6000 Miles -Trusty Gunnar Fastlane Update

 Today is March 31st, 2014, about 3-3/4 years riding off and on my wonderful Gunnar Fastlane.  It has been a Single Speed, a 10 speed, a 6 speed, a touring bike, a mountain bike, a CX bike, a road bike, and now it is a 8 speed road bike with a 8x1 drive train with top bar brake levers.  Of all the iterations it has been, it is a toss up between a single speed and it's current iteration that I find best.

It started out back in 2010 when I had a bike built for just about everything, I specifically wanted something sturdy, light, cost effective, and FUN, and that is just what I got.

Together we have entered a few races and rides such as:

Hines Park Time Trial
One Helluva Ride
Tour De lac's
Tour De Livingston
Tour De Troit
Tour of Washtinaw
Hines Bike Through The Lights
Komen For The Cure Race
Detroit Invitational CX Race
Mad Anthony CX Race
Barry Roubaix
Iceman Cometh Challenge
Worst Day Of The Year Ride
Thursday Night thunder
Tuesday Night Worlds

And thousands of miles of commuting, light touring, and training riding.

To say the least, this bike has been everywhere, although I didn't do my first century with it, I needed to save in weight and rolling resistance to keep up with my team.  When we did the MS 150 ride in Holland, I really don't think I could have kept up on the Gunnar as my fitness wasn't up to par last year.  When the funds are right, I will lighten up Gunnar to keep it competitive for century rides and the such, as most of my cockpit is FSA as well as seat post, and it probably doesn't help having my awesome Brooks saddle and rolling on the nearly indestructible Ruffy Tuffy tyres!  Those two items will take extreme coaxing to get me to remove them, at the very least the Brooks, I will never get another seat again, I love mine too much.

The Chart below shows the many iterations this bicycle has been through and the respectable stats, I haven't created a Bike category for the current iteration (8spd) because I think it is unnecessary as it weighs in exactly like the original 10 sp Fastlane albeit wholly different by having a DT shifter and top bar brake levers.

More stats to date, this is a total summary of all my riding on all of my bikes, and including a few hikes and jogs too.  You can see that 2012 was my best year, started out strong and had respectable results.

 Since I'm real big on pictures and videos, AND this is a tribute post about the Gunnar, I feel it is necessary to post some random pics of the many configurations of this amasing bicycle.

BUT first, a picture of the crap bike I rode this year at Barry Roubaix... it was about 36 lbs and a cheapo Schwinn MTB, I suffered so hard during this race, I could barely pedal about half-way through!  So this is a reminder to ALWAYS ride the GUNNAR at Barry!!

And the Random shots of Gunnar, this is how it looks to ride Barry Roubaix 2012 on a GUNNAR proper, I got a 2:21:00 time that year because of it.

And Barry Roubaix the following year, a bit heavier and a much slower time...  This progression needs to stop!

Looks like Barry Roubaix in 2011, I was having fun despite it being 17 degrees out!!

Awe!  look at the Fred mashin' those pedals!  LOL.  Got a 37 minute time that year, and it was my very FIRST RACE ever!!  I still laugh at this pic, just about everything is wrong about me and my equipment!  Lets start with the Meijer helmet with the visor still attached, work our way down to the "loose" t-shirt and gym shorts!- parachute city!  Did we forget the moustache?  yup, real trash right there.  How about them motorcycle gloves?!  Ha Ha Ha!!!-  Oh wait, this is a Time Trial, what am I doing on the tops instead of the drops?!!!  How about them shoes and flat pedals??!!  At least the Bicycle is a decent bike, not a TT bike but a great bike nonetheless.  Wrong tool for the job but it didn't matter, I was learning and having fun!

 This was taken in 2013, after a 44 mile ride out to Brighton, best single speed ride ever!

Here we have a little camping / fishing adventure with my lil' guy, we both had a blast that day.  I had improvised a 5 gallon bucket to fit in the pannier for all the fishing supplies, you know lures and beer!  LOL

Again, camping and the versatility of the trailer towing package built in the Gunnar Fastlane.

At Hines Park with my cousin, taking a rest and sipping on some PBR's, what a great day!

ICEMAN ICEMAN ICEMAN!  2011, the only year I actually raced AND I did it with the Fastlane!  NOTE:  It was VERY difficult and unstable due to the sand and skinnish tyres, Damned if you do, Eh?

