Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Interview with Dave Morris

I interviewed
Dave Morris for the Biking Hub.

It came out really good. He took A LOT of effort to answer the questions in detail. Definitely not your yes/no type of interview.

Counting carbs

I know the importance of carbs. Before, during and after racing. But I never really sat down and calculated what I need based on my body weight. This subject is still highly debated but this is what I'm trying to follow:

This is what I found

3-4 hrs before a race 3-5g/kg body weight
Need to be finished eating 3 hrs prior to event
supplement some solid with liquid
stay away from fiber and too much fat. Add some protein.

1hr before
60g (too little and I'll get a sugar spike and get light headed) Start 1hr before aim to finish at least 15 mins before - liquid Gatorade already mixed not powder)

During a race 30-60gms/hr.

*Though recently I read that the stomach can only absorb 50g/hr and anymore than that will cause stomach distress.

After event
1.25g/kg body weight within first 45 minutes

1g/kg every two hours for 6 hours event

Monday, May 29, 2006

Dreams Coming True

As a parent it is hard to be patient. Especially as a father. When the kids are little it is so easy to fall into that trap of " Oh, wouldn't it be nice when they are old enough to throw a ball"....

This is obviously the wrong attitude. A watched pot never boils. And you also lose some opportunity to relish in the moment. Becase even though you've heard it a hundred times it is so true. They grow up so fast. It is just so hard sometimes to be patient and enjoy the day to day.

As a cycling father, there is one "Oh wouldn't it be nice" dreams that is ubiqitous. "Won't it be great when we can go mountain biking together"

Today I got to live the dream.
Our oldest son, Ansel, has always been pretty good on a bike. But we haven't pushed him to go off road until he was ready. Today we decided to try it out.

We cleaned his chain, checked his tire pressure, got his Camel Bak ready, got some food, tools, etc. Got a cooler with cold drinks for afterwards just like real mountain biking.

My wife was worried that I was going to push him too hard to ride things he wasn't ready for or to go too far. Who me? The start of the trail is actually kind of a hard short steep downhill. The best thing I did was to just say " You go first, and tell me the best line to take"

Yes my son knows what a good line is and he also knows what to Clean a section means. Because...he cleaned this rocky section, I couldn't believe it actually. And he knows how to pick a good line. I watched him.

He rides hard too.

He stands up like the experts and pros. I gotta figure that out

I forgot to bring the food. Just like real mountain biking, so we didn't go too far. He cleaned the steep hill at the begining too. I've seen lots of adults not even clean it.

When we got back to the car he was beat

We had some cool gatorade. And talk about the ride. Just like real mountain biking.

It was really a lot of fun. I am hoping we can do it more and 'train him', I mean encourage him to continue.

The next dream 'nightmare' might be when he starts riding faster than me. I better watch the Great Santini if that happens.

* I took some video and am trying to post it on You Tube which I will link into here.*

Mountains of Misery 2006

Mountains of Misery is a 101 century that ends with a 4 mile climb up the backside of Mountain Lake. This is a CAT1 climb and is the climb that Lance Armstrong broke away from the field with at Tour Du Pont.

My wife did it two years ago and sort of at the last minute decided to do it again this year. Cycling is like childbirth. It creates selective memory. That is why we have two kids and not just one.

The last time she did the ride, she was really prepared and had even done a century in training. This year not so.

It was hot too. upper 80's We drove out there and took a shuttle to meet her. By chance she rode by the shuttle stop right when we got there.


At the top we hung out and waited and waited.
Riders were slowly finishing one by one. 7hrs+ into it. I've done this ride twice. It is a HARD HARD mother.
Dumb ass people take off at the start, pushing pacelines of 25mph plus. The lead group can do it and hold it to the end. But a lot of people really pay the price when they get to the end, and have NO clue how brutal this last climb is. It's climbs like this that make compact cranks sell like hotcakes.

Finally we saw her coming. The little one ran out to run with her up and almost got taken out by a stud on a fixed gear.

He was so sweet. He said "I'll help pull you up the hill" And he proceeded to grab her handle bars. He almost pulled her over.
At this point my wife was in tears, and rode it on into the finish.


