Thursday, July 31, 2008

Sub 190 and I feel great!

Some days you just feel strong. Anyone who does any sort of training for any sport I am sure has days where you feel like you would blow away your usual efforts. This was one such day. Too bad I wasn't racing or anything.

First off, to set the tone, last weekend was not a great one so far as eating well. Basically for Sunday and Monday the wheels fell off the truck and it was ugly. Maybe not as ugly as it might have been on days about 3 or 4 months ago, but it was not good. I am guessing that I consumed between 3000 and 4000 calories each day, maybe more. I figured that I would be hard pressed to lose any weight this week.

Tuesday and Wednesday were days when I didn't get to ride as much as I had planned but I did really well diet-wise.

Today I left a little bit earlier and climbed up to Skyline before cutting over to my usual route. The climb up to Skyline added 3 miles to my ride--not that big of a deal--and also about 500-600 feet of climbing within the first 2.5 miles of the ride. Usually my first 2-3 miles are totally downhill, so this route is obviously more work. But man, I felt great. I mean it still hurt to climb up Barnes to Skyline before I drop down to the Sylvan area, geesh I felt like I could have just ripped the chain apart I was hammering so hard. After work, on my ride home I felt the same way. I had a bunch of energy, it was surprising.

I got home, it was nearly 10PM (we were busy again tonight and I got a flat on the way home which I had to fix--hooray for CO2 cartridges) and after hanging the bike I said hello to the wife and went into take a shower. I hopped on the digital scale and PRESTO the second digit was not a "9", but an "8"! Holy Cow! I had to have Bridget come in and witness the numbers on the scale. My weight was 189.6 lbs. Wow!

So I have touched the 180's. I ate right after the shower so I am no longer sub 190, but maybe tomorrow morning--we'll see. I never count my night time weights as official weights. It has to be after I wake up, before I eat to count.

Anyway, I felt great and if I seem to be patting myself on the back a little much--so be it. I am excited. I am planning on doing the Scoggins Valley Triathlon at the end of August. If I was trying to push myself I should do the olympic distance, but I am going to do the sprint distance instead. I did the sprint distance last year and so I want to do it again so that I can compare my time last year to this year at the lower weight. I finished that hilly course last year in a little over 1hr 40min. I would like to knock about ten minutes off that time. I feel like a hammer, and I hope that it is more than in my head.

So it goes to show that if you have a bad couple of days, don't give up. Get back on the horse and keep at it.

By the way, at 189 and change I am 6-ish pounds away from my goal. I still have a gut. Weird. I lean over and it is kind of ugly. Luckily I am thin enough that any shirt I have on hides it, but when I am naked--ugh. Those fat cells just aren't ever going to totally go away. I am resigned to this fact. I don't think I will ever have six pack abs. Not that those are a goal, but I do think that anyone that has been bigger and then has them later has had lipo. I could be wrong, but according what I have read and heard fat cells just get smaller, they don't go away totally. So I still have all of the fat cells that I did when I was nearly 240 lbs. Yuck. But I can't imagine doing something like lipo so they will just have to stay here with me.

Wow, 240 lbs. I am about 50 pounds lighter than I was in 2002. I have difficulty imagining it.

My White Brothers Rock Solid fork is gone. Sold it and I have the Manitou 29er fork coming to take its place. The order is supposed to take 2 to 4 weeks which means that I may not have a mountain bike to ride for that long. I only placed the order for the Manitou a couple of days ago. We are heading to Black Butte Ranch the middle of August and I would really like to have it by then, but I don't have any control over it so I ain't going to worry about it. There is some good road rides I can do so I am not worried.

I also ordered some Neuvation wheels. I got an employee/team deal on these wheels and the price was less than the price of a set of Mavic Aksium wheels, but they weigh the same as a set of Mavic Ksyrium SL's. I just want some light-ish wheels that I don't have to worry about. These fit the bill. The M28 SL5 wheelset weighs 1490 grams and according to a couple of guys that have them, they are pretty bomb proof. I can even upgrade to ceramic bearings if I want. If I like them I will pick up another set for the wife. I could buy a "cooler" wheelset, but why? I will save my wheel money for some Zipp 1080's for next years half iron man.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Retail Blows

I really like riding home after work. That is I like the feeling of arrive home on my bike after riding home from work. I feel a bit tired, it is a good workout and having ridden 13 miles to work and then the 13 miles home is a decent workout for a day when added together. I usually really try to push it when I ride home since I am not worried about sweating too much and then having to work stinky. Today though I rode to work as fast as I could because I was just sort of feelin' it. Plus, it was a cool morning so the ride was not going to make me sweat too much even pushing hard. I don't know how long it took me to get to work, but I held gears while going up a few hills that I have never been able to hold before. It felt great. I arrived at work in a great mood.

Then the job just started bringing me down. We were pretty busy and we didn't actually get the last person out of the store until 9:20 PM--we close at 8:00 PM. Staying that late to help sell $400 bikes is not my idea of fun. Riding home that late is also not on that list of fun things to do, so I had Bridget come get me. She came and picked my up last night too--which also bummed me out. It was raining and I didn't have my fenders, and I wouldn't have been able to leave until after 9PM as well because we were similarly busy. Maybe I am just a wuss, but I don't really feel like riding home that late when I have spent 10 hours at the shop. The darkness at that hour doesn't bug me, it is the lateness that does. Oh yeah, and riding in the rain when it is not cross season, but the middle of summer sort of bugs as well.

On the upside out store did a heck of a lot of business so the ones who do actually care about that sort of thing will be very pleased.

Anyway, I sit here now in my pj's feeling like I missed something because I didn't ride home. My day feels incomplete. Tomorrow I will try and get in an extra ride to make up for it.

Oh, and on a different topic I swam 100 yards as fast as I could at the end of an easy swim class session. My time was just a hair over 1 minute and 40 seconds. That freaking rocks. If only I could do that for longer.

Monday, July 28, 2008

How NOT to get your bike fixed immediately

At the shop we are backed up on repairs. We have one full time mechanic and another employee who performs repairs part-time. We schedule about 25 repairs/tune-ups per week. The rest of the time we reserve for building bikes and other stuff that needs to be done, such as warranty work. But we will try and help customers that need a little something done to their bikes--especially if the bike came from Performance. What kind of work will we do while the customer is waiting? There is not any set rule or set of rules, but I do have some suggestions on how NOT to go about getting us to help you out while you wait. I also have some recommendations on what you can do to get helped out quickly while others have to wait upwards of three weeks.

What NOT to do:

1) Be an able bodied male that only needs a flat tire repaired. If I am the one being asked I will teach you to fish if needed, but I am going to go out of my way to not do this for you. Doing this simplest of tasks makes me feel like I am your bitch for some reason. It is the worst sort of thing you can ask me to do for you at the shop. It more than bugs me. I would often rather have you ask if you can kick me in the shin with your Sidi Dominators (with the toe spikes in even) than that. To me part of the sport is being self sufficient when out on the road or trail and having someone else fix you flats is rediculous when you have a $2,000 bike. If you aren't willing to change you own tube you shouldn't be riding, or at the very least you should pay a penalty for your laziness. I have told people that the rate was $20 labor for a 5 minute job and they still won't do it themselves. Note: There is a gender bias here. I cut women slack for some reason, especially newbie women riders. I still would rather show them how to do it than do if for them.

2) Bring a bike in on Saturday or Sunday when we are busy. Sorry, not even if we wanted to help you could we do so on a weekend usually.

3) Have an attitude that expects us to drop everything just because your derailleurs aren't shifting as well as they should. The fact that you are doing the STP the next day is a you-problem, not a me-problem. Next time, plan ahead. This would be a classic DTP thing to do.

4) You were someone that was a jerk when you bought the bike from us. Yeah, I may be a lowly grunt, but this is when I get payback. it doesn't really matter how much you try to kiss butt now. Back of the line for you, jerk. Bring it back in two and a half weeks.

