Monday, April 28, 2008

Red, world. World, Red.

Yep, that's right folks... she lives. FINALLY!!! The new fixie, and yep, I named her Red. And no the curtains don't match the carpet.

After casing the front wheel and bending/possibly cracking the frame of the classic that Bottke and I built. I was forced to move up the build time of the Orbit frame, from now on referred to as Red, the Jackal hooked me up with. I also got a new rim for the front wheel and transfered hub and spokes over from the thrashed one and we were in business.

Red's rear wheel is tucked in more than my previous fixies. Which did make for a challenge on getting proper chain tension but got that dialed after I had to get a new chain. I also got a new bottom bracket, crank, seatpost, headset and stem for this build. I'm taking the risk that the handlebars are fine after the crash.

After a quick spin around the block, Red rides like a dream and I believe I am the first person EVER to ride it, crazy since it's from the early 90's. She has got a longer top tube and stem than what I've run before but put me into a great riding position. I'm a little nervous about the front rim still because I've never laced a rim before and spoke tension seems a bit weak and I've still got a few little hops.

I plan on riding Red into work tomorrow, hopefully every works great and the wheel settles in. I'm assuming I'll have to do some fine tuning to it but she'll do fine.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Yankee Springs TT

Last Sunday started off the the race season for me, and was a great weekend to be on the bike. Saturday I drove to out to Yankee to get in one last pre-ride only to discover they were going to run the race backwards. I tried to control my nerves after the practice lap as any advantage Wednesday's laps would have given me were long gone and it was a "new" trail. Yankee is and interesting start to the season as it is a TT and therefore a lot of the elite riders race the elite class and the singlespeed class making a good placing difficult to come by, and this only made my nerves worse. I woke up early Sunday and rode to the shop to meet Jim, the ride loosened up my legs and I felt good. At Yankee we stopped by to see Mike, the Michigan Trek/Fisher/Bontrager rep, and the Trek demo bus. It was pretty cool to see all the bikes getting ridden around and JJ even scored a Superfly to "demo" for the race. After doing 4 laps of the 2 mile warm up course I spun around the dirt roads and showed up about 10 minutes early to my 11:51 start time to get a little stretching in. The only problem was start times were all snafued and as soon as I got to the start chute I was told most of the Expert/Elite Singlespeeds had already gone out and I had to chase through the Sport/Beginner riders. Adrenaline kicked in instantly and I left the start house on fire praying that I could stay away from the 2 or 3 Expert/Elite riders behind me. After hammering for the first 2 miles or so I settled in and concentrated on recovering as much as possible on downhills, riding the flats steady, and killing the hills. A few hike a bikes due to slower traffic elevated the heart rate left me feeling crappy. I wasn't sure how well the race was going but every rider I passed spurred me on and every rider I could catch a glimpse of needed to be chased down. Coming into the last gravely turn my wheel started to break loose a bit and I thought I was going to lose it on the home stretch but somehow managed to drift left and right before bringing it under control and hammering across the line. I had no idea how my time had compared but after seeing a sub 49 minute lap I felt confident I had pushed hard and could only wait until the results were posted. My 48:47 ended up being good enough for 2nd place making it my best finish ever in the singlespeed class and leaving me wanting more. Fort Custer is only a week and change away, and a few new additions have made their way onto the Rig. Carbon cranks and Ergon Grips...mmmmmm. I probably should have cleaned my basement instead of playing with my bike but Adam had his camera at work and doing housework is lame.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Week 6 Update

I apologize for the lack of posts as of late. Really no reason, and of course I make no excuse. If you know me well enough, you know that there is always some thing that I could write about. But for now, here's the latest leader board.

Geoff is still leading with 1,341.34 miles on the bike and 451.6 miles in the car:I have got 299.64 miles on the bike with a mere 211.59 miles in my car:
Brian, to his defense, has been a bit sick, had a bit of school work to do and also a big move into a newly purchased house. When I say things like that it does serve as a reminder that I am getting older. Brian has 377.89 miles on his bike and 421.88 miles in his car. He did inform me he put in a 50 miler today so he's at least balanced things out for next week...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I NEED YOUR HELP!!! Yes, you... in the red. Wait. Maybe not you.

