Sunday, May 31, 2009
Speaking of good rides... Marty, Traci, Lorena, and I went mountain biking this afternoon. It was a day for "retro" bikes for Lorena and I as neither of us were riding our usual mountain bikes. Lorena was on her Trek 8500 because she's waiting on a new middle chainring (worn out) for her Epic whereas I was on my KHS single speed by choice. So far, I've been pretty happy with the two trail rides on the single speed. I think the gear ratio is pretty good, but I think I'm going to have to do something different with the tensioner setup. The spring-loaded tensioner I'm using now just doesn't create enough tension and I dropped my chain on 3 out of 4 laps today. In one case, the bolt that holds the chain retention loop in place loosened up and caused the chain to get balled up in the tensioner twice before I figured out what was going wrong. Ideally, the replacement tensioner will be a Rennen Rollenlager. I've gotten some good recommendations for this setup from the guys on Team Soupcan.
And now for something completely different...
The last couple of weeks I've been getting caught up on listening to all of my usual podcasts while I work. I quickly ran out of new episodes among the usuals and I had to go out and find something new to listen to. Enter the podcast Jordon, Jesse, GO!. First of all, I must warn you that it's very much NSFW, mainly because of profanity. That doesn't mean it's not entertaining. In fact, I'd say it's less raunchy than most morning radio shows and probably mimics how most people our age talk to their friends in real life. It's pretty much a general-interest comedy podcast on which they talk about a wide range of topics. There is a pretty active community on their website, www.maximumfun.org, and listeners are encouraged to participate in the show. Little segments like "Momentous Occasions" and the weekly "Action Items" for listeners lead to some pretty great responses. I've laughed out loud many, many times during the ~34 episodes I've listened to. Highly recommended.
I've been reading the book "White Noise" by Don DeLillo and get the feeling that I'm somehow the only person who had never heard of it previously. Since I started reading it, I've heard references to it in unexpected places. It's been mentioned a few times on Jordan, Jesse, GO! and, while we were in Marietta last weekend, there was a band on TV whose name is an exact quote from this book: "The Airborne Toxic Event". Given that the book was originally published in 1985, how did it manage to never show up on any recommended reading lists I've seen? Looking back, I'm a little surprised it wasn't mentioned in the "Technology and Public Policy" class I took during my senior year at Ohio University. Even though I haven't finished reading the book yet, I can see how this book would have applied even though it's fiction. I'm enjoying it so far, but the pace of reading has dropped off as the nice weather has crept in and I'd rather be outside. I'll probably be lucky to read two books this summer. I'd better pick another good one.
That's all for now.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
My goal with this bike was to build a single speed using parts I had on hand. Here's what I had:
-KHS Alite 4000 Frame (Obviously)
-An old Manitou fork that started it's life on Lorena's Epic
-Truvativ cranks with an FSA bottom bracket
-Chris King headset
-Riser bar w/ Oury grips
-Selle Italia SLR saddle
-XTR wheelset that started on Lorena's old Trek 8500
-Lots of cassettes to choose a cog and spacers from
-A new chain
-Tires and tubes
The items that I ended up having to purchase were:
-Tensioner (via Gorman)
-Middle chainring (I somehow lost/wore out the original one with the crank. via Ernie's)
-Stem (via Ernie's)
Take all of these parts and a Saturday morning and here's what you get:
I'm running a 36x20 ratio, but have the option to go smaller with my rear cog. When you're on flat road, top speed is only about 14-15 mph. On some of the road climbs near the house it seems like a pretty decent climbing gear. Perhaps tomorrow it will get it's maiden voyage on dirt if Lorena and I end up going mountain biking. I'm pretty excited to ride it on trail and also glad to see this frame and spare parts getting used again. Next up on the powder coat list will be my Miyata frame/fork.
Some of our focaccia was made into fresh mozzarella sandwiches with tomato and/ or onion and lettuce, warmed on the grilled and served with Chunky Tomato and Bacon Soup from the Hayday cookbook. The Hayday cookbook is the one I am trying to "cook my way through." I have a lot of cooking to do if I'm going to get even halfway through that one in the next 10 months of so. So far, everything produced from the Hayday book has been delicious and the tomato bacon soup was no exception. At least I picked a good cookbook to work on. Though, now that I think about it, we have no bad cookbooks. Until next time, I better go get ready for yet more food.
Monday, May 18, 2009
I think that it's mostly an even weight distribution thing so that my jersey doesn't twist/pull to one side while riding. That can be very annoying. The food in the right pocket has always seemed very logical because I'm right handed and it's very easy for me to just reach back and grab something while rolling. The tube and tools in middle pocket also seems logical because you hopefully don't need those very often, if at all. Since they're heaviest, placing them in the center won't cause jersey to twist.
Perhaps I'm just following some unwritten rules of cycling. Perhaps I'm a creature of habit. Either way, it works for me. What things do you ALWAYS do before a ride?
Saturday, May 16, 2009
We hosted a garage sale at my aunt and uncle's house this year, a home that we thought might be a little off the beaten path, but boy were we wrong. The house is about 2 city blocks from the main drag of town and there are three perpendicular streets that lead back to the road we were located on. People certainly found their way from the main street down one of the perpendicular side streets, to our street and then back out the main road again. We were busy all day long Friday, beginning before 8:00 AM until about 4:30 PM. Saturday was a little slower, but still steady from about 8:30 AM and on. We had enough after two days and broke down shop Saturday afternoon and carted the remaining items to Goodwill. Between four people, our garage sale grossed over $1,200 in two days. I was simply amazed at the foot traffic, chaos, and excitement that can be generated by one small town creating a weekend dedicated to garage sales.
