Monday, October 31, 2011

Rivendell Legolas

I've mentioned this bike once or twice on this blog, but I've not given it a proper, hearty intro.

Here's the story.

My buddy Rory had this bike. I rode it about a year ago when I visited Seattle for a weekend. I said, "Rory, if you ever sell this bike, let me know first." He said something like, "fat chance; I'll never sell it."

So it was a surprise when he IM'ed me a couple months ago: "Selling the Legolas, want to buy it?"

Damn. And he had a great friend price and was throwing in a Nitto rack and a whole stinking Novara Fusion frame.

Of course I did. And I did.

The story as I understand it, is that there were a couple-few batches of Legolas framesets. This frameset is from the first batch. It's built by Mark Nobilette (btw: he's the guy that had the coolest/smartest demountable bike design I've seen in the flesh -- NAHBS... 4 years ago? Thanks to Alex, here's a pic). Subsequent batches were built by Waterford.

Anyway. Basic specs are this:
Size: 59 cm
BB drop: 70
ST angle: 73
HT angle: 72.5
Offset: 45
TT: 58
CS: 44
Tubing: 7-4-7 through out.

If you're a Rivendell super nerd with real cred, let me know if this is wrong and I'll update accordingly.

Anyway, numbers aside, this bike rocks.
Whoa. How did that get in there?

I swapped most of the bits from my beloved RB-T onto this bike with the intention of racing it. The clot thing happened and the Legolas ended up sitting around for a bit. Justin rode it properly for one race.

Then I started commuting on it. And now, I can't get off it. Every ride is an excuse to ride it. I've been doing some good trail rides on it and it's rad.

It's light, and it just, somehow, expects you to stand on it and go. My RB-T was similar, but this one seems to really pull me into a space where putting out is mandatory. It's probably all mental, but that works for me too. It's pretty perfect as the all-round fast bike: on road and non-technical trail rides.

I've owned some Rivendells in the past: the Quickbeam, the Atlantis. Both great bikes, but both turned out to be stouter than I needed or wanted. The Legolas is perfect in its lack of stoutness. It's OS, thin-walled tubing. And it's really fun to ride. That makes me think that OS, thin-walled tubing may be the way to go. I'm pretty sure that's what my Salsa is -- which is totally different in every other way from the Legolas -- but is similar in its overall feel and the feeling of obligation to push hard that it engenders. If that makes any sense.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review: MSR Fast Stash 2

**Review update here.**

The people at MSR sent me the Fast Stash 2 tent to review.

I've had it for a month or so and finally took it out last night for the first time.

The upshot:
  • Set up is a bit fussier than I'm used to, but once I figured it out, it'll be quicker next time.
  • It's huge. For two, it's adequate. For one, as a base camp tent, it's rad.
  • The sloping walls, combined with condensation, would make sleeping for two-- and staying dry --  a bit of a challenge.
  • Probably a better tent for hikers than for touring cyclists. But would make a great base camp tent.
  • Retail $300. Made in Taiwan.
Set up
There's a video on the MSR site that shows how to set it up. I watched a few weeks ago and probably should've watched it again before I set off last night. In the dark. In the rain. So, setting it up for the first time in the rainy dark was a tad frustrating. There are directions on the stuff sack.
See those poles? They won't stand up unless everything is tied down.
Especially in the wind. (Did I mention dark and rain?)

But one step in the directions is whacked. The tent is optimized to be set up with trekking poles. It comes with two light DAC poles for non-hikers. So, it's held up with these poles, then tied down with the guy lines.

The step that's crack-smoking is one where it says something like, "put the poles in, angle them towards the door to hold up the tent, then tie down the guys." It just doesn't stay up doing it that way without help. With help, I'm thinkning there would be no issues. Alone (in the dark rain), you gotta sort of tie it down, then wedge the poles in there.

Anyway -- a lot virtual ink here, but the net: I think after setting it up a couple times alone, or if I had help setting it up, it would be trivial.

For two, on a dry night, I think it would be fine. But it's a single wall tent. So on a rainy night, even where I put my head next to the side screen, in an attempt to not build condensation, the walls were dripping by morning. Given how the inside slopes, if you've got two in there, the person on the sloping wall is probably going to get pretty wet. So for two. Not so great.
Once that wall loads up with condensation, you don't want to be sleeping on it.
I like how tall the front of the tent is. And the door configuration is cool: you can sit with your butt in the tent, take off your shoes while their outside, and you get a bit of coverage over the door. Nice design.

For one: this would work great as a base camp. I'm looking forward to setting this up at the river next year and any National Forest trips we make. It's perfect for one-biker base-camper.

