I love watching friends and family win. Especially when it’s a surprise win. Whether it’s doing unexpectedly well in a race, getting a raise (or employee of the month, as my son just did), or finding a great relationship match.
I know their success has nothing to do with me, but I still feel proud, and honored to even know them.
It’s a little weird to have this feeling about a company, but I do. I’ve thought of Ibis as a friend for…well, pretty much ever since I started mountain biking, and long before I ever started writing about riding.
For the past several years, Ibis has been doing really fantastic work. Making bikes that are beautiful and incredible at what they’re made for.
But lately. Uh, wow. Lately, Ibis has been innovating bikes that have just caught everyone’s attention. To the point that if you want one of their incredible Mojo HD3s you’ll have to get in line.
Same thing’s true of their brand new Ripley LS (Long and Slack):
That’s not hyperbole. Ibis has been designing bikes that are so amazing they simply cannot keep up with demand.
I love hearing that. It’s like hearing that your brother just graduated from college and now a bunch of companies are having a bidding war on who gets to hire him. Sorta.
And I love that in spite of this overwhelming demand, Ibis is still setting aside a place in line for you, if you are lucky enough to win this grand prize in the Grand Slam for Kenya.
Yep, you can pick a Mojo HD3, a new Ripley 29 (or Ripley 29 LS), or any other Ibis bike you like — like the Tranny I rode at Leadville last year. Or the Hakkalugi Disc.
But let’s be honest, you’re probably gonna get the Ripley or the Mojo. Hey, I don’t blame you.
Magic Wheels Included
I am, in general, not someone who really notices tiny little differences in bike hardware. Can I tell the difference between a carbon seatpost and an aluminum one? No.
Can I tell the difference between a flexy handlebar and a really stiff one? Nope.
Can I tell the difference between any kind of cranks? No. No I cannot.
But I can tell the difference between Ibis ultra-wide 41mm rims and regular wheels. They climb better. They descend better. They corner better.
They do everything better.
And this bike is gonna include a set of these amazing wheels.
Between the wheels and your incredible Ibis frame, you are going to instantly be a better rider.
I mean it.
XX1, Guide, Reverb…Holy Cats This Is a Great Bike
This isn’t just a frame with wheels, either. We’re going to set this Ibis up pro, with a SRAM XX1 drivetrain and the incredible new Guide brakes. A Rock Shox Pike fork and Reverb dropper post will complete your setup.
All told, you’d pay around $9000 for this bike. And it would be money well-spent.
It is going to be the most amazing bike you have ever owned.
But of course, you’ll want to donate first.
You’re Running Out of Time
The Grand Slam for Kenya ends this Friday. If you’ve been waiting to see whether there’s a bike (or a trip) in this contest you want, now you know.
Every $147 you donate changes a life. Thanks tons for donating, and — since I’m ineligible to win this bike myself (my first choice) — I hope you win.
A Note from Fatty About the Upcoming Leadville 100 Webinar: Hey, Reba Rusch — The Queen of Pain — and I are doing a really cool webinar series on final prep for the Leadville 100. You should attend, even if you aren’t doing the Leadville 100 this year. Why? Because it’s good info for pretty much any kind of endurance racing. Plus we’re very entertaining.
Here are the links for registering:
More details about each of these sessions here.
A Note from Fatty About Part 1 of This Race: Part 1 of this race report is here.
I am not as light as I have been the past couple years. In fact, I’m about five pounds heavier than I was last year.
This is a source of concern to me. By which I mean, I whine about it nonstop to The Hammer: “I cannot believe how fat I am this year.” She rolls her eyes and tells me I look fine, I’m racing fine, and I worry too much.
She has a point. I am, as near as I can tell, stronger than I have ever been (thank you TrainerRoad!). Even with this stomach that’s just enough bigger that the shorts I wore comfortably last year…I’m wearing uncomfortably this year.
Even so, I worry. I worry a lot. As I turned up onto the ten-mile-long dirt road climb, I worried that thanks to the head start Ben, The Hammer, and Lindsey had (four minutes for Ben, eight minutes for the women), I’d never see them during the race. I worried that this five pounds was going to drag me down, down. And I’d be the slowest I’ve ever been in this race.
I worry, as it turns out, way too much.
I Like Climbing
Within a few hundred yards of the ten-mile climb, I realized something that I actually already know, but tend to trivialize until I’m actually in a race.
I am good at climbing. Really good.
Part of it comes from living in a place where, straight from my driveway, I can put together a near-infinite number of rides with 10,000 or more feet of climbing (road or mountain).
Part of it comes from having grown up in Alamosa, Colorado, at an altitude of 7500 feet.