Lorena and I rode around on Friday looking for "cool" old bikes on the cheap. Surprisingly, the only specimen we found was this Sears Travel Bike.
We certainly weren't going to pay $100 for it. Let's just say this lead-sled was only cool enough to be photo-worthy.
Given most of the traffic jams caused by the garage sales, I think the easiest way to get around was by bike. We weren't the only ones with that idea. I was able to cover the entire town in about an hour on my mountain bike. Granted, Navarre isn't HUGE and I was only looking for one specific thing. It was just cool to see everybody interacting. I've read/heard lots of people talking about how they ran into old friends they hadn't talked to in a while. That's just really cool.
Friday, May 15, 2009
With mountain biking, I have always felt that the first fall of a new season is the hardest one to take and I often seem to ride a little too cautiously in the spring. Once that first crash is behind you and you have come out on the other side relatively unscathed, any other future crashes, or potential crashes, don't seem quite so threatening. I have also always been much more afraid to crash on the road than in the dirt as asphalt is, usually, much harder than dirt. Now that I have my first crash of '09,--and a road crash at that!--behind me I should be able to conquer my fears and ride places like Vulture's Knob much better, right?
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I first saw it on Marty's blog. Then, I just started seeing it everywhere. Not all of the sites below are cycling related either. I suppose that's why the video has about a bajillion views.
How To Avoid The Bummer Life
and probably more than I can remember. Simply amazing and the music by Band of Horses is pretty good too. They've been on my iPod for quite a while. Contrary to one video I posted on here before.... you won't want this 5:37 back.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Saturday morning had me racing at Race at the Lake #4 in Monroe Falls. Last week's effort was pretty atrocious, but this time I had a good night's rest and the legs felt way better. I've been racing bikes for a long time and I never really understood how warming up on a trainer before a race could really be any better than simply riding around on side roads to warm up. Then again, I've also wondered if I really was missing something by not warming up on the trainer. Therefore, I took my trainer with me on Saturday and did my warm-up on it instead. I think the trainer will be going to more races. For one thing, you don't have to worry about being late to the starting line if you're warming up right there beside it. More importantly, I think I was able to bring my heart rate up more gradually and keep it at higher levels for longer than if I was out rolling along on roads with hills and the like. There's also no wind so you can get warm and stay that way. I felt much better when I toed the line than I have for a while.
The pace this week wasn't nearly as intense as last week for whatever reason. That's not to say it was easy. Our average was still slightly more than 23mph though every time I looked down it seemed like we were doing 28-30mph. There were a few breaks that didn't seem to last more than a few laps. We kind of let them dangle out there and then reeled them in. It wasn't my goal to spend a lot of time out in the wind, but I did help chase at least once. The finish ended up being a bunch sprint. As we came around the slight right turn into the finishing straight, the sprint just spread out and I found myself in a bit of an opening. Looking back, I wished I had grabbed another gear because I really think I could have gone a little faster. Unfortunately, I don't know exactly how I finished because they haven't posted the results yet. My rough estimate was somewhere near 10th. I was flipping ecstatic to even be there to sprint. Overall, I was very satisfied with my race and had a hell of a lot fun to boot.
Sunday afternoon had Heath, Lorena, and I out at Vulture's Knob for the first time this year. Actually, for Lorena and I it would be the first time in about three years. We gradually stopped liking the Knob before because it had a lot of really stupid features and seemed to get worse all the time. Over the last couple of years we had been told to give it another shot because a lot had been done to make the trails better and more sustainable. The trail conditions on CAMBA said 'Mostly dry with a few puddles' so we decided to give it a shot. I have to admit that the Knob has gotten a lot better. It still has some stupid stuff, but at least now you're given the option of avoiding most of the stupid stuff if you want. We got in a couple of laps in a little under two hours and had a great time. Though there really were only a few muddy puddles, I still had to do a little bike cleaning this evening. We'll probably be back there in the near future. Riding Mohican State Park can spoil you a bit because it's just so damned good and perhaps lead to unfair comparisons. I applaud all the effort to make the Knob better and hope it continues.
If you're looking for something good to listen to that's bike related, I suggest the interview with Gary Fisher as done by the Bikescape podcast. It's about an hour long and really quite interesting. He talks about how they got started 'back in the day' (Sorry, Ted) and where a lot of the focus in bike development is going today. You can either listen online, download an MP3 verson, or subscribe to Bikescape in iTunes. We met Gary Fisher at Ray's Indoor MTB park a few years ago and he was definitely one cool dude.
Finally, I literally laughed out loud at the Dilbert comic in the Sunday paper. Enjoy.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Correct spelling is a pet peeve of mine and it's amazing to me that Google was even able to serve up and advertisement in the correct context, but with the incorrect word. I guess enough people incorrectly use the word 'peddle' when they mean 'pedal' that Google figures it doesn't matter.
Bad spellers of the world, UNTIE!
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Today is a definitely a needed rest day. My performance yesterday wasn't due to a lack of training. It was perhaps a little too much between Wednesday and Saturday. Sometimes the legs just need some time off.