New Road/CX/Gravel Bike

Posted: May 20, 2015 by Mark in Uncategorized


The new road bike is similar to my last one but includes a number of refinements plus a nicer paint job.

I starting my design process with my target position.

For this bike I decided to go with a body position with bars a little lower and further out vs. my last road/cx bike. The following is a drawing of my new position while riding in the standard positions.

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With an understanding of the body position, I moved on to design aspects of the frame that impact how it rides. I really like how my recent mountain bikes feel and wanted to capture this on the road bike while still supporting the low bar position.

My knees, heels, and calves track very close to the center line of the bike. On most normal road bikes often find that my knees brush the sides of the top tube. When climbing, I have occasionally been annoyed with my knees brushing the sides of the headtube near the stem. Part of what I like about my mountain bikes is that the top tube is low and out of the way.

I went with an extremely sloping top tube that puts the bike down low. I also decided to keep the chainstays long enough to prevent my heels from brushing them when pedaling. I also happen to like the feel of my mountain bike with a relaxed head tube angle. In addition, I used an oversize 38mm Reynolds 853 downtube for rock solid stability when climbing or when bombing down nasty gravel roads. The result is a road/cx bike that looks a lot like a mountain bike.

The normal way that I will ride the bike is with an ENVE CX fork that has 395mm axle to crown and 47mm offset. I have the option to swap the fork to an ENVE road model to change the geometry for handling that is more traditional. This will require me to use a set back seat post but otherwise have minimal impact on my body position. In addition ENVE will soon release a gravel specific fork to provide a third option.

I do not include the traditional “effective top tube length” measurement. The ETT is 588mm with the CX fork but I prefer to think about bikes based on the front center measurement especially because in many cases the top tubes on bikes that I build are not level.

I have ridden the bike with both the road and CX fork options. Currently I prefer the more relaxed geometry and larger tire clearance using the CX fork.

The bike is finished with rich emerald green sparkle powder coat finish. Components are a mix of old and new stuff with TRP hydro brakes and Duraace nine speed. I run the cable routing under the top tube and down the seat stays using enclosed (no zip tie) guides.

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Nuclear Burn Time Trial

Posted: May 10, 2015 by jarzmtb in Uncategorized

Another great guest blog post from our team rider Michael Jarzomski.


The Nuclear Burn was a casual sprint time trial organized by TORC. About 30 riders showed up throughout the day and chose a time slot to put in their fastest 6.5 mile lap. I showed up around noon right behind Farnsworth team rider John Haddock. He signed up for the 12:30 time slot. I decided to sign up for the 12:32 time slot. This would give me a “rabbit” to chase. Knowing that John is super strong, I wasn’t expecting to catch him, but this was certainly the push I needed.

With 10 minutes till my time slot I decided to do a little warm up. Apparently time went in fast forward and I almost missed my start time. I heard my name being yelled and I sprinted to the start line, taking off a little late.

Being a sprint race I pretty much shut down my brain and went wide open. I kept spotting John, but Harris Lake is tight and twisty and I didn’t seem to be catching up. The direction of the trail was opposite of what I normally ride it, but it was perfect for single speed.

The race was over before I knew it. I crossed the finish line and venture over to the tent for my final time. John gets his time, 31:44. A few minutes later they announce my time, 30:55. I was very happy to pull off the winning lap time, not only in single speed, but also overall. John maintained 2nd place and also held one of the fastest lap times of the day. Another great ride on the Farnsworth, running 34/19 gearing.

Team rider Michael “Vandy” VandenHeuvel also raced single speed with a strong 4th place effort.

Lake Norman Six Hour

Posted: May 9, 2015 by Mark in Uncategorized

Today, I competed in the first race of the Southern Endurance Series.

And I actually won!

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I’m super, super happy about the race! My Industry Nine Wheels, Endless cog, and Farnsworth Bicycle performed great. It was a long, tough race, but the miles flew by as we cruised through the smooth and fast trails of Lake Norman State Park.

