Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wolf River Cycling

Went out today to pre-ride the Blue trail down on the Wolf River. The lower part of the red trail was an absolute slog fest...... Sucked big time and managed to get my feet extremely wet.

After getting past the red trail and back up onto the white and the blue, things moved really fast. The high sections are smooth and roll fast. I was on the SSCX bike, so having fast sections I could roll on through was definitely an advantage!

This is really what a cyclocross bike oughtta look like!

Green Timber Mallard Shooting

Dad and I managed to get out to Stuttgart for 3 days of green timber hunting.

First day was hampered by some pretty serious equipment problems. The Mojo decoy broke, Dad's gun jammed and the boat was missing the trim setting pin. Not having the pin was a pain in the butt and made it so we could not raise the motor while running in shallow water. I drug that WarEagle through approximately 3/4 of a mile of flooded forest....... At least it was a good workout.

Second day, Dad's gun was fixed and we figured out how to get back a bit deeper in the woods. That was the ticket too. Doing so got us away from the other skybusting hunters and into a really good spot. We had shot our limits by 10am and had a great hunt. After leaving the woods, we headed back to Stuttgart and the boat shop there. The pin we needed cost a whopping $10 but it sure made life easier.

The third day with all gear problems resolved, we really hit it well. We were into the woods faster than before and got to the honeyhole quickly. Very few groups were near us as well. Maybe thats because the holiday was over, or maybe it was because we could drive further back than the others. We limited out on greenheads by 7:00am!!!!!!!! Towards the end of the shooting, we were working them to the water and picking the largest ducks from the groups. It was simply an awesome hunt!

Jesse did great on the trip as well. He's out of practice, but figured things out again pretty quickly.
After getting home, I managed to get out to Herb's for a lap around the lake on the SSCX bike... : )

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Ya'll!

Today was a good reminder of some of the more important things about the holidays......

I spent the whole day with my family. Like everyone else in the world, I spend all my time running around like a chicken with his head cut off. Too much to do, too little time.

Today, I spent time with my little girl and just 'played'. We plinked on her new guitar, she showed me around her dollhouse. Thats the kind of stuff that good times are really made of....

When my daughter and my wife took a nap, I snuck out and got in 15 miles on the road bike. That was nice as well. I even cruised up the toughest hill in my area on the roadbike in the 4th cog. Normally I'd ride half way in Granny and walk nearly the rest. Today was different though. I guess all that SingleSpeed time is paying off.....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cycling goodies for birthday and Christmas!

This year for the gift giving holidays, I added a bunch of cycling stuff to my 'list' for my family. My parents still love to give gifts to myself and my sister (as well as our respective spouses) and I always have to give them a good list.

So what is new on the bikes?

For the Ritchey and the Labadie/Zeus, I got a set of Eggbeater SL's (set for each bike). I've mounted them and unfortunately, I'm sick, so I've not yet ridden them. Good news is they seem very nice compared to the old Onza's I've ridden for 10+ yrs. They aso took another 2 ozs off each bike.

Next up, for the Quattro Assi roadbike, I got a new saddle. The old Spesh.. Alias just was not cutting it. It was not comfortable and had stitching at seemingly the wrong places. I replaced it with a Toupe Team with ti rails. That saddle took over 5 ozs off the bike!!!! I think with some new tires, I should have the thing sub 15lbs. ;)

Finally, for all around, I got some new cold weather gear. For my legs and arms, I got leg/arm warmers that pull on and tuck under the sleeve/legs. They are very warm and should make a big difference while riding in the cold weather around here.....

I also snagged a new LeZyne multi tool for the seatbag. That thing is really high quality!!!

I was hoping to hit the Martin Luther Cyclocross here in Memphis, but we were on the interstate that whole day. Maybe next year......

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Better braking with Cantis......

Managed to get my hands on a set of Avid Tri-dangles for my SSCX bike. This coupled with XTR cantis and Ritchey pads makes a pretty awesome setup overall. I've set cantis up for years, but I found this link to be a pretty good read on the subject. When it all comes down to it, power here is all about geometry.

Tour de Wolf

I managed to sneak away from work yesterday for enough time to do 2 laps of the Tour de Wolf trail. It rained here hard this week, so I ended up getting the bike pretty muddy (thats what a cross bike is for right?)

I'm finding that every time I go out on it, I feel stronger and more capable with the singlespeed. It takes a different kind of momentum conservation on a SS vs a geared bike and I think you simply have to learn what that optimum balance is.

Unfortunately, While TDW is dry enough to ride, I'm guessing Stanky and Herbs are absolute slop fests.....

I got some better quality cable hangers for the bike, so I'll install them this weekend and hopefully get a little better braking.....

