Vertically Living Green

in Blog by Carl H. Martens

Here’s something pretty cool that I stumbled across today.  An organization hoping to build a vertical greenhouse in the heart of Jackson Hole.  I contacted the public relations company working with Vertical Harvest of Jackson Hole for more information.  In the meantime, check out this video!

VERTICAL HARVEST from Ebb & Flow Media on Vimeo.

BDS Dual Steering Stabilizer

in Blog by Carl H. Martens

Over the past year, I’ve had a few occurrences with “death wobble” with my 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo.  If you’ve experienced this you know how scary it is.  The steering wheel shakes uncontrollably and the wheels bounce all over the road.  Very scary.  I try to stay ahead of repair to my Jeep and although this has only happened a few times, it was something I wanted to address right away.  To start, I replaced control arms, bushings, shocks, and a bunch of other stuff.  Got an alignment. Then, the ultimate insurance…I added a dual steering stabilizer from BDS Suspension.  AMAZING!  The dual steering stabilizer bracket kit costs about $120 and each (2 total) gas shock absorber costs $120.  This is one beefy setup and something I would highly recommend to any WJ owner.

Below are some pics I took with my iPhone.

RAGBRAI 2011 – Day Three – Carroll to Boone

in Blog by Carl H. Martens

This video footage was shot from my handlebars during day three of RAGBRAI 2011 from Carroll, Iowa to Boone, Iowa. During the first half of today’s ride, I rode with Greg Borchert and we averaged 25 miles per hour. The second half of the ride was spent alongside my father.

The below video is of me riding with Greg. He and I will ride together on Thursday the entire ride and our goal is to beat the trucks to Grinnell, Iowa and be the first riders to reach Grinnell.

The below is my my descent down Twister Hill in Pilot Mound, Iowa. I almost wipe out as I had an unknown issue which we have diagnosed as “brake chatter”. Simply put, brake chatter occurs when the brake isn’t centered so when you apply the brake, one side of the rim rubs more than the other causing the rim to produce a wobble and resemble a flat tire. I hadn’t previously had this problem because I hadn’t had a descent in which I reached 40+ mph. There’s a bit more to the story, but I’ll write about this in another post with pictures and a more detailed explanation. Regardless, it was pretty scary. Luckily, I was able to ride it out.

The below is the 300 foot ascent of Twister Hill. This climb was a beast as you can tell by the many people walking with their bikes up. I’d also like to point out the “serious looking cyclist” who is out of his saddle for more power pedaling while I stay seated and overtake him well before the peak. I try to always ride without coming out of my saddle…sort of an ego I have I guess.

Day 3 of RAGBRAI was from Carroll, Iowa to Boone, Iowa. A total of 70.9 miles. Today’s ride featured 1,787 feet of climb with a 300 foot descent and ascent on Twister Hill in Pilot Mound, Iowa. Below are some of the towns we passed on today’s route.

Carroll to Lidderdale – 9.9 miles
Lidderdale to Lanesboro – 8.9 miles
Lanesboro to Churdan – 13.4
Churdan to Paton – 12.3 miles
Paton to Pilot Mound – 12.5 miles
Pilot Mound to Boone 13.9 miles

RAGBRAI 2011 – Day Two – Atlantic to Carroll

in Blog by Carl H. Martens

This video footage was shot from Greg Borchert’s handlebars during day two of RAGBRAI 2011 from Atlantic, Iowa to Carroll, Iowa. Greg is a master bike builder from Grapevine, Texas (soon to be relocating to Erie, Colorado).  Greg is so fast…notice from the fourth video on there isn’t really footage of him passing anyone…that’s because he’s already passed everyone else!

Day 2 of RAGBRAI was from Atlantic, Iowa to Carroll, Iowa. A total of 65.4 miles. Today’s ride featured 4,719 feet of climb. Below are some of the towns we passed on today’s route.

Atlantic to Elk Horn – 14.7 miles
Elk Horn to Kimballton – 3.1 miles
Kimballton to Manning – 19.7 miles
Manning to Templeton – 7.7 miles
Templeton to Dedham – 7.4 miles
Dedham to Willey – 5.1 miles
Willey to Carroll – 7.7 miles

RAGBRAI 2011 – Day One – Glenwood to Atlantic

in Blog by Carl H. Martens

This footage was recorded on July 24, 2011, the first day of RAGBRAI.  Footage captured around 6am.  The bike I’m riding was custom built…even the wheels by Greg Borchert two days prior to the start of RAGBRAI.  Due to the weather, I was unable to take the new road bike for a test ride.  What you are viewing is my first ride on this bike.  Everything was foreign to me.  I even opted to try different clipless pedals and went with Crank Brothers Egg Beaters pedals instead of the Shimano SPDs that I’m use to.  Riding along with me is the master bike builder himself, Greg Borchert.  I didn’t proof the dialogue, but I don’t recall anything too horrific.  In summary, “the bike flies”.

My morning highlight was eating a Beef Brisket Sandwich during our pass through at Carson at 8:30am.  Now that’s a breakfast for a champion!

It was a rough day of riding with many, many hills…

Day 1 of RAGBRAI was from Glenwood, Iowa to Atlantic, Iowa.  A total of 59.5 miles.  Today’s ride featured 4,298 feet of climb.  Below are some of the towns we passed on today’s route.

