Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cyclocross Season is over, time for some road riding....

With 'cross season over, its time to get ready for winter and spring racing. Time to build base miles and time to be ready for the summer. This is the time of year when the riding is wet and its time to build miles and fitness.

This year, I will build those miles, and I will build that fitness.

To inspire that work and that fitness, I decided to get my road steed a little more ready for riding. Since I'm a weight weenie, I had to get some weight off the bike.

I started by getting my carbon wheels set up for road tires. This alone took one pound off my ride.

Next up is some new bars and a new bottom bracket!


This was our second year to host a cyclocross race in Cordova. This year the difference was that my entire team was part of it. The team really pulled together to make this happen. Anthony Parks was the inspiration of the race and the leader of putting it together. Members of Journeymen Racing were the arms, hands, legs back and voice of making the race happen and as a result the race was great!

We started the race in cold weather with plenty of rain. This unfortunately made us think that the race would not turn into anything good. However, Cyclocross races are not fought out in the sunlight, and the local racers know it!

The rain settled down just as the B race went off, and as a result the course was absolutely sloppy and absolutely awesome!

After a great B Race, we had the A Race go off and again we had a great race.
With a little luck and a lot of persistance, we'll have the race again next year and the results will be awesome!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fall Racing Continued.....

To continue this story!

After hitting the Cyklocrunk series, I ended up hitting two races in Nashville. The first was the first 'Cross The Way' series race for 2012. Unfortunately, I went there and broke my fork on my first lap.... not a good way to find success. The good news was that I helped out Dylan and Seth. They ended up placing 1st and 2nd in all the races of the day. Pretty good for some young punks!

With that, I ended up rebuilding my bike completely. New fork, new headset, new stem. I painted everything up with the same paint and clearcoated the whole thing.
And with that done, I headed off to the second cyclocross race in Nashville. This one was in town in a park in the middle of town. This race went much better for me. The end result was that I finished and did not take DFL. I felt better at this race, but it was really a tough one.....
Unfortunately, that finished off my season - at least as far as my racing season was concerned.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall Racing!

Its been wayyyy too long since I've posted anything, but the truth is that I have not because I've been busy.

Some of this busy has been good (finally racing again) and some bad... (work).

The racing? Well, I had the opportunity to hit 3 cyclocross races and 1 six hour mountain bike race. Some good, some bad again, but thats the way things are in life. My wife would say, 'Life is not all butterflies and rainbows!'

The first race I hit was Cyclocrunk 1. Frankly, I went better than I expected, but it was hard. They even made the race only 30 minutes, but by the end I could taste blood on my breath. It was that hard.

Then I had the opportunity to hit the 6 Hours of Herb. I teamed up again this year, just like 2 years ago. My teammate, Brad, turned out to be a great relay partner (not that I expected any different!). The race started early in the morning with temps nothing above 50 degrees, and rain absolutely pouring down. Brad took the first lap and did well -then I went out.

My first lap was slow. Not terrible, but definitely not great. A bunch of things were against me on that one- I had not been on the MTB in months, and the slick trail made for sketchy riding. I did not go down, but that meant I was not pushing hard enough.

With my first lap in mind, as Brad rolled in, I rolled out hard. I flew across the dam and dove into the woods, and I really dove - face first into the trail at a very high speed. I taco'ed my front wheel and smashed my right side hard on the ground. I still have bruises from it 2 weeks later. It took me a long time to get up, and even longer to straighten my wheel enough to ride. Sure enough, 3 miles later, my back tire went flat - so much for the new Bontrager sealant, won't be buying that again.

When I came in Brad was definitely worried, but he went out and did a killer lap. While he tore up the course, I moped around a bit and then decided to straighten the bike and get ready. With the wheel straight enough to do the job, I hit the course hard, but this time I mean fast instead of painfully.

In Brad and my last laps, we pulled from 7 place in relay to 4th place, just a couple minutes off the podium. I really feel like we could have podium'ed if I had not laid the bike down!

Two days later, I hit Cyclocrunk 2. This time, I went as hard as I could and actually had a race going between myself and a few other racers! I have no idea how I did overall as they don't post results for a training race, but I know I did well and felt like I went fast. Unfortunately, I did manage to lay the bike down again, only this time as I tripped over a barrier. When I got up, I race for the finish and beat out another rider. Good race overall......