5) Call on the phone first. For some reason if you call you are going to get shut down automatically 95% of the time--at least by me. I don't remember names or voices and so it doesn't matter if we made a real rider-to-rider connection when you have been in--I don't care, I just want to get off the phone. I hate answering the phone.

6) Smell bad.

7) Acting like a know it all or that it is our fault that your bike won't shift when you haven't had it adjusted during the 2 years you have owned it. When you come in assuming that we are just going to drop everything to help you out then and there when others have to wait for their turn this can really turn us off to helping you. In fact a guy stormed out of the store saying he would never come back who did this to us last week. We told him we were too busy to do it right then and that we would have to schedule an appointment. After acting totally offended, then dropping some f-bombs he left us alone, thank goodness.

8) Ride in on a BMX bike.

9) Ride in on your bike that is held together by chicken wire. There is an exception to this rule for those that have obvious mental/physical difficulties or who are otherwise very much down on there luck. I still don't want to mess with your bike in this condition but my pity or empathy wins out.

10) Having a laundry list of things for us to do. There is probably a two item maximum at best, unless Joel, the manager is around and you are a moderately good lucking female. If this is the case then he will likely have us drop everything and do it right then and there even if it you want a complete tear down, clean and rebuild. See number 1 below.

Tips on how to get work done while you wait:

1) As per number 10 above, if you are even a moderately good lucking female and Joel is around, your ability to get something done right then and there depends upon whether you can draw a breath or not. Joel will do anything for any woman if she is under the age of 50, over the age of 18, and not obese. Yeah, pretty much anything that walks is of some interest to Joel. Not that he has any luck with any of them, but that would be a topic for another time and someone else's blog.

2) Be a kid that is humble and loves to ride his bike. Most of us will go out of our way for a pre-pubescent kid that needs help. Number 8 above applies if you are a kid riding in on a BMX bike and you are looking like a future crack/meth-head. However, even if you are a nice little Jonny or Jenny and you are on a BMX bike you may be out of luck because we have almost no BMX stuff laying around in the shop.

3) If you are one of the guys that occasionally stops in to say hi and chats while you are picking the cheapest tubes in the nation, then it is possible that you are one of those that we also like to chat with. This may help you to make it to the inner cicle of our clientele. We will bend over backwards for you for some reason. We don't know why. Maybe you stroke our egos or something. Whatever it is, it works. I was chatting with Neal about this the other day. This one fellow came in and stood near the shop area and just chatted with us for about 10 to 15 minutes. He asked for some advice, talked about cyclocross and was very nice. After a bit I asked him if there wasn't something I could do for him other than talk about cyclocross--which I could do for much longer than that. He said, "Nope, I just wanted to stop by and say hello." That was cool, it brings me a little bit of happiness that someone would want to waste some time with us. I used to love to waste a bit of time in shops and I appreciated those who would spend some time chatting with me. I was loyal to them and they often went beyond the call of duty for me. I used to frequent a shop in the area and they gave me a heck of a lot of free labor and all I had to do was shoot the breeze with them and ask there advice here and there. Oh, going on a ride with them helped too.

4) Bring food. One time I needed to get a bike built for a trip. The frame arrived about a month later than promised and that put me in a difficult spot. I wanted to take it with me on that trip so I tried to use my connections at the shop to work for me. I couldn't do the build myself because I didn't have the tools and I didn't have the ability to do myself back then. Nope, the shop was just too backed up to help me out they said. I tried to offer a tip, to pay overtime, etc. Nope. I offered to buy all the employees in the store some gourmet pizza--not Dominos, stuff that costs over $20 per pie, and they willingly caved in. It was done the same day. They loved the thick steaming pizza and I loved the work they did--we were all very happy.

5) Have an obvious warranty issue--we feel bad that we sold you crap that broke so we will try to do whatever to get you back on the road. This is not always possible, but we usually try. Unless you are a jerk, then there is no hope for you.

6) Be one of the older members of our clientele. If you are over the age of let's say maybe 65, but 70 for sure, we will probably do what we can for you then and there. After all, we don't want to be stuck with your bike should you kick the bucket during the next two and a half weeks should we have to make an appointment for your work to be done.

7) Did I mention that if you are hot any of the single associates will do anything you want just to touch your saddle? It is sick, but true.

Then there are those who seem to fit into the group that get helped right away but have there bikes at the shop for weeks and months. You know who you are. And it is likely that one bald-headed mechanic is the one that promised to fix it or warranty it or order it for you. I am sorry, you are in purgatory. Nothing much I can do for you, nor anyone else since the gleaming domed demigod of the shop will instantly get wound-up if you ask him what is going on with any of the unlucky denizens of this realm. No one knows when they will be released from their prisons. And yes, sorry to say Brian, you are one of those unlucky ones. Let me know how that Lapierre of yours rides when it is ready to go around Christmas time.

It is Official: I Have Pussed Out

Again. I am sure that there are numerous instances where I puss out, let this be on record as yet another time.

I put up my White Bros Rock Solid Rigid Fork up for sale on the Obra email board this afternoon ($190 if anyone is interested). This comes after nearly two years of owning no suspension fork at all. I have not been riding offroad enough to keep my handling skills up to where they were the last couple of years. I hope to go out to Utah this fall if Fish will have me (I would think so--I owe him prime steaks) and I don't feel like toughing it out sans-suspension. I can E.P. a Manitou 29er fork from the shop for cheap and so that is what will be going on the Curtlo MTB SS. Since I am still only running one speed on that bike I guess I am still sort of hardcore. Well, at least until someone looks at the wussy gearing I am running on that bike.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Curtlo Cross Bike 53T 1x9 Experiment Ends

I am switching the Curtlo back to a 39 tooth chainring instead of the 53 tooth I have had the for past couple of weeks.

I am not sure what the deal is but over the past couple of days the chain has been falling off the chainring to the outside of the crankarm, at least once per ride. This was not acceptable. I could have fashioned something to keep the chain on (perhaps even just installing a front derailleur without a cable and then just adjusting the limits to put the derailleur in the proper position to keep the chain from falling off) but with around a month to go until the first cross race of the season, I was only a couple of weeks from switching it back anyway if everything had been going smoothly. I will be putting the 39 tooth on the inside of the crankarm and a chainguard on the outside. I also have a Third Eye ready to go to keep the chain from falling off on the inside, but I haven't had that problem so it will remain off, just as it has been for the past year.

I really enjoyed the 53 tooth ring up front with the mountain cassette out back. If I had been able to keep the chain on it would have been sweeter still. Should I end up actually getting a job downtown soon I would not mind building up a beater bike with something like this set up and a chain retention device of some sort. I would do this for a couple of reasons--barend shifters are cheap and I have an extra set laying around, and they are durable. I have enough parts so all I would need is a cheap frameset, and maybe a few other smaller miscelaneous parts to put something together. It could be very cheap to put something together to commute on.

Plus I still haven't found the reason for the "tick, tick.....tick, tick.....tick, tick, tick....." noise that is coming from the bottom bracket area. I figure it is either a pedal or something to do the the way I installed the spacers to get my chainring bolts to work right with the single ring set up. So perhaps when I go back to the two ring set up (39 tooth ring with the chainring guard on the outside) the noise will go away.

For now I am going to start riding my Fuji Aloha CF2 on the road again. Up until the end of April or so it had drop bars on it and I only switched to my aerobars for the purpose of the half ironman at the beginning of June. The bike has not been ridden at all since then. I put drop bars back on it and switched from an Ultegra/Dura Ace drivetrain set up to SRAM Rival in anticipation of going to SRAM Red shifters in the next month or so. Why the switch? No reason, the Rival drivetrain is off my Lapierre which is up for sale. If I end up doing the Scoggins Valley Triathlon I will probably install some aerobars on the drop bars and do it that way, rather than with the full aerobar set up I used the Vikingman half ironman distance event. The route for Scoggins Valley is fairly hilly and so aerobars will not be as advantageous. I would also like to get some long rides in this summer and it is my best bike for that purpose. I will go back to the aerobars for the Ironman California event next April. But I will obviously have to use the SRAM barend shifters if I stay with the SRAM drivetrain. I am ok with that. Fish has them on his bike and they looked pretty sexy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

190.4 and the Taco Bell Diet

My obsession regarding my weight continues. My obsession with posting every detail on this blog continues as well.

