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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

6 Hours of Warrior Creek

Posted: April 6, 2015 by jarzmtb in Uncategorized

image

Photo credit: Scott George

Another race on the books with Farnsworth Bicycles on my custom steel single speed. The mass race start on concrete never works well on single speed (unless you are Quadsworth), but I held a decent position for the first 2 miles before heading off road and eventually into the single track with Mark [Farnsworth] on my wheel. We pushed along and passed a few people who blew up off the start line, but pretty much held our position until Tom Boylan caught up. It was great for all 3 team Farnsworth riders to be rolling together.

At some point Mark dropped off the train. Tom and I decided to push forward and pick off a few groups in front of us. Eventually we caught up with single speeder Watts Dixon. I’ve read a bit about Him in Dicky’s blog and knew he was a strong rider. He was holding a great pace so we decided to tag along. We pitted at lap one and Watts got a lead. Tom and I were feeling great and eventually caught back up. Unfortunately Tom had a crash on one of the gnarly bridges that sadly ended his day.

I pushed along with Watts…I was still happy with his pace. I decided to skip the pit heading into lap 3. My strategic plan was to collect a water bottle I had had lost on lap 1. I was ahead of Watts at this point, so I gave him the heads up that I’d be stopping for the bottle. Bottle spotted and collected, Watts decided to hit the nitrous button. I never saw him again. I pushed along, feeling pretty good.  Rich Dillen was racing duo and caught me at the transition as we finished lap 3.  Thoughts of riding duo instead of solo weighed heavily on me at that moment.

I found myself in lap four all alone. No one in sight in front or behind me. I picked off riders that I knew I was lapping, but had no rabbit to chase. I hate being in this position. My mental state starts to suffer and my pace slowed. I push along and make my way to the pit before lap 5. As I’m chowing down on half a banana and fig newtons I see Mark roll by. I had a feeling he was catching up. Seeing Him gave me a sudden burst of drive and I caught up quickly. He was carrying a great pace and we pushed each other along. We picked off two more single speeders and a few geared bikes. We tried guessing what position we were in but had no clue. The time looked close to making the 6 lap cut off so we pushed along.

The mileage and elevation really started to kill our mo and toward the end of lap 5 we could see one of the single speeders catching up again. It looked like we wouldn’t make the cutoff time, but Mark yelled to me to go go go. Mark gave me the pass and I took off for the last 3 miles, wide open throttle. I picked off a few more riders, but didn’t manage to catch any more single speeders.

I crossed the line in 5:46 (missing cutoff by 6 minutes). I ended up in 6th place in single speed and 33rd overall (including 20 duo teams in front of me). I made my way around to watch Mark finish a few minutes behind. It was an amazingly strong single speed field with Wes Richards and Gordon Wadsworth taking the number 1 and 2 spots within 3 seconds of each other and 6 laps behind.

The official Results are posted on Blue Mountain Revival site.

Simply an awesome race, perfect for single speed.  The Farnsworth SS once again did not disappoint. My back felt great and the bike handled perfectly. Looking forward to teaming up with Tom and racing PMBAR in a few weeks.

Gravel Grinder

Posted: April 2, 2015 by Mark in Uncategorized

It’s a neo-retro road bike with features like room for fat tires, hydraulic disk brakes, and old school bar end shifters.

It’s built for SPEED with a top gear of 50/11 and a shifting system that allows me to work nine cassettes and two chainrings so that I can handle rides that include high speed and low speed areas. My position on the bike uses narrow “road” style bars so I will have an easier time on group rides vs. trying to paceline with my 720mm wide mountain bike bars. Currently I have 35mm slick tires on the bike but I can run smaller or larger tires depending on where I am riding.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Love Valley Roubaix

Posted: March 29, 2015 by Mark in Uncategorized

Love Valley is a 50 mile long race with big climbs on a course that is a mix of gravel and pavement. It’s a great course where Road, Cyclocross, Mountain Bikes, and single speeds test themselves in the NC mountains.
Love Valley

Riding an event like this on a single speed is always interesting. The “perfect” gear for any race is influenced by the course, the rider, weather, fitness level, competition, etc. The Love Valley race decision also included a lot of guess work. Looking at an elevation profile and talking with others can only go so far. Deciding what to ride without actually visiting the area is never perfect.

Using the elevation profile and rider reports for prior years I knew the steep parts were indeed VERY steep. I also knew that there were some fast sections plus with a lot of road riders. In the week prior to the race I was on the fence between using a 36/17 vs. 36/16. I also considered using a 15 or 18. I needed a gear to apply effective power on steep climbs and also let me motor along on flats and rolling sections. Part of the fun of single speed is knowing that all gears are trade offs. In the end I decided to race 36/16 and feel it was a good choice.

Most of the field of racers were riding road bikes, gravel bikes, or cyclocross bikes. I was on my 29er with lightweight Thunder Burt tires but they were still 2.25″ front and 2.1″ rear. Tire choice was a big issue throughout the race I saw people on road bikes blow out tires on the gravel bits.

The start of the race was very FAST. I always get nervous with big groups so I spun like mad to stay with the lead part of the pack. Once the group thinned out into smaller clusters of five to six riders I was more comfortable and eventually found a couple groups that I sorta stayed with. On single speed I would go ahead on the climbs. People would often catch me on the descents and flat sections. It was great fun; I always enjoy mixing it up with the geared riders.

Love Valley Podium

Love Valley Single Speed Podium

The club racing scene in North Carolina is alive and well. Low key events like Love Valley and block busters like the Six Hours of warrior creek are loads of fun. Riding bikes is not just for pros and really the “racing” does not have to be something to stress out about.

Often a race is just a good chance to enjoy the weather and ride with others on a course that is different from what you normally do.

Adrenaline Rush

Posted: March 19, 2015 by Mark in Uncategorized

Jericho 7 Films created this awesome video to show the experience of riding a Farnsworth 29er. I especially like how the kits from Rouler Sportswear help identify the team as a unit.

Thanks to Mert Dunne and his band ELEVENEVEN for the great music! (Mert was my 2012 Double Dare partner.)

Rhymes with Orange

Posted: March 16, 2015 by Mark in Uncategorized

Corey attacks terrain and likes to ride with no fear.

Last year he broke his carbon frame and needed a new mountain bike.

His new Farnsworth frame is Reynolds 853 steel. It’s the color of STRAVA plus and he has the legs match. Look for him on the local leader boards soon.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Farnsworth #23
Head Tube Angle 69.5
Seat Tube Angle 73.5
Head Tube Length 4.1″
Seat Tube (C-T) 17.7″
Top Tube (effective) 24.1″
Chain stay length 16.9″
Bottom Bracket Drop 2.4″