One Relentless Life

Relentless Forward Motion

Tag: bike (page 1 of 2)

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.


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Rage Rocket of Love

I really don’t know what has been going on lately. I haven’t been super pumped up to train. I haven’t missed a training session, my lifts are going well, my rides are going well…

I just haven’t been digging on it.

I’ve been daydreaming of getting other things done. I’ll be lifting weights and in between sets I start thinking about the books I’m reading. I’ll be out riding and thinking about people who I would like to have coffee with.

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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.


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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.


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Can or Can’t, you are right. Being Positive. Thought of the Day

I was just out riding my bike and trying to make a Live Facebook Video and my phone died. It happens. I didn’t charge it last night. The important part is the thoughts that were rambling in my nugget. So here it goes.

On a large enough scale the universe as a whole is a net neutral place. You might ride 20 miles up hill. Then you are going to be able to descend the same amount back down. You might ride into a headwind but, at some point you will get a killer tail wind. Every person in the world has the same opportunities to choose to see the good or the bad. I do understand that some people are born into absolutely horrendous circumstances while others win the genetic lottery, have wealthy families and above average intelligence. But none of that really makes a difference on how you choose to see you situation; you can dwell on the good or the bad.

The good news is that it is really up to you on what you see. If you want to see all of the bad, you will seek it out. If you want to see the good you will seek it out. This is called confirmation bias. Have you meet that person that swears that they look at the clock everyday at the same time? They don’t. They look at the clock hundreds of times a day. Whenever it isn’t their lucky time and they look, their brain makes a snap categorization of the time and then chooses to let it go as a non-confirmation. They might even miss the magic time in the day. Their brain ignores that. Might be a few days before they see it again. When they do!!! AHHHHHHAAAAA!

A person’s brain cannot process all of the information that is being sent into it. It is impossible. You would have a melt down instantly. So your brain has to find patterns to sort the input and process it or not as fast as possible. Think about what the bottom of your feet feel like right now. I bet 30 seconds ago you didn’t even take that into consideration. It wasn’t important to your decision making process. What type of car do you drive? I bet you see people driving that car all of the time. Why? Confirmation bias. You brain see and ignores thousands of cars a day. It is a non-event. Then you see the car you drive, which you associate with “car” and bang, you see them every where.

What does this have to do with everything or anything? You have the choice to see the good or the bad. If you are consistently looking for good things to happen to you, you will find them. You have that lucky friend that wins everything. They don’t really. They just ignore all of the losses it took to get the win.

Here is what I do. If it helps you, sweet. If it doesn’t, make this article an non-event. Take the time each day to appreciate the things that have gone right. The things that you find happiness in. The things that don’t make you happy, agree that it is just something that has happened in between you happiness. You get a flat tire on your bike? Don’t worry about the flat tire, think about all of the awesome miles you have ridden between flats. Got two in a row? I bet it has been a really long time since that has happen. Tons of great miles in there. Have a bad day training? Let it go. Bad days have to happen as part of the process to make your self better. Is your goal to run a 5k? Don’t think about only being able to run 1 mile. Think about how much better that mile feels every time you run it. You haven’t even started yet? That’s perfect too. You have made the decision that you are going to work toward you goals. That is the hard part. Choosing to better yourself.

You get my point. If you want to see the good, you can find it. Anytime and anywhere. If it is just a really shit time for you, remember that is not normal for you. That is just something that happens every now and then.

Want to try an experiment? For the next 7 days, write down 15 positive things about your life. Start everyday with “I woke up and I get another day to be stellar.” Bam! You already have one done. Then as your day goes on, search out those positive events and list them. The bad ones just let them come in and go out as a non-event. A pass through to another positive. If you have more than 15, keep listing them. At the end of the day, read the list of that day and all of the days previous. I bet you will be amazed at how many great things happen to you.

I’m serious, try this out, and you will be pleasantly surprised. I want to know how it goes, so hit me up in the comments or send me a message and let me know.

Catch you cool cats later,

Mike


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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!

I was dead last. I liked it: Thought of the day

So I rode a cross country mountain bike race yesterday. I had my ass handed to me by the Category 1 racers. I knew it was going to happen. I had no dreams of being on the podium. Okay, maybe I did imagine it one time, but I realistically knew that it was very unlikely. That is exactly why I was in the race class.

You really have to go for broke and let it all hang out to find your weaknesses and improve on them. Most people fear being last. I would much rather be last place with the big boys, than win playing it safe. It is just like beating up your little brother. You know you can do it. It makes you feel good to win. You get confidence in your ability. On the other hand, you never get better if you don’t face adversity. That is why you runs sprints, lift heavy weights, go farther.