Part of it comes from having ridden a single speed most of the time for the past few years. I know that spinning a fast cadence is the way most people get to the top of a mountain, but for a guy with stumpy legs, high-torque / slow cadence seems to work OK.
But I’d say most of it comes from the fact that I love how it feels. The pain of climbing: well, I don’t necessarily mind that feeling. The raggedness of my breathing: I like it. The metronomic repetitiveness: it’s my friend.
Most of my waking hours, I’m thinking and creating and problem-solving and worrying and writing and stuff. Even when I’m on a bike, most of the time, my mind is still going.
But when I’m climbing — climbing something really really difficult — that is all I’m doing. I wouldn’t call it meditative, per se, but I would call it focusing, simple.
And of course, it makes me happy when I pass people.
Oh Hi There
About half a mile into the climb, I passed Cory (Ben’s dad). He yelled encouragement. I nodded my head, unable to understand how anyone might be able to have enough wind to actually yell anything at all.
Next, I saw the group of fast guys I couldn’t quite hang with on the flats. “Hey, I really appreciate the huge pull you took,” I told the guy in the Half-Fast kit. “I swear I wanted to jump forward and take a turn; you were just too strong and rode me off your wheel.”
“You did take a pull,” he said. “You were the guy who got the train going.”
Hm. That hadn’t occurred to me. “Thanks again,” I said, appreciating his generous perspective.
Something like that can put you in a good mood.
I said, “Hey,” or “Hi,” or “Nice work” to as many people as I could as I climbed. Lots of people said it back. The atmosphere was incredibly friendly. Everyone being nice to each other, even as we did our best to not be bested.
Then: The Hammer. I could see her up ahead. I quieted down, so she wouldn’t know it was me catching her. Then, as I got to within about five feet, I said, “That is one fine-looking ass.”
“Aw, that’s sweet,” said Ali Knutson, who was riding alongside The Hammer.
“I love you, baby,” The Hammer said, as I kept on going.
“Aww,” said Ali, and probably everyone else in the area.
The Hammer and I can be just a little bit nauseating, I hear.
I kept working. Going right at the pace I know I can climb without self-destructing. I said hi to my niece Lindsey as I went by.
And then: Ben. Ever since I included Ben in a blog post back in April, our rides together have been…purposeful. To the point that I really didn’t know whether I’d be able to catch him in this ride.
But now that I had caught him, I had a great idea: he and I should work together to be faster in this race. I slowed for just a second so he could grab on.
As it turns out, I hadn’t really needed to back off at all. He was already there. And he hung on, too — the first person I had come by who had been able to do so.
That kid’s gonna finish sub-9 at Leadville on his first try this year, mark my words.
Somewhere — maybe on one of the brief downhills, maybe on the short flat section, I lost Ben.
That’s OK, though. I was about to the big ol’ descent on the scary 13-mile gravel road — not something you could really work together on anyway.
I’d see Ben again. Sooner than I would have thought.
Which is where we’ll pick up tomorrow.
Rebecca Rusch — AKA The Queen of Pain — and I were recently talking about how the final few weeks before the Leadville 100 totally start consuming all your thoughts and time.
It can be a really intense and anxious time for people who have entered the race and dedicated pretty much all our waking moments to it for eight months or more.
We came up with what I think is a terrific idea:
What if we did a series of three webinars during this run-up to the race, designed to address the questions, challenges, and hopes Leadville 100 MTB racers all have on our minds?
And that’s what we’ve done.
Reba and I are teaming up to provide a free set of three webinars to help you get ready for the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race during these last few weeks before the event. These webinars are designed to help you finish faster, use the course to your advantage, and have the peace of mind that you haven’t left something important at home.
While free, these webinars do require you register, so be sure to sign up for each (and if you can’t attend live, don’t worry, they’ll all be recorded and uploaded for on-demand viewing both here and at http://www.rebeccarusch.com/leadvilleexperience/).
Knock Half an Hour Off Your Time: Top Ten Racing Tips (Wednesday, July 29, 6:00pm PT / 9:00 ET) Two weeks before the race last year, Reba started working with The Hammer to help her get her fastest time ever, knocking an incredible forty minutes off her previous best. These same strategies will work for you, whether you’re hoping to finish before the time cutoff or get the coveted big belt buckle. Click here to register.
Know the Course
(Monday, August 3, 6:00pm PT / 9:00 ET) Sure, you know about Columbine and Powerline, but there are tips and tricks you can use on every single section of the course to stay focused, fast, and safe. We’re going to talk through each part of the course, describing what to do, what to watch out for, and what your split times should be for common finish targets. Click here to register.
(Monday, August 10, 6:00pm PT / 9:00 ET)
You’re on your way to Leadville. Don’t forget anything important! We’ll talk through the absolute essentials for you and your crew (if you have one), from bike to clothes to food to tools. We’ll also be providing actual checklists for you to use and adapt. Click here to register.
