26 October 2015

It was a ride.

Yesterday was a ride. No more. No less.
Started with Kevin's F/D issues. We rolled up to Service Course. I fixed his bike in about 3 minutes, and we were on our way.
MAYBE 15 minutes from Service Course, Dean's F/D cable snapped.
The little ring was en vogue it seems.
We rolled on. Dean in his 34. Kevin in his 36. Me in my 39.
Out on MLK, Dean ran over a chunk of glass. We stopped. He changed his flat while mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds buzzed around. Not wanting to get carried off by said insects, Kevin and I rolled around in circles.
From that point, it became a tour of Lower Richland flood damage. And believe me, there's DAMAGE out there. Just seeing the high water lines in certain places was amazing enough. Then, we rolled up on the hunt club on Old Bluff, near The Swamp.
This used to be a VERY full pond/lake. It seems the 15+ inches of rain created a little added pressure on the dam/road, and as we know, water does what it wants. Bye bye road. Bye bye water.
Further into the ride, we headed down Airbase to see the railroad damage for ourselves. Certain words shouldn't be used as descriptive adjectives, as they may be a little inappropriate. This fact notwithstanding, the washout of the RR and road was impressive.
 That's a 10' culvert pipe, and a standard heavy excavator. The gap in the tracks won't be repaired for a while. There is LITERALLY only one way to get the repair materials out to the site. The RR service company has retro-fitted dumptrucks with train wheels, and is backing the truck down the track ONE AT A TIME to dump stones.
Airbase Rd. YOU SHALL NOT PASS. Don't look for this to be repaired anytime in the next...I don't know...year or so.
The gap? Easily 100'. One can see chunks of the bridge downstream. There are LARGE sections of tarmac 100...200...300+ feet downstream, and in the woods. Crazy.
For here, we turned around, and headed in. Good miles, good conversation.
I will say though, staying in the small ring for 3.5 hours, and keeping cadence high, is tiring. My legs are SHOT today.

Zonhoven was yesterday. No full race video is up yet, but here are the highlights...



And here are 9 things drivers need to stop saying when whinging about cyclists...
WIRED article...

Enjoy your Monday kids! I'm headed down to Service Course to fiddle around a bit.

22 October 2015

Back at it...

Well...sort of...
Seeing as I cannot back down from a challenge, Junior Management told me that I couldn't punt a soccer ball the length of their field. It's about 60m.
I grabbed a ball & pulled the laces tight on my futbol boots. Did I mention I did NOT warm up...at all?
Not wanting to take more than one try, I backed up, took 5 steps, and let it rip. The ball flew high, and straight, clearing the goal at the other end of the field.
I also hyper-extended my right knee in the process. Not badly, but enough to limp around, and put very little power to the pedal...not that there was much to begin with...

I rode Tuesday...gingerly. Small gears. A LOT of spinning. As the knee feels a little better today, I went ONE cog bigger on the back this morning. Didn't "hurt" per se, but there's definitely some stiffness.
It's freaking beautiful outside...

 55 and sunny. Just some Mad Alchemy on the legs....
No Garmin. No care. Just ride...

Knocked down almost two hours both days. Riding in the sunshine beats strapping the lights on the bike...EVERY time.
I'll show at a few night rides, but they'll be few, and far between...

And as usual, I made it almost all the way home before having a run in with a driver. Some dumbass Shandon mommy, likely on her way home from a stretching "workout" @ barre3 & yapping on her phone, decided that she had the right of way in her Volvo SUV, and turned right in front of me. And yes, I had the right of way...
This is for you dear. Bless your heart.

Shut up and take my money!

And with that, I'm out...

19 October 2015

Initial impressions...

So I picked up a set of Shimano RS81 C24 wheels. Couldn't really pass up the price...

They're Shimano's take on bulletproof, yet still relatively light, carbon clinchers.
No carbon fairing here. The carbon is structural, and makes the wheel stiffer, while reducing weight. Out of the box, mine weighed 1470g. 1502g with the Shimano plastic rimstrips. Stated weight is 1505g.
A bike part weighing what the manufacturer said it would weigh? Shocking...I know!
These came with Schwalbe One 700x25c tires. On the 21mm wide rim, they are pretty fat. They fit on the Noah, but JUST. More on the rubber in a second...

The wheels themselves were dead true out of the box. Spoke tension is HIGH on the aero, straight pull spoke. The hubs were a bit tight, but Shimano's new hub system makes adjustments ridiculously easy. No more cup, cone, and loose balls. These have angular contact bearings, thus adjusting the hub is little more than popping off a dustcap, removing a 5mm axle end, and a little (and I MEAN little) turn of a fat washer. Easy peasy.
Once loosened up, I threw on a cassette, and put some latex tubes in the Schwalbes.
They look pretty good on the Ridley, eh?

