Thursday, January 26, 2012

on our way to the desert

This time next week we will be in Arizona riding our bicycles.
I can not wait to be riding in the desert again. This month has been just as hectic as December and I probably rode a bike less than five times. Damn job getting in the way of everything 'fun' related...

Monday, January 16, 2012

winter riding.... err. work

First full weekend in January was a day spent snowboarding and a day spent installing a chimney liner and my new (to me) wood stove.

Second full weekend in January was a day spent filling a truck full of wood and helping a friend (whom gave me the wood) with some brush and tree clearing on his farm. Sunday (yesterday) was spent at a yoga class, splitting wood, running the stove more to burn off the new paint smell and slowly redoing the brake lines in my Jeep as they decided to rust through and fail on me earlier in the week.

Not much biking but taking a page out of the Monte book.

(cutting back the fields on the farm... delimbing the trees and creating a brush pile and a firewood pile)

To this (some good dried out ash)
to this
and about this in part of an afternoon
Not quite the capacity of Monte's doing but we'll see where this takes me. It got me outside in 15-20F weather though so I've got that going for me. Still have to finish splitting the remaining and a whole 'nother pile not in that photo.

I did get a 2hr mountain bike ride in last Wednesday night. Tried out my new Niner crabon handlebars. Its good to be back on carbon bars. They dampen the ride so much better than aluminum. I had a pair of Salsa aluminum bars (12deg sweep and 640mm width). The new bars are 9deg sweep and at the stock width (710mm). Its wide but after a few rides we'll see if I want to keep them there or take 'em in 10 or 20mm.

During the week I did get some work done on the 'cross bike.
SRAM Force crankset with a Spot Brand 42T chainring (for now)

Shimano Pro Vibe 7s handlebars (46cm) with Thomson X4 stem and SRAM 500 levers.

Avid Shorty Ultimate brakes.

Had some interference issues with the rear brake bosses but after some sanding and filing and grease I got them to work without any binding. 


Still have to wrap the bars, get a crabon steerer plug so I can set up the stem and headset, dial in the brakes and throw in a rear cog. My wheelset should be done soon but in the meantime I've thrown on my road wheelset.

Oh yeah, and I registered for the Bearscat50 fifty mile mountain bike race. I had so much fun last year that I figured I'd do it again. Love riding that terrain. It was going to be the race I do that is furthest from my house but I might have one or two that are further (excluding Singlespeed Arizona). Stay Tuned as I am finalizing the events I plan on attending and the twist I am applying to all of them.

Monday, January 09, 2012

beginnings of a new bike

Time to build another bike. I've been looking forward to this bike for a while now.

Monday, January 02, 2012

look sir, droids!

I wanted an additional set of mountain bike shoes, a pair with a slightly softer sole. One so I don't have to ride a very stiff soled shoe all the time (predominately when I'm commuting to work and such) and two because having a second pair of shoes is great when the other pair gets wet from a muddy race or ride.

Enter the 2012 Shimano SH-M162 in what Dicky refers to as "Stormtrooper White". Not quite THE stormtrooper white but... well... close enough. This color was all that was available when I ordered them. Having ridden black shoes all my years of bicycling I was somewhat reluctant to get white shoes but wanted these shoes as they are a step down from my SH-M240s and I wanted a pair with a slightly softer sole. After a few rides with them I actually like the white. There is a proper balance of white, black and gray in them so they do not seem overly flashy.
I believe they take the place of the SH-M161 which is the top model mountain shoe that is not heat moldable. Two velcro straps with a ratching ankle strap. Some additional protection on the outside of the ball of the foot.

The sole has quite a bit of lugs on it. I've found them quite comfortable when having to hoof it off the bike up a steep incline. There are also provisions for toe spikes should you want them.
After a few rides with these shoes I really like the fit. The footbed that comes with them fits the large arch of my feet well. The heelcup provides adequate support for the ankle while I also did not notice any lifting of my foot when walking.
Under heavy loads (steep inclines where I'm pedaling at a very slow cadence) I can feel some flex in the sole but I was anticipating some flex as the soles are not as stiff as my M240s. The M240s have a carbon reinforced sole and these M162s have a glass fiber reinforced nylon sole. The uppers have synthetic leather with lots of mesh.

I switched from SIDI shoes to Shimano shoes about a year ago when I bought my M240s. I've come to like the fit of Shimano shoes better than the SIDIs I have worn for years. I have a long narrow foot so the standard width SIDI shoes was too wide and I have found that the narrow width was a shade too narrow as my feet felt cramped. A size larger in SIDI would have been too big. The Shimanos seem to fit inbetween that and have been very comfortable for me whether I am wearing a thick wool sock of a thin polyester sock. I am looking forward to more time with these shoes.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

rolling into the new year / thanks

As we ride into twenty twelve, literally, it is often a time to reflect back on the previous twelve months. Twenty eleven was all over the place on many levels. My fitness came and went depending on how much time I spent in the office. The weather dictated most of what we were to do (most of the fall was a wash, literally, as the trails were too wet to ride). My racing had its share of ups and downs but above all it was fun and shared experiences with many of my friends made for an enjoyable season of racing my bike. New friendships developed and old friendships continued.

There is a reason why I like to ride bicycles with the people that I ride with. We are all having fun and super stoked to be doing what we do. This is why we can be found riding together.

With all of that, the first of January in the year twenty twelve was met with 50F weather and sunny skies. Matt, Luther, Ginger and I went out for a ride to forget about everything else we have going on and to start the new year on a relaxing and enjoyable front.
After a frantic scramble this morning to build bikes, find gear and get everything together we had a nice casual ride around Mansfield Hollow out in eastern Connecticut.
There were quite a few people out hiking today and everyone we encountered had a smile. This is a good sign.

Tomorrow I will talk about Storm Troopers and bicycling. [Yes, I said tomorrow. This may or may not be a new leaf.]

Thanks again everyone! Thank you for being there for me when it was needed. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for the fun and laughter we've had on ever ride (and non-rides). It was yet another year of fun times riding bikes with great friends and riding bikes with newfound friends. Riding bikes in new places and riding bikes in old favorite places. This is what it is all about. Thanks!