Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I took a few months off from writing this thing.  I sort of let it drift away for a couple of weeks and, then just forgot about the whole thing.  Kinda stupid of me.  However, there are a thousand blogs that say the same dumb stuff.  Do I have anything new and interesting to say? Not really. Lots has happened since my last post. 

I have been road riding a lot more, actually competed in a sprint triathlon last month (and did terribly). Ill talk about the triathlon for just a minute.  I trained for about 4 weeks for this thing. This was probably not the smartest of ideas, since I could just barely complete 500meters swim continuously by the time the triathlon came around.

The swim was absolutely horrible, and it totally winded me.  My first transition took almost 5 minutes because I was trying to catch my breath and took my sweet-ass time getting ready.  Of course the ride was my strongest leg - I averaged about 19 miles an hour. Unfortunately, I got tagged with a 2 minute penalty for 'drafting' which is a complete crock.  I'm sure of where the ref got me, too.  There was a big group of riders all riding in a pack going around 16 (since i was slow as  hell on my swim, I had to pass about a million slow-pokes on the bike) and I went around them.  I guess I didn't go around far enough?  Anyway - after realizing I probably got written up for a penalty (near the end of the ride) I pretty much gave up the ghost.  I just jogged around the 3 mile course at a ridiculously slow 11min/mile pace.  Whatever. I finished it.  After the run I felt absolutely fine.  I guess I am used to a lot more than an hour and a half workout/race, and in retrospect it was alot of fun. I just better work on my swimming and running if I want to do another.

Speaking of races.  The 8 hour MTB race in San Felasco is coming up - and I wont be participating.  Its just god-awful hot, and Ive only been riding 70 or so miles a week.  I also tweaked my back, and that put me out for the last 5 days.  Last week I rode a measly 10 miles before I just had to call it off. Trying to mtb with back/neck pain is freaking impossible. 

Anyway, I have pics from the tri that I will post eventually.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bike is back in gear..

As you may have noticed, I lost my dérailleur hanger during the hammerhead 100 ride.  That was a day I would like to forget, to be honest.  Im over it now, but it was very disappointing.  Im not sure if I mentioned it before, but the Small Block 8 tires really dont work well for out at Nayls at the higher speeds that I am trying to ride at.  Some of it may be my bike handling skills, and some of it is the fact that these tires just dont seem to hook up well in highspeed corners.

During the race, I found myself off the trail twice because it seemed the tires just weren't hooking up.  Around mile 20 a stick hopped up and got caught in my dérailleur.  I stopped, pulled the stick out, and continued on my way.  I noticed immediately that the chain was hopping a little.  I stopped again, checked the drivetrain and saw that the hanger was bent, and the dérailleur was pretty much jammed onto the hanger.  Ugh.  I tried by hand to bend the hanger back, but it snapped. Double Ugh.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a master link or a spare hanger.  Even if I did have a hanger - I couldn't get the dérailleur unstuck from the hanger.  I broke the chain and used one of the pins to try to make the bike a singlespeed.  It didnt work.  I walked back to the staging area and happened to get my pic taken a moment later.

Anyway, I got a new hanger, used a vice and got the dérailleur off the old, and put it on the new.  I got a new sram 991 chain with a 'PowerLink'.  (basically, its a masterlink - so I wont  have issues with a broken chain and having to walk to the car).  I also purchased some new road bike shoes.  They are on the way.  In the mean time, I used the mtb for commuting a few times after sticking some slicks on it and getting it back into riding shape.  The last 2 weeks since the race, I have gotten very little riding in, in fact - I have only ridden about 60 miles since the race. Mostly because I was waiting on the hanger.  Thats going to change very shortly though - now that the bike is back in order. Ill put the small blocks back on the bike until I eventually pick up some new tires, and head out to santos this weekend.  Yahoo!  The 8 hours of labor is coming up, and I would like to participate in the solo class.  Call me crazy, but Im really liking this endurance riding thing - even though I bonked in my first race, and broke the bike in the last race.. haha. try try try!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Hammerhead 100

All I have to say is....

See anything missing? I do.. It's worth a few miles of walking.

Monday, May 3, 2010

So..Hot.. Santos Shangri La Ride.

In preparation for next week's Hammerhead 100 race in Ocala, I headed to the Land Bridge trail head on Saturday.  I haven't been to Santos in a while and wanted to get back into the groove out there, and hopefully get all of my crashes out of the way this weekend instead of race weekend.

Oh, I crashed a couple of times.  Mostly it was just not managing my damn speed well enough.  My fitness has gotten better since I have been out there last, but apparently my bike handling has not gotten much better. My bike was feeling very squirrelly for most of the day, and if I even breathed on the rear brake it would lock, and the front wheel wasnt hooking up well at all.  I ran off the trail - I would say 3 times with the bike going straight even with me leaning over to turn.  Bummer.  My fitness is alot better from even a month ago, and I am going quite a bit faster on the bike, and trying to take turns at a quicker clip mostly resulted in the tires losing grip.  Maybe I just need to slow the hell down better for turns.. but I just feel I should be able to take the turns alot faster.  Ive read alot about a nevegal front tire with the SB8 on the rear.  I think I will try that, but probably not before the race.

Anyway, even with some off-trail adventures, I managed to finish the 25mile lap in two hours and 26 minutes..  That does not count the time that I was sitting on the trail grabbing my eyeball in pain.  Yes, I was STUNG IN THE EYE by a wasp.  Let me repeat.  STUNG IN THE EYE by a wasp.  I was just tooling along at a decent clip when zap! Some black thing is on my eye, and I am screaming like a girl and falling off the bike.  My eye was really hurting, but luckily I am not allergic at all to stings.  It didnt swell up at all, but my eye was in pain for the 11 miles back to the car.  Like a real trooper I finished up the ride.  So, with the 'lounge break' laying on the side of the trail - it took me close to two hours to finish the ride.  I didnt bother to go out for a second lap, since my eye was twitching like a crack addict.  Today its all better, except for being a little itchy.

