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.