Sunday, November 25, 2018

No Rest for the Weary


As I sit here on Sunday pounding away on the keyboard, my legs are blissfully dead this afternoon. Most folks, as I did, had a four day weekend this week but it was a weekend packed with riding for some of us.




Thursday started off with the annual Turkey Day Ride, this ride is always a fun ride that starts early in the morning to get the motor going before the gluttony begins. The ride will be in it's 10th year next year and I've managed to make it to 6 of them dating back to 2012, missed it in 2016 because of freezing drizzle but not many folks made it that year.




The ride itself was about 17 miles or so but it was just too nice of a day to head in for the after ride food just quite then, so Sarah and I headed to a very deserted down town for a few extra miles.Used to always ride down town on the holidays when we were in Lincoln, it's a very odd feeling seeing it absolutely free of people.

Photo Nov 22, 10 22 32 AM

Photo Nov 21, 9 23 06 PM

Photo Nov 22, 10 11 28 AM

I, of course, did eventually get back for the food and beverage portion of the festivities, always delicious and bacon themed. After the Turkey Day Ride the rest of the day was filled with food and family but it was good to get out for a short ride and get ahead of the curve as far as intake vs. output goes.




Friday we scooted on down to Firth for our second annual Black Friday Ride, it's a much more worth while endeavor than fighting the crowds to save a few bucks if you as me. The ride is a 55+ mile route from Firth to Beatrice and back so that we can support one of ours stuck working those crazy Black Friday days.




Temperatures were fairly decent on Friday but the wind speeds were up considerably from Thursday, making it seem a tad colder than Turkey Day.





The folks who feed the country don't take Black Friday off, they were out working hard all day.



Photo Nov 23, 12 16 51 PM


We didn't see really see any sun to speak of during the ride but we also didn't see any of the rain that was still looming in the forecast, we will call that a push. We made it down to Leo's and grabbed Joe before heading over to the always good Playa Azul for some Mexican food.


Joe, seller of jewelry, man of council and luber of friends since 1934 or there about.




There are some great roads and sights to see down around the Firth/Beatrice area, if you haven't ridden down there much you should. Legs were a bit tired after the ride but we still had one more to go so there really was no rest for the weary.


Saturday looked to be the worst day of the three if  you looked at the forecast but in reality it ended up being the nicest of them all. Temps at the start of the ride were already in the mid 40 degree range and the sun was up and shining.





Plan for Saturday was a quick spin out to Traditions Pub in Sprague and then a quick spin back for a nice 40ish mile route on a beautiful Saturday before the weather turned to snow overnight.


Weather ended up turning so nice that we had a little Chippendale action going on at one of the regroups, no full monty but I think we were all thankful for that.


We did down a little pecan whiskey to help us forget what we might have seen that day on the lonely gravel road.




A quick stop in Sprague for some fuel and refreshment and we were back to pounding the gravel.




It wouldn't be a proper SMNDFBR without a ditch beer and since nobody remembered one on the way out we picked up a hipster approved PBR for the way back. We are a craft loving bunch for the most part but for cheap beer PBR isn't too bad, hope they can work out their dispute with MillerCoors so that the watery concoction can keep flowing for years to come.



Legs were beat for this one so I spent a lot of time with a nice view from the back but at least we made it through and I was glad that there wasn't a scheduled ride on Sunday, 120 miles in three days was plenty for this guy. Great group for the ride given that most folks were busy doing the Thanksgiving thing with family.



Global Fat Bike Day is next Saturday so Patrick will have it off for sure but it sure has been a great bike this past week, just got a tad over 153 miles on the Journeyman since picking it up a week ago. Can't say enough good things about the bike, Salsa really got things right on this one; stability and capability on gravel and that colorway. Spot on!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Write For Randy

The outpouring of love and support for Randy and his family over a year ago was amazing, the Ride for Randy that followed and the Ride of Silence later that year were both a sight to behold but we need your help again. This time instead of a Ride for Randy, we need a Write for Randy!

