Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thank You!

In a few hours I will be wheels up heading to Alaska and finally get this adventure started!  The race itself, Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI), has been a dream for sometime and truly just a dream.  But last March some friends approached me (they know who they are) and made the dream become a reality.  Along the "adventure" of just getting to the adventure several people have helped me along the way.  This is to say thanks to them!

Salsa Cycles: 

I've been a huge fan of Salsa for years and even more so when they adapted the motto: Adventure by Bike.  Any bike ride can be an adventure!   While I'm not a sponsored athlete of Salsa's they have helped me out over the past couple years.  From getting in and out to JayP's Backyard Adventure to acquiring a new Salsa Beargrease XX1 this year.  Thank You!
More specifically thanks to Kid for all the encouraging words and mantras that will be with me forever.

Onyx Hubs: 

Jim of Onyx has tossed me a few hub sets to test and provide feedback, etc.  He now has everything dialed from BMX to Track to Fat Bike hubs!  Colors, sizes, widgets, etc are limitless.  Plus it has instant engagement, spins for ever, and silent.  My new favorite hubs.

Hed Rims:

I guess I don't "need" carbon fat rims but when you can cut the weight of a rim by over half it's hard to not want too!  I've been on Hed fat rims since their inception.  Nothing but positives!  Thanks for helping with the cost and the build.

Williams Integracare:

Williams Integracare heard my story and contacted me wanting to help out.  Truly humbling to be contacted by a business wanting to help.  Thank you for the financial help and I'll be swinging in for some back cracking and massage work once I'm back!  One stop shop.

Revolution Cycle and Ski:

Anytime someone from work is gone others step up and fill the void.  Without the friends and staff at work I would not be able to make this trip.  Thanks so much for your support and time.  It means a lot to me.

My Family:

Wow...what a sacrifice they've made to allow me to go on this adventure.  The countless hours I logged on the bike, trips to find snow, 12 days away in Alaska, an always tired dad/husband, and more.  Thank you so much for continually encouraging me on.  I'll miss you guys!

Thanks also to my parents and Jen's parents.  Both spent time watching the kids so I could get my rides in.  They too provide crazy support.

My Social Media Family:

The overwhelming texts, tweets, and messages I've received the past few weeks in unreal.  Some are from people I've never me in person.  Amazing the power cycling has!

My goals for the race are to have fun and finish.  Yeah I'd like to do well but really there isn't a bad participant in the bunch.  All are as crazy as me!  This most likely will be a onetime trip for me so I'm hoping to take it all in and have a blast.

And with that I'm off to Hopkins to meet up with Mark so we can get this adventure rolling.

GPS tracking at
FaceBook: Follow the ITI on FB to get updates as well.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rush, Rush...

I'm still here.  Just kind of running around packing and making sure I have everything before I head out on Thursday.  The recent warm up and rain in Alaska has me scrambling a bit to repack some stuff in dry bags and acquire some more gear...rain paints.  What a crazy weather year!  Cold, warm, rain, or snow 350 miles will be an adventure anyway you look at it.


Friday, February 20, 2015

River Ride.

Yesterday afternoon I headed up the East side River Road to the boat landing on the Mississippi  my car.  From there I pulled the bike out and headed North on the river.  I was surprised how much snow there was and how slow it was.  I meandered back and forth until I reached the Mississippi River Park.  There I jumped on the trails and made a loop.  In a good snow year this looks to be an awesome place to ski.  A lap in I made my way back to the car.
It's funny how something as mundane as the Wobegon Trail can seem so much faster than the open area of the river.  I felt I was just putting along.  I ended with 2.5 hours of pretty casual pedaling.  Spinning the legs.  I'm guessing just a few more rides before I pack the bike and head North and West.

Happy Weekend.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Turning On The Cruise.

So I guess I'm in "taper" mode right now.  I leave for Alaska in a week...Crazy!  I've been to the gym a lot.  Nothing crazy just warm up (elliptical, stair stepper, etc), some weight, some core, some stretching, and some sauna.  I will get out to ride today.  Nice crisp day for it, -16 this morning.  Should be 0 at ride time.  I've heard the river is great for riding so plan on taking the Fat Bike out.  I'm glad I'm in cruise mode now.  Work, home, and race prep have been taking time...leaving 8 hour rides a thing of the past.

