Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Odin's Revenge 2015

It's hard to capture the beauty of the scenery out there with an iPhone while rolling.

Odin's Revenge was a highlight of our summer last year. Racing bikes on gravel, hanging out at a campsite with good people, drinking beer, and getting two nights away from home with no kids in tow (thanks Grammies!) is a recipe for success in our books! So, when we started looking at our calendar for the season, going to Gothenburg again was a no-brainer.

I decided to do the short course again this year. One of my favorite parts of last year's event was hanging out after the race. I knew that doing the long course would mean not really getting a chance to do that again unless I had to drop out, which isn't something I would exactly plan for so short course it was.

We had a bit of a hectic week heading into Odin's weekend so my normal routine of getting the van packed up the night before didn't happen this time. Rachel dropped the kids off at my mom's house before their nap time and came home as soon as my mom got home from work. Side not: My mom really is super-Grandma. In addition to her normal awesomeness, watching our kids so often, she took a half day off of work so that we could leave early enough to make it to the rider's meeting in Gothenburg on time! I got home from work just as Rachel pulled into the garage and we got right to packing. We got everything packed up and ready to go from pretty much scratch in about an hour. Rushing around to get ready is not my favorite way to start a race weekend but the checklist I had made really helped things move smoothly.

We left Omaha around 2:15 or so and made it Gothenburg in time to attempt to check in to our hotel room and go to Walker's Steakhouse to get signed in to the race and get food before the rider's meeting started. The information at the rider's meeting is really more for the long course racers, but the organizers somehow manage to get a TON of swag from their sponsors so the little raffle they have after the meeting is totally worth sticking around for. I scored quite a few single servings of Skratch Labs hydration mix and one of those BackBottles from the maker of Fix-It-Sticks. I think that BackBottle will come in handy during 'cross season for sure!

We saw this rat rod in Gothenburg after the rider's meeting. I'm pretty sure I saw it on the interstate earlier that day too. Very cool!

After the meeting, we headed back to the hotel. We were getting tired and I wanted to get everything laid out for the race the next morning so I could quickly get ready and make it down to see the long course riders hit the road at 6 am. We were in bed by probably 9:30 but I laid there awake until closer to 11:30, I think. I'm not sure why I couldn't sleep. I wasn't exactly nervous about the racing and the bed was comfy enough. I think I was just jazzed about the weekend.

Despite my lack of sleep, I was able to wake up pretty easily at 4:30 the next morning. And, since I had everything ready to go, I was able to take my time eating breakfast and getting showered and kitting up. I rode over to the start/finish at the Blue Heron (formerly the KOA) and was able to see the long course guys/gals take off. I had about 45 minutes until my race started and I had to pee, so I meandered back to where the campsites are and saw just how bad the flooding was back there. Wow! There was a ton of standing water everywhere and water was rushing under this little bridge, where last year it seemed like a nice calm little stream! Luckily they hadn't really gotten much rain in the previous week or so so I was pretty confident that the gravel roads would be pretty dry.

These are all supposed to be campsites!

Our race (though to hear Chad "Odin" Quigley speak of it, it was more of a gravel primer than a race, but c'mon Chad, we're "pinning a number on" so it's a race!) started at 6:45 and we took off in a similar fashion to the previous year. I soft pedaled up to the front and rode a very moderate pace following our pace vehicle to the start of the gravel. By the time we hit the first turn, there was just three of us together with a big gap back to the rest of the group. Like I said, the same kind of thing happened last year (not everybody is there to go fast) so I wasn't too surprised, but I had seen Corey "Cornbread" Godfrey at the start and I know he is fast so I kind of expected to see him up with us too.

Tooling around the parking lot waiting for our race start.

After maybe two miles, the three of us were down to two. The guy that dropped off said he had recently injured a hamstring so he wouldn't be pacing with us too long. So, I rode with a guy named Ben, who was riding a fat bike (sorry Tyler, I don't remember the brand/model of the bike!) for a while. When we hit the start of the hills, Ben said he didn't think he would be holding my pace either and about 7 miles in, he started gapping off my wheel. I was trying to hold a very steady pace, not accelerating up the hills or anything, but those big old fat tires just don't go uphill as easily as skinnier tires. Of course, every time we hit softer gravel he would be right back on my wheel as my 35mm tires just dug in a bit.

