Monday, October 27, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
What a great thing cyclocross is.
The picture above was taken after the race. Stuart won handily and Travis came in second -- single speeds both. I think there were about 10-12 rookies racing. I landed squarely in the middle - I think I came in 5th or 6th. If so, I'm happy with that.
Stuart is great. He called me last night and asked if I still had a bike he could use. I had offered him the 720 a couple weeks ago. When he called last night, it was missing a crank set, tires, and a saddle. It is set up as a single speed, so finding a crank with a proper ring was also a requirement.
Stuart rode up to my house this morning at 8am. He built up the rest of the bike with just enough time for us to hop in the car, pick up Liza and drive out to Farragut.
He's raced in the past, but he never raced CX, so mounts, dismounts, run-ups, etc were all new. Aside from being a single speed, the bike had some handicaps for Stuart to overcome: it's a low trail bike (40 mm) which he found a bit twitchy. And the brake levers are reversed, which is hard to get used to - especially as you race. I love that he just came out and won the rookie race with all this back story.
Travis is just a great rider too. He just goes hard and doesn't stop. He took a bad fall on the second lap and still rallied for 2nd place. I love that. I got a great photo of his bloody stump of a knee, but I need to find just the right home for it.
I knew the race would be hard, and it was. I don't think I've ever maintained that kind of heart rate for 1/2 hour. And the thought of doing 45 or 55 minutes of that kind of pace is frightening. I've still got the hiccups and my lungs feel like I smoked a pack of cigarettes last night.
But dang it was fun.
Here's the woulda-couldas -- on the first lap, there were some horse riders on the trail in the hidden back-woodsy part. Flippen horses! At this point, the pack was still mostly together. I think it was. I was about 10 yards behind Travis. Stuart, Travis, and one or two others blasted by the horses, one of which was doing the Lone Ranger nervous dance. I stopped. Damn me. After that I could never close the gap.
It's ok though, because what ended up happening was that about 4 of us ended up with our own little sub-race. It was cool. We stayed together till the end then two of us broke out and battled it out. I stayed on the guy's wheel until the last straight-away, where I took every last bit of oxygen I could find and attacked. It was sooo weak. I attacked too early and he still had some left. He stepped on it and I couldn't get him.
Damn it was fun though. What a thrill. So I really want to go again and see if I can stay with the front pack or if I'll have to lean on another horse-story...
This year I've only been able to clear the calendar to run 2 races, maybe 3 if things fall the right way. I may prioritize this higher next year.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Piled up logs: a good sign that the trail is closed.
I had big plans to continue my Spokane perimeter trail today, but I ended up petering out. I was just a bit pinched for time so I didn't feel like I could really get out north, search for some east-bound trails, find them, get lost, enjoy them, etc and still be back in town in time for my lunch appointment. So, I ended up going to Palisades and checking out a new section of the trail up on Rimrock.
About a week ago, local cyclist, trail builder, and Pugsley owner, David Nelson sent Mr Blaine and I a note about some trail work he'd just finished up at Palisades. Here's the meat of the e-mail (with some bits chopped out to keep it brief-ish):
I’m sure by now that if you ride in Palisades much that the section of trail 101 just north of the intersection of Greenwood and Rimrock has been closed by the private property owner who owns the land a 100 yard section crossed. One of our club members (Monica Spricker) surveyed the boundary of the
parcel and I marked a new route around it that has already been somewhattrampled out and I’ll be improving it over the next few days...
... it will make things much easier for everyone if people stay off the old section of trail. I’m going to reclaim the old section of trail so that hopefully people won’t even remember it’s there but it seems there are always one or two that can’t keep out...
Don’t worry; the re-route won’t be along Rimrock, in fact I think it’s going to be pretty fun and I tried to keep it on somewhat high ground because Palisades gets pretty swampy in the spring.
I went and rode the new section today. It needs a lot more traffic on it to get it worked in. It's a bit hard to follow, so if you want to check it out, keep an eye out for the little green flags. I GPS'd the section in question and posted it on Bikely for those who really want to be sure.
As I enter the realm of mountain biking I'm getting much more exposure to the ethics, issues, and realities of the public vs private land. It's becoming an interesting subject for me. I've exchanged some e-mail with Rich Landers this week on the issue and spent a bunch of time talking to Jon over at OTM about it too.
There's an article or a series of blog posts on the subject likely at some point, but the interesting bit to me is that there's a bunch of trails that traverse private and public property in and around our city. There are many many sympathetic land owners that allow cyclists, horse back riders, and runners to use the trails. Most of the trails are not well-known and are used by a very respectful set of recreational users. On the other hand, there are trails that traverse private land and are well-known, so well-known, that they're basically public trails. And there's trails, like this Palisades bit that have been around forever and cross private land and for some reason, the land owner doesn't want people crossing it. It's hard to really give this subject a full and in-depth treatment since the last thing you want to do is expose a bunch of trails and ruin things.
