Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Scouting the Race Course

A while back, I signed up for the 24 Hours of E-Rock, which will take place on June 5th and 6th. I planned on going down to Greenland Open Space and checking out the course, right away, but 6 rainy weekend in a row, while good for the greenery, kept me from going down there. (Actually, I tried to ride there a couple of weeks ago, but the trail was literally over-run by racers taking part in a foot race, so I rode elsewhere.)

You can see the trail snaking down the hill back to the parking lot/trailhead.

Everyone I talked to who had been there assured me that the trail was nice; non-technical with relatively little climbing. But, I really wanted some first-hand knowledge so that I could decide which bike to use, how to plan out my race strategy (survival being first on the list of goals, 100 miles of riding being next), and so that I wouldn't take off into the Great Unknown on the first lap.

A view to the west: Foggy mountains and really green grass, for this area. It's been a wet Spring.
This morning dawned foggy, and showers were in the forecast. But, the race is two weeks away, and I didn't have any other plans keeping me from going, so I loaded up the Frontier and took off. After dropping by the "new" coffee shop on Colorado for a fill-up, I headed south. Greenland is about 35 miles down I-25 from my house, so it's a pretty easy place to get to.

I've pretty much finally built the "MonsterCross" bike, even though some people say the disc brakes make it illegitimate. That's fine, it is kinda bastardized, after all.

I took the 1x8x29 (formerly the 29er singlespeed/29er fixed gear/29er 3-speed). This poor bike has been built up, torn down, cannibalized (the original front wheel is on the SuperCommuter, so I swapped to these), yet has never been offroad, until today. Let me tell you, though, as it sits I couldn't have built a more perfect bike for the Greenland race. The only thing I might change is to put the small ring back on, so that I have a bail-out for those late laps when I'm dragging my butt around like a tractor-pull weight sled. If I do, I probably won't even put a derailleur and shifter on it, so that I won't over-use the granny.

Nobody likes an over-used granny, y'know...


The wheels I used to replace the original black single-speed/3-speed set have a full-sized freehub body, and I had a nice 12/32 XT cassette sitting idle, and that determined the bike's fate to become a 1x8. I stuck an early-80s Shimano bar-end shifter on it, and hooked that up to a late-80s Shimano "Light Action" short-cage road derailleur. Even though the shifter was designed for use with a 5-speed freewheel, and the derailleur was made for a 7-speed drivetrain, and I'm running an 8-speed cassette, everything works just fine.


I ended up doing three laps of the course (25.5 miles) in under 3 hours, including stops at the car to adjust the Jon Grinder trademark (crooked stem) and get a snack. I pushed it pretty hard on the second lap to see how fast I could get around (35 minutes) and lollygagged around it on the third lap, taking pictures and pretending like I was in hour 12 and dragging (50 minutes). I think my goal of 100 miles in 24 hours is doable. I just don't want another wasted effort like debacle that was the 24 Hours of Moab!

Randy C (hippest cat I know) is going to take the night shift, and be camp manager. No one else is slated to be there during the day, so feel free to come on down and hang out. It's always nice to have company at camp when you come in for supplies. The Solo riders are allowed to drive into their campsite, so just find the Frontier, if you drop by, and I'll see you between laps.

BTW: I'm apparently recovered from the bout of Sciatica. I was a bit worried, when the leg was still hurting on Thursday. But I woke up in good shape, this morning, and the ride didn't cause it to flare up again. Fingers crossed!

Oh, and speaking of fingers, I experienced some pretty bad hand-numbness during and after the ride. I guess I need to get some more heavily-padded gloves for the race. The Petzl belaying gloves that I love so much for normal riding just aren't going to cut it on long offroad efforts.

Ta, for now. Enjoy your holiday weekend, and don't forget the true meaning of Memorial Day.



At 5:16 AM , Blogger Big Oak said...

Holy cow, 24 hours off-road seems insane! I ride 10 miles on gravel and I think I've accomplished great things, but 24 hours sounds excessive. Good Luck! Be sure to have someone at camp brewing coffee for you.

At 6:17 AM , Blogger frankenbiker said...

Take care of that sciatica Jon,and good luck in the race.That bike looks great and should do well in that terrain.I love my Kona unit 2X8,it has a 30 and a 40 up front with an 11-32 cassette.Perfect for the rolling trails here in Ohio.

At 9:52 AM , Blogger Richard said...

I´m liking the bike. I think I should definitely throw a mustache bar on that frame when I get back. Mix things up a bit. Really missing riding my bike a lot - its a shame bikes here are terrible.

At 4:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


Re: hand numbness, I have mustache bars on my commuter and I double wrapped them (cork with cloth on the outside). Found some website that recommended putting a small strip of tube on the inside of the bend prior to installing the tape--makes for a nice heads-up hand spot with plenty 'o padding without making the whole thing too squishy.


At 3:50 PM , Blogger Apertome said...

Wow, that trail looks amazing! Good luck in the race.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home