Northfielder Ben Oney and the world’s toughest mountain bike race

Ben Witt, hosting the Ride the Divide movie Ben Witt, hosting the Ride the Divide movie Ride the Divide
Last night, Milltown Cycles proprietor Ben Witt hosted a viewing of a feature film titled Ride The Divide at the Viking Theater in St. Olaf’s Buntrock Commons. It’s about "the world’s toughest mountain bike race" called the Tour Divide, an "… ultra-cycling challenge to pedal solo and self-supported the length of Great Divide Mountain Bike Route…as fast as possible." It’s 2,700 miles from Banff, Alberta to the Mexican border.

Ben Oney and his Tour Divide Salsa Fargo, a drop-bar, off-road adventure bike Ben Oney, Tour Divide Q&A 
Earlier this summer, Northfielder Ben Oney finished 13th (80 participants) in the race on a Salsa Fargo, a drop-bar, off-road adventure bike. He hosted a Q&A session after the movie. See his old Tour Divide blog and his new Boney Bikes blog, but better yet, follow Ben Oney on Twitter.

See also:

I’m having more fun with flat pedals

I started out mountain biking this summer clipped into Crank Bros Eggbeaters with a good pair of Bontrager Multisport shoes.  After a few minor spills, I got the hang of getting out of them (rotate your heels outward)  and I could feel some benefits to keeping my feet in the right position on the pedals.

But I was still nervous about tackling the advanced technical stuff that I like and after a few scary crashes, I found some blog posts with long discussion threads that opened my eyes:

James Wilson on MTB Strength Training Systems:

Gene Hamilton on BetterRide.Net:

Five Ten Impact HighVP-ViceSo I got a pair of Five-Ten Impact High shoes and thin VP-Vice pedals and they’ve made a huge difference. I’ve been way more adventuresome, not having to think or worry about being clipped in.

I’ll keep the Eggbeaters and Bontragers for the gravel rides.

Updates, November 2014: I’ve updated the expired links to the shoes and pedals. And I’ve added two more article links.

Learning to manual: a wheelie with no pedaling

Bikeradar.com manual3-480-90-480-70I made a big step forward last week when I began to understand the difference between a pedal-powered wheelie and a manual. These articles helped me:

I’ve been using it this week to get over larger rocks and logs at speed.  And when I say ‘larger,’ I don’t mean large.  I mean bigger than the curbs on my street. Go ahead and laugh, but it was pretty cool when I got the hang of doing a manual over the curbs repeatedly.  And I can now see a bunny-hop in my future.

Steep climbs with steps

uphill steps at Lebanon HillsI’ve cleaned some steep uphills with steps/logs recently (St. Olaf College, Lebanon Hills) after reading about the techniques in this BetterRide.net blog post:

MTB Skills Tip w/ Pic, Technical Climbing w/Andy Winohradsky

Losing traction, “bogging out”, doing accidental wheelies, and/or getting a case of the “swirvies”, are all common causes of riders not making it to the top of technical descents.

Oh yeah. But I’m now getting the hang of how to do it right.

  • scoot far forward on the saddle
  • lower your chest (nose near the handlebars)
  • keep your elbow elevated
  • only stand slightly and briefly in order to make extreme weight-shifts or grossly accelerate the bike

MTB skills, instruction, & advocacy