It was hard being at the finish and seeing everyone roll in on fumes. I sort of wanted to be there too. Recall what I said about selective memory? The two times I did this were bad. I am much better on a mountain bike. The first time I walked a lot, the second time I cleaned it, but it still hurt so bad.

We are talking of doing it next year together. But if I do, I am going to prepare very well. I don't care how long it takes, I just want to finish looking like a human being.

Mountain Bike Madness

Every year for more than 14 years Brian has set up a Mountain Bike Madness weekend. Basically ride Friday night, Saturday morning, afternoon, night, Sunday morning, then take off. His brother, Doug, Mikey, Scott, and many others over the years come in from all over. We used to go to Tsali, lately it has been in Blacksburg.

With family and all, I haven't been able to participate too much the last few years. This year I got in one ride and even hung out for dinner which I haven't done in more than 7 years.

The ride I hooked up with was on Price's mountain where Brian lives. It is an interesting mountain. Part private land, part owned by VT it has no real use. The soil is crap and the timber is poor so VT just manages it the best they can. They tried to get some homes built on it a few years ago but I think that stalled.

It had some singletrack that got overgrown easily, then the four wheelers came out. And actually made some nice trails. Lots of big berms. It's a sketchy place. And it's all overgrown now. If someone says, "when you get to the washing machine on the side of the trail, better slow down because it gets slick." You know it is sketch. Lots of chatter in the trails, loose shale, skree piles, forearm sized 'twigs' those 2-3' long twigs that one person rides over that then get ejected out there wheel and head towards you like a spear. Fun place. Nice to do something different. Riding out there will give you skills for sure.

Oh, it is also hard. Either straight up or down. Not a whole lot of in between.

When you are out there you either expect to find a hidden still or some drunk locals on ATV's. If I got hassled, I'd just say I was with Captain America

They had already done several hours on Brush mtn earlier in the day, and were sacked out playing Xbox when I got to his house. That stuff is fun. They get together once a week online and play. Maybe this could help supplement my poor social schedule.

We only covered like 6 miles, but it was a hard 6 miles. The climbs are really steep and loose. Brian has the best climbing style of anyone I know. Perfect balance between keeping the front planted and the rear under traction. Made me wish for the 80mm on the front.

It was really great to get out with those guys. Been riding with them for a long time. It's also nice to be in a position to dish it out a little instead of getting dished.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

What creates a strong cycling scene?

We were discussing the cycling scenes in differnent towns and tryning to pinpoint what characteristics help foster these scenes.

Is it an abundance of great riding?
Strong personalities?
A stable longterm cycling population? College towns are notorious for changing populations.

Some cities/towns have crap riding but have exciting cycling scenes. Others have a core group of personalities that don't move away after a few years. This maintaints a precedence of cycling culture and builds momentum year to year.

For all intents and purposes Blacksburg should have a strong vibrant cycling scene. There is fantastic riding within minutes of town. It can be accessed by bike or a short drive. The one local riding area is good but I could see it getting boring for some after a while, yet there are many options within 1 hr drive.

But for road and mountain there really isn't much of a cycling scene. I don't even know what I mean by scene either. It's how you define it I guess. For me it centers around racing I guess. But you just know when you go to certain places or here people talk about other towns. Harrisonburg, Spartansburg. Minneapolis..The midwest right now seems to be a hot bed for cycling.

Around here there isn't a shortage of people riding. Especially in organized event rides such as centuries. And there is the collegiate racing team whose sole purpose in life is to drop you as soon as possible, which is fine w/me cause it's good training but doesn't do much to foster a cycling culture. But there doesn't seem to be a vibrant group of adult amateur racers.

Mountain bike racing seems dead around here. The parking lot at our local area has maybe 5 cars with bike racks on a sunny Saturday. There is no Tuesday night race series, etc.

