Monday, December 26, 2011

Flirting With The Dark Side

I started cycling mainly because I wanted to do cardio without running.  I once accompanied a friend to a marathon, observed participants limping around after the race and wondered what would posses someone to put their body through that pain.  After moving, I couldn't ride to work any more so I started looking for other ways to hold on to some fitness.  One option was....running.  I decided to run during lunch at work once or twice a week.  I purchased some Nike Free shoes and started doing some runs but still felt knee and back discomfort after runs longer then 3 miles.  It seemed that all my beliefs about running were true.

Then everything changed.  Claudia and I went to Peru and a member of our group that completed a 3 day hike to Machu Picchu wore Vibram FiveFinger shoes through the hike.  At the end of it, he seemed to be in better condition then those of us that wore hiking boots.  At the same time I was reading "Born to Run", a book about barefoot running.  After the trip I decided to take the plunge and purchased a pair of Vibram FiveFinger Sprints.  I quickly realized I had no idea how to run in these and actually started walking and then slowly working up to running again.  I quickly found that I could run without discomfort and my body recovered much faster then wearing shoes.

I did make a rookie mistake with my first pair of Vibrams.  I bought them and they were to big so I went down a size but in reality, I probably should have gone down at least one more size.  The thin sole combined with an incorrect fit led to them wearing through in the little toe.  So I purchased my second pair, Vibram FiveFinger Bikila LS.  These are a size smaller and combined with the lacing, have a much better fit.  They also have a slightly thicker sole allowing running over rougher conditions.

The other addition to my running arsenal finding a lightly used Garmin Forerunner 405 and pairing that with a Garmin footpad and my heart rate strap to begin gain the data to actually know how i'm doing.  All these tools have not only allowed me to run comfortably, but I actually look forward to runs.  Especially as the cold and wet of winter set in, I find that it's a lot more fun to go for a run then try to bundle up and ride.  Never would have guessed.....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Catching Up

So I've finished my first semester of grad school.  I did find time for my two favorite team rides, the Tour de Gruene and our annual Fredericksburg Winter Camp ride.

Tour de Gruene is a two man time-trial that I raced with Clint F.  Fortunately, my running has complemented my limited riding and I had decent form and we won our group.  But that ride is mostly about getting together, swapping stories from a year of racing, and eating good food.

The other ride is our annual Fredericksburg Winter Camp ride.  Every year our "coach" Richmond organizes a series of long rides over the holiday break including a big ride that is normally the largest Joe's Pro Bike group ride.  Fredericksburg always provides great roads and scenery and the conversation is fantastic.  This year, one of our teammates Marc did a timelapse capture of the ride.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Where Have I Been??

I've been absent and it will likely remain that way.  I've decided its time to complete my MBA so now I'm going to school along with working.  You don't realize how much free time you have till it goes away.  I haven't been riding much lately much less racing.  I'm trying to run more to stay in shape.  My goal is to do a half-marathon within 6 months and a full within 18 months.  I'll try to update but they will likely be infrequent as my school schedule demands most of my spare time.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


There's tough....

There's tougher.....

Then there's Hoogerland...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A MTB Build

So I finally finished the mountain bike build that I mentioned about a month ago. Well sorta, I'm still waiting on the bleed kit to finish the brakes. Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it came out. It weights 20 lbs 12 oz as pictured, feels great rolling around the street slowly (not much brakes). It was also a lot of fun to have a new, challenging build. There were a lot of things I've never done before including converting a fork to 29er, building Mtb wheels from scratch, and working with hydraulic brakes. Looking forward to getting out in nature and riding. I'll post up again after I've had a chance to do a real ride. This is also an excuse to put my name in the lottery for Leadville.

(yes, the yard is dead, no rain in two months will do that)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

State TT Championship

So the State TT Championships came and went. I didn't have a bad ride, 57:47 which is a PR and tied for 9th in the Cat 3s but..... That is the reason for the delayed post, at first I was so bummed about the ride that I didn't feel I could accurately express my feelings about the ride. The performance wasn't disappointing but my power numbers were a good 5-7% low for the TT compared to the training leading up to the race. My position felt great on the bike but I felt as if I was fighting my body throughout the ride. My mind said "go" and my heart and legs said "we're trying", not "here's the power". At the same time I didn't feel as if I left anything on the course, I was trashed afterwards but I felt that my performance didn't accurately reflect my abilities and the training that led up to the race.