I seem to be less, ah...regular is how I would put it here. I went a couple of days between payload drops and so last night's must have been a brick because this morning I hit a new low weight--190.4 lbs. Yeee Haw!

Only 6 or 7 pounds to go to hit my target weight. I feel great. It is so much easier to get out of the saddle and sprint/power up the hills. I have more energy which has been great as well.

Interestingly enough a large part of my weight loss has included a large amount of meals from fast food restaurants. The four days per week that I work I start with two fresco-style soft tacos when I arrive at noon. Then around 4pm I eat either a Big Burger with nothing on it but a little ketchup and mustard and a side salad with some lite dressing. Total calories for both meals comes to just a little less than1000 calories for both meals. Carl's Jr and Taco Bell are the two closest fast food places to work, but I eat similarly at other places. Including eating whatever I eat when I get home at night and what little I eat in the morning I end up eating between 1700 and 2000 calories per day for usually 5 out of 7 days per week. The other two days I probably eat around 2500 to 3000 calories. On days I ride I am sure that I use up around 3000 to 3500 calories per day. On other days is more like 2500. So it is not hard to see why I have been losing 1 to 2.5 pounds per week normally.

So is it possible to lose weight eating at fast food restaurants? Absolutely. However, I never order anything with mayo, sour cream, cheese or sauces/dressing that have unnecessary fat and calories. I try to eat a lot of veggies, some meat and not a lot of bread. It seems to work.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

80 Year Old Women and Love Notes

First off before I start down this potentially hazardous/embarrassing road let me just state that I am very happily married. I am a lucky guy who caught a fish that was bigger than my line should have been able to reel in, so to speak.

A couple of days ago as I was rolling in to work on the Curtlo I pulled up along side some mid-size late model American-made car at a stop light. I can't remember what it was exactly, but it doesn't really matter. There were two old women in the car starring at me. I looked over at them and they started waving at me and I waved back at them because I thought that maybe I knew them from somewhere, like church or something. No, they were ogling me in my cycling bibs/jersey. Yuck. But now that I have lost some weight it is nice to have gotten slim enough so that some females to look twice at me I suppose even if it happens to be women that have more excess skin than a Chinese Shar Pei puppy. Though their flirting kind of grossed me out, I also found it humorous.

Today at work I was walking by the suggestion box at the shop and I saw that some dork had written a note that read "I (heart symbol) Devin." I thought that this was humorous so I asked who the dork was and no one would admit to it. Was there a chance that some female actually wrote this and thinks I am hot? Doubtful, but I admit it crossed my mind. After all, I am heading down to a BMI that is in the healthy or normal range for a guy my height and age. Maybe this happens to every guy that is in the normal BMI range for his age and height--I wouldn't know since I haven't been in the healthy/normal BMI range since around 1995.

Simon, who is another grunt at the shop like me, thought that it would be cool to see if there were any other cool notes that had made it from that note pad to the suggestion box. Upon opening it he found several notes. One was from some joker asking for pastel colored cycling clothing for men. Another said that Performance sucked. And there was another note that read "I (heart symbol) Chad" and it looked like the same handwriting as my love note. Chad, who is Chad? We don't have anyone named Chad at the shop. But there is a Chad who sometimes comes in, who also used to work there, but is now at another shop working part time. This Chad is someone who truly seems to love bikes and the lifestyle but doesn't ride much. But he seems to have plenty of time to ride, so I don't know what the issue is. He is only about 22 years old. These facts seem to put him in the poseur category to me, but that may be a bit harsh. He seems to be a good guy though. A good guy who is, um, a wee bit overweight. Now I am not talking big boned. No, this guy looks like he stuffed stuff a couple of pot-bellied pigs in his cycling kit. I am not bagging on him here, I am just trying to paint a picture. See he is trying to still wear the spendy cycling clothes that he bought for himself, oh, 50 pounds or more ago, from his pre-college days. His black bib shorts look charcoal grey because they are stretched so thin. It is scary. I try to wear eye protection around him just in case something comes loose and shoots off when it gives way. Frankly, I don't care that he is fat. I was pretty fat myself until recently. However, I had the sense not to wear stuff that was two sizes too small when I was bigger. I don't know how he does it.

Anyway, this guy Chad (which is not the actual name on this note nor his actual name, I changed it for this story) was just in the evening before. Perhaps he, or one of his crew that was in with him, wrote the notes--his and mine. Or if it wasn't him, maybe it was someone that knows both of us. If so, if this person has the hots for Chad and me, maybe that means I am hefty too. Maybe I also wear cycling clothes that are too tight and show too much belly/gut/butt or whatever. Hmmm....this is something to think about. Maybe time for different clothes? Am I a dork of the same magnitude?

In reality, I don't care--and neither does Chad by the look of it. Actually it is not anything worth thinking about, but it did keep my mind busy when I was trying not to go crazy by the sound my bike was making on every medium to hard pedalling effort. It is the same blasted "tick, tick.....tick, tick....tick, tick....." that I wrote about a couple of days ago. I thought it was the bottom bracket. Um, no. I installed a fresh bit of Italian goodness today in the form of a new Campy Chorus bottom bracket. This of course means that it was not the bottom bracket that is the cause of this noise and I just wasted my money. No, it is something else that is, as yet, undiagnosed (and seriously pissing me off). As a result, my obsessing about the note left for me on the way home was a welcome distraction. I have no answers, and I don't know who left it or if this Chad in the second note was the actually the Chad who needs some new larger cycling clothes. But, I do know that 80 year old women and some other mystery person (and this being Portland, Oregon means it could be anyone--man or woman of any age and intelligence) thinks I am hot, so at least I have that going for me. Geesh, maybe I shouldn't lose anymore weight I may be just too much for some folks out here to handle.

Please note--though the facts in this story are totally accurate, except for the guy's name, Chad, I don't think I am all that. I am a balding guy in this mid to late 30's--seriously, I am just trying to get in shape so I can have a good life with my wife and kids and have a little fun on two wheels.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

191.4, Swimming, and the Lapierre

Bad news first, the Lapierre is up for sale. I still don't have a good paying legal job yet, so I have decided that since we have another baby coming and I figure I don't need 4 bikes right now--two of which are cyclocross bikes. The Lapierre is one sweet bike, but the Curtlo is the better set up for me and this area so it stays and the Lapierre goes. It makes me sad so I am going to change the subject.

Swimming went ok this morning. I missed swimming on Monday, which I am totally fine with. Today I felt fairly fresh until the last set that he gave us. I couldn't make the times and the two women in my lane did. It pissed me off, not that they are faster than I, just that I was the only one not to make the times that last set. Both have had more swimming experience than I have, although I have had this class longer. One of the two has like 10% body fat and she is fairly ripped. I am not. So I don't feel particularly bad that they are faster than I am. I am still faster than I used to be by a long shot. But the competitive nature that resides in me would like to get faster and make the posted times he has for us. My problem again is that I ran out of gas. But just like last week, I forgot to fuel up before I got in the water. Next week I will change this practice.

I weighed in at 191.4 pounds this morning. That rocks. I wanted to hit 190 by the time Bridget gives birth, and that certainly seems like something I can do.

Last night I really pushed it riding back home from work. I made it back in around 52 minutes which is faster than my time going to work. Since the route coming back has about 800 feet more climbing total than my route to work I feel pretty good about it. Part of the reason for pounding the pedals so hard was because my bottom bracket on the Curtlo was bugging me. "Tick, tick.......tick, tick.......tick, tick......" that was the sound it made when climbing any sort of incline while seated. Every down stroke on the non-drive side of the crank was like Chinese water torture--it was driving me crazy and it has been for the past few days. But I found that if I got out of the saddle and rode the bike like I hated it (as I did when I heard that sound) the noise would mysteriously abate. So apparently the bike has a masochistic side--the harder I rode it the quieter it was. Hmmm, maybe the bike is trying to help my training....making me ride harder to stay sane. Something to consider for sure before I replace the POS cheap Token bb for a real Campy Chorus bb in a day or two.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Meat, Sweet Meat

Vegetarians? Yep, if you are what you eat then count me as one...yeah, I know old joke.