Seriously though. I'm in a very difficult position right now. I took my wheel into the shop today and it's toast, totally untrueable. It is a sad day, but fortunately I can simply order up a new rim and use the exsisting hub and spokes and re-lace it with a new rim. But fear overcame me once I realized that the wheel was shot. I had yet to fully examine the frame. This is where I need your help... I am need of wisdom from those much smarter than I on the condition of the frame.

Exhibit 1:

Look carefully at the top tube... right at the braze-on... does the top tube seem to be bent upward? I can't tell if it's just my eyes or just an optical illusion. The arrow is pointing to the place where I believe that the bend is. Also the 'A' and 'B' are places where I've noticed that the paint is cracked perpendicular to the tubes... meaning horizontal if seated on the bike looking down. Which is not found anywhere else on the bike and has me nervous.

Anyone? Please any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

And because every cloud DOES have a green lining... there is never a reason to always to leave you on a downer.

Just what the doctor ordered

I couldn't have asked for a better day off, temps in the 70's and only a few clouds in the sky. Normally this would be a day for an epic road ride but today I was on a mission to get used to the new mountain bike, so I headed out to Yankee Springs to scout this weekends course and dial in the new ride a bit. I was beyond impressed with the G2 geometry, it's true I drank the Kool-Aid a long time ago and am a true believer in big wheels and Fisher bikes, but I try not to let that cloud my judgment. I never had a complaint about how my G1 29er handled and while I am not exactly a pro when it comes to the tight stuff the bike didn't seem to make things worse. The new Rig just seems to be intuitive. After shaking the cobwebs out and remembering what it is like to ride singletrack at a decent pace I found myself settling in and approaching corners with more confidence and speed, although I did find my sliding a bit in some corners as Yankee starts to become a sandbox about 10 seconds after it actually drys up. After doing 3 of the 11 mile laps and bettering last years TT time by about 1.5 minutes I decided to hang it up for the day and get to the errands I had to run. I headed back to GR and parked my car at my parents house and walked the not quite 2 miles to the bank and hit up a few other errands by foot on the way back. I never realized how many trips are within a 2 mile trip until this months challenge, in the past it was normal to hop in my car drive up to Knapp's Corner do my banking, get a haircut, or grab a bite to eat and then head back, that has all changed now. My little bro Jake came along to keep me company, afterwards we played some catch to get him ready for coach pitch baseball that is starting up and then it was time to head home. One of my better days off in a long time, and not just because of the weather, it was great to hang out with the little brothers and attend a family dinner again. Racing this weekend the question is to ergon or not to ergon. Adam and knows this fine gentleman and has convinced me to ditch my ESI grips and test out a pair of these, I just don't think I dare do it with only one chance to ride the bike before the race. Only time will tell, have a good one.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Alo vs. Curb. Point Curb.

Let me be honest, this was not initially what I had hoped to have wrote about today. Instead it was going to be a nice little play by play of my ride around GR on my day off [which will still be part of this but not until later]. But only 4 or so blocks away from my house, I take a little bit of a short cut which involves crossing traffic, jumping a curb, taking a side walk to a dead end street which then leads me home. If the title of todays entry didn't already give it away, it wasn't the traffic that was the problem, it was: being in such a hurry that I lifted up my front wheel early on the fixie, going too fast which then lead to me putting down the front wheel too soon. This of course then caused me to hit the curb at probably around 13 mph, throwing me over the handlebars onto my left side, giving me a small but deep gash on the elbow, a scuffed up lower leg and a bruise that I'm just now noticing on my hip.

All of which I would be totally ok if it wasn't that quite possibly have totally jacked up the front wheel. It's hard to see from the picture [taken moments afterwards, I'll pat myself on the back for that one, Thank You Very Much!] but there is pretty extreme wobble and I haven't mustered up the courage yet to see how much up and down there is, but I'm willing to bet pretty good.

Deep breath.

Now for the rest of my ride... I headed out today and headed over to a near by shop to say hello to a friend and see about lending hand in a little 'impromptu' urban mtb 'gathering' going on this Sunday. Sounds pretty sweet, there will definitely be pictures.

