Friday, September 30, 2005

More DW link goodness from Ibikes

Ride 24 coverage

Has some nice pics of the IF DW link and the Azure


More here: Ibis Blog

5.5" at 5.8lbs for frame/shock. Amazing. Not sure what to make of the carbon. Looks wicked, but I think I'd destroy it given my talents for destruction w/o trying.

I'm torn between what is my dream bike right now.

*The IF is too cost prohibitive, even for dreams!!*

Iron Horse Azure with 3.5" of rear travel

or the Ibis

of course the Ibis is more chi chi, but I'm talking about matching the design to the application. The application being Brush Mountain. Rough trails, technical singletrack, lengthy climbs, some long downhills, rock gardens, some fire road. Basically the works.

Is 5.5" too much for all around? But on climbs the weight isn't going to be the slowing factor, it would be loss of efficiency to suspension travel. climbing up the rock gardens, I think 5.5" would be a little too much. But how much would the DW link offset that?

3.5" is it enough for the roughness of Brush. For the Beast. The Hollowpoint in 3.75" does pretty darn well on Beast. Not as well as the 4.75mode. But well enough to make it a viable option especially when speed from an XC race perpsective.

I'll keep lobbying for the 4.5" DW link with sub 5.5lbs frame/shock weight.

According to plan-10 days on the dot

Things seem to be according to the peaking plan.

I did a mini-overreach of 3 days on 9/24, 9/25 and 9/26. Historically, it has taken around 10 days for the legs to really come around and start to feel good. I rest for a time and then start training again after those 3 days, but the legs are just not there for usually 7-10 days.

This really messes with your mind. Riding the same roads/trails at 1-2gears lower than normal, yet feeling the same. Not a real confidence builder.

But almost always a day comes where the legs just turn around and just click over like it is nothing.

Yesterday was that day. 10 days on the dot after the end of the over reach.

Went out to Old farm. Drove out, no warmup, and with a baked Ziti from Fazolli's sitting in my stomach like a brick. Rode up it just to get the legs going. Hardly went out of the granny. Sections I'd middle I was grannying, sections I'd big I was in the middle. The ziti didn't feel good in the stomach. Legs just spinning. Just ticking.

30seconds shy of my PR. Imagine if I'd had a warmup, and there was no Ziti in my stomach.

Going down was another story. I think the higher SPV pressure in the shock made the rear act weird, esp out of the saddle. It felt like the tire was too flat, but I checked it several times. The trail is SO loose with lots of small rocks on top of hardpack. Real sketch.

Of course I then spent 2hrs trying to air up a new rear tire. It never did air up with the Stans valve stem, so I drilled the rim and put in the Olymipic rim strip and it finally aired up. Not impressed with the valve stem method. Works for a lot of people but not me. I'd rather take the weight hit with the rim strip for the added reliability.

Rear rotor still dragging.
Middle ring replaced with Race Face. Shifts better but still not great. I think my BB spindle is too short. Maybe it is time to move on up to the splined BB world?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Did I not predict Orange to be the cool color

Did I predict Orange to be cool for 2006 or not?

And OMG how can you get any cooler than Ibis returning from the ashes. And of course the prediction of carbon being big was a gimmee, but a carbon-Ibis with-----> Oh yes...Licensed DW Link Suspension

This bike and the Independent Fabrication's tungsten Electrode are zeroing in one what I'd consider the perfect bicycle.

That bike would fit the moniker aggresive XC to a T.

-4.5" of rear travel
-DW link efficiency in pedaling
-Light weight: 5-5.5lbs frame/shock.

Basically my Hollowpoint on a diet. The Giant Anthem is light no doubt but the rear travel is pure XC at 3". The Azure is getting there with 3.5" rear travel. The Ibis is going for the trail segment with 5.5", and the IF is getting there with 4" in the rear.

I think it is really cool to see some very well respected and chi-chi names allying themselves with the DW link suspension. Those guys wouldn't willy nilly risk their company reputation on a system that wouldn't live up to their standards.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Someone Huger than me

Go Clipless has been dealing out some carnage at the Interbike Expo. I wonder if there was as sign at the booth where he got the bike that said: You break it, you buy it!

Thanks Hammer

Hammer Gel-Ecaps really came through for our race. We had a mix up with some sponsorship stuff at our end, and Carole at Hammer came through big time for us sending expedited product samples and prizes.

Thanks so much guys.



Just saw over at BREW that Steve Garn is Offering a frame building class

BREW built my first custom steel hardtail way back more than 10 years ago, and my wife's and my current hardtail. Over the past few years he has been doing more OEM BMX bikes and customized motorcycles.

I've always dreamed of building a frame. My road bike is a custom Richard Moon

With very nice Nervex lugs

Most framebuilding classes and books are based around Lugged construction:

Classes that I've seen available are very expensive but you end up with a custom frame would normally cost a little less than the whole class.

United Bicycle School is probably the largest school, and they teach lugged and tig. Titanium as well for advanced students.

Yamaguchi also teaches classes. I think he was the last custom builder to build bikes for the US national team.

For the DIY there are lots of resources to get yourself started.

The only real book in publication right now is The Paterek Manual

There is the frame builders email list serv that is searchable. Just don't be a noob and sign up and then immediately post. Hi, I am so and so and I want to make a frame please tell me how. Just spend about a year searching through the archives.

There is also a more modern Forum for frame building here:

Frame Forum But it doesn't get the kind of traffic that the email list serv gets. The list serv has a lot of history behind it and hence more momentum.

you can find all sorts of links to BLOGS of people making their own stuff. This on is particularly good from a woman that just up and made her own frame with no instruction. Just good old research and hands on.
Suzy Jackson

I am torn at the moment about how I'd like to approach it. I know myself well enough that if I get into something it almost always ends up being whole hog. I've got a full woodworking shop down in the basement that has been sitting idle as I realize that I'm just not into woodworking much anymore.

For the past year, I've been whole hog on bikes. Racing, riding, working on them, BLOGging. And you know that is about ALL I've got time for.

But what am I going to do with another bike? And if I really get in to building I'd have to build at least 20 before I'd be qualified to sell them. Maybe I should nip this on in the bud before it morphs into a life of its own and I get a shipment of Oxy Acetelene tanks arriving at my front door.

I'm also torn right now between the aesthetics of Lugged vs Tig.

Lugs are works of art. Rideable works of art

But lately I've been considering the simple utilitarian aesthetics of the Tig welded variety.

A simple utilatarian frame seems to suit my approach to road riding these days.
It just seems that my road bike just hangs around and gets ridden a fair amount, but that's it, just ridden, on the trainer and the road, wherever. I rarely do anything to it except wipe the chain down now and then. It truly gets neglected. I feel horible looking at those exquisite lugs and the rust stains in the internal cable routing and the road grime that isn't getting cleaned off on a regular basis.

For the most part I'm a mountain biker who enjoys training and riding on the road. But I'm not into a lot of the roadie gear/tech/old school glory like I am into the gear/teach/old school of mountain biking.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

dream job

Check out this job advertisement from Performance Bike for their
Internet Content manager

This is the stuff I'd love to do. It's what I AM doing in this BLOG a lot.
How to's, reviews, etc.

Current Hollowpoint Build

Here's some specs on the current build of my 2004 Iron Horse Hollowpoint. A combination of weight weenism, old school all tempered by good old being frugal and looking for the best value.

The build is designed around Aggressive XC. This is one of the hot buzzwords right now. Basically trails that are not super buff, and for riders that want to climb and ride fast.

This is more of a summary of the build, and I'll have a lot more review of the performance later.


15" (extra small) 2005 Iron Horse Hollowpoint

Weight with shock is:

The shock is a 2003 SPV swinger Air and alone it weighs:

Yes a little on the heavy side. My review will talk about this and its lack of bearing on the ride. Just for reference, how does this to compare to an ultralight FS XC frame? Here is a full Scandium Salsa Caballero with a Rock Shox dual Air SID shock:
5.1 lbs with shock.
OUCH! That is light.

But folks, look which one I sold to a guy in France and which one am I riding?


Ok this is where I splurged a little.
I bought an OEM Wheelset off ebay made with 2003 WTB Laserdisc lite hubs.

I got the whole wheelset for a great deal. A lot of people don't know that WTB OEM's this hubset direct from the kings of lighweight: American Classic
whose exact same hubset alone costs more than I got this wheel for.

However if you are going to do this make sure to either get 2005 Laser disc lites, or if you get pre 2005 make sure to upgrade the freebody to a 2005 by calling the absolute MAN when it comes to wheels. Mike Garcia at Odds and Endos.

Why? Because the pre 2005 freebodies are weak and if I can break it than you can break it. And I did break it.

Since Mike was going to work on them anyways I decided to splurge on the ultimate Weight Weenie rim in existence today. Stan's Olympic ZTR rim


Weight was one reason, but these rims are desiged specifically to work with the Stan's No tubes system. And you can even use his special valve stem in place of the rim strip. Well this worked for the rear wheel, but not the front, so I ended up using the Olympic rim strip with that. I do leak a little air overnight on the rear wheel, which eventually led to this mistake when I ran with too low air pressure:

Even with this ding though the tire remained sealed. I fixed this and it is running fine, but a lessson learned to check tire pressure every ride.

He built them with single guage Supercomp spokes. And my gosh is it STIFFFFF. I hit somethings and almost stop because the wheel doesn't give. It could have been built lighter with some double butted spokes, but I think I am glad of the extra durability with the single guage spokes.


Old school square taper 107mm Real designs Ti Crankcase bottom bracket going on 9 years old I think:

Mated to a Race Face Turbine crankset 170mm.
p1010012 (with some SPDs thrown in there too)

Though be aware, this is the absolute narrowest spindle length you should go. Why because the interesting chain stay setup of the HP is fairly wide at certain points. Here you can see that I have less then 1mm clearance between my crank arm and the chainstay:

Luckily it hasn't been an issue.

The rings are hodge podge and are not working well right now.
Middleburn Middle, big rings and sugino steel small. The middle ring is messed up as it chainsucks when I shift from middle to small. It doesn't want to let go of the chain and it also gets caught up on the inside of the big ring during the shift. Gotta try another middle ring to see if I can fix this cause it is a pain.

Chain is SRAM PC something or other

Rear deraileur is an X7. This picture is of an X9 though that was on originally but it has a lot of play in it

Cassette is Sram


Thomson seatpost. Big and long 27.0. What a stupid size. Iron Horse, why spec something different than a 27.2?

Stock seat post clamp:

Saddle is a Ti WTB

Front controls
No name Ibex flat bar, to be replaced by some carbon flat bar

Avid Juicy 7's. LOVE the adjustability. Need to replace the rear rotor and am replacing with some Galfer. Housing is way too long, need to cut and rebleed sometime.


Rear shifter: X7 trigger
Left Shifter: Gripshift 9.0 shorty
Stem: Ritchey Pro 80mm one of the few 80mm stems made



100mm 2005 Black Super with TPC damping/lockout
-A little on the soft side, but great for downhilling once I get used to feeling of the front end cycling through the travel. Lockout for long climbs. On the short climbs that come up, just have to deal with some loss of energy through the fork bob

IRC Mythos rear- decent tire, cheap at $12
IRC Serac front - great all around tire, cheap at $21.00

Both set up tubeless with Stans No tubes

And drum roll please:
Total weight as measured on digital scale with the good old weight myself then weigh myself holding the bike


Next changes are going to be a better handlebar, maybe some Ti bolts.

More thoughts on Long travel vs short travel on the Hollowpoint

Tried a timed loop to compare the short travel mode (3.75") to the Long travel mode (4.5") on my Iron Horse Hollowpoint.

I did a loop that had a little of everything. Some big ring flowing singletrack. Some single track climbing. Climbing through some small baby head rocks and then climbing through some bigger rocks, and a short steep, pretty technical downhill.

I rode at an even pace. Not time trial or race pace, just something that I could try and reproduce. I kept the shock unlocked and in the same damping position. SPV on the rear shock was set to the same on each setting

Short Travel mode:

Is set with the shock in the upper holes. This setting makes the bike feel tighter overall, and I think feels more balanced compared to the long setting. Sag was set to 20% of the 1.5" of travel of the shock.

Time: 19:53

The short travel mode feels tight, and fast, and seems to work better with my overall timing in technical situations. It climbed well everywhere and shined when climbing through the rock garden sections.

Long travel mode is set up with the shock in the lower holes:

Again sag was set to the 20% mark.

In the long travel mode, the bike feels looser in general and has more of a rearward weight bias. The shock moves more when pedaling, but it is not the kind of bob that takes away your energy, it feels like it works with your energy. So climbing in general felt very good and the movement of the shock felt beneficial.

I did have two major dabs when climbing through the rock garden sections.


It was due to the rear bouncing more and sucking down in the the troughs more than the short travel mode, and I just lost my timing and dabbed. I haven't ridden in this mode in some time, so I imagine if I'd had some more saddle time I'd feel better with it. Plus I was not going into them with a lot of existing momentum. Had I had some speed I don't think it would have been an issue.

Going down the technical downhill felt noticeably better in the long travel mode than the short.

Time:20:18 w/the two dabs that probably cost 15-20 seconds

So we are talking a 25second difference, and if I had just put a little more effort, or maybe had more saddle time I wouldn't have dabbed.

The long travel mode has more of 'fun factor' to it in terms of just rolling along. The only deficiency seems to be when climbing through these rock gardens and the increased suspension falling into the holes, and causing a delayed reaction in my pedaling and throwing me off a little.

I'm going to try increasing the SPV a little from 50 to 60 to see if that might tighten it up a little when climbing through the rocks. I wonder if quickening up the rebound would help too?

If the downhill was longer, I'd imagine I'd pick up a little more time in the long travel mode.

For now I think I'm going to keep it in the long travel mode. Brush mountain is just plain rough all over, so I think this mode will work better overall. I'm just not sure which is truly faster from a race perspective especially over longer races like the Rowdy Dawg. I guess I really need to do a longer ride more in the hour range to see a significant difference shows itself.


I upped the SPV pressure to 60, and it tightens up the feel some. I rode down the BEAST the other day:

And it was one of the best runs I've ever had. So I'm going to stick with the long travel mode more for the fun factor than anything else. The pedaling efficiency in the long travel mode is still so good that it isn't too much of an issue. And for terrain like Brush mountain it is probably the best overall setting.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Training front

Legs are slowly coming back. Trying to dial in the bike, get the feel back. LOVE LOVE LOVE that bike.

Messing around between the travel settings 3.5 vs 4.75. Shorter travel was slightly faster on timed loop, but the trip down the BEAST in long travel today sealed the deal to stay in Long travel mode for the race. It was so much fun bombing down that today. I was flying trying to NOT think about crashing, and just think about holding it together and breathing. What a rush.

I can tell the legs are not fully recovered from Last weekend. Which is good, It is still important to tax them a little, and they will recover through today's workout while at the same time still recovering from last weekend.

This is a really tough time mentally because you want the legs to be ready to go, but they are not, and the race is one week away and it really shakes the confidence a little second guessing if they will come back. If it goes according to plan, by about Wednesday they should be back online. Then it becomes a matter of ramping it up but not doing enough damage that it needs much recovery. Today's ride from the perspective of handling was good for the confidence.

But I'm still going back and forth on what shifter to use. I went back to the halfpipe but something isn't right with it, it is taking way too much effort to shift it, but the housing is pretty new. And it isn't shifting as positively as it used to, so I think it is trashed. I'm gonna put the trigger back on for the race.
I still have to think too much when shifting with the trigger, but it will come soon. Well it better. The shifts are more positive but they feel delayed between the time you push the trigger in and the time it shifts. But it does shift it well. It isn't in the best position for my thumb, but that is what X0's are fore.

Gonna put some Oury grips on too.

I used to use them many years ago, but then went to thinner grips in the belief that smaller hands need smaller grips. But recently tried them again on the hardtail and the cush of them felt good w/o hurting the hands. I think the narrower bar has helped a lot with getting my wrists/fingers in a better position for breaking which has lessened the hand pain a lot. Most of my hand pain seems to come from breaking hard in rough ground. And the extra cush of the Ourys will help with that.

Listen to the Goat

From Solo Goat goes PRO

the second you stop believing in yourself, you have failed. NEVER doubt yourself.

seriously, to think back a few years ago when i started all of this, all i wanted to do was to win one 24 hour race and somehow get a semi-pro upgrade.

so whether it's turning pro, learning another language, finding another job, etc - NEVER DOUBT YOURSELF.

So to all us MWC, FTJ, NGT who are just trying to make it the best we can. Keep on keeping on----> BELIEVING

And from one of my favorite punk bands: Face to Face come these words to ride and race by:

I Believe anything is possible
(Minor edit on my part, the song lyric said Believed-past tense as the song is angst ridden so they did believe but don't believe anymore, whereas for my purposes I believe that it should be present tense, as as of yet I have not given up and am trying eveyday to Believe -present tense)

Shoot the Moon
Hit or Miss
It makes no Difference

Ah! The Joys of Parenting

One of the things as a parent that you look forward to from when they are babies (especially if you are a Dad) is when you can share some of your favorite activities/sports with your kids. For some parents that is babeball, or football, or soccer, or whatever. For us it is cycling.

The downside is that one of the hardest things to do as a parent is to not push too hard because it can backfire and they may end up hating your beloved activity for the rest of their lives and end up driving a Hummer and voting for some republican who wants to ban bicycles on public roads and trails.

So we are trying to get our youngest one to ride his bicycle w/o training wheels. He is SOOO ready because he flys on his bike with training wheels, you can see that he is hardly on the training wheels when at speed.

So we got out the little bike. This is a little GT Dyno for really little kids

We lowered the seat all the way so he could put both feet on the ground. The thing is he was actually riding this bike full on no training wheels a few weeks ago. But he ate it and now doesn't want to do it.

So we tried again, went out to a nice path totally flat not any people. And was just not into it. We tried bribing w/a treat if he tried hard. But he didn't try hard. Just whined/complained yada yada, so we go home and get no treat.

He just lost it. He gets a nap during the week, but he doesn't nap on weekends. So he was tired and just went over the edge. Pinching, kicking on and on. Here he is tearing apart the mud room where he has his timeout bench

He proceeded to tear all the jackets down too. He stayed in there until he picked them all up and put the bench back.

I decided to take the pedals off the bike and just see if he would scooter around on it. But it's not worth doing now.

It sucks because he can do it. If he just wanted to. Of course we want him to, we want him to grow to ride so we can go ride together and then race together and then go pro so we can go to the national races and sit in the chair under the awning next to the pro trailer.

That's my boy. Other parents live for the day they can sit in the football stands and little Johnny catches the touchdown that wins State. Me. I just want him to ride his bike, and love it like I love it.

Just like all things. Patience. But if we didn't push a little, than he'd never try at all. So it is a fine fine line you walk as a parent. Push some but hold back some. And sometimes you just can't win.


My new wheels. Look what I did. Carnage again from the 130lb bruiser
My pressure felt a little low but I didn't bother to put more air in. Went down the Beast. And I do mean went DOWN. As in we have lift off, where is my patch from NASA to put on my shoulder. I was flying.

Somewhere on the run I did the above but didn't know about it. It must have burped a little air, but never went totally flat. At the bottom I decided to put some more air in. Put the C02 on and aired it up more started riding and then heard loud ppppfpffppfpfpt.

I assumed it was at the valve, but it was at this spot. I smacked it with my fist and the bead reseated fine. And put more air in and rode back to the parking lot.

Bent it back with a small Mr Precision (crescent wrench) and it aired up first shot.

I gotta get a job testing stuff.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Bar end thoughts

So I put these stubby bar ends on the other day

The are old Onza's that were cut down years ago.

When I climb I often have my hands wrapped around the edges of the bar. So it is a very natural position for bar ends. And when riding with these stubbies, on any climb, my hands gravitated to them and it felt perfect for any uphill. Almost all my climbing is seated, very little out of the saddle stuff.

But any other time when not on the bar ends, my hands felt squished up against the sides of them, and my handling overall just didn't feel as comfortable. These ones angle in slightly, I wonder if some other ones that went straight out might feel better.

I took them off today and tried again. Handling felt much much better, and climbing still felt fine with my hands wrapped around the ends.

And there was this mental perception of the bars being wider with the bar ends on, even though my hands were actually in a narrower position. And this feeling of dread of when/if the ends were to catch on a twig/branch.

They is a performance benefit to them for climbing I believe. But in technical terrain, such as Brush Mtn where I ride, the overall benefit was reduced due to my hands wanting to be out wider and the fear of catching the ends on narrow track.

Oh well, back to the parts bin until I decide to try again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Elete goodness

Now that's a lot of seawater!

Elete is sponsoring our race by providing a ton of free samples and some larger prizes.

Thanks much. I still stand behind my initial review in how it works. During the heat, it helps keep the nausea, dizziness away.

Cramping, for me, is a totally different issue. While it is influenced by my electrolyte balance and hydration status, it seems to be much much more correlated to how fatigued my legs are, and the cadence/gearing I push.