Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oh boy. Here we go

I got a new heart rate monitor. It has a GPS built in. The free online Garmin software for it is just silly in it's radness and simpleness. I realize I'm coming way late to this party.

I'm sort of overwhelmed by the radness of it all, but let's start crunching some numbers.

Here's an easy way to start.

Dig this:

This is the data for my basic commute to work. Left column is my fast bike (747), right column is my new CX bike, the Legolas (with knobbies).

There's a lot there. But I think the highlighted bits are the most interesting.

First thing to look at is average heart rate: 155 bpm in both cases. So the engine is pretty similar on both bikes.

But average pace, moving speed, and best pace (pace is amount of time it takes to go 1 mile) show that I'm a bit faster on the 747.

This is the lightweight info. For the fun stuff, check out the mashup of map+elevation+speed+heartrate data. Here's my ride home today in fun format.

Glen says a Powertap is next, but that's really not interesting to me. In fact, I'd probably find that sort of depressing. The heart rate stuff has always been sort of interesting since I used one a few years ago to loose some weight -- it's a great forcing function to make sure you are getting good exercise on rides. Assuming you have a comfortable bike, riding 30, 40, 50 miles is not hard, but doing so at 150 bpm can be a challenge. The heart rate monitor forces that challenge.

The unit I'm using is the Garmin 110 watch. I liked the smaller women's size and it came with the HR strap. It does exactly what I want it to do: track routes, HR, and elevation. I don't care about bikey options like cadence. It cost a bit over $200.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

WIng Hang. Tomorrow night

The godfather: before the discovery of wings.

The godfather of hangs has called an emergency wing-hang session for tomorrow night.

Flaming Joe's on 29th at 8 pm. Tomorrow. (Weds)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday thankfulness ride

Get ready for some really crap pictures.
I consider myself a pretty thankful guy. I have a lot to be grateful for.

But as I sit here, post-BF-ride, sipping on perhaps one of the best beers I've ever had, I am feeling particularly thankful.

Best expressed, bulletily -- as most lists are:
  • The weather. What the F happened here? I've been watching wunderground all week. At best I was hoping for some slushy wet cold misery. It was cold when we left Rocket Market at 8:10, but it was approaching 40 already. And by the time we finished -- glorious: sun, clear, amazing, silly weather.

Jake, Gage, Jon, Kory, Geoff, Dylan, Joe2, Silly Weather
  • The BF turnout. Off the top, I missed Glen, Pat, Bill and Justin. Verily. And I wouldn't have minded seeing Ben, Wade, Nate, Steph, Hank, and a few others. But wow. We had: Coffee Joe, Joe2, Kory, Jake, Dylan, Gage, Geoff, Craig, The Eberlizer, and Chris. And me. That's 11. And I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting someone. What a great thing. I'm not a "big pack" riding guy, but this was great.
  • Spokane trails. I've carried on a lot about how lucky we are to have such great trails so close in. But with a bit of frozen-ness over damp, the trails were nice and ridable today. So that was a bonus.
  • Jake and his insane output. I'm actually not that thankful for that. But when Jake says: "there's another way up this [already hard, already too long] hill. It's a bit longer and harder, but it's fun..." that's where I should say, "Sounds great. Hey Dylan -- you should try that!" Instead, of course, I get all puffed up and what comes out of my mouth, is something like, "sounds great, let's do it." Chasing Jake and Dylan up the hard, long way up the hard long hill destroyed me early on. They shat me out the back 1/2 way up and I'm not sure I ever really caught my breath until our group was cut in half by a train.
Joe, Craig.

  • Trains. The scenario: the pack is at point A. Point B is about 100 yards away with a train track in the middle. Of course a train is coming. The pack sprints. All but 2 of the pack make it before heeding the panicky non-standard whistle blows from the train's engineer. It could have been longer, but it was thankfully long enough for us to get a proper break while waiting for the 2 smart ones that didn't dash in front of the oncoming freight train.
  • The Sun. This is a re-hash of bullet #1. But the weather got so good, it's worth reiterating.
  • Funerals. By the time we got to the 2nd part of the ride, we lost Jake, Coffee Joe, Craig, and The Eberlizer. We kind of lost Gage. But just for a bit. We climbed out of that hard sandy steep road across from People's Park and Gage, who was riding a single speed manfully and valiantly, had blown up. He was done. We said our good byes and limped to the cemetery, where thankfully, a funeral procession was just getting started. Being the super respectful lot we were, we took this opportunity to have another long rest while the procession pulled away.
Geoff, Dylan.
Finishing the Mega-Church section of the River trail.

