Friday, April 22, 2011

morrisville 300K

by now everyone is aware of the wicked weather that ripped thru the area last saturday afternoon. quite a few randos' are glad the call was made to move the 300K event to sunday, too. we missed some of our friends who could not stay around to do the ride, but 21 randonneurs lined up to roll out at 7am sunday morning.. with just a slight chill in the air, Alan dropped the flag and off we went. the pace was easy going and the group was together through the 'new' roads in  miles 3-4 and we all missed a turn together! back on the route, we started motoring a bit more, out to chatham co. where Bryan pulled a cheeky snag of the county line. things remained calm and together, Mike told me about the neil young gig he'd just seen (jealous). we were on to lystra and jack bennet, before the climb finally broke us up. annette pleaded for an easy go up the hill, umm, OK? plenty of hills thoughout the day anyway...

from here on to snow camp it was a pretty run with 10 riders sharing the fun. the first control in snow camp was a quickee. the Kamms ran, Tim too, fearin a leaky front tire, he hoped to buy a few minutes to work on it in siler city, 11 miles up the road and control#2.. we were there in no time, and another short stop ensued. the first 100k was done in 3 1/2 hours. nice.. once again, chris & annette were off and Tom jetted after them. Tim finished his tire fix and we were all together on the road in a couple minutes. in three miles, it's country roads again, and coleridge rd. goes on for about 9 miles. the rollers begin too. they come and go in near perfect weather; at the half we're in the mid-fifties. 
the turn-around is busy. the store is rocking with patrons. after church folks and the like. the little Hardee's stops taking orders! I get my card signed, put ice in my bottles, and scarf down a bar, banana, and get prepared to go. Ian and Mary show up with refreshments, and Tim is there. the lead couples invite me to join, but I  hang back for Tim. after just a few miles back on the road he sends me on, his legs not wanting to go too fast. solo time. I start my march, and things go pretty well back to siler c.. this stretch has been a thorn in my side on prior attempts, not today. back in town, Joel has an oasis set up in the lot. he recommends the navel oranges and I oblige him. after a fig newton too, mike and john show up. I wait for them, and Tim shows! he settles in for a PB&J and off we go. It's only 3:10, but the front quartet is about 20 min ahead, forget it..I do some pulling to snow camp, and john is chillin' due to cramping. i jet ahead to do some housekeeping before they arrive. just as we are about to leave, Bryan pulls up! he didn't even snack at joel's drive-thru, he saw us leave and made chase. in minutes the 4 of us are on the road, but within a mile or two, it's bryan and i on the rollers, and by lindley mills I'm alone again. i'm fine with soloing as it's important training right now. getting my nutrition routine dialed in, and tempo making on the new bike is key.  hopefully everyone is coming along fine behind me. I kept up the rhythm across old switchboard and castlerock, turned on a blinky for the hwy 87 stretch ( and left it on), and motored on..

given the super temps, I felt I could make it home from snow camp (50 mi) on two full bottles. worked out just right. I also knew I'd make my original soft goal-finish without needing lights. I was smelling my hard goal-finish in 12 hours. with so much riding, and 1 very tough 1200K only 20 something days away, I couldn't senselessly push too hard. still, it was going to be close. if not for stopping to take a photo, and catching a light on the last road, it was a reality. Alan's watch says-7:02. I can live with that. 12:02. pretty good.
I ate some pizza and waited. bryan, mike, and john were along before 8. way to go, fellas.
just one minute off their goal of beating the official sunset..Tim should have been close by but a missed turn in the new part gave him a few bonus miles. an extra post ride treat was a birthday cake for john. happy birthday! 

next up- 200K around Hot Springs 10,000 ft climbing. yay! we'll be in before the fleche teams arrive, can't wait!! 

a little follow-up on my spring gear break-in/testing: 
-finally got a fender to rattle (fixed it)
-rode with the front boxy bag on the rack-really like the access to stuff! bike handles well too..
-took the M/L bag off the back and switched to the medium/banana style bag. basically it acted as a big, fancy tool bag with room to stuff my vest into after the sun was out for good around 125k.
-wool. I chose my joneswares Eddy again. super comfy allllllldayyy..

