Archive for October, 2008

I am sick. I have the common cold yet this version seems uncommonly harsh. I was almost totally incapacitated for a couple of days and my sleep has been so crappy that I am sleep deprived as well. When I got up this morning, I felt better than yesterday but then my head filled up with snot and that was that. I feel like a good night’s sleep might really make me feel like I’m on the road to recovery. The problem is that I can’t breath through my nose since it’s completely clogged. So I breath through my mouth. The air down my throat somehow gunks up the post nasal drip worse than breathing through my nose (or maybe there’s just way more of it, dunno) so I end up waking up and coughing a bunch of times in the middle of the night to clear the nastiness.

This offcially sucks big time.

If ya’ll missed it, I’ve got a brief weekend recap with some photos up over at the CX Mag blog. Dedicated readers of the print mag might have seen my NAHBS article in the last issue and I have a little piece about bottom bracket height in the upcoming issue. Of course, I’ll be writing about the Oregon Manifest show as well.

I didn’t race but I went out and had a great time. My son participated in the kiddie cross race — in fact, I was worried I wasn’t going to make it there in time for his race. We made it with about ten minutes to spare and then we watched the rest of the races. I took pictures of the A/A+ races but only snaped photos of people I know. Here’s a Flickr slidshow of some of my favorites.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

I qualified for the Rapha Rollers Race as part of Oregon Manifest. So come on out this evening at 8:00 and watch me attempt to spin with folks who actually know how. Plus there is the ‘cross lap with a Zoobomb bike after getting off the rollers — that is if my legs don’t buckle underneath me.

I’m sure that you all know how entertaining humiliation is …

I’m attending Oregon Manifest tomorrow as the CX Mag reporter. Unlike my trip to NAHBS, I’ll actually have a professional photographer (Bob Libby) along with me so; 1) there will be good photographs to go with the article and blog entries, and 2) I won’t have to try to do two jobs I’m unqualified for.

Anyway, I’ll be looking for the coolest stuff in handbuilt cross action. While I have a tentative list of builders to talk to, there is one person I simply must interview — Ira Ryan. Ira didn’t have a cross bike on media day at NAHBS but he was nice enough to sit down with me for a while and talk about cross. Since I am such an amateur at interviewing, I screwed up with my recorder and didn’t get any of our conversation. And I didn’t have the wherewithal to contact him afterward for a do-over. Sorry Ira but you are at the top of my list tomorrow.

I hope that anyone that can get to the show will take some time to stop by and oogle the goods.

I think I’ve figured out my preferred commute. It’s up Saltman from 30 to Skyline then down Springville Rd. It’s the shortest route and has the lightest traffic — Saltzman is closed to vehicular traffic and Springville is outside the urban growth boundary (or defines the boundary lower down). I took Saltzman yesterday and passed a commuter heading up and was passed by a cyclist coming down. There was a tree across the path shy of midway and I shouted a heads up to him.

Going home I have two good options. When I’m feeling spry and the weather is good, I prefer riding up Springville and then down Germantown Rd. I’m at least as fast as traffic when it’s not wet so I’m comfortable with that. The other option is to take the MAX from 206th to Goose Hollow and then ride the rest of the way home. That rest of the way is just under an hour and the train does the heavy lifting up over the hill. I suppose I can take the train in as well and I might just do that when the weather gets wetter.

Moving on to other things … I joined the Yakima guys again for their noon time super secret cross workout. The park we ride in is great since it has lots of little rises that work well for off-camber and punchy efforts. There’s a lot of real estate with many options so it would take a long time to get bored. My favorites are follow the leader and hot laps. I wasn’t too spry today — I don’t think any of us were — so the hot lap was more lukewarm.

It was great fun to get out and feel good about riding my cross bike. We were out there for an hour and it passed by too quickly. Even though my legs were feeling less than great, I could have stayed out there for a while longer.

Perhaps it’s best we called it a day when we did since by the time I made it back to the office, it had started raining in earnest.

Belgian is going to provide live web casts of all the Superprestige races for free! Conveniently, I’ll be able to watch the first couple before heading out to the Cross Crusade races …

Linky to VeloNews article with details.

A friend of mine works in the bike industry and speced a tubular wheelset designed with cyclocross in mind. They have machined aluminum rims with eyelets and are laced with butted spokes to cartridge bearing hubs with external brass nipples. The front is 24h radial and the rear is 28h 3x. The rim width is identical to Open Pros which means you can swap training clinchers with the Grammos without having to mess about with your brakes.

Anyway, Thom is down in southern Oregon and I’m up here in southwest Washington so it was a comedy of errors to get a demo wheelset to me. Thom dropped them off with Bob, one of my teammates, at an Alpenrose clinic. Bob gave them to Chris, another teammate, at Pain on the Peak. Then I managed to get over to Chris’ house to picked them up.

Gluing was the next obstacle to overcome. I still had to glue up my standard race wheels so the new Grammos took a back seat. Since I didn’t actually manage to get out to race this past weekend, I decided that I was overdue to put in some rides with the test wheels. The rim channel is shallow and smooth from edge to edge which looks to provide a good surface area for the tire and rim to bond. The glue went on easy and I predict that it would be easy to clean up the rims for a second glue job. Thom kindly provided some Vittorias for testing.

