Monday, June 29, 2009

Putney


Putney was a wet and wild time. Last year it was dry and fast and loads of traction. I could ride everything and I did very well. This year it was wet and muddy so the major climb on the back section and a few other climbs were too muddy to power up. The geared riders could sit and spin to keep the rear weighted. Walking was slower but I had no choice. The next few paragraphs are all about single speeding. I got side tracked so scroll down to check out the race report.

After the race I happened to overhear some one complaining about single speeders being in the Pro class. Saying that they shouldn't be in the pro class because they ride at different speeds then geared bikers. This was very strange to hear because it's usually the geared biker holding up the single speeder who is trying to power up a steep climb and needs a good head of steam to make it. It was like I was being singled out just because I ride with one gear. Ironic isn't it.

Well maybe they should have a pro single speed class. I don't know. The vibe I get is that the guys with the gears think that they suck if they are getting beat by someone with only one gear. I don't see the logic in this. The truth is that if I had gears I might be slower. Having those extra gears I would be in my granny gear wishing I had a smaller gear. I'm not trying to prove that I'm so much cooler with one gear and sneer at those with gears. For me it's just fun to have one gear. I don't have to worry about what gear I'm in during the race and I love to spin and feel the power of a straight chain line without being wound around other cogs. I don't even like the Singlulator. Also It's cheaper to maintain and not have to worry about busting off a derailleur.

I don't feel like it slows me down to have one gear. I ride with gears on the cross bike for road rides and use the gears because I need them to keep up with the other guys with gears. Riding in the woods is slower, obviously. I couldn't keep up on the road if I was spinning a 34x19. I would have to run a 42x17, and that would be killer on some of the long steep climbs we have out here. And too spinny for going down hill.

The other day I decided to "big ring" it up a climb that the day before I was in my 39x27. 53x24 was the gear that I used and I got up it. It reminded me of riding my fixie over the winter and powering up huge climbs just for the fun of it. I think I went the same speed. I think no matter what gear you are in it's the motor that determines how fast you go.

Now that I am way off course with that topic I will tell you about the race.

Going up against 34 Pro/cat 1 riders was super cool. I now know that getting up in the front row is what I must do for every race. I'm a fast starter (I guess) and It feels like I get a head start.
I did well at the start and was happy to not be waiting in line to get into the single track. It was cool to keep up with Foley and Carpenter and O'Keefe. It didn't last long and I was being cough by other guys like Hines and Powell. It was cool to see Powell with a Giant Kit and bike. Powell might be the next Adam Craig. He is really serious about riding. Way more serious then Adam Craig.
So I was actually able to stay with Powell on the Big climb and pass him on some single track. How I passed him was not very cool. It was quite dangerous. Remember the log you can jump over or go to the right around the stump? Well, he when around and I went over the log. He thought it was cool and yelled out "Nice" but thinking back I shouldn't have done it. I could have crashed into him and been on his shit list. I was thinking that I must have been doing well or he must not be doing so well. But since he got 3rd place he must have been doing well.
So now I'm kind of in no mans land and Mike Joos and Brent Mellen pass me up the big climb on the 4th lap. I don't know how Mike can come from all the way DFL at the start to passing me. That boy has some skills. And then Michel Bartlett caught up to me and is climbing everything. He had the right idea and was able to make some time on me because I was fumbling around trying to get back on my bike. This was my first real head to head racing I've done in the pro class. I knew I could get him at the last climb so I waited patiently trying to keep him in sight. Every down hill I was trying to get some rest knowing that the last climb would be it. This is where having a single speed can make the difference. I was already standing and powering up the climb and Michel was spinning in a small gear. I've been there before on the road bike where after spinning up a climb seated up a climb you don't want to stand up and push a bigger gear. So half way up the hill I opened it up and smashed. I didn't look back until I was on the flat section of grass thinking I would have to sprint for the finish but he wasn't there. In fact it seemed like a long time before he crossed the line. But he did really good.
If Greg Carpenter and Randall Jacobs didn't DNF then I wouldn't have been top 10. The bike worked. I was a little frustrated with the tire clearance in the back. The tires would cake up with mud and I would have to clear the seat stay. I just ordered a Hutchinson Python 2.1 for the rear in hopes for better clearance. I might have to put a Kenda Karma 1.9 on.






