Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bringing Order to Chaos

One of the projects I assigned myself for the long weekend was to build a bike rack for my various bikes and wheels. I have 3 bikes and they've been camping in and around my apartment for a long while now. The Transition has been hanging off the kitchen bar, the Colnago has been living in the hall next to the bathroom, and the Specialized E5 has been lounging around in the dining/living room area.

I made a trip down to Home Depot yesterday afternoon and picked up a couple pieces of 6 foot redwood 2x4, some lag bolts, and a variety of hooks. After a few hours spent on cutting, staining, and assembly; I give you my new 5 bike, at least 3 wheel bike rack:

Thursday, November 26, 2009

American Thanksgiving - What I Notice

What I realize on days like today is that there aren't nearly enough days like this any more. Days where it is socially accepted, if not expected that you will not open your business. Days when people are supposed to take it easy. It's kinda sad when you realize that it's a special occasion when the world slows down, as opposed to the the opposite way around.

I went out for a 90 minute spin today. Along the way I saw very few cars on the road. I may have even seen more bikes than cars on the Coast Highway. Living in a fairly urban area, the silence is very noticeable and very relaxing.

Bottom line is that there's no changing the world, it's going to go as fast as people want to make it go. What's unfortunate is that there aren't more days like today on the American calendar.

Lots of Stuff Going on Lately

I haven't been adding to the blog lately, but there's been a lot going on.

My dad came down for a visit on Nov. 11, staying through the 24th. We spent the first few days out sailing with his friend Fred Huffman. Fred has a Contessa 35 that he keeps in Marina Del Rey. We went out to Catalina Island and back, staying in Avalon the first night, Two Harbors the second night and then sailing back to the marina. We had good wind the first day and lots of great wind the last day, so we got some good sailing in. We also had a chance to see most of the island, doing some hiking and exploring.

Dad then stayed at my place for the remainder of his visit. We spent a day out sailing on Mission Bay, visited the Birch Aquarium, and the Zoo.

If you haven't been down to the San Diego Zoo lately, there's lots of new stuff going on down there. The Asian Elephants have moved downtown from the Wild Animal Park. The Zoo converted the area that the Girafes were in, into a giant home for the Elephants. There are also two Rhinos down there now, living in what seems like a lot larger area.

On the cycling front, I'm getting back into the groove of a regular training schedule. Things seem to be going fairly well. I definitely find that I do a much better job of getting out on my bike when I have a set schedule that I need to conform to. I'm also getting to bed earlier, which makes it a lot easier to get up early and hit the roads.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Back to Back Solid Weekends

I had another solid weekend with the cycling. 3.5 hours of good endurance riding on Saturday and another 2.5 or so yesterday.

Sunday was also my first long ride on the Colnago. I have to say that I'm really loving this bike. You can really feel the difference that a well designed frame geometry makes. The suppleness of good old steel as it rolls over the bumps is very nice. I'm also getting a lot out of the extra effort I have to make up the hills as I slog my way in the 42/23.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Colnago Arabesque

Here are some pictures of the new Colnago.

I took it out for my first ride yesterday afternoon. A few thoughts:

1. It corners like it's on rails. Definitely a whole lot better than my aluminum Specialized E5.
2. As you'd expect from a steel bike, it's a very smooth ride.
3. This bike gives me a whole new appreciation for the guys who raced on these sorts of drive trains. With only 12 gears and when you take the cross chaining scenarios into account, effectively 8 gears; plus the fact that it's got a 53/41 chain ring on the front, hills are a really big deal. I've always thought of it as sacrilege when people get their 126mm rear spacing stretched out to 130mm so that they can put a modern drive train on a classic like this one. Now I have a much better appreciation for why they do it.
4. I've never spent a lot of time on a bike with down tube shifters. Running these things isn't so simple. A lot of times when you shift the rear you find yourself also needing to trim the front. For someone who is so used to the ergonomics of having your shifting right at your fingertips at all times, the down tube shifters are a significant amount of extra effort.
5. When you take the shortage of gears and extra time required to shift into account, you quickly realize that it is often easier or necessary to make due with the gear you're already in, rather than going through the pain of shifting. i.e. you have to get used to spinning at very different rpm.

Matt Marshall Made me Cry

I'm not sure why he likes to do it, maybe he can't help himself, but Matt Marshall layed the boots to me today.

We rode from his place in San Marcos up to the Storm the Beach cyclocross race in Camp Pendleton (north of Oceanside); watched a couple of my SDBC team-mates race; rode up to San Clemente for lunch; rode back to the race to watch the start of the pro race; then headed back to Matt's place. We left at 9am, put in 75+ miles of riding, and got back around 5pm; a full day's work.

For the most part I felt pretty good, especially for a guy who has rarely ridden his bike over the past 4 or 5 months. Where it kinda fell apart for me was on the ride back from the race. We left the race at about 3:30 and didn't realize that we couldn't get back onto the base after 3pm. So, we had the privelege of riding 8 or 9 miles on the side of the I5 to get back to Oceanside. We rode pretty hard along the I5, at least hard for me. By the time we got off the I5 I was starting to really run low on steam. The ride from the Coast Hwy back up to San Marcos was a pretty tough affair for me. Matt was nice enough to take it easy on me as we headed up the hills on our way back to base.

This was a great day; a chance to spend some time with Matt, perfect weather, 75+ miles of riding, and my first chance to watch cyclocross live.