Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Anybody out there?

Just wondering if I am the only one that reads this blog. If this is true, it isn't a bad thing. I gives me something to do while my job search continues. If someone is actually reading my crap, please feel free to diss anything you don't agree with. I can take it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Jealousy is a bad thing

I am very happy with my stable of bikes. I could get by with what I have and be able to ride mountain, road, cross, and Tri's not just passably, but well. All of the bikes are great performing rides. It could be argued that there is a glaring hole in the stable because of the lack of a geared mtb, but I really like my rigid singlespeed. It this point in my life it works for me--makes me excited to ride.

Anyway, I am always--regardless of my lack of need for a new bike--searching for the next cool thing. It is a problem, just ask my wife.

I really have been craving something classy, maybe with lugs. Then Fish goes and has an absolute stunner of bike built. Actually it is not finished yet, but it is obvious that it will be. Check it out at http://www.sabrosacycles.com

I am pretty jealous over that bike. I don't like that. I have never wanted a bike Fish had so badly. I mean, I would like to have any number of bikes that he has in his basement. Thankfully they are for the most part too small for me. Otherwise, I would be pestering him more.

It brings back memories of what could have been if I had gone ahead with the Vanilla a couple of years ago. Painful it is now to realize I could have had such a bike now from Sacha. I realize that I don't need a bike like that, yet I long to have something built for me that expresses my ultimate vision of style and substance in bicycle. I think now it would be something cyclocross related, maybe monstercross--cyclocross geometry with 29er tire compatibility. Not sure if it would be disc brake or not. Probably not. I like the retro coolness of canti's on a cross bike. Disc's would make more sense for Oregon though.

Whatever, I don't even have a job yet. But it is fun to think about. With the waitlists that exists for these premiere builders, I might as well get on a waitlist now. But who....

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Two Reviews for the Price of One:

SO I have two items I have had some recent experience with. One was surprising and one not so much. First the review of the not so surprising item.

Craft Winter Bib Knicker

I admit it, I have a thing for bibs. Whether they be shorts, tights or knickers I prefer they be in the bibs style. I blame this on my friend Fish. Not that he forced me to buy my first set or anything. It is just that he wore them most of the time. I eventually bought a set and I havently looked back. I like how they stay in place over just regular spandex shorts. They get hung up less on the back of my saddle. Anyway, I have had lots of different bibs and lots of brands. My newest set of bibs are these Craft Winter Bib Knickers. They rock. They keep me pretty warm, but not as warm as a full tight obviously. Even with a little bit of leg showing I haven't gotten too cold. Cool, yes, but not cold. Unless it is near freezing, I don't think I need a full tight. There is a brushed inside layer which feels nice. The outside is fairly wind proof, but not totally. Not really rainproof either, but that is ok. For mostly dry, cold days these kinckers are great. Very comfortable. The pad is thick in all of the right places. The material is very form fitting. I have some Adidas bib Kinckers and they are just way too elastic. The material in the Craft bib also keeps heat in much better than my other bibs. I do believe that I will be taking back the old Adidas bibs to my local Performance Bike Shop, where I got them. They suck comparatively to these Craft bib knickers. Craft stuff is a bit spendy but worth it. I have a lot of their insulating jerseys. They are musts for cross season and thru the winter. I give this Bib Knicker a solid A grade.

Cane Creek Volos XL Wheelset

Another admission here. I was going to sell these wheels when they came with my Fuji CF2. They are heavy for high end wheels--around 1800 grams. So really, they can't be all that highend--even if they come with a bike that retails for over $3000. My other wheels I have owned recently have weighed much less. I was going to use them this season for cross, but I never flatted and never needed them. So they just sat in the pits each race. After the season was over I again going to sell them, but never got around to it. The Fuji had been outfitted with some spendy carbon tubulars. But when the Fuji got put regular road duty, the carbon wheels weren't going to cut it. Not durable enough. Until I figured out what I was going to run I thought I would just run these. The heft of them bugged, but oh well. But then something surprising happened, I started to like them.

These wheels have a great feel. They are very solid, and really inpire me to rail through turns. Maybe they are have much less flex than I have gotten used to with my lighter wheels. Regardless of cost, they are the best feeling road wheel I own or have owned. I have had custom built DT240s on DT RR1.1 rims, Tune hubs on IRD 19mm Noibium rims with CX-Ray spokes, Bontrager X-Lites, King hubs on Mavic Open Pros and probably some others that I am forgetting.

