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

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