Fast Snow

Warm temps during the day dipping below freezing over night + skiers and walkers out have made the local trails pretty quick. Had a blast yesterday and today riding a mix of ski trail and single track out the back door.

The Lakes are a holiday present from my sweeties. Wishing I’d had picked these up years ago. So comfortable. So warm. I’ve returned to riding clipped in after having to wear winter boots with platforms to keep my frozen toes somewhat warm. Can’t wait to get on the fixed gear again in the cold… and these will come in handy with our early brevets and training next year.


Garage door seal makes a great first layer for thickening up the padding on bars. Early in the day while moving some boxes in the garage the remnant of a former home improvement project tumbled to the floor. Later that night I was debating opening up a new pack of bar tape only to have it disappear under a double wrap. I looked down to see the answer right under foot. I electric taped a piece of the door sealer to the bars, then bar wrapped over the top. So far its quite comfortable.



The IF isn’t my first choice for my winter steed, but as I wait on a pedal rebuild,  a pedal replacement, and a busted buckle for my mtb shoes, it will wear the Nokian 35s and serve as a cold weather rider until the snow piles high. The Soma is waiting for the 294s, for fat tire fixed winter fun.

RandoCross? CrossDistance?


Planning a dirt / trail adventure for this weekend. How big of tire will fit the IF has always been a mystery. I’ve run 28s and 30s with fenders. It appears some 35 cross tires will fit and I can even squeak in some 40s. Guaranteed poor roads, dirt, and some single track or hike-a-bike. Fun.


Worn Spécialités TA ring that has served me from early spring of 2007 until late summer of 2010. Swapped out the 30/46 for 32/48 as I’m trying to avoid buying new TA rings ($$$!) – so I’ll run slightly higher gearing this fall. I might drop to 30/44 for the Fall Classic 200k for bailout options as there is Shaker Mt. Rd. to get over in the second half of the ride.

WIP Update

Soma Juice 29r
Soma Juice 29r

The Juice is coming along. Front wheel ready for disc brakes, bar padded and taped, levers pretty close to finalized. Steerer tube cut to length. Gearing will be an ongoing challenge. Adding those fat tires certainly changed things – it takes some muscle to get them moving.

Fattest tires I've ever run...!
Fattest tires I've ever run...!
Flip flop - 17/19 FG or 18t SS drivetrain. 32t up front - but that may change.
Flip flop - 17/19 FG or 18t SS drivetrain. 32t up front - but that may change.
Wide bars...
Wide bars...

Work in Progress

Grape Juice... 29r.
Grape Juice... 29r.

New monstercross / bikepakcing / ss fg mountain bike platform. Soma Juice 29r in ‘midnight silver’ (dubbed the ‘grape ape’ by a Sunday ride friend). I retired and traded off the CrossCheck and did a parts transplant. I’ve also cleaned out the garage and am selling off parts and pieces and bags and gear to fund this adventure.

I’m still awaiting parts for front disc brake wheel build. Trying a Surly Mr. Whirly crank… which has really wide Q compared to the CrossCheck (now retired) and my IF rando rig with TA cranks. So far I’m not a happy camper spinning when I feel like I’m riding a horse. Strain on the outside of the knees, sore hips. Might have to go to a Sugino XD or something…

Playing with the gearing – currently running a single ring with fixed dingle cog – but will eventually settle on a dual dingle + freewheel setup. Soma Odin bars (wide!) and taped for now. Awaiting some WTB Nanoraptors to get some fat rubber on there. Silver seatpost is a loaner till a Salsa arrives. Steerer tube is left way long… but I’ll probably be able to keep the bars dropped tight to the headtube. Need to add another cm to the stem, probably settle on 12 cm with minimal or no rise.

Love it so far. Aside from the color, which was listed as ‘midnight silver’ – but is really a purple(ish) silver. It is growing on me, and I should just STFU and ride.

Fall S24O


Managed to get out to the woods and meet Greg for a Fall S24O. I took off west from home solo on Saturday afternoon and met Jim at City Market and he rolled with me for part of the trip. Rolled out past Catamount and bombed down Gov. Chittenden Rd. where I lost my wingman to a pinch flat. Crossed the river in Richmond and rolled what used to be mainly dirt to Waterbury – the only stretch left unpaved after a round of stimulus cash is in Duxbury. The smooth ride was nice – but I will miss the dirt as following the river is a favorite ‘flat’ ride that is easily accessible from town – low traffic, scenic, and as a series of dirt roads – relatively traffic and roadie free. I was wearing thick gloves on the way out – and I needed to make time – so even though the sky and the fall colors were splendid – I took no photos. (Jim, ahem – where are your snaps?)

A quick warm up at Waterbury Station and a snack was had as I waited for Greg to roll in from the east. We climbed up to the closed Little River State Park, scoped out a lean to with its back to the wind and set up camp. Fire wood scrounging and catching up ensued as we warmed and I made some (horrible) freeze dried dinner. Temps dropped to the high 20s overnight – but we were out of the wind and comfortable for the most part. I had a hard time getting to sleep as I’m usually in my hammock – but with the cold and new gear I felt it smart to sleep in the shelter. I’m fairly certain the lean to floor was pitched toward my head. I was constantly trying to hike my pillow further under my neck to keep my head up, struggling to get comfortable. I eventually resigned to sleeping on my side, which is possible with the semi mummy cut of the new bag and integrated pad. The new gear worked well – for a 30 degree bag I slept in wool xc ski pants, a thick wool top, heavy socks, and a beanie, and probably could have survived in less. I put on the sweat free and dry extra layers more for the ability to sit in front of the fire and make a nature call if needed…

On the way into the park we encountered a grumpy porcupine, posturing as we rolled by – and throughout the night heard coyotes and several owls. At one point it sounded as if one of the owls was directly overheard – calling loud enough to wake me at 2am. We woke early to frosty temperatures and footwear, quickly gathered up more firewood, and warmed drinking some trail magic coffee that Jim bestowed upon me. (Yes, it was from a major chain, but for ‘instant’ – it was damned fine… and the ease of making it, while waiting for a warm fire, after crawling out of a nice warm bag… was priceless. Thanks Jim!) Our morning derailed from there as we tried to find real breakfast food in Waterbury. It didn’t happen – and as I was in calorie deficit from the miserable dinner the night before I took Greg’s offer of a ride back into town via his truck. We attempted 2 different diners – only to be disappointed by long lines (seriously, BTV needs more good breakfast eateries in town…).

All in I logged 52 miles. Felt strong this morning and had we known our breakfast plans would be dashed by the unwashed masses… I would have ridden back to town and lived off the Clif bars in my bag.