Life as a chronic geek

Chronic.  The term conjures up visions of terminal smokers hacking their way through the day.  I once worked with a gent that went by “chronic”, and indeed he was (still is so I hear) keepin’ it real.  But as Miles points out, it’s my new favorite word.  It has a different connotation in my vernacular, just to clear any confusion.

The night before Thanksgiving and I finally found time to get the PT wheel set up on the Dos Niner.  You’d think it’d be easy, right?  Slap a tire on it, mount the harness and you’re off.  Some extra steps included a Stan’s tubeless conversion and switching to a v-brake system from the Hayes disk.  3 hours later, this is what I have:

This is all very exciting…you see, if you don’t have the data, it didn’t actually happen.  I’ve been flying blind since late July when I got the first 29er.

So this am it’s off to give it a whirl, run it through the paces and pick up the metabolism in preparation for the gorging to come.  4 days in Moab are on deck…and everytime I spend time in that place the White Rim beckons.  More than likely, tomorrow will be another trip around the WR.  Not sure what it is about that ride – it’s only jeep road, right?  It sure does call loud and clear tho.

Any ambibuities in my useage of the term “chronic”?  The geek part should be obvious.

Glory on a bike in Moab

What a glorious weekend to be in Moab on a bike. I’ve ridden White Rim in three days with wine, cheescake and support but never hammered it out in one day. I was salivating on my keyboard when Dave invited me along. Half a dozen phone calls later I’d lined up back-to-back babysitters for the kids – game on! I even got to ride with Greg, Mitch and Dave for a while, so that was cool.

Dave was camera man for this trip so I dragged up an old photo. Here is Musselman Arch – a mere 150 yard detour off the main trail. We all blew past it on Saturday. I think it might be illegal to ride across it, so ya’ll know that is not me in the pic.


Sunday was equally splendid. Primed with a good coffee shop trip, Dave, Mitch and I headed up Sand Flats road to check out a section of Porcupine above the regular route. Mitch did a U-turn after an hour leaving Dave and I out there to ride ourselves silly. Dave was flying! Check out my power file in the file section and see I warmed up at 250 watts looking at Dave’s rear wheel disappear up the road. The new section of Porky rocked. We yo-yoed with some guys on 45lb downhill rigs – 8 inches of travel and 2.7 tires. They rode a few things I had trouble hike-a-biking down.

When we connected with the main trail the “plan” made back at the coffee shop was to cruise back down Sand Flats road to Moab but the full descent down Porcupine to the Colorado River beckoned and we were helpless to resist….

Final tally for the weekend was 138 miles, 5 chocolate fudge pop tarts, 120 oz Gatorage, 5 bags of Clif Blocks, 15 Clif Shots and 10 Endurolytes. I think my teeth are rotting out.

A different view

Epic rides have long been my favorite.  Dave Wiens once said he wished he could just go out and do epic rides every day, but the specific demands of shorter events mandated some shorter glycogen burning high intensity training.  The fall is a good time to do what really floats your boat, especially if it isn’t specific to your goal events…like a good ol’ epic on the White Rim.  Brian mentioned this ride to me as we were decompressing from 24 hours of racing in Moab…but at that time, doing the WR sounded far too painful to consider.  Chronic I am though, and before sunrise on Saturday I found myself at Mineral bottom road ready to embark on my 3rd trip around the rim in 2 months.  This time was different – there were 18 of us.  In my 6(?) times on this ride, this was the first to have company aside from the occasional bighorn ram.  This was no ordinary group of riders, but rather (mostly) a group of professional mountain bikers. 

The pre-dawn start was reminiscent of the Soul Ride, that great 100 mile event in Tucson put on by Todd Sadow &  Nothing beats starting in the dark.  Riding a 24 at night is one thing, but you’re not exactly fresh at that point.  Starting in the dark is entirely different.

So how does a ride progress with such a group?  A series of sprints punctuated by long mechanical breaks, snack stops, and these.  

We had intended to hold the group together for the ride – you know, strength in numbers.  The first major mechanical hit just before Hardscrabble hill.  A broken seat collar and a near terminal chain/spoke entanglement.  Lynda saw the writing on the wall.  The number of stops increases exponentially with the group size, and as any enduro freak can attest stops really get in the way of the endorphin buzz.  So she just rolled over the top of the hill, thinking she’d stop in the sunshine…oh maybe stop after the descent…oh maybe stop at potato bottom…damn it’s cold down here…and she was gone.

In the meantime, we get the bikes sorted out and are on our way.  Brian was riding a Trek 9.8 SS with 2:1 gearing.  That pint sized rocket tipped the scales at 19lbs, or so he claimed.  Felt more like 15 to me.  One of the highlights of the day was rippin through the rollers leading to Murphy’s hogback.  Brian was putting the hurt on a group of 6 – we were basically being motorpaced.  This went on for about 30 minutes, damn were we having fun!  Mitch looks over at me as asks if his wheel was dragging on something…yep, there was some heavy breathing.  Brian would really punch it on the rollers (he couldn’t shift, right?), so in an effort to not get dropped on the rollers I did the same – held the same gear and stood for the rollers.  Well…sounds good on paper, but when my chain broke there was a painful impact of crotch to stem while I nose wheelied over a small ledge with one foot flying solo.  Found the chain, got it back on and off we went, only to have the chain break again 2 minutes later.  They didn’t wait the second time around, which was fine – by that time the ride was split up so I had new riding partners.