  • Chris. As we swooped into the lower part of the cemetery, Chris asked where we were going into the trails -- he wanted to stop by and pay his respects to a dead friend and then catch up with us. The beauty of that deal is that my mom was buried, quite conveniently, just a few plots away. So we took a quick "paying respects" break. I'm thankful to say hi to mom on the day after Thanksgiving, where we sort of stumbled and mumbled our way through the 2nd year without her.



  • Ben, Ann, and the MortBorns: totally unrelated to riding. But TG worked for us this year thanks to great friends that took us in. All my life, I've been in the family gathering that takes in the akward family-less friends on Thanksgiving. Liza, Maddie, and I were the family-less nomads this year and we got hooked up. Including Thanksgiving leftovers... wow.
  • Thanksgiving leftovers. No commentary required.

  • Crazy good beer. I'm thankful for the Reno guy that tipped me off to the Russian River sour in the comments of this blog. Thanks Reno guy. That put me on the hunt for "Supplication."
  • Dylan. He's the guy that came over from Seattle to visit family. He came on this ride. He's a PBP'er and  CX'er and he's strong and super-nce and cool. Open up page 56 of the latest BQ and you'll see him hanging with the heavies in France. He's the guy with the beard. Anyway, he brought me a 6'er of rad sours. Including the Supplication, which I am enjoying immensely now.
He just keeps pushing.
And showing up.

  • Gage. After we bombed the cemetery trail, we re-grouped under TJ Meenach. The plan was to ride up the trail for a bit to loop the little bit of rad river trail back to the TJ Meenach. (I realize that only makes sense to about 14% of the people reading this). Before we started the climb, Gage said his goodbye's (again) and peeled off. At this point, we were down to Me, Kory, Chris, Geoff, Joe2, Dylan. After we did the loop, Geoff and Kory peeled off, while Dylan, Chris, Joe2 and I climbed up that brutal little bastard of a trail (I call it the Pat Rick trail) at the bottom of Doomsday. As we get to the tippy top and we are riding the trail overlooking the river, who shows up? It's Gage again. He had some slightly confusing-to-me story about how this came to be, but there he was again.
I'm thankful for more than that, but that's the top-of-mind list at the moment. I can't imagine anyone got through all of that....sorry so long!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BF ride looking good

I don't want to jinx it or anything.

But a solid NW-Passage trail ride is looking very good for the 2nd Annual BF ride.

If you don't want ANY context, here are the facts:

-- Nov 25th - *leave* Rocket (on 43rd) at 8 AM.
-- Trails/hard ride
-- Assume about 3.5 hours.
Otherwise, click that link up there to find out more.

Mostly-perfect winter commuting glove-mitten

A while back I offered my pro bono glove design services to the world. Amazingly, the accolades are not pouring in. And even more amazingly, not a single glove-mitten maker (that I'm aware of) has produced a set.

What gives?

This is easy money, man.

So. Once again, I'm forced to hack the just-ok REI glove-mitten (whoa! as I write this, these just-ok glove-mittens are on clearance for $20/set - that's a good hording price IMO) into a mostly-perfect solution.

Last time, I stitched a water/wind panel on the front of the mitten fingers. This time, I'm covering the full fingers. I figure that will keep the heat in on those sub-freezing rides. We'll see.
That messy-assed stich job took me nearly two hours!
I'd pay up to $58 for these gloves, if you're wondering.
That fleecy stuff holds up pretty well. And it's warm enough.
If you buy a size up, you can wear glove liners for the super cold days.
I'm telling ya, this is a good solution.

