Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Rollers: A new experience

Just a reminder that I'm posting on Lactic Acid Threshold now. In fact, a new post today about, you guessed it, my first experience riding on rollers which took place over the weekend.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Some changes.

Some things don't change. When they do, they sometimes stay that way. I admit, I was on a roll. Training for my big ride kept me thinking about cycling all the time. Writing about cycling came naturally, as I like to write.

The ride was over, work kicked into gear, and the weather changed.

I haven't been on my bike for a long time.

I've gained weight.

My legs are hairy.

But, I'm trying to get back out of my rut. I just got a used set of rollers I'm going to try out.

In the middle of all this, I had this brilliant idea (to me, anyway). As many of you might know, my brother has a very nice blog going at Lactic Acid Threshold. It is very popular. It is entertaining. It is updated more frequently than mine. Still, though, it isn't updated as often as a blog should be.

Here's my idea: We work together. He likes to write about cycling gear and cycling news. I like to just write. Hopefully, combining the two will make for a more interesting area to hang out. At the end of each post, it says who wrote it, so don't feel like you'll lose track of my online personality.

With that being said, go to Lactic Acid Threshold and read my latest post. Thanks for all your support on this blog and don't forget to change your bookmarks to the new URL (http://acidinmylegs.blogspot.com).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pockets or Bust

Jerseys are a lot like bicycle frames. All bicycle frames should have as many water-bottle mounts as the tubeset allows. All of them. This doesn't mean mountain bikes shouldn't have any. Or fixies. Or single-speeds. I would even go so far as to say TT-specific bikes should have them. The cyclist has the option to use them, or not. Put cages on, or keep your frame bare and clean-looking. Whatever you want, but ALWAYS give me the option.

Jerseys should always have three rear pockets. Three. Always. Period.

Mountain jerseys, too? Yes.

Skin suits? That's not a jersey, that's a skin suit. Pay attention.

I might never choose to use them, but I always want the option. Also, two tiny side pockets with a normal middle pocket doesn't count. I want three BIG pockets on every jersey. If you choose to make one zippered, or add a fourth zippered pocket, that's just fine. Give me my three normal ones, though.

Coming soon, I'll be posting a review of jerseys (corresponding to my review of bibs). My feelings on this matter just might come through on that review, so I thought I'd prepare the few,stalwart readers of this blog in advance.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bib Shorts

There is nothing quite like a nice pair of bib cycling shorts. They fit so well, and make riding so much nicer (i.e. more comfortable). For the last few months I have, quite unabashedly, been testing four high-end shorts from Assos, Giordana, Cannondale, and Pearl Izumi. The price for these shorts range from $230 at the high-end (Giordana), to $110 at the low-ish end (Cannondale).

These shorts are so nice. I mean, it is almost immoral to spend that much money on shorts. They are, without a doubt, very VERY nice. Would I spend my hard-earned money on them? Well, no. I don't make enough money to be able to afford them. The Cannondale's, however, are almost affordable.

Check out my review here.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The (almost) Perfect Autumn Morning

It was a perfect morning. Unlike normal November mornings, it was in the 40's. The moon was out, making the dawn even brighter than normal. In fact, I really should have left my light behind. I left with tights, a skull cap, arm warmers, and a vest. I was plenty warm, but not too hot. The ground was dry and crackled with leaves as I rolled along. The air was clear. There was only a hint of a breeze--not the normal morning gale of the canyon. I was feeling confident, too. I was ready to try new things, push myself a little faster.

I noticed a little rattling somewhere, but it could be anything. I wasn't going to let a little thing like that ruin my day.

The first climb over now, I started to hammer down the first loose descent with a sharp turn before climbing up out of the gully. I really was feeling on today.

More rattling. What could it be? Well, I have my light, so I point it down at the bike and start shaking things.

Solid. Everything feels really solid. Rear-shock? Nope. Seat? Nope. Front wheel? Nope. Ah well, on the bike again.

I'm pushing a faster pace than normal and loving it, but that rattle is really getting bad. A little rattle I can handle, but this is ridiculous. I've got to figure this out, I think. So, stopping once more, I suddenly wonder about my front caliper. Sure enough, it's loose. Missing one of the two bolts holding it on, and the other is barely there.

All of a sudden, a picture is opened up to my mind. I can see it clearly. I was getting ready for the ride this morning, plugging in my light and mounting the battery to my top-tube, when I saw my multi-tool. Should I bring it, I thought? Nah, I never need that on the trail. A pump, yes. A spare tube, of course. A multi-tool? What a waste of weight.

