The Unbearable Lightness Of Getting Personal

I’ve been a busy boy lately and have not had a chance to pollute the internet with my every thought on life, cycling, and cycling for life.  Here’s a short synopsis on what has been going down:

The Stoker has officially signed on as stoker, and has been enjoying our rides. The Stoker even enjoyed our super hilly, yet super short, ride this past Sunday down in southern Iowa.  I enjoyed The Stoker’s mother’s vegan cooking. Everyone wins! I’ll have more Tandem Tails for you sometime…

My favorite realtor in the world found me the perfect house, my offer was accepted, I spent my weekend talking about said house and planning/shopping/contacting contractors about changes to be made.  I was not happy with how some of the deal was being handled by the selling party, so I am no longer going to buy said house. I will be staying in the EV for the time being, so that’s cool I guess.

I’ve lost about 40lbs on the “Eat Vegan, Drink Water, Be Merry” plan and it has shown in my cycling. My average speed is way up, but my endurance needs a lot of work. I suppose once I get over how cool it is to be able to ride faster again, I’ll kick it down a half a notch and ride the distances.  Fun.

I’ve set a readily achievable 100 mile per week goal for riding right now. I’m hoping as the months go along that I can start getting closer to the 170-225 range for training. I haven’t set an annual number because I’m way behind where I would like to be, and I really didn’t give two shits about recording miles for the first few months of the year. I’m sure it will all work out fine, as I’m actually able to enjoy my saddle time now instead of the extreme discomfort of trying to ride when my health was at its deepest valley.

I have some more writing to do about the switch to Vegan, especially for those of you who have commented or contacted me about wanting more information.

That’s about all the time I have for today. Thanks for reading!




Trans Iowa 13: Soggy Bottoms

I am not on Trans Iowa today, dropped out for non-weather related reasons, but part of me wishes I was out there getting wet and cold and smiling through it with those that are still on course. Good Speed to those still out there slogging away towards CP2, and great job to those that toed the line but made the choice to pull the plug before things went really bad for them. It’s very tough mentally to know when to say when, as part of you will always want to drive on, but you have to shut that side up when it comes to safety. I’ve seen friends go well past when they should have stopped, and it hurt them (nerve damage, hypothermia, etc). It’s no joke. Dropping out isn’t a dishonorable thing, especially when you are slated to ride 300 miles of gravel.


My Salsa Vaya on Trans Iowa 8

Riders should start rolling into CP2 sometime tonight, then it’s on to the finish line in Grinnell. What a crazy, shitty day to be having fun on bikes. I am speculating that there will be very few people to make CP2 and even fewer finishers.  There were 48 racers left after CP1, and as of 1:30 pm all 48 were still around, but the field is coming to a point where the tail winds will be turning into head winds for the rest of the race.  That, the rain, the muck, the cold, and the hills will be kicking the field’s ass even more.

Dan Hughes and Greg Gleason are in the lead as of this writing, and they have been maintaining a 15mph average (?!?!?!) in this weather.  There are another three who have fallen back from the original leaders group, but are chasing. That group is evidently stopping for some dinner in (town redacted).

Thanks to some approved inside info, I will be seeing you at CP2!



First Milestone Reached!

Less than two months ago I was in horrible condition.  I was the heaviest I have ever been in my entire life, I was eating like an asshole, I just didn’t give a hoot about what shape I was in.  I would just complain about how I was fat and didn’t feel good after eating, and inside I could feel that there were more things going wrong than right.  I decided to make a change, to begin a new journey to a place where I felt well, where I didn’t have to think things like “if only I lost some weight maybe I would be faster.” I was so beyond having to worry about how fast I was on a bike.  I would get out of breath trying to buckle my Sidi’s. You can read all about that here.



These bikes have been getting me to and from where I need to go, while providing a pretty solid workout. All grocery shopping, errands, and even playing a show, have been done by bike in the last few months. 



I’m happy to report that thanks to my Vegan eating, and to switching back to living almost entirely by bike, I have gone from over 300 lbs (it has been estimated that I was around 315 when I first started this change), to under 280 since the first week of March.  That’s over 30 lbs of weight gone from my body, the equivalent of losing an entire loaded gravel rig.  I’ve gone down about 3 inches in waist size, and I can finally zip my old rain jacket up. My energy level/attitude/motivation is way up, and I feel like life isn’t just a constant suck hole of feeling like shit with an added shitty attitude.  It’s refreshing.


There is still a long way to go, I have some pretty big goals ahead.  There are things I have always wanted to do and I’m headed in the direction of realizing some of my cycling daydreams.  Time and perseverance will tell, but I have confidence enough to at least embark on the journey towards these goals.

What are these goals I speak of?  My main goal is 225 lbs. That’s roughly 90 lbs of loss, which could be tough to reach as I am training and gaining back muscle mass. If my training goals and weight goals meet up together, I will be a pretty lean mean machine. But for now I will  celebrate my first milestone (with a salad), and focus on making it to the top of this climb. Maybe a few of you out there would like to join in?



Trans Iowa 13: The Soggy Bottom Toys

TransIowa is nothing to sneeze at.  It’s a huge undertaking from planning and preparation to execution, for the riders, volunteers, and especially for race co-founder and director/mastermind Guitar Ted.  Some years it pays off in some great finishes, some years there are no finishers, but it’s a great gathering of like minded individuals who work tirelessly to take part in this humongous event.  I’ve toed the line twice, and have not finished yet. This year I am on the roster, but will not be starting.  Life has gotten in the way and I need to be in Des Moines during this weekend, so after talking extensively about TI on the JustGoBike podcast I regrettably had to make the call to Guitar Ted.

I will not be riding in TIV13


This would have been my TIV13 Rig


I know, it is the exact rig from CIRREM 9. I mean, it was kind of overkill for a metric century during daylight. It has Whiskey & Carbon wheels, Son28 thru axle generator hub, the wonderful K-Lite system, Garmin E-trex 35t, and currently a Selle Anatomica saddle.  The Clement MSO 40’s are back for one more run, even after I have sworn off them. I had a brand new set sitting in my shop, so why not shred them as a sacrifice to the gravel gods?  I already know what to expect, so I won’t hit any curbs, and I have packed two patch kits and two tire boots. That’s some trust, right there. I can’t wait to start testing out new tires…hint hint hint.  I’ve opted out of frame bags on the Bird, and instead I’m wearing an older model of the Camelbak Octane XCT 100l on my back, leaving the frame open for those over the shoulder bike portage moments that will happen often this weekend. It’s already 40 and a raining, sloppy mess.  I know what that translates to on the gravel.  A bunch of crap, mud scraping, and carrying your bike. I think this may be the year to go single speed if you have it in you, as TI has destroyed a LOT of drivetrains when the weather has been similar in the past.

Brian and I had talked* about tackling events like TI as a Vegan, and I let the some nutrition secrets out (you will have to listen to the podcast for that).  I have a ton of Almond Butter packets and fake jerky, Scratch Labs hydration packets (to be used in the Braap Sabbath bottles), a couple hummus wraps, so that’s covered. Rain gear that would normally be in a frame bag well…that would probably have to be worn all weekend so no need for the extra storage.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter because I’m not toeing the line. I will be working. I’m not happy about it, because for some reason I would like nothing more than to be out in 40 degree rains attempting to ride bikes for 330 miles.

Safe travels and speedy finish to Coop, MG, Brett, Gleason, Sumpter, and all the other wild folk who are still in the mix for this weekend of biking “fun”




*Upcoming Just Go Bike podcast episode will feature my rambling on various subjects and a huge confession about my dislike for sweets. Whoops, that’s out there now.

Carelessly Whispering

In just under 12 hours I will be at the Nighthawk in Slater, Iowa toeing the line at this year’s Bike Iowa Gent’s Race as part of team “Careless Whispers.” It was a gloomy day all around today and I think everyone could use the camaraderie, the smiles, and the miles.  We have been riding this together every year since the first.  I’m looking forward to seeing Bob, GT, Fuller, Kathy (who is filling in for the MIA D-corn this year), the the 63 other teams of 5 who will be dusting it up out on the rock roads.  61.something miles of fun!  This isn’t like the torture that is CIRREM, it’s a friendly race that caters to everyone from beginners to seasoned rock riders.


I am about as prepared as I could be, hydrated, fed, packed, bike dialed, and ready for some needed rest after a stressful day of stressing the fuck out. This will be my first official race as a Vegan, I’ve packed food accordingly as I am certain the venue has nothing that I can eat. It’s a bummer, kind of, as I do like the food at the Nighthawk when I’m on the road.  I’m also ditching the customary Four Loko for some Scratch Labs powder.  Big changes, I’m excited to see how I fare after the dietary changes and weight loss. I’m most excited to see my team mates, this is the one time every year we are guaranteed to be together all at once.

See you in Slater!


