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.