Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Neuvation Carbon Wheels: Buying Generic can be Cool

As posted previously, I have had a problem with various carbon parts. Yet I went ahead and purchased these Neuvation wheels. John at Neuvation wrote and told me that these wheels would be great for cyclocross and so...what the heck, I am a push over I guess. I ordered them. And I was excited to get even these "generic" carbon wheels. With shipping included these wheels were less than $600. Beat that.

Weight: 1420 grams total. 800 rear and 620 front. Not as light as the American Classic carbon wheels I owned earlier this year, but they cost a heck of a lot less.

Depth: 50 mm. No they aren't super deep, but I think that for use in both cyclocross and triathlons (should they survive the season) they will work great. For triathlons they aren't as deep as I would like, but for the money they will work great.

More pics with the Vittoria I am going to run with them until I can get a hold of some of the new Challenge Fangos. The Vittorias were on the rims so that they could stretch out prior to beginning the gluing process.

One of the things that I really like about these wheels is that they use regular ol' nipples. Brianero has some Easton carbon wheels and those things have funky recessed nipples or some odd set up that rendered replacement very difficult without proper tools. Not so with Neuvation. Bravo.

The finish of the rims is pretty good. They look spendier that they actually are--especially once the stickers came off. Stickers weighed about 20 grams by the way. The wheels look better to me with the stickers off. And the stickers came off very easily. No chemicals needed to remove any residue.

A few hours after taking these pictures I removed the tires and put the first coat of glue on the tires and rims. I am going to do 3 layers on the rims and at least 3 on the tires. Maybe 4 on the tires. The base tape on the tires really sucked up the glue quickly. If the second layer is absorbed similarly I can see 4 being necessary for sure. We will see.

Regardless of the cost of these wheels (in fact probably because of the cost of these wheels) and the fact that they aren't the name brand wheels, I am pretty excited to race these. I view them as being somewhat disposable. If a rim breaks, the worst I am out is a couple of hundred bucks to get it going again. I have a really nice second tubular wheelset--the Ksyriums ES wheels--and so I am not worried about something happening. If they break too easily then I guess I will devote these to triathlons only or just sell them once they are fixed. Either way, it is not that big of a deal. Had these been something more expensive, like Zipps, I would be much more fearful of them braking because I would have a hard time coming up with the money to fix them. I can sell some of my spare parts and come up with the money to replace a Neuvation rim if need be. Bottom line is I can race these worry-free.

With a little luck these will be ready to go, including tire sealant for Alpenrose, the first Cross Crusade race, this weekend.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Free Agency

Now that I have managed to place in the top three of a race--albeit a race with limited competitors--I expected to have my email box overflowing with invitations to join this team or that. I also cleared out the messages from my phone so that I would have room for all the phone calls I expected to get begging for my services.

Well, it has been about 48 hours since the race and I have to report that I am just as popular as ever. So this evening I checked my phone first--no calls. Hmmm, maybe no one knew my number. Email check: Barack Obama and his team still want what money I have (geesh, give a guy 20 bucks to fight the Clintons and they never stop going to the well, however dry it may be). I have had about 6 emails from them in the past couple of days. I thought that maybe he was going to congratulate me after reading my blog...but no.

Reunion.com also emailed me. Are they sponsoring a team now? no. They just wanted to let me know that someone during the past 6 months has done a search for my name. Someone from Oklahoma. I am thinking that it was a different person...

Ah! a cycling related email! From Bikeman, a web retailer. I know they have a team back east. Maybe they are starting one out here and want to lay a solid foundation with a 30 something up and coming racer sure to make a name for himself. I mean it makes sense to try and lock me up now before I really make it big. I open the email and it is just a confirmation that my Swiss Stop Rat Yellow Brake Pads and Stan's No Tubes juice are on the way. Well, at least they will be here for the race this weekend.

I also see that there is a bunch of OBRA chat in my inbox about WD-40 (someone wanted to use it for chain lube during the rainy months...umm, no don't do that), controlling heart rate during a race (I just try not to have a heart attack or pass out, figuring I am alright as long as it is still beating after a race), and some interesting discussion on tubular glue removal. Nothing even about ME. Weirdness.

I mean why aren't the offers to join a team just piling up? I am a Master C racer after all--on my way to Master B's if I keep this up. Going straight to the big time....right?

Well, after ample time to think about my racing future today, I guess I will remain an independent. I am going to hold out for the best offer and after this year's Cross Crusade I am sure that teams will be clamouring for my services.

Sure they will.

Nevertheless I am having a blast out there--at least once the race is over. I swear every race I want to quit after about 10 to 15 minutes.

Back to reality: Under the weather yesterday and today. Had no energy. I blame our virus hatcheries--Sons 1 and 2. Hopefully, I can get out tomorrow.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Could it be? Me in the Top 3?

Last night I was just thinking that I would really like to get on the podium at a cyclocross race. Any race. Any class. I didn't really think that this would happen until next year. I didn't think that I was in good enough shape to get in a top three of a cross race unless there were only 3 or 4 riders in the field.

Well, there were more than 3 riders racing Master C today at the Veloshop Rickreall Rampage. There were 13, not a huge group by any measurement. But, I finished 3rd. Here is the proof:

Maybe this is no big deal to many of you. But I would just like to post where I was not too long ago. My placement at the Cross Crusade series final in 2005 was 58th out of 66--in BEGINNER class. It was a typical finish for me during my first season racing cross. Basically, I really sucked.

Never before have I been in the top 3 in any athletic event including high school. Never. Not that I haven't tried, it just hadn't happened. So I regardless of the lack of competitors compared to a Cross Crusade race, I am proud of earning a 3rd place at the race today.

I raced hard, got a decent hole shot and managed to be in third place by the end of the first lap. The two guys that took first and second were also first and second into the singletrack on the first lap and managed to escape a slight pile up in there by the guy that had been in front of me. By the time I got out of the forest they were about 50 to 60 yards in front of me. While I never got much further behind the second place guy I never saw the first place guy again. I never gained on the second place guy until the last two laps, but by then it was too late to catch him. If I had only been a bit more aggressive on the first lap before the forest...I had an opportunity to get third then. Had I been one spot higher into the forested singletrack I would have avoided the traffic jam--but whatever--that is small potatoes stuff. 4th place was well over a minute behind me at the finish. The course was really made for a bigger guy like me that doesn't like steep run ups but had decent skills on singletrack and good power.

I am sorry if this is a bit braggish when I didn't even win the race. I know that some, like Kristin don't even say when they win the race! She is more modest than I.

But in the end, I don't care. I got 3rd and you didn't... ;)

Here is one important message for all cyclocrossers: Buy a set of tubular wheels and tires.