A Smashing Good Ride Report

Sometimes you have a moment that I like to call a “Re-Piphany.” This is the moment that you remember a sudden, insightful vision that struck you in the past.  A few years ago I had this original occurrence while riding out on the gravel, cruising down a hill at dusk at a speed that was far overreaching my poor eyesight’s ability to gauge the road surface stability.  A not-so-small patch of loose rock in an odd section of the road almost took me down, and in the adrenaline rush after barely keeping the bike upright it came to me. I should probably get contacts or prescription riding shades.  Now that I’m a little more seasoned at reading the roads (also slower), it’s rare to have such a run in. Until yesterday when it happened again.


A rare photo of me with the old trusty Peugeot, Circa 2009

Yesterday I was doing an in-town ride to get a few miles in, and basically to revisit all of the roads I used to travel when all I had was an old Peugeot fixie that I rode everywhere. I was with the stoker at Campbell’s Nutrition the other day and had a longing to relive those old days of shopping by bike there and at New City Market (RIP), cruising the streets on the old pearl white and orange beast, stopping for beers along the way, filling my messenger bag up with vital veggies for the week’s meals. It was powerful, but this is not the Re-Piphany I speak of. So, I decided I would take the gravel bike around my old stomping grounds. It’s completely over the top as a commuter/city bike, but since that is the bike I am currently training to use for this years’ events, that’s what I’m riding at all times.  Towards the end of my loop I had come through Water Works, then decided to take the MLK extension to the EV instead of my normal route behind Gray’s Lake.  Descending down east from the MLK/Fleur bridge, I picked up speed and was looking down at my computer to check said speed, crossed the first road then looked up to see that I was bearing down on a tall, fresh curb. “What in fresh curb hell is this?” I managed to get the Bird’s front wheel up, but the rear slammed into the concrete and after a yard or so I heard that familiar hissing and felt that rear end squirm. FLAT TIME! I was cold, as the temps were a little cooler than I had anticipated (I also like training underdressed, but I don’t factor in stopping and getting chilled during mechanicals. Noted.), and just wanted to get home for some food.


A proper blowout, indeed.

One of my main concerns, aside from eating all the food, was that I was rolling on carbon hoops.  I was completely convinced that upon inspecting the rim that there would be a crack or break. I mean, I’m at the top end of the weight limit for almost every bike part known to humankind, and a direct hit at that velocity with the momentum created by my mass, that’s the science of fucking up a good wheel.  Wheel inspection complete, all was surprisingly well. Thank you Whisky Parts Co for making a literal bomb-proof carbon hoop, and Ed & Jen at Beaverdale Bikes for a rock solid wheel build. DANG. I had a road tube in the pack, that was better than the MTB tube I expected to encounter, as I don’t remember repacking this particular kit from the Lynskey SS MTB trial run of Ought 16, I made that work and was up and rolling in just a few short minutes.  Rolling back to the house, back to food, back to the kittens, and back to re-tube that rear wheel with the correct size rubber.

So… the moment I hit that curb it struck me loudly for the second time, I really need to get some better vision going for the roads ahead. When I looked up I had plenty of time to react, but I couldn’t see that the curb was high now.  It had been reconstructed recently, so I thought that it was changed (it wasn’t changed at all, btw). You could also argue that I should maybe keep my head up and pay better attention when cycling at higher speeds.


Sam, CNB

The (Broken) Promise Of Spring

Today I’m going to do a really typical Midwesterner thing and bitch about the weather.  I’ve had it with the ups and downs of Iowa climate, Monday it was in the 60’s, yesterday it snowed but got to the low 50’s, it’s goddamn 30 right now.  Preparing to ride in this shit is very frustrating. Our winter here was pretty mild, too mild, and afforded some nice long days in the saddle. It was pretty much road bike weather all winter. I used my FATBIKE sparingly, and generally just when I was too lazy to find gloves as I have pogies on the bars. There was no real snowfall this winter in my neck of the woods. So, unfortunately I had to get everywhere much faster, total bummer.


Road Biking in February. WHERE’S MY SNOW??

My body is no longer acclimated to the “Winter Temperature Scale,” that thing that makes you comfortable wearing shorts towards the end of winter in temperatures that would have you wearing a base layer in the fall.  I’m not sure where or when this happened, I generally train/ride underdressed so I can carry less layers on me or on the bike. As a rule, if it’s not cold enough to cause physical damage to your skin, you’ll live. I’m also built like a goddamn bear, so I suppose that it’s easier for me to just “stay warm”

Ok, I’m making no real point here. Yes, spring weather is unpredictable. Yes, it’s frustrating. I’m also looking directly at the temperature, which hasn’t changed in a few hours. It’s 8:30 am. Maybe I should just shut ‘er down and get on a bike and ride. Sounds like a good plan.  Wait, I need to go to the grocery store. Later. Thanks for humoring me by reading this today.

Sam, CNB