Sunday, July 27, 2008


Well it’s really only about Week Eight… as I had two weeks off in there… Or week Two because I basically feel like I’m starting from scratch again after my little hiatus there…

How am I ever going to be ready for the enduro!? It’s five weeks away… I don’t even have a functioning mountain bike at the moment…. Or a race license for that matter… nor have I even registered… Hopefully I still can.

The plan is to do centuries for the next five Sunday. Hopefully that will get me up to speed. I should also phase in some specific mountain bike and ‘cross rides over the next month during the week…

Date: Monday, 21 July 2008
“Rest Day”

On “Rest Day” I took Keira over to the apartment where my folks are staying near Broadway. Then hauled Finnegan out to the ass-end of Sutherland to look at some violins. The I rode bake to Broadway, had lunch at Amigos, picked up groceries at Steep Hill and hauled them and the kids all back home… ~25Km+ in 30°C + heat… The kids heads were SOAKED when I took their helmets off when we got home and they had just been sitting in the trailer on the ten minute (or so) ride home from Broadway…

Date: Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Time: 1:13:12
Distance: 28.15Km
Average Speed: 23.07
Temp: 17°C
Wind: SE 11kpj
Conditions: Sunny (once it came up… )
Notes: Met Susan at the Broadway Roastery and went for a ride just south of town around Furdale, etc. Beautiful weather – so nice… So tired… It was very hot on Monday and I had trouble getting to sleep in our 30°C + bedroom upstairs.

Date: Wednesday, 23 July 2008
“Rest Day” – Sadly I did no other riding today…

Date: Thursday, 24 July 2008
Yet another “Rest Day” – rode to Broadway for some groceries. (~5Km)

Date: Friday, 25 July 2008
Time: 1:01:59
Distance: 23.8
Average Speed: 23.1kph
Temp: 9°C
Wind: W13kph
Conditions: Clear (not sunny!)
Notes: It was so dark when I got up I wondered if I had set the alarm wrong. Nope, it was 5AM and it was still pretty dark… not DARK-dark but definitely pre-dawn dark. Sure enough when I checked Environment Canada’s website sunrise was at 5:18! Maybe there will be an end to the early morning road rides.

I was living in this happy delusion that once I got started I could just keep doing this FOREVER! (I might have to wear a bit more clothes in the winter… but..). I know Amanda will not be keen on me riding in the DARK-dark even with lights and a bright yellow jacket. To be honest I won’t be too keen on riding in the COLD-cold, which will rapidly follow the onset of early morning darkness….

I’m hoping I can get another week or two of morning road rides, then maybe do some early morning ‘cross drills or a ‘cross circuit in the park – unitl it gets too damn cold.

Then there’s my new friend; The Trainer. On the plus side, due to a resent rash of DVD (and in particular BICYCLING DVD!) purchasing – I will have plenty to watch over the cooler months. If I should happen to run out I have been eyeing up “72 Hours of Lance”. (hmmmmm the “Giro Four-Pack” is looking pretty good too…. Hmmmm wait a sec – it’s cheaper to buy all four separately!?)

It was a nice ride this morning – clear, refreshingly cool (it’s been pretty hot and humid the last couple days…)

Out to the Saskatoon Zoo later in the morning (~25Km)

Date: Saturday, 26 July 2008
Time: 1:58:29
Distance: 51.82
Average Speed: 26.24
Temp: 12-18°C
Wind: S 8kph
Conditions: Sunny
Notes: Nice early morning ride out Valley Road.

I must be a train magnet – it doesn’t matter what time I leave, EVERY time I go out that way in the morning, either on the way out or on the way back, or both ways I encounter a train near the landfill. Whether I just beat it, just miss it, or am stopped by it there’s always a train there!? This morning there was one as I rode out so instead of waiting I did a little tour around Montgomery. One the way back I just missed a train.

I am again having pains in my right knee and groin muscle. I had troubles when I started ten weeks ago, but it went away after a while. Now as I’m starting up again it’s back. I thought it might have been that my saddle wasn’t straight – as in the post wasn’t seated straight in the seat tube. Now I’m wondering if the saddle itself is askew or asymmetrical. I did ride it in a very wet muddy ‘cross race a couple years back and afterwards I noticed it was wonky – It’s a brooks leather saddle, it got soaked and then I jumped on it repeatedly… after it dried out I cranked the tightener bolt and that seemed to straighten things out well enough. Well, well enough for ‘cross or city riding – where you’re not even ON the saddle half the time. I am anxious about swapping a saddle the day before a planned century, but I am equally anxious about riding a century on a saddle that is causing me discomfort…

I’ll have to get everything ready this afternoon so I can get out on the road early tomorrow morning.