Charles Beal was happy to get 3rd. My fellow single speeder on the podium. Great job! Especially when Jonny Bold is in your class.



Rob (another single speeder in the pro class) had an unfortunate crash down some sick down hill. One tough mother. Unscathed and out of position, and I'm sure some of the race got knocked out of him. Just kickin' with a brew at the results.

Great Job Colin for your debut pro open. Too bad you got that flat.


I got points for 9th place! Usually I finish 10 to 15 min back. Now it's only 5min! I'm now 14th overall for the series. That's a really cool feeling for me.



The winners. Oh ya, What's up with 3 deep for prizes with 35 riders in the class. Bunk!










Monday, June 22, 2009

Selma Debut

CB2 and I headed out from West Hartford Reservoir up to Pennwood on Sunday. What better way to break in a new bike then to pull out all the stops and ride The Res. Wet slimy rocks and roots. Mud pits, water crossings, streams of water going down the trails we were riding up. Climbing was better and getting over logs was easier. Instantly I knew that 29'ers are King! The hype is true. Rolling over stuff and traction is the main reason to get a 29'er and you need that to ride in the Res and Pennwood. But there's more. I could throw it down on the descents, and pedal seated over some rough stuff. I would contribute that to Selmas carbon stays and fork. The new saddle I got is Awesome! It's light and comfortable. Thanks Harlan. That's what he rides and if it's good enough for him is good enough for me.

Mud. In case you couldn't tell.

CB2 Getting in on the action.

CB2 and I rode up to Pennwood for the 2nd year in a row on Fathers day. It's a tradition now.

What a great bike. Thank you Josh for helping me to get this bike and all the crap you had to deal with to get it. I'm very happy with the Selma. And the Size (small) is dead on. The bike weighs about 23 lbs but feels lighter. I'm hopeing to drop 3 lbs down the road.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

It is finished


Stans yellow rim tape. I cleaned the bed of the rim with some brake cleaner and used some steal wool to make sure there was a good clean surface for the tape to stick. I'm going to use tubes just to seat the tape and then stans them for Sunday.



I had this riser bar since last year. It feels comfortable with the stem flipped up side down, but after being called "dorky" I'm going to try to flip the stem and use a flat bar.

Josh did an amazing job with the wheels.
Eccentric bottom bracket is really nice. I needed to change my tires up to go ride at the Res with CB2 and I was running low on time. No problemo! No adjustments are needed to change a tire for the rear wheel. Definitely a plus for racing.
Clearance might be an issue. This is a 2.1 tire. Anything bigger then that will rub!

The carbon chain stays are amazing!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Long pine classic

Click here for bigger map

The Long Pine Classic is part of the Mid Atlantic Super Series down in PA coming up on July 5th. Yes that's the same day of the Domnarski Farm race. We have some friends down in PA and they live about an hour away from the race. From what I can gather so far it's a hilly course. It looks like there are 3 significant climbs that are sustained for almost a mile. If I'm reading the map right. Let me know if I'm not.

I'm going to sign up for the Elite open. What's really cool about this race is if I can do well in it the money is significant. If I got 20th that would pay for my race fee.




Hanna "Hannibal" Witter

Now you may be wondering who these "friends" are that would get me to drive 6 hours. Our friend Julie lives with her husband Tim on a working dairy farm and has many kids. Kids that like to play alot. Alot. My job is to entertain them for hours by holding them up by the feet and spinning them around like I'm a carnival ride. I do that until I can't see and then they yell "again!" All of the Cycling "training" that I've done doesn't even compair to the workout I get by visiting these guys. I'll be there for a day and a half. Last time we visited we played a game called "Dead James." That's when Hannibal and Luke would yell in my ear telling me to wake up while I "Played Opossum." The game ended right before Hannibal put gravel in my mouth. She did smear my shoe on my face. Remember we are at a farm. Cow poop. They are good kids though and lots of fun.

