Doing it all the hard way...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Road Trip !

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...

Summer in the Northwest is an amazing time. With sunrise at five in the morning and sunsets after nine at night, there is plenty of time to play. The distraction of Hottie’s back healing meant it was mid-summer before we realized we hadn’t scheduled a real vacation. Hottie has been ready to go for a while; I guess I was the one that was distracted.

We elected to enjoy the summer here and take a trip after school started, but before Cyclocross got rolling. We have been to a lot of fun places together. On a bunch of those trips we have taken family and it was time for some Hottie and Evo time, so we’re off on our own.

Hottie is a pro at traveling and we make a great team. I confess I am excited.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Gluing Tubulars for Cyclocross the DAVO way

I am doing nothing more here than passing bits of knowledge that have come to me on to benefit others. The best way to glue tubulars for Cyclocross comes from Stu Thorne and can be found here Stu An alternative can be found here if you can’t find any Belgium tape CX Mag . Lennard Zinn has a treatise on the subject here Zinn .

My confession de jour is that when I glue, I am sloppy. So I have learned the following and it serves me well. Start by putting electrical tape on your braking surface all the way around. Do this on both sides. Electrical tape is perfect because it stretches enough that it won’t wrinkle and you can protect the surface from errant glue. Then just because I am a slob, I put blue painters tape on the remaining rim surface. If you have way cool carbon rims, why make them ugly with glue? Yeah, nobody plans on getting glue on the carbon, it just happens. It just happens unless you cover the rim with blue tape. If you get really good you can just put in on one side, and on that side just on the half opposite the valve stem. If you follow anyone’s gluing method, you will understand why the blue tape can go just in that one place.

Then when you are applying glue to your rim in a wheel stand, you can make sure everything is covered. I use a lot of glue. My wheels stay on. I am not planning on changing anything. Got it ? Good.

Another precaution I take is I have my box of blue gloves handy and change gloves often during the process.

After all appears good (like in 24 hours), then put in some sealant, Evo prefers CaffeeLatex if you must know. And if you have expensive sidewalls, don’t forget the Aquaseal.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blood, Sweat and Tears 2010

This poor fellow is about to experience all three at once.
I donated blood yesterday. That was not the smart thing to do for training; but my performance really doesn’t matter. I think Hottie will still like me no matter where I finish.

I’m over three thousand miles for 2010. That includes running miles and trainer miles, but those still count as three thousand miles of sweat. I am trying to focus on quality, so we’ll see.

On closer examination; those aren’t tears. It appears to be water from a Hawaii beach on my cheek. Maybe I was just dreaming. Maybe not.

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's a bike. It knows what to do

Just taking a break..

My Cyclocross team has a regular Sunday morning ride. The ride actually pre dates the formation of the team. Our team is somewhat unique, in that we are a Cyclocross team with a handful of guys that do road racing. There are a bunch of teams that have dozens and dozens of road or track riders and a handful of those guys and gals who do cross. We enjoy a love hate relationship with the other local teams. To some we are the embarrassing cousins from West Virginia because we are Cyclocross focused and cross is viewed by many as the red-headed stepchild of cycling. Those who have ridden or raced with our team know us as nice guys who ride fast (Evo excepted) with a degree of socially responsibility.

This past Sunday it was raining at the appointed time. Typically we can get upwards of fourteen souls for one of these rides in August. By contrast we usually have five or so in February. Our brief summer seems to be sputtering out just as it got started, so we are all looking toward late September and the beginning of the greatest sporting event on earth; Cyclocross.

Imagine my surprise when big John and Evo were the only two to roll out yesterday. We enjoyed a wet, but social, ride around the island. It reminded me of what a great guy John is. Maybe we’re all good guys and we just forget it when we are trying to kill each other as we roll around Mercer Island.

We got wet, but heck, there are worse things. It is just fun to ride a bike. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in minutia.

Today after spin class I was talking to Spinner John about Cyclocross and we started getting all excited talking about bike handling technique. Then I uttered the greatest advice I’ve ever heard about technique; and a phrase I have shared so much it could easily be mistaken for my own. “It’s a bike. It knows what to do.” We so often over-think the perfect line, or angle of attack; we forget the wheels are round and if we point them where we want to go, the bike can usually get us there despite our intrepadation.