They roll well enough that I didn't notice the extra weight. I like them. I really like them. Weird. I am not sure I can help upgrading them eventually--they are pretty hefty; about a half pound heavier than my cross wheels and almost 580 grams heavier than the American Classic Carbon Wheels that I will run for my triathlons (pictured in my former post about the Fuji), but for now they are more than good enough. For the money, the wheels are more than worth it too. I noticed that they can be had online for about $300 to $350 brand new. Retail is $500. Grades: Value A, overall B.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Burnout Comparison

A friend, known as Aquaholic on the Mtbr.com forums sent me this. Hilarious and amazing!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Damn its cold out there / Fuji CF2 Conversion

So I feel a bit guilty, I went 3 days went any workouts. It makes me itchy. I was cranky last night and I am sure that it was in large part to not having workout in a while. It is like I can feel myself getting fatter or something. Well, between not riding and eating 3 hot and fresh Krispy Kreme Donuts last night. I had not eaten one in a couple of years. I feel good to just have eaten 3. I could have doubled that easily. As it was I felt nauseous in the middle of the night.

Anyway. The Fuji CF2 conversion to a regular old road bike. Well maybe not a regular old road bike, but a bike with out the aero bars. It makes it much safer for riding in traffic with this dropbar set up. It rides very nicely. I still need to dial in the position with a shorter stem. The Ultegra shifters are very nice. This is my first pair of these with the 10 speed. Bridget has some 105 shifters on her Cannondale. The Ultegras are noticably smoother and less clunky than the 105's. To those people who have told me otherwise over the past few months--you are idiots. The Ultegra shifters and the 105 shifters may weigh nearly the same, but they don't feel the same. And the Ultegras not only feel better they shift better too.

The ride was rather cold. It was my coldest ride of the year. I was 30 degrees here at the house so I am sure that it was colder up on Skyline Road where I spent most of the time. I forgot to put on my shoe covers. I didn't remember until I was out for about 15 minutes and by then it was too late to turn around. I was riding under a time limit and so if I turned around I would have time to do much of anything up on Skyline. Besides, it wouldn't be that bad would it? Yep. My toes still feel cold and it is as I write this about 4 hours later. It is like the chill won't leave them, though I am toasty everywhere else. Maybe it is just the memory of the cold or something. Still I wouldn't think that 28-30 degrees would be that bad, but apparently my shoes ventalate very well.

I was a little nervous about riding with the American Classic carbon wheels. They really are for competition use, but I didn't have another wheelset ready with road tires and even if I did, I would have had to swap out my brake pads for non-carbon ones. But what it came down to is that I wanted to ride with them. I paid way too much for those things to have only ridden them 1 time in four months. So now I have ridden them twice. Braking works well. Sometimes I can feel the brakes pulsing a bit, as if their are certain spots on the wheel that are a little grabbier. But the feel at the brake lever is the same I guess, It is more like my rate of slowing is pulsing as the grabbier parts of the rim slow me down more than the other spots. I suspect that this will change as the rim and brakes get broke-in a bit. The other time I rode these wheels whas during a sprint triathlon back in early September. I didn't really have to use the brakes much at all.

I don't know about the whole tubular thing though. I don't know that it felt that much different. I had the tires up to 160psi--that I could feel. But that seemed to be the only difference between them and the clinchers I usually ride. But it was pretty cold out, so maybe when it warms up the rubber will feel different.

The next ride on the bike I will put on the heavier wheels and see what happens.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Fuji CF2: No Longer just for TT/Tri's

So today I gave the Fuji a discipline change. Put a drop bar on it and some ultegra 10 speed shifter. Other than that is the is the same as before. Oh, I put the normal carbon aero seatpost on it instead of the multi-position carbon seatpost. This alone drops about 1/3 of a pound. That multi-position post weighs a ton. As it sits it weighs 16.57 lbs. I would like to put on some decent cranks, those FSA Team cranks are pigs. I think the FSA Gossamers weigh less. Anyway, this is dressed up with race wheels. With my normal wheels, non carbon and non tubular, the bike should weigh about a pound more. Still pretty good.

I haven't been able to ride it yet, other than the parking lot, but it feels like a winner. I need a shorter stem and to adjust the saddle forward a bit. Otherwise it will be sweet. Bridget will be glad that I am not riding her Cannondale anymore.

When it comes time to do a tri all I need to do is throw the old set up back on. It should only take about 45 minutes to do the swap.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Browns Camp on the New Curtlo/Dave on the GT

Good times. Trail was pretty good despite the massive rains over the weekend. There is one section that is sort of tricky when it is wet. Tires don't like to stick to the roots that traverse the trail on a little climb. Dave normally has no problem, especially on his Fisher 293. But on the GT and while I was filming he couldn't get it together.

By the way, the Curtlo is amazing. Later I will post a review on a Schwabe Racing Ralph 2.4 29er tires that I just put on the rear wheel. So far the tire is great.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

FSA Warranty

My broken FSA K Force Isis crankset is on its way back to the company. I only broke two days ago. They gave the shop an RA# and the shop sent it off this morning. I may even have the new crankset this week. This is the replacement:

It is an FSA K Force Carbon MegaExo Crankset, with a new bottom bracket as well.

I like my old ISIS set up, it was a tad lighter. Crankset was 520 grams and the bottom bracket was about 210. That makes a total of 730 grams. This crankset is about 780-790. But if it doesn't break that would be a good thing.