Date: Sunday, 27 July 2008
Time: 4:58:35
Distance: 121.62Km
Average Speed: 24.44kph
Temp: 17-22 °C
Wind: NE 11kph – E 30kph
Conditions: Light Rainshower – overcast – partly sunny

Tim’s (not quite) First Century

I had planned on doing my first ever Century Ride this morning (100mi/161Km). Didn’t quite make it. The journey of 100 miles begins with… getting your fat ass out of bed and on the gawddamn bike! I didn’t get out of bed until 5:30 – when I had secretly hoped to be on the road.

It was raining. This didn’t deter me at all – in fact I considered it optimal riding conditions for a long ride. I don’t mind rain at all – at least when it’s warm, like it was today. When nature provides external liquid cooling it means I sweat less and don’t have to worry about running out of water as much…

I didn’t actually get on the road until quarter to seven – 45 minutes after I “realistically expected” I could be on the road. This was due to being to insufficient pre-ride preparation the day before. The bag I had planned to use as a handlebar bag – which I so used to great effect on the touring tandem – simply did not fit. Alternative attempts at locate a smaller handlebar bag were in vain. I ever briefly considered trying to quickly install at rack and take a pannier before I discovered there are no braze-ons for such a thing on The Rocket. So I had to jettison a lot of the additional stuff I though might be handy for a longer ride; a sweater, Amanda’s camera (she probably would not have been impressed if I had taken it anyway), the extra 1.5L of water… I even removed some of the usual items from my seat bags in order to bring along the spare folding tire…

By the time I actually got going it had stopped raining. By the time I got to Avenue P ( 2 minutes down the road) it started spitting again. Not enough to get me wet, just damp. I didn’t even get my plastic bag out to cover the saddle.

15km down the road – at almost the same location I busted my seat post bolt last week I had a flat. The rear one, of course. Upon observation of my tire I realized the rubber on it was worn flat all the way around and in a couple spots worn right down to the fabric (belt? Is that what it’s called?). Good thing I insisted on taking the spare! I took some time to convince the tire – which has been in a folded state since I bought it five years ago – to form a round-ish, tire-like shape.

What to do with the one I took off though? It was a wire bead so I couldn’t exactly (easily) fold it up and stuff it in the seat bag and I was loathe to simply leave it littered in the ditch… so I road on to the next cross roads and left it on top of a mail box to pick up on the way home.

Ill omens so early in the ride.

The route I was planning to take was basically my 100 Km out and back route with an additional 60 km tacked on by riding to Delisle and then turning south down highway 45.

The rest of the trip to Delsile was pretty uneventful. As I approached Delisle however I started to question more seriously if I should abandon the century. Basically from straight above me and all the way to the western horizon the sky was black. I could see rain and lightening off in the distance. Despite the fact that the wind at ground level was coming from the northeast, the clouds above were heading in the opposite direction – towards me! Behind me was lighter overcast sky. To the south and south-southeast were also lighter clouds. But to the South west was another storm brewing up. I also started to rain as I reached Delisle.

If I did head south, I figured the system to the west would probably pass north of me, but then I would have to ride into it to get home… there was obviously lightning and a good chance there might be hail – now rain doesn’t bother me. Being pelted by hail (golf ball sized is not unknown around these parts!) or zapped by lightening doesn’t seem like much fun. So I scouted down Highway 45 just to see what it’s like (as I’ve never been out that way before) as well as to make it 60Km before I turned back. Then I turned around.

Into the wind…

Boy nothing make you go like thunder creeping up behind you…

As I head back down Highway 766 I rode out of the edge of the storm and out of the rain. By the time I got to Pike Lake it looked like the storm was passing me to the Northwest – and there was clear skies to the southwest! DOH!

As I head back north the wind had picked up and I caught the edge of the storm and a bit more rain. But by the time I was back on Valley Road it was clear skies overhead.

Admittedly I would have been hurting if I’d tried to finish the Century. I would have had to stop in Delisle on the way back to replenish liquids – or suffer from severe dehydration. And as I had started late and would have been returning in the early afternoon under the blazing hot sun I would have been burnt and sun-f@*ked…

And despite the skies being clear this afternoon there has now been a Tornado Watch issued by Environment Canada….

I’ll try again next week – and hopefully I’ll be a bit more prepared…. And a little more rested – NO MORE EVENING MOVIES (except on the evenings before “Rest Days” – and maybe a few less “Rest Days”!?)

The new (to this bike) saddle worked much better!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Kip the Kabbie

I got an email from my friend Kip the other day saying he was now in the pedicab business and looking for bookings – so of course I had to try that out… I was planning on going out to a movie with Amanda the next evening so I booked him to pick us up.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

He arrived right on time and uh… drove? (rode? hauled? Not sure what the appropriate verb is there… pedicabbed?) us over to the Roxy Theatre.

…and at quarter to nine when the movie ended he was there to take us home! How's that for service!

Amanda enjoying the ride. She had no idea I had organized this.

Action shot of Kip the Kabbie!

Honestly it’s five blocks and we could have got there almost as fast walking – but it was loads of fun and I’m all about supporting any business that does it’s business by bike!

