Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Singlespeeds: Everyone should have one.

For one reason only - they are an eye opening experience in what one can do with less. I know that some feel that the SS version of a bike is quite possibly blessed by the heavenly hosts and anything other than full rigid SS is to be poo-poo'ed as capitalistic excess.

Silly, that.

But tonite was the, oh, maybe the third real off road ride on the SS Monkey. This one was a very familiar loop, one I ride all the time and I was not alone. I was with a group of friends. I have been feeling kinda slow as of late (see last post), but tonite I felt much better. In fact, I rode steady and strong the whole ride. You know what? Get on top of a gear (or even a little bit behind it) on a SS and you go fast uphill. Really fast. Flying, even. On a moderate section of fireroad climbing, I felt like Lance on this thing.

We regrouped at the saddle, and then the real uphill began, the kind you need to stand up on with an SS. I kinda figured something out tonite. I am beginning to understand the concept of pacing myself and using muscle groups differently to move more efficiently upwards and onwards. I had been treating standing climbs like one big sprint and it was just an endless cycle of ride till I passed out, recover, repeat to the top. Today, I approached the ascents with a bit less pace and allowed the bike to slow down just a notch. My brain was sending out warnings: "Danger, Will Robinson, you are slowing down and will lose all momentum and grind to a halt, fall over, and embarrass yourself. Pedal faster!" I ignored that warning (never liked Lost In Space anyway) and slowed the pace, but increased the pressure on the pedals, bringing more upper body into play. Gotta love those wide, carbon h-bars. It worked. As long as I had traction, I kept moving and even though my upper body was getting worked, I was able to keep my heart rate down enough to make it over the next rise without stopping. I hit the top and thought, "huh...I bet I was faster than on the geared bike." Maybe not, but it sure felt like I was moving well.

One thing for sure. It is an odd feeling of satisfaction when you are surrounded by FS, 27 speed bikes at the top of the hill on your single geared HT. Got me thinking about widening my horizons on this SS bike and seeing what I can do on other, longer rides. Not ready to sell the FS Lenz, I am not stupid, but it is tempting.

First 1x9, now 1x1. Weird. I draw the line at fixie. I swear.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Still Pokey, After All These Years.

With apologies to Paul Simon, I am not crazy, just pokey. I rode with a new group of folks last night. Some I knew from years back. One was a Pro XC racer in the day and one of the most overall skilled riders I have known. One is a XTerra racer and always a fast whippet of a rider. But the rest of the blend was just a bunch of guys, so I figured all the work I have been putting in would put me in good stead among the group. Guess not. I sucked.

Been thinking about it. Was sick last week, still not 100%. Rode the SS the night before, worked pretty hard. It was a lot of very steep up, in fact this was the first time I felt the need for a 20T chainring for that 29er. Then, I waited for a guy who had a rear brake line fail and I played catch-up to the back of the group. But I just felt slow on the climbs. More donkey-ness (see previous blog entry). I really am at my best over a longer distance when pacing and overall riding skills come in to play, but that high heart rate, very steep climb has always been my weak point. Hopefully the SS will help here, but maybe nothing will. Not like I am getting any younger.

Now I get my revenge on the techy, DH stuff. There I am in the front of the group, not #1, but a contender. Well, at least that is something. Case in point: This ride ends on a slinky and fun ridgetop singletrack, very So Cal. I got caught up in traffic and decided not to force a pass on the slower guys. Then we came to a section where guys are walking a dropoff. Hmmm, must be pretty rough? Not. My turn came up, looked at it, clicked in, pedaled down and jumped off the offcamber drop into the singletrack runout. What's up, girls? If I could climb like I could do that, I would be one heck of a rider.

Well, I don't know. I think I need to ride with this group again. Maybe it was just an off day or maybe I need some days off. Not sure.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

SS in 'da hood.

Getting back in the saddle after the plague of sickness has ebbed somewhat, I got home and found I had no immediate plans and there was time for about 2 hours of riding. Fair enough. I would like a longer ride, but I have another biking engagement tomorrow. So, how to get more out of a shorter ride? Well, I could rent a small child and carry them on my shoulders during the ride or wrap rubber bands around my brake levers and get pedaling....all are silly, masochistic things to do to increase the workout.....or I could ride the singlespeed.

