Non-Academic

General things as they come and go.

Winter Bicycle Commuting Advice

posted Nov 12, 2014, 6:00 PM by Ted Bibby   [ updated Nov 13, 2014, 8:43 AM ]

Winter has come again in North Dakota. I thought I'd share some of the things that I use to get through our sub-zero winters bicycle commuting. As with all gear, you really have to try out combinations of clothing/gear yourself to decide what truly works for you. Below is a list of items I use to leisurely commute to work and look like a normal person once I'm in my office, even though it may be near blizzard conditions.


  • Studded tires. Almost any bike with studded tires can make it through the toughest winter. I think a mountain bike is most versatile on snow and ice, but I happily commute on 700c road wheels with studs all winter. If you're gonna buy studs, go ahead and get carbide. They cost more but they last way longer and if you don't want them you can always resell them on craigslist.
  • Clear or Yellow snow goggles. If you have a problem with fogging you can pull the foam off of the top (above your brow), or drill small holes around the lens to let in extra air, or get a good mask that has a good nose seal and keeps hot air from exiting the bridge of your nose and into/onto your goggles.
  • Cold Avenger face mask. By far my favorite piece of equipment. Creates a great seal around the nose (make sure to use the stick foam that comes with it). The rubber face keeps your mouth free from obstructions and allows for lots of air to enter the mask. There's a green piece inside used to regulate air flow. Get rid of it. In -40 weather I was fine without it. The other "pro-tip" I have is to use a razor blade and cut a thin clean slit in the mask roughly the shape and position as indicated by the orange dots in the above picture. This slit comes in handy so you can stick your finger inside the mask and wipe away that annoying drop of snot hanging off your nose (some people just blow their nose really hard into the mask so the don't have to take it off, that's a little gross for me, unless maybe you're racing somewhere). The other benefit of the slit is so you can feed yourself while riding without taking your mask off, or drink some water from a camel-back. The balaclava version of this mask fixes this problem since you can simply un-Velcro the side to access your face, (but I prefer modifying cheaper things).
  • Insulated Pants. Pictured are two of my favorite insulated pants. 1)Mont Bell UL Thermawrap and 2) Montane Prism pants. Here's why I like them. These pants are ultra light and extremely packable. Both have windproof fabrics with primaloft insulation. They aren't bulky like traditional snow pants, nor are they too fluffy like extreme mountaineering pants. They have an athletic cut to them so pant legs won't catch on chain-rings. They are very comfortable/flexible and warm. I'm pretty sure the MontBell pants have a full length zipper (must have). I bought the Montane pants which were cheaper/ on closeout and I had a full length zipper sewn into the side of each pant leg. This way, you can dress like a "normal" person, shoes and all, then just slip the pants on. The full length zipper allows for any size boot or shoe to be worn while putting them on. I highly recommend either of these pants over ski pants, snow pants, or rain pants. They are also made of soft fabrics that are not crinkly or noisy. When you get to the office, open the leg zippers all the way to the hips, step out of them and BOOM you're "normal" again!
  • Pogies. It's amazing how much warmer your hands are in a thin pair of gloves and inside these basic handlebar covers. You can wear thinner gloves and thus, you have greater dexterity to shift gears, turn your lights on/off, manipulate your lock, and grab your keys. Sure they look funny, but the functionality is huge. You can even store small items inside them while riding like food, batteries, keys etc. There are a bunch of "bicycle specific" pogies out there. You can spend upwards of $100 on a pair of these BUT, I bought a pair of $13 ATV pogies on Amazon and they have been awesome. You can't beat the price (made by Quad Gear). "Pro-tip": add pillow stuffing to them by cutting open a seam to increase insulation for ultra cold use (like the Arrowhead 135!).
  • Jacket. Any good windproof jacket will do. What ever works best for you. I prefer a sort of catch-all over everything jacket/parka rather than layering. Mainly because I want to dress normally, throw on my insulated pants and a single insulated jacket and head out the door. I find this is better than putting on a base layer, then a fleece then a whatever then a shell then a whatever then a... You get the idea. Layering is great for winter sports where conditions change rapidly, but bike commuting, you'll pretty quickly get an idea what you need to wear to stay comfortable to get you where you're going.
  • Shoes: I prefer snow boots on platform pedals and then I change shoes when I get to work. Some people swear by clip-less pedals/shoes but I find my feet get too cold. Clip-less might be better suited for warmer temperatures and/or more aggressive biking. There's tons of opinions about which style footwear to use. I just want to keep my feet warm and be able to comfortably/leisurely push my bike through snow drifts (as occasionally happens) without getting snow in my shoes and cold toes. See my page below about choosing nice big griping platform pedals for snow biking.
That's it folks. I hope there are some helpful tips you can use this winter. Email me if you have a question or tip and I'll add it to the list. 