One speculation I have relates to the lack of new mountain bikers coming into the sport locally. A lot of the people who might try it seem to gravitate towards road riding right now. I seem to see a lot of riders try it but then stop very soon because of lack of confidence in skills. The riding around here isn't easy. There is one 'easy' trail and from there you either have steep climbs or technical trails. So you are then severely limited by either your fitness or your skills/confidence. It is easy to see how someone can get frustrated.

In order to combat this negative trend, I'm holding a skills class for beginners on June 17th. I'm going to be teaching some of the philosophies that Gene Hamilton taught me. I limited the class to 15 people and already have 13 signed up. To me that says there is a need and desirer for this. My goal is to give people enough confidence and fundamental background in going off road that they can start to build there capabilities and venture to new trails. They'll have more fun which will just keep the excitement building.

Create one new mountain biker at a time. Get one excited person who shares their enthusiasm with another and there it goes.

Another goal is to hold a racing 101 class. Maybe 2 times a month rides/workshops that gives someone all the skills/training to enter and complete the 1st timer's class at our local race, the Rowdy Dawg . Again, give someone the confidence and support to say "Yes, I can do this" and get them out there. Once they race, it's all over because they will get hooked.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Schmenge Fest

Tonight was the dinner where Bob Roll was the guest speaker.

Went out for beers before hand with Scott and John, which was as much fun as seeing Bob speak actually. To give you an idea of how insular a life I live with family, work, riding, I cannot remember the last time I went out for a beer with friends. Sad.

Bob Roll is as funny as you'd imagine. Quite a cult of personality. Genuinely a nice guy. It's amazing how someone has made such a career out of being goofy. His stories of the peleton and the early years of Americans over in Europe were hilarious. His impersonations of other nationalities like the French, Belgians, and Aussies was pure gold.

He touched a little on the whole doping debacle going on in a joking manner of course.

We had actually left the dinner, but I had forgotten to get a marshall's vest for my wife for Sunday's ride, so I went back and luckily had my camera. I figured when is the next time I am going to have a chance to get my picture taken with a cycling figure such as Bobke.

Documentary planned on Chris Eatough

Cycling news just posted a tidbit about a planned documentary on Chris Eatough. It will be made by the same people that made Off Road to Athens. Which is the finest (but probably the only) XC movie ever made.

I love Chris. He hails from the Mid Atlantic, went to Virginia Tech and was even a grad student for the Center I worked at. His Dad rules. Passed me like I was standing still in a race one time.

Awsome article in Mountain Bike a little while ago of how he took the endurance world by storm and hasn't let go. Totally underutilized by Trek.

Bob Roll tonight in Blacksburg

Bob Roll is speaking tonight in Blacksburg in conunction with the Cycling Double Header.

The dinner is all you can eat and is $25. Tickets can be purchased at the Door.

It should be fun. My wife has decided to do the Mountains of Misery. Good on her. Next year I might do it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Dave Weagle's first DW-link patent issued

First patent

See this thread

It will be interesting over the next year to see if any infringement suits get filed.

Ibis Mojo review and some personal commentary.

There is a review of the Ibis Carbon Mojo at MBA

The Ibis group selected the DW-Link for their suspension chassis.

Ibis is one of those select companies in the mountain bike world that has a truly cultish following. Their steel and ti bikes still command some serious $ on the used market. They closed up shop several years ago but have been resurrected. They brought back the original founder, Scot Nicol to help and be a spiritual leader.

Interestingly, and to the dismay of many, they did not bring back their original steel or Ti frames, but instead went the route of overseas carbon. They are offering two models only.

Mojo: 5.5" Full suspension trail bike.
Silk: Carbon road bike.

From all indications, the carbon is somewhat unique and not just an oem'ed frame out of a Taiwanese carbon catalog.

Their choice of the DW-link for their suspension chassis says a lot w/o saying the words. The fact that a resurrection of this magnitude with a name like Ibis chose the DW-link means that someone important has a lot of faith in this linkage.

Independent Fab also chose the DW-link for their only FS steed: the Tungsten Electrode

Again, a small boutique maker with major reputation places their only FS bike in the hands of DW. However the Tungsten electrode has a price tage of $4k for the frame alone. It is priced so far into the stratosphere that it isn't going to register on the map. So DW isn't going to get too much kudos from that frame, I wouldn't believe.