Cuz, I gotta' tell ya, there is a lot of masochism in the whole SS thing. This was really only my second offroad ride on the SS, the other one being a paved 8 mile road climb, so I am just figuring out things. Did I make the right decision on gearing? How about cockpit fit for standing so often compared to the geary?

So tonite I rode a pretty familiar loop and added a bit of climbing to it just to see how the ride felt on the SS. I would like to begin to do more and more of my normal rides this way to see how it compares and, quite frankly, to see how I compare. Can I do it or not? The goal of the SS, besides just the 'why not?' factor, is to toughen up a bit and rack up some fitness in order to ride longer and harder, etc, etc. I really do not expect to be a 100% SS convert. Not because it is so hard, but mostly it is too pokey too much of the time. And hey, gears are good and so is full suspension.

I kinda enjoy the 'stand and pedal till ya pass out...wait...do it again...repeat till you get to the top' aspect. I accept this as an acknowlegement of my level of fitness and I know it will make me stronger. So the hill climbs last night were not too bad, just hard. The downhill singletrack was fine as it was a coast fest, not much pedaling required. The second section was very fun as it rewards less braking and more momentum and I even made the 10' rock studded wall-o-death option in the canyon bottom. Excellent! In fact, I really think this is where the SS Monkey shined the most, dodging through the rough and narrow trail bed in the canyon bottom. That seemed to open the SS's eyes and it all felt fast, nimble, and fun. Later in the eve, back at home, I was reading the new BIKE mag and it was showcasing the Eastern riding areas. The pics of the winding and techy singletracks through the woods just cried out SS. I get it now, at least I think I do.

Back to the ride, after the singletrack I had to pedal home. Maybe 4 miles? Felt like 8. Hamster wheel of death, barely get anywhere, good lord do I have a taller gear here? I really like doing longer loops and I like to ride right out of the house, and a lot of that is on pavement. I guess I could do the dinglespeed thing...meh! That does not appeal to me right now, maybe later. The 32x20 feels very good off road, so I until I get a lot stronger or the hills get smaller, I think that is it.

Anyway, enough rambling. Gonna' ride the Lev tonite. Too chicken to bring the SS to a group ride and I know we are riding from the house a couple of miles to the ride. Not sure if they allow crazed hamsters on this one. I need to find some fellow SSers to hang with. Then we can all suffer together, but until then I do plan on sneaking the SS out on a couple of the local loops with the normal crowd. I bet I can hang and even punish them a bit, one gear and all. At least until we have to pedal back home.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Death, Taxes, and Pedaling a Bike

A co-workers mother died a couple of days ago. She was not in great health, mostly due to poor lifestyle choices, but still it was a sudden illness and death. As I spoke to the son on the phone, I could hear the sadness and loss in his voice. Hard to lose a mother. The son and I had discussed religion, faith, and God stuff several times. The conclusion was that he and his mom had come to the decision that they really did not believe in anything, so for them, there was just life as however it was. And now, that too is gone and hope with it. Not a hope of an eternity with loved ones spent in the presence of a loving God, not a hope of a heaven, a reward, a solace from life's trials and pain. Just loss.

I too, am dying.

From the moment I was conceived, the hourglass was turned over and the sand began running. You too. We are all in a countdown to our last breath, that time to be determined later. My co-workers mom had the last grain of sand fall away and it is done. I believe that God almighty loved me enough to send an 'out' clause from a hopeless death. I accepted that deal and it is inked in blood. I have hope.

Recently I have been having odd heart beats, missing ones really, and it has been diagnosed and treatment is happening and things will be fine, no real heart issues, just the body wearing out and letting me know that my sands are pouring down as well. I have an appointment penciled in by God to be there when the last grain of sand falls, kinda like the New Years Eve ball in Times Square. Hey, maybe Dick Clark will be there too, who knows? I think he is nearly as old as God.