Friday, April 30, 2010

2010 Squiggy Classic

This past Sunday was the make-up date for the Squiggy Classic. My goal for the day was to complete 5 laps and to not die.  I can tell you, I reached my goals. Both of them. Unfortunately, I am still left feeling disappointed.

I got to Morris Bridge park quite early.  It only took about an hour and twenty minutes to get there from my house.  Amazingly, there were a ton of people already there, and I had to park quite far away.  Getting signed up was no problem, I just told them my name and I got my 'race packet'

My 'Race packet' contained very little.  I got a hammer gel and some clif and larabar samples. No t-shirt.  Really?  No t-shirt? After getting the packet, I had to walk my cooler down to the staging area.  My cooler has no wheels.  That means, I would have had to struggle with my cooler from my car - which was a million miles away - had it  not been for Tony.  He helped me with the cooler when he saw me struggling with it

The Squiggy Classic has a LeMans type of start, meaning, I had to run a good 100 meters to get to my bike - in carbon shoes. That was a comfy way to start off the day. haha. Here's me just after getting on my bike and making my way through the crowd.

Ahh how fresh I look.  This 'freshness' would only last about 3 laps. The course was nice, but had alot of sand. There were some really nice fast sections of singletrack a few ups and downs and a few rooty sections.  Right at about mile 8 started a section called 'heartbreak ridge'. This section sucked. At least, it sucked for a guy on an aluminum hardtail. I run around 30psi front and back with 29 inch wheels - usually roots dont bother me that much.  These roots were okay for the first couple of laps, however, after that they lived up to their name.

I rode 2 laps straight through without stopping.  I felt great after the 2nd lap, stopped and refilled my camelbak bladder, got another bottle of accellerade (I had prepared 3 bottles with the plan of drinking one bottle and one camelbak full every two hours or so) I was in the 'pit area' for only a couple of minutes.  My first laps were good, I averaged under 50 for the first and just over 50 for the second and third.  However, something weird  happened on my fourth lap.  I started feeling bonktastic.  I was on my second bottle of accellerade and second camelbak bladder. I had been hitting the gel or clif bloks every 30 or so minutes.  I tried to eat a clifbar, but it tasted like eating crackers in the desert. I was actually feeling a bit cold, even though it was in the 80s and I started to feel nauseous.  I was guessing I was getting dehydrated, or electrolyte depleted.  I stopped for a second and ate half a package of the margarita clif bloks and had a few swigs of water.  Was not feeling much better.  I struggled back to finish this lap.

Luckily, most mountain bikers are cool.  I got back and was feeling a little terrible.  The guys who were sitting next to me were riding as a team.  They had an extra folding chair that they let me use.  Thanks guys!  I laid there for about 40 minutes trying to recover.  Since I did pretty well for my first few laps, I had plenty of time to get out and finish up a 5th lap.  I gutted it out and finished a 5th lap with 40 minutes to spare.

Here I am after my 5th lap looking not so fresh.

Looking back, I should have had more electrolytes.  I had almost a full bottle of acellerade left after the race, and a good amount of water in my second camelbak bladder.  While riding, it really felt like I was keeping up on my drinking/eating.  However, now looking back - I wasnt drinking enough after the 3rd lap.  After the race, I went to the bathroom and my urine came out brown.  Thats a good sign that you didnt drink enough liquid.  The first 3 laps I seemed to be keeping up really well with the drinking, and must have just lost focus and paid the price.  That wont happen again, I hope.  If I would have kept up with my hydration and feeding I would have finished 6 laps with relative ease.  The garmin says - even with the last two laps of over an  hour - that I had a riding time of 4 hours and 20 minutes. The next day I weight myself, and came out 10 lbs under my every day weight.  Thats a hell of alot of water loss. I gained it all back by 9pm.

All in all, I am very happy with my performance.  I did what I set out to do, and then some.  50 miles in the woods at 4:20 is nothing to sneeze at. I have been mountain biking for five months and have come a long way. Next year I will get 6 laps without a problem.  Tomorrow is Santos for the prep for the Hammerhead 100.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Check out this new helmet!

I didnt get a whole lot of miles in last week - I rode out at the E-center twice, for a total of 20 miles or so. The wednesday challenge was cut short because I wanted to go see the last Magic regular season game.

 As  you can see, we had excellent seats.

Saturday El Nino and I headed to Orange Cycle to pick up a new helmet.  I got a youth Bell helmet for 40 bucks, that should hopefully fit for the next 3 years. It is red. Of course.

I'm not sure why, but he does not seem pleased - and yes, that is a Spiderman bike from Walmart.

Here he is with a determined attack - leaving me in the dust. I especially like the calls of  "You're losing!"  Sunday was puppy training class for Max.  He is an absolute nut, and Im having some difficulty getting him potty trained.  He wants outside, then inside, then outside. It is very difficult to tell when he actually needs to go the bathroom or when he just wants to fart around outside.  My back yard is not fenced in yet, unfortunately.  Kim picked up a really long leash thingie that we can hook outside, so that will let him wander around out there without getting lost.  Even though he occasionally craps in the house - how can you be mad at this face?

It is ridiculous how cute he is.  Sunday after the class I rode 80 miles out to Sanford and back in a non stop drizzle.  Ill say this: Riding in the rain sucks. My eyeballs were constantly on fire from the salt dripping into them, and now my road bike is disgusting.  Tonight I will need to clean it.  My neck hurts like an SOB today as well.  I am not nearly as flexible as I used to be - so I think a shorter stem is in order.  (I would like to just get a new road bike)  My 10 year old road shoes also finally blew out.  Yes, I was riding with a toe hanging out for the last hour.  Ghetto!  Ill have to post a picture of my absolutely destroyed shoes.  Unfortunately - I have older SPD-R pedals, and they dont make spd-r shoes anymore.  Looks like pedals and shoes for me.  boo.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Easton Monkeylite bars and EC70 Zero Seatpost

I recieved and installed my new parts on saturday.  The Easton Monkeylite bars and seatpost are beautiful.  The handlebars are ludicrously light while being wider than the Ritchey riser bars.

