Friday, March 27, 2009

A Friday Teaser

Hi! I'm Adam and I have a problem. Project Red started way back in the late fall when it got too nasty outside to ride Red outside. Sure, at the beginning I teased that there were only a few things that I'd be doing and well, one thing always leads to another and I decided to mess with the wheels a bit. After that I have to order one more part and Project Red V.1 will be done for this year, and you read right, there will be a version 2.0 next off-season.

I stumbled onto this quote a few weeks back and haven't really found a good way to throw it out there but since we're talking about Red and fixies today, it's close enough for me...

'If you truly like riding fixies, your world becomes inverted. Everything you previously loved, you come to loathe. Long fast downhills are miserable. It takes everything you've got just to keep your legs pumping in time with the speed of the wheels. Berms and jumps? You avoid them. Catching air on a fixie is a tragic comedy. Speed is not your friend, either. Instead, you crave slow, technical climbs and meaty downhils where you have to think through every single pedal stroke like it's an advanced calculus problem'

_ Gramhm Averill, from his artical Strange Brew in the November '08 Bike Mag.
Stumbled onto this over at A little house techno in the background and some pretty stellar video shots just make me want to get out my glow sticks and start a rave. Or maybe just ride.

Truth and Beauty Intro (non-3D version) from TRUTH and Beauty on Vimeo.

I think the only negative I can see are the graphics. Ditch them and I have nothing to complain about. Now I just need to find some 3D glasses. Nice job Spinteck.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Now that's a Deep Veeeeeeee.

Ok, I love Velocity wheels. Why? Because. That's why. Seriously...

But seriously seriously, their Aussie made rims, with their US headquarters here in GR where all their hand-built rims are done. Their rims are solid, the whole staff is super easy to work with and their continually developing new stuff that, of course turns heads.

Today I was just checking out there new blog and well, if you want to one up all of your friends who are rocking the Deep V, here you go...

Introducing the B-43... oh shoot. Tru Dat! Just might have to look into getting a set of these...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Claim the lane.

Came across this on the Surly blog.

Interesting stuff, anyone who has commuted or spent any time on the road has had their tower buzzed by any number of motorist, we all have our own stories to tell. I do wonder though, is it the roads that he is on that causes him to get buzzed so often? Maybe Wisconsin drivers? Maybe the lycra? Comparing my riding stories to Geoff's [often he is in full bike grab compared to my Chrome knickers, T-shirt, and helmet], he seems to encounter a few more 'frustrated' drivers than I do.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bridges: A Recap

Saturday night rides are for fun. Leisurely, we will willingly stop if we see some thing interesting to do, like the Ghetto-drome. This week we rode a few bridges, it was a short ride compared to other night rides but nevertheless had some good times...

Voices you hear are Geoff and I... sure we knew the probable outcome, but can't hurt to encourage. On what I'll call a Bikesnob note, at Founders there was this bike...

A bit hard to read but the top tube says 'This machine kills fascists'. Sure, I guess.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Saturday Night Ride : Bridges


Don't really know why I felt the need to change the color of bridges but I did, so deal with it. I haven't gotten to ride much at all this past week since I've been sick since last Thursday and haven't felt really all that up for pushing it, especially since I've just been drained overall. So Saturday should hopefully be a good time to get the legs back into it.


Normal Saturday Night Ride.

Founders at 5:30p if you're interested in getting some food and drink.

Leave at 6:30p... Big Loop.

7.5 miles [maybe more...]. Bridges. A climb or two.

Here's a link to the route, maybe we'll stick to that then.

Questions? Ask. Care to give a heads up that you're joining in... go here.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Making em say UHHHHH!!!


This past week, I have spent a lot of time thinking about gravel. And it may come as no surprise after my post a few days ago.

Lots of small talks with trusted friends and co-workers on what might be the best way to go about moving forward. Lately I've been thinking about putting together some thing like this or this. But with a twist.

It's still early on the brain storming process but I've got a few ideas and I'm debating if I should run with them...

I guess this is where you come in... post a comment or email me at if you'd be interested in a free gravel ride/race/event, anywhere from 60-100 miles maybe more, in May or June. Any thoughts, concerns, or opinions are all welcome.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Welcome to Ghetto-drome...

