Thursday, December 31, 2009

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Untitled

Garmin Connect - Activity Details for Untitled

I rode the Mule into work today, set up singlespeed. It was pouring down and I didn't push it at all. But it is fun to see this info from my New Garmin Edge 500.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Coming Soon: Buttercup Team Edition

****EDITED**** see bottom of the post for pricing information.

Unfortunate, the above bike had a short life. She was a perfect ride. However, as written about earlier in this blog the original Buttercup pictured above was significantly damaged when I was rear ended in route to a race earlier this month. Insurance has sent the check that will pay for a replacement. Others on our team wanted their own Buttercups, too. My complete bike weighed very close to a flat 16 pounds. The next Buttercups will be lighter than the original pictured above.

CERNITZBikes has agreed to build a line of Team Buttercup frames for our team. However, in talking with Neil he has agreed to build more than the 4 or 5 that he is going to build for our team. And he has agreed to do it for swinging deal. If you want to know what that deal is you have to call or email him. His blog is Definitely not Vanilla/Speedvagen prices here and all frames will have custom geometry. In fact, if you saw the original Buttercup, the Buttercup which our team was named after, at some of the later Cross Crusade races this you know how sexy and cool she was.

Each frame's tubing will be particular blend of tubing from True Temper and Columbus. In particular some S3, some Spirit, and a little Life tubing. Also, included will be the Thomson seat post that will be customized so that the brake cable can pierce the seat tube and post. A lot of work goes into just this little modification...

Mine will be singlespeed, but geared versions are possible.

Seriously, if anyone is interested in a killer lugged steel cyclocross race frame give Neil a call or email.

Price starts at $1200 for a singlespeed custom geometry frame, no fork. There are options that one could do to add to the price if fancy lug work is desired. This is a limited deal according to Neil. At this price he is working for minimum wage based on the fact that a frame takes him about 80 hours to fabricate and the cost of materials. I doubt that this sort of deal will come up again any time soon. There's probably only enough room for a couple of more people to ante up to get the deal and receive the frames in time for next cross season.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


FMB Grippo tubular tire

Daddy like.

Pic robbed from the Cyclocross Magazine website.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

First Ride, The Mule

I rode her in to work today and then from work to a church Christmas party. It was a total of about 22 miles. It felt great. I had to dial in my cleats a little since I am using Look pedals after a long time using Crank Brother Quattro pedals (which are not longer made). I think I may adjust the tilt of the saddle just a tiny bit, but that is it. It is dialed. It freakin' feels great.

I am rolling on some really beefy wheels...boy can I feel it. They take a bit more effort than the Dura Ace wheels that I had been commuting on (believe it or not, those were my crap wheels--seriously). They also seem to transmit more of the road feel to me. The Mule is very stiff; there isn't much flex at all in the bottom bracket. The bike I had been riding had a bit more give, a carbon Specialized SWorks. But this bike fits better and I don't feel bad about running it in the weather. It was made for rainy days like today. Bring it on. It is currently set up as a Singlespeed via a White Industries ENO rear hub to adjust chain to the proper tension, but I could and will put gears on it when the weather turns better.

It is a great bike and it just seems like a really classy ride. I love the color of the bike and the near perfect matching bar tape. The pictures don't really capture it nearly as well as it looks in the flesh, if you will.

I expect that the Mule (such a bad name for such a pretty bike in retrospect) will be getting the vast majority of my mile for the next 3 or 4 months. I expect we will get to know each other very well.


In other news, Buttercup Redux has a spot in line. I am not sure when it will be finished as there are a frame or two or three in front of it, but I will live. Neil is really going to push it with this one and I am going to push him to push it. Buttercup was a very stiff ride--which I liked--but I think there is room to push it further. Super excited. This will be the first of what seems to be a new Team Issue bike for Team Buttercup. I think it would be hot if these bikes all had the same scheme and matched next year's kits. Seriously how many teams have their own bike builder?!?!? Not many that is for sure.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Racing When it is 20 Degrees (fahrenheit)

Going in to this week's Cyclocross Nationals I wasn't quite sure what to wear. So I brought a bunch of stuff. Here is what I ended up wearing and I think it worked well for the most part.

