30 May 2014

Williams WS28

I use what works.  Always have.  There's no extra time in my life to tickle parts that are questionable.
Thus, I rarely buy wheels.  My last wheelset purchase was a set of ROL Race SL wheels...in April of 2009.  In the 5 years that have followed, they took a beating, and kept coming back for more.  How many miles on them?  Probably in excess of 25k.
Around the same time, I threw down on a set of Williams WS50 carbon wheels.  They have been ridden sparingly, and are still in great shape.
ROL...Williams...two companies with similar philosophies that make good stuff.
Herein lies the rub...
The new ROL Race SL wheels, and the Williams WS28 wheelset are just about as similar as a wheelset can be.  Same hoops...same spokes...hubs made by Novatec.
The difference?  Money.  The ROL Race SLs are $700 @ retail.  The Williams WS28 are $559.  $140 difference just bought a set of Vittoria Open Corsa tires, latex tubes, and returned enough change to get lunch. +1 to Williams.
Not too long ago,  my WS50s needed a new freehub. A couple of emails, and a couple of calls, and a new freehub was on the way.  And since the hub design had changed slightly from 2009, when I bought them, the pleasant folks at Williams took the time to make sure they were sending me the correct freehub, and the correct internal spacers.  +1 to Williams.
So there you have it..decision made.  A set of WS28s was ordered, along with the Vitts and tubes.
The wheels arrived on May 6th, and went into service on May 7th, but not before a little bit of fettling.  As always, I take stuff apart before it goes into service. 
The front wheel was fine...just a little hub adjustment, as the end caps were a bit too tight.
The rear wheel, well...not so much.  The freehub barely spun.  I pulled the wheel apart, and as suspected, there was entirely too much grease slammed into the hub shell.
The excess, which is to say 95%, of the heavy grease was removed, and the freehub pawls, and engagement points were liberally coated with Phil Wood oil
Back together, the hub spun like a champ.
Onto to the Noah they went...
The graphics might be a bit much for some, but I quite like them.  And since the graphics are etched onto the hoop, that's probably a good thing.  As an aside, I cannot grasp why companies do the "ghost" decals.  You know...the ones that are dark grey/black.  Why would they not want folks to see their company name?
The hoops themselves are produced by Kinlin.  As we know by now, Kinlin makes damn fine rims, and they are used by pretty much every "pre-built" wheel company out there.  You can buy them pretty much anywhere online as well.
The WS28s are 28mm deep, and 23mm wide.  I waffled a bit about going to the wider hoops, thinking it was a fad, but after buying them, I can admit that I was wholly incorrect.  Wide is the way to go...for several reasons...
They make the tire FAT and ROUND.  My 23mm Vitts measure out to a tick over 25mm on the wide rims.  Thus, running lower pressures is necessary.  I learned this lesson the hard way with the Zipp 404 wide rims.
Even at my generous 180 pounds, I'm running 100-105psi in the front, and 110 in the rear.  They feel softer, and smoother, yet lose no speed, and handle precisely.  I liken it to riding a fatter tire on a skinny (19mm standard) hoop.
And the aero profile of the hoops is rounder.  They aren't the aero deep-V style of old.
Back to the softer and smoother...
As we've talked about before, the Noah isn't a comfort bike.  If one is looking for a Roubaix/Domane/Synapse type of ride, look elsewhere.
I can say though, after three weeks, and 1100km on these wheels, the combination of the high tpi Vitts/latex tubes/wide rim/power pressures take the jackhammer edge off the Noah.  I'm not complaining.
The hubs are made by Novatec.  And before Novatec hubs are dismissed as cheap Chinese junk, please be aware, dear reader, that Novatec makes most of the hubs rolling around these days, including Boyd, Williams, ROL, Ritchey, Reynolds, and others.  They are a contractor, and produce hubs to spec, so don't think the stuff they make is off-the-shelf, cobbled together crap.
 The front hub is a minimalist affair, but NOT the American Classic style that some other builders have adopted. The bearings are good-sized, dead smooth, and sit WAY outboard.  The flanges are big, and wide, which is a good thing as the wheels are built radial.  The front is 24 spoke.  Sapim CX-Ray spokes...which ain't cheap...
The rear is high flange on drive, and non-drive.  Some may argue that this lessens bracing angle, but this point is moot, and the high flanges dictate shorter spokes.  The "one is stiffer than the other" discussion is a push, at best.
Again, high flanges that are tall, and wide.  The rear is 28h, and built 2x/2x...with the aforementioned Sapim Cx-Ray spokes.
The rear hub has 6 pawls (most have 4) and 60 engagement points (most have between 24 and 32). This results in RIGHT NOW hub engagement when pedaling.
It also yields a sound akin to being chased by 1000 angry bees when freewheeling.
Guess there's no sneaking up on the group anymore...
(And yes, my chain and cassette is a little dirty...it happens when one rides...)

