Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Adventure By Bike

"Adventure By Bike", says the screened on logo on the underside of this frameset.  How marvelous.  Not Winning By Bike, Get Fit By Bike, The Meaning of Life By Bike, Feed Your Adrenaline Need By Bike...nope.

Adventure.  Now tell me that, really, when you strip away all the other cool things that encompass riding a bicycle, among them the ability to improve, compete and win, the way it raises your fitness and restores a youthful outlook, the way it brings us outdoors and gives us something good to focus on, and the way it makes us go "wheeeee!" when the trail tilts in our favor, when all that is pared down, that what is left and what really attracted us in the first place is the potential for adventure.

From the first time we, as a small wide eyed child turned loose from training wheels and the limits of the yard, wobbled out from underneath our parent's wings, turned left out the driveway and on to the waiting sidewalk and thus the world; when the paperboy bike took us into the back alleys, woods, country roads, and lamp lit streets, the horizon limited only by our legs and the length of the apron strings that tugged at us for dinner and homework duties; when we topped one hill only to see another dozen in the distance and thought "why not?", a bike has meant adventure.

So what begins is a new bike build from the company that penned this saying and plastered it over the product they make.  Now that could just be a great slogan from a big, paid advertising firm to grab a bit of the marketplace pie.  Or, it could have come from the hearts of a bunch of bike nuts who's eyes still widen just a bit when they pedal out the driveway and turn left.

I like to think it is the latter, but that is just me.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Road to WRIAD 2

FFW, the myth, the man, the legend.
The second training ride this last Sat was just FFW Dave and I.  FFW is the only guy so far to wave at me and say "Aye" to the plan in March, so we got together to spin around the country a bit, talk and plan.  FFW is a darn strong rider and very accomplished, so there is no question as to whether he is a worthy companion.  I am stoked to have him along.

I have done this loop about 4 times or so and it is always hard.  This time I was very pleased at how I felt.  The first 8 mile climb was into a headwind.  Ugh.  I was concerned what that would do to me over the rest of the day.  But the second climb went by without even any pain...we talked all the way up.  The third climb was not even hard and normally that is a sufferfest.  The next 10 miles of dirt intervals hurt a bit, but nothing more than it always does, even if I have not ridden 4 hours beforehand.  Interesting.  We even added in some extra credit climbing and singletrack at the end.

I took the time to regularly stretch the legs, focusing on keeping the hamstrings, inner groin/thighs, and quads from pulling up tight on me.  One bottle of Fluid Performance drink, two bottles of Clif Shot drink mix, 3 Endurolytes, 100oz of water, 6 oatmeal cookies, one oatmeal bar, and some trail mix.

I think I am on a good path here, but could I have done this ride twice?  No, not likely.  That concerns me, but I have some time yet to train further.  I was also trying to test the pace of the ride.  I think we need to be on a 10mph average for WRIAD.  So, this ride was in that zone and it felt good.  We could talk, take short breaks, but still move efficiently. 

Sat's tale of the tape:  42.8 miles  5,526' of elevation gain, 4.35 riding time, 5.26 total time.  9.3mph average.

FFW in The Narrows

Monday, February 20, 2012

Road to WRIAD

Well, it seems like it is on, at least for now, so that means I have a few more weeks to make rides count towards getting the saddle time I need to survive 102 miles and more hours then I have been on a bike to date.

So, this past Sat I was on call and could not get too far from home or phone service.  That meant a local ride, home based if possible.  I opted for a ride I call Triple Bypass.  It knits together three different loops of about ten miles and one hour + each and makes for a pretty good workout.  I am fighting either a cold or allergies...not sure which, so that was a bummer, but it is what it is.

More to come, but the tale of the Triple Bypass:  32.4 miles D to D, 4,330' of elevation gain.  4 hours of 'out there' time.  I felt OK actually, a bit tired, but I had much more in the bank at the end.  Good base miles to build on.  Hopefully the week nights can be hard but short efforts, lots of SS time, and then at least one good ride on the weekends to drive some depth into the legs.

We shall see.  The Epic Marathon was working well and the carbon Rovals shod with the new tubeless Conti X Kings were all I could ask for.  I need to R&R the front Reba with some fresh lube, but I think it is ready.  if I get another frame in time (in the works) I might take that but only if I get the build done early in the month of March.  No way will I go into WRIAD on anything but proven stuff.

