Headquarters for the Slender Fungus Cycling Association

Headquarters for the Slender Fungus Cycling Association
Brewers of Hardy Rides.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Trans-Iowa Version #6 April 24th, 2010

The La Cruz and I

Tim Krueger, Gus Peters and Pizza Dan getting up a steep hill

My very valuable training partner Hellmut

The energy sapping B road

Trans Iowa Start

I have waited to post this report for a while since I had to get my thoughts straight and my body back in order. All I can say is that Trans Iowa is over. Hellmut and I, and Gumby, started to train really hard back in the start of November of last year. We religiously rode on Wednesdays, Saturday mornings and commuted to work every day. We rode through snow storms, Ice, Freezing fog, frozen lungs, frozen Toes and frozen bodies. I sometimes lost tears when I got home in the middle of the night as I tried to thaw out in my sleeping back.
We kept at it and never gave up. We knew what was coming and we wanted to keep on top shape. I communicated incessantly with Dr. Giggles all the way out in Syracuse, N.Y. We encouraged each other. We rode through the night, leaving my house at 10 or 12 midnight not to show up until the sun came out. We spent countless hours talking and refining our equipment. In the end the Trans Iowa kicked our asses in less than 44 miles.
Here is the story in a somewhat chronological order. Giggles showed up from N.Y. on Wednesday and we started to prepare. By Thursday we had tuned our bikes, packed all our nutrition and were super-relaxed, like never before. We comunicated with Pizza Dan and Hellmut and on the morning of Friday we started our trek to Grinnell, Iowa, starting point of Trans Iowa. The hotel accomodations were awesome. We had ample rooms, a swimming pool and a hot tub. We each had our our bed and there was plenty of room to spare. The staff at the hotel had even provided the racers with a hose outside for washing off bikes. Nice touch.
We headed off to the steakhouse for the "meatup" We grilled our own food, met the other racers and were handed our packets and the first set of cue sheets. 44.5 miles to complete in exactly 4 hours. I had no doubt it would be possible. But mother nature was already giving us a run for our money. On friday it was supposed to rain a 10th of an inch and we ended up getting a lot more than that. The gravel roads saturated and started to losen up. You see the gravel in this area is not the typical Limestone type that hardens to concrete consistency. It is a riverbottom type, pebbly kind that when mixed with water just gets loose.
We ate then took a short drive to check out the roads. They did not look good. Pizza and Hellmut decided to stop by the bike shop in Grinnell to pick up clip on fenders.
We returned to the Hotel and met up with Charlie Farrow, Tim Ek and Jason Buffington. We were concerned about the weather. I did not mind the weather so much but kept thinking about the surface and whether it would slow us down too much to lose too much time.
We all headed to bed and awoke promptly at 2oo am. I showered and lubed up my chamois and presto I was ready to go. Very low stress. We rolled out the Hotel at 3:20 as planned and arrived at the start as planned.
The race started a bit after 4 am since G.T. had forgotten to have us sign the waivers at the restaurant. We rolled in heavy fog and moist conditions. I was confident and could feel all the work from the winter in my legs. The pavement section was a formality as Guitar Ted was leading the race in the Honda Element. When we hit the Gravel it all went to pot. The traction was terrible and the riders ahead were spraying mud in our faces. Things had turned bad. We rode on and just after a mile we started to hear drivetrains giving moans of pain. Chains jumped and derailleurs got sucked into the chainstays. Everyone was trying to find the right line but there was no easy solution. We kept going on and my chain kept locking, jumping and grinding. I was afraid to rip the derailleur off and end the race in sub 10 mile point! I babied it as much as possible and just hoped for daylight so I could remedy the problem.
