Photos from Dog Pen

We rode from Dog Pen this weekend.  It was a super fun excellent ride.  My buddy Drew writes narratives for these rides when he uploads them to Strava and I’m just going to let him tell the story and post a few pictures and a video.

This was just another fun filled day in the SNF.  Today’s riders were Amy, Joe, Matt, Greg, Glen, Dustin and myself.  We chose The Dogpen as our starting point and was it such the nice outing. Amy, Dustin and Glen finally got to meet the owner of The Dogpen, Kenneth Richards who is just the nicest man you would ever want to meet.  This was Dustin and Amy’s first time here at The Dogpen, not so sure about Dustin but for my granddaughter Amy, I know it was her first time and did she ever standout.  Of course with her being pretty much a rookie in the the world of  Eastside riding, it was mainly her then me in the rear with Joe pretty much leading us thru the fine ride with the other guys up ahead and being so gracious in letting us ride all day with them and man can the likes of Joe, Matt, Greg, Glen and Dustin ride the Shawnee.  We rode the 001 to over and around Hayes Creek Canyon area,near the
Blackerby’s land, Mustang Lane, by Jackson Hole Natural Area, the 496, into the 497 where we got some beautiful pictures of the sun and the colors thru the trees on some of these great switchbacks, with alot of the 491 and 491A involved until we finally reached Petticoat Junction and then back across that creek and onto the the next creek crossing near the 001 and back up to the TH.  We all were very pleased with how well Amy rode the whole way on a fully rigid SS 29er and she barely put a foot down and on the last climb out to theTH, did not falter one bit.  Poppy was so proud of her and what is great about the whole thing, her and her sister Amanda seem to really enjoy the riding in the Shawnee and all of the guys are so nice to them.  A fun day was had by all.  Next ride will be Wed morning leaving our house 8AM sharp with for sure Amanda and Joe and probably Matt.


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What Happened to Shaundo

If you’ve been with us for awhile you may remember back in 2011 that my wife Shauna, or Shaundo as she is sometimes called, used to ride with me.  You may also have noticed that she doesn’t make too many appearances in the blog any more.  Well she quit riding over the winter of 2012 and never started back.  There were a few medical type issues that caused her pain and ended a long streak of being in shape for cycling.

So we started this spring on a positive note taking several hikes together and frequent walks.  We had purchased Shauna some trekking poles for some of the rocky hiking and she seemed to really like them.  It was looking like it would be a great summer then disaster struck.

We were camping at Fern Clyff State Park in May of this year, and we were taking a big hike.  We were both having a fantastic time walking all over the place.  We were on a rather dodgy trail that required frequent scrambling over rocks and such when we came to an abrupt end at a big boulder.  I quickly and easily found a couple of handholds and got onto of the rock.  Shauna didn’t want any part of it.

I told how easy it would be to climb the rock, I’d help her, it would be no big deal.  She wasn’t buying it, but I was persistent and she eventually tried.  She pulled herself up about a foot off the ground and couldn’t make the rest of the lift.  I tried to get her hand and help but she had a death grip on rock and wouldn’t let go, then she began to slide and fell off the rock to the sloping ground below.

It looked to me like she fell at most about foot, but she landed on one leg sideways and I could tell by the way she was looking at me she was hurt.  She said that it felt like some popped in her leg but she was able to move it some so I didn’t think it was broke.  We got her on her feet and she was just barely able to walk with the aid of her trekking poles.   It took us about 20 minutes to walk a tenth of a mile to a road.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAShauna used crutches to get around for the next several weeks and eventually was able to walk without them but with pain.  She began walking with me again but at a slow pace and much shorter distance, the last quarter mile she would be dragging her sore leg along.  After a few months with no real improvement she got an X-ray and then eventually an MRI revealing no damage, just swollen tendons and ligaments around the knee joint.  About a month ago she started some physical therapy which seems to be helping.

We got her a big bike seat and set the bars up as high as possible for some light spinning but she says she has no interest in riding again.  So I’m always reminding myself to quit telling Shauna that this or that will be easy, and she likes to tell people how I threw her off a rock while hiking.

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Where’s Luko!

If you have been a long time reader of the blog you’ve probably read about Luke and his many riding exploits.  Well he was off the grid for awhile, apparently performing some community service in Alaska.  He’s back online and posting his Arctic rides on Strava.  He says he’s currently hemmed in by high creeks and rivers and waiting for things to freeze up.  After spending time in the deserts of Arizona I guess he thought he’d try a cooler environment, one day he’ll learn you can’t beat Southern Illinois.

Luke1 Luke2

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Rocking the Gossage… Mountain Bike Ride

The last time several of us met up for a big ol’ mountain bike group ride it didn’t go so well.  There were flats, wrecks, and a few of us got lost.  Yesterday we had one that was just the opposite, everything went right.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had ten riders and trail conditions that stellar despite the recent heavy rains. Everyone on the ride was a strong rider and for the most part I was the only bonehead that went off the front.  Everyone stayed together and it was a real gentleman’s ride.  Not to say the pace wasn’t good; we averaged around 7 miles per hour.