I need to sort out cargo capacity.  I think I might pop the bikepacking seat bag onto the Epic and carry clothes and emergency shelter in there.  That would leave the water toting duty to the Osprey Talon 22.  Need to work all that out.  I am thinking about 2 large water bladders + some bottles and bags of powdered mix.   I sure wish the Epic had more than one WB mount.  Silly race bikes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blowin' In The Wind

I stuck my head out of the outer door of my hilltop work building and nearly lost what hair I have left.  Oh great...windy, eh?  The timing on this wind surfer's dream state was not in my favor as I had a reprieve from my normal Thursday night schedule that allowed me to get in a longer ride.  And I sure needed a longer ride. WRIAD, something I have on the calendar for the end of March, was looking like a bust as I had no partner in crime to do it with me.  Not a solo ride IMO, not for this guy anyway, I was thinking it would fall away to the end of the year but recently FFW, a local endurance rider, stuck his little hand in the air and volunteered his body for science.  WRIAD is back on.  In the words of that sage doggie Scooby Doo, "Ruh Roh!"  Time to get some miles in!

I know that FFW is stronger than I anyway and he has been logging some 60 miles loops lately.  Dang!  I am slacking.  So when I got home the winds were still jammin' right from the direction I would be pedaling for at least an hour...uphill.  Sigh.  Sure would have been easy to write it off, but I suited up, put my light onto the Carve Pro SS, packed some extra layers and clear glasses for post sundown work, and pedaled out.

The 20 Mile Loop is a great training ride and especially so on an SS as it is one big set of intervals from start to near finish.  Climb, drop, climb, drop, rinse, repeat.  This ride used to be my litmus test for fitness.  If I could ride it (geared) with out feeling like my legs were gone, I was doing OK and a 2 hour and 30 minute time was about right.  Phah!  Now I do it on the SS in two hours door to door.  Time marches on but sometimes the beat (or beat-down) changes.

The wind was pretty bad and set me back a full ten minutes at the 10 mile point.  It did make for a better workout though.  I was the only one out there on an SS.  Shoot, I was the only one out there at all on ANYTHING without a motor and climate control.  Cold wind, too.  What to do?  Pull the Buff headwrap down over the ears and turn up the iPod shuffle a notch or two.  Pedal.  Pedal.  Pedal.

Hitting the dirt I was still well ahead of sundown so I stopped to stretch the hamstrings and quads.  I have been adding some body weight squats of different kinds, including one legged versions, and following with targeted stretching of those areas.  I have some thoughts as to my issues with leg cramping and tight muscles.  Will being more limber help there?  Not sure, but being well stretched is good for all living things so it can't hurt.

The first dirt climb is a real booger.  Steep, loose and steep, it is a real bummer on an SS.  However, a recent ride on Gridley Trail, a 90 minute granny ring climb, seemed to show that the leg squats have been building some leg power.  I felt this way again on this dirt climb.  Legs good.  Lungs/heart less so.  I recover very fast as far as cardio goes, but I just cannot hold those high heart rates like I used to in my younger years.  Oh well.  The Carve with the American Classic SS wheels and the Protection X Kings from Conti are a pretty awesome combo for getting up a steep rise in the trail.  Push hard, go up.  I am getting spoiled here with a lighter, faster SS ride.  Makes even old guys look good.

The wind had dropped off and the next 5 miles were bliss....tricky carving corners full of loose rock and ruts, fast drops that require a dropped outside pedal and a Clint Eastwood squint to commit to the line without flinching, then drawing the six shooter on the next rise in the trail, never sitting down, just shooting from the hip like Clint would.  Good, bad, ugly as applied to 29" wheels and one gear.

As the sun hung on by the fingernails on the horizon's edge, I turned right and dropped into Foreplay to G-Out.  This added some miles and more cimbing, something I typically do not do at this point, but FFW is taunting me with his thrown gauntlet to go bigger.  Ok then.  Hero dirt on a roller coaster of a trail was the reward.  No one else, just me.  I am really getting dialed into the Carve and it just ripped it up down there...flow happened.

Turn left and up...up...up...and just as the sun went to bed I topped out at The Towers.  No wind...huh...it was actually warmer now then when I began.  Nice.  Layered up, light on, dropping in.  Fast is as fast does and I can coast with the best of them....zoom zoom.  The new home made light is so darn good.  Bright enough to scare the zombies away and very rideable in beam pattern.  Total success so far.  I barely even need a headlamp now, but that is coming too...headlamp V 2.0.

Rolling home I passed a pizza place and the aromas coming from there were stunning.  I thought of how cool it would be to stop in, get a pizza, warm up my toes, and head out for another loop.  But family called and someone was waiting at home for me.

FFW, I am the guy behind you in the sarape, standing in the middle of the street next to the saloon.  See the squint?  The guns are next.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The perfect SS hub does not exist

Or so it would seem.  So I will build one in my mind.  It would have the classic look and bulletproof build of a White Industries ENO hub with a WI freewheel and coast like it does too.  It would have the light weight of an American Classic hub and the tall flanges too.  It would have the simple servicing of a DT Swiss 240 hub.  It would have the drive engagement and strength of a Chris King.  It would have the axle options and color choice + pricing of a Hope hub.  It would be quiet like a Shimano hub.

I am waiting.  Tick, tock.