Maah Daah Hey 100: Race Recap, August 2, 2014

posted Aug 7, 2014, 11:35 AM by Ted Bibby   [ updated Nov 3, 2014, 9:51 AM ]

Maah Daah Hey 100: Race Recap, August 2, 2014

After reading another racer’s recollection of how the MDH100 went for him/her I was inspired to jot some thoughts down and some details. It also sounds like more fun that working at the moment, so here we go. For some background, I’m your average rider. I don’t train, I just enjoy riding bikes, eating pastries, and drinking coffee. I consider myself pretty low key. I have a fair amount of experience doing endurance events as an everyday kind of guy. I’m not an endurance racer; I just try to do what I need to do to finish races happy, regardless of place. This tends to be pretty successful rather than putting everything on the line.

The MDH100 is 100 miles through the ND badlands. There are 3 aid stations at every ~25miles. We had a great crew coming from Grand Forks to complete the race, (Myself, Dave, Michelle, Kevin, Eric, Aaron, Jason, Justin, Okoni, Mark, and Marty). In preparation for the race I hydrated for almost 3 days prior to. I drank mostly water and “Scratch” an electrolyte drink and peed constantly for the 3 days before the race. Doing things like this makes you seem a little crazy and I felt like a middle aged man with a bladder problem that I see commercials about on TV. Ok, so 3 days pre- hydration, regular eating. Reached Watford city of Friday and made camp at the CCC shelter, ate double portions at registration and pre-race dinner (which was delicious), and stayed up fairly late around the campfire with the crew.

Some details: I rode my Salsa El Mariachi (steel 29r hard-tail). Front suspension (good), gears (good), tubeless tires at ~28ish psi (good). I weigh ~180lbs, 6’1”, 28 y/o. I had 2 water bottles on the frame and a 2L hydration bladder on my back. I also had a small “Jand” ¼ frame bag to hold food and electrolyte mixes. I wore some bike shorts, a lightweight but long sleeve fishing style shirt (airy yet hopefully providing some sun protection), and a helmet with a visor. I grew up in Florida and I love love love hot weather, and I knew that the heat was gonna really be the deciding factor for everyone out there. It would make or break anyone and so I did the best I could think of to pay attention to it. I was surprised how many people I saw wearing black kits. I mean they look pretty bad ass, but I just couldn’t imagine the logic. It seemed like a lot of the other riders/racers were underestimating the sun and eat. Or was I over estimating?

 Ok, on to the race. I started in the back of the pack with friends wearing a light wind breaker. It was cool in the morning and I was concerned that I would be loosing precious energy to stay warm in the morning. Precious energy I’d needed for the next 12+ hours ahead of me. I think it was a good choice for about the first 30 minutes of the race. Of course I started sweating, but no worries I have all day, so I stopped and fixed what was wrong. This in the end was my moto and something I learned from snow biking in North Dakota. If anything is ever uncomfortable, ever, stop and fix it. This is generally my moto for endurance events, long ones that last many hours. I might have a bit of different logic for anything under 3 hours. The first 25 miles were wonderful except for breathing dust the whole time from the racers ahead of me. Oh well. The climb of never ending switchback to the top was tough, but I intended to keep things mellow all day so I took it easy and tried not to ever get my heart rate high. I made it to the plateau and enjoyed finally getting some speed, again not working too hard, but just enough to pass some folks. Nothing much more memorable for the first 25 miles. I knew I was coming close to the first checkpoint and was forcing myself to eat something every 30 minutes regardless if I was hungry or not (another tip from ND snow biking). I also encouraged myself to finish my camel back (2L) before the first checkpoint. These two things pretty much got me through the race. I made it to the first aid station, refueled filled all my bottles and camel back with water/drink mix, took an ibuprofen, and headed out in less than 10 minutes.