Bethany, Hanna, and Luke

Hanna and Luke at the farm

Baby Joel with Baby

video

If you still don't believe me how crazy these kids are watch the video. I love them a lot.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Selma is here!

It's here!

Check out the carbon seat stays!

The geometry looks like it will work compared to the surly


And light! I know it's not 3.5 lbs like the Niner would have been but it's close. That's with the eccentric and seat clamp.

I had to take out some pictures so I will post some more soon.

Finally after such a long time of waiting the Selma is in my grubby hands. I stripping down the 1x1 of it's brakes and wheels I cruised down in the company truck to 503 cycleworx where Josh was awaiting my arrival. He knew I would be down. I thought he was going to call me as soon as it came in the door. He let me open the box!


I've looked at this bike on line for a long time. Over 7 months! The picture they have on Salsa's website really doesn't do it Justice. The one selling point for me was the carbon seat stays. They are really beautiful. I wish they had some close up shots of those seat stays. I'm amazed at the seamless joint and how it goes from gray to clear coat. I don't know how they did that. Frame technology has really come a long way.


The Surly will now become my winter bike. I'll throw my XTR v-brakes on and find a crank. Or soon put a better crank on the Selma and use the old XTR crank on the 1x1. I was thinking that Jesse could ride this too. I'd love to throw some really huge tires on this bad boy and put my fixed gear wheel on with some flat pedals.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Selma project



Box-O-Stuff.

Team shirt and bar tape

I met Charlie out at Nassahegan State forest last night and had a sweet ride in the misty rain. Charlie was riding awesome! The slick conditions made it really fun. I can't remember the last time I had so much fun in the wet slippery stuff. I skipped a skinny bridge section that he rolled down. I just couldn't trust the slime coated wood. He's the man! All 137 pounds! He also hooked me up with a bunch of tires, Handlebar, stem, Salsa T-shirt, and seat post for my new ride. Charlie said,"the t-shirt is for the podium." I don't know about that, but you never know.

" Broken"-in saddle from my MTB will now grace my Cross Bike


This Saddle is really hard on the old butt. Specialized makes 2 different size seats of this kind and I was given this larger saddle. The "cut-out" is brutal. It's like sitting on 2 skinny rails. I've tried moving it to all different positions and my hands still go numb on long rides. When it dawned on me that I could use my mtb saddle I was stoked. I'm looking forward to this weekends century ride now. At the beginning of the week I saw the weather forecast and thought that I wouldn't get any ride time in. But the rain held off for Wednesday and I was able to get out with Josh for and incredible road ride down to the Housatonic Race and back. 70+ miles and held a 19.5 average.











Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ask and ye shall receive

This mornings post left me to wonder what the day will bring. At my wits end I called Josh and he began to tell me that there was yet another problem. But he was just busting me and told me that he ordered the Selma! It should be here on Monday! And the other good news is that I don't have to get another bottom bracket because the one I have will fit the new ride.

Riding this week looks a bit dull with all of the rain. After last Sundays 5 and a half hours of road riding it might be a good idea to rest a few more days. We were going for a century but bailed at 97 miles because we were dang tired and dehydrated. I paced myself to endure the climbs and watched Josh pull away on every climb. I thought "that's okay" and just let him do his thing. I was happy to have something left at the end. Unlike some other rides I've done that left me with foggy vision. Just had fun. We both saw 2 coyotes, a bobcat, a partridge, and two dead porcupines.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Gods Must Be Crazy

