Monday, April 22, 2013

WT Fat Tire Classic 2013

Boy, did I miss that!

After a anxious morning trying to busy myself before the first race I'd actually participate in this year (I had paid for 2 already but circumstance prevented me from attending), I made my way over to Winding Trails for the Fat Tire Classic.

The proximity of Winding Trails presents the unique opportunity to actually ride to the race.  Carpe Diem and all that jazz.

After catching up with a few friends, and my parents(!),  Chris was calling us to the line.  Being one of the first races of the season, Winding Trails always has a good turn out; there were about 30 of us in the Junior Geezer Class (Cat1 40-49).

The whistle blows and we're a wrecking ball...and I'm not with out fault.  Brian McInnis and I bang hard  off the line, and going 3 wide into singletrack I find myself bashing through a bush on the inside line.

After that ugliness is done it's Winding Trails at it's best; everyone it just beating their brains out.  No place to rest; full on for 4 laps.  Tasting blood in the back of your throat, not leaving anything on the table.

Last couple laps settled into a carrot / cat /mouse scenario.  Jonathon Tarbox was the carrot, I was the mouse and Scott Hood was the cat.  Chasing Jon and staying in front of Scott kept me going.

Finished 10th on the day, which I'm pretty happy with.  Had a great time pulverizing myself to pulp.

Ben from Gita Sports had very generously offered to let me race the Pinarello Dogma XC, but I decided
make-believe time was over and I should just ride my own bike.

Totally geeking out with numbers, last year Josh Wilcox (winner of this year's Cat 1 SS) was 10% faster than me; this year 3.5%.  Mike (winner of the Cat1 40-49) was 8% faster than me last year; 7% this year.  So progress!

One problem with riding to the race is you then have to ride home from the race!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pinarello Cinderella

 Gita Sports dropped of something a little different at the shop the other day

The Pinarello Dogma XC.
I jokingly quipped to Ben "I could race that at Winding Trails"
Without missing a beat he replied "Go ahead".

I was a little taken back by this; me riding a Dogma XC with full XTR, Fox CTD fork and DT Swiss 1450 wheels.  A little different from my mantra of "Jam Econo".

One problem is this is contrary to my yearly goal of riding only SS or fixed this year.

Technically I ride geared bikes all the time when I'm test riding repairs, so if riding the Dogma XC was considered "work"...

Pete asked me "Are you going to ride the Pinarello"
Hello loophole!!

I rode it home from work cutting through the Res.  Not having a spare tube I took it rather easy.  My first thought was the bottom bracket was a little low as I struck my pedals on some rocks.  But the cranks are 175 mm and I ride 170 mm on my own mountain bikes. so it might just be me not being used to them.

The next day I met Josh and TJ over at Winding Trails for some Recon laps.

Very pleasant.

The center of gravity is low on the frame as is the standover  height; one of the few 29ers, if not the only, that I've ridden that has a suitable top tube length without compromising the ol' wedding tackle.  This helps the Dogma XC rail corners.  The handling is sublime.  The best compliment I can give it is I didn't think about it.  I just got on it and rode.

No quirks.

The carbon has a solid, direct feeling, yet some compliance.  This was most evident, along with the well mannered handling, when I hopped back on my bike.  In contrast I had to really man-handle Aspasia to get her around the course, something I had never noticed before.

Who is the Dogma XC for?
It's a well thought out, great handling bike (except for the single water bottle mount); if you're a XC rider of discerning taste and means, this might be the bike for you.

If only it came in a singlespeed...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Deep Thoughts

Just riding along...
I was noticing just how developed the once local farmland had become.  Can't really argue wit the farmer selling his land; a man's got to make a living.
I suppose the same can be said for the land owner who sells off a forest for development.
(just how did he/they become the owner of a forest?).

Shaking my head in disgust I realized it's what the majority of people want.
Society is less and less interested in being outside, so a  greater emphasis is put on  their insides.

When everyone spends every waking moment "connected" electronically  (and blogging) , with their faces buried in a screen, who needs outside?

I do.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Diving in blindly
centrifugal force, traction
please don't fail me now

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


If I go mountain biking today my commuter ride / drive ratio will drop below 80%

Better make it worth it...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Somethings are decided for you.

This what I wanted to race:

But the Rockshox Reba RL went back to Sram for warranty repair.  Sram says I should follow their service intervals more strictly.  I guess since I've only had the fork since October, it was out of service due to undersized air seal o-rings for about a month, off the trail for about 8 weeks due to snow, and only ridden once or twice a week the rest of the time that service interval is a rebuild every 3 or 4 rides.

I built up Blu.2 with a Manitou Minute.
It just didn't feel right.  I know this combo can feel good, but just needed some more dialing.

Before the dialing, I thought I'd deal with a sticky brake caliper.
Disc brake calipers aren't supposed to fizz are they?
Nothing a good bleeding is going to fix.

So there it is.  The choice has been made for me.

Aspasia rigid it is.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fan Boi

You can't argue with what works.

I tend to root for the underdog.  Maybe lean more towards the esoteric or exotic rather than the big brands.
But when it was time for new commuter tires I caved to the low hanging fruit and went with what was readily available at my LBS.

Here's what I look for in a commuter tire:

  • Flat resistance
  • Tread longevity
Any other positive attributes are a bonus.

For years I had been using probably the most popular touring / commuting tire.  When my commute switched from the The Apple Valley to the Farmington Valley my flat frequency increased by the power of 5.  A change was needed.

Specialized had an interesting idea with their Roubaix Pro tires.  They take a size larger 120 tpi Endurant casing and mount a size smaller tread to it.  A 28 mm casing has a 25 mm tread (a 25 mm has a 23 mm).  You get the comfort of the larger size with the speed of the smaller.
It also has a harder  center tread compound with a stickier side compound for durability and cornering grip.

So enough of the marketing mumbo-jumbo; how do they ride?

I'm impressed.
These are the most comfortable road tires I have ridden.  That includes tubulars.


Clinchers have come a long way!
I have about 500 miles on them and they have been "F" free (never use the "F" word when speaking of tires).  No signs of wear so far.  I guess a tire can be durable and comfortable.
They've seen all New England has to offer; broken tarmac, dirt, ice, snow and the dreaded Bike Path Roubaix.

Right now I have them mounted on my Cross bike (that I am enamoured with) so I mounted those other tires on my regular commuter so I'd have a bike ready to go with fenders.  Yesterday there was a chance of showers in the afternoon, and it had rained the night before.  Perfect, I"ll ride the Fun Machine.

I flatted on the way in...

and on the way home.

I need another set of Roubaixs!

I forgot to put my pump on my bike this morning; very thankful for the Roubaixs!

(let the corporate shill comments fly)