While others on clinchers were complaining about losing crowns on their teeth, I was gliding along happily. Maybe not gliding, but it was much better running on 25 to 30 lbs of pressure than 50 or 60. Oh and Tufo tire sealant works well. I got a puncture during the race and it sealed it up and I kept on going. I lost a bit of air. In the end, my rear tire had only 18 pounds of pressure in it when I checked it after the race, but it never lost any more air. Geesh, racing with 18 lbs of pressure in a rear tire and finishing the race without damaging the rim, much less coming in third...amazing! Tubulars and cross go together like peanut butter and jelly. It is easily the best thing I have going for me on my bike this year.

Here are some photos--these were from the next group of racers after my race. Juniors, and B's I think.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Greg Lemond needs a new hobby

...other than obsessing on Lance Armstrong.

This is from an article I read on Yahoo Sports this morning

...fellow American Greg Lemond, who won the Tour de France in 1986, 1989 and 1990, said Armstrong's return was not good for the sport.

"His return is not good news," Lemond told AFP in Las Vegas. "It's like a nightmare, that we have lived through all these years, returning."

Seriously? A nightmare? Mr. Lemond aren't you being just a tad bit overly dramatic?

Please Greg...go away and find something else to do. To me at least you are tainting your legacy as much as anything else. What a bitter man.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Veloshop Cross Race

A change of plans has occurred. I was going to go on a group ride on Saturday. Since it was called off, I am heading down to the Veloshop Rickreall Rampage down around Salem. I am going primarily because of the following lines that were in an email I received about the race: "...the course is largely flat..." and "There will be handmade tamales for sale..."

This SoCal-raised boy can pound tamales. And with the course on the flatter side I can probably afford to eat some tamales before and after my race and not have it hurt too bad...right?

Also while cruising the Richard Sachs Cross blog I found a pic of some interesting cross brakes:

I don't know whether these will work any better than what is out there but I am sure that they will be super light. Ciamillo Components, who also make the Zero Gravity brakes are going to be making this little bit of candy apparently named the Gravity Cross. Interesting. But can they be much lighter or stop much better than the $22 Tektro cr720's? After riding a couple of bikes that came into the store with those cheapo Tektro brakes I admit being impressed.

Current training schedule--mostly limited to running.

Currently I have about 2 hours to spare to train in the morning. Well really only about an hour by the time that getting ready to train and then getting ready to work is factored in. Still, I feel good that I am actually getting out there. This weekend I will get in a longer ride which with be the first long one since Colin was born. I am not sure how I am going to get much faster than I currently am at this rate. I am mainly just trying to keep the fat at bay and maintain what fitness I have.

As a result of my lack of time, I have been running mostly. I hate the first 20 to 25 minutes of the run. I mentally and physically hate it. But then after that things loosen up, I realize I am at the halfway mark or further of my run and my attitude changes. I start to run a bit faster and enjoy it a bit more. By the time I get home I am in a good mood. Running 45 minutes to an hour is about all the time I have. I think that is all the time I want to have to run honestly. But it feels good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

100 things 75-51

And the list continues...

75. I can't stand a noisy bike. The bike could work flawlessly other than a persistent creak and I won't ride it until the creak is gone. A temporary fix is to ride with my iPod, but even then, I know it is there and it bugs.

74. I bent the downtube on a Schwinn World that was the second bike that I ever owned. I never knew it until my dad noticed that the paint was flaking off at the bend. I was about 13 years old and I thought my Dad was going to kill me over wrecking the bike. He asked how it happened. I was too embarrassed to say that I wasn't looking where I was going and as I result I ran into a parked car while going about 15 miles per hour. Instead I made up some fanciful story about how I missed a turn and went off the road and into a ditch. I am not sure why I did that. I just seemed so stupid to have hit a parked car.

73. I have an old Chris King T-shirt that has a milk carton on it with one of those missing kid pictures on it. Instead of a picture of a kid though it has a drawing of a bottom bracket on it. As in the long rumored Chris King Bottom Bracket that until this year I never had seen the light of day. Of course the one was recently revealed can be found with using a google search, and it is one of those new-fangled external bottom brackets. Nevertheless, I think it is cool that I still have the t-shirt even though it is about 12 years old and thread-bare.

72. I think that guys that buy their significant others crap bikes should be smacked. It doesn't matter if it is a spouse or one of their children. I don't mean that it has to be some uber-bike. In particular I am calling out the guy that has a nice blingy bike or bikes and their kids ride Walmart bikes. You know who you are and shame on you. Spend just a hundred or two more and get them something safe and reliable. It is one thing if a parent or spouse doesn't know better--but to be willing buy something so inferior...that shows a real lack of respect and concern to those that should matter most.

71. I have never owned a bike with a campy drivetrain. I would like to, just to see what the fuss is about. But no 11 speed stuff please.

70. I never owned any bibs until about 2004. I quickly got rid of just about all of my lycra shorts. Bibs rule.

69. Buy a pair of Sidi shoes. Your feet will thank you. If not Sidis then something else of the same quality. It is amazing what a good pair of shoes will do for your riding enjoyment and comfort.

68. Skimp on the helmet. If you are spending $150+ on helmets then everything else you own should be totally blinged out. A helmet is the last place I would spend significant money.

67. Don't skimp on shorts or bibs. Seriously, you know what is being protected down there and you only want to spend $20-$30 on a pair of shorts? If you do this you must have a taint o' steel, because without a good short and chamois I am dying after a couple of hours. Either that or you just don't ride for more than 30 minutes.

68. I can ride a saddle with no padding at all if the shape is right. Padding on a saddle is not necessary if I am wearing a good pair of shorts. Thick or wide saddles do nothing for me at all. In particular all of the WTB saddles seem too wide in the middle as it nears the nose. I know others love their WTB's...just not me.

67. The three people people I would most like to go on a ride with, at least that I haven't ridden with already are Keith Bontrager, Gary Fisher, and Greg Herbold. I know that these folks are primarily from the mtb world, but that is my first love, mtb.

66. I met Evel Knievel at Interbike back in 1999 I think it was. He was at the Hoffman bikes booth. At this time he walked with a cane, but you could tell that he would still kick just about anyone's butt if you looked at him sideways. R.I.P Evel.

65. I can pretty much fall asleep anywhere if I am tired. I once fell asleep at a casino's cheap buffet restaurant which was adjacent to the slot machines. It was a pretty noise place. I guess I even snored. I never even had to put my head down. I just leaned back and folded my arms and that was that. I have also taken naps on a concrete floor with no padding during the days when I worked doing home remodeling. I think I used some cardboard as a pillow.

64. I really like riding with my wife. When we were doing triathlons together last year, we would occasionally get to ride at the same time. I loved it. What can be better than getting out together in the fresh air on a nice, or even not so nice day? Not much. I think we bonded a bit more last year than we would have otherwise.