This 24/28 setup creates a stiff wheelset.  They are easily the stiffest wheels I own.  I guess the old ROLs were getting a bit long in the tooth, and a bit noodly, as the difference in lateral stiffness was pretty apparent on the first couple of rides.  Just something to get used to...not a big deal whatsoever.
And I know the published weight will illicit cries of "BOATANCHOR!!!", but I can say with all honesty, I just don't see it.
Mine weighed dead on the stated weight from Williams...actually, a bit under.  Williams says 1614g.  Mine were 1595g.  The weight "penalty" over similar wheels is simply due to the wider hoops.  They weigh 25-30g more each than a Kinlin 30mm hoop.
And I'll lay it out here...
1600g isn't "heavy".  10 years ago, 1600g was considered on the light side, and anything under 1500g was LIGHT, so get over yourselves.  If you say you can "feel" it, it's in your head.
For the math majors, there are 28.5g in an ounce.

The WS28 wheels do everything pretty well. They ride well, look good, add a touch of comfort to the bike, and are cost-effective.  I will NOT say cheap, because "cheap" is a pejorative term.  You won't find a better set of wheels for the money.  Wheels that perform on a similar level cost $1000+.  You also cannot build this wheelset for less than the $559.  If you'd like to try, I'll give you the links to the rims, spokes, and similar hubs.

And Williams has always provided me with exemplary customer service.  Any issues, or questions are answered with an immediate phone call, or email, many times by Keith Williams himself.  And if one has questions about wheels, Williams or otherwise, call Williams.  Keith, Trevor, and the boys will chat with you for as long as you feel like staying on the phone.
These would make great dirt road wheels.  A fat CX tire would get even fatter by default, and one could run lower pressures.  Just a thought...

28 May 2014

Epic...sure...this time...

So the Giro stage yesterday could probably be considered epic...and historic...
Less than 140km with 14k feet of climbing.  More than 60kms were UPHILL.  Up the Gavia, and the Stelvio, and finished at the top of the Martello. 
Did I mention that it snowed? 
Here's the link to the stage replay from RAI. They don't let people embed their videos...so follow the LINK.  It takes a minute to load, but it's worth the wait...

Jered was there...
Look at his pretty pictures...

Jered Gruber's Flickr

We chatted yesterday via Twitter and DM.  He said it was pretty out of hand.

And it seems that OPQS boss Patty Lefever is whinging like a drunken sorority girl this morning. He's up in arms about the snowy wx, and whether or not the descent off the Stelvio was neutral or not.  He says Giro organizes stole the Maglia Rosa from Uran. 
Cry me a river Pat.  They all had to ride in it, and they all had to descend in it. 
Hell, Uran ADMITTED he missed seeing Quintana roll by him on the way off the mountain.
We've established, on this very site, just how I feel about neutralizing races.  There was no call for it yesterday.

And let's be clear, Uran had nothing for Nairo Quintana yesterday.  No one did. Here's the last 5km...
He brutalized Rolland and Hesjedal...and put time into Uran.

Hey Pat!  Maybe take a stronger GT team next time.  Seems to me like Rigoberto was awfully alone when hammer met nail.

And here's how NOT to win a race...

"At least he won..."  Sure, but he also became a cliche, and an internet meme.  Personally, I think it was the Gods of Cycling, striking him down from atop Olympus for wearing an aero helmet.

Fun ride last night.  Smaller group because of the afternoon rains, but the roads were dry, and the winds were light.  Folks missed out.
It was HUMID though.  Like nearly-needing-a-snorkel humid.
The group rolled slowly, and gradually gained speed as the ride progressed.  What began with 25-30 ended with 6. Well 7, if you count Scott and Julie on the tandem as one bike/rider. 
I was forced to sit up near the end with a very soft rear tire.  Not bouncing around, or trying to sprint with 50psi.  No thanks.
And after discussing the email that was sent out about the ride, and trying to be the first to the parking lot, I have to say that I'm in full agreement.  Shocking, I know, as I'm a contrarian by nature.
After sprinting at the P.O., shut it down.  There's NO reason to fly through the neighborhood.  Someone is going to get popped by a car backing out of a driveway, or run over a kid, while sprinting to the parking lot podium.
One name was brought up as well.  El Matador...
And hurrying past the group that has dragged one around for the whole night, just to get to the car first, is bad form.  No one is impressed.

My little 4 day mini-stack finished last night. 350km and 12.5 hours of riding in those 4 days.  And I felt better as the rides, and the days, went on.  Glad I'm going to the Chiro shortly though.  I'm crunchy today...

 When diving the corner goes wrong. Watch it a few times...you'll see it...
One last photo from Cor Vos of the Stelvio.  Looks fun doesn't it...

And keep Il Prof in your thoughts, as he's embarking on a long week of riding.  He's leaving Cola, riding to Brevard, then riding the Fletcher Flyer Century.  After a rest day, he's riding back.  @ 500 miles in total...over 5 days of riding...
As Southern women are wont to say, "Bless his heart..."

