Sunday, January 23, 2011

All the cool kids will be there. I've never been to Arizona before so I figured this would be a good idea.

February 5th is the event. I've ridden twice outside since January 3rd. I've ridden a few times inside and been to the gym a few times as well. Been going to yoga classes upwards of three times a week all month. Should put me in a good spot for racing/riding my bicycle in Arizona.

I just want to ride my bicycle outside on trails. Something I can not do here as my yard and the trails are under a minimum of two feet of snow.

The Superfly will stay home as I've opted to ride my Cannondale out west. I just finished taking all the gears off of it (was set up as a 1x9) and got it singlespeederific. Picked up a lefty front wheel with 355 rim to somewhat match my DT240/crest rear wheel. The bike weighs in at 21.5lbs with some WTB Wolverine tires. I think that's what my Superfly weighs with these tires. Crazy!

I started boxing up the bike as next weekend I'll be in northern Vermont snowboarding and the following weekend is Arizona. No time.

I also opted to stay with my SPDs for this trip as I have no time on a set of Crankbros Eggbeaters I picked up. I tried the Eggbeaters on my trainer but was having some difficulty and didn't want to fight it when in AZ. I guess thirteen years of riding SPDs has some muscle memory ingrained in me.

I didn't have any clear silicone so I opted for the bathroom white. I do this to keep the water out of my shoes and also make it easier to remove the cleats as they are full of silicone rather than dirt. Works like a charm.

Time for some sleep.

Friday, January 21, 2011

I fell down the stairs and my shoes fell off

That's right. Somehow I tripped when getting up from the couch last week and immediately fell over into the ground. I found the ground after narrowly missing the wood and glass end table and the ottoman. When I hit the ground my shoes fell off. I was okay but caught off guard.

This prompted me to do something. What to do? How about shoveling some more snow? Yup, it seems like every other day I am shoveling the snow off my driveway and sidewalk. Today was the third or fourth time in a little over a week (okay, so I guess it isn't every other day).

It all started with this.

Wednesday January 12th.

Note how this small region of Massachusetts did not get any snow? Yeah, that region where the red pin is casting a shadow. Steve Jobs told me that whatever the iPhone shows on its screen is exactly what is happening in reality. For some reason I do not believe him.

I went to bed around 1am the night before and the snow was just starting. For some reason I was up just before 6am. That was driven by the dog getting me up so he can go play in the snow. Less than an hour later I was out shoveling. After shoveling a walkway from the backdoor around the house to the driveway I broke out the tape measure and recorded 16inches deep and the snow was still falling from the heavens. Damn!

The driveway wasn't terribly fun for I couldn't do what I normally do by just 'plowing' the snow to the sides and then lift the shovel and throw it off to the yard. The end of my driveway is my arch nemesis. Two lanes of road plowed into my driveway. Yes! Just what I want.

making some progress at the street.

Once that was done I still had to do the driveway.

A few hours later we were done and the snow stopped falling. I estimate another 5 to 6 inches fell from the time I started shoveling until the snow stopped. Crap, so much for riding mountain bikes on three week old ice crusted snow.

Well, I guess this is my 'training' since I seem to have failed quite quickly at my resolution as I haven't ridden in almost two weeks. Since that storm we've had a storm of 3-4inches of snow plus rain and ice and just last night we got another 3-6inches of snow.

I managed to keep my shoes on whilst shoveling and also managed to decide on which mountain bike shoes I want for this season. I was thinking about some Shimano M240s or Dicky Look-Alike Mavic Razors. I settled on the M240s.

Last night I had them custom fitted as these shoes can be heated up and molded to your feet (up to 3 times I believe). Matt from Pedal Power fired up their Shimano shoe oven and went to town.

I opted to stick with my Superfeet insoles but we molded the heat moldable shimano ones for good measure. The insoles go into the oven for a few minutes to cook. Then then come out and go into the shoes. The shoes are put on and cranked down tight. I then stood there for a few minutes as a bunch of magic happened (the soles conforming to my feet).

When that was done we threw one shoe at a time into the oven.

Time is kept as it is bad to overcook them. The oven also comes with these fancy stickers that you put on the side of the shoe (that thing in yellow). The sticker has two boxes; one for 'good' and one for 'overcooked'. When the 'good' highlights the shoe is ready.

Out comes the shoe from the oven and the insole is inserted into the shoe and the shoe onto my foot. A plastic toe cover is put over the shoe to ensure the toe-box stays and does not conform to my foot. A bag is then put over both the shoe and my foot/leg. A hose is inserted and a strap is tied around my ankle (A good use for an Awesome Strap but we wound up using the Shimano provided strap). Then the pump is turned on and all the air is sucked out of the bag. This is called Vacuum Forming.

Oh, the Shimano oven also comes with these nice Shimano branded Michael Jackson gloves so Matt's fingers wouldn't burn when he touches the metal buckles on the shoes. Nifty. Note how I also wore the socks I normally ride with. This is important for proper fit.