I decided to up the pace a tiny bit to make the gap more permanent so we wouldn't be yo-yoing so much. After a few minutes of that my Garmin beeped at me to tell me I was off course. It does that sometimes even when you're not off course and I had convinced myself that there wasn't a turn or a ways yet so it took me an extra few seconds to realize that I had indeed missed a turn! I doubled back to see Ben and four others heading up the hill at the turn I missed. When I got to the turn one of the guys was dealing with a flat tire and Ben had just started up the hill so got past both of them pretty quickly. I was riding a little harder than I meant to so early in the race, but I didn't want the three others ahead to get too far away.

Not too much later, I caught the first of the three riders ahead of me who happened to be Craig Schmidt on a single speed. Because he was running his bike with one of those chain tensioners that look kind of like a derailleur cage, I assumed he was on a geared bike, which confused me cause he was riding it more like a single speed. Turns out he WAS riding it like a single speed, cause that's what it was!

Selfie time!

Anyways, I caught up to Craig and slowed for a bit. We made small talk for a bit but it was pretty clear that we were going to be riding different paces so I kept going. The two guys ahead of me had somewhere around a 30 to 60 second gap. One was in a Cycle Works kit and the other was in a Kaos kit. I still wasn't totally sure who it was in the Cycle Works kit, though I had a hunch it was Cornbread. I had no clue who it was in the Kaos kit, but from my limited experience, people in Kaos kits tend to be on faster side of the spectrum, with few exceptions.

It seemed as though I was reeling those two back, but it was odd. I'd seem to close in on them a bit when they were on flatter ground, but as soon as they'd hit hit a climb the gap would hold or get bigger. It turns out the guy in the Kaos kit (Adam Kornfeld) was on a single speed as well which would explain their pacing a bit. I didn't feel like the gap was insurmountable yet and we still had 40 some miles to go, so I decided to hold the pace I was doing and see how things developed for a bit. However, I really had to pee as well! So, I popped off the road, did my business, and got back on the bike. I could still see the two ahead of me (plus Craig since he passed me while I was in the bushes) as I started riding again, but they soon took the next turn and were out of sight pretty quickly. I kept expecting to crest a climb and see them not too far away, but each hilltop disappointed me.

I keenly remember Lydic Road from last year. It's a ~12 mile section of road that climbs pretty steadily all the way with several little kickers on the way. Last year, it was the softest part of the course, and made my chain make all sorts of bad noises. The roads this year were dry and FAST! I settled into a kind of TT mode, keeping my heart rate up between 160 and 165 bpm. A good solid effort, but not so high that I would be burning matches just yet. My threshold is somewhere around 167 bpm so I figured if I kept the effort just below that, it would be a good fast pace without killing me later. This road was the complete opposite of last year's slog. Last year, the road just stuck to your tires making you feel like you had a flat tire. This year I felt like I was barely touching the road.

Let's take a break and enjoy this sign I found in a gas station in Curtis, NE when I went to pick up Tyler off the long course.

Eventually, I crested one of the many smaller climbs to see a pair of riders standing on opposite side of the road, maybe a half mile ahead. The two guys I was chasing had stopped for a nature break. I thought I might still catch them before the checkpoint. Maybe then we could ride together for a while and then duke it out later. But then I had to stop for my own nature break yet again and those ideas evaporated. As I turned down the road towards the checkpoint at Potters Pasture, Cornbread (now I knew for sure it was him!) and Adam were already heading back out. I stopped as quickly as I possibly could at the checkpoint, just long enough to top off my bottles, before heading out again. After seeing how much of a lead they had, I knew it would be a big ask to pull them back in the remaining 30ish miles. I knew Cornbread could keep their pace no problem. I didn't know what Adam'c capabilities were, but every time I saw them, Adam was on Cornbread's wheel, so I knew he wasn't having to work as hard as I or Cornbread were. Since they were in different categories, I have to assume this was a deal they worked out. I kept on plugging away at the same pace though. I could only hope that they would take it easier thinking that there was no way I could catch them.

I'm smiling cause I managed to just barely miss a cute little three-legged dog that came running out on the road in front of me seconds before this picture was taken.

