Friday, September 11, 2015

Sunday, July 05, 2015

The LHT is dead. Long live the Straggler!

Its July in Iowa. What does that mean?
Time for the RAGBRAI

Back what seems like 100 years ago I rode the RAGBRAI.

My first two trips across the state I rode with Team Pink Floyd
On my 3rd year I was "kidnapped" (at least thats what the Floyd's would tell you) by Evil.
I rode the next 4 (5?) years with Evil using the big black "Satan's School for Little Girls" bus.


Ah the good old days...


Then the bus died.
Conveniently on the last day in the last town. We abandoned the bus (on main street where it sat for a couple weeks until a farmer pulled it home deposited it in his back 40 and it became and probably still is a club house for local teens)
At that time a plan was hatched to build up touring bikes and return the following year to ride the week self supported.

I spent the winter/spring building up a Surly Long Haul Trucker
The LHT was a relatively new model form Surly and I was pretty excited to ride across Iowa that summmer on mine.
It was a great year.

RAGBRAI 2006-066RAGBRAI 2006-011

Doing the RAGBRAI self supported was an eye opener.
No more searching over night towns for the bus.
No more worrying about going off route and not making it to the end town were the bus was.
Self supported you have all your stuff for the week with you. All week.
Its the only way to go and the only way I'd do RAGBRAI.
Well except for the following year... I was talked into getting back on a bus.
Evil returned with a new bus and a basically new crew.
In the end it ended up being a weird year and not one I would want to repeat (and I don't think I was the only one on the bus that year who felt that way... sorry gang).

Needless to say I did another 4 years self supported until I moved to Iowa.
Now I don't get to do the trip but that is a whole other story.

Back to the point... there was a point.

As much as I loved the LHT other than the RAGBRAI it didn't get ridden much.
Its great for long miles fully loaded with few stops.
Its not great for short trips or riding around town.
For me this is because when I bought the bike I bought it a little bit too big.
At cruising speed this isn't an issue. But when you are just trying to maneuver around town it just doesn't work.

I've been commuting on a Surly Cross Check for years
My current Cross Check is the 3rd of 4 that I have owned.
I commute on it. Ridden single track on it. Raced cyclocross on it.
I even rode the RAGBRAI on it (the Floyd years).
With the exception of a couple CX season when it was set up single speed (and once very briefly with gears) its always been a fixed gear.
Its has had a few different parts kits but has basically stayed the same.
I love it.

I love this bike. #crosscheck #surlybikes #fixedgear #dailydriver #commuter

Recently I started thinking about building up something similar only with gears for commuting.
I considered just changing up the parts kit on the LHT... but as previously stated its size was a factor.
So I stripped down the LHT and put the frame set up for sale (at the time this is published it is still for sale... 62cm frame set $200 OBO)

Enter the Straggler

The solution I came up with was a Surly Straggler
I purchased a 60cm frame set and a set of disc brakes.
Transferred a majority of the parts from the LHT over with a couple additions.

I've put probably close to 200 miles on the Straggler since I built it up and so far I'm very pleased.
I can add on the rear rack easily if I was to do a tour.
Drop the knobbies off for slicks if I want to add fenders.
And if I get tired of the flat bar and thumbie shifters I have several drop bar options in my parts bin along with a set of 9speed STi levers.

I've commuted on it daily since I built it up.
Have done a metric century on the paved trail.
Used it to run errands.
Even gotten in a little single track time.
I'm pretty pleased with the new rig.

Straggler build:
TRP Spyre SLC disc brake
Chris King headset
Thomson stem and seatpost
Brooks Professional saddle
Dura-Ace 9speed bar end shifters converted to bar mount with Paul Thumbies
Avid Speed Dial levers
Race Face cranks with 44/32/22 RF rings
12-28 9 speed cassette
Ultergra 6600 RD
Sora 3403 FD
UN-55 BB
Surly Nice Racks F&R
Surly Knard 700x41 rubber
Surly 1x1 Torsion Bar by Nitto
Lizard Skins bolt on BMX grips
Arundel stainless steel bottle cages
DT Swiss Onyx 36h hubs laced to Salsa Delgado Cross rims
Shimano M324 pedals
Jagwire cable/housing

The LHT is dead...

Long Live the Straggler!


Saturday, June 06, 2015

Saturday Kung Fury

Saw the trailer for this a while back.
Looked ridiculous.
I like ridiculous some times.

 And don't miss the Hoff singing the theme song!


 I know... Right!?!?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Weekend ponderings

Admittedly I like the 27.5+ and 29+ platforms.
Its kinda like disc brakes on road bikes... I like the options but I don't wanna have to have it.

Hub sizing gets confusing too


Via Bike

Some of them sure are pretty though....

Trek Stache5

                                                   Cycles J Bryant

Monday, February 02, 2015

The time has come to retire

News from the KC Sprints blog:

KC Sprints is retiring.

Yes, you read that right.


As in we are done. Finished. No more. Stick a fork in us or whatever....
It time to hang up the sprint bikes for more than just the summer.



Why has this happened?
There is no doubt that you will lay awake at night wondering.
Don't blame yourself.
The end has been coming for sometime now.
It was obvious if you were looking.