All this was running through my head as I pedaled easy up a lonely canyon road, closely followed by two close friends. A happy babble of conversation on politics, bike stuff, whatever, carried along with us as we moved along, mixing into the air with the sounds of birds and the crunch of tires on dirt. I had asked for mercy since I was just off my sickbed, recently taking a week off the bike due to a nifty head cold, so the pace was lighter and we stayed together all the way to the top. As daylight faded to twilight, the last 200 feet to the summit came into view. Lots of chatter behind me...talk of the sprint, the breakaway, the sneaky move, the jump. Smack talk.

Then it was on. I caught the middle ring, dropped 2 gears on the cluster and stood up. The Lev responded to the urging of the pedals and we flew. Darn fine steed, that Lev. Faster, faster, dropped another gear, nearly on the 11T now, I can hear another rider behind me, maybe two, can't tell. Then, I hear Buddy Steve's cry of frustration as he revs out and falls off the chase. Hah! That would be mine, thank you. Beware of the sick, old dude.

The rest is a blur. Banter at the top as we all watch a full moon rise, light our electric torches and drop down, skittering on the loose gravel and broken pavement. The dancing of lights down through the canyon, the whirr of freewheels, the cool air, and drinking chocolate milk on the liquor store wall as we laugh about our frailties and plan the next adventure.

This was a good night, the ride, the friends, the bikes. I know there is an hourglass somewhere with my name on it and it is relentless. Sitting amongst all the unnumbered grains of sand is one single grain, destined as the last to fall and fall it will.

Till then, there is pedaling.

And after that, there is hope.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever should believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16 (from memory)

And taxes?....well, I never blog about taxes.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A plan is forming: 10K in a Day

Well, I spent some time on Google Earth scoping out local stuff that seemed to qualify for a 10K day attempt. There is no one climb in my area that gives you that kind of up-ness in one shot, or even two, so either I do a major mileage day to get to 10K' or I do laps on a loop course and maximize the time spent pedaling. In other words, either up or down, but little across. Any pedaling that does not go directly toward up or down is just wasted time and energy.

It would be nice to have it be relatively non-techy, most fireroads around here qualify, and if it was close to town for lunch breaks at the local fast food/gas station mart, even better. Also, it would make for a relatively easy bail out point if things got too ugly.

There is a local climb some call The Beast. I don't know, it is not THAT hard, usually about an hour climb to get 1,500'. A middle CR climb for fit and FRESH riders, it would be a pretty wicked hill after a few hours of climbing. Just a bit down the road at the summit is another fireroad that has approximately the same number of elevation gain. The plan would be to begin in town, climb The Beast, drop down the other fireroad, turn around, climb back out and then down The Beast (kinda silly name) for one 'lap'. Should be just over 3,000'. Repeat until 10K.

Anyway, maybe a bit contrived as I am sure there will be days to come, God willing, that I hit that kind of gain in the course of a day of XC riding in some event or another, but as a benchmark to shoot for, it qualifies.

When I get past this plague that has me sniffling and shuffling around like a zombie, I will do a test ride and see exactly what one lap gives me. I figure 3 hours per lap when I am fresh, much more time later when I am waaay past fresh. Much, much more.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Climbing Challenges to Come

Well, my little 10,000' challenge to myself for the month has got me and others thinking and the goal has been more narrowly focused to be 10K'.....in a day.

Now that is something to work toward. 10k' in a month was very easy (glad I got it done since I am home sick with a lovely cold, thank you very much), so a new goal, but what...a 20K' month, 30, 50? Just a matter of time to ride mostly, and then recovery time as well for us old guys.

But a 10K day. That has got the wheels turning and Google Earth in play to check elevation gain/loss of local rides.

Soon, a plan will arise, but it will have to happen in the fall. Too hot right now, and besides, I need to go blow my nose again.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

10K Month in the Bag

842 SS feet climbed tonite just to pop me over the 10,000' mark before the world ends or something and I lose the rest of the month.

Total: 10,686.6'.

Well, should I keep going? If so, how far, how high? Any suggestions?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Donkeys of the World, Rise Up!

