Monday, April 12, 2010

Your floating jukebox stuck on "I'll get you" So lost at sea, yeah, so lost at sea

I'm sorry everyone, due to forces outside my control (though mostly due to forces entirely in my control) I've totally flaked on updating for a month.

It's not for lack of content, though. Since the last update I've done plenty of stuff with a high blogability quotient.

The King of Burlingame mountain bike time trial began auspiciously enough, with a quick drive (with Danna Montana at the wheel) and the most brutal race number everbut it pretty much went downhill from there. On the first warm-up run of the course, I got a front flat. There were some guys from a nearby shop that were both on 29ers as well, so one of them was nice enough to give me a tube and a pump (I was unprepared from calamity, and too busy being aero in my skinsuit to think of it). About 10 minutes into the race run, my chain decided it really didn't want to stay where I put it, so sharp accelerations were out, but it's all good. Those great big wheels aren't about accelerations, they're about bombing over/through all that is ahead. Got a nice rhythm going, passed some guys, and then I heard the unique hiss of a slow leak. I made it to the first disembarking point, checked my tire and it seemed like it had enough air still in it to finish the race. I spun down the road, turned left back onto the trail and started.....KABLAMMO....pedaling. Proper flat now. Time to run. Good thing I did all that cyclo-cross, running in bike shoes kinda sucks. I get a good ways downon foot (let's say a mile or so, I have no sense of distance running), and get passed by a number of other racers (most of whom appreciate my number at least). Then, as a testament to how awesome the atmosphere is at MTB races, the other guy from the shop on a 29er chucks me his Camelbak with a pump and tube inside. (not my Camelbak). Massive karma points for that guy. So I fix the flat, lope to the end on my muddy, injured big wheel bike, and cross the line. I give the guy his Camelbak and head back to Dan's car for the ride back. He said it may just be what happens the first time one does this race, as the year before, a winning time was taken away from Dan by a shattering carbon seatpost. On the plus side, I did feel fast before everything were pear-shaped. I'll be back, Burlingame. Please be gentle.

I went back to Dan M's pump track, which I'm getting closer and closer to doing right (gotta get used to the little wheel bikes, and the not pedaling). It's very spiritual, this pump track business, it really has to flow through you. Dan and Karl are both quite magical on the thing, Bryan was there too. I could certainly see myself becoming a much better bike-handler in general if I can get the hang of it. Hucker Joe would probably be really good on it too, which is why he should come out here...

Even Jesse came to visit from California.

The IBC Newton Summer 2008 gang was in partial effect, as it was Jesse, Arjun, and I in the Hyundai going to the Chris Hinds Criterium at Ninigret in Charlestown, RI. The weather was pretty excellent at the course, which is one I always enjoy when I'm out there (it's a purpose built crit course, how cool is that?).

It went pretty well for everyone, I only ended up with 14th, but I felt like it was more a result of getting boxed in than anything else. My couple of laps of the front were captured by Jesse (on Arjun's DSLR) and I swear, there were a whole bunch of them. They just unfortuantely happened too early. Or too late.

At Wells the next day I got 4th by being out of the mess of the corner sooner, so there could be something there.

In non-bikeness, I saw How to Train your Dragon with Jason in 3D, and I have to say, the use of 3D space has really improved, even since 3 years ago. It doesn't seem like an afterthought as it sometimes has. It's really spectacular, especially in the mesmerizing POV flight sequences and gorgeous vistas. The movie was pretty good on the whole too, certainly better than Monsters v. Aliens, though I still may have liked Kung Fu Panda more. Overall a very good effort from Dreamworks. Recommended.

I won the B-race at Wells Ave most recently, which is probably just a way for the gods to force a new blogpost. I went for a break at like 8 laps to go (right after a prime), and nobody came with me except one of the guys from the prime, who soon dropped off. I figured I'm out there to train so I TTed the remaining 6 laps on my own and won. I didn't realize I was so stealthy, quite a few people didn't know I was off the front. Oh well, there goes the element of surprise....or does it...

Thanks to Scott Cole Coaching for the speed involved in this blogpost's shenanigans.

Also, the Bontric Carbolus is the fastest wheel ever. That is all.

For this week's video, I was between a few, but I ended up choosing this, sorry about the ad, and the not being able to seek.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lord, See that cat, Yeah I do mean you

Delays are all sparkles and sunshine, but I couldn't let a whole month go by without a single post, So here's February. Certainly once racing starts again, I'll have more motivation to write.

Which is to say, it sort of just did. I did an indoor TT on Sunday, and I do like me some TTs, indoor or otherwise.