This picture shows the Ritchey Comp bars up top and the Monkeylite bars down below. There is also a slight backwards sweep in these bars - moreso than in the Ritchey bars.

The seatpost uses a really simple two screw clamp that is similar to the Thompson's clamp.  You dont have to remove the screws all the way in order to put the saddle on.  This is a really nice feature.

Sorry for the craptastic photos - but I had to take them with my phone.  It only took a few  moments to put the saddle onto the seatpost, then install it into the frame. The handlebar took a few minutes to remove the old, then put the new one on. 

I put the Edge on the stem, and clamped everything together just hand tight. I also threw on the Salsa skewers to replace the garbage that came with the bike.

These Salsa skewers are so nice.  The springs arent as flimsy as the old skewers and the lever itself is shaped nicely so that it bends inwards to keep from getting snagged on brush.  And - they are red. Ahh. Red.

I took the bike out for a ride at the e-center to see how it handled after losing almost a pound of flab.  I really liked the wider and more swept back handlebars.  I felt I had more control of the bike, while not being so wide that I couldnt fit through any narrow passages.  I found myself going a little bit faster than normal.  Unfortunately, the seatpost slipped about an inch and in the process scratched nicely.  Thats probably my fault for being afraid of over-tightening.  I tightened it up some more and it didnt slip the rest of the day.

Unfortunately, there is a pretty nice sized scratch in the surface of the seatpost right at the clamping area.  Im sure its not a big deal, but Im not going to risk it on a mountain bike. I can imagine sitting down hard after a bumpy section and the thing snaps, sending my balls into a sharp carbon dagger. Therefore, I have relegated this seatpost to the roadbike.  My road bike had a generic piece of crap seatpost on it since the standard GIANT branded carbon post got stolen.  Long story.  I will think long and hard about having a carbon seatpost on an MTB before spending the money again. If I do get another one of these posts I will use some of that carbon goo that supposedly helps keep carbon from slipping.   To be honest, the Easton seatpost is beautiful, and worth the money on the clamp alone. It looks really really nice on the bike, and helps with the fit a little because of the zero setback design.  However, I think it will be more at home on the road bike - where the scratched/gouged bit is not right at the clamping area.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Soldier Creek challenge.... again.

I went out to Soldier Creek yesterday again for the 10 lap challenge - even though I was still feeling a little residual effects from the stomach virus that left me bedridden monday. The guys have been doing great work on that place.  The areas that were mud-filled were no longer mud-filled since new drainage was added, a really terrible sandy area was re-built to flow better, and a new mile or so of trail was added. 

We started out and did one lap including the new bit of trail.  Its a little more tight and technical than the flowy part that we use as the 'challenge'.  There were some tight turns and thin bridges (one of which I nearly came off of) It was really a nice little section of trail - and I think I will go out that way this weekend to get a few laps in.

By the way, as you may or may not know, it gets hot in Florida.  Last week was cool, and I was able to grind through 10 laps using one 24oz bottle.  Not so this week.  After six laps I was done - I felt like I could not drink enough liquid.  I went through almost 2 bottles in 45 minutes. My stomach was groaning, and I guess being sick for a couple of days really dehydrated me.  I should have known better - since Tuesday I went out for about 30 miles at night (and it was pretty cool) and I drank almost an entire 100oz camelbak. I did manage some decent laps, though.  Each lap is about 1.3 miles and my best lap was 6:57.  I have to say much of the night was frustrating, as there were a lot of people just dicking around on the trail.  I got stopped by some dude just standing in the way at the top of a sandy climb, and I got stuck behind some guy and his dog going seriously slow on a couple laps.  So, I called it after 6.  There is always next week!

Oh, some of the bling for the bike has begun to come in.  I will post some pics this weekend after getting everything installed.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Downtown Urban Ride

Met up with a bunch of folks downtown to ride through downtown and winter park on mountain bikes.  I rode my bike from home to downtown for the meet up.  Unfortunately, I had to be home by around 9:45, so that cut my ride short. I was hoping to get in 40 miles, but I only rode about an hour with the group and then had to head back home. All together I got 30 miles in. Next time I will make sure to leave time time open that I can do the whole ride and hang out with the group afterwards. 

It was a huge group of mountain bikers though.  I would say about 20 people showed up to ride.  Im kinda glad I had to leave early though, since my headlight died before I got home, and I lost my tail light on some random stair or curb jump.  Arg!  I need good lights if I want to ride at night, for sure.  Oh - and I bought more stuff for the bike: 

Salsa skewers
Easton Monkeylite lo-rise bars
Easton EC70 Seatpost.

The skewers that came with the bike are complete crap, and have let go several times during rides - once this past wednesday at the E-Center ride.  That is something that is super dangerous and either a> destroy your wheels and/or b> send you off the bike.

E-Center challenge is on again tonight after work.  I am hoping to beat the 1:19 of last week, but I was sick for a couple of days Sunday/Monday. I feel mostly better, but last night after riding I felt a little sick.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Soldier Creek 10 Lap Challenge/Santos Ride

I never did post about my Santos ride from last weekend.  I will keep this part short:

I went to Santos to ride the 23 or so miles of landbridge out and back.  I was feeling awesome and keeping a nice pace of around 9.5 mph.  At about the 15 mile point I was coming down a whooptie-doo and at the bottom of the whooptie do was a pool of sand.  Of course my front wheel came to a halt, and tossed me off the bike.  The front wheel was bent so bad it was hitting each side of the fork when spenning.  So, using man-muscle, I bent the rim back into semi-ridable shape and made it back to the car.  20 Bucks and 40 minutes later my rim was truer than when I got the bike in the first place. Big ol' bummer though, since that really wrecked my rhythm and I didnt get back out for another lap of Nayls.  The new shoes worked great, however I wasnt wearing the proper socks, and they seemed to bunch up at the toes and bug me a little.

