Man's bestfriend

Man's bestfriend
Look a likes.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I've been thinking about this build for about three year now and I finally decided to drop the dime on this custom made Chi Ti Fat bike.  I've used the company Xian Changda twice now for custom titanium builds and I've been extremely pleased both times with the quality and affordability of the framesets.  My last bike I ordered from these guys was a Ti cyclocross/touring frame back in 2004 and it is still my gravel racer.  On this design I dropped the toptube for more clearance when postholing in the snow.  I also stayed with the conventional 135mm offset rear-end and 100mm front fork drops.  I've never had any issues with those dimensions on my Pugsley and feel that its just adds weight to go 170mm and 135mm,  plus it's a heck of a lot more expensive and harder to find those hubs in the middle of no where. Down the road I have this strange idea that I'm going to ride the divide some day on this bad boy.  The build came in just under 29lbs, not bad for a XL.   The frame, fork and seatpost are extremely forgiving and make for a buttery smooth ride on the snow. As long as I stay 1x9 I'm sure I'll have the clearance to run Big Fat Larrys also!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

God... nobody does it better!

Like many of you, I too have struggle to find the perfect cold weather clothing over the years.  I've tried every new product ever invented, Gore-tex, Wind-ex, Omni-Shield, Polypropylene, you name it and I've tried it,  and it all sucks.  You either sweat to death then freeze in it because it doesn't breath fast enough during really strenuous exercise or it develops per-ma stink and no matter how many times you wash it it smells 5 minutes after putting it on.

Well,  I've finally gone old school, back to the basics, nothing touches my skin anymore that isn't God made.  The old times had it figured out way before all this man made crap was invented.  Wool,  Fur and Cotton.  YES, you read it right, "cotton"  in the form of good old canvas.  You might think I'm nuts but I'm telling you this stuff rocks and is how it works...

Your base layer must be a tight fitting merino wool layer that hugs your skin and wicks the sweat away while still keeping you warm and not making you feel clammy and damp like the modern synthetics fabrics do.  Merino wool because it never smells no matter how many times you wear it without washing it and most importantly because it doesn't itch next to the skin.

Your second layer should be a lose fitting lose knit wool sweater that will insulate you but also breath very well and allow air to flow throw through and evaporate the moisture away.  I found a great wool zip up sweater with a flees collar that is amazing.  You might try the local thrift stores for something to fill this void. The loser the knit the better.

Finally, your third layer is your wind block shell.  This is were the old timers really had it right.  They wore canvas.  What they knew was that sweat kills and  in real cool weather (below 5) you have to allow the moisture to escape while still blocking the wind.  None of the modern fabrics can do this because they don't breath well enough.  But good old 6oz. canvas does the job to perfection.  It blocks the wind just enough to take the sting away but allows enough air and moisture through to allow for proper ventilation and moisture control.  Empire Canvas up in Duluth makes some assume products if you've got the cash.  I'm too Dutch so I went to the local fabric store and bought 4 yds of canvas and made my own Anorak Pullover shell. 

I mountain biked the last two day for over two hours when the temps were around -2 to -5 below, and this set up work amazing.  It was the first time ever that I was able to come into the house and eat dinner with my family right after riding without having to hurry up and change out of my wet clothes.  I sat there eating dinner and realized that I was cool or clammy in the least bit.

The Norwegians said it best..."There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing"

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Hobo Hoodie

After seeing some of the cool stuff that is made up in Duluth, Minnesota by Empire Canvas Works,  I decided to try my hand and sewing up my own version of the Boreal Shirt.  I found some 100% Russian  wool army blankets at Fleet Farm so I bought two of them and picked up a Anorak pattern from Rocky Woods Outdoor Fabrics.  A little buckskin and a few modifications later this is what I came up with.  The weather has been so nice lately that I didn't think that I would get a chance to wear it until next fall, but good old Minnesota came through once again and I was able to wear it once this week while trying to stay warm at my son's baseball game.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Man Trip 2012

Hoar frost on the Eagle Mt. trail.

Eagle Mountain

More Hoar Frost

I can tell you, but then I'll have to kill you.

The morning after the death march.

Look closely!

Can you see him?

Last day and our only ride up to Tofte peak overlooking Lake Superior.
The first week of March each year, a group of adventure minded gentlemen make their way up to the north shore of Minnesota for what we refer to as the "Man Trip."   This year mother nature decided to drop upon our playground 16" of fresh snow.  Our faithful leader/muleskinner Josh,  keeps us on task with a list of to do's each and every moment of the weekend.  Fat bike riding is the favored task of each day, riding up and down the many frozen rivers that feed Lake Superior.  Unfortunately, the mild winter and sudden dumping of snow only two days prior to the trip this year made for unrideable conditions.  Fortunately, we always bring snowshoes for such emergencies.  This year's man trip turned into an apocalyptic snow shoe adventure.  I figure that I snowshoed about 20+ miles over the weekend and I missed out on the first 8 mile trek up the Manitou River. We did find one really cool treasure along the way and it made for a very memorable weekend non the less.  Here are some of the picture highlights of the weekend.


The Wood Man

Sunday, February 19, 2012


We spent most of the day Saturday exploring the river flats south of Hastings, MN..  It doesn't take a lot of effort to find some very remote feeling places within a 25 mile radius of the Twin Cities.  Riding through a little farm land quickly brought us to the Vermillion and Mississippi Rivers bottoms.  The past years flood left some interesting treasures for the days adventure ride.  We stopped several times to fully partake in the alternate activities i.e...boulder throwing, ice biking, log rolling, and even some hobo camp exploring.  All in all it was an awesome day spent outdoors enjoying God's creation and some of man's too.

Monday, December 26, 2011

1st Winter 14er

I successfully summited my first winter 14er today.  Quandary Peak  14,301 on my GPS.  3 hours 56 minutes moving and another 2 hours trying to find some O2.  I still didn't think this was a difficult as cycling up Mt. Evans on my road bike.
 300 feet to go and definitely the toughest.  The wind almost blew me over a couple of times.  The ridgeline hiking up was absolutely awesome.
 The view walking back down wasn't too bad either.  On my hike back down I started wondering why nobody has invented the Mountaineering Slide.  It would make the walk back a lot more fun and a heck of a lot faster.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cold Feet

When I was a kid I froze my feet pretty bad playing hockey outside.  I remember they were frostbitten enough that for the next couple of days my toes felt like they were on pins and needles.  You know the feeling,  right?   Well, the hardest part of winter activities for me as an adult has been the dreaded cold feet.  But I believe that I have finally figured it out.  I was reading the blog wintertrekking last week and I came upon the vapor barrier method of keeping your feet warm.  This idea wasn't new to me but this particular method was somewhat different.  With this method you wear a very thin pair of polypro socks next to your skin.  Next, you take a thin vapor barrier and  wear it over your polypro socks, then you wear your insulation layer of wool sock over the first two layers.  The theory is that your feet sweat until they the socks are saturated then they stop sweating.  Finally, I added thermal heat packs into the toes of by boots and I'm good to go.  It is also very important to have boots that are at least 1-2 sizes too big for extra air space.  You can't have cramped toes or your toast, or should I say frozen.  Generally my feet get cold anytime below 40 degrees F., but the last two rides were the temperature as been in the teens and my toes have been awesome.  If your one of the dreaded cold feeters, give this method a try and let me know your results.   

Happy Trails.