I don't know what you believe but I'm starting to believe that there is a God. A cycling God. Or CG. This God has been with me my whole life and has metamorphosed into the current Cycling God. He's (make things simple and genderize him) the One that spiritually nudges me towards perfecting my game in the cycling department. CG has been teaching me some valuable lessons recently. Patience for one.
6 months ago I really wanted to get a new bike. I waited patiently for this Frame (above) to be available to order. Promises were made and broken. Salsa said that the production date would be in February. Then it was March, then April 1'st. Yes it was a joke. Then they said May and I started to get my hopes up. And once that didn't happen I had enough. I decided that I would find a frame on-line and be done with it. Sorry Salsa you failed. So I started looking at Niners. Really nice bikes that were built for speed. Josh wanted to help me out and applied to get some Niner frames. Turns out that Niner is dragging their feet and won't have a frame for me until late July! How long do I have to wait CG!



Now I'm back looking at the Selma frame. Salsa lists them as available and Josh tries to order it. Oh, well don't you know they can't let him order it because he's not an official Salsa dealer. I guess the "official" dealers get the first crack at sales and so it will be a few more weeks. I need a bike and I need it now!


So that brings us up to date. No frame. WTF!


So what have I learned from CG's teachings?


A. It must be my fault because I'm a sinner and only good little boys get what they want.



B. I should just learn to live with the bike I have. It's building strength and character.



C. I'm too picky with bikes. No bike is going to be good enough for me.



I hate waiting and I think I've waited long enough. But all of this bitching is not going to get me a frame.
Through all of this Josh has been working really hard to get me a frame. He's been on the phone and emailing, having to deal with a lot of BS from some of these company's to get me a frame. Thanks again Josh. It's just my luck.


To be continued...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Single-speed-a-palooza!


Kombucha tea, homemade brew

This was a fantastic race put on by the darkhorse cycles guys in Stewart State Forest, NY. I was super impressed with the promoters as they invited all of us ding-dongs to get together for one huge single speed race. Sooner or later someone would "Git 'Er Done" and I'm happy that they did-r. The course was marked perfect including laminated signs of encouragement along the trail saying things like "Got Toast"? Or "who needs gears?"

The results are up. I got 5th and Josh crushed it for 4th. 503 Cycleworx represented!
Back up a few days to Friday and I was on the couch with some kind of stomach bug. Didn't eat dinner and just slept. I tossed and turned all night and then ate a little bit for breakfast and went right back to bed. Woke up on Saturday at 2pm. Still felt like crap and was really getting bummed that I was going to miss the one race I was really looking forward to. I rode for 1/2 an hour with my 2:1 gear on the surly and felt really crappy. I could barely push the pedals over. My replacement rear wheel was feeling sluggish and I don't know if it was the frame or the wheel flexing but I couldn't get the rotor from brushing against the brake pads. On top of that my bottom bracket was chirping pretty good. So my bike was not really encouraging me to do well. Telling me things like "you suck.. you suck..you suck." I'm really looking forward to getting my new bike soon.
Sunday morning came around and it was now or never. Feeling okay I got ready to go and met Josh at the bike shop. Thankfully he brought the directions and knew all the back roads to get there. I wonder if he got the directions because we got lost coming back from Landmine last year and wound up going through Boston, costing us an hour of travel time? The trip out there was uneventful. Josh only got 3 hours of sleep the night before and was yawning the whole way.
Thankfully when I got on my bike to ride a little my legs felt good. Pre-rode the first climb section called "Major Mike" with Charlie Beal and Josh and was happy with my gear choice of 2 to 1. Charlie was pushing it hard up the climb (Josh noticed too) and I needed to rest. He ran the same gear inch as me (52). He told me he based that on my results at Farmington, and if it didn't work it would be my fault. Just kidding. I wasn't sure but I don't think it worked for him since he said that he would go one tooth harder next year. Whoops. I guess I like to spin 200 rpms. It seemed like 2:1 was the gear of choice for 29'ers except for Monte who ran a "little better than 2:1" Acording to my calculations he was running a 61.6 gear inch! I was running a 52. So for every pedal stroke he was going almost 10 inches further then me! No wonder he beat me by 10 mins!

