One Relentless Life

Relentless Forward Motion

Tag: bicycle

Lube Is Better than Spit; Get Some Tri-Flow!

Super quick review. Tri-Flow TF21010 Superior Lubricant– this shit works waaayyyy better than spit. I am a simple guy and try not to get to crazy with having a million different options for every individual situation. I happened to have Tri-Flow recommended to my by one of the world’s dopest bike mechanics right before I raced the Tour Divide a few years back. Without a doubt in my mind, it is the best all around bike lubricant. I used any time I needed lube during the Tour Divide, and I’ve used it in all four seasons in the Midwest as well. Hot and dry to cold and salty, it holds up. I will admit that during the Tour Divide I had to put it inside my jacket to warm it up in the early mornings up north. Other than that, I have had absolutely no problems with it.

tri-flow tf21010 superior lubricant

Seriously, get yourself some Tri-Flow!

Now for my normal sage wisdom. I am paraphrasing what I have heard from a few “friends”, You can’t just spit on that shit, spit isn’t lube. So if you need a good all around bike lube when spit just won’t cut it, get some Tri-Flow.


Want to read more posts like this?

Sign up to get an e-mail alert every time I launch a new post and never miss an update!



Be Uncomfortable

If I continually did things that I was certain to finish, I would be unfulfilled because I wouldn’t be growing. I like the nervousness I feel when trying something new or facing an unfamiliar challenge.

I like having a big race hanging over my head. There are a few things that might happen; either I’ll push myself to new heights to be better prepared for the race, or when the race starts I will have to fight to sort it out as I go. Maybe both.

Either way I’m pushing to become a better person. If I fail, which happens a lot more than people like to believe, then I will learn from it. Where did things break down? Was it mental, physical, or was I short sited in something? Did I go into the race unprepared? Regardless, I will learn and grow.

I like that. I want to grow. I never want to settle for good enough. If I am successful, I like to take a moment to celebrate my accomplishment and then get right back at it, humbled. I have had people call me arrogant but I will be the first person to tell you that I’m not unique in my abilities or my drive. I am not special. My life has no more value than anyone else’s, I just want to get as much out of my life as possible, which might be the only difference. I want to look back on my life and tell the stories with the adventures sounding like the far-fetched dreams of a rambling mad man. If someone says that I am nuts for everything I am trying to achieve, then I’m getting where I need to be. I would much rather be outside the circle of normal and have people point me out as a person who has tried too many things and failed at all of them, than be one of the people that sit in the comfort being average and do the laughing.

I have DARE MIGHTY THINGS tattooed on my arm for a reason. It is a constant reminder to me that I would much rather be the laughing stock who tried to become everything possible with my life, than the person that gets to the end of my life and thinks “Fuck, I wish I had one more day.” Whenever the end of my life may come, I am ready for it. I am going balls to the wall right now chasing my dreams. The number of successes and failures I have is irrelevant. What matters to me is that I am going for it.

Dare mighty things.


Want to read more posts like this?

Sign up to get an e-mail alert every time I launch a new post and never miss an update!


A Quick 300 Miles

You never know what’s inside of you until you test the rest of yourself. You can read all of the books, study all of the guides, read every blog, but until you have an experience first hand, you only have an idea. My training partner Indy and I have been training for months for our upcoming bikepacking race. We’ve spent lots of hours in the gym, on the bike, and meditating. We’ve worked on our mobility, reviewed tons of gear, and competed in a number of single day races. The real bread and butter however, is multi-day bikepacking races. So recently we set out to do just that; 3 days, 2 night, and 300 miles of self-supported bikepacking.

Friday night classes were winding down and my ride prep was done. I had my bike all packed excluding the Jimmy John’s I planned on buying across the street on our way out of town. I bought my sandwiches and Indy and I hit the bikepath as a light drizzle fell on our rain gear. We had about 15 miles of path and road until we left town and hit the start of our adventure.

As we turned onto the trail leading out of town, we stopped and took a break to eat. The wind was picking up and the rain was turning into sleet and snow. It was getting colder too. Nevertheless, we pushed on. Heading east with a wind out of the north, we were making good time but not as great as I had hoped; I planned on us making it 65 miles before midnight.

