Tuesday, February 20, 2007
So much for riding outside this week. You probably guess that doesn't count commuting. So, commuting YES, training outdoors NO. It was raining on me on the way in this morning, raining on me when I went home for lunch, and hailing on me when I rode back in from lunch. Not just falling hail, wind-blown hail. Just to add a little pain to the mix. That, and it's not supposed to be out of the 30's this week with a chance of rain/snow about every day. After 56 degrees on Saturday, the ground was covered in slush by Sunday night and it's been about the same since. I suppose I shouldn't complain because it is, after all, February and technically still winter. I guess that means I'll be riding inside this week. Then again, so will everyone else... especially ya'll in Ohio. Lorena's bike is almost done. New shifter cables are on the way and it will be a fully functional beast. I wish we would have weighed it before we put the Lefty on but it will definitely be lighter. One nice thing about the crappy weather is it gives you something to do when you're stuck inside and not riding rollers. You can work on bikes and many of our bikes are getting overhauled at the moment. How about Brett Davis and Ernesto duking it out at the 12-hour in Florida? Pretty impressive for this early in the season. One of the U of I guys was in the top 10 in the Cat 3's at the Cherry Pie road race in Oregon over the weekend. That's all for now. Hope everyone is staying warm and dry... and riding their trainers.
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 5:00 PM
Sunday, February 18, 2007
It's a nice 3-day weekend here in Moscow, ID. Yet another perk of graduate school, or government jobs. We had thought of going down to Lewiston this weekend to do a little mountain biking but that's probably not going to happen. The weather was perfect yesterday as our high was around 56 degrees under sunny skies. Today is a little cooler but there's rain in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow and that's likely to wash out our mountain biking plans for tomorrow. On top of that, Lorena's mountain bike is only about 90% functional right now because we're in the process of giving it disc brakes and a Lefty fork. Since it was so nice yesterday, we took advantage of it and went out on a 3-hour road ride. Left Moscow around 9:30 with some of the other UI cycling team and headed for Pullman, WA to meet up with the WSU cycling team. They were planning on a 5 hour ride but we opted for a slightly shorter but equally fun ride. It was nice to ride in a rather large group for at least part of the ride before we broke off from them. Kind of a way to get used to being in the peloton again before the season starts. The way the weather has been and with clashing schedules, it's hard to get a group together for training rides and a lot of training time has been spent riding alone or on the trainer. One highlight of the ride was getting "scolded" by this blue-hair in a big Ford diesel pickup because we were riding two-abreast in BFE Washington and there was a car behind our group that decided to try to pass in a bad spot. I don't think I've ever been yelled at someone in the other lane before. Enter HBO #1: "People are stupid." It was a great ride and I felt like my form was better that I anticipated. Lorena rode really strong as well but our friend Jeff bonked really hard on the last big climb of the day. Me and another guy were cranking along up the hill at a pretty steady pace with Lorena and Jeff a little bit behind us. We got to the top first and waited but only saw Lorena coming up the hill. She didn't realize he'd dropped off either so I rolled back down to see if I could give him a tow... only I didn't see him either, even after rolling about halfway down the hill. I turned around and climbed back up to see what the rest of the group wanted to do. We all turned around and rolled back down again and saw a couple of riders coming up the hill that said Jeff was down at the bottom. He'd called his girlfriend to come pick him up but at least we knew he hadn't collapsed and fallen over a guardrail or something. So.... we turned around again and started climbing. This hill takes about 10 minutes to climb going 10-11 mph in your 39x25. And that's doing it once after already riding for 2.5 hours let alone doing it 2.5 times. It was a really great ride and we were so glad to get out for a ride of decent length. I decided to start cleaning up Lorena's Specialized Epic last night to get it ready for the Lefty and her new Spinergy Xyclone wheels. It's almost done. All that I have to do is get the steerer tube cut to the right length and curtail the brake hoses. They're a little long so I have to cut them down and bleed them. The bike looks a little funny with only the one fork leg but combined with the new wheels, this thing should lose quite a bit of weight. I even spent some time on the phone with the president of Project321, the people who make the adapter to use a Lefty on non-Cannondale bikes. If you decide to go this route, Project321 is a great company. I emailed the guy my question and he asked me to call since he was in the shop... at 8:30 on a Saturday night. He called me back at 9:30 and we worked out my question. Hard to beat customer service like that. I'll put up some before and after pictures of the bike when I get it done. Better get back to work on it.
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 4:51 PM
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
I saw a bizarre ad in the U of I newspaper this morning. There is a chain of tire stores in the West called Les Schwab. They're running a promotion now where you receive "Free Beef" with the purchase of select tires. That's right, buy 4 new tires and get a box of meat. That's immediately what I think of when I'm choosing tires. How much meat can I get with them? What about you?