To be continued.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Modern Versus Vintage

Several years ago, one of the better British cycling magazines did a nice comparison of Vintage bikes and modern bikes. They did all the typical comparisons like weight, number of gear ratios and stiffness. I think it came as no surprise to any of the readers of their pages that the modern bike won.

There is a lot to be said however for vintage bicycles. There are so many wonderful things that are going for them. For example, Steel bicycles have a ride which truly is incomparable. They don't just mute the bumps, they spring with them. You can feel the bicycle respond under your legs and arms - In that regard, Carbon and most aluminum just feel 'dead'.

Next on the list is the character of vintage bikes. My Colnago was put together by somebody named Giuseppi or Giani, or some other name that ends in 'I'. Additionally, it was ridden by Beppo Saronni to the World Championships and the Giro D'italia title in the early 80's. How many bikes can make the same claim!

I'm a 'vintage' kind of guy, so for the last 9 months, I've ridden basically nothing but the Saronni.

Unfortunately, I have also gotten to the point that I can't keep up on group rides, not even with the B group. Thats my fault, not the bike's, but I could not keep up nonetheless.

Needing to change something up, I decided to get the modern bike out last week and got it back on the road. I really did enjoy it. I can feel the greater number of ratios when riding. Its not about a highest or lowest gear, but the ability to finely match your optimum cadence to the speed the group is riding.

When I showed up to the group ride, my friend Stacey made a comment to the effect that the modern bike would be much better to which I replied that our group ride did not have any climbs and that was really the only place that it made a difference.

Well, I have to give Stacey's comment some credence. While the bike was surely not the only factor, I was able to hang with the 'A' group for the first half of the ride, and stay with the 'B' group for the finish. This was the first time all summer I've been able to do that.

As I drove home in the cool air, I struggled to think of why I was able to do what I was not able to do the entire summer. Was it the great temperature, the great group I was with?

Then I began to think about the bike. With more closely spaced ratios, I was able to stick to my optimum cadence much more closely - that could have had an effect. Then something hit me which was not mentioned in that earlier British bike magazine article- Riding my Vellum with its brake/shift lever combos is essentially brainless. Need a slightly different ratio, its just an easy click away. Upshift, Downshift, it is just as easy.

Sometimes riding needs to be a brainless activity. Sometimes it should be an activity where only your legs and cardio system are involved. It really is that factor that makes cycling such a beneficial activity to our bodies and our minds. Ride the modern bike and turn off your mind and just follow the wheel in front of you as you sweat out the stress of the day or week.

That still leaves a big question - Which is the better bike? I'm sure you have an opinion, but I'm undecided. Both have their benefits and both suit at least one person, maybe more.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Better Climbing Gear!

I've been hoping to find myself some better climbing cogs for the Colnago. With the rear end having 126 spacing, and the hub being a 126, I am pretty much limited to 6 or 7 speed. The Super Record derailleur also limits me to roughly a 26-28 tooth big cog.

After searching the 'bay for quite a while, I decided to call my buddy Charlie. Turns out he had several NOS freewheels in his stocks. Several Regina's and an NOS Suntour 14-26. The gearing and the price was right on the Suntour, so while its not Italian made, it had all the other right factors - including price!

I have not ridden it yet, but it seems to operate pretty well.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Ryder. What a name for a cylcist!!!!!

With Cadel winning Le Tour last year and Ryder winning the Giro this year, we now have two Grand Tour wins in two years by former mountain bikers!

I think this really does say something about how mountainbiking has changed, and even improved the sport of cycling. It makes for an interesting situation when a mountainbiker whoops up on the traditionally powerful roadies.

I'm a cyclist, not a MTBer or a roadie. I'm both. But all my time in cycling, I've watched as mountain bikers were looked down on by the road scene. The reality however is that all disciplines of cycling are challenging. All disciplines add to the skill set and abilities of those who practice them.

Congratulations Ryder. Buono Giro!

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I've always loved the look of drilled vintage components. The weight savings realized by doing it is trivial, however, the class that it adds to a good looking component is immense.

I think a Drillium project might be in my near future.....

WC Cranks and Ring Photo credit to 'Drillium Revival'.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Skins For The CX Training Wheels

So, I've been running Continentals and Vredisteins on my CX training and fun wheels. The Contis are wearing out pretty quickly. Center tread was gone, so they had great traction when it was dry and went to hell when it was wet out...

The Vredesteins are basically the same tread as the Challenge tubulars I normally run for racing, but they are wrapped on a narrow tiny casing.

