This weekend, I went to the Brown County Breakdown for the most amazingly epic Midwest mountain biking of my life. I’ll have pictures and details to come, but for now, you’ll have to trust me when I say that I was covered with mud from head to toe. COVERED. It was less of a race, and more of a epic endurance ride…a question of how much suffering you were willing to endure. It was fantastic, in the way that only amazing challenges can be. I’ve been meaning to write a few posts of late, and haven’t gotten to them. So this is a catchup post. Here’s the deets:
1. Gore Singlet
I’ve written about the windstopper Gore Singlet before. I also wrote about them here. It’s fall, going into winter, and you need to be prepared for cold. The Windstopper singlet is one of my very favorite Gore pieces. I wore it on Sunday, in the pouring rain, when the temps were right at that “freeze on the descents and burn up on the climbs” temperature. It was perfect, amazing, and awesome. It’s just a perfect piece of kit…and it enhances any jersey or jacket you wear it under. If you’re looking to manage cold and moisture, improve your existing kit, and get into Gore inexpensively, this is a fantastic place to start.
It helped keep me dry, wicking away moisture. It helped keep me warm when on a descent, by blocking wind if my jacket was open, and it helped keep me cool by letting the air cool (but not penetrate through to) my chest if I was hot and opened my jacket. It seriously is one of the very best pieces of kit I have, and carries my highest, unconditional recommendation.
2. Gore Oxygen Jacket.
I previously wrote about the Gore Oxygen jacket here, and then again wrote about it here, after a rainy ride in Solvang, CA. You may notice that I tend to write about things more than once, if I truly love them. The Oxygen falls into that category. It’s cut slender, for road riding.
On Sunday, I busted it out for a day-long downpour slog through mud. Since I was wearing a hydration pack, I wanted a slender jacket to wear underneath, so it wouldn’t bunch up. While the Oxygen jacket is perhaps not intended for mountain use, I popped it on. It was PERFECT. Let me say that I started with a jersey and my windstopper singlet, and after the rain started (and I was a bit wet), I put on the Oxygen. It managed my moisture all day, to perfection.
The long tail (shown below) kept the slop coming off of my rear tire from reaching me, or reaching my jersey.
The waterproof zipper provided warmth when I sealed it up to my chin, or allowed airflow when I was overheating on climbs.
And then there are the zippered cuffs, shown here.
There are some things you don’t appreciate until you see their true genius. I’ve always viewed the zippered cuffs as a bonus, but didn’t truly appreciate them until Sunday. The zipper is at the perfect angle on your arms that you can ride a bike with the cuffs unzipped, and still shed rainwater. The zipper is on the bottom of your arm when you’re riding. So when I was hot, I could unzip the cuffs and get good, cooling airflow up my arms and into my jacket without letting water come in. When I was cold, I could zip them up and they would snugly seal against my gloves, keeping cold and water out. The placement of the cuff zips on the arms is perfect. Riding in those conditions made me realize that this great piece of kit is even better than I had thought. It’s a great jacket…and an investment. I rode until it was COVERED in mud…hosed it off, threw it in the washer, and it came out looking like new. Plus, it has Gore’s lifetime warranty. Another fantastic piece of kit.
3. Salsa Spearfish
Just wanted to drop a note that the Spearfish performed amazingly well at BroCo. There is not a single other bike that I’d rather have been riding. It was fantastic.
4. The End of the Road
This past weekend marked the end of Wednesday Night Road Rides at North Central Cyclery. With the changing weather and early nightfall, we’re switching to gravel rides that depart at 7:30pm. I’m excited to go back to gravel, but surprisingly, will miss the road.
We had a new format this year, which I’ve previously written about. It involved neutral sections and ‘open sprint’ sections, instead of previous years’ format of pacelining. This year involved a lot more strategy, and a lot more suffering. At the start of the summer, I was getting dropped on every sprint, and was hating the rides. I had a long talk with BPaul and contemplated dropping the Wednesday night rides. He convinced me to persevere, and I listened to him. By mid-summer, I was doing much better. By the end of summer, I was having fun. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not the strongest by a long-shot…but I came to enjoy the strategy and tactics that were needed to hang with the group. Seeing those tactics play out, learning when to attack and when to let go, determining when to grab a wheel and when to play out some rope–those were fantastic lessons. I’m a better rider because of this summer. I’m faster, stronger, and more tactically astute and aware. The new format, which we owe to Lenny, reinvigorated the rides. It was a blast, and kept me coming back. As we turn to fall, I look forward to spending more time with the Moots, but I’ll miss the hypoxic rush of Wednesday Night Worlds.
5. Salsa Warbird Ti.
I’ve had these pics since the Salsa Demo Days…here’s the stock spec on this year’s Warbird Ti. Carbon seatpost, Belgium HED wheels, my favorite bar tape, and awesome components. I particularly like the black shift cable/red brake cable combo. It’s a fantastic bike, and I just want to look at it for a little bit. (Of note, I love the Ti finish on Salsa’s bikes for the past two years. While I love my Ti Vaya, the new finish is amazing in person, and amazing in pics).
That’s all for today. Happy riding!