Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Virtual LBS?

I struggle with the LBS or Local Bike Shop experience. I understand the need for them and I suppose part of my frustration is the relative lack of what I consider to be a great shop in my town. I do all my own bike maintenance and builds, so unless I need a specific function or tool like a BB faced and chased, I am pretty self sufficient. I also am frugal enough to rarely spend full retail on stuff...too many good options out there either used or discounted parts on-line. And, I know as much or more about mountain bikes and parts as most of the 17 year old shop monkeys do. So for me, the shop is kinda a combo of General Store/cracker barrel experience...someplace to hang out and talk bikes with other customers, etc, pick up small parts, tubes, odds and ends...pretty much it.

Once again I drove around asking about some parts for the DiSSent build that I needed. Nothing in stock, but it all can be ordered for ya...have it by next week, maybe. I have played the 'I will place the order when I have enough stuff on the list to make it worthwhile' game before. Also, $40.00 for facing and chasing the HT and BB? Wow! Now I know you need to keep the lights on and eat at the bike shop, but that is pretty good money for about 15 minutes work.

So, I passed on the facing/chasing and found a decent solution to that at home. $40.00 in my pocket and everything spins fine. Funny...for $20.00, I would have had them do it, but not for $40.00. Perceived value at work there.

Then I called Jenson USA and ordered $200.00 worth of parts. The guy was helpful and knew why the last chainring I ordered for the Lev was not a great fit...turns out it was a unique to one model crank arm Shimano dealie... and got me on the right path. The parts were on my doorstep the next day. The next day. Jenson rocks!

Now, if they would only let me hang out around the virtual cracker barrel, I would be set.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I Miss My SS

Not that I could ride it anyway until my wrist is a bit better, but I miss the little beasty anyway. So, last night I spent some time building up the DiSSent. I got the BB, XT cranks, King headset, RST fork, stem and bars swapped over from the SS Monkey. Actually I grabbed the stem off of the Lev as it is a 100mm x 6* and I put the 110mm x 6* stem from the Monkey onto the Lev. I bit of an experiment there...strech me out on the Lev juuuust a bit and reel me in on the DiSSent juuuust a bit.

I noticed that the stem on the Monkey had nicked the coating on the carbon Easton bars. I do not own a torque wrench, but I really doubt I overtightened the stem plate. A bit of investigation showed marks on the bars only in the stem section, not the plate, so I ran my finger over the stem edge and found quite a sharp ridge there. Nice, Easton! Make a stem that will hurt your bars. Well, I should have checked it before I installed it. Lesson learned, I took some emery cloth wrapped in a dowel and removed the ridge in the casting.

I was curious to see how the 25.2" TT would end up with the 100mm stem, so I stuck the seatpost and saddle from the Monkey into the frame and got out the tape. The longer TT and the shorter stem resulted in a 3/4" longer cockpit. Excellent, I think. We shall see.

So now I need to order the brakes and seat post clamp before I can finish the build. But from there I have some plans. I am thinking about running an alternate bend/sweep bar, likely this one.

From there, the Thudbuster will go away to be replaced with a ti or carbon post for a nice ride. Next will be a new set of wheels, but for now I will use the slightly bent wheels from the SS Monkey.

The DiSSent will be a bit of a metamorphasis for a while. Hopefully I will end up with a decent butterfly out of this process. I may even try a rigid fork some day, but the reality of that may not apply to my aging wrists. I sure was shocked at how heavy the RST fork felt when I held it in my hands. A smoother riding, rigid fork and A Weirwolf 2.5 may be the deal or maybe not but I know I would like the weight loss. What I may do is look for another fork for the Lev like a new Reba or Fox F-100 and run the classic Reba at 80mm for the DiSSent. All in good time.

