Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
after an aggravating defeat in a collegiate road race this weekend (i wasn't paying attention while 8 dudes broke away, then couldn't get around a four-Navy-guy blockade [cue Village People music] and was left to roll around the last 15 miles with a bunch of guys with teammates in the break and absolutely no motivation to chase but were highly motivated to sprint it out down to the 18th place (and to add further insult, i wasn't even listed in the results!)), i needed some solace. and after a run-on sentence like that, we all do.
so i escaped out for a wednesday afternoon beaver dam ride by myself. sometimes solo riding is meditative. especially when you want to ride slow, rather than get pushed by other BCC folks. things started out pretty swell, with nice weather and empty trails. and then i broke a chain. i haven't broken a chain in years, so that was a bummer. fortunately i had a chain tool. unfortunately i did not have extra links. i should have learned my lesson after the last ride when Daniel broke his chain. i thought i could remove the bad link and push forward the rear wheel (the vassago's rocks track-ends) but it was too short. which forced me to dig through the pine needles on the trail, find the broken parts of the chain and smash them back together. okay, problem solved, at least enough to get me back home. just don't crank too hard, right? it's better than a sharp stick in the eye, right? right. so then i got a sharp stick in my eye. some small branch, actually. it somehow jousted past my glasses and somehow hit me. i don't know if it actually hit my eyeball or just my eyelid, but it hurt. i could still see okay, so i didn't think i had done serious, pirate-style damage; however, i felt that this was yet another sign that today was not the day. go home, eat a donut, shake it off, and try again tomorrow.
when i got home, i was pleased to find that no one had stolen all my stuff.
Not to be outdone by the temporary theft of Lance's bike, thieves figured out that Dave Zabriskie was going to be out of town for a few days and stole all his stuff. Not that I'm jealous of his 14 bikes (not including the ones he was using in California) or "Space Legs", whatever they are. Okay, maybe a little. But who knew Dave was into comic books? I'd actually read a comic starring Dave--it could be pretty good.
In any event, to help solve this crime, if you see anyone riding a Cervelo, it may be stolen, so I'd recommend apprehending them by crashing them out...that is, if they don't do so on their own accord.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Venturing out on the mountain bike today, I was pitted against my arch enemy......wind. Usually on windy days the mountain bike is a safe bet to avoid blustery conditions by seeking refuge in the trees. Alas, this is Colorado and we have hardly any trees. So in other words, nothing to break the wind but my face. Several interesting things happened to me today on the mountain bike.
1) I was blown off my mountain bike not once, but twice today.
2) While riding with a crosswind on a ridge, I had to ride at a 45 degree angle sideways to stay on the bike.
3) My ride today had four significant, sustained climbs and I was actually blown UPHILL on three of them. Seriously, I stopped pedaling and continued forward progress......uphill. It was like anti-gravity.
Now witness the power of wind.......
April (my fiancee) taking flight
So in summary, I learned a few things today:
1) Wind is equal to anti-gravity when applied in the appropriate direction.
2) All coal power plants should be recycled into windmills.
3) If Ali would have been out there with me today......he would be landing somewhere in Kansas right about now.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
as not to be one of those bloggers who only finds fault with others and never gives any praise, i thought i'd point out a few "kits" i do like.
how about the AA Drink team:
primary and secondary colors (yellow + blue = green) are great. simple design. not totally jammed with huge logos. well done.
i'm not sure what AA Drink actually is, but it's either:
a) a sports drink
b) a sports drank
c) Drank, "anti-energy" drink
d) a non-subliminal trick to get recovering alcoholics to relapse
e) a non-subliminal trick to get non-geologists to drink molten aa lava (from the makers of Diet Pahoehoe)
f) an awesome beverage named after the initials of our very own Ali
whatever it is, it is my new goal in life to try some...unlike trendy jeans made by a certain bicycle racing team sponsor.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The Tour of California is interesting for several reasons. First of all, there's some interesting racing going on, with a lot of big names chilling out and a lot of scrubs making good. Also, the field is so loaded with admitted and suspected dopers, there are actually too many to focus on, so it allows us to focus on the racing. Also, despite the possibility of the best ever collection of bikes ever, it also features the worst ever collection of jerseys ever. Rock Racing's jerseys are so terrible, they made me forget Columbia's crappy fake-abs jerseys. I mean, really, kits featuring fake spray painted stenciling? How about fake jerseys with real Sharpie lettering. That is the BCC way. Also, why don't any of these teams have matching rain jackets? Not that I'm one to desparage someone for not being "pro" enough, but that's simply not "pro" enough. I think Saxo-Bank at least has a tiny logo on their jackets. But the sponsors must be kicking themselves for not spending the extra cash on matching jackets.
