Thursday, July 30, 2009

Smells Like Data

21.3 @ 18.4 for the real maiden voyage. Took it pretty easy and opened up the power on the overpass at the beginning and end of the ride. Besides weighing a ton, I really like this thing.


47.9 @ 21.2

About 22 riders showed up for another fright/fight/flat night. Did OK and hung with the fast pack untill about the 80% mark agian. What a difference a set of pro race 3 tires and a few wedges make. Felt really good in the legs, short right leg needs more tweaking. Left leg felt fantastic. Also felt supprisingly well without my 1200 cal of maltodextrin to fuel the motor. Got by on two bottles of cytomax mix and ejected the water only bottle on some crater about 30 miles in. It was a snap top Bontrager that leaked and I had no clue where we were and wasnt about to be dropped trying to retrieve a leaky bottle. Good riddence. It's always saftey first around here so I ditched the pos CF water bottle cage and dropped an old school alloy unit in it's spot. Speaking of adding weight, after strappin on the PowerTap last night I lifted the bike by it's saddle and was sad, very sad. I did however cheer myself up by successfully downloading the data from my maiden voyage ... a 30 second little stomper to the end of the block and back. Max watts 678 in my slippers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

R.I.P Blue Heron

******** Warning, these pics are graphic ********

This morning on my way to work in my super polluter I passed by a Blue Heron laying on the side of the road, partially in the lane, that looked to have been hit by a car. My gut instinct told me to go back and see if it was alive. He lifted his head and tried to move but was in bad shape with trauma to the left side of his body and an obvious broken leg and damaged wing.


I was absolutley amazed by the amount of disregard for a person in the turning lane of a residential area waving trafic over to the next lane with a car clearly in their way and its hazzard lights on. A Hicksgas van driver and an old man were especially oblivious passing within inches of me, seeminlgy daring me to stay where I was. Classy. Hicksgas driver was scowling at me as he rolled by.

There were several ATT linemen who later assisted by placing their truck behind the heron and putting cones down the lane. I think he felt sorry for me, I was clealry frustrated by the idiocy of the drivers. They were very helpful finding numbers to call in their phonebook and even went as far as calling some personal contacts who might know a DNR person.


We called the DNR who were not open untill 8:30 and had no means to leave a message, Animal Control and were told they were not open untill 2, Public Works who had dispatched Animal Control and finally 911 to see if we could be patched through to a DNR officer on call or if maybe a police officer could control traffic to keep it from being run over agian which would allow us working class folks to get to work.

Later on in the day I called the Wildlife Clinic to see if there was a status. I learned due to a fractured leg and wing and the Heron being a fragile species it was euthanized. R.I.P we gave it our best college effort.

On the bright side, I have a big box with a PowerTap wheel waiting for me at home. Maybe this means it wont rain for the Wednesday ride since I'd prefer to stay home and play with my new toy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Firefighter Shoots Cyclist

I thought at first it was an onion story. Another good example of why you'll want to wear your helmet out there in the mean streets of bump drafters and gun slingers. Unbelievable. I wonder what the circumstances were that brought this person to justice, did concerned motorists follow him untill authorites showed up?

Story here.

Update:

Yep, concerned motorist turned him in, awesome.

Lemond Wedges

Still on my journey with knee pain and a few hundred miles down the road after my fitting I decided it was time to go back and see what Larry could do. Martin has suggested on more than one occasion that my short right leg/knee pain could be addressed with a Lemond wedge or a longer spindle on the pedal. Not wanting to change from Look to Speedplay I opted for the wedge route first. After some angle measurements of my feet Larry set me up with the wedges. I must have had stage fright since I forgot which leg was actually short 5mm and he set me up conservatively untill I found out which one it was.

Proceeded to do a 20 mile flogger into a 15 mph cross wind and the right leg went to sleep after mile 1. Left leg, the problem child, felt the best it's felt in recent memory. Managed to get back in the shop before Larry went home for the day and confirmed it was indeed the right leg that was short and to please fix the right leg now. A few tweaks later I was back on the road and headin for home to mow the lawn before dark.

