Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Singlespeed Kinda Day

The temperature went down to the twenties and stayed there for one of the first times this Winter last night.   The ground was frozen solid.  Perfect day for a singlespeed hammerfest!
Rolled Blü.2 out the driveway and as I merged onto the road I gave the brakes a little pull...and the rear brake lever went to the bar.
As I was all set to ride, in no mood to bleed the brakes, and Mary Jane was all set to go, I guess gears wouldn't be all that bad today. 
Once I crossed the levee, where all the rain we got the other night hadn't completely frozen I was reminded why singlespeeds are so awesome.  I tried to shift to a bigger gear, and nothing happened.
Mary Jane has exposed cables which freeze up with frozen mud leaving you in a gear you don't want to be in.
That's one of the paradoxes of the Swift; the Phil Wood ebb makes it an awesome singlespeed, but it also has mounts to cleanly run full cable housings.
It seems a waste to not utilize the ebb by making Blü.2 a 1x8, but I hate the half-assed look of zip-tying housings to a frame in a way that it wasn't designed like I would have to in running full cable-housings on Mary Jane.
What's a guy to do?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

It was the right thing to do.
The trails would be muddy from all the rain last night, and the roads were still damp.
With the wind riding fixed might not have been the smartest thing, but the Fun Machine has fenders, and Fast Eddy had me all revved up about the Golden Years of bikes and the like.
It was just windy and drizzly enough to let let me pretend I was some sort of "Hardman", yet warm enough to remind me I wasn't (42 °F).
I was  on the bike path about 40 miles into it at lunch time.  The bike path right behind the commercial district of Simsbury.  You know where the pizza joints and bakeries are.
Should have stopped, but couldn't decide if I wanted greasy Greek pizza (even if it was cut in squares), or apple pie with espresso.  I could get both, but that would have made the remainder of my ride rather, ah, uncomfortable.
As I got back to town I realized it would be about 61 miles total.  That's just too close to a metric not to ride a metric, so I zigged instead of zagging and ended up with 63.
Now where can I get some pie?
nature break at McLean Game Refuge

 the bike path if perfect for Winter miles

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Verb

har·mo·nize (härm-nz)
v. har·mo·nized, har·mo·niz·ing, har·mo·niz·es
1. To bring or come into agreement or harmony. See Synonyms at agree.
2. Music To provide harmony for (a melody).
1. To be in agreement; be harmonious.
2. Music To sing or play in harmony.
harmo·ni·zation (-n-zshn) n.
3. To ride a technical section repeatedly until you clean it

"I'll ride this rock garden until I harmonize it".

Friday, December 23, 2011

Feliz Navidad!

I don't know if it's Santa riding a bike or the eurotrash electronic backbeat but I'm infected!
Where's my cowbell?!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Commute of the year

Today was probably the last commute by bicycle to work this year.  Savings on gas grand total of $476.53.  Sadly I do not have an extra $476.53 burning a hole in my pocket now.
I decided to just keep track of the savings in gas mostly for the of ease of calculation.  At first I thought maybe the extra food I ate on commute days would compensate for the other auto-related expenses I wasn't counting.  But it soon became obvious that I eat just as much on non-commute days.

Now if I did have an extra $476.53 what would I buy?
Used Powertap wheel?

Stan's Alpha 340 rims?

75 loaves of bread

60 jars of Nutella?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Congratulations James!!!!

"James Harmon,  you just won the New England Regional Cyclocross Championships Singlespeed class what are you going to do now, go to Disneyland?"

"No, I'm going to crush you and Neal on a TdT!"

James is my first "client" as a coach.
More of a guinea pig if you will.
Right now we are really looking forward to 2012 and James' mountain bike ambitions.  But all that is sort of on hold as he finishes up his cross season.  A cross season that has seen him get stronger and stronger each week.
We're aiming to keep that momentum rolling another 4 weeks through Worlds (then I'm going to hide his bikes for a little while).