A short while later we’re at the top of Murphy’s hogback, eating what we have.  It was great to chill and get to know some new chronics.  While we’re stopped, I’m starting to wonder how far ahead Lynda is.  That gal is a lightning bolt – let her slip away and she’s gone.  The problem was she drove, and if she ended up waiting for a couple hours, would she?  The other thought…when doing the WR counter-clockwise, the second half is a lot more taxing than the first.  Headwinds, rocky/slick rock, it just beats you up.  There was going to be carnage, even in this group, or should I say especially in this group.  The guys in this crowd are darn fast, which means at times the pace was pretty hot.  The bigger the shovel the bigger the hole. 

I made the call to go find Lynda…

This shot comes right from the trail.  Glad the chain didn’t break here!

The next 2 hours was a nice steady cruise, enduro freaks you know what I’m talking about, you’re in the zone, cadence is up, no MP3 but you’ve still got music playing, the views are killer and your bike is simply flowing with you…suddenly, there’s Lynda.  Good for both of us as she’s getting bored by then, power starting to fade and getting a little bonky, and I don’t have to ride back to town.  We are planning to do Trans Rockies as a coed team next year, so that was a big topic of conversation…how do we make the most of our collective strengths in Canada? 

Can’t forget the litter leash.  You know, the little tab of material on Clif Shots that prevent the top from ending up on the ground?  That’s Lynda’s creation, a contribution to Clif that has earned her a lifetime supply of Clif products.  Her inpiration?  The tampon.

It wasn’t long before we were at the base of the Shaffer trail, a 1500′ climb at 10-20% grades.  The views from the top are quality!

All that remained was a short spin to the cars, about 8 miles of pavement.  Or so I thought.  Right into the teeth of a norther we went, and Lynda was WAY more motivated than I.  I mean, c’mon now, we just did all the fun stuff, what’s the rush?  It hurt to ride her wheel at that point, I’m not afraid to admit it.  Then she sees a rider up ahead and picks it up a touch more…then she’s had it so I go to the front.  Going slower than she was, I’m sure…until I see that the rider in front of us is a roadie.  Huh?  Lynda says she knew exactly when I realized that bike had skinny tires – her power went up 80 watts.  Completely subconcious…but funny.  It only takes a little motivation, from wherever it may come.  BTW, if you are a powerphile and have loaded, you can check out her power file over on the files section of our website.  There’s also a file of the next day’s ride, an upper and lower Porcupine rim adventure.

Meanwhile…back in the group there were varying amounts of pain in that final section of headwinds.  For some, it was a religious experience.  For others, apparently purely noxious akin to sticking needles on one’s eye.  Brian carried on as Brian will, hammering up the Shaffer trail on that 2:1 SS, cleaning the 20+ minute climb out of the saddle in single-digit cadences.  That ain’t human…at 30 he’s only hitting his stride.  It’ll be tough on the endurance crowd when he starts getting bored with the 2 hour race! 

It wasn’t long ago that the White Rim would have bent me into submission…but after 120,000 TSS in 3 years, the bonk is darn elusive anymore.  For an enduro freak, it’s just a great day on the bike…and that’s my view.

Brian’s birthday epic: White Rim

Saturday looks to be a good day in the saddle.  It’s Brian Smith’s 30th birthday, and to usher in the decade properly he’s set up a White Rim ride.  More details on this ride are here.  The views are like this all day…we’ve got it rough in this area!


I’ll ride the Dos Niner and Mitch is doing his first 29er ride on a 292.  So for you 29er afficianados, care to take a guess on his first impressions?  The WR is perfect for 29ers – I did it twice before 24hoMoab, once on the Dos, once on the 292.  The big wheels roll great through the sandy sections.  We’ll see what he thinks…he’s a gifted climber and a lightweight.  A 28 lb bike might feel like a tank to him…

This is one of my all-time favorite day rides.  No matter your pace, the scenery is grand and you just can’t miss it.  It’s also killer training grounds for long events since it’s mostly mellow jeep road.  Much like road training as far as keeping constant power to the pedals…but it ain’t pavement!

More pics to follow.                            

Hello all…

Well I’m the newbie on this team and don’t know anybody except for Dave. I did cheer for Miles, Greg and Brent at the BrianHead NORBA xc and you guys were looking strong that day. I was lurking around and raced my first ever NORBA marathon the next day – that was fun. So hello and I hope to meet some of you out on the trails [:)]

We’re on the web so we must be…


One of the great things about this team is it’s diversity – we’ve got fast young bucks and fast old bulls – we all come at it from different angles.  What am I going to blog about?  Let’s first lay out what it won’t be.  My life as an engineer would bore most folks to tears. I’m accustomed to the glazed over looks when discussing what I do for a living.  The daily routine is:  get up early (like 3-4am), surf a bit, do core/flexibility stuff, work, eat, ride, eat, work, sometimes ride again, always eat again, and again…repeat…every day is groundhog day, but a good groundhog day.

Enough of that.  Here’s what to look forward to as time allows:

  • discussions of training techniques for various types of events.
  • I’ll share some power files along the way…
  • An objective look at where, if anywhere, 29ers outshine their little 26er cousins.  I’ve got 2 29ers and a garage full of 26ers, power taps for each wheel size – and plan to get to the bottom of the hype. 
  • Race reports.  I’ll play catchup – 2005 has been a dream season and I’ve had a lot of requests for some reports.  Look for reviews of the E100 series, the 24 hours of Steamboat, and the 24 hours of Moab.
  • Some favorite workouts…

See you on the trail. 

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