First off, I feel like a few things should be stated with regard to my preferences for comfort in cold temperatures. I am not trying to be comfortable at the starting line. I don't like to overdress. I saw some guys out there riding this week with jackets and neck gators and so forth. Sorry, I can't ride with that stuff. Too bulky. Plus, I would rather start off on the cold side, but dress just warm enough that after about 10 or 15 minutes I am at a good temp. Basically, with my recommendations you will sort of freeze your butt off before the race starts, but during the race you will be peachy. If you are lucky you will have someone nearby that you can shed a parka upon before the race if you are lining up in these silly 10 to 20 degree racing conditions. Then you only have to suffer for just the final few minutes at the pre-race line up.

I started off with this fine garment:

It is the Craft Pro Zero Windstopper Brief. I only break these out for extreme conditions. These briefs keep my goods from being victimized. Seriously. Here is a quote from Craft:

Gore's Windstopper® fabric at the front
Reduces wind penetration

Yep, I can attest to the fact that while wearing these I was not pentrated by any wind. I felt the wind caress me a bit, but we kept it platonic thanks to these briefs. They retail for around 30 bucks so they are a little steep, but probably worth it if you are around illicit wind.

I also wore this, which is also made by Craft:

It is the ProZero LS Crew Baselayer. I wear this lots when when commuting. It doesn't block wind especially well, but it does a great job of insulating and transferring moisture (sweat) away from your body so that you stay warm. These run about 50 bucks and they are totally worth it. I have a couple that are long sleeved, a couple that are short sleeved, and a couple that are sleeveless. But again this alone under a jersey is not going to cut it when it is 20 degrees or less out there.

Under the Craft Baselayer I wore these on my arms. They are stellar.

The Pearl Izumi TheraFleece Arm Warmers are well known and I see them often at cross races. I recommend buying a size on the tighter side of things so that they don't sag as you are moving around. I rode with them under the Craft baselayer because there was no way I could have gotten them on over any other clothing article. They are pretty windresistant too. All that was between my arms and the frigid air were the base layer and the arm warmers, and if I was honest about it, I could have gone with just the arm warmers.

On my torso I needed something else besides the Craft Baselayer and our team jersey. I wore this, my best addition to my cycling clothing arsenal, the Pearl Izumi Barrier Short Sleeve Baselayer.

It is spendy, about $70, but it works. The front of the baselayer provides protection from the wind. Pearl Izumi's literature says nothing about protecting against penetration, but nonetheless, I felt safe while wearing it. If there is only one thing that I could recommend you buy out of any of these items in this post, this is it. It flat out works. It is comfortable. I stay warmer and more comfortable wearing this garment than my Craft baselayers. Craft also makes a Windstopper Baselayer, but I like Pearl Izumi's better. However, if the temp is over 50 degrees, it is too much, even if it is just that and a jersey. It can get warm with their special material on the front of the baselayer.

I also had on Pearl Izumi ThermaFleece Leg Warmers too.

They work great, lots of people have them. My legs were plenty warm once I got going. 'nuf said.

I had some cheap Performance gloves on, the Scirocco.

I can't say that I love these gloves. They work, but I wore them because I haven't found an alternative I like better for these sorts of temperatures. If the temperature is around 45 or more I will just wear my trusty old Fox mountain bike gloves when commuting for my hour or so in to work and back. But for when it gets below that I use these. I raced with the Fox mtb gloves at PIR last weekend, but it was a little too cold and that race was only 30 minutes long or so. For a longer, colder race I had to use these, I had nothing else workable. I have some warmer Pearl Izume Barrier gloves, but they are too thick to use in a cross race. The Performance glove wasn't too thick, but it doesn't fit my hands especially well, and they just don't feel too "performance" minded. They feel frumpy. Don't ask me to explain that, they just aren't the ideal cyclocross glove. So, basically I got nuthin' to recommend for a sub-freezing cyclocross glove. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

I also had on a Headsweats TriTech Winter Skull Cap.