The race was finally starting to string out and I could appreciate the beautiful vistas and open spaces. Another 25 miles and 3 hours went by fairly uneventful. Devils pass was awesome and I almost flew off of it when my front tire hit a patch of soft sand in a corner, while going downhill about 27+ mph. I found during the race that I descended better than most of the riders I came upon, but they climbed better (or were at least willing to put more energy into climbing than I was). Again, I knew I still had a long day ahead of me, and was saving previous energy. I drank my bladder dry again, and worked on the two water bottles. I ate a GU every hour and a “Larabar” on every half hour. Now’s the time to reflect on what happens when you drink a little more than 3 L. of water every 3 hours. Of course you have to pee. And I peed a lot. I probably pee’d 3 to 5 times between every check or twice an hour. This was of course a blessing and a curse. Staying hydrated like this really works best for me in a long event or I will absolutely get leg cramps. On the other hand, any time I passed someone, I’d almost immediately have to pull over, which made me feel like a jerk. I let a little more pressure out of my rear tire to soften the cow hoof prints and made it to the river crossing in good spirits, no mechanicals yet, and enjoyed the cool walk through the river. I wanted to lay down in it, but I was feeling a little competitive. It was great to get to the 2nd checkpoint. It was such a party and all the volunteers were awesome. Seeing them really made my day and was something I looked forward to at each checkpoint. I was amazed how many happy people there were scattered along the trail. All in all at CP2 I was doing fine. I changed my socks, filled all my bottles, took an ibuprofen, ate some salty Pringles (awesome), dumped electrolyte mix into everything, and headed out.

The next section sucked. That’s really all there is to say concisely. It got very hot. I had been on the bike for 6ish hours, had covered 50ish miles and knew that after CP2 the real race had finally started. The first part anyone could do. The second half was what makes or breaks all endurance events. Knowing this goes a long way for controlling confidence and staying positive. I kept riding at a moderate pace and trying to go as fast as possible on the down hills. My moto on the down hills was “easy miles, easy miles” and I said this repetitively to myself over the next 4+ hours. I was now in the heat of the day and was finally starting to feel pretty crappy. My brain felt like it was baking and this sectioned seemed like it went on forever. It was lots of long open sections, little shade, and little breeze. I remember seeing many riders during this section who were stopping and resting in what shade they could find. I probably passed 10 people doing something like this. I eventually ran into my friend Jason. At this point I wasn’t very happy and Jason I don’t think was doing so well either. We were both happy to see each other and we chatted a bit but I knew we were both over-heating (he more than I) though he wouldn’t admit it. He told me I was doing great and if I felt up to it I should try and finish the race. And I thought to myself “shut the hell up Jason, don’t jinx me, I’m in a silly spot, I’m angry, my brains feel like mush, and you’re not helping.”  Then I apologized to him for my thoughts, told him I was in a bad mood and that I don’t mean anything I say or do. I think he understood and he let me leave as he stopped to break in the shade. At this point I touched the top of my helmet and it had to be at least 100 degrees F. I was seeing the devil and I decided I had to finally for the first time in the race, take a break. I stopped in some shade behind a bluff, keeping my legs straight to avoid any possibility from cramps and decided to pour some electrolyte drink on my head (something I avoided doing earlier, since I didn’t want to become sticky). It worked I cooled down in the shade pretty quickly and immediately knew I was in a much better place (physically and mentally) than I was 10 minutes ago.