So it's done now and my body actually feels pretty good. I thought I might need some time off the bike in August but I've been riding and my training continues to progress. I feel as if I'm continuing to grow in my understanding of my body and how to train it. I'm looking forward to cyclocross season and with it cooler weather. There won't be much going on other then hopefully some mountain biking and training the next month so post may be limited.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A New Project

So I'm starting a new project...

Working away with my new truing stand...

A close inspection reveals, wait, that's not a road wheel!!!

I have decided to humor my cyclocross roots and build a mountain bike. It's not going to be anything fancy. I went for light weight, functional, and relatively cheap. Parts have been coming in for the past month and a half and should hopefully be all here in the next two weeks. As I start building I'll post more pictures. Who knows what this bike will bring but it's a reason to throw my name in the Leadville Lottery. I'm looking forward to rediscovering the part of cycling that started me on this journey. (sorry for the crappy photos, I was lazy and used my iPhone instead of the Nikon)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Sorry I haven't been posting much but I had to drop a quick note about how much I'm enjoying the Tour de France this year. It has been an extremely entertaining race. I'll write a real post soon....

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I thought I would pass along a couple of item I have been enjoying. Fair warning though, both contain, shall we say, colorful language. So if that type of things offends you maybe you pass on these, but if not, enjoy!!

First is a blog called Slam That Stem. It is a blog dedicated to just what its title would indicate, slamming of stems. For those of you not familiar with the term, slamming a stem is placing a stem as low as it can go the steerer of a fork and thereby removing ALL spacers. This look is very "pro" and I personally think, is more aesthetically pleasing. The guy who curates this blog (curates seems like the right word because is is really a collection of beautiful picture of bikes) does so with a sense of humor that I really appreciate.

Second is Flammecast and more specifically, their podcast which can be found on iTunes. Well done cycling podcast are exceptionally hard to find and one of the creators of Flammecast was part of a podcast called Velocast that I found and enjoyed right as it went off the air. This new podcast was recommended to me by a teammate and it has not disappointed. I would highly recommend it if you enjoy passionate discussion about pro cycling mostly but also a smattering of general bike stuff and nonsense. Unfortunately, just after I found Flammecast, John (who also did Velocast) encountered some health issues that required him to step away and it looks like it may be at an end. They have since released anther podcast and John, if you ever happen to read this, best of luck in getting past whatever you are dealing with. Selfishly, I hope for a quick recovery because I would love for you to come back and do more of the Flammecast.

I hope you enjoy these. If there are other cycling resources that you enjoy, please pass them along.

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July

Enjoyed a long holiday weekend and did 3 consecutive 2+ hour rides with a couple of my teammates Paul and Mike. The Sunday ride was one of the most enjoyable rides I've ever had. Tons of great conversation, meaningless attacks and taunts, and great urban roads. It feels great to be free and alive on the bike again. It's appropriate also that we recognize and remember our country's freedom today. A special thanks to anyone serving in our military preserving our amazing freedom. Happy 4th of July!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Armada

So here are updated pics of the bikes. There have been some changes including going from SRM to the Quarq on the Fuji, dropping the stem on all three to move my position a little more forward and down, and changing the hoods on the Van Dessel. The pics of the TT bike are waiting for the new disc wheel that should arrive by the end of next week.

Red Rice Rocket

Tidy Whitie

Belgian Tri-Color

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Can Do This....

After the I found that riding could be fun again, I decided to throw myself into the fire. The following Thursday I had the day off so I did my first Driveway crit. The Driveway is a weeknight crit that is held at a local race track and has grown into one of the biggest weeknight crits in the nation. I did the 3/4 race and it easily had 50+ starters. It was hot (100+ degrees) and it was hard from the beginning. I was quickly finding that my recovery wasn't very good but I was hanging on. Then a crash through a corner created a large gap from the field and from that point it was a solo ride. I finished but that was about all I could say for that race. At the same time it felt good to race again.

The following Tuesday I did the local monthly TT put on by All Sports Timing. This is the second one of these I've done and it was blisteringly hot this time. My Garmin recorded a temperature of 104. I'd still been tinkering with my position some so I tried to focus on pacing and good form on the bike and not push to hard in the heat. The result was a decent ride but it was a little slower then normal.

