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.