I saw this and I instantly thought of my buddy Fish:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Difference between Me and a Master A Cyclocross Racer

I feel pretty good about my training this week. I rode on the road a total of 91 miles. I rode 10 miles offroad. I went to swim class twice. On the whole that is between 9 and 9.5 hours of training total. Not a record or anything, but for me a pretty good load.

I was talking to Brian today(who owns a presently dismembered Lapierre identical to mine) and I mentioned that I had ridden around 100 miles this week and that today, mainly because of the singlespeed mountain ride, my legs felt sort of dead. He said something like "yeah a couple of weeks ago I did 350 miles in a week, I was toasted."

I immediately realized why he races Master A's and I have been in Master C's. He works much harder. There is just no way that I have the time to do so much riding in a week. I work four days a week. Bridget works two of the other days, and then there is church and other family stuff on Sunday. Plus the boys, I gotta spend my boys! I can see where I could get it up to somewhere in the 150's and still do my swimming class, but are the man Brian, what can I say.

There is another guy who comes in to the shop a bunch. His name is Robert and he is from Eastern Europe. The dude just rides. All the time. Last weekend he rode 215 miles in one day. It took him around 9.5 hours if I remember right. And he isn't training for anything. He just will decided to ride from Portland down to Cannon Beach and back. Or from Portland to Sisters, Oregon and back. No big deal to him. he just rides to ride. And he does it all with minimal stuff. He rides either his Campy C40 or C50 bikes with full Record groups and with just a bit of food, a tube or two and that is it. Crazy stuff man.

I don't feel too bad. I just have to train smart, and I know that I am continually getting in better shape. I am not discouraged by the fact that Brian can ride so much in a week, but I have a healthy respect for him and that amount of riding. I can see why he is able to hang with the guys in Master A's--and why last year I was in the back third of Master C's.

Browns Camp, Solo

When I arrived the parking lot was empty. Yea! Trail to myself!

This is near the end of the re-route on Gravelle Brothers trail. The re-route is pretty fun

I decided to try out the timer on the camera for the first time. This is me at 193 lbs. Cool, it helps that I am sucking in a little, but whatever.

Strained my back a bit climbing out on the trail near the parking lot at the very beginning. I am going to have to start warming up better. I did the loop clockwise. It was a good time, but I'd rather do it with friends. Going it alone means that I can only laugh at myself and not others. It also means that I am more hesitant to open it up for fear of hurting myself and not have anyone find me for awhile.

So I rode to work and my back felt tight, but my legs were pretty dead. As the day progressed my back got to the point where it just hurt pretty bad all of the time. Bridget was in the area near closing time so I had her come pick me up. It was a good thing althoug I am disappointed I didn't finish the week with a final 13 mile ride back home. Oh well, my back deserved a brake.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ride Tomorrow

Browns Camp between 7am and 7:15am is when I will be there. I probably have time for only one lap. Depends upon the pace. I gotta be at work at noon and I plan on riding there from home.

Singlespeed-rigid is what I will be on, but lazy folks on gears and suspension are more than welcome...even DTP.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

News and Notes 7/17/2008


I sold my American Classic Carbon 58 wheels this week. I will not be replacing them with another carbon wheelset. I figure at most I would need these wheels twice a year. I don't think I need them for anything less than an olympic distance triathlon. I figure that I will do at most one of those and then a sprint or two and then the 70.3 Ironman California next year. Wheels are freaking spendy for the kind that I would like to race on. So instead of owning something that even at a wholesale price would cost me at least $1,300, I will pay $140 for a week's use covering the time I race the 70.3 distance triathlon next year. I probably won't bother for an olympic.

Anyway the place is called Race Day Wheels. I have heard about them and the one person I know who used them had a good experience. I have a certain limit on amount of bike assets that I have at any giving time because, frankly, we are poor and I am spoiled enough already with 4 bikes. These wheels were just sucking up too many of the asset allotment for the amount of use I was getting out of them.

Instead the carbon wheels I am going to buy a set of Neuvation R28 SL5 to have on hand as a training/cross racing wheel. They weigh under 1500 grams and the deal I can get on them is even better than the prices they advertise on the web. A fellow at the shop has a set of the older R28 SL3 wheels and to his dismay when he got a set of Mavic R-Sys wheels a couple of months ago he couldn't tell the difference between the way they rode and the cheap neuvations. The R-Sys wheels were about 199 grams lighter and did look cooler, but he still decided to sell the R-Sys wheels already. The price we can get these things Neuvations is just silly. So for road/cyclocross wheelsets I will have the following: Mavic Ksyrium ES tubular wheels, DT 240s/DT rr1.1 wheels, Velocity hubs/Velocity aerohead wheels, and the Neuvations. All these wheelsets are sub 1500 grams but seem pretty durable to so far. I also have a Cane Creek Stados wheelset that will probably sit and collect dust for the time being. It weighs a ton (not really, about 1800 grams), but I should probably make it the rainy day commuter wheelset.

Commute/Creaky Crank

I am also proud that I commuted to work, both there and back via my bike everyday so far this week. And I did so despite my wife telling me I could have the car everyday. And I did it all on the Curtlo with the larger gearing. I have found that there is some creaking going on. I believe the Token bottom bracket is the culprit. I am using the older square taper technology on the Curtlo, by the way. I have a carbon Campy Record crankset on it with the crappy Token bb. I should have just bought the more spendy Campy one, but I was trying to save a little money at the time. The thing is only 300 miles old. Maybe 500 tops. It hasn't seen hardly any bad weather either. It only pops with larger efforts when I am climbing. I am going to check the chainring bolts first before I get too wound up. I did check the torque settings on the bb cups and the crankbolts and they are now all good. Still creaky though--just not as bad. The non-drive was about 1/3 lower than it should have been.

Curmudgeon Cycles

Curmudgeon is one of the leading candidates for the name of Neil's frames that he plans to build. He gave me a drawing today for my frame. Woohoo! There are still a few kinks to work out but things are ironed out enough that I can buy some lugs. I am thinking that the headtube lugs and seat tube lug may come from Richard Sachs. The bottom bracket lug will probably come from Pacenti, though I reserve the right to change my mind any number of times.

Here is a link to a pic of the lugs I am thinking of using. I will probably do a little customization to it regardless of which lugs I get.

Am I stoked to play around with the lugs and have a small part of creating something I will race on? You betcha! Stay tuned for occasional updates on the build process. I don't expect the frame to be done until early next year, maybe December at the earliest.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Yeah...that was the number on the scale this morning. Less than 10 pounds away from my goal. I am pretty stoked.

However the downside to this weightloss, a couple of hard rides yesterday, and not eating as much is that during my swim class this morning I ran out of gas. I just couldn't do the work out the way it was designed to be done. We were supposed to step up our efforts over and over again during the workout and at the end I only had 2 speeds left, slow and not quite as slow.

Here was the work out:

16 25's at 45 seconds each. 1st one do nice and easy. 2nd one a bit faster. 3rd one at near full speed. 4th one at full speed. Repeat this until the 16th 25 yard length.

8 50's at 1:20 each. Same thing as above. 1st is easy, ramp it up until the 4th one is at full speed and then repeat so that there are 8 50's total.

8 100's at 2:30 each. Same as the others; 1st 100 is easy and then progressively faster until the 4th is the fastest. Repeat.

Total 1600 yards. My arms were dead after 1000 yards.

My times for the 25's went something like this:

1st 25: 30 seconds and then rest to the 45 second mark.
2nd: 27 or 28 sec., rest
3rd: 24 or 25 sec., rest
4th: 20 or 21 sec., rest
and on the same pace for the 5th thru 16th lengths.