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

three great rides=one great bike test=rando time

Yo, A! rides
 Yo, A! Miles of smiles :o)

on sunday, march 13, NC cyclers gathered from near and far to remember our beloved Adrian Hands. known for not driving (my kinda guy) and pedaling to events, most rode to the start of this mini-Fleche, which began in Hillsboro, on the Eno River.. 3 friends-Bryan R, Bryan H, and David S met at my place and off we went into the dark around 6am. I delivered them right on time to Jerry P, at 7am, so we could head to chapel hill. we arrived at Adrian and Padmini's place in no time where we exchanged pleasantries, and watched A's son Ian prep his bike. 

Now we were 6 riders with special guest Adrians' ashes in Ian's  pannier! the sun was coming out and we had a good time rolling on up to H' the weaver st. market we met Branson, Jack, Rich, and some others I didn't know. A hearty breakfast ensued and off we went to the courthouse. wowzer. the crowd was BIG. bikes everywhere, and lots of folks. After a few words, the men put A's ashes in the river. A's brother spoke, and Padmini too, who told us to get on the road! Ian said he hadn't been to many funerals, but this was the coolest one ever :) we got the bikes together and off we went- lot's of reminders of Adrian out there, license plates etc. but I loved the pics hanging on the velos...

a few hands
 we just couldn't have had a prettier day. amazing! around mile 10 we missed a turn, who cared? Branson knew all the roads and had us back on route in short order. winging it and enjoying the ride was A's style, so bonus miles were de rigueur. riders came and went as we made our way through parts of Durham, RTP, and into Cary. we filled bottles and stopped for indian food (of course!) before making it to the Buddhist Center. here's Jerry's bike cinnamon girl, stocked to party:

it took a bit for everyone to arrive, and more socializing took place, and we had a little parade, led by the illustrious ( and dear friend of A's) Gilbert Anderson.

mr funky bike

the cermony was touching, funny, emotional, but more than anything, filled with love.
it was great to see everyone and share our love of Adrian and cycling together. a very special day indeed. a  frequent comment was that regarding Adrian's unselfishness on and off the bike. I too, was shepherded by him, on my first 300k, with that amazing coolness only he possessed. he made it seem OK, all the way, into the night, following me on his fixie with a small light stuck in blink mode. i'll never forget it. nor will I forget him..

3 amigos after the Yo A! day...

 brevet #1 on the Boulder-

after one more shakedown ride, it was time to kick-off Al's series in morrisville..
200K. this used to be the "season opener' , but thanks to Tony's winter action, this ride was a sprint before we settle into the longer rides of the series.. I'll say this now- I was humbled and impressed. a lot of folks are riding strong. NC is on the rando map!
we rolled at 7am. there was a change to the route, but not today, a bridge was closed so we headed out the old way. Bryan H and I pulled quite a bit to mt. Lystra where some little bitty climbers took the points. we were all together for the next major sections and again the Ti and Carbon quartet took the rollers into snow camp. short stops ensued, and our gang met them as they were leaving Joel's oasis in siler city. card signing formalities, reloading bottles, and gobbling fig newtons broke the crew a bit more. Tim and Annette jetted ahead with us in pursuit. it was Bryan's first 200, and I didn't want him to think it was all run-and-gun, but we were hustling. back at snow camp, tim was scooting out, as we arrived. another short stop and off we went. 

most storytellers on this day will say it was the big winds causing all the hustle and bustle to catch some push for the retour. whatev... they were swirling!  another element was a fairly big temp range-I left at 6 and it was 39 deg. it was about 45 at the start, and slowly crept to the low 60's. peeling layers was the game. Bagless Bryan had a funky look going on late in the ride! (if he comes to the 300, I'll loan him a bag) I chose bare legs lathered in Mad Alchemy's uber secret coffee Embrocation. worked great. arm warmers and a vest over a JonesWares wool Eddy jersey and their sprint base. perfecto. 
back to biking. I basically led bryan (when not grabbing a little wheel) point to point back to nc hwy 87, where we both were stuffing warmers  and along comes bryan r, jerry and chris, and a few others. we jumped the wheels and rode chicken bridge with the tri-types and stayed with 'em to parker herndon. the warmth had me drinking a bit so we filled real quick at andrew's store. we hammered jack bennett, and battled winds on the lake. cruised across lewter shop and fought serious traffic down thru carpenter to morrisville. 

the front folks were 10-15 min ahead of us. good job! we chilled out a bit, and in no time others were tumbling in. our time was 7:30. i'd say another dozen showed over the next hour, that puts about 2 doz., or half, back in 8.5 or less. really impressive on a rolly course with bitchin' headwinds. note to self..drink more (but not Al's homebrew)

so far, I lloooove the new bike. very fast, responsive, and comfortable. 
*also of note were two other new bikes ready to travel. chris' blue gunnar w/S&S, and
Keith's (doc on a bike) surly traveller's check. very cool and rando-centric!

Variations on the Triple Hump-

with hilly brevets looming and the 1200 on the horizon (it opens with back-to-back 400k's w/12,000 ft of climbing each day!) it was time for some real climbing. new rando david was camping at hanging rock over the weekend, so Bryan R came up with a nice lil' 50-something mile loop from there. we headed out at 6 to meet dave on the hilltop and roll 'bout 9:30..
climbing hanging rock-by car..

the weather was foggy but clearing and heading to the eighties. groovy. it was chilly and I forgot my arm warmers, but had some non-warming goop for my legs. i put some on my arms too. the opening descent was nippy! we all got shiver induced shimmys as we hit 40+ in spots. a quick left onto moore springs just outside the gate and the road mellowed out. there is a country store here. with a hammer nutrition banner above the ice machine. interesting.. we roll a bit, and warm up some. in short order we find markings on the road for '3 mountain madness'. time to head up sauratown. the first 100 ft of this road is straight up. we all settle into our rhythms and grind away into the fog. dew is covering our bikes, arms, and all things around us. i catch bryan in the rear-view about 2 miles up.

sauratown fog

just after this shot we ride into a turn, then head on to the top where the sun is shining. and the road ends. and cell towers abound. we all snack, update our friends and begin the descent. back into the fog and going fast! thanks to the organized rides, the road is marked with S-L-O-W painted across it. on the brakes  and into the turn. cool. no, not cool. i'm flat in back. ease it down to the edge. the challenge tires are rideable flat because they kept the rim off the pavement. no puncture found, I just cooked the tube. the hole was inside and I patched it. i washed up in the little brook rushing down hillside and off we went. no prob. from here. the blackburn frame pump was good at filling the big tire to nearly 90 lbs or so. i'm on a full blown dress rehearsal at this point trying out all my new stuff! 
still foggy, we meander over rollers and quiet roads for a half hour before the blue skies show up on approach to pilot mountain. the boys roll ahead toward the entrance and i steal a nature break. i'll catch 'em, right? a sign by the road (one of those pewter historical landmark types) says the summit is 3 miles west. shortly  beyond the visitor's center, i see david and finally overtake him. he's already spinning his granny gear (1st time since crossing the rockies last summer, BTW). it takes me a bit longer to spot bryan-he's spinning up a switch above me and looking good! i'm feeling it a tad because i'm pushing a 50/23. the chain won't stay on the 26, some cable stretch has me in  a spot of bother! I stop for 45 sec or so and proceed. this baby alpe d'huez is tough to clean out of the saddle. be prepared. the view on top is worth the effort! spectacular. take it in and eat something as your heartrate comes back down, but nature takes your breath away at over 2400 feet of elevation. 

pinnacle overlook
once again, time to descend. this one is technical. the very first right hander is a  decreasing radius scorcher that will put you head-on into the far lane so watch it! it's very switchy and takes just seconds to hit 30+ heading into turns and yours truly cooked the tube again after wondering if the smell was me, bryan, or cars. no joke. the stench of burning brake pads and transmission fluid is in the air..I did another mountainside repair and off we went. the plan was fill bottles at the visitor center. I put a new tube in there too. yes, flat tubes are not up to the high heat challenge. use good ones!

we left pilot behind and made our way to pinnacle where we bought snacks and drinks for the final stretch. the roads and views were great. you get a couple of different looks at pilot as you leave the area. this one is after a grinder, before the only busy stretch we rode: hwy 66..