Time to get ready for my cracking and stretching...and the obligatory mid-week trip to Publix.

Peace and Phil Wood grease.

27 May 2014

Nearly 300 for 3

3 days...nearly 300km.  Good stuff.
Saturday morning was Justin's Gravel Ride out in Blythewood. 17 intrepid souls showed up.  Funny how those who talk all the smack about riding on dirt weren't there...
But I digress...
There was a part failure before we left the parking lot.  A kludge was affected, and we were off.
Sadly, the kludge failed shortly thereafter, and the duo from Charleston were forced to head back to the car.
15 rolled on.
We lost a few at the 2/3 distance stop, and they missed out.  The last loop of dirt was the best of the ride.
In total, it was 75km of riding, and 50-ish of it was pavement-free. 
 Good roads...fun folks...
And dammit if Adam doesn't throw some model-worthy swagger...

Big thanks to Henry Mandrell for putting the loop together.  And thanks to those who came out for helping our friend Justin pursue his dream of being a mediocre midpack elite bike racer!

Sunday arrived and met a brother with a stiff back, and heavy legs.  Fortunately, we had a good sized group, and no one felt the need to remove their sword from it's sheath.  Once over the first ridge, and about 90 minutes in, things began to come around. 
We did the Starbucks/GlowWorm/Swansea loop, and had a damn fine time.  Even got drizzled on a little bit on the final ascent of Pine Plain, and to be perfectly honest, it felt really damn good.
Another 100km in the books, and it seemed like the ride was short and quick.  That happens when the group is full of people who know HOW to ride, and are fun to ride with.
AND we had a tailwind home on 12th.  When the hell does THAT happen?

Monday was Memorial Day, so The Boss had the day off.  #1 and #2 had school, so she only had to contend with #3, who is easy. 
See you later dear, I'ma go play with my friends!

The annual Fun-Flat-50 was going off at Caughman Road Park, so several of us decided to ride TO the ride, as the amount of time involved to pack up, drive out there, and unpack was probably greater than just riding over.
We spun over, and made the 16km trip in 30 minutes.
The assembled group was all shapes and sizes, and the number in attendance was LARGE. I heard totals that ranged from 68 to 74...and that just doesn't happen in this town.
The meandering 80km loop fell under wheels pretty quickly, as the group just sort of moved along at 32-35kmh without a whole lot of effort.
Back to the Park, filled the bottles, and headed home.  It was pretty nice to have 110km under the belt by lunch time, then walk up to school and pick up Junior Management.

The rest of the afternoon was spent sourcing a manageable sized pool for the boys to thrash in this Summer.  I was forced to go to WalMart.  Need I say more?

285km in three days.  The capper of the little four day stack will be the ride tonight.  It could go well, or it could be really ugly. 

Oh, and if you missed the USPRO race yesterday, you missed a ripper.  The race was ON from the gun.  The break went, was caught, went again with new riders, was caught...etc.  The last 90 minutes of the race was excellent.  The last break was caught in the last turn, and Eric Marcotte from Team SmartStop just LAUNCHED out of the group, and held on for the win. Team SmartStop went 1-2 and 5, showing that heart, and tactics will out.  The "big" teams, which included Continental and Euro heavy hitters had nothing for the little team that could...and did!
And Taylor Phinney crashed on the descent off the mountain on the first lap.  He went down at high speed after rounding a borderline blind corner (admittedly the hardest corner on the descent), and encountering a race moto moving at a much slower pace. 
Phinney slid into the guard-rail, breaking his tib/fib, and injuring his knee.  He had surgery last night, and is awake and alert this morning. 
Blame is already flying. The #fauxperts are blaming the moto driver, and the organizers. 
There's no blame here folks.  It was an mishap.  There was no malice.  Phinney was descending at a rate that could only be described as 'warp-speed'.  Hate to say it, but there's very little that could have been done at the moment of the incident.
While it's terrible, it was nothing more than accident.  Phinney is young, strong, and resilient.  He'll be back.
And I hate to play Devil's Advocate all the time, but would there be the same levels of angst, and umbrage, if it had happened to a no-name rider from a small team?

Okay...gotta jet.  The Giro is on.  It's snowing at the top of the Gavia, and at the top of the Stelvio.  Should be fun to watch...if they don't neutralize it.

23 May 2014

Please...tell me again...

Tell me again how "ball and stick" athletes are tougher/harder than pro cyclists...

This is Chris Anker Sorenson...

This Adriano Malori...
Both went down on some gravel Wednesday during the Giro stage.  Both slid, at high speed, across what can only be described as "abrasive" tarmac, and into a water and mud filled ditch.
Both got up, rinsed off a bit, and finished the stage.
Sorenson was quoted as saying he "didn't remember the last 20-25km of the stage...", and thought he'd broken his hand, or arm.  He was diagnosed with a concussion, and a severe hand/wrist sprain.  He was withdrawn by his team due to concerns about his head injury.
Malori got scrubbed out, and raced the TT yesterday.
In comparison, here's the injured reserve list for the NY Yankees....
Enough said...