In any event, most cycling blogs are abuzz about Rock Racing (or Rub Racing), so I won't spend too much more time on that topic. However, despite all of Rock's publicity stunts, none are as great a Stunt Rock:
...at least the Stunt Rock trailer (the film is actually (surprisingly enough) terrible).
Monday, February 16, 2009
OK, fess up: who's riding a fancy new TT bike? Maybe one in snazzy black-n-gold styling? I dunno how much you paid for it on craigslist, but there's some dude looking for it, and he does not look pleased.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Today, at the first stage of the Tour of California, Hollywood's Rock Racing squad finally delivered on the hype. Great ride and deserved from Francisco Mancebo in the rain in front on a charging group of heavyweight chasers, led by Astana riders Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Here at BCC we love shreddin' up some singletrack, leaping cyclocross barriers and grinding away asphalt climbs...but we also know that there is a time to chill and just cruise around on two wheels. Below is my beloved "Star Cruiser" (named for the OEM chainring). Originally, this cruiser was a circa 1960s AMF, fitted with fenders, rack, chainguard and lots of rust.
Before (Circa 2004)
Now the "Star Cruiser" has entered its new life, undergoing a complete makeover. The AMF was stripped and a new seat tube (Columbus FOCO) was welded in and the entire frame was repainted. The frame and chainring are the only original parts remaining. The "Star Cruiser" is equipped with a retro 1999 Rolf Dolomite mountain bike front wheel, Dyno Fireball balloon tires, a rigid triple clamp cruiser fork and a cush cush cush flame embroidered cruiser saddle.
After (Present Day 2009)
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Some people think that Stan's No-Tube liquid style goo is great while others curse it heavily. For today's experiment, I'll try to figure out who is correct.
For those of you not familiar with this product, it is this miracle product, a secret, liquid formula, you can pour into a regular mountain bike tire and, if you have special rims or a special rubber rim strip, you can seal up your tire without a tube. I think it's some sort of latex-like substance that kinda congeals into a tube-like glue after you inflate your tire. The supposed advantages are that it's lighter than a normal tube and since you don't have a tube, you won't pinch-flat. Sounds kinda cool, right?
Sounds kinda like tubular tires, right? Right.
Much like tubulars, when it's working well, it's great. However, when there's a problem, it's a messy, potentially dangerous, mess. Also, potentially expensive. Take Sunday for example: a rock cut a tiny hole in the sidewall of a relatively new rear tire. Stan's will fill and self-seal pinhole leaks, but bigger cuts render a tire un-No-Tubeable. Sure, if you're carrying a spare tube, you can dump out the excess goo, pull off the rubber rimstrip, and install your new tube. Then, you still have to go home, remove the tube, and try to mess around with that weird liquid crap again. I think some people claim that you can simply re-inflate a punctured No-Tube setup (possibly with CO2, possibly not) but I just can't see how the sealant could repair a hole that large.
It's also been pointed out that this may be a problem with 29er wheels, since they supposedly have thinner sidewalls than many recommended wheels. I'd believe this. However, knowing this doesn't solve my problem. I'm not saying this product is bad or that I've even been using it correctly. But, well baby, it just wasn't meant to be.
Long story short, I'm going back to the old standby of no No-Tubes (aka tubes). But I'd love to hear what our readers think. Please add your comments.
he lurks in the shadows. eager to break a spoke, snap a rear derailleur, cast an evil creaky spell on your saddle, or even say "blah" to mr. stans no tubes. be careful for he is invisible, spits thorns, builds impassible rock gardens, moves roots, spreads wet leaves, and occasionally has been "gnown" to eat smAlis.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Hooray for February. After all that cold weather, the nicest day of the year hit Sunday with temperatures topping 70 degrees. We headed out to the Umstead area for some quality mountain biking. Forces converged: JD and Daniel from Raleigh, Ben and I from Durham, and BCC's newest recruit, Calvin from...I'm actually not sure where Calvin's from, but we're thrilled to have him with Bull City now.