But first, it will roll out of the garage with some temp parts. I can't wait to see how the lighter and stiffer pedaling frame will feel and how the longer TT works out. And I can't wait to get back on that one geared contraption and find a trail somewhere.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

2009 Mt Wilson Bicycle Association Pancake Breakfast

Back in the glory days of our innocence, we could ride our bikes pretty much anywhere. PCT, most all the park lands, etc. But then there got to be a lot of us mtn bikers folks and other trail users began to take notice, take offense, and sometimes take action to get us shooed out of lands that we once were able to traverse with our knobby tires.

Rising up to meet the challenge of the arrogant few that hated us, and seeking to work within the system of land management folks like the USFS and the State Parks, were grassroots groups like CORBA, IMBA, and the Mt Wilson Bicycling Association. I knew (and still know) many of those early pioneers. The MWBA focused their work on the San Gabriel mountains and the network of superb trails located near to the Pasadena/Altadena part of Southern California. Hardcore trail builders, riders, and overall good guys and gals, they are still around today, a bit grayer around the temples (if there is any hair at all). They put on a yearly fundraiser pancake breakfast and raffle that was THE event of the season, requiring a ride up the steeply pitched Mt Wilson Toll Rd to Henniger Flats in order to taste those flapjacks. That pic above is one of the famous shots from the pan cam, circa 1990. Man, they always had some cool bikes and great schwag to hand out. In the pic, a Mantis (X frame, I think) is being held up above the crowd. Oddly enough, I am not in this pic so I must have missed that year. I do see 4 close friends in the pic and I still have the award plaque that my buddy is holding.

The Mt Wilson Toll Rd is closed due to slide damage, preventing the breakfast to remain at Henniger, but they have re-introduced the pancake feast and raffle a bit closer to town. For the second year now, I attended, poked around at the vendors tents, and ate pancakes. Not a bad deal, and all the money goes to a good cause. As well, there was a ride with Keith Bontrager of Bontrager fame, now part of the Trek Bikes empire. Very cool.

Niner was there showing off some demo rides, though.

Check out the white Stans 355 rims on this JET-9. Pretty bike. White is always in style.

This fork is really stirring up rigid 29er riders all over the countryside. You have to pick this up to feel the lack of grams going on here, put the triangular shape is unique. 500 grams of carbon goodness. I would be very interested to ride this and see how that unique shape handles braking forces, etc.

Seems that lately I have been around some light, light bikes. IIRC, this one was 18 lbs with your choice of pedals. Now it had some silly parts like that composite saddle (no padding), but road bike is that heavy, maybe more.

Trek Bikes had all kinds of demos there to, well...demo. Lots of carbon.

They also had Travis Brown's personal 69er there for anyone who wanted to ride it. I passed due to work obligations, but I would have liked to have tasted the odd fruits of the mix and match wheel sizes. It is a trick bike.

You can barely see it from this side, but the BB area was very manipulated, the seat tube flaring out towards the chainstays and looking very stiff to pedaling input.

It had this little guide back at the rear cog to keep things all tidy. Never seen that before.

Brent Foes was there with his new commuter bike and the 29er prototype. 4" of travel using the 2:1 Curnutt shock, a very stout looking rear triangle and overall a nice looking bike. Brent hopes to have a few more sizes soon other than this medium and I would love to try that on a few trails.

There were pancakes.... of skill and chance for you to do...

...and chancey things to watch others do....

I ended up with a nice laptop/backpack from Timbuk2 out of the raffle (sorry, Ed the Tall, no biscuit for you today) and I will leave you with this parting shot of an old Ross, suitably filtered through the solarized lens of the ages (or photoshop).

Till next year with the MWBA...

The Fish Scales of Justice

I went over to Wally Mart and picked up one the worlds most accurate digital fish scales (says so on the package, and packages, like the internet, do not lie). With this, I plan to weigh things. I may even weigh a fish someday, but for now, I have been weighing bike stuff.