FSA is very quick. Sadly this is the second warranty I have had with them, the other was a FSA RD400 rear wheel that had to go back. The same thing then too, handled quickly and properly. SO even if they don't ways get it right the first time, they seem intent on doing their best the second.

weigh in 12/4

I lost just a bit of weight which is much better than gaining. Considering that I didn't work out much for the second straight week I think it is a good thing. I am going to try and do better this week. I have been in a bit of funk. I am going to force myself to get out the door more.

Why am I not a smart as I think I am?

I realized once again that I am not the brightest bunny sometimes. I can't really ride my Fuji around town. It is a very nice carbon TT/Tri bike. I bought it thinking that it would be able to do dual duty. Nope, not the way it came. With the brake levers outside of the aero bars and the shifters on the center of the aerobar it is not safe to ride in traffic. Good for TT's but not good for stopping quickly or for shifting on the fly without a significant change of hand position. It just isn't set up for regular riding with the aero setup. I talked to Fish and he suggested a Cervelo soloist. Those are pretty sweet. Aero tubes, but the geometry is adaptable to either TT or road. The Soloist is adaptable mainly by flipping the seatpost mainly and then changing the handlebar set up. If I am wrong about that, Fish let me know.

Tonight, I was about to get ready to take pictures of the Fuji when it suddenly dawns on me that the Fuji does the same damn thing pretty much. I have two seatposts. One that is lighter and is set at 73.5 degrees, and another that will allow me to go from 73 to 78 in one degree increments. Damn I am stupid. All I need is a drop bar and shifters, no need to sell it. So Fish if you have any 10 speed shifters you want to unload I am in the market. Road bike problem solved.

So I will be riding a full carbon road bike soon. I just gotta find the money to get some drop bars and levers.

Here is a stock photo of my bike. I have some American Classic Carbon wheels, but other than that, the photo is what mine looks like currently.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Jason Lee WTH??

Just an aside here...

Jason Lee, currently star of My Name is Earl, but also the star of my favorite alltime guilty pleasure movie, Mallrats. Many thought that was a horrible movie, but in my mid-20's, I watched that movie quite a few times and would roll with laughter for some reason. Now I see he is in a live action/CGI adaption of Alvin and the Chipmonks. Ugh...he can't need the money that badly can he?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

USGP Race #6 / Portland Oregon

Admittedly I can't report on what the pros did, but I can report that the course was well designed and fun. I wasn't really feeling it today, but I had fun. There were lots of little hills, areas with long straight aways and then areas where there were numerous twists and turns. My race was the first race but the course was not fresh. The majority of it had been well worn by the previous day's races, which I missed unfortunately. The course diverted from yesterday course in several areas adding some element of the short track mtb course. This added a couple of short steep climbs and descents. It also went through the woods in a couple of spots that were different as well. There were several pretty good mud puddles. The hills we pretty slick, you needed momentum to make it up most of them. Otherwise it was faster just to run up them.

I took a video of the juniors and womens race that was right after mine. You can see that it was what you would expect from Portland cyclocross.

I finished near the back, like I said I wasn't really feeling it today. I tried to push it a couple of times, but I found myself not able to keep up the normal effort that I am used to. I am going to blame my kids and wife for that--they have all been sick and so perhaps I am not up to snuff either. Also, at the end of the final lap I broke my crank arm on the driveside. I elt something give as I went to try and catch one guy the last 1/4 of a mile. THe pedal didn't come off, but I was worried at the time that I had broke my pedal again. Nope just the crank. the aluminum insert inside the crank arm broke loose of the carbon that surrounds it. It is a FSA K Force Isis crankset. It doesn' have tons of use either, and I haven't bashed it. Whatever, it will get warrantied.

If there are more pics up of me I might pick one up and post it later.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Curtlo "Crest" S3 First ride

Now the official model name of the Curtlo is "Solo 29" and "S3" is the type of steel tubing that it uses, but the color reminds me of Crest toothpaste, to that is my nickname for it until I come up with something better.

I rode with Dave today up at Browns Camp. The weather was not great, but not unbearable. The temperature was in the mid to upper 30's and as we started riding a light dusting of started to come down. There was a little bit of snow on the trail, no more than 4 inches, in spots were the trees didn't cover the trial (which they do for about 75% of the loop we did). Dave was dressed like he expected a blizzard to come down. By the end of the first hill he was taking off half of his layers and thinking about puking from the effort of the climb. It was kind of slick and so the first couple of steep sections--which are the steepest of the entire ride--we had to walk up a couple of sections. After that we rode the entire trail.

It was slick, but not dangerously so. It was muddy, but not the type of mud that stuck to tires. We also learned that you don't want to hit the front brake when riding in the snow--especially going downhill! Neither of us went down, but it was close.

