Sunday, December 11, 2011

winter bike rolling

She lives again

The saying stands true. "It's just like riding a bike". Friday was the first day of a commute on the road bike. Longest ride on it since the accident that broke my collar bone back in June. It is about 10 miles from the house to the shop. I felt a bit uneasy at first on the ride in but by the time I got there, I seemed to be settling in to the bike. On the way home it seemed all but second nature.

Next step is to get the mtb rolling again and then I will start building a single speed mtb this winter.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

was sick, now studs, still with tubes

A week and a half ago I went for a ride with Mike that ended with him catching an endo with his face on a rock. He gashed his chin and we called it done. I rode on out cutting through some woods and endind at home. Later that night my throat hurt like it hasn't for a long time. I am just now starting to shake whatever it was that I caught. I haven't been riding much since then.

Tonight I finished up the winter commuter. It now has the Alfine 8 speed (again) on it and it will live there until the end of its days. I also put on the saddle bag, fenders, front and rear lights. What I don't have is the tubeless system setup. I ran in to some problems with it tonight. I want to call them and talk tech and maybe I will have it done this weekend. I'll keep you posted.

home sweet home.
The IGH didn't look so big on the mtb. The rim was wide. The tire was wide. After that it looks pretty big on the road bike, especially with the 28c tires. I rode this around in the parking lot a little last night and it feels so weird being on this bike. It almost feels too small, which it isn't, after being on the 29er with 28" wide bars. Oh well, in a matter of time, I will get used to it. After all, its just like riding a bike.

We have some inclement weather coming in over night so I will be riding in the morning to give everything a test run.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

ready for the truing stand

It's a beautiful thing when it's shiny and new. Then it has an all new beauty when it is worn in and dirty
So, there is a really good chance that I will have the Bianchi rolling at the beginning of the week. I would have to say that we have be lucky to have an extended fall riding season this year. Usually we are already riding in the snow and deep cold. Heck, it hasn't even been that cold. Well, the days are numbered. It will be here soon enough and I will be ready. I am going to set up the winter studs tubeless this year. At least I plan to. I am using the Stans kit. I will be wrapping the rim with yellow rim tape to seal the spoke holes and a self sealing valve stem with their sealant. Hopefully I can get them to seal up and make it work. I only (unbelievable) had one flat last year with the studs on. That is amazing given the hundreds of miles I logged. Hopefully the tubeless system will give a new experience to it. Stay tuned.

switching it up

The mtb is crippled for the time being. I have started the process of putting the Alfine back on the Bianchi where it will find a permanent home. This was the plan all along, I just look forward to actually having both (at least two) bikes fully operational at all times.

I cut the IGH out of the mtb wheel

I am not sure but the Voodoo might get set up single speed or 1x9 for the winter. It might get nothing at all. I'm not sure that I want to put the energy into it but I hate that it can't be ridden now.

I have loose plans to set it up as a dedicated dirt road rambler. I envision mountain drop bars, STI shifters for perhaps a 2x10. Something that will be comfortable during long periods of time in the saddle. Of course to do this I would have to build up yet another mtb that will be used for Tour Divide. I don't have much in the way of plans for a road bike except for setting the Bianchi up for winter commuting/long rides. Which brings us to this.

ready to be built up

I'm looking forward to a lot of riding in the snow. I find it interesting and fun. It also helps considerably with bike handling skills. This rim was originally going on the front of the bike last year but I never laced it up. I was going to run a dynamo hub but haven't settled into that yet. Therefore I will continue to use the wheel I got from Jim on the front and use this new rim to rebuild the rear wheel.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

snow ride

I threw the Nevegals back on the mtb and took my dog Holly with me over to a small network of local trails in the woods. It was just as much to spend time with her as it was for me to get out to play in the snow. Not a lot of snow in the woods. A couple of inches and melting. A bit wet and muddy in spots but it was fun. I'll let some pictures do the talking.

a little spot in the woods to play in the snow

I noticed some tire tracks in the mud. someone else had the same idea as me.

I took my dog Holly with me for a little run. she loves being outside.

this was her first time going with me on a ride. the snow made it possible for us to match each others' speed.

this bike has done me well. it has given me a foundation to judge what I want from a MTB.

the IGH will see about one more week on this bike and then it will return to the Bianchi for the remainder of its' life.

almost an hour in the woods. Holly is ready to head home for some treats.

Holly was the reason I got to drive our Durango. my wife doesn't let it out of her sight very often.

a picture of my reflection in the window as I was loading up dog and bike.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

small photo dump

On the 6th of November my wife ran a half marathon in Shelburne, VT. It was a chilly start to a beautiful day. I went to support her and ride around a bit while she ran. Here is a small sharing of what I experienced

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My first ever S24O!

Let me just start by saying that I broke a spoke only 3 miles in to this ~80 mile weekend. I was so ready for this that I didn't let that stop me.