Finally, I played with my road bike position this past weekend after a very strong TT training ride and then decided to do the University Oaks crit Sunday since I was going up to San Antonio for work anyways. I did the 3/4 since it was the first race and quickly went on a break that didn't stay out long due to the strong head wind on the finishing drag. I got back in the field and recovered (haven't done that in a while) was able to attack and go on a second break and then get back into the field after I was reeled in and recovered again (who is this guy?) and finally covered a move by one of the other teams and worked the front of the race for 3 laps leading into the 2nd to last lap. Finally at that point I was cooked and thankfully a teammate attacked and I pulled out of the way and finished behind the field on the last lap. It was the best I've felt in over a year and was very encouraging. I felt no pressure and it was great just racing for fun. Now I'll see if I can keep building this form for State TTs that are coming in about a month.

Yup, I'm pulling a face...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Back On The Bike

I haven't posted but to be honest I haven't been riding. Recently my wife and I had an opportunity to make a dream come true and went to Peru for a couple of weeks. It was an amazing trip and I managed to keep fitness by hiking at altitude including a 4 day hike on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. It was an absolutely amazing experience and it also meant almost 4 weeks off the bike. I didn't even sit on one for the longest period since I started riding about 5 years ago.

Today was my first time back on the bike and I did the local Dam Loop which is almost a 60 mile loop from the house. I started off and quickly found myself in the hurt locker and riding sucked once again just like when I left. It had turned into almost a necessary evil that allowed me to race which also kinda sucked in a way. Then, I had an epiphany. I've been reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and it is the story of a people in Mexico who are tremendous distance runners and the journey to finding joy in ultra long distance running. As I sat on the bike I begin to question why riding has to hurt and suck and I decided it doesn't. Now you may say that its not that simple to decide that, reality is still reality. However, I decided to separate my mind from the pain in the legs and think on the beauty of my scenery and the many things I've been blessed with including the experiences of our recent trip. All of a sudden I was free from the hurt locker and riding was fun again. It was incredibly freeing. I've been riding so long and trying to continually move up the ranks that I've forgotten that riding can be fun and only thought about "workouts" and "getting stronger". If I didn't feel the pain I told myself I wasn't working hard enough and I believe was focusing so much on the pain that I was actually holding myself back. I would be lying if I said that at the end of a long ride after time off I wasn't tired and sore but it was a good ride for the first ride in 4 weeks and the first "free" ride in I don't know how long. It's good to be back on the bike and free.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


I thought this was the year that cycling and racing would return to normal. I was mistaken..... Everything that has changed at the end of last year; a new city, a new commute, our first house, and a renewed effort to make family the first priority; has completely shaken my cycling routines. It's still hard to find time and energy to train. The racing has been limited but also led to a lot of feelings unfulfilled potential since it wasn't backed by good training. What makes it worse is I now live in the best cycling city in Texas that also has some of the best racing thanks to the Driveway which could be the top weekday crit in the nation. The temptation of cycling is constantly there.

All this has created an inner struggle. I'm not under any misconception that cycling is or ever will be anything more than a hobby that allows me to stay healthy. At the same time, I love riding and racing and have a competitive and slightly obsessive personality. I've loved the time I've had for things outside cycling but the lack of cycling compared to what it could be has grown to the point of frustration verging on very mild depression at times. Thankfully, I have a very understanding and supportive wife and I'm confident that I will find a balance of cycling that I'm at peace with and fits my life. I just don't know what it looks like or when it will happen.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Urban Street Mountain Bike Race

I'm not a mountain biker and honestly, it really doesn't intrigue me that much. Still, I really enjoyed this video of an urban race in Chile. Check it out.......

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fayetteville Stage Race

The Fayetteville Stage Race has been my nemesis. It consist of a road stage on Saturday morning, a short rolling TT Saturday afternoon and then another road race Sunday morning. It should be a good race for me since I TT well but it has always had my number. The first year I did it I had a bad TT on the short rolling course and then broke a spoke on the 3rd stage and DNF. I missed the following year and then last year the Saturday road race was epic. It started out fogging and in the upper 50s/low 60s about a quarter of the way through I double flatted and was chasing after that. Then a cold front hit and the winds picked up, it started raining and hailing, and the temperature dropped into the 40s. By the end of the race I was down and almost hypothermic. I did the TT and finished 10th but my body was wrecked so I went home and DNF'd again.