The further we went the more the wind picked up and the colder it got. The sleet started to burn the side of my face and neck. I stopped and put the hood up on my new Patagonia jacket, which was super comfy. We crossed county roads, small bridges, and pedaled through the sand, grass, and moss as we made our way. Indy asked me if the moss felt soft for it being that cold out.

“I don’t know, I guess so, maybe.” I replied.

A few minutes later and his tire was almost entirely flat. I sat with my back to the wind as Indy changed his tire. It only took a few minutes. We can still make it, if we ride a little longer than we originally planned.

Indy got his wheel remounted and we took off again. After a few minutes of pedaling we finally shook off the cold. I was getting used to the sleet. I almost forgot about it pelting me, honestly. I was really losing interest in riding though and I started to dream of my bivy and relaxing for the night. We had a big day coming up tomorrow. Then I heard the womp womp womp of Indy’s tire bouncing as it lost air again.

When we stopped I could heard Indy getting frustrated. It was only a little after 23:00, almost an hour before we planned on stopping for the night, but I was ready for sleep. Indy said he would fix his tube and set up his camp gear if I could find a decent site for us. I pedaled down the path about 100 yards and found a nice spot behind some brush that blocked the wind. I struggled a bit with frozen straps as I wrested my sleep gear out.

I was snuggled in my bag for 20 minutes and hadn’t heard anything from Indy. I wondered if he missed me tucked in the bushes and pushed on down the path looking for me. I sat up and looked back he was still in the same spot. When I climbed out of my bivy and walked down the path, the wind cut right through my clothes. It was getting brutally cold. When I got to Indy he had his mittens on trying to get his tire back on the rim. To me it looked like he was getting too much exposure to the cold and needed to get in his bivy and warm up. He agreed to call it a night and fix the tire in the morning.

I lay in my bag tossing and turning. I was trying out a new bivy sack but it wasn’t quite big enough. With me and my bag inside, I couldn’t close it completely; I could pull it pretty tight, but there was still a pretty large opening right over my face. Sleet hit me right in the face as I lie there. I tried pulling the hood of my jacket over my eyes and my buff up to cover the rest, but it quickly got soaked and uncomfortable. I rolled to my side. The wind was shaking the trees and howling just a few feet above the brush that was blocking our camp area. Whichever side I chose to put up, the wind quickly sucked the warmth right out of me. Tossing and turning, I couldn’t sleep. I decided to wake Indy up and move to a new spot.

I called to Indy to tell him we were moving. He had thought I was comfortably asleep and he welcomed the idea of moving. It was wicked cold getting out of the bag. The straps that held my sleeping pad on my bike had frozen solid. I shivered as I put my rain gear back on to block the wind. I reached out for my shoes and noticed that they had been a nice layer of sleet in the bottoms of them; I took a couple of deep breaths and slid my feet in. So cold! My hands were hurting and the wind was beating the shit out of them. As I slowly packed my gear I took a break every 30 seconds to warm my hands in my coat. Ice formed on my gear in just the few minutes that I had been out of it. Indy packed up and started to fix his tire.

Shivering, we climbed on our bikes and headed back to an overpass we had seen just a few hours ago. As we pedaled, I shook the shakes, and everything started feeling good again, other than my hands and feet. 20 minutes later we hit heaven; a dirty overpass blocking most of the wind. We leaned our bikes and sat back in between the pillars. Just having the wind off us was like taking a portal to a tropical paradise. I unzipped my jacket, took my gloves off, and had a good laugh with Indy. As we were sitting back we could see the waves on the canal pushing upstream, and hear the trees still shaking, but we were covered and comfortable. We ate a quick snack and decided to sleep until the sun came up to get some extra warmth. I laid out my sleeping gear and climbed in. Out of the wind, I didn’t even have to zip my bivy up all the way to be comfortable. My eyes were heavy and sleep came easy this time.