The Curtlo was perfect. It fits me very well. Dave hopped on it but it didn't fit him very well at all. The Gary Fisher Rig that the Curtlo replaced actually fit him pretty well. But this frame has an effective top tube measurement that is about 3/4" longer and it just didn't feel right to him. He is about 3 inches shorter than I so it makes sense.

The bike felt really stable yet it turned with ease, though admittedly I didn't push it through turns as much because the trail was slick in spots and it was hard to know where the wheels would break free and where they would grab. Still, I was way more comfortable on my Curtlo than Dave was on his GT Peace which he took pretty slow, he said because he didn't want bike to get away from him on the slick stuff, but I think that Dave just wasn't feeling it today. Too much time sitting on the couch or something.

I am using a Panaracer Rampage tire on the front--it is the best front tire I have tried--and the Michelin XC 29er tire on the rear. It doesn't have the air volume that the Rampage has, but it is lighter and had good traction. It also shed mud pretty well. I had thought about getting another tire, but today the Michelin tire proved itself to be worthwhile.

Great fun today. We rode for 2+ hours and nobody got hurt despite the show and slick conditions. A good day for sure.

Below is the bike after I built it up and then this evening after the ride.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Curtlo Solo S3 MTB Frame

More info later after I get it built, but here are some pictures and some stats:

Frame weight is 4.75lbs. including the Eccentric Bottom Bracket. My Fisher Rig, for comparison, is 4.35 lbs or so. Also this Curtlo is a about a half-size bigger than the fisher in frame size which accounts for some of the increased weight. Also the curtlo is made from steel, and the Rig is aluminum. But I am anticipating that the ride will be very sweet to more than make up for the weight gain. There should be enough tire clearance in the rear to fit just about any tire available currently.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Gained Weight, but

...not as much as I thought. I was sick so I didn't workout for 4 days, yet my appetite was the same. And then of course there was Thanksgiving. I gained less than half a pound over the past week. To me, that is great. I am still not 100% well, but getting better.

It has been a cold week, which makes it hard to want to get out the door to ride my bike. So I have been pretty much just running. I have been trying to take it easy though so that I don't get shin splints, which has happened before due to overtraining.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I have been sick for the past few days, so no training since Tuesday. And with Thanksgiving I have probably gained weight. Oh, well I probably needed the rest.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Me vs. The Treadmill

I have a real problem with running on a treadmill. Yeah, of course it is boring, but I can get past that with the help of my Ipod. No, I have a problem trying to run easy on it. Some workouts during the week are supposed to be easy ones, where my average heart rate stays under 150 beats per minute, usually in the low 140s. However, when I get on the treadmill something begins to happen most of the time--I get competitive. The machine lets me know how fast I am going, how far I have run, and what time I will complete a mile at my current pace. It also tells me my current heart rate and approximate calories burned, but I am used to have that on my Polar wrist watch.

Today is a prime example of how my goals start to unravel. First, I started at a 6 mph pace. I probably should have started slower, but I had done some stretching and felt pretty good. Currently that pace is one that I feel I could run for a very long time, but the fact is I have never run that pace for a long time on a treadmill. Instead I get an itch to go faster just to mix it up and then I will eventually return to the 6mph pace. Today that pace lasted for about 5 minutes before I stepped up to 6.5 and then soon 7.0mph. I ran 3 miles in 26:45 even with the slower 6.0 start for the first few minutes. Then it turned in to a goal of seeing if I could run 6.5 miles during my hour on the treadmill. Then 6.7 and higher until I figured I could come close to running 7 miles during my 60 minutes. I hit 6.9 during that time. I ran 7 miles in 60 minutes and 55 seconds. Including my cool down I ran 7.5 miles in all.

But seriously it was sort of stupid. I mean, I am happy I could run that fast, but I am supposed to be building my base fitness. Running so that at times near the end of the hour my heart rate reached 186 was not helping that goal. I am better at running in the proper zone if I am kept in the dark about my pace, which is how it is when I am running outdoors. I need to exert some will power on the treadmill. Part of it is that it is a game, I am trying to see what I can do, if I am getting faster. I need to do this less often, running at race pace.

Hillsboro Cyclocross Race

First, a few pictures...

The race was held at Hillsboro Stadium. Well, not so much in the stadium as in the fields and parking lot surrounding the stadium. It had been raining for 3 or 4 days straight and also the day of the race. My race time was about 10am and it was still at best in the mid-40's. Add the fact that by race time I had been standing in the cold with nothing more than my cycling shorts Craft no-sleeve thermal, shortsleeve jersey and arm warms, and a light semi-waterproof shell and you can see that I was miserable waiting at the starting line. Again, we all get there early so that we don't have to start at the back. My race time is composed of two divisions, open C's and Master C's 35+. I race the master C's. There is only one class slower than our field, the Beginner class, which starts an hour earlier.