I have always used my bathroom scale. I mean, I am no weight weenie, so it was close enough, but now that I am writing more of the public stuff and testing things, etc, I guess jumping on a scale with a bike in my arms is a bit too Jerry Springer / trailer park level.

So, some weights for posterity:

The Lev 3.0 28 lbs 3 oz

The KM as SS 27 lbs 2 oz

DiSSent frame no seat collar 4 lbs 12 oz

Bare KM frame w/collar 5 lbs 11 oz

RST M29 fork w/crown race 4 lbs 9 oz

Lately I have been around some really light bikes. The S Works Stumpjumper Carbon at 21#s or so, a Bianchi Sok SS that was blinged out at 20.5 lbs, and today a Niner Air 9 at 18.5 lbs. Mercy. The DiSSent will end up lighter than the SS Monkey was. 3/4 of a pound will come off of the frame. The Thudbuster seatpost will go, the bars may get heavier, the wheels will eventually be lighter, the brakes will be a bit heavier, the fork could change, etc, so it may take a while for it to get all built the way I want it and settle down to a fighting weight.

Then, I will grab the fish scale and see what it reads. I know it will not be that light, not enough $$ to toss at it and that is OK. Someday I will put together a very nice SS that will cost 3 times what this one will, but not today or tomorrow. Tomorrow I will be too busy riding what I have now to worry about a few 100 grams. After all, I don't want to get all caught up in weight weenie land...better to have stayed with the bathroom scale and blissful ignorance.

Oh, I have to go. Jerry is on and the old trailer park will never be the same.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Anarchy and Single Speeds: the new ride

I spell SS, DiSSent. It is more fun that way. I hope.

From the dark recesses of the Evil Empire (with the strains of Oh Canada playing softly in the background) I bring you my new singlespeed ride to be. I brought this bad-boy-in-flat-black DiSSent frame back from Sea Otter the other day where Lord Peter graciously allowed me to wrest it out of the hands of the folks at Likin Bikin, a great group of on-line retailers. Check 'em out.

Size biggie, the longer TT should get me where I want to be...I hope. This bike is a bit of an experiment. One, I never have, well, pretty much never, had an aluminum hardtail. I have 'Steel Is Real' tattooed on the underside of my left eyelid so it is a constant reminder of my credo. But, I have a theory discussed here that I want to prove out to myself. Also, at 25.25" eff, it is the longest TT by 3/4s of an inch over anything I have ever owned before. Will I like the stretch? The ride? The pedaling mojo? I am hoping for 6061 grade, harmonious joy, so we shall see. I weighed it, and bare, no seat collar, etc, it was 4lbs 13oz. Not too bad for the asking price of under 400 clams. They use various bi-valves as currency in Canada ever since beaver got all protected and such. Imagine...all that and socialized medicine too.

Parts are being chosen and collated as we speak. I hope to feature the build on the cyclist site.
Budget temperature set to low will be the standard, but I will not go too cheesy. Eventually I want to change a few things over the SS Monkey...lose the Thudbuster, maybe some alternative bars with a nifty hand position, and disc brakes for sure. I expect it will be somewhat lighter than the KM was, but how much? We shall see. Some of those changes will happen right away and some over time so I will carry quite a few parts over at first.

DiSSent. Anarchy. Skulls. Rebellion. Makes me feel like stickin' it to the man! Except at my age, I probably am the man.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sea Otter '09: Bits 'O Otter to go

Random bits and pieces of Sea Otter, quite tasty deep fried with tartar sauce, I hear.

The new Switchblade fork from Bonty was resplendent on this absolutely gorgeous white Superfly. Man oh man, why is all the nifty stuff so $$? Not fair.

You meet some cool folks and some famous folks as well, sometimes both at the same time. I got to meet Dave Wiens at the very green Ergon Booth. What a totally down to earth and very fast old...ah, mature guy! Just like me, only much faster. That JK guy is in the pic as well, another fast and nice guy, but just a kid!