Kip rides on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays until the end of August. He can also be booked for special events (weddings or whatever…). You can contact him at:

There’s another fellow named Pete that rides other times (he’s the one that owns the cab) and they share a cell: 281-3329

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

40oz to Freedom Alley Cat

Another fun Alley Cat race put on by the friendly folks at Bicycle Smile.

I made the mistake of going out for a ride earlier in the morning and going just a little to far, a little too hard and not drinking quite enough water…. My brain was kind of cooked. By the time I got up the bridge and across the river to the race start point I was beat.

I had thought since there were so many that were utterly lost last time that I was able to come in middle of the field towing kids I thought I might have a decent chance alone on the Rocket!

Yeah… well…

Anyway, here’s the route I took…

View Larger Map

The race started at President Murray Park (Between Colony and Aird Street). We had the usual “le mans start” with the added fun of picking up an egg that Ryan had left by each of our bikes – that we had to carry unspoiled to the finish or suffer a 10 minute time penalty….

The racers took off like a bat out of hell and I pretty much knew I was done. I tried to delude myself that they would burn themselves out in the heat…. They didn’t…. maybe if it had been a longer race… check points further scattered about town…

First stop: Pick up spoke card from person standing on the steps at the main entrance to the Thorvaldson Building (the chemistry building at the University of Saskatchewan). If it was not in your spokes at the end of the race some other sort of penalty would be assessed. I have to admit I stuffed it in my pocket – to stick in the spokes later as I approached the finish.

Next stop: Pick up can of Root Beer from the front steps of 1009 3rd Street East. Not to be consumed during the race – must be chugged at the last checkpoint. (You know after it’s been bumped ans sloshed around and warmed up in your bag for 30 minutes… Nice one Ryan, thanks a lot for that…). by the time I was here I thought I was going to die – I just couldn’t get enough water into me fast enough and when I did get some water in I thought I might puke it up… Oi…

The rest of the checkpoints were downtown. We had to take rubbings from the plaques of two different statues; the Gabriel Dumont statue in Friendship Park and the bust of Gandhi on 21st. The last four were of the “what building is at this address” type checkpoints. I could have guessed one (the Bessborough 601 Spadina Cr. West) I think some people did guess and skipped it…

There were a couple that abandoned the race and at least two that officially finished after me… but only because they drank their root beers even slower than I did… Someone did break their egg – so they may have technically finished after me too… not that it matters – second place is the first loser, afterall…

There was a track stand competition afterwards… I couldn’t even get up on my bike I was so tired…

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Seth, the winner, weeps with joy as he is presented with prize – a sweet looking Mer Bags Messanger back pack. Sucks being beat by a fat smoker…

Some of the other participants and their bikes at the finish line.

Don Cook and his cool new Steel Wool Tweed touring steed!

The track stand competition. I was so tired I couldn’t even get ON my bike…. Ryan was up for a couple minutes, the other two were still standing there when I left…

Ryan and Emily and Emily’s pink bike.

I think I’ll bring the kids again next time – it was way more fun having a movable cheering section and not giving a shit about winning…

Check out the cool video Ryan posted of the race on Youtube:

That fat bastard he keeps passing at the beginning is me!

You can see Ryan’s pics at Bicycle Smile

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Date: Monday, 14 July 2008
“Rest Day” – but I did haul the kids out to the zoo and then over to Broadway for groceries… ~25km

Date: Tuesday, 15 July 2008
Another “Rest Day”. Oh dear…. (I did ride down to a doctors appointment and then out to Stupidstore… ~12km)

Date: Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Broadway/Steep Hill with the kids…. (~5km)

Date: Thursday, 17 July 2008
Time: 57:19
Distance: 22.74Km
Average Speed: 23.8
Temp: 10°C
Wind: WNW8kph
Conditions: Cloudy to start – cleared up pretty quick…
I was seriously dragging my ass this morning. I didn’t get on the road until just after 6AM.

10°C seemed pretty damn cold this morning.

I was really, really, REALLY damn tired. I felt like I was going to fall asleep on my bike at the turn around point.

My chain needs lube.

My knee hurts.

Date: Friday, 18 July 2008
Time: 29:50
Distance: 10.22km
Average Speed: ~20kph
Temp: 13°C
Wind: SSE5kph
Conditions: partly cloudy
Again with the late night and early morning ass-dragging.

13°C seemed pretty damn cold this morning. I actually wore a jacket.

My crotch hurt.

My chain still needed lube. I am the WORST about these things – they will drive me to distraction DURING a ride, but as soon as I’m off the bike –POOF- gone from my head…

There was a really, really long, really really slllloooooooowwww train at the dump again on my out so I just turned around and tooled around the neighborhood and was just happy I had gotten my ass out of bed and hope that one of these days it will get into my thick head that I need to get to bed EARLIER (or maybe I’ll just pass out from exhaustion at 9PM one day…). I also took the opportunity to lube the chain when I got home.

Date: Saturday, 19 July 2008
Time: 1:07:33
Distance: 27.98
Average Speed: 24.85kph
Temp: 15°C
Wind: WSW 5kph
Conditions: Partly Cloudy

I was all ready to ride 100km this morning. I got up very late and started out even later – but had nothing pressing going on today and the support of a wife that would like to see me be less fat and cranky…. Had my two big water bottles and four (count ‘em FOUR) Cliff Bars….

Got out on Valley road and my crotch (on my right side) and my right knee were starting to hurt again. It couldn’t be these new shorts I was wearing?! No, after much consideration and staring at my crotch I came to the realization that the nose of my saddle was closer to my right leg than it was to my left.

Ah-ha! An askew saddle! Easily fixable. I stopped my bike. Got of and gave the nose of the saddle a great whack and knocked it into place. Of course then I couldn’t leave well enough alone – if it had move thusly so easily perhaps the seat binder bolt needed a tad bit of tightening!? So I got out my trusty 13mm wrench – carried for just such an occasion – and thought I’d try and snug up that bolt just a smidge.

As soon as I applied pressure to the bolt there was a loud “SHPING!” and I saw half of the bolt shoot across the road…

Oooooooh damn…

So I had to ride the 15km back home on a seat that progressively got lower and lower despite my best efforts to keep most of my weight on my legs and arms….

Riding a 54x18 fixed gear with a saddle that’s about 5-6” too low SUCKS. A lot.

I hurt.

If that weren’t enough suck for one day I dropped my camera when I got home and now it’s totally effed.


On the plus side I happen to have a allen seat binder bolt that I was going to replace that one with anyway. I guess I could have swapped it out and gone out and did another 70km... but I just wasn’t in the mood for it…

Date: Sunday, 20 July 2008

Morning Ride:
Time: 2:12:41
Distance: 60.44Km
Average Speed: 27.33kph! BOO-YAH!!
Temp: 20°C
Wind: W12kph
Conditions: Sunny
Notes: 20°C seemed pretty damn hot…. A good ride. Maybe pushed myself a little harder than was really necessary (…or sensible…).

Alley Cat Race:
Time: 1:38:06
Distance: 27.66Km
Temp: HOT! (and kind of humid…)
Notes: This actually includes the ride over TOO the start point, the race itself and the ride over to Isaac’s birthday party and the ride home…

Yeah… went a little too hard this morning… more on that in the alley cat report….

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tim's 100km Out and Back to Delisle

I thought I'd try something new and post some of the routes I take when riding. (I was jsut trying to figure out how this worked in google earth this morning...).

Here is the route I usually take on a Saturday or Sunday morning if I want to do 100Km. I know some people have different routes depending on what direction the wind is coming - ride out INTO the wind usually means you get a tailwind coming home. I don't care when I'm riding into a tail wind. I hate riding in trafic mroe than I hate headwinds so I always head south west as it is the quickest way out of town and onto the open road.

View Larger Map

There is very little traffic on this route if you go early enough in the morning. Closer to noon there gets to be more traffic out on Valley Road and highway 60 heading to the Berry Barn or the golf course or other destinations along Valley Road or people heading to or from Pike Lake.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tim’s Cycling Cap Mk. I

So I was sitting around one day and I thought to myself – “I’m going to try making my OWN damn cycling cap! How hard can they be?” I got out a needle and some thread and some wool material I had picked up at a thrift store ages ago (originally intended for shorts – but that’s still way beyond my sewing expertise). I made a simple four-panel pattern. Cut out the material. Sewed it all together by hand. Here are the results:

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Looks not bad here… the brim is more like a ball cap and won’t really stand up cycling-dork-style…

Here’s the big problem – for some angles it looks a little like a squarish farmer hat or something…

Works okay under the helmet…. Rear facing, at least…

I have modified the pattern slightly to make it slightly less boxy and made the brim a little more traditional looking. Now if only I could find the time to sew it up.

Maybe I should try using a machine sometime… How hard can they be to figure out…?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

WEEK SEVEN (and eight…)

Monday 30 June to Sunday 13 July 2008. “Rest and Recovery Weeks”

Not so much with the riding this past week or so.

I’ve had a Pilonidal Sinus infection (basically an infected pore just above my tailbone) – which has made it rather uncomfortable to SIT (…one a chair – strangely enough I was completely fine sitting on a bicycle saddle!?). In my last entry I had mentioned I’d had a bit of a sore and got on some antibiotics. Well they didn’t work out so well. After the long weekend, by some miracle, I was actually able to get in to see my own doctor. She sent me scooting off to see the on-call surgeon at St. Paul’s Emergency to have a look. He had me promptly cut open by a couple of residents to drain a rather large abscess that had been forming. I have to tell you, it even less fun that getting the old sniperoo – which was absolutely no fun AT ALL!