By our race time, the course had already been beaten up pretty bad between the 130 racers in the 9am race and everyone who had pre-ridden the course to get an idea of what it was like. I pre-rode the course, not that it made any difference, becuase by the time my race started the course had changed with all the racers riding on it. I pre-rode it in hopes of warming up a bit, but by the time the race started I was freezing. However, about 3/4 of a lap into it I wasn't feeling cold anymore.

The race started on asphalt and then to hard pack gravel/dirt and then to sloppy peanut butter like mud. It was not meant to be a running area but for most of us, if not everyone, it was faster to run that 50 yards than to ride through it. Then back to a fast hard pack double wide dirt path over a double barracade and then back to the fast hard pack again. Then the second half of the course was pretty tough. It took me two laps to figure out the route to take on the first of the next peanut butter sections and the feel confident enough to go in to it fast enough to hold my momentum. Without momentum riding some spot would have been either very difficult or impossible. Later after a couple of mud puddles or mud soup sections there was a slight uphill that was just too difficult to ride. Maybe the A's and B's could ride it, but I didn't see one person in our race do it. The second picture above is from this section.

Later after some tough riding we had to ride back down this same area. That was fun. While others were perhaps conservative in their riding of this area, I just hammered though it. I am sure that many attacked this section as well, but nevertheless it was a spot where I could make up time on those around me. I don't worry about falling when it is really sloppy. The mud is soft enough to dampen a hard landing, and I have found that if you are making good speed your forward momentum can often bail you out of a bad line or over a hidden rock or hole. On the second lap I passed three guys in this section and felt pretty dang good about it. the fact that 2 of them passed me again once we were back on to asphalt didn't really matter.

My glasses proofed to me useless after the first lap or so. I chucked them to the side during the second lap at a spot where I could hopefully find them after then race (I did get them back). I just couldn't see much with all of the mud. Plus some mud would find its way somehow inside my glasses which made it as bad as if I didn't have them on anyway. Without the glasses on the fast sections I just tried to squint as to make the space where my eyes were vulnerable as small as possible.

I don't have my result yet, but I am sure that it was around the same that I always place. I had a bunch of fun. When I got back home I was surprised all the places that I had mud packed. It took quite a while to shower.

Below is a few pics of my bike the morning after before I cleaned it. I should have done it when I was spraying out my clothes but didn't feel like messing with it. Click on a pic for a more detail image. Also note the most of the mud was washed off by the rain on the car ride home. Yes, I wrote most of the mud was actually aready washed off.

UPDATE: preliminary results show that I was 48th out of 77 finishers plus 7 DNF's. Not bad for me.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On the road

I did a difficult road ride today. I didn't plan it that way. In fact I didn't even want to ride. It was pretty overcast and rain was on the way. Plus the house was nice and warm. But I got my butt into my long-john bibs, Craft undershirt, long-sleeve jersey and Pearl Izumi Vagabond jacket and headed out. The cloud cover made it warmer that it was the past couple of day, so I decided to ride further than I had planned. The fun was deciding what route to take. I eventually decided to take a route that I had not done before that led up to the north end of Skyline Drive. I took 185th to Germantown to Kaiser/Brooks to Skyline and then back home. 23 miles total. Generally 23 miles is not a big deal anymore, but my legs were pretty tired on some of the climbs going up Kaiser. I burned 1450 calories according to my Polar. Now if I can just keep from eating rediculous stuff this evening I should be fine. Evening is the worst for whatever reason. Many days I am good the whole day only to ruin it by eating a half a bag of cheddar flavored Goldfish, hot&spicy pork rinds or something else similarly idiotic. It would be sweet to break 200 at the next weigh in, but I think that losing nearly 3 lbs in a week is a stretch.

Anyway, back on topic. I think that getting out the door is the hardest thing. Once I am out there I don't have much of a problem being out in the weather. For the last 8 miles it rained on me. My clothing did its job and I stayed dry--except for the sweat I was making. Funny thing about that. I didn't realize that I was sweating so much. As the rain started coming down it started dripping a bit down on to my lips and mouth. It tasted awefully salty. It kind of freaked me out for a second. I thought that maybe the water off of the road was getting lifted up off and flung into the air and onto my face by my front tire. I thought that maybe I was inhaling and tasting road moisture, which would be pretty gross. But no, after a bit the salt from my sweat was washed away and I was left tasting only the rain water. If I was getting road water flung up in my face it was no different tasting than regular water. And really odds were slim of that anyway, as fenders are amazing things.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I have signed up for the Vikingman Triathlon in Burley, Idaho. A current aided 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 run. Yeehaw, I am hardcore now.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Estacada Cyclocross Race

Ahh cyclocross...the only way that I can workout for only 45 minutes and burn almost a 1000 calories. My average heart rate during the race was 182 with a max of 192 and I burned 975 calories according to Polar HRM. Total race time was 45 minutes and change.

Pics like this make me realize I have a good 20-30 pounds I could lose. Anyway...

I had looked at the preliminary results yesterday and was happy, very happy with the results. I placed 52nd out of 90. Percentile-wise, that was my best Master C placement ever. Yippee! All my training and hard work was starting to pay dividends.