Lesson #1
Always carry a multi-tool with you--especially if you're going it alone.

Lesson #2 (the more-important one)
Check your bike before leaving the garage/car/place where tools are. My morning ride started out so perfect, but only lasted about 15 minutes. Lesson learned.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Please Fix This

Winter is steadily approaching, and already I've been digging up all my winter clothing. (Unfortunately, I can't seem to find my WindStopper(TM) glove shells. Has anyone seen them?) When I size up the weather before my rides, I always try and get away with layered jerseys, as opposed to wearing jackets or vests. Although no jersey (except, perhaps mountain-specific ones) comes with out at least three, it seems rare to find either jackets or vests with rear pockets. Also, if they do have pockets, there is generally only one in the back.

Why? I mean, is there less need to carry items in the winter? "Let me see, I've got my phone, energy gels, I guess I can leave the spare tube and CO2inflator at home. It *is* winter, after all." In truth, I generally carry more in the winter because I often have to shed gloves or other layering items as I heat up.

In an effort to make this easy on the clothing manufacturers, I propose the following solution. Please create a horizontal slit running the width of each jacket or vest (yes, even the vests with the mesh back). This flap should have overlapping pieces of fabric (with the top piece over the bottom piece) so as to keep rain out. The overlap should be enough to keep wind out. If worried about water somehow finding its way in, a laminated zipper should solve that problem. If you do this, we can then use our existing jersey's (with three or more pockets) to hold our goods. If we don't need the storage, we won't have incurred the penalty of weight or cost or whatever of pockets in a jacket.

Thank you. Although you, the clothing manufacturers, will undoubtedly make much more money as this innovative outerwear sells like mad, all I ask in return is free samples.

Thank you.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cold and Crunchy

For a very brief period, I had that beautiful XTR front derailleur on my bike. Mind you, it was never hooked up to anything (i.e. cables and shifters—that sort of thing), but it was mounted. My main problem with the derailleur on my bike was the bottom bracket. Actually, some of you might be tempted to point out it was my own mechanical ineptitude that was the root of the problem. Perhaps we’ll discuss that on another post.

Moving on…

You see, despite thinking that most bottom brackets were fairly universal, they are not. Especially this is true when relating to E-type derailleurs. In fact, neither of the two types of bottom brackets (and their corresponding cranks) works with this derailleur. That is, the derailleur sits there mounted and looking pretty—as it is supposed to. But, when force is applied to the crank in an attempt to turn it, one finds that the force actually required to move it at all is much higher than typical. Some might even say it is difficult to move them. Evidently, the 2.5mm thickness of the E-type mount is too much for a bottom bracket not made for such a mount.

Needless to say, I am back to running a 1x8 (ish) setup. In anticipation of front shifting, I have added the smallest chainring now to my crank. Which brings me to this morning’s ride. Once again, I found myself on the fully-rigid project bike. Knowing that my knees have been killing me for the last 5 weeks or so, I’ve been trying to take it easy on the advice of my doctor. Today, before getting on my bike I manually—that is, with my hand—shifted my chain to the inner chainring. Today’s ride: the relatively smooth but swoopy race-track (XC) just up the mouth of Provo Canyon (the north side—south exposure--of the canyon).

Overall, I had a blast. There were times when I wished for a taller gear, but mostly was grateful to take it easy on the climbs.

The Best Part
Somewhere I got a coupon for a free Gatorade Endurance (*New*). With that I filled my bottle this morning before heading out. Please note that this Gatorade wasn’t refrigerated. No, today’s energy drink started out at a comparatively balmy room temperature (about 68 degrees in my house at 6am.). Outside, however, it was in the upper 20s, or thereabouts.

The best part of today’s ride was the Gatorade slushy that was produced in my bottle by the time I finished up my ride. It came at a point where all but my toes were toasty and warm from the exertion. Perfect.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Project Hardtail: Update

With my new light which came from Nashbar, came an E-Type XTR front derailleur. This is the one with the carbon fiber plate (unique to this type of derailleur is a plate which connects with the bottom bracket). They don't use carbon anymore. They probably found that a) they could sell just as many with an aluminum bracket as they did with carbon--only much cheaper to produce (except, I bet Shimano didn't lower the price) and b) they don't really sell all that many E-Type derailleurs anyway.

I now have an XTR front and an Alivio rear derailleur--remember, this bike was built up as an inexpensive commuter. I still need to figure out shifting. Oh, and I have a set of unused Nokon cables that will probably find its way onto this ride. Eventually, I'd like all my parts to be nice, but for now, the Alivio might have to stay.