Weird ride last night.  It was quick, but stupidity seemed to reign.  Two guys doing dumb shit, and another two guys who couldn't ride a straight line if there was one painted on the road.
Wait...there IS one painted on the road...
And I made the mistake of going easy up the second climb, thinking that the group would slow roll after the turn...you know...like always...
Well, as stated, stupidity reigned, and the chase was on.
Hwy. 302 is fast, and hurts on the best days...with the bunch.  When you have a 500m gap to close, and the group is rolling at 45kmh, it really sucks.
The chase was conducted at well over 50kmh, and the final bridge was made at 60kmh.  I got across...no one else did.
Of course, I burned every match at the match factory, and was a borderline useless lump of flesh for the rest of the ride.
My legs hurt this morning.
And it was the first "hot" ride of the Summer.  Gotta ease into that stuff...

Speaking of rides, don't forget the gravel ride in Blythewood tomorrow. 
0900 @ the Food Lion.
Sunday : 0900 @ The Colonial Center
Monday (Memorial Day) : 0900 @ Caughman Road Park

Get your ride on this weekend!! 

Look for a review of my new Williams WS28 wheels this weekend.  It involves fat rims, expensive spokes, and angry bees...

21 May 2014

New kid in town

It seems TVH got him a new bikecycle from them Canadian fellers over at the KindHuman.
(Identity hidden to protect the innocent)(And yes, his flip-flips are Look compatible!)

He got one a them there Krest models. 
And before you naysayers, negative Nellies, and Debbie Downers get on your, "It's just another Chinese open-mold frame..." kick, please STFU, and learn something about the bike, carbon fiber, and it's purveyor.
It's Taiwanese, spec'd with higher grade carbon than bikes that 'fauxperts' deem to be high-end, and I'll be honest here, it's really fucking nice!
Hell, my super-duper Ridley wasn't even made in Taiwan.  It was punched out of some nameless factory in China.  Made in Belgium?  Not quite.  The pack slip was in Mandarin.
Word on the street is that it's just as stiff as his Colnago, yet a bit more compliant in the rear.
The BIG square downtube, oversized headtube, and big chainstays give this stiffness, while the thin, flat seat stays give the ride quality.
Did I mention it looks really nice?
With his Super Record and Boyd carbons, it's a 15 pound bike...and NO effort was made to build it "light".
I'm sort of hot for one...

Fun ride last night.  Nice and easy.  Some of the kids rode their CX bikes, so we rolled out 12th really slow, which made the group larger than usual.  No worries.  The more the merrier.
And more than a few were nursing "Day After Mitchell" bodies, so I'm sure than less than aggressive pace was pleasant.
Funny part?  Even at the slightly more relaxed pace, El Matador still couldn't take a pull, scrabbled for wheels so he wouldn't get popped out, yet "found" his legs at the end of the ride for the P.O. sprint.  Gotta be the first to that parking lot podium!
As TVH said last night, El Matador probably got home and told his wife that he was the hero of the ride.  Too bad he won't come out on Sunday rides...  #wanker
Nice to have a couple of fast ladies in the group too.  We're used to Rox being there, b/c, well...she's fast, but the addition of Sara, and the now-riding-across-the-country Morgan, only serves to make the group better.
Video break --

So you think you can descend?  You can't!  And just falling down the mountain doesn't count!!

Lily's back...and cooler than your dog...

 And Farrar causes yet another crash.  Boy needs some glasses, or needs to learn not to cross wheels...

Get back to work...


19 May 2014


The Salsa refurb got a couple of good shakedown rides this weekend.
Saturday was to make sure everything worked properly, and nothing fell off.
A short loop around The Powerstation, and back through campus was enough, plus, I had yet another U8 futbol match to attend.
Just shy of two hours was plenty.  The verdict?  It shifts.  It stops.  Nothing failed. And the stem is off by about 2.5 degrees.  Basically, it's about normal for one of my builds...crooked stem included.
I've missed the dirt...

 Definitely greened up a little since the last time I was out there. 
Yeah...it got a little dirty.
Wildlife spotted : One Red-tailed hawk, and one very large doe. 

Sunday arrived with drizzley rain, and 20 degree colder temps.  I'd resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to ride. About 15 minutes after that, the rain stopped...for a while...and I bolted out the door.  Another trip to the dirt, and this trip was designed to be a bit harder, and a bit rougher on the Salsa.
Again, the bike performed as it should.
About 1/2 through the return trip on the dirt, the rain started.  I'd really forgotten how much I love/hate 55 degree rain.  Yeah, it sucks because it's wet, and you get a a little dirty, but if one is going hard enough, it's just about a push.  I wasn't cold, nor was I sweating.  It was equilibrium...
I got to the short/long crossroads and just decided to stay out. I was already wet...
Back to Service Course with a solid two hours.
Wildlife : One wild turkey hen.  They can run really fast BTW...
Shakedown complete, and the bike is ready for :

If you are close, and have a CX bike, you should really be there...