I rode them Sunday morning. Nothing like a 100km to shake down a wheelset.
Initial impressions?
Smooth. Buttery smooth.
Stiff. Way stiffer than expected. Stiffer than my Williams WS28 alu wheels AND the 50mm carbon wheels.
 --Methinks Shimano is correct in their assertion that the fact that the hubs flanges are WAY outside makes a stiff wheel.
High-ish flanges, big bracing angle, and straight pull spokes = stiff.
Not at all harsh though. The carbon dampens the road buzz considerably.
Roll really wheel. Even with the light hoop (>400g per Shimano), they seem to just roll along. Response to acceleration is immediate.
No drama through turns either. No flex, no drama.
No braking concerns either! Alu braking surface FTW!
I was pleasantly surprised.
Now...let's get to the problem.
The rear wheel developed an annoying hop that grew increasingly bad/annoying throughout the course of the ride. I thought it was a tire issue. Lumpy casing, or I may have done something upon install.
Once home, I fiddled with it. Same tire. Same hop. Switch ed a Vittoria Open SC. SAME hop. SAME spot on the wheel.
Upon further inspection, the rim itself has a 30mm section of one bead that has a flat spot...right on the weld.
Inside the rim, the weld wasn't sanded/machined down properly. It gets up INTO the hook bead itself, and doesn't let the tire seat correctly. We found the cause of the hop.
The front is fine.
Up to Outspokin' we go.
The consensus is that one slipped past the old Quality Control goalkeeper.
It's going back to Shimano for warranty.
No big deal...it's almost November. I can wait.

I was honestly surprised by the Schwalbe One tires. I ride Vittoria, period, but as these came with the wheels, and get great reviews online, I figured I'd give them a shot.
They're truly nice tires. They roll well and turn well. I got 25s, and they're big, fat, and round. They come in 28s, if you're into that sort of thing.
We'll see how they get along thru the Fall and Winter.

As for the ride, it was pretty good. We fouled up by going out with the dead tailwind. I will say though, it's pretty nice going UP Fish Hatchery at 35kmh w/o turning oneself inside out. After a Belgian crosswind section into Swansea, the ride home was an exercise in head down, teeth gritting, headwind riding. It was one of those winds that one just has to push through. Slowing down and going easy isn't an option. Doing so would yield a 20kmh ride home, and ain't nobody got time for that.
100km in the sun, and wind, on a 65 degree October day.
I'll take it.

Once the rear wheel comes back, and I get some miles on them. I'll post a full review.

Hope everyone had a productive weekend. Gonna be nice this week. Go outside and get it on you.

16 October 2015

Better than expected...

No, not me. I still suck.
Still fighting this poison ivy thing. Thankfully, Mayor Benjamin single handedly got the City safe water. That guy is amazing.
Anyway, at least I can soak myself in an epsom salt bath. Between that, the African black soap, and some high dollar steroid cream, the tide seems to be turning, and we're making inroads in the battle.

I actually got on the bike yesterday.
The water has receded, sort of, and the PowerStation is in decent nick. It seems the water was flowing down the road at a fair rate, and it took a lot of the top layer of sand and dirt with it. Gravel-y and rough is probably the best descriptor for the first couple kms. It's rideable, but just not as smooth as some might remember.
The middle section is about the same. Most of the debris that #2 and I cut, and pushed off the trail, floated right back onto the trail. I didn't clear it yesterday, as I was pressed for time, and already have enough poison ivy. It's passable, but not at high speed.
The washout is about the same...shockingly...
I figured it would be a small chasm after that much water flowing back and forth.
Once past the gas line, the ride stopped. There's still standing water on the road, and in the ditches. It's orange, fetid, and I'm just not riding through that.

Overall, it's definitely rideable. No real surprises. No giant holes to eat you. The animals are VERY active though. I saw turkeys, deer, birds of prey, and a BIG rattlesnake. Be aware of your surroundings. Tae the earbuds out and use all of your senses.

Tour de Leaves is this weekend. While it's a great ride, I'd rather stay here and be itchy, than suffer for 3.5 hours in the mountains.

Triumph Scrambler...
And if you like gas powered things, poke around on Silodrome. Pretty cool site.

Time to go get cracked and stretched. Have a good weekend. Go outside and play!

11 October 2015

Back in the Saddle...

(Subtitle : Around your ass to get to your elbow)

After the rains, which made yet another multi-inch visit yesterday, we finally got to ride this morning. Thing is, the normal routes are ostensibly gone. Roads are just gone. Not just backroads, but main thoroughfares.
Most of the "flat" routes are interrupted by road, and/or bridge washouts.
We had to area adjust to out into the hills today. In looking at the road closure list from the DMV, we're going to have to seriously adjust a few loops.
Listen, I'm not complaining, we're riding bikes here, not splitting the atom. In the grand scheme, what I'm doing on the bike is pretty unimportant. Honestly, I almost feel bad for being out on the road, on a bicycle, while others have lost much, and are trying to get by. Believe me, I get it....
It was good to go outside and play!

At the same time, I've been stuck in the house with three children for a week, as school has been out. Did I mention that The Boss was gone on business for most of last week?
Oh yeah, and I have a case of poison oak that would kill a mortal man. If I could take a cheese grater to it, I would. Not itching the shit makes my 14 years of sobriety look like playing Chutes and Ladders.

