Archive for January, 2009

My New Road Bike

Posted in 1 on January 29, 2009 by bencycles

I just picked up a new bike from the folks over at B&L Bikes.
2009 Tarmac SL
I really like their shop. I’ve been to a number of shops in the area, bike shops are kinda like cheeses, there are a lot of different kinds. Some are a little smelly…
It can be hard to find a shop where the people know what they’re talking about but at the same time don’t come off as elitist. Or maybe there’s animosity between the mechanics and the sales staff. Or people just don’t know what the ef they’re talking about and just make shit up instead of admitting they don’t know.
When I was setting up my Zipp wheels for cross, I was having trouble with the cassette body having a lot of drag. On high speed descents, my chain was kicking back on me when I tried to freewheel, and when your going 50 mph down a long hill in a big group, it’s a very disconcerting event. I still didn’t know the B&L guys that well. I went to another shop near me that’s sort of a high end tri shop because I figured they had a ton of Zipp wheels and would probably take a quick look at it and be like, “Oh yeah, we see that a lot with those hubs, just do X,X, or X and they’ll run like a champ.”
Instead, the guy spun my cassette once and was like “What’s wrong with it? It feels fine to me.” I mentioned my previous issue and he just said they were supposed to have a little drag and it was normal.
I don’t really dress like I ride a bike when I’m not riding a bike and I’ve worked in shops before, so I can usually tell when I’m getting blown off.
I took my toys over to B&L. the first mechanic I met, Gordon, gave my cassette the same spin as the other guy and was like “Hey, do you have the 10spd spacer on the cassette body? You would have seen it… unless you took your cassette of a Dura Ace wheel or something because then it wouldn’t be there.”
Ha! There was the X. Just like that. I had taken the cassette off a DA wheel and had no idea I needed a little .5 mm spacer behind my cassette. Gordon threw one on in about 2 minutes, spun the cassette again, and drum roll please… pure buttah.

Oh yeah, the bike? It’s sick. 2009 Tarmac SL Pro with SRAM Red. I don’t know what it weighs, but it ain’t much. Size 61.


12 Hours of Temecula

Posted in Race/Ride reports on January 27, 2009 by bencycles

Me, DB, MB, and ATV took on the 12 hrs of Temecula on Saturday. It was my first race since that fucking tumbleweed took out our paceline and put me out of commission for a while. Just for the record, I ran over a tumbleweed with my car the other day and it felt damn good. But I don’t want to get all bitter ’bout the past.
Our pit
I woke up at the crack and DB picked me up. We got to Vail Lake and grabbed a spot near the transition area before it was all gone. Sort of peeing on our own tree with a big pile of “stuff”. Threw up the pop-up tent and I brought more equipment while DB got us signed in. I brought way too much stuff, but I kinda expected that. Having never done one of these races before, I expected to overdo it a little. the one thing I would have liked to have, though was a table. Next time.
It was a great venue. The trails were fun and because it had rained before the race, we had some of the finest dirt you could hope for. Hero dirt, you could do no wrong.

I got to start for our team in the 4 person open devision. A big crowd had allready lined up by the time I got there, but I pushed into the second row just behind some old guy.
Tinker Juarez
Tinker something-or-other. Anyway, I was sure I could just zip around him…
I was pretty nervous about the start. It was my first race back and the last thing I wanted was to have a mass start with a bunch of mountain bikers on a wet paved road for the parade lap. But some times you just gotta nut up.
I slipped my clip-in a little because I was using new shoes but managed to get in and fight back up to the top 10 before the first wright hand turn. I guess those fast starts in cross helped a bit.
My first lap started fast, but ended up just so so, with flat legs and a flat tire, I mustered a not so good 50 minute lap.
ATV pulled off a a great lap after mine. Like 41 minutes or something. And Both DB and MB and me after the 1st lap were also pulling consistent mid 40 minute laps.
Dreams come true at the Breyer Fantasy Camp...ATV chilln at the DB Fantasy Camp.