63. My first mountain bike experiences came in Virginia and West Virginia. It was not very difficult stuff, but it was very pretty out there. As a result I have always appreciated the east coast mentality of riding. Lots of trees and roots with lots of twist and turns. I understood why there were so many custom frame builders there. Riding was different and the builders were great at building bikes for those areas. What is great about the whole 29er thing is that so many of these builders and other new builders have flowered again just like the early days of the mtb thing. I wonder how long it will last this time around?

62. I don't think that there is any "magic" frame material. I think that a wise person buys the bike that is best suited for his purpose. I like steel for cyclocross and for my 29er frames. Ti would be great too, but I don't have the $$$$ for that and I still wouldn't do a Ti cross frame. At least not unless I have more money than I have sense, which maybe someday I could achieve (I wouldn't mind have more money than sense--I have a lot of sense and thus being in such a position would mean that our family would be pretty well off). I like carbon frames for road, but I also like the feel of aluminum road bikes. A good aluminum road frame has a really racy feel with great power transfer. Anyway, you get the point...ride what you like, not what is cool.

61. Riding in a big group on the road makes me nervous. This is one of the big reasons why I have never raced on the road. I worry that I will make a mistake and cause someone to crash. I also don't really trust everyone in a large group ride either. When I am with just a few people communication is better and I don't worry as much. I should try and overcome this in the future though since I would like to be on a team should an opportunity to join one arise.

60. I like experimenting with different set ups. It seems like I am constantly swapping this and that on my bikes. I just can't seem to sit still. For instance, one example of one of my weird set ups is on my cross bike. Campy Record Brake Levers (no shifters, just the dropbar brake lever), one right Dura Ace Barend shifter hooked up to a Kelly Take Off, an XT Shadow rear derailleur, XT 11-32 9spd cassette, Campy Record Carbon cranks (older square taper style) with a 29t ring and a Chorus bb, and a chain guard in place of the outer ring. It works flawlessly and it is almost mud-proof and crash-proof. Well, lest I jinx myself I should state that it is at very least more of a durable set up that with normal Shimano/Sram/Campy road levers and it is cheaper too. I picked up the campy stuff on clearance and the XT stuff is not too spendy. And the shifter set is usable from at least as many positions as a normal road bike "brifter." I just like to try different things--sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

59. If you ride a bike you should know how to change a tube out. If you don't, then learn. Don't pay a shop to do it. If you do--and some do so often--you are a pansy. If you are OK with being a pansy, then I don't mind changing out your tube.

58. My father was not big on my skidding my bike tires as a kid. It wore out the tire needlessly in his opinion. This was a waste I guess in his eyes. But I encourage my boys to skid all they want. My oldest loves to see how long of a skid mark he can make. And is it really that wasteful? A new tire retails for about $10 for his bike. And do you know how many skids he can get with that tire? Probably a thousand it seems. So what is that--a penny a skid? Seems like a bargain to me in exchange for him learning to love his bike and getting outside and doing something other than watching TV. Skid away boys, skid away.

57. Oh, and on the topic off kids and bikes...If you kid is 4 years old or more, he or she should not be using training wheels unless there are impairment issues of some sort. My nieces didn't learn to ride a bike without training wheels until they were nearing 10 years old. They just had bikes with training wheels that were way too small for them. The youngest of these two is 10 years old currently and my 3 year old rides faster than her much of the time. My 5 year old gets bored waiting for her. Sad, so sad. I blame the parents for not giving a rip.

56. And still on the subject of kids and bikes...let your kids crash. It does them good to pick themselves up and deal with a little blood. It is hard to do as a parent. Sometimes you know it going to happen, and then very hard to watch when it does, but I promise it is good for them to know that a little blood and a loss of some skin is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Let them learn thier limits.

55. At least once everyone should have the experience of having a bike frame custom built for them. And if you have to wear a suit of work, the same thing goes for that too.

54. It is ok to be scared on a bike at times. In fact, I recommend the occasional scare. It doesn't matter what type of bike you are on...pushing your boundaries makes you a better rider. Just don't be stupid about it, we'd like to keep you around.

53. Despite what some people I have met think... riding on Leif Erickson road in Forest Park near Portland, Oregon does not count a mountain biking. The fact that it is a dirt path surrounded by trees does not mean that you are suddenly hardcore.

52. A person should ride more than they spend time looking at bike stuff on the computer--especially MTBR.com or Roadbikereview.com. And note to self: That goes for blogging too.

51. I struggle with knowing how high to shave up my legs.

Ok, I made it this far. I may have to get pretty creative to get down to #1.

Monday, September 22, 2008

100 Things: 100-76

I have some friends, the Fishers, that posted 100 things about themselves on their blog. They did this as a way to document things that are not necessarily common knowledge about their lives up to this point mainly for the benefit of their kids. I have been thinking about doing this as well, and I have wavered about how to go about doing it. I think I will do the stupid one first, as in 100 things about me and cycling. These 100 things may be opinions, they may be stories, or they may be just plain stupid. But regardless, they are mine.

100. I have owned around 35+ bikes since 1992. I have three of them currently. Two steel Curtlos and a carbon Fuji. I need at least 3 more to cover all the bases. A geared 29er, a dedicated TT bike, and a dedicated commuter bike. But I would like several more than that as well.

99. My first bike was a Schwinn Apple Crate bike. I got it for Christmas when I was 4 I think. I rode it until I was around 12. Seriously. I even had a paper route on that thing.

98. My first mountain bike was a Schwinn High Plains. It sucked. My first actual mountain bike that could handle offroad duty was a Haro Extreme. Super heavy, but it flew.

97. I designed full suspension bike frames for awhile with a guy in Orem UT. The bikes were sold under the name CPC Racing.

Good luck finding anything about them online, we were really small and we collapsed before we really got going. In the end we built up 4 different framesets. A hardtail, a cross country full suspension frame, a long travel version of the same bike, and a mondo-travel DH bike. The bikes rode well for the time (late 90's), but they had flaws. Frankly, I don't like reliving those times so I am moving on.

96. I raced some downhill races in the mid to late 90's. I sucked.

95. The first time I hung out with my wife Bridget, we went down to Moab together. She was inexperienced on a bike, but fearless. She won my heart there. She has more balls than most guys. We did the Slickrock trail together and she went down just about everything. She even crashed well.

94. At the time #95 happened I was dating one of her roommates at the time. I soon started dating Bridget. Talk about awkward...yeah even though I had gone out with the roommate for little more than a casual few dates, switching from one roommate to another is brain damage. But, it was worth it.

93. Working for CPC so soured me on bikes that I didn't touch a bike for three years. I gained about 30+ pounds during that time.

92. I used to roll in a Mercedes ML430 SUV and rode an Ellsworth Id. Now I roll in a 1998 Honda Civic and usually a low tech steel bike (until recently no suspension on any bike in the house). But I do have a law degree and a Bar number....that almost soothes my pride while working in a bike shop. Almost.