I got there quite early so I warmed up for about an hour, rather than the intended 40ish minutes, but then it was time to get up on the Computrainer. there were two groups of 8 trainers and I was in the back right. Coach Scott said to keep it in control around 300 watts for the first half of the 10k, but in all the frenzy of bringing my wheel up to speed I was floating around 400w and in second place in my group. Dan Barry and Jeff Bramhall were there cheering me on and there was no looking back so I spent some quality time in the pain cave and won my group, coming in 3rd in the heat. It was a good time and my thanks go out to all those involved in putting it on.

Richard Fries said I was probably making considerably more power than appeared on the screen but more went to twisting my bike every which way then cranking the pedals (a big engine with no mounts). Certainly I've never been a model of grace on a bike (more of a blunt instrument), but he gave me a couple of solid tips I'll try to put into action.

Whole bunch of new bike/bike stuff news too.

I am giving Bontrager's new saddles my full honest placeholder endorsement. I've got them on both road bikes and the Africabike now, and they're super comfy. Bonus points for apparant durability, it takes a crash for them not to look brand new.
I now have a 29er, an ex-demo baby blue Gary Fisher Paragon, which should be nice and fast, and because the HKEK's drivetrain was in dysfunctionland, I've turned that into a single-speed, which means I've joined two MTB cults in one week.

On the road front, the magic wheel I mentioned in the last post is done, so I can divulge more about it. It's a DT/Bontrager hub (as used in the Aeolus) laced to a mk1 Mavic Cosmic Carbone rim with 14 DT Aerolite spokes and two double butted spokes (Fulcrum style). It shall be known henceforth as the Philbrook-Meyer-Leas Bontric Carbolus, or Pheystricolus for short. Expect to see it on the road soon. Jesse has some Cosmic Carbones which he really likes, and these should ride like Cosmics, just with the awesome raised to 12 (it's one more than 11, which is one more than 10). I'm sorry that Jesse isn't a link, I honestly couldn't think of one in time. Next time.

I also got an amazing new hat and an equally amazing new bobblehead (Thanks Jason).

For this week's video, it's the Alaska Nanooks intro video, and no words could suffice. Brace yourselves:

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's always showtime here at the edge of the stage

I know, it's been a long time, but I'm listening, I'm here for you, and ...a placeholder continues to hold places in 2010, bigger, badder, and chewier than ever.

For the most delayed Ice Weasels related blog update on the whole of the internet I'll keep it brief, as lots has been said and it's not fresh on anyone's mind. It was super excellent, snowy, and fun. But cold. I got to park next to the porta-johns. My race was won by a guy on a Surly Pugsley. HUPcakes are delicious.

In a sad follow up to the last post, it would appear I'll never end up driving that killer looking new Saab 9-5. I'm supposed to get some literature about it in the mail but I imagine they ultimately didn't sent it. Rumor has it the car will live on as a Buick (it's sensible not to discard a fully cooked product before it's released) and despite evidence of a corking new lineup in the wings, it's GM and I have full faith they'll screw it up. Prove me wrong, GM, prove me wrong.

Winter is the time for side projects, and it certainly is the winter. Cross season is over, the city (and Africabike) are covered in salt.
A whole bunch of the side projects are bikey in nature. The Bianchi is now properly winterized with full fenders and lights. Dan M and I repacked the BB and now it's good to go. This week is set to get back over 30° so maybe I'll ride outside.

For the other prong of my two-pronged training solution, I am set to the gills with all sorts of awesome Cycle-Ops equipment. The key bit is my awesome new rear wheel, which is laced up to a Powertap SL+. It's super cool to get wattage, (rear-wheel) speed, cadence, and time without any kloogy sensors or wires. It's the bee's knees.

To know what I'm supposed to do, Coach Scott Cole (who really needs a website) puts all the goodness on Trainingpeaks. Even if you're not getting coached, it's an easy way to keep track of your training and the version with ads is free.

The last bike project I'll mention, this one still in the works, is my dreamy new front road wheel. Without divulging too much, I'll just say it's a theoretically excellent Franco-Swiss synergy, and you know I love good synergy. It's 16.3% more excellent than you think. More about that later.

I did finally get a new subwoofer for my receiver and so far, the tidy cubbyhole it's living in doesn't have any annoying resonances going on. Sadly, I no longer have the cable station that shows Die Hard on loop so I'll have to find something else to properly assess the boom-boom.

Also, I bought an iPod Touch from Seth. I'm not generally an Apple guy but the price was right and this is a slick little device. I might have to abandon my curmudgeonly ways and start using Apple products like everyone else now.

Bryan, I'm sorry this took so long. It's Jesse's fault.

Some music videos are timeless and always feel like they could have been made this year. Some are not.