Most of the rest of the course was slightly downhill, so the speeds were pretty fast, somewhere around a 19-20mph average depending on where you look. Once I hit the Canal road, I knew there was only around 8 miles left or so and I gave it one last ditch effort. I went as hard as I could all the way back, hoping to at least bring Cornbread and/or Adam back in to sight. I averaged just about 21 mph and just felt my legs burn for a good 25 minutes. I never did see those two before finishing, but I felt really good about how I rode.

I'm pretty sure the race would have been different had I not missed that turn. I wonder how long it would have taken Cornbread and Adam to catch me if they did at all. If I could have worked with them, I wonder what would have went down. I've never actually ridden with either of them so I don't actually know how we compare head-to-head, but I would have liked to have been able to try! Oh well. A big part of gravel racing is the navigation and I made a critical error in that regard this year.
I think Greg Gleason and Guitar Ted were trading fishing tales after Greg won. "It was huge I tell you! Then it got away."

Next year, I'm strongly considering trying the long course. The challenge is calling me!

Rachel and I rode down Willow Island Road after my race for a little bit. Rachel got to experience gravel on her road bike. Not exactly the best tool for the job, but she did great!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lewis & Clark: Crusher of Souls

Apparently the others didn't get the "podium beer" memo!

Ugh, the race at Lewis and Clark kicked my ass last Saturday. Much like Tyler, this race was a much different beast than the race at Platte River State Park. However, unlike Tyler, my experience moved in the wrong direction.

L&C is filled with shorter steep, punchy climbs as well as lots of short, steep descents. I'm not very good at short punchy climbing, especially not repeated ones. Give me longer, more gradual climbs that I can find a rhythm on, and I do a lot better.

L&C also features a fun ripping descent at the start of the trail. It really is fun, but when you're on a 'cross bike like I am and you're racing people on mountain bikes, you're at quite the disadvantage. You just can't point a cross bike and let it go down the trail if you want to have any hope of maintaining control. And there's no easy one-fingered modulation of the brakes either. Like I wrote in my Platte race report, you have to simultaneously hold on to the hoods and modulate the brakes. Even though you're not pedaling, you're still expending energy as is proved by my sore triceps the next day!

My arms! My arms!

Needless to say, the nature of L&C doesn't really suit either my natural skill set nor my bike choice.

I started the race pretty well, if I do say so myself. I was lacking in motivation a bit, but my legs seemed to be going well. I may have overdone the starting climb on monument road a tad, but in the grand scheme of L&C, I think that was more a drop in the super-threshold bucket than an extra burnt match. I was some where in the top 5ish people heading into the trail, where my descending prowess immediately caused a nice line of mountain bikers to back up behind me. Had this not been a race, I would have felt bad for slowing them down. However, this WAS a race, so #sorrynotsorry.

You can probably guess how most of the rest of the race went after reading the preceding paragraphs. Tyler, who was a few riders behind me going into the trail, caught up to me within the first half of the first lap and we rode mostly together for the rest of that lap and the next. There was another rider who was with us for much of that time as well. I recognized him, but don't know his name. He was wearing a Midwest Cycling team kit and showed extreme patience with my sometimes less than graceful skills.

Every time the trail pointed up, I would start to edge away from these two and as soon as we headed downhill or something kind of techy got in the way, they'd be right back on my wheel. The course ends with some uphill switchbacks and "Neverest," a steep-as-hell seemingly never-ending climb back up to the L&C parking lot. I'm pretty sure I had a few seconds gap on Tyler when we hit the parking lot after our second lap. We both stopped for a second in the pits. He swapped bottles and I used the stopping point to eat part of a Clif Bar. By the time I got my bar back in my pocket, Tyler was already hopping the curb to head back down the trail. Aside from a few times where the trail curves back on itself, that would be the last time I saw Tyler until the finish line.

This was one of a few tree that had to be removed the week before the race.

I knew my only hope of pulling Tyler back would be if he totally imploded (does it make me a bad brother if I was kind of hoping he would bonk?). He seemed to be riding within himself though, so I knew that finding him crying in exhaustion at the bottom of a climb wasn't likely to happen. So, the rest of the race became a practice in character building. I worked on maintaining focus even though I was tired and keeping as steady a pace as I could.