Then on the 50's
1st 50: about 60 sec. and rest to the 1:20 mark.
2nd: 55 sec., rest
3rd: 52-53 sec., rest
4th: 50 sec., rest
and it was the same for 5th thru 8th 50's.

On the 100's I blew up.
I started at close to 2 minutes for the first 100. and then rest to 2:30
2nd lap: 1:50 then rest.
3rd lap: 1:45 then rest. I told the woman behind me that I was out of gas, so if she could go faster than what I had done she should go first. She did. I didn't.
My 4th lap was slower, close to 1:50 again. All of the other laps, 5 through 8 I did at the same pace--around 1:50 to 1:55. My arms felt like lead. But on the up side, I had little problem getting enough air. So if there is an upside that is it.

I need to eat before swimming. Or at minimum take a gel or two before I get in the pool.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Oh, yes, if a guy can be vain, I am. But not really in the usual ways. I mean, having a blog is a bit vain, especially when I seem to only write about me and my issues. And sure, I check myself out in the mirror these days to see if the gut is really going away or if I am delusional. I also find that I will occasionally look down at my legs as I am pedalling and find myself shocked that the legs that are under me are really my own. They look more and more like real cyclists legs as the summer goes on. So I am feeling pretty darn good about myself, at least physically. Mentally--well we won't go there. There are days that I feel a bit mentally fragile and down, but that is mostly related to my legal job prospects.

But one of the main sources of my vanity comes from my bikes--especially my cross bikes. And of my two cross bikes my number one is the Curtlo. Sure the Lapierre is sexy and rides nice, but it is still unproven in battle. The Curtlo...yeah it is pretty well dialed and when cross season comes it will probably be the choice for 2 out of every 3 courses. The uglier it gets, the more the scales tip in its favor.

Since I have swapped out the gearing for road riding purposes this summer (here, here and here) I have been using as my sole ride. I have had no issues and the gear range is great, even in the hills around here. I rode it today to work and back. And, by the way, I felt great, my recent bout of bronchitis is in the past finally.

While at work this fellow came in with his new baby. It was one of the sweetest cross bikes I have laid eyes on. Everything was shiny and new. The parts were all very high end and all the colors were matching. The frame was by Indy Fab, and it was painted the most perfect shade of metallic orange that I have seen. The hubs and headset were from Chris King and their color of green went perfect with the frame. The fork was the weak link in my opinion, but still not bad, a Wound Up carbon cross fork. The rest of the stuff, FSA SLK Light cranks, Dura Ace drivetrain, and Paul Neo retro brakes were all top notch. One of the new guys at work who is also very into cross just about lost it when he laid eyes on the bike. Totally beautiful. This was not his first cross bike and the guy seemed like he had a lot of years of cross underneath him. I didn't take him for a poseur, he is a pretty good rider I am sure. But he is also older and must have some disposable income because this was a very spendy bike he had.

I started talking to the guy and I went on expressing my admiration for his bike and the build and eventually we got to his brakes. He said that he has been having trouble getting to feel as good as some other Neo Retro set-ups he has tried. I told him that I was running them and that mine felt pretty good to me. He wanted to check out my set up so I went and got my bike. When I brought it out an amazing thing happened--he started to gush on and on about my Curtlo.

Now for those that don't know, my Curtlo frame retails (I didn't pay retail) for about 1000 bucks. His frame retails for around 3000 bucks. His parts spec retails for probably another 3000 bucks or more and mine for about $1500 to 1700 at most. Basically, his bike is more than twice as expensive as mine if we had both paid retail. I didn't, but I bet he did. Yet here he is pointing out how he really likes the way my 1x9 is set up with the Kelly Take off. He loved the color of the frame. He loved the fork, the wheelset, the frame construction, the threaded housing stop on the rear of the frame, blah, blah, blah. At one point I started to blush for my bike's sake. He complemented me on the fact that although his bike is about a 52cm frame, my bike was at least a pound or two lighter. He thanked me a couple times for letting him look at my bike and letting him check out the set up of it. And yes, my brakes set up, even though they are the same brakes, made his feel like crap. He said to me "you're bike is cooler than mine." I told him he was full of it, but he persisted.

Yeah, it was cool deal. His comments totally stroked my ego. After all, this bike wasn't just born the way it is set up. No, it has gone through about 5 major changes on its way to its current set up. Well, at least they are major changes to me--some might not notice. But this guy, who didn't appear to be crazy by the way, spotted most of these things that I have changed and commented on them. Things like the brake set up, the lever feel, the crank/derailleur/shifter set up, etc. Yeah, I sort of felt like I had achieved some level of credibility as a cyclocrosser today. The bike has obviously been ridden hard--there are plenty of scratches, and scuffs on the frame and parts--but those marks have given it character. Yeah, this bike rocks. And frankly, I rock for coming up with a bike and a set up like this. So if this makes me vain--so be it.

What the heck? 194.6 lbs?

Somehow I woke up this morning, got on the scale, and saw that I was weighing in at 194.6 lbs. Weird. Weird because I didn't eat particularly well yesterday and I still lost a pound.

Breakfast: 2 large bowls of Wheaties

Lunch: McDonalds Big n Tasty burger with no mayo, some fries from the kids' Happy Meals. Then as I was still hungry, I went back and got myself a regular little hamburger and then a three pack of chocolate chip cookies for the boys. I wound up eating half of one of the chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and a lot of Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper.

Dinner: Homemade Chili and Cornbread. I had plenty. Not sure how much, but I thought it was a lot.

Snacks: Small bag of SmartPop popcorn. Beef Jerky. Slice of bread with peanut butter on it. Yep, this was all after dinner.

I must have pooped a bunch yesterday or something. I did have the swimming class yesterday, but... yeah, I my colon must have been retaining poop like some people retain water.

News of the Sober Variety

So today is the big corporate visit at the shop. I have heard that the new CEO of Performance maybe coming too. Meh.

There better things to worry about at the shop. Cancer. One of employees has cancer. Wow. Not sure what one can do to help. My approach is to just go on like there is nothing wrong, with the exception of an occassional, "Howz it goin'?" or "Is there anything I can do to help?" But the reality is that there is not much I can do at all. So I guess prayer is about it. Obviously, this sucks.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Swim Class 7/14

I normally head out to my swim class with Melinda who is a friend of ours, as we trade off driving there early each Monday and Wednesday. She used to do the same thing with my wife before she was pregnant and I then took her spot. Having someone depending upon you to pick them up or conversely, knowing that someone is coming to get you at 6AM tends to be an effective motivator to actually show up to the class. Last night Melinda called and said that because her oldest son broke his arm and would have to have it pinned, she would be missing the class. Hmmm, I could sleep in...that would be nice.

Usually it has been me that has missed the class due to bronchitis or something. So it was sort of a test to see if I would really get my butt out of bed. And I did, but not without arguing with myself from about 5:30 until 6:00 AM about whether I was going to go or not.

Anyway, today I get there and start to warm up. I still hang in the slower of the two lanes our class has reserved at the pool even though there are two guys in the fast lane that had either the exact same 500 time or were a second or two slower than my time. However, there is a woman in the slow lane who also had the exact same time as I and the other was only 5 seconds slower so I don't feel particularly pressured to move over, mainly because there is no way I can keep up with the others in that other lane and I suspect that the faster pace would kill me--or at least cause me to black out for lack of oxygen.

