Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Camera fun


Today i started my attempt to keep the bicycle to a fun and recreational activity. I figured what better way to slow down but to take some photos and video. It is time to make this Mac work a little bit. It is real stupid, but here is what i figured out today.

For your entertainment.... Fun at FINS video with Jim Croche

Monday, June 28, 2010

Frame bag frenzy


This sewing thing is cool. Today i finished my second frame bag for the original Pug frame. I think this one is much better than my first attempt. I learned allot on this one. I am sure the next one will be even better. I got a chance to use the 6L hydration pack i made in San Diego. I must say it is the most comfortable pack i have ever used. This is despite the massive weight of all the water in it. It wears very low and keeps the bulk of the weight below the belt line and on the flattest part of your back when riding keeping the weight off of your shoulders. Standing is not an issue either. I think i am going to try and make a more refined unit. The only place i can see that needs improvement is some kind of baffle in the bladder itself. I am going to look into fuel cell foam, but it obviously needs to be non toxic.

For your entertainment..... the new frame bag, all the frame bags, and the backpack, and a nice picture from the divide

Sunday, June 27, 2010

San Diego trip


Amy and I took off for SD this weekend to enjoy some cooler weather. We got to mom and dads house around midnight and went right to sleep but the dogs kept us up. The next day we had some Mi Ranchito then ran into rodney at kirks bike shop. We got ourselves some 3$ big gulps from 7/11 and went down to the mecca to catch up with the gang at Josh's house for a bit, even the dirt bag was there. Then we went over to see Travis Butler and his family. They are doing great and was good to see them. After that we went for dinner at Amy's Dad's place, it was good to see them also. The next day we had decided we were ready to get home from the Laguna ride. I met the gang at Kirks at 7 and caught a ride up there. We had a great time up there, we got ourselves 26 miles. Amy picked me up at the top of the hill and we were on our way. Happy to be home again.

For your entertainment....... the gang, Rodney's swollen knee, and some other photos from the Lagunas.

Friday, June 25, 2010

On a happy note

After i got home from the tour i made the commitment to learn how to sew. So i got an old singer machine off craigslist and went to work. In a week i have went through about 6 spools of thread and 10 plus yards of fabric. My big interest in sewing is to create new better camp and bike gear. Just like the motor mounts of the old days i am trying to make stuff i need that is not made commercially. In the pictures are a frame bag i made for my homemade pug, and a new hydration pack built to fit my large country ass, and keep me hydrated. It is made around a 6L MSR bladder. The largest bladder commercially available in a hydration pack is 3L or 100oz. Here in the desert southwest big fellers like myself need more water. this totals 1.5 gallons. I built it with the bulk of the weight below the belt line so that my hips would carry the weight and not my back. I am going to put it through its paces this weekend with the guys in San Diego. Further report to follow. My sewing is getting way better every day, but it still sucks.

For your entertainment, a leather cab-e hat i made for the dogs, my frame pack, and my backpack. Enjoy

Sad day on the tour divide

It is with great sorrow that i report the passing of a fellow divide racer Dave Blumenthal. Dave collided with a pickup truck on a narrow gravel road near steamboat springs in the morning hours a couple days ago. Police and EMS were on scene within 20 min of the accident. Dave was transported by air to a hospital in Denver where he was pronounced brain dead yesterday morning around 11 am. In one more great act of kindness Dave is being kept alive for organ donation. Dave leaves behind a wife and 4 year old girl. I feel very fortunate to have met Dave before the start of the race as we shared a dorm room at the Y on Banff. I was able to chat with him a couple of times. He seemed like a very fine fellow. There is a donation fund set up for his family, i will add the link when i get it off of the bikepacking site. This is a picture of Dave and his little girl taken sometime near the start of the race. https://www.greenmountainclub.org/ is the website requested by the family for donations. Here is the newspaper story.... http://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/2010/jun/24/bicyclist-dies-after-steamboat-area-

Here is Dave's personal blog, it wont take long to discover he was a good human being. Tragic loss. http://type2fun.wordpress.com/

I found this photo of us all at the start. Dave is 2 to my left in the green jacket. Between us is his buddy and my new friend Davis Trembley.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quitting is forever


I had hoped to be writing this in mid July to let everybody know i had made it to Antelope Wells in good condition, but the stars were not aligned for me. I am sorry to say that I am out of the race and back home after only 270 miles of the canadian Rockies. Not to make any excuses, long story short, I started to urinate blood late into the first day, followed by kidney pain on day 2 and 3, and a STRONG desire to return home to my beautiful wife. I am sure i could have stayed in eureka and recovered and moved on, but I feel that i had learned the lessons of the divide early. I am pretty disgusted with myself, but at the same time i have a renewed appreciation for the life i have at home, I am a very lucky man. I knew this before but it often takes something like the great divide to remind you of this. I will write a more comprehensive review of my trip in a few days. I am still trying to make scene of everything I experienced and appreciate the lessons thought to me by the great divide. I would whole heartedly recommend that everybody experience there own personal great divide adventure at least once in there life, the lessons learned about life will help you appreciate the simple things and appreciate the things you may take for granted. Thanks again to everybody that supported me in this adventure! More to follow soon.