It would have been no problem for me to go down a class and blend into the field. I looked at the times and I would have been mid pack, other than the last lap when my tire went flat. I could have finished, had a beer and chatted with the boys and then headed home. My times were consistent, my pacing was good, I just flat out didn’t have the power or skills those guys have. That is what I need to see. I wanted to know where I was at. It is easy to step down classes, throttle back when you get tired or when it gets hard and coast into the finish. I am not into taking the easy route. I will never race to collect medals. What I want is to grow. I want to grow as a person. Physically, mentally, spiritually.

I have no dreams of being a world class cross country racer. However, these types of races are a wonderful tool for me to become a better endurance/adventure racer. If I can increase my power and pace by 1% over the course of a few days of a bikepacking race, that is a huge spread in mileage. If my technical skills are stronger, I will use less energy climbing, descending and attacking obstacles. I will never get faster by taking the easy route.

I had some people get all butt hurt about one of my posts other post about race day. Some people assume I meant that if you weren’t first you were a loser. That is not what it is about. It is about pushing yourself to do things you never thought possible. I WAS LAST PLACE AND DID NOT FINISH! It was glorious. I learned. The taste was bitter in my mouth when the leaders were having a conversation climbing the first hill and pacing a couple miles an hour faster than me. I will be back again for more. The Wausau 24 hour is coming up quickly and I have lots to work to do before then.

Relentless forward motion.


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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.

 

 

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Sleep System

Excluding food and water, your sleep system will be the majority of your weight and bulk while camping or bike packing. Because of this, there should be a lot of consideration in which items you use.

The largest item will be the tent. I really like the Eureka brand of tents. There are several reasons for this; size, cost and weight. I have spent a lot of time balancing these all out in my system.

20160311_142807

My main tent when bikepacking is the Eureka Spitfire Solo. It has a very roomy foot print for a solo tent. I am over six foot and can stretch out fully inside with room to fold my clothes at my feet and have my back pack above my head. There is also enough head space to sit up and change with out struggling. It is a two part body and fly system with a nice vent at the top of the rain fly. I have used this tent from 20 degrees up to 100. Condensation has yet to be a problem. The few times that water has built up on the inside of the rain fly, it wasn’t much at all, and it hasn’t dripped through the bug netting. The waterproofing is top notch as well. I have over 50 nights in this tent and the only time I have had a problem with water penetration is a recent cold weather trip and I hadn’t reapplied the water proofing that wears out every so often.  I even had a night in the mountains where I had to bring all of my gear into the tent, excluding my actual bike, due to rain rushing down off the mountain side and under the tent a few inches deep and everything remained perfectly dry.

IMG_20151218_211256

Numbers you want to hear about- Cost of the tent full price is $140 here. I replaced the steel tent stakes with aluminum ones  for under $15  and cut out a half pound of weight. This brings the tent down to 2.2 pounds.

Next up is my sleeping pad. I use a Nemo Ora 20R sleeping pad. Unfortunately, it looks like this model is no longer in production, but you can still find them around. This pad is rated down to 15 degrees. This is another item that I have over 50 nights of use on and have had no problems. It is dirty and stained but, there is not a single patch on it and it has never had a leak. I originally purchased a Big Agnes aircore pad that failed within the first few hours I slept on it. It was a freezing cold night with no ground insulation. I then got the Nemo with the consideration that if the pad were to lose air in the night, I would still have the insulation to keep me warm even if not fully comfortable.

IMG_20160309_143934

Numbers you want to hear- Cost of the pad full price was $80 last time I saw it on Amazon. It packs down to 5 inches by 7 inches and weights 1.25 pounds.

Last is my sleeping bag. I have a Montbell Thermal Sheet Burrow bag. This bag is rated for a comfort rating of 50 degrees. I have used it down to 20 while wearing dry fit shorts, my Northface Thermoball Jacket and wool socks. It is very comfortable between 40-50 degrees for me when used with the sleeping pad. The bag has a spiral cut design that allows you to roll over comfortably and then removes excess air by spiraling back close to your body. There is no hood on this bag to save weight and bulk. Every one has a hat with them when they camp and bike pack anyway, and this also keeps moisture from being trapped in the bag. Good news, if the bag gets soaking wet, it is synthetic and will retain almost all, if not 100%, of its warmth.

Numbers you want to hear- The full price cost of the bag is $109. It packs down to 5.5 inches by 11 inches and weights 1.25 pounds

This brings the total full price cost of my sleep system to $344. The sleeping pad can be found for $10-15 off almost everyday and you can find the tent for between $100 and $115 most day with one quick Google search. The sleeping bag I have never found on sale. If you shop around you can get the whole set up for under $300 shipped to your door.

The weight of the tent is 2.2 pounds with the aluminum stakes, the pad is 1.25 pounds, and the bag is another 1.25 pounds. Giving you a full tent, pad and bag, that weights under 5 pounds.

Bonus- It all fits in an 8 liter bag. I put it in a 12 liter for ease of packing.

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Additional note of interest- I do have a Borah Gear bivy sack coming which is the size of a softball and weights under 13 ounces. This will cut almost a pound and a half off my system. I will keep you updated on the system when it comes in.

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