Monday, October 30, 2006

A couple of "clean" pictures

Scott took a couple pictures of the bike before it got dirty; check them out here.

I mounted the Jones Bars and threw a FastTrak on the front. More testing at the local stomping grounds tomorrow.


Ah, that new bike smell

The pictures are not great; I'll try to get something with more resolution up later.

I picked up the new bike on Saturday morning. Put it together Saturday afternoon. Had a few non-bike things to do in the evening, so the test ride had to wait until around 11 PM Saturday night.

The bike is awesome! The paint turned out exactly as I hoped; gloss black with a metallic silver fade. The silver just sparkles in the sun. Perfect.

As you can see, the bike is dirty. I left early Sunday morning to drive up to Kalkaska to pre-ride the Iceman course. A group of us went, including two former singlespeed class winners. The weather was cold but with bright sunshine, and the course was very fast. The bike felt great; stiff, solid and no frame-related mechanical problems. The Paragon sliding dropouts performed as advertised.

There are still some set-up issues to work out. The stem needs to be lower, and I need to get my Jones bars mounted. The Quiring is a bit heavier than my old 26er, and that fact combined with my lack of experience on the 29er wheels and the narrow bar I ran yesterday left me fighting some of the hills late in the day yesterday. All things considered, I am very pleased with the bike.

Now it is decision time: Which bike to ride at Iceman? I have many thousands of mile on the old bike, but it has a bad habit of throwing the chain during big races. I have less than 50 miles on the new frame, but I seems unlikely to have chain issues. Thought and comments appreciated.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Almost there...

Bike is being painted today. I will pick it up Saturday AM.


Monday, October 23, 2006


I just got an e-mail from Scotty Q: my bike will be done Thursday or Friday.


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pre-Ride Problems = Race Day Success

Where to begin? Dan and I went out for a pre-ride of the Peak to Peak MTB race course Friday evening. About 2 miles into the 10 mile lap, Dan notices that his tire is soft. Half a mile latter, we are on the side of the trail fixing a flat.

At this point, I should point out that Dan runs a Stan’s tubeless tire setup. Two weeks ago at Boyne, Dan was bragging about how well this setup has worked for him all year. In fact, he didn’t even carry a tube at Boyne.

Anyway, we can’t find anything wrong with his tire so he whips out his tube…only to find that the tube had two big holes in it! I didn’t bring a tube or patchkit, so we attempted to hold it together with duct tape. We patch it up, and attempt to fill the tube with Dan’s CO2. Denied! He only had a used cartridge. We tried a couple of my cartridges, but could not get the tire to hold air. I went off back down the trial to the hotel room for tubes and a patch kit.

I got back to the room, only to find that Dan only brought cyclocross tubes! I grabbed one, along with one of my 26-inch tubes and a patch. I scoot back up the trail to find Dan shivering next to his bike. We put in my tube, and set off to finish the lap in the failing light.

The course was dead flat for the first 9 miles. Then it turned up the back side of the ski hill for about half a mile and down the face for about half a mile to the finish. We made good time for the next six miles, until I heard a ‘snap’ from my seat. Turns out I snapped one of the seat rails clean in half! I could perch myself on the very nose of the saddle if I eased down on it and was careful. Mostly, I stood.

It was dark by the time we finished the lap. We went back to the room and called a teammate that planned to drive up for the race the next day. We talked him into bringing a seat, some tubes and CO2. Dan put on a harder gear and I stripped of my seat. I didn’t sleep too well, thinking about getting the bike set up for the next day.

Morning arrived, and I got the bike set up without further drama. I was racing my singlespeed against the geared riders in the expert class. Dan was racing his singlespeed in the elite class. All Elite and Expert riders went off together. The first lap was not as fast as I thought it would be. I was able to keep the leaders in sight for most of the first lap—in fact, I spotted Dan two-thirds of the way up the final climb when I was just starting out at the bottom. I was worried he was having a bad race, as he normally is far ahead of me.

The second lap was uneventful. I was able to sit on a couple of wheels. I often felt that I could go a bit harder, but I knew I would get caught on the final climb.

I got behind a fairly fast rider for the last lap. We were in the same class (Expert 30-39), and I asked him where he thought we were sitting. He said that he thought we could be as high as first and second! I had to work pretty hard to keep up with him that lap, but I was still right behind him at the base of the final climb. Once the climb started, he pulled of into the distance. I suffered up the climb and finished the race.

I ended up in 3rd place! I was pleased with this result; I have never raced my SS against the geared riders in the expert class. I would have won the SS class by over five minutes. Dan took 2nd Place in Elite. It was a good day for Founder’s riders and for singlespeeders. It was a nice confidence booster two weeks before Iceman.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The week in review

Rode the new DDX on Tuesday on the road. It was a good ride, and I think I have the saddle position figured out. It might need to be inched forward just a bit, but otherwise it is fine.

