Author Archives: phillipfogg

Transalp with Michael

This years highlight for me and probably Michael was a trip across the Alps with our bike. Starting point was in Oberstdorf, Germany and destination Torbole, Italy on the shores of Lake Garda.

Stats for the tour are; 464,1 km and 10705 meters of climbing.

My bike for the adventure was a Niner One 9, equipped with a Rohloff Speed Hub, SLX brakes with 180mm rotors front and rear. Rock Shox Reba 100mm fork. I also had a Supernova Infinity Dyno hub up front powering a Supernova E-3 Tripple light. I had normal Alp-X gear except for my camping gear; Six Moons Designs one man tent, Big Agnes Pitch Pine 40 sleeping bag, Big Agnes Clear View pad. Vargo Ti stove and Alpkit Ti mug.
This was also a rigorous test for our new Pactimo kits, I had our new shorts, Jersey, Arm warmers, Vest and hat. Except for a little grease stain on the shorts, there are no visible signs of wear and tear!
Michael’s kit was almost the same except that he had his new Edel Bikes 29+ He received a lot of attention with that orange beauty! He was also running a Supernova Plug to keep all of his electronic gadgets charged.

We deviated from the original route due to bad weather, took paved alternatives instead of braving the muddy trails and dirt/gravel roads. In the end it was hard enough going up the steep asphalt passes of Italy.

we choose to do it bike packing style, meaning we had camping gear along to sleep out under the stars and cook our own meals. This turned out to be very challenging right off the bat. Shortly after starting in Oberstdorf we had to climb up and over the Schrofen Pass, it’s not long or terribly steep but really narrow and there are a couple spots where you have to carry your bike. When all of your gear is on the bike this can be really hard. At one point Michael’s bike almost went over the edge. I couldn’t do anything but watch. Luckily he was able to wrestle it back on the trail and we could continue.

Another hard section was the hike-a-bike above the Silbertal, according to the description in a Alpencross book it says it’s an hour of HAB. Haha!! It was more like two and a half! That’s when I realised that whats good for one route doesn’t always means it good for another. It’s great to have most or all of your gear on the bike but for serious HAB’s where you have to pick up the bike and carry it over big rocks or ledges it can make things rough.

On the third day we met a guy named Marcus from the Allgäu region of southern Germany. He was doing a trip alone. So our duo turned into a trio! Marcus really knows the Alps well and he told us about the different places and passes that we were riding through.

We only camped out one night due to the crappy weather. One place I would have loved to camp was in Val Mora, right on the border to Switzerland and Italy. Maybe next time.

We met some great people along the way like Marcus. Had great food, if only the weather would have cooperated. 

Here are some pictures of our trip.

Start in Oberstdorf

Start in Oberstdorf

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Hut below the Schrofen Pass

Hut below the Schrofen Pass

Michael on the Schrofen Pass

Michael on the Schrofen Pass

Ladder on the Schrofen Pass

Ladder on the Schrofen Pass

Michael in his element

Michael in his element

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Fimba Pass

Fimba Pass

Downhill from Fima Pass.

Downhill from Fima Pass.

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Sent, Engadin

Sent, Engadin

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Trail to Costainas Pass, Switzerland.

Trail to Costainas Pass, Switzerland.

Pass da Costainas

Pass da Costainas

Döss Radond

Döss Radond

Val Mora

Val Mora

Val Mora

Val Mora

Marcus's knee after a crash. Looks worse than it was.

Marcus’s knee after a crash. Looks worse than it was.

Rifugio Val Fraele

Rifugio Val Fraéle

Getting ready

Getting ready

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The road to Passo di Verva

The road to Passo di Verva, we had cake and coffee in the house to the left. 

Passo di Verva, 2301 meter

Passo di Verva, 2301 meter

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The last few km's to Lake Garda.

The last few km’s to Lake Garda.

Finished!

Finished!

 

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Pictures from Kellerwald

Only have two pics, better than nothing though! 

 

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Kellerwald Marathon

On last Sunday I rode in the Kellerwald Bike Marathon which also happens to be the German Single Speed Championships. Not a real single speed race because there wasn’t any freaks or drunks running around. Also the course might as well be called the German Gravel Grinder Champs as its mostly gravel or dirt roads. Very little single track. Still it was a good time and an opportunity to test my fitness. Fortunately the weather was pretty good, dry and a little cool. The course is 40 km long and we had to do two laps for the SS race. There is also 1000 meters of climbing involved in one lap, so there’s no shortage of climbing. I chose a 32-19 gear for the race, which turned out to be perfect. I did do some pushing on a few of the steep climbs but so did a few gearies. I’m waiting on two pictures, I’ll post when I get them. 

I came in fourth in the SS category. No really, I got fourth! there were only 6-8 SS’ers I only saw three. 

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New Bike

I recently finished building my new Niner Jet 9 full suspension bike. I didn’t do all of the work, just the easy stuff. A friend of mine, Andi set up and adjusted the front and rear derailleurs, the wheels were built by Jelle at JustPedal in the Netherlands. A second carbon wheel set was built by Christoph at Bike Work Desch in Gelnhausen.

The Bike is amazing and a blast to ride. It feels so fast its like I’m cheating. I haven’t ridden a “fully” in a few years so the feeling is special. I won’t give up on my single speed bikes, I still love to ride them but I think I’ll be spending a lot of time on the new Niner.

A big thanks to Jelle at JustPedal for the frame and parts!

 

2014 Jet 9

Trail riding in the Spessart.

Trail riding in the Spessart.

 

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Burning a lung at the Weißwurst Rennen

Todays race was exceptionally hard, I was riding my single speed fat bike, the Surly Pugsley. I haven’t weighed it but I’m sure it weighs somewhere around 14 – 15 kilos. But it’S fun to ride! More so when the surface you’re riding on is soft and deep, like snow, sand and mud. Today we had no snow and no sand but a little bit of mud. I found out that the big 3,8 Nates can be leaned way over in slippery turns and still have enough traction to rail the corner.