Glenwood to Silver City – 9.0 miles
Silver City to Carson – 19.9 miles
Carson to Griswold – 15.0 miles
Griswold to Lewis – 7.5 miles
Lewis to Atlantic – 8.1 miles

The Journey to the Otherside of Iowa Begins

in Blog by Carl H. Martens

As I write from my iPhone, I’m sitting on a chartered bus enroute from Davenport, Iowa to Glenwood, Iowa where we will set camp for the night. Glenwood is the starting city for RAGBRAI 2011.  Our bikes were loaded up last night and should be waiting for us in Glenwood upon arrival. I’m amazed at how many volunteers there are and the excellent coordination by our sag service Out of Staters as well as everyone else that has helped plan this year’s RAIGBRAI. Everything has been great so far.

Last night we stayed in at a hotel. A storm came through around 11:30 last night which knocked out the power at our hotel. As of this morning, it had not yet been restored. I mention this because without power there was no wifi and without wifi, I was unable to download movies to my phone for the bus ride today. That’s what I get for waiting until the last minute. Luckily, I had Season 1 of Eastbound & Down on my iPhone…love that show.

As we left this morning, I thought I’d be a Southern Gentleman to those riding on the bus with me today so I forced making a deposit before leaving the hotel. Unbeknownst to me, the last person (my dad) out of the hotel room didn’t make sure the door closed all the way. There I sat on the thrown in a room without electricity with the door wide open. It made for great conversation with one individual who decided to see if there were any treasures we had left behind in our room…nope, just me half naked…a decent treasure I suppose. Two more people stuck there heads in and I made the mistake conversing with a lady who decided she couldn’t hear me very well and decided to come close. Mistake. I just told everyone that my dad was a jokester. So, not even day one and it’s already been shits and giggles…no pun intended.

Fast forward to the bus ride. The left ear of the guy siting beside me must be bigger than his right. Each time he…

Just stopped for a 30min lunch. 32oz. Of Budweiser and some Jack Links Peppered beef jerkey later…

Falls asleep he leans to the left and is almost resting his head on my shoulders. It’s kind of cute. I want to take a pic, but I’m afraid I’ll get caught.

It was raining earlier, but it has cleared up…thank you Jesus. I would have bitched the whole way. Yes, it is true, rain makes corn and corn makes whiskey and whiskey makes girls frisky, but it’s not desired when cycling across the state of Iowa.

Back on the bus…I don’t feel like writing much more. I’m going to check the balanced weight distribution of my ears now.


Bike Components Ordered for the New Road Bike Build!

Bike Components Ordered for the New Road Bike Build!

in Blog by Carl H. Martens

Today, I ordered all the parts needed for my custom road bike build which will use a Rocky Mountain Solo 70CR carbon road bike frame.  The wheel build is already under way and the plan is that next Thursday once I have all the components needed I’ll put everything together (with the help of my friend Greg).  I am sooo excited!

Here’s a list of all the components:

  • Ritchey WCS UD Carbon Fork 1-1/8″
  • Ritchey WCS Evo Curve 31.8 42CM Handlebars – Wet Black
  • SRAM Rival Component Group (Crankset, Bottom Bracket, Brake Calipers, Shifters, Cassette, Derailleurs, Chain)
  • Selle Italia SLR Flow Team Edition Saddle – White
  • Thomson 31.6 x367 Seatpost – Black
  • Thomson Seatpost Collar 31.8MM – Black
  • Thomson X2 Road 31.8 100MM – 10D Stem – Black

My Road Bike Wheelset Build

My Road Bike Wheelset Build

in Blog by Carl H. Martens

The components to build the wheelset for my Rocky Mountain Solo 70CR road bike have arrived and are pictured below.  Specs of the wheel build below as well.

  • American Classic 205 road rear hub (black) 32H
  • American Classic Micro 58 road front hub (black) 28H
  • Stans NoTubes ZTR 340 rims (black), 32H and 28H
  • DT Swiss Super Comp spokes (black)
  • Michelin Pro 3 road tires (red/black)

RAGBRAI is less than one month away!  I am super stoked.


Sunday Spent Fishing on the Mighty Fox

in Blog by Carl H. Martens

Today was absolutely beautiful here in the tri-cities.  I spent the day fishing with my buddy Chris on the Fox River in St. Charles, IL south of main street and the dam.  We had no luck.  Nonetheless, we had a great time relaxing and marveling at the beautiful place we get to call home.

This is the view south of the dam looking towards Main Street, St. Charles, Illinois

I brought my favorite “backpacking” rod/reel combo in my St. Croix four piece rod and Pflueger President spinning reel.

Chris getting rigged up.  In the distance you can see a popular fly fishing spot near the island.  At the forefront is the pedestrian/bike bridge and to the side is the river walk also viewable in the pictures above.

And that my friends is a glimpse of some of the lovely scenery along the Fox River in Saint Charles, Illinois!


My New Road Bike Frame

My New Road Bike Frame

in Blog by Carl H. Martens

As of today I am the new owner of a 2008 Rocky Mountain Solo 70CR carbon road bike frame.  I won this beauty off eBay.  Check’r out!

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