Free Your Mind, And Your Legs Will Follow

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Riding in the new Habitat

Back to the normal habitat: gravel up in northern Illinois...wonderful

Rode past this crazy tree the other day, at first I thought that there were birds in it. On second glance it was all shoes!

I've been settling in a little more here in Crystal Lake. Getting some hours at the new shop and meeting some of the riders in the area. Was able to get a metric century in with the Bonk King, and Wheel Werks Bob on Monday, 30 mile commute Tuesday...150-250 miles per week since Illinois is dry as a bone with no snow yet, I'm taking full advantage and getting some miles in.

Chrome Fork Crown wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!!

Get out for a New Years Day ride with some friends and make a goal for yourself in the coming season. Go longer, get more miles, do a grand fondo, get a bike you have always dreamed of.... you get the idea.

2011 was a great one for me, 2012 is going to be even better!!!

Don't let it loaf....

- JB

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Eagle Has Landed

Found the new route to work, about 12-13 miles. Rode with Bob (the owner of WW), The Bonk King, and Ron.

Official winter bike of the slender fungus.....will have this thing pimped out later this week, Black with Green just wait!!!

Very fun and exciting things going on with the new shop....great builds, rearranging the store, getting ready for an awesome year!

Rode 40 miles on Sunday, 35 miles today, figuring out a fitting and knee issue I have going on right now, hoping that riding the pugsley in a different riding position than the gunnar will help, also with a different saddle. Have some good pics from todays ride, will post them tomorrow....gear up for the holidays

Don't let your freaking meat loaf!!!

- JB

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Moving On Up...Literally

I'm officially heading out of Springfield, IL and making the move up to Crystal Lake, not the Crystal Lake with the slasher Jason in it! This is a very nice suburb of Chicago and has a little bit more money then down here in Springfield.

I have accepted a Head Mechanic/Manager position at a very high end shop called Wheel Werks. Owner Bob Olsen has been in the industry for a long time and is known for being Lon Haldeman's main mechanic as well as a fit guru. He is a master with multiple fit systems including ReTul. I am very excited to be a part of this new shop and help progress the business. I know I can bring a lot of experience here as well as learn a lot from Bob as well.

I am going to miss all my friends down in the south. You guys have been great and always treated me like part of your own family. You took my riding to a whole different level and I am very thankful for that. There are some VERY VERY strong riders down here and I saw my fitness jump levels just riding with them consistently. I logged my highest year in miles so far...going on 9100 miles for the year and still going, and thats again thanks to the riders down here. There was always a group ride or someone that wanted to put in a long mileage day...on any day of the week. It was great. I will miss you guys a lot!!! I am very much looking forward to being near more gravel roads to train on, being 20 minutes from my girlie, and 1 hour train ride into Chicago where my close friends live. This move is going to be great, I know it!!! Bigger and better things!!! If you're down south by Springfield, give Matt at Wheel Fast a shout and head out on a ride with some great riders in the area. Much Love.

- JB

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fat Bike Mike

Great shot of the bonk king riding dirty during a Fat Bike race up in WI

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Trans Iowa V8

On the roster for TIV8!!!! Training has already begun and getting in some high mileage weeks already, my new necromancer pugsley will add to the winter training, and the new shop is even planning on sponsoring TIV8, good things are coming in 2012!

Ride time

Nice high mileage week with 225 total miles in this week. Had a good 75 miler on the cross bike with Mark Shea...trying to keep up with him for 75 miles on his road bike was a challenge but I did it. We stopped at subway, had a sandwich, and read the paper.... Moving in 8 days as my job down here ended shorter than expected. Excited for the move and new opportunity.

- JB

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Owl Graffiti stencil under a main highway

The bell tower in the park has lights on it that turn all different colors, very neat

Cruising through the park

I love riding. I love commuting. I love riding in the dark. I love taking pictures and enjoying time spent on the bike while saving gas money. You should also like this.

- JB

Monday, November 28, 2011

Calling All Gumbys

If your name is:

Arik Gum

If you:

Are the owner of Gum trucking

If you:

Are building a pugsley and need parts on the cheap

Please email me....