It works. It covers my ears. It fits under my helmet. Whatever, I can't get too excited about a skull cap. But, anti-penetration briefs, you betcha.

Finally, I wore these on covering my feet and wool socks. They work great to ward off the cold. If it is pouring, well, not so much for reasons I will get into shortly.

The Pearl Izumi Barrier GTX winter mtb shoe. They kept my feet toasty warm while riding. When I wore them for a while standing in the snow watching the races I felt the cold creeping in a bit, but they still were nice. In the rain, unless you have a rain pant covering the top of the shoe's collar, water slowly seeps into the shoe. Then it takes at least a day or more in one instance to dry out. That sucks. When I wore them with my windproof/water resistant tights one time riding into work, the water just seemed to flow right down my legs and into the shoe. Sure no water gets in from the rest of the shoe, but that is small consolation when your feet are cold and wet. No mater how tight the you strap the top collar down around your ankle the seal is not enough to keep out the water. I have some super cheap booties that I wear over road shoes that do a better job of keep my feet dry. But for the cold--these shoes rock. Just one more thing...they are already coming apart after only being used 5 times. The collar strap is quickly coming unstitched. It didn't affect the shoes use this week, but it sort of irks me that a boot that retails for $250 can't stay together longer. Would I buy this shoe again? Nope, despite its success during the frigid races this week.

Well, that is what I wore along with my bib shorts and my short sleeved jersey. I was fine. Remember, don't overdress and wear stuff that breathes well. And don't get penetrated.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Singlespeed Race: DNF

I was on the 7th or 8th row after the random call up. The gun went off and a guy on a hot pink Speedvagen couldn't seem to find the right gear. This is hard to do since it was a singlespeed race. He held up me and several other guys behind me. As a result I was near the rear going into the first turn. Then there was a log jam where the route narrowed further. I ran past a couple of guys and remounted. I immediately noticed how much better the tires were hooking up compared yesterday's tire selection. Today had me riding with a Hutchinson Bulldog set up tubeless at 25 psi and the awesome Vittoria XM tire in the rear. My front wheel with the XM tire is trashed thanks to last week's accident where Buttercup was damaged. The rear wheel was damaged too as it turns out...anyway, on with the action. I went into a turn where Tim said he went down hard yesterday. Man, that Vittoria just inspired confidence. Then I stood up to accelerate and there was nothing there.

I thought I broke my chain. Nope. It had come off the rings. Huh? I loosened the set screws on the horizontal dropout and released the quick release and put the chain back on the rings. Maybe there wasn't enough tension on the chain and it bounced off in the choppy icy stuff. I pedaled for about 100 feet and it came off again.

What the hell?!?!

I hopped off and looked again at the rear wheel. I noticed that the freehub had pulled free of the main part of the hub. Sonnofa...

I started to run to the pit. It was about a 1/3 of mile away. Once there the Shimano neutral support guy started to help me out after I told him what was wrong. He had a hard time getting the set screws on the driveside dropout to turn once he fixed the hub. Riders were now lapping me. Frustrated he grabbed his needle nose pliers and clamped down on the threads and turned set screw that way. I groaned. I tried to turn the lock nut down but the threads were screwed up. There was no way to keep the set screw in place and once I started riding out of the pit I got about a about 300 yards around the lap (I was near the back of the pack on their second lap at this point) when the chain came off again. This time because the set screw worked its way back out and the chain went slack.

That was it. Race over after only making it around 3/4 of one lap. Those few times that I was actually riding the bike it felt great. Which made me all the madder.

I watched Jim and Tim and Craig Austin ride around multiple times while person after person came up to me and asked what happened. I got tired of answering. I tried to put on my best "I pissed, don't mess with me face" and moved to an area of the course where hardly anyone was standing. It was about the worst way, short of being injured seriously, to end a cross season.


Next long is that going to be until Pain on the Peak in 2010?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cyclocross Nationals 1st Day, B race

Temp at race time: about 20 degrees.