ICEMAN 2011 Pro-Am shot, lookin' tough..  In reality, that was the first part of "Oh Shiiit!" as the sudden drop off caught me by suprise.  Damn, that little drop scared the heck out of me as my eyes were glazing over and I couldn't really see it come up!  Look at that "O Face"!  Ha Ha Ha!

Ahh, The Mad Anthony CX... this was my WORST performance and I had sustained a terrible back / neck injury in this race, well, the "crash" was after the race but it was the worst.  Here is what happened...  As I was finishing up and rolling back to the RG tent, I thought it would be "cool" to pop a wheelie and show off in front of my friends.. well that didn't go so well, as you can see in the picture how I just recently switched to motorcross braking, thus when I went to halt the wheelie I was actually stopping the FRONT wheel, not the BACK wheel, needless to say, I was clipped in and flipped on my back landing on my water bottle in my center back pocket, I felt and HEARD my spine crunch and crackle in very sketchy ways.  After seeing my chiropractor and some x-rays, he said it was the absolute worst he has seen, Most of my vertebrae were twisted and cockeyed in such a way that it would be a slow process to getting back to optimum health.  The pain went on for almost a year and it was hard to ride, finally after seeing a physical therapist, my shizzle got fixed and we were back in business.  Also, due to smoking cigarettes for about two months after quitting for eight years, my breathing capacity was garbage and starved me on ALL my rides.  Fall of 2012 was crap for me.  It really was, I eventually starting vaping and quit smoking altogether and have been back in tip top shape, respectively, all I need are my training miles and we are golden.

Again, Mad Anthony CX 2012- this was another funny moment, as this photo was taken seconds before my dismount, barrier hurdle, re-mount.  The reason it is funny to me is because I made a rather epic dismount / re-mount, really fast (again, showing off because the team's tent was right in front of the barrier) and during re-mount, I came down so hard that my seat slipped and tilted downward like 20 degrees!  I had to finish the race with a loose seat pitched down, that was crap.  Anyway, after that race I wanted to quit, I just wasn't feeling it.  Wait, don't I feel that way during most major races?  HA!

GUNNAR MONSTER CROSS MADNESS!  This was a brief iteration before I swapped to a flat-bar and SRAM X9 thumb shifters, the reasoning was because sometime around this time my right hand SRAM shifter broke and I didn't have 178 dollars to get a new one, and still don't!  Hence the reasoning for getting the DT shifter.   The tyres you see here are the absolute largest I could cram into this frame, they are 44's that I had to use a grinder to shave off the sides in some spots just to get it to fit, we are talking 2mm max clearance with some slight rubbing due to being out of true by just a millimeter or so.  It took a few hundred miles to wear them down enough where the rubbing stopped, but the wheels had to be just right in the stays.  Sigh.. why do I do these things!  Anyway, the tyres are Panaracer FireCross and work just well.

Here is a random of randoms whilst randoneering around Canton, near the Morton Taylor Trails.

Ahh, I remember this pic!  This was the day in 2011 when I got those Hutchinson 34's, Man I LOVED those tyres!, Still have them, they are pretty worn down though.  This was the first minor mod done to the bike.

And there ya go, two years later all worn down.  This was taken after doing a 60 mile out-n-back on the Macomb orchard Trail system, from Onyx to Richmond I think.  Fun ride, note: I am riding a 2 speed SS, derailleur is used as chain tensioner at this point and you can see the lovely Egg beater pedals which I still have on this bike, love them, they are perfect.  I cannot remember the gearing though, I think a 42 up front and a 21,19 in back, maybe a 17?  Hard to tell from the photo.

 Hmm...  Some time in 2012, maybe spring 2013 on Hines Drive.  Probably spring.  The tyres are Continental 19's, the smallest most finicky tyres I ever purchased, they came with my SS wheelset.  You better have at least 110 lbs of pressure or you may suffer a pinch flat, and good luck manually pumping them up after that with a hand pump.

Basement photo, tyres are Kenda 33's Smallblock 8.  Setup as 44/21 Single Speed.  Kinda bland photo, not much to say here.

Boom!  see how it pops! (The Photo, that is.)  This was Spring on Saltz road near Ridge, windy spring day on the SS.

Throwback, circa 2010 in Tawas Michigan.  This was my camping touring weekend, this photo was taken on a pier after riding a mere 27 miles and going shopping for fruit, peanut butter, bread, and misc.  This was two weeks after I dropped some mad coin on all the Ortlieb panniers and the Tubus rack.  They may have cost a pretty penny, but the usefulness goes way beyond the price, they paid for themselves a few times over as far as I am concerned.   Loaded up to about 60 lbs is pushing it, but gets the job done

3 years later and still touring on Memorial Day!   50 mile light touring ride across town and back, meet up with some friends in Dearborn while taking pictures.  It was HOT that day.