Every Wednesday a local meetup group does what they call the 10 lap challenge out at the 1.4 mile loop at Soldier Field near the Environmental center off 419 in the Longwood area.  This last Wednesday was my first time out there to give it a try.  It doesnt sound very difficult, but it is alot harder than it sounds.  The terrain is pretty fast and flowing with numerous little bridges over the creek(s).  I started off really slow and worked my way up to a pretty good rhythm and completed 10 laps in an hour and 19 minutes.  Unfortunately, I did not set my lap timer correctly and I didnt get my lap times down.  My feet felt great, but I know for a fact now that the garmin 500 without the speed sensor is absolutely not measuring distance correctly.

For example:  The Greenway map shows the ride from landbridge to 484 and back to the landbridge trailhead is right around 22.3 miles.  My ride over the weekend displayed it as only being 19 miles.  The 10 laps out at the E-center showed up as being 12.2 miles, when a guy out there who was using the 705 was coming up with 13.5 miles.  That kinda screws my average speed/etc up. Lets calculate this.

According to the Edge 500 I did 19.5 miles in 2:08 moving time with an average speed of 9.1 mph.  When in actuality I did 22.3 miles (according to the OMBA epic map) in 2:08 which would be 10.4 mph.  That is an enormous difference, and considering the last 8 miles were ridden on a rim that looked similar to a potato chip - I think I could have done a lot better. Im going to keep working on getting my landbridge lap down under two hours and the 10 lap challenge down closer to an hour.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Daddy's got a new pair of Shimano M182 Shoes

I have grown pretty weary of wearing my old shimano touring style mountain bike shoes.  The sole is flexy, they dont offer a heck of alot of grip when having to hike-a-bike, have laces (albeit with a velcro strap that secures them), are seriously heavy.  They have, however, lasted 9 years and are still in quite good shape. The label is worn off, so I dont remember what model it is.  I bought them when I got my first 'real' mountain bike back in 2000 that came equipped with Time Atac pedals.

Research is my friend.  I research everything I purchase for what seems like weeks before actually spending money.  Since I have had great luck with my existing shimano shoes - I wanted to get another pair.  The pair that I was particularly interested in was the M086.

These have everything I want in a shoe.  A stiff fiberglass reinforced  sole, a secure ratcheting system, and a price tag that is not astronomical.  $109.00 at the LBS, but can be found for 90 bucks online.

I went into Orange Cycle Orlando to try these puppies on for size before probably ordering them online.  I tried them on in a size 45 and they fit perfectly. The price was exactly as I thought: 109.00.  I wanted to wear them for a few moments - they were nice and stiff, the ratchet worked great.  In my test driving them out for size I noticed the 'clearance' rack.  Looking through the shoes there were some Lake models, some lower level Shimanos : all in weird sizes, along with one lonely box labeled SH-M182 in size 45. I had read about these: Carbon midsole at a decent price of around 180 bucks.  They are last year's model and were labeled 109.  Bargain!  I had to try them out.  These shoes fit exactly like the other models did: very well.  One difference was the stiffness.  Wow - these puppies were not flexing at all.  Really nice and stiff.

So, these are basically the same shoe 86, but these have replaceable toe-spike and a carbon midsole.  Check out how sexy they are.  (if you can call shoes sexy). Needless to say, I bought them.  Yay me.

I tested them out on Saturday out at santos riding Nayls trail.  I post about my ride tomorrow or the next day.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Squiggy Classic on for April

The Squiggy Classic was rescheduled for the 25th of April.  This is pretty decent news, since it gives me plenty of time to train for longer times in the saddle.  Now that the time has changed, after work rides on the road bike will be a piece of cake. There is a meetup group that I joined that hosts a couple of 'urban' mountain bike rides during the week on Tuesdays and Thursdays downtown and in winter park.  That will be nice to ride in a group. Although, from what I have heard its a little dangerous and some of the guys are a bit reckless.

This week I am going to do a couple loops of nayl's trail in Santos.. I know the Hammerhead 100 is coming up in May (I think) and I would like to try for the 50 miler. This will get me more familiar with that route as well as getting my ass, legs, and lungs ready for the 6 hour ride. Definitely not upfor a hundred miles on the mtb any time soon.  The solo 6 hour will be the real test.

'Little' Max is growing like a weed, he is going on 10 weeks and he is doing pretty well as far as potty training - but I am getting pretty sick of waking up at 3 to take him out, and then again at 7 to take him out.  I guess 7 isnt that bad since I usually get up at 7:15 to start getting ready for work. His habit of leaving 'surprises' around the house has lessened a whole lot.  Only one accident all of yesterday morning, and one this morning.  I swear, its like having a baby.

I would post more pictures of him, but my digital camera is having issues.  I have a Panasonic Lumix TZ5. The lens has stuck open and wont focus and leaves me with a 'turn off the camera and try again' message whenever I turn it on.  grr.  I will be jiggling it this evening to see if it can be fixed, and will post pix of 'Little' Max.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Savannah vacation!