As is always true at races like this, the start was fast and furious. However, to make the start even crazier than normal, the promoter offered a special $50 “hole shot” prize to the first racer to enter the single track after completing the 300 meter pavement section at the start. In the melee that followed, I almost crashed on the asphalt and entered the single track around 20th, putting me a few riders behind the lead single speed racer. We stayed like this for the first two hours.

In the middle of the race, I was passed by a Faster Mustache rider. I rode behind him for a while until he cranked up the pace too much and I let him go. Six hour races are long. Things change and it is always best to ride your own pace.  At some point, the lead single speed rider was waylaid with cramps.  I figured I was in third place and decided to maintain a steady pace.

I went through the pit area with minimal stopping. I picked up a bottle every lap, but did not eat anything or stop for any other reason. My goal was a steady pace. The fuel that I used in my bottles was a mix of water, honey, salt, and lemon juice so as not to lose time chewing solid food or slowing down to open gel packs.

I did not know until the race was over that my no-stopping strategy had actually worked. I somehow passed the Faster Mustache rider while he stopped to refuel.

It was a great race and I am very happy that the bike performed so well.

PMBAR 2015 – Unabridged

Posted: May 5, 2015 by jarzmtb in Uncategorized

A great guest blog post from our team rider Michael Jarzomski.


PMBAR 2015 marks my 3rd time taking on this epic adventure through Pisgah National Forest.  This year I teamed up with Tom Boylan, one of the area’s strongest single speeders.  The race started out 15 minutes late to accommodate the long check in line.  It was about 46 degrees and temporary attire was difficult to figure out considering the high of 75 to come.  I made the mistake of wearing a hat and arm warmers, which were unnecessary after 3 minutes of climbing off the start line.

Up Thrift Cove to start, Tom and I took off with the lead group.  We were among the top 10 to get to Presley Gap but had to stop to plot our route.  Mark and John rolled up soon after and we all agreed to ride the same route.  Mark sent off Tom and I since he thought we had a “better chance” at winning.  We took off down Maxwell to Clawhammer, Avery Creek Road, then 276.  The ride on 276 to 475 was way longer than I expected.  The plan was to do Daniel’s Ridge as an out and back, then Bracken as an out and back.  To be honest, I forget what the rest of the plan was.

Up to Daniel’s Ridge, we were to the checkpoint before we expected.  We are told we are the first to the checkpoint.  Crap.  We did something wrong…no way we should be first if this was the right way to go.  We stuck to our plan and descended back down Daniel’s Ridge and back to 475C to get out to Bracken.  We see Mark and John bombing back down about 1/4 of they way up.  “Change of plans!” Well great, this confirmed we didn’t take the ideal route. They chose Bracken first and Daniel’s Ridge up and over.  We forgot that there was a short section open at the top of 276 to connect to Yellow Gap.

We continued on our way up to Bracken.  I had never been on 475C and this was a long fire road climb.  Finally at the top, we decide to reevaluate our route.  We recognize what we did wrong and decide to take Headwaters (475B) up to 276 to connect to Yellow Gap.  We had initially planned on heading down for a counter clockwise loop to collect the rest of the checkpoints.  The 6 mile climb up Headwaters wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t my thing.  Tom pulled on me a few times and my mood diminished.

Once we get to Yellow Gap we reevaluate our route once again.  We decide to change it up and hike a bike up Pilot (with the plan to turn around and come back down).  At this point we thought about going for only 4 checkpoints.  Up Pilot, we are moving along well on the hike-a-bike.  We eventually catch a couple of guys pushing at about half our pace.  We knew we were pretty close to the top and thought we could use the break so we followed them the rest of the way up.  We later found out that Mark and John were only one switch back ahead of us (confirmed by Strava Flyby).  Had we not slowed up behind the other guys, we probably would have caught up with them and rode out the rest of the day with the entire team.

