Archive for August, 2008

One of my teammates asked about a single ring setup so I figured I’d blog about it. First, I’ll tell you about what I race. My A bike has a 38/44 with a 12-27 cassette and my B bike has a 38/46, also with a 12-27. I prefer the 38/44. I stay in the 44 most of the time but have the 38 when I need it, like at Horning’s. I’ve stuck with double rings because I didn’t have to spend any extra money and I’ve had no compelling reason to swap to a single ring.

I don’t have a lot of discretionary bike money so I like to make sure that when I change something on my bike, I’m going to be buying some increased performance. I don’t look down on people that swap stuff out because they feel like trying something different and have the disposable capital to do so. But that model just doesn’t work for me. Lately, I’ve sunk my bucks into tires. IMHO, going tubular and getting good rubber will have the greatest impact on performance. So if you’re thinking about going single ring but aren’t running tubs, the choice is clear.

But we’re talking about single ring here so I’ll get off of the tubie soap box. First, lets examine the reasons for going to a single ring:

  1. Lighter. If you do things correctly, you can shave some grams. The total weight is going to depend on the overall setup but you might save a many as 200 grams (see for some info). Many single ring rigs won’t save you any weight though.
  2. Less likely to drop a chain. There are two popular methods to set up a single ring. The most popular is to use a guard in place of the outer chain ring and set up a chain watcher on the inside. I don’t think this setup is any more secure than a double ring — and if you have a derailleur, there is at least the possibility of shifting the chain back on. The second most popular setup is to use double guards. This is more expensive and more trouble since you’ll need a new bottom bracket and chain ring bolts (longer ones in both cases). It’ll keep your chain on pretty well though.
  3. More reliable. This is really an extension of the previous point. With a single chain ring, you won’t have to worry about bad shifts or the front mech getting gunked up enough to prevent shifting altogether. I’ve had that happen but both times I was in the 38 on a heavy course so I wasn’t significantly disadvantaged. However, I think this is a rather important point in favor of a single ring. If you select a ring that works for the course there is no possibility that you’ll get stuck in a ring that is either too big or too small for certain portions. Suppose you are stuck in the 38 and there’s a long paved section. Getting dropped from the group just because you didn’t have quite enough gear inches would be a hard pill to swallow. The same can be said when caught in a 48 (or 46) and having to hoof it or grind it up the hill that the group spins up and out of sight.
  4. Gearheads. Let’s face it, there are some people with a burning desire to fiddle around with their setup just to try something new. If that’s you, then go for it and see how you like it.

I’m getting along so well with my 38/44 combination, I can’t see a reason to change. And let’s face it, it’s way cheaper to replace a 48 with a stamped 44. You don’t need a fancy pants pinned and ramped outer ring with one that small. We’re only talking 6 teeth differential here. Maybe a single ring is calling your name but I’ll stick with my pair.

I ordered the Adidas Marathons and I really wanted to like them. I opened the box and liked what I saw — the lugged soles looked much more aggressive than my Dominators, the ratchet buckles looked fine (though the mechanism may get packed up with mud), and the velcro closures were better designed than the typical loops found on cycling shoes.

The problem is that they just don’t fit my feet. For better or worse, my feet are shaped like Sidis. Over the past few weeks, I’ve made the rounds trying on shoes and coming away not quite satisfied. I was hoping the Addidas would be different.

In any event, I sent the Marathons back and ordered some Sidis. They were quite a bit more expensive since I got the Marathons on a sreaming closeout deal but they will be worth it. I spend enough time in bike shoes to want to have them fit exactly so.

As in out of work. That’s not quite truthful. I’ll be out of work come September 26 and then get some severance. Until November 1, I would be able to find a position within my current company and maintain my benefits and length of service. The only problem is that the division I work for is shrinking and the jobs are few and hotly contested.

So, I’m on the market. I’ve got 9 years of software development experience. All of it is embedded real-time stuff. I’ve done loads of design and collaboration and work really well with internal and external customers. All my development has been in C and C++ though in the past I’ve dabbled in Java and Perl. Picking up one of those “kiddie” languages is pretty much a snap.

Oh yeah, the cuts were made by seniority. I was just at the dividing line. Just about everyone I work with would be willing to line up as a reference. Nice to be loved, eh?

So anyone out there have any leads in the PDX area? I’m open to exciting opportunities and relish learning new skills.

So does that mean that Sven will be on a Giant come October? It’ll be strange seeing Giants racing in Flanders.