I read a great article in, I am pretty sure, BIKE magazine by Mike Ferrentino (need to look that up for sure).

Anyway, in that article he talks about a friend who told him, to paraphrase, "...if you are not a thoroughbred, you are a donkey. You may be a fast donkey, but a donkey still"

Holy smokes, is that ever me. Every once in a while we hear a truth that is cosmic in its clarity and insightfulness. Thoroughbred...donkey. Wow.

I have been riding for many years. And, over those years, riding friends would begin the season just like me, kinda out of shape. And, just like me, they would be getting a bit faster over time. But unlike me, there would be a few that would just rocket up in no time and blow everybody away. They would ride by me talking, chewing gum, singing an opera, whatever, and pedal away never to be seen again till the end of the ride. Some went on to be sponsored racers, others just became one of the 'fast guys' who may not even ride anymore, but if they are, they are probably killing everyone 1/2 their age and making it look easy.

It took me a while to figure out what the deal was. I ain't got no great Jeans....I mean genes, that particularly distinguish me as a non-donkey. I have very good agility, balance, hand eye coordination, which is all good, but I think I have the VO2max of a tree sloth.

I have never been lab tested, but it is obvious by now. I have been tested by hundreds of rides, thousands of pedal strokes, millions of deep breaths and heartbeats.

So, I am resigned to be a donkey, and after that article I have peace about that fact. But lately I have been working on being a faster, stronger donkey. I hit the big Five O in a couple of weeks and I have to say, I am just atiny bit off my best cycling fitness ever. I cannot sustain the high heart rate for as long, but I am stronger in some ways than ever and I am getting stronger all the time. I hope to be one of those guys that gives 25 year old donkeys a hard time on a ride.

So, a donkey I am and I donkey I will remain. But if you hear a clip clop of hooves and a hideous braying coming up behind you on a So Cal ride, it may be me or another donkey trying to be fast. And if you are one of the fast guys, a true thoroughbred, be kind to us. We donkeys are doing the best we can.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Byway of a Bygone Era: 10,000' challenge, ride #4

I live in an area with a fair amount of history. A lot of it has been paved over in the name of progress but some still remains. Some of that is of value to local cyclists because it was paved over! It is in the shape of a winding, uphill ribbon of asphault and old concrete called the Old Ridge Route. Finished in 1915, the RR served to connect the LA area with Bakersfield and the central valley. Spanning three mountain ranges, it was a major engineering feat of the day.

From the Ridge Route website article:

"According to historical accounts, the Ridge Route Road was one of the first products of the newly formed California Highway Commission and an $18 million state highways construction bond voters approved in 1910. Historians note that it may have actually saved California from splitting into two states.

Crews operating primitive, mule-powered graders began clearing the Ridge Route's path in 1914. Because of extremely rugged terrain and no funds to use for blasting, the route from Castaic to Gorman took 697 turns. An Occidental College student figured out that motorists sputtering up and down the road's sometimes 7 percent grades made the equivalent of 97 complete circles over the 36-mile stretch and 110 circles over the entire 48-mile route from Castaic to Grapevine.

The road opened in 1915 and was paved four years later with 41/2 inches of reinforced concrete, for a total building cost of $1.2 million. Fencing and 10-inch-high curbing kept the death toll from being worse than it was 31 died in accidents between 1921 and 1928, many resulting from runaway trucks and cars or drivers' failure to negotiate turns.

Because cars and trucks had no fuel pumps, it was not unusual to see vehicles going up steep grades backward. Truck drivers often took drastic, almost stuntman-like measures to escape the heat that had built up in their cabs.

``I drove a truck and trailer up there in 1931 loaded with pipe and the best I could do was 8 to 12 miles per hour,'' said Frank Kaufmann of Taft. ``It was hotter than the devil. I'd stand out on the running board to get away from heat of the engine and I'd drive with one hand through the window.''