As a bike touring tent for two. I'd have to figure out that condensation thing before taking it on the road. If you did tour with it, you could have one cyclist take the poles and one take the tent to sort of break up the load. It's 4 pounds all up.
Loads of room.

Riverside Park o'er nighter

Pat, Eric, Jon and I took a quick ride out to Bowl and Pitcher last night. It rained, but it was fun.

This spot is the bike-in site and it rules. It's the best area in the entire campground -- mostly because it's not a proper campground. Just a big shelter with tables and fire pits around it. And it overlooks the river.

Dig this: the shelter has electricity! And (in warm months) running water!! And it's like 5 miles from downtown. Silly silly shit.

What the hey? If you have a pulse and you ride a bike, this has got to be a future super hang overnighter destination.
Pat is rad. He stashed a bit of wood at the site earlier in the week.
Is that cheating?
Is pouring white gas on the needles cheating?

This picture is for Pat Rick. We missed you!

And a little more gas. Just to make sure it starts.

And the match.

Now that's a fire!
My eye brows were stupid looking anyway.

The subtle, "oh look, I'm awesome. I'm on a single speed!" pic.

Behind the back shot.

Fancy early-morning mist shot.

Jon. Top-o-Doomsday.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Temple Road

Bill, Eric, Jon
Elephant, rSogn, LHT, Legolas
The road is in amazing shape. Best ever.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No point

Just stumbled across this picture. Taken by Alex on a nice sunny day on the way out to Badger a few years ago. Click for big -- to really take it all in.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Duthie Hill

Fred, Alex, Andrew
I was in Seattle this weekend for a quick trip with Maddie.

While she explored the Space Needle with a pack of cousins, I headed out to Duthie Hill mountain bike park with Alex, Andre, Andrew, Fred, Jimmy, and Lee.
Click for big.
"Ryan's eternal flow" == the bomb.

Duthie Hill was just a big piece of forest until a couple years ago when Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance convinced King County to let them work it into a bunch of trails.
Fred was rocking the new rSogn.

Super super sweet. Amazingly built trails with bitching corners, drainage. From beginner to huge drop stuff. This place is rad. There were even a couple pump tracks. The most complete one was closed for maintenance and the other one appeared to be in process.
Shit picture. But that's a really fun dip that pushes you up a silly steep ramp.
I couldn't land it right -- kept landing on my front wheel. But I want to go back.
The guy flying through the air with the greatest of ease there is Jimmy.
I was pushing to keep up with him on this route.

As usual, riding some awesome place elsewhere, makes me realize how I need to pay attention to what's going on around me here. Vis-a-vis: I need to do stuff with and for the FTTR folk. And I need to spend more time out at Beacon.

speaking of beer.
BIKE HANG - Weds night. 8 PM. Jone's Radiator.
(breaking the "must have good wings" rule, just this once, since the beer quality is so high there).

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pinch flat at speed

On fancy-ass worn-down Grifo tires. Thankfully it was the rear that blew out.

Elephant Bikes dot com is live

Design by Klay. Code by Dylan. Most pics by Ben. Great job all.

Check it out. There are a few minor updates outstanding, but it's 88% there.

Note my note on shillitude.

If you've been pondering an Elephant bike, I'd suggest ponying up now and getting in the queue.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cyclocross at 7-mile. Again.


Justin and guy.



Jake. He doesn't know this, but watching him a few years ago (and watching Louie) is what made me try my first race.

Tom. Andrew. Andrew eventually caught Tom.

Justin -- whistling along.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Early morning ride

Fingers got cold.
Come to CX race tomorrow. for details.

Watch Justin race on my rad new-to-me cross bike.
Eat an omelet.
Maybe have a beer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A note from a borderline-sociopathic heart

I've been visiting the Rockwood Clinic a lot in the last few weeks for blood work. And a lab visit. And a CT scan. And I'm pretty much riding the Gifford Elephant every day for the last couple weeks.

I found this note clipped to my handlebar bag when I came out of the clinic today.

*****BIKE HANG ALERT*******

First official public bike hang tomorrow night at the new wing place that used to be Chapala on 29th. Can you believe how lazy I am. I'll just type all of this instead of googling the name/address.

8pm. 2nd floor.

btw: This year's bike hang theme: hot wings. No self-respecting beer place can claim awesomeness without the humble hot wing appetizer. That's just a fact.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Text-book remount

It's not a jump. It's a slide. Watch right thigh slide over the saddle.
Super smooth.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Old CX photos

My buddy Bill sent me these. I don't know where he found them.

They're French.