91. I have applied to around 50 jobs and contacted more people than I am comfortable with while looking for a job to support my bike habit....and my family. But I am still happier than I was working for either CPC or working as a sales manager at a car dealership. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

90. I broke my wrist once because I didn't properly check out my bike after a crash. I took a spill and my bike went down hard, twisting the handlebars. I was ok. Somehow after that the stem would not tighten up properly around the fork's steerer tube. Then the next ride I hit a tiny bump and when I turned the handlebar the wheel did not come with it. I went down hard, shattering my wrist. The doctor who performed the surgery said that inside it looked like cornflakes inside because of the many bone fragments. So I currently still have a stainless steel plate and screws in my left wrist. Insurance wouldn't pay for titanium. Yes, I asked if I could have the ti anyway. I was told, no.

89. The first cyclocross race I saw was in Utah while visiting during my 2nd year of law school. Fish was racing and talking me into coming instead of reading a law book. Bastard. I didn't even have to race to know that I was going to love it. Damn him and bless him at the same time. Most painful fun that I can think of--cyclocross.

88. My first 29er was a custom Curtlo steel frame. It was love at first ride. That was 2003. Didn't need no stinking rear suspension any more after that bike.

87. I count Kulani (Fish) Fisher, patent attorney extraordinaire, as one of the main reasons I am not still 230-240 lbs with borderline high blood pressure and probably Type 2 diabetes by now. Thanks again for around the 100th time.

86. I remember the first time that Fish told me to slow down while climbing on a road ride. I remember it like it was yesterday, it was probably the first time in about 5 or 6 years anyone had asked me to slow down. Bitchin' feeling. It only took about 2 years of riding together for that to happen. It was sort of like the day the training wheels came off...

85. My first triathlon was an olympic distance one. I did it with very little training because of illness and studying for the Oregon bar exam. I could barely swim. I freaked out and almost quit about 100 yards into the swim. I managed to keep going by flipping on my back and doing the backstroke the rest of the way. I bonked big time on the run. I probably should have had a cardiac arrest since my average heart rate was around 185. Not joking either. It sucked. It was probably one of the worst 3 hour periods of my life. I would have rather have been back taking the bar exam.

84. My first Half Ironman distance tri was much better from a panic standpoint. It still sucked. 30 to 35 mph winds do not make a triathlon easier. I know wonder what the heck I was thinking signing up for another one in April of 2009. Triathlons suck. Why I keep doing them I don't know. Maybe it is the feeling that I get when I am about a mile from the finish line. The euphoria is great. The training for them blows though.

83. I love singlespeeds. I love rigid bikes. I love the cards that they allow you to play no matter what the situation. If you beat someone down the hill, they suck because you had no suspension and they did. If they beat you--well, no wonder, they had suspension and you didn't. If someone beats you up the hill or on the flats it is because they had gears and you didn't. If you have to walk up the hill, it is because you are on a singlespeed. You get the idea. Plus, riding a singlespeed is mentally freeing. All you have to do is ride. No shifting or worrying about shifting down for the next hill, etc. SS'ing rocks.

82. I think Tony Ellsworth is a dork.

81. I think that Doug Curtis of Curtlo is selling his frames far too cheaply.

80. I wish I had a garage and the equipment and the ability to build my own steel frames. But not commercially. That would be too much pressure. I learned from my previous time in the bike biz to just keep my hobbies as just that, hobbies.

79. I don't really care if Lance is coming back or not. But as far as the cause he is dedicated to--ending cancer--I fully support.

78. My first road bike was a used Univega that I had when I was just out of high school. It had clipless pedals that the guy gave me with the bike--which cost me $150--but I didn't ever spend the money on shoes. Instead I rode miles and miles using those old Look pedals with tennis shoes. Talk about dorky. But oh the wind in my face as I rode with my little Lemond Z Team cycling cap.

77. I can eat anything before a hard ride and I won't puke. Carne asada burritos, Western Bacon Cheeseburgers, soda, donuts, it doesn't matter. I have an iron gut. Unlike DTP, who at times pops up the first steep hill. Love it.

76. I think that cyclocross events are the best cycling events for both racer and spectators in the cycling world. I wish I had gotten into it years before I did--all that time, wasted.

More to come in later days...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More non-training, non-racing randomness

First off, I would like to thank everyone who by simply clicking on the Adsense ad--not even buying anything either--has helped to bulk up my retirement fund. Freakin' huge! I am now earning more than a penny a day!

I am not expecting to make any money. I am very impressed that I have this much money built up. Seriously, I am grateful to everyone that comes to this silly blog.

Brian emails me and said that his he started a new routine for cyclocross that included yoga. And he also related that this new routine caused him to hurt a bit during the Double Cross races this past weekend. I guess it was a one step back so that later he could go forward a couple of steps.

So...what is up with doing yoga for cyclocross? Enough people do it that there must be some benefit, but...

So is there just one sort of yoga? Or is there a cyclocross specific sort of yoga that would be good? Or should I just go outside and do it in the rain? I see all sort of yoga videos in the store, should I just pop one of those in and give it a go? Somehow I doubt those are the ideal.

Goals for the week:

#1) Not to get sick. I am sort of feeling under the weather today--a bit achy. If I get sick I am going to pummel Joel at work. He came back to work after being sick last week and he was hacking up all sorts of stuff. Who knows what foulness he had, but if I get I am going to be ticked.

#2) Assuming #1 holds, I plan on running on tuesday and thursday. Bike on Wednesday and Saturday. I may go swimming on Friday.

#3) Help out the wife with the boys so that she too can exercise. She did a couple of triathlons last year and she would like to do more next year, including a half marathon at the Hippie Chick race. Having only given birth a couple of weekends ago to our little boy, Colin, she needs an outlet besides nursing and trying to grab what little sleep she can.

#4) Contact 3 new people in my search for a legal gig. Apply to 2 jobs. In fact, this whole job thing has affected my cross season already. I was planning on doing the Veloshop race this coming Saturday, but I was invited to go on a group ride and there are people riding there that are both friends and may know people that may know people that could aid in getting a job. And besides I could use more friends around here to ride with. I have been trying to do a ride with these guys for a while so when it finally came to fruitition I figured I should go, despite my plans to race. That said, if it had been a Cross Crusade race that I had been planning on doing I might have passed on the group ride.

The only sad part is that I think this course for the Veloshop race would have been a good one for me--I think the flyer read relatively flat course. As a bigger guy, that is a good thing. Give the hardest, sloppiest, technical courses, I love 'em. But a course with lots of hills is going to mean a lot of suffering and being passed more than usual.

Oh, and I am trying to get Mr. Spears to give a race report from the Double Cross races. I am hoping to get something more than: "Felt better but still sucked."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Idol Thoughts

These thought are all the news I have to offer. No time to train today...again. Instead, I sit and think about cyclocross...often. This is my favorite time of year for cycling after all.