 Um...two wheels very good....
 And Wiggo won the Tour of California.  I used to think he was a bit of a whingey wanker.  Now I realize that he just doesn't give a shit...and I'm down with that.

And everyone on the Twitters was yapping about how Cav has found his sprinting form.  Really?  He BARELY beat Degenkolb in the two sprints.  Degenkolb is Kittel's leadout man.  Cav better find that extra kick he used to have in the next 6 weeks, or he's going to have a hard time in France.

Last year on The Champs was still one of the best sprints ever...

Enough watts being put down there to power a small village.

Happy Monday...

16 May 2014


Yeah...it's what the "fauxperts" think should happen every time any sort of liquid falls from the sky, making the road wet, during a Euro race.
Sure, I understand it in American crits.  If there's a big crash, and the course is blocked, or a rider is injured, by all means, shut it down.
In point to point Euro races, especially at the highest level, there's just no reason for it, especially if it's weather related.
Now, I understand why, at certain times, everyone should just say "No!", and get off the bike, and in the car.
Take MSR last year.  Guys were finishing with shells of ice covering them.  It was silly.

Let's jump forward to now.  In the last few days, the weather has been less than perfect at the Giro.  It's been raining, and the roads have been slippy.  Several crashes have occurred, eliminating more than a few riders.
One stage was neutralized, and calls went out yesterday for the same to happen.
Let's be clear here...
For serious weather, like what gave Hendo his candy shell in the above photo, it's a judgment call to neutralize.
In RAIN???
It's rain. Yeah, the road gets slippery.  And?
I'm all for the safety of the riders, but to neutralize a race/stage every time a little moisture falls from above is to do a dis-service to cycling.
Weather and rain is a part of the deal.  It has been since the first cavemen raced their Flintstones bikes.
Look at Lance winning @ Hautacam in 2000.  The weather was abysmal.  It was great.  The weather was the unseen force that helped change the course of the race.

Or Roubaix in 1994 or 2001

Can you imagine?
"Oh, it's muddy...we're going to neutralize the race..."
These Chicken Littles of cycling would have been apoplectic watching the Civitella stage of the 2010 Giro...

Sorry peeps, but that shit right there is RACING.  It's hardmen getting it done.  Period.

Of course, these "fans"/"fauxperts" don't know anything about these races.  They have no perspective.
One of these non-riding folks actually said, "I've been following pro cycling since 2009...I know what I'm talking about..."
I mean, what's next, calling for the riders to get off when climbing Ventoux because it's hot, and there's no shade?
Ridiculous.  Leave it alone people.  OR better yet, get off your dead, no riding, asses, and go ride in the weather.  Get an appreciation for it.  Personally, I LOVE riding in the shit.   A lot of pro guys do too.
And no, by NO means am I comparing myself to pro-dogs.  I do, however, understand that riding in the wet/cold/shit really sucks, but I've come to embrace it, and have some sick, bordering on perverse, love for it.
If one appreciates the ride in terrible conditions, one will find riding in perfect conditions that much better.

Speaking of, no ridey last night.  It was raining, and I rode enough in the junk through the Winter, and to be honest, I'm a little tired.
Instead, I watched Taylor Phinney put on a solo-effort exhibition from Cali.

The kid is impressive.  He kind of snuck away, then stayed away.  And remember, he's only 23...
I was sent his power numbers last night with the promise I wouldn't publish them...and I won't.
I will say, however, that the number was sufficiently high.  And by sufficiently, I mean hard to wrap your head around.

Alright kids, it's Friday, and it's beautiful outside.  Get it all over you today. 

15 May 2014

Ok...this just went to the top of the "Want" list

Looks like plenty of room between the truck and the camper to put a couple of bikes too.

They also make a bigger version....the 490

Go waste some time on Conquerer's website...

Looks like these blokes have it figured out.

14 May 2014

12 days

12 days of school of school left, not counting today.  The teachers are already phoning it in.
Today is the "Friendship Festival", and #2 has two field trips before school is out.
South Carolina...49th in education...#1 in your hearts.

Vigorelli Velodrome.  Wonder if one would get a splinter if one crashed on it?

Another bike I have NO use for, yet the amount of want is inordinate...

I finally figured out where the creaking on the Noah was coming from, and it's not the BB.  It's the saddle rails/seatpost cradle.  It will be remedied at some point today.  Annoying as merde...

My mom's yellow lab passed away last week.  She's already considering getting another dog.  I sent her this photo...