So my message to you is just go and ride. It will probably be fun, and I promise you, the bike knows what to do.

Just hang on and SMILE !!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Chris King Hub and DT Swiss 465 Rim Review

In all its celestial glory !!

As my loyal readership recalls, an untimely component failure forced to Evo to make an emergency upgrade last month. The resulting rear wheel is comprised of a Chris King Classic Cyclocross hub, DT Swiss 14/15 gauge double butted spokes and a DT Swiss 465 700c rim. The Cyclocross hub is essentially a CK classic hub with a larger non drive side hub flange. The spokes are the absolute classic road wheel spokes: and I have 32 of them, laced in a 3x pattern. Some might say my selection is bland and boring, I prefer to call it proven and sturdy. The rim is the same ones I have on my Seven and they are excellent.

I laced the wheel with pretty high tension and I did a good job of de-stressing the spokes during the process. The wheel is so solid it is scary. CK boasts about the 19.5mm diameter axle as if God whispered in Mr. King’s ear that this was the size to have. Maybe it is the axle, maybe it is the materials, maybe it is the precision; but whatever it is, it works.

I readjusted the bearing preload after lacing the wheel; just like the manual said. I did notice slightly more drag than I would have liked, but much less than I expected after reading owner comments on the web. Kevin commented that the increased drag for the first forty hours was probably still better than most other wheels in their prime. The solid feeling seemed to justify the trade off. I built this wheel just before our Oregon coast odyssey. As the trip progressed the wheel broke in, and my affection grew stronger.

The fabled sound was neither excessively loud nor offensive. In fact, it came to be a sound that was savored. Kevin, my brother in all things non-Shimano, was particularly smitten by the sweet sound of the angry bee. I have since noted that Hottie’s Campagnolo hub yields a much louder clicking sound. Hottie remains true to the Italian brand shunning any conversation that entertains any other component supplier. Likewise my DT Swiss Hubs have a loud and crisp sound.

The rim is equally solid and remains true. I opted for the all silver rims to retain the decidedly classic appearance of my steel bike. I am torn between bragging about the fine wheel I have built and trying to remain humble and grateful for being able to ride such a fine wheel.

ATMO (According to my opinion) these hubs and rims set the standard by which all others are judged.
Five out of five Evos.

Training update: July… Cyclocross in sight

Using my head..

Yes I realize August is a strange time for a July update.

At the end of June I crashed during a race while riding my beloved Cyclocross bike. It turns out that not only did I dent my Bike frame; I cracked some of my ribs which took the rest of June and all of July to heal. When the initial cuts and bruises healed I found that certain movements REALLY hurt. I contacted my most excellent doctor who confirmed my suspicions of cracked ribs. What was weird was certain movements were just fine. I could shovel rocks just fine, but raking killed me. I could ride seated, (provided I didn’t breathe too deep) and I was okay. Standing on the pedals was painful. No weight training for July.

The first of August I was riding along the Oregon coast as part of our team’s mandatory training camp. I felt strong once again; I just needed to increase my intensity. After a few days of post trip recovery, I went on the Sunday morning team ride along with fellow training camp veterans Sam and Marc. When it came time to pick up the pace my legs were dead. Sam also chose the better part of valor that day. Hard to imagine that 340 miles in four days with climbing and sprints (all with panniers on the bike) would take such a toll… Maybe it is not too hard to imagine after all. Did I mention I’m fifty freakin’ years old?

A few more days of easy riding was in order.

So I returned to the weights after seven weeks away. I seemed to forget I had missed a day and I foolishly jumped in and killed myself again. My shoulders and back were burning when I left the gym. By dinnertime I was listing to the side and rummaging in drawers for drugs. A few more days of easy rides seemed smart. The weekend in Pullman was well timed.

I am now finally back on the training program which includes weights and intervals. I noted that my year to date mileage is more than my total annual mileage for every year except 2008 and 2009. My increased annual mileages seem to correlate with decreased performance, so I am trying to be very careful this year and follow a training plan that emphasizes quality over quantity.