I was talking to a fellow about the Starcrossed race this weekend. He was actually bemoaning the fact that he was going to be called up to the front simply because he was one of the first ones to sign up. He felt like everyone was just going to run him over. I think he said something about tire tracks up his back.

Frankly I would love to be at the front of every race. I don't care how much faster everyone else it, the fact that I am at the front means that those who are actually the same speed as me, or maybe even a little faster, will not be able to pass me because of that initial gap that being at the front of the starting line provides.

In the past being at the front during the Cross Crusade races I believe has helped me to finish a good 10 places higher than being in the middle. So basically around 75th instead of 90th or so in the Master C's. You can see that this increased placement on my part is totally worth my being in the way of all of the guys that are faster than I am. I don't know what this fellow is worried about, being at the front when you are slower than most of the field is a sweet deal. Screw the guys who really deserve it.

Other thoughts:

Because I can't sleep tonight I did the following: an analysis of those guys that I beat during the Pain on the Peak race last weekend. I had an OK race, the dust really hurt and the broken saddle might have cost me a place or two. Nevertheless, I had a pretty good showing, at least for me anyway. I beat a couple of guys that I had never beaten before and I think that the weight loss this summer was actually beneficial. Obviously, one race doesn't prove anything, but hopefully this will be a continual trend this season--beating those who I have never beaten before.

Looking at that I guess don't know why I am even worried about carbon wheels. I am sloooowwwww. But when you consider that 3 years ago I think I was finishing in the bottom 10% of the beginner class you can see that at least there has been an upward trend.

Also, for anyone interested that reads this blog, I am selling my Curtlo SS 29er. A friend, Neil Cernitz, is going to be building me a lugged 29er singlespeed. I have ironed out a couple of things that I would like to change from this frame and I think it will make things work a bit better for me. I can't wait. Neil recently finished a frame for himself that reportedly is beautiful. He is thinking about displaying at the Oregon Handbuilt show in a month or so. I hope he does. This retired Boeing engineer has his ducks in a row, I feel lucky that he is willing to build a frame for me. Exciting stuff. He was going to build a cross from for me first, and he still will, but I decided that since my current ride fits so well and rides so smoothly it could wait until next season to be rested a bit (but not retired).

Buying speed

A week or so ago I sold a DT 240 wheelset and then some other odds and ends, including a crankset I have had for about 5-6 years sitting in a junk bin. Bottom line, don't get rid of old parts, you never know when they might come in handy or might be worth something to someone else. The end result is that I had enough money to tempt myself with a semi-decent set of wheels. I can E.P. various wheels, but in the end I order a set of Neuvations. The C50 is a carbon rim on their normal hub. See the rear below:

The wheelset was almost a cheap as my E.P. deal on a new set of Ksyrium tubular wheels. And since I already have a set of those, I attempted to satisfy my carbon hunger with the Neuvations. We will see how they do. I am going to glue on a set of Vittoria EVO XG tires. Cheap tires and I understand that they are not a bid tire. I have the Tufo Flexus tires on the Ksyriums.

Anyway, I am hope this helps me during the coming months, because heavens know that I haven't been training. With the new baby, people in town, and some other duties that have increased their load temporarily, I just haven't been doing anything to get faster. But, I am going to try and change that starting....next week. I hope to run a bit tonight and tomorrow but otherwise this is just going to be an off week. Oh well. I will try to eat healthy and keep the weight down--which I have. I am hanging at the 189-190 area and I am good with that for now. Once things get on a regular schedule I will make an attempt on the low 180's.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Despite yesterday's rant...

I still want carbon wheels. Thinking of trying some "disposable" carbon wheels, the Neuvation C50's.

Cheap and if worse comes to worse I am out a couple of hundred bucks for rim repacement. But they could also double as a TT wheelset in next spring.

More info later. I obsessed way too much yesterday about it to do the same today. Not sure what I am going to do, but I am spending the morning networking and looking for a job instead of a long blog entry or prolonging the cyclocross wheel obsession.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Carbon is to a Cyclist as Cocaine is to a Rockstar

Why, oh why do I persist in coming back to you, carbon, after being let down again and again. To put it in a literary sense, Carbon is the Estella to my Pip, and we are doomed.

Let me list my carbon failures so far during the past 4 or 5 years.

Race Face carbon seatpost--cracked while riding

USE Alien seatpost--Cracked, possibly over torqued.

Ritchey carbon seat post--delaminated

Forte Carbon Crankset--developed a crack that went all the way around the driveside crankarm near the pedal-side

Pro Carbon saddle--Cracked during my last cross race, OUCH.

Easton Monkeylite Carbon Handlebar--delaminated, started bubbling near the center of the bar

Forte carbon drop bar--catastropic failure during the 2006 USGP in Portland. Came in last as a result

FSA K-Force Crankset (older ISIS style). Broke the aluminum spine within the carbon crankarm on the drive-side during the 2007 USGP in Portland.

Luckily just about all of these were warrantied. Nevertheless you would think I would learn to avoid the stuff. Certainly, I will never do another carbon seatpost for cyclocross or off road usage, and neither will I put any pure carbon saddles under my rear after this weekend. But there is currently a certain set of wheels that sort of does it for me. And I would be using them for cyclocross.

Here they are:

Easton EC90 Aero wheels. Sexy. Dead sexy. There are other wheels too, like the Zipps that float my boat.

Not that what I have is bad. Behold, my current wheels:

These are pretty sweet wheels for cross. They worked great and they inspired confidence during some of the sketchy stuff during Saturday's race. But....deep dish carbon wheel....yum.

Yet, writing this post has helped me back away from the edge of the abyss. I just can't do it. Sure they would cut through the sloppy mud during the later cross races. Sure, they are light and would also work really well for my triathlons after cyclocross season is up. But I would be worried about them. It would not be would they break in my mind, but when will they break. And how bad will it hurt if I crash because of it. I don't worry at all about the Mavics, nor would I with another wheel with an alloy rim. But dang it, once you have tasted carbon no matter how many times it has let you down there still is some allure. Thoughts like, "Maybe now they have all the bugs worked out so that they won't fail..." or "These carbon wheels aren't as light as others, maybe they will be stronger..."

You get the picture. From now on I will try to associate Nancy Reagan with carbon, at least for use in mountain biking and cyclocross (on the road I have no worries about carbon, it has held up fine). Just say no.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pain on the Peak: Pics of ME!....and others too.

The race report is the next post below. This is only pictures.

Thanks to Oregon Velo for these photos.

First newbie Jon Huntsman at his first cross race!

Brian Spears: Why so serious? By the way, were you able to stave off yourrookie crit faux pas?
And how was the maiden voyage of "The Peter"? Sorry, I just like to stir the pot a little. Or neti pot in your case.

