Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow/Ice Days!!! Cyclocross Worlds

Well, I'm frozen in here...... I would normally say that sucks, but really its been pretty fun. I'd normally be out on the trails or the road, but this weekend, I spent the day watching cyclocross videos and checking the results from the worlds in the Czech Republic.

Looks like Stybar put in a killer ride and kicked some but. The Belgians have been dethroned and the results are in. Stybar in Gold. Looks like the Belgians were dethroned in the other classes as well, like the U23 race where the Poles kicked some butt.

Dissappointing however were the results from the red white and blue. Johnson, page, et al just did not have what it took to pull it off. Huge dissappointment also from the Compton camp. Leg cramps are tough, but I think I'd be at the Dr's office finding out exactly what the heck was wrong with me if it took me out of contention as it did here.

Back to the frozen in part, I'm aching to get out on the road or the trail again. While stuck here, I managed to get all my bikes waxed and cleaned and tuned...... Nothing else to do, so I might as well make sure everything is perfectly tuned and clean. Yee-haw.

Well, with a little luck, we'll have some drying this week and I can get out and ride next weekend!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Better picture of the new bike!!!!!

This past weekend, I got a chance to get out and turn the gears on the new ride. Boy is she SWEET!!!!!!

I'm happy as can be with this thing right now. One ride and she was/is already much faster than my previous. The handling is much different, and the traction is phenomonal!

Finished as she sits right now, she's just at 25lbs. A new seatpost next week will make her down to sub 25.

I really cannot wait to race her now.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Bike.... First Full Suspension, and A New Goal......

Well, lets start with the goal.....

Every year, all my friends head to Arkansas' Syllamo Trails for Syllamo's Revenge. It is a 50 mile cross country mountain bike race. It turns into a real all day effort for everyone.

Last year, I had planned to race the late season (fall) races, but work got in the way and I was unable to participate. So this year, I decided to try some earlier races.... Syllamo is one of the first I could hit, so I thought why not. Then at the last minute, sanity took hold and I backed out.

The following morning, I decided to see if registration was still open. Registration for this race is very limited, and it sells out quickly. I checked the registration the morning after it started and sure enough, I got in........ Ohhhhh boy......

Then reality set in. Yes, I used to be a pretty fast racer. Yes, I used to do well. Unfortunately, that was many years and many pounds ago. I'm a lot bigger, a lot older and a lot slower. However, the entry fee is now paid, and I have a cabin already with a bunch of fellow racers, so there is no backing out now.

That evening, I went for a night ride with my team, and we were really flying. I was handling the trail really well and was pretty proud of myself. However, I noticed that when we got the bumpy stuff, I was not able to keep up. I was getting banged around and they were floating through the stuff (stuff that I used to handle extremely well).

I looked at the difference between all of us and quickly noticed that everyone else was either on a 29'er, or a full suspension bike. My mind immediately started jumping and thinking of all of the videos I'd seen of the Syllamo trail and of my past experiences racing in Arkansas, and I quickly realized that Syllamo was gonna beat me senseless on my old hardtail bike.

Digging in my mental memory banks I started thinking of the good full-sussers that were around when I was a bike shop geek and building and tuning bikes for folks. The Gary Fisher Sugar 1 came to mind really quickly.

Amazingly enough, within a week or so, an OK lookin Sugar 1 popped up on ebay for sale. I figured I'd never get it, but why not try. The bidding ended, and I was the owner of the frame (which included fork, seatpost, headset and stem)

As I waited for the bike to arrive, I was getting worried. I have the worse cases of buyer's remorse of anyone I know. I began looking at the size and wondering if it would fit me. I wondered if it would be worn out.

All my worries were for naught. The bike arrived today and after a couple hours with a polishing rag, it looked pretty doggone sweet! The wife was not home, so I decided to start building it and decided to just take it as far as I could during the evening. Amazingly enough, I was done in about 1 1/2 hours!!!!

In all, she went together very smoothly and it looks great. Everything works well, and it feels good riding in the street. I still need to learn to tune the suspension, but I'll figure that out quickly. The rear derailleur hanger is bent, but a replacement is not too expensive.

All in all, I'm pretty happy. : ) (Please excuse the crappy picture....)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Riding light update.

Last fall, I resurrected an old lightset given to me by a fellow rider. Details on the set are in the post below.

After my first rides, I was a little worried that I'd under-specc'ed the battery for the setup. When I would get to the end of a ride, the handlebar light (10w, 3000mah) would go out before we hit the parking lot..... The helmet light never wavered.

Good news however is that on the most recent rides, I finished with pretty good numbers going back into the batteries, and both lights still bright at the end. The helmet light only burnt 64% of its capacity, and the handlebar light 86%. That is pretty usable capacity for the rides we normally do (around 2 hours). Unfortunately, that setup would not get me through a 12 hour race, but then again, that's not what I was expecting or planning for.

I'm glad I built the lights, as they've been really fun and definitely expanded my riding opportunities during the cold winter months with less sunlight!