29 September 2012

An open letter to SRAM and irresponsible salespeople everywhere

Had a customer frantically call the shop this morning.  He was out in Furley Kansas and his hub had just exploded!  Doing the Walnut Valley Metric and he desperately needed a rear wheel.  He came in and I was given this wheel:

The rest of this post will be in 2 parts given the title, I think you expected that.  This was a SRAM S 80 carbon clincher at one time.

Dear SRAM,

Has your older brother, ZIPP, locked you out of his room so you can't play with all his cool shit?  Well I'm sure someone, somewhere sells ZIPP's.  Maybe you can go in and see how it's done.  First lesson is of course don't fucking lace the drive side radial!  Gee all of the forces are now firmly planted on your flanges, with super high spoke tension, what a great idea!  Fire your marketing team, this shit ain't "cool" no matter how hard you try to convince yourself.

Love #3

Dear salespeople everywhere,

We have a responsibility to our customers to serve their needs.  A man who is NORTH of 230 lbs has absolutely no business riding a wheel that has radial ANYTHING on the rear wheel.  Get his butt under a 3 cross double butted.  The weight you whine?  Well I guess you don't want to hear about the wheelset I built three cross that came in at 1600 grams.  What is that not competitive enough for you?  Seriously?  This is your responsibility and you should be ashamed of yourselves for continuing to sell like this.  Grovel before your wheel builder that he may grant mercy and forgiveness.  You have succumbed to the marketing geeks at SRAM, let me reiterate to you, this shit ain't "cool" no matter how hard you try to convince yourself.

Hugs and kisses #3

Think I'm out of line? Well I'm not. We have a chronic spoke breaker who was sold some wheels by the boys upstairs.  NON DRIVE radial about 5 months ago.  North of 200lbs.  He is now on his 3rd broken spoke.

Another story.  Got a large dude off of his cracked Bontrager Race Lites and put some 3 cross/double butted under his fanny.  Dude is a complete fricking bowling ball out there, he will hit EVERYTHING you put in front of him.  Well he has almost destroyed the wheels a few times but hasn't broken a spoke yet!

#3 OUT

24 September 2012

Zen Pencils

Zen Pencils isn't bicyle related, but still a great site. 

23 September 2012

Cessna Park Ride Report

But it all comes down to this:  I like persons but hate people. 

And until I know someone they are a people, not a person. 

WC and #3 are the exception.  It took Brent and I a while to hit it off when we both worked at the bike shop.  The age difference between us seemed greater when we were younger.  But as we started riding together I found I really liked him as more than just a bike friend and the age apparent age difference shrinks as we get older.  #3 and I hit it right off as soon as he started at the shop.  It was the ride back from Cheney Lake when he was pissed about struggling  and I knew he was something special.  Soon our riding group expanded from Brent and I to Brent, Aaron and I.  They are both the best friends I have.  I look forward to the weekend rides for two reason.  #1 is that I can ride a longer ride.  But the most important is that I can ride with my two friends.

Today I broke one of my rules and scheduled to join a ride with people.  The Oz Eastsider’s group announced a ride at Cessna Park where several of the riders had laid out  a CX track.  The ride is every Sunday at 9am.  I was late getting back from a Kansas City Royals game (they won!) the night before and slept in until 8:40am.  I jump up, pulled on my bibs and headed out to the garage.  My Voodoo had two flats.  Here is the problem with having a stable full of bikes: ( I refuse to use the phrase “Quiver of bikes”) When you usually only ride one or two of them, you find the others fall into neglect.  The last time I had ridden the CX was with Q, Daniel, #3, and WC.  It was the ride Q kept wiggling his butt at us.  Anyway, pumped up the tubeless, spun the wheels and put the bike in the Toyota. 4 miles later I was at Cessna Park with a fully flat tire. Shit.

I got ready to put the bike in the back when I decided to pump it up again and ride.  I was hoping the ride would allow the sealant to fully seal the flat.  After putting 89 psi in the front I found the other riders.  There were 5 riders: two much stronger and faster than me and three older and slower.  They all were very friendly and we chatted for a bit.  I got a few compliments on my VooDoo.  I guess I was supposed to say something in return about the Redlines and Ridleys, but I am sort of a bike snob and only the Salsa caught my attention.  You would think as a Merck rider and fan I would like Ridley, but some bikes just don't look like they have a soul, do you know what I mean?