For the record, I'm not into the blaze orange. My buddy Jon gave me this fabric -- and it's exactly what I need, so I'm not gift-horse-mouth-knockin here. That's just too much orange. I get the visibility thing, but these are just too much. So if you're a giant corporation looking to take this idea to the bank, please do, but please don't do the hunter orange part. A reflective strip would be nice though.

You're welcome. Again.

Monday, November 21, 2011


On the ride to the office this morning there was a fresh small layer of snow over most of my commute.

As I approached Liberty Park, I noticed two other cyclists had already made the same ride.

My favorite part is this hill. (That linked picture is a year old, but the hill is the same.)

Both of the earlier cyclists also took this hill.

And they both climbed the Magnolia street freeway overpass.

And they both made it down the other side w/out scrubbing. I didn't.

There's something cool about following these trails on snowy-icy mornings. These cyclists, who I may or may not know, feel like pals.

I suspect one might be Wade. (Second to the left in this pic.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spider AT in the snow

I took my first snow ride on the Sun bike.

It's looking more and more like I picked a real boner here.

The bottom line, hard-to-fix failure of this bike is it's aluminum-ness. If it were steel, then the stupid 2-speed gearing, with 120 OLD spacing wouldn't matter for a second. Nor would the fact that it doesn't have canti-posts.

But you just can't run around spreading the rear forks 15mm on an aluminum bike.

And that geometry, where you're forced to set the bars way up there, sure makes standing and grinding difficult. And if you could stand and grind comfortably, it would be nice if the hub didn't make scary sounds when you did.
Click for big and dig those spider treads. Bad ass.

But in the end, I think the thing that is so hard about this bike is the damn tread. And I'm not talking about the Spiders the rubber leaves behind, cause that's about the coolest thing going here -- no, I'm talking Q: I'm talking about how stinking far this thing spreads out your feet. Talk about wide stance. It really gets to me after a couple miles. More than I thought it would.

It's not like I didn't know any of this when I bought it. But it was cheap! And I'm a (cheap) optimist! I'm going to hang on to it for a while longer. I'll try it on a couple commutes, but I'm not hopeful. Actually, if I commute on this sucker, I'll be dreading the climb home all day... but I feel like I must commute on it to give it a final fair shake before it goes away.

In other news. Bill, our buddy with a printing press in his basement, has found himself imposed upon once again. (Recall the MC cards). Dig those coasters. Coming soon at only the raddest boozers in town.

Ouch. Bar tape is messed up.
Note Rory-Style taping around lever. Looks good and saves time.

Finally, here's the worse, lasting damage from when I was Eberlized. Note the deep gouges in my bad-arse Campy carbon. Stuff is scratched up, but it works fine. And if it didn't, I'd still be ok because all that shit's serviceable. Bam!

Friday, November 18, 2011

First bit of snow

Joe2 and I attempted a bit of trail. We ended up on roads - both paved and dirt- and enjoyed a coldish, wettish, but otherwise lovely morning ride.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

How would you like to be the INW single-speed women's CX CHAMP?!

So there's this:
Click for big. It's the season's results for women cat 4 ss.
You'll note it's quite empty.

Last race of the series is this coming Sunday in CDA.

If you're 5"5' or taller, there's this:

Hey! A single-speed bike.
For loan to any woman who wants to ride it this Sunday!

And you'll be cheered by people in these hats:

Jon, Rachel, Wade, Joe2

The series trophy is yours for the taking. All you have to do is show up and finish the race.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Jon and I took a short trail ride today. Jon just started riding trails this year. He rides them on his LHT or on an RB-T. Both road-shaped bikes.

In the last 6 months or so since I've started riding with Jon, I've seen his technical ability improve 1000-fold. I've also seen him fall over and wreck a lot.

When it comes to becoming a better rider for trail-dirt technical riding, I think some wrecks are a sign that you are improving. Or will improve. Because you tend to wreck when you are pushing your personal boundaries. That's just a theory. And I don't necessarily think the inverse is true: if you don't wreck, it doesn't mean you're not improving.

I wreck all the time, so this theory suits me.

But the worse wrecks I've seen have been following the best technical riders that I ride with.