Pizza Dan stayed with me with Hellmut ahead with the leaders and Dr.Giggles behind us. It was dark, my glasses were useless in the mist and it started to drizzle. My Rapha wool jersey was fending off the mist but then it started to pour. I made a mental check whether the important stuff was in plastic. I started to feel the rain and decided for the rain jacket. We were being chased by scary lightning to our right and then to our left. And in between it would make an arc of light showing us the way to the Garden of Pain.
We started to wonder whether G.T and David Pals would not call the race. I just kept hearing my wife's voice telling me that she allowed me to ride in everthing except lightning. I forged ahead taking solace that other riders were with me. I kept looking at the light poles and wondering how soon it would be before one split in front of my eyes.
These were by FAR the worst conditions I have ever ridden a bike in. They were so bad I started to ask for more. I wanted to see if there was a new limit I could achieve.
The light started to come and the storms went somewhere else. My drivetrain started to function better because I rammed the chain in the big chainring and rode the bigger cogs. There was more tension on the cogs and it kept the chain from jumping. I dared not change anything.
After much delay we made it to the first entrance of the NO maintenance "B" road. It was sticky, peanut butter mud. We made the mistake to try to ride a portion of it only to cake our bikes into 60 lbs anchors. We walked through the slop, rode on the grass, hiked some more and then all of a sudden it happened.I looked at my Tag Heuer and effictively there would be no way that we could ride the remaining 14 miles in less than an Hour. I flushed and a huge knot quickly developed in my throat. I was confused, and kept trying to keep the tempo up. My legs stopped working, My back tightened up,my shoulders hurt terribly. Hellmut, Pizza and I threw the towel in. Trans Iowa had broken us in about 30 miles. 30 miles!
We met up with the other "non makers" and rode out to the first checkpoint at around 8:45 a.m.45 minutes past the allowed time. Meaning we rode 44 miles in 4 hours and 45 minutes. We made it to a Caseys and had food, coffee and then decided to ride back to Grinnell. I rode with Tim Krueger, Product Manager from Salsa, My good friend Travis Braun from Trek, Hellmut, Pizza, Gus Peters, Jason Novak, Kristin and her boyfriend and a host of other riders. We ended the day with 85 miles through the countryside of Iowa.
I am still having issues with all this and there is a lot of thoughts going on in my head. I cannot believe the smackdown I was handed and am wondering how to better prepare for it.
All in all I would like to Thank my wonderful wife and my daughter for all there support. My wife for understanding my through the night rides. I would like to thank Guitar Ted, David Pals, Kevin and all the volunteers for their endless work. I would like to mention a thank you to all the racers and what a bunch of nice people you are. A thank you to the Craig Cooper from Bikes to You in Grinnell for all the work you put into it. Pizza Dan, Hellmut and Dr.Giggles for being such valuable friends and riding partners. My shop for all the support. Salsa Cycles and Gunnar for dang good bikes you make.
there is more. It's still coming out.