So the 6 hour race 'squiggy classic' got postponed so I went up and rode the epic 40 miler at Santos.. I've got the new puppy, an haven't gotten much sleep so just riding 4 hours was tough.. I'm mobile, so not much to see here. I'll post when I get a chance.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Riding in the 2010 Squiggy Classic

I signed up for the Squiggy Classic 6 hour mountain bike race a week or so ago.  My first mountain bike race I chose to be a 6 hour solo ride.  Maybe Im nuts, but maybe Im not.  My goal for the day will be at least 5 laps.  Yesterday I picked up a bunch more clif bloks and clif bars for the ride. I have thoroughly cleaned the bike's drivetrain, and replaced the brake pads on the rear.  I will check the front pads tonight and make sure they look okay - and if not, I will replace those as well.

Details about the event can be found here: Redtrailracing.

I found out about the race by using google and joining the local MTB meetup group.  This will be the first time I have actually used a meetup for anything at all, however, these guys will have a full on pit area setup.  I will probably use that area for stowing a cooler with accelerade  and some sandwiches or something.

Wish me luck!

Oh, and we got a puppy.

His name is Max, an Australian Shepherd.  He has not let me get a full nights sleep since I got him. At only 7 weeks old, its like having a baby in the house - that nibbles.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Garmin Edge 500

The Garmin Edge 500 is a new GPS based cycle computer.  As you may have read, I purchased the Edge from Bike Bling to ride with at the Tour de Cure, however, I didnt get it in time.  Garmin makes several pure cycle computers: the Edge 205, Edge 305, Edge 605, the Edge 705 and the new Edge 500.

My previous computer was an Edge 305 that I absolutely loved. That is, until the battery connectors became a problem.  This was a fundamental problem with that model (and possibly with the 705 as well).  One side had the battery and connector, the other side had the pcboard and little springs that pressed against the battery connector to give the unit power.  What happens is: The springs get worn after a period of time and the unit begins to shut down unexpectedly if you hit a bump.  It began to get progressively worse until I had to take it apart and try and fix it.  The fix worked for several months - but it was just too annoying to go on.

The Garmin Edge 500 comes with either just the unit or the unit with cadence/speed and HR for a hundred bucks more.  Previous cadence/speed and HR sensors work with this version.  So - My old 305 sensors were detected immediately.  The head unit is a very attractive blue/silver.  It is much much smaller than the 305 and even smaller than the 705. In the box you get the usual CD and handful of little books, a little packet full of black 'rubber bands' and two mounting plates, a USB cable, and a multi-function wall charger.  The wall charger comes with a euro and american plug attachment. I didn't get the more expensive model with the sensors, so that is all that came in the box.

Why are there rubber bands in the box?  Well - this is how the unit mounts to the bars.  It sounds weird, but it is an awesome method of attachment.  The mounting plates have four protrusions that allow you to wrap the rubber bands from one side to the other - securing it to the bar very tightly.  There are multiple sizes of bands for thicker handlebars, stems, etc.  This is so much nicer than zip-ties, because you can just take off the rubber bands if you want to move the mount.  The unit itself is put into the mount and turned 45 degrees to lock it into place. I think it will be very difficult to oops the unit off the mount and onto the road or trail. (as I did a couple of times with my edge 305)  Since it comes with 2 plates and a ton of rubber bands you can easily set this up to go with two bikes - in minutes. You can also get the wristband for the 310xt and attach this unit to your wrist.  That would be a heck of a weird watch - but its a cool option.

The screen is a simple black/grey screen with backlight.  There are two buttons on each side that have multiple functions.  Menu/page/enter, Power/back, Start/Stop, and Lap/reset.  I cant say it again, but this thing is tiny if you are used to the bigger garmins, but it is fairly big if you are used to the svelte little cateyes. The unit only weighs 2 ounces. 

Anyway, you get an absolute ton for the money. I am not going to go into a super in depth review - there are quite a few out there,  Check out DC Rainmaker's Garmin Edge 500 review .  He goes into far more detail than I want to go into with this review. One thing, I think he does not mention is the newer firmware version 2.20 that includes 'workouts'.  This allows you to setup a prefab workout routine such as heart-rate based intervals, speed intervals, time intervals, power intervals, etc. I do not think, however, it includes the virtual partner. Im a little bummed about that, since the virtual partner is a great motivating tool.  If you are in the market for a cyclocomputer - this is one that demands serious consideration.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Tour De Cure in Orlando Florida or Tour de Freezing Toes

I completed the Tour de Cure 61 mile ride on Sunday in about 3 hours and 30 minutes of total ride time, averaging 18 mph.  I was going to do the century, but I didnt quite make the 250 dollar goal I set for myself, and it was chilly and very windy.  With as little road riding as I have done in the last two months - Im glad I rode the 60 miles instead of the 100.

Its easy to forget how much fun an organized ride is when you haven't done one in a while.  There were almost a thousand riders this year.  I showed up before 7:30, following the flyer's instructions, to register and pick up my packet.  Luckily the registration booth was right in the middle of somewhat of a swamp, so my socks got soaked right through my shoes before I started riding. Hurray!  The packet contained a map, a very nice Haynes T-shirt, and some diabetes information.

Right at 8:30 the announcer got us revved up by talking about the amount of funds raised (close to 250k), had a young lady sing an excellent rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, and then launched us.  There were alot of people surrounding the start gate yelling, screaming, and banging cowbells.

The cowbells thing pretty much happened throughout the ride.  We got a police escort for the first 12 miles or so, and didnt have to stop for any stop lights - except for one light, where someone just ignored the police motorcycle and went through the light anyway. The large group quickly broke into pieces and I managed to hitch onto a pretty fast group lead group until a quick bathroom and sandwich break at a rest stop.  The rest stops had bananas, sandwiches, cookies, gatorade, and a ton of stuff.  One of the rest stops had a DJ.  Pretty cool.

Here I am at one of the rest stops:

Note my gorgeous blue shoes.  I have had those for like 8 years.

The route was great this year, literally starting 10 minutes from my house, and riding within a block of my front door.  Im thinking I will do this every year. The crowd was great, the sheer number of riders was pretty impressive as well.  I finished the ride around 12:30 or so - after riding in a ridiculous headwind for well over an hour and a half. The wind was absolutely terrible. I cant tell you how many people I passed that looked like they were really struggling to keep upright. I was actually struggling at around the 50 mile mark, as I wasnt quite keeping up with my nutrition as well as I should have and I was getting seriously hungry.  I downed a clif bar and a couple shots of gel and felt better within a few minutes. For the entire ride I ate

At the finish line I was cheered and I think someone took my picture.  I was really beat after riding those stiff headwinds and tried to eat a little bit of Woody's bbq.  The chicken was yummy, but I just cant eat a meal only a few minutes after a ride. I went out for a big lunch with wifey, did a little shopping, then on the way home around 3:30 there were still riders on the road!  We passed one guy that looked absolutely beat.  Im thinking those were the century riders. 

Im looking forward to another big group ride, this one was a blast!  I really have forgotten how much fun it is to ride on the road with a group. Ive also come to realize that I need a new road bike.  I have a 2002 Giant TCR 0 with bullhorns.  I set it up this way when i was doing some triathlons in 2004 and my right 'brifter' stopped working.  I got handlebars, bar-end shifters, and brake levers all for the price of one single brake/shift lever.  This bike is quite light at around 17 and a half pounds - it was top of the line uh, 8 years ago.  I'm thinking of getting a bike that has less of a racey stretched out  geometry and getting one a little more comfortable like a Giant Defy, Specialized Roubaix, or Scott CR1.  It might be a while before I can do that though.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Super Annoyance with "Bike Bling"

Bike Bling has refunded me 10 bucks for shipping.  Much kudos to Kerry.

I haven't been writing very much lately, and I am sorry about that.  Road riding has been taking a lot of my time, along with birthdays, travel arrangements, valentine's day, etc. 

I have been riding on the road alot lately, as well as spending time on the stationary - since I hate riding at night on the road bike.  I ordered some new tires for the bike:  Michelin krylion carbon tires.  My old ones were looking pretty bad.  Accidentally I got the 700x20mm tires. Whoa, these puppies are thin and were an absolute bitch to put on.  I am amazed the tubes didn't end up with a thousand pinches.

The 'Annoyance' in the title of this post refers to an order I placed with BikeBling on the 23rd.  I purchased a Garmin Edge 500 for 219 (review when I get the thing).  This is a great price.  I have the HRM strap and cadence/speed sensor already from my old Edge 305.  So I pay for the thing and pay 11 bucks for 3 day shipping on the 23rd thinking I should get it by friday.  I get an email back the same day asking if I want it by friday or monday.  I tell him I want it by friday.  Another email later saying that it will cost another 6 bucks but he will ship it the 24th using 2-day, and I will get it Friday.  I think 'great!' 

On the 24th I check my order status and it still says that it is processing.  I check my bank statement and I get charged 6 bucks extra for shipping. Im a little nervous, but you know how these things are - sometimes they ship out and the status doesnt get updated right away.  I get an email the next day - the 25th that it has shipped. I check the email - and it JUST shipped on Thursday 2nd day - to be arriving on Monday.  Great - ordered tuesday, shipped thursday.  I will get it on MONDAY (after my Tour de Cure ride is long over) Get this.  I pay extra money shipping so I could specifically get the item before my ride.  This irks me to no end.

Sometimes it pays to just buy from someone you trust from the internet. I.e: Amazon.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tour De Cure in Orlando Florida - Update

Looks like I have made my 150 dollar goal with a couple of weeks to spare.  I sent out an email at work, and quite rapidly folks donated.  I work with generous people!  Its funny - I sent an email out to people at my previous employer and got not a single donation.  The moment I send an email out at my current employer?  Goal met.  Im glad I left that place to come here.  Needless to say, I am working hard to get some road miles in.  I rode 65 miles this weekend.  A week and a half is not much time to prepare for a century - if I do indeed make the 250 dollar goal.  Luckily I have been riding pretty consistently for the last year. 

The 60 mile ride should be absolutely no problem, however, 100 miles may pose a bit of a challenge.  I will ride like hell for the next two weeks and take a couple days off before the ride to rest my body. I want to raise as much money as possible, but the 100 miles worries me a little. haha. Whatever, its going to be a pretty flat ride with a group.  My plan is to just find a group where I can suck wheel for a long time, stop and stretch every other rest-stop, and generally take it easy.  I switched seatposts with the mtb - because the mtb seatpost wasnt quite long enough.  So, I need to dial in my position a little. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tour De Cure in Orlando Florida

Wow, two posts in one day!  I thought this deserved its own post.  The Tour De Cure is going to be ridden in my neck of the woods this month. Id really love to ride in it - but only have 3 weeks to raise 150 bucks.  Here's the deal:  I havent ridden a century in years. However, if I manage to raise 150 bucks I will ride 60 miles.  If I raise 250 bucks - I will ride the full 100 miles.  Please help me raise enough money to ride a hundred miles!

Click here to donate!

Endura Humvee 3/4 shorts and a muddy ride.

Last week I pulled the trigger on some Endura Humvee 3/4 shorts (knickers ?)  These are the 'shorts' that go all the way down to your calf.  I wanted something that would cover my knees and assist with keeping them warm, as well as something that I could wear on casual rides without looking like a spandex warrior.

These are lightweight shorts that come with an internal snap in liner short made entirely in Great Brittain. The liner short is a pretty nice spandex short with a full chamois.

They have 4 points where there are 3 little snappy-do's that hook to your outside short.

The material for the interior short is just like any other lycra cycling short you have worn, really.  The exterior short is made of a lightweight ripstop fabric and seems to be double and triple stiched everywhere.  There are articulated knees, meshy fabric behind the knee/calf, and little velcro tabs that let you tighten the cuffs to fit nicely around your calves.