Count down is on: 7 days till departure, 10 till race start!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wisconsin Training.

This past weekend I was fortunate to have off, have a wife wanting me to ride on snow, and friends willing to share their weekend with us.  Friday afternoon we loaded the car and made our way to Tomahawk, WI...about 4-5 hours away.  Traveling with kids made the trip take a bit longer but good nonetheless.  We rolled in around 11 pm.
Saturday everyone was up and roaming around before 7:30 thanks to a couple of two year olds.  This was good as it allowed me to get out the door by 9:30.  Not knowing the area I scanned a map before hand and was giving a slew of good roads to ride by Lance.  

 About 1/2 hour in I ran into this trail.  Not being marked as a DNR trail of any sort I figured it was ok to ride.  However taking this trail tossed my vague knowledge of the area out the window.  No worries, I'd just keep on keeping on and keep a general idea of where home was.

 After the snowmobile trail I took some county roads to a road Lance told me about, pictured above.  It was an awesome road.  Hilly, snow covered, not (seemingly) traveled by cars, and long.  It was great!  Once this ended I was back on a county road.  This road however wanted to continue North and East while I was thinking it was time to head North and West.  I came across a country recreational road that appeared to be used in the summer but not much, if at all, during the winter.  Perfect.  This meandered through the woods for a few miles where the trail ended.  I could see the county road wasn't too far away via my Garmin so I decided some bush crashing was needed.  Potentially good training for the ITI!  After pushing through knee high snow for about 20 minutes I came to a clearing.  This clearing led to a homestead.  Looking around I noticed a large cement bunker buried in this hill.  Hmmm...PREPPERS was my thought.  Turing to my right I saw several metal silhouettes riddled with bullet holes.  Shit.  I got the hell out of there.  The clearing I saw on my way in was a shooting range surrounded my stands in the trees.  I freaked a tad and pushed ass through the knee deep snow.  Nothing happened except a good sweat on a sub zero day.  I eventually did make it back to the county road and continued on in the wrong direction.

Finally, in what seemed forever, the county road intersected with another road heading due North.  This road then came to hwy 8.  Not a fun road but I knew this would bring me back.  Seeing 14 miles to Rhinelander however was not what I was hoping for!  I kept telling myself the last 2.5 hours into a headwind, on a sub zero day was great training.  Anything to trick the brain!

I had told Jen 4-5 hours and I was nearing a bit past 6 once I hit Rhinelander.  My phone stopped working due to the cold.  Reluctantly I pedaled into Rhinelander to find a place to warm the phone and contact Jen.  Turns out I made the right choice.  Waiting for my phone to come around I looked at a map and found a much better route that 8.
I ended the day with almost 8 hours and loved it.  Perfect training day: snow, trails, sub-zero temps, 15 mph headwinds with gust past 20, hills, bush crashing, cold hands, boredom, the day had it all!

 The next day I was looking for a less gnarly day.  But once I hit the trails and ran into this section (below) I didn't want to stop.

Four hours flew by, even though I did a lot of "there and backs" to not get sucked into the Wisconsin Wilderness again!  But man I wanted more, but also wanted the day to hang with the family too.  Some sledding and chillin.
I was super happy with how I felt over the weekend of riding.  Now it's just cruise control to the ITI.  Not long now!

Happy Trails.

Friday, February 13, 2015

ITI Rider List.

Here's the list of 2015 ITI participants.    A tad over two weeks till race day!  The course is providing many challenges this year.  With little to no snow in spots the dog sled race has been moved for only it's 2nd time in race history.  They will start in Fairbanks.  My race is scheduled to do the original route yet.  Stories of open water, rough terrain, too much snow, and glare ice are all surfacing.  Should make for an awesome adventure!

Short on time yesterday I did a few laps at the North Loop.  Wow...was that fun.  The trail is riding great right now.  The whole time I kept thinking of summer and mountain biking.  I think I'm ready!  One little race to get out of the way first.

This weekend the family and I are headed to WI in search of snow.  My last push before the race.

Happy Weekend.