Friday, August 8, 2014


     Leave tomorrow for a trip from SF to LA by bike. This has been a pretty weird summer. Sometimes people you really trust just do things that seem unbelievable. So go clear your head and ride a bike and camp out, stare at the ocean and the horizon, soak up some sun. That's what I'm gonna do at least. Smell ya later!

"The more ups and downs, the more joy I feel.  The greater the fear, the greater the happiness I feel"
-Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jo Daviess Drifter Important Updates

Just got back from some final course reconning. A couple important updates:

First, parking. We will be parking at the parking lot in Apple River Canyon State Park just south of the river and on the east side of Canyon Park Road as pictured.

Second, route details. This is gonna be a long one, but there will be ample stops to refuel with the first at about 50 miles in Savanna and the next at about 100 miles in Galena. That said, there might not be water at the start so come with bottles full and enough supplies to get you through the first leg.

Third, equipment. Most of you should know what works for you. Make sure you bring tools and lights. It's gonna be hot so bring extra water storage. There will be some sections of the route that are totally off road, but that is the exception and most roads will be gravel or pavement.

Ride will be leaving AT 5:00 AM!!! I think that sums things up. Let us know if you have further questions. This route is big, but there will be a lot of cool features along the way. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 4, 2014


The Slender Fungus Cycling Association is pleased to officially announce the Jo Daviess Drifter 150!!!

This ride will take place on JUNE 29th 2014 and will consist of 150 miles of rugged road riding in the scenic and mysterious unglaciated glory of Northwestern Illinois.  Any sensible "all-arounder" style bicycle will do fine on this route, but wide tires and a wide gear range come recommended.  This location is dear to our hearts as a riding destination and we want to share the beauty of these ridges, valleys, rivers, and roads with you.  Yes, you!!!

The ride will start and finish at Apple River Canyon State Park to allow for parking as well as camping accommodations for those who might be traveling to attend this ride.  There will be a shorter route (60 to 70 miles) for individuals not wishing to ride the full 150.  Full routes and additional details will be provided as the date of the event approaches.  Keep your eyes peeled for updates on other blogs/social media, leave a comment if you would like more information, and please share this ride with your friends!!! 

  1. Ride starts at 5:00 AM from Apple River Canyon State Park
  2. Ride is self supported.  You are on your own if you are unable to finish the route.  That said, this NOT a race, and riders WILL NOT be dropped.
  3. Cue sheet and maps will be provided.
  4. Expect hot conditions and excessive elevation change.  Plan your hydration and nutrition accordingly.
  5. There will be opportunities on route to resupply on water and food.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Jo Daviess Drifter 150 and the long awaited Arrival of Spring

Well folks, we've made it.  Not that you would know it right now with the "wintry mix" coming out of the sky but spring is here.  I've got tan-lines on my hands from my crochet back gloves.  My clothes smell like camp fire.  My shirt has a salt crust on it.  Yes, these signs all seem to point to the end of winter and the arrival of spring.  I have been indulging in fun fair weather activities as much as possible over the past few weeks.  Last weekend held an excellent ride with Agatha and Jay followed by a weenie roast back at secret headquarters with Ari and his family.  It was a gorgeous day on the bike and we were all overjoyed to be showing some skin and cruising in the sunshine.  I was really glad to have Jay along for a ride out there.  He was putting on quite a display of strength riding his fixed gear Gunnar on the steep terrain of Jo Daviess, and didn't dismount for a single hill.  This weekend Agatha and I made it back out to the Driftless for a nice big ride scouting roads for the upcoming Jo Daviess Drifter 150.  Busy schedules have kept us from doing too much training together this year so far, and it was nice to spend a long day in the saddle together.  Saturday was hot, windy, dry and dusty--a mix of adjectives I haven't used in a long time.  In regards to the Drifter, I can guarantee this ride will traverse some memorable roads and show you some sights you might not have imagined Illinois held.  Hope there is a good turn out.

This road skirts the big river valley with impressive bluff views from north to south

Seem to keep finding these decrepit old bridges...  No cars allowed here.

We also joined some friends for a ride down to Shabbona on Friday.  They camped out down there for the night, but we had to make it back home so we could leave for Jo Daviess, so we headed back to DeKalb after a dinner of steak fajitas cooked in my cast iron skillet set right in the coals of our campfire.  When you're out for a S-24-O, don't ever skimp on dinner, release your inner campfire gourmet!