When the road opened in 1915, motorists had their choice of routes to get to Los Angeles from the San Joaquin Valley and vice versa, but chose the Ridge Route. Despite following every mountain contour and its 15 mph speed limit, the Ridge Route Road was a far more direct route to Los Angeles than the ``Midway'' route through Mojave and the Tehachapi Mountains, cutting the distance to Los Angeles by nearly 58 miles.

Despite its hundreds of sharp curves, hazards and steep grades, the Ridge Route Road was considered the Cadillac of the superhighways, an engineering marvel. It is no longer, but it still invites traffic."

Well, it still invites bike traffic, that is for sure. Heading out of Castaic at the south end of the road, it is a steady climb all the way for miles with very little traffic. It is quiet except for where you parallel I5 and that is just for a little while. Tonite I rode up 8 miles or so to a viewpoint on the SS Monkey and then turned around for a nearly pedaling free return to town.

Total: 1,913' x 1.2 for the SS factor and I get 2,295.6' for the night.

Running total: 9,844.2' gained from last Sat to this Fri. With the goal of 10K' in a month, I think I will make it. Shoot, I may even go for a bunch more. Who knows.

For more info on the Old Ridge Route, click here. Some photos came from the SCV Historical Society website linked here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ahhhh...tubeless...now I get it!

Last night was the inaugural ride of the now tubeless Leviathan. I had wondered if I could truly tell the difference. I knew that it would be slightly lighter but that factor is tough to feel seat of the pants. You can talk yourself into thinking you are climbing faster even when you are not, only the stopwatch knows for sure.

But I was after more than lightness. I really did not care too much about pinchflatting protection. I rarely pinch flat. I have had an annoying amount of thorn flats ever since I have been running 26" tubes in the 29er tires. Not sure if it is bad luck or the thinner tube wall from the extra stretch, but either way, it has been a regular occurance lately.

What I really wanted was the extra suppleness and conformity to the trail that I read about. That is really worth it. What I did not want was all the hassles like burping (not me...the tire), difficulty setting the tire bead, leaks, etc.

I hoped that running the Stan's set up on Stan's rims on a tire(s) that I knew had worked well for others would help eliminate trouble spots. They sure installed easily and when I checked pressure after sitting for 2 days post installation, the front had dropped 10psi and the rear 1 or 2. Not sure about the front leak down, but I never rode them after the install, so perhaps I will get some more solution around the inside of the tire during tonite's ride.

I set them at 20psi each and applied the calibrated thumbnail test. Seemed pretty good, even at that low setting. Then, I drove up to a local area and began riding a longish climb on a pretty smooth fireroad.

Well, the bike rolled well and climbed nicely, but the Lenz already did that. At the top, we watched the sunset from an old fire lookout tower and hit the downhill. the road surface was covered in loose rock, from hens egg to tennis ball sized, over hardpack. It was the oddest thing. The ride was amazingly supple, in fact I could see rocks that I was running over but I'll be darned if I could feel them. The bad thing was a kinda' dancy feeling like I was running on a partially flat tire. Not confidence inspiring.

Now I have always run low tire pressures and I have always liked fattish tires, even waaay back when my buddies were being all racer boy on skinny XC tires and 45psi, my riding partner and I knew better and ran no more than 35psi and the biggest rubber we could get, usually 2.2 Hardpacks. We knew that we would be better off over true mountain bike terrain on the lower pressure and wider rubber, even if we did give up some rolling resistance. Over a long day in the hills, we would be more relaxed and less beat up. But, I guess this new setup was too low, even though it felt good to the touch, it was oddly disconcerting to ride that way, having a disconnected from the earth feeling.

I stopped and added 20 pumps with the hand pump to each tire, having no idea what that equated to, and continued on. OHHHHHHhhhhh...there we go. Now I felt connected to the ground and the floaty feeling went away. But, better than that, the magic carpet ride was pretty much undiminished. It was sooooo smooooth. Really, truly.

Totally worth it so far. So far. Keep tuned in and we shall see how it goes mid term when I have covered some ground. If it plays out, I will shop for some 2.3-ish tires for the SS Monkey and Stans up those wheels. This could be good!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

10,000' challenge: Ride #3

Warm Springs Mtn, Angeles Nat Forest. 6 mile climb, 2369' of climbing. Sorry, no pics. Forgot camera. I will post up the profile when I get time to Photoshop stuff. Got my Mac all apart right now.