Jeff Jones was hanging around the Edge Composites booth. You can spot a JJ bike from way off, the bikes are as unique as the inventor/builder.

I am not sure, but I think he is famous too...or atleast his hair probably is...or at least his bike is soooool cool, that he needs to be famous and he has the hair for it already. Done deal, get him an agent.

Ventana had this nice adaptation of the Black Cat swinging dropout. Modified to provide the hold down bolts two planes to operate in, they are a sweet way to swing and not get into trouble with the missus (except for the cost of the Ventana). It also allowed for the fitting of the Gates belt drive pioneered by Spot bikes.

Notice how close that drive gear is? Close enough to scratch the powder coat. Likely a pre-production kinda thingy, the frame was very stout looking and typically Ventana in overall build quality and swankiness.

Foes was showing the prototype 29er FS that is all the buzz right now. I don't get it...3K for a frame and shock? Good lord. It better be an amazing bike and that remains to be seen.

The new Rocky Mountain 29ers were on display. I am happy when the choice gets broader and the well of 29er goodness gets deeper, so welcome RM. I would have loved to have seen a 29er Element with 3 to 3.5 inches of travel aimed right at the JET-9, Racer X, and the new Epic, but that is just me. I will say that the FS bike gets few points for beauty in my book. Don't the designers actually have to look at these things they draw up on the CAD machine ruled world they live in?

That long, separate link looks flexy. Prove me wrong.

This sliding dropout belongs to the prototype FE (as in ferrous..steel ya know) DiSSent that I got to putt around. Peter, owner of Misfit Cycles and overlord of the evil empire or nasty kingdom or something like that...he is from Canada, so who knows about such things, I don't. Likely I need to drink more beer than the 3 beers in total I have had in my life to this point...OK, four beers.

Need a bent toptube and you can't bend it or don't want to? Cut and paste. I rode it and it will be a fun bike, handmade in CANADA from USA Tru Temper (mostly) tubing and under a grand retail.

I also rode the 6061 Al version of the DiSSent. This was fun too and half the price. Hmmm....could I learn to love aluminum hardtail SS joyness? Yes yes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sea Otter '09: Epic Big Wheels

After stepping off of the uber-bike that was the S Works carbon Stumpy, I was looking for a bit of a different ride, one much more to my interests. You see, as much as I love to drive a Ferrari, I am not really worthy nor do I have a really good use for a bike like that. But, the Epic THAT is something I have been very keen to ride and possibly own. This is one bike I would love to have for an extended test as it fits perfectly in the XC/Endurance Racing/Light Trail Bike mode. So, I was very intrigued when I pedaled this one out of the Specialized paddock and headed towards the singletrack of Laguna Seca.

First off, the bike felt slower and heavier than I expected. I was riding the aluminum one as the carbon version will be around later in the year, but still I was surprised to feel that way. But, keep in mind that I just hopped off a 20# bike that was as good a pedaling experience as I have ever had, so that probably was messing with me.

The Brain platform shock is a cool thing, allowing for bob free pedaling and effective bump compliance all in one package. Nic from Specialized set this up for my weight based on sag and set the Brain to be about 3-4 clicks off full on. He also explained that the Epic is tuned more to the firm side compared to the FSR longer travel 29er.

The bike felt very capable on trail, not at all darty or nervous and it seems like it would make a fine light duty trail bike as well as a race bike. It was a tad small for me, even though it was an equivalent size (19") to the S Works hardtail, but stem choice and bars, etc were juuust a bit shorter and closer.