There are a bunch of pockets.  There are two back pockets with velcro tabs that are very low on the butt to keep from interfering with the saddle.  This seems to work really well.  I rode with my wallet in one of the pockets and it didnt bug me at all.  Theres a little 'cell phone' pocket with a velcro tab closure, a couple of zippered front pockets and a 'cargo' pocket that you could maybe fit a couple of clif bars in.  Theres also 2 zippered vent pockets and a keyring.

Cellphone Pocket
Key clip

I rode these for about 3.5 hours in a pouring rain on saturday.  They are extremely comfortable.   The inner short is very nice and feels just like a good pair of cross country/road bike lycra shorts (it even has a little endura logo, in case you want to ride with just the inner short).  The pad is substantial, and quite comfortable.  Im thinking that someone who is not used to riding with a chamois would think it is weird, especially since this pad is quite thick.  The articulated knees worked well along with the cuff closures to keep the calves from ballooning out and becoming weird.  

All in all, my ride in Santos was a fairly miserable one.  It was just barely raining for the first hour.  The skies opened and began dumping buckets after that.  I was riding through a good 6 inches of mud and water for most of the way.  

Check out those nasty shorts.  Totally and absolutely soaked, muddy, and pure disgusting.  Hey, they washed up okay.  All of the clean pics from above are from after the ride, and a wash.  I washed them in the washing machine, but would recommend against that.  I noticed some threads loosening already.. (after one wash!)  So - wash them by hand.  I would highly recommend these shorts.  They are comfortable and relatively cheap by comparison.  They can be yours for the low low price of 89.00 from amazon.

Oh and - support me for the Tour de Cure.  Im only riding the 60 mile course, but I need to raise 150 bucks in less than 3 weeks.. Donate!

Sponsor me in the Tour de Cure

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Very busy few weeks

Im sure my many admirers (three readers?) have noticed I have not posted in a while.  Things have been very hectic and I have been under the weather.  On top of that, this last weekend I flipped over my handlebars not so gently and roughed up my shoulder.

Saturday I was starting to feel the onset of yucky stomach, but really wanted to get out for a ride since the weather was great. It was supposed to rain all day Sunday (which it did) and I knew I had things to do that day.  My plan was to go to Santos, however feeling a little under the weather I just headed over to Snowhill rd.  While getting geared up in the parking lot I saw my boss just coming back from a ride.  His leg was a bit bloody. I said 'hi'. He seemed to be fine: there was alot of blood from a very little scratch. After riding the first little bit of the trail, and making it to the river portion - I realized "I left my phone on my car".  So I headed back to pick it up.  Luckily it was still there. iPhones are expensive and non-insurable.  At this point a realization should have struck me: "These are signs that I should go home."

There is a funny thing about crashing.  It seems to happen somewhere that you have ridden a million times and have not thought twice about.  About an hour in, I was going down a steep sandy bit that has a little switchback at the bottom. Its not that difficult - you just have to watch your speed coming down. Right at the bottom my front tire dug into the sand, stopped, and sent me head over heels  over the handlebars.  Of course, the natural reaction is to put your hand out to stop from faceplanting.  I did. Afterwords my shoulder hurt like hell. I checked the ol bones to make sure my collarbone was in a single pice, and all seemed to be ok.  Luckily I wasnt too far from the car, so I just rode back and headed home.  For a couple of days I wasnt able to lift my arm up over my head at all and is just now starting to feel like I can get on the bike again. My guts are feeling better and tomorrow might be the perfect time for a 'sick-day'.  The weather has been gorgeous and I feel like a schmuck letting it go to waste sitting in this stupid office.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Specialized Deflect Gloves - Report

As luck would have it, after purchasing my 'Winter' Gloves - the weather started to get warm again.  I was, however, able to ride with the gloves during some pretty cool 45 degree weather on the road, and I also was able to put them through a muddy ride in 70 degree weather.

The gloves fit me very well, are comfortable, and look great. They have a little snap on the gloves that allow you to button them together to keep them in a pair.  This is a feature I will never use, but some may be more organized than me. They are sort of difficult to put on, since they have a stretchy cuff without a Velcro closure. There was a worry that the padding on the palm was not going to be substantial enough to keep my hands from going numb on sustained rooty and rocky terrain.  Unfortunately I was right: these gloves do not protect from vibrations as well as my Pearl Izumi gel gloves.  They do not seem to relieve the pressure on the ulnar nerve in the palm/wrist area as well.  I found my hands going numb for the first time since I put the Ergon grips on the bike, causing me to have to shake my hands, or change position a few times while going through particularly rough, rooty, or technical sections. 

That being said - they kept my hands warm during the day that the weather dropped below 45.  I would highly recommend not wearing these gloves above 70.  My hands felt sweaty and downright hot when I wore them over the weekend that I thought was going to be cool, and I didn't have any other gloves. So - I probably spent 35 bucks on gloves that I will wear only once this season, if it doesn't get cold again.

Would I recommend these gloves? Not to someone who has issues their hands going numb due to vibration.  Sure, some of the issue may be with me gripping the bar too tightly when hitting technical sections - but - numbness really isn't an issue with the Pearl gels.  If you don't get numb hands, live somewhere where its cool more than one weekend a year, and need a pair of sporty looking gloves that are well made - buy these.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Econ trail sunday..

Posting from my iphone -while taking a break on the trail. It's a Nice day and the trail is in great shape.

Overlooking a cliff into the river. I switched out the seatpost for an old one I had laying around. I needed another inch or so but, the ritchey was not long enough. This seapost sucks: it's heavy and the clamp barely works.

Mmm this water looks delicious.Ok, I have a few more miles to ride.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Icky Weather Over!