Forward one day later.

The official results, which have never varied more than a couple of places for me in the past moved me and others that finished with me down quite a bit. Apparently over a dozen people did not have all of their laps counted during the race. In the preliminary results they were shown with 3 laps when in actuality they had finished 4. That meant I really placed 66th out of 89 (one person DNF'd that would have been 90th).

So this is not much better than other weeks. But it was better. Of the three races this year I have placed at the .833 (100/120), then .786 (77/98), and now .741 (66/89). The closer I get to zero the closer I am to the front. So I guess I just need to be patient and keep working at it.

As far as the race itself, it was pretty nice. Kind of muddy, but not at all sloppy. In past years it has been marshy in some areas. There is a bowl or depression that they make us go in and out of. The pic is climbing out of the bowl. It was the last lap and I was kind of tired but I didn't want to run up instead of riding. About half of the guys I saw were running up instead of riding. It was not necessarily faster to ride, but I didn't feel like getting off the bike if I didn't have to. There was another part where we had to climb out of the bowl, but there it was much more difficult and 95% of the people I saw were running up it. Many of those who did ride up it had mountain bikes or at least mountain bike gearing.

Here are some pics of one slippery spot.

I, of course, had no problem with it. I may be slow but I have some skills when it is slick, steep or muddy. The guy in front of me in the pic below lost it about a half-second after this was taken.

Same place on another lap...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Weighing in

So the weekly weigh in was this morning. I weigh myself on other days as well, but for whatever reason Tuesday mornings are my official weigh days. Last week was a bad week for eating. Halloween and way too much fast food took their toll. Considering the amount of calories expended from my workouts it is sort of amazing that I didn't lose more weight. But in actuality I wouldn't have been surprised if I had gained weight instead. Anyway, since the weekend I have been back on the wagon. Sort of, I still think I need to cut the amount I eat, even if it is healthier. I still have a goal of getting to 195 by Christmas.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Barton Park Cyclocross

This was my first race is the past 3 weeks. 2 weeks ago I missed the race because I was too stressed out to race. I just wasn't in the mood to suffer in the wind and the rain. A week ago I bailed out because I didn't feel like making the drive or spending the money. But, the planets aligned and I decided to make a go of it today.

The weather was great. Kind of cold but pretty good considering. I had been training pretty well for the past couple of weeks and I think it has helped. Also, I changed my bike setup a bit, and that helped out too. For some reason we have had excellent weather lately here. There were only a couple of mud patches on the course which made for a fast race. I still suffer on the run ups. The run ups were a couple of hills that were pretty steep, at least they seemed that way during the race. Sort of like running up a steep set of stair, only strewn with rocks and dirt instead of stairs. My bulk hurts me on those. I try to run up them, but I just don't have the power to do that yet lap after lap. Some laps I would run up most of the way and some I just walked up. At least the last lap I ran up both. Anyway things went pretty well. I was 75th out of 98 in my class, which is lower than I had thought I would do, but considering that about 20 or so departed for the new Clydesdale class, I consider that I did passably well. I know that I lost about 15 to 20 places because of my slowness on the run ups--which are proportionally a small part of the 2.25 mile course.

I did do my 1st front wheel-wheelie in a long time though. There was a little mulch pile that we had to go over. I was pretty well packed down and because it came at the end of a fast asphalt section there were a few wrecks. I just plain spaced-out for a bit and didn't use my body to help roll over the back side. As a result of my brain-fart I almost went over the bars when the mulch pile tossed the back wheel up. I rode on my front wheel for about 10 feet. Kind of scarey, but I never felt like I was going to go down. On the next lap the guy right behind me went down hard on that same spot. I heard a yell and then an "umph" as he hit the ground. I looked back and saw out of the corner of my eye that he was down but appeared to be getting up. I didn't slow down, but if he was hurt bad there are spectators around that can lend a hand.

For now I have made my peace with my 75th place in the race. At least I am not in the back 10% to 20% of the Beginner Race like I was two years ago. I figure I would be in the top quarter of the Beginner race these days. Being in Master C's I at least feel I am not sandbagging.

Below are some pictures borrowed from bikeportland.org.

I really wish that I could get back on the bike as efficiently as this guy riding for Vanilla. Geesh...

Yeah it hurts and he is still smiling....

Friday, November 2, 2007


my swimming generally blows. I don't exactly hate it but of the three parts to a triathlon it is a distant third. I swam a sprint this summer that was not current aided and it took me forever, around 25 minutes. Very slow. It wasn't the slowest time, but it was close. By comparison my bike times are near the top third and my run times put me about two-thirds back(kind of slow but my running has gotten better since then). The better swimmer finished around 8 minutes ahead of me. That is in just a half mile swim. Yep, I am slow.