The trail isn’t cut yet, so I just followed the bike tire marks in the grass and rode the course.  I found my tires that work so wonderfully on dirt roads and at Miller’s suck fucking eggs on a grass trail.  I lowered the air pressure and it was slightly better. But maybe I should get one of these.

The trail is mostly out in the open and for some reason avoids the wooded paths down by the river.  There are two crossing of the street and the other riders were jumping off and running across and then remounting CX style.  I just bunny hopped all the curbs.  One of the faster riders was commenting on how he couldn’t hop the curb up.  Later on he was pointing out the rough area along the doubletrack section by the river.  He remarked that there wasn’t really a good way to ride a smooth line through the rough sections.  I kept waiting for the rough section.  The next thing I knew we were on the sidewalk.  Then it hit me.  They were……ROADIES (Gasp!)  To me the trail was nothing at all to handle.  I didn’t pay any attention to any of the supposed technical sections of the trail. 

On my last lap I watch one of the faster riders unmount his bike, smoothly transition to a full run, and then in one quick motion, slip back on his bike and ride without ever slowing down.  Well…how fucking hard could that be?  Well….I didn’t fall….but It was a lot fucking harder than it looked.  My nuts are bruised, my ego diminished, and my respect for CX riders enhanced. 

 All in all it was ok riding with people.  But give me persons everyday. 


2012 M4Ride Shirt Design

Here is the design for the 2012 M4 Tshirt.  Details for odering are at M4Ride.blogspot.com

17 September 2012

Bachelor Ride and other awesome things.

First things first, this whole awesome post is in direct result to WC.  Last Sunday was the girls' bachelorette party and earlier in the week WC realized, as best man, he better get something goin'.  The plan was simple and totally straightforward: 

1. Go to K.C.
2. Eat Food
3. Ride Bikes
4. Eat More Food
5. Disc Golf
6. Go Home

This post is going to read like a tourist guide but seriously, you should heed every location detail I'm about to drop on you.  Everything will work out just awesome.

Arrived on Sunday around 8:30 pm and headed straight for Panzon's, meeting up with Mr. Ahs as our 3rd.  A more highly awarded Mexican joint than I have ever seen.  Got this huge ass Chimichanga that was simply fricking amazing.  We got a half pitcher of Margaritas, this was the downer of the whole weekend, kinda week and full of ice.  No real kick to them.  We kicked back and watched K-State and Mr. Snyder eek out a win against his old buddy Dan Macarney and North Texas.  We sat and B.S.'ed the conversation turning in to a victory celebration of both a Wildcat victory and my impending wedding.  Left around 10:30 and headed straight to the hotel.

Baymont Inn and Suites on Hillcrest was our destination and that wily WC had set us up perfectly.  Scroll up the map and you will see what I mean.  That's right just a few short miles from the trailhead at Swope Park.  We kicked back and enjoyed a couple of beers and watched what the students call the "Holy War," BYU vs Utah.  Can't say I care for BYU, don't know why just don't.  We watched as Utah won the game and went to bed.  Little did we know that the game wasn't over.  I didn't know until Monday morning but hey Utah still won.  We settled down for the night around midnight thoughts and visions of mountain biking dancing in our heads.

I awoke the next morning not jazzed at all to get on a bike.  The sickness I spoke of last week, had left me 8 lbs lighter and still feeling the effects of a compromised pulmonary system.  This was also weekend number 3 of mountain biking.  My body still looked like shit, bruises up and down my legs and welts that haven't decreased in size.  I was also apprehensive because I had zero knowledge of this trail and visions of rocky technical sections and tight tree lined trail filled my head.  We got downstairs and ate the conti breakfast, my stomach churning almost too much to eat.  Went upstairs donned the cycling garb and made the trip to the trailhead.  Where I proceeded to stall, slowly putting every piece of equipment on as meticulously as possible.  I really didn't want to face the trail, I just couldn't stand facing another day of suck.  I had set the bike up 4 speed so I could get really low, I knew my legs were going to be feeling crappy.  A slight mechanical adjustment on a brake and we were off, holy shit here we go...

