Friday, November 30, 2012

A.J. Turner's Endurance Riding Menu

I know a few guys that love the bacon and orange slices, but beef sticks and beer in the middle of a ride definitely sounds like it would perk a guy up! Keep on it, Austin.

Hey Nick,
Sorry I've been behind on reporting my gravel metrics. (Nick - Sorry I've been behind on posting them!)
The first was solely on a 29" single speed mountain bike. A faulty shifter on my 'cross bike led me to ride this - It was just too nice of a weekend in November NOT to ride, so I couldn't resist and trudged out a metric. Date - November 4th
After securing a new shifter and overcoming a bad Jingle Cross hangover, I set out for 70 miles on November 25th with two buddies to go explore some previously un-discovered B-roads north of Iowa City. Loads of fun, and I snapped a photo of my two riding partners. Another mechanical issue occurred  however, and a cassette had to be tightened with a pair of car keys. Score one for ingenuity.
Rushing to catch up with my cup-o-dirt challenge for the year, I hopped on the bike again immediately the day after on November 26th. The cold weather and strong winds made things difficult, but fun B-roads around Green Castle and a pit stop for beef sticks and Millstream Beer made things much more enjoyable. Also, no mechanical issues made the ride much more pleasant.
I've attached three photos - The first is from the November 25th ride with friends, and the other two are from the November 26th ride. Enjoy.
Thanks again for the chase!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Venteicher November Update

And here's the November update from Andrea and Lee Venteicher (well, mostly Andrea this month):

Hey! I’m happy to report that my Novmber rides are done. I did a Full from Waukon to Rochester, MN (my dear sweet husband then retrieved me and even took me to Coldstone for ice cream). I got a Metric in yesterday, through Waterville, Postville, and Frankville (lots of Villes around here, apparently). It’s depressing how early it gets dark! I took this picture at a beautiful sunset (the phone camera doesn’t nearly do it justice), and it’s a good metaphor for my 2012 cup o’ dirt chase; nearly complete, but pretty awesome. So that’s 11 and 11 for Andrea, but Lee has no more rides to report. Thanks again for the chase!

October Venteicher Update

The Venteichers are still cranking out the rides. Keep on riding, Andrea! It'll be great to hand you two cups for the year!

Howdy from NE Iowa!  Lee and I got down to business again this month, with Lee doing another Metric (for a total of 8 metric and 4 full this year).  I did a full from Decorah through Harmony and Spring Grove, MN, and the metric with Lee through Waterville, Volney, and Postville, IA (in case anyone was wondering, the hill on Linton Rd before it intersects with Bigfoot Rd along the Yellow River is a real doozy).  Can't complain at all about the weather, so I'll just whine a little about all of the roads being freshly graded one last time prior to switching the maintainers over to snowplows.  I'm now at 10 full and 10 metrics, so just gotta put the Bar Mitts on for two more months to complete the quest!  If I'm lucky, I'll be able to ride on snowpack again soon...
If anyone wants to come up to our neck of the woods to ride these gnarly hills, we'd be happy to house you!
Everyone stay safe in the dark; talk to you next month!
Andrea and Lee

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

With Apologies to Timothy McGovern

Hello there Cup O' Dirt fans. It's been too long since I updated, so I figured it's time to clean out the inbox and let you all know what's been going on with other riders. First up, Timothy McGovern has this excellent update on some of his rides from the year. He sent this in a while ago, and I've been too lazy to update things, so sorry, Tim. Way to go at Moab on the SS!

Here's a (too) long and (half) late update on my Cup-o-Dirt. May not make it to ten metrics (this year!) but I've been having a blast.

The Galena Gravel Grinder Rustic Road Ride, yowza, four months ago -- the itching has pretty much gone away, so I think I can say it was a fantastic ride in the middle of The Worst Camping Trip of All Time. 
Not Recommended: camping right next to the Big Muddy in June.
Especially not recommended: putting your six-year-old where she can wiggle the tent door open. We had so many mosquito bites we looked like a chicken pox sanatorium. But the ride was challenging, beautiful, and--bonus--three of the riders had a background in plant biology. Incredibly learned.

And Four:
24 Hours of Moab.
Last November my friend Bajji (he lives in Colorado; I live in Chicago) emailed me to say, “hey, want to do 24 Hours of Moab next year?” I immediately said, “hell, yes.” It was far enough off to “plan” for it, meaning somehow get my hands on a mountain bike. And presumably get my butt on it, too. The one kink the plan would be getting said bike onto actual mountain trails with said butt and hands on it…but no matter. As luck would have it, a friend was selling a Surly 1x1 a few weeks later. Oh yes. Single speed.

Long story short, “training” consisted of an awful lot of flat riding on the Surly, mixing in some riding along the deteriorating limestone blocks that ring the local park.
When you factor in the exposure of riding across the top of these beasts, it’s a little hair-raising. Thankfully (?), with two kids and a full-time job, my training hours basically only happen at night, so the darkness wouldn’t be a worrisome factor.

We tried to line up two more riders, for a 4-person team in the Just-for-fun category but riders kept falling through/pulling out (work, family, separated shoulder…) so we found ourselves at the start line with two, and we shifted our entry to the “Duo Open” category—or so we’d been offered; but “Duo Pro” is what it was. Pro? Yup, we were outgunned.

Considering that you could count on one hand the number of times that I’ve been mountain biking in mountains, I was pretty happy with my performance (below).  Huge banked descents; monster climbs; rock gardens; rock ‘staircases’; two track, doubletrack, slickrock, and not an inch of pavement. The course was pretty sandy, which played to the strengths of someone who commutes in snow for as many days as  it snows in Chicago (more than a few).

Got a lot of compliments on my bike. “Whoa, that’s hardcore.” “Old school!” “You’re a braver man than I am, with that bike.” I wasn’t the only steel rider, and wasn’t the only single-speed, and wasn’t the only hard-tail or 26er, but I was one of only a small handful of rim-braked riders.  I took consolation in knowing that many people probably broke something that costs more than my whole bike to replace.

Photos (a fairly small, random set) here:’s hard to take pictures when you’re trying to go fast and, oh, yah, not die.

Fastest lap: 1:45:57 Laps completed: 5 Total Elevation Gain: 6800 ft
Total Distance Travelled: 74.55 miles=METRIC plus!
Lap 1 : 1:45:57
Lap 2 : 1:57:56
Lap 3 : 2:22:51
Lap 4 : 2:46:20
Lap 5 : 2:07:26