For your entertainment, some shots from the great divide.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Links for you to enjoy


Here are some links to the tour divide armchair action....

For your entertainment.... La Paz county line... and moonrise over A saguaro

T minus 4


It is getting close. I think i have everything done that needs to be done. Tony at Estrella Cycles took time out of his busy day today to help me squeeze my bike into a bike box for the plane ride. We also got a bunch of my gear in the box as well. My Smartwool jersey was waiting for me when i got home, so now i will not stink..... that bad. I got my last 30 miles in today on the canal. I feel good. I also got a final refinement to my sleep system attachment to the bike. Turns out a simple bungee cord and an old shoelace was the best and lightest and most secure option. Yesterday amy and I took a drive to the Pig downtown and got the only available set of GEAX TNT saguaro tires in Arizona. These tires have ben out of stock everywhere for some time. Just so happened that they took a new set off someone's bike cause they did not want them. Mom and Dad are on there way over to say i before heading to Colorado in there new rubber-tramp-mobile. I was contacted by Matt Lee, the major personality behind the tour divide to transport a few Spot devices with me to Banff. I expect them in the mail today. More tomorrow!

For your entertainment... A map of my favorite training ride i call the west valley monstercross, 40 to 55 miles of singletrack fun. Second is Dad riding Pugsley at Glamis. Finally is horseshoe bend near Page, Az

Enjoy- Chewbaccha

Friday, June 4, 2010

Buckeye dairy farmers


I managed to brave the heat on Wednesday night after my ill fated morning ride in an attempt to see the wednesday night dairy gang before i left. We had ourselves a great ride as always out at fins. There were 6 of us in total. At the end of the ride Ben came over and handed me a wad-O-cash and said it was a collection from the Wednesday night gang. I was unsure what to say as i am uneasy taking things, but it is VERY appreciated! Thank you Guys! I will put it to good use keeping fed and warm on the tour. I am very humbled by the outpouring of support from everybody. I guess i had better not let everybody down. Less than 7 days to the start. The weather is not looking ideal at the start, but that is OK with me. I phoned airport security today trying to find out if i can wear my bike shoes on the plane, they said No. Had a good last day at work yesterday. I was able to get everything squared away for my absence and we had a KICK ASS Meth freak out call. Lesson learned.... Don't do drugs! This morning i rode out to Goodyear and back, it is officially hot now. I am going to continue to sort out my kit and get things ready to go. for your entertainment a couple pictures of the Wednesday night group out at FINS and yet another spectacular Arizona sunset. Enjoy, and Thanks!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Humble Pie

Hey, Today was a prime example of why testing, knowing, and having the right equipment is key for a good ride. I set out at 0500 to get in the last long ride before i head off. The plan was to ride the canal to Goodyear then into FINS and meet up with Tony and Jim at 0630 at the eliot market. Right around the dog track i hear a hiss from my front tire, bummer. i waited to see if the stans would work. it would have if there was any left. I had not added any for some time and was waiting until i swapped in my race tires and stems, that stuff is expensive. Anyway i put my new tube in and took off, i still had time to catch them if i put the hammer down. Within a mile it was flat again. Needless to say 7 patches, 1 tire iron, and 1.5 hours later i was headed for home. I still got 25 miles, but wanted 60-70 today. Oh well. Other lessons learned 1. I need a safety strap on the GPS, the mount is cheap. 2. I need to fix my shoe laces, they got wrapped around the pedal twice today, 3. always carry a tube with slime or stans in it, it is worth the weight, 4 bell glue-less patches SUCK!

Humble Pie......

there is ALWAYS somebody that has done it bigger, better, faster, the harder way, you name it. Always stay humble, cause it is true... here is proof.


simply amazing!

For your entertainment shadow drafting, and my broke tire.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Welcome friends, Tour Divide Plus

Thanks for stopping by and your support!

I am not an avid "Blogger" so please stay with me.. Anyway 7 days to Banff and 10 to the start. Everything is going great. Only one more day of work and i am home free. What is more cool is that our schedule is changing from 24 on 48 off to 48 on 96 off on the 11th of July, since i had up to the 13th off i now have till the 18th off. Ha. Cool. Anyway, i am just about ready with all my gear. I found out last week that my old sleeping bag that i thought was super-duper was in fact not. Lucky for me REI was having a big sale so amy and I broke out the old CC and drove on out there and got the "cool stuff ". Dropped about 2-3 Lbs off the load and saved a ton of space. On a kinda bummer note... My special bags i have ordered a while back will not be to me before i leave PHX. But.... they will be waiting for me in Banff, better late than never i guess. I really wanted to test them out a little before setting sail. Oh well this just adds a new dimension of adventure to this grand adventure. The cool part of getting the bags in banff is that there creator and innovator will be there to help fit and properly load them witch is cool because he is like a legend in the sport of ultra endurance bicycle events. Besides that... It is officially HOT in the Phoenix area now. All day training is out. This is OK, It fits into my training plans to taper off before the start. I think i got myself a great base built up and i hope it serves me well. Anyway, i will try to add a couple pictures to this. This is my bike and most of the stuff i am taking with me. Also is the TD poster. and a cool photo from Castner Mtn, between Flag and Sedona.

Thanks- jim