My first ever S24O. It stands for sub 24 hour overnighter. It is an awesome way to pack a bunch of fun and adventure into a small amount of time. I planned a bikepacking trip with Mike for a little taste of Tour Divide life. At first there was the possibility of four of us going but as time played out it came down to just the two of us. We decided on as much dirt as possible and to end our ride through Cotton Brook into the backside of Little River State Park.

primitive bikepacking setup 

The above picture shows my initial setup. I don't have a pad that packs down very small so I wanted to bring my backpacking one to insulate me from the ground. The temps were to dip into the mid 30s overnight and I needed to be sure that I could stay warm. A small pedal around the parking lot before I left proved that the pad couldn't ride on the top tube. It was too wide rolled up and I would have been riding like a bow legged cowboy.

I decided to strap it to the saddle bag and it turned out like this:

Mike and I met at the round about in Winooski at the end of a couple of rain showers and headed out past the airport and down Mountain View Drive. We rolled past Catamount on some nice dirt and connected to Route 2 and on to Johnny Brook Rd. On out through Richmond we went down Cochran to Duxbury Rd. following the river all the way to Waterbury. Night fall was eminent and we stopped at a gas station for refuel and some food before we headed up Route 100 to Moscow.

I'm working on getting my new bags to streamline my kit

Mike is his typical scenario with his kit
 Cotton Brook was fun. Lots of climbing and darkness. One of the things that I had to be careful of is how much of my light power I use. My light is USB chargeable and on high only has a burn time of about 1.5 hours. Unless I was going downhill or in a section that took paying attention to, I ran the light on low. When we were hike a biking, we actually turned our lights off and used the light from Mike's helmet light to conserve.

After we did the double track main loop, it ended on some single track that becomes Hedgehog Hill trail. Sure enough I came upon a porcupine waddling along in the direction that we were traveling. It eventually turned off trail and climbed its way up a tree. We stopped to watch that which I found quite interesting. I hope that it didn't feel threatened by us.

heading up 100 in the dark. that's Mike's light in the night.

 It was late when we got to camp. I was having way to much fun with the whole experience to let that bother me. When we first picked our leanto, I quickly pulled my sleeping bag, bivy, and pad out and got it set up. I didn't speak much about it earlier but I had made a bivy out of Tyvek house wrap to be used just for this trip. I had every intention of ditching it the morning after, which I did. I am happy to report that it worked well. In the morning when I pulled my bag out of it I noticed some condensation on the outside of my sleeping bag. Later is struck me as odd that it was only at the foot of the bag. My core would give off the most heat yet there was nothing anywhere else on the bag. The next day I realized what had caused it. Mike had hinted to me that placing my shorts and jersey in my bag would warm and maybe dry them for the next day. I put them in the bottom of my bag overnight. The condensation was being drawn off of my clothes and then pulled through the bag. Mystery solved.

our nest, Mike getting up. My homemade bivy on the left
After about 6 hours of sleep I woke up to a very chilled and brisk morning. I got up to shoot some pictures of camp in the new light. I was having a great time. We got some oatmeal and coffee ready and ate while we sorted things out and started to pack up. The night before was a blast, I slept well, and now I was ready for the trek back to town. We decided to leave out of the park on the front side which takes us down to the main rode which we took into Waterbury.

the view from my bed

home away from home

the dam at the bottom of the resevoir

this picture makes me dream of spokeless wheels

We took Winooski St. in Waterbury and would cross over the river and roll through Duxbury back towards Richmond. When we got to the bridge, the street was closed for firefighter training. There is a house that sits right next to the bridge and got severely damaged in the flooding that we had recently. It was to be torn down but not before the town got to practice putting fires out with it. When we rolled past, there were folding chairs setup in a field nearby. I suppose that it was to be a spectacle. A lady across the street let us cut through her yard to pass and be on our way. Later I found out that this is what we missed.

There's no putting that fire out.
Duxbury road is pretty nice. Mostly dirt, fairly flat, and pretty this time of year with views across the valley at the mountains with the river right next to you. I traveled this section mostly alone. Mike was having issues with getting power to the legs. I think that he had some illness coming. I let him roll his pace and we regrouped for a small amount of time on Cochran heading back into Richmond. I stopped at the common area and waited til he got there. He needed to recharge and I wanted to get home and spend some time with my family. I decided to truck on as he peeled off at a cafe for some nourishment.

oh, the irony

no tourists? Blah

I could ride roads like these forever

What a wonderful time to be out enjoying the scenery

chuga chuga
All in all it was incredible. Not even the rain at the start and the sprinkling riding into the night got my spirits down. When Mike and I came out of the gas station ready to roll on, I had a clear image of what I could imagine the Tour Divide being like. It was that feeling that you get inside not one that you manufacture through thought. I look forward to TD '13 and all of the training and adventures that lead up to it. I already have plans to do a three day, two night bikepacking trip next year with at least a century on each day. That will be one for the memory book.

Almost 7000' of climbing. I'll take that. Click on Mike's name at the beginning of this post and read his account of the ride. He writes well and he hit on some things that I didn't cover. I especially liked his description of my bivy sack.

Next up, some thoughts on bikepacking setup and pros and cons of my bike choices (i.e. gearing, bars, etc.). Thanks for reading.