My doctor said it’s most common among cyclists and people driving jeeps!? When I asked her what she meant about people driving jeeps she said it was first medically described affecting soldiers driving their jeeps around in the desert… Hmmm… wonder if that could have been the Long Range Desert Group (British army commando-types that fought in North Africa during world war two that would drive thousands of miles around the flanks and raid German and Italian outposts hundreds of miles behind the lines)…!? I can’t imagine how much THAT would have sucked driving thousands of miles across lumpy, bumpy, rocky deserts with one of those on ones backside!?

Anyway, I am on the mend now and I should, literally, be back in the saddle again soon. Hopefully this next week I’ll be clocking on the miles again. Of course I’ve gotten out of the pattern of early nights and early mornings and once that’s happened it’s so damn easy to just say I’m too damn tired and not get up…

I was back on the bike last week hauling Finnegan over to campus every day for the Saskatoon Suzuki Summer String Experience (a total of ~75km through the week), and on Sunday I rode out to do some errands (another 15km). I HAD totally planned on doing rides Saturday and Sunday morning… see previous comment about “so damn easy…”

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Surly Cross-Check

I was working at the Bike Doctor in the summer of 2004. I had started racing cyclocross the previous year on the Mikado. Realizing this was somewhat less than ideal to race on I had bought the on Cannondale ‘Cross bike in the spring when I started working at the doc. However during the summer I had picked up the 1FG and was LOVING it. I even raced on it. That got me to thinking; if I could race on a single speed mountain bike, why not race on a single speed cyclocross bike!? I mean, really – in all the races I had raced in I had NEVER used more than one gear ANYWAY!? Maybe if I had a singlespeed ‘cross bike with a gear that was slightly (…or considerably!?) bigger than the lowest gear on my geared bikes it would FORCE me to go faster – No wimping out in the granny gears!

Like any bike geek I’ve always dreamed about starting from a frame and building a bike. When better to do that than when working at a bike store and getting a staff discount? I had a lot of fun building this bike. It’s probably my favourite in the stable. Which is odd, as I don’t actually get around to riding it much…

I built it up with a Surly flip-flop hub as I had gotten this idea that it might be fun to try a fixey – one ride on it and – oh man, it was so damn much fun - I was already plotting a dedicated road fixey – which ultimately lead to The Rocket.

Amanda balked at the idea of me getting a steel bike. A year later we were moving stuff around in the garage and she actually lifted it up and couldn’t believe how light it was. Now it’s no feather weight but it sure isn’t a tank!

This replaced the Cannondale as my Cyclocross Racing Bike… before I ever even raced on the Cannondale… In fact the Cannondale has only ever been used as a road bike… Ah well…

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

Here’s what it looks like today. I’ll probably switch one of my brooks saddles onto it when I start riding it a bit more regularly. Hmmmm… looks a bit dirty… shameful… It’s been dirtier though…

I had this up and running just in time for the first cyclocross race in 2004… This was at one of the later races – the Saskatoon Double Cross Weekend. It was muddy and wet and cold like a “real” ‘cross race ought to be.

Wow… did I ride it home like that? I probably went as far as the Bike Doc and sprayed it down at the car wash across the street.

I didn’t have the wheels built for the first race… What the…!? Is that a leopard print thong you’re wearing, tim?!

Oh yes indeed! There used to be a race in the Sask provincial race series called Diva Cross – the cross-dressing ‘cross race. There were time penalties for those who didn’t cross dress and time bonuses for the butchest babe and the sultriest dude. I need ever advantage I could get so I was going for the time bonus this year.

Unfortunately they had the worst system EVER for determining who got the time bonuses. Instead of anyone simply being appointed judge they thought they’d be fair and have people vote – fair enough… except there were three sheets one which you were to write the names of the people you thought were your first second and third choice, respectively. The person with the most votes on each sheet won and was given a 30, 20, and 10 second time bonus…. Is anyone else seeing the flaw in this system…? Clearly there were no statisticians on the planning committee. Technically if you had enough people voting for you in first second and third place you could take all three…?! Ah well…

This is at the Regina Double Cross Weekend.

Regina Double Cross Weekend again. All these nice action hero shots were taken by Amanda. We rented a car and drove down with Finnegan – just 9 months old – and stayed at a B&B. Nice to make a weekend of it.

Who is that man in black…?

Saskatchewan Cyclocross Provincial Championships 2004. Little stretch of road included in it…

More of the ’04 Provincials. It was a fun course – lots of twists and turns and a couple of nasty run ups – walk ups for most. Not me. I RAN every run –up – there’s always a downhill on the other side that you can recover on!

This was the ’05 ‘Cross Provincials. In 2005 I rode three races fixed. Yeah, that’s right, with a fixed gear. 36x15. I have to say I did go quicker – probably had to do with the fact that I had to pedal through stuff I would have ordinarily coasted through.

Not a lot of steep run-ups in this one. Just grass. Lots and lots of grass.