I find that as I tire, I am less willing to put out the power necessary to clear certain features like roots and short steep hills. I have the power available, I just don't wanna do it. So, I end up either totally botching the obstacle or simply dismounting and walking it. This definitely makes me slower and is something I need to work on. HTFU!!!!

As I came through the pits for the last time, Emily Houtchens told me something to the effect of, "Your brother is only two minutes ahead of you!" To which I replied with a sort of "give me a break" summed up with a simple exasperated F-bomb, followed by informing her that Tyler would be beating me then.

Seriously though, the pit area mocking and cheering was a highlight of my race. It's kind of like cruising through I really short section of a 'cross race every lap. If only there had been beer or dollar bill hand-ups!

I ended up finishing 7th overall and 4th in the under-40 age group. I'll take it. After 4 laps in, I certainly did not expect to finish in the top 50% of the overall group. Plus, 4th in my age group meant I finished in the money. It's always nice to get back your entry fee.

So after two 4th place finishes in three available races (I didn't get to race Tranquility), I have a total of 32 points in the Psycowpath series standings which puts me in fourth place in my age group. Unfortunately, I don't see myself being able to move up in the points this season. I won't be able to race at Swanson which limits the number of points available to me now. It's all good though. I really don't mind. The races are good enough that I would race them even if I never had a chance at coming anywhere near placing.

Next race is Odin's Revenge on June 27th. I am really looking forward to that one. I had a hoot and a half out in Gothenburg last year and I don't anticipate it being any different this year. Plus, the beer Tyler and I brewed a few weeks ago has turned out quite nicely. I just kegged it two days ago and it's in the process of getting carbonated. The extra hops we added (plus the extra time we "totally intentionally" let them sit in the kettle after flame-out) added enough extra bitterness and flavor, that you could almost call this beer a sort of session wheat IPA, though it's missing the kind of hop aroma you would need to really try to classify it that way. In my opinion, it will be a very refreshing session beer, and I wouldn't be surprised if I come home with empty kegs. Though, Kinkaider Brewing
 will have beer there as well, so maybe I have a chance of keeping some of my beer to bring back home.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Lewis and Clark Crusher: Tyler’s Race Report + Additional MTB musings

Guest blogger: Tyler Loewens

The Lewis and Clark Marathon MTB race was a complete 180° polar opposite experience when compared to the Platte River Marathon MTB race (report found here). From what I can tell this was due to three main things: 1) Better gearing 2) Better in-race nutrition 3) Course more suited to my growing skillset. At the end of this shindig I am also going to touch on my ever-changing impression of what MTB is best suited to my needs (previous report found here), as well as some current gear changes needed.


Holy hell does gearing make a big difference when you are running a 1 by setup! Out at Platte I was running a 1 X 9 with a 34 tooth front chainring, and an 11-32 cassette. After that terrible experience I decided to change to a much smaller front chainring in anticipation of the L&C race which is supposed to have steeper climbing.
New 1X10 X7 drivetrain

After doing some quick research I found that the 30 tooth chainring was the smallest I could go on a 104 BCD crank without being a huge PITA. Well it turns out that 30 tooth front chainring would no longer work with my chain guide, so now I had a decision to make. Sure I was running a narrow wide front chainring, however my 9 speed XT rear derailleur was built prior to clutch-type technology so would the chain stay on over rough stuff? Well I put the 30 tooth front chainring on without the chain guide, and rode the bike up and down the neighborhood. Nothing immediately fell off so I did the “ass-drop” test and sure as toddlers are adverse to bedtime, that chain popped right off. Eff.

So I went digging through my box of rear derailleurs and noticed my 10 speed X7 type 2 RD hanging out. Then I notice I still have an 11-32 10 speed cassette as well! Both of these were from my cross bike which I just switched to 11 speed. Golden. I ordered an X7 shifter and the cheapest 10 speed chain I could find. Once those arrived I put it all together and hello 2011, Tyler has arrived! I now had a 1X10 drivetrain without a chain guide that worked!

Sure looks more modern without the chain guide

So that was a long build-up to say that the new 30/32 tooth low gear combination was instrumental in my success at the L&C race. I could actually sit and spin a gear up tough climbs that did not have my lower back tight with fatigue after only an hour. Not to mention I now had that extra gear in the rear cassette that helped make the gear jumps that much more comfortable. On top of that the X7 shifter can dump 5 gears at a time, so I can effectively sweep the cassette in two shifts! I did this many times transitioning from a flat-out fast section to a steep rooty climb. So choice.