Friday, December 16, 2011

Laying in bed it seemed awfully windy to commute in this morning, doesn't sound as bad right now...

I was thinking...
I've always wanted to have some sort of Happy Funtime Mountain Bike sort of Competition.  I think I figure out what I want to do.
Most people have Boxing Day off.  Even my tool of a boss isn't requiring me to work.
So I was thinking I would go to the Res, and hide a bunch of tokens, probably poker chips along my Kitchen Sink Loop.  Everyone would meet at the lot, put $5 into a hat, and go search for tokens.  We would then meet back at McLadden's at 1:00 PM, where the person with the most tokens would win the pot*.  If there is a tie there will be a written exam tie breaker.  If that's a tie, arm wrestle for it.


*Winner buys the first round

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Respect My A-Thor-A-Tay!

I passed the tests (that includes a criminal background check; they never saw the moustache), and USAC cashed the check so I'm an "official" USAC certified coach.
Now if you listen to me babble about the superiorities of  Snickers over a Milky Way I can charge you.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I think it's ironic on the day that I'm so psyched about going all dual beam up front that a woman pulls up to me at a stop light and tells me she almost hit me and I need to be more visible.
I say "thank you", and she says "I'm not trying to be mean I just had a hard time seeing you".
Again I thank her, and when the light changes we head our separate ways.

My first thought is "I have two red taillights, and two headlights and you have a hard time seeing me?"  But I soon except the reality that if I'm hard to see by anyone (no matter what I think) I could be dead.
I hate the Dead.

So as I ride along I ponder how am I hard to see?  No I don't have any reflective tape on my bike, and I should probably (definitely) change that, but the Planet Bike Blinky 7 is a freakin' beacon.  Rudolph ain't got nothin' on that bad boy...when the batteries aren't dead or dying.

I've been running it in "constant on mode" because of some internet wisdom that it is more visible that way.  I guess that wears those little AAAs out right quick.  I believe I picked up this light in August after my old tail light was jettisoned on some of Crazytown's finest roads.

Guess I'll have to run it all blinky or be more vigilant about changing the batteries every 3 months.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sandbagging douche-baggery

Never have I felt like more of a sandbagging douche bag than I did today.

I had no intentions of racing cross this season, so when the Harmonizer coyly suggested we race DAS Beer Cross, and then hit up Case Mountain for some mtb fun I found myself at something of a loss at my acceptance of the idea.

To keep things simple I figured I'd just race it on Blü.2; that way I'd just need to do a quick cog change and I'd be ready for Case.

I had zero expectations; the race was just something to do before a mountain bike ride.
4 people had pre-registered for the singlespeed race.  I figured since it cost less to sign up at the race, than on bikereg there would be a bigger turn out.


To make it even worse one of the people who pre-registered decided he had enough and was skipping the race.
On the line the organizer asked if we just wanted to do laps.  He suggested 4.  Someone suggested 3.  He looked at me and asked "what, do you want to do more?"
Well, yeah, 4 laps seems kind of short.
He then proclaimed "This guy probably wants to do 8" (that would be better).
We settled on 5.

By the first sand pit I knew I was in the wrong race.

The course was really fun and mountain bike-y.
Being on a mountain bike was a huge advantage on this particular course.  The sand pit was easily rideable, the singletrack was, well, singletrack, so of course the mtb was awesome.  There were two barriers; one I had to run, the other was an easy bunny hop.  The final obstacle was a hill run up in the woods.  Best way to tackle it was get up a head of speed, blast up it as high as momentum would carry you, jump off and run the remainder.

I finished the race in about 29 minutes (it was listed as a 45 minute race) and as the leaders of the "A" race begun to lap me on my last lap I was making a point to stay out of the way.

So on the finish line when the promoter gave me my prizes, did I graciously hand them to the guy who came in second?
Are you freakin' nuts?!
If there is one way to pacify Mrs. CB2 to the challenges of being married to a bike racer it's to bring her home presents.  Presents such as beer.