Brian, the coach, calls out the order for both lanes and I am first in our lane. Dang it. The others in my lane are all as fast as or within 5 seconds in a 500 so basically get to draft behind me the whole time. I am admittedly bitter, even though it is silly. I don't mind being first, but I do mind having 2 behind me, right on my tail. The fact that they get to do the same work out but easier because they get to draft just sort of bugs me for some reason. It is like being made to ride at the front on a group ride the entire time. When it is with others who are beginners or if it happened to be DTP, that would be one thing When they are all of the same ability that is another. I makes me feel like they get to cheat a bit off of my effort. Admittedly, were the positions reversed I would have no problem doing the drafting, so I should just shut up about it (but I won't). Even though I can't feel them physically, I can mentally feel them coming up on me every lap. I am sure it is good for me to be pushed. But I still hate it. I worked on just trying to stay smooth and not rushing my stroke despite the fact that I felt rushed much of the time. When I start trying to swim faster my stroke starts to fall apart and I get sloppy. For the first 8 50's we had to do them in 1:10. That is easy. Then we were paced at 1:05 for 6 50's. A little harder, but not too bad. Then a minute rest, after which we did 4 50's at 60 second pace, which starts to hurt. Anyway, the 4 50's were followed by 2 50's at 55 seconds each. By now, including the warm up I have swam about 1200 yards and I am starting to tire. I am not used to the swimming load after swimming only twice during the past 5 weeks. I did each one in about 50-52 seconds but it hurt. After this we swam 25's to recover at a 35 second pace. This felt super easy after all that.

The faster lane had to do this workout as well, just everything was 5 seconds faster. When the workout was done, those two guys in the faster lane that had a near identical 500 time to me were complaining about have to swim at a faster pace than us. In jest, I egged them on saying that they have all been in the class for at least 6 months more than I and a year longer than the other two in my lane, thus they should be faster and be able to handle it. One of them didn't like that, and the other laughed and agreed that he should be able to do it and that it is good for him.

Of course, I should listen to my own words. I could always try to do the faster pace they they are doing even if I don't swap lanes. There isn't really any rule against doing it. Perhaps I will try to do half the workouts at the faster pace, alternating our pace and their pace. It might help and it might get those chicks off my butt so they aren't drafting me. And how knows, maybe I will get faster.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tour de France

I still have not watched one single second of this year's Tour. I have checked the results on most days, but I haven't been following it with any sort of zeal.

Basically, I don't really care.

My cycling enjoyment pretty much comes from me riding and from interaction with friends while riding or talking about bikes. Watching it on the tube--not so much.

It is not that I have an anti Tour stance or anything. I just don't really care to sit down and watch it. But this is coming from a guy that used to watch football every Saturday and Sunday that I could. Now I watch many 4 games a year. I just don't watch TV much anymore. I used to sit glued to the set a couple of years ago when it was tour time, not anymore.

I would rather mess around with the family, read news of various sorts on the computer, read books, or actually ride than watch other ride on TV. I watch maybe 2 to 3 hours of TV per week. 90 to 120 minutes of that is cartoons with the boys.

You all just let me know what happens OK? I will catch the clips on youtube or something.

Am I the only one? The guys at the shop seem to be back to watching it, even if they said they weren't. So is Fish. Maybe it is just me.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We Have a New Member of Our Family!

No, my lovely wife has not given birth to son #3 yet. So while the birth of son #3 will also be the 5th member of our regullar human-type family, I am talking about the 5th member of our bike family.

Behold, the Fuji Roubaix RC:

This is Bridget's new road bike. It is the replacement for the Cannondale CAAD 9 bike that we sold after we found out she was pregnant. That bike was a mish-mash of parts, everything from 105 shifters to Ultegra and dura ace derailleurs. This bike is straight 10 speed Ultegra all the way around. This bike also has a carbon seatstay (not sure how big a deal this really is, but whatever).

This particular bike was not planned for, just like many new additions to many families. This bike came to us second-hand. Some poor sap bought this bike from the Beaverton Performance Bike shop on close out last year. It was just about the last one that they had and he picked it up for $1200. The bike retails for $2000 and Performance regularly sold it for around $1500 until the 2007 models came in, at which point they started blowing them out at the lower price. Today he brought the bike in and to return the bike for something else. You might think this is odd--well it is. Performance has a liberal return policy though so, the manager let him return it and sold him a $3200 bike instead. On the whole deal, the shop probably will break even so don't feel too bad.

His problems with the bike were legitimate. The other Performance store sold him a bike that was too small. It is a 54cm with an effective top tube of 55cm. The dude is 6 feet tall, maybe a bit more. Then the steerer tube of the fork was defective and had to be sent back to Fuji. This was about a month ago and the fork is still not back to us yet. In the meantime, we put on a Forte fork which is not the same quality nor the same measurements as the original fork. The Forte fork has 40mm of rake and the original fork has 45. As a result the bike handles a little funny, plus the wheel hit his shoes. Anyway, he was sick of waiting for the new fork from Fuji, and he realized that the bike was too small. And after talking to Joel, my manager, about it off and on over the past few days, he worked the deal and dropped off the above pictured bike today in exchange for the 2008 Fuji Team RC (the main difference being that the Team RC is full carbon instead of a aluminum and carbon like the Roubaix RC).

I told Joel that I was interested in it for Bridget. He told me to make an offer. I did, $550. He bumped me to $599 for what you see in the picture. Done deal. The warranty fork replacement is supposed to be delivered this next week, so the bike will be back to spec.

The bike probably has 500 to 1000 miles on it. The bike is original except for the saddle--which sucks and will be replaced by Bridget's Terry Butterfly saddle. The tires have some wear on them, but not too bad. Plus, I could part out the bike right now and make about 300 bucks, so I figure it is a good deal.

The main thing is that I got Bridget a good bike for about $1,000 less than we sold the Cannondale for, and less than what we had planned on spending. It was actually causing her some stress that we were going to have to spend money on a bike when we need to be saving for different car with more room. So this bike is fits the bill prefectly. Overall, it is at least as good as the 'dale too. The major downgrade is the wheelset, but those are getting swapped out for some wheels that I have sitting in the garage that weigh about 280 grams less. The Cane Creek Strados wheelset, which weighs about 1800 grams, currently on the Fuji, will make an excellent spare wheelset for cross once I do the swap.

I am glad to found this bike. Bridget is happy too. She has acquired a taste for good stuff after her Cannondale and this fits the bill. The fact that it is used doesn't matter one bit to her, neither does the fact that it is a 2006 model. There is hardly any difference, if any, between the 2006 frame and the 2008 other than paint. At this point in time she would much rather have a used bike than spend more money for the same quality (even though it would be an employee deal, this bike as a 2008 model would cost me near $1,000 to E.P. through Fuji once shipping was figured in).

Anyway, so the bike is ours and here is the current Flynn bike line up (excluding our boys who have a couple of bikes and a trike too):

2008 Fuji Aloha CF2 TT/Road w/ Dura Ace
2007 Lapierre XLite Scandium cyclocross w/ SRAM Rival
2006 Curtlo S3/OX Platinum Cyclocross bike w/ XTR, Dura Ace, and Campagnolo Record
2008 Curtlo S3 OX Platinum Rigid Singlespeed Mountain Bike--21.7 lbs complete
2006 Fuji Roubaix RC w/ Ultegra

Not too shabby. The glaring thing missing from this line up is that we only have one MTB in it, and it is a singlespeed no less. Bridget is not too interested in mtb, but I would still like at least a geared mtb in the near future. How times have changed. Not long ago when I was in Utah, I had 3 mountain bikes and one cheap Trek 1200 road bike. Here in Portland, cyclocross has become a big thing and I ride more on the road than anything else. But, it's cool, they all roll and they all bring grins. We think the Fuji will do the same. Bridget plans on returning to the tri scene next year and this bike should work just fine, espcially for less than $600 for an 18.2 lbs bike as it sits right now. It will be sub 17 soon I assure you.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Curtlo S3 Cross Pics

In case people haven't seen the Curtlo that I have been posting about lately, here are a few pictures.

There was just enough chain to do it without taking any links off or adding any right out of the package.

The somewhat ugly chain line in 53/34 combo

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Back to Swimming: Updated Curtlo report

Despite the fact that I still have bronchitis I went to swim class. I missed two full weeks of class (or 4 classes) most of them because of the stupid illness. I feel fine expect for the fact that I start coughing if I do much of anything. I am going to ride to work today, and hopefully I don't lose a lung. That would suck.

Anyway, I get into the pool this morning and start our warm-up exercise. It is unusually long. When it is unusually long that usually means that the coach is going to have us do a timed 500 yards. And sure enough, after we finish he tells us that this is what he has planned for us.