I woke up to Indy’s alarm going off. What the fuck? The sun isn’t even close to being up? I yell at him to turn it off. He yells back that it wasn’t his. I got my phone out and that wasn’t it. What is it? I yelled at Indy again, and he replied that it must be crickets. I was fairly certain that there aren’t crickets in winter in a 0 degree windchill. It was pretty rhythmic too. Half asleep I tried to sort out what it could be. A few more cycles of the sound and I remember that I set the alarm on my Garmin Etrex to see if it would wake me up. It did. I crawled out of my bag, walked over in my socks and shut it off. I climbed back in my bag and immediately fell back asleep.

The next time I woke up, I saw the reflection of the sun coming up. I sat up and looked over my shoulder at the crisp landscape and soul warming sunrise. There is safety in the light. Something mental changes when the sun comes up. You just feel more at ease. The wind had shifted a bit but it was still amazing to be a troll under the bridge. Indy and I packed up again and decided to back track to the gas station we had passed late last night. According to the GPS it was only 5 miles away. We took off riding into the wind.

As we pedaled we discussed where things had gone wrong and what we could do to improve for the future and the upcoming race. The wind blowing in our face sucked but it was only a short way to be indoors. My left shoe wouldn’t lock in straight and I figured the cleat had come loose.  As we pulled up in front people stared at us like we had something wrong with us which is debatable. I had been dreaming of foot warmers the whole way there. I leaned my bike, grabbed my wallet and headed in as Indy made a video to post. I cut a line for the foot and hand warmers. I grabbed them and made a circle by the counter to drop them off. The attendant looked at me like I was an alien. I made another lap of the store and grabbed a whole pile of food and a coffee.

Indy came in as I was sipping coffee and taking my shoes off to put the foot warmers on. As we ate we discussed the plan for the day. We checked the forecast for where we were headed up north. It was supposed to be the same conditions we had last night and 20 degrees colder. We went back and forth and ended up deciding it would be better to pull the plug and head home to fight another day than to push on and risk getting injured. We were to have another 250 or so miles in the loop or we could head back directly into the wind for 50 miles and learn from what we had done the previous night. 50 miles it was. We settled on a plan of riding the 35 miles to the next town and taking a break to warm up again.

Out the door and moving, my feet were warm and the sun was on my back and the wind was in my face. Nice and steady we paced around 7.5 mph. 20 miles in we stopped to eat a bit from our feed bags. I took a leak in the bathroom and sat down outside to eat a half frozen sandwich. I didn’t want to be in the wind. I went back in the bathroom and stood and ate my sandwich. I would rather smell piss and be out of the wind. Food done, we got back on the bikes. There was a guy getting ready to go fishing as we left. We joked about who was crazier. On we went.

35 miles down, 15 to go. We hit the next town, ordered the top notch $5 breakfast pizza and got some Gatorades. All warmed up we hit the road again. A mile down the road and I was thirsty again. Good news, I had 2 of the 3 liters of water left in my bag. Bad news, it was frozen solid. I considered stopping every time we passed a store. I also knew that I would be home in a few hours and all would be well. Slow and steady we made it back.

I walked inside my house to the greatest feelings; warmth and food. I ate until my stomach hurt, took my wet clothes off and showered. I napped on and off for the rest of the afternoon and slept all night.

There’s something to be said about getting out of your comfort zone. It makes taking it easy so much nicer. If I were to just wake up and get on the couch, I wouldn’t appreciate it. After a hard fought ride in the cold, sleet, and wind, my couch was one of the most amazing things in the world. We tend to take for granted the amazing things we have in life when they are available all of the time. Take a minute and be thankful. Thanks for reading.


Want to read more posts like this?

Sign up to get an e-mail alert every time I launch a new post and never miss an update!

 

 

Get Free Speed: Upgrade Your Tires!

You know what makes tires fast? Smaller knobs and a tighter tread pattern. My intuition tells me so. That is why when I raced the Tour Divide, and almost every other mountain bike race, I used Kenda Small Block 8s. There are mountain bike style knobs on them, they are close together, they really don’t make much noise on the road, so they have to be the best.

I was wrong. (If you tell anyone this, I will be ruined). I was doing research for the new tires that I will be running on this years inaugural American Trail Race and I come across http://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/. This website rates all types of tires from road to touring to mountain bike to fat bikes. If you want to read about how they test tires check out this link http://www.bicyclerollingresistance.com/the-test.