Barb City Bike Camping portraits.  Keep your eyes peeled for BCBC updates and maybe some patches ;-)

With all this fun it's easy to forget that Trans Iowa is lurking right around the corner.  I will keep up the training this week, and then rest the week before the event and make sure all logistics are in order.  At this point not much else can be done and we are mostly at the whim of mother nature.  The most recent course condition reports are encouraging but who knows what race day will hold? Pretty excited to get out there and see what happens.

Monday, March 24, 2014

More Important Training Tips, Recent Training Activities

Bicycling magazine has published this very helpful and informative guide on how to ride and race your bike on gravel.  I encourage all aspiring gravel riders to read and take this information to heart.  I have some changes to make to my training plans!  While you are at it, I also recommend this helpful training tool:

Next time you head out on a training ride, this can help take the guess work out of what clothing you should wear.  Thank me later!


Here is a dump of photos of spring training efforts so far.  Right now I am at about 700 miles for the month of March.  Looks like I will fall a bit short of the 1,000 mile goal, but I am not too discouraged as my riding has been of high quality and I have been running consistently as well.  Rides out in Franklin Grove, a trip down to the Ozarks for a week, a solo century, commuting, and other rides here and there make up the miles accumulated so far.  Training is going well, the weather at the end of April remains the unknown and unforeseeable variable.  Hope for the best, and keep at it until then.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Take Refuge In Clean Living

The journey to Trans Iowa V10 begins to draw to a close.  The day will soon be here when we gather in Grinnell to face the challenge we have been preparing for.  There is not much time left, but that doesn't mean we should panic.  If you are serious, it is time to dedicate yourself.  Find the time to ride, run, or exercise.  Figure out your bike, your clothing, your equipment.  Keep your thoughts positive.  This one can be harder than it seems, but it is important.  Take refuge in clean living.  How long has it been since you have had alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and other drugs completely out of your system?  There may not be room for these things and Trans Iowa in your life at the same time.  Stay balanced.  There is still work, school, relationships, and family for most people to consider.  It can be done though, people prove that every year.  Two months remain, make them count.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Brief: Short Training Weekend in Jo Daviess Co.

Temps have tipped up a bit over the past few days following the sub-zero "polar vortex" we experienced through early January.  Agatha and I took advantage by making a get away to secret training HQ and did a few fun rides out in Jo Daviess county.  Friday we rode a 30 mile loop up and around the Apple Canyon Lake vacation area, and then on Saturday we did about 25 miles northwest of our location.  Conditions on Friday were pretty ideal, all things considered.  Roads were slushy, and even the paved roads felt like gravel due to the sand/gravel mix applied to give traction on the snow and ice.  The above freezing temperatures felt amazing.  After we finished riding on Friday, some freezing rain started up and then temperatures dropped below freezing overnight.  Against better judgement, we drove over to Galena Friday night and dense fog and freezing roads made for a pretty unpleasant drive.  Coming back to HQ, we had to be pretty strategic about parking our car, as the hills combined with frozen road surfaces and a shitty 4 cylinder compact car could have left us stranded.  We awoke to glass like frozen road surfaces on Saturday and knew we weren't going anywhere until they started to thaw a bit.  The morning sun had thawed the roads by about 12:30 PM and we embarked on a short route.  Towards the end of our ride, the sun had disappeared behind clouds and temperatures had dropped below freezing, resulting in the slushy road surfaces beginning to refreeze. We faced a pretty nerve wracking descent down the gravel section of Clark Rd. at the end of our ride, but managed to keep the bikes upright, laughing afterward about how badly it could have turned out.  This was a good little getaway, with about 55 miles and 5k-6k ft of climbing over the two days.  Would have been great to get some more riding in, but considering the time of year and conditions we were pretty happy with our efforts.  Jo Daviess is magical for riding in all seasons, get out there and get pumped on those relentless hills and valleys.

Agatha aboard Karate Monkey equipped with 2.3" tires, bar mitts, and single speed.  She walked zero hills, very impressive.  Everyone said a 29'r wouldn't fit her so she said "fuck you" and rides this bike everywhere.  The Karate Monkey is a classic.

Me aboard Casseroll equipped with 700x32 Paselas and full fenders.  Fenders kept me so clean, I don't even need to wash the clothes I rode in.  Agatha was laughing about how my skinny little tires were cutting such deep ruts into the soft roads.

Images from Friday only.  Felt like I needed to keep both hands on the controls with the road conditions on Saturday.  A beautiful palette of white, gray, brown, snow and fog.  ALSO thank you JBJ for full fenders.