So a fellow local racer put up an advert on our local MTB forum for a set of Schwalbe Racing Ralph CX clincher tires. The price was right, so I grabbed them.

They measure out as a true 35c tire, which is what I wanted, and the casing feels pretty supple. The tread pattern is nicely knobby tire.

I'll give a good review of their performance and handling as soon as I get a chance to roll them down the trail.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


So, the other night, I got the chance to ride the new(old) wheels.

Needless to say, I love riding the new tubulars. They ride well, hold air much better than I expected, and corner beautifully.

I did my normal weekly group ride with the team and rode the Colnago. I was a bit slow, but that was not the bike's fault. Motor was the issue.... or lack of motor.

As I mentioned, the wheels handle and feel great. There are two issues however.....

First issue is that the freewheel has one semi-bad cog on it. That is preety easily beaten by buying a new freewheel, or even just the worn cog.

Second issue is not easily beaten, but is not that bad of an issue. The issue is that the brake tracks on these wheels are 'lumpy', and so the brakes pulse pretty violently when braking.

This all makes me want to build a new set with the Campag hubs and some nicer rims..........

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Vintage Wheels Part Deux

When I left off with the new vintage wheels, I was ready to go ride them. I was excited at the prospect of riding tubulars on the road (which I've never done in 20+ years of riding on the road!)

I decided to go check them over and look over my gluing job. I was neat when I did the job, and so there really was not a lot of mess when done. Everything looked pretty good. I did the typical push on the sidewall test to check the strength of my gluing job and got a suprise..... The tire rolled right off.

Huge dissappointment! I looked over the job, and the tires were glued well in the 'valley' of the rim, but nothing out near the braking track. Desparate, I wicked more glue into the edges and put a 'come-a-long' strap around the tire/wheel combo and pressed the tire into the glue with all the force I could muster.

After leaving that setup for a week, I pulled off my impromptu clamp and gave her a try. After pumping up the tire to 100psi, it peeled right back up. Nothing was going to hold that tire in place.

I've since decided that Vittoria's design of pre-sealing the basetape with glue is a good and bad idea. Probably very good when the tires are fresh and the glue is pliable. However, over time, it appears that it begins to shrink a bit. The result is a sharp, pronounced Vee shape of the base tape.

I peeled the tires off and threw them in the trash.

That was a month or so ago.

This weekend, I went by my secret stash of tubulars and found a nice set of 23mm Continental Sprinters. They were/are in excellent shape and feel very pliable.

I opted this time to use Tufo tape. Its expensive, and according to the 'SlowTwitch' guys, it actually slows you down through 'hysterisis'. I don't know about this last claim, but I'm not exactly a fast dude, nor will I be racing crits or other races on this bike. I just train and have fun on it.

Frankly, as for installation, I'm totally sold on the Tufo tape. With as little time as I have these days, the quick installation was totally worth it! I'll ride it this week and will have to ring back later with impressions on how it performs in the short and long term.

Oh yeah... the weight weenie in me came out as I finished up the install - 36 spoke tubular wheels and an ancient Shimano 600 freewheel, and the bike weighs 19.98 pounds. Not bad for some vintage steel!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Getting The Carbon Out!

So I have ridden my vintage Colnago Saronni Super since last summer. Only once or twice has the carbon bike come out since I built the Colnago.

The Colnago is a thing of beauty. It was the pinnacle of technology when it was built, and its ride is very difficult to surpass even with today's technology.

I have to say however, that I really do appreciate technology however. We live in an environment of continuous improvement, and things do get better over time. Higher numbers of gears help find the right gear to make the most of my puny horsepower. Combination shifter brake levers make the ergonomics of the bike so much better. Carbon does make bikes lighter and more efficient.

So with that, I'm getting back on the Vellum for a bit. Its 16lbs or so, and has Dura Ace 7800 components mixed with a little Red. Easton wheels make it accellerate much faster than I should be able to accellerate.

I'm gonna enjoy some technology for a while.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Training Ride by cyklopath at Garmin Connect - Details

Sunday Training Ride by cyklopath at Garmin Connect - Details

So this past Christmas, my parent's asked what I'd like for a gift. Now, thanks to them, I have a new Garmin Edge 500.

Yesterday, my teammate Brad brought by a heart rate strap for the Garmin.

Today was the first ride with the strap. Pretty interesting data. I'm working harder than I thought.