Better in-race nutrition:

I have always struggled with in-race nutrition that would not make my stomach a little sick. This time around I took a chance and brought along two PowerBar energy Blends that look much like the applesauce packets my 2 year old loves.

After the second lap I figured out that the feed zone was the best place for me to get some sort of food down. The second lap I had a Hammer Nutrition gel (what I normally use), and was OK. The third lap I slammed one of these PowerBar energy blends and wow, what a taste difference! For a blended energy product it actually tasted like real food! Talk about a pick me up. On the fourth lap I took another Hamer Nutrition gel and felt my stomach start the downward spiral, so the next lap I took my second energy blend and again was happy for some real food. After that second blend my stomach turned around and I felt good the rest of the race! (even the disgusting energy blend that tasted like coconut was a good boost for me)

I was feeling so good that on the 6th lap I was singing to myself and other racers. I came upon two guys riding a good pace and sang “I love the fishes cause their so delicious”, and instead of them finishing the song they stopped and looked back at me in unison like I was crazy. Not at all what I was intending, however they got off the course and let me by which was super classy of them (or maybe they were just hoping I didn’t go crazy and eat my own fecal matter in front of them). Of course I finished the song after passing.

For sports drink I was again using Skratch labs in my bottles. Again I used three different flavors so I could have that little mental joy when I grabbed a new one “Ooo, Pineapple!” Again I found myself wishing for a second bottle mount as I would lose a good 10 to 20 seconds per lap getting a new bottle out.

Course more suited to my growing skillset:

As this is only my second actual MTB race, it is absolutely still too early to understand which type of course will really suit my skills. With that in mind I can tell you that Lewis and Clark suits me much more than Platte.

A lap of the Platte race course starts off with a sustained and fairly steep doubletrack climb that can be loose in a few spots. A lap of Lewis and Clark (besides the start on Monument Road) starts off with a super fun and fast descent that us slow-pokes go down in the 3+ minute zone (fast guys going in under 2 and a half minutes!!). On top of that, L&C’s climbs are a bit shorter and more punchy which is more suited to my “yes I would like another beer” rear end. L&C to me just feels like it has a flow that one can really get into.

Strava Ride details for my race

Lewis and Clark is where a mountain bike truly has a strong advantage over a cyclocross bike. Many of you will remember how handily my brother (Travis Loewens) smoked me in the Platte marathon race on his cyclocross bike. In the L&C race I was able to catch Travis on the first descent with ease, even if he had gapped me by over 30 seconds prior to it. After the 3rd lap I had followed Travis up Never-Rest (both of us off the bikes pushing), and then saw him in the feed zone getting something out of his cooler (he runs a bladder instead of bottles, so it must have been food).

Strava elevation profile for my race

I knew this was my opportunity to put some time into him and force him to expend more energy on the climbs to catch me, so I quickly grabbed a bottle and food and headed off to the course. I heard him say something along the lines of “I love you, enjoy your ride, unicorns make the best sandwiches” (could have been something derogatory too….shrug), and I was off. I let it rip as much as I was comfortable with and set my fastest time on that descent for this race. We only saw each other in passing on the course going opposite directions the rest of the race. I just forced myself to keep a steady climbing pace, and then really concentrate on using the rooty descents to my advantage. If Travis had an actual MTB at this race, the outcome would have been different for sure.

Those three things together (better gearing, better nutrition, and better course) added up to me coming in 3rd place in my age group (ages 14-39 CAT 1,2,3) and 5th place overall Marathon. I cannot describe how good I felt about having that much more of an enjoyable race.

Third place!

So how did the old gal (my Trek 69er) do on Lewis and Clark? Surprisingly well! There are two things I need to change:

I am using the Ergon GS2 grips which have a small integrated bar-end, and an ergonomic shape to the grip itself. While I really love the small bar-ends for a different hand position when climbing in my lowest gear, that ergonomic grip shape is downright dangerous in technical descending. The little angled shape prevents your hands from getting all the way around the grips which makes it very hard to hold on when bombing down technical singletrack that is throwing your hardtail bike all over the place. Time to change those out to something else. Suggestions?

