What’s Next?

Starting to feel a bit recovered from last weekend’s Fat Pursuit up in Idaho. It was a taxing 125 miles through the snow globe. So much wind, fresh snow, and warm temps made it a difficult trudge and that made this old body hurt. It was a good time up there, seeing friends, making new ones, pushing my mind and body, learning so much, and being outside in winter is always special.

I got asked a lot during the race weekend, “Hey Jefe, What’s Next?” As an endurance athlete, I get this a lot. Folks are curious, they want to hear about some wild crazy hard ride that is out there. I am usually cooking something up and setting my sights on a target down the road. Right now I am actually 100% not sure what is next. I didn’t answer truthfully to most folks, as right now it is time to find more work and that racing is gonna have to take a back seat for a bit. I just didn’t want to go there, so I just evaded the question. I am a bit embarrassed to be honest, I wish I was focused on training for the next thing.

Instead I got to find a job! It was amazing getting to be my daughter’s caretaker this summer and fall, I wouldn’t trade that time with her for anything, butt only working part time didn’t put any money in the bank. Then I was sick for a good bit of November, in December the bike shop was super slow and I missed out on much work for a couple months. Bottom line is our finances are not good right now and my family doesn’t need that stress. I am not excited about my prospects for employment, but that is reality right now. Believe it or not but racing bikes doesn’t do anything to add to the bank account, even with an amazing sponsor it costs a good bit to do events!

I am still looking at a couple races this summer, still hoping for way to register for ITI in 2023?!?! For now the bucket list has to wait, while I buckle down and put some money in the bank.

2 thoughts on “What’s Next?

  1. Hi Jefe,

    I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I first reached out to you back in 2011, when you nearly won the Tour Divide on a singlespeed. Being a singlespeed rider myself, I was deeply inspired by your performance. You opened my eyes to what was possible with only one gear.

    If I remember correctly, you and I had exchanged a few messages over the years, and I may have shared that my wife had been suffering from a rare autoimmune disease for almost 5 years. What I didn’t say was that she got ovarian cancer and passed away in 2017.

    Through it all, I always found time to ride my bike. In addition to my personal faith, I found that being on my bike helped maintain my sanity. I’m 61 years old now, and even though I still ride a singlespeed, I’m no longer riding it on the rough and rocky trails in Arizona, where I live. Out of self-preservation, I’ve opted for lighter trails and gravel roads. In fact, I have a titanium Salsa Fargo set up with drop bars and 1×11 drivetrain, and I’m having a blast with it.

    But I’m still a singlespeeder at heart, and I often throw a leg over my 2016 Trek Stache, with its 30×17 gear combo. It’s been a great bike, but my Fargo has caused me to fall in love with titanium. It’s always in the back of my mind to upgrade my singlespeed, and the Why Cycles’ El Jefe is one of my considerations. I read the article about it when it appeared on bikepacking.com, and I was wonderfully surprised to learn that the bike was named after you. I also think it’s great that your daughter is being honored in the design as well.

    From the things I’ve read, they say you’re a humble guy, and I’m guessing that you’re probably uncomfortable with being praised. Nevertheless, I want you to know that I consider you to be one of my heroes. Whenever I hear someone say that it’s not possible to go far on a singlespeed bike, I tell them how you almost won the Tour Divide on one. Anyway, because you had raced the El Jefe as a singlespeed, and because you are closely related to the design of this bike, I was hoping you would answer a few questions that would help guide my purchase.

    Were you satisfied with the way the El Jefe felt as a singlespeed, and is the chain tensioning system reliable?

    Do you think a rigid carbon fork will work well with this frame?

    Can you offer your opinion on the frame size that I should get? I’m only 5’6” and my singlespeed Stache is a small (15.5”). While doing a bike fit, I was told that I might actually fit better on a medium (17.5”).

    I know this probably isn’t the best place for me to post this, but thank you for reading, and I hope you’re able to reply.

    Mike
    miketatreau@gmail.com

    • Hi Mike,
      So good to hear from you and thanks for taking the time for that lovely bit of words. Means a lot to me to hear that others get inspiration, gives me so much hope! I will be happy to answer your questions about the el Jefe frame. The Chain tensioning is done with a two bolt sliding system/with bolted tensioner to thread the sliders back. This has been bomber for me, no slips at all, easy to adjust. Suspension corrected rigid fork would work fine, the frame is designed around a 120mm fork, about a 531mm axle to crown measurement. At 5’6″ you are at the end of the range for a small frame, right in there with a medium frame. I like to go up a frame size when on the edge, but that is personal preference for sure. That being said the medium should be about perfect. I know it is my job to say how much I love this bike, but I really do think it is amazing. Light and fast, but not sketchy, spry feeling without being soft or mushy. Every time I ride this bike I am proud of the work we did to make it real.
      Thanks again for reaching out and feel free to anytime!

      Jefe

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