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cass-Morgan Fall Cycling Classic 130

The group leaving from Jacksonville... Dale mean muggin

The entire route was a big loop along these roads right on a bluff, very scenic

Our biggest group of the day consisted of 8 riders...not bad for a start up ride in November

Cutting the wind

Caseys for a quick stop

So, a long time customer and good friend of the shop: Nathan Carls, decided to have a nice metric century in November and invited us to all come to it. I spoke with some friends and invited a lot of people. Jason Fergurson "Ferg", who lives in Jacksonville and calls the shop nearly every day responded and said that he wanted to join and that we should ride out from J-ville to Beardstown where the ride began. I thought this sounded like a wonderful idea. The ride from J-ville to Beardstown was about 25-35 miles depending on the route. He gathered some chronies including my good friend Dale, new friend Jason Embry and Rob Delaney. We met up at 8 a.m. ( I left my house at 6:30 a.m.) and cruised North with a light headwind. I had ridden in Jacksonville once or twice but there are some really nice rollers and very peaceful roads out that way. Dale had to flip before Beardstown to head home and the rest of us made it to Beardstown in about two hours with 35 miles in before the ride. We met up with the Beardstown group: Nathan Carls, Travis Schroll, Jeremy Alcorn, and a very hungover Steve Graves "The Gravemaker". We said our hellos and then started riding back out towards the bluffs. A very steep initial hill got the legs burning and I was looking forward to many more hills. The route was awesome and we all enjoyed each others company and cracked jokes as usual. A brief gas station stop was pleasant and thanks to Nathan for picking up the tab! We got back on the bikes chilly from the stop but the hills soon warmed us up again. The headwind from the north began to pick up a bit towards the end of the ride and the group was feeling it a little bit. We ended the ride in Beardstown, said our goodbyes and Ferg, Jason, and I made the trek back to Jacksonville. We cruised with a nice tailwind and our conversations began to die down as the legs got heavier. I was very pleasantly surprised from Jason Embry's ride. He has put 4000 miles in this year as his first actual road season, dropped a lot of weight, and was keeping up with seasoned riders on his longest ride ever! Great ride Jason! We stumbled into Jacksonville with a sprint finish to burn up what little energy our legs had left. I felt good to be on the cross bike and still have energy left in the legs. 130 miles total for the day. We cleaned up and regrouped at Jason's beautiful home for coffee and whiskey. A great time was had by all and was thankful to ride some new roads with some new friends and get a long ride in towards the end of the year! Thanks Nathan for putting this together!

- JB

Monday, November 21, 2011

Big Week

Logged in a solid 280 miles last week. Ended with a long 130 mile ride with some good folks on Sunday. Ride report to come tomorrow. Embrace the cold!!! Ride your bikes!!!

- JB

Friday, November 18, 2011


Check out this great article on welding titanium from Firefly Bicycles. Also, their blog has some absolutely gorgeous bicycles that they have been making.... don't drool too much.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Wednesday Metrico

Nothing to do with my ride yesterday...just a shot I took driving up north last weekend

Stopped ~ Salisbury-ish

Scenic outlook, really nice hills in this area

Cruisin ~ Athens-ish

Feminist ~ New Salem-ish

Well as usual the weather forcast was wrong. I knew it wasn't supposed to rain or anything like that but 10 mph winds....yea right! Try 20-30 mph winds from the north. This is a rare occurance and gave me a good reason to head out and do my favorite metric century in the area. It heads through Salisbury to Athens then to Petersburg back through New Salem and then home. Had horrible winds on the way out, I would look at the computer and be going 10 mph while struggling on the pedals. Hit some great hills in this area, and even though I was battling a cold felt good on the bike. The weather (other than the wind) was chilly but a beautiful fall day and I was glad to get some miles in while there was no snow on the ground. 130 miles so far this week, hope to tack on another 150+ before weeks end with a 100+ ride on Sunday, let me know if you are interested. Otherwise, as usual.... go riding for goodness sake!

- Cookie

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

11 Lessons

1) Don't let your meat loaf! - Get out and put some miles in. It doesn't matter what kind of bike you have, if you are decked out in Assos or Castelli....just get out and ride!

2) Ride your own race - There are some extremely strong riders out there, don't let them set the tempo for your ride. Especially on endurance rides know your pace and what you are comfortable with doing. Don't go balls out and bonk and then be screwed the rest of the ride.

3) Have FUN on the bike - We ride bikes because we enjoy doing it, if you aren't having fun then you need to rethink why you are riding. The fun might not come until after the ride or race but thats ok... races are hard. You trained and trained for this race, enjoy every minute of it, before, during, and after.

4) Chin up/Zipper Down - Have a mentally tough attitude. You need to tell yourself you are capable of anything you put your mind to.... if you don't you are setting yourself up for failure. Stay strong and work past those dark spots.

5) Keep Moving - When enough is enough and you are ready to throw in the towel...DON'T. Take a break, have an energy bar, clear your mind for a little bit.... but keep going and don't give up.

