Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Get that lower back of the floor and get up!!

I am going to ride 100 miles fixie style in oh, let's see, eleven days.

Eleven. Not much time to prepare. Alas, Mother (or Father) Nature does not want me to prepare. It has been rainy and nasty all week so not much riding has happened.

I start my new job Monday after having to work this coming weekend at the old job. Bah. I won't ride this weekend. Uh oh.

Left with little time and desperation in the air, I have forged a two pronged attack to get ready for the Cheaha Challenge next weekend:

1. This. Ab Ripper X from the extra motivated P90X dude. Like old aerobics videos but awesome. Besides, riding is aerobic so it seems relevant to me...

*NOTE: This is not the original video, just some of the exercises. Want the real thing? Pirate Bay is your friend.

2. Eat Easter colored Peanut M&Ms. I had a deal with myself where I would do some push ups instead of eating these little treats but my arms are tired today so I have been skipping ahead to just eating these until my hands are pastel colored.

This will not make my arms tired so it seems like better riding prep. Conservation of force and such.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spooning, forking, and the Burn 24 Hr.

The Burn 24 Hour Challenge has been the subject of many a Google search that has led the misinformed and curious to wagon wheels racing central here. For those of you who are looking for hints on tires, food, and how to make this not hurt quite so bad I will give a rundown.

For those looking for more here is last year's report.

The Course:
-has 7.5 miles with 1000 ft. of climbing per lap and it seems like every bit that much.
-drains well, it rained all night last year and the mud was merely motivation draining, my soul remained largely intact.
-is relentless, I remember one 200 foot stretch of fireroad I could zone out on and eat. Enjoy the 200 feet. It is all you get.
-has numerous places to crash. I did. Go ahead and get it out of the way while it is light out. Seriously...just find a spot with nothing sharp and fall.

Your Bike:
-if trendy enough to be a SS 29er should be sporting a 32/20 or 19, but you will still walk some.
-needs a friend. Bring an extra. If the extra fits you bonus points are earned.
-will be in good company if it is carbon fiber. The amount of people riding carbon these days amazes me. Does nobody drop their bike on rocks any more?
-Wondering what 100mm travel FS bike would be best? Sorry, no idea.
-Is the new 2x10 worth getting? Yes, but don't spend the extra on SRAM XX.

-should be on a team if you are doubting your abilities. Your mind is the most important part. Don't go in ready to fail or you will.
-can do it. Or not. Bring someone motivating with you, it really makes a difference.
-better like to eat and be very tired for a long time. Both are likely.

That is all on Burn24 until I come out with a pamphlet to distribute. Oh, and I am not doing Burn this year (I'm going on vacations to Emporia) so all you singlespeeders with lofty dreams go on out there and climb on the podium. I left before the awards last year and missed out on this experience but I think it would have been cooler than collecting my money and sleeping in the Element.

I bought two new forks this week and they could not be any less alike.

My usual method when buying a new fork is to find the cheapest one I can find on Ebay, rebuild it, sell it after a year, and then do it all over again the next year. This works pretty well and I cannot usually justify spending big money on a fork because I don't really notice much difference between them. Every bouncy fork I have ridden feels a bit flexy but goes fast downhill and I can ride many miles without my hands hurting so I keep buying them.

Enter the 2011 Reba.

I got a killer deal on this so I jumped on it. Then I realized RockShox jumped on me by not including the $110 remote lockout. Balls. Fortunately after an hour of staring at the fork my brain turned on.

Junk bin thumbshifter, works a charm

I am more excited about the other fork that showed up.

2 bottle mounts, post mount for disc brakes

This comes stock on Salsa's badass adventure bike, the Fargo. It is a bit short axle to crown wise for a mountain bike but what the hell else am I going to, wear a Camelbak at Dirty Kanza?

No. Too hot for that noise.

The picture does not show it that well but there is an extra threaded hole above the water bottle mount. This will be used to mount a toe strap that will hold the bottle extra tight on gravel roads with smart car sized potholes.

I hate smart cars, that seems like a fitting closing note here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sleep riding

Ok, Melissa just related this to me and I think it is awesome.

So, Melissa comes to bed and I am already asleep...

Me : asleep and making unintelligible clicking noises
Melissa: "I think you are grinding your teeth."
Me: "No I'm not."
Melissa: "What are you doing?"
Me: "...pedaling"
Melissa: "No you're not. You are in bed."
Me: "Hm."
Melissa: "Are you on a bike?"

I remained silent after that one and she gave up.

Weird thing is my TMJ has been sore as hell the past two days. Did I click it too much in my fake pedaling, teeth clicking dreamworld? Hopefully. That would be far more interesting than chewing gum too often.

I have pondered buying a Garmin GPS the past couple days and decided I probably won't because if it does not work flawlessly (it won't, nothing electronic does) I will regret buying it. I will probably get a microwave instead since the Garmin cannot make me oatmeal. I can live without inaccurate elevation data to post online (poke at all the Strava nerds) but oatmeal...that is a must.

Short and sweet, there is your Wednesday update.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

You can have the remote back. I'll trade for a camera.

Dear RockShox,

Nothing was wrong with the lockout being mounted on the top of the fork leg. Really, it worked fine. It turned on and off without some silly cable, was light, and never broke. Alas, you decided I needed one with this new Reba.

Too bad you didn't want me to have it bad enough to send the actual remote (one of four you offer...) but only the spring loaded topcap which I am going to have to mutilate to make work to my whims. Assholes. Oh, and all the recessed shit on the bottom of the fork leg? Come on. Nobody owns a 10mm deep well socket.

P.S. The white is pimp, as are the post mounts.

Thanks for everything.

IMPORTANT: I need a camera to take on rides. It needs to be:
-Cheap (less than $75)
-Durable, it will get dropped at some point
-Decent pictures...not sure what that entails, but yeah.

Any suggestions welcome in the comments section. Thx.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Entering a Cheetos fixie XBox conundrum.

Sick again, blah. After going to the doctor yesterday I have decided I either have seasonal allergies ( winter, thought these happened in spring) or keep coming in contact with a viral bug at the hospital. I have been sick more this winter despite healthier living in the form of having an old man bedtime and drinking less beer that I used to. Oh well, hopefully a chill day at home will have me back in shape.

On to the real news. Cheetos are nowhere to be found in the house and the closest thing I have to an XBox is a Super Nintendo from 1991 but this is still one of the funniest things I have come across on craigslist. I went ahead and sent my money in for the Cheaha Challenge this morning after getting a text from Boris that he was in. Here is an elevation profile to give an idea of how they get in the 8,000 vertical feet. Looks like an EKG file gone very wrong:

Hopefully some other Birmingham people will be down to wake up at 4 AM to do a road ride. There are some good MTB races occurring around the same time (April ish) but Cheaha will be a blast and there are always ways to make a road ride more interesting.

I know...white tires. They were cheap, leave me alone.

I have a cross bike with Dura Ace parts and a Powertap that would be the smart choice for this ride, however I will be riding my hoopty (fixed 40/15). Sometimes interesting is more fun than smart.

ESI grips-the best around.

Someone asked about doing Cheaha on a fixed gear a couple years ago and I laughed at them. My viewpoint on the whole long distance fixed thing has changed over the past year of riding is doable if not always the fastest way around. I figure it will be good practice for the leg breaking climbs up in Pisgah National Forest during PMBAR in May.

Credit: Eric Wever I think.

On the PMBAR website the phrase PLEASE DO NOT UNDER ESTIMATE THE EXTREME DIFFICULTY OF THIS EVENT! appears not once but twice. There is good reason for this. I have underestimated Pisgah two of the four times I have been there:

1. Back in 1999 my Pisgah mojo was strong after having a great solo ride on Laurel Mountain/Pilot Rock the year before. I came back with a plan to ride some big pieced together route from a guide book in the Dupont area somewhere. The weather was a bit iffy but so was my plan so off I went. The sky began to look more ominous as I slogged up a long gravel climb. I looked to the the west while double checking my map to see nothing but black clouds and lightning. Around this time, my mom called to let me know there was a tornado warning. Poop. The climb finished with a three mile climb up an old powerline covered in two foot high grass. I hate snakes and this seemed like the perfect place to meet one but I saw none. The eventual descent I worked so hard for turned out to be some old logging road with ruts and baby head rocks galore. I rode the last hour in a miserable storm and made it back to the car none the smarter than when I started.