Kendra Small Block 8 tires

The Kenda Small Block 8

The Small Blocks have a rolling resistance of 35.6 watts per tire at 25 PSI. With an average cyclist being able to put out around 200 watts for an all day effort, you are chewing up 35% of your power just in tire drag.

In come the Continental Race King RaceSports. At 25 PSI they have a rolling resistance of 22.4. That drops power loss in tire drag down to 22.5%, a huge energy saving just in tires.

Continental Race King tires

Continental Race Kings

So there is some food for thought the next time you are considering new tires.

Spend some dollars today, save some time tomorrow, and get some free speed out of the deal while you’re at it.


Want to read more posts like this?

Sign up to get an e-mail alert every time I launch a new post and never miss an update!

Being Fearless

There are people that see me as fearless. This is not true. I have fears. I have just worked extremely hard on not letting my fears stop me from doing what I want.

I had just finished 2500 of the 2800 miles in the Tour Divide and I sat crying in a parking lot of a gas station. I had finally let my fears overwhelm me. I worried about running out of food, running out of water, getting hurt and not being found until after my death.

I had let my fearful “what ifs” run so wild in my head that it was crippling me. I had to call Alex and tell her that I was a failure. I believed that everyone that knew me was disappointed in me. After she talked me down, I started to think about why I was afraid. Like most fears, it was irrational. I had plenty of water, food, and I wasn’t taking any unnecessary risks. I have training and knowledge to help me survive most any situation. I thought of all of the things that could possibly go wrong and then paired them with what I had done to be prepared if that situation arrived. I finally calmed myself when I realized that I had prepared as best a person could in my situation. I got back on my bike. Calm and collected, I pedaled off knowing that what was bothering me most was my mind. The fear was just something I let build up and take over.

The moral of this story is, don’t aim to be fearless. Learn to work through your fears as they arrive and not play out all your fears in what if situations. If something happens, sort it out then. Before that, prepare yourself as well as possible.

Fear will only stop you if you let it.

Don’t let it.

Training Logs- Does anyone want to see them?

I haven’t really published anything in the way of my training logs, or anything in depth about my training at all. My questions for you, the people that read this, what would you like to read about or see? I am more than willing to post all of my rides, workouts, events and what they are comprised of if anyone thinks it will help them.

With that being said, my training program for the Tour Divide 2017 starts tomorrow. I will have ten months of prep on top of what I have built up since last fall. I am ready to crush it and I will only get mentally and physically stronger. So if you want to read about any of my training,  comment below or shoot me a message via my contact page.


Want to read more posts like this?

Sign up to get an e-mail alert every time I launch a new post and never miss an update!

Call Me Crazy: Thought of the day

The Tour Divide starts next week. Muhammad Ali died last week. Those are two separate things. They are connected though. Ali made some of the craziest public statements about his success and his greatness. He said that it keep him hungry for improvement so that he would not look like a fool publicly.  So here is my statement.

In 2017 I will race the Tour Divide and finish in 15 days. Fifteen. That is 180~ miles a day. That is 50 percent more per day than I rode last year. I will do it. I have been training my ass off. I have been studying gear, nutrition, cross training, riding hill sprints until I am sick of my bike.

One more statement- The Tour Divide will be the first race in my 10 thousand mile bike packing race project over the course of the following 12 months. I will do this. You have my word. When I am tired I will push harder. When I don’t have the motivation I will work harder to find it. This is what I am doing. This isn’t a dream. This isn’t words I am just typing and saying. This is a plan of action. I will die with my shield or on it. You have my word on that. You can call me crazy. People said the same thing last year when I trained for 14 week and left for 2800 miles of racing. I finished the race within the cut off. I am more driven now.

Stay focused on your goals my friends. You can do amazing things if you stay positive and get moving. I am not lucky or gifted. I am relentless.

Contact me if you want to sponsor me. I am going H>A>M!

Resetting your Lefty Fork

I spent hours searching the internet, watching videos, and reading technical specs about resetting the needle bearings in my Lefty fork. I was worried I was going to take it apart and ruin it. Truth be told, resetting it is one of the simplest repairs I have ever done. Less than five minutes, super common tools and a little brute force.

