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.