2. I returned the following summer with plans to ride both Tsali and do a big epic out in Pisgah (epic is used to describe way too many things but it is quite often the right choice if you are lost in a national forest). Tsali was fast, smooth, and well's Tsali. The ride I did the next day was none of these things. I planned out a long ride before leaving and copied a page out of the guidebook and had it laminated. Telling anyone exactly where I was going other than "Pisgah," by myself was apparently not on my mind that morning. The scene from 127 Hours where Aron Ralston smugly walks out of the outdoors shop to get trapped under a boulder certainly brought back some memories. The ride turned bad quickly.

I overshot the entrance to my desire trail and climbed a bonus six miles before realizing my mistake. The bonus six mile downhill led me back to the overgrown entrance to the trail. This was followed of two miles of bushwacking to get onto some rideable trail. Should have turned around here but I was too stubborn and wanted to ride. On South Mills River, I was greeted with no fewer than fourteen deep creek crossings and arrived at the wonderful swinging bridge.

The problem with this bridge is that it looks the same from both sides and I was approaching from the wrong side. This is where I entered somewhere I am still not sure was a hike or bike trail. I spent probably four hours on a big loop with weird offshoots that ended nowhere before finally coming up on some hikers who looked completely freaked out by me. I was out of water, food, and a plan. The hiker gave me a Clif bar, some iodine tablets, and kindly informed me I had twenty miles of some of the toughest trail in the forest including the hikeabike up Black Mountain or thirty miles of two lane road to get back where I needed to be. Hmmmm. Trail it is. Fear is a powerful motivator and I ended a nine hour ride in Pisgah with tireless, panic filled legs. Lesson learned. Don't. Ride. Pisgah. Alone.

Friday, March 4, 2011

What is more important that Southern Cross?

Charlie Sheen of course. I usually shrug off celebrity nonsense like, well, celebrity nonsense.

Charlie Sheen's comeback (I really do now know what else to call it, he hasn't gotten this much attention in years) is hilarious. I would really like to have a beer with him if he would promise not to cut me or something else Sheenish.

I could copy and post quotes all day long but this video is as "sufficient" as the torque ratings Rolls Royce publishes for their land yachts in 1994 issues of Motor Trend.

Southern Cross in now a week or so in hindsight but has consumed much more of my thought process during the day than is reasonable. I suppose everyone handles their loss after a race differently. I have spent the week eating ice cream and "recovering" while Dicky has been infatuated with The Man - Brian Toone.

I have also been quite impressed with Brian but not because of the domination he put forth at Southern Cross.

Brian was the only person in our 20 person cabin willing to hunt down the Smoke Detector of Doom with me. Everyone else pretended to be in a half drunken stupor sleep while we stalked around the cabin at 2 AM searching for the source of all my unhappiness. We never found it. Fail.

Anyway, I have found my daydreams focused on a single thought about the race.

"Why didn't I win?"

It could have been my starting line tactics.

Notice how many riders are behind us...yeah. Dumb. This could possibly be an excuse but I do not think it made any difference. I doubt any Eddie Odea's speech I was unable to make out would have mattered.

I also lost time staring at the Rich's pink Industry Nines which have got to be the cleanest damn wheels I have ever seen in a mountain bike/CX race. The fact I was walking alongside them at 2.7 MPH up the climb to Winding Stair didn't help...

I made up for whatever time I lost by looking all serious and in contention on the climb before the first aid station.

Ehhh, the race was pretty badass and I cannot complain much about any of it. I was three minutes too slow and I am fine with that. My bike setup seemed pretty good and I will probably copy it for Dirty Kanza with the substitution of the 17 cog for a 15 that I have patiently waiting.

Thank you, Eddie and Nam, for such an awesome race that has made me even more impatient than I already was for the rest of race season to get going.

Da Prez of Backcountry Research, Mr. Clark, has some thoroughly researched product headed my way to test next week. Also, plenty of fixed gear bonanza Cheaha Challenge talk will be going on. Stay tuned all.