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Never thought I’d think that way about a full length XC race.  Today’s Horny Toad Hustle in Las Cruces piles on a full 28 miles of sweet singletrack that swoops, dives, and climbs through primo Chihuahuan desert.  What usually ends up being a heated suffer fest, turned out to be a super fun cruise.  And why should I expect anything different after completing 470 miles of ridiculously difficult singletrack at high altitude this summer?  At first I was hesitant to enter the event as I was afraid I would have the top end to be up front, and I really like being at the front of a mountain bike race. But I’ve got some plans for this fall, and picking up the pace is a necessity.  XC racing is one way to get there.

It took me a couple of hours, but I got the Superfly 100 to finally work with the YESS tensioner and rocking an 18 tooth with light tires.  I can’t find a blog post from the last time I did Horny Toad, but I’m pretty sure I did it on my Racer X with the same gearing.  The Superfly is kind of a noodle and getting it to not drop a chain was a challenge.  It ended up slightly skipping only a few times, but the chain stayed on.  I didn’t spend much time getting the bike completely dialed and it never got a solid test ride.  I always seem to be lazy like that for these short XC events probably because I feel I’ve got nothing to lose.  Luckily I had a decent gap about 10 miles in when I realized I was working way too hard due to a dragging front brake.  I actually told myself that I wouldn’t stop to fix it unless I found a multi-tool on the trail.  In this economy, people aren’t losing stuff like they used to, so I nutted up and pulled off the trail to dig out my tool.  A minute or so later I was back at it.

After going through the first feed zone, I asked myself, “Why am I riding so hard?”  So I set the cruise control to fun.  Returning to the feed zone Jen told me that I was only about 15 minutes down off some of the geared pro riders and only a couple minutes up on the next singlespeeder.  So I ramped it up just a little bit without hurting myself.  2 hours and 18 minutes later I was back at the finish for another Hustle Victory.  I think I’ve won the SS category 4 times now with no losses.  Someday someone really fast will give me a run for the money.  I thought Tyson Brown was going to stay with me today, but he released a mushroom cloud somewhere along the course.

Speaking of mushroom clouds, Chris Oaxaca from the Bicycle Company is working on the logo for my bike bag business.  If you haven’t heard, the name of my business is Nuclear Sunrise Stitchworks.  My logo is going to be a mushroom cloud with the image of a bikepacker making a run for it to get the hell out.  It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but I had over a dozen people ask me where my logo was for my bags.  I didn’t think people cared, but I guess they do.  Somebody told me that if you put a logo on a box of crap, people will think it’s cool…..maybe that was Tommy Boy or something.  My product is not crap.

I’m making really sweet frame bags and have finally figured out the gas tank.  I’ve got a couple people testing out my bar harness/bag system.  I think feedback is going to be good.  Hit my website for more info.

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