Thursday, May 28, 2015

Race within a Race

Prize at the end of the...........???????? 
Race within a Race within a Race...........

For most of the TDR participants the event is perceived as a “race”.  A few don’t see it that way but they are either ignorant of the TDR’s background or deliberately contrarian.  But for the majority who do see it as a race exactly who are you racing?  By definition the TDR is an Individual Time Trial (ITT) that begins with a Grand Depart (GD) (GD vs the more common ITT format/staggered start).

So by definition we will all be racing the clock.  IE: How soon can our front wheels cross the US/Mexican border in Antelope Wells (AW)?  Two or three of this year’s top tier participant’s may be legitimately shooting for the course record. (Male Jay Petervary (2012) 15:16:04, Female Eszter Horanyi (2012) 19:03:35)

Personally I will be attempting to better my Personal Record (PR).  My 2010 TDR PR is 21:18:24 (21 days, 18 hours and 24 minutes).  Just like last year’s failed attempt, my main race goal this year is to reach AW in less than 20 days. Basically this means I need to achieve approximately a 10% improvement over my 2010 result.
Overall Position or Rank:
But the TDR race is more than just the clock.  Most participants, myself included, are also very interested in how we finish or rank in comparison to others who start that same year with the Grand Depart horde.  My goal here is to finish in the top 20.  There will be about 140 racers leaving from Banff Canada in this year’s GD so a top 20 finish is a semi long shot but feasible.

Age Ranking:
Finally there is ranking by age.  Age is an unrecognized TDR ‘category’ but in my mind I will be mostly competing with any male over 50 years of age.  Below is the unofficial list for 50 and over, looks like there will be about 40 racers in this category.  I have sorted the list by stated ‘goal days’.
While not my main TDR goal my objective here is to win or podium (top 3) within this grouping of racers. 

Gulp, how realistic is a podium finish in the over 50 category?  Ha, ask me in July….
(if you are in this over 50 group, feel free to talk quality trash in the comments section)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stick a fork in it………..

Been knocking out 2 to 3 hour rides, 2 hours is not even a warm up ride at this point…, keeping the edge on and the weight off but basically I am ready to taper for a week and

get on up to Banff……….

Final weight on 'ready to go' bike-31.8 lbs with every last item (42 items in all on my final list of tools/personal/first aid etc) from my list.

Working end

Coming at ya…..

Includes Greg’s double strap system, internal compression straps to adjust width, reflective safety strips, and on--

the right side/new frame bag—3L + bladder compartment along down tube—long zipper.  Upper storage compartment-short zipper + not seen are ‘internal top tube elastic straps’ holding up out of way a tire pump and roll of tools/parts

on the left side/new frame bag—pocket for maps/passport/kinsio tape/thin stuff etc and hose port


Friday, May 22, 2015

random ramblings on--How light is to light?

How light is to light?

Great setup Marshal. I like the zipperless gas tank.

I get the distinct impression from you vetrans light=fast. How light is too light though from a comfort/safety point of view? Of course you locals will be much more aclimatised to the cold and can get away with less.

Got this comment from Flyboy at and thought I would sound off just a bit…………

General Riding --Hypothermia is real and in 2014 I saw several racers flirting first hand with it.  Saw some stupid, risky moves by some upper/mid pack racers.

You need to be able to ride ‘all-day’ in wet, windy, semi-cold conditions.  This means sufficient layers of insulation for the core.  If you are riding and not stopped, at some point you may (most likely will) ‘wet-out’ these layers.  Once wetted out the key is wind proof, fitness, food/fuel, experience and course knowledge.  All these factors play together in making correct judgment ‘safety vs racing’ calls.