I wasnt able to get out to Santos last week because it was rainy and cold.  The weather has turned back into normal Florida weather. I actually have the A/C on now.  70 degrees or so today.  I rode 17 miles out at Snowhill today, and plan to head to Santos tomorrow morning.  Today I wore the Specialized gloves  - that was a mistake.  My hands got hot and sweaty. haha.  Oh well, I thought maybe it would be cold.  *wrong*. Anyway - I will try and take some pics of Santos if I head out there tomorrow.  Either Santos - or a road ride.  We shall see!

Friday, January 8, 2010

New gloves for cool weather

It is supposed to be absolutely freezing (literally) this weekend.  So, I moseyed on down to Orange Cycle and picked up some Specialized Deflect gloves.

Ooo fancy.  I was going to get some Pearl Izumi Cyclone gloves, but there were none in stock.  However, these are very comfortable, although have a little less palm padding than I like.  I rode them shortly last night in about 50 degrees for an hour, and my hands were warm enough to sweat.  I am hoping this means that this weekend at about 30 degrees my hands wont freeze.  It was actually very comfortable at that temperature in only bibs, arm and leg warmers, underarmour 'cold gear' long sleeve, and a short sleeve jersey.  For anything under 45 Im thinking I need a windbreaker of some sort.  That may be a purchase for today somewhere like Target.  I just dont see the point in purchasing a 'special bicycle' windbreaker for quadruple the price.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside!

I went for a night ride after work yesterday and lasted all of 2 miles. No warm gloves = no cool weather riding.

Yes. That's ice on my car in central Florida. 29 degrees!! Brrrr. Sigh. On the trainer with me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Long Santos Ride...

I made it to santos for the second weekend in a row.  This time I was able to complete the entire epic ride, and then some. Trek was out for some demo rides,  the time limit on riding was around 30 minutes.  I was guessing that I would be out for 5 hours so I didnt bother. It was quite chilly for florida- 45 degrees or so around 10am.

Like last time, I started out at the Santos trailhead and followed the 'epic' ride west signs.  I really love riding out here, as it just feels like there are mile after mile of uninterrupted singletrack. Well, there are.  Within only a few minutes I was already out of the highly trafficked Santos section and into the Spider Kingdom section.  I have yet to see a spider out there, however, since it has been cold both times I have been out there.  This section is very brushy, and not very technical.  In fact, there arent very many 'technical' sections except for out to Nayl's trail and in the Santos section.  I hooked up with a group of riders right after the Landbridge trailhead, and followed them a little ways.  It was a group of about 5, I would say.  They were also doing the 'Epic' Ride.  I would see them off and on throughout the day.

Right after the landbridge section there are a few portions of open farmland, and singletrack through some thin pine trees.

This pic was taken from my digital camera last weekend, and it doesnt show off the bright blue sky of this weekend. I only had my iPhone on me for this ride.  It was a gorgeous day, even though it was very cold.  Once past this portion a little way farther and you come to a short climb to the landbridge.  There were quite a few people milling about on the bridge - tooling slowly up the climb.  I just zipped up it and stopped for a minute to take a pic from the overpass with the iPhone.

Really pretty amazing that you can barely tell you are on a bridge except for this little opening that you can look out of.  It really just seems like a limestone hill. I really sped down the other side, and almost wiped out on a ditch opened up by water drainage. After the bridge I followed the doubletrack for about three miles, after missing my right turn.

After a few minutes I was getting a little confused, and found a turn off that was pointing me to the Trailhead.  This was the 49th street trailhead that I found - and asked a couple of guys how to find Nayl's trail.  I had to go back out to the doubletrack and follow it for only a few more hundred yards go under a little bridge and take the singletrack.

Nay'ls trail was really sweet singletrack.  There were a few points where I lost the trail - since it was heavily covered in pine needles.  There were a ton of ups and downs, riding on ridges, and even a pretty lengthy and steep climb for Florida. (ok, not much.. but at least it was longer than 45 seconds of climbing)  after about 5 miles or so I came to a road - a few folks were sitting and relaxing eating sandwiches next to their bikes.  MMmm.. a sandwich would have been nice.  All I brought with me was 3 packages of clif bloks, 2 clif bars, a bottle of accellerade, and 3 liters of water. I followed a couple guys across the road just to look at the trails (this was out past 484 and no longer on the 'epic' trail)  I only road it for about a mile and turned around.  At this point I still felt great - 2.5 hours into the ride.

I cruised back over Nayl's trail and the Landbridge following the green 'East' epic signs and took a break just after the Landbridge trailhead.

I was beginning to feel a little nauseated around hour 4 after finishing up the last clif bar.  No cramps though, but my legs were beginning to feel it.  The margarita clif blok had done it's job - even though it tasted like a sweet salt lick.  After about 4.5 hours, I was starting to feel pretty miserable: tired, hungry, and generally wanted to lay down and take a nap.  However, I made it back to the parking lot at right about 5 hours. (not sure of the exact time or distance, since my iPhone battery died while using the iMapMyRide GPS app.  grr.  The last time I had looked at it - it read 38 miles.  Looking at the map - that was about 4 miles from the parking lot.  The GPS isnt very accurate as far as distance, but I am going to guess that I did about 43 miles.  All in all, it was a stellar day.  I ate all my food, and drank 2 liters of water, and 24 oz of acellerade.  During the summer, Im going to need to refill the bladder at the Landbridge trailhead, me thinks.

Im pretty stoked about this day - my longest day in the mtb saddle so far at around 5 hours.  The Fantom rode very well, shifted great, handled technical stuff very well, and I absolutely flew up any climbs.  I wasnt sure I would like the WTB saddle for the long haul- but it is quite comfortable, and the cromo rails really do soak up alot of bumps along with the big tires.  I can absolutely stay seated over some pretty irregular trails without the feeling of being jackhammered.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

I hope 2010 is great for everyone! Off to santos tomorrow for a nice ride. I promise to take some pics. I hope.