Most of the references I dug into, talked about the shock length for different travel forks. If you open it and the measurement is inside a specific range of errors, just reassemble it and let it be. That seems silly to me. If I put my tire pump on and the tire is 10% low, I am going to put the air in it while I am there. That is why I suggest that when you have your fork apart just reset the bearings even if it is only 10%. It takes an extra 30 seconds or less.

Another aspect that I realized it that you just slam the fork down and bottom it out. That is it. Give it a good whack. No need to make this technical. “With the traveling velocity of a common sparrow and end force of applied squares” Blah blah blah. Whack it hard.

Last step, adding air .Start with 3/4 of your weight in pounds. I weigh around 180 so that is 135 pounds. I actually ride at 140 pounds because I like a little stiffer ride. No rocket science of sag percentages, travel ranges, rebound speeds. Start with a good guess (Which is what the charts are anyway) and then adjust it to what makes you ride the best and feel the most comfortable. As long as you don’t add 1 billion psi or have in zero, if it feels good, it is good. It is that easy. Check out the video below and watch me reset mine in around 3 minutes.

 

 

Want to read more posts like this?

Sign up to get an e-mail alert every time I launch a new post and never miss an update!

Day 14- Tour Divide

Read Day 13

I wake up rather early having only slept between four and five hours. What I lacked in hours, however I made up in quality; I slept like a baby with a full stomach and a safe setting. This means I’m wide awake and ready to go. I pack my tent up and head inside. No one else is awake yet, and Kirsten is just getting set up for breakfast. She tells me that I am going to have to wait until all of the other racers are up and taken care of before I can get a ride back to get my tracker. She tells me that she has contacted Matthew for me and that I should send a message to him to make sure I get his response in writing. She gives me a hug and tells me it is all going to work out and I will be at the finish line before I know it.

I decide to take a shower, because why not? Afterwards I go back out to eat breakfast and everyone is stirring. I eat and go chill on the porch. The sun is coming up and the valley is beautiful. This is now one of my favorite places in the world. I don’t know if it’s the view or the hugs, but whatever it is, this place feels like it is magical. I’m soaking it in when I get an email back from Matt. Thankfully, I am good to go.

Since it’s a safety issue I’m fine to get a ride back to my tracker, which is a big relief. The Rev is just chilling out with me, and he says that he only has a couple days of riding left before he’ll drop to make it back home. So he will wait for me and help me push hard and catch up to the group we’ve been leap frogging. That sounds good to me, and now I’m doubly grateful.

After everyone is gone, we use the race tracker to take aerial pictures of where the tracker is at. It’s 40 miles away, so we better get after it. We head down the road, windows down and chatting about life. We make the 80 mile round trip and I’m ready to roll again. Everything at the lodge, excluding the rooms and cabins, are by donation. You pay what you can and what you feel it’s worth to you. If I had the money I would leave them a million. I don’t, so Kirsten says to pay for the meals and that the shower and camping are on the house. I leave them a two hundred dollar tip. I’m 100% sure that the hugs and help are worth more than any dollar I will ever pay. She gets a quick photo with me and we are on our way. As soon as we leave the real mountain biking starts.

The real mountain biking begins.

We’re climbing fast and high; it’s a wicked climb. We keep pedaling, and a few hours later and we are at the top. Colorado is going to be a tough summa gun. We start to descend some gangster hard off road trails. I have to stop every 20 minutes or so to let my forearms and calves take a break. This is a beating even going down. I have to wait longer and longer for Rev to catch up. He’s riding carbon rims and they are getting wrecked and wobbling all over the place. He says he will just get a replacement in Steam Boat.

Colorado section of the Tour Divide

We keep dropping downward. I’ve heard that right on the other side of the pass is a baller ice cream shop and I could definitely go for some ice cream. As we are approach the shop the Rev says his friends are there. Huh? This is a surprise to me.

He says something about traffic being bad and he has to get back to his congregation. This makes no sense. Sure enough, two of his friends are waiting in the parking lot of the ice cream shop with the back of the van open. As soon as we pull up Rev says he has to make a video really quick and he will be in for a chocolate shake. What in the hell is going on? Is he quitting on me? He is.

