Gore, Knog, Fatbikes, Local Bike Shops.

These are a few of my favorite things.

Thursday night was the Winter Clinic at North Central Cyclery.  It was a night of bliss for the author of this particular blog.  Why?  Soooo Muuuuch Gooooodness.

Demo Beargrease (like the one I rode a couple of months ago, also at NCC).

Demo Krampus.

Krampii.

Brand-spankin-new Ti Warbird.

Delectable S’mores made from energy waffles endorsed by now besmirched cyclist formerly known as ‘7 time tour winner.’

They were so energy packed, that Chad came in clean-shaven, had one bite, and instantly grew a beard.

And there was Peter.

PBR.  Like a moth to a flame, I tell ya…

There was a dinglespeed TI Muk wearing Big Fat Larry’s on 82mm rims.  I took these pics to show that there’s plenty of room for Lou’s in the rear.

And there were oodles and oodles of people.  Over 60, not including the sponsors.  For a winter-riding clinic, that’s pretty exceptional.

Lots of cool products to ogle…like the entire line of Gore clothes.

Wolvhammers

An array of Knog’s latest and greatest lights, including a couple of models with nifty features like USB recharging.

Mattias found something pretty in pink…

And then decided to find out whether Gore-Tex is really waterproof or not.

It is.

No, really.

GoreTex Works–North Central Cyclery Gore Demo 11.1.12 from Lawfarm on Vimeo.

Not kidding.

And lest you think that pink was the only questionable clothing choice of the evening…

Yeah.  There’s that, too.  The belt really completes the outfit.

BPaul tried on approximately 435 coats.  I’m pretty sure he ruled out at least 3 or 4, and he’ll probably settle on a final choice right around the time the national debt gets paid off.

In the realm of demo bikes to ride, they had the aforementioned Beargrease and Krampii, and a host of fatbikes from XL Pugs, Neck Romancers, Moonlanders and Mukluks, all the way down to a 14″ Pugsley.  You can’t help but smile.

Beth…you really need that bike.  It is sooooo you.

And if you had questions, they could be answered by none other than Salsa’s own E-Fred:

Or you could hear about how the fuzzy lining on the inside of Windstopper is made from the hair of shaved, free-range Unicorns from Brendan Gore-Cik.

Or maybe you have a light question for Knog’s Brian Mark…

So yeah, a night full of awesome.  New products to ogle, information to learn, things to see, things to try.  I can’t convey all of the information received, but here are a few Gore highlights:

The gore membrane used in Windstopper and Goretex are related fabrics.  The Windstopper is a bit more porous, but still waterproof.  Windstopper doesn’t have taped seams, so they don’t market it as waterproof…and it’s more breathable than straight Goretex.

They had a demo where you’d get your hand wet, and stick your wet hand in a goretex gloveliner.  You’d then put your wet hand, in the glove, in a bucket of water.  You would then move your hand around vigorously.

I kid you not…when you pulled your hand out, it was dry.  I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it.

Seriously.  Moving your hand generated heat, which turned the water on your hand into vapor, and the Goretex transferred that vapor away from your hand, directly into a bucket of water.  Ridiculous.

Brendan used a great metaphor for Goretex…he said it’s like a chain link fence.  On the outside, water is the size of a softball, and thus cannot get through the fence.  But on the inside, sweat vapor is smaller, like a golfball, and can pass through the fence.  Makes sense, and was a great analogy to consider.

I kind of feel like I’m rambling right now, but there was so much information to learn and absorb.  It was truly a great evening.  I ride outside a lot, and have read a ton about Gore clothes…turns out, I haven’t scratched the surface.

I cannot emphasize enough how awesome it is to have a local bike shop able to pull together events like this, and get experts and information like this.

 

 

 

 

 

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Supernatural Snowbike Adventure Epic.

This morning, I mounted up on the Mukluk and headed into the great, untamed wilderness to take advantage of Illinois’ second real snowfall of the season.  I’ve never been so excited about 4 inches of snowfall in my life.  The ride started out with ChadQuest climbing mountains on his Mighty Muk…

And with the plow pile conquered, we headed into the wilds.  I had brought with a fair amount of survival gear based upon the dangerous territory that we headed into, being prepared for potentially dangerous winter moments like this creek crossing:

That’s Tobie from North Central Cyclery, putting his Pugsley through the paces, and risking life and limb on thin ice.  I was ready at the creek bank with a rope and emergency blanket, in case he fell through.  After seeing that he was going to be able to safely cross, I looked up to the mountains in the distance and took a moment to thank God that I live in scenic Illinois.

Full disclosure time: those aren’t mountains.  I know, I know.  They look like mountains…but they’re not.  It’s actually the back of a retail store.  In DeKalb.

I had posted a while ago that adventure is where you find it.  Rides like this morning continue to convince me of the truth of that statement.  It was a great group–Tobie, Chad, Nevdal (the origin of the verb, ‘to Nevdal ™’, as used here), Mattias and myself.  We were all on fat bikes (Chad’s custom frankenMuk, my Schweet Muk, Tobie’s Barney Pugs, and Mattias’ snow-blind Pugs) other than Nevdal, who was sporting his seriously beautiful, new Ti Salsa El Mariachi custom build (mechanical BB7 brakes and 1×9 drivetrain for simplicity, White Brothers carbon rigid fork, etc.).  We didn’t climb any mountains or set any records, but we went out and rode on a day when sleeping in seemed like a better idea, and we had a great time.

We had some nice, wooded single track:

I looped around on my Big Fat Larry’s:

We rolled some creek banks:

Including some kinda-hinky off-camber action:

And even conquered the power line trails between here and there.

After a morning of churning snow, we were all a bit hungry, so we headed to a small, locally owned grocer and picked up some provisions for a late-morning snack.  While the parking lot was pretty full, we managed to find a spot to park:

And we picked up some chicken sausage, corn tortillas, a dozen eggs, and some related provisions.  But how to transport such delicate items back to NCC to cook?  Ahh yes…my Porcelain Rocket-made booster rocket seat pack.  As I’ve said in the past, I’ve been using it as my go-to bag for the Muk…because I can carry a huge fatbike spare tube, a pump, some CO2 and tools, spare warmer packs, an extra hat/gloves, snacks, and whatever else.  Or, I can carry some groceries.

Yup, that’s how we roll.

This may well be the last ‘real’ snowstorm of the season–and that’s depressing, because it really wasn’t a real snowstorm.  On a brighter front, even after the snow melts, the Muk will still be pressed into regular service for rides of all sorts.  It will also be pressed into service in the fatbike category at the upcoming Barry Roubaix ride in a few weeks.  We’ll see how well my training this winter has served me…and how well I can manage nutrition on the road.

Fun ride.  Not because of great scenery, or epic conditions…but because of great bikes and even better friends.