8 Days ‘Til Race Day

July 17th, 2010 [print] No comments

Show-Me State Games

The 2010 Show-Me State Games mountain bike race is next Sunday on the 25th.  I told myself last summer that I’d race this year, and now it’s getting close.

I checked out the condition of the race course a couple weeks back, and it was in really bad shape.  I think I had to dismount and climb over 5-6 trees, and there’s a really deep gully where there used to be only a small, very shallow ditch; it’s deep, and I can see riders going over their bars if they’re unprepared for it.  It’s basically hidden around a corner, and you don’t know it’s there until you’re right on top of it.  Also, where Deer Run trail runs along a creek, the trail is dangerously close to the edge in a couple spots.  Normally, people like to point at bikers for trail destruction, but this is entirely weather related.

Over the last two years, mid-Missouri has been hit with one rain storm after another, especially in Spring and Fall.  The creek is continuing to widen as the dirt gets loose, and massive trees are falling into it.

Open on Flickr Open on Flickr

In two places where the trail used to come within a couple feet of the edge, it’s now literally on the very edge, and it doesn’t help that in both spots, the trail is curved.  Racers unfamiliar with the trail could easily over-cook it and head right over the edge, which is about a 10ft drop into the creek.  To make matters worse, the hardpack top soil is gone, replaced by 2" deep sand.

I went back out this week, and noticed a lot of the fallen trees have been removed, but there’s still one that forces a dismount.  I had my loppers with me and cut off all the eye-gouging branches that jut out from it, but the tree was too large for me to remove.  There’s another broken tree on the newer trail that the Boy Scouts made back in ’08, with a huge, pointed section of tree that you have to lean sideways as you pass to avoid getting hit in the face.

Assuming the course stays relatively dry, and the hazards are cleaned up in time, I’ll be out there next Sunday ready to race.  It’s my first race, so I’ll be in the 30-39 Beginner class.  I’d like to win, but it’s really about getting over my first race that I’m focused on.  After this one, I’ll probably join the Sport class next year, and finish mid-pack or lower.  I won’t be too concerned with it, I just want to finish well this time around.  Wish me luck.


Categories: Cycling, Missouri Tags: ,

Practice Frames

July 14th, 2010 [print] No comments

One of my resolutions this year was to learn how to build my own bike frame.  I have pretty much no idea what I’m doing–story of my life–but I’ve always been able to figure things out for myself pretty well with patience, reading, and practice.

My first frame is going to be based off the geometry of my EighthInch Scrambler frame, set up as either a singlespeed, or maybe a 3-speed with a Shimano Nexus hub.  Fortunately, I have plenty of time to make up my mind about that, since I have exactly zero seconds worth of torch time so far.  But… that’s about to change.

I got a handful of crappy old steel frames to use as torch victims, and my first project will be to learn how to attach small braze-on parts, such as bottle holders, seatpost clamps, and an internal cable routing guide.  After I get to the point that my work looks decent, and not like a pile of semi-retarded garbage, I’ll turn my torch toward something a little nicer.

For the time being, these pieces of crap need to be stripped of their paint, sanded, read their rights, and then shown a little pain.

Click for larger image

Categories: Frame Building Tags: , ,

Bicycle Rush Hour in The Netherlands

July 13th, 2010 [print] No comments

There are few things I wish the U.S. would copy from Europe–Spain’s racism, the U.K.’s nanny state, and everything about France among the ones I’m glad we don’t–but I do wish we had a better system set up in cities for cycling commuters.

"Morning rush hour in the 4th largest city in the Netherlands. Streets look like this when 33% of ALL trips are made by bicycle!

This is an ordinary Wednesday morning in April 2010 at around 8.30 am. Original time was 8 minutes that were compressed into 2 minutes, so everything is 4 times faster than in reality. The sound is original.

This is one of the busiest junctions in Utrecht a city with a population of 300,000. No less than 18,000 bicycles and 2,500 buses pass here every day. And yet Google Street View missed it. Because private motorized traffic is restricted here.

These cyclists cross a one way bus lane (also used by taxis and municipal vehicles), two light rail tracks and then a one way street that can be used by private vehicles.

Behind the camera is a railway (you can hear the squeaking sounds of the trains passing) and the main railway station is very close too. A number of rental bikes from the station pass and many of the cyclists will have come by train for the first part of their commute."

Via YouTube

Categories: Videos Tags:

A Beautiful Day for Dehydration

July 11th, 2010 [print] No comments

Sinclair Road, Columbia, MO

With all the rain we’ve been getting in mid-Missouri lately, I’ve been sticking mostly to the road.  Saturday was beautiful–humid, but low-80s and sunny–so I decided I’d do a 50mi ride to make up for all the missed rides (due to rain) throughout the week.