Aside: After gluing and riding them, I’ve decided I don’t like the Vittorias. They were a pain to mount straight since the casing/base tape combo wants to fold over to one side. Neither the front or back is correctly centered on the wheels. I didn’t feel as secure in slippery conditions as I do with my Griffos. I did like the 34 width though and will do with 34s the next time I get tires.

Chris and the Yakima guys kindly invited me out to their super secret lunch time cross practice session this week so I could give the wheels a spin. Within 15 minutes I’d managed to roll the rear on an ill-advised remount while turning. I will attribute the rolled tubie to operator error since I had some issues with gluing (didn’t pre-stretch the tires on a rim, should have prepped them a bit more, used some old glue). Undaunted, I popped the tire back on and continued to have a ball riding around the park behind Chris S. Conditions were slippery enough so that I’d lose traction long before the glue bond was stressed.

So what did I notice? Nothing — and that’s a good thing. They performed well with no surprises. They are a bit heavier than my standard wheels which have DA hubs laced to Reflex rims (which I think are the bomb for cross) but they didn’t feel like slugs when spinning up.

Impressions: They look nice and have a semi-deep section rim which should rudder well through deep mud and sand. The hub bearings (cartridge) are smooth. The test wheels were true right out of the box. These fill a niche in the tubular market that isn’t currently being served. Right now the options for tubular are Mavic Ks or custom wheels. However, there isn’t an intro priced wheelset for folks who are tub-curious. That brings me around to pricing. Thom can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think MSRP is about $300 but you should be able to pick them up for $275 when they come out. I don’t know about availability just yet.

Oh, and I’ll take some pics because the ones Thom sent me aren’t up to my high standards 😉

If you read this blog regularly, you might have picked up the fact that I’ve got a few irons in the fire, so to speak. I just changed jobs and I’m still working out how getting to work factors into my life. My wife started a shop, the enconomy is in the shitter, and she is working many hours. We’ve got kids and a house. Stuff is falling through the cracks and it seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Racing has taken a big honking back burner for a while now. Just when it seems like I’m making some progress with training, work (or looking for work) and family crowds in and those have to be a higher priority than racing. I’m not just short on time either. It has taken a whole lot of mental energy to get downsized and find a new job — and now learn a new job — as well as adjust to juggling the kids with my wife since she works all the time. And I mean all the time. You figure out the logistics of having the family spread from Salmon Creek to Beaverton practically every day.

My wife’s shop is open on Sundays so I have to figure out what to do with the kids while I race. Last year I brought my (then) six year old to the races and she got along pretty well. However, this season I’ve got her and her brother (age almost 4) and the two of them together need more supervision than a bunch of really great teammates should be expected to provide. I’ve been having great luck with getting sitters for the kids but that gets expensive fast.

All this is adding up to me having virtually no mental energy to race. I’ve got nothing. I’ve missed the  preseason races. Once because I took the kids to the beach for a vacation and then last weekend because I felt like I had too much to get done around the house and in my wife’s shop. I’m planning to race at Alpenrose on Sunday but I’m really struggling to justify it.

Shoot, both my bikes aren’t even set up yet. The A bike is pretty much ready but I haven’t glued up the A bike wheels with Challenge Griffos. I’ve got the B bike Griffos ready to go (from last season) so I’ll probably just use those. The B bike is fendered for commuter action and has the commuter compact crank rather than the cross crank. I’d have to get a new BB to install the cross crank but I don’t want to spend the money.

So, yeah, I’ve got a bike to race on. I’ve got wheels to race on. Now all I need is the motivation. Anyone got some spare motivation laying around?

Yesterday I rode over the hill on Saltzman. Today I went up and over on Cornell/Thompson. The skinny on the route:

  • Interstate bridge and through Delta Park (really foggy in the park)
  • Denver all the way to Killingsworth
  • K-worth to Interstate and down to the Broadway Br.
  • Lovejoy to Cornell (Lovejoy was slooooow — traffic lights)
  • Cornell to Thompson
  • Thompson to Laidlaw
  • Laidlaw to West Union
  • West Union to 185th

I made a boneheaded mistake at the intersection of Laidlaw and West Union. Instead of taking a right like I knew I needed to, I went left. I figured something was wrong when I got to Saltzman so I turned around and went back to Kaiser. I was unsure what to do at Kaiser so I went back to Saltzman. I went down the hill at Saltzman and wound up at Laidlaw. It dawned on me that I had been there before and that’s when I realized I should have turned right on West Union. That boondoggle added about 30 minutes to my ride.

I also missed the bike route bypass for the first tunnel on Cornell. I was glad that no cars passed me while riding through the tunnel. I didn’t make that mistake on the next tunnel.

Lovejoy was slow. There are a ton of lights and they are not timed — at least for bikes. That last little bit on Thompson right before Skyline is pretty steep especially coming at the top of the hill like that.

I wonder how it would be to take Cornell all the way rather that detouring up the hill?

Anyway, after 125 minutes on the bike this morning, I had a pretty good appetite once I got to work. I’ve done lots of snacking to this point. Today’s route seems promising — now that I know the route.