My plan had me starting my intervals in July, so I am behind, but I do think I have a decent base to build from. Drawing upon my decades of running experience, intervals get me in shape quickly. Flexibility remains my holy grail. My big four are, in order, flexibility, recovery, weights, and intervals. If I really want to get serious I will cut out cookies. I will wait and make sure that cutting out cookies is really necessary before taking such a drastic step.

Cyclocross is just around the corner. Sam sent out an email lamenting the “Nasty sun,” and reminding the team that the mud will be here soon. My repaired frame should arrive any day now and I am trying out a set of deep section carbon wheels this season. They are way too good for me, but through an amazing chain of events I get to ride on them. I have some tubulars on order to glue to the carbon wheels and I should be set for the season.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pullman Weekend

Sweeties in wheaties

My oldest son, Zach got married to a wonderful woman on August 7th. His bride was born in, and wisely moved away from, Pullman, Washington. Her folks made the long drive from Pullman for the wedding in Seattle. Hottie and I gladly hosted them for a BBQ the day before the wedding and that went well enough. To address the family and friends in Pullman who were unable to make the trek across the mountains, there was a reception encore in Pullman this past weekend. Hottie and I made the trip to support Zach and Julie.

The happy couple in between the happy couple..

Hottie spent four years in Pullman while she attended Washington State University. She had not been back since her sister graduated twenty-some years ago. We split the drive over into two chunks spending Friday night part way and arriving relaxed before lunchtime Saturday. The scenery for our drive was beautiful: golden, rolling wheat fields below cloudless blue skies.

We opted for a short bike ride to Idaho and back. After cleaning up we went to Idaho for cheap gas and dinner. The reception was in the evening and the mix was entertaining.

We rode to Idaho and back !

Sunday morning we were on the bikes a little past eight and the temperature was perfect. We snapped these shots of an unhurried ride.

The day required only a light embrocation..

Fun riding !

After cleaning up we loaded the war wagon and made for the coast. We were loaded down with gifts from the wedding. Sadly, none were for us..

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Peloton of Discovery ..Coast Trip 2010

Enjoying the ride

In answer to an intentionally vague invitation; five foolhardy souls departed Seattle on the last day of July via a southbound train for an unsupported bicycle trip. We arrived, mid morning, in Kelso, Washington, and attached bags to our bikes and set off to the west.

Our destination for the day was Astoria, Oregon. Along the way we visited a museum in Stella, Washington, where we viewed this spin bike from the last century.

Spin bike circa 1900..

As we approached Cathlamet, Kevin broke from the line and sprinted for the city limit sign. There was an unspoken, but highly competitive, race for every town sign on this trip.

We were delighted to turn off highway 4, and crossed the Columbia by a tiny ferry into Oregon and made our way to Astoria getting off of highway 30 wherever we could. We found our hotel and with military precision we set about multi-tasking. One person showered while another strung up a make shift clothesline and a third washed his cycling clothes. When the second person showered someone bought chips and drinks from the local store. In no time we were clean, clothes were drying, and we were on the hunt for dinner. This post ride routine was repeated every night.

Wise words

The next morning we had a breakfast appropriate for riding eighty plus miles. A bowl of oatmeal the size of my head and magic waffles sold only on weekends. Sam apparently is powered by some kind of bio-fuel as he had biscuits and gravy with sausage and bacon.

Ask about Waffles...

Leaving Astoria we began our journey on the Oregon Coast Bike Route (OCBR). The sun started playing peek-a-boo and we were delighted to be rolling along. We hit Cannon Beach where Sam had his clicking pedal diagnosed. Ignore it until you get home was Mike’s advice. Not long after this Marc forgot how strong he was and snapped the spring on his pedal requiring a quick return to Mikes Bikes in Cannon Beach for a replacement.

Pausing to frolic on the beach..

Further along we stopped in Manzanita and enjoyed a sandwich and picked up some carrots from a fruit stand.

Vitamins are critical to riding success

Along the coast we had some intense climbs and a race through a tunnel that was intimidating enough without a downshifting log truck pretending to be a Saturn Five rocket scaring the biscuits out of us. We descended into Tillamook with Sam leading a breakaway for the sprint points. Over the course of the trip we all took turns bonking and recovering and this afternoon it was Marc’s turn. After a salty afternoon snack we began the Three Capes Loop off of 101. Sam took to the front and battled a fierce headwind nearly all the way to the point. At the point we turned left and began a steep climb on horrible pavement in a dark forest. On and on we rode. We strung out as we accumulated feet and put distance behind us. After what seemed like thirty minutes of hard, out of the saddle climbing in our lowest gears, we spotted a mile marker with the number one on it. Profanity broke the silence in the forest as one by one we labored past the foreboding sign. Matthew alone seemed unaffected by gravity on this trip and he took the KOM jersey early and never relinquished it.


Someone suggested I carry a lucky rock….

Eventually the climb leveled out and after a quick descent we had a final steep climb that was the sting in the tail. On this climb Evo went from the front of the train to the back. Soon we were in Oceanside where we found a room, swam in the Pacific and enjoyed an excellent meal. We covered eighty plus miles on the day. Climbs, sprints and full panniers made it a hard ride.

Invigorated cyclists..

Ready to roll

Monday we departed Oceanside knowing we would have a long day in the saddle. Near a lighthouse beeps signaled phone reception and we stopped to register for Starcrossed.

Starcrossed sign up....

We continued south and took a diversion on highway 229. Although it added miles on an already long day, it was a beautiful ride along a river and we were pacelining at 24 miles an hour on flat roads. It wasn’t actually a paceline because Marc never moved off the front. It was, I guess, a Marcline. Evo just tucked in and hung on. We stopped in Siletz and refueled. Down to Newport it was Kevin’s turn to bring in some reality. It didn’t take long for Kevin to recover and claim even more sprint points to tighten his grip on the green jersey.

Behind the Marcline. Go baby go !

Past Newport we blazed along 101 on rollers with a tailwind coming from our right and traffic on our left. The clouds were moving back in and the temperature felt like it had dropped ten degrees. Despite having over a hundred miles in our legs on the day, upon seeing the Waldsport sign on the bridge into town our sprinters contested the final points on the day. Ten minutes later we found a hotel with room for us.

Waldsport sprint

We went looking for good food and ended up just finding food. There was a slight drizzle in the evening, but we were too tired to care. As it happened our room had handicapped rails in the bathroom. We were tired and were glad they were there. We slept like furniture.

Good Morning. It's wet.

Tuesday morning we awoke to wet ground and drizzle. We made our way to the recommended breakfast spot. We visited with the locals and got as much information as we could about our route options for the day. Like Dad always said, “When in doubt, listen to the man with the chicken on his head.” I pulled out my camera for this podium shot.

What can I say ?

Despite some ominous warnings we rolled the forty miles into Alsea without incident. Following our hundred plus mile day, most of us agreed eighty was a good daily distance. My legs didn’t feel okay until thirty five miles into the days ride. Just before Alsea we came across this covered bridge. Matthew was feeling the effects of too many Luna bars as he made sure I included the wild flowers in my bridge picture. It had taken thirty miles to break free of the clouds and fog and we were in pure sunshine.

Evo in the Sun

Covered bridge near Alsea

I had heard that you should never eat prepared food from a store that sells bait. Sam apparently did not share this belief and demonstrated once more that he runs on a different fuel as he had two pieces of pizza from the Alsea grocery store.

We left Alsea and found a road with fresh pavement that wound through a quiet forest to Alsea falls. This was the stuff of bicycle touring brochures. Perfect temperatures, filtered sunlight, and great companions; it was a day to be remembered.

Kev and Sam climbing to Alsea Falls

We paused at the falls to chill our bodies and scare women.

Don’t look !

After swimming a woman came to ask if the water was cold. Without saying a word she turned and left, her question apparently answered.

The descent from the falls brought us to the central valley and we found a quiet route to Eugene along River Road. We enjoyed some victory drinks as we approached the end of our odyssey.

Like riding into Paris..

We ended with eighty-eight miles on the day and three-hundred and forty for the four days of riding. Kevin was a tad grumpy because Edith apparently stole Kevin’s swimsuit while we were at the Sweet Shop enjoying pecan rolls and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Maillot Jaune - Sam
Maillot Vert - Kevin
Maillot Blanc - Marc
King of the Mountain Matthew
Maillot Gris - Davo

Mentally refreshed, physically exhaused