Sunday, April 27, 2008

Quick Update

Built up the new Ti Quiring frame last night. Did a 4-hour shake-down cruise today in Forrest Park. Verdict? Awesome with a side order of Perfection! The steel bike is great, but it is nice to be back on ti. I had a vision for this bike all the way back in '06 when I ordered the steel bike from Scott. After many twists and turns, I have what I think is the ultimate set of bikes for single speed endurance racing. Pictures to follow shortly, both of the new bike and of the two bikes together.

Man, I really like these bikes. Thanks, Scott Quiring!

In other news, I think I have most of the bugs worked out of the road bike as well. I think it will get a shakedown on Monday and maybe a trip out to PIR to mix it up in the 4/5 race on Tuesday.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Ruminations and Revelations

So, I've been reflecting on Sea Otter. Here are a couple of thoughts:
1. Short Track - I am not a short track kind of guy. Go super-hard from a dead stop on a tiny course. Sort of like cross without the barriers and mud. Or cool atmospher or beer. The race was over before I got warmed up.

But the cool thing about this race is that I got to ride a Pivot FS bike. Now, you know me; I'm not a FS or geared kind of guy. But this trip was about trying new things, and this race was an opportunity to do just that. The bike was awesome! It handled the course with ease, and although I didn't lock anything out it didn't feel like riding a sick water Buffalo. I'm kind of bummed that I didn't get a chance to ride this bike out on the XC course. I was offered the opportunity, but declined in favor of a plate of pad thai.

2. Road Circuit Race - I have to admit that I was surprised to do so poorly in this race. I'm no road racing stud, but I've won Cat 5 races before. More than once. So to get dropped at the start just didn't seem right. I was dealing with a stomach issue, not enough sleep, etc. But still; dropped from a Cat 5 race? It just didn't seem right.

So I was looking at the road bike this afternoon. I noticed that the new Rival crank I had installed just before leaving for Sea Otter was tight. Very tight. Like, I had a hard time turning it. I almost did a post before I left about how I greatly favor the Shimano method of attaching cranks as opposed to the Sram method. The pinch bolts (or whatever they are called) on the Shimano stuff is idiot-proof. Apparently, the Sram stuff is not. I loosened the bolt on the non-drive crank arm and what do you know? Now the crank spins... I know, I know; excuses are like ass-holes. Nevertheless, this makes me feel at least a little bit better.
So make of that what you will. It was still a good trip; the stories I heard on the way down and back were worth the price of admission. But some better results should be on the horizon soon. That will be fun, too.

Monday, April 21, 2008

All sorts of update...

New bike on the way.
New team kit on the way.
I can't race Expert XC (39 of 43) Short Track (lapped and pulled) or Cat 5 Road Circuit Road Race (lapped and pulled) to save my bacon.
But I still like bacon.
Overall, the trip to Sea Otter was a good one despite the poor results. I had some sort of stomach issue that kept me from eating right, and the 13+ hour drive on Thursday didn't help. But let's face it; short races are not my thing. I was feeling pretty good 2 hours into the XC race; that is not how those races are won.
I got to stay with the Yakima Bike Vigilantes, with whom I will be riding this season. They are a great bunch of guys, and I think this will be a fun year no matter what results get put up.
Looking forward to getting the new bike built up and ready for Spokane. Not sure about goals for that race yet. Stay tuned for pictures and stories...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Off to Sea Otter!

I leave for Sea Otter tomorrow. I'll be traveling with the Yakima Bike Vigilantes. Should be a good time. Jason will be there as well. Good times will be had by all.

Perhaps some pictures will be taken. We'll see.
Good news should just be flowing off this page over the next few weeks. A bike here, a bike there. Some new kit. All capped off by the best support crew ever coming out of retirement for the Spokane 24hr race over Memorial Day.

Mmmmm, the sweet, sweet smell of victory. It's in the air; can you smell it?
I can.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

It's Saturday, that means...

...time to ride bikes! 111 miles on the singled-out DD-X. 6:15 moving time. Not bad; I would have done the sub-5 hour hundy but I got bit by the headwind. Oh, and that one hill in the middle of the ride. The graph makes it look more dramatic than it really is, being that it's only 600 feet or so. The rest of the ride was dead flat.
The weather here went from crap to awesome in one day. It was sunny and in the 80's here today; there were so many people in the park by the river that I thought maybe there was an anti-war protest going on or something. It was just about standing room only in there. I went through five water bottles on my ride, and I now sport tan lines.
Only one other noteworthy ride this past week. As mentioned before, Eric Tonkin puts on a ride on Wednesdays called "Mountain Bike School". He ought to call it "Mountain Bike Catholic School" because when I finish it I feel like I've been worked over by a pack of sadistic nuns with weighted rulers. I've come out of that ride with fresh bruised both times I've done it. The ride isn't long at under 90 minutes, but it is full-on hammering from the word go. When my eyes aren't bleeding from the climbs, my shins are bleeding from the high-speed get-offs on the descents. In other words, it's mountain biking! I love it.
Easy week coming up, until Thursday when I drive down to Sea Otter and do three races in three days. Not looking for any great results, but I do plan to have a good time.

Monday, April 07, 2008

What to eat? How to ride?

How I chow...
How I roll...

Funny how I look just as happy doing one as the other!
By the way, the name of that dish? "ManCakes"; I kid you not. If you eat three, they put your picture up on the wall. Someone suggested that this post should have been titled "Eat Joe Eat!"
Bottom picture credit to Dave Roth. More of Dave's pictures can be found here.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

So, what'd you do on Saturday?

Me, I did 45 miles and 8700 feet of climbing in just under 4 hours, according to Dr. Garmin. Used the road bike with a 39x25 small gear. Walked a very small portion of one climb, and cleaned all the rest. Had to make use of my 40-rpm singlespeed training. This ride put the hurt on my pretty good. Did I mention it was in the mid-40's? Or that it rained for the last 90 minutes? Well, it did.

I skipped the XC MTB race today. The legs just weren't feeling it.

More interesting news to follow later this week...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

On your left...

I did my first duathlon on Sunday. The format was run-bike, the distances were 6 miles and 15 miles. "That's not too bad..." I thought to myself as I registered.


The run was a 'Trail Run', except about a quarter of the time there was no trail. I was simply running through the woods like a deer. Or maybe more like a hippo, or a llama. Down super slick slopes, up ravines, through brambles; it was a pretty intense course. Although difficult, this course slowed down the faster runners, allowing me to get to the bike section in the top 20. The six miles took me about 57 minutes.

I was quite pleased when I got to the bike section. I could see that there were still quite a few bikes left on the rack, and I knew that I had the right bike (single speed) and the right experience (lots of time riding in mud...) to do well on the course. I started passing other riders right away. It was very hard riding, since the course was mostly covered in slick mud and had several deep bogs. Some sections were quite rutted and others had puddles of unknown depth. Taken together, the bike course was challenging but well-suited to my bike, setup, and riding style.

In the end, I was the 5th person across the line out of 56 starters and 47 finishers. As luck would have it, I was second singlespeed. The guy who won the overall was on a Gary Fisher Rig. Two out of the top 5 on 29er a duathlon! Gotta love it.


Pictures from the event to follow. They took a ton of pictures; should be interesting. The bike is trashed, as you would expect from a mud fest.

Riding this week on Wednesday and Thursday. First XC race of the season on Sunday. Did somebody just cry "Havoc!"...