D & B  catch me..

the road gets quiet again and really fun for the return to hanging rock, we loved it! great rollers, banked turns, and whoopdees' kept us energized. so did the store I spoke of at the beginning. I just had to see what they had inside for cyclists. score! look at the full row of gels, bars, blocks, from Hammer, Gu, honey stinger, and Clif. also on the end were tubes, and helmets! if ya go to hanging rock and forget stuff, fear not, it's here..

damn gooey!

from here all we had to do was climb hanging rock. after splitting points with bryan I was ready to go. no 26 cog, and I hit the 23 about a mile into the almost 2.5 miler. I cleaned it no prob, but there is a good little kick about .5K from the end! yowza! burn!

 this was a really nice day, and we want to do it again soon. maybe a bit longer, too, including a southern return by danbury. watch the list. makes a fun day trip from RTP. 

since it was Paris-Roubaix day, here's my dirty legs at the end. most of it, believe it or not, is brake dust..crazy! 

dirty boy
time to rest for the 300. I've made adjustments to the bike and have everything running smooth. hope to see you all this weekend! Tailwinds!!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Prepping for Hors Categorie Tours

i've only 4 more weekends to ride and prepare for my first 1200K. a little thing called life must go on during the week so the schedule is full: mountain trainers, 300k, mountain 200k (w/10,000 feet of climbing!), 400k/200k back to back weekend, and nearly 200k's of commuting each and every week. yep, spring is in the air..

here's a quick look at some ordinary riders (yeah, the Rapha Boys are ordinary) pre riding this year's Paris-Roubaix course:

Hors Course from RAPHA on Vimeo.

myself and a couple cycing friends will be doing a variation of the famous 'triple hump' ride from hanging rock to sauratown mntn., pilot mntn., and finally back up to hanging rock. looking forward to it! should be a good test to see how the new bike will do on Tony's 200k in Hot Springs in 2 weeks.

so get out there and ride something tough. then relax and enjoy the queen of the classics.
you'll feel so much better knowing you left a little out there on the road..Allez!!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Rollei ActionCam 100

hoping to get some of these in the store to try out!
looks to be about the size of a headlight, nice!

Rollei ActionCam 100

Thursday, April 07, 2011

fresh rando ride

for the past couple of years, i've been developing my randonneuring chops on a 'vintage' turn of the century Serotta Colorado III w/campy daytona. It's been a wonderful bike. eyelets, and geometry not intended for bags and excess weight. I've done the other bikes too; cyclocross, touring, even a moulton, for pete's sake. All bikes people like to say work. All compromises. With all the bikes I own and enjoy, I really wanted a brevet bike. made to rando! So, I decided to get it done. Chuck extinguished his torch, so no Coho. Boutique was too much $$ and too much time. I really wanted American, and the list quickly narrowed to just a few choices. Also, as much as I enjoy the view and the ride, I wanted sporty too. Rene Herse is a legend in french randonneuring. Frames start north of four grand..Mike Kone, herse expert and the US agent for their products knows not everyone can afford those stunning bikes, so, he designed one we can: the Boulder Bicycles Randonneur! 

The frame is avail. in 700c or 650b versions, I went with 700. What grabbed my attention was this-"The reality is that many bicycle producers equate randonneur riding with "take your time and smell the flowers."  We love that attitude - but it isn't for everyone.  Some randonneurs are very concerned with speed as well;  for those riders, compromises in design that detract from the performance of the bicycle are unacceptable.  Boulder Bicycle makes bicycles that are a tool for the performance oriented randonneur and a treat for those more casually minded." I knew I'd met my match when I read that. a series of emails commenced and when he put a special up on his blog, I made the deposit. Let me say that the whole deal with boulder was pleasant and easy going. Mike is friendly and really knows his stuff. while I knew what I wanted, he offered solid advice and gently persuaded me on a couple items that turned out to be the right, without further ado, here's how it all worked out...

a collection of bits..

