Free Your Mind, And Your Legs Will Follow

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


My boss Bob performed the black magic known as Retul on me the other day. My back and hips are very twisted on the bike and have been leading to back and neck pain as well as wrist numbness on the bike. We moved the position a lot and I am going to experiment with the position before working with a physical therapist to straighten me out on the bike and get things perfectly dialed in. I flipped my thomson stem and I am probably going to flip it back down again with a shorter stem. But, I want to get some miles on the bike after seeing what Bob had done with the fit on my bike. We have the Retul hooked up to the computrainer. So, not only does the Retul take a 3D scan of the body and give you all sorts of crazy numbers it also shows power out of the right leg, left leg, where the power comes in the stroke of your legs (2 o'clock, 3 o'clock...etc), ankle flection....lateral knee movement. This system is crazy!!! I am very glad to have this technology in the shop and I definitely feel a little more evened out after the fit. Hopefully I can get fully dialed in before trans iowa. Thanks to my boss for fitting me into his busy schedule and working on his day off to work with me. If you have any sort of fit issue or want to see your efficiency increase give me a ring at the shop and we can work with you. Don't be a Tul...get ReTul'ed.

- JB

Monday, February 27, 2012

Chequamegon 100

I think this 100 mile race in the Chequamegon National Forest is going to be a blast! I will be riding with some of the best names out there. The Joe Meisers, the DBD'ers, Dennis Grelks....its going to be a tough race but I look forward to racing with these guys and testing my fitness on the mountain bike. There are a lot of names that look very familiar that are racing TI and the Royal 162 that I have never met but look forward to riding with. Still in the works on building the bike up and getting some miles in. The Salsa El Mariachi will be built with all Chris King components, XTR single speed crank, thomson seatpost and stem, Mavic rims, Mary bars, Paul levers, BB7 brakes, and probably going to try some specialized low knob tires out....maybe tubless. Still figuring out saddle choices....maybe the rolls, maybe the All City seat that Ari loves. More to come on the progress

- JB

Monday, February 20, 2012

The "Bull Valley Beatdown"

The "Beatdown" Beat. Me. Down....

Mike cruising up Ridge Rd. on his Beltdrive 50x20 gearing

Already on the climb on Valley Hill Rd. This is the steepest climb of them all, pitching at over 20% towards the top.

Beginning Bull Valley Rd. Climb

Cherry Valley Rd.

A great view looking down at the climb on Valley Hill Rd. Easily hit over 40 mph on this downhill.

Met up with Mike Naughton again to ride the legendary "Bull Valley Beatdown" course. This is 5 miles from my house but I have never explored the climbs or riding in this area. Mike was on his single speed again and I can understand staying on top of the gear while riding a single speed or fixed gear bike.....but, this dude is STRONG!!! He beat me up every hill on the ride time after time with a 50x20 gear. I was able to stay in the 46t for a few climbs and had to drop down to the 34t on a few. This is the new Trans Iowa training course for me....just going to keep doing this loop with 4 great hills and plenty of rollers. 3 of the 4 big hills are over 18% grade and really take it out of your legs. Mike's Garmin said that we climbed about 1800 ft in 2 hours. My legs were already tired from the 62 miles on the fixed gear the day before, but doing this loop 3 times and logging another 50 miles today really got the legs feeling like some twizzler pull and peels. I was nothing but smiles while riding with Mike today, he is good company and will certainly push me this season. The riding in Bull Valley is like you suddenly transport into a different world when you get back there....its like being in the north woods of Wisconsin. I had a great time riding the Gunnar for the first time since New Years eve day....I forgot how smooth the Chris King BB and hubs are....I'm spoiled. Anyhow....I think its about time for a Leffe Blonde and some couch time. More miles = more smiles.

- JB

Sunday Metric

Been riding the Surlys all winter....Steamroller and Pugsley

Molly's Mariachi....looking forward to building mine up and doing some racing/riding. This is the year of the fat tires!!!

Molly's awesome garage with built in training studio including a climbing wall....its no big deal

My curly mullet is sticking out of my hat

Was able to meet up with the Naughtons (Mike and Molly) for a great metric century on Sunday. The weather was absolutely wonderful, roads were minimally traveled and we enjoyed a great ride on our cross bikes. I was on the beloved steamroller, Mike was on the custom seven SS belt drive, and Molly was on her Chili 1x10. We met up with a lone rider around mile 30 and he was glad to have us as a shield into the wind on the way back to Crystal Lake. We stopped at Molly's secret training garage and then I continued back to the Woody for some more miles. I crossed the 1000 mile mark on this ride and roughly have 600 miles on the pugsley, and 400 on the steamroller. Surlys rule!!! Get off of that pancake and ride your two wheeler

- JB

Monday, February 13, 2012

Advice From A Legend

When ultra endurance and RAAM legend Lon Haldeman stopped by the shop the other day I thought Id ask him for a piece of advice on Trans Iowa. This was the first time that I had ever met Lon, but knew a lot about him since he was sponsored by the first bike shop that I worked at when I was 16, RRB cycles.