And finally a few of me. Yes, I like to ride in the drop quite a bit during cross. I like the control that position better. I took off the sissy inline levers this season. We'll see if they stay off when it gets sloppy later in the season.

Coasting into the finish on a broken saddle.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pain on the Peak: Race Report

When they named this race the "pain" part was correct. But the Peak part, well, not so much. At least not in my case. With regard to my race it should have been called "Pain on the Taint"

Notice the saddle in the above picture. Anything stand out? Perhaps the crack in the carbon fiber saddle with a bit of bike short still its serrated maw? More on this later. It was really a beautiful clear day out there. DTP was supposed to race but when I told him that I was not getting out to the race early enough for him to make his race, he chose not to go. This despite the site was only 25 minutes from his place. No biggie. It was a bit chilly when I arrived, but It warmed up fast. By the time my race came around it was nice. Here is a view from near the starting line.
Anyway, I had forgotten how the time immediately preceeding the race is the worst. Those last 5 minutes just suck. I had flashbacks of previous races where I was just miserable, where I was totally maxed out and spent. And I realized that I was about to do it again. Willingly.

I hoped that I was in good enough shape to not be in total pain. But at the same time I realized that no matter what kind of shape I am in, I always push it to the same point--to where it hurts pretty freakin' bad. It is just that at that pain threshold I maybe going faster or slower than at other races. So basically I am doomed to suffer regardless of my fitness. And I did. Sometimes worse than other times, but not entirely because of my fitness or pace. I will brake the race in to thirds for convienence.

The first third was the one where I nearly asphyxiated.

Dust. It was thick on several parts of the course. The dirt was easily stirred up by the riders and it was so fine that it seemed to go into every corner of my lungs. I have lung issues as it is, and the conditions were such that I almost just called it a day. During the third lap I felt almost on the verge of panic because I could not get enough oxygen. So I slowed down just a bit so that the dust settled a bit from the rider in front of me and to back off my oxygen needs. Basically, the conditions were not good for me. Rain would have been much better from a breathing standpoint.

And oh yeah, there was a run up.

I was really surprised that it seemed like it was the same old fatty going up that hill. I just could not run up that thing. At least not all of the way. The first lap I was in 6th or 7th place until the run up. At the top I was in 12th or 13th. I think that I sunk to as low as around 15th or by around the 2 and 1/2 lap mark before I started to be able to clear out some of the crap in my lungs by coughing up a bunch of stuff.

The next third of the race--from near the end of the third lap until about the 5th lap--was golden time of the race. I was feeling pretty good, well, pretty good for a cross race. My back of course was starting to kill me as usual from pushing too big a gear, and it had started to heat up enough that I was wishing for some water. But for a cross race I was doing great at that point. I passed a few guys to the point where I was ready at near end of the 5th lap to get back into the top 10. I had the course pretty well dialed in and I knew where I could carry speed in places where others seemed to be using too much brake (the bike handled great thanks to my tubulars in part). Somewhere during this middle third I heard a fairly loud crack from my seatpost or saddle. I was worried, but everything seemed fine. The saddle was still underneath me and it wasn't wobbly or anthing so I just hoped it was something minor. Umm, no. By the end of the 5th lap it was evident that my saddle had cracked and it was continually getting worse.

The last third of the race, or really the last 2 laps, were where my saddle wanted to take a bite out of my arse. And it did, twice. And it hurt like hell the first time. I had to pull both skin and shorts out of the crack in the saddle during the 6th lap. It had managed to grab both by bike shorts and the skin in the area that many call the "taint" or "chode". Yeah, I rode much more carefully after that as I whimpered just a bit.

See this saddle of mine is uber-light. It has no padding, but because of its shape it is pretty comfy. I really liked it. The part of the saddle that my tender parts rest upon is made entirely of carbon fiber. And if you have never had a carbon fiber splinter, I would advise that you try not to ever get one. I have had one once in my hand, and they need to be removed carefully. They can be hard to find and very uncomfortable until you remove them.

I really didn't want one of those fibers finding a place in my backside. So I rode gently on the saddle and stood up for any places where I was going to be cooking at a good rate of speed or where their were bumps. Despite this I was about to pass a guy to move into 11th when I got bit a second time. I basically decided to just milk it in and try to hold my spot. And I did. 12th place out of 25 finishers in my class. 29 started, 4 guys DNF'd. Because of the stupid dust and the saddle I am fairly satisfied with my performance. There are places I could improve and my fitness is not good enough, but still...not bad.

Here are some more pictures I took of the race after ours. I think this is Men's 50+ and Jr. Men.

Other Notes:

As far as my predictions went; I was wrong about my placement, 12th instead of 10th. I was right about the number of people that showed, about 1/4 to 1/3 of those that show up for a Cross Crusade race. But considering this was the first time that this race has been put on and that it was a new venue, I was pretty impressed. I would love to do this race again...later in the year...when it is raining and less dusty. Also, I was right that Joel would not show up. And finally, I was also right that Mr. Spears would bloody one of his knees. Not too bad.

Oh yeah. And then tonight I get a picture message from this same Mr. Spears showing what came out of his nasal passage after using a neti pot to clear out the crap from this race. He had a little rock or pebble that came out. Nice.

Oh, and damage tally from today race: about $175 at wholesale prices. My saddle and Vermarc bib shorts are both ruined. My have pieces of the lycra material missing from my shorts that were eaten away by that man-eating saddle. Thanks goodness for the chamois pad, otherwise it would have been really ugly.

Friday, September 12, 2008

24 Hours until the First Cross Race of the Season!

Pain on the Peak is tomorrow. I have heard all sorts of rumors regarding the course. Some say it will suck (as in very hard with lots of running) other have said that they have heard that the course will be on the technical side but great. Regardless, it will be fun to get out there and pedal at a redline sort of effort for 45 minutes or so.


1) Participation will be good, though not probably what the Cross Crusade series draws. I don't know how it could draw that many. The Cross Crusade is 800 pound gorilla around here for cyclocross and many don't even know that there are other cyclocross races other than in that series. I hope it is good enough for this race to continue, I think that the promoters have worked hard and they have a pretty good selection of prizes and support from other cycling companies. It ought to be a good time. At least I hope so.

2) I will finish 10th. Hopefully this is 10th out of 40 or more riders and not out of 15.

3) Brian Spears will crash and find the final spot on his knees that has not been bloodied during the past few weeks and rip it to shreds. Geesh that is a negative prediction, but the guy seems to have had a rash of wrecks recently and so it is actually the safest of predictions.

4) Joel, the manager of the Tualatin Performance Bike shop will not show up to race. This is despite having just built up a new cyclocross ride and claiming for a couple of weeks that he will be racing.

Anyway, the race ought to be fun. I hope it goes safely for everyone.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Shaving, whether it be facial hair or leg hair, is not one of my favorite things to do.

