Hot Hot Heat

July 30th, 2010 [print] No comments

It seems Missouri is either getting dumped on with ridiculous rain storms, or we’re trying to dry out with triple-digit temps.  The humidity has been a pretty consistent 70% or above for most of July, so even when it’s under 90°, it still feels like it’s well over 100°.  I don’t mind the heat or the humidity, although I wouldn’t complain if it’d cool down for a week or so, but what I do mind is a new thing phenomenon I’ve never dealt with before.

With this being my first summer on a road bike–as opposed to a mountain bike with semi-slick tires–I’ve picked up a new annoyance:  once we hit 100° or more, my Maxxis Re-Fuse tires turn from rubber to glue, and begin picking up tiny pebbles as I roll over them.  The hotter it is, the worse it is, and last Tuesday’s ride was the worst so far.

Click for larger image

That rock is not just sitting on top of the tire, it’s practically glued to it (it’s a little larger than most of them, but it made for a good photo).  Rolling along, I’ll begin to hear a tick-tick-tick noise as my tires conform to the shape of pebbles, and the only way to get them to break loose is to stop and flick them off.  It always happens that the flat side of the rock has enough smooth surface area to become stuck, but I worry they’ll eventually work themselves through the rubber and puncture an innertube.  The tires are left with permanent marks on them at the point of contact, but appear no worse for the wear.

On the positive side, the Maxxis tires are holding up well, and so far, I’ve only had one serious puncture (I lost my rear tire to a screw of some sort in May and had to buy a replacement, but not before patching the tube and doing a century, plus 200 more miles on a tire with a hole in it!).  Next week we’re supposed to have 100+ heat indexes for a few days straight, so it looks like I’m going to be in for a lot of this crap for quite a while still.

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags:

Friday Links

July 29th, 2010 [print] No comments

I’m going to try to get in the habit every Friday of posting links I find throughout the week.  It’ll go a lil’ sumthin like this:

 

Traffic Master Jersey via Cyclelicious

Great things about to come from Sette Bikes via MtnBikeRiders

Shop Updates and Projects via Winter Bicycles

The Vintage Mountain Biker via Singletracks

Loving the Bike T-shirts via Lovingthebike

Felt 2011 road bikes via BikeRadar

Dave Weagle Awarded Split Pivot Patent via BikeRadar

Bishop Bikes’ Photostream via Flickr

Creating an Off-Road Conversion via 650B Palace

Michelin Tire Sweepstakes via Lovingthebike

 

I’ll try to get a longer list next time, but it’s time to get some sleep.

 

Edit:  back with more links…

Bicycle via Hyperbole and a Half

Proposed Bike Path Restaurant Inaccessible by Automobile via Wisconsin State Journal

Floyd Landis: ‘I Saw Armstrong Using Drugs’ via Fanhouse

and… Cycling Fans Root for Dopers to Get Caught via The New York Times

Monkey Light via MonkeyLectric

 

Okay, done for reals this time.

Categories: Links, News Tags:

EighthInch Scrambler V3

July 26th, 2010 [print] No comments

I’m really happy with my EighthInch Scrambler V2 road frame–great compliancy, stiff bottom bracket, strong, but on the heavy side–but now its replacement is coming (not for me; I plan to build my own frame eventually).  Today, EighthInch opened up pre-order sales for the new, improved Scrambler V3 frameset for $170.

EighthInch Scrambler V3 - Click for larger image

The new frame has laser-cut drop-outs, as opposed to the stamped ones on the V2.  It also comes with rear brake cable mounts, which the V2 lacks completely.  Instead of using typical braze-ons, though, they’re using the type you normally find on mountain bikes for attaching hydraulic brake lines (like this), that require full brake housings and a zip-tie.  Either system works fine, but I prefer the typical type of braze-on, where you don’t have to run full housings, and save a few grams of weight.  The upside to using full housings, though, is that your cables stay cleaner if you ride in wet conditions.

The V2 came in satin black or glossy white, but the V3 adds Raw to the color mix.  If you don’t drool at the sight of a raw steel frame (w/ clearcoat), then I pretty much don’t want to be your friend.  The downside is, clearcoat doesn’t stick to steel as well as primer and paint do, so you’ll have to keep an eye on it or risk eventual rust.

Check out the EighthInch blog for more info or to get a pre-order in:  http://eighthinch.wordpress.com/

Categories: News Tags: , , ,

Show-Me State Games MTB Race Canceled

July 24th, 2010 [print] No comments

Canceled

We got hit with rain the night before the mountain bike race, so park officials have canceled the race.  It sucks for me, since I’ve been planning to have this be my first race for an entire year now.  But, it also sucks for all the racers who traveled to Columbia, MO from around the state, only to have to drive back tomorrow without having had a fun race.  I guess I’ll see you all out there next year, and maybe the weather will be a little more cooperative.

I headed out there tonight–the night before the event–to see how well the trail had been cleaned up over the previous week.  The park crew did an excellent job re-routing parts of Deer Run trail that had been damaged due to fallen trees, as well as a swelling creek that has come a little too close to the edge of the trail.  I was really impressed with the effort, since they’ve apparently worked O.T. just to get everything in order; even more so considering we’ve had triple-digit heat indexes over the same time period every single day.

In the middle of my ride, I came up on the Walt’s crew as they marked the race course, and Sarah–the race commissioner–said she hoped she wasn’t putting the markers up in vain.  Twenty minutes later, the trail went extremely dark, thunder picked up in the near distance, and an out-of-town racer and I left the rest of the crew to head to our cars.  I hopped in mine literally the second a monsoon hit, flipped on the A/C, dried off, and waited for the rain to back off enough that I could see past the nose of my car.  I finally drove home at half the posted speed limit, barely able to make out the roads, disappointed that I missed what would have been my first race, but glad that I had a thrilling final practice ride.