A little music, some pictures, a little video... all from tonight's Saturday Night Ride: Ghettodrome Style. The music is by Giants, the song is A Near Life Experience.

If you're wondering... here is a Google Maps of the 'dromes location.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Saturday Night Ride: Ghettodrome Style.

After much ado... the Saturday Night Rides begin again. Unfortunately there is an Alley Cat race going on earlier in the day but hey, food is always good and doesn't hurt to get and spin the legs a bit after a hard ride. I wish I could be there, but someone has to tend to the shop.

Normal details. Meet at Founders around 5:30pm for food and whatnot. Head out 6:30pm for a good little spin.

R2 is going to be leading the ride as we head to his epic 'Ghettodrome'... that we don't even know if it's rideable.

Could end up for some good ol' Mad Max fun...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

BRRRRRR course recon.

Today, I was fortunate to have the day off from the shop and had decided that I was going to go out and pre-ride the Barry-Roubaix course. Now, I must say I was a little sad that they had decided to post the route [although some folks already knew it] since I'm still tremendously freaked out by Trans Iowa because I won't know the route until night before and thus will have no idea what lay ahead. By no means, is that a complaint on either event but instilling a little fear of the unknown in people is always a bit fun. Especially when there are videos like this out there.

The map below is of the 31 mile loop for the Elite, Sport/Expert classes. Click on it and it will also show you elevation. I've photoshoped in a few things in this photo and I'll spend a little time on my thoughts on the route itself:

- The gravel portions of this race are solid. Challenging with lots of little climbs, none that are too long in length but that by no means sparing riders from having their [insert favorite filler] handed to them. The green circled sections are where I encountered some what I'll call sticky gravel sections. Perfectly normal for this time of year with the thaw. County workers were out maintaining the roads and these sections where still ridable given the proper line.
- The Climbs. I highlighted two of my favorites with yellow circles. The climb between miles 9 and 10 is really the courses first course of pain. An extremely short but steep climb only the level off for a few hundred yards for a turn and then a short climb to the top. PAIN, but the legs were fresh at this point. The other climb that I won't be soon forgetting is between miles 19 and 20. Wow. That's all I'll say about that.
- The course is well covered protecting the riders from wind. Today we had a strong 17 mph wind from the west that only came into play in small sections of the course. Some may argue that shouldn't be considered a pro but given the climbs, I think it's a fair trade off.
- NO DOGS. Well there were a few but all were either caged or leashed. I absolutely hate having to go all Kung-Fu on a dog but whenever I have one chase me it's my gut reaction.

- From the website, it states that the race is 80% gravel. Granted the course does make the most out of the gravel available in that area. The sections that I am not thrilled about I have highlighted in red because they are the paved sections. Being that the course is open, meaning traffic rules apply, no real heads up for cars passing through the area and no protection for riders on the paved portions makes for a very dangerous few sections. The spots where the course passes over M-43 aren't really too big of a concern because there is ample amount of shoulder and I don't foresee any issues on those sections. My fear comes if this event is as big as the Kisscross events towards the end of last year. The turn out was great but putting that on the open road is extremely dangerous on the final 5 miles of the course; where I'd say the real 'racing' is going to occur for the leaders. This section has little or no shoulder for riders to lean towards and the road has plenty of turns and hills where automobile traffic could come into play. Meaning that cyclist will have no room even when obeying the two-abreast rule. Although riders sign off that they will obey traffic laws when they sign up, I'm afraid that in the heat of competition some thing bad as the potential of occurring.

The only solution to this problem that I can see for this section of the course would be to have the riders still take Gun Lake Rd but only stay on it briefly taking the Otis Lake Rd [which is gravel] south to west on West Sager Rd. and finish the race by riding a portion of the course backwards.

As for the personal side of the ride. I geared up pretty closely to my Trans Iowa set up and through it all in the back of the tank[changed names from the xBox once I lost one hub cap and decided to take them all off].

This was my handlebar set up with my ghetto q-sheet.

Me around mile 16.

Final distance [31.6 miles] given by Hal the Digital Incite computer.