There are 129 photos on my flickr thingy to your right. They are in the set for Trans Iowa.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting ready for the Monster

I am in full concentration mode and the only thing that I can say is that this is the first winter since 1987 that I have not been sick. Not a cold, flu, bronchitis or any fevers. I am very thankful to think that I will be going to Trans Iowa healthy. Still a couple of more days to go but I am keeping my hopes up. I will be thinking of a lot of people that have passed. Friends, family, strangers. I will draw inspiration from my hero Marco Pantani . I will remember how he flew up the hills and how the tifosi went into epileptic seizures as they saw him pass by. I was very nervous up to this moment when I started typing and now I feel calm as I know the very magical moments are starting to appear once again.
I will leave it all out there, in the dusty, muddy, roads of Iowa.

Viva Marco Pantani!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day off

Chicago alley

Shooting pix from the car. Wrigley building off Michigan ave.

Giusseppe hanging at the pizzeria.

Intelligentsia coffee shop at the Monadnock building. This is the creme de la creme for coffee. period.

Two hour drive into the city today to run some errands with the father-in-law. After all the driving and all the hassle we accomplished nothing and returned to the land of corn tired and cranky. The best part of the day was making out to my favorite coffee shop in the world: Intelligentsia. I ordered a large Latte and also brought back home 2 lbs of the Black Cat Organic Espresso. My whole car smelleed like coffee. We stopped in little italy for lunch and had some pizza and salad at Pompei, then stopped at the italian deli for another cup of coffee. I arrived home beat after totalling 160 mile on the Pantani-mobile but it sure was a relief to go down there and see something different. The weather forecast for Trans Iowa seems favorable and I just hope it stays like that. I really plan on finishing this year. I know, I know, I have been writing about this for months.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Slender Fungus Cycling Association


Secret bike to beat Joe Meiser @ T.I.V.6

Gumbalaya's new shiny jacket. "Slices right through the wind"

Hellmut thinkin' 'bout Cornmut

The pesky, rare, never understood French valve also known as a "Presta" valve.

Shiny vacuum, shiny Truck

Slender Fungus enjoying the deserted roads of Dekalb county.
All photos courtesy of my new Canon Powershot D10 (made in Japan)

Ended up in Kirkland in the middle of the night. Hellmut had a couple drops of whiskey left in his little bottle and I sucked that thing dry. Legs feeling good. Gumby sporting a new shiny jacket that is supposed to be very Aerodynamic. T.I. is coming soon with a loud roar. Run for your lives!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hailstorm in Grinnell, Iowa Check it out.


Quick, everyone with their bubble suits to the starting line!!


Two week countdown

My possible ride. Gunnar Crosshairs. Will be third Trans Iowa if picked.
I have lower the gearing. It will be 34x45x11x34

Forcing myself to sit on the couch and relax. I just want to ride Now!!!

This is my third day off. I was adviced by the Northern Committee on taking some days off the bike. I will ride tomorrow night again to get that spin worked out. I am ready to compete and I think it will be a grand race. Everything is prepped. I have 4 bikes to pick from. I will determine this according to weather.
Salsa Fargo if the weather goes to shit.
Salsa La Cruz if it is sloppy but manageable
Gunnar Crosshairs if conditions are good and I feel I need the extra comfort
Salsa Chili con Crosso if it is bone dry and I plan on breaking records.
I have a feeling I will roll with the Gunnar this year. I must change the drivetrain and give it a once over.
Nutrition will be Perpetuem, carbo rocket, Nuun, Gels, pretzels, gas station food.
Ibex knickers, wool undershirt, wool jersey, arm warmers, leg warmers, gloves, balaclava, wind and rain jacket for extra insulation.
Canon d10 for a ton of photos. I promise i will take a lot of pictures.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Canon Powershot D10 and day off the bike

Daughter and I

Past Trans Iowa racers working a perfect echelon through the gravel roads of Iowa

Charlie and his Famous rear flat tires. Notice the eterna-smile

Trans Iowa racer loading up on some free milk. Notice Aluminum Bottles

Capricious April Weather. You'll either cruise in delight or Join Dante in Inferno

Got the doctor visit in yesteday per Mr. Jason and I did get prescribed the necessary medicine to control that pesky Asthma. I was also suggested to start treatment on allergy medicine to build up before the pollen hits the airwaves. Got a lot of errands done yesterday. I am thinking about riding road when I get back and give the gravel at least a week off. Picked up my new riding camera and I am very happy with it. It is a waterproof, shockerproof, freezeproof Canon Powershot D10. It is 12.1 megapixels and I hope to shoot a lot of photos of the upcoming festivities. Took the day off the bike yesterday and it felt good. Wednesday ride was harsh with 20-25 mph winds, soft conditions on the gravel and a cold spraying of water and sleet upon us. We rode solid for 3 hours 29 minutes and the legs felt great.