But the Mojo has created sooo much buzz since it's debut at Interbike that DW-link is going to get some major cachet from it.

#1 it has the name of Ibis
#2 it looks cool
#3 it is a perfectly marketed bike. Trail bike but with some XC manners. It's the kind of bike that a ton of people are moving towards. They ride a lot, they climb, but they like to go downhill
#4 it's a full carbon mountain bike that isn't pure XC
#5 they are only built in small batches that are currently pre-sold before they've been built. So exclusivity is already built in.
#6 it's light for a trail bike. 5.5lbs

Iron Horse deserves some major kudos for putting their investment in the DW-link early on. IH has this reputation as being a cookie cutter value line from overseas. Sort of like Fuji, KHS, etc.. Their DW-link bikes have started to change that a little, but they rarely seem to have the cachet of Specialized, Santa Cruz, Turner, etc.

It's kinda been our litte secret at the IH mtbr forums how specatacular the DW-link is.

I imagine that as the Mojo starts shipping more and all the mags start posting their reviews of them and the Bloggers get their hands on it, that IH will start to get a tad more respect. Though their DW-link trail bike the MKIII will then get the billing as a poor-mans Mojo, or the Mojo that one can actually get their hands on.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Testing a different tubeless tire sealant.

I'm testing out a different tire sealant.

Flat Attack

you can read the initial look at it here:

So far it seems to work allright, and it worked better than Stan's Latex in certain situations.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Going Custom: Part 7: The Waiting

This is part 7 of the Going Custom Series documenting the purchase of a custom road bike.

I am currently in wait mode. The Final design was authorized on April 18, 2006. During my initial correspondence he'd said leadtime is usually 5-6 weeks from final design authorization. Which is actually nothing compared to most builders with leadtimes in the 10weeks to 3months to 1-2 years.

Jim got the frame back from the painters today. He just had the final details to perform. And it was going to ship today with probably an arrival of 5/26. That would have placed it at 5 weeks/4 days.

However he just informed me of a snag. The clear coat is soft and scuffs too easily. He's sending it back. So a few more days till delivery.

It shows a lot of integrity to not send the frame out like that. It's a few more days waiting, but still well within his timeline. Especially given the horror stories I've heard about some builders like Dean.

I've got the fork, bar tape, stem, and front derailleur clamp adaptor ready to go.
It is going to be sweet. Gloss Black, white outlined decals, Bontrager Grippy Bar tape (black with white stitching). Alpha Q pro fork, ITM stem.

What's under the paint is really what matters, but man it is going to LOOK sharp.

Stay tuned for the next post: opening the box.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

NRVBA Time Trial

The New River Valley Bike Club held a little time trial today. My wife signed us up with a family membership. She does some of their road rides, but this is the first thing I've done with them in a long while. It was great that Ed set this up. They had signs, and timers, and numbers even.

The club is mainly made up of event riders (centuries, etc) so they only had 7 people sign up. But that doesn't mean they are slow, there are some fast people who can go for miles and miles in that club. I'm sure when others here how 'fun' they can be they'll get more.

4.2 miles. Starting .2miles on Luster's Gate Road from Harding. Turn right on Deercroft. Finish is 1.4miles from the start of Deercroft. Lusters Gate is a flat road. Probably one of the flattest in town, with a few small rollers. Deercroft is a great climb with 3 steps in it.

My time was 14:18. Another guy had 14:06 and another smoked it with 13:37. Couldn't remember the other times.

My goodness that hurt. I've never had a lot of horsepower on the flats given my size. Though that didn't stop James who is about my size from flying.

I cooked myself on the climb, and couldn't roll over the crests with any gas. At the finish you could smell the smoke from my legs. I wanted to hurl so bad. I was so out of it, that when I rode home I totally forgot to swing by this park that my family was going to meet me at. I rode straight home and didn't remember till I pulled into the garage and saw that my wife's vehicle was gone.