We took the trail known as Rancho Deluxe and there were rocks in the beginning, gun shy all rocks pretty much make me squirm now.  I kept trucking on, keeping in my lowest gear as possible as that elephant got comfortable and sat on my chest, enjoying the thick humid air. We rounded a bend and there was a big fucking rock formation which was followed by navigating around more rocks.  I started to really hate this fucking trail, all I had seen were rocks.  Then all of sudden we were out of the rocks and we were left with smooth singletrack, rootless with plenty of room on either side.  It was beautiful, I actually shifted down a gear.  We rode and rode on this beautiful single track until we came to a fork in the road.  There was a sign that declared this to be Phase 4 and they weren't done.  Oh great primitive not worn in single track, probably filled with a shit ton of rock I thought as we pushed in to the new area.  Which turned out to be, FUCKING AWESOME.  Basically 4 named sections with some stuff in between.  This stuff was more of that beautiful singletrack and they built a twisty, curvy descent in it too.  I finally started having fun, I was still sick as shit and hacking up chunks but I was having fun.  WC had fun too, so much fun that we did that descent 4 times that day.  Three of those we actually came back to the beginning of the horseshoe to start the whole phase four, the fourth we climbed back up the descent and did it again.  Somewhere between 2 and 3 I started having a blast, just pedaling and not caring about speed.  My ailments all but forgotten and a pattern emerged.  That nasty rock section was the purgatory we crossed every loop to get to that sweet descent.  Sure I walked a ton of rock but I was rewarded and satisfied every time.  We got back to the car with two hours under our belts and feeling super great.  Then we got to drive back to the hotel and clean up with plenty of time before checkout.  When was the last time you got to do that after mountain biking somewhere strange?  Usullay I'm stewing in my own juices by the time I shower.  Cleaned up it was time to search for some grub.

We had two choices nearby BBQ and McDonald's.  I told WC it was up to him and he declared that he was sick of McDonald's.  So we drove just a bit, then somewhere between a gravel pit and an automotive repair shop (that locks up customer's cars in a fenced in area), we found HEAVEN.  We were scared to death because of the area, my first impressions were it certainly didn't look like much.  We walked in to B.B's Lawnside BBQ and were immediately knocked cold by the smell of some seriously fine meat being prepared.  My stomach lurched to be free of my body to find its own way to that sweet sweet smell emanating from the back.  In my stupor I flopped and dragged my way in to a booth and ordered a Coke.  I was seriously hungry and so was W.C.  He and I sat there just stunned and overwhelmed at the decor, looking over the menu without even reading them.  Some caffeine got to our systems and along with that enough sense to order.  I'm a huge BBQ sausage fan and I had to try some of that and settled on the B.B. King plate with turkey.  Out came this plate stacked with 4 huge ribs, a gigantic sliced sausage, a softball sized serving of pulled turkey, beans, fries, pickles and 2 slices of bread soaking it all up.  The food was legendary, epic.  I knew that no matter how full I got, no meat was going to go to waste.  My man W.C. partook of the ribs, declaring them in unison the finest in the land.  Fully loaded we joked that it was sure a good idea to put some Disc Golf in after lunch, sitting in the car for 3 hours with all that in us was gonna be a nap and a wreck.

Returned to Swope Park, yeah its that big, and found the Disc Golf course.  We proceeded to play 18 holes of some crazy built course with a couple of friends.  Finished about 3 and it was back to real life, exhausted yet wholly satisfied with the entire trip.  Now I've just set up a perfect weekend getaway for you.  Let me give you the kicker here.  After checking in at the hotel, with all that fun that I just related to you, total driving 11.9 miles.  Is that not just amazing in all respects?  As long as you don't focus the trip on the hotel, which wasn't bad, this is a high concentration of some seriously great activity.  3 hours away from Wichita is a small price to pay for all that this tiny area has to offer.  DO IT.

13 September 2012

2012 M4 Ride Details Posted

We are up and running for the 2012 show.   The ride will be Sunday, October 21st. 