Overall, it was a great time. I learn a lot through the ride, such as: when I get out of the saddle to climb I move so far over the handlebars that the rear wheel likes to dance around; my handlebar and seat position are dialed; I am still very clueless as to how to properly feed myself before and during a ride [I'd like to say this is limited to cycling, but looking back on my 'athletic' career, I have always struggled as to what eat before an event and often bonked, burned out during games], my legs love to cramp. I seemed to really find my groove by mile 18 but then by mile 21 all hell broke loose. My left thigh decided it hated me and cramped up hard, after a gu packet and pushing some electrolytes seemed to have helped for the short term but needless to say the final 8 miles had it's difficult moments where my right thigh didn't want to be left out on all the fun. I couldn't climb because getting out of the saddle only worsened it. Somehow I was able to push through and stay on the bike except for some of the bigger climbs.

There is so much work to be done in the next two months. Not letting the fear of the unknown for Trans Iowa get me is going to be huge.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Gearing up to get down.

So it begins... The countdown as been going for some time but as they say... it just got real. With that I'm starting the process of what I need and don't need. To begin with I'll be starting with just the suggested listed off of the Trans Iowa site. Here is what I'll tentatively be taking with me, I've linked up if you really want to see specifically I'll be running:

  • Small rucksack / hydration pack CHECK.
  • Lightweight waterproof / windproof top CHECK
  • Extra thermal top or warm layer to wear if stopped CHECK
  • 2 litres of water either in a bladder or water bottles NEED TO GET and CHECK
  • Food – for example energy bars, gels or chocolate WILL GET
  • A good pump CHECK
  • Tyre levers CHECK
  • 2 spare inner tubes CHECK
  • Puncture repair kit CHECK
  • Chain splitter, Allen key set, Spoke wrench NEED TO GET
  • First aid kit and survival blanket NEED TO GET
  • Mobile phone / money for pay-phone CHECK
  • Butt butter....ahhhhh smooooth! NEED TO GET
  • Good chain lube. Don't under-estimate Iowa's harsh conditions in the Spring. CHECK
  • Cash, debit card, credit card. Use these items to get items on the road to complete the route. CHECK
  • Handle bar map case NEED TO GET
  • a cycling computer CHECK

Of course as I get all of this in the next month I'll be carrying it with me and seeing what I can do to lower the weight. Any ideas or thoughts on different things I should or shouldn't take I'm always willing to hear.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

More Man-pre's Please.

That's right... man-pre's not mayonnaise. To the layman, knickers. Unfortunately, budget is a bit tight right now so I won't be pulling the trigger on these right now but it's a heck of a deal. But if anyone wants to celebrate my 27 year and 5 months birthday with me by getting me a pair, I wouldn't complain. I wear a size 36 and I'm not picky on the color...

Friday, March 6, 2009

One night (track) stand.

Wednesday night turned out to be a rather warm night by Michigan standards, so R2 and I decided to hit up the Grand Rapids weekly Wednesday night ride around 9:30. It was turning out wonderful, I had a free schedule, was very energetic, and had an itch to ride. Except...I didn't have a fixie. So, after a quick run around Holland after (I just said "after" again...) closing the shop to find another somebody else that had a Surly 15t cog in was home to assemble the beauty at the right.

Meet Trixie! She's my one night track stand from last night. A one night only sort of deal, since I have plans for the wheels and crank for a different bike, and yet another plan for this frame. It was all good fun, but now it's over, and I happened to snap a picture of her before she left for good. I'll miss her.

....In all seriousness it was good to get my fix Wednesday night and ride. R2 and I rode with the rest of the group, about 10 people, until we headed down an enormous hill and my lock ring started slipping, and needless to say....we lost the group. we made out own little ride, though, and just rode aimlessly around the city, up and down a parking garage, and R2 decided to end on an enormous hill that made my legs feel jello-esque. It makes me itchy to get out and ride when it warms up a little.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Races and the Almighty Dollar

Maybe Iowans have it right. Or maybe, there is just some thing about the simplicity of cycling that some still hold true. With the rise of endurance races and longer gravel rides growing in number every year, it is not surprise that there are a number of different approaches to how they maybe organized, run and put on.