This year I was determined to finish. Saturday started with a 68 mile road race. It was a fairly smooth race but was fast as we finished in 3 hours flat. The last hour of the race I could feel cramps coming on and in the finishing sprint my legs completely locked up and I barely made it over the finish line but had a group finish. I spent the rest of the day trying to hydrate and get my body ready for the TT.

I started off on the TT which was the first race on the Kestrel but it felt extremely hard and I was definitely slow. Quickly my 30 second guy caught me, then another guy, and another guy. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't get any speed and figured it was the cramps from the morning. I finally rolled in a miserable 4 1/2 minutes behind the winner. Getting back to the car I realized my rear wheel has slipped in the drop outs and was rubbing on the brake the entire TT. It was frustrating to have more bad luck but encouraging to know at least I didn't suck that bad.

Sunday was a 65 mile road race and it was brutally fast from the start. It was also windy and the field was quickly strung out and guys were dropping out after the 1st of 4 laps. Half way through the 2nd lap I couldn't stay with it any more and came off. I managed to find 3 other guys and even though we were slow the second half of the race we still managed to finish in 3 hours. I was happy to finish even if it was 40th out of about 65 riders. I have finally finished Fayetteville and maybe next year everything will finally fall in place.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Goings On....

So there hasn't been much to report on the racing front but its not because I haven't been, uh, going to races. A week ago I was coming off the worst allergies I have had this year right before Lago Vista. It was the 20th anniversary of the race so they ran it backwards which meant you went up the steep side and down the gentle side. Unfortunately it was a weird/bad day that culminated in the first asthma attack I have had in 4 years and pulling out after just 2 laps. My next race experience was at the Cronometro TT which is a prep TT for Fayetteville. It was a comedy of errors that included missing my start time and learning to always race prep your bike to make sure its ready before you go to the race.

In spite of all this I have had good sessions on the trainer and I've been staying busy. After about a year with SRM and no complaints whatsoever, I started looking at other options. The new TT bike I have has a BB30 bottom bracket that I was using adapters on to run the SRM but it didn't feel like it was working as smoothly as I would like. Also, I want to buy a new road bike frame next year but the frame I want won't work my version of the SRM. This presented 2 options, upgrade to wireless SRMs (very expensive, both initial cost and maintenance but it's the gold standard for power meters) or the wireless Quarq Cinqo (half the cost, easier and cheaper to maintain, and developing an excellent reputation). I went with the Quarq Cinqo because of the price, the ability to use it as a true BB30 but still have the flexibility to switch cheaply in the future, and ease of maintenance. I also went back to a Garmin Edge 500 for the computer versus the old SRM PCV. The Garmin doesn't have as big a display as the SRM but it provides a lot more functionality, a more customizable display, and easier interface so it has been nice having it back.

Quarq Cinqo (sorry for the bad iPhone photos)

My other project was taming the insanity that was the garage. There were plastic tubs and a chaos of bike parts and tools. Any activity meant moving stuff around to get to what I needed and lots of searching for the tools amidst the mess. I finally went out and decided to try my hand at some DIY garage organization. I bought some lumber and built a shelf/work bench along with some peg board and organized my bike area. It worked out well and opened up a large area around the bikes so that I can now easily get on the trainer or set up the bike stand and work on the bikes without moving anything or taking the car out of the garage.

All this stuff now fits in such a small area and its so easy to find!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

NAHBS Austin 2011

So the North American Handmade Bike Show was in Austin this year. I have seen the coverage of this event in years past and practically drooled over the pictures so when I found out it was going to be in Austin this year I was ecstatic. It was the closest thing I have experienced that embodies the "kid in a candy store" feeling.

Here are some of my favorites from the show. A link to all my photos (I'm not a great photographer so it is what it is) is here.

Meeting the legend himself, Dario Pegoretti

The coolest cycling shoes I have ever seen.....

My ultimate Ti bike, a Moots...

My dream road bike, a Pegoretti Responsorium

Vanilla cyclocross..... drool.....

Vanilla track bike

Vanilla single speed cyclocross....