Isn't it funny how you dont realise how important something is untill it's gone ... like maltodextrin. Somehow I forgot to resupply and after calling my favorite brewing supply place and learning the order I placed two weeks ago still hasnt gone in, I orderd a 50lb bag from the internets. So, if anyone is interested in splitting the bag it's $30 for 25lbs. I already had one person express interest so it may not be available but thought I'd toss it out there for next time. Meanwhile I'm left wondering how I'm going to manage to get enough calories in for my riding untill the malto arrives. I dont seem to be able to eat solid food under effort and tend to be really queezy afterwards. Maybe I'll just lose more weight to make up for the extra powertap weight I'll be strapping on the steed this week. THATS RIGHT, POWERTAP ARRIVES THIS WEEK !

Hope the rains stays clear of Seymour, I really want to do this TT today.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

60.8 @ 20.1

Low 70's and wind in the teens meant the dozen or so Saturday riders had some work to do getting out to Monticello and eventually Lodge Park and back in on the west side of Champaign. I felt pretty good and managed to get on Larry's wheel for an early leadout to the Monticello sign sprint. Luke played it very well and powered around me in the last 15 yards or so. Martin, John and Larry were very strong for the last half and Time Trialed off the front leaving a group of 4 to do some nice tempo work back to town. Very scenic and hilly ride today, even amidst all the pain from effort I found a way to really enjoy this one.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

55 @ 20.8

Wednesday nights ride was supprisingly tame. Guessing that was due to the absence of several of the pace drivers. Can't say I was sad about it, managed to keep contact with the lead group for 80 - 85% of the route. Weather was perfect, love the smell of the warmed wheat fields.

Knee was barkin at me pretty good but I decided to try and push it to see what happened. Doc said I was clear for effort and to ramp up slow so I wasn't going to be turning myself inside out for long. Sitting on the back chit-chattin with a familiar face from the LBS I realise the pack is splitting and the town sign sprint train is leaving. This usually means the pack snaps and stays snapped for the rest of the ride. I proceed to make a full out effort to bridge and manage to max myslef out long before I ever see the sign or the back of the group. Managed to bridge after they slowed, just in time for the pee break. Great.

Easy pace and a nice tempo into the latter half, untill I think it was Karl decides to interval off the front and before I know it were back to 23 - 26. Suffering. Pushed myself pretty well and hung with the fast pack long enough to have a clue where I was ( Eastside Urbana ). 21.1 average as I rolled into the outskirts of town. Good ride.

Looking to buy a pre-loved PowerTap with wheel and head unit for under $500. Yeah right, I know. Those things only happen when I turn my back on ebay at just the right time, which seems to happen with amazing accuracy. Gatorskins should arrive soon and then the leadcases are banished to the commuter where they belong.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Blackberry Lily

Just a couple shots of some backyard bounty.




Sunday, July 19, 2009

30.8 @ 19.7

Fondly refered to as the Westside 30, todays route was as picturesque as it was challenging. A nice mix of hills, rollers and winding country road has this route quickly becoming a favorite of mine. JB was riding strong today so I got to do some decent tempo. Knee was barkin at me which is gettin' really old really fast.

This mighty oak had the honor of hosting a couple steeds in it's limbs for a photo op that hardly does the spot justice.

At the time I thought it would be a neat shot but now I think it's just silly.
Ride aware out there !

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Big Jay's Fast Century

Rolled in with the fast pack at 4:34 showing 101.85 miles @ 22 mph average. First lap I followed Larry the bent rider off the front and did a 23 avg ... felt like motorpacing, very strong rider. Luke was looking really strong for his 100 mile TT but flatted before mile 10.