Ugh. Any hard training is good training, I guess. It just seems that I don't have very good ecomomy or efficiency on the road bike as compared to the mountain bike. My road climbing has seemed nearly as strong as my mountain bike climbing.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Some bike-punk

Cool little mp3 I found by:
This Bike is a Pipe Bomb

The song is Jack Johnson

I guess you'd call it folk-punk.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Notes to self

using HRM during races:
-too many variables to make it useful. Just becomes one more thing that you don't need to be focused on

MTB races are rarely at MSPO. Unless there is a long sustained climb. More often the pace is efforts high above MSPO followed by short periods of well below. Need to train body to be able to handle the peaks above MSPO and to recover back down to MSPO.

Mental toughness
-take away the negative connotation of working hard and the pain. Rather than an obligation see it is an opportunity to catch someone, close a gap, work harder today in order to race better later

-Regular Gatorade is fine for energy drink. Most important thing is upset stomach and taste. Tastes good you'll drink it.
For recovery the carbohydrate replacement is more important than protein. If you can tolerate milk, Carnation instant breakfast.
Even koolaid, gatorade, etc. As long as it is properly mixed to contain the glycogen replacement and has the calories.

-adding intensity vs adding volume.
Good thing to increase volume of intervals even if the actual intensity isn't higher than last year. This will help with finishing stronger at the end of races.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hired Gun

Back in the wild wild west townsfolk in need often times sought out the help of hired guns to help fight evil bandits such as El Whapo.

One of my goals this year has been to ride harder in training. One of the best ways to do that is on group rides. I've haven't had the guts to go on the Collegiate road rides yet, but I did set up a ride with an hired gun from Salem, VA.

Todd Reighley came up today for a ride. John met us there and just by chance CP and friend, Anya rolled up too. Anya had the coolest old school Breezer hardtail. With these like 1.0 Conti tires on it. Can you say sketch?

We went up the horse annex trail to the top. A rude awakening right out of the gate then down Sidewinder and across the basin. CP rode down the tight switchback faster than I have ever seen anyone. This thing is full of roots cutting right across it.

Big ring hammerfest on the Basin trail. The only reason we kept Todd in sight was the lack of local knowledge of some of the turns. That and the fact that he had these low tread tires that couldn't be leaned more than a few degrees.

John, CP, and Anya headed back at the big rock/fire road and Todd and I took the gap trails back to the basin. It was funny watching Todd ride the bottom of Royale (with cheese) His tires couldn't support any lean. The trail has some real sharp turns, almost switch backs, with no camber. He rode right off the trail once. Amazing skill to be able to control those tires at all.

We headed back up the Horse trail to the top again. I was breathing hard at the red line limit. Several times I'd just gasp for air like a seal getting mauled by a polar bear. Trying to take a drink or gel would induce a huge gasp for air.

I actually don't know what a seal sounds like when getting mauled by a polar bear but I imagine it sounded like me on this ride. Todd suggested I work on some breathing techniques.

It was interesting to observe how often Todd stood up on the climbs. I still can't figure out standing up. My legs immediately burn up and the fork bob feels like I'm going backwards.

Back across the rollers on the fire road. They add an extra one every time I go across it. Then down Beast.

Todd was flying. He has a scandium hardtail, 80mm fork, and little local knowledge of the trail. Not to mention his sketchy tires and that he was probably holding back. I have 3.75" of rear travel, 100mm front travel, and ride this trail several times a month. I even visualize this downhill before going to sleep every night.

But the really important thing is I got to tell my kids I hung on a downhill with a semi pro. I'll take that to the bank.

Now it was time to put the nails in my coffin. We went back up sidewinder. I could feel the twinges of the leg cramps coming on. Which is actually a good thing, because it means that I was riding hard. Harder than I can usually get myself to go when alone. In training the self preservation complex always keeps me from cramping, but in races that gets short circuited and I can override my fitness to the point of cramping.

While I guess this is good, it also meant that I had to make it to the top of this climb while on the verge of cramping.

Todd was great, really encouranging and went just fast enough to give me a carrot to follow. It was hurting bad, just trying to keep forward momentum w/o going over the cramp threshold to full lockup. Just like in the races.