Anyway, I figure that I can do nothing but improve in the swim. One of the main lures to doing the Vikingman 70.3 Triathlon in Burley, ID is that the current cuts the swim time nearly in half. Thus the 1.2 mile swim is probably more like a .75 mile swim. That I am sure I will be able to do that, I just hope to do it better than I did before. When I did the Burley Olympic Spudman this past summer I basically just did the backstroke the whole time. I totally freaked out because of the open water. At least during the sprint, which was later in the summer, I didn't flip out nearly as bad and I was able to actually swim like a normal competitor, even if I was slow.

I am going to pick up a book and maybe a video to help with my swim. The book is by Total Immersion. I will let you all know if it works for me. Many people I know swear by it.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Review: Pearl Izumi Vagabond II

The lightweight jacket is a great addition to a guys fall and maybe winter cycling wardrobe. It works well as a shell, as it blocks wind very well. It also allows your body to breath because of the venting that it has. There is a mesh area on the back that is great for allowing body heat to escape. Then of course the best thing about it are the removable sleeves. The two sleeves can be removed from the vest easily and quickly. They don't come off separately, the sleeve come off in one piece. Once off the sleeved piece sort of looks like a shawl because it only covers the shoulders and arms. What is left is a vest that allows for wind resistance for your bodies core.

The Vagabond II is great for temps in the low 40's up to the 50's. Above that range and I wouldn't bother, and below I think that one would either have to layer quite a bit or the cold would get to you pretty quick.

The water resistance but it is quite good as well. Eventually the water will get inside. In Portland, Oregon during the winter the rain is not usually heavy, just consistant. If this jacket were worn for commuting an hour or so a day I think it would be great all winter except in the heavy rains. Of course, we don't get below freezing often and so the jacket is pretty ideal for around here.

On the downside, the sleeves don't vent that well. My arms got kind of sweaty and so when I took off the sleeves after riding for about 30 minutes they felt pretty cold as the cool air hit my long sleeved jersey I was wearing underneath. The temp at the time was in the mid 40s and the ride was at a good pace.

Grade: A-

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Training Log

I am trying to keep myself honest and motivated. On the right there is a training log. I am going to keep the info pretty simple, but my goal is to publicly expose my ineptness at training. I really don't know what I am doing. I have a book that I borrowed from Dave that I am finally starting to read. I have only had it for 2 months without cracking it open. It has a bunch of training plans in it. I am tentatively planning on doing the Viking Man Triathlon in early June. There is a 27 week schedule that I plan on doing from the book. I think my start date for the program is the first week of December. The plan states that prior to starting the plan I should be running 2 or three times per week, biking 1 to 2 times per week and swimming twice per week for 4 weeks prior to starting it.

I noticed that the plan has me swimming in one hour blocks from the get-go. That is beyond my ability right now. Hopefully in a month it wont be. Basically training has started for my June 6th Triathlon. It is a Half Ironman, should be interesting if nothing else to see what happens.

I will let you all know that I am currently 205 lbs. 6 feet 1 inch tall. I would like to get down to the mid 180's. I am interested to see where my weight ends up. I gained about 8 lbs since last Christmas--mostly because of a very heavy load at school and then the bar exam this summer. I basically gave up for about 4 months on trying to exercise.

I will post what my weight is as well on the right so that I can be publically embarrassed.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Curtlo S3 Cross bike

Above are pics of my sweet cyclocross ride. The frame is made by Curtlo Cycles out of the State of Washington. The Tubing is True Temper S3 with a little OX Platinum. The frame weighed in at 3.5 lbs. Pretty sweet for a steel frame. There are some aluminum and carbon frames (Kona Jake and Argon carbon are specific examples) out there that weigh as much or more and they probably don't ride as sweet as my baby here. Well actually I am sure they don't ride as well. This frame was custom built for me by Doug at Curtlo.

The complete bike as it sits right now with most everything you see on the pic (taken a year ago when the bike was new) is 18.2 lbs. It is set up as a 1x9 using a Kelly Take Off to mount a Bar End shifter. I will try and take a pic of this set up soon and I will post it. I can reach the shifter in the drops, on the hoods or if I am back on top near the in-line secondary brakes. I think it is the perfect set up for cross. But what do I know, I ain't a pro, just a C class guy here in Portland. But I have had A and B guys jealous of the set up. The Kelly Take Offs are pretty hard to find since Kelly went belly up about a year or more ago.

I just can't say enough about the frame. The only thing I would change on reflection is the top tube. I came across a Salsa Chili Con Crosso not long ago. It has a top tube that has been flatten a bit where one would be shouldering the bike during a race. The flatten tube rests much better on the shoulder than any round tube, no matter how light the bike is. If I were to have the bike built know I would see if Doug could do something similar.

The bike handles really well. I have ridden it in all sorts of terrain. Mountain trails, cross races, and as a commuter recently It flys. I will probably review some of the parts here in this blog in the future, but the only issue I have had is the Paul Neo Retro Brakes. I have to regularly adjust the toe-in so that the fork, an Alpha Q CX wont stutter on hard braking.