I am going to miss those bar ends
The ergonomic part of the grip hinders your control

I am still using the origial Avid Juicy 5 hydraulic brakes that came with the bike in 2009. Those of you that know about the Avid brake reputations will already be asking me why I haven’t changed already. While these brakes always stopped me in time (and in super noisy fashion), I always had to use two fingers on each lever. Even when I just wanted to scrub a little speed, one finger would not do it. Maybe I need to bleed and adjust them…maybe I need new pads….maybe I should just ditch these brakes for something like an SLX brake with the icetech rotors. Suggestions?

These brakes have got to go

While I still would have wanted a more stable descending bike overall, and more traction climbing over roots (my one wreck was in slow motion on a root that slipped my rear wheel off to the side and forced me into a tree), I am now starting to amend my assumption that I really need a full suspension bike. If anything a full 29er hardtail with a forgiving backside might be the cats meow. What I really need to do is get a full suspension bike next to a 29er hard tail for a demo on the same day same course. Either way I am pretty sold on a 1 by setup for my next bike. 

My only mark from the wreck

Unfortunately there was a wedding scheduled at the Lewis and Clark monument that same day, so all of us racers had to park on the road. I got the Bike Way truck their early enough to get an OK spot, however the race organizers had such a good setup near the finish line that we hardly used our own tent at all. Oh well, it is still nice to have the tools and a bike stand available if you need it.

You can see our pop-up tent in the background in orange....pretty close to the registration tent really

So what's next this season for me? The Odin's Revenge Gravel Race Long course. This is about 180 miles of gorgeous and super challenging gravel and B roads in middle Nebraska. I am crossing my toes that the rain they keep getting out their stops soon, otherwise I will be really wishing for some bigger tires than my 700X40's. 

Hope you enjoy reading! As always feel free to leave a message below.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

An American Wheat in the Hand is Worth Two Berliners in the Bush

 A Berliner Weiss is a German wheat beer that is very low in alcohol and has a very refreshing, almost lemonade-like, sourness. It's a perfect warm weather beer that you can drink just about unlimited quantities of without getting hammered. In other words, it would be a great beer to make and bring to Odin's Revenge.

So, last Friday Tyler and I brewed... an American wheat beer.

The key to getting the right amount of sourness in a Berliner Weiss (at least the way that has worked for me in the past) is to pitch a large quantity of the bacteria Lactobacillus at a warm temperature before pitching any ale yeast to let the lacto do it's thing and bring the acid levels in the beer up to where you like it. Then you bring the temp down to an appropriate ale fermentation and pitch your ale yeast. To get enough lacto, I've made 1 liter starters for the lacto and let them sit warm for about a week without any oxygen addition or stirring. I did that this time but something went wrong. Either the vials of lacto, White Labs WLP677, I got from Northern Brewer (my favorite local shop, Patriot Homebrew Supplies, didn't happen to have any lacto on hand at the time) were no good or I screwed something up in my starter prep, because in a week, the pH never dropped much at all. It tasted slightly sour, but I was expecting a pretty good drop in pH and a very tart flavor.

So, plan B it was. I ran back to Patriot to grab a few more pound of malt and a couple more ounces of hops so we could make an American Wheat instead. I ended up using Nelson Sauvin hops for flavor and aroma as they're a hop and I haven't used yet and the descriptors of fruity and white wine flavors sounded like good warm weather flavors.

The drained mash looks kind of like a big round Clif Bar or something.
I've been playing with no sparge brewing in my last several batches. It saves a bunch of time and hassle since there's no sparge to deal with and doing a mash out step (if you are so inclined) is unnecessary if I put a flame on the wort as soon as I begin collecting it in the kettle. It uses way less propane as well. The downside is that my mash efficiency is significantly lower. When I fly sparge, I pretty consistently hit 80-85%. Back when I used to batch sparge, I got similar numbers to my fly sparging efficiencies. So far, my no sparge efficiencies have been under 65% and rather variable. This batch we hit a whopping 52%! So instead of hitting an O.G. of around 1.045, we got 1.037. That made me glad our mash temperature was a couple degrees higher than the 152° I intended. Hopefully, the higher temperature will give this smaller beer the body it needs. It will be more balanced to the hops than I originally intended, but I'm okay with that.

