Gear Review

Mountain bikers need to carry gear- there’s no doubt.
After about 10 years with a gear bag that finally went to pieces I decided to do a bit of research and found the Ogio Endurance 9.0  bag.  I couldn’t find this bag anywhere locally so I opted to buy it online.  It is a bit pricey with a list price of $160, but you can find it less expensively online through various retailers.
The bag has a wet-pouch zipper compartment on the bottm for your smelly or wet item. It has a zipper end pouch for your helmet.  On one end is a zipper compartment which can hold even two pairs of shoes.  The center compartment is fairly generous but note that the side compartments do intrude into this area.  Each side of the long side also have zipper areas. One of them has a hard compartment to install your phone or Ipod and protect it.  The helmet end pouch also includes a hard section to protect other less rugged items when trasnporting.
Finally, one other feature?  The carry straps are actually “backpack” straps and you can carry the whole bag like a backpack.
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I first used this for travel to the Louisville Worlds Cyclocross weekend.  It is NOT a suitecase and if you needed it for several days travel with regular clothes AND bike gear you’d be a bit cramped for space, but for weekend travel it works well so long as you are judicious with your packing and choice of items to pack.  But definitely if JUST for bike gear it is a perfect option.

Yankee TT- First CPS race of the season

I will mostly whine about my pathetic Yankee TT results in this blog report but I guess I deserve the dead last result in my class, 50+ Expert. You see there was this race called Barry-Roubaix and I worked hard on it all winter long, then there was the fact that while we had average snowfall for the winter it was never good for cross country skiing locally. XC skiing is my winter drug, like biking is in the summer. The drug keeps you reasonably fit and also helps keep the winter weight manageable. Even riding the 616 Fatbike occasionally didn’t help me much. Then spring comes and delivers record rain, cold and more winter. I know, I know, everyone was in the same boat, I just got lazy because it wasn’t perfect outside.

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So why you ask would I sign up for a Fatbike Beach race in Grand Haven the day before the Yankee TT. Good question. I don’t have an answer for that one. Stupid? I didn’t want to be a sandbagger by dropping down to Clydesdale even though I am one and always will be one. So I went for a Sunday drive. At least it was nice out!

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Now, about my other teammates, they continue to impress. Tim Curtis was the top old man on this team today, Jeremy is making waves in the Elite class joining Jeff and giving him a run for his money. Then there is Marnie, another podium. I have lost count now. She has a lot of hardware at home.

Here are the numbers:

Jeremy 5th
Jeff 14th
Marnie 2nd
Tim 1st
Matt 13th
Josh 18th
Shawn 23rd
Rick 26th LAST!
Ernie 10th
Paul 17th
Gabe 4th
Rob 19th
Tenner 22nd
Ralf 33rd
Tom 8th

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Team Dog

Stoked, to be on a bike!

IMG_2603This last weekend a few Founders racers and myself, embarked on a fun filled mix of gravel, headwinds, and of course, HILLS.  AKA. THE LOWELL 50.

Normally, I’m used to pulling my skinny 135lb ass, up hills by myself on my single bike. But, not this weekend. I decided to enlist my co worker Alex (The Axe Man) Angus, to be my stoker on my tandem.

Let me start by saying, it takes a special breed of person, to relinquish all control to their body’s safety and well being, to ride on the back of a tandem. My hat goes off to them.

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Now, I can go on and on about the race, and tell you things, like what the weather was like, and what kind of conditions we were facing.     But I’m not!     I going to tell you about a type of person who puts their life, in the hands of a madman!    The unsung hero,   The Stoker!

Now,,, anyone can ride a bike, but a stoker is not just a rider. They are THE engine!   There one and only job, is to power the bike and hold on! But they sometimes, give us unsolicited advice. Like,, not to crash. They tell us to slow down. They,,,,, sometimes  tell us they will never do this again, but do it anyway. They  say, you better slow down around this corner because there’s loose gravel we could crash. They also sometimes say,  HOLY SHIT that was fun let’s do it again!      Sounds simple right?   But that’s the job of the stoker. Communication!

Now over the years, I have had many of stokers, and they all hold a special place in my heart. Hell, most of them have taken us to the podium. So it goes without saying they are important. So this last weekend was no different. My stoker and I were able to hang on to a win, in the 28 mile distance barely winning by less than a minute. I’m happy with our results. But, to the humble stoker it all in a day’s work.  The best stokers, are the ones that you don’t even know they are on the back. Not because of their weight, but their ability to stick to you like a magnet. Hell, some of them can’t even see where they’re going. But they know you are going to lead them in the right direction, and they are cool with that.

So I guess what I’m saying is, Thank You, to all those stokers out there who take the backseat and make it a team effort.

IMG_2623As for a Team, I can’t say enough about the team I’m on. The Founders Brewery team! You want to talk about team?! These people are one hell of a team; every one of them puts out 110% and holds their heads up high even when things don’t always go their way. But you know what? That’s what racing bikes is all about.  Not winning or losing, but being on a TEAM.

Go TEAM