This bike begs to be compared to the JET-9. I have about 3 hours of riding time on a JET-9, once at Bootleg and once on my home trails. I found it to be a bit flexy when pedaled hard at my weight and size, the Epic felt stiffer. The JET felt very responsive to pedaling input though and for some reason, the Epic....well, I am relying on memory and a long time ago in a land far, far away, but I need to ride that Epic some more to give it a fair shake cuz it felt a bit lazy. But, it did ride like a longer travel, slightly more relaxed bike than the JET did. I have to think that I need to spend time with the set-up to get the most out of the bike, just like you would with anything else. I look forward to that day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sea Otter '09: carbon speediness

One of the first stops I made after I hit the expo was the Specialized trailer where Nic, uber-marketing guy for the Big S, let me take out a couple of the newest big wheeled bikes.

This was the first one I threw a leg over:

How was it? Well, you know this guy?

The Priceline Negotiator. Remember that commercial where he is goading the poor hotel room shopper to "Go lower", calling him a wimp and a namby pamby? Just in case you missed it:

That is the Carbon S Works Stumpjumper 29er. It whispers in your ear as you are riding, "Go faster. C'mon. Faster. Too much brakes...pedal harder. Is that the best that you can do? Wimp. Namby pamby. I am a guaranteed 4 star ride, mommas' boy!"

20ish pounds, stiff as all get out (harsh riding with the 2.0 Fastraks aired up), and absolutely a racing bike. You know how those guys will get on sites like MTBR and ask if the brand X bike will make a good trail bike, even though it is aimed at the race crowd? This bike is not a trail bike. It is a fast bike and makes you want to rise out of the saddle, hammer every rise in the trail and rail every corner. It was not deadly quick steering, just about right for such a weapon. Wheee! Go faster.

Another thing that Specialized is doing to stiffen up steering response is to increase the contact area between the inner fork leg and the axle (see the bottom hub in the pic). This was very apparent when demonstrated with this set of fork lowers and hubs, all clamped with standard 5mm QRs. The wider contact area was muuuch stiffer. Maybe not 20mm or 15mm, etc, but still very worthwhile. it probably has a nifty marketing name, but I forgot what it was. I was too busy looking at those spiffy shoes worn by Nic in the pic. Snappy dresser, that Nic.

Next, the 29er Epic.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Post Sea Otter Post

Well, I am back home, but Sat night I came down with a really nifty case of stomach flu and today I drove home for 6 hours feeling like death heated up to 92 was hot inland and the AC in the family Burban is kaput apparently.

So, I rode some dream bikes and saw some cool stuff, but I am not up to the task of sorting it all out till tomorrow.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wagons North!

Soon I will be hitching up the wagon to the old plug and heading the family north along the coast towards the big Sea Otter venue. I am all a twitter about the prospects of hangin' and schmoozin' with the clan of bikey folk, seeing the newest secret stuff, etc. It will be blended with family time at the aquarium and camping in nearby Carmel. Sweet. No riding for me, though as the hand is still iffy. Well, maybe a putt around on a demo bike, but that is about it.

I also plan on hangin' with recently thawed med-westerner Guitar Ted and catching up a bit. His new website is officially launched now and looking great. Best wishes for success!

If I can find a way to download pics from my camera to the laptop, I can put up pics, but I will not be up at Sea Otter till Saturday and by then, all the cool stuff will already be all over the net. Likely I will wait till Sunday when I get back, but if I get a wifi spot, I will blog a bit.

See ya!

Monday, April 13, 2009


So, I have been thinking about next year's goals and I have some ideas. Not that this year is over, far from it, but I am going to be recovering from this crash over spring, summer is a dead zone for any races/endurance events in my area...too hot...although fall is always a great time to ride. That kinda leaves a bit of time for me to consider what went well this year and build on it for next.

This year I was focused on two things...strength and endurance. I relied on the SS to build strength and it worked just fine. I will continue to ride SS as much as possible and hopefully use it in some events next year. SS is just sooo much fun that the pain involved becomes part of the package. I also built up to longer rides than normal, usually on the geared bike. It left me out of several group 'fun' rides that were too short to meet my goals but the end result of all that reasonably focused riding and time spent alone was enough fitness to survive Vision Quest, my main focus for early 2009.