Monday, April 5, 2010

Chris King Maintenance

thought you mike like this Jay.

make it nice,


Some things that are done so far

My ever messy workbench

1) Finally gotten my legs to where I wanted them to be.
2) Dinotte Lights are going to Iowa with me. (made in U.S.A.)
3) Epic Research feedbag for food, gu bottle and batterie pack (made in U.S.A.)
4) lower gearing 45x34x11x34 more spinning less Hulking.
5) Carbo Rocket individual packets. Less mess, less cramps, (Made in U.S.A.)
6) Ibex Knickers. Wool, fantastic Chamooah (Made in U.S.A.)
7) Noxzema, Vaseline, Bag Balm (Chamooah lubrication)
8) Look Quartz pedals, light, floaty and with lots of mud clearance. (Made in La France)
9) King Hubs, Headset, BottomBracket (Made in U.S.A.)
10) More Salty foods to keep cramps away.
11) Thinner layers to adjust body temps. No thick layers this year.
12) Schwalbe Marathon Extremes. Folding, grippy, No tools to mount, Puncture protection
13) Better tactics, better time management, less time off the bike.

These are things that I have been working on lately. Now we can start to taper off and try to losen out those knots. Make some maintenance on our tired ponies, get things dialed in and soon it will be all over.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Slender Fungus lays an Easter Egg

Heading back home through Fermi Lab

31st. in Oakbrook. Heading west, towards corn country

5:00 a.m. at the starbucks in Elmhurst

Trail riding through the night

Salsa La Cruz taking a bathroom break.

I know that we are supposed to taper off for the ride but we still had some through the nigth issues to work out. We wanted to make sure not to fall asleep around the dreaded 3:00>>>6:00 am period. I loaded my bag with food, gels and two cans of Starbucks Double Shot. It seemed to work like a champ. I also consumed some Jameson Irish Whiskey at that time. I was frozen, since I only had leg warmers and no booties. The Jameson sent a warm streak all through my body.
We started the ride at Midnight Saturday and had planned to be back around 10:00a.m. so as to not disturb any Easter festivities with family. We rode east, got into St. Charles before 2:00a.m. then hit the Prairie Path , other Great Western trail all the way to Elmhurst. We rode steady and well. On the way back we had a nice tail wind and the sun warmed us up nice. I think we could have used more real food, as in salty and more liquids. We both had some crampys wanting to show up but we shot them down. I estimate we rode over 70 miles off road, with closer to 80. We totalled 115 miles and I entered the house at exactly 10:05 a.m.
I did not nap at all and I have been a zombie all day. I will go to bed early and have an easy day tomorrow. Maybe I will consider that word Taper.
Things are starting to take shape and there is just a couple of details that I have to work on. I am still searching for a tough camera to take with. I could not stand not taking photographs.
I hope everyone had a great Easter Holiday.



Thursday, April 1, 2010

Slender Fungus Cycling Association

Gumby and I terrorizing the Coyotes.

Click, enlarge and check out the owl. I wished for my canon G11

Too bad nobody else showed up except the Gumbalaya and meself for the wednesday ride. We couldn't figure it out. There were mild temps, slight winds, no ice, no snow. Anyway. We had a fantastic ride. Gumbalaya showed up on his Orbea and I was on the newly positioned La Cruz. We took Old State road, The GWT , then ended up the I.C. Trail rd to empire to swanberg to Silver Glen to Burr rd. headed south to Dean St took the GWT home. It was a great ride with 45 miles covered at a brisk pace. It was the first ride the Slender Fungus did not experience frozen feet. The first time since november that i rode without gloves and without my balaclava. The La Cruz was on fire and worked flawless. The legs are feeling really good as we speak. Still working on some position issues. I tried to ride more upright with an shorter stem and more rise and all it did was give my plumbing area bad pain. So I installed my 130mm ritchey stem and stuck to my snoby road position that I have had for the past 20 odd years. As C.P. says "you can't teach an old dog new tricks".
I also had the luck to photograph an owl sitting on a branch, in the wild. I really love owls.