Boo Bikes carbon and bamboo cyclocross bike

Sunday, February 27, 2011


A week ago was the Walburg road race. Walburg is the closest thing Texas has to a classics race. It is not a challenging course except for a finish on a short hill but the weather always makes things crazy. In past years I've seen sudden rain showers, strong winds that shifted throughout the course. It is a course that traditionally tears up the field and is a true survival of the fittest.

This year the weather was amazingly cooperative. Temperatures were in the low 60s and the winds were light in comparison to any other years. The race started off and my legs didn't feel great but I figured they would get going as the race went. MSU and Sun & Ski both had sizeable teams and were putting the hammer down frequently. I managed to stay near the front and continued to wait for my legs to come around. Unfortunately I missed a surge right before a turn into the brutal crosswind section and had to spend too much energy trying to stay with the group. Afterwards I worked to move back up but with every surge I couldn't match the move and slid back in the field. In the beginning of the second lap the pace slowed and I thought my legs were finally coming around but a crash followed by an attack caused a gap and a group of us were chasing to get back into the field. I managed to get in a better position going into the crosswind section but another crash followed by yet another attack created another gap and we were chasing again. Now the legs were feeling really fatigued as we headed back torwards the finish and the final lap when a third crash and attack created yet another split. I fought hard to get back on but soon after I was back on my crank seized. I looked down and my front derailleur cable had slipped and the derailleur twisted pinning the chain. I hoped nobody would run into me from behind but to my surprise,the rest of the field was gone.

I started walking and another racer was kind enough to get me a allen tool so I could get the derailleur straight enough to ride back to the car. Honestly, as much as it was a dissapointment, it was also a mercy killing. My legs were so shot that any attack might have been the final straw for me. I love Walburg and wished it had gone better but that's part of racing. Walburg always test you physically and mentally and leaves you wanting more.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Alsatian Country III

Last year was a miserable year where I never felt strong with the exception of the State TT and the blowout derailed that. After the Move, the Wreck, and everything else, I felt like I had a fresh start. I've been riding less but when I ride, I don't just ride, I train with a purpose. In prior years I have started racing early and raced every race I could to try to race myself into form. This year I'm racing less but trying to build form and maintain it throughout the year so I ultimately grow stronger.

My first race this year was Alsatian Country III. It is a 2.5 mile circuit with the start/finish at the top of a slight grade. Just after the finish it is a short descent into a hard right turn then a long, fast sweeping run into another right that led to the long slight grade back to the finish. The finishing run was into a moderate headwind.

It was a field of about 60 including several teams with a large representation so I tried to stay hidden near the front and wait for the end. I haven't had a lot of long rides so I wasn't sure how my legs would hold up and finish at the end. The race was chaotic and moves off the front didn't last long. Going into the last lap the field was down to about 30 and 2 pairs went off the front. The rest of the field didn't seem to want to chase and so just before the last right hand turn I moved up to 3rd wheel and we began the last grind to the finish. It was a hard finale and I had the legs to unleash my unimpressive sprint and finished 12 in the field and 16th overall. I felt I raced smart and had good legs so it was a definite confidence builder. It was a good race to build on and hopefully have some nice results this year.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kestrel 4000 PRO SL

It's finally complete!! The first bike in the recent "revamping" of the bikes is finally complete. This bike was not without some difficulties to the extent that I was calling it a "demon bike" and actually took it to Austin Bikes twice. The first time was because I was using a 3T Ventus stem/bar but it has an airfoil behind the stem that covered over the frame where the cables entered. I agonized over cutting the piece off but the idea of modifying a bar on which I trust that much of my body weight wasn't a good plan. I finally sold the Ventus which was my favorite TT bar and went with its little brother, the 3T Brezza II with a 3T Arc Team stem. This combination fixed the first problem. Then I finished the build and cabled it but couldn't get it to shift smoothly. It turns out the shifters need the housing to run into the frame to have consistent cable pull. The Nokon housing won't fit in the internal sheath, only the inner lining but the inner lining isn't stiff enough to prevent flex and irregular cable pulls. This meant that I used traditional Jagwire housings for the shifters and Nokons for the brakes to keep the brake cables as tight as possible. The last experiment on this bike was the ISM saddle. A traditional TT saddle produces some serious chafing/soreness in the nether regions due to the way you sit on the nose and makes it hard to do repeat days on the TT bike for events like Tour de Gruene. The ISM saddle essentially cuts off the front of the saddle and so far is the most comfortable TT saddle I have tried. I also set it up with the SRAM R2C shifters which are my favorite bike "bling" item. Shifting is very easy and consistent similar to road shifters and while this is not a must have on a TT project, they are a huge nice to have. I did the first non-trainer ride on it this morning and once I got used to the TT position the bike felt smooth and fast. Unfortunately it was cold and cloudy this morning so the ride was short. There is a local TT series so I'll post more later after I spend some more time on it.