Monday, December 8, 2008

Herbs on a Cyclocross bike!

I managed to get out this weekend and get one measly lap around Herb Parsons this weekend. On a positive note, I dressed warmer (maybe too warm) and managed to keep my feet warm as a result. I've definitely gotta get some bib tights to wear out there on the trail though. My regular tights just won't stay up......

I rode the trail on my singlespeed cross bike. The bike handles very well. Its a good bike on the trail for sure. I gotta say however, I still hate riding drop bars offroad. The brake levers don't fall at all near where they feel like they should, and my hands cramp from all of the time spent trying to get a grip. The gear was just about right, as I spun out over the dam, but was still able to climb every climb.

As for my goal of getting to 180, I lost another pound last week. Currently 209. Long way to go, but at least I'm progressing.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Close of Thanksgiving Week..NO NET WEIGHTGAIN!!.....

This and Halloween have to be known as the beginning of weight gain. Every year for many years now, I've gained at least 10-15lbs during the holiday season, and a bunch of it has gone on during the Thanksgiving and Halloween weeks.

This year however has been a bit different. I managed to keep my weight even from start to finish. I started the season at 210 and have finished at 210. May not sound like a bunch, but to me this is a big thing.

This whole deal started a little over 2 years ago. I had some health problems and my doctor told me I needed to lose a serious amount of weight. I was just a hair under 240lbs at the time. When that happened, I got out my roadbike and built myself a new one from its parts. I decided on Jan 1 that I wanted to start the MS150 in September at a weight of under 200lbs. I made myself a little wager as well - If I lost that weight, I'd buy myself a set of really nice road wheels for my roadbike.

Well, I met the goal and bought the wheels. : ) I also finished the ride in full and in a better time than I ever had by over 2 hours!!!!

Unfortunately, I stopped riding as soon as the ride was over and ended up gaining 15lbs over the winter..... NOT COOL!!!!.

This year, I only managed to lose 5lbs heading into the MS150, but my time was significantly improved over previous years just by the fact I'd been training.

After the ride, I wanted to not gain any, so I finished out the road season on my roadbike and moved forward to the MTB winter season and began riding mountain. I also built my first real cyclocross bike and raced two races this year.

Flashforward to today- I did 63 offroad miles on my mountain bike in the past 7 days. I think if I can keep this up for the rest of the winter, I might actually come out of winter close to 200 again. Doing that will help me get even closer to my goal of hitting 180 for the MS ride this coming year.

I really think I can do it, and with a little luck, I will.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting Older SUCKS!!!

Getting older sucks......... Yeah, I know, I'm whinin......

One of the things I've noticed about myself over time is that it takes me a lot longer to get warmed up when I want to go for a ride. As far as I can tell, it generally takes me approximately 45 minutes to get warmed up and get my ticker moving at the right speed. From that point on, I'm usually pretty OK, but it definitely takes some time to get there.

To back up that idea, almost every MTN ride I've done out at Herbs was timed by my riding partners. Without fail, the second lap has always been faster than the first.

Maybe if I ever get to race seriously again, I'll have to consider that fact in my preparation.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

22 Miles at Herbs and Some Flying Stuff

Managed to get out to Herbs today and put in around 22 miles. Got to ride the new loop at the RedOak sign that SteveK put in and its awesome. Was a very good ride overall. I really got into a good flow and dialed in the setup on my tubeless tires a bit. I felt like I could really 'rail the trail' through the corners and push it. I'm less beaten than I would have been on my tubed setup!

On the flying side of things, the Juka design is pushing forward with Fancy Foam. Mike is finishing up the details and it should get into production very quickly now. I'm proud of how that airplane came together and how it flies. I really think people will enjoy it.

Hopefully Thanksgiving week will go well. I'm sure it will go by slower than I'd like however!!!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blast From the Past!!!!!

Well, yesterday, while talking with some guys at the shop I used to work at, they told me they had found a stash of old photos..... In it were a bunch of cool shots from races in years past.

I found a bunch of pics of friends I've not seen in 10 years, and pics of all my bikes that I built back in the day.......

This pic was from a training ride that one of my buddies tagged along on. He was trying different kinds of shots while we blasted past.....

Cellpro 10S f'in rocks!!!!

I bought myself a bit of an early B'day present last week.

I've had issues with charging my pattern plane batteries. None of my chargers were big enough to handle them. To get around this, I borrowed an Astroflight 109 and bought another. Between the two chargers, I made it through the Nats.

Unfortunately, they were not a great solution because they don't balance charge the packs. It did not make any sense to me to have expensive packs like that and charge them with inadequate chargers.