Weather: clear

Course: Icy. Very Icy.

Result: 57th out of 90 starters, and I am happy about it. I had a good race.

Race Report: I ended up right in the middle at the mass start. I did not get a chance to preride the course and so I was a little apprehensive, but everything looked rideable for the most part. As the race started I felt pretty good even though the cold air was hurting my lungs just a bit. I was passed a number of guys, but I also was able to pass some and so I probably stayed near the middle of the pack. But man, it was sketchy out there. Every turn was a fall waiting to happen if you picked the wrong line or leaned it over too much. But it made it fun too.

As it turned out on the flats I would get passed, but in the twisty stuff I could make up ground. Seriously, if I could just whip myself in better shape I would kill it out there.

Anyway, as the race progressed I started feeling pretty good until the last couple of laps. I think I did about 7 laps since they were taking me between 7 and 8 minutes per lap and raced for about 55 minutes. That was about 10 minutes too long. I am not used to racing anything past 45 and it hurt. At the end of the race I was tanked. I never went down. I dabbed maybe twice, but it was a near thing a few times.

Tomorrow I am racing the Singlespeed race with Buttercup members, Jim and Tim. Some Half Fast Velo guys, Craig and Steven should be racing as well. In today's race there were not any names that I recognized. But, in tomorrow race I will have spent legs and freezer burned lungs. Hopefully all will be well. After the race I am bookin' it back to Portland and hopefully missing the freezing rain that is supposed to be coming in...more fun.

I am also posting pics of Jim's and Tim's race which took place about 3 or so hours after mine. The course was even more icy for their race. At one particular descent it was total carnage. It was great to see...mostly because I was not the one sliding down of my butt.

Without further ado...the pictures


Beware the hairy belly...had to make some prerace kit adjustments

JIMBO! He had some serious prerace jitters

TIM! Had no prerace jitters...he napped until it was time to leave while Jim paced for an hour straight.

You can see one guy down in front of Tim. There were lots of guys going down in their race.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It Could be Ugly Tomorrow...and that's OK

Cyclocross Mag's website had a youtube video posted of the course I will be racing on tomorrow and Friday. Looks pretty sketchy. Really slick. The temperature will not get above freezing for either of my races those days so I would not be surprised to find that much of the course turns to an irregular sheet of ice. I wonder how many times I will go down. I wouldn't be surprised if pretty much everyone goes down a time or two tomorrow. We will see how well I can handle a bike...

This video is NOT me. Again it was on the Cyclocross Mag website.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Slight Change of Schedule

I had planned on racing Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Cyclocross Nationals in Bend. However, I am cutting out the Saturday race and heading back a day early.

Reason #1 is that I am driving the Civic and there is supposed to be some bad weather coming in on Saturday sometime. I would have to really haul butt back after my 2PM race to make it back home before the roads got pretty bad around the Santiam Pass. Rather, I probably would be driving in horrible conditions through that area. I don't feel like pushing it. Plus, I am a stresser, so having to race with that drive hanging over my head would suck all the joy out of it. Staying over until Sunday to come back is not really an option because of commitments I made to the family.

Reason #2 is that I have had the flu for the past couple of days. I haven't eaten much and my energy level is low. Racing 3 days in a row seems foolish when I am not feeling stellar.

Reason #3 is related to reason #2. The temps in Bend have been below freezing over the past couple of days. My lungs historically give me fits if I push it when it is really cold. Like at the USGP, I was hacking all the rest of that day. And it is supposed to be just as cold, perhaps colder there. Racing in the 20's or so for three consecutive days would in such conditions would hurt worse each day and I am thinking that third day will be especially stupid for me. Bridget says that I am stupid just for I think I will try to keep it at just stupid instead of especially stupid.

Anyway, I am driving up tomorrow afternoon. I hope to have fun, not be too far off the back and be safe.