Body felt pretty good but I was having issues with my gel being tasty enough to want to eat under effort. I might be ready for another flavor or someting. Jay handed me a pack of sport beans at mile 85 or so and they were just what I needed as I was feeling like crap. Missed a turn at mile 90 or so ... not sure how, the course was very well marked. 100 miles was my firm goal with 200 being the soft goal. Gotta have something to work towards, right ? Thanks to Jay and those who put the event on, your efforts are much appreciated.

There goes Larry for another loop. I told him I was gonna blow myself up at the end of the 4th lap since I was done. He asked if I wanted some competition and proceeded to destroy me. Hehe ... hope I see ya around .. maybe one day I'll be ultra material. Oh and his riding partner said they are planning to do back to back doubles this weekend. Hardcore.

5:45 in the pits:Ready to go:
Larry practicing the fine art of tubular removal and mounting with :15 till line up in his slippers.


Sneakin' in a nap?

Morning person:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Prepped and Ready to Rock


Pit car is loaded, fuel in the fridge, cooler ready, clothes all laid out for the 4 am wake up call.

I should be napping.

Rush Hour Casualty

Bump drafting went horribly wrong ?

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2009/07/16/bicyclist_injured_when_hit_by_vehicle

I've noticed the intensity level being higher around 8 and 5 on the roads.

I can't imagine what this cyclist was going through as he was pinned.

Wish we knew more details and I hope he makes a full recovery.


Looks like another cyclist that was hit earlier this week has died, alcohol was involved in the collision.
http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2009/07/17/urbana_bicyclist_dies_after_being_hit_by_truck_on_campus

My sympathies to George Weisiger's family.

Ride and drive aware out there in the concrete jungle !

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday Night Flat Night

I should have known my ride was doomed. Arrive home to find my freshly mounted spare rear wheel had a flat. The good one is prepped for sunday with a super flat prone po race 3. Went looking for my kit and found it still damp in the washer from the night before. Ok, changed the tube, washed the kit and were off. A large pack with a healthy noob contingent meant I spent the first 5 miles on the back giving the new to group rides orientation. Several of them were on their second and third group rides ever. Safety first was my motivation and they seemed appreciative.
The ride heated up pretty quick, they guys are really strong right now. I was just settling in the line after orientation when I realise my rear is agian flat. I waved the group on not wanting to spoil the pace. After I got back on the road I was completely lost as I usually am on these rides. Focusing on all the group ride aspects and staying safe doesn't afford much time to memorize landmarks in the sea of corn and beans. One of the new guys who was dropped had turned around so I rode with him for a while untill a group of three passed that looked to be holding a good pace so I turned around and asked if I could ride in with them. Maybe 6 miles later I see a few teammates and joined on with them for some good tempo work back to town.
Knee feels funky on the front and outside. Due to having only one wheel sensor magnet I have 0 data for the ride. I can tell you one thing though, it feels like the beginning of the end of my amature racing career.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pace

Chiropractor said I adjusted well and pushed right on the spot that hurt, just like she always does. Said something about SI sacreal something or other and fixed me. For anyone sufering with pain and doctors have told you to deal with it and want to prescribe pills, Schwartz Chiropractic Center may be your ticket. Applied Kinesiology with her chiropractic adjustments have been key to keeping me active. She will press the points she adjusts and tests them untill your body tells her its right. It's one of those things that seems like quackery but makes such a difference. The body is an amazing machine. Still sore but the shooting pain stuff is gone.

Changed the rear shifter cable and housing. Cut off wheels suck for cable housing because the heat melts the inner and outer plastic. Cleaned the drivetrain and derailleurs. Race wheels, spare tires, tubes, tools, etc. prepped for Saturday. I'm already making my alliances for the 19 mph avg pack.

Added the IDOT bike map to the links, looks like a good resource.

Monday, July 13, 2009

20.4 @ 20.1

Solo with no wind, perfect weather, decent roads and lead case tires on the vista front wheel. Not bad. Knee felt weird on the front and outside. Right hip /low back hurts like a mofo. What did I do. Was really hoping to avoid the wonderfuly skilled hands of the chiropractor before the looper. Should be in the shop prepping spare wheels and tools for the trunk pit.

Stay safe out there. There's people in trucks who want to bump draft cyclists.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Tour de Champaign - Sunday

Caught the end of the 3's and the beginning of the Mens 1/2. Wowowowow. I wish I was half as fast. Fun weekend of racing and I guess the WildCards that raced did well. Maybe I'll be pack fodder in '10.

40.2 @ 19.8


Perfect weather for the Sunday ride ... gentle winds from the NNE. Only two riders made the line since everyone else was either off racing, helping out at the crits or being lazy ?? I knew this one was going to hurt. John is old enough to be my dad and still made me suffer on the hills. I was all over my gears, in and out of the saddle trying to keep pace. Dropped the chain once on a downshift and discussed the possibilty the chain is too long since it's dropping with the limits set to rub the cage on the little/big combo. Legs took 20 to warm up today ... knee hurt on the outside front under sustained effort. I keep looking for a group ride to sit in and keep finding rides that feel like solo hard efforts. With my eye on the Fat Ass Loop next weekend, I need all the miles I can get.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tour de Champaign - Saturday

Made it down for the end of the 3's and the 1-2 race. Wowowow .. one racer from the 1-2's said he avg'd 28 - 29. That was a 70 min race plus three laps I think.


Picassa stinks and wont let me thumbnail link to a full size image so here's the direct link to the album.

29.5 @ 19

Looked like rain be we didn't care. Loaded up the leaf blower and brooms and managed to find or way downtown to sweep the corners before heading through some showers out to Meadowbrook for a WC ride. Yeah right. Only the diehard PCC folks showed so we headed back to the westside for a nice tempo ride.


JB worked on his stamina and I tried to share what I know about hand positions for getting aero and still be able to produce power. Very nice route today with 1,165 ft of elevation change. I'd like to go back with the good camera and take some pics of some monster oaks out there. For now a rock wall and a couple sxy beasts.

For once he waits on me.




Headin' back downtown later for some more volunteer and picture work at the races. Raining now so with any luck its dry downtown.

Friday, July 10, 2009

TGIF

I failed hard at bike commuting today. I even have a legit rear commuter wheel now... Ultegra hub with noisy freehub laced with DT Comps to a Deep V woohoo !
3' law anyone ?
And a few rack shots from earlier in the week, you might be asking yourself why a 190 lb person carrying a pannier is commuting on such a low spoke count radialy laced rear wheel. Well, I got them for a good price years ago and they seem to be working out OK as a spare. Meh.



Planning to show up downtown at 7 to do some course cleaning and hopefully make the 8 am start for a WC ride. Going to try and make it back in the afternoon both days to take some pics and help out where I can. Ride safe and hard this weekend !

Thursday, July 9, 2009

42.7 @ 19.1

8 or 10 brave souls showed for the Wednesday night ride. Wet roads and a news of a tornado warning near Monticello greeted the riders, all who looked like they were going for a ride on a warm sunny day, except me in my endura stealth lite bibs, waterproof booties, beanie and arm warmers. I specifically asked the reporter guy that was there not to take a pic of me since I'd make these guys look bad.
I never seem to learn my lesson, accepted an offer from Martin to break off and stay near the west side of town for a 19 avg 50 miler-ish. He's uber stongen, even with his 30 miler pre-ride I was sucking wheel for atleast half of our 30 miler. He's really a great pace car, fast enough to hurt but slows for the squirlly stuff enough to allow recovery. I'm amazed at what crappy shape I'm in compared to 4 weeks ago. Left knee achin' on the front and inside today. I probably would have been better served by staying with the group and sitting in for some less intense tempo given my current status. Live and learn, noob. Good times.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Moist

Burned a vacation day at work and thought I'd take advantage of an afternoon shower to capture some of the bounty that is my surrogate coral reef aquarium.