Before I get too far into this one, I need to mention that my lack of conditioning extends beyond bicycle riding, but also to blogging, so my endurance in both these areas is minimal. Therefore, my typical longwinded text may be shorter today. In fact, here's a short, one act play entitled "Technical Difficulties"
scene 1: Umstead Park, North Carolina
Chorus: Lo, the gods are smiling upon northern Wake county with beautiful weather. But beware ye, with these blessings are minor curses.
enter Ben and Calvin. Ben inspects Calvin's full suspension Specialized.
Ben, testing the rear shock: man you've got this thing set up really stiff.
Calvin: no, actually, it's still broken.
Daniel: hang on, my shifting is all messed up.
Chris, attempting to adjust a rear derailleur: here, let me take a look at that.
Daniel getting back on his bike: okay. no, now the chain's broken.
Ben, standing, holding his saddle like Yorik's skull: what in the hell is making that creaking sound?...that is the question. out-out, damn creak.
Chris, riding, slows to a stop: A flat! Oh Stan's No Tubes, why hast thou forsaken me?!? But of course, my new RockShox (tm) brand Reba (tm) fork is performing flawlessly.
[Intermission: sponsored by RockShox]
JD, with his trouble-free bike rides off into the sunset, along with Ben and his creaky saddle.
Narrator: While it's not surprising that the fella with the fully rigid singlespeed had the fewest technical difficulties, it is strange that the guy with the dirtiest bike (i.e. JD) had no problems, while guys with much cleaner bikes had the biggest problems. And so the moral to this story is, never wash your bike.
The first "real" mountain bike ride back from an extended period off "the trail" is always rough and when you throw in a new destination it makes for a really interesting experience. Recently (still taking advantage of tropical Colorado weather), I loaded up my trusty steed and headed a few miles west of Denver and explored my new "local" trails. Basically these trails (Hogback, Matthews-Winters, Red Rocks, Zorro, & Green Mountain) are totally almost the same as the the trails in the Triangle.....except all are above 5,280', they do not border lakes, there are no trees, they don't close due to rain (hasn't rained here in 3+ months) and there are dinosaur fossils everywhere!!! So....I guess actually the similarities are that people park cars in the parking lots and people ride bikes on the trails.
Anyways, as I departed the trailhead (aimlessly) towards Hogback (the most technical trail on the Front Range....as I am told) I begin to notice fun signs that warn of the neighboring police shooting range. Fun fun. I guess this would sorta be like riding New Light during hunting season on a Saturday. So sans blaze orange (but in Bull City Yellow) I cautiously rolled along the "Hogback". The initial climb went really well and reminded me of the gravel-ridden climbs of Crested Butte that Ali, Wicked Mike and myself experienced last summer. I crested the climb and immediately heard "pop...pop...pop....pop..pop".......and ducked fearing a stray police bullet! Luckily, I realized that the shooting range was in the distance at this point and that sound travels quite far when there are no trees to hinder.
View of "Green?" Mountain from the top of Hogback aka dinosaur fossil ridge.
As I continued south along Hogback, the trail began to get really interesting with steep drops strewn with washed-out rock gardens on steroids! This, I was not quite prepared for. It was like riding New Light's "Gauntlet" for two miles going up and down on unstable rocks. While I love the "Gauntlet" and all.......2+ miles of that stuff is a bit like International Delights everyday for 2 weeks.....it is tasty at first and then you begin to feel the pain over and over again.
Anyways.......as my solo adventure continued and the Rockies beginning to cast a shadow on the "local" trails, I headed back to Matthews-Winters and Red Rocks. Matthews-Winters is basically Denver's Crabtree. The parking lot is always jammed and it is labeled as the local "beginner" trail. I rolled through the first few miles of trails, enjoying banked turn after banked turn.....often carrying too much speed for my own good and overshooting a corner or three. The good news is that since there are no trees, this simply meant that I rolled over grass and then back to the dirt ribbon of singletrack. There was one 20 foot section that actually had an inch or so of snow (mostly as a result of the one tree/rock combo shadow in the whole place).
The view from Red Rocks of Denver, with Hogback and Green Mountain in the foreground.
Matthews-Winters connects to the fabled Red Rocks venue. Red Rock's trails begin to introduce some more techy sections, climbs and tricky switchbacks.....providing a tasty midway intermission along the out and back Matthews-Winters/Red Rocks trail riding experience.
So, as I begin to sample the plethora of "local" dirt options Denver has to offer, I hope that my writings begin to entice East Coast BCC'ers to think of venturing west and joining me on some Rocky Mountain trails soon.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
I haven't heard much from Pirate in a while. I know Albany's snow and ice continue, taking the wind out of the good Pirate's sails, at least in terms of cycling. Curious to discover what Pirate might be up to, I found this when I searched. I like the mustache, but it's going to take me a while to warm up to the longer, blonder locks. The throw-back concorde is super cool. I'll post a review after I give it a listen, but for now you can read the praise for this "classy album" here.