I jumped back on the bike and headed up what seemed like tons of open climbs. I don’t really remember many details about the trail. Most of the time my head was focused on staying in the ruts, not cramping, and avoiding using energy to keep balanced while riding slowly uphill in the ruts. It’s very easy to over correct in this situation and use lots of energy from your core to stay balanced. I knew this and many times I walked up long hills. My feet were beginning to sting as I walked and I knew I had blisters by now, but oh well, I (the collective we) could push through it. I didn’t see anyone until the third check point and by the time I got there it was a little before 6pm. My spirits rose instantly again seeing friendly people. I took another small break, sitting down in a lounge chair, filling all my bottles again, eating more, taking another ibuprofen, and preparing for the final push. By now I knew I only had 25 more miles to go and I was on a great schedule, regardless of what happened I could practically walk to the finish.

The last 25 miles were great. The trail was super smooth and surprisingly fun to ride. It would be much more fun if I wasn’t exhausted. I passed a prairie dog village, and flushed 15 turkeys from some tall grass. I smelled a dead deer carcass, and biked through a couple cow herds. I was tired and moving very very slowly. I was walking my bike around 2.5 mph on the slightest uphill’s. I knew I was running out of energy and just needed to eat. Quite like writing this long race recap, my desire to finish strong had dwindled and I didn’t care about the details anymore. By this point in the race I was in all cases pretty good. No mechanicals, bike was working almost perfectly, hints of leg cramps but the mtb gods kept them away, and no major crashes! Everything at been about as close to 100% as possible. If you've ever done a race you’ll know how unlikely this scenario really is. Inevitably something will go wrong, but for me the race was nearly perfect. I don’t think there would've been a way to prevent getting cooked by the sun short of an umbrella tied to my handle bars.

I rode to the finish line with the best welcoming crowd I have ever had ever. It was amazing, the sun was setting, I got cheers, high fives, and pictures. I was amazed. I guess that’s what happens when you finish before everyone goes home. I had no idea. It was great. I was salty and covered in cow poop but I had finished and just under 15hrs! I’m pretty confident this was the hardest race I’ve done (and completed). Thank you to the race organizer, the volunteers, and the GFK crew (who drove my van into a ditch). Thanks for reading if you made it this far. I hope the devil wasn't in the details.


 

Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island

posted Jun 6, 2014, 9:30 AM by Ted Bibby   [ updated Jun 6, 2014, 9:41 AM ]

Panoramas of Reynolds Mansion on Sapelo Island. Some people look like monsters.









Fat Bike Pedals, aka: Really big platform pedals!

posted Nov 22, 2013, 9:26 AM by Ted Bibby   [ updated Nov 22, 2013, 11:56 AM ]

Keywords: fatbike pedals, large platform pedals, big pedals, downhill pedals, winter bike pedals, wide platform pedals

I've been trying to decide on which pedals to buy for winter riding. I wanted ones that had the largest possible platform to accommodate big winter boots but also wouldn't break the bank. Attached is a spreadsheet of my findings as of 11/22/13. One thing to note, is that I don't know specifically what width is reported or where it is measured from. Does Width mean outside pedal to where the metal stops on the last thread of the spindle? Or does it mean outside edge to where closest edge of the spindle contacts the crank arm, or does it simply mean physical platform and ignores any lengthening from the spindle?

In my opinion the Wellgo B185 is the best option and at a great price. If you want pure size the Welgo 185 (111mm wide) barely out widths other competitors such as 45 North's Helva, Heiruspecs and VP Components VP-59  (all 110mm wide). There are two plastic pedals with the greatest width but I was not interested in them. For over all area, DMR's Vault and DMR's Brendog platform pedal win with 12075 mm2 of space, this is accomplished by having a longer platform rather than a wider platform as far as I can tell. The only other concern and unknown with all the pedals is how well the bearings hold up when it's -20F out. Email if you have any other contenders.
Wellgo's B185
45 North's Helva
DMR's Vault
VP Components VP-59

Fatbike Pedals 2014






Sandhills Ultra Run Experience (END-SURE)

posted Mar 13, 2013, 12:33 PM by Ted Bibby   [ updated Mar 13, 2013, 12:45 PM ]

A .kmz file foYou are here

A.kmz (Google Earth) & .gpx (Garmin Mapsource) file of the 2013 race route. See files below


Extreme North Dakota Sandhills Ultra Run Experience (END-SURE)

Race Summary:  Registration is open! Register HERE

Racer Update #1 (3/8/2013)

GPS map/iPhone app directions

Spectators: Follow the race live on Facebook or Twitter!