On Thurdsay, I went to Cannonsburg with Dan and Nate. It was cold, and we had our first snow of the season. It had snowed all day, and when we hit the trail at around 6:15 PM it was cold. We messed around a bit before starting to ride; looking at lines for the 'cross race next weekend. We hit the trail, and I had no legs. It was pretty bad; I could not keep the other guys in sight. I packed it in after that lap. I don't know if I was still tired from Boyne or if I still had a bit of my cold from the week before. In any case, I was not able to finish the ride.

Today I was back at Cannonsburg for some trail maintenance. It went well, and I did the trail on the DDX. While not an awesome trail bike, it got the job done. I will be back there tomorrow with Nate. We opted out of the Poto singlespeed world championships; too long of a drive, and I just didn't feel up to it. I'm guessing we will do two hours at the 'burg tomorrow--that will be plenty.

Next week will see a couple hard efforts on Tuesday and Thursday, and then the Peak to Peak race on Saturday and Kiss Cross on Sunday. I got a new digital camera so perhaps that will be some new pictures for the blog soon.

Quiring Bike Update: I talked to Scott this week; he has machined most of the tubes and started welding the rear end. Mike Curiak shipped my wheels on Friday, and most of the major parts are sitting in my basement. I have a few small parts that should be here this week, with the bike arriving perhaps the week after. Good Times...

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Cross Country

I was up at Boyne Mountain this weekend for the Fun Promotions race. There was some controversy earlier in the week, as the promoter of this race bills it as the "State Championship". Some racers took exception to that, as there is no sanctioning body involved, no series that leads up to this race, no special purse, etc. Anyway, I don't give a rip about this stuff. I have done races put on by this promoter for years, and nearly always have a good time. He can call it the super-duper all-in hyper-championship for all I care--I was just happy to be racing again.

Boyne is a fun course. I have done 24 hour events there, both solo and on teams. I have also done a few XC races there. It is always a good time; I think it is one of the best venues in the state. Usually, the fall race is wet. This course has many roots and is covered in leaves in the fall, making for very slippery conditions. This year the weather was post-card perfect, with temps in the high 60's and lots of bright sunshine. Best of all, there was not a drop of water or spec of mud on the course.

I did the singlespeed class, which in hindsight might have been a mistake as only three people signed up. Since I don't do XC races very often, I didn't know either of them. One guy was on a nice Ionic 29er and the other was on a 26er Monocog. I chatted with the Ionic guy for a minute before the race, and he seemed to know what he was doing.

The gun went off, and I put my head down and went as fast as I could for the next 90 minutes. I never saw either of the other racers until the finish line. I won the race, and passed a small handful of geared expert riders in the process. My chain stayed on and I was able to put in a hard effort despite my recent (and still lingering) sickness. I was very pleased with my effort.

Next week has no races, with the following week being the first running of the Peak to Peak race. I will be up there with a few friends and teammates, hopeful that my pre-Iceman preparations continue to be successful.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Did the Tuesday night cross training ride last night. Dan, Nate and Scott came along. It was fun for me because I was riding a fancy new Slingshot DDX. I ended up getting the bike that Slingshot built for Interbike; that is to say, it is pretty fancy. It is far fancier than I would have guessed my first cross bike would be, but the price was right and I have waited a long time to make this purchase. How fancy is it? Well, there is Dura-ace here, fancy carbon there, and some fancy green tires thrown in for good measure.

I still need to make a few adjustments to the bike, but for a first ride last night went well. There was one incident that confirmed that this was the bike for me. We were flying down a piece of two-track that was downhill and slightly off-camber. At the bottom of the hill was a sharp right-hand turn. I entered the turn way too fast, and was sure I was about to visit the bottom of the ravine off to my left. I closed my eyes, leaned to the right, and the bike just screamed through the corner! I was shocked to still be upright, and Dan commented that he thought for sure I wouldn't make the turn. Yes, that bike is gonna work out just fine...

In spite of the cool new bike, I was not as fast as I would have liked. Today, I think I figured out why. I have a bit of a cold; stuffy nose, sore throat, headache and a bit run down. Becky had it last week, and Dan mentioned that he wasn't feeling great either. This sucks, since I am supposed to be racing this Sunday. Scratch that; I WILL be racing this Sunday. It just might not be as much fun as it should be. I will be staying home from work and resting up tomorrow.

More good news: I got the first CAD drawing of my Quiring 29er today! The bike looks great; the geometry looks alot like a Niner One 9. I had a few questions for Scott, but I think we are on target.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I did the Kiss Cross race today at Richmond Park. Since the Slingshot folks were all at Interbike, I wasn't able to get the DDX deal squared away. Not a problem, I just took the single speed. I work pretty well, right up until the point that THE CHAIN CAME OFF! Cursing, wailing and the nashing of teeth was heard. I didn't loose any positions, but I was still not pleased. Thank goodness Scot Q. is hard at work building me a new bike...

Anyway, I beat almost all the people that I wanted to beat and I think I was the first singlespeed across the line. I was able to keep the pressure on for the entire ride which was another major goal. The super-secret Tuesday and Thursday rides seem to be helping.

Here is a pic:
Notice the intensity, the focus, the crazy handlebars....

Normal rides this week, and I think the Boyne race is this weekend. Hope that chain stays on!