Then headed to help figure out a commuting route for a friend who wants to maybe ride in a day or two to work. In doing so I stumble onto a very new trail that seems to be a ticket...
This was taken after I went around it... If given the 'safer' and 'dryer' choice, which would you choose? Yes, you're correct the right side. Unfortunately, although some thing might look dry it might not actually be...
Yep, the right foot took a dive. Can't tell much from the picture but it's pretty muddy and half of my foot was then wet. A shame. I continued to cruise along and ended up deciding on going over to the cheap theater in town and hit a movie. Went to the Other Boleyn Girl. Sounded mildly interesting, has my favorite actress Natalie Portman in it so that definitely didn't hurt and for $3.50 worth the risk. I ended up cruising around the mall for a bit before hand and must say if you want to get fun looks from people, show up on your bike to a mall, then proceed to walk around your shoes and whatever cycling appropriate garb. I was definitely in the 'urban/hippister' garb today. Lots of double takes. Good times.

After the movie I came out and just sat in the sun for a bit next to the bike... Took a shot of the fixie [pre-curb terror]...
And as I sat there and just soaked it in, I noticed some thing. I had a waterbottle cage but no bottle. I had left the house with one, left it on the bike when I went into the movie/mall. SOMEONE STOLE MY WATERBOTTLE???? WTF? I'm sorry, I'm not really upset about losing it but out of all the things that I left on the bike a person, of high intelligence no doubt, decides to take the USED water bottle? Ok? Let's go through the items which could have been taken without any tools: the head of my Cateye computer and my newly purchased yancopad. Things easily taken with a wretch or alley key: Inform staddle, front wheel, bottle cage.

So if anyone is in the Grand Rapids area and sees someone with a Europa Cycle and Ski water bottle that isn't me, please go up to certain individual and pat them on the back for such a stellar choice.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My last few days.

Now, unfortunately there hasn't been much for me to write about lately from my commutes. On Wednesday I had started to get a little bit of a sniffle, which then progressed just to an annoyance on Thursday, to a Barry White phase Friday in which I ended up going home early from work, to Saturday calling in sick and getting that ever so sweet feeling like ones brain is actually becoming mush as I lay stuck on my bed for the day. It's been a beautiful last few days and I'm not fully recovered. Hopefully, I'll feel good enough to ride in tomorrow.

But never the less, if you're like me words are mildly boring. Leading me to respond best to colors and/or pictures. So that's what I have for you this evening. a picture or two from one of Geoff and myself ride home last week...

Then a picture of the Orbit... This is my next fixie build, I got this frame from Carl. I wish I would have taken a picture of what it looked like before it was sand-blasted and powder coated, lets just say Wham! and Boy George would have loved it. From what I'm told, this bike although old, might not have yet to see the road as a complete bike. Going from the old Advantage shop to owner to owner until finding it's way to me. We'll see when it will for me but let's just say, it's smooth...
That's right folks, I'm going with the Inform again for this build. It has won me over...

And now for a teaser... the Ferrous. She's not done yet but she's still a sexy machine... The wheels are on loan from Geoff until I can build up mine. Outside of saving up for the King hubs, I'm waiting for one more item...
Yep. That's my phone and my background is from my first ride on it...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Make your eyes bleed" hard

"They're going pretty fast", "They are just showing off because they are riding past Nate's", "This is still pretty fast", "Oh crap we're sprinting now". That was my first 2 minutes of the Tuesdays Founders Ales Racing Team road ride, a ride that was billed as being so hard it will make your eyes bleed. Needless to say this was a fast ride. I had been out for a long ride Sunday and had come back pretty cooked, but my legs felt completely recovered by time Joe K. started talking crap about the Founders ride. I figured why not see if I could throw down with a couple elite mountain bikers. I loved it, I haven't ridden that hard outside of a race ever, Dan Jansen made sure that every stop ahead sign was a sprint and even with a small group 2nd or 3rd place was a tough snag. Once I settled in and realized that this was going to be the pace it was time to match pulls, keep the pace high, and keep my eyes peeled for stop ahead signs so I wasn't leading out a sprint. The eye popping moment for me came about 30 miles in when a gap started opening to the rider leading up a decent "Michigan climb", sitting 3rd wheel I felt it was my duty to come around and close the gap. I realized to late that I had given it too much gas and had committed myself to the attack and decided to just go with it until the top. I managed to gap everyone except Dan, who wanted to keep them chasing, so we traded pulls until the next stop ahead sign where he blew me out of the water in a not so hotly contested sprint. The ride ended at Founders for some of their excellent recovery beverages. Hopefully I can attend this ride on a regular basis as its a great group of guys and super fast. With the countdown almost to an end and the number of fast rides under my belt rising I don't know whether to be exhausted or exuberant at the progress I have made.....and A.Lo I don't train I just sometimes take long rides without any destination, no heart rate monitors, intervals, or power meters here.