Dan's custom white shorts...DB putting on his “white shorts”

DPP_0002MB’s game face

The course was a bit over 9 miles/lap with a good mix of fun ridge-line singletrack, some tight switchbacks, good climbs, and fire roads to pass. With our mid 40 minute laps, we each had to ride about every 3.5 hours. It’s just enough time to get out of your dirty riding clothes, relax a bit and try to get some food in ya. Then, before you know it, it’s time to start suiting up again. The 3rd lap was the toughest as my stomach really wasn’t enjoying all the scientific food I was was eating. Gels, protein powder (the culprit, I believe), and some kind of chewy things that were actually very tasty. Lucky for me I was able to get myself in working order about 10 minutes before i had to go- er, I mean ride.

Our team ended up 3rd overall in the 4 person open catagory. I was pretty stoked about that. the other two teams ahead of us were damn fast, so I was fine knowing they were the only ones who beat us. I actually felt good knowing that was the caliber of team it took to beat us. Especially since we were there to have a good time and do a little racing while hanging out at a cool spot.

My arm was pretty stiff the next day, and my knees were a bit sore, too. A little too much too soon, perhaps, but it was absolutely worth it.

My Pit Crew

Posted in 1 on January 21, 2009 by bencycles

Maybe I should try to find a pit crew who can reach the tools without standing on the toolbox. But she is good with a hex wrench.

My arm is feeling much better. well enough that I agreed to race the 12 Hours of Temecula this coming weekend. What better way to ease my way back into racing than with my very first endurance mountain bike race? Having always wanted to do one but never getting the chance for one reason or another (a. broken hand… b. broken team… c. just plain broke…), I jumped at the opportunity. Plus, I really like the guys who are planned for our 4-man team and the theme seems to be more about fun than winning, so I think it will be a good time even if my fitness is still a bit off.

Training? That’s funny. I have been getting in the gym 3 or 4 times a week after the Sprout goes to bed. Just turn up Metallica, put my head down and do my business. I like to get in and out of there nice and quick. Pretty much all legs and core stuff. About the only upper body workout is when I hold the handles to do leg extensions or something. Even that still makes my arm a bit stiff, so I tell myself it counts as rehab.

I’ve been surfing, too.

The latest swell has been much appreciated by just about EVERYONE in SoCal based on the number of people in the lineup. Surfing actually makes my arm more sore than bike riding. I think it uses some muscles that are currently very atrophied. Yep, it counts as rehab, too.

Best of all, I feel sane again. Well, at least Im less insane than while I was incapacitated.

Icky Kittens

Posted in On the regular on January 9, 2009 by bencycles

I haven’t posted in a bit. Got kinda tired of writing that my arm was still broke and then trying to come up with some philisophical reason for why that was OK…

But the damn thing seems to be working again. So I guess it’s time for an update. I started riding again this week. Not just on a stationary, but a real road. And it felt damn odd. If you’ve ever lived anywhere that gets cold in the winter, you probably have some idea. Like when you spend a month riding nothing but stationary bikes in the basement while February takes it’s sweet time turning to March and then when you get on the road, you wobble around all willy nilly cause your not used to your bike not being bolted to something fixed in position.

But that’s OK, I’ll take it. Sign me up. The arm gets a bit stiff afterwords and it’s still a bit hard to support my wieght on my cross bike. I’ve found the mtb is a little better because it’s a little more upright and the suspension actually relieves a lot of the jarring which still hurts a bit. But each time it gets a little better. I’m still pretty much just piss and vinegar though as my body dosn’t really do what it did before the wreck. I get worn out pretty fast. But since I know my abilities mentaly, it’s just a mattter of time and a bit of effort to get back. It’s not like I took 4 years off or anything. Oh wait, that was last year…

But seriously, I really believe breaking mental bariers in training is harder thanĀ  breaking physical bariers. If you tell yourself you can’t possibly go any faster, the last thing your mind wants to do is prove itself wrong. But if you can prove it wrong and break through into a level of suffering (er, I mean performance) you hadn’t thought possible, it clicks. And once those mental bariers have been overcome, they seem to stay that way. Then it’s just a matter of making your body catch up. I have rarely found it to be the other way around. I guess at some point you did have to be pretty fit to put yourself in that scenario, but once you do, it’s a lot easier to get it back later.

Ah, my sweet sweet soapbox. It’s all about who can crave the suffering the hardest…

So anyhoo, I hope to hit up a couple races starting about two weeks from now. I don’t intend to compete for a top finish or anything, just sweat a little and maybe try to get some form back.

Oh, the title? Icky Kittens? Pretty random actually, I had to call it something. Enjoy.