In the end, I bought the Cellpro 10s. I had borrowed one from my buddy Keith for one contest. The thing is great to use and FMA had an adapter already made for all of my packs. Truly plug and play. This weekend, I've been balancing my packs and getting them up to snuff. I'll take them all down to a storage charge later......

Friday, November 14, 2008

To race or not to race......

To race or not to race......

I got a flu shot a bit ago, and it appears I'm getting sick from it now. Spent the whole week coughing up nasty stuff and taking medicine to fight it off. Maybe with a little luck, I'll get over it Saturday.

I was going to head out to the Outdoors Inc. Cyclocross race on Mud Island, but now I'm not so sure. I have my bike setup and ready to go, but I'm afraid the motor is lacking.

On a positive note, I picked up a new saddle for the ride, as well as a new seatpost. I replaced the Kalloy junk post (from my junk stash) with a nice Ritchey post. Then, I replaced the crappy Trek saddle with the peeling cover for a nice Selle San Marco from the Peddler. Those two items took a half pound off my cross bike!!!

Gearing for the race is my question now. I'm thinking I'll end up going with a 39-18 as opposed to the 39-20 I have on there now..... We'll see.....

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Went tubeless on the Ritchey!!!!!
The wheels I built so many years ago for my Ritchey were finally starting to come apart. I had purchased a set of tubeless Bontrager RaceLites for cheap from another rider. Then last night, I headed up to Peddler and asked Matt to tell me 'the setup'. I ended up with a set of Bontrager Jones tires and juice to go inside them.
Mounting these things was a bitch! I broke 3 tire levers and ended up getting a neighbor to help get them on finally.... Then I needed to seat the bead. The hand pump just was not doing the job. I ended up using a Presta valve adapter and a tire chuck hooked up to my compressor. I ran the compressor to full pressure (140lbs) and popped the tires into place with a blast of full pressure.
After the bead would pop on, I still only had about 10lbs of pressure in the tire, so I used a hand pump to drive them up to 60lbs to seat the beads. After letting them seat and spinning them to spread the goop around, I backed them off to 36lbs of pressure for riding tomorrow. Hopefully that will be a good setting.
The cool final result of mounting these things is that the new wheels and tires knocked 20 ozs off the weight of the bike!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow what a weight difference. Everyone tells me they ride sooooo much better than a tubed tire, and that fact will make a bigger difference than the weight.
Should be pretty cool......

Monday, November 3, 2008

A little Retro XTR Goodness on Singlespeed Cross Bike

I always wanted a set of XTR cantilever brakes when they were 'the thing' in mountainbiking. Unfortunately, I never had the dough for a set.

Fast forward to today, and I managed to pick up 3 wheels worth of XTR's, and 2 of the sets even came with new Ritchey Pads.

The new brakes are super solid and feel great through the levers. I absolutely cannot believe how flexible the cheaper brakes from the same era are.....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gorgeous weekend at Herb's!

Managed to get out and put in a great ride out at Herb Parson's this weekend. Rode two laps each day for a total of just over 28 miles.

Weather was great and the bike was going well. Was definitely too beautiful to not be out there!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Kudzu, Kudzu, Kudzu.......

Well, if you've been looking in the latest Model Aviation, you've seen the Kudzu......

I flew this bird at the AMA Nats this year. It did very well. I managed to get in a whopping total of 6 practice flights with the airplane before the competition, and I still managed 8th place. That tells me its got potential.

Next thing for this airplane is to take even more weight out. I'm sure I can, but doing it is the hard part. I will likely build a new fuselage if I can find a source of .75lbs/ft3 foam, then I'll build a new one.... until then, I'll keep flying this one.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Matchless Votige

Here is my new indoor pattern plane for the 08-09 season. Its sitting next to a Matchless/FancyFoam Vantage for size comparison.
I'm excited to develop it further. So far, it has turned out to be a really good bird. Weight of the quick prototype was 5.25 ozs RTF. The next one should finish out well under 5 ozs with a few tricks like milling and other things.....

CycloCrunk Cyclocross race

This past week, I raced in the last of the '08 CycloCrunk Cyclocross races.

The race went really well all things considered. I ended up not finishing dead last, and my new bike went well.

My new bike is a Labadie cyclocross bike from the south of France. I built it up as a singlespeed with all Ultegra equipment. Finished out at around 19lbs, so I'm more than pleased with it.

The pictures from the race are pretty cool.

My blog.....

So what is my crazy blog about?

I'm a middle aged fat guy with too many friggin hobbies.......

I'm a former bicycle racer who is now trying to get back to riding to improve my health.

I'm also an avid model aviation enthusiast. I design, build and fly competition model airplanes. Luckily, I also sell a few of the designs I create and help to fund my hobby........

I don't have a clue why I'm putting up this blog. I guess I just want to.