This was just before the single track section. I was trying to wave Jesse past me because I didn't mean to cut him off and I knew he would not be happy behind me. He did get around before the single track.

The start was a way down from the actual course so that riders could get sorted out before the single track. Knowing we had almost 50 fast dudes in our class I got down to the start early and pegged my self at the starting line with Sean C , Monte, Roger Foco, and Rob Stine. We got off to a fast uphill start and once we crested the hill Monte looks back and sprints chirping his tires as he punches it into "4th gear." Thankfully I was able to draft off of Sean and stay with the top guys. After the initial climb Monte, Roger, and Jesse are drifting away up ahead down the hill. I almost lose it into a tree and regain my head for a second. Damn these guys are fast! When things flatten out a bit Josh pulls ahead and sets his sights on Foco. I try to keep up and then a short down hill section gives them the gap and that was the last time I saw them. Now Sean and another Cannondale guy are right with me then passing me. I follow and then they pull away. I start to wonder if I will ever catch them again and then I would rally on the flat sections and catch them by the second lap (which is weird because they were running a bigger gear so you would think that I wouldn't be able to catch them on the flats). Once we got to Major Mike again I made my move that would seal my 5th place finish. I had a second blast of energy and pegged it down the hill and made my second lap faster than the first.
I came up on Thom Parsons ,who was having some tire trouble, passed him and then he caught back up. I tried to keep on his wheel and he just floated away. Then I caught him again hanging his bike up in a tree to work on it. Some how knowing that Thom could come up behind me again gave me some extra motivation to keep punching it as hard as I could. Too bad Thom had to change his tire. I know he would have been top 3 for sure. I knew Sean was behind me now too and this was his turf. He knew every corner and burm. Sean was really tough to beat and he was still feeling the effects of being sick last week. He'll get me next time for sure.

Mile 17 and I was out of water. I only had 1 and 1/2 bottles of water at this point and really could have used another 1/2 at least. The feed zone was a little bit confusing and I didn't know where to put my bottles. So after the 5th mile I picked up a full bottle and used that for the rest of the race. Like a jerk I forgot Rob Stine's water bottles that I collected for him at Coyote Hill. He was able to get some water bottles to use. Sorry again Rob. I've got the whole bag of them for next time I see you.





Josh placed 4th for his single speed debut race! I knew he would do awesome! He can suffer a lot so single speeding is perfect for him. I'm crossing my fingers that he will be racing more with his single speed. Maybe even a new bike might be in the works for him? He rocked out his Specialized with a chain tensioner and V-brakes. After the race he told me that that was the most fun he has had on a bike in a long time! He loved the course because it reminded him of racing motocross. Ya, he's a sick motocrosser. I've learned so much from riding with him and love to follow him on the single track and watch him catch huge air off of stuff. I wish I had some video to show everyone how sick he really is. Of course he won't do any of that stuff during a race. I'm really lucky to be able to ride all the time with him, and he's the best mechanic I've ever known. He knows every trick in the book. If you need your bike fixed or need to build up a new bike I would take it to him. He's the best! He's saved my ass so many times with bike issues and is super generous with taking the time to figure out what's wrong with your bike, but will get your bike to you fast. He's an Indi Fab dealer and gets new builds all the time.
This was a really important race for me. I was handed $100 for placing 5th! The guys at Darkhorse are really generous and I hope that other promoters can afford to do the same. It really makes you feel good and want to do more racing. A lot of guys could have won 5th. The time difference wasn't ridiculous. A bobble or a crash or flat and that would have it. I'm overwhelmed with the caliber of people who are racing single speed bikes and I get to ride with the top guys. I'm so lucky!
Shout out to Charlie Beal, Emile Smith, Sean Cavenaugh, Rob Stine, John (who beat me at Farmington in 2006)