A few years ago, I worked at a shop with Mr. 24. Many of you know a bit of his back story, he is a solid endurance racer and his online influence on the cycling industry continues to grow year after year. He's honest and often brutally straightforward, which is one of the many reasons why what he writes about product and insights on cycling are accepted by so many. Saying that, I got to see the effect of how a few words on this inter-web of ours can have when Jeff was banned for a year from the 24 hours of Adrenalin series for questioning the costs of entry fees on a MTBR forum. If I remember correctly Jeff was only questioning the need for such high fees and it's effect on getting riders in the sport and keeping them there. I say this to acknowledge that I am approaching a very touchy subject.

I, for one, am far from what one could consider a racer. Only participating in a handful of mountain and cross races throughout my life, in which I have never had a problem with the fees that correspond with these closed course events. The epic gravel grinders have caught my attention and imagination for some time now, since the conception of TransIowa occurred some 6 years ago. I am bias in that I've known the organizers personally for some time and just seen their hearts on the matter. This event was put on by bike lovers for bike lovers. Keeping it as simple as possible and what do you know, it's worked.

Off shoots of TransIowa have happened all over the place from the Dirty Kanza and G-Ted's Death Ride to this weekends CIRREM. And what do all of these have in common? Besides the fact that you have to be a little off your rocker to do it... their all free. The CIRREM is more of a benefit than anything asking for free will donations to benefit a bike collective but bike lovers uniting for a great purpose.

All are open courses, all take a good amount of time to put together and promote, all have riders acknowledge that they are on their own. The organizers of these events deserve so much, and often chose putting this together and running the event over things like their own personal freetime, i.e. personal ride time, and spending time with friends and family. In the end, most still they believe that the sacrifice is worth it and start the process again.

Unfortunately, when 'sister' events of these gravel races come to be some promoters believe entry fees are needed to make the event worthwhile. Now, I can't say I'm against all race fees but of course, within reason. How much is enough, is really the question? Especially when these events are held on open roads, in which riders must deal with drivers who are not aware of an event going on. It's hard to compare long gravel races to longer MTB races because MTB races, of course, are on closed courses inwhich private lands can be involved, reserving the space and rights to public spaces occur.

So what does a race or ride organizer do? My only suggestion... transparency and communication. Much like a relationship, things only get worse when things are left unsaid. So if a race fee is $50, do a cost breakdown especially when there are sponsors are involved. It's no secret that when a company decides to sponsor an event it is not the event organizers paying anything for them to do so. The company might choose to donate certain things for prizes and when an entry fee is already listed but then there is not corresponding cash payout to the winning riders questions should be and must be asked of the promoter/organizer. I might be coming off a bit harsh on this but I've got to believe this is a valid concern. As state before, it's not that I'm against a organizer being compensated for their time and effort but the question is how much?

The arguement could go a few different ways in my mind for a rider now. One would be, if one feels so against the entry fee, don't do the race. Simply put, enough said. That does solve the problem. The other could be to poach the event, and I feel I must say I am adamantly against doing this for ANY race, since the ride is on public roads and is on a open course, why not? Save yourself the fee and still get to do the ride. Or simply pony up and do the event.

I guess the real question lays with each individual on what to do...

Monday, March 2, 2009

March Goals.

With the coming of a new month comes a few changes. One of them being going back to my 5 day work week, which means I no longer have my long days on Monday and Friday and so I have the mornings to do what I please. The other being that I've been strangely drawn to music that I haven't listened to for some time... some Jay-Z... some Bob Marley... and I currently have Snoop blasting away throughout the house.

I spent this morning getting a few things together and planning for March as training ramps up for the death march.

Here are my goals for the month:

_ Week of March 1st: at least 100 miles on the bike
_ Week of March 8th: at least 150 miles on the bike
_ Week of March 15th: at least 200 miles on the bike
_ Week of March 22nd: at least 100 miles on the bike
_ March 28th : Barry-Roubaix 'Killer Gravel Road Race'

I also hope to get the bike fully dialed in for positioning, and start to get my gear in order. Time to head to work.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

WATCH out.

I stumbled onto this watch in February issue of MTB Action. There are a few things I'm a sucker for... bikes, jackets, shoes, and watches. I don't know why but I am. Each have had their day with having an unhealthy amount of them. I don't even know for sure if this watch is going to go to production but I want one... even at a proposed $200-250 each.

Here's a little breakdown on how it works. Chain driven? YES. Sweetness? YES.