Bike Inspection

Status: Flogged

Inspected the race bike to find these scratches on the bottom side of the fork. I assume its from bits of gravel stuck to the tires trying to pass through the small gap between the tire and the fork. No threads showing on close inspection so I'm not going to worry about it. I learned enough in the last fork fiasco to know people in the industry I talked to weren't that concerned untill threads were showing in scratches.




And a detail shot of the business side. I've got leaky bottles and the drips are accumulating into a super glue like substance that is impervious to everything I've rubbed it with. Probably means I'll be stripping the frame down this winter with some laquer thinner or acetone and going naked. Woohoo!

I also needed to clean up the guides and slather copious amount of grease in there to ensure I get a snappy shift, especially when I'm about to get dropped.


Dropped, yep, that's my prediction for tonights ride with the WildCards.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Keep On Keepin' On


The commuter is so hipster right now it hurts. Went for a lunch spinner to see if the knee would loosen up and quit barkin at me. Just kinda aches a little. Got the dead front rim off and replaced with a spare easton. Turns out the vector comp needed some truing. Not much but enough that I didnt want to be 20 miles from home and hammerin' on it. Speakin of hammering, these tour guys are amazing. Pure beauty.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Solo 51.7 @ 19.4

For the second morning in a row I woke up to see wet roads for the WC ride and went back to sleep. Rolled out about 11:30 to NE winds @ 13 that felt like 20. Bike handling skills and fitness are out the window. On one of the three occasions I left the road I hear road to rim contact climbing back on. After stopping to inspect the rims I notice a small crack in the front Vector Pro where the spoke meets the rim. I think this is 5 for 5 on something breaking on a ride. Crap. I nearly went down on one of the road leaving incidents. Crosswinds + momentary distraction + noob like bike handling skills == off on the shoulder and nearly going down gettin' back on. Ugh.
Knees felt good, took 15 miles to get the left one flowing. Solo rides are tough to stay focused on stuff other than the effort. Was a good ride minus the mechanical and noob skills, did some decent tempo and felt pretty strong at the end.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Teach Em Young

Rain, Rain, Rain so no riding. The g-kid's sidewalk ripper needed some attention so we swapped the front tire to the back, cleaned up the drivetrain and oiled the hubs. He wanted the training wheels off long enough to realize someone wasn't going to always be around to hold him up. Wont be long till he's done with those.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Bontrager Hardcase Fail

Went for a relaxing ride in the wonderful weather with a buddy to go see if I could get this Velocity wheel tensioned and loctite the spokes. Mission accomplished after a nice little run-in with some rebar sticking out of Green street, eastbound, just before the place that makes the killer calzones.

Sliced right through the tire. Luckily I had a dollar with me and used it to boot. Guess they aren't so hard. I've nuked enough of these tires in the last two years I think I'm going to look at a another brand just to see... maybe some gatorskins or armadillos. This one also has at least one section where the material wrapping around the bead and attaching to the outside of the tire is coming apart. Wonder if contacting Bontrager directly would yeild any warranty fruit, the cycle shop wanted nothing to do with it. To be fair, I didn't specifically show the friendly shop guy the material seperating part, just the complete failure of the kevlar part. :sadface:



Oh and the right shifter stopped working ont he way home, I really hope its a shredded piece of cable in there.

Took a bit of a loop for a good cause and wound up with 35 for the day. The cycling talent in the area has apparently really improved in the past few weeks.
Ride safe out there, watch out for the rebar and tire eatter sewer drains!
Update: Right shifer ate another cable right where it exits the shifter. 9 speed right side Tiagra shifters are cable eaters. I've already sent one of these back to Shimano, I guess I need to e-mail them and see what to do. Ugh, Looks like I need a spare right 9 speed shifter now too. Something about anything but Tiagra sitting on the rack at work sits uneasily.