I go inside and get some ice cream and look for more vaseline. My ass is starting to get pretty sore. The Rev sneaks in, grabs a cone and as I’m walking out he shouts goodbye from across the parking lot. Whatever. I don’t need his helping catching up. I finish my cone and walk back to my bike, but the tire is flat.

As I’m fixing it, a few cyclists roll by and ask what I’m up to. They tell me the ride to Steam Boat is going to be a screamer if I wait a few more minutes for the storm to roll in. I have nothing but time. They take off and another guy walks up. “You have a flat tire?” Eat it you jerk bag. For some reason I am pissed. I slam my pump down and catch my knuckles on the brake rotor. Damn! When I look at them, two of them are white. This is bad. Blood starts pouring out. I grab my first aid kit and go into the bathroom leaving a trail of blood as everyone stares at me. I wash it off and wrap it with a part of my bandanna I cut off and some sports tape. That’ll do. Time to hit the road.

I get back on the bike. The wind is ripping at my back and I am heading slightly downhill. The miles are flying by. Nothing changes but I notice that the pedaling is getting harder. I look down and my tire is going flat again. I get off and pump it back up. Then back on the bike, back to flying. I slow down again. Pump and repeat. As I am getting into town I ride into traffic and a guy rolls his window down to give me a cheers. I ask him what bike shops are in town. He says The Orange Peel, which I’ve heard of; my good friend Moon knows the owner. I headed that way, following the bike path. The next person I pass says I’ve got a mile to go. I ride for ten minutes and haven’t found it yet. Did I miss it? I ask another person, they say it’s about a mile. Ten more minutes. Nothing. Ask, ride, repeat.

Turns out, it’s clear on the other side of town, but I find it. When I roll in, I ask if they can help fix the tire and change my brake pads. I have all the gear, I’m just to lazy to do it right now and I want to leave town before all of the comfort and beers draw me in for the night. Unfortunately, they tell me they are shutting down shop for the night and they have to get rolling so they can ride before sundown. This won’t do, so I name drop and ask if they know Moon. When one of the guys says yeah, I tell him that Moon said they would hook a brother up. Still no dice, they say that they’re hungry and really need to eat before riding too. Boom, that’s the solution! I offer to buy them all the appetizers they want from the bar next door if they fix my bike real quick like. They agree, so I go next door and order them one of everything and a big burger for me. I am stoked.

When the food is ready, I head back over. Two guys are working on my bike. Why do they have the front rim off? When I ask, the mechanic says the tires look fine. I point out that the rear tires is completely flat. They laugh and get to fixing the back tire and eating. I am stuffing my face and grabbing all of the supplies that I need. They get it all fixed up and ready to roll and right away I’m out the door. I am going to make up these miles!

As I follow the course closer to where a gas station is, I see hundreds of people outside enjoying themselves. I really wish I could stop and hang out. I just want a beer and some good conversation. Really bad. I shake it off, I have to keep going. I get to the gas station and resupply my food. I’m not quite ready to leave the safety of town and the awesome people, so I sit outside the gas station drinking an energy drink and calling everyone I can think of to talk to. I know I need to get going, I’m just wasting time. I get back on the bike and get back on the course heading out of town. The views are beautiful in Colorado. I love this place.

Views of Colorado

When I hit the edge of town I run into a Northbound racer and we talk. He has been laid up in a hospital for a while. A storm had rolled through a week ago and a tree had fallen on him! Good news is that he’s alright. Better news, the SPOT tracker SOS button works really well. He pushed the button and said he had emergency services there in no time at all. That is a relief. As always, I have to get going. We pedal our separate ways. I only ride for another hour or so. I am not tired but I’m mentally done for the day. I walk out into some tall grass off a country road and set up my tent. I lay there and think about how I am going to catch this time up. I have gone from being on an almost 30 day pace down to a 20 day pace and I am now back to 23 or 24 days. Shit happens.

Read Day 15

Want to read more posts like this?

Sign up to get an e-mail alert every time I launch a new post and never miss an update!

© 2018 One Relentless Life

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: