Monday, March 30, 2009

philosophical notes

I need to keep better notes, but throughout the last few years I've been drawing analogies between life and mountain biking. There are so many parallels that one could say that everything I've learned I've learned through mountain biking. A lofty observation, to be sure, but when you break it down to specifics there is lots of crossover.

Things like hard work trumping natural ability, or being committed vs hesitating, and doing a little bit consitently is better then cramming all at once, keep your head up, ....

While we're on philisophical notes, I've been reading a little Dan Millman lately,and while some of it is out there, I've connected with several golden quotes that really resonante, especially with other endeavors in school and work.

Here's my current favorite:

Every positive change--every jump to a higher level of energy and
awareness--involves a rite of passage. Each time to ascend to a higher rung on
the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of
initiation. I have never found an exception

Or as the Call said, "Brush of the dust and straighten your tie. " *what I can't believe is that in this day and age I had to actually go down to my basement and read these lyrics off the album as they weren't anywhere online.

Monday, March 23, 2009

If I had a million

With the demise of Iron Horse I just posted about, I was daydreaming about what kind of bikes I'd make if I owned my own bicycle company. If you want to make a million in the bike business, start with 2.

I'd love to work with some designers to come up with a boutique line of bikes. Here's what would be on my hit list.

-A bike just like my Azure.

  • Aggro XC,

  • 70.5 head tube

  • around a 100mm fork.

  • 3.5"-4" rear travel,

  • very tight, balanced for climbing and downhilling.

  • DW link performance or similar.

  • Set/forget rear shock like my 5th element, none of this 3 position crap like the Fox RP3, I don't know why I dislike shocks and forks with knobs. Maybe it's because I invariably forget and end up downhilling with lock out on.

  • Rear tire clearance for some wide tires

  • Light alloy

  • long top tubes designed for short stems

  • sub $700 price point for frame (not likely)

A road bike designed for comfort but also doesn't look like a comfort bike. I don't like the aesthetics of a stem with really high rise. But most people who don't have the flexibility of a euro roady need a higher rise. Instead of a steeply angled stem, start with a taller seat tube and an uplsloping top tube. Maybe slightly shorter top tube than most to cut down on the reach in order to also maintain 110 mm minimum stem length. That way you can avoid those really short stems that some people have to resort to in order to get it to fit.

-high end steel only, no carbon, no AL, noTi. TIG welded,

Interesting, that I like short stems for mtb, but at least 11o or longer for road. It's weight distribution I think. I learned the hard way that too short a stem on a road bike and the front wanders too much.

A flat bar cross bike

This is not just a road bike with a flat bar. I've also tried this too, and it only works for climbing, in other situations it feelt too cramped to me. Makes sense because all this does is put a flat bar in place of your current bar tops of your drop bar. I ride on the tops when climbing a lot but prefer to be on the hoods for most of the riding, which is Xcm out farther. I think a flat bar cross bike would place the bar partway in between where the hoods are and the bar top of my current road bike.

Geometry similar to a stable road bike and maybe not as slack as a full cross bike. Disc tabs


26" light steel, long top tube, built around 100mm fork, convertible drop out to single speed.

Oh..beat to the punch by Soma Fab, see the side bar for their new hardtail.

Women's Specific

XS Petite versions of each bike, 650c for road/cross models. With a wife who is XS petite, I know firsthand the trials of finding a bike in this size. Even with the new proliferation of women's specific frames, it's still hard to find one for truly xs that isn't a kids bike.

Iron Horse out of business

I've been off the forums for awhile now being so busy with other endeavors. But I jumped on for a little bit to just troll around and was surpised to see this little tidbit over at the Iron Horse Forum at mtbr.

How it ended.

Oh well, as a truly destination brand they really ended when DW pulled his licensing from them. Those few years with the Hollowpoint and their Sunday downhill bike and of course my adored Azure really put them on the map. The combination of remarkable suspension platform with made in Taiwan prices made those bikes some serious value leaders.

It is sad about the MKIII cracking issues, as I've seen a few post their problems with cracked welds. I've been beating my Azure hard for awhile now and I doubt I could break it w/o some sort of quality control issue underlying.

Who you gonna call nowfor DW link, Turner, Pivot, IF, Ibis. At $2395 retail for a Turner Flux, frame alone...doubtful. Giant seems to be a good value leader now, as does Marin, in terms of suspension technology for the money.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


Spring supposedly had sprung, but it sure feels cold right now. According to my plan the time has come for 3 weeks of endurance based riding. A key in the Morris plan is to also include some power based work within the endurance.

His plan suggests doing sprints first then a long ride. The next day a long ride and ending with Muscle Endurance (ME) low cadence/high gear work.

I can never pull this off. If I'm in long ride mode I'm in long ride mode and never really do the sprints. But I will do big gear work on hills and some flats. If I only have time for a trainer ride then I'll do the sprints.

Sprints are the hardest thing for me. I just feel like utter crap when I do them and during the workout they seem worthless. It's not till weeks later when I'll be on ride and can just spin up the cadence and just rocket forward. I don't race the road and rarely have need for a true sprint, but the paybacks are huge for off road riding in technical sections, where you can keep the same gear and spin up cadence and blow through a rock garden like nobodies business.

Work is chaotic right now, and I'm falling behind and just treading water in my class. But if I can just burn some vacation time and get a few long rides in over the next 2-3 weeks then I'll be all set to jump into the Interval training, which is hard as anything, and takes incredible mental discipline and motivation but is very time efficient.

I've noticed issues with my blood sugar again on these long rides. I've been off the Paleo Diet 4 Athletes a little, and maybe need to get back on track.