Monday, February 12, 2007
Tis been a few days since the last post. Last week was certainly a busy one. Friday was a pretty nice day but I got tied up in the office longer than I wanted to and didn't get a chance to ride outside. Opted for going out for a beer with some friends instead. Thursday was a trainer ride because of homework timing. That's one of the few downsides to being in grad school. The old fart in me likes going to bed at a decent hour because I can train better if I do. Hence, I can't put off homework until the wee hours like I might have in the past. In fact, that's what I spent most of today doing. Considering it was raining all day, it wasn't too bad. Now I'm done with it for a few days and will have plenty of time tomorrow and Tuesday to ride. Yesterday was a nice two-hour fixie ride on some gravel roads between Moscow and Pullman. I did this route a few weeks ago when we still had snow on the roads. There were a lot more holes in the road than I saw then. I finally put some cross tires on the fixie for this expressed purpose but unfortunately got a flat about halfway through the ride. About two minutes before the flat I realized I didn't have my saddle bag with me. Therefore, no tire levers.... which would have been nice when I went flat a mile later. It worked out OK though. Bless the inventor of the quick release skewer because I used both of mine to pry the tire off the rim. Worked like a champ and I was back on the road in about 10 minutes. It would have been 5 except that my chain decided to do that nice little twisting thing that took a few minutes to figure out. I must admit that I really like cruising the back roads on a fixed gear because you can maintain a nice steady pace on the flats and you never get cold because your legs are always moving. There are also the strength benefits from having to muscle your way over the hills. My 39x16 is just enough on some of the hills of the Palouse and I was happy to get my heart rate up to some levels that I'm sure I'll hit in the Devil's Slide mountain bike race in a few weeks. My form is coming along at a reasonable pace even though I'm not quite getting as much riding time as I'd like to. Quality over quantity is the name of the game right now. I'd love to get some nice 5 hour rides in but haven't been able to squeeze them in. Now that the semester is starting to settle into a bit of manageable routine I can schedule my rides a little better. I hope to have some epic stuff to write about in the coming weeks. I'd like to do the Boyer Grade perhaps next week but certainly not on the fixie. It's a 4.5 mile climb that sits around 8% and even has a decent switchback. It takes you down to the Snake River near Almota, WA and so there should be some good photos. Time to hit the sack and rest up for a busy day of engineering and training. Good night.
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 12:44 AM
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
So we have a heat wave going on here. Temps reached almost 50 today but quickly descended back to normal around 3:30 this afternoon. As the temperature dropped a dense fog rolled in that was so thick, you almost couldn't see the building across the street when looking out the window. Fortunately for me, I had already gotten my ride in before all of this happened. The temperature didn't really start to drop until right at the end of my ride but I actually rode in little patches of fog that seemed to be randomly scattered between the hills of the Palouse. The wind also did an about-face as well. Before I left, I checked it online and they said it was from the East. As I was riding West, it was definitely in my face and as I passed the airport all of the wind sock were pointing East. At least it gave me a tailwind as I headed home. I got about 2 hours in and it was sooooo nice to ride my road bike outdoors. I figured out that my road bike hadn't touched pavement since probably November. That's not to say that it hasn't spent plenty of time on the trainer. I've got a couple of worn rear tires to prove that. Whenever I've ridden outside lately it's been on my fixie. Yeah, I know I commute on it but, it's so much fun to ride. With the beefy commuting tires I have on there I can go just about anywhere. Plus, I have $0 invested in the frameset so I don't care if it gets dinged a little. That mindset may change this Spring because I'm planning on giving it a paint job. I've got quite a few ideas and I think I might post them on here and have a vote. Some sort of plaid scheme always comes to mind when I think about it. I've seen it done and executed well. We got fitted for out team kits this evening. We're going with Pactimo. I believe Stark Velo used them once or maybe still do? I saw the new Orrville Cycling Club website today. Friggin' awesome job Tom! I also like the way you changed the forum around. It's very much like the U of I cycling team forum. Glad to hear the Rudy Project has decided to continue the sponsorship of the OCC. You've certainly earned it the last few years. Speaking of the OCC.... I discovered a great little branch of that this week. Team Angry Drunk. Absolutely hysterical and fun to read. Fits those guys nicely but my only question is "Is John Team?" Keep it up! I wished I had the camera with me this evening because there would have been some awesome shots on campus with the fog. Can't have everything though. I'm sure there will be more fog... Time to get some sleep. The legs are a bit tired and the eyes are wavering....
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 12:00 AM
Saturday, February 03, 2007
The weather has decided to warm up a little bit but not quite enough to go riding outside. That is, at least today. They're forecasting a high around 40 for tomorrow but with rain. I suppose we could just try to ride between the rain drops. I actually stepped outside a little while ago to find that it was snowing, or perhaps sleeting. The temperature hovered around freezing today so it wasn't that surprising. If only it could be warm(er) and dry for a few days. It's been rather nice to be feeling better. I got in 4 great rides this week, albeit indoors, and felt better each time. It can be a little boring to have to keep your heart rate below 75% of max but it would be much worse to push myself back over the edge so soon after getting over whatever it was that I had. For me, it's the intervals that help break up the monotony of a trainer ride. Today may have been an exception with the 'Annual Joke Show' on 'A Praire Home Companion' to keep Lorena and I entertained during the hour and half on the trainer/rollers. The other night was the 2004 Tour of Flanders. Watching that was some nice motivation. I hope to get in at least a couple of hours tomorrow before the Super Bowl. We're getting together with friends to watch the Colts beat the Bears. Admit it, you know it's going to happen. Last night, we finally got around to using the gift certificate to the Red Door Restaurant that Kim and Bill gave us for Christmas. Kim won't tell us how she found out about it (considering she's in D.C. and we're in Moscow). Suffice to say, it is a very nice restaurant. We had a nice bottle of Chimay Premier Belgian Ale, a great appetizer, and a wonderful dinner. The atmosphere is very cool and it was hard to believe we'd been there for 2 hours by the time we left. Kudos to Kim and Bill for the treat. If you're ever in Moscow, ID, definitely check out the Red Door. Lorena has some pictures from her trip down to Boise this week and I took a cool night shot of the Kibbie Dome on campus. We'll probably have them up on Flickr tonight or tomorrow. Check back for an update on that. One last item... I'm considering switching my email over to Gmail from Google. You could call it part of my 'weaning myself from Microsoft' plan. Anybody have any comments on Gmail? Everything I've looked at with all of Google's tools make it seem like a very integrated system and easy to share information. If'n you'd like, leave a comment on here or drop me an email at my Hotmail account. Time to go eat some dinner.
Posted by Chris&Lorena at 10:31 PM