6) Don't over-pack - Know what you absolutely NEED to bring on the bike. Tubes, chain links, tools, etc. Know what nutrition works for you, but also rely on gas stations and other stops in order to keep the weight down on the bike.

7) Train with a partner - Riding with someone else allows you to go farther, share ideas, ride harder

8) Take your turn - In a race make sure that you are doing your part at the front taking pulls and sharing the responsibility. Also, take turns hosting rides, having get togethers, buying a round of beer.

9) Stay humble - No one likes a showboater. Stay down to earth...even if you are the fastest guy out there you never know what the race course is going to throw at you or what challenges you are going to encounter. Everyone has good days and everyone has bad days. Don't make excuses...its just the way of the world.

10) Be patient - In the race, don't get jumpy, don't get antsy....wait for the moves to come, if you can counter them then go for it. If you get dropped...hang tough, ride hard and catch up. In the endurance races you never know if Gorilla is going to get 7 flats off of the front, be patient and stay calm....races are won this way.

11) Be supportive - Support your fellow riders. Encourage them, help them if they need it. Support your local bike shop...give them some business and tell them about your races, maybe they will sponsor you. Support the races and organizers, even if these are free races see how you can help out...bring a six pack for the race organizer and thank them for most likely putting on a free event that ate up a lot of their time.

Yes, some of these are very similar to a lot of other "11 lessons" posted on Charlie Farrow's blog but these are experience that I have learned and are still working on personally. Get out there and ride!

- JB

Monday, November 14, 2011

Winter Training

Winter training vehicle of the Slender Fungus.... Hopefully getting my dirty little paws on one of these for some great winter rides. I know the Bonk King is ITCHING to race some fat bikes!

Still working on my 11 lessons.... post to come, probably not as great as Charlie's but it will be on my own lessons and experiences learned, and what I still aim to learn

Pushing past 250 miles this week hopefully

- JB

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lesson Plan

Working on 11 of my own after reading an inspiring set of lessons learned by a very talented and bright man, Charlie Farrow of the DBD.

Read his 11 lessons learned here. Stuff like this helps me push past my limits and improve as a rider.

Thank you Mr. Farrow.

- JB

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Marty Likes To Ride His Bicycle Down Hills

Marty Larson and Benjamin Witt hit a nice gravel decent....wish I lived up north with that crowd, awesome group of people and riders

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pushing Past That Dark Place

While riding the other night I found myself doing laps in the park that is a couple blocks from my house. There is a 2 mile loop with a very nice climb in the park that gets the legs burning by the end. I train in this park on a regular basis and was planning on doing 25 miles in the park just as a recovery day. I started to get a little tired of the same loop time after time and quickly found myself saying...well maybe I could just do ten laps, or maybe just 8 laps then head home..... NOOOO, this is the slug inside of me wanting to be lazy. This was one of the last decent days that we would probably have this season, I needed to fight this urge to be off the bike and keep pedaling!!!!

I have encountered this feeling several times in some of the races I have been in this year as well as the rides that I have done this year. The hardest of all of them was the Fruit Loop... After mile 180, Ari, BB, and I started to get light headed, started seeing things, talking nonsense, not being able to hold a line.... you get the point. We stopped several times for coffee and to talk and laugh and make sure we would finish this ride. At the end of the 260 miler we were wiped out. I felt enough energy to finish with 70 more miles (Trans Iowa distance....I know its do-able), but it wouldve been a struggle to get back on the bike. I fought the demons off during the night and that sunrise gave new strength to our legs as the finish was close..... Trans Iowa will be even worse, unfamiliar ground, new roads, many more hills, and who knows about the weather. Something I have thought a lot about (almost every day) since last April. Giggles has sent me scarily accurate accounts to what it might be like out on the roads....we must finish

Other rides like DK200 left me soaking wet on un-rideable roads in the middle of Kansas. We decided to quit since the route was not rideable....HOW STUPID, the best thing that I learned from this race was that from now on, I WILL NOT QUIT!!!! I should've kept riding any road to get to the checkpoint as the setup was a little more relaxed than T.I., I have to think and fight the urge to stop....easier said then done after 140 miles and 100 degree temps.

The Heck of the North made me want to weep.... I was verbally grunting and moaning on some of the trail sections. I wanted to yell out and curse Jeremy Kershaw....instead I told myself I drove 10 hours to be here, to be in this great state, to ride with some of the best gravel grinders and to PUT UP A FIGHT!!! And I fought through hours of cramps and some nasty gravel to finish in a decent time (in my opinion).

When the going gets tough, don't give up.... don't quit.... RESIST THE URGE, keep moving, keep going, and keep fighting!!!!!