If I am shaving my legs it means that I am feeling particularly good regarding my cycling abilities--or that I don't feel too much like a poseur. But not shaving my legs does not mean the opposite--that I am not confident in my current cycling prowess. It may just mean that I don't care about the leg hair or that it is too cold and rainy to care.

But with regard to facial hair, the amount of facial hair I have can definitely let one have some insight into my current disposition or what has been going on in my life.

Clean shaven face: I have either recently had a job interview or an important family event. I figure that being clean shaven makes me appear especially lawyerly when combined with the handmade custom tailored suit my Dad had made for me as a graduation gift from law school. Actually, I look damn good in that particular suit. There are sometimes circumstances for which I will remove all facial hair off when there is some event that we are going to--such as for an evening out at some uber-expensive restaurant or something else where it would be best for me to wear something more than a t-shirt and jeans. I do this to make my wife happy and to look like I actually might in some way deserve to be near my wife when she is dressed to the nines. It is a stretch, but I figure I should do what I can to mitigate the damage.

Goatee: I don't have any life altering functions near at hand and I am in a comfortable space at home and work. A goatee for me is the norm. If I am rocking one it means that 9 times out of 10 everything is fine, no major blips in my life. I like the way it looks on my face, it hides some pudge and elongates my face. My facial hair is thickest around this area and I like the look even if it is outdated, current, or fashion forward. Basically, I don't care if you like it, I do. Oh, and I always combine the goatee with a moustache. They go hand in hand on my face, never one without the other.

Full beard. Untrimmed. Watch out. I have occasionally tried to trim a beard so that there is an even line under my chin going from ear to ear, but usually this is not the case, and I haven't done that in years. I figure if I am going to grow a beard I am going all the way, otherwise I will just to a goatee. A full untrimmed beard usually starts because I am distracted by other things and just don't care to trim any facial hair. During law school a beard always seemed to start growing about the time I would be getting my outlines together and then would grow until finals ended about a month or more later. For some reason I felt more dedicated and singleminded with the beard. With the beard I was making a statement to myself and to others that went something like this: "Beware, if I don't give a crap about how I look, what makes you think I just won't slap you up side the head for interrupting my studying for the hell that is Securities Regulation." My grasp of going through a routine in preparation for finals improved during the second half of law school, but still I rocked the beard. It gave me an edge. I liked it. Even if it was freaking ugly. And it was ugly, very ugly.

A full beard may also mean that I am feeling like I just don't give a crap, or that I am feeling sorry for myself, down on my luck, or whatever you want to call it. I am currently in one such phase right now. I admit it, and don't like it. And yes, I am rocking the beard right now. I have thought that maybe all I need to do to change my mental disposition is to shave off the beard. I will look clean cut and so maybe the change in my external appearance will affect the inner outlook. Maybe.

But a full beard may also mean that it is cyclocross time. For some reason I feel like growing the full beard for cross is acceptable, even admirable. What could be cooler than frothy saliva/mucus/spittle hanging on to an unkempt beard during a cyclocross race? Not much really in my book. People just sort of stay out of the way of that guy. And if that guy is me, so much the better. So while I would like to experiment with shaving off the beard to see if a more clean cut appearance leads to a happier me, I would like to have it for the edge it gives me mentally out on the cyclocross course. Shaved legs and beard, yeah makes perfect sense to me for cross. So maybe I will wait on shaving, that is unless anyone wants to interview me for a job at a firm around town. I would shave whatever for a good gig right now...hmmm, maybe not whatever, but definitely my face.

Bottom line is, if I am sporting an untrimmed face full of hair and I am looking more ugly than usual, don't push your luck. I am focused or distracted on something or another, and whatever it is has me cranky.

P.S. and if for some reason I seemingly say simply "Beard" around you, it means that you are taking way too long doing whatever you are doing, as in I am growing a beard while I am waiting. Speed up, man, or get out of the way. I picked that up about 15 years ago, and I still say it occasionally. No one ever know what the heck I am talking about though, yet I persist.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cross Season Approacheth

First of all, our little boy has been pretty good so far. Sleeps a decent amount and when he is awake the only reason he cries, at least for the most part, is when his diaper is being changed. Still the day is busier for me. Bridget more or less stays at home and I get Ryan to the bus stop and then take Jack to preschool and then get them both when the time comes. And then I get myself to work. This doesn't give me enough time to ride to work or really even get in a ride. So in the short term I will be running a bunch more.

Running is not really so bad. Boring. Slow. Painful at times. But really other than that it is great.

I am pretty excited about the first cross race of the year, the Pain on the Peak race on Saturday. It is awesome that there is actually a cross race on Saturday near Portland.

I will be racing in the Master C category and I have high hopes. I am embarrassed to say that I am hoping for a top 1/4 finish. I am embarrassed because for some it is sort of a wussy goal. I am not aiming to win or anything like that, just get in the top 1/4. I figure that is a good goal though since last year I was lucky to get in the top 3/4 or top 2/3 or the Master C field. But I am lighter, fitter (hopefully I still am after not doing many hard rides lately) and I am going to be racing on tubulars for the first time ever.

If I am still way back in the pack I may just can the whole season. Seriously, this is a do or die race for me. It will set the tone for just how hard I want to try to train for the next few weeks/months. With the newborn it will be a sacrifice for everyone to train a great deal. Plus, I am going to have to put some serious hours in starting Christmas time for my next half ironman tri. No matter how crappy I do I will still get out there and race, I am just not going to go nuts about it if I don't see a big improvement over the past years. Hell, 18-20 lbs lighter and I should be faster. Anyway, whatever will be, will be.

You know before Colin was born I had some pretty good ideas for posts. No after his birth I can't remember one of them. I will say this though, the bacon at St Vincents Hospital Cafeteria is good. Really good. And I ate a lot of it while Bridget was there over the weekend for Colin's birth. I am sitting at 190-191, but I don't feel bad. I will run a bunch and get rid of the extra weight. I haven't had bacon in, like,....well I don't remember the last time I had it. Salty, fatty goodness.

Monday, September 8, 2008

We have a new boy!

Colin Henry Flynn is the name, born 9/6/2008 at 11:26pm with a weight of 6 pounds 7 ounces.

Mom is doing great as well.

Read and see more here: Family Blog

Friday, September 5, 2008

Kill the Creak

I love the way my Curtlo S3/OX Platinum Singlespeed 29er fits and the way it handles. It would seem to be the sort of bike that would allow me to ride brainlessly for many miles because I don't have to worry about shifting and the wear and tear associated with all those needless gears. I even recently installed a suspension fork because I was feeling a little old and stiff after some recent rides. In essence, the way it is step up now it will work me wear I want it--my legs and lungs--but not where I don't my neck, hands, shoulders because of a lack of front suspension. I have taken just one ride on the thing since I put the fork on. There was a creak that was so loud and consistent that it drove me to end the ride after just a 1/2 an hour. This has been going on for a while, even before I put the fork on. I thought I had it fixed twice before only to have it reappear, now worse than ever.