We made it to the top then kept pushing it across the fire road and down horse trail/annex to the cars. 3hrs and something.

What a ride. I had that nausea and queasy feeling like after races. My stomach still hurts. Mission accomplished, El Whapo has been put behind bars (for this week at least), and the hired gun drove off into the sunset in his Vanagon.

Testing some new dogs out

Trying out some new shoes

2005 Adidas Adistar XC Race

See the initial review here.

Very comfy shoes. At first the pad on top of the foot feels constrictive but it seems to settle into place after about 10minutes.

The supple leather is the key to the comfort I think. As on my last shoes the leather was really stiff and never broke in at all. Decent shoes and good tread design but never super comfy.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Getting hit by the bus versus stepping in front of the bus

I've been thinking about what sets experts/pros/elite riders apart from the rest of us. Sure genetics play a big part. But just because you have a big heart muscle doesn't mean you're going to be fast.

The longer I've been riding the more I think it is mental toughness that really sets the good guys apart. It's not even as much about the time that you put in. Especially at the typical XC distances. I think it is more about the pain you dish out.

Some people call it pain tolerance. But I think it is much more. You crash, or have a tooth ache, or whatever. We all handle the pain differently. Some can't take it others can tolerate it better. But with cycling, it is slightly different.

It's not about how much pain can you tolerate, but rather how much pain can you put yourself in to a position to tolerate. Meaning you have to create the pain. Just because you are in a race or chasing someone does not automatically mean you are going to hurt. You personally have to make yourself hurt.

I compare it to getting hit by a bus. Although this is purely in the extreme illustrative sense and not to be taken literally.

Anyone can get hit by a bus on any given day. And yeah, it is going to hurt and those with higher pain tolerance will deal with it better provided they are not dead.

But how many people are willing to step in front of a bus?

Willingly, step of the curb into the path of an oncoming bus.

In training and training races, I wish I could step off the curb. In real races, that isn't smart racing, as you want to go as fast as you can w/o getting hit by the bus, just chased by it. But in training, the more you get hit and the harder you get hit by the bus the stronger you get.

This is what separates the top guys in any class from us. Not their bike, or gear, or coach, or the amount of time they can train that you can't.

You can't buy it. It is free for the taking. Ailse 7 buses and trains. only.

t handle Hex wrenches

I just got some generic T-Handle Hex wrenches.

Been using regular L shaped allens for more than a decade. Saw the mechanic in Off Road to Athens using one of the T handled ones and finally decided to get some.


Love em.
Ball end on the long side, regular hex on the other end. Molded handle.

It is amazing the amount of control you have with the ball end and the T handle. This is great for getting the bolt started, then when you're ready to set it to final tension, us the regular end and you get more than enough leverage.

Can't believe I waited this long to get them.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

New PR's and firsts

New PR on Old Farm
17:08 from kiosk to the top. Previous PR 17:29.

New goal: sub 17:00

Also cleaned the bottom section of the beast for the first time as well as the middle steep section.

Fun ride with John, Scott, and Brian. I've awakened the beast though. Brian hasn't been riding much and I know pushing him has got him motivated. Of course he was less than a minute down on the climb. Which means if he rides two days a week instead of the 1 day a week he is now he'll crush once Rowdy Dawg comes around. Though I did lead him down the beast, which I've never done and he is a fast rider. So my skills work has helped.

Thanks Gene.

Nothing like a group ride to help push you into the next level.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Geometry comparisons between Iron Horse Azure and Iron Horse Hollowpoint

I've been jonesing for an Iron Horse Azure ever since they released it. This is their first attempt at an XC specific platform.

A little history. I bought and sold my first XC suspension bike within a few months because the suspension action bobbed to much. For the second bike I researched to no end end. I finally settled on a used 2004 Iron Horse Hollowpoint. You can read my review of it here.