Automated temperature control. It's the bees knees.
I know what you more attentive and scrupulous homebrewers are thinking. I should have checked the pre-boil gravity and then corrected using malt extract. Normally I would agree with you, but I was more concentrated on this just being a fun brewday where Tyler and I could just shoot the shit and make some beer while we were at it. So, when the mash temp was a little high, I didn't bother adjusting it and I never worried about checking the gravity until the end. An American wheat beer is a pretty forgiving beer to brew, in my opinion.

So BACK OFF you tubby know-it-all! Just kidding. You know I'm a tubby know-it-all deep inside too.

Stick a mash paddle in it.
Flavor-wise, the low efficiency is nothing to worry about, but you need a lot more malt to hit your target gravity which adds cost and, more importantly, takes up more room in the mash tun. I think the next batch I do, I'll try batch sparging again. That will get more of those sugars out of the mash while still being a shorter brewday than fly sparging. I am quite over the novelty of 6-8 hour brewdays.

The brewday was perfect, regardless of the low gravity. We had no random problems and were able to sit back and let the brewstand do its thing while we drank beer and smoked cigars. Good life and bike talk happened which is just about more important than the beer brewing. You can always buy beer, you can't buy the other stuff.

Letting the boiled wort sit hot while the trub settles out in a nice whirlpooled cone.
Anyway, if you're interested in the recipe, here it is:

Minor Lite Wheat

A ProMash Recipe Report

BJCP Style and Style Guidelines
06-D Light Hybrid Beer, American Wheat or Rye Beer

Min OG:1.040Max OG:1.055  
Min IBU:15Max IBU:30  
Min Clr:3Max Clr:6 Color in SRM, Lovibond

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal):13.00Wort Size (Gal):13.00
Total Grain (Lbs):24.75    
Anticipated OG:1.046Plato:11.54
Anticipated SRM:3.5      
Anticipated IBU:27.5    
Brewhouse Efficiency:65 %  
Wort Boil Time:90 Minutes  

Pre-Boil Amounts
Evaporation Rate:1.50 Gallons Per Hour  
Pre-Boil Wort Size:15.25 Gal  
Pre-Boil Gravity:1.040 SG9.90 Plato

Formulas Used
Brewhouse Efficiency and Predicted Gravity based on Method #1, Potential Used.
Final Gravity Calculation Based on Points.
Hard Value of Sucrose applied. Value for recipe: 46.2100 ppppg
% Yield Type used in Gravity Prediction: Fine Grind Dry Basis.

Color Formula Used: Morey
Hop IBU Formula Used: Rager

Additional Utilization Used For Plug Hops: 2 %
Additional Utilization Used For Pellet Hops: 10 %

18.24.50 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row)America1.0362
3.00.75 lbs. Sauer(acid) Malt  1.0352
48.512.00 lbs. Wheat MaltAmerica1.0382
30.37.50 lbs. PilsenerGermany1.0382

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.

AmountNameFormAlphaIBUBoil Time
1.00 oz. MagnumPellet12.6023.960 min
1.00 oz. Nelson SauvinPellet11.603.75 min
1.00 oz. Nelson SauvinPellet11.600.00 min

0.50 Tsp Wyeast NutrientOther10 Min.(boil)
1.00 Unit(s) WhirlflocFining5 Min.(boil)

Fermentis US-05 Safale American Ale

Water Profile
Profile:Distilled Water
Profile known for:  
Calcium(Ca):0.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg):0.0 ppm
Sodium(Na):0.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4):0.0 ppm
Chloride(Cl):0.0 ppm
biCarbonate(HCO3):0.0 ppm

Mash Schedule
Mash Type:Single Step  
Grain Lbs:24.75  
Water Qts:40.00Before Additional Infusions
Water Gal:10.00Before Additional Infusions
Qts Water Per Lbs Grain:1.62Before Additional Infusions

Saccharification Rest:15260 Min
Mash-out Rest:00 Min
Sparge:00 Min

Total Mash Volume Gal: 11.98 - Dough-In Infusion Only
All temperature measurements are degrees Fahrenheit.

Add 3.4g CaCl2 to 10 total gallons RO water in mash tun and 3.1g CaCl2 to 9 gallons RO water in boil kettle.

Generated with ProMash Brewing Software