My mistake was heading out the door without enough water.  I had my Camelbak about half full, which meant maybe 40-50oz of water at most, which seemed fine at the time.  As it turned out, the humidity drained me pretty quickly, even though I never seemed to sweat much.

Around the 30mi mark, I noticed my Camelbak was getting pretty light, so I backed off on how much I was drinking in order to preserve what I had left.  My mouth and throat were getting dry, too, but not so much so that it was bothering me too much.  By mile forty-nine, the water ran out.  I was within a few blocks of home, and even passed my street and added a couple extra cool down miles to the ride since I wasn’t going to be leaving the general area again.  I finally got home after 52½ miles, put my bike up and headed to the shower, where my quads began to scream…

You’d think after 12 years of this crap, I’d have learned my lesson by now, but I guess I haven’t.  I weighed myself at 138.6lbs, four pounds less than before I left for the ride.  So, even though I guzzled about 3lbs of water on my ride, I guess I lost 7lbs over the length of it.  Anyway, 1 Gatorade, a large whey protein drink, and a bunch of water (and Dr. Pepper) later, I felt fine, and my quads were no longer burning and cramping.  I lucked out and didn’t get a Charley horse, which I’ve been plagued with more than I’d like lately.

We got more rain today, so I spent the day inside drinking water and Dr. P, and hopefully gaining my water weight back.  For the time being, I’ve re-learning my lesson about taking proper amounts of water with me on a ride, but I have no doubt I’ll screw up again sometime and wind up in the same boat.

Categories: Miscellaneous Tags: ,

Specialized In It To Win It

July 11th, 2010 [print] No comments

Not to be outdone by Trek, Specialized is also doing a giveaway promo during the Tour de France.  Instead of complete bikes, they’re giving away 21 framesets over the next three weeks.

To enter, however, you have to stop by your authorized Specialized dealer each day to pick up a Rider Card, which has a code number on it.  You then log on to Specialized’s website and enter your information, along with the code on the card.

What this means is, if your authorized dealer is a long drive away, or you’re too busy to get there each day to pick up a card, you’re pretty much out of the game.  I think this is a pretty stupid way to do a promotion, and maybe they’ll get their shit straight next year and do it right.


Specialized In It To Win It - http://iamspecialized.com/inittowinit/

Categories: Internet Goodies, News Tags:

Trek Dream Bigger Giveaway

July 11th, 2010 [print] No comments

Stop whatever you’re doing and don’t enter Trek’s Dream Bigger bike giveaway.  Last year, I sorta got screwed out of winning any prizes in Trek’s giant WOW! promo because none of my local bike shops were involved.  All the while, my buddy in Ohio practically got the CEO’s first born… or at least a some water bottles and other crap.

If no one enters this year, it raises my chances of not only winning, but of shoving it in all your faces, too.

Starting on July 16th, they begin drawing prizes for 10 days in a row, but you can only win if you get started collecting game plays now.  So, don’t click the following link, and absolutely don’t sign up to win.  Thanks.


Trek Dream Bigger Giveaway - http://trekbikes.promo.eprize.com/dreambigger/

Categories: Internet Goodies, News Tags:

Bike Stem Calculator

July 10th, 2010 [print] No comments

Figuring out where your handlebar is going to end up after swapping stems can be a pain.  To make it easier, you can use this stem calculator to get exact figures before you make the swap.

I found this on MTBR.com way back, posted in this thread by Squash.

Download the ZIP file, and you’ll find two files inside.  One is a .doc file explaining how to use the calc, and the other is a spreadsheet where you’ll do your work.


Stem Calculator

Here’s another one that may be even easier to use, but it’s online only:

Categories: Tools Tags:

Weird Bikes, pt1

July 10th, 2010 [print] No comments

Photos of weird-ass bikes I’ve stumbled upon over time.

Micro Roadie
Micro Roadie

Read more…

Categories: Miscellaneous, Photos, Videos Tags: ,

650B Tire Diameter

July 10th, 2010 [print] No comments

I posted the other day a link to 650B Palace’s list of 650B-compatible 26" mountain bike frames, but that doesn’t help much if your frame isn’t on the list.

Assuming you already have a frame that isn’t listed, and all you want to know is actual measurements for various 650B tires on the market to see if you have clearance, you can check out the shared Google Doc below.  The list originally showed up on MTBR.com, but I honestly can’t remember who shared it.

Link:  https://spreadsheets.google.com/

Also, if you’re looking for a 650B-compatible fork, here’s a thread on MTBR.com that will hopefully make it easier for you:

Link:  http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=392220

26" 650B 29er Comparison

Categories: Internet Goodies, MTB, Tools Tags: , , ,

Gavin on the Trainer

July 9th, 2010 [print] No comments

If the Biking to Kindergarten video I posted earlier wasn’t cute-overload enough for you, then this ought to do it.

Via RoadBikeReview and YouTube

Categories: Videos Tags: