Thursday, September 29, 2011

Product Review: My Man Purse

I used to keep my tools and the like in a little cell phone case, but I left it on MV, so I need something new.  The price of a Backcountry Research Tülbag was comparable to a generic phone case, so I figured why not?

I must say I'm quite pleased with it.  It's shape is more conducive to fitting my  tüls in and as a super bonus it has a non-slip backing that helps prevent other items, like your mini-pump from jettisoning from your pockets.  The zipper has a big loop making it easy to access with gloves on.  I chose red so I would be less likely to forget it trail-side and they didn't have pink (Mrs. CB2 is starting to wonder about me and all the pink).

So if you need a place for you tül, Backcountry Research has you cover (or at least your tül covered).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Yesterday on my ride into work, some douche on a Japanese Harley pulled up around me and the car in front of me at a light.  I think he might have known the person in the car.  He was revving and blipping his throttle.  Dude, it's a Japanese bike with electronic ignition it ain't gonna stall!

The light changes and he's off in a fury of sound.

What struck me was as I started to go I was passed by a BMW like this one:

It was so quiet, I had no idea it was even there.

In the afternoon, I was passed by 3 couples riding BMW touring bikes. Some of the most attractive and friendly women I've ever seen on the back of a bike.
Just saying...

In other exciting commuter developments, I've noticed 3 pesky lights have been magically changing for me.  Usually if the are red, the stay red.  All I can figure is now that it is truly dark on my morning commute they have some sort of light sensitive motion detector that my headlight is triggering.
I like it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

CT50 (sort of)

I've had a cold for the past week (I'm feeling much better, thanks for asking).  I thought I was getting better earlier in the week but racing on Tuesday set me back a bit...which kept me off the bike.
3 days to be exact.  That's longer than I can usually hold out.
Everyone in New England who owns a bike (except me) was racing the VT50, so I felt I needed to get in at least that much riding this weekend.
Saturday I did a Mini TdT.  A TdT from my house used to be about 32 miles, now a Mini is almost 31?  The humidity and Garmin screwed me out of about 1500' of elevation gain, but it was a good ride.  I felt okay, but if I breathed in really deeply I'd get a little gurgling (ah, details, you welcome).  I rode Blüsteel set up as a 1x8 with big ol' Ardent 2.25s.  I finally got the pressure dialed in on those meats so they aren't too bouncy, or beat me or my rims up.
I did have a wardrobe malfunction

and then another

Someone never informed the mosquitoes that it was now Autumn, because they were out in droves.

Here's a picture of some rocks:

and a couple of one of my favorite trails that was interrupted by said wardrobe malfunction:

Doesn't look like much in the picture, but I can't tell you how many times I've been told "Man, that was fun, like a roller coaster!!" after turning people on to it.

So that was 60% of my goal.

Sunday I had a smaller window of opportunity.  I guess not everyone was in VT because I ran into these geezers:

Nate could have been showing Lance his super Dad strength in Utah at the  XTERRA championships (he is one up on the most tested athlete in the world), but instead showed me his new 29'er.

He's been wanting to taste the sweet nectar of the koolaid for years, and finally Ol' Yeller broke down enough to give him an excuse.
They soon tired of my obsession with climbing each and every hill I could possible find and we parted ways.  Even so I had to skip the Grand Finale of the ride due to time constraints.
In the end I got in 21.5 miles, just enough to achieve my goal.
It would have been more fun to do it all in one day, but pizza at the beach and soccer are pretty alright too.
I had a superfuntime riding my bike, which has got me rethinking CX (again).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

If you've been looking at the dollars saved on gas tally over there---------->
you might have noticed it hasn't moved this week.
Well if you must pry...
Until today the weather's been okay, the lights are charged, but I haven't been able to drag my assos out of the warm comforts to face the darkness.  Maybe it's the lingering cold?  Maybe it's a physiological adaptation to the changing seasons?   That might explain why I'm eating like a bear before hibernation.
Any way you look at it my September tally will be rather pitiful.
I also hope I don't fall into the obsessive cyclocross trap I did last year.  I missed a lot of good Autumn riding "practicing" for cross.

Just for fun, remember?

And on that note (I hate when people start a sentence with a conjunction!), I hope next week's CX practice race doesn't get rained out.  I want to try my tubeless setup at a lower pressure, as the tread selection there seems far superior for all but smooth hard pack than my tubulars.  I like my tubeless wheels better too, as they are stiffer (I don't like that the are heavier but c'est la vie).  I also want to buy some surveyor flags and set up some tight corners to practice on.
Hopefully I can move up to a solid "middle third" finish!

Did you see how I cleverly made roundabout excuses for Tuesday's lack luster performance, without blatantly saying theses are the excuses for why I sucked so bad?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tuesday Night Ass Kickin'

Last night was the 3rd of 4 training races at the Rocky Hill dog park.  1st one was rained out, last week I had something going on, but this and possibly next week were open.
Get there plenty early and the course is set up and people have been riding it for awhile.  See some familiar faces, register and do some laps.
Based on internet snooping, and my results last year, I'm figuring on a mid-pack finish, and am very tranquillo.
The starter is talking to us, telling us how she's going to keep us out on the course as long as possible, which I assume is being determined by nightfall.  Then all of a sudden she says "go" with little enthusiasm.
In the beginning I'm doing okay.  I pass Bill T and I'm holding my own fairly well.  But I guess I was just blocking the flow, because soon after Bill and a bunch of friends pass me en mass.
Rider by rider I'm falling back until I settle into the battle at the back.  Unfortunately it wasn't a party at the back.
The order in my group is largely being determined by who crashes when as the damp grass is getting greasier and greasier every lap.
The Art Roti is riding in the group in front of me, or in no man's land for most of the race.  He is my carrot, because what is more fun than beating your friends?
Through the start / finish they yell 3 more.  3 more?  Are you kidding me?  I was hoping for the bell.
But it gives me more time to catch Art.
Each lap I'm getting a little closer.  A guy from Berlin Bike in my group who is bunny hopping the barrier on the dirt run-up, which was awesome, passes me.  I don't care, as long as I get up to The Art Roti.
Finally, on the last lap I get up to him.  I'm planning my pass, how I'm going to power around him on the next climb...when I wrap my bars in the tape.
I finished way at the back in 20th place of the A race.  I have some excuses I could throw out but that's kind of lame; my major observation was there were much better bike drivers out there.  I was the slow one in the corners.
I'll need to work on that if I want to do better...or I could just ride my mountain bike (in races or not).

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm posting this video only because it wouldn't play for me on

Watch more video of Highlighted Video on

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Want it...

Jez has a segment on his blog called "want it Wednesday"

Every other Wednesday he'd like to see something you lust for.

Here's mine.
Well actually that's Brado's.

But I've been missing the caress of steel so I've contacted Waltworks
and I'm on the list.

The waiting is the hardest part...

One of those days...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

All dressed up...

and nowhere to go...
Well, I could go to Rocky Hill, but I'm still a little banged up from Sunday (I am feeling much better though, thanks for asking).

Monday, September 12, 2011

Landmine: Ouch!

We will get to the report but first how about a food report?
After the race the winner of the Pro / Open class treated me to a tomato / mozzarella panini.

When I got home I had lasagna

then a salad

washed down with Italian soda

followed by a strawberry juice bar

Neal rode up to the race with me, which made something of an ass-grinder drive  quite bearable.  I'm sure the fact that it was a beautiful day played into that as well.

After downing large coffees and water bottles on the drive we wished we had cut off that Union Velo rider who made it to the bathroom at Dunkin Donuts before us.

Turn out was good for the end of the season in the singlespeed class.  The usual suspects, Dave, Scooter, and now Gerry were there, as well as about a half dozen other guys.  One was Chris Borrello who had beat me by a couple of minutes at Winding Trails this year.

I had just set a World Inter-Continental record on my commute Friday with my fixed gear so I was feeling pretty good.  I had forgone my usual OCD pre-race day rituals, and instead chose to go riding with LB and cut the grass.

The whistle blows and we are off.  Chris, Scooter, Dave and I are leading in a tight pace line.  The trail turns slightly up, and I decide to nail it and go to the front.  For six glorious minutes I lead!

Then we turn on to a paved road, and the triple tandem of Dave, Scooter, and Chris go by.
They get a gap, but I'm able to pull Dave back, and move back up to third.

I get a little gap on him, and think I'm okay, but after another road section he is right on me again.
He's clever too.  Being stronger than me on the road sections he'll let me take the front there, only to politely take the front when we get back to the singletrack, where I'd like to believe I can go faster.

Every time I get a gap on Dave, that tenacious Mofo claws his way back to my wheel.
This goes on for the first hour of racing.

Then when I think I've finally broken the elastic, he uses the  40-49 leaders to pace him back.
Cheeky plan until one of the same bobbles in front of him allowing me to get a gap.

When I finally have the nerve to look back to confirm this, about 1:15 in, I look down and see I only have one bottle.

The empty one.


I catch up to Scott Hood from the Cat1 30-39 group and begin to ride with him for awhile.
After he takes the lead I notice he has not 1, but 3 bottles on him.  That's  a lot to carry, so I ask him if he'd like me to carry one of them to the finish for him.  Seeing the logic in not carrying extra weight, he relinquishes a half full one with some chocolate milk flavored stuff in it.
(Thanks Scott!)

Earlier in the race, I thought to myself "in the dry this course is sort of like Winding Trails", after an hour and a half, my wrist were telling me "This course is nothing like Winding Trails!"

At the final aid station I'm psyched to get some water.  The young man doing hand ups is trying to be all crafty and spills the water on me.  I know I only have a few miles left, but after how Dave has been reeling me in all day there is no way I'm going to stop.

I start running into Cat 3 or First Timer traffic so  know I'm close.  Try and pass as politely as possible as to not sully their experience, but try and stay on it to prevent the patented Skrocki Sneak Attack®.

Finally, the clearing and the sweeper to the finish.
Boy do I need a drink (of water)!

Third behind Scooter and Chris.
Great job guys!
Congratulations to Scott for going 8 for 8 winning the Cat1 SS overall!
It's been great trying to chase you this year Scooter.
 (I'd use another exclamation point but I don't want anyone to think I use too many).

Congratulations to my buddy Neal Burton of Central Wheel for his first Pro victory!
(I couldn't help myself)

I'm second guessing my gear choice a bit; I used a smaller gear last year and had a faster avg speed, but the course was a little different.  Although there wasn't much elevation gain, I felt slow and bogged down on some of the rocky sections.  A smaller gear wouldn't have changed the outcome at all, just made me a little more comfortable.

Now for one last food item:

frozen strawberries on the wrists

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

As lame as it might seem to cancel a CX race due to rain I'm sort of relieved for the following reasons:
  • I won't have to clean my bike for a practice race (I get to do that enough for not practice races, thank you very much)
  • I won't have to wash my team jersey an extra time before Landmine.
  • After the phenomenal tubeless success on Saturday, Monday's results were less than stellar.  I guess even tubeless they are still only 31s and a modicum of caution should be taken on rocky descents (side wall puncture running 30 PSI)       
                 I like the tubeless wheelset better than my tubulars wheels for CX
  • I still don't know if I want to race singlespeed or geared regardless of the size of Alby's penis.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    Tubeless Cross.

    For my trek to RI back in July I built up a set of clinchers. My reasoning was two-fold.
    First since I would be riding solo for a long distance on unfamiliar roads I wanted to be easily repair multiple flats, with minimal additional gear (i.e. not having to carry more than one extra tubular, being able to patch a tube if I got numerous punctures), and secondly the idea of having a wheelset to try tubeless for cross was appealing.

    I had tried tubeless in the past with the same rims without success.  This time around I used Velox rim tape and smaller tires to give me a tighter fit.

    The front tire aired up and locked into to the bead in text book fashion; Stan should have been taping my successful attempt.
    The rear was trickier.  It would air up, lock in, and then  quickly bleed off pressure until flat.  No matter how much shaking and spinning I tried, it wouldn't seal.  Finally I found the problem was the tight tire bead had folded over the Stan's rim strip for about 3" preventing a perfect seal.   After digging it out I added more sealant than I'd typically use in a 29'er tire just to be sure.
    Results =  Victory!

    Going tubeless over tubular was going to cost me a solid half pound of rotational weight.  But with that half pound I gained a stiffer wheelset (my tubulars are Mavic Gel280s and Mavic GL330 rims), and the ability to more easily and quickly change my tires.  I have never been able to air up tubeless tires with a floor pump and still can't, so I won't be changing any tires trackside, but I can easily do so the night before.

    Initially I was thinking maybe I'd train on the tubeless and race on the tubulars, but after today's ride I think the tubeless wheelset wins.  Being a smaller guy, wheel stiffness has never been top priority, but once I hit the trails the advantage truly became apparent.   I never realized how much stability I was giving up with my vintage rims.

    I have had good results with not flatting tubulars.  I run sealant in them and have yet to puncture (knock wood!).  Considering where I train, and how with clinchers and tubes I would typically get at least a flat a ride, I was pretty happy with that.  With tubeless I get the same level of flat prevention, but also the ability of just throwing a tube in in case the unmentionable does happen.  The tubeless setup proved it's mettle today as I bombed a rocky fireroad and at the bottom came upon a group of about 8 riders from one of the local clubs who had just had multiple flats on the same descent. 
    On another descent I kicked up a huge rock launching myself skyward, landing with enough force to dislodge my securely strapped pump.  The results?  Absolutely nothing.  Not a squirt of air or sealant escaped.
    I was running my pressure on the higher side (45 psi), because I spent about 1/3 to half of my ride on tarmac, but I'm excited to test lower race pressure on Tuesday.

    Now the question still remains, with an SS class in all the races currently listed for Connecticut, do I leave it a 1x9, or go back to what I know best?