If one looks at Boulders' kit offerings they will find some of the stuff I used, and I got those parts from Mike. He offers good deals to those getting a bike from his shop. If ya know me, a road bike of mine will have Campy. So I scoured ebay for record and chorus 10sp. ders and brifters. I found the record headset in sweden. the white time pedals aren't avail here, so they came from england. I had planned on a nitto cockpit, post and rack all along and that stuff came from boulder, along with the killer sugino 'mighty tour' crank, SKF german BB, both hubs, edelux headlight, and the challenge tires. I called peter white for the cages, and neat little spaninga 'pixeo' taillight. Rivendell had the nitto barend plugs. Velo Orange for the hammered fenders and 'Grand Cru' canti brakes. Wallingford Bike had the Electric blue B17.

Mike sent the hubs, a white industries H3 hi-low Ti cassette, and schmidt's new SON Delux, along with spokes, so I could lace 'em up to mavic open pros' beforehand. both are laced 3X-the front with wheelsmith XL's, and the rear with XL on the non-drive and 14/15 db's on the drive. they both rock! the new dynohub, with almost no drag and less weight, is really cool. it's only meant to run LED lights, but can spin either way. nice for wire routing flexibility..
SON Delux

braze-on wire guides 
the bike came on a monday, and I hoped to ride it by the weekend. ha. with so many complications and steps, I planned out the week and got after it. the steer tube was a mile long, so I installed the headset, did some figuring, put spacers on it, and pondered the cut. I installed the BB and crank, and both derailleurs. I decided it would be better to get the tube cut (by a pro), so I put the fork in my moultons' bag and rode to Matt's shop and had him do it. easy breezy. I made the stack, put on the nitto stem and noodle bar, and chorus brifters.

the Cycle Surgeon                    

leaning tower of velo orange hanger, bell, and fancy spacers                            

from here it looked like mount the brakes, run cable, and then onto the tedious detail work.
simple! yeah, look at these brakes, for starters. mega adjustable! cantis' are always fun. meh.

special nitto bolts. for rack mounting.

 the cool little straddle hangers are already gone. I replaced them with Paul Moon Units.
the paul's are wider and more trustworthy. the front hanger slipped on the first ride. they also give better clearance by the pad bolt. otherwise I like the brakes. next came the front rack, a nitto M12, and the velo orange fenders. i put the edelux headlight on too.. 3 hours and a few expletives later I was done with that, and isn't it lovely? :o)

fender mt drilling..

mike's trick light bracket
 note there are no 'L' brackets on the fenders. the front is suspended from the rack and under the fork crown with a daruma bolt. the rear is drilled and bolted to the two bridges on the stays. super clean and rock solid too. leather washers keep things quiet. at 2 in the morning it's really quiet, but I took it down the street and back just because I had to! even with ice-cold unwrapped bars I knew it was going to be good. relieved and tired I called it a night. 

of course it had to pour rain all day sunday, so I stayed in and made photographs..

the bike's made for lighting, note this cool detail on the back: a small braze-on on the left stay, and a neat little arm off the brake cable bridge. as soon as the new turbo superflash comes out, it will hang there. I put a tall cateye on the lower braze-on..

spaninga pixeo xb

 with the superflash under the rear bag i'll avoid the dreaded water problems. i'll have a spare in the bag and it can go the bag giving me plenty of redundancy/back-up! 

so I finally got out on it the next day with Hoff, 'the fast Bryan' ;)  good times..

first impressions were: relief! joy! holy cow, it rides sharp. responsive and light. secure.
comfortable. Hoff shot video, and I had set the saddle a tick low. up a couple mils and viola!
I really love it. I think another part of the great ride is those incredibly supple challenge parigi-roubaix tires-700x28, like big, puffy tubulars. climbs nice, but we'll see on 4/23 on Tony's hot springs 200k, if the 13-26 cassette is enough. by the way, with the rear bag (empty) the weight is 25 lbs. the TIG'd True Temper OX platinum frame is light at about 4 lbs.

if you read all this, you're a bike geek too. you understand what a labor of love this bike was/is to me. I put more time into this build than any I have done  before..I plan on riding the bejezus out of it too. see ya on the road!

Friday, April 01, 2011

good winter fun

this is not your ordinary CX race...

bilenky junk yard CX 

some days my commute feels like this!