My lungs are feeling sort ok at this point, mainly because the warm up was pretty easy. A 500 is going to suck because of my lungs and because I have been in the pool exactly ONE time since Vikingman a month ago. So I thought to myself "screw it", if I am slow, at least I have a great excuse. I had already had stopped to cough a couple of times during warmups so it was evident I wasn't faking. So with a good excuse in hand and started out.

I should have the "screw it, it doesn't matter" attitude more often apparently. Even though I had to stop for about 5 seconds after 400 yards to catch my breath because I just couldn't get enough air, I still finished with a personal best 9:35. Cool. I did feel pretty smooth for the first 250 yards, which I did in 4:44. My second half was a slower 4:51. What this means is that once I get back into swimming shape something in the low 9 minute area should be within reach soon. At the beginning of this year I was swimming near 12 minutes for the 500. Last year around June it would have been probably 15 minutes.

In other news, as mentioned before, I am riding to work today. On the 53 tooth equiped Curtlo too. By the way, I had to put a new chain on that was longer. I put a 9 speed Dura Ace/XTR chain on and it didn't have to cut it at all. It was the perfect length to wrap the 53 to the 34 in the rear. Sweet! Chainline if decent too. I don't have any chain retention devices on but I don't think I will have any issues.

So the ride to work went well. I noticed that the chain makes a little noise when I am in the 34 tooth in back. Not bad, but I don't consider this ideal. However, I won't be swapping this ring out anytime soon. I like the set up over all. The steps inbetween gears are a little large, but I got used to it pretty quick. I didn't ride home because, it took my lungs awhile to recover from the ride and so my wife pressured me to accept a ride home. I think it was not so much to save me any discomfort but so that she didn't have to hear me cough for a couple of hours afterwards.

Anyway, I an calling the 53 tooth 1x9 experiment a success. I will be riding it quite a bit in the near future.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Update on the Curtlo ring swap

Please excuse the boring posts lately, my lungs are still filled with something that looks like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Ooze that I had has a kid. It makes doing any activity seem like I have been a pack a day smoker for about 20 years or more. But at least I feel good otherwise.

Anyway, so I took off the driveside crank and tried to mount the 53 tooth ring on the inside of the crankarm, instead of the outside where it is normally mounted. I left the chainguard on the outside even though it looked silly. I did so because in order to tighten down the chainring bolts I need it there. Without it the bolts would not have been tight against the single ring. I didn't have any washers to take up the space instead Then I put the crank arm back on the bottom bracket, but the ring is too big. It hit the driveside chainstay of the frame. Dang it.

Then I swapped the 53 tooth on the outside and put the chainguard on the inside. Again the chainring guard, which is slightly larger than a 42 tooth chainring hit the chainstay. Well it didn't actually hit it. But it was about 10/1000 away from it and any sort of torque on the crankarms would have made it rub. So back to the drawing board.

This entire time I kept thinking that I should just mount up the two chainrings and then I could run the 53 tooth or the 39 tooth whenever I wanted. Without a front derailleur I could have still done it with my foot if I wanted to go down from the 53 to the 39 (I have done this before a long time ago on another bike) or just moved it back the the 53 by hand in about a second or two. Or I could never use the 39 and just let it remain something to space the chainring bolts enough to tighten down the 53 tooth ring. But this is simply not an option. If I had both rings on--even if I never intended to use the 39 tooth again people are still going to think that I am using a normal drivetrain. But dang it I am not, this is one of the coolest 1x9's you will run across. The shifting for the rear deraileur is accomplished with a dura ace bar end shifter mounted to a Kelly Take Off. The Kelly Take Off is about the coolest thing for a 1X9 cyclocross bike. It allows me to shift from just about any position on the bar. I can jam the shifter on multiple shifts faster than a regular STI road shifter will do at times. Also in the mud the shifter seems to work better than the regular road shifters, or at least my old shimano ones. I mean it is not quite as ergonomic, but for cross it works and that is all I care about.

Anyway, leaving the ring, even as a dummy ring was just not an option. I finally went to the shop where I found we had not chainring bolt spacers. I had to go and buy them at Bike Gallery. And after messing around a bit with the number of spacers, breaking a torx wrench multi-tool, and making my wife wait on me more than I should have for somethings she wanted me to do I was finished. Really, I made a simple operation an overly complicated and tedious affair. Not sure why, but making simple operations complicated is what I do best sometimes.

Now the bike looks clean. I looks like I am just a hammer because the only ring I am rocking is a freaking 53 tooth monster. The mountain cassette is there of course but that is not what you immediately notice. This bike is pretty sweet. For cross, don't let Brianero read this, but I think the Curtlo is a bit sweeter for cross than the Lapierre. Most of it is the set up, but still, some of this feeling is becuase it fits me so well. The frame's build has been thoughtfully revised a few times and each time it gets a little closer to perfection. The Lapierre still has yet to go to battle and so I am at the beginning of the learning curve with it, so to speak.

Well, hopefully soon I will have more to report than boring tales of easy maintenance made complicated by yours truly.

You'd think I have enough bikes to cover a simple road ride

But, I really don't. I don't have a good bike for long road rides currently.


Fuji Aloha CF2 is set up as a time trial bike. With the aerobars set up it is not friendly to regular road rides in traffic. I am too lazy to swap the bar back to a regular road shifter/drop bar set up because I anticipate doing at least one more tri this summer.

Lapierre XLite is really a cyclocross racing machine. It currently has a side gig as my commuter and sub 2 hour road machine. The problem lies in its lack of any water bottle mounts whatsoever. Afterall, you don't need or want a water bottle during a cyclecross race. Its lack of water bottle mounts show that its rider is indeed a cyclocross junkie. It also makes it difficult to go on rides for much longer than 2 hours (less if it is a hot day) because the only water that I carry has to be in one water bottle that I stick in the back of my jersey. I can fit a 24 ouncer back there. I have gone on longer rides with the Lapierre, but it requires a route that has 7-11 or something similar along the route at an opportune time. This is not always possible when going with others.

Curtlo Singlespeed 29er. Well duh, one speed, fat tires, and again no water bottle mounts (I use a camelbak when mountain biking).

Curtlo S3 Cyclocross bike. Hmmm. Facially this seems like a bad match. It is built up as a 1x9 and the front ring is only a 39 tooth. Not big enough to maintain speed on the flats or on a slight descent. But the bike does have two water bottle mounts, because I forgot to tell Doug not to put them on. Maybe that is lucky for me. The rear cassette is currently a 12-25, or I also have a 12-27 and wait for 11-34. Yes. Anyone thinking what I am thinking yet? Gear junkies out there, it is time to perk up.

Most standard sized cranksets with a 130 BCD (Shimano/Sram) or 135 BCD (Campy) come with a 39 tooth and a 53 tooth set of chainrings. On many bikes the cassette mated with this combo is either an 11/23 or 12/25. In fact that is the very set up that I have on my Fuji. Back when the Fuji was set up with road bars I rode this set up everywhere and did just fine for the most part. The lowest gear, 39 tooth front mated with the 25 tooth in the back gives a 41.0 gear inch measurement. The top end, the 53 mated with the 12 cog in the back comes to 116.1 gear inches.

Now, then here is my thought; swap the 39 tooth ring out for the 53 tooth. The bike would still be a 1x9. But the front ring would be the 53 tooth and I would run not the 12/25 or 12/27 cassette (I wish I could push this all the time going up and on to Skyline, but that aint gonna happen) but instead plop on the 11/34. Yeah. Check out the gear inches range now: Low end is the exact same 41.0 and the high is now 126.6. So my 9 gears in gear inches would be; 41.0, 46.4, 53.6 60.6, 69.6, 81.9, 92.9, 107.1 and 126.6. Or to convert that to what those of you running a standard BCD would be like having the following gear selection (approximately): 39/25, 39/22, 39/19, 53/23, 39/15, 53/17, 53/15, 53/13, and 53/11. Really this is not too bad. Sort of large steps in between at times but not too bad I don't think.