Fun ride last night.  Just sort of rolled around, yet somehow shed most of the group, including everyone's favorite wheelsucker.  Oh, and hereafter, Sean shall be referred to as "El Matador", because he'll get out of the way to avoid being on the front faster than a bolt of lightning.
And believe me when I say it's not just me complaining about his riding.  There's a very strong female that's been on the ride exactly TWICE, including last night.  She called him out.  There you have it.
And here's another "Rules" violation :
The violation was especially heinous last night, as the offender had already been put out of the "racer" group.  When the main group caught this person, he felt the need to constantly surge, and look over his shoulder to see if he was doing any damage.  He was not...
Finally, after a couple of surges on 302, a few of us took it upon ourselves to end his stupidity, and put him out the back. 
And there seemed to be a spate of flats last night.  The first was Veloflex-related, and the second was toilet-related.
Veloflex tires are made in Italy, in the old Vittoria works, by old Vittoria employees.  They ride like butter on a bald monkey, but have little in the way of flat protection.  From experience, this can be problematic.
The toilet flat was caused by...well...chunks of a toilet.  Someone lost a commode out of their truck, as is the fashion in rural SC, they left it on the road.  Porcelain will EAT a skinny bike tire. 
It was fun last night.  I never felt at all in the red, and had a good time...and that's what it's about.  If it's not fun, you're doing it wrong.

Watch for my review of the Williams WS28 wheelset in the coming days.  I like them a lot...

And rumor has it that there may be a CX ride next week.  Probably good, as I should really ride/shakedown the Salsa before the End-of-School ride on the 24th.  45 miles in the dirt on a newly built rig is probably not the wisest decision one could make.

Time to go to Lowe's and price materials for a small deck project.  Funny how I had the exact same idea, in the same location, 5 years ago, and it was brushed aside by Management.  
Sometimes, I'm so far ahead that I'm coming up from behind...

13 May 2014

Best thing you'll see today

Degenkolb's sprint from Stage one of the Tour of California...from the bikes...

Seems Shimano is making their own cameras now.  Pretty cool shots of the pros putting it down!!

12 May 2014

Do weekends get faster as we age?

That one FLEW by...

Saturday was a blur.
A quick spin to loosen up.  A U8 futbol match that included poor sportmanship by the other team, and by one parent in particular.  It's cool though, he got put firmly in his place.
I just feel bad for the kids that got caught up the middle of it.
Being a jerk-off at a 8 year old's soccer game is bad form.

Post lunch, I helped the Boss get the pressure washer started so she could create more work for me.  While she did this, I finished up the Salsa rebuild.

Methinks it turned out okay.  I've missed having it in the quiver for the past couple of months.  I miss the dirt...

Sunday we rolled out into LexCo for a little spin.  Beautiful day.  A bit overcast, light wind, and except for nearly getting killed by some Christian on his way to church, it was a damn good ride.  It even included another episode of "I'll drag you to a Top 10" on a Strava section.  You're welcome Charlie!
It was evidently wildlife day on 12th St. as well.  TVH stopped for a turtle, then about 400m later, I stopped for another.  Immediately following the two turtle saves, a huge red-tailed hawk dropped out of the trees and flew over TVH's head.
And then, once past Amazon, we passed a pair of geese parents, and their triplets.
Nothing like running a (soon to be) 4 lane road through a low-lying wetland area.
Be ready for turtle (and other animal) saves out there folks.

Once back at Service Course, it was a quick turnaround, a sammich, and running around with the Boss for the afternoon.
Next thing I remember is putting Junior Management to bed.
Time flies when you're having fun.

 Cadel...really?  Aero helmet with a cap under it?  Dude...
Just another day at the local crit!  At least his Chinese carbon tubs didn't fail.  I call dibs on the crankset...

And yeah...remember the Boston Marathon bombing?  This could have been MUCH worse...
Nothing like proclaiming one's nationalism by killing one's own countrymen!  Good job IRA!!

Oh yeah...the Giro...I'll let Cosmo handle it...

Enjoy your Monday people!  I gots to go.  Places to go...backs to get cracked...groceries to buy...

09 May 2014

A weird kind of fun...

So the vast majority of the group tagged along last night when it was decided that the normal loop would be done backwards.
As I stated a couple of weeks ago, the Tues/Thurs loop backwards is an animal of a different species. 
Even so, it was damn fun, different, and the same folks made it to the end.  I will say though, of all the times I've ridden up the back side of Glenn Rd. in the past 3 or 4 years, and there have been many, the sheer thought of slapping it into the big ring would have seemed ludicrous. 
Well, I think we all found it last night. 
Never gone up through there at over 20mph.  Might not again. 

And we all know my feelings on quoting average speed for a ride, but the average for the loop backwards was higher than the usual average for the forward direction.  Weird.  My guess is that the ride was way steadier, and more of a fast tempo-y affair than the herky jerky high-speed/low speed nature of the "normal" loop.

I'm glad we decided to do it. Methinks it should be a semi-regular thing. 

I also broke out some new equipment last night.

The new Williams WS28 wheels came out, as well as the flouro Diadora Jet Racer shoes.