I adore this bike. It climbs like nobody's business, and handles so well for the aggressive XC of the mid-Atlantic and Virginia. However it is on the heavy side, and it's design was a compromise between XC and trail. The HP was split into two different lines for 2005: the Azure and the MKIII. The Azure took on the XC roles and the MKIII took on the trail. Everything I've read on it says that it is a pure rocket for XC, and climbs even better than the HP.

I am totally sold on the DW-Link. So much so that I won't even consider any other type of bike.

However, when the Azure first came out I was critical of two things.
1) Weight.
It is still on the heavier side for a pure XC racer. Iron horse qualifies it more as an enduro type of bike.

2) Top tube lengths. The top tube lengths are much shorter on the Azure than compared to the HP.

I was torn between what size Azure would work for me. I currently run a 15" HP. With the shorter top tube lengths I was torn between a 15 or 17" of the Azure. I am all of 5'4.5" so it seem funny to even be considering a 17", and at first it seemed that I'd have to run a 60-65mm stem.

Long top tubes and short stems are definitely something I've moved towards, and I currently run a 80mm on the HP. But 60 seemed too extreme.

After Nate got an Azure for his wife, I asked for some more dimensions of the bike to look closer at it.

I plugged some numbers into BikeCad which is a free CAD program for bicycles. You can enter in fairly detailed dimensions and it will give you some dimensions of the handlebar as referenced off the BB axle.

An important difference between the two frames is the HP has a 71.4 Seat Tube angle and the Azure has a more typical 73. This can really mess with the reach. See this article for why.

Somethings I'm not totally sure about. It allows you to specify the main triangle via Effective Top tube Length and the angle of the top tube, or by Front Center (distance from BB to front axle) and Head Tube length. I know the ETT, but not the angle of the top tube. I measured the Front center and Head Tube length and plugged it in, but when I checked what it had calculated for the ETT it is was off.

Regardless I do know that the measurement from my saddle tip to the handlebar is 49.5cm. And I know that my saddle setback is 50mm. So the distance from BB to handlebar is around 44.5cm.


The above shows the HP with an 80mm 6degree stem

After plugging in some numbers for a 17" Azure I got the below
This is with a 75mm 6degree stem. I can also use a 70mm 0 degree with a change in spacers too.

One thing with these CAD things is you can get close but it is NO substitute for reality. Things like headsets, tires, forks, etc. change things up in real life. But this does get you close.

What it tells me is that a 17" Azure at the current geometry is perfect for me. A 70-75mm stem is ideal IMHO. Several prominent people agree such as Gene Hamilton of and pro XC racer and former downhiller Salem Mazzawy

The 17" has a longer top tube than 15" which also creates a longer wheelbase

Salem said Traditional wisdom is a long wheel base is slower turning, but my experience is that with the stability of the long wheelbase, I can maintain grip at more extreme lean angles, and actually corner faster, although it does require a little more aggressive technique (fall with your hip vs. the more intuitive push with your arms). Also, the bb is a bit lower on the Azure, so it is that much more stable than the Hollowpoint.

I have to apologize to Iron Horse for being critical of their top tube lengths and saying they were too short. I'm pretty stoked that the 17" looks perfect for me. Standover really isn't an issue because the top tubes are sloped so much. Though it still seems funny that someone my height would be getting a 17" frame.

They only thing holding me back from grabbing a closeout 2005 Azure is that sitting on the fence mentality to see if they worked some diet magic on the 2007 Azure. Or did something really crazy and made a full carbon version.

Weight is one of those funny things. You see people talking about their sub 23lb or even sub 22-21lb Blur XC or Specialized, or soon enough Carbon Anthems. I'm running a 27lb HP and climbing better than ever. With the Azure I'd be at 26lbs. Not bad, but I can't post on the weight weenie forum with that! But still. If IH wants to play the marketing game and go head to head with the established XC race horses, they have got to get to the same weight ranges, regardless of how awesome the DW link is.

the man himself _dw said that A Blur XC (15") weighs in at 5.2 lbs with shock. An Azure (15") weighs 5.98 lbs with shock
.8 lbs.

Analytic cycling just on a basic calculation shows a .49 second savings with a .8lb difference

Which would probably be more than overcome with the pedaling efficiency of the DW-Link
*** I stand put in my place.