Build List Kestrel 4000SL
Frame/Fork Kestrel 4000SL 57cm/Kestrel Fork
Headset FSA CX Headset
Stem 3T Arx Team 80 mm
Handlebar 3T Brezza LTD 40 cm w/ Blackwell Wrist Relief Extensions
Seatpost Kestrel
Bottom Bracket SRAM BB30 w/ Wheelsmith Adapters
Crank SRAM SRM 172.5
Chainrings SRAM 54/42
Pedals Look Keo Classic
Front Derailleur SRAM Force
Rear Derailleur SRAM Force
Cassette SRAM 11/26
Chain Shimano Ultegra
Shifters SRAM R2C Shifters and 900 TT Brakes
Brakes TRP T-920
Brake Pads SwissStop Yellow
Seat ISM Adamo Racing 2
Cables Gore/Nokon
Wheels DT Swiss with 88mm Carbon Tubular and Corima Disc
Tires Vittoria EVO CX 21 tubular

Saturday, January 15, 2011

SRAM R2C TT Shifter Problems and Repairs

So I'm a little geeky about TT bikes and parts. One part that has always had my interest are the SRAM R2C TT shifters but the approximately $300 MSRP seemed excessive for my budget. In doing some research it seemed some individuals had issues with the shifter going "limp". After reading it appeared to be a very fixable problem so when a pair of "broken" shifters went up on eBay, I decided to test my theory. Here are my "budget" SRAM R2C shifters.

The "broken" shifter

Loosen the screw in the red plate to separate the shifter from the body and expose the internals

Loosen the screw the rest of the way to free the silver plate covering the spring and remove the silver plate

You can see the spring is twisted and off center. This appears to be the main issue that causes the shifter to "break" and swing up and down without changing gears.

Center the spring back down around the black hole the screw goes through. In this picture you can see the metal plate where the beginning and end of the spring attach. The long center prong one the 3 prong side of it will go down in between the beginning and end of the spring.

Carefully put the silver plate down so as not to dislodge the spring off of the black screw hole. Then use the back end of a knife or similar to push the two black pieces on either side of the long prong. Finally, carefully reinsert and tighten the silver piece in with the screw and then re-attach it to the rest of the shifter mechanism. The shifter should not work like new.

This worked perfectly for me and allowed me to get some great shifters on a heavy discount. Be aware that if you shift it to the extreme (highest or lowest gear) without a cable attached, this seems to dislodge the spring and cause it to "break". I was able to replicate this easily and then "fix" the shifters again. Shifting back and forth in the middle range didn't create the same problem. Some individuals have mentioned that it has "broken" while riding and if you have significant friction in the cable routing (which isn't uncommon on some TT frames and aerobar combinations), then it can create momentary "slack" while riding. If this happens when shifting to the extreme, it could theoretically re-create the scenario that happens when you shift it without a cable thus causing it to "break". Admittedly, I haven't ridden these shifters much yet but I will update if something changes. So far they have performed perfectly and have actually exceeded my expectations as it replicates much of the feel of shifting normal SRAM road levers. I hope this was a help.

Tokyo to Osaka

Excellent video by Nic Hill by way of the Velogogo blog.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cross Racing

Check out the video on the amazing Mud and Cowbells blog post. Some of the most bad-a** women riders doing their thing. Great shots and music on the video.

Raleigh HiLife

So I had a little extra money from the settlement on the MVA with the old cross bike after building up the new Kestrel TT and Van Dessel so I started looking at cheap cross bikes. I wanted another cross bike since the Van Dessel was to nice to take on mountain bike trails or bar rides. I also wanted something I could use as a pit bike in case of flats/mechanicals. (we don't have much mud here in TX). What followed was shopping but agonizing about buying a cheap cross bike or taking a chance on a single speed cross that I might not enjoy. I have posted in the past about building a fixie but finding out that I didn't enjoy riding it and I was afraid of the same experience with a single speed cross bike.