I asked him about staying awake for longer than 24 hours and any tricks that he had. He responded with "How long is Trans Iowa"....I said "the record time is 25 hours, but I'd like to do it in 30 hours". Lon then said..."30 should be able to stay awake for 30 hours!"

HAHA, thanks for the advice....not all of us are cycling legends!!!

Lon was super cool and it was cool to see him in the store. Bob, my boss was his RAAM mechanic for 3 Race Across Americas, and is still his go to guy. Lon mentioned to have a good light and in his experience he would take the extra weight in batteries for a good light in order to stay awake....

All things to consider

- JB

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Week in Recap

Very cold weather hit northern Illinois this week. Was able to log 190 miles for the week with some very frigid commutes in the single digit to negative temps with the windchill and 20-40 mph winds on somedays. After riding home it feels like a great accomplishment everytime even to only have ridden 12 miles one way. It is great to be a part of nature....the good, the bad, and the ugly. Of course I might be cursing it one second...but reflecting on my time spent on the bike makes me smile and happy to have the miles under my legs. Had a great 35 mile ride with some nice hills today. The sun was out and even though it was only 30 degrees I had a fantastic ride and was able to let go of any thought and just tune into the ride.... Get out there!

- JB

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jeff Williams

A HUGGGGEEEEEE Congrats to my very talented friend Jeff Williams for making it into Bicycle Times! Jeff has been painting forever and his love of cycling has pushed him into making some beautiful artwork. He has recently been traveling to different cycling related shows selling prints and finally was noticed by some very well known folks. I have some of his prints that are waiting to be framed and are going to be displayed in the new shop, with a possible visit from Jeff at the upcoming Art of the Bike night including art, bikes, music, and drinks at the Wheel Werks.

To see Jeff's art up close is unreal. The colors used immediately grab your attention and draw you into the subject matter of the painting as if you were almost there. The paint is thick and has a great texture as well. I love the vintage subject matter such as the epic duel between Coppi and Bobet at the Giro (look up the original photo and then look at Jeff's version....awesome), steel bikes, quill stems, down tube shifters, metal water bottles....a part of cycling which has been outdated but not forgotten!! My love of the traditional side of cycling is perfectly captured in Jeff's artwork.

He is selling canvas prints of his work (not limited to what I have shown) for a very reasonable price. If you are interested let me know and I can get you in touch with him to get some art!!!

Again, Congrats Jeff!

- JB

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Solo Fixed

Today was a solo 57 mile fixed gear ride. The temp called for a high of 48 with sun....and again I was let down by the weather man. The temps were very cold and the 20mph winds from the west made it feel even colder out. I forgot my balaclava or neck gaitor and my face froze the entire way. Got a snack to eat in McHenry at Taco Bell and warm up for a second. Was glad to get out despite the cold weather and put in some more miles...

- JB

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Lake Geneva Fixed

Got on the road with Mike, Molly, and Ray (all fantastic mountain bikers) for a ride up to Lake Geneva, WI. We were all on different bikes...I was on the surly fixed gear (44x14...was too low for some hills in Bull Valley), Mike was on his custom seven belt drive single speed, Molly was riding the 1x10 Salsa Chili, and Ray was on his 19lb rigid Scott 29'er. We had a headwind out of the north on the way up and I got to ride some new roads and with some new friends. The temperature was a nice 42 degrees and the sun kept peeking in and out of some cloud cover. Got in 53 miles and the legs were tired from riding all week on the pugsley and the hills burned me up on the fixie. Was able to log 220 miles this week and will continue to bump up the mileage this month. Looking forward to another long ride tomorrow with temps close to 50 degrees. Also, I found my new commuting route through bull valley with 3 massive hills over 18% grade and a ton of rollers....should be great to train on for trans iowa. Hope you are out riding!

- JB

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Arrowhead 135

Congrats to Charlie Farrow and Jason Buffington who won the running division and set a new record!!! And to all those that braved the cold and snow in the Arrowhead 135. There are some great photos including this one on Jeremy Kershaw's blog. Thinking that maybe this would be a very cool race to participate in. Bravo men.

- JB

January Stuff

Campy baby!

Todd's Custom Moots RSL with bead blasted King cages to match the frame....sweeeeeeeet

Its the little things you know?

55 mile ride on Monday took 4.5 hours on the beast

This is a vintage, complete, campagnolo tool kit.....AMAZED

The riding for January is complete and regardless of taking a week off for vacation, I was able to hammer out 500 miles on the dot. I met my goal and have been commuting nearly every day, 25-35 miles and getting some riding in on the weekends. Goal for Feb is 800-1000 miles.

The shop is still cranking and we are seeing some amazing bikes come through here, and some really cool stuff like this vintage campagnolo tool kit that my boss is trying to buy from a customer....saw one on ebay in france selling for 4500 dollars....damn!

Weather has been unseasonably warm and I hope it stays warm to keep hammering some miles. I feel like riding the pugsley this last month has really burned up the legs and has been good for training. I hope to hop on the fixed gear and cross bike soon to get some longer rides going.

Keep at it!

- JB