A bit blurry but this illustrates my high-speed can-can dismount when using a fixey. It takes some careful timing – basically you unclip the right foot, keeping your left leg straight let momentum carry you up and bring the right foot over the top tube (as above) then as you come back down step through and hit the ground running – twisting your left foot out as you go! Takes some practice… but it works.

The downside of the course – at least on a fixey – was the rock wall. You can kind of see it in the background. It runs for a good length through the park, varying in height. At a point where it’s only about a foot high they decided to have the course cross it… going down hill… straight downhill, with an abrupt 90° left turn at the bottom. I guess a sensible person could have dismounted at the top, ran down the short bank, hopped down the wall and re-mounted and carried on. But no one else on their free-wheelin’ multi geared bikes were doing that so I’d be damned if I would!

Every time I went over that drop one of my pedals struck the wall being egg-beaters that popped my foot right out! I can’t believe I made it through the race without eating it at least once! That’s skill, baby! (or blind-fucking-dumb-luck!)

The ’05 ‘cross provincials was the last race I rode in. I’m planning on racing again this year though – so stay tuned!

Hmmmm... maybe I should have put all these racing pictures in a separate "cyclocross racing" post... Ah well...

Vital Statistics:
Bike: Surly CrossXCheck
Frame: Double butted 4130 Cro-mo – STEEL IS REAL!
Fork: Surly Cross-Check fork - lugged and brazed cro-mo.
Headset: FSA
Stem: ? 6061 alloy…
Bar: Ritchey comp 6061 double-butted
Grips: Cinelli (I think…) orange cork tape
Brake levers: Diacompe
Gear Shifters: NOT APPLICABLE!
Brakes: Tektro Oryx
Bottom Bracket:
-Hubs: Surly 32 hole (rear is flip-flop single-fixed)
-FW/Cog/etc: ACS Claws16T/Surly SS 15T Fixed cog
-Spokes: DT black
-Rims: Mavic Open Pro
Tires: Panaracer Cross blaster.
Post: Ritchey
Saddle: San Marco Anatomica 371 (though usually it’s one of the Brooks B-17 saddles)

Cannondale 1FG

As I mentioned in the Super-V post I was looking to get back into mountain biking but was looking for something… simpler. Really, I had no idea how to maintain shocks and stuff and I HATE owning stuff that I can maintain myself. Also I generally feel that the more moving parts a machine has the more there is to break down – and when those fancy moving pars break down it’s expensive.

I sold the Super-V and picked up a Cannondale 1FG. I think it was the 2004 model. It was the last year they offered a fully rigid/v-brake version. So I got it just in time!

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

This is what it looked like when I first brought it home. The tires are ancient Panaracer Smoke/Darts that I had kicking around – just to get it home as the tires I had ordered hadn’t come in yet. I had some kind of Maxxis Larsen something-or-other, I swapped them for a pair of Hutchinson Cross Comp Air light 26x1.3 (yeah, I like the skinny tires…).

The saddle, I think, came off of the Pink Bianchi originally? The bike had come with some sort of WTB saddle.

It also came with a rider bar which I didn’t care for. The flat bar and bar ends are actually old Cannondale parts that I happen to have kicking around (I love my flat bars and bar ends….).

I raced it once…

I rode out to the course early to register then had to wait around a couple hours until my race started…

Because this pic was taken frm above and at a funny angle it almost looks like I’m going downhill. I am not. In the back ground you can see the river. The course was a nasty series of climbs and descents straight up and down a steep riverbank. This was one that I could actually climb the whole way. I got off and ran (and later… walked) at least part of the rest of them – which was often faster than most were cranking their way up in granny gears…

Me, disappearing into one of the descents…

These three pics were taken my Jared Miner – then a mechanic at the Bike Doctor. He also took a close up of my shoes as he was so thoroughly entertained by the fact that I was wearing Birkenstocks…

This was the second mountain bike race I ever rode in. DFL is better than DNF, right?

This is how it looks nowadays. The current saddle is I think the one that originally came with the Cannondale ‘Cross bike. got some new Continental Cross Country tires last summer when I had briefly taken up bike polo and had a couple slipping spills on the grass because the old Hutchinson tires had been worn bald!

There's a bunch of super reflective strips on it now as I was using this as the kiddie bike trailer towing bike for  a summer or two (2005).

I have a love-hate relationship with this bike. I love it because it’s so simple and crazy light! Snippy-snappy fast and responsive. But I keep throwing chains!? I’m not sure if it’s that the bottom bracket eccentric slips or if I’m just I high-powered chain stretching BEAST…

Anyway the chain came off in the middle of a bike polo and I ate it while pedaling air. That coupled with the fact that there were a couple nasty accidents at bike polo wrecking both bike and people parts – neither of which I can afford to do – I just didn’t have the motivation to do any wrenching on it… so it’s been hanging since.

I do want to do XC8 later this year and have been getting the itch to get out on the trails so I’m going to have to get the chain sorted out pretty quick…

OFS-baby! Handmade in the U.S.A.