So after four laps and 20 km I finished in 5 place in the single speed category out of 7. Not real good but then again I was at a fat disadvantage. It was fun though and that was my main goal. 2013-12-01 17.01.132013-12-01 12.13.46

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by | 4.12.2013 · 13:15

GST Pictures

MC on the ferryCIMG6152CIMG6153CIMG6154

Fastest guy in the group!

Fastest guy in the group!

Last minute repackingRight before the startTheir off! CIMG6165CIMG6167CIMG6171CIMG6175CIMG6181CIMG6183CIMG6184

Gentle miles along the Ratzenburger Lake

Gentle miles along the Ratzenburger Lake

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My cockpit

My cockpit

Looking back, no one in sight.

Looking back, no one in sight.

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Border mueseum

Border mueseum

On the re-route section

On the re-route section

The flooded Elbe River

The flooded Elbe River

Jeff waiting for food.

Jeff waiting for food.

Jeff on the re-route, easy miles!

Jeff on the re-route, easy miles!

The Elbe River near Domitz, Germany

The Elbe River near Domitz, Germany

Bivi spot

Bivi spot

Pit stop somewhere in the woods.

Pit stop somewhere in the woods.

Heating up! Must've been around 37°C

Heating up! Must’ve been around 37°C

my trusty steed

my trusty steed

just another tricky day on the GST!

just another tricky day on the GST!

Tank plates & guard tower

Tank plates & guard tower

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Wilting in the heat

Wilting in the heat

Casper from Denmark

Casper from Denmark

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stream crossing

stream crossing

Happy to have my feet in the cool water!

Happy to have my feet in the cool water!

on the "Brocken"

on the “Brocken”

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Harz Mtns

Harz Mtns

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taking care of the chain

taking care of the chain

Mid morning snack

Mid morning snack

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Michael's front yard?

Michael’s front yard?

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yes this is the route, maybe at one time it was rideable.

yes this is the route, maybe at one time it was rideable.

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Casper at check point alpha

Casper at check point alpha

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Grenzsteintrophy 2013, the fourth lesson.

Grenzsteintrophy 2013 the fourth lesson

A lot of excitment leading up to this event, as usual. I felt I was mentally prepared and had all my gear down, I just didn’t feel physically top fit. None the less we, Team mate and good friend Michael Cleveland, headed up to Baltic port of Travemünde. We meet with some of the other racers at a local eatery in town and talked about gear and the Tour Divide Race.

After a fitful nights sleep we were up and ready to depart. A quick coffee and pastery at a bakery and we went to the ferry to get across the river to where the start was.

We all gathered at a secluded beach and took pictures until it was time to leave. These events never really feel like a real race at the start, the pace is not too high so if you want you could ride up with the lead group. I decicded to go purposely slow to conserve energy for the coming days.

I’m not going to draw this out and do a minute by minute account of my  race, I’m just going to tell how it ended and throw in some pictures.

Day one went really good. Made it past Dannenberg and bivi’d in the woods with Jeff Tomassetti, from Florida. 226 km.

Day two started out good but through overgrown trails and really shitty logging roads became somewhat frustrating, also the heat was killing us; it got up close to 36°C latter in the day. Got a room and took a shower! Felt great afterwards. At dinner I ordered a non-alchoholic beer and wondered why it tasted so good, only to realize that it was a real beer! Got a good buzz off it J

200 km. on the day.

Day three was a tough one; started good but then took a wrong turn and ended up doing 30 bonus km’s. Some monotonous tank plate sections in the brutal heat with a tailwind sucked all the energy out of me. Then the long a extremely brutal climb up and over the Brocken mountain took the rest out of me for the day. My little finger on my left hand started to go numb. Found a great B&B in a quaint town in the Harz Mtns.

Day four was maybe the most brutal, a relentless up and down all day 125 km and 2600 meters of climbing. I’ve had big days, more km and more vert but this one really kicked my booty! No really big climbs just a lot of them. Got another room/shower and an awesome meal. Felt like a human again. Except the little finger and ring finger of  my right hand was starting to go numb, the left was the same.

Day five; another hard day? Hell yes! More relentless terrain, steep hills; too steep for my gearing. Even too steep for Casper who had a Sram 1×11 set up. His front chainring was a 22T, and the biggest rear cog, 42! He still had to push. Saw more beautiful country, and places that I have never been.

Got a big burst of  motivation when we came to my section of the GST, I though, heck yeah! I got this! Later in the afternoon I started to think otherwise. Why punish myself like this? I wasn’t havingfun anymore; it was great having a riding partner like Casper and we talked about all kinds of stuff but the riding was not fun. A lot of the route was along overgrown trails and old loggin roads that I avoid when I ride. To me it seemed like the other scouts wanted to make it artificially hard. Isn’t riding your loaded bike self-supported off road for 1250km hard enough? Anyways, I made my decision to stop even if I had just over 300 km to go. In the end it was the best decision for me to make. My hands were getting worse, my right was going lame, I didn’t have the dexterity in it any more.  So call me a wimp and quitter but I don’t care, my health is more important than a finish.

I made a couple of good friends and I learned again, for the fourth time, that multi-day self-supported racing is not for me. I’ll stick with one day races from now on.

Like to thank some of Big Wheel Racing’s sponsors; Jelle at Singlespeed.nl, Supernova lights, Geax tires, Effetto Mariposa for their superior tire sealant, The Sock Guy, Osprey Packs, Spok Werks and Crema Cycles. I had no issuses with any of my gear; everthing worked just the way it’s supposed to.

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