My layer system for 2015:

Upper Body

·         Light weight SmartWool undershirt (will be on start to finish-except when being washed)

·         Standard full zip bike jersey with 3 rear pockets (will be on start to finish)

·         Ground effect semi-wool arm warmers (always on but pull up and down as needed)

·         Windproof, water resistant Gilet/vest (I expect it will be on most of the time)

·         Lightweight rain/windbreaker jacket (Endura FS260 Pro)—this layer is key—it’s packable like a windbreaker but really is a semi-breathable racing style ‘rain’ jacket (will be on and off for rain and warmth as needed)

·         Large, loose fitting ‘O2’ style 5 oz rain jacket (used occasionally during ride time, to be worn over all other layers in truly nasty/extended conditions or for added warmth when wetted out, also part of my sleep system)

·         Optional white arm coolers (for hot sunny days, will buy a pair in Colorado if needed)

Note: my ‘two’ rain jackets weigh same or less than my single ‘2014’ eVent rain jacket, yet will be warmer when wetted out and much more flexible/adjustable for changing conditions

Lower Body

·         Ground Effect shorts (really like these shorts—the no-layer chamois system is truly game changing design imo)

·         Ground Effect semi-wool leg warmers (always on, pull up and down as needed)

·         Baggy fitting O2 rain pants cut to knee length (fast pull on/off to keep shorts mostly dry while riding hard, about 2 oz and can fold up and fit in jersey pocket)

·         Gore Tex full length rain pants (used occasionally when truly wet & cold, also part of my sleep system)


·         Helmet

·         Visor’ed cycling cap

·         Sweat band (for ear warmth)

·         Light balaclava (part of my sleep system and will start off cold mornings with it still on)

·         2/3 Disposable shower caps, over helmet or cap for rain/wind


·         Specialized short finger BG cycling gloves (best ‘heavy padding’ glove available imo)

·         Specialized semi-wool liners (will slip on/off over short finger gloves often/as needed)

·         2-3 disposable ‘latex’ style gloves (slip on over short finger or liners, 100% waterproof, but really more for wind/warmth as they will quickly wet out form inside)

·         ShowerPass rain gloves (use in pouring rain and when hands are truly cold, also part of my sleep system and early/cold morning/descend kit)

·         2 Large Ziploc bags (light multi-purpose item that works remarkably well in pouring rain and cold descends)


·         3-strap style Mavic Pulse shoes (still the best multi-day shoe available--3-strap for adjustability for swollen feet or thicker socks, lighter than the shoe you use, very grippy sole, just flexible enough for extended HAB sections, and dries out pretty fast)

·         Ankle length SmartWool socks (one extra ‘dry’ pair for sleep system)

·         Plastic bags as needed for rain/wind/warmth (I prefer subway sandwich bags)

Overall thinking on the matter…..

In short-from a safety point of view--if you can keep your core warm in the worst conditions then you have enough.  However this varies quite a bit depending on experience and fitness.  Are you fit enough to ‘ride’ on thru harsh conditions at night and use the resulting body heat to keep you warm.  Are you experienced enough to make correct judgment calls, do I continue, do I lay-up, what constitutes a good stopping location in the backcountry and finally do I have the know-how to make a fire as a last resort while in wet, windy, cold conditions?

For typical TDR terrain/conditions my thinking is with my ‘layers’, if I have food, the will and a functioning bike I can always ride on till I reach an acceptable stop point. 
On the other hand with my sleep system I feel I can sleep ‘warm-enough’ anywhere on the route, even in a pouring rain storm.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Finished Product (almost)

Well I am down to the last pound or two of “do I take it or do I leave it”.  I will now go back and forth, mildly agonizing over trivial gear choice/decisions.  Always do it, always take just a little bit to much, oh well we are talking the weight of one std water bottle.  Looks like once I add in all the personal supplies, extra this and that I will be close to 32 lbs, about 1.5 lbs over target………..I can race with it………….ha, and I will.........

shown closed
Here is my new waterproof/zipper-less tank bag, with one hand I can open, access, and close while riding.  
shown open
Personally I think this style is currently, bar none, the "best" available in tank bags. 

note security cable attached to seat
Here is my new seat-post bag.  I like my custom outside pocket—
note rear entry storage pocket for cable w/tiny lock (partially pulled out) 

here I store my light weight bike lock—fast to access and lock, fast clean storage-100% out of the way

Get your tank and seatpost bags from Greg at :

Will post up on my new frame bag soon (it’s got some fairly unique features also)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Commencing Countdown

Bike as shown, ie: with SP 8 hub, wiring harness, front light & aerobars is exactly 20lbs.