Guess what I am doing tomorrow, Daddy is getting his new road bike ready, the Curtlo S3 Cyclo-Road! I can't wait. I will probably try to mount the 53 tooth on the inside of the crankarm to get a better chainline. I need to find some spacers to put on the outside of the arm. Right now I have a chainguard on the outside, but I suspect that it will look a little goofy since it was only made to guard a 42 tooth ring at the most. But that should be small stuff. The crankarms are old style Campy Record--carbon arms with the square taper bottom bracket. The Campy style 135 BCD makes it hard to find rings in anything but 39 and 53.

Anyway, off to bed. I am excited to try this out and I am finally feeling well enough to do so.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


I have been sick pretty much the entire week. No rides, runs, swims, or anything much. But I was able to somehow lose a 1/4 pound this week despite the lack of exercise and the lack of an especially good diet plan. I am grateful for this at least. The lungs full of goop--not so much.

I am not too into this years Tour de France. I just don't especially care right now. It is not a anti-doper thing, or an anti-French thing. It is more of an I just don't care for some reason thing. Can't explain, it just is.

Today I worked at the shop. All I did was build bikes in the back. I enjoyed it. The most expensive bike was one that we sell for about $800, most were around $300 to $400. And it was fun to sit on the rolling stool and just focus on making these bikes work well. I had a few interruptions with phone calls and miscellaneous things, but for the most part it was a non-customer day, which is a great thing. I have come to feel the anonymous customer that I am not familiar with is one with which I would rather not be bothered. For some reason if you got in before I soured on working retail recently--which was as of about a month or so ago--I am still happy to talk to you. Weird, but true. Someone came in for a tune up on a bike that I sold to her about 4 or 5 months ago and for some reason I stopped what I was doing to do it right there on the spot. I found that I was surprised at myself even. About halfway through, I realized that I wasn't even bitter about being interrupted. I was happy at that fact.

I also worked on DTP's Fisher 293. This is a very nice bike. Or rather it was. Everything had been upgraded to XTR (by me before I sold it to him a couple or three years ago) and it has a nice pair of wheels on it that makes it probably one of the lighter full suspension 29er out there. But what use is a nice bike when it is horribly maintained? Not much, as evidenced on our last ride. The cables and housing are in horrible shape. The shift housing's inner wires have worked their way past the housing caps in every instance which has caused the shifting to hardly work at all. The last ride we went on he only had two or three gears. The bike still has a handmade crappy foam watch mount for a Suunto GPS watch that he hasn't had for probably 2 years. The bike looks like hammered. Oh well, I don't have to ride it. And, even though I did start working on it near close I didn't finish it because there was more to do than he said. He thought I was only going to have to replace one piece of housing. He asked that I try to save the cables...freaking cheapskate. That ain't going to happen. Oh well, at least when it gets done he will have one less excuse for why he can't ride up a hill faster than some old guy can walk it.

Anyway, I am hoping that next week is a return to normality. Also, I hope that next week will be the end of my time in purgatory with the law firm downtown. It has been around a month since I interviewed and still no word, despite a couple of calls on my part for a status check. I know that hiring process at a firm can be lengthy, but when patience is not one of my virtue, it is taxing on me. And on my wife for that matter. She says it is even worse for her since she has absolutely no control and she is just the passenger here in this search. She can try to keep me positive, and she puts on a good front, but inside she is ready for this ordeal to end, and to end in a positive manner. She craves normality, a husband who has a normal job, and the funds to start doing normal things again. Being pregnant does not help matter either.

Well, back to bed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

News, what news? There's nothing new.

Everything is the same as it ever was, at least for the past year. Well that is not quite true--I am currently fighting some sort of illness that has made it difficult to do anything without hacking globs of phlegm up and has me addicted to Dayquil/Nyquil in order to make through the day. Nevertheless I haven't missed work--instead I insist on working so that all might partake of my nasty germs. I tried to bail out of work yesterday, but I could feel the stress on the on the other end of the phone so I manned up and came in anyway. Today I felt worse, but showed up anyway and just sat in the back building up new bikes. Just wait until people buy these bikes--HA HA HA (evil laugh) and my illness will be strewn throughout the community!!! Then all will be as miserable as I, and I rule the...nevermind that was a lame schtick, enough of that.

Anyway, what the title says is true, there is nothing new here. Same lovely job at the bike shop. Same lovely law school loans awaiting repayment, and still no information on whether my best job prospect at a firm downtown will work out. I am leaning heavily toward betting that the job will not be a possibility. I called them up yesterday and I was told that I will be hearing back shortly, but the call did not have a real positive vibe to it. This of course blows, but at least I still have the big bucks coming in from the bike shop...or rather at least we are able to pay our bills with what the wife and I make. At least for another 6 months until more of the loans enter into repayment. I have been out of law school for a year. At the end of the month it will be a year since I took the bar exam. It has been about almost 10 months since I found out I passed the bar exam. Still I have had no luck finding an acceptable job as a lawyer.

Part of it is my doing. I am picky. I don't want to work in some area of the law that doesn't interest me. I don't want to move out of the PDX area. I also need to make a certain minimum amount once the loans do start coming due so some jobs are not possible even if they are of interest. The job that I may soon be passed up on--if my gut is right--fits everything perfectly. At least it seems to...but what ever will be will be.

The bike shop is the same as ever was. People still want silly things done and want their tubes changed. We are still understaffed. And the store is still a mess, though worse than normal because we are more understaffed than normal. But I can only do what I can do and since I have no authority at all there. I take some solace in the fact that even if the company as a whole acts half-brain dead it is not a reflection on me. I just do as I am told and state any disagreements as pleasantly and factually as I can and then let it go. No biggie. I have realized that I am pretty much done being able to work that job anymore. I need to get back into the legal field even if it is just working as a clerk somewhere doing the type of work I did during law school before I passed the bar.

Family life is the same, mostly great. The wife is pregnant and so there is that sort of hanging over my head in the near future, but life here is pretty good. Friday we are travelling out to see Thomas the Tank Engine in Hood River, Oregon. That ought to be fun for all of us. We went to this event last year and our family had a good time.

The one other downer is the fact that I have a lingering cold that has disrupted my training, sleeping patterns and robbed me of energy for the past few days. I missed swimming and I have not been able to ride to work because my lungs are filled with some mucus crap. I have to lay the blame for this illness on my boys--I think kids are generally dispersers of disease. They are great otherwise, but every illness that I have had over the past 5 years is probably attributable to them. Not amount of handwashing, bathing, or sanitizing seems to quite do the trick--they always find a way to infect me somehow. I guess that is what family is all about--sharing everything, germs included.

Anyway, so without working out I have put back on a pound or two. Hopefully just a pound. This morning it was 197.0 and if that is where I can keep it that will be great. The pounds will come off again once something more than my nose can be running.

Ok so there is some news that is new. Neil at the shop, and my bike builder-de-jour, received his Mavic R-SYS wheels today. They sure looked sweet. And even with the employee purchase they sure are spendy. They weighed in at 1400 grams for the wheelset. He has some the nicest Neuvation wheels and they weigh only about 110 grams more. But the Mavics are supposed to be stiffer, stronger, better, lighter, blah, blah blah...they better be he paid over 3 times as much for them.

Neil also started working on a lugged stem. I need to bring a camera to work and get some picks of it when he is finished. It should be pretty cool. He is still tinkering with what the first bike is going to look like. He says he has done drawing after drawing trying to maintain a traditional--non compact geometry, but he is having a hard time doing so and still having any standover. The bike is going to be a commuter/cross bike with canti's. He says it will likely never see any off-road use though. Anyway part of the solution he says is to build himself a shorter fork. Just about all of the cross forks he has found have a length of about 400mm. He figures that if he builds himself one that is 375-380mm he will be able to build the bike he wants. This means he is going to have to build himself a jig for building forks and something to bend the fork legs the way he wants them. He problem is my gain, because I was really wanting him to build me a custom steel fork anyway and this will mean it won't be as big of a deal when it is my turn for a bike. Anyway, I will try and get some pics and post them when I can.