Vital Statistics:
Bike: Cannondale 1FG
Frame: Optimo alloy
Fork: Cannondale alloy rigid MTB fork
Headset: Aheadset
Stem: Cannondale
Bar: Cannondale 6061 – T6 butted flat bar with Cannondale bar ends.
Grips: Cannondale
Brake levers: Cannondale
Gear Shifters: NOT APPLICABLE!
Brakes: Cannondale
Bottom Bracket: Truvativ splined
Cranks/Chainring(s): Truvativ Fire-X
-Hubs: Cannondale Fire
-FW/Cog/etc: 18T Stainless
-Spokes: black?
-Rims: Mavic MX117
Tires: Continental Cross Country 26x1.5
Post: Giant Carbon
Saddle: Fizik Pave

Friday, July 4, 2008

Walz Wool Cycling Caps

Way back in August of last year I mentioned I had ordered a pair of Walz Caps. I had also promised a review when they arrived. Well they arrived… months ago… I’d like to tell you that this review is long overdue because I wanted to do a long-term “product test”… In reality it’s more because I’m lazy – but because of that laziness you do in fact benefit from the experience of a longer-term trial period.

I like wearing cycling caps. I generally have little hair and so caps, I think, help absorb sweat and keep it from rolling into my eyes and also should a bug fly into my helmet there that little bit of fabric to separate us – especially if it’s a stinging-type insect! I will not wear ball caps – I think they look stupid under helmets and that whole stiff-brim-getting-pushed-into-your-forehead thing if you land on your face… well kind of negates the whole purpose of wearing the helmet, huh? I have worn beanies and bandanas, but I do like having a neater looking cap with a brim when I get off the bike and take my helmet off.

I first heard about Walz Caps in a Dirt Rag review of the new Surly Caps. I had originally intended to try and track one of these down – I’m not sure if it mentioned Walz in the review - somewhere on the surly website I discovered they were made by Walz. The Surly caps turned out to be a bit tougher to get a hold of whereas I could order direct from Walz and have a choice of many colours (the Surly one was black).

I ordered two caps, both wool.

A Tan one (which is still available)

…and a herringbone pattern one which doesn’t seem to be available.

Cool thing about them – you can have them personalized! (I have enough stuff that says “Surly” on it – why pay for one more things to advertise for them when I can advertise for ME!?)

I have to say I LOVE these caps! I have pretty much LIVED in them since they arrived – except for a a month or so where I simply had to wear a toque or have my ears fall off!

How have they held up?

All of these pictures were taken a week or so ago after a good solid six months or so of use and abuse – look pretty much the same as when I got them – can’t say the same for any of the cotton caps I’ve owned in the past. By now they’d be showind definite signs of wear and by the end of the summer be holed and coming apart – no sign of such wear on Walz Wool caps!

There is a certain simple elegance to them that makes even a dork like me look suave and debonair. I’m just not that interested in paying money to be a walking advertisement for some euro racing team of multi-million dollar parts company (there was a pink campagnolo cycling cap at the Bike Doctor a while back – but it was twenty five freaking dollars for a cotton, screen printed cap – for twenty-five bucks I get the honour of advetising for them… No thanks - attention makers and distributors of Campagnolo – or any other cool bicycle products for that matter – if you want to sent me a cap of yours to wear I will gladly wear it and advertise for you… when my Walz caps are in the wash…).

Downside #1 These, like pretty much every cycling cap I’ve ever worn, have brims at pretty steep angles. I find that when wearing these under a helmet it obscures just a bit too much of my vision for me to be comfortable. Keep in mind I generally ride road bikes and like to be on the drops – maybe on a mountain bike this wouldn’t be as much of an issue. Not that it’s really an issue anyway. I do ride like this from time to time anyway. come to think of it I don't think I'd ever want them changed really - just thought I'd mention it in case anyone out there is annoyed by this standard sort of cycling cap geometry. I'm only very mildly... I don't know... irritated? ...from time to time...?

Generally I wear the hat with the brim facing back. Here’s one of the things that rocks this cap – most other cycling caps have some sort of card or plastic stiffener in the brim these do not. Other caps I’ve had when worn in this position have interfered with the straps of the helmet or dug into the back of the neck… This also makes it easier to stuff in a pocket – should you ever decide to take it off your head.

Downside #2- another minor (very minor) issue I have with them is that one size doesn’t really “fit all”. In fact one size doesn’t necessarily even fit the same!? The two hats fit slightly differently – if you take a really close look at the first two pictures (click on them for that bigger up-closey look). Look at where they sit in relation to my ear – the herringbone hat sits a little higher on my head and feels just a little bit more like a beanie than the tan one which fits a bit lower and snugger. Both fit well enough that I wear them both – but I tend to wear the tan one a LOT more, just because I like the fit just a bit better.