One of the riders present was a special guest from Kentucky, Glenn, who is probably the most impressive rider I’ve ever seen.  I’ve seen riders that can kill it climbing, and I’ve seen guys on big bikes that can annihilate the downhill, but Glenn can do it all.  He rides a Niner RIP, and his handlebars look like the command center for a airplane with lots of switches and buttons, “Give me technology, if they had a 50 speed bike I’d be riding it,” he said.

One long rocky and super steep trail was only climbed by Glenn while everyone else walked up.  The few times I followed him he would allow a big gap to open then on a downhill section go incredibly fast and smooth through some corners that had me with locked wheels sliding and unable to keep up.  He would ride crazy lines for fun, bunny hop big trees and ride off big rocks.  This was probably the one ride of the year I should have brought my GoPro.

There was fantastic fun to be had other then watching Glenn ride, like when I went over the bars in a creek and got completely soaked.  Perhaps some of the most fun was riding near the two Seans who would lay down a hilarious commentary track about everything going on.  I suppose I should mention just for the remarkable nature of his travels, one rider that was with us had just completed a run in Hamburg Germany a couple of days ago.

It goes without saying the ride was lead expertly by the Gate Keeper of the East, Eli.  He kept an excellent temp pace that was fast enough to keep everyone together but not so fast that no one got left behind.  Not to mention that Sergeant Ellis kept the breaks short with 5 second countdowns to launch.

It also goes without saying that the Shawnee is beautiful right now, kind of like summer without the ticks, poison ivy and oppressive heat.  Now is the time to get out there yet we didn’t encounter a single other person.

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Going for the Trifecta

After a pretty dismal week in terms of physical activities I tried to make up for it by slamming them today.  Sunday was the only day I had completely off all week and I knew I had to make the most of it.

6:00 AM alarm goes off.  Leap out of bed with levels of energy that can only mean that I don’t have to deliver mail today.  Poptarts and caffeinated beverage are ready in minutes.

6:30 AM Out the back door with skates on.  I take a different route then usual and end up staking down a 4 lane highway as the sun is coming up.  Being Sunday morning traffic is non existent and I can skate where ever I please, right down the center of route 13.  Got in a 8.5 mile skate in 45 minutes and most importantly didn’t crash. Wish I’d taken some pictures.

7:30 AM Eli calls and informs that there is in fact a mountain bike ride today at 1 PM  I pledge my attendance.

8:00 Call Dad and find out Mom and Dad are going riding this morning.  I’ve been wanting to ride with them so I ask them to take a short 20 mile ride.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9:00 20 mile ride with Mom and Dad .  Got to talk to Mom and Dad and enjoy a good ride, they’re in great shape and ride nearly every day.  I got to wear my 2500 dollar Pedal the Cure wool jersey.  Let me tell you it’s worth every penny, it was warm but super breathable.  It began to sprinkle rain and the wool performed great even when a bit wet.

11:30 Lunch with Shaundo

12:30 Meet the gang for the mountain bike ride.  Despite the recent rain the trails were in pretty good shape, not muddy at all.  Eventually it begins a light rain, but with the temperature hovering around 65 degrees a little rain is not a problem.  A few miles in we encounter a huge group of friendly horseback riders.  One of them offers me a rain poncho which was nice, but I would get so hot under a plastic rain poncho that I’d be soaked.  It begins to rain pretty hard and the trail surface is getting pretty slick, the rocks even slicker.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe misty wet forest was fantastic to ride in, I’d much prefer to ride nice dry trails most days, but it’s a very unique experience and really fun.  We finished up with a single speed super spin out on roads.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA6:30 Supper with Shaundo, she has produced some excellent Belgian style waffles which I eat entirely too fast.

7:30 Start blogging

10:00 Projected time when I pass out from exhaustion.

What a great day!


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Ringo at the Fox, No Great Pumpkin

I should be about 10 miles into the Great Pumpkin ride in Evansville Indiana right now and not in front of my computer, but we all had other things to do.  I’m actually not that surprised that I didn’t go, it’s an excellent ride, but road riding hasn’t really been on my plate much this summer.

So since I’m not at the ride I’ve got plenty of time to blog about Ringo.  My wife loves the Beatles, I kind of like them too.  We’ve seen several different Beatles tribute bands, but this was our first chance to see an actual Beatle.  I’ve been to the Fox Theater in St. Louis a couple times, but my wife had never been and it’s really a sight, like the name says, it’s Fabulous.

