Friday, October 26, 2012

Feeling da Powa!

I have to admit, it was rough going there for a while; not sure if this nonsense would ever go away or get worse. I struggled from time to time deciding if I should take a hiatus from the bike. Every ride seemed to point to that direction. I saw a handful of doctors that told me I should take a byeak-I sorta did. Dizzy spells, headaches, weakness and just plain depression. What I learned from this whole thing leads me to my favorite quote; Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn. Harriet Beecher Stowe.
My race season ended in may which looking back now, was a good thing. I took it easy- even if not by choice and really had a chance to lay back and enjoy riding for what it is. Now, that certainly didnt mean that I hit the rails to trails and took pictures of wildlife, I rode hard, but without structure and meaning; I just rode hard, but fun. I know it doesnt make sense, but it is my blog and I will not make sense when time allows. 

Now, one thing that I have been doing more of (hate to admit it) and that is hitting the road more. No, I am not changing my blog to Road Bike Moron or Gears are Great Moron, this has just allowed me to rest up a bit more and still get in 125+ miles a week. This past week is the first week since may that I felt almost back to my old self. I have been moving up the KOM board and reclaiming some others as well on a lot of the climbs that even when I was feeling good, could maintain the power to the top. 

Tuesday was the first hills workout since april and it was great. 1100ft in 9.4 miles. Four climbs were 11% grades or more and was loving my 53/19 setup again. Jeff (Bike Doctor boss guy) and I have been riding together 3 times a week and it has helped both of us. He hasnt been riding much at all and he is starting to push harder and really feels the bug again.  Me, it allows me to ride at different paces and still push him as well.

So, there is a lot to look forward to this coming year. My enthusiasm has returned and as long as you have enthusiasm, everything else follows right along. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New and Tasty...and Less Filling

No, I have not starting drinking; nor will I ever. I have not opened a Twinky with malicious intent and removed the filling and left an empty carcass of sponge cake. I have landed myself a sparkling new set of Bontrager Race XXX Lite carbon wheels. Mmmmmm, yummy indeed.

I have to admit, I was laying off these for a long time. Carbon hubs (drive side flange is aluminum), carbon rims just didnt seem like a good idea. Rim wear was also a big concern-especially for a 2k wheelset.

My opinion was completely changed due to my teammate and friend Bruce. He has had these on his Madone for 3 years and has amassed 22k on his. 22k! Now granted he is 150 lbs and I am 186, but he is a gear masher as well and is in love with his 53t chainring as am I. So I figure, if his held up, these will too. There is no noticeable rim wear on his sidewalls either; albeit a little shinier than before.

I loaded up on my Salsa today and these things are amazing! They are 10 ounces lighter than my RXL's! They came in at a svelte 1347 grams. I noticed an increase in acceleration; they just feel fast-and no one can leave out the "just feels" factor. I threw in my 36 star ratchet (an upgrade from the original 18 for DT Swiss 240 hubs) for some super loud and quick engagement. I use slick honey for a super smooth feel. The bike now weighs in at 16.5 lbs.; not too shabby for a steel bike. The rides soooo much smoother and crisper now. It feels as if I have a little extra under the hood. The braking is great right out da box. Who whoulda thunk that cork could stop a 186lb rider going 40+ on a decent?

Anyway, I will keep you posted in the upcoming months on how these perform.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Nice Little Gunpowder Ride

Little Gunpowder is one of those nice little out of sight out of mind type of trail systems. I say this because, it used to be that was the last place people wanted to ride. There wasnt a good loop and you couldnt achieve any decent mileage. Now, this is one of the east sides best kept secret...sorta. Over the years, the trails have been expanded to a very nice 25-30 miles or so. It is easy to get 2500-3500+ ft of elevation-technical elevation. There are quite a few 10%+ grade climbs and even a couple of 15%+ as well. Throw in some nice singletrack and views to boot and you have a super nice trail network.

Today was my first day back in a while; and the first on a mtb as well. There is a few new climbs that I was dying to test my fitness level. One of them being an 11%, 2/10 of a mile super technical climb. Riddled with leaves made it a little more difficult, especially the first time attempting this particular climb.

My legs arent in the shape they were in april, but I am not racing this year, so I can be casual with how I ride and how hard I want to push.

Tomorrow will be another hammerfest at the Bike Doctor shop ride. I think my legs are warmed up and ready to fly.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Why you should at least try a singlespeed

This is a debate that will go on until... well, until geared bikes are no more. There are a vast amount of cyclists that will never try a ss because it is too hard, or they dont see the purpose, or my wittle hiney will hurt. Then there are the rest of that know what a ss will do for you.

If anything is worth doing, it should be hard, or at least challenging. If it were easy, why do it? Sure, you are going to work hard, but no other cycling discipline delivers a more complete body workout than does the wonderful world of monocogging. There is a hidden power in your lower body-not that hidden power-it is called your quads. You will get stronger wether you want to or not-and why wouldnt you. Riding a ss will reward you with powerful quads-not the girly man quads you now adorn. Riding a ss will also build upper body strength. There is no sitting and spinning girlfriend. You have two choices; stand and overcome the pain and the 200+ bpm heart rate or walk and overcome the pain and the 200+ bpm heart rate, but with the extra pinch of humiliation and ridicule from others. There is nothing, and I mean nothing more gratifying than passing a guy on ss whilst listening to the sounds of total exhaustion and just giving a grin and a quick "keep it up, you are doing great."

If you are a woman, dont think that I will take it easy on you. I know of a few that can rock it just as well as their male counterparts. My gorgeous friend Sandie is one of those. Very consistent and a real hard ass when it comes to riding. It takes dedication and mental toughness. She approaches her rides and races with the notion of catch me if you can attitude. I have had the pleasure of racing the same courses with her and she is just a great competitor. Sigh.

You dont need a lot of money to put together a ss either. As much as I hate to suggest it, but Bikesdirect has a ss for 400 clams. You aint getting a light bike, but a good starting point to get you going. You can turn any hardtail or unified rear triangle dualie into a ss for about 80-100 clams.

So put away the excuses and challenge yourself. The worst that could happen is that you never ride your geared bike again and selling it for a nicer ss. Win win situation.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tryin something new

Well, it has been a while, but I have decided to try some new road material-literally. I am the proud owner of a OX Platinum steel Salsa Pistola. Yes, a Salsa. Long story short; the frame was in the store since I started there and I have been dying to try it. So now it is mine. I completely stripped down the Madone; adorned with all of the lovely Sram Red parts and quickly slapped them on the Pistola. Now, I wasnt expecting the bike to be as light as the Madone nor as stiff either, but after all was said and done it came in at 17lbs even. The madone was 15 lbs. 13 oz.-a one pound difference. The frame is relatively low key-which I like, especially coming from the Trek billboard paint schemes.

I have to say, it rides sooooo nice. I havent put any epic miles on it yet, but I have put some nice climbs to see how it responded to my monocogging mentality of torque over spinning approach. I have to say, nary a whimper nor groan could be heard. I was more than surprised that it didnt have the flex that I expected it to have.

I still have some seat and bar adjustments to make, but so far, I am impressed with the ride.  This saturday it will be put to the test on our Bike Doctor shop ride, er...uh, hammerfest.

I will have a more detailed ride review later on. Until then, I will be pointin my Pistola to the sky and ridin hard and heavy.