I should point out that I have a pretty damn big head – other hats that I wear are generally 59-60cm or 7 ½ - 7 ¾ depending on the maker and style. So if you have a big damn head you’re probably okay (unless you have a truly ENORMOUS head worthy of a bison). 

Amanda is the opposite, however. She has a wee little head and has often worn children’s hats. The Walz caps do not fit her. Maybe if she tied a knot in them somewhere…? But really how many people have heads as freakishly small as hers…

There was a wee bit of shrinkage when I’ve washed them but after a wear or two they’ve more or less stretched back into place.

Another advantage of the wool caps I’ve noticed over the cotton caps is this: cotton caps seem to get stained with sweat. You sweat in them, gunk and dust sticks to the moistened cotton and is maybe absorbed right into it? I’ve found that with cotton caps I’ve had in the past I have to launder them very regularly (at least once a week or even every couple of days) if you don’t want them to be permanently stained. Maybe this is just because I am a big hairy sweaty beast. I am loath to admit how little I’ve actually washed my Walz caps – but so far no sign of staining from sweat!

Overall and excellent product for a very reasonable price – considering it’s hand made (and exceptionally WELL made...) in the U.S.A. of long-wearing, quality materials.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Mikado

This was the first and last time I bought a bicycle off the Internet. It’s not that I got screwed or anything I’d just a) rather support a local bike store and b) seen so many other people that got screwed. In my defence I’ll point out that there is no one that I know of that sells Mikados around here. Also I bought it because I was, at the time, looking for a touring rig and on a bit of a budget. Couldn’t find a new touring bike for under $1000 and used ones, around here, are few and far between… especially ones that fit me.

The Mikado is a 1999 d’Iberville. Bought it from a fellow in Ontario that had is listed on Canadian Cyclist’s web site. I think the current d’Ibervilles are commuting bikes the frames are aluminium. This one is a touring rig. Steel (Cro-Mo) frame – and I think they were lugged and brazed with some sort of internal lug…. Very clean looking joints between tubes.

As I mentioned I was looking for a touring rig at the time because one winter (2003?) I was sitting around and realized it had been a very, very long time since I had done any riding just for the sake of riding – bicycles had become purely utilitarian getting me from home to wherever I needed to go work, groceries, etc and back again. I wasn’t interested in taking up trail riding at that point and got it in my head that I wanted to do some touring and started to plan a tour of the summer of 2003.

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

This is the state the Mikado was in when it was sent to me. The fellow even threw in the old Cannondale panniers. Hmmmmm… not sure if those pedals were included or not.

The drive train was Shimano 105 – unfortunately the inside of the STI were gooped up with some sort of paste –like, yellow “lube”. It became very sticky in cold weather and made for crappy shifting - you could shift into bigger cogs or rings (increasing cable tension) but you couldn’t shift back down (would not release tension…).

Shortly thereafter I added a Brooks saddle.

The Brooks got shifted to the Tandem as soon as we got that. We got that because I went out for a few rides in the winter with Amanda – picking destinations far from home – but within the city (it WAS winter after all). It soon became apparent that we simply go at different speeds. For a bit we considered me carrying all of our equipment between panniers and the BOB trailer… then we (Amanda) thought it would be even funner if I not only hauled all our stuff but Amanda too… More on that when I get to the Tandem though…

In the fall of 2003 I took up Cyclocross and raced that whole season on the Mikado. These were all taken at the Saskatoon Double Cross Weekend (races on Saturday and Sunday) at the Lakewood Civic Centre.

I added platform pedals. I can’t remember if I had bought these for an earlier bike….? I must have. Anyway, they’re 1664 Beaver traps.

Yeah…. and those are Brikenstock Montanas I’m racing in…

After it was replaced with the Cannondale ‘Cross bike (and then later the Surly) as road riding and Cross bike it found new life as a winter bike. As the STI sucked chunks I dug a set of bar end shifters and used those for a bit. The saddle is the one that came off the Tandem when I swapped the Brooks over.

Later it became a single speed winter bike. I put a solitary 18T cog on the back with a bunch of spacers and at different times used the small and medium chainrings that came with the bike. I forget what they were in terms of teeth.

I got a new bar, dug up some old brake levers – removed derailleurs and excess chainrings and cogs and found some funky new bar tape.

Later I for some reason swapped the wheels and started using a pair I had built up as a spare set for the Cannondale ‘Cross with XT hubs and mavic rims… of course THEN I realized the cannondale dropouts were spaced for a road hub… DOH! Later still I found the wheel was slipping a lot when I pedaled hard - especially when towing the trailer so I replaced the quick release axle with a solid/nutted one and haven’t had any trouble since!

Since then the Mikado has found further new life as the chariot-towing beast in the summer. I put a new Surly 35T chainring on the front this spring and swapped over the Continental Utlra Gatorskins I’dhad on the Cannondale. This made the Cannondale surplus and allowed me to build up a new Soma Double Cross for Amanda.

I love that bar tape. Don’t you?