The file above lays it out....

BTW, if you don't have one of these, you need one!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beautiful Scenes....

I don't live in an area with beautiful vistas. No mountains here, no coastlines. We have the muddy Mississippi and a few rolling hills - none larger than an interstate overpass.

Thats not to say that there is no beauty in riding in the Mid-South.

Spring is probably the best example of that......

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

Well, the move up 3 weeks of Daylight Savings Time is definitely a welcome change.

I love coming home and actually needing sunglasses on the drive. It makes all the difference in the world to see something besides darkness when you hit the driveway.

I've gotten out on a few rides, but not many.

The biggest new thing for me riding is my new Garmin 500. So far, I really like it. Small, portable, and great functions. My buddy Brad has also offered a heartrate monitor strap for it as well. I'm excited about that.

Hopefully tomorrow, I'll get out on the road bike and see how the legs feel!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Yup, I'm still a weight weenie, even though I'm not lightweight, I like my bikes to be (I used to be a flyweight rider)

So, to add to my previous post....

The new (Old) wheelset saves a total of 10.25ozs over the clincher wheelset it replaced.

Really a pretty interesting difference given that I went backwards about 10 years in the vintage of the wheels, and up by 4 spokes per wheel. Finally, the tires on both sets were Vittorias - Rubino clinchers and Evo Tubulars!

The end result is that the Colnago is now 19.25 lbs without pedals! Not half bad for a bike older than half the pros I watch on Versus!

Magic Shoes......

So a few posts back, I mentioned that I got my hands on some new vintage wheels for my Colnago. Some internet search proved a provenance and date of Shimano 7200, approximately 85 vintage. Just right in era for my Colnago (if not in country of manufacture)

I also recently scored a pair of NOS Vittoria tubulars. Got 'em for less than the price of a pair of innertubes. No they did not fall of the back of a truck!

So after stretching the tires on the wheels all last week - they were very tight at first - I started building up a few layers of glue on both the wheels and the tires.

Finally last night, I was ready to glue them up. It all went fine, and the glue job did not get messy. Everything was/is very clean. I'm really happy with how they turned out.

As a bonus, the front wheel cut a quarter of a pound off the bike when compared with the old clincher. I can't wait to compare the rear as well.

I've ridden tubular CX tires, but never any tubular road tires/wheels. I'm definitely looking forward to it and will post a report of how it goes when the weather is good enough to try them!

So now my Colnago has new 'Magic Shoes'

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tour De Cross 2012 Race #2

Well, my wife surprised me this weekend. She asked if I had seen anything lately on Facebook.... My answer was that I was reading about my team members heading out to the Tour De Cross #2. She commented "You did not ask to go to it?" I replied that I hadn't because I thought I needed to be home with her and our new son.

My wife is a wonderful person, and not just because she told me, "Go ahead, we'll be here when you get here". A little cleaning around the house before I left ensured some good karma and put a small deposit in the domestic homefront bank.

So I headed out to the race. I decided to drive my Triumph to the race with the bike on the back. Unfortunately, it was cold (sub freezing) and so the car backfired a bit. I got there fine though and surprised my teammates (they thought I was in poopy diaper land)

The course was pretty doggone good. Aside from being somewhat poorly marked in a few areas, it really made the most of the land the organizer had to run the course on.

I started out great and got a substantial holeshot on everyone. Unfortunately that only lasted about half a lap and I blew a bit. I managed to hang in about 5th position for a while and then took a wrong turn on the course and literally got lost....

Two people passed me and I figured out where I was supposed to be. I decided to follow one of them for the rest of the lap to make sure I did not get lost again....

Finally, after figuring out the course, I made up a couple positions and held there until the end. I actually finished fairly strong considering how long I've been off the bike.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New - Old Wheels... For the vintage Colnago!

So the same friend that hooked me up with the vintage Colnago called me this past weekend and offered me a set of wheels.

The wheels are Dura Ace hubs (36 hole) laced to mid-80's Matrix Iso tubular rims. Also included was a nice 6sp Shimano 600 freewheel. 13-21 gearing. Pretty tough for my fat old legs.

I have a set of nice Vittoria Evo Tubular tires (NOS) that I may glue up to these rims and set up for riding.

The question now is to sell them and lace up the Campag Super Record hubs I have stashed away for this project. Putting Shimmy hubs on this beautiful Italian bike seems like heresy!