Reba and Fatty will be happy to take and answer your questions during these live webinars. We look forward to chatting with you soon!
I’m just ridiculously pleased to announce the latest prize in the World Bicycle Relief Grand Slam for Kenya contest: A day with Gary Fisher.
Yes, Gary Fisher, the mountain bike pioneer / innovator.
Yes, Gary Fisher, the advocate / evangelist for bikes
Yes, Gary Fisher, the man with the panache.
Yes, Gary Fisher, quite possibly the most interesting bike-related man on the planet.
What’s The Prize?
Here’s the video chat Gary and I had where we discuss this incredible prize:
If you don’t have 53 minutes to watch this, however, here’s the prize all boiled down and convenient for you:
- We fly you to Wisconsin, then wisk you away to Waterloo, where Trek global HQ is located
- We put you up in the beautiful Mansion Hill Inn
- Gary Fisher gives you a tour of the newly revamped super-high-tech Trek factory
- Gary takes you on a ride — mountain or road, your choice — on the trails / roads Trek uses when testing its bikes
- Gary shows you the nightlife of the Mad City.
- You have to put up with me pretty much the whole time, because I am going to be right there, tweeting and blogging and otherwise making a pest of myself
Is this a big deal? Yes, this prize is an incredibly big deal. This is a can’t-put-a-price-on-it prize. This is, in short, a really good reason to make a donation.
Other Stuff You Can Win
Just as a reminder, however: when you donate in the Grand Slam for Kenya, you are entered to win in all of these drawings. Which include, so far, these five grand prizes:
And all you have to do to enter to win is make a donation. The more you donate, the better your chances.
Why This Matters
I love having fun with these contests. For the Grand Slams, in particular, I love putting together a slate of prizes so astonishingly amazing and huge that it’s simply hard to believe.
But the bigger reason I love doing these WBR contests is because we are making a huge difference in the world.
So far, together, in all of the WBR contests and fundraisers I’ve done, we have raised enough to buy right aroud 5,000 bicycles.
That means 5,000 kids are able to save about 1.5 hours per day as they go to school and back.
That’s 7500 hours we’re giving to these kids — who live in harsh, time-consuming rural areas — per day.
And because they have this time, they’re going to school more often. They’re staying in school longer. They’re getting better grades.
Their improved education, combined with the better range of jobs available to them (because they can travel greater distances) means the benefit they get from these bicycles doesn’t end once they’re out of school, either.
And the better jobs mean better lives for them and their families.
In other words, what we are doing makes a big impact. Right now. To a lot of people, in a very personal way.
So: huge thanks to Gary Fisher for jumping in and volunteering to spend his time in making this prize available. It means a lot to me to have a bonafide cycling icon and innovater being a part of Grand Slam for Kenya.
I’m incredibly proud to be a World Bicycle Relief Athlete Ambassador, and incredibly grateful to you for your help in making the world a better place. Thanks tons for your donations, and I hope you win!
UPDATE: From the hints I gave, several people figured out that the person I’ll be interviewing is none other than Gary Fisher. Be sure to register for and join the webinar as he and I talk about details of what the prize is.
Oh, you just don’t know how excited I am about this prize. It is all I can do right now to not give away what it is.
Wednesday, July 22, however, I can finally reveal what the latest grand prize in the Grand Slam for Kenya will be.
And I will have a very special guest with me to announce the prize.
Very, very special.
And I’ll get to reveal it live, from the the comfort of your computer, at 11:00am PDT. At least, a lucky 100 people will get to join in live (for the rest of you, I’ll put up a recording here shortly after the live event).
But here’s the deal: you’ve got to register to attend. And then, you need to sign in on time. Because while I can accept up to 1000 registrations, only 100 people can attend.
I can’t help myself. I’ve got to give a few hints. Here you go:
- You will meet a beloved cycling icon, known to practically everyone in mountain biking
- There will be a trip involved
- The trip will not be outside the United States (but you can still win if you live outside the US; you just will have to cover the airfare necessary to get you into the US).
- The location of the trip is significant
- This cycling icon will go on an awesome ride with you
- Also, he (yes, he) will give you a tour of some place.
- To get a tour of this place by this person is not something most people would ever expect, but which I would pretty much kill for. OK, I wouldn’t kill for it. But I would definitely beg.
- I will also join you — for the ride and for the tour — because there is no possible way I am missing out on this prize
Curious? I’ll bet you are. Want to win? I know you do. So: register for the big announcement. And then go donate in the Grand Slam for Kenya (want details of what this is? Click here. Want the rules? Click here. so you have a chance of winning this prize, not to mention the bikes and the trip to Italy.
Click here to donate now!
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