Ringo and his All-Star band currently contains

  • Ringo Starr – vocals, drums, percussion, keyboard on “Don’t Pass Me By”
  • Steve Lukather (Toto) – vocals, lead and rhythm guitar
  • Gregg Rolie (Santana and Journey) – vocals, organ, keyboards
  • Todd Rundgren (Nazz, Utopia and The New Cars) – vocals, lead and rhythm guitar, bass guitar on “You Are Mine”, percussion on “Bang the Drum All Day”, harmonica, keyboard on “Love is the Answer”
  • Richard Page (Mr. Mister) – vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitar on “You Are Mine”
  • Warren Ham (Bloodrock and AD) – vocals, saxophone, percussion, keyboards
  • Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth)– drums, percussion, backing vocals

I haven’t been to a concert since 2001, but there were strict rules about cameras and recording devices in every show I went to.  Some of the venues even patted every down to make sure they weren’t packing.  I guess with ubiquitous smart phone that isn’t an issue anymore.  So I got to take some pictures.  We also went by the Science Center and the Zoo.  The Science Center oddly isn’t nearly as fun when you’re not 10 years old but the Zoo is always awesome.  An Orangutan came up to see us.  Here’s some pictures from the Science

Center, the Zoo and Ringo.


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Niner One 9 29er Review

IMG_0433A very attractive bike has been floating around among a few of my riding buddies and it was my turn to take it for a spin yesterday.  The bike belongs to The Bike Surgeon and they graciously loaned it out as a test bike.

We took the bike to The Ruby which is one of the premier trails in all of the Shawnee, It’s get technical rocky sections along with fast and flowy; it’s guaranteed to test man and machine.  Drew, Joe, Barry, Amy, and I were the crew.

The One 9 is as the name implies a single speed bike.  It’s made of Scandium aluminum, this is the 2013 model in the tangerine color option.  Aesthetics of a bike aren’t usually a big deal to me, but I have to say this bike look amazing, the color combination, tube shapes and the graphics make this bike a real head turner.  Even though it’s a aluminum the welds are so clean that it could be easily mistaken for carbon.

IMG_0441There have been some changes to the Niner lineup in the last couple of years, the One 9 is no longer available in aluminum, only the carbon RDO model, but this frame can be found selling for around 800 bucks new.  The parts spec on this particular bike is pretty awesome, XX Sid fork with remote lockout, XX SS crank, and American Classic wheels, it’s the lightest mountain bike I’ve ever ridden coming in around 20.5 pounds.

I raised the saddle a couple times early in the ride, and never really thought I could get the position right.  I later realized that a big part of the problem was slippage.  I sometimes have problems with slipping posts, but not usually with a big 31.6 Thomson post.  The Niner seatpost collar looked slick but it wasn’t  up the challenge of Gholson.  The handlebars we’re a bit higher then I normally run and bit wider as well.

IMG_0449But enough of all of that, how does it ride?  First off the frame is stiff, maybe too stiff.  I’ve never ridden a bike with a tapered head tube, but this bike reminded me of my Cannondale road bike, it feels like riding a rail.  The tail end was bucking off the trail when  I stood up and started kicking.  The steel frames I’ve been riding have much more mild mannered characteristics, especially the Bandersnatch, but even the Niner SIR 9 with similar geometry feels a bit laid back compared to this.

I was never very happy about how the bike turned, which could have been partly riding position, but I also think it had something to do with that tapered head tube.  It was just really quick and so stiff the bike responded to steering changes way faster then I was used too.  The wider bar made it feel like I was doing a lot more steering.  I would have liked to to pair up the wider with with a shorter stem, which I think would have tamed the steering issue.  Later in the ride I realized that the quicker and more direct turn in wasn’t a bad thing when I dodged a sharp limb that was jutting into the trail.

The Sid fork was neat, the lockout button would completely eliminate fork bob when I stood to pedal, but with the gate setting it would still give you a bit of suspension over the rough.  The fork worked so well, and had such smooth travel that I often forgot I had a suspension fork on the bike.

IMG_0434It was kind of nice to have brakes that really work.  The XT brakes had tons of power, tons of modulation, and really neat looking brake pads with heat sinks.  The eccentric bottom bracket started creaking on me shortly in the ride, and the chain looked a tiny bit loose near the end but I never had to stop and tighten it.  I’m sure that some greasing would shut up the eccentric, but I’m starting to wonder about these things.  Bolt down sliding dropout seem to be the simplest solution.

IMG_0436I thought I was sold on single speed, but I was wanting gears alot on this ride.  There really isn’t much climbing on the Ruby, but there are many technical, short and steep climbs that are much more fun with gears.  I didn’t make too many of these climbs and when I was uncomfortably pulling and torquing all over the bike trying to get over some of the steep climbs I kept thinking, this would be way more fun with gears.

IMG_0443So a slipping seatpost was the only real problem I encountered with the bike.  Last weekend Adam did the entire ride with his post about 4 inches lower then normal and it didn’t seem to bother him much, but I was constantly worried about my saddle position.  If I was looking for a race bike then I would look no further, the One 9’s weight and super quick handling made it an ideal candidate for racing.  For the more laid back kind of riding I do it’s it a bit too quick, though I ‘m sure with a few cockpit changes and a beefier seatpost clamp I’d been perfectly happy on the bike.

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