Zeke hooked up with a pretty girl from Iowa and she dragged him away from KC to be with her.
Jevon recently got engaged (Wow! Really??)
And Jones is having a baby..... wait... WTF?!??
Jones is having a baby?!!??
Yes, things have really gotten that weird.

Doesn't help that putting on the race takes a lot more time and effort than it appears and although somewhat rewarding, we just don't have the motivation or time to deal with it anymore.

We'd say we're sorry but we aren't. We are excited to be done.
The KC Sprints shit show has been rolling along for 7 years now and quite frankly....
we're tired of it.
So.... #fuckthisshit

But, don't you worry.
You still have one finial chance to shine in KC Sprints Goldspints glory (AKA Use the Bucket)

When? When is my chance... (we can feel you asking your computer screen)

On the greatest (cough cough... worst) Hallmark holiday of the year...

Valentine's Day!

Hookers and Crack

That is right!
February 14th at the Buzzard Beach!
Bring your Valentine to our last shabang! They will either thank you or leave you.

February 14th. Time to retire.

Its been 7 years so by now you should know the drill.
But if for some reason you don't.... well just add yourself to the reasons why we are done.
OR... you could just hop on over to our Book of Faces event page and get the skinny.

Being our last Goldsprints style KC Sprints event it goes without saying that the last 7 years wouldn't have been possible without the support of some great sponsors:

Twin Six
Eighth Inch
Portland Design Works
Rothra Cycling
Midwest Cyclery
Volker Bikes
All Hail the Black Market

Thanks again for 7 years of fun.
Hope to see you on the 14th!
You know you wanna be there.
Kim would want it that way.

Kim wants you at the KC Sprints Retirement race.

Friday, December 12, 2014

If ya got time to lean....

"If ya got time to lean you've got time to clean!"
At least that is how the saying goes.
Winter in a bike shop in the Midwest is all about leaning and cleaning.
And inventory.
And online product training.
And reading about riding.
And wishing you could spend the short daylight hours on your bike (cold or not) instead of splitting time between watching the clock and looking out the window.
Ho hum.

And there is the winter weight gain.
Sure we fight it the best we can. We log hours in the gym.
On the trainer.
Or spend our days off out on the bike.
Somewhat its avoidable. Its cold. We don't wanna move much and wanna be warm. So we gain weight.
Hell some of us would probably like to hibernate the winter months away.

So far this winter my weight gain vice has been a classic. Little chocolate donuts.

"... little chocolate donuts have been on my training table since I was a kid." #coffeeanddonuts #winterweight #fatass #cantstopwontstop

Oh I try to resist. I really do.
But they are cheap. Tasty. "And they have the sugar to get me going in the morning."

Oh boy.
Time to go hide in a corner for the last hour or so of the work day with my coffee and donuts.
Maybe I'll do some calisthenics and think about the cold dark ride home or plan some gravel riding for Sunday.
Yeah. Sunday.

Sunday Funday

Monday, December 08, 2014

"I'm buying a helmet."

When I woke up Sunday morning I noticed I had a text.
"I'm buying a helmet."
I figured Jim had taken a tumble and rang his bell on the way home from the bar or something.
Not quite.
He was just on his way home from work Saturday afternoon when an inattentive driver pulled out right in front of him and over the hood Jim went.
*If you are squeamish, sorry, the photo is a little brutal.

Jim shows us why you should wear a helmet. Ouch.

If you are wondering, I think you should be, that metal looking thing in the gash... is an ear bud

Jim's words:
"So I was heading north on Baltimore on the way home from work. A lady in a brand new looking mustang was distracted by another car at the stop sign in front of her turning onto the one way I was traveling on. She had a stop sign as well. (I have bright expensive intense lights on my bike front and back running). She then pulled out in front of me so suddenly that I had no time to stop. I hit the front corner panel of her car, somehow hit her windshield caving it in, and continued over the car slamming my head into the curb. In the process i gained some road rash, a headphone lodged in my head (haha), various cuts, a terribly bruised left leg, and a possible broken bone in my left wrist. 
I'm all stitched up and home. The pain meds are keeping the pain at bay for now. My left eye is wanting to swell shut, which is annoying. I'm not happy it happened but I'm grateful to be home from the hospital quickly. It definitely can always be worse. 
Thank you for all the love/well wishes and offers of support. I want you to know its all very much appreciated!"

Looks like Jim will be taking a little time off of work. I think he could use it. 

Remember kids: The streets out there are tough. Why not wear a helmet? 

In other news...

Got out Sunday for some gravel riding, beer drinking action with some fellas.

6 of us got in 30ish miles of cold windy fun on the gravel.
It was fun to hang out with the co-workers I don't seem often.  
We rode from the West Des Moines Bike World location south to Bonneville and the Waveland West bar. After a few drinks and a warm up we pushed east to Cumming and the Cumming Tap.
A few more drinks and a couple pizzas later we all pocketed a roadie and saddled up for the ride back to town. In Water Works Park we stopped on the old bridge, drank our roadies, and then 1/2 our group split for home while the rest of us headed to GT's for one more beer.
Good times Sunday fellas. Thanks for playing.

*Roughly our route... kinda

Sundays route... kinda