Other news: The Mule is finished, but I will post pictures when I have some better ones. It looks great!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Poor Buttercup

I was in route to the USGP yesterday. The roads were a little icy. As I was stopped in the turn lane so that I could get on Hwy 26 I was rear ended by a car. Buttercup took a hit. The front wheel, a carbon rimed wheel no less, was totaled. My fresh Easton EC90 crankset--a replacement for the one that had to be warrantied after a my first cross race on the bike that had only been installed two days before--took a direct hit. It looks OK, but judging by the scar it caused in the hood of the car, I don't really trust it. The Easton EC90SLX fork is suspect as well. But worst of all, The frame was pressed into the rear mounted bike rack. There is a nice set of cracks in the downtube and a small dent in the seat tube. Pisser. I was crushed. I am confident that insurance will pay for Neil to replace/repair it and pay for replacement of the other parts but what a bummer. Oh and I missed the race of course.

I did race today, but I sucked it up. I was near the very back at the starting line. Course was set up so that it was very difficult to pass. It also wasn't technical enough, or the weather was too nice rather and so it wasn't a difficult course. Fitness was a big issue. I just could pass enough people and then on the third lap my brake went into the wheel after some guy kicked the brake when he dismounted. I didn't realize what happened and so it took me a bit to figure out what was going on. Lots of guys passed me and I was totally demotivated at that point. I passed a few more guys but by then the field was way too stretched out to make any difference. I think I was 50th out of 72 in the regular C race. Whatever, it doesn't matter...

Poor Buttercup.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Mule is coming...

I can't wait. I wish I could race it, or at least had the option at Nationals next week. I mean it will be heavier than Buttercup but with the disc brakes it would be interesting.

It will initially be set up singlespeed, but it was built for gears.

The build kit:

-Rear Wheel--Velocity Fusion rims laced with 14g spokes to a White Industries Eno Disc hub, 135 spacing.
-Front Wheel--Velocity Fusion rim laced with 14g spokes to a Velocity Disc hub.
-Shimano Freewheel
-Avid BB7 Disc Brake
-Cane Creek SCR5 Brake levers
-Race Face Cadence Handlebar
-Ritchey WCS stem, wet black
-Thomson no offset seat post
-Selle Italia Saddle
-Continental Gatorskin Tires and Hutchinson Bulldogs depending upon use
-FSA K-Force Crankset (older crankset I have had for a couple of years)
-Crank Brothers Candy Pedals or Look Pedals depending upon use
-Chris King NoThreadset
-Cinelli Bar Wrap
-SRAM 890 chain
-Winwood Disc Brake carbon fork, no canti mounts, painted to match the frame

Not exactly the same sort of build that Buttercup recieved, but the budget is tight

The White Industries ENO Disc Brake hub with an accompanying ENO Disc brake mount makes it really easy to use this frame singlespeed.

Pictures soon....

CERNITZbikes, seriously folks this is good stuff

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Winter Training...

is boring. Mine consists of mainly riding to work and back home. This works out to be about 25 miles per day. The ride there is pretty easy and the ride home can hurt a bit the last couple of miles if I want it to. I usually do opt for a moderate hurt factor.

I had been getting out once per week and usually ended up at Forest Park. For some reason I haven't found the time for past few weeks. I blame work and family. Which is fine, both have priority over riding, but also I haven't really felt like going off-road because then I have to clean another bike one more time that week.

Tonight I rode home a little after 8 pm. I hadn't eaten since about 1pm and I was low on fuel. About 2/3 the way home I stopped to eat. Despite being really hungry and Bridget saying there was little to choose from at home, it was a bad idea. Starting a ride again after stopping for 20 minutes is miserable when it is that cold. All the sweat I had worked up from the first part of the ride had gone cold and made it feel much worse than when I left work an hour before. Legs were cold and all the blood was being used to digest my food (El Pollo Loco, by the way). Bottom line is that I was cold and miserable for the last 3 or 4 miles of my ride. The wind had picked up and the temperature was about 38 or 39 degrees as I was riding last last bit. The wind chill made it feel like it was 30 degrees according to It sucked.

But at least I made it home in one piece and I have good clothes to commute in. It really could be worse. I think.