Over the top of Pilot and down the gnarly descent on the top of Laurel, we collect checkpoint number 3 on Laurel.  Our mood is not great.  We were both thinking our directional error put us out of the running.  Another change of plans, we don’t feel like hike-a-biking back up Laurel so we choose to continue down instead. The descent down seemed to take forever.  We definitely were NOT bombing it.  At the bottom we stop for water off Yellow Gap.  The plan was to head over to the checkpoint at Horse Cove and skip the South Mills/Bradley checkpoint.  Water filter problems led to about a 15 minute break, and a decision that we would be stupid not to get all 5 checkpoints considering we were sitting at the top of Bradley Creek. Another complete route change and we are off down Bradley Creek.

The knee deep creek crossings that I normally despise feel great. I stopped a few times in the middle just to cool off. We make our way to the intersection where we marked the checkpoint and it is nowhere to be found.  Another look at the passport and I realize I marked it in the wrong spot.  A little confusion and we find our way to the South Mills/Bradley Creek checkpoint.

JAMBALAYA!  The volunteers at this checkpoint were awesome. They have been volunteering for 6 years and decided to cook up a special treat this year. Two bowls and a scoop of pasta salad later, we realized we had been hanging around way to casually and decide we better get on our way.

South Mills River. I don’t know why it always gets me but it does. Tom and I both got completely lost…a mistake we both have made in years past. We started up the short climb where South Mills splits with Maxwell. We insisted were we must be on Maxwell and turned around before getting to the split. We went down a trail that led to a campsite, turned around and up the Turkey Pen parking lot connector, back again to the foot bridge. At least 5 map checks. Twenty or so minutes lost, we finally came across a knowledgeable hiker that pointed us in the right direction – the way we went originally, up the short climb where Maxwell and South Mills splits.

Finally on track to the final checkpoint at Horse Cove, we find our way to Cantrell Creek. It’s a steady climb for a couple miles through lots of loose rocks. Annoying on a hard tail single speed (even more for Tom on fully rigid), but we get through it and find our way the Horse Cover connector. This trail was a serious hike a bike, and even though it looked short, it seemed to take forever. At the top, our fifth and final checkpoint awaits us.

Having collected all 5 checkpoints and with a fully belly of Jambalaya, we both came alive. I’ve never ridden Squirrel heading west and it was an absolute blast. We bombed it and made really good time. Back on South Mills up to Buckhorn gap – the steady climb and perfect trail conditions made this long and steady climb easy and refreshing. At the top we bomb down Clawhammer to Maxwell. It is a wide open shred down loose gravel.

Knowing that the end was near, I pushed it into high gear and we hauled up Maxwell. We passed a good 20 riders on the way up. I felt terrible that we went by the so fast. Some riders were pushing their bikes. At the top we are welcomed by the final hike a bike up black mountain. I forgot about this, but it was over before we knew it.

Tom and I opened it up, passing people walking or dabbing on the technical descent on Black. Nothing slows us down, the end is near. The final descent down the bottom of black is all out wide-open throttle. Eric Weaver knows how to win over the hearts of those who he crushes with this ruthless event. Finishing down black mountain is spectacular. I hit the dirt berm and clear about ¾ of the 90 degree bridge. At the bottom Tom and I cross the line together in 11:25 with 85 miles and 11k feet of elevation behind us. Five checkpoints gives us a 2 hour time bonus so we are penciled down for 9:25.

We were greeted on arrival by Mark and John. They had finished an hour earlier. Our directional mistakes and casual stops put us way behind. Rich Dillen also welcomed us at the line…curious if we got all 5 checkpoints. It was down to a few minutes, but our mistakes cost us. We ended up in 4th place in SS with Mark and John in first, Rich and Zac 2nd and another team I don’t know in 3rd. The two Farnsworth teams were the only single speed teams to get 5 checkpoints!

The “what ifs” have gone through my head over the past few days. That is the great thing about this event, you really never know what could happen. It was a perfect day in Pisgah and another great PMBAR. Tom was a great partner and I think we matched up well for the long challenge. And once again, Tom and I’s Farnsworth single speeds delivered. Our gear choice was perfect (34/21), and we had no mechanicals or crashes.

