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Haven't Posted in a While

January 23rd, 2010 [print] Go to comments

I seem to neglect this website more than I’d like to, nowadays.  I’m still actively riding–when it’s dry outside–so between that, work, posting photos on Flickr, and everything else, this website rarely crosses my mind.

Typically, I don’t ride much over the winter months, with the occasional exception being a rare 50° day in January or February, but this year I decided I was going to ride no matter how cold it got.  Through some trial and error, I found a system that keeps me warm enough to ride, without making me feel too bogged down under heavy clothes.  To plug a great product, I’d have to say the biggest help in staying warm has been a pair of Performance neoprene booties that fit over my cycling shoes.  I’d link to the product, only I hear they’ve been discontinued.  However, there are other geat models on the market, so I’d suggest you find something that fits your shoes and get back out there and ride–don’t forget the wool socks!

If you can get over the first five minutes of a cold ride, you’ll be good to go for at least a couple hours, and it sure beats sitting inside all day.

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I usually don’t make New Year’s resolutions that I plan on sticking to, but this year is going to be a little different.  What began as two resolutions has now turned into three, and I plan on seeing them all through…

Compete/Win

In all my years of riding–1998 to present–I’ve never raced.  Sure, I race myself, cars, angry dogs, and the occasional roadie who doesn’t realize I’m racing until I pass him, but I’ve never entered an official race.  After watching a couple friends of mine race in the Show-Me State Games last summer, though, I decided to give it a shot in summer of 2010.  I spent the end of the summer practicing on the local course where the races took place, dialing in my bike via tire changes, tire pressure, and even swapping from my rigid fork to a cushy one with 100mm of travel.  As I watched my times get better–especially after the fork swap–I realized I’d have a shot at winning, or at least finishing very near the top of my class.

So, race it is!  I may win, I may finish mid-pack, or I may end up with a broken bike and a DNF.  But however it turns out, it gives me something to focus on and strive toward, instead of just going for the same old casual–if not fast–rides I’ve always done in the past.  Goals seem to make the rides far more involving and entertaining, and maybe the focus will keep me from getting burned out while still riding the same old trails I’ve been on for the last decade.

Build a Frame

I’ve always preferred building things on my own, as my project pages can attest to.  The same holds true for my bikes, which I build up from scratch, picking out each part on my own, and making the rides totally custom.  This last fall, I bought a fully assembled EighthInch Scrambler road bike, and it wasn’t long before I was swapping the seat, seatpost, tires, pedals, etc.  In fact, I plan on doing a wheel build this winter so I can replace the tank-like deep-V rims and straight-gauge spokes that weigh the bike down so much.  But as much fun as assembling a bike is, it’s no longer enough.

For 2010, I’m going to build my first bike frame, using the Scrambler frame as a template since I like the fit.  I’m already in the process of educating myself as to how it’s done, as well as different methods of joining steel tubing, and I plan to slowly buy the tools and build the jig I’ll need to do it right.  Of course, like all my other projects, I’m going to complicate the process by throwing in a few tricks to make the job totally custom, such as an integrated seat mast, internal cable routing, and custom graphics, perhaps more.  I’ve never welded or brazed in my life, so this is going to be a really fun learning experience, and I hope to have a rideable frame when I’m all done.  I also have a couple mods I’d like to do to the Scrambler, as well as give it a prettier paint job.

Leave Home

Columbia, MO is a great city for riding, from all the singletrack to the endless rolling hills on the roads, and I’ve been very fortunate to spend my biking life in an area that offers so much in the way of riding.  However, I rarely ride anywhere else.  A couple years back, I discovered Binder Lake in Jefferson City, with some of the best singletrack in Missouri, but other than that, I pretty much just always hit the same trails and roads in the city I grew up in.  This year, I’ve decided I need to ride as many new places as I can.

Jefferson City has even more incredible hills than Columbia, and it’s about time I take my singlespeed road bike down there to see if I can conquer them all.  In the spring, I’ll be going to NYC to visit my sister, so I’ll be taking my bike with me and experiencing what that city has to offer.  I also want to ride Chicago, perhaps Memphis, downtown Kansas City, parts of St. Louis, and whatever else I can think of that doesn’t involve driving more than a few hours.  I still loving riding Columbia, but I think I’ll love it even more after experiencing what a few other places have to offer.  And so I don’t get too tired of my road bike, I’m going to head south in Missouri and ride some of the mountainous singletrack that I’ve heard so much about.

2009 was a great year for riding, with lots of new experiences that I should have had way before then, but I’m going to try to make 2010 even better.

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