Edit: Sven doesn’t ride for Rabo, he’s switched to Landbouwkrediet (as I myself have mentioned). We’ll be seeing young Lars on a Giant, though.

It wasn’t really a cross race but it counted for cross BAR points … Krugar’s Kermesse. It’s a dirt crit — no dismounts — on farm roads. Think of field access roads. Think of bumpy ground. Think of loose corners. Think of 5:00 laps.

The 35+ A field was pretty small with only a baker’s dozen lining up for the start. The A men went off before us and the SS and A women went off after us.

Everyone got a front row start and I was almost the hole shot but felt content to let a couple of guys set the pace early. Ron Babcock from Portland Velo stayed at the front for a long time. He actually was at the front for most of the race. He finished first as well. He’s rather strong. Anyway, I settled in around 3-4th wheel. This is a training race and as such, I was just going to see what happened. My legs felt pretty good early so I made moves to cover gaps but stayed out of the wind.

On the first lap, I took out a guy’s wheel in a corner. I feel bad for him but he was pulling a rookie crit faux pas. He dove down to take the inside of the corner and I just came down through the apex. Bam. He’s down. On the first lap of a cross race, you don’t go diving into loose sharp corners. You just might hit the deck if you do.

Ron put the hurt on the field early but after a few laps, things seemed to settle down a bit. I was staying frosty and keeping close to the front. Toward the middle of the race, my teammate Bill decided to mix things up and pushed the pace some. I was hurting pretty good and it was at this point I figured it was time to dial it back and ride with the caboose. I took a look and found I was the end of the front group. Uh oh. I was committed.

We eventually picked up a couple of A riders for a total of six (4 masters, 2 As). Ron pushed the pace while his teammate and Bill took some turns at the front. Just before we took two to go, there was a pileup. The first man though (A racer) was okay but the next four went down. I got by with lost momentum but was still upright. I hoped I could keep the gap — maybe catch the A that made it through. By the time I bridged up, Ron and Bill were back on my wheel. I let them through and tried to hang on. I was dangling at the bell but managed to pull it together to stay with them most of the final lap. I finished a couple seconds behind them for third place.

I understand that if I’m hurting, then everyone else must be as well. But I’m pretty positive that Bill and Ron weren’t suffereing quite as much as I was.

Oh, and a typical cross race has lots of transitions that slows things and keeps the pace a little slower overall. Well, this race was balls out 100% start to finish. Nary a hill on the course. And it was bumpy. My hands are a mess. I’ve got blisters and a cramp in my date hand.

But pretty solid for a first race.

Edit: The photo has Bill in front, Ron next, other PV rider third, and me hanging on to fourth.

Since I was planning on racing them tomorrow, I figured I had better get aournd to glueing them up. Tufo Flexus on my staple wheel set — DA hubs and Mavic Reflex rims. I tried out a couple things when gluing and I’ll let ya’ll know how they pan out.

Here’s an idea: tire glueing party. Stop by with some frosty beverages and glue some tires. The old hands show the noobs how it’s done.

My current place of employment is cutting 20% of the workforce in my area. We find out about whether we still have a job or not on Monday. Today we learned that there are likely to be additional job cuts within several months. I’m trying to get a little proactive about searching for alternative employment.

Anyone looking for a Software Engineer? I’ve spent eight years (holy cow!) working in embedded systems with a fair amount of design work — especially interfaces and system integration. Coding is coding and I’m sure that I could get up to speed with about anything in a short time.

Now if my posts were only more than a couple dozen words, maybe they’d be worth reading. Anyway, I was surfing over on Molly’s blog and caught a whiff of some awesome vintage cross press. This is some old school (well, for the US) cross. Give it a read:

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Hey Molly, I really think you need to register for a new domain name. You’d be, like, three times cooler (and you are pretty dambed cool as it is) if your domain were “” I know that Page already does this but I don’t really think you’d get nailed for the copycat.

And I ordered some of the Addidas Marathons because they were on closeout and I couldn’t wait for the sexy yellow Mavics.

Hey Diviney, you racing this Sunday? Game on.

Patrick Wilder is at the top of my shit list. He sends me an email telling me he’s heard rumors that there will be no USGP in Portland this year. This is big news. I respond, stating that the USGP still has Portland listed on the site for December 6 and 7.

Then nothing.

Not a peep.

What the hell? Help a brother out! C’mon! I was expecting some further explanation. But. I. Got. Nothing.