Here is the proposed TShirt design:

I'll have prices soon. 

Rules are the same as before:

The ride will be 21 laps at Miller's Meadow

1. The ride is 21 laps long, or 100 miles. This is not a race. No time or placing information will be kept.

2. Riders can ride solo or as part of a team. Teams can be one, two, three, four, or five or more riders.

3. For team riders, a member must be on the trail at all times. Riders can split the number of laps up amongst themselves as they see fit.

4. Each team or solo rider will need to keep track of their own laps.   

5. The ride starts at 7am

6. Riders are not required to stay at the trail when team mates are on the ride. You are welcome to make a trip to QT for drinks and food.

7. There is no cost for this ride. It is unsanctioned and unsponsered. It is a show and go. All riders accept responsibliity for themselves and their ride.

8. A T Shirt will be made available. Pricing and design are in the works.

9.  Sign up via email at bikeidiot@cox.net. Put "M4 Ride" as your subject line. Please include your team name and team members with email address for all riders.

10.  The ride is unsupported.  I'll bring a floor pump but otherwise don't expect any mechanics or anything to be around. 


09 September 2012

Lizard (Tour of)

When we were in junior high and high school there was a girl named Elizabeth, we all called her Lizard.  No idea why and the relevance to this post is completely absent.  Just thought I'd share.

I had been looking forward since I signed up for it to race The Tour De Lizard.  Only my second mountain bike race and I was looking forward to have some fun this time instead experiencing the hell of The Bone Bender.

Friday saw me wake up a little strange.  My body just didn't feel quite right.  Nothing too serious just off.  Took the bike to the Pedaler and Daniel looked at my fit.  Deeming it appropriate I had one more than to check off my list.

Saturday I awoke to feeling even funnier.  My lymph gland was tender and I kinda felt bad.  I did a quick 20 minutes at a very muddy Miller's to check the fit.  All seemed well.  I got to work and got that funny heat that comes when you know that you are getting sick.  My 4 year old had zapped me.  Spent the night in an absolute sweaty froth as the fever roared through me.

Sunday I felt like I hadn't slept at all.  The fever felt gone but I didn't want to go race like this.  Brie encouraged me to go and just walk a little more.  So WC and I loaded up and got to Camp Horizon.  I was getting winded and sweaty just climbing the rises in the parking lot.  I had no preconceived notions but this was going to suck worse than ever.  We lined up by age group and then we were off in the second wave.  As soon as I started pedaling hard, it felt like an elephant was on my chest and I was sweating profusely.  My watch said 5 minutes in.  Then it was just an endless amount of suck.  I couldn't make good decisions and I watched as wave after wave of riders passed me.  One particular time I got high centered on a rock and couldn't move a fucking inch.  The 40 year olds caught me and 2 particularly nice Sound Pony riders told me to get the fuck off the trail and repeatedly called me mother fucker.  Great ambassadors to the sport I assure you.  The two guys before them got by just fine.  I wasn't really considering racing mountain bikes anymore and well that doesn't make my decision any harder.  Maybe the 3rd or 4th endo on the trail, I suffered a deep thigh bruise when I jammed my handlebar into it at speed.  I was fucking miserable and I was going to quit at the first sign civilization.  Then my race changed....

I was caught by the juniors and the only 60 year old, right before the aid station.  I stopped because I was surviving, not racing and I had dropped my water bottle somewhere.  At the top of a hill I had just walked, I looked behind me to see who was coming.  There coming along the trail was a four wheel gator with a rider in the back.  I looked closely and I knew that guy!  He was in my age group, my goal was intact.  I would not be last today, as long as I finished.  So I slogged and marched and finally got to the bottom.  I didn't think it would ever come and when it did I was able to go a little faster.  My front tire was burping like a sum bitch and I had to keep refilling it.  Finally got to Cardiac and walked my happy ass up.  33-20 felt like too high of a gear today.  Rolled in to the finish and rode straight to the car.  No festivities for me just a quick change and then back home where I proceeded to have a 4 hour nap.

Some other thoughts about the race.  I hate my bike.  I really do.  I want gears and suspension.  I don't want to suck at this but I don't really have the $ to upgrade.  I think I'm done with races that are rocky until that happens.  Word to the wise, don't race sick, It totally blows.