But I'm still a weight weenie!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


business trip. Sat-Tuesday Nothing but walking up the stairs a few times

Tues 25mins on the trainer
Wed - commute + 45mins easy
Thurs - 1.5 road easy/moderate
Fri - Intervals MSP/SMSP
Sat - Mtn bike hard go for the gold

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Feeling bad riding good

I took an extra day of recovery yesterday in order to be able to complete two days of hard rides before leaving for a business trip.

My legs still feel slow. The image that comes to mind is riding through water or mud. Or riding with too low tire pressure.

It is to be expected coming into the tail end of a 3 week block. This morning early I went on the mountain bike. This was to be my first run up Old Farm this year with time as the main goal.

My previous PR was 16:21 timed from this little creek. It was an archaic place to start the clock, so I've move the starting point to a more suitable location, the Kiosk at the bottom of the trail which is about 45seconds-1minute back from this creek.

My goal was 17:20 to match this previous PR. That was set in July. So I'd had several months of good riding beyond the Off-season training. We are at May now and I'm about 1 month behind compared to last year.

I hit the track knowing that the bottom has to be taken slow. Too hard and it's all over. I 'tried' to go slow, the gearing showed I was going slow, but the heartrate, burn, and heavy feeling in the legs indicated I was not.

Took my Ipod today. The music helped the time flow. Just tried to keep it steady. I walked certain sections judiciously. Trying to clean them would take me over the redline too much making me go slower.


I was pretty stoked considering that I didn't feel like I was riding that well at all. During the previous PR I felt like I was flying. Really staying on top of the gear and just ticking over the cadence.

Plus it is at the end of a 3week block, and it still early in the year. So all those things combined say that I'm doing well. Though I'm still riding in a vacuum. Not done any race or group road hammer fests. It easy to be #1 when riding alone.

My technical skills seemed a little off. Timing just seemed wrong. Though I did ride down this one switchback on Sidewinder for the first time in my life. So that is a +

One more hard day tomorrow, then forced rest.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Going Global

I recently wrote a short article on basic block training at the Biking Hub

I guess a German Mountain bike site requested permission to translate it and publish it on their web site. I'll post it if it happens.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Better Ride Level 2 clinic: Richmond VA June 2-4

Just a FYI

Gene Hamilton is holding a Level 2 clinic in Richmond, VA on June 2-4. He needs a minimum # to hold the clinic and there is still room. I'm going to attend if it's a go.

Here is info on the camp

And here is the write up I did on my private lesson last year:

Training front

Training is going so-so.

Last thursday I did a 3hr road ride and tried to push it. I expected to ride better but as long as it hurt I guess that is a success. At one point I was crawling up this steep climb and was about to get off and check my rear tire pressure. That isn't a good sign.

The next day I did 2hrs on Brush mtn, again, trying to push it. It hurt too. Again not a stellar ride, but successful to go two days back to back.

Easy Sunday and Monday and I tried today to do some MSP/SMSP. It didn't go so well.

This is the third week of a block and those two rides Thurs/Fri were really my first stab at full length hard training rides. It's going to take a little transition to get used to that again.

Plus I think that I would probably do better with 2 week blocks followed by a 4day rest block instead of the 3week blocks with a 5-6day rest period. I just don't think I've got the recovery ability.

I've also been commuting more. The problem with commuting is that I seem ride at the no-man's land pace. Too hard to be recovery, but not hard enough to do any good. I just can't commute around town at a snail's pace. When I commute it's always defensive riding and I seem to push it a little.

Plus lately I haven't been eating that much. Which isn't a good thing. I've lost a few more pounds over the past 5 months. I had this goal of getting to 130 or under, but I am not sure if that is optimal for me.

Racing is always my goal that keeps me going, but there haven't been too many to do that have fit into my schedule. Massanutten is June 4. But there is a chance I might go to Better Ride's Level 2 Camp in Richmond.

I've gotten so much out of that skills lesson I took several months ago that this level 2 camp would be another investment into my riding.

Nothing confirmed yet.