Running total: 7,548.6' of climbing to date.

OK...Blogging Tag going on here.

OK...I copied this from another blog site who got it from the net somewhere where it is making the rounds. Figured I would have at it too.

Questionaire sez...

If you could have any one — and only one — bike in the world, what would it be?

Well, it would be Ti so it would outlast even the mighty cockroach in case of WWIII. Simple, so 1x9 drivetrain with a RockShox Reba up front and something like a Racer X rear design. Dead easy to work on, enough for the whole world of riding.

Do you already have that coveted dream bike? If so, is it everything you hoped are you working toward it would be? If not, getting it? If you’re not working toward getting it, why not?

Well, my dreams keep changing with time, but I have a really amazing ride right now in the Lenz. It certainly is worthy of being a dream bike, the trick is in being content. There will always be something to drool over, something new and shiny that promises to be the answer to the dream. It is vanity, mostly.

If you had to choose one — and only one — bike route to do every day for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?

Well, the Lower Loop to town in Crested Butte would do nicely. But, I can picture a route that winds through a large park area, mixes some singletrack with bike path, and winds near a lake or river. That would be fine, but it is only in my mind...so far.

What kind of sick person would force another person to ride one and only one bike ride to do for the rest of her / his life?

Nancy Pelosi.

Do you ride both road and mountain bikes? If both, which do you prefer and why? If only one or the other, why are you so narrowminded?

Mountain. I have a road bike and it languishes. I am narrowminded when it comes to fun and limited time. Mtn = funX2

Have you ever ridden a recumbent? If so, why? If not, describe the circumstances under which you would ride a recumbent.

No. reee-come-bent. Sounds like a genetic disorder. "Eeuuh...you have Recumbent Gene Syndrome....grodie!"

Have you ever raced a triathlon? If so, have you also ever tried strangling yourself with dental floss?

Never. I think Tris are fabulous except for the running and the swimming. Nearly a perfect sport.

Suppose you were forced to either give up ice cream or bicycles for the rest of your life. Which would you give up, and why?

Say goodbye to Ben and Jerry.

What is a question you think this questionnaire should have asked, but has not? Also, answer it.

My question would be: "Is cycling the most important thing to you?" The answer? It should not be. After all, it is just a bike. If bikes left the earth, we would be a little poorer for it. Knowing the Creator of all things and what He wants for us....I call that at the top of the list.

You’re riding your bike in the wilderness (if you’re a roadie, you’re on a road, but otherwise the surroundings are quite wilderness-like) and you see a bear. The bear sees you. What do you do?

Take this picture (as a matter of fact, I did just that)

Monday, August 4, 2008

10,000' challenge: Ride #2

Grass Mtn. 3.5 miles, 1358' of up-ness, done on the SS Monkey. That counts as x1.2 of actual elevation gained, so count that as 1,629.6'. Let me 'splain....the creator of this challenge threw out some bones as far as ground rules and bonus points for climbing with one gear is one perk.

Running Total: 5,179.6'

Me and Stan, We Don't Need No Stinking Tubes!

Well, I plunged into the deep end of tubeless-ness tonite. As you may know, I bought a used set of wheels; Hope Pro II hubs laced to Stan's Flow rims. I fit them to the Lenz (with tubes in the Maxxis Ignitor/Crossmark combo) and went and rode a 22 mile loop with 3500' of climbing and a good descent to see how they felt. I was running around 25#s psi. I think I began at 30#s, but dropped a bit over the ride to experiment.

I did not really notice any difference climbing, but I did notice increased stiffness in the back of the bike, especially when dropping into parallel ruts and entering fast corners. The bike felt like it did less of a hula dance and tracked well. I imagine some of that is from the stiffer rim and some from the increased support of the tire sidewall from the wider rim. I also noticed it felt harsher as far as choppy bumps and chaff, even though the tire pressure was the same as I always run. Interesting!