Anyway... here I am going on. The point for this particular section is that we know the land owner doesn't want us there, so as recreational trail users, it's super important that we respect that wish and use the new trail.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The season's schedule is on the Emde site.
All up, I'm really looking forward to my first race. I'm not really very close to where I wanted to get fitness-wise for the race and I've rediscovered what an awful runner I am. Sprinting? Ha! In the end, I just did not prioritize training. I'm not the training type I guess.
But that's okay. My goals: don't come in DFL, and have fun. Luckily, the Rookie class only races for 30 minutes, and we race against starting juniors -- like 12 year olds and maybe younger. So hopefully, I'll achieve both goals. The practices were a lot of fun, and that course sucked hugely (all hill and grass), so I'm thinking Farragut and the 7-Mile races will be pretty fun.
As I've attempted to train and prepare for my first race, my beloved RB-T has undergone some transformations yet again. I swapped out the compact double for a single 39 chain ring. That simplifies things a bit.
The picture above shows the up-side-down shot. Hairy Gary worked his magic on the stays after I totally screwed them up. He gave me some more tire clearance (brute-force-hockey-puck method), then re-aligned the rear triangle and squared it with the front triangle.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
I want to find a way around the perimeter of the city using as much trail and dirt road as possible. Ben and I staked out familiar territory today: from the South Hill to Palisades.
Our next segment will be Palisades to 9 mile. From there, we'll need some northsiders to help us move east to west across the north perimeter of the city. Got any ideas? Lay them on me.
And if you're interested in riding these with us, let me know. We ride on Fridays. From around 9 am to whenever.
Ben showed me a couple new trails today. One from Eagle Ridge down to the cemetery on Cheney-Spokane road that really makes me happy. That was a big piece of non-dirt in my preliminary route.
I went over my bars twice. Twice! The second time was super lame. I was eating an apple and being a dork and not paying attention. I shanked my front wheel. Damn it!
Ben had to use his zen voodoo wheel beating magic powers to make it ridable again.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
That's the velcro design. I sewed some reflective fabric on top of the grabby side of velcro. Simple and easy. Total cost: about $8.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I've been meaning to write up a post on these knickers for about 6 months now.
I post a fair number of posts bitching about stuff that breaks so I'm trying to balance things out by reviewing stuff I like lately. And I like these knickers.
Wearing knickers for the first time takes just a pinch of chutzpah. You feel a bit wanky walking around in knickers at first, then you ride in them and realize how they make gobs of sense. I figure anyone who wears wool socks with sandals is not going to be accused of being a slave to fashion. And when I wear my knickers with wool socks and sandals that notion is thrown right out the window and we enter the realm of fashion nightmare. So my point: who cares. I wear what works.
These knickers are hemp. Hemp does a lot better than cotton, but not as good as wool, at dealing with moisture and to some degree, regulating temperature. Hemp is supposedly a really tough fiber.
The first pair of knickers I got from Rick failed -- they ripped in the crotch and developed holes where my butt bones sit on the saddle. They failed pretty quickly, and at $100 I asked Rick -- the guy who owns the company -- about the failure. He asked for some pictures of the failures and without question, sent me a new pair and a bit of hemp fabric to patch up the existing pair.
He mentioned that he had some issues with one batch of the fabric and that's what lead to the failure. The replacement pair he sent me is a bit thicker, and he's working on another version that will use even sturdier fabric.
He also sells wool knickers. The wool versions come in two styles: fancy and like the hemp ones (called "city" knickers). I recently ordered the wool city versions for fall/winter. So far so good.
The knickers were developed by Rick, who is a daily, non-car-having cyclist from LA. They're sewed in LA and are worth every cent. They have excellent detailing: little darts at the knees, ample thighs, fancy pockets inside the pockets, adjustable tabs at the waist. They rule. It's nice to wear real clothes made for cycling designed by a cyclist. If only all cycling clothes were this well thought out and nice looking. If you order some, they run a tad big so if you're not sure, order down.
His website is http://www.bicyclefixation.com/index.html. While you're there, check out Liza's photo essay of her trip to the homeland a couple years ago.
For what it's worth: I have not received any favors (aside from the excellent service noted above) from Rick.
Part of these plans include putting in bike facilities per the comprehensive plan. Specifically: this section (as is all of 37th) is designated as a bike lane. Putting these lanes in will require on-street parking to be removed.
Removing parking is traditionally met with resistance by some property owners. Most property owners understand how the addition of bike lanes improves the quality of life for those that live on the street, and thereby increases the value of the property.
If you are a cyclists that likes bike lanes and thinks the city should bake bike facilities into these types of projects, then your voice is an important one, especially if you live or ride in the area.
The meeting is from 4-6pm at the South Hill Library. More info here. Please attend if you can.