Friday, February 6, 2009
Greetings Bull City Blogites. So as some or most of you might know I have relocated to 5280' or Denver for those of you that prefer the alphabet to numbers. It has been an interesting ride thus far......and by ride I mostly mean snowboard ride. Well this week has basically ushered in July weather to 5280' with temps punching 70+ degrees. With any and all snow retreating faster than Dook's basketball standings, I have hit the bike at full speed for a "winter training" mini-Brian camp. Basically this entails me dusting off the S-Works fleet and hitting the roads and trails of Colorado's front range for the first time.
My first adventure this week was on the road bike. I headed west on 32nd Avenue (the street I live on) and well.....about 10 miles later I ended up at the Coors Brewery. Not that I can remember the last time I had a Coors or if I have ever had one, it was nonetheless interesting to find out that I lived on the same street as a major brewery. The smell of fresh barley and hops, quickly made me crave a frosty brew......but alas there was were many more miles to go on this sunny winter day.
While most of you "educated" bicycle nerds know what Coors means to cycling, it is interesting to reflect on the meaning of this site and ponder American Flyers. As I rode passed the Coors brewery I couldn't help but look over my shoulder for Kevin Costner, Ted Danson or maybe even the Russian National Team. While American Flyers choose to rename the Coors Classic as the "Hell of the West", we all know that this stage race was one of the trailblazer events that ushered in bicycle racing to the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
As we gaze back 25+ years and think about the meaning of the Coors Classic, the 7-11 Pro Team and American Flyers, it is hard not to imagine the impact that these entities had on American Cycling.......afterall 7-11 eventually turned into Motorola....of which a local boy from Texas began his pro cycling career with.
Cheers from Colorado-
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009
With JD forced to the sidelines on doctor's orders to rest and recover from illness earlier in the week, it was up to me to fly the BCC/Second Empire colors at the final race of the local endurance series. We had a great venue at Harris Lake and temperatures that warmed up through the day.
I conferenced with JD the night before and followed his advice, sprinting from the line in the Singlespeed Solo competition. I was second into the singletrack, following the eventual winner "Jimmy Bean"- that's what he said his name was- but not before he gapped me and put three or four riders from other races between us. Just as Coach JD predicted, I was a little frustrated trying to come around other riders on the first lap. It was on the second lap, when I botched my attempt to pass another rider, that I ended up on the ground for a moment and another rider in my race passed me. 3rd place. I held that placing through the first two laps, but JD, who showed up to help with the timing and scoring and to offer moral support told me I'd fallen back into fourth place by the start of the fourth lap.
I'd settled in after the initial laps, making sure to eat and drink adequately while on the bike, and stopping after the third lap to drink a coke and have an energy bar. Man, sitting down just then never felt so good. Thanks to the guys next to me for letting lay out my stuff on their tarp and giving me an extra GU packet for the road. I picked up the pace but this coincided with my Surly chain tensioner's balking at the length of this particular ride. It refused to hold tension and I stopped 5 times to coax the chain back onto the cog and ring. I rode two laps until I found someone with the 18mm cone wrench required to readjust the spring tension. I think JD must have sensed something because he came running over and offered to make any repairs for me, just as I took off from the pits. Back running at 1pm, I was trying to make the 2pm final lap cut off. Now, I was tired at this point but I was lucky to lead a Duo team rider on a full suspension, fully geared bike for half a lap and then follow his lead for another quarter of a lap. That pacing enabled me to make it to the parking area with 3 minutes before the cut off, and I set off on a looong sprint over the boggy ground. I poured myself into the final lap, sharing the pace again with a Lees-McRae rider for a while. JD told me later that I had fallen back into 6th place on lap 5, but somehow I managed to finish in 3rd. I know I caught a few singlespeeders on the last lap, including one who just let me by towards the end even though I had imagined having to sprint him to the line. I finished 5 minutes off from 2nd place; I think it's time for a new chain tensioning device.
All in all, it was a fun day. I was happy that I rode all the hills on the last couple of laps, especially the two whoops that had geared riders coming off their bikes. I got some props for riding the MB-1 solo from some riders at the end of the race. I'm pretty certain I had the only bike with a 1" headtube and lugs.