flow for this time of year

this herd of mule deer checked me out on my way through a cow pasture

the descent was great til the end where it turned to sand & I had to walk it a ways then get off in the grass to ride into the canyon to...

...HOBO CAMP! First visit to the hobo camp on the Fargo so it was necessary to celebrate the monumental event with...


mmm, mmm, GOOD! Beats the hell out of Cliff bars & Powerade!

so here's the deal, camp stove pizzas, you need a cheap, little skillet from Wallyworld, camp stove, the spatula is a luxury (I've gotten by with a pocket knife), a piece of tin foil to keep some heat in like a lid & the key to success is that canning jar ring in the skillet to raise the pizza up a bit so it doesn't burn the middle of the crust, especially with the MSR pocket rocket where the heat is mainly right in the middle of the burner.

I use Momma Mary's pre-made pizza crusts (7") & also Momma Mary's pepperoni & tomato sauce in 2-3 oz. packets, smear a little olive oil on both sides of the crust, spread the sauce, pepperonis, grated mozzarella cheese, sun dried tomatoes & I carry a small spice container with a mix of garlic powder, italian seasoning & crushed red pepper flakes. Move the skillet around from time to time to even the heat out but generally in about 7-10 min you have a dang fine mid-bike ride snack, I know a little more to pack & prepare but I'm into this type of fun!

with the pizza & beer devoured it was time to pack up & head out of hobo camp in time to see the full moon rise & have one of the better night rides I've ever had 15 miles back to home!

this is what's it's about for me, getting out on a backroad route, no cars, no i-pod, no hurry & no real agenda, just getting out on the bike & experimenting & having fun, stopping for pizza just made this ride more enjoyable & riding home in total darkness & solitude listening to the coyotes may not be for everyone but it sure was an enjoyable time for me, get out there & try something out of the ordinary & see what you'll find, if it's on a bike chances are it will be GREAT!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Farmers Valley 5-0 "Mayors Cup" ride

back on Sept 10 my good buddy Paul "the Furnaceman" Siebert hit a milestone by turning 50 & since he just got into cycling again a couple years ago his goal was to ride a 50 miler on the road on this day, well, long story short his cycling has taken off a little more than most so we decided a 50 miler on gravel back in our home country where we both grew up would be a good time & it sure was!

this was our first stop after leaving Paul's cabin at 6 am after a late night of PBR's & Buffalo Trace bourbon, this is the Lushton cemetery, exactly a mile east of this cemetery is where I grew up, my folks still live there on the home place & they both just turned 80 years young!

the riders of the day were the honored birthday boy Paul "Mayor of Farmers Valley" on the left, Chad Q from G-Burg, myself from Paxton & Harry from Aurora, NE

All roads lead to Grafton, NE for a mid morning break of jerky, donuts & Bud heavy, Paul & Chad were rocking single speeds for the ride

the historic Farmers Valley cemetery located along the Blue River, Civil War veterans as well as settlers killed by Indians & a state senator are resting here forever, well worth a field trip but even more fun when arriving on bikes with good friends

the mayors cabin was an excellent base station for staging this ride & there have been many memories made in this cabin over the years & many more to come!

my Salsa Fargo was once again a very good platform for this ride, it glides down the gravel & eats up the dirt roads & I even found myself veering off the road a time or two to to hit the ditch for the heck of it!

the historic name bridge in Fillmore Co. the memories of this place run deep for me in so many ways, it was a must stop & see!

at the end of the day we shared some Ranger beer with the cabin gator & packed up & headed to Giltner, NE for the birthday bash wrap up at the Sit n Bull Saloon were we enjoyed more cool beverages, HUGE, homemade pizzas, cupcakes & live music, a perfect way to wrap up a 50th birthday bash!

I want to thank Paul for dreaming up his own birthday ride/party & for Chad & Harry for riding along & sharing in on a most enjoyable day spent on the bike, so many memories for Paul & I as every road we rode there was a story to tell, I can't think of a better way to spend the big 5-0 birthday!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gravel Worlds 2011

August 20, 6 am found Lane & I lined up for the Gravel Worlds race in Lincoln, NE, 153 miles of gravelly goodness put on by the Pirate Cycling League

116 riders towed the line at the start, 60 some ended up finishing, an impressive sight seeing riders strung out at the start & listening to the gravel crunching under many tires while watching the sun come up on the eastern horizon

an impressive barn & house at 98th & Branched Oak Rd, I think a barn dance in that big thing would be a good time!

eventually we hit some minimum maintenance roads & the previous nights rain showers wreaked some havoc, yes I screwed up by riding into it further than I should have, that is one DAMN HEAVY bike there with that extra gumbo on it!

checkpoint #2 was the general store in Malcolm, NE, a great old place to re-fuel

this horse earned his oats at mile 80 for me as I was DONE mentally, my longest ever gravel ride & I was cool with that, physically I'm sure I could have proceeded another 20 or more but since this ride is self-supported I was at a good stopping point at the 80 miles I did, NEXT YEAR!

Lane on the other hand appeared to want to finish the beast so I headed southeast of Lincoln to root him on as he passed by & he appeared sound enough to stick a fork in it, even though a little after this pic he hit some major mud & ended up carrying his bike a couple miles for the second time of the day

besides a few miles of mud the theme for the day was ROLLERS!

Lane kept his head on straight & bagged his first attempt at a Gravel Worlds finish, one wrong turn cost him extra miles so in the end he rode 156 miles in 14 hrs 30 min, not to mention the miles he carried his bike, yes, I'm DAMN PROUD of his accomplishment!
TO THE VICTOR ...goes a SWEET Gravel Worlds custom jersey as he was the only junior rider AND HE FINISHED, thank you PCL!!!

this was the result of the road conditions, not to mention the build up on the bikes! This was a GREAT event with some super roads, riding & folks, THANK YOU Pirate Cycling League for holding this challenging event, I know where I'll be riding this time next year, hopefully ALL OF IT if I can get some training tips & secrets from my son!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ridin' the Storm Out!

this was my Memorial Day ride, after riding through our local cemetery to pay homage I pointed it west into a 10-12 mph head wind

rode some new gravel roads & there was a whole lot of this in front & behind me

finally made it to Lake McConaughy & gave myself & the Fargo a bit of a break

the lake is as full as I've ever seen it since I've moved here in 1990, still a lot of water to come yet by the way it sounds

not near as much of the morning glory showing as just one year ago

riding along the base of Kingsley dam I could see the ominous clouds quickly moving in from the northwest & knew I may be in for an interesting trip home

and man was I right, that grass blowing there meant some super strong wind & I was cruising with it at my back sometimes reaching speeds of 25 mph or more

I had a good 20 miles of gravel left so re-fueled with a Honey Stinger waffle, these things are awesome!

the canal is out of it's banks at a few places & actually had whitecaps for most of the trip home, my legs were getting sandblasted with the gravel/dust while at the same time I was getting a cool, wet mist from the water getting blown around

pushed on hard & fast through a 3-4 mile dustbowl were the visibility was like a thick fog & made it home from the lake in record time, never got any rain just huge winds & rolled into home base in time to share a few cold beers with some friends who were over visiting, with 50 miles of extremes in it was a very good character building session!