I love long rides so that will continue for this year and the SS will still be cracking the whip, so I will retain my base of endurance and strength, but I feel that I am missing one key thing: Speed. I am not fast. I am pretty strong and very steady but fast? Not.

It should come as no surprise as it is something I do not try to get better at. To begin with, I have always sucked at anything that required a fast, high output start like a classic NORBA race. By the time I wake up, the race is over. A lot of that is just genetics. I think my VO2 max is pretty sad. But I never, well, never seriously and not recently, focused on the one part of a training regimen that makes you fast...intervals. Intervals hurt. Intervals are pain and suffering without a reward. Long rides are their own reward. How bad can it be, spending all day on your bike, even if it does hurt? But intervals are like eating your vegetables when all the lasagna is gone and those asparagus spears are laying there on your plate, all limp and cold. You know they are good for you but the process is awful.

I spent some time poking around the net on sites like this looking at interval training for cyclists.

I have no Power Tap hub or bike computer but I can steal my wifey's heart rate monitor if I need it. I hope to understand the basics, work out a plan and tweak it until it works for this old weekend warrior. When I usually get dropped, it is because I cannot maintain a high enough power output for a relatively short distance or period of time. I need to get better at working at a high pain threshold.

So, I am in search of speed. I am not sure how big a difference I can make. It is not like I am getting any younger, but I am confident that I can improve some. I am also certain I will like the results. I am just as certain that I will hate the process.

Who knows, one day I may even learn to like eating asparagus.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Finally, a magazine just for guys like me...

"I think this may be the beginning of a beautiful friendship" As said by Rick to Louie, just before they teamed up for the Morocco 24 hour race.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

State of the SS

Well, after I finished messing around with the CDW packs on the Lev, I took a look at the results of the crash on the SS Monkey. The frame seems untouched as I would expect although the travel indicating zip tie on the RST M29 fork was ALL the way at the top of the stanchion tube. I really smacked that rut hard. The fork saved the front rim, but the rear rim was pretty tweaked. I threw it into the Park truing stand and was pretty sure that I could get it straight as far as run out, but spoke tension was way off with all the compensation. Worse than this are the dents in the wall of the rim. For a rim brake, this is death unless you like the 'thump-thump-thump' every time the brake pad runs by that dent. I attempted the tried and true method of blocks of wood and hammers to push out the dents, but I was only mildly successful. So, I can use this wheel with a disc brake but not a rim brake and even then the wheel will be not near as strong as it once was due to the uneven tension. Oh well.

There is a cascade effect here. If I rebuild the wheel with the same rim to keep rim brakes, I will spend a fair amount of money to keep old technology in place. V brakes are fine, but not anywhere near what a good hydro disc is. I used them since I had them, the KM frame accepts them, and the used wheels I found were V brake capable. It was expedient at the time of the KM build, but to spend more money to stay that way makes no sense to me.

So that means looking at new rims. Tubeless is soooo cool and I am spoiled by the Stan's Flow rims on the Lev. So, I would choose Flows for the hoops and I could either reuse the adequate DT Swiss Onyx hubs (equivalent to a XT level hub IMO), look for some simple hubs to replace them, maybe like these in a QR configuration, or look for a good deal on nicer stuff either used or whatever.

New wheels means disc brakes.

But, the KM is not that user friendly to disc brakes due to the track type rear wheel setup. It makes it a pain to get the wheel in and out without dinking around with the rear caliper. Not a big deal, but there are other things I am not so crazy about the KM. It is kinda short feeling for a larger frame. I like rangy TT lengths and the 24.25" eff TT is kinda short for me. It is heavy. Duh. It actually pedals well enough, but you sure don't feel it jumping up and springing ahead when you pedal. Hey, what do ya want for the $ it costs? It is a cheap, strong, versatile frame, but she ain't no sprinter. It is also not that good looking to my eye. I am not a fan of the bent seat tube, high and level TT look. To my eye, it looks scrunched up. I also want to get away from all the non-SS cable stops, rear der hanger, and canti posts. Clutter.