Specifically: I watched Ben Tobin explode over his bars and wreck a couple years ago. He puked, then beat his wheel back into a true-enough state. I've only been riding with Glen for about 3 years. But I've watched him wreck at least 3 times. In each one, I was amazed that he popped right back up and kept going. These guys are always pushing themselves and don't back down from tricky spots.

So after Jon and I finished climbing the HD trails, where he fell over once or twice, I laid this theory on him. I probably carried on more than I needed to, as I am wont to do.

On our way home, as I attempted a bunny hop, I wrecked. (Didn't knock my head!) Jon was right on my back wheel. He said it looked like I was banking into a turn when I attempted the bunny hop. That's not a good practice. I'm not sure what the hell I was doing.

Anyway, he's right on my wheel and in one-half of one-half of one second he has to decide: bail and hurt himself, run me over, or run my bike over. Of course he rolled over my bike. I rolled -- taking a bit of skin off my knee and testing the durability of the back of my new Ibex fancy jacket (which held up like a champ, of course).

The only damage was a bent derailleur hanger on my new Legolas. No big whoop. I should get a punch card from Glen for fixing bent derailleur hangers. Fix 10 -- 11th one free kind of thing.

Well, there's also a bit of scraped-up'ed-ness on my super fancy XTR derailleur. ouch. That won't buff out. Next time, just run me over Jon. They don't make XTR's like that anymore.

Monday, November 14, 2011

5 years

I missed my official 5th anniversary by 4 days -- my 1st post on this blog was Nov 10, 2006.
Weird. It's official: I'm a verbose windbag.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Another NW Passage ride

From Friday.
Proper ice bike.


Before we start, let me just carry on about these awesome tires. They're Maxxis MaxLite 310. Yes, they weigh 310 grams. I put them in the vise to show how super thin they are. They're basically a thin casing to hold your tube to your rim. Seriously, these are great all-rounders. I had them on the pump-beer version of the MB-2 this summer and they were perfect for bar rides and tooling around on the trails. I think I only had one flat on these. They're for racing, but they're perfect for a tool-around bike. Fast, supple, a bit of tread for the dirt, and enough plump to allow you to bang around.

This bike proved itself last winter as a perfect work horse winter bike. Recall this particularly cold and wet week. It's ready for winter time trudging now: fenders, rack, studs, generator lights front and back, Thudbuster, Thermos-holder.

I love these grips. Click for big.

So this was the river bike all summer. And it rocked. It was perfect for fishing, beer-runs, day tours, and junk-food runs. It's just such a great bike I couldn't bear to think of it just sitting in a shed all winter long. So, I put the old Hakkapeliitas (going on year 5 now?) on there, flipped the rear wheel to the fixed side and it's going to be the ice bike. But the reality is -- I'll probably ride this bike a half-dozen times this winter. The MB-2 is just so easy and fun and useful.

This is the big experiment. I have to say, I have my doubts on the viability of this bike as a super useful snow bike. I could dump $100+ into some new tires to make it probably, nearly viable, but I want to try these out first. I put a fender solution on there. Those huge-ass tires can throw a boatload of slushy gunk.

The careful observer will notice that the tandem is gone. It turns out the tandem was the logjam. I took it to Glens today and the garage just nearly cleaned itself. I can now hang up most of the bikes, which clears up a huge pile of bikey/hose/tire mess that was against the garage door.

Note the walkable space in front of the garage door. I also replaced 4 bulbs in the overheads. Wow. That makes a huge difference. I don't have a lot of bike stuff in my winter plans -- and what I do have planned will hopefully happen in Glen's garage or Pat's garage. But I probably will re-work Maddie's Elephant with drops and a rear rack.

From the other side. Yes. This is clean. Very clean.

Lest we forget. The wife is certified.

Friday, November 11, 2011


Any Spokanites know where I can purchase any of the following beers?

I'm really digging the sour thing. It's proving hard to find.
I see the Lazy Boy IPA at some shops-- but aside from the wings restaurant-- I can't find the Belgian in a retail spot.

I bought these super fancies in Seattle.
Left: New Belgium La Folie
Right: Rodenbach
 Flipping rad. Both of em.

Of course this is bike-related.