James got 2nd in the "A" race and also brang home a sixer (he got 2nd in Manchester on Saturday too; Yay James!).

Special shout out to the King for having the tool I forgot to pack to change my cog!
Case would have sucked with a 60" gear.

Case was fun too, although I did get us a little lost.
A great day on bikes!

Friday, December 9, 2011

This is going to SUCK!

Some how James convinced me to race DAS Beer Cross on Sunday.
I thought I said I wasn't racing cross this year?
I don't drink beer and have been doing long slow rides hand in hand with handsome boys from the Farmington Valley.

Fook me.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Birthday Month

I find a mere day far too short for celebrating all that is me and my circling of the Sun another revolution, so I've taken to celebrating a Birthday Month.

Being so close to the beginning of the month it is good to kick it off with a bang and then bathe in the warm after glow until we celebrate some Jewish guy's birthday near the end of the month.

Neal captured me riding a geriatric width "skinny"

 As enamoured as I am with my Waltworks fork, I had to ride Blü.2; riding gears would seem just so wrong on my birthday.

Keep it up and you'll end up riding on a bike down by the river!

Sunday I kept the party going by joining the Benidorm boys for about as flat a metric as you could possibly ride around here.

The fun part now is keeping it rolling along for the next 26 days!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Today it was time to give the Waltworks fork a real test:
Case MT.
The Res is rocky and all, but being my home court the rocks are sort of like family.
Case I guess is more like a second cousin; maybe see them (it) a couple few times a year, have a general idea of who (what) I'm looking at, but still not intimate with (which in the case of second cousins would be very wrong).
How'd it perform.
I'd like to think that my slightly custom dimensions had something to do with that, but for all I know Walt could have just tacked together a "stock" fork (I guess I could measure it but I have no reason to doubt, and since it's perfect who cares?).  Probably his tube selection and design are the main contributors to the ride.
For those who've never been, this is Case.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Got it!

After 12 weeks my new Waltworks fork finally came in.
Worth the wait?
My initial impression is a resounding yes.

When I sent in the deposit, I had missed Walt's disclaimer that he was waiting on fork steerers, and the usual 6-8 week leadtime might not apply.  That was probably good because I'm usually  not that patient and more than likely would have done something else.  Being such an awesome time of year to ride the weeks flew by.  After my first ride I'm pretty happy I didn't go another route.

When you decide to have Walt build you a fork, you give him you weight, riding style, your current fork's dimensions, what your looking for in a fork, and if you're feeling particularly plucky, the actual dimensions you want him to build the fork.
The Plastic Fantastic worked pretty good on Mary Jane so I suggested those dimensions.  What I was after was a fork that felt as good as my Singular's, was a little lighter, without any brake chatter (brake chatter isn't an issue with the Singular, it was on the original KM fork, and I didn't want to make a sacrifice just to save a few grams), and would work with the Karate Monkey's geometry.
At week #8, I change the dimensions to 5mm longer, with 5mm more offset than
El Cheapo Carbonito to try and make it more like the Singular, yet still be compatible with MJ.

After a little Fedex delivery-teasing it arrived yesterday.

As of right now it is perfect.
It steers directly, yet has enough flex to effectively offer some vibration damping, without any brake chatter.  I found myself letting go of the brakes and just letting the wheels "run" on rocky descents.  On flatter rooty sections I was more effectively able to stay on the power and pedal through them.  It is almost too good to be on a bike with gears.

The finish is well done, however Walt used quarters to cap the fork blades which just look lumpy under the powdercoating.  If there was some way to neatly strip the coating to expose Good Ol' George, that would look pretty cool.

Unfortunately I sort of put the donkey in front of the cart.  The fork was a "way to go Charlie" present for finishing second overall in the Root66 Cat1 singlespeed class.  I was planning on using the prize money to pay for a portion of the fork.  Almost 3 months since the last race still no payout.

look Ma, no lawyer tabs!