The cascade effect. One thing leads to another and as long as the bike was just rolling along, it was good enough. Now it has stopped rolling. Good time for a change.

I am looking at a new frame and, if you follow my blog much, you know I have been thinking about SS specific qualities in a frame that are a bit unique as far as how the bike needs to perform. It has led me to the precipice of a buying decision that surprises even me. I will let that Canadian cat out of its bag when things are in place.

For now, the KM will sit awaiting its fate and I will ride the geared bike for a while. I miss the SS, but until my wrist heals, I cannot stand and pull on the bars anyway. Sea Otter is coming up soon and I will blend a family vacation into a day spent among the brethren celebrating all things bike. After that, who knows where that cascade will carry me?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Getting all dressed up for bikepacking.

Remember the box that Fed Ex brought me, the one that suggested, "Go further"? This is what was in it. This is a very cool set of bikepacking bags from Carousel Design Works. Beginning at the bottom and heading clockwise, there is a bar bag, a saddle pack, a frame pack, and a fuel cell.

I spent some time this weekend fitting the bags to the Lev to check the fit and such, stuffed some of my gear in there to see what fit and what I need to replace, and just to get a feel for the whole set-up. I will be doing an extensive article series on this soon so I will just hit the high points in the blog, but the frame pack and the fuel cell are very cool and in fact, totally useful for more than bikepacking. The frame pack would be excellent for longer day trips where you need to pack some more stuff. The fuel cell would have been very cool for the last endurance race. GUs, snacks, odds and ends that you want to keep at hand without taking a pack off to access, etc. I likey.

The saddle pack is very nice and swallowed up a down vest and a long sleeve midweight jersey easily. It was a bit small for my 20* sleeping bag, but that bag is not really made for ultralight use. It also fit my tent (REI Chrysalis), both main section and the storm canopy with ease. Compression straps and the roll up end allowed for adjusting to the load contents.

The bar bag was a bit of a can-o-worms to get around all the brake and shifter lines, but I did come to some kind of arrangement that seemed acceptable. I could not fit my full length Big Agnes foam core pad as the rolled diameter was too great. I did fit a 3/4 length Thermarest and the tent poles with plenty of room for more stuff.

Now, I am already seeing the balance that needs to be made as far as what can and should be carried with you. As Jeff from Carousel Design Works pointed out, at some point you cross over from bikepacking to bike touring. That line is a fine one, and that is one of the things I need to sort out as I get into this.

So until then, here is the bike all dolled up and looking proud in its first outfitting. Much more to come.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Better than a poke in the eye.

I rode today for the first time since the crash (not counting the bike path ride last week). This was a real ride as far as a workout, 8 miles of climbing up an old, paved road.

I think it will be a long time before I am dirt worthy. Sigh. Chances are I will miss a good chunk of spring mtn biking. Still, I can pedal for now and that is not to be taken lightly, and there is spring right next to the road as well.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

One Weak Anniversary

Yeah, I know, it should say one week anniversary, but either is true. It has been one week (and a day) since I rode any kind of a bicycle. Last Tues eve was the big crash moment and I am just now beginning to be able to use my left hand for very limited, light work and the bandages are rapidly diminishing. I am down to one, big bandaid at the moment and that is nice. No more "Honey can you help me patch the boo-boo" moments.

In fact, I felt that right?...enough to replace the seals in my stuck-down Fox rear shock on the Lev. Will it last? I hope so, or off to Push it goes. That means I may be able to ride, so the plan is to grab my son and his bike and head to the local bike path for a bit of a cruise. I tried riding around in the street with my wrist brace on and it is clunky, but doable, and I can grab the brakes and bars well enough if I have to do something dramatic.

Anniversaries are fine things, but this is one I would not mind forgetting.