Looking forward to PMBAR 2016!

PMBAR Single Speed WIN!

Posted: May 2, 2015 by Mark in Uncategorized

John and I won the single speed category at PMBAR!!!!!

The other Farnsworth team at the race was Tom and Mike with 4th place in the single speed category. They went super fast but took a couple of wrong turns. Part of the fun and the challenge of this race is the navigation. You need to have great legs, great teamwork, good luck, and navigation skills.

Awesome day! In Pisgah National Forest not much is smooth but today ran just about perfectly.

Things that were super smooth:

  • John provided perfect pacing like a smooth running machine
  • John handled all navigation and picked a perfect route
  • Our fuel from Tailwind was awesome, 10+ hours, no solid food but super smooth energy level thanks to liquid nutrition
  • My drivetrain with 34 tooth ring, 20 tooth Endless cog, and I9 wheels super smooth all day long!

Just about a perfect day at one of the hardest races there is. Great competition in the SS team category with Zack Avent and Rich (Dicky) Dillen in second. Third was very close behind with Jim Rivers and Gary Chambers.

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Our route was around 85 miles with 10k climbing.

You don’t go to the races with the legs you want; you go with what you have. I never know what to expect when tested and this race worked out well for me. Still recovering from my ankle surgery (12/24/2015) and can’t walk well, met with my surgeon Friday morning, and injected Cortisone into front of ankle. I was pessimistic about the shot, Cortisone injections have not worked for me in the past. I know you are supposed to take it easy after the shots, not sure why, but Fridays ride felt good and I had improved ability to walk, not so much of a shuffle.

With reduced inflammation and added mobility I am feeling pretty good, and I find a local 6 hour race the following day. My thought is a 6 hour race is easier than 12 hours and the doctor said take it easy. I arrive at Crabtree Park Saturday at 2:45, and race starts at 3:00, my usual rushing around, poor planning on my part. Smooth trails, close to home, no hike a bike (this would not be an option with the ankle condition). This year I ran 36×20, compared to last year running 34×18, the plan is to try to run easier gears this year.

Matt jumped out ahead and set a fast pace from the start, I pushed hard to stay with Matt and Arron the duo winners throughout the race, but by the third lap they were off the front. I settled in at my pace, enjoying the race with more comfort than expected, then Corey Fisher did challenge me. I did not want to be passed, but did not have enough gas in the tank. I accepted the defeat, i was passed, he was second place duo and he is on my team, plus it was nice to see his handling skills on the orange Farnsworth, throwing it into the corners and hammering it on the straights.

This was my 4th ride and 2nd off road ride on Black Betty, with the Magura suspension fork, nice and tight handled flawless throughout the six hours. I couldn’t ask for a better ride, this bike is everything I want, it will have a bunch of miles when I am finished with it. I am really looking forward to the rest of my season, running it hard. Tire choose may not have been the best, Thunder Burt,  light and great rolling, but with the reduced knobbies when the rain started become a little sketchy in the turns.

Big thanks Farnsworth Bicycles; great frames, unlimited color options,  44 heads tube, PF 30 BB, Paragon sliders, convertibility, rock solid handling, comfort, and reliability. Crank Arm Brewing, because when you plan to “GO FAR” you need to consider your hydrational requirements. Rouler Sportswear provides great custom apparel with unmatched comfort for the long haul.

Additional sponsorship from Industry NineEndless Bike CompanyParagon Machine WorksTorrenti CyclesReynoldsCrank Arm BrewingRouler Sportswear.

Deborah Hage was kind enough to share these great photos from the event.

Petite 29er

Posted: April 17, 2015 by Mark in Uncategorized

Although my wife is a huge part of my life, as a person, she is a fairly compact. At 5’3″ (if you round up), she is not what you would call tall, but she is the perfect size to ride the Farnsworth Petite 29er.

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