Sentencing for Randy's killer is scheduled for December 11th. As a ploy to try to seek leniency in the sentence, the attorneys for Zygmunt Spicha are collecting signatures from human beings still willing to vouch that despite getting drunk and murdering someone, Zygmunt is really just a great guy who is misunderstood. These signatures can have a significant impact on the outcome of the sentencing so we need your help.

If you knew Randy or the family, please consider writing an impact statement that the prosecutor can use to counter the character witness statements. You don't have to have known Randy or the Gibsons for years or been best friends; if you followed Randy on social media or still follow any of his family on social media. If you once talked to Randy or raced against him and shared a few miles of road, a nod, a smile, any interaction big or small that you feel impacted your life by knowing Randy or the family. As a cycling community and gravel family, it is up to us to make sure that justice is served in this case, that Randy's murderer doesn't get a free pass because some people said he was a man of good moral character... for a murderer. This is our chance to not sit idly by on the sidelines complaining about how people don't get proper sentencing when they kill a cyclist, this is our chance to make a difference in not only this case but maybe cases going forward. Every journey starts with a single step, this is your single step; lets get enough single steps to run a marathon 100 times over!

Here are the details from Randy's widow on what you can do to help make sure that justice is served for Randy:

Topic: Impact Statements.

For so many reasons, posting this request brings such panic and fear, that I’ve put it off until now. But one month from tomorrow, Randy’s killer will be sentenced on December 11. (He’s only spent one night in jail so far.)
The defense attorney relayed that his client had over 100 signatures to give to the judge, to witness to his client’s good character.
We would like to see if we can triple or quadruple that number on Randy’s behalf.
We need people to write an email to witness to the judge (Judge Susan Strong) the impact Randy had on your own life and/or the impact you saw that he had on others’ lives. To be clear: these impact statements are critical for a harsher sentencing.

Please include the following -


Subject line: Randy Gibson Impact Statement

-State your relationship to Randy/how you know him and/ or us.
(Ex: I’ve been neighbors with the Gibson’s for ten years; I worked with Randy; I’ve known Randy and/or Christy, Sofia, Russ through basketball or baseball or volleyball; I grew up with Randy, I raced/rode bikes with Randy, Randy was my instructor at SCC, etc...
OR maybe you’ve never met Randy but just know one of us-then state that...)

-Nothing fancy, just speak from your heart about the impact Randy had on your life and/or the lives of others, such as the three of us and /or the community. And what this massive loss means past, present and future.

-Don’t hesitate to show your emotions in your letter.

-Even a short paragraph is fine.

-Send in ASAP no later than December 5.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

It's a Journey, Man.



With temperatures starting in the low 20 degree range and only promising to drop from there and winds that were forecast to be in the high 20 mph range, it wasn't too surprising that the group was a smaller one yesterday for the SMNDFBR.


It was one of those bone chilling rides yesterday, even started it out with the buff pulled up over the face for protection. Love the concept of these guys but for me the practical use isn't as grand, seems like by the time I get going and breath through the buff for a few minutes all that warm air makes it seem like I'm being water boarded and then the thing has to come off and is more of a neck warmer than a face warmer.


Saturday was no exception, didn't even make it out of town before the buff had to come down and the cheeks were on their own to fend off the cold. Thankfully once the initial shock of the temperature change wears off, my face usually does OK if not charging directly into the wind.



Since the winds were going to be howling out of the north all day, we decided to head mostly east and west to avoid going into the beast as much as possible. So we sneaked through the Allstate Financial parking lot and then through the Firethorn neighborhood to the gravel.


Runza even has a swanky new building out there now, it's been a while since we've gone this route I guess.



If you can successfully navigate the hood however, you pop out on 98th St. which is a gravel super highway, its got to be the widest gravel road near Lincoln. There is also a bit more traffic on it than most gravel roads near the city but it's better than riding the narrow shoulder on the paved part of Pioneers Blvd. from 84th to 98th.