Look closely... very closely. It may look kosher but the reality is that some thing just a little off... posted these photos a few days ago, for a closer look go there. Not that this is anything unusual for pro teams to be sponsored by one company and then actually ride a competitor just 'altered', but come on... I really want to like the new SRAM stuff, but lately there has been to many reasons not too, but that's another story for another day.

UPDATED 11:24PM EST 04.09.2008: GEOFF IN HIS INFINITE WISDOM AND SPARE TIME... ORIGINALLY POINTED THIS PICTURE OUT TO ME. So on the rare occasion I do give credit where it is due.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Week 4 Update

Sorry for the lack of post the past week. No excuses but let's just say I needed a break of sorts but I'm back and hopefully this will mark my return to the top of the podium. We'll see, Geoff is well... riding a lot, maybe I shouldn't have allowed training miles.

Geoff is still leading with 945.74 miles on the bike and 248.1 miles in the car.

I have 207.13 miles on the bike and 136.23 miles in the car.

Brian has 309.24 miles on bike and 308.57 miles in the car.

Yesterday, I ordered up the ultra sweet 'Til Death poster and so far none of us have driven for trips under 2 miles!

Thursday, April 3, 2008


It looks like spring is finally arriving. Yesterday was warm enough for leg warmers and a wind vest, I still wore heavy tights and a light jacket which resulted in a 3.5 hour sweat session that left me feeling like I had ridden on a sweltering summer day. Despite being overdressed it felt good to get out to the short steep hills of the Ada/Lowell area to test the legs a bit. With the miles piling up and the first race looming I am growing impatient. I am impatient to get my wheels into the dirt and impatient to pin on a number, but most of all I am impatient to feel the exhilaration that comes from competition whether I podium or end up as pack fodder I love the oxygen deprived feeling of a hard race, although a good finish does help. This year is definitely different as I have more motivation to show up ready to go later this month and I crossing my fingers and toes that I will find my legs by time I line up for Yankee. In addition to the MMBA CPS series and a fair amount of road races I hope to get out to the Milk Jug Racing series. Raymond puts on a good low key race series that is casual and nice primer for bigger races. One of my favorites was when Raymond started us straight up the ski hill at Cannonsburg and I turned what I thought was to big of a gear into a big gap at the top. After the climb I sat up to recover and was joined by Tommy Hahn, a teammate and all around swell guy, we ended up finish one, two for a good day. I'll leave you with a pic from the top of the ski hill.(A.Lo claims to need pictures to understand my posts) 17 days until racing begins until then lots of miles and hopefully this years first century are on tap and hopefully we get more of the sunshine and I can break out my knee warmers and start on my super sweet bike tan.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Challenge.

In the spirit of a little thing called 1 World 2 Wheels comes Aprils challenge for the three of us. We have all agreed to forsake our cars for ALL trips 2 miles long and under. This means no quick trips to the gas station, grocery store or ATM if they are such a short distance away. And just to give a little incentive, although I'd hope that we wouldn't need more, I will be purchasing another sweet product from Twin Six to serve as a carrot, that being the Til Death poster for the rider who does not drive their car for the entire month for these short trips.

It is really alarming when you look at what really happens in those short trips, here are two facts from the 1w2w website for 2 miles or less:

_60% of the pollution created by automobile emissions happens in the first few minutes of operation, before pollution control devices can work effectively.

_24% of all trips are made within a mile of the home, 40% of all trips are made within two miles of the home, and 50% of the working population commutes five miles or less to work.

Although I am speaking for myself on this but there is a quote from a great movie Shawshank Redemption from Brooks when he's writing after he gets out of jail that seems very appropriate and mildly profound... 'Dear Fellows, I can't believe how fast things move on the outside. I saw an automobile when I was a kid, but now... they're everywhere. The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry...' We've gone and gotten ourselves in a big damn hurry haven't we? But maybe the real question is, what are we in such a hurry to get around to doing?

So for this month, Geoff, Brian and myself are slowing down a bit. Although this might be a naive dream but maybe we might see a little bit more of life that we so often fast forward over.