Monday, April 26, 2010

TransIowa v.6 - Tales of Good Friends, Bicycles, Gravel and Mud...

So how'd it go for 'ol MG? Watch the video...

Thanks to our support crew, Brent "Butch" Johnson and Nathan Swanson, and to Guitar Ted, David Pals and all the volunteers who made TransIowa v.6 happen, even though it wasn't able to completely. And thanks to my incredible wife Laura for giving me the opportunity to train for an event like this and have it go down the way it did. At least I'll have good fitness going into May, and hopefully my knee will be less sore very soon. It doesn't feel bad as long as I don't pedal hard on it, for the most part, so that's encouraging. Thanks also to Cycle Works in Lincoln, Nebraska, my local shop sponsor, as well as to Rob Versteegth at Oakley.

My final thank you goes out to the folks at Salsa Cycles. If you watched the video, you saw me ramble on (it was a long day...) about how great my Vaya worked in the heinous conditions at TI v.6, but I'll just write a bit about it as well -- it was stable, smooth and had no problems dealing with the inclement conditions. The 40c Schwalbe Marathon Extreme tires were absolutely awesome too... They're a stunningly good match for the handling and capabilities of the Vaya frame.

It was really cool to see so many folks from from Salsa riding the event. I like to believe that companies made up of actual riders will build better bikes, and that's why I love riding Salsas. My Vaya was exactly the bike I wanted to ride at T.I. Thanks again Salsa, particularly Kid and Jason. You guys are the best.

Massive props go out to Co-Champions, John Gorilla and Joe Meiser. Also super notable was the ride of the third-place finisher, Lincoln's own Corey "Cornbread" Godfrey. Nice ridin' brother... Oh, and Omaha hard man, Eric Brunt finished in fifth, which was very impressive. His riding on the road was also very strong.


Guitar Ted said...

Thanks MG for the kind words. It was an incredible display of the rider's determination and skills in the face of a powerful display of Nature's forces that in the end were just too much for T.I.V6 to have continued through to its planned ending.

I was glad in several ways that it went down like it did though, ironically enough, and one of those reasons was that we were able to hang out at The Barn there Saturday night.

Thanks again my friend! You will have an awesome year of riding, I can feel it. I hope to see you again soon!

paxtoncoyote said...

Great attempt MG! no point in pushing yourself to injury this early as I know you've got a lot on your plate this racing season. Looks like the Vaya may be another one to put on my future stable list after I've completley submerged myself with the Fargo.

Kevin said...

Thanks for the post on Trans Iowa especially the details about your race set up on the Vaya. What made you ride the Vaya as opposed to a Fargo or another cross type bike. Im trying to gather information on whether I want to buy a Fargo or a Vaya. (Can't afford both).

Tim Ek said...

Good riding with you out there and nice talking with you. Great job!! What an experience.

MG said...

Thanks guys... Yeah, that was definitely a crazy experience, but a good one nonetheless. We need to get that weather thing figured out though!!

Kevin, it was great to meet you at T.I. As far as my bike selection between the Vaya and Fargo, I chose my Vaya based on the fact that we were on gravel roads, basically. The Fargo is an awesome off-road bike, but on gravel roads, the Vaya is simply a faster option and in the muddy conditions, with the 40c Schwalbe Marathon Extreme tires I was running, I wasn't at any disadvantage from a handling or traction standpoint.

If I was going to buy one or the other, and I was making a decision, I'd think very hard about where and how I was going to ride the bike.

If you're going to ride primarily off-road, or doing heavily loaded touring on rough roads, I'd recommend the Fargo.

If you're looking for a bike to primarily ride gravel roads on, or want something to ride a combination of pavement and gravel, with just a little smooth singletrack thrown in occasionally, the Vaya is a great option. It's lighter, faster and the tubeset is tuned to ride smoother with smaller tires, so it's better "on the road".