- JB

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Great Loss to the Midwest: Goodbye Ari

One of my best friends, my mentor, president of the Slender Fungus, local legend, gravel grinder...Ari, has moved to Syracuse, NY. I am extremely saddened to have him leave. I will miss him greatly and his presence in the area. I am very happy to have him get a great job at a great shop, move to an exciting area, and help his family grow together.

I will miss our rides together, just the two of us, where we would talk about anything and everything. This was one of the few people where I could open up and tell absolutely anything to and know he wouldn't judge me but have my back and give me the best advice he could, a true friend.

I will miss his presence in the midwest with the Slender Fungus, the brutal training rides that we would go on (the fruit loop, bonk fest, wolfy 100, etc.), or just the short rides where we would laugh at anything and everything.

The one in the yellow is a theif! I look forward to meeting Giggles and Ari again in Iowa after they train hard this winter in the hills of NY.

Ari taught me how to build wheels correctly and gave me guidance on a lot of my mechanical abilities even though we overlapped at NCC for a short time. He introduced me to gravel road racing and for that I will be forever thankful, it is a true passion now. I know the move was for the better...and I sound like a whiny teenage girl here, but I will miss my training partner, my mentor, and my friend. Good luck to Ari and the rest of the fam out in New York, train hard, enjoy life, see you in Iowa my freind!

- JB

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Riding Last Week

Heading into the sunset with the Gravemaker

A lot of commuting last week, was able to ride every day with rides ranging from 25-45 miles in length. I accomplished 230 total miles, after a measly 60 the week before. Felt great to get some strength back in the legs and cruise at my own pace to get the training miles in. Hope to hit over 200 miles this week and end the year with 9K-10K total miles. Get out and ride while the weather is still nice! Daylight savings hits soon!

- JB

Friday, October 28, 2011

Bartlett Cyclocross

Kid's Cyclocross

Whose girlfriend says "Lets go to the cyclocross race today." - Awesome

The bottleneck

The werewolf....stalking prey in Bartlett

Barry Wicks creepin

Brian Conant....gunnin it off the start

The beast known as B.C. hung in there for 3rd place - Awesome

Barry Wicks destroyed everyone....

I love watching Cyclocross races. That is all. If you have the chance to go watch one, pick up a six pack of cans, stake out a good spot to watch, and enjoy the race!

- JB

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Zooma Half Marathon

Ari's wife Jamie, all smiles

Ari found a new home and was "racooning"

My awesome girlie....finishing 14/323 and 2nd in her age group!

Jamie finishing up just over 2 hours, great run!

Jill's friend Jean bringing it home

The ladies after the race, all smiles

10 a.m. wine drinking

This cover band was awesome! Check out that coat!


My great friends that I have lost to the one they call "Giggles" laughing matter

This past weekend, the men of the Slender Fungus went to support our ladies in a half marathon. Everyone ran great and we had a beautiful day for the event up in Fontana, WI. The Wisconsin hills punished the women on their run and Jill did an awesome run with an 8:10 average. I was very impressed. We then enjoyed some New Glarus beer and greasey food at a local bar, chatted about life, and then headed home. What a great weekend! I went to check out the cyclcocross race in Bartlett the next to come

- JB

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gypsy Criterion

SFCA headquarters

Gumby's awesome Pugsley paint job

Rainy start to the ride

I will greatly miss my riding partner

The gravel dried out right away and was perfect

Jamie and Ari

7 laps = 7 beans

The Gypsy Criterion had a slow start as The Bonk King, Gumby, and I lined up to ride and wondered where everyone was. Ari and family were sorting through boxes to find cycling clothes for everyone, B.B. and company were in an alcohol induced coma, Uncle Velos showed up shortly for 2 laps, and the last lap Jakey La Cruz showed up for a lap. The ride started with a lot of rain and we wondered if it was going to be like that for 100 miles. As usual...a few of us toughed it out and started riding, rain or shine. The next couple of laps the skies cleared up and the day looked to be getting nicer. The route was perfect and there was no cars on the roads. The loop was about 9 miles long. Ari and I pushed on for 7 laps and called it since he had some family obligations to get to. We spoke about his move to NY and details on the move. I was sad to think this was my last ride with my close friend until Trans Iowa of next year, that really bummed me out! Ended the day with 65 miles and then went pumpkin picking with the girlyfriend. Heading up north this weekend with Jill to watch her and Jamie (Ari's wife) run a half marathon. They have been so good to us with our gravel racing that we need to return the favor. Few miles this week, hope to get more next week. Cheers.

- JB