These are my travails...YMMV.
Oh, and here's a couple of pictures of one of our main routes...

The "stream" that usually runs under it is usually about 10' wide and 2' deep. Don't fuck with water...
And YES, the train tracks are just hanging there...

Euro CX started today. Looked like a nice Summer day in Belgie...

And the Tour of Abu Dhabi came to an end. More camels than people watched...
And Peto, in his white kit (shudder) decided to rock the black shoes...
Just NO! And I see that the Big S made him ride the new Venge dumptruck...
Ugly, AND rides like crap. What's not to love?

Hopefully, the children will go back to school at some point this week, and I'll get to go check out The Powerstation. Wondering how big the washout will be? Hell, it might be big enough to just ride down into, and up & out of the other side.

Maybe we'll get back on a regular schedule around here....

06 October 2015

Quick update...

No riding going on. We live in South Carolina, which is currently under a Federal State of Emergency due to the rains and floods.
The ENTIRE State is under water. Homes are inundated. Dams are still breaching. Roads and bridges are simply washed away.
We had 20+ inches of rain at the weather station near my house. This was after it had already been raining for a solid week.
My town in is disarray. Some parts of the State are in far worse shape. It's pretty bad. The national news was here, put has done a pretty piss poor job of coverage, and telling the stories.
Life here will be affected for a long, long time.
If you want to see what's really going on, dial up WLTX News 19 on the intarwebs, or get on Twitter and search #scflood. 
Thankfully, we live on high ground, and suffered no damage. My family is all safe. We have power and a trickle of water.
I don't care who you pray to, or if you pray at all, but if you choose to hit your knees, or turn your face to the sun, say a word for the people here who have been hit extremely hard.
I don't want to make comparisons, but the scope of the damage will pan out to be on par with Katrina.

This is an underpass that I-77N crosses. The water is about 10-12 feet deep in this photo. The creek that flooded is about 400m to the left of this spot. Much of the land surrounding the creek, all the way from Northeast side of town, to the river, was under this much water.

A couple of bike things...
 The guys from Erirea prove that one doesn't need all of the high dollar BS associated with cycling. They were rocking Ultegra at Worlds.
Peto!! Come on man! White shorts. Ain't nobody got time for that!!

And with that, I get back to work...trying to help rebuild South Carolina.
Have a good Tuesday!

01 October 2015


So yeah, Hurricane Joaquin is churning out in the Atlantic right now. It's not forecast to hit SC, but we are expected to get 10-12" of rain. Yeah, that's not a typo...

Normally, I like pretty colors, but in this case, GFY Mother Nature. Seriously...
Working on the general assumption that there will be no riding outside. If I am forced onto the trainer, I won't be a happy monkey.
A thought DID occur to me though....
Are these flippers Keo compatible?
If there's a break in the rain, just enough to get out the door when it's not dumping down, I'm outside. It's just rain...and maybe some wind...you're not gonna melt.

I got out on the road bike this morning. Made the executive decision to lower the saddle on the Ridley. It just FEELS higher than the saddle on the Salsa. After about 20 minutes this morning, and feeling like I was tippy-toeing the pedals, I stopped, and knocked the saddle height down by 5mm. Doesn't sound like much, but with my back injury, I'm the Princess and the Pea.
Felt low at first, but after about 10 minutes, it was all good, and felt pretty much like the CX bike. Methinks I need to scooch it back a bit though. Yeah, I said scooch...
Knocked down an easy 90 minutes this morning, hit Service Course, and mowed the grass. #dadbrick

Last 40km of Worlds. You know you want to watch again...

And an open note :
Quit whinging about the coverage. It was fine. People who complain about having hours of cycling coverage on LIVE TV are spoiled, period.
The coverage was choppy at times because of how TV works.
The signal was taken for the motos, and shot to a helicopter, then back down to the truck, and out to us.
The helo cannot simply follow the race around city streets, thus, the signal gets interrupted but buildings, bridges, tunnels, etc.
And no, a fixed wing aircraft would make NO difference. In fact, in Richmond's case, it would likely be worse, because the plane must fly at higher altitudes, and be FURTHER frm the camera motos.
Welcome to the World of wireless TV signals.
The only way to get around it is static cameras that are hard-wired to the TV truck, and as it's not exactly a 4 corner crit, that ain't gonna work.
Be happy with the fact that we can watch cycling on TV, and on the intarwebs. It wasn't all that long ago that the only coverage we got was of the Tour...on Sunday...for an hour.
Now get off my lawn!!


And if anyone is in the market, my polished White Industries H1 hubs are on the 'Bay.
32 hole. Built once. Ti freehub. Spoke holes are in good shape. Smooth as butter on a bald monkey. Can't buy these anymore. 74g front/224g rear. Build into a light, stiff, bulletproof wheelset...

And a diet tip:

Peace out. If you live on the East Coast of the US, stay inside this weekend. If not, go outside and play!!