But anything off-road, or in real mountain bike conditions, the Fargo is your steed... That's the difference as I see it. The Fargo is a mountain bike, pure and simple. Both are adventure bikes, the Fargo is an off-road adventure bike, whereas the Vaya is a road-based adventure bike.

Hope that helps.

Thanks again guys,

Cornbread said...

Bummer about the knee, Matt. But way to make the best of the situation. That sure was an epic day on the bike that I won't soon forget. And that's what it's all about...the fun memories.

Steve Fuller said...

MG - Nice to see how it was at the front of the pack. I was really cursing my tire choice on the Fargo with every crank stroke. While the 2.1 Vulpines were nice from a stability standpoint, especially through the conditions of the first leg, it felt like I was pushing bricks through the wet sandy roads we encountered outside of Monroe. Had I found a set of 40mm Marathon Extreme's laying along the road, I would have taken the time to swap them out.

The good news is that I think everyone had some positive experience to take away from the race, whether it was meeting a challenge, or learning something new about themselves or their equipment choice. I'm already scheming up potential changes for next years assault (assuming that it's held and I get in).

MG said...

Thanks Cornbread... You rode like a stud out there. Congratulations on bringing home third place. You rock!

And Steve, thanks for the perspective. I think it's good to have. As you get more time in on the Fargo, I bet you'll find that you'll like it more for rides you do by yourself, but less for rides you do in a group, simply because it's not your "fast bike". Which is basically to say that it's a mountain bike, and when you're on gravel, with friends that are bent on going fast, you need something with a little less tire, and a little less thickness in the tubes, if you know what I'm saying. That's not to say the Fargo can't go fast, but it's just that, with bikes like the La Cruz and Vaya available, (and you do have a La Cruz in the shed) it makes the Fargo a harder choice for group rides (for me at least).

But those are the lessons you learn. And it's true, we do have a lot of fun, even in these crazy conditions. Cornbread and I were talking last night about how Jay and Tracey Petervary were saying that the mud we were encountering on the B roads wasn't even that bad relative to the stuff they saw last year almost every day during the GDR route. Now that's hardcore... and they were on a tandem.

Think about THAT! And have a great day... :-)


mailman said...

Yo Matt! Hey man it was great riding with you, are you doing Dirty Kanza? Hopefully see ya there. So the Vaya worked well for you it looks like, thats great. I really thought about riding the proto i had access to but went with the Chili Con Crosso instead. That frame with a thudbuster is a great ride, just wish i had more mud clearance with the Alpha Q fork. But i think it has more to do with knowing went to get off the bike (i.e. maint. b roads) and when to get back on. What a blast though. It was also great to see how positive and ready to go you were at the start line, always great to ride with people who are happy to be out there!

MG said...

Hey Mailman -- I am signed up for the Dirty Kanza, and will be staying at the same house as Gnat is, so I'm sure we'll see you quite a bit, actually. I'm really looking forward to it. The Vaya will be perfect for the 'Kanza course, which is a good measure rougher than what we found at T.I. It's rougher in fact, than some of the mountain bike courses we race on around here. And the Kansas flint rock is sharp and tough too, so don't bring any sissy tires along with you. Bring the tough stuff... Just a word of fair warning to a good buddy! ;-) I've seen good friends who should have had top finishes pay the price for running old or light tires in the race, and suffer many, many flats on the course. It does nothing for a good finish time, so my motto is an ounce or two of prevention is worth perhaps the minute or two I perhaps lost due to the extra weight. It pales in comparison to what I'd lose for even one flat...

I run Schwalbe Marathon Extreme 40c tires, running tubeless with my getto sealant (Mold Builder mixed with windshield washer fluid). The setup never lets me down.


LauraG said...

I think you're pretty incredible! Many people wouldn't even think of taking on a race like TI. You took it on and gave it your best. I admire your tenacity!

MG said...

Thanks Sweetheart -- I really appreciate your support and that you let me train for adventures like this. There aren't many people who understand the drive to participate in things like this, much less be married to someone who does. Thanks again.

I love you,