The Sheyenne National Grasslands, just outside of Fargo, ND, is home to an almost exactly 50 km section of the North Country trail, that winds across grasslands, rolling prairie, and the surprisingly rugged 'sand-hills'. After running it last spring, Grant Mehring and I decided it would be a good addition to the END series of events.  Of course we had to make it a little tougher, so we set the date as the last weekend of winter!

A winter Ultra!  Awesome! New Update - 2 person relay category is now available!

Details: Racer Updates via our Facebook event page.

Date:  March 16, 2013

Cateogories:  Full 50 K, 2 person relay team.

Event Cap:  75 total participants


Location: Sheyenne National Grasslands, approx. 45 minutes SW of Fargo, ND.  Here's a Map.

Relay details: Each RELAY participant (2 person teams only) will be charged the normal registration fee minus $10. This means that relay teams registering before March 1st will pay $80 total, or $40 per person.  Why not a bigger break?  Well, our costs are essentially the same for relay and full participants.  We're just trying out the relay category this year.  Relay teams will be ranked against other relay teams but we will not have the main prizing in this category. Relay participants are eligible for all raffle prizes however, and will each get swag, meal, pats on the back for a job well done, etc.  Participants in the relay category will transfer bib numbers at approximatley the half way point through the course.  Maps to this location will be provided.  Runners doing the second leg should provide transportation at the switch off location so that the first leg runner has a way to get to the finish line - we will not provide transportation to or from the half relay switch location. 

Past Races:

Woo Hoo!  This is the first time this race has ever been held!  Come help set the bar high for future ENDracers!

All profits from this event - and all ENDracing events - will help support Ground UP adventures, a local North Dakota non-profit dedicated to bringing adventure to the region's youth and larger communities.

 

Arrowhead 135, Winter Ultra

posted Jan 22, 2013, 5:07 PM by Ted Bibby   [ updated Jan 22, 2013, 5:13 PM ]

I'm participating in the Arrowhead 135 winter ultra this coming week. Thoughts of ultra cold rigidly make their way through my head. You can ski, bike or run your way through 135 miles of northern MN wilderness. The 10 day forecast has it in the 20's! That's good news, (I was expecting -5 F or so). Attached to this post is a semi-statistical breakdown of all the people participating if you want to know who or what you're up against. Lot of info on the website and lots of racer blogs to read.
www.arrowheadultra.com/
Arrowstart

Double Prominence Eruptions

posted Nov 20, 2012, 2:20 PM by Ted Bibby   [ updated Nov 20, 2012, 2:24 PM ]

Surly Pugsley fat bike fenders diy

posted Nov 19, 2012, 9:30 AM by Ted Bibby   [ updated Nov 19, 2012, 9:33 AM ]

Yesterday I made some fenders for my fat bike. This design would work with any model: Salsa Mukluk, Surly Pugsley... and/or all the other custom frames. It all went together pretty quickly, about an hour total labor, cutting and perfecting. The tubing is 4" diameter corrugated drain piping. It cost $4 for a 6 foot section at the local hardware store. Because you cut the piping in half you get 12 feet of material! I actually cut the pipe in half and then took another inch of material from the side to give better clearance for the tires. The front fender fits over the fat bike wheel, but I usually commute on the studded tire pictured, so it looks like I have tons of clearance. The piping is a little flexible when cut and it will not cooperate if you want it curve perfectly around the tire. See files below for more pictures.




Sample Cam

posted May 25, 2012, 8:15 AM by Ted Bibby   [ updated May 29, 2012, 2:30 PM ]

Videos!

posted May 24, 2012, 10:33 AM by Ted Bibby   [ updated May 24, 2012, 10:36 AM ]

I went on a 4 day float down Green River, Utah to welcome the end of the spring semester and the beginning of summer. My friend Megan made a video of the trip.

Also, I again entered into JLG Architects video competition and was awarded 3rd place  for my video! Tough competition. Check out their youtube page for the other submissions.

YouTube Video


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