The whole 'custom molding' that Shimano advertises is basically a vacuum forming of the shoe around your feet. Pretty novel concept once the appropriate materials for the shoe are determined.

I then stood there with the vacuum bag on my foot for a few minutes (5 maybe?). What is being molded are the heelcup and a portion of the sides of the shoes. I am not sure how much of the upper (buckle region) is molding. Probably not much.

When that shoe was done it was time to do the other.

Now my shoes won't fall off.


Monday, January 03, 2011

Its a new year

The beginning of the new year typically equates to resolutions. And resolutions typically last a week or so and are then broken. I sure hope I do not follow that suit here. We will see where this goes..

One of my resolutions is to ride my bicycle to work as much as possible. My biggest issue with riding to work is motivation. It is a mental game for me. Obviously much easier to hop in a car and drive to work when its cold out. OR any day for that matter. Well, my first day of work in 2011 was today, and I rode my bicycle there and back home.

a small Victory

It was a comfortable 16mile (roundtrip) commute in temperatures around the upper 20s and lower 30s Fahrenheit. Most of last week's snow storm melted since we had temperatures in the 50s this past weekend. The roads were nice and dry today.

I wound up riding my new track bike. A 2010 Cannondale Capo 2. It is configured so I can head out on long rides and my fit is similar to the road bike. My old GT was decked out more as a 'hipster' fixie. Or perhaps my version of the Fastest Bike in the World. Either way it was uncomfortable and not safe for longer rides.

The Capo is currently configured with:
- stock wheelset with 16T cog
- SRAM 500 singlespeed brake levers
- Ultegra 170mm crankset with 42T chainring
- Flite saddle
- carbon Cannondale seatpost
- Thomson 100mm stem
- 3T 46cm drop bars
- FSA Gossamer brakes
- Cinelli cork tape
- Shimano PD959 pedals

I want to add fenders (if possible... tire clearance is tight) and a rear rack with a plastic crate so I do not have to carry my gear on my back anymore. That is in the works.

The clothes I chose to wear seemed to be a good fit for this weather. I was warm and comfortable and was not saturating my layers with perspiration.

- Swerve wool cycling knickers (so I can look somewhat 'cool')
- a polyester t-shirt
- a polyester boxers
- old Burton Snowboards thermal pants
- Mountain Hardware super thin wool long sleeve shirt
- old Burton Snowboards thick socks (with a hunting theme)
- old Burton Snowboards 'superpipe' gloves
- some Raceface jacket I got on clearance from QBP a few years ago (with a somewhat shreded back after sliding on the pave after that car hit me last March
- my BaileyWorks SuperPro to carry my lunch, work clothes, bike lock, etc..
- Niterider HID headlight
- two no-name brand tail lights
- old beat to hell Sidi Dragons
- wore my windproof Mountain Hardware beanie on the way to work but it was too warm for the commute home so I donned my Swobo cycling cap
- Uvex Supersonic helmet
- old pair of Rudy Project glasses with clear lenses (want to change them up for generic safety glasses)

If it gets colder than I can throw on a pair of winter cycling knickers under the wool Swerves and can also add various thicker shirts to keep the core warm. Seems to be a good combination for me this winter no matter what type of bicycling I am doing. It may look unprofessional but it works and I am comfortable.

Oh, that's right... I modified my Sidis. I am willing to bet if Dicky did this to his Sidis he would have fetched more money for them when he sold them.

I threw on black duct tape to cover up the vents and keep my toes warm. It seemed to work a bit tonight. Colder nights I can slip some hand warmer packets I bought from Home Depot for $0.99 to keep my feet warm. I actually have a brand new set of neoprene shoe covers for winter riding but they are a pain in the ass to put on so I just go without any covers. Kind of ass-backwards considering my feet are the first things to get cold when I'm out biking in weather like this.

I could have trimmed the thermals so I get more 'sock' exposed but didn't have time today. Perhaps in the next couple of days/weeks I'll find time to trim the thermals and sew a hem on them so they won't come apart. Yeah right..

No need for a face mask. The 3 month old beard is thick enough to house birds. George is growing his beard out to keep him warm this winter but seems to be having troubles.

No gluing any pubes on my face like Th'om. (I just spent the past twenty minutes re-reading all those posts and am still laughing today.)

Tomorrow I'll probably drive to work for I have to head further east after work to go roller skating for a few hours. Got my hour long yoga class at lunch tomorrow as well. That has been helping my back so much. Looks like we're riding offroad Wednesday night and then after the ride I'm taking a yoga class. Thursday I'll probably drive to work and ride my bike home. Yoga at lunch on Thursday. Friday I'll ride to work and drive home.. Or ride home and then ride to work Saturday morning to go pick up my Jeep. Haven't thought that through yet but looking back on what I just wrote it looks like I am over-thinking this.

I hope I didn't just kill this resolution right as it started. Only time will tell...