04 September 2012

River Trails Shootout Part 2 (for us)

Back when I was still on Facebook, I was invited by Mr. Zach Dubas of Manhattan KS to a little event down in backyard.  On Labor Day the good folks at Big Poppi's in Manhattan, along with Tallgrass Brewery, put on a 6 mile mtb time trial at the river trails just off the dike.  The Shootout as it is called is very low budget and very low key.

WC and I arrived with 10 minutes to spare before the gun at 4.  I paid my $10 and got my number, a paper plate with a handwritten number 80 on it.  I attached it to the bike with two twist ties, much easier than last year because they punched holes in the plates this year!  I asked Aaron's wife for my start time and she said 5pm!  I had a whole hour to just hang around and relax.

Normally one hour is just super to chill out and talk to folks but today was different.  The temperature was one hundred plus at 4:00 pm!  We all registered then sought shelter in the shade, enjoying free beer and cheering on the riders as they passed.  One beer later and HOLY SHIT! my number was almost up. I finished my beer and headed up to the start line, butterflies in my stomach.

I was particularly concerned about my bike for a couple of reasons today.  I have been experiencing numbness in my hands very quickly into rides on my mountain bike.  Took an opportunity and sought help from Jeff at work.  He took one look at me and told me I had too much weight on the front end.  In his opinion as a fitter the whole bike geometry was set up wrong.  The only solution would be a new stem.  We didn't have one because of my unicorn like Cannondale 1.5" steer tube.  So I was going to have to struggle on, Jeff suggested ergo grips to help a little and they did.  Stems are on order, hopefully one will work!

My second concern as I stood waiting my turn was the memory of last years shootout.  I crashed and royally fucked myself up for several weeks after.  Oh and I broke my helmet.  I did not want a repeat and hoped for a time under 30 minutes.  My countdown to 5 and then I was off.  This years event was definitely not a single speed friendly start.  Flat out on the levy for a quarter mile. Spin, spin, spin your butt off and soon there was the trail.  Unfortunately I decided to bash my head in early on in the ride.  The trail is cut between some very thin reed like trees.  I made the mistake of looking at my line instead of through my line.  Hooked a tree which sent me head-on into another.  I remember hitting my head twice, however it was my ear that was on fire.  I didn't feel any warm streaks so I sat there gathering.  Couldn't decide to quit or ride so I took the latter.  Off again I went had a ball and got really tired when my adrenaline wore off.  Wasn't my day and I crossed the uphill (this year) finish in 31:20.  The only down part was knowing that unless that sum bitch number 85 (WC) wrecked too, my reign of being Doo-Dah Cycling Mt. TT champ was over.

Then WC scared the absolute shit out of me.  My bro, my boy wasn't back yet.  I was getting nervous.  He's better than me on this shit and still he didn't come.  Even if he had wrecked there was no reason he shouldn't have been out that long.  Word finally got back to us a rider was down and an ambulance was in route.  Nobody knew anything else.  I diligently stayed at the start/finish knowing that it just couldn't be WC out there, even though he wrecked last year too.  Somebody with some knowledge arrived and told us that it was an old Trek and not the crumpled remains of a VooDoo Dambala.  Which put my mind at ease but then I thought WHERE THE FUCK IS HE?!  The answer was that he was one of the first to arrive on scene and tend to the fallen rider.  Good on ya WC!  I was so fucking relieved to finally see that Cadel Evans lookin' mother fucker come rollin' up the wrong way.

Aaron from Big Poppi's made sure that WC got a shot if he wanted it and WC said of course!  We got him sent off, I wished him well then grabbed another beer and a dog.  When he crossed the line I didn't give a shit about his time, he was whole and had a big ole grin on his face.  Then he volunteered that he was over 32 minutes!  WHOOP WHOOP!  Two years in a row baby!  Hail to me the CHAMPION.  Next year I'm going to try and stay off my ass.  Going to be year 5 for the race and Aaron Apel is planning sumthing BIG!

WC goes for run #2!

The downed rider sustained what WC described as a probable separated shoulder.  Warm fuzzies!