So now that I have a base line to know how the wheels feel, I had a pile of parts in front me, a movie to watch, and work to do.

I had the wheels...duhh...new valve stems from Stans made for the Flow rims, a QT of sealant and a couple of tire irons and a pump. Oh yeah....a bucket of soapy water and a brush. I watched the movie on the Stans site and it was very helpful, even allowing for the fact I already had rims with the yellow rim strip in them.

Easy as 1, 2, 3.

Pulled out the tubes and soaped up the rims and checked the tires for air worthiness...check!...beads set, aired right up with a hand pump and then leaked down of course.

So, I pulled part of one bead off, dumped 2 scoops of goop per the instructions, and soaped the sidewalls and pumped it up. POP...POP...POP went the sidewalls.

I did the Stan's dance of sidewall joy (it helps to have the appropriate foot off the ground depending on which side of the wheel you are working on), and put it on the bucket watching for bubbles, etc.

The foaming and bubbles went away very quickly and any signs of leaks were not to be found.

So far, so good. I went on a ride on my SS Monkey, came home and they are holding air just fine. Will I have the supple goodness and lack of flats that running tubeless holds out to tempt us? Will I have nightmares like some have had getting the dang things to hold air and stay on the rim? We shall see.

A couple of things: I did not drill out the inner wall of the rim like the instructions suggest. Maybe that is for non Stan's rims, but the valve stem itself was smaller than 3/8" so it looked like the made-for-the-Flow-rim stem was good to go sans drilling.

At first I could not see why you would bother to try and air up the rim/tire combo without the goop. Now, I see that it makes sense to find out if you have any glaring issues with fit and such before you add two scoops of sticky, grey goo to make your travails worse. Once you know it all fits and the beads seat and air up, goop it and move on.

10,000' challenge ride #1

Lake Hughes Road to Burnt Peak. 12.6 miles of climbing (pretty much, anyway), 3,550'.

Total: 3,550'

The 10,000 Foot Challenge

Hmmm. I like goals. They motivate me as they are intended to do. Of late, there are no races coming up or epics to train for, just riding for ridings sake, so no immediate goals going on. But then I came across an internet forum posting about setting goals for elevation gain on a mtn bike in a month: 10,000 feet.

Well now, there is something.

Unrelated to the challenge was one guy who hit over a million feet of climbing in one year, all off road. 63 years old, this guy. Yep.

I would need to quit work and just ride every day to do that, but 10K in the month of August '08? That I can wrap my head around, get my hands on, etc.

So, the challenge is accepted. I even get bonus points for riding SS! Yippie! I will pack my GPS every ride this month and see how it lays out. This last weekend gave me 3500' right at the 1st day of the month, so I have a fine start.

I like climbing, I really do. Good thing, huh?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Turnin' wrenches like crazy

Well, I made 3 bikes into two tonite in the effort to launch the Karate Monkey as the 'SS Monkey' so I can dabble into singlespeeding. As well, I needed to get the new Pro II/Flow wheels ready for the Lenz.

I took the DT Swiss wheels off the Lenz, removed the rotors and put them on the Pro IIs and converted the front hub to QR. That was kinda' a pain (I will elaborate in a later post). Then, I removed the non-SS stuff from the Monkey, added the carbon bars, stole the grips and cog spacers from the 26er SS that I had converted and never ride anymore, put the spacers and the new Surly Cog onto the DT Swiss wheels and onto the Monkey, put the tires from the Lenz onto the new Flow rims (with tubes for now), put the old set of tires from the garage wall onto the DT Swiss wheels on the Monkey....shorten chains, re-adjust brake pads and calipers....breath, breath...almost done....voila. Enough to go ride a preliminary SS voyage.

Ah, chain dry and squeaky, rear wheel slips (need Tuggnut), seat-bar-stem relationship needs attention, but it pedals and stops. Good for now.

For now, no pics till I get the BBG bashguard on the crank and shorten a cable or two. The Pro II/Flows will get their own post as I dip my toe in the waters of tubeless-ness. I want to ride them with tubes first and then go tubeless to compare.

Stay tuned.