I have tried the following:

-Cleaned and lubed the Bushnell EBB

-Installed the EBB in different positions

-Installed a different set of cranks

-Installed a different rear wheel

-Installed different pedals

-Totally degreased and disassembled the Bushnell EBB and then reapplied grease in all the areas where metal contacts metal.

-Wrapped EBB in teflon tape

-Loctited the EBB

In fact I have done some of the above a couple of times and there is still no stopping the creak. All the above did was let me know that it could only be in the EBB area. Sometimes it is easier to get to creak than at other times, but nonetheless it is always there.

So I have ordered what I hope will be the fix:

If this doesn't do the trick I am afraid that this bike and I will have to part ways. I have done my due diligence. My little Crest Toothpaste Curtlo--you better like this new EBB or you and I are done. Either I kill the creak or the creak is going to kill our relationship.

The new Carver EBB with its nylon outer layer will be here in about a week. I have heard a couple of good things about it, and it makes sense, if what is making the noise is the interface between the EBB and the frame. Please, please, please work...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

This One is for You, Moron in the White Toyota

To the jerk that told me that I was doing something illegal by turning left from the left turn lane at the corner of Barnes Road and Cedar Hills Blvd: Here is proof that you are not only a moron, but you were wrong as well.

You thought I deserved a ticket for my actions. Instead you showed that old white men in old Japanese cars can not only be jerks, but flat out wrong. Next time you go calling me or another cyclist this and that, interspersing F-bombs into your irrational monologue aimed at me and all of us "f-ing p---- bicyclists," try to get your it right. You were never going to win me over with all of your expletives to your side of the argument. I told you we should call the police right then and there but all you did was continue to berate me and give me the finger. Nice...staying classy all the way.

As the second snip states, bicycles are in fact vehicles. I have all the rights and duties that you and every other vehicle has on the road for the most part. There are some laws that are particular to bicyclists and I must obey those. In fact, I even signaled with my left arm appropriately to get over to the left turn lane (which I included in the first snip). But no, you thought that I had to stay in the bike lane, then go to the next corner of the intersection and wait again for the signal as if I was a pedestrian. Umm, no. That is not correct.

You basically accused me of an improper use of lanes, which is described in ORS 814.430, which is shown in the last of the three snips above. You are correct that I must stay as far to the right as is safe, but there are exceptions. One of them is for a LEFT TURN, which as you noted is what I was doing. You sir, who ever you are, have earned my first ever RCMT Asshat Award. If you would just let me know you name an address I will get this Asshat, pictured below, right to you. I would also send you the ass, but I see that you have that one covered.

It is one thing to have a disagreement, but it is another to come at a stranger on a bike who could have--even with his shaved legs--kicked you tail from here any bike lane of your choosing no matter how many f-bombs you used. It is a good thing I am peaceful at heart and that you were going straight instead of also turning left. And it really is too bad you didn't take me up on my offer to call the cops. That would have been awesome. You yelled it was too bad that the cops didn't hand out more tickets, but in reality it is too bad you are just so rude and ill-informed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Thoughts about the Cross bike on Trails

1) Inline levers would be a good thing for drops. I almost went over once, instead having the saddle jam up into my "boys" pretty hard and scarring the crap out of myself. I just couldn't get back far enough to do that sort of thing safely. I mean I did--unsafely--but I wouldn't recommend it without some inline levers.

2) I installed an XT Shadow rear derailleur instead of the XTR rapid rise one that I have had on that bike since the beginning. I was sick of the rapidrise deal. This XT shifts better than that older XTR one. 20 grams heavier than the XTR one, but whatever. So now the Curtlo has a mix of XT, Dura Ace, and Campy Record. Seems like a reasonable set up to me.

3) I really had fun trying to do things on a cross bike that I found occassionally challenging on an mtb. Browns Camp was almost new again. It was amazing how fast I could ride certain sections.

4) Skinny tires, even if they are tubular, are still bone jarring at times. The Curtlo did beat me up a bit, especially while descending. If I road on the edge of reason I could keep up or almost keep pace with DTP going downhill. But after awhile, it wasn't worth it. I started riding at a more reasonable pace, which wasn't much slower, but since I would catch up quickly when the trail turned up again it wasnt any big deal. With clinchers the trail would have been more uncomfortable. I was able to run my tire pressure in the upper 30's without any problems. On clinchers I would have hed to be running pressure up around 60psi to avoid pinch flats.

5) Skinny Tires don't like rooty sections. Talk about tricky--there are a couple of spots where roots criss-cross the trail at weird angles. It can be a little tricky to get past these spots without dabbing on fat tires. On skinny tires, it was even more so. Still it was a fun challenge.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Browns Camp

After way too much road biking lately and Saturday's triathlon I decided it was time to go on a mountain ride. The only real issue is that I still haven't resolved the super creak issue in the Curtlo SS 29er so I didn't have a mountain bike to ride today. Or at least not one I was willing to ride. But...I do have the Curtlo Cross bike. It has proved itself to be pretty capable in Forest Park, perhaps it is time to take it on some real trails. Yeah, I decided I was up for it.

DTP came with me. He tried to minimize his nausea by eating nothing unhealthy, fatty or carbonated before the ride, but he still felt off for the first half of the ride or so. I felt great though. At least on the first half, which is less technical than the second half of the ride.

I have never taken a cross bike on a trail like this. Not that Browns is too difficult, but certain spots are a little challenging to clear even on a mountain bike with fat tires. On a cross bike with its steeper angles and skinny tires it became impossible for me to get over one spot in particular. That spot is recorded in the video below. It looks easy, but it is not--I assure it is not at all. With a geared mtb it is not so bad. But with gearing that is similar to riding a mountain in stuck in the outer ring of the crankset it is hard to get the torque needed to climb over some roots and rocks. What looks like it should be easy, becomes hard. Oh, and did I mention that my cross tires don't like to stick to roots or rocks too much? Yeah, well they don't. On packed dirt they totally hook up though which meant it climbed most of the trails like a scalded monkey. I was amazed at how during the first half of the ride I was able to blast up some of the steeper climbs. This bodes well for cross season. Anyway is the video(with low quality thanks to youtube's bulk video installer)

DTP and I had a good time. We stopped on the way back and ate too much food at Muchos Gracias, but it was worth it.

And speaking of overeating--I ate almost an entire medium-sized Super Combo Pizza (ham, sausage, beef, pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, onions, and extra cheese with a serious amount of red pepper tossed on to get the heat right) from Godfather's Pizza last night. It was just about the only thing I ate all day, but still...I was surprised I could pack that much away at one time. Hooray for gluttony!