Pioneers isn't the smoothest gravel road around the Capitol City but the last time we took A St. out it was inches deep in new rock and fighting that and the wind just seemed like a bad combination, especially since I opted to take out a skinnier tire bike this week. Even the cows weren't messing with the wind on Saturday, most of them were seeking shelter in groups and hiding behind whatever wind block they could find. Tasty and smart, that's a good combination in a steak.






Bucking that cross wind was not the most pleasant experience I've ever had on a bicycle but it was heaven compared to 190th St. and the almost three and a half miles we had to ride into the wind to get to Eagle. It was one of those rare times when the uphills were nicer than the down hills because you could get some reprieve from the wind by hiding on the incline side of the hill.




Casey's west, not to be confused with Casey's east a block over, was warm and inviting and the mid ride snack really helped to keep the internal fires burning for the ride back.




Initially the plan was to head out on Pioneers and then back on A St. to Walton but there weren't any complaints when I suggested that we reroute to the MoPac on the way back to enjoy some of the cover from the wind that the trail would provide. Even managed a stop at The Hut for a hut Fireball or two to help warm up from the inside.





Shortly after leaving The Hut, the snow started coming down to the point that you would actually say it was snowing. Prior to that there were a few flakes now and again but nothing that accumulated, it was kind of pretty riding on the MoPac with the fresh snow starting to stick and I even managed to work up the starts of a proper snow beard by the time we hit the 84th St. trail head. Everyone was a bit cold so we all decided to end the ride here and forgo any of the usual after ride shenanigans that can and usually do occur; it really was that cold of a day.


As I eluded to earlier with the skinnier tire comment, I recently picked up the Salsa Journeyman as a demo bike and Saturday was the first ride on it so I thought I would share some of my initial thoughts now and then follow up later with a more in depth "review" of sorts after more time on the bike.


First, for that price point I am super impressed with how much you get for the money, this is a worthy gravel rig for under $1600 which is the price point most other offerings start at. I like the 650b wheels personally, they aren't everyone's cup of tea but as a shorter person I think they make sense. Unlike with smaller frames and 700c tires, I didn't have any issues with toe overlap on the bike (toe hitting the front tire while pedaling and turning sharply).


If you're looking for a more upright riding position, this is probably not the bike for you. I would say that, even with a full stack of spacers under the stem, the Journeyman rides more like a traditional cross bike as far as rider position than it does a Fargo or Vaya but not so much so that it puts you in an uncomfortable race position. I would say it gets you far enough over to make you more aerodynamic but upright enough to be in a neutral all day riding position that isn't going to make your lower back scream after a few hours. So far about the only thing I would change about the bike are the handlebars, the Journeyman comes with the Salsa Cowbell bars, these bars are more road like and less adventure or gravel like IMO. I would have liked to have seen it come with a Cowchipper or Woodchipper personally but that is an easy swap if you're like me and not a fan of the more traditional drops. I did like the Volt saddle, not going to win any cool points maybe but it's comfortable and gets the job done, in the long run I'd probably swap it out for the WTB Silverado but if it doesn't get swapped out I'd be OK with the Volt too. I also liked the TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes, they had plenty of stopping power and none of that BB7 squeal that is common with those brakes. I also really like the ease of adjustability on these when it comes time to move the pads in and out in reference to the rotor and with mechanicals that time is frequent. This is something you'll need to get familiar with on mechanical disc brakes to make them run optimally, unlike hydraulic disc brakes, mechanical brakes aren't self adjusting so over time you'll need to move the pad in and that was very simple on the Spyres. If you're looking for an all around bicycle that can handle gravel, cross and everyday life at a price point that won't break the bank, I think that the Salsa Journeyman should make your short list of bikes to look at. It won't have all the bells and whistles of the more expensive ones but I think they did a nice job keeping important parts at a higher level and using some older tech for things like QR over thru axle to save on money. You could do a lot worse and spend a lot more on a bicycle, the Journeyman might be one of the great value bikes currently on the market but you better jump quick as they are ticking up in price each year. Anyway, those are my initial thought on the first ride, I'll try to post something up here in a bit with more thoughts as I get more saddle time on the bike.