Sunday, January 30, 2011
Despite the 39 degree temps, peeling down was in order
The plan was to ride a little under 200 miles in January and do weights, core, and yoga. I've got 373 miles and good core and weights, but no yoga. My core is stronger and that is paying dividends every day. On Saturday the plan was to get some easy miles in with some riders from the Y. One thing led to another and it was a throwdown and I was all in. I needed to get home early, so when the we stopped to regroup after the big climb, I asked directions to get back to town and I took off solo.
I felt good in the drops and drilled it back to the car. When my core is strong and I feel loose, it feels like my top tube gets shorter and I settle down in the drops, slide back on my saddle and flip a switch that turns on the power.
A visit from Kyson and company is worth rushing home for...
After hammering yesterday, I was up for an easy spin today. One of my teammates sent out an email last night looking for any takers for a slower than usual pace. He didn't want to be alone if/when he dropped off the pace. Eight of us took off this cold morning, and one thing led to another and Hank and I found ourselves wheel to wheel charging up the hill. I was the lead out man for the official "unofficial" east side sprint and when Scott and Hank came around me, all I could do was watch.
On the return we stayed together, but the pace steadily ratcheted up and when we hit the last hill on Mercer it was on for one last time. Big John took off. Tim, Matthew, and Hank all gave chase and I jumped on too. With unexplained ease, I moved past the three attackers and tried to catch John's wheel. I couldn't close the gap, but I held it up the hill. I looked back to see the three other attackers had all realized catching John was impossible and had sat up. I could feel my legs burning all over. Hamstrings, quads, and calves were all screaming. I somehow took this as a good sign.
The rest of the ride was friendly and we stopped for coffee afterwards.
Smile, we're done !
After cleaning me, my clothes and the bike (in that order) I donned every piece of compression clothing I own and made lunch for Hottie and myself. For your information; I am such a believer in compression clothing, I expect I will be wearing compression Depends one day.
While watching the Winter X-games I heard 2010 was the year of the double cork. I don't have a name for 2011 yet, but I'll keep an open mind and see what happens.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Hottie rolling along
Hottie and I did a thirty mile ride recently. That is a new record since her back surgery a year ago. There was 1,450' of climbing and she didn't even flinch on the steep grade 26 miles into the ride.
Note the guy in the background that Hottie just dropped sitting up and peeling down after trying unsuccessfully to hang onto Hottie's fast moving wheel. It can be a cruel and competitive world out on the trail....
While I might give you the shirt off my back, I'm keeping these pants
I bought a pair of climbing pants back in the last millennium. They were supposed to be tough. I did in fact wear them climbing, I also wore them causally around the house. They are super comfortable. They are great for dog walking in cooler weather and anytime I want something more comfy than jeans. They became my after work pants several evenings each week. I did the math the other day and I estimate I have worn them over 1,500 times. I recently found them online and it says they are made of Nylon with a small percentage of Spandex. I had a pair of North Face pants made of Nylon that just sucked. Those quickly became painting pants.
These are the real deal. I rarely pay retail and I have no idea what I paid for these. Whatever it was, it was worth it. They dry fast, still look okay, keep their shape and don't seem to stain. Five of five for these.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Clean is beautiful !!
Eleven years ago I tried White Lightening chain lube. It went on clean looked to be the real deal. After just a few minutes of riding my drive train looked like I had ridden through an ocean of volcanic ash. I cleaned and re-applied and had the same result. To keep this brief I will simply tell you the same bottle is sitting in my garage at this moment. I quickly stopped using it.
Maintenance Prophet Lennard Zinn has proclaimed ProLink Gold to be the magic stuff and my limited testing of alternatives has given me no cause to doubt his proclamation. I have used it and turned on numerous friends to the wonderful liquid. I’ve tried Tri-flow, assorted lubes from Pedro’s, and the Rock and Roll stuff. For super wet conditions I may use some Pedro’s synthetic, otherwise I’m sticking with ProLink Gold.
At a cross race last season my teammate Kevin, with whom I share occasional tool and bike porn, pointed to a clean chain and told me of a new wonder lube. It is called “Squirt” and is made in South Africa. His chain looked clean compared to his rear cassette and I was curious. He said it was a wax based lube and I was predictably doubtful. Kevin has proven time and again to be knowledgeable, so I decided I would try it.
A few weeks later I obtained a small bottle and after dutifully cleaning my chain, cassette and rings, I gave it a try. Following the instructions I shook the bottle like crazy before applying, and dutifully dripped some on each link.
I reapplied the wax lube after a wet ride and had not yet formed an opinion. My next ride was long and wet and after I returned I decided to remove the chain so I could floss the cassette with a clean rag without the chain in the way.
The chain was gooey as if it had been lubed with bacon fat. Specifically it looked like bacon fat with dirt seasoning. The chain looked filthy and felt stiff. I didn’t have any frozen links, but it felt like the chain I pulled off a 1974 old Schwinn LeTour that sat idle for thirty years.
I cleaned the chain and put on some ProLink Gold. Then I repeated this process because it still looked dirty. Finally satisfied, I turned to the cassette. I flossed and flossed. I scrubbed with a brush and citrus degreaser. It still looked dirty. More flossing.
Nine years ago I regularly got schooled on rides by a guy named Felix. He road Campy equipped Italian bike with an eight speed cassette that was always black and dirty. I vowed never to let any bike get that dirty. My cassette was “Felix dirty.”
I pulled the wheel off and kept at it. I knew the cassette was silver in color and was determined to work until I saw that color again. Floss, brush, douse with degreaser, floss and repeat and repeat. Then on to the chainrings..
I’ve got half a bottle of Squirt you can have for cheap. And I’ll throw in the White Lightening as a bonus. If someone is reading this and can share some positive words about wax-based lubes, please tell me what I’m missing. Really.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
This picture has nothing to do with the post, but just try and stop me posting pictures of Kyson..
Tonight I was taking out the trash and I looked up through a break in the clouds at a beautiful full moon smiling down on me. Seeing the moon through the pine needles, made me harken back to the days when my Sierra Club membership was still active. As I was thinking about the world around me I realized I was wrestling a trash can sized can full of trash and a recycle bin sized bin also packed to the top with cardboard and cans. No doubt we get some Karma points for having a recycle bin bigger than our trash can, yet the volume of stuff that I was dragging out is unsettling. Our bins are pretty full every week, so this was really no different than any other week. The amount of stuff that comes into our home is scary. To think that when we take all that stuff out, the stuff that is then left over fills these cans.
I go back and forth between admiring entities that are exceptionally adept at separating people from their money, and despising them for doing so. Who needs $200 jeans? Nobody.
Sorry for the excess seriousness. I promise I will now return to my usual ride reports and equipment reviews.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
A window in Notre Dame cathedral
From time to time we have occasions for gut checks. We've got one here. At these moments we often reveal where we choose to place our faith.
A friend of mine puts his faith in technology. He enjoys a number of athletic endeavors including mountaineering. He believes safety can be founds in owning the best equipment. “Reassuringly expensive,” is a phrase that describes his approach to equipment choices. If he invested the time and energy he uses for equipment selection into improving the skills that could save his life, I believe his time would be more wisely spent.
I know many people who put their faith in control. They (wrongly in my opinion) believe that by controlling things they can keep their loved ones safe. Alarm systems, airbags, locks, cell phones, trust funds, etc. will make the difference.
Another person I know puts her faith in following the rules. Pay your bills on time, brush after every meal, floss and take your vitamins and you’ll never get cancer. Not a car in sight? Wait for the light to turn green. Follow all directions, drink lots of liquids and get plenty of rest.
Put your faith in God insists another friend. Trust your elected officials. Big brother knows best. Karma will sort things out. Rely on the kindness of others and everything will be okay.
A wise friend of mine shared some thoughts on the haves and have-nots. We generally all want to help those who can’t help themselves. On the other hand, we generally don’t want to help those who take advantage of the system and live off of the rest of us.
We see injustice in the world and try to understand it. We see tragedy and cannot make sense of it. I wonder if I am a coward for seeking to distance myself from the realities that I cannot explain. Is it worse to stare, or to look away?
At this same time, there is so much goodness in the world. Why aren’t we talking about that? The people who sacrifice and share what they have are amazing. Individuals from doctors to bike mechanics that dedicate their time to help others make a difference and remind us this world is a beautiful place.
I propose we put at least some of our faith in the human race. I believe that given the opportunity our neighbors will help us, and we will help our neighbors. I believe this world will be a better place if we populate it with people who can trust and rely on each other. No law or government can substitute for our conscience.
When you ask yourself why you should care about your neighbor, your answer will probably reveal where your faith is.