Initial impressions of the wheels?  Stiff, smooth, and they roll really well.  23mm wide rims are pretty freaking nice.  They made the 23mm Vitts fat and round.  And don't let the published weight of the wheels fool you.  They ride WAY lighter.  Combine the wide rim, the 320tpi Vitts, and the latex tube, you get a sublime ride.  And let's be honest, these are "training" wheels.  These will be primary for the next few years.  They will be RIDDEN.
I'll do a complete review once I get more than 70km on them...

And if you're gonna bring game, bring "A" game. 
Gotta say, I like these Jet Racers better than my Pro Racers.  Bigger toe box, a bit wider, and a bit better padded.  These have jumped directly to the primary position in my shoe hierarchy.  I put Pearl Izumi's 1:1 footbeds in them as well.  Great insole system, and the shoes have plenty of volume for them.
Plus, they're just SO PRO.  And for what I paid...

Stainless. D/A 9000 mechanical. Thomson cockpit. Enve wheels.  This seems to check all of my boxes.  A-Train in Minneapolis is responsible for this one.  Clean and Simple people... clean and simple.

And Sylvain Chavanel's Scott for the Giro.  Clean and simple, yet shouty at the same time.  Quite good.

The Salsa will be buttoned up tomorrow.  Just need to install the chain, cables, and do a final check over.  It's starting to look like a bike.  I'm going to feel almost guilty for banging down a dirt road on it.  Almost...
Remember, it's a tool, not a jewel...

Time to get the day started.  I actually have stuff to do today.  Shocking...I know...

08 May 2014

Yeah...I'm gonna need a moment...

A Telekom track frame AND a Telekom MAX?  I've gone all swimmy headed...

07 May 2014

A few things...

It was a warm one last night.  First 90 degree ride of the year.  No wading in here.  It just skips from 78 and sunny to 94 and hot.  Spring?  What is this "Spring" of which you speak?
Also proved that I need to get my hydration straightened away before it gets truly South Carolina hot.
Don't think I drank enough through the day yesterday.  Maybe I can have Not-a-Coach pick me up some Osmo so I can be "hyper-hydrated"...

Anyway, the ride was disjointed, and herky-jerky, at best.
First, if the group gets split at a light, or stop sign, or whatever...WAIT!  Yeah, it the past few weeks, people have taken this as an opportunity to create their own little break that they can talk about back at the parking lot.  Using a line of traffic as a pick doesn't equate to getting away.
In this same vein, if the front group waits, as we did last night, don't ride to the front of the group, and then try to ride off the front.  It just irritates those who waited.  And don't do this if you're just going to get tailed off the group later.  It's bad form.

And here are two more that the gentlemen at Velominati covered in "The RULES" :
 Boiled down?  If you can't be near the front when the pace is hot, don't rush the front when the pace cools off, because once it hots back up, you're in the way.  It dangerous for everyone involved. 
Talking to you Sean.  And dear reader, please don't think that I'm being overly-sensitive, or just my usual asshole self.  I'm not the only one in our little group that feels this way.  It's why you got yelled at last night.
Like Ronnie Coleman says:

Funny that the two rides last week were the fastest they've been in a long time.  They were also the smoothest and safest...

:::Mini-Rant over:::

I know November is a long way off, but Methinks we need to make a trip to rural Georgia for the Fried Green 50. H/T to C.C. for this one.
Might be an excuse to take the camping equipment as well.  Seems there's no Hilton Garden Inn location in Juliette, Ga.

OPQS produced a slick little video about Terpstra's win

Ok Specialized...are you going for flouro, or baby shit green?  Considering I've been at home with my kids for 9 years, I think you successfully nailed the latter.

Another reason the Giro is better.  Even the Italian media is hotter.  Oh, her name is Barbara Pedrotti... #GoogleIt

And yes, slamming your stem SEEMS like the Profi thing to do, and as one can see in this gallery from the Tour of Turkey, some pros practice it.  Others ride like you and me...

Enjoy your Wednesday.  The week is halfway over...

05 May 2014

So...the weekend happened...

And it was pretty good...

Nice little solo spin Saturday morning.  And again, the Tuesday loop backwards is no joke, especially when the extra climb from Fish Hatchery, up around SR S32-1400 (seriously, that's the only road sign!), back to Glenn is added.  Makes the climb straight up Glenn seem short, and enjoyable.  A quick loop around, and back in for a tick under two hours.
And a Vittoria Open Corsa CX died a valiant death.
Out by the airport, quite near UPS, I hit what had to have been a large stone.  I hit the gravel, and it fired out from under the tire with alarmingly velocity, and struck the fence 20ft. from the road.
My thought was, "Hmmm...I'll bet that cut the shit out of that tire...".  We'll return to this portion of the story in a moment...