Tour of Washtenaw http://www.strava.com/activities/4936393 I only post the link because it was really an epic race for me.  I averaged 15.3 MPH and most of the course was peanut butter type mud, it was grueling.  It was raining off and on most of the day too, I must say it was a great race, too bad they cancelled the circuit  I should do a proper write up on this and other races that I have done, just to give you a perspective from a crappy cyclists such as myself...  I mean Really?!  who uses those foot strap thingy things anyway?!!  You can see the CEMENTED mud on here.  It literally hardened like cement.

Yup... Number plate upside down fail.
I wouldn't call it a glamour shot, as I was lapped by ALL waves and ended up solo for most of the ride, until a gal who got dropped from her teammates just rode to finish, not to race.  We chatted for a bit and griped about how muddy the course was.  This photo doesn't show the thick peanut butter roads we had to ride, this was one of the faster sections.  So why are you not leaning into the turn?  you may ask?  Because I didn't care to race anymore, just finish with some energy left over.  it was brutal.   My race number was pinned upside down too, real slacker here!

Can you say MUD?

At least we finished the race that day.

Fast forward to 2012 again, winter cycling slowing to a crawl and the only a few training rides were pulling the little guy in the trailer and some solo excursions.  Unfortunately, this year it was impossible to do any riding via sidewalk due to the massive amounts of snow and ice, this past winter was terrible for all cyclist who don't own a fatbike.

 Roll back to 2011 again, ya getting dizzy yet?  This was the "Worst Day of The Year Ride" where I got kinda dropped, then lost, then just rode around to get my miles in, I believe I did 31 that day, and did a blog about it too, see older posts for that if you like.

Bump it up to 2014, speaking of worst day of the year, it was!  I couldn't ride the event because of the amount of snow we have in SE Michigan.  I probably could have rode, But Gunnar was all I had setup and it just wasn't possible as a mid-gear single speed.  JRA was the motto for the few and far between rides I was able to squeeze in this winter.   Here is some perspective for you:  Just this past weekend, I rode more that I have all year, due to this weather.  I had 18 miles up until Barry Roubaix, and just this past weekend I put on 70.  It was a rough start, to say the least.

Back in 2012 I was riding a bit in the Monroe area with my cousin, we had some good times exploring and taking photos, here is one of them.  I don't remember how it happened, but the sand gave way and I ended up falling over, I told my cousin to hurry and take the shot, and here is what you get.

In late 2011, again, with my cousin, we rode through some rivers in Zimbabwe, that was a hub wrecking day!  Yes, I did shower real well and also stripped Gunnar's BB and hubs down for a re-pack.

Can you believe Gunnar Was brand new back in June of  2010 and looked like this:

 HI!  Wannabe here reminding you it is not what you ride, it's THAT you ride.  So get on your bike and make the very best of it, and most importantly... HAVE FUN!  This photo was taken on garbage mountain in new Hudson, on the return leg of my solo 77 miler from Redford to Kensington Park and back.  Rule number 93:  NEVER EVER go swimming in bicycle shorts and finish your remaining 8 miles while WET, chafing will happen and you will get BUTTHURT!

 All in all, I must say, those 6000 miles riding my favourite bike have been memorable, enjoyable, and emotional.  There is such to be said about this bike that I really cannot begin to explain.  It has been there when I had nothing, it has carried me through hard times, through races and fun rides, it has been my bicycle mechanic training dummy (Sorry Gunnar), and it has helped me regain my level of fitness that I can be proud of.  I mean, I used to look like this:

I mean what the heck man!!!

 So by riding this bike, I have found myself to be in a better place both physically and emotionally and there is no way to put a price tag on that!

In closing, I would like to share one of my favourite bicycle commutes, it is the full hour long commute cut down to 13 minutes, it captures some of the joys I have while riding this bike.



Thanks for reading a brief part of my life via bicycle.  I hope it may have inspired you to get out there and ride.  Do it for you and do it to have fun.




Gunnar Fastlane -Worst Day Of The Year Prepping

This is my bicycle that I am itching to re-vamp into a different creation soon, maybe a SS Fixie??? We shall see!!!! Most likely I will put it back to its touring form, as I plan on doing many touring events this season.



No Hands on the Rollers!!! (One Mile Interval)

It has been a while, so much has happened lately...  After 1000 miles of rollers, this is what you get:

And other things have kept me very busy.