Categories: Cycling, Missouri, MTB, News Tags: ,

Handlebar WTF

July 23rd, 2010 [print] No comments

There’s really not a whole lot to say about this, but the owner sure wins points for originality/lack of ergonomics.  Seen in NYC.

Click for larger image

Via Slice Harvester on TweetPhoto

Categories: Photos Tags: , ,

Lucas Brunelle – Line of Sight

July 23rd, 2010 [print] No comments

Man, I love me some Lucas Brunelle.  Although I’m not as masochistic as he is, his NYC videos are what made me want to ride that city as bad as I did.  In fact, I’m not exaggerating when I say the single best ride I’ve ever had was along the coast of Brooklyn, and up through Manhattan after dark last April, weaving in an out of traffic and sprinting down open streets.  Most of my day rides also came close to that much fun, even the one that ended on a bad note.  I don’t know if I would have had such a lust for riding through NYC had I not spent a couple years watching Lucas’ videos as they showed up online.

Anyway, he now has an upcoming DVD of some great rides throughout some of the world’s busiest cities, called Line of Sight.  Check out the trailer below to get an idea of what’s to come…

If you want to know when the DVD becomes available in October 2010, check his website:  http://www.digave.com/

Categories: Videos Tags: ,

Bad Idea of the Day: Spin Scooter

July 22nd, 2010 [print] No comments

Whatever you do, don’t build this thing:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-the-SpinScooter/

I think the builder sums it up best with this:

"…and sometimes these creations fail, either in a huge flop, or a blaze of glory where the crash test pilot becomes acquainted with the pavement."

On second thought, build it and send me a link to your initial test drive.

Via:  Instructables

Categories: How To Tags:

Tato CSSB Commuter Bike

July 21st, 2010 [print] No comments

Upstart Swiss bicycle maker, Tato, has revealed a new commuter bike with a cool solution for carrying your stuff.

Instead of using a messenger bag, backpack or pannier system, they’ve designed a frame with room inside the front triangle that’s large enough for a briefcase, laptop, or anything else that can fit the 15.75" x 12.5" x 3.75" slot.  The top tube is a split design–called Central Storage System for Bikes, or CSSB–allowing you to just slip your cargo into the frame and ride off.

The $1,500 bike comes with a Shimano Deore drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and your choice of rigid or suspension fork.  Personally, I’d like to see more aggressive road bike geometry and a drop bar (or bullhorns), and rear axle dropouts that allow for a singlespeed set-up.  That aside, it’s a pretty interesting concept, and I wouldn’t be surprised if smaller builders mimicked the split top tube (it can’t possibly be patentable, can it?).

Tato Commuter Bike - http://tato.li/cssb/

Tato Commuter Bike - http://tato.li/cssb/

Link:  http://tato.li/cssb/

Categories: Miscellaneous, News Tags: ,

SMSG MTB Race Hanging By A Thread

July 21st, 2010 [print] No comments

Per my previous post, there’s a chance the 2010 Show-Me State Games mountain bike race won’t happen if the rain doesn’t stop.  I emailed an event organizer yesterday about whether the race might be canceled or postponed, and here’s the response she gave me:

"The park folks are supposed to let me know on Sat afternoon if they are going to cancel the race.  They are a bit more lenient because they really don’t want to have to cancel it.  If it is wet there isn’t a rain date for the race, so there just won’t be a race this year. "

Mid-Missouri was hit with a huge storm on Sunday, and then another on Monday night, into Tuesday morning.  More is expected for the weekend.  I’ve been planning this race for a year, so this pretty much sucks.

Categories: Cycling, Missouri, MTB Tags: , ,

Racing, Rain and Tires

July 19th, 2010 [print] No comments

BAH!

That’s what I have to say about Missouri’s increasingly wetter July’s.  We had a nice, dry run through the latter parts of June and early July, but now the storms are here again.  Normally, I’d just be annoyed, but this time I’m getting pissed.

The Show-Me State Games MTB race is less than a week away, and the forecast is grim for race day, with a good chance of showers.  However, if it’s dry enough to race, I doubt it’ll be called off.  What this means for me is, my proven fastest tire choice has to be tossed out, and I have to prepare for sloppy conditions.

I discovered last Fall that my fastest tire set-up happened to be a skinny 1.8" Kenda Klimax Lite in the rear, with a 2.1" Nevegal up front.  The rear spins up quickly for sprints, while the front adds extra suspension (at 25psi) and better braking.  So long as I keep my ass planted in the saddle, the rear’s excellent L3R compound gives it plenty of grip, despite a lack of tread.  However, that only helps if it’s dry… which it most likely won’t be.

My options are this:  keep the current tire set-up, have less weight in the back, but less grip and braking in the mud.  Or, put on a heavier tire, lose some speed in the flat areas due to weight, but have ridiculous climbing grip.  Light weight is worthless if I’m just spinning my tire, so I’ve gone the heavier route.

Click for larger image Click for larger image

Enter, my new set-up:  the 2.1" Nevegal in the rear, with an old and proven 2.35" Kinetics Stick-E up front.  In the past, I’ve run a pair of Kinetics Stick-Es, and nothing has ever come close to the grip they offer in slick stuff, which Rock Bridge park is full of.  The braking grip of the front tire–even with my antiquated rim brakes–will just about pop your eye sockets out.  I’ve never run the Nevegal in the rear, but it seems to have performance matching the Kinetics, only at a lighter weight.  Since I have no time to order something else, this is going to have to do.

In the mean time, I’m going to pine for the old days of dry, horribly hot Missouri summers, where we’d go for weeks without rain at times.  It makes the trails more predictable, and for my first race, I could really use that.

Categories: Cycling, Missouri, MTB Tags: , , ,