In the shopping around, the one bike that really caught my eye was this one. This bike appealled to the fun, risk-taking part of me while the standard Fuji comp appealed to the safe, practical part of me. The only issue was I couldn't find one. They were a limited run and sold out extremely fast. Then a new frame set popped up on eBay and we were in business. Almost all the parts came from the parts bin so it was a junkyard build. The levels are SRAM Rival levers gutted of the shift mechanism. After a couple of rides on it, I have to say its a fun bike to ride and a great break to get out and explore trails without worrying about mileage, cadence, or wattage. I'm looking forward to doing some single speed cross races next season.

Frame/Fork Raleigh Hi-Life 57 cm/Easton EC90X
Headset FSA CX Headset
Stem Ritchey Alloy WCS 100 mm
Handlebar Ritchey Pro 42 cm
Seatpost Thomson Elite 287 cm
Bottom Bracket SRAM GXP
Crank Truvativ Rouleur 172.5
Chainrings SRAM 38
Pedals Crankbrothers Eggbeater C
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur N/A
Cassette Orgin8 Conversion Kit 18t
Chain Shimano Dura-Ace
Shifters SRAM Rival
Brakes Tektro CR720
Brake Pads Koolstop Salmon
Seat Selle Italia Flite Team
Cables Gore
Wheels Mavic Comos
Tires Kenda Small Block

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fuji SST 2.0

I've never really posted anything on my current road bike, the Fuji SST 2.0. It weighs in at 16 lbs 4 oz and is very stiff but not a harsh ride. It's an amazing difference going from the stiff but harsh Cannondale CAAD frame. While the Cannondale frame was stiff, it also felt every imperfection in the road. This made cornering at speed an adventure if the road had imperfections. In comparison, the Fuji feels if it's on rails it tracks so smoothly through rough corners. It's been a great bike and I'm looking forward to seeing how it does in the upcoming road season.

Build List:
Frame/Fork Fuji SST 2.0 56 cm/Fuji Fork
Headset Cane Creek
Stem Ritchey Alloy WCS 110 mm
Handlebar Ritchey Alloy WCS 42 cm
Seatpost Fuji
Bottom Bracket FSA Ceramic
Crank FSA SRM Crank 172.5
Chainrings FSA 53/38
Pedals Look Keo Classic
Front Derailleur SRAM Red
Rear Derailleur SRAM Force
Cassette SRAM 11/26
Chain Shimano Ultegra
Shifters SRAM Red
Brakes Zero Gravity Zero G Brakes
Brake Pads SwissStop Yellow
Seat Selle Italia SLR XP
Cables Nokon
Wheels DT Swiss hubs with 38mm Carbon Tubular Rims
Tires Vittoria EVO CX 21 tubular

Here is a video of the Fuji.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie

I finally completed the new cross bike and it is a beauty. I had my first ride on it and it performed amazingly on a 2 hour mix of pavement, single track, and gravel path. It's very stable and precise thanks to the carbon frame and tapered steerer. I also like the handling of the standard geometry versus the compact geometry of the old frame. The new Van Dessel is much lighter then my old Van Dessel Hole Shot which was pushing 21 lbs. This new one is a feathery 17 lbs.

Frame/Fork Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie 56 cm/Van Dessel Fork
Headset FSA CX Headset
Stem Ritchey Alloy WCS 110 mm
Handlebar Ritchey Alloy WCS 42 cm
Seatpost Thomson Elite 287 cm
Bottom Bracket SRAM BB30
Crank SRAM Force BB30 172.5 mm
Chainrings SRAM 46/38
Pedals Crankbrothers Eggbeater 3
Front Derailleur SRAM Force
Rear Derailleur SRAM Force
Cassette SRAM 11/26
Chain Shimano Ultegra
Shifters SRAM Red
Brakes Avid Shorty Ultimate
Brake Pads SwissStop Yellow
Seat Selle Italia SLR XP
Cables Nokon
Wheels DT Swiss hubs with 50mm Carbon Tubular Rims
Tires Challenge Grifo 32 tubulars

I tried a quick video review of the frame, forgive the wildlife throughout.