After bike practice, it was time for U8 Futbol with #2 son.
I have to say, I'm not one of these over-bearing, "soccer parents".  You know the ones.  The folks who yell, scream, hoot and holler if little Johnny/Janey trips over his/her own shadow, and live their lives through their children's activities.
I will say, however, that I was pretty chuffed after the match.  The boy played goal for a full half, and made EIGHT saves!  EIGHT!  And one showed aggression, and concentration I haven't seen from the boy before.
As usual, the little scrum of kids all kicking each other while trying to kick the ball was moving down the field.
As soon as it got into "his" goal box, the boy waded in like an outlaw kicking open the doors of a saloon.  He jumped in the middle, pushed players from both teams out of the way, and dove on the ball.  Not in his house!!
I'm pretty low-key at his games, so he will forget about me, and concentrate on the game, but that single action fired me up!
I think he's figuring it out!

Post footy, it was the normal running around, and working outside.  Well, my work was cycling related.  The Salsa frameset is done...
It turned out pretty okay...

All parts have arrived.  Just need to run up to the shop to get some cables, and the build can commence.  Gonna be nice to have a working CX bike again.  I miss the dirt...

(Here's where the cut tire story reconvenes...)
Sunday morning, as I was getting ready, I noticed that the aforementioned chunk of granite did, in fact, gouge the tire.  So much so that the green latex tube could be seen through the cut.  Dead tire...at 8:15am...20 minutes before I needed to leave to meet the group.
Turbo tire change, and a Hail Eddy, and we were good to go.
Moral of the story?  If you THINK something might be wrong, check it out.
A nice group assembled, and we headed out it out big blue, sunshiney morning.
 It was terrible out there...
 Sunshine.  Empty roads...and Big John looking less and less "Big" every day.  And before anyone scoffs at a 260 pound dude in lycra, you'd all be lucky to ride with him.  Rock solid on the bike, huge engine, and a hella nice guy. 
And "The Axe"...just don't make eye contact...

100km under wheels, and I was back at Service Course.  A quick rinse and nosh, and then 90 minutes of yardwork.  I think the triathletes call it a brick?

 Laurens Ten Dam just shot to the top of the "Liked Rider" list...
 Hey Mr. Edwards!!!  You said you wanted a black and white bike...
 Real podium girls in Spartanburg last Friday night.

Wanna figure out gear ratios?  This little tool is pretty cool.

And The Giro starts in FOUR days...

That'll do it for today.  I've wasted enough of your time...and I have my own time to waste...

Another big sun day today.  Go outside and let it warm your face.

02 May 2014

This and That

First, let's get something out of the way.
I've been asked where the header photo above was taken.
It's was taken on Mancation 2013 @ Brandywine State Park in Delaware.  BSP is about 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia, and possibly one of the best places I've ridden a bicycle...EVER. 
There are MILES of trail just like the photo.  Inside the park, there is groomed double track, flowy single track, and some technical stuff that is far beyond my pay grade.  The Delaware Park Service also took it upon themselves to come to agreements with the surrounding landowners for use of the land that borders the Park.  Strips of perfect singletrack run on the periphery of about a dozen farms. 
One may pop out of the woods into a corn field, or on the edge of a horse pasture.  It's all pretty sublime to be honest. 
It's pretty easy to put together a 3-4 hour ride that is only on the tarmac for 30 minutes. 
I'm getting all atwitter thinking about it.  Only 6 weeks until Mancation 2014...

And the forward thinking folks in Pa. have also opened a majority of The Chester Valley Trail.  It's a Rail-to-Trails project that now runs from Exton to just beyond Valley Forge National Park.  One can ride from the suburbs, down the CVT, into Valley Forge, then pick up the Schuykill Trail, and pedal all the way into Philly...
Methinks this might be on the calendar for a ride this year as well.  Leave the house, ride into Philly, have a nosh, and ride home.  Nothing but a relaxed 65-70 miles.  No big deal.

Speaking of relaxed rides...
The Thursday loop was a controlled affair...for a while.  The group all stayed together over the climbs, then all hell broke loose on 302. 
I thought I was chugging right along while pulling into South Congaree at 55kmh...until the very powerful Ben Jones went by like I was up on jackstands.  Closing down that gap at 65kmh really really really really really hurt. 
Ben pulled over, and his passenger couldn't pull through, so I went ahead and took the bullet.
That section whittled the group down quite a bit.  And it should have.  Word on the street says that we averaged right at 45kmh for the Gator to Airport section...in a crosswind.
It was the fastest ride of the year thus far.
I'm a little snapped right now, and just not looking forward to walking around Frankie's Fun Park this afternoon with a bunch of 7 year olds.

 Again, I reserve the right to re-think my stance on the whole "hipster-chick" thing...
No reason to re-think my stance on this guy...^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Salsa update : Accent colors are done, and the first two coats of satin black have been laid down.  A couple more coats, and then some satin clear, and we're good to go.  Parts are arriving, and everything is proceeding on schedule.

It's gonna be beautiful this weekend, so go outside and do whatever you do.  Me?  I'ma ride...
Or I might put on my zebra costume...

Time to de-homeless myself and run errands.  The fun never ends....