Today I stripped all the bags off my bike and did the entire bike rebuild stuff.  New brake pads, BB, chain, shifter cable, derailleur and hanger.  Slapped back on my TDR racing wheels, a set of carbon rims with DT rear/ P 8 hubs built up by the master himself, Mike Curiak.  Also changed out the pedals to my A600 one sided SPD’s.

About all that’s left to do ‘bike’ wise is to re-stans the Nanos.   

Should have my new frame and tank bags next week and will then commence with final pack out / gear selection.  I am still expecting a final dry weight of 29-31 lbs. 

The light weight approach really paid off during my shake down ride last week with Mike Schlichtman. 
Mike packing up at 4:30am
Mike is a very strong rider but was pushing more bike weight up the hills.  This allowed me to match paces quite nicely.  
Will post up my final pack details out in a few........

Monday, May 11, 2015

TDR Shake Down Report


Just finished a short TDR shake down run thru western Colorado/Utah area with Mike Schlichtman. 
Mike rocking a bit to much gear for single track...
Our route was mixed bag of single track, jeep/fire roads and quite a bit of pavement. 
Weather wise we got sun, rain and even some snow.
Mike was rocking a classic TDR ride, a 29er Moots soft tail and I was on my fully rigid Scott Scale.  We were absolutely on the wrong bikes for some of the single track and way to heavy/slow for the pavement but when moving down the typical TDR type dirt/gravel roads all was golden!!.  

Between the two of us we had had it all--too much, too little and also the right and wrong mix of gear.  So we both got exactly what was needed—a perfect review of how the gear we were hauling did or did not pan out in real world conditions.

Day one started about noon with 20 miles of pavement to the Kokopelli TH in Loma.
Mike hiding on a cliff...
Mike hiding on some single track...
We rode the Kokopelli single track and jeep roads to the boat ramp at Westwater.  We had some rain and true ‘clog-wheel’ and scrap mud along the way.

It was still a bit early in the night but as it was raining so snagged the sheltered BLM ‘map-room’ at the boat ramp for our 1st TDR style camp spot.  
We had to listen to the rafters arriving, pumping up their rafts and parting for a few hours (note to self—don’t forget the ear plugs for the TDR)  But it was warm, dry and so much better than an outhouse…..

Day 2 was up at 4 am and on to Moab.  We had a leisurely meal and hit up the local bike shop for some repair and re-supply.  Then it was on to La Sal area. 
La Sal Mtn in the background....

We saw a sign for a local lodge (8 miles ahead) and decided to snag a room.  Somehow Mike missed the driveway to the Lodge and was too far down a long hill before he realized his slipup.
Mike's porch, nice spot.......
So he finished off the decent and spent the night on the porch of an empty trailer in Bedrock.  Meanwhile I enjoyed the luxury of a hot shower and warm hotel room.  When I caught up the next morning I was quite impressed with the covered porch Mike had snagged for the night—true TDR resourcefulness!!

Day 3, A few short hours later Mike’s ride was over and he was hitching a ride back to his truck.  Just before we dumped out back onto pavement the mud and resulting shifting snafus had finally sucked his derailleur up into his wheel one time to many.  The sucked derailleur was soon followed by a ‘just bend it back a little more’ then “”SNAP””-- broken derailleur hanger.  

In many ways this mishap was the key lesson of the whole ride, for both of us.  Mike will now be carrying a spare derailleur but there is much more to be learned from this little episode.  It reminded me to stop and take the time to clean/adjust rather than wait.  I was soon stopped at the next creek crossing, washing and adjusting my own poorly shifting derailleur. Doing this made me realize while I had a spare hanger I was not carrying a spare shift cable. 

I was also very impressed whit how Mike handled his misfortune.  First even though he was frustrated he kept a good attitude and in less than a minute had simple but clever plan.  He sent me on my way and then hauled his bike up on to the shoulder of the paved road.  Here he began working at converting his bike to a single speed, but really he was working to effect repairs where passing vehicles could see he was broke down.  And it worked, within minutes he was in a pickup and riding back to his truck.

dinner time right after getting down from some snow...
I rode on to Gateway where I had a unhurried lunch and debated route options.  The original plan was to spend one more night out on some remote trail.  In the end I split the difference, shorted up the planed route and pulled a few extra night time hours to get back to my van and a hotel room.

All in all it was the perfect shake down—I am so ready for Banff………..