There is something about steel, it just feels different than than aluminum. The frame is stiff enough that I ran it during the spring and summer as a singlespeed and the frame didn't feel flexy in the bottom bracket. I could probably run up to a 40-45mm wide tire if I wanted, but I haven't tried. I run 30's usually. Doug has built several other frames for me, mountain and road. This was my first one with S3 tubes though. I am currently awaiting a singlespeed 29er also made with S3 tubes to replace the Gary Fisher Rig that is reviewed below. [There is nothing wrong with the Rig, but it was always a temporary frame.]

S3 Tubing is a real winner. I know that Salsa is making a road frame with the tubing and that would be a great pick for someone looking for a bike that they could pick up off the shelf. Doug's wait times are 4 to 6 months.

Curtlo Cycles Website

Grade: A Cost is cheap for what you get, and a brazed frame is always cool.

2007 Fisher Rig / White Brothers Rock Solid 29er Review

The Gary Fisher Rig is not my first singlespeed frame. I have owned a 2004 Cannondale 1FG and a Niner One 9. This is the best of the three. The Niner was almost a pound lighter but it did not inspire the confidence that this frame does, especially when descending. The Rig has the Genesis 1 geometry and not the new Genesis 2 geometry that the 2008 bikes employ with the additional fork offset. I have always had a thing for the Genesis geometry. But not always for the reasons that Fisher states as the goal of the geometry. The longer top tubes allow me to run a smaller frame than I would otherwise desire. I like around a 23.75" to a 24" effective top tube on my mountain bikes. One many brands this would mean around a 19" seattube or large frame size. On a Fisher this is the 17.5" frame size. This means more standover for my short legs and the appropriate top tube length for my longish torso. The frame with the EBB weighed in at 4.35 lbs.

My Rig came as a frameset and thus has little in common with Fisher's complete bikes that come off the self at your LBS. I set it up with a White Brothers Rock Solid 29er rigid fork. This is my second rigid fork. The previous one was on a Dean 29er and was made by James at Black Sheep. The Rock Solid 29er has aluminum dropouts, crown and steerer tube. The legs are carbon. The fork weighed 780 grams uncut on my scale. Not too bad and much lighter than anything with some squish. But of course you need to be somewhat masochistic to ride rigid these days with how well suspension forks work. But in Oregon, where I ride most of the time, I don't seem to miss suspension forks too much. I did miss it while riding one particular trail near Benny Creek in Utah earlier this month. The cattle had turned the trail into something that was almost torture even with a suspension fork. Nevertheless, 95% of the time I prefer rigid these days.

The bike without some fatter tires would be difficult to ride long distance because the trail vibrations and bumps tend to weary me prematurely. However, I have found that with good fat tires I can ride longer than my legs can push. I ride a Panaracer Rampage on the front with 22 to 25 lbs of pressure (I weigh around 200 and have had no problems pinch flatting at all). On the back is a Michelin ATX, but I am not sure that it is the best rear tire out there. But it is not bad.

The Niner One 9 that I had probably climbed slightly better than the Rig, but not enough to worry about. The confidence that the Rig inspires when descending is the best of any of my hardtail 29ers so far. Obviously I am not doing drops of 3 feet but through the twisty woods or bombing down some of the fun stuff at Browns Camp in Tillamook forest is much more fun with the Rig. Not twitchy. If you like twitchy or very quick handling bikes then I would guess that the Niner would be the better choice. The frame is rigid and I don't get any frame twist when mashing up hills. I wish there was slightly more tire clearance, but it is enough for any of the 29er 2.1 tires out there. maybe some 2.2 tires but I haven't tried to fit any back there.

The fork while be more rigid feeling than my Ti Black Sheep fork that was on my Dean 29er is a better riding fork. It steers more accurately, yet seems to take just enough edge off the trail. There is no visible fork flex either, unlike the ti fork. It is set up with discs and the fork does not stutter at all, and the set up was easy.

Gary Fisher Rig: B+ It is kind of porky but for the money it is a great bike. I wish there wasn't such so much seat tube exposed without some sort of a gusset above the top tube.

White Brothers Rock Solid: A- Great fork. Can't fault it at all. I just can't give a perfect score so early in this blog

Welcome to RCMT:Road/Cyclocross/Mountain/Triathlon

This is a place for me to write thoughts and reviews of the stuff I ride and try out. Also I will be writing about my attempt to compete in my first Half-Ironman distance Triathlon next year. I have been a cyclist, mainly mountain for about 15 years. I have designed and helped build full suspension bikes back in the late 1990's and have been in and out of the industry. I am a recent law school grad and hope to never be in the industry anymore than a participant and blogger. Frankly, the industry in not set up to support a family--there is not much money in it. I read once that the best way to earn a million bucks in the bike biz was to start with two million.

Anyway, expect to see lots of stuff and please feel free to submit any opinions about any of the gear listed here.