Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Finally it works

The only hotel that I've had the opportunity to have an extended visit where the actually don't disturb - and quietly slid the note under the door.

Monday, November 7, 2011


R-B survived the crossing intact.

Putting together for 1st time required about double the time of my clown bike; but then again it required a lot more reassembly as well - everything's in pieces. Beyond removing the seatpost, crank, pedals, and bottle cages - the similarities end there. For the R-B the handlebar gets removed as does its stem, the front brake, and the rear derailleur and trying to figure out how all those split cables reattach. Instead of quick releases, as on the clown bike, the R-B has bolts & clamps that need to be retightened. The downtube clamp even comes with a mini torque wrench. Minor adjustment to ensure smooth shifting, make sure it's all straight & ready to go.

I didn't even get a chance to take it out for a test ride before packing it away for this trip. So once install & calibrate the darn computer get all kitted up & I'll be on my way.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Yea but can I put it back together?

Clown bike is officially semi-retired as I travel for the first time (later today) with my new Ritchey Break-away.

I built it up with a mixture of old & new Shimano (105, Ultegra & Dura-Ace) group components.

It's packed it in a smaller hard case container (26x26x10) than the soft-sided case (8.5x26.5x 31) that comes with it - so more disassembly was required. And since this bike is a regular bike with normal sized wheels, either case wouldn't fit in the overhead bin (like I'm used to), so I'll need to either fit in in the closet (with a sympathetic "A" FA) or send it to purgatory with the rest of the baggage (which is why I've got the hard case).

Clown bike lasted me 15 years before getting really cantankerous to maintain, and it was a great ride while it lasted - and I'll miss talking it's up features and strange looks from those I'd meet (from the hotel elevators to racers in some occasional crits). Let's hope I get another 15 outta the Ritchey.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The "Don't mess with..." department

... T (surprisingly a very understated official website).

Where I got the clown bike out for a decent ride - hot & breezy.

Staying in the inspiration for the Truman Show, and the next best chance for the Real Housewives of... franchise. Where patriotism is on display as a sport where the houses, businesses & city centers try to outdo each other in "My flag is bigger than your flag" contest. Where at the stop signal the elderly blue hair thought it was necessary to challenge me "Why aren't you in church?" To which I responded "Why aren't you?" "We just came from there!" very matter-of-factly. "So did I" unfazed (which wasn't a complete fabrication since I had just cut through a church parking lot a few minutes prior).

Where street signs tell it like it is.

And where bigotry may not make the best business strategy.

Did not see any of these, despite the rumor of an Executive Order from the GOV. otherwise. Where the roads are surprising free of trash though not of smashed armadillos (or the smashed turkey vulture trying to feast on same). Where good eats for a post-ride meal are guaranteed to satisfy.

I'll be back.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy legs

Ever since my Bend adventure at the beginning of the month I've been craving to do some fun stuff. My race season is over & it's more than time to unwind and have unstructured fun.

This last weekend I was on Kauai and did 2 rides there. Even though the few main roads on the Garden Island have an adequate shoulder, the side roads offer tranquility, time to enjoy the wonderful landscape, and frogs. Well I should say frogs & chickens. The frogs are usually pancake flat from having been squished while most of the feral chickens are skittish enough to usually fend for themselves - though not always as some clumps of feathers along the way answered that age old question.

Friday's & Saturday's rides.

Today I found myself in San Jose all day and though I was mostly in for putzing around & exploring, I found the attraction of the east foothills calling. So there I was spinning my way toward the hills and I found myself at the base of Sierra Road.

For those in the know Sierra Road has been a part of every TOC since it's inception. This May Stage 4 finished (the red portion of the map) at the top of the climb; 3.5 miles with an elevation gain of almost 1800; yielding a grade of just under 10% on average. I didn't have the luxury to share my Garmin story (data) because I (as it turns out conveniently) forgot to put it on the charger from the previous island rides. But this is the route I rode.

And try as I might to go up easily rather than make it a hammerfest - the best I can describe it was pleasant suffering. Steeper at the bottom than midway or at the top, but recovery isn't really an option as the effort takes its collective toll all the way up. Without the exact numbers I know my HR was pretty much at the limit as sweat dripped a trail like a leaky radiator all the way up. Paint from the lonely deserted summit has almost completely faded from the fans paying tribute to their favorite racers.

The descent is always the reward for the climb and I only saw 2 riders climbing up the easier grade. There are many similar climbs in the hills surrounding the south bay area (Mt Hamilton, Metcalf Rd, the numerous climbs to Skyline Blvd, etc), each with a slightly distinct flavor to them. I lived right near here while going to college here 30 years ago and I don't ever remember getting out and up this climb before.

You can be sure I will return & expend more calories here in the future.

Saturday, September 10, 2011