To my comrades heading to Moscow today: good luck!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011 Ibex Breakaway 2- Initial Impressions

I've been bugging the Ibex people for at least two years on this. Today when I got home, I found that they had finally sent me a sample of the latest Breakaway jacket. Sweet.

Here's the jacekt on the Ibex site. It's called Breakaway 2.

I've carried on and on and on about previous versions of this jacket. The Dash, the Breakaway, the Vim.  This review of the Vim links back to my other reviews. In a nutshell, the original Breakaway was great: good for cold riding in all conditions. As the jacket evolved into the Dash, then the Vim, it went away from its cycling-specific features and became thinner.

Now the new Breakaway appears to maintain the lighter-weight approach, but as the name-change suggests, it's pure cycling: rear pocket, no side pockets, chest pocket, nice reflective bits on the back and the left (turning signal) arm.

The tags inclued on the jacket describe "Climawool" and "Schoeller." My guess is that the front-facing panels on the chest and arms are Schoeller. The rear-facing, corresponding panels are Climawool -- basically a wool/stretch poly blend that is wonderful in its breathability.

The fit of the new Breakaway is under the Ibex "Peak" descrption, which means a more snug cut.
Lame lighting. It's not orange, it's a nice deep tomato red. And it's not black, it's a dark inky blue.

My initial impressions:
  • As always, Ibex quality and finish is flipping perfect.
  • Fit is snug for a jacket. I'm a big L, but the beauty of my existing Dash is that a size L still allows me to put a couple thin layers under the jacket.
  • I'm wondering if this light approach will work for super cold -- given that it's too snug to comfortably layer more than a medium shirt under it -- but, I've turned into a Schoeller believer in the last few years, and this jacket assumes you're humping it. It may suffice.
  • I like the bikey touches. Ibex is giving us some love here, but I'd like to see a bit more drop on the back panel.
  • Retail is steep: $275. But, I'll be on my 4th winter with my Dash, and it's yet to pop any stitching or even rip. And for me, that's saying a lot about durability.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Danny and the horses song

With buddy Pat Rick away in the land of the rising sun, I was reminded of the horses song that he'd play occasionally in the early mornings at the Scoop.

I still watch this video at least 2 times a month. With over 27 million hits, clearly, I'm not the only one.

And it still blows me away every time.

I know it's so 2009. I know he's got newer ones. I know this just shows the parts where he's not wrecking.

 But it's so damn good that sometimes when I'm done watching it I'm a tad weepy. The filmer/editor guy is just as talented as Danny. There's a bunch of cool little cinematic details that really show the passion of the guy that filmed/edited it (the observers materializing at 4:15 is probably the most obvious favorite, but I dig the cloud transition at 4:49 and the judicious use of slo-mo throughout, and I see somthing new I like every time I watch it).

The bit at 3:23-3:25 (the bit showing in the still above)  just kills me every time. So seemingly simple and lovely, but so damn difficult.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Glory years and my official statement of shillitude

Glen Copus at Cyclocross Nationals 1986 -- Scott's Valley, CA. I'm pretty sure on that.
Sorry. I just can't stand sitting on this picture any longer.

And there's a story about that frame. It's some frame I can't remember made by a guy whose name I can't remember. Glen found it in the tall grass around Keith Bontrager's garage back in the ice age. Glen fixed it up and replaced the front end and raced it for a few years. He later gave it to some local kid, who ended up crashing it.

I'm helping Glen build a new website for Elephant Bikes. This pic (and others equally awesome -- early BMX, mountain, etc) will go on his site.

This officially puts me in the "no longer just a friend and sort of objective observer of things related to Elephant bikes."

I am officially an Elephant shill. I will benefit from Elephants being sold in the future. It's not clear to me exactly how, as we've not really had a discussion of compensation, but I'll be taking all this work to the bank at some point, so that makes me interested financially in Elephant's business.

Which, even by my low-bar of blogging ethics, requires full disclosure.

So there it is.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cyclocross at 7-mile

Opener was today. Even though I didn't race, I had a pretty good time.
Bill arrives for his first race.
Steph. Rocking the run-up.

Mark and Scott. Well-matched.

Glen portaging beers and brats.


Camp Run-up

Brian. That color is "Kawasaki Green"

Jon's first race.

1994 RB-T. (Phil's)

John Stone.
3rd in Cat 4.

Dig Tom's smile. This is nearing the end of his second race.

Jon. Jordy looking on.

Bill wrecked in a magnificent ball of dust and glory on a fast corner. Then sprinted to beat this guy at the finish line.

Hank (his camera took all these pics)

Louie. (Pic by Hank.)