Thursday, June 30, 2005

Music to motivate

Just cashed in an itunes card from my sister. Blasts from the past some new stuff. All good trainer or time trial music. Sometimes the old stuff is pretty slow and tame compared to today's pop punk, but the beat is actually more realistic for riding race pace as opposed to 1-2min interval pace.

One of my favortite bands growing up was Stiff Little Fingers. The itunes store had NOTHING of their old stuff, just a new album released on 2003-Guitar and Drum

WOW it rocks. I bought the whole album.

Other stuff I got included:
Christmas-the Who
Baba O Riley -the Who

Where were you when the storm broke and 68 Guns - The Alarm
I think big hair like that would make me ride faster.

Kids and Heroes and a bunch others from - The Bouncing Souls

In the City - The Jam

Dougy Giro - Toy Dolls

History of the world pt 1 - The Damned

Lost in the Supermarket - The Clash

Shoot the Moon - Face to Face

I was(and still am) such a closet punk in highschool. Which is pretty funny given that I was a total geek, bookworm, etc...

Dig that groove baby! Rock on

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The most fun you can have riding in a circle

Dirt crit recap:

Had 3 people yesterday for the dirt crit. Though there was no dirt yesterday, just a gravel/grass circuit. Very non-technical which contrary to what you'd think made it much harder than the previous course that had some single track in it. With tight single track and downhills you have to back off in order to not pinball into a tree which gives you some recovery. With an 'easy' track there is hardly any recovery and you're on the edge the whole time.

No one threw up, so that prize is still up for grabs. But I felt the Pibb Extra I'd had at noon, 5 hours before.

Teresa 'Hey we have one more lap' Martinez and Royce 'Shame on me for not taking care of my mountain bike' Jacomen showed up on their hardtail Gunnars. My 8speed rigid hardtail BREW rounded out the Steel is real party. Though there were plenty of times I was wishing for my new dual suspension. The grass track was surprisingly rough on the backside.

After two parade laps we hit it.

We started on the flat section of gravel

Then we hit a short section of grass before this grassy switchback. The trick was to keep it in a high enough gear and not brake, as soon as you made the turn, stand up and pedal out to the corner before you fall over from the sharp turn


This lead into the GRUNT.


Doesn't look like much but oh man, try hitting it in the red over and over. Tough to find the right gear with the grass. With the rigid fork, it seemed best to stand through it, once I stayed seated and it didn't feel much better.

Tough choice here. Hit the grunt hard and then die on the other end, or reserve a little to roll over the top and grab a few cogs on the other side. It didn't really matter after awhile because it hurt just as bad either way.

The top of the grunt offered a tiny bit of recovery, but not really because to truly ride yourself into the ground you needed to grab some cogs and push a big gear down and up into the next rise

A tight chicane that could save you a few seconds if you laid off the brakes led into the downhill. All 5 seconds of it. Oh time to relax. Ahhhh

Sharp right back on the gravel and repeat until nausea.

I had the mp3 player going with some punk but I'm not quite sure what good it did. 1 lap at a reasonable pace to get the body shocked into go mode, then hit it a little harder. Royce paced off me the first lap, than passed and I drafted off him as best I could.
Somewhere on the second lap I passed and tried to gap.

The heat was stifling, but the clouds cover increased to help cool things off a little. The best motivation for going fast was the cloud of gnats that would swarm you if your speed dropped below a certain point. We were all going as hard was we could. Huffing and puffing. The visibility of the course helped motivated to try and catch someone, or keep someone from catching you.

Somewhere 15+ minutes into it I look back and didn't see Royce as expected. On the road I looked up to the grass climb and saw him holding something up in his hand. I thought it was his rear der. as he said it was bent and ready to go into the spokes at any moment. Kept on going and caught up to him walking with his left crankarm in one hand!

The format is 20mins + finish the lap you are on then 2 more laps. At the 20min+1 lap point I stopped to talk with Royce conveniently forgetting my last lap. T. comes around the corner saying that there is one more lap to go. Darn. I was hoping to forget about that. Finished the last lap with T and finally stopped. The second I stopped I was covered in sweat dripping off my face.

take care of your bike Royce!

Gunnar reunion

Hopefully we'll get more people out for these. Just cannot emphasize enough how much fun riding in a circle can be. There is no better training than this kind of thing, as unless you have the motivation of Lance it's hard to push yourself into the dead zone without some company.

Monday, June 27, 2005

It's like a garden

My wife was hassling me the other night as I was in the garage yet again working on the bikes. Are you working on your bike again? Well, duh. I'll admit it has been a bit excessive lately as I'm trying to get a brand new bike dialed in, and it's a slow, itterative process.

But even without having to set up a new bike, true bike geeks are always working on their bikes. Always fixing things that have come loose, or stretched or broken, or worn out, always tweaking to get the most out of things.

It's kind of like a garden. You don't just throw some seeds on the ground and then expect to get squash in a few weeks. If you don't constantly tend it you'll end up with weeds and crab grass. And when you go riding with other people it is pretty easy to pick out the guys who don't tend their gardens. They are always the ones breaking down on the side of the trail, skipping gears on a climb. Shaking headset, loose pedals, pinging spokes, and on and on.

Sure plenty of things happen on the trail in terms of mechanicals but there are always those dudes who's bike is one thread away from disintegration. In my very formative years of mountain biking I went on a ride with a fool who helped burn into my mind the importance of bike upkeep. I met this guy outside the bookstore at UC Davis. I had my brand new KHS Montana XT and was fussing over something, and saw his bike and noticed some Ritchey red brake pads and asked him about them. He looked like a real mountain biker well I guess more real then me. He said that he and his buddies were going for a ride at Rockvile park. Like driving somewhere to a real trail. Would I like to go along.

OMG, I mean yes, of course, but I'm not that good..yada yada. I was an impressionable person than as I am now. I messed with my bike for an hour b4 going over there and was 20mins early. He and his roommate drove out there with their helmets on and smoking pot and I rode with another friend of theirs. He was a sponsored duathalete. He had a Schwinn KOM in team colors. I was hanging on every word he said.

On the ride we were climbing this rocky sort of track and the dude I'd originally met at the bookstore was skipping gears something fierce. Every pedal stroke..ka chunk, ka chunk. Um can you say stretched chain on a worn cassette. Or new chain on an old cassette. I was behind him and surprised that I was riding much stronger than him especially with his gear issues. So he ka chunks one final time, gets off his bike screaming and picks his bike up and hucks it. I mean over his head and throws it off the trail. WWF wrestling meets mountain biking. There are rocks everywhere.

My jaw was on the ground. I could not believe it. I'd been developing my anal bike habits and obsessed over my bike like I do to this day. Rolling up paper towels into small points and cleaning between the chain links one at a time. And to see this guy diss his bike by chucking it like that was beyond my comprehension.

After he retreived his bike with dings and a bent wheel and we worked on it to get it rideable at least, I dropped him like a bad habit and rode with the other guy. Never ever treat your bike like that. It's ok to get mad sometimes, but don't disrespect it like that. Treat it well and it will treat you well. Tend you garden.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Get some protein with those carbs


Waffles with some protein. Not bad tasting.

My sister talked to an endocrinologist and she suggested that she might be Insulin resistant. I checked out this book at BN.

The gist of it is that some people have a particular problem in dealing with insulin release in their body. This issue manifests itself in several ways: having a hard time losing weight, fat around the stomach, type II diabetes, hypoglycemia symptoms...All of which I have or people in my family have.

The solution according to the book is linking and balancing carbs and protein. It's something my wife, how has a masters in nutrition has suggested to in the past to me and something that I have succesfully been doing for the past few years after I started bonking from just eating cereal then riding into work. Adding an eggwhite, sausage or other protein has helped. But the book is providing a better understanding of the ratio of carb to protein.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Reverse threads in your daily life

Raise your hand if you've ever tightened your pedals or BB cups when you wanted to loosen them... If you didn't know and you SHOULD know this, one pedal and one BB cup is reverse threaded. Meaning Lefty tighty, righty loosey. Don't even quote me on this as I screw it up almost EVERY time I work on these parts, and I had a cheat sheet written down somewhere but lost it. I think it is the Right BB cup and the left Pedal. Like I said, DO NOT take my word for it.

But how often do you see reverse threads in regular life. Here is one that I totally was NOT expecting.

A toilet lever. The lock ring that holds the lever to the tank is reverse threaded. After thinking about it for a while it makes sense given the direction which you press the lever to flush. If it wasn't reverse threaded every press would work towards loosening the unit.

When removing the old lever I didn't know about the threading issue and totally stripped out the lock ring. The whole thing ring, and threads were all plastic and they ended up just shredding. had to hack saw it off. Got one with metal threads and lockring this time. But in a few years when I go to take it off how am I going to remember that it is reverse threaded?

Oh another one I came across recently. My friends Sears weed eater. To access the compartment that houses the string require unscrewing a bolt that is reverse threaded. Of course it is clearly labeled on the unit which way to unscrew to open it, but that didn't do a whole heck of lot of good for two real men who ended up spending 1/2hr trying to figure it out.


Monday, June 20, 2005

An unfashionable blast from the past

My friend Ajax emailed me out of the blue. He had some old pictures in a box that he scanned onto his web page for me. I had ridden across the country with some friends about 13 years ago or something like that. We rode on two tandems an a smarter person on a single, fully loaded. 7 weeks. Got some good stories from that trip. I still have the jersey pictured though it is in tatters in sleeveless now with holes in the pockets and the zipper is busted. These were taken in Whitefish Montana in 1992

I could not believe how dorky the helmets were that we wore. And those sun glasses! I think I'm more fashionable now but that isn't saying much I guess.


Check out all that crap that we hauled on that tandem. It was like driving a camper. Climbing the mountains of Washington and then again in PA were something else. Surprisingly few mechanicals. Some flats, several sets of tires, brake pads. A disintegrated wheel. Many more interpersonal issues than bike stuff!

For the rest of the series check here Bike trip

Back home

Well 1 week gone, back home now. It is so good to see my family again and be back home. Though this morning the kids were at their usual antics and getting breakfast on the table for the little one was a chore in patience.

I want this (pointing to chocolate sauce and whip cream). Uh, no. 1/2 an hour later he finally picks his cereal out. And I gotta say that for a second I was starting to get pissed, but then realized that this is exactly what I was missing when away.

My Dad is doing wonderfully. They finished up his back surgery on Friday, and he took 4 steps with a walker on Sat, and on Sunday he walked around the nurses station in the ICU with the walker. They are moving him out of ICU and to a regular floor and then to a spine rehab facility. His heart is doing awesome and the surgeon thinks that it is better now than it was before he even went into the back surgery. It's like the $6million dollar man. New heart, new back.

Such a blessing in disguise to have found out about his heart condition in the process of this back surgery, but so much better this way then having a heart attack hit him out of the blue.

He's quite an inspirational person to me with all the diversity and hurdles he has had to overcome in his life. It would make quite a made for TV movie. The rehab to come is something that he will eat up and surprise all the doctors with his determination and fortitude.

Took the redeye in Sat night. Hardly slept at all. A couple in the adjacent aisle joined the Mile High Club..for real. I almost bust out laughing it was funny. I thought for sure they'd get busted by the stewardess.

It was nice to make it home on Father's day. Got a short ride in to try and get my legs back. Still working on the getting used to the dually. The stem is too short so the steering is real quick and I can't get enough weight on the front wheel. Got a 5$ special stem today to try out.

Trying to get back in the right timezone, I could have slept for several more hours this morning but the kids wouldn't have it.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Shoulda paid more attention in school

It can be rare that anything you learned in school is ever required in your daily life, especially with regards to cycling. But when it comes to bike fit and figuring out which stem you need to get you a certain reach to the bar or drop from your saddle to bars, a little geometry can go a long way. When it comes to figuring out the rise/reach for different stems on different frames you might be wishing you didn't fall asleep so much in geometry class.

Things would be easy if everything were at 90degree angles, but they are not. You've got the head angle of your frame. Usually 73 for road bikes and 71 for mountain bikes. Then you have the angle of the stem. Note that the stem goes on top of the fork steerer tube that is sticking in your head tube that is at the angle just mentioned. So if you wanted your stem to be horizontal like the cool looking racers then you actually need a stem with a -17 rise (assuming a 73 head tube of a road bike)

Most mountain bike stems have 5 or 6 degree rises but there are 15-20 degree rises as well.

You need to know two things, the reach and the rise. Reach is the horizontal length of the stem, it is not the actual length of the stem, because you have to factor in the stem angle and the head tube angle. It's all a bunch of triangles.

Here is a sweet little chart/picture that helps a ton, courtesy of
Habenero Cycles


If you want to calculate it on your own you can do this
Reach = COS (90degrees + stem rise - head angle)

One thing I'll always remember from Mr. Williams math class.

To be said like an American Indian Warrior with spear held high.

Sine= Opposite over Hypotenuse
Cosine = Adjacent over Hypotenuse
Tangent = Opposite over Adjacent

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Trival training

Back to the bikes

With impending travel and time off the bike, I tried to hit it hard before the trip.
Thrus-2hr hard road ride
Fri-took the rigid 8speed out to the pond. Hoping to ride hard enough to cramp. Figure with weds, thurs on the legs it won't take more than an hour esp in the heat and humidity.

The rigid was surprisingly fun to ride. The Kona project to is almost compliant for a rigid fork, granted I didn't go down any rough stuff.

3 laps of the Royale climb then back on the fire road. Legs are hurting, but come the 3rd lap they actually feel better than when I started. darn, have to stay out here longer
-Go to old gap trail and then come back on the gap side to the fire road. Still no cramps in sight
-another lap of Royale climb

-Then climb up the sidewinder fire road, told myself if I don't cramp on that than I have to climb all the way up the single track to the top of brush. Only have a 34 middle ring and 8 in the back, no granny to bail on.

No cramps so climb to the top.
Doable, but legs just die in some spots and have to push.
get to the top go to horsetrail, go as far down as the bikes are allowed and turn around and climb back up. By this time I am having trouble seeing str8 and I'm making funny noises. Add some casio tone techno music and it be out of an 80s porno.

Make it back to the car and am just standing there outside the car. 1000 yard stare into space. Worked. Beat. soaked in sweat.
Muscle cramps ellude me yet again, but I was close. I think If the legs were stronger I probably would have had it in me to push hard in order to cramp.

Built the dually up. Rode it sat up Old farm and then back down. Fun, interesting, lots of dialing in to do. Gotta relearn how to ride a bike again. It's got it's pluses and minuses. Coming down had my first Stan's failure. Cut in the tire that didn't seal. Messy flat change. when I get the position dialed in, man I can see how I am going to fly on the downhills. Was it me who was talking about throwing money at things to make them better. Well I take it back, it is no wonder people crave more and more travel.

Real lreal ife

Life has a way of getting in the way of the cycling life we live in our BLOGs. Work, kids, spouses, etc. But sometimes real real life comes knocking too. Puts a lot of the little things that dominate my daily thinking into perspective, yet also has highlighted how mtn bike racing is saving my life.

My Dad has had a really bad back forever. He decides to pursue reconstructive back sugery, so I was planning on coming out to CA today to help out my mom. It's amazing the amount of pain he has endured on a daily basis. The doctors can't believe he is able to walk given how extensive his damage is. It's amazing the things that people endure on a regular basis, yet in my cycling life I think I'm hot shit for riding till I cramp or at least try to cramp.

I want to be out there to give support yet at the same time in the back of my mind I'm trying to figure out how I'll be able to get some training in to keep the legs from rigor mortising away. Sad, but tell me you wouldn't be thinking the same thing?

They start the surgery yesterday, then halfway through they stop it because of an anomoly in the EKG. So they run some enzyme tests to see what happened and all come up negative. Then they run them again a little while later and it shows some damage to the heart. Not an actual heart attack, but still damage. So they decide to do a full angiogram with the dye and all to see the extent of what happened in order to finish the back surgery.

3 discs shot to hell, and they only finished with one, and the back is not stabilized now and they have to finish or risk serious injury to the spinal cord.

Good news /bad news. Angiogram shows no discernable damage to the heart to correlate to the EKG anomoly they saw during the surgery, Bad news is that his coronary arteries are showing 99.9 blockage. Within an hour of the results of the angiogram they got him signed up or a Coronary bypass surgery, it is that bad. They kind of thing where he'd be dead in 6 mos if they hadn't have found it. But with just coming off the halfway back surgery and his other medical issues his risk factors for this surgery go up.

So last night late they do the bypass surgery. Can't freaking believe my brother and mom didn't call at all. So all night I'm up worrying what is going on and without any news think only the worst. They were thinking that if it was bad news that they'd call me, and that they didn't want to bother me during the night. I was already on the earliest flight out today anyway. Finally reach my brother and they ended up doing a full quadruple bypass on him. And he is recovering ok, but the next 48 hrs are the most important.

Sort of hits home how trivial disc brakes and fork tuning and hill repeats are. Yet at the same time, also hits home how my cycling lifestyle is helping to keep my healthy and will hopefully keep me alive and well so my kids and wife don't have to deal with my bypass surgery.

Mom's side of the family, 2 heart attacks before 50, another death from heart attack. Dad's side, total heart blockage yet without any telltale factors, smoking, overweight, etc. Can you say genetics. The lack of cycling genetics that I have are more than covered with bad heart genetics.

I was a overweight before I started riding. Ate like crap. If it wasn't for my wife I'd still eat like crap. If it wasn't for racing and the desire to get better at it, I wouldn't be doing a whole lot for fitness. I know because when I stopped racing when the kids were young I didn't do a whole lot. It was too easy to just not ride that day when other things come up. My wife is much better able to ride/excercise well with no competition to drive it, but for me I need that to help motivate me.

My brother and sister don't excercise like I do. The writing is on the wall and it isn't good.

Even with the cycling I need to get my diet under control. I'm waiting on the NSF study about the link between heart disease and Reese's before I totally give them up, but burgers and fries need to go. That is going to be hard.

He's still got the second half of the back surgery to go through so still one more bridge to cross.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Achey knees

Not sure why but over the last few weeks my knees have been achey after rides. Not too tender like an overuse. My god how could I get an overuse injury given the low hours ridden? But some tenderness and low level ache. Nothing has changed position wise on the road bike. On mtb been messing around with pedals. Hope it is nothing to worry about.

Icing helps as does Ibuprofen.

Saw this in the Roadbike Rider Newsletter
"As much as I like ibuprofen, there's something better. I had my knee scoped in January. The surgeon said that he could write a prescription for an anti-inflammatory, but Alleve is exactly the same drug. His advice: Ignore the dosage on the box and take two Alleve instead. That would be the equivalent of the prescription dosage for a much lower cost. The cutter was right. Alleve is a great drug for swelling as well as pain. My wife complains that it's slow -- it takes her an hour to feel any effects (no cracks) -- but it works much quicker for me." -- Andy L.

Power to the (short) people

I am shall we say on the vertically challenged side of things. In cycling it really isn't that big a deal like it is in basketball or volleyball. Yet why does it seem like all the cool cyclists are built like gazelles, tall, svelte and with hair dos that make me want to cash in my 401k for Rogaine.

On a day to day basis height isn't really any kind of factor in life, yet over the years it has contributed to my healthy level of angst. So it was nice to see this story about a recent winner at the Dauphine
Euro Sport article

Samual Dumoulin

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Pain does not discriminate

Been so focused and bike geeked out lately: breaking down one frame and parting it out for sale, moving parts over from one to another, transforming one from scrounged parts, overhauling BBs, overhauling forks, and on and on to infinitum. I've been forgetting about what got me back into this stuff.

Got on the trainer this morning, trying to remember how to go hard. Found the grimace. That face that you hope doesn't stay permanent after you're done. It wasn't a great workout, but at least I was getting close to recalling what it felt like to push.

Pain does not play favorites. It is going to hurt regardless of what bike you ride, how much it costs, or whatever cool parts you've got on it. Gotta remember that when I get so focused on other things.

I am hoping to hold this motivation for a few days before I've got to travel and be sedentary for a few days.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Art of the jury rig

Converted the hardtail over to 8speed 1x8 rigid.

Required ebay scores and scrounging the parts bin and some creative thinking.

Kona Project 2 $30 ebay suspension corrected.

Ritchey 2x9 right shifter. This is one of those quirky things that was designed for a very very niche application. You can take an 8speed cassette and add a dished cog (not exactly sure what that means) to it to make it 9speed but with the index spacing of 8 speed. So it works fine stand alone with a regular 8 speed cassette. But I just saw these for $6.00
to work with ESP der. or these
to work with Shimano rear der. $10 for the front/rear set

Oh, Gold Answer Pro taper bar. From several years ago.


105 rear der, from many years ago. Yes it will work with a mtn bike cassette, just gets a little strained that's all


Really weird Sugino Impel crankset that I got on ebay last year for $15. I moved everything over to 170s last year and got this for the commuter. Was expecting a basic 94/58 Compact drive crankset and didn't look close enough at the pictures of this. Really funky rings and goofy hole pattern. Took off granny, and big ring and just put the middle 34t on. Crank bolts come out through the front.


In the smallest cog there isn't a whole lot of chain tension and the chain comes off when shifting down. Put on the old 105 front der from years ago as a chain guide, and it works like a charm. It is wide enough that the chain doesn't rub across the entire cassette. Maybe just a tiny bit in the smallest cog.

The drop to the bar is just a little more than the orignal set up using an older stem, that didn't allow enough spacers when fitting it on the fork. But it feels really good. Was just a blast commuting on. Will try it off road sometime.

Going to take my sweet slow time building up the dually so I don't screw it up. This will be nice to have ready to roll for training here and there. Plus it will be nice to have to keep me honest out on the trail now and then, to relearn how to pick that line that probably will disappear with the dual.


Built up the hardtail into a rigid rocket. Took out the Stan's No Tubes and put tubes back in the tires and pumped them up to 50psi. Something about riding a mountain bike on the road with the tires pumped up. I was flying. Maybe it was a Feeling fast vs being fast kind of thing. But it was a ton of fun commuting home today.

I'm just a flat/riser bar kind of guy. Still love my road bike, but for boot scooting around town, commuting, hopping curbs, even took some back roads in and just had a ball. One of my favorite things on group mtn bikes long ago was pacelining on the road on the mountain bikes when we had to hit the asphalt to get to the next trail.

But was just in the garage. and What do you know flat tire on the front. First flat I can recall in a LONG time.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Kick A** birthday

It was my birthday yesterday. 37years old. I don't feel old. Like David Lee Roth said in Hot for Teacher, "I don't feel tardy"

My wonderful wife got a cabin for 2 days at Douthat State Park. Usually they only rent for a full week but there were some cancellations and we got it for the weekend. It rocked. Had a screened in porch, cinder block structure. Blocked a lot of noise which was nice, as we had some colorful neighbors. The south-west-virginia Hip Hop connection was staying down the road with some booming bass and some screaming fests in the road.

Here is my trusty steed guarding the door at night. This will be the last you see of it in this setup. It's going to a rigid 1 or 2x8 setup starting tonight.

Never quite understood the southern-hip-hop-connection. I wonder if it is a similar phenomena to the Rock-Wrestling connection of the 80's with Cindy Lauper and Captain Lou Alabano and Rowdy Roddy Piper. Mind you, I'm not judging, I'm just making fun. I was all caught up in the rock-wrestling connection back then too. I loved and hated Rowdy Roddy Piper at the same time.

Douthat is such an awesome place. I rode Fri for 1:30 and Sat for 2:30. Did some trails I'd never done before and some others that I've only done one direction. The trails were a little wet and the rocks/roots were slippery so I didn't pull and technical marvels as getting hurt out there bymyself was not high on my list.

Douthat Lake has a little beach that we hit. How many places can you go ride to the top of a mountain and then later go to the beach.

Did some hiking and tried to teach my wife and son how to skip rocks. Started to throw out my arm which I finished off later on Sunday trying to start my crapped out weed eater.

Here is that suspension bridge that we had to carry our bikes over in that race I cramped in. Gee which one do you mean, you cramp in them all.

No wonder I have shoulder problems

At the beach we rented a paddle boat and toured the lake. Those things are hella hard to steer. To an observer we looked like we just spilt a 6pack zig zagging down the road. Next time I am going to rent one of these

we saw one dude on one, He was hauling. Swap out pedals for some SPDs and get a decent seat and we are talking serious knots here.

New timeout procedures


Just sitting on the bench isn't working. I wonder if this will. (Seriously he did this on his own under supervision, so don't go calling child welfare, they were already out here once this week)

Know your limitations

One should know their limitations based on their skills and intelligence quotient. There are two things that I am not qualified to own.

1) a roof rack for a garage kept vehicle

2) a gas powered weed eater that uses a gas/oil mixture
-I think I just killed a second one. I try to mix it right, I try to not use an old mixture. I really do. Killed one few years ago, then spent more to get a good one. And this one isn't starting. I think I need one of those old lady electric ones and a long extension cord.

Maybe if I ate more French fried potaters like that dude in sling blade things might be different.

But hey I try to be more glass is half full than half empty, how many people know how to overhaul a suspension fork?

Friday, June 03, 2005

If it ain't broke don't fix it

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Noble sentiments for sure. But in the world of bike geekdom it seldom holds true for very long. Every year we are inundated with the new word in cool at the Interbike show. It's always changing and it isn't long before we can justify anything in terms of getting something new.

Sure there are many holdouts and there are still some rigid hardtail riders with cantilever brakes, 150mm stems, toe clips, and 8 speed thumbshifters. But let's face it those guys are few and far between and most of us get new stuff long before we need it.

Though one component I have has not been changed out in over 8 years. With the exception of some routine bearing changes, my Real Designs. Crankcase bottom brackets continue to operate flawlessley.
Maybe it is the out of sight out of mind thing. And unless the bearings get play in them or have stiction than the BB is totally forgotten. I've got one Ti one for my race bike and two cro-mo ones for my other bike and my wife's bike.

I just love them. It's fun changing bearings. Get the ball peen hammer and the vice out. Tap out the bearing from the cup..tap..tap..tap..tap, turn axle over and tap axle off bearing...tap..tap..tap. repeat for other side, reverse process to re-install. You have to be careful installing the cups as they are soft aluminum. The age old hook-spanner will work but it is easy to strip out the slots. Use the Park BBT-8 for better grip on them. If you're careful putting in the bearings and use good ones there is no reason that the axle will ever wear out, unless you don't torque down the crankset well enough, But you'd probably screw up your crankset before the axle.

Real Designs was one of the boutique mtb component manufacturers that went under. They have been reincarnated into a boutique road component manufacturer. Oh joy, like the world really needs another carbon road fork, or tricked out aero road wheel. their new stem is cool looking. But I wish they'd come back into the mountain bike component business. Their brake levers are sweet too.

One trick if you've got a Ti axle and it makes some serious noises when you are installing it on your bearings. Lubricate it with Blue loctite. Counterintuituve, yes, but the tech guy at Real turned me onto this trick and it works like a charm.

The whole Isis-splined thing hasn't been gnawing at me. I speculate that I am so light that there isn't going to be a signinficant advantage to the new style of spindle. Though I've never ridden one so can't be sure. So square taper continues to be fine for me.

But don't let me stop you from getting some cool tricked out component just because you 'need' one.

Not all bearings are the same

Chances are if you run a sealed bearing bottom bracket that you are using a 6903 bearing. Many sealed bearings for full suspension linkages also run the 6903 and even some wheels do. They are readily available from many sources and ranges from cheap cheap to higher end SKF, ABI. Actually the cheap cheap ones are still pretty good. But the price difference between the cheap ones and higher end ones isn't too bad if you are buying a few here and there. Like a buck or two difference.

One you may not have heard of is the ENDURO MAX bearing.
Made by ABI Industries

6903 2RS which I think means that is has two seals on it.

It is slightly different in that it runs more ball bearings so the load is more distributed among the bearings.
regular 6903 on Left, Enduro MAX on right

The weight difference is 1gram so inconsequential. Available through any QBP dealer.

One trick you can do if you want to cut down on drag is to remove the seal that is going to be on the inside of the BB shell. It won't see as much dirt/water as the one facing the outside, but it won't last as long.

Fleeting motivation

Having a hard time motivating. Not even an issue about time. Had time yesterday mornnig for a trainer ride (raining) but just couldn't motivate. It takes a lot to get into the mode to work hard. A conundrum for a time challenged athlete. Got time but no motivation. Is that worse than no time but lots of motivation?

What happened to that burning fire I had earlier this year. With no races and lots of little things on the mind it can be hard. Recovery weeks also can mentally take a toll on motivation. Each day of easy or no riding builds upon the next for negative momentum, but you gotta have the easy weeks to offset the hard work.

Oh well, things will settle down a little and I'll have a new bike setup which will add to the motivation.

Just started reading 23days in July about Lance's last tour. Just in the first few pages it is so apparent the ultra focus and motivation he's got. He might not be my favorite person and say what you want about him, but his burning focus and desire is an inspiration to push harder.

Hats off to all you amateur and pro alike who can stay focused and motivated day in and day out.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Little things make a difference

Amazing how tiny little changes on the bike can make a difference. My reach set screws on my brake levers have been backing out slightly over the past few weeks, and I keep forgetting to reset them. I tend to bad finger brake with the index finger resting on the lever, or full two finger brake when needed and like the lever to rest right in the crook of the middle finger.

With the reach screw backing out the lever was just slightly out of reach and it was screwing me up on the downhill.

That and my fork is acting up a little. The SPV valve is sticky and it makes it harder to activate the fork. Throws off the timing for loading and then lofting the front wheel. Been tinkering with it
and have 2005 Evolve valve in the mail. Full write up and comparison on some different SPV configurations to follow.

Even superman gets the muscle cramps

Saw this over at JK's sight.
Chris E. race report

Man, if HE can get muscle cramps I don't feel so bad anymore. I still get so confused over the issues related to cramping. Not enough water. Too much water. Dehydration, Hyponatria. I guess there is reason that there is no definitive answer for muscle cramps.

I'm waiting on some ELETE samples to test out, based on Jeff Kerkove's assesment of them they might be a magic bullet. I've tried Endurolytes a lot and they didn't totally stop the cramping. But since electrolyte imbalance has been linked to muscle cramps they can't hurt. So the ELETE probably isn't going to be a negative either. I like the fact that is is liquid form and will mix right into the water. Endurolytes did not mix very well, and trying to take the pills during a race was hard.

On the end of a recovery cycle than going on a trip to Douthat with the family. Next week will try another cramp ride too see if I've got the guts to suffer into transcendence as Bob Roll and Sue Haywood say.