Friday, March 31, 2006

holy ugly bike parts batman!

so it looks like shimano is trying to co-opt the SRAM "machined" look for 2007 xtr and they're com up with the some of the ugliest designs i've seen on anything. ever.

i'll stick with the little S for shifty bits

(the alternate title for this entry was a simpsons reference, a play on comic book guy's worst episode ever line... ugliest components ever! would you have gotten that?)

too hard to choose just one...

gaz posted over on the MORE website asking everyone to people their favorite ride(s). here's what i posted...
can i pick a whole year instead of just one ride? last year was a breakout year for me...

i rode a lot and rode better, faster, stronger than ever before. there was the spring douthat trip, riding the southern traverse memorial day weekend, a great day at gambrill (the DCAMB OC ride) early in the season where i realized how much difference the road riding over the winter had made to my fitness, DNFing at schwenkville, cramping up as i crossed the line at the fairhill classic, the massive tour de 'burg stage that i followed by riding the EF/Woodstock Tower loop the next day, wednesday night singlespeed sprints to the line at wakefield, a summer trip down to harrisonburg to show some sm100 newbies the course, but the capstone to the whole year was...

the 2005 Shenandoah Mountain 100... I can't argue with race (ride) that gives you great support and lets you to ride a 1/2 dozen of the greatest downhills i know in one day. just managing to finish in 2004 was great, but the feeling of hitting the last checkpoint at 10 hrs in and racing the last 10 miles up Hankey Mtn to try to finish in under 11 hours (and doing it) is a feeling that i'll never forget.

this year is just beginning; i wonder what it holds... a trip to fruita is just a couple of weeks away and the memorial day camping trip is going down to stokesville again, and in august i'll be doing Trans Wales...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

counting down the hours...

started the week on a down note as i had a bit of a cold spring up sunday evening and into monday. it was gone by tuesday morning, but it was a good excuse to take a day off the bike on monday to make sure that i was fully recovered.

did a quick recovery spin on the trainer tuesday night since i ended up at work later than i expected and then did a hard standing starts workout (4 x 5min very hard efforts on a hill) on the road yesterday evening. it was probably a little too cold to be wearing just a short sleeve jersey last night, but i survived.

beautiful outside today and i'm counting down the time until i head for the door and over to wakefield. might not even need the lights tonight as i'll have to stop riding a little earlier that usual so that i can get over to the MORE board meeting.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

ted leo/patapsco/schaeffer

ted leo at the black cat friday night... the show was a bit up & down. the tracks i recognized were great, but there were some slow moments where the show lost it's flow, and a couple of songs just devolved into noise. overall though i'd say it was a great show and well worth the time and money.

saturday i met up by matt and did a couple hours at patapsco, rode all of the normal highlights and did a little exploring. both of us knew parts of the park and between us we were able to put together a really good ride. tried to hit the hilton downhill that we did on the ned ride, since it had a bit more flow than the other one i know, but we ended up on the other one.

sunday i went out to schaeffer and rode for a couple of hours by myself, well mostly by myself. since it's schaeffer i kept running into people i knew and riding with them for a bit. first it was a MORE group ride that jason was leading, with a lot of people in tow... punga, dave, rob, dan hudson, some people i see all the time, lots of folks i don't see that often... took a nice digger right at the start of the ride. later in my ride i came across a guy in one of the city bikes shop jerseys. he recognized me from the ned ride a couple of weeks ago and he tagged along for a bit as he didn't know where he was going. the weather was good and the trails were dry, so i've got no complaints...

Friday, March 24, 2006


rob (recently returned from the frozen wastelands of the north) came over wednesday and we brewed a batch of beer - a bierre de garde from a northern brewer kit. the brew looked like it went well, but a check of the original gravity at the end of the boil came up with 1.132 which was well above the predicted OG of 1.063. if this is correct and we get complete fermentation then this beer will have an alcohol content around 16%, serious knock-out beer. come to think of it, i found my old hydrometer a while ago, so maybe i should double check the reading. either way, fermentation has started up and the rate of bubbling through the airlock is increasing, i'll give it a couple of weeks before i move it over to a secondary and give it a quick taste test.

while we were at it, we moved the tripel that i brewed with heather back in january over to a secondary, where it'll sit for a couple of weeks untill it's time to bottle. i was a little worried that it'd been in the primary for too long and might have picked up some off-flavors from the spent yeast and trub, but a sample revealed a very nice beer, tasted just like a tripel should. checked the gravity and it was down to 1.01, so it looks like we got a good complete fermentation.

while we were brewing we popped open a couple of bottles from the honey wheat that we brewed last year. i've been holding on to them since it's such a good summer beer, but i figured we've got drink a couple of homebrews while we're brewing. the flavor is doing well and the carbonation is decent at first, but it goes flat quickly. up next? some bottling (the tripel) and an english pale ale in the next couple of weeks, then some gardening. we're going to be growing some hops. i've ordered rhizomes of fuggle and golding hops to plant in the back yard. it i get a good harvest in the fall i'll have to use them to brew a good ESB.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

i've seen people post about this in various places online, but never tried it before. well, right now i'm watching (or mostly listening to) the closing kilometers of dwars door vlaanderen live on while i'm working and i've got to say that it's pretty cool...

Monday, March 20, 2006

up & down

saturday's road ride from art museam was a bit more laid back than the first couple of times that i'd done it, but still a good ride. this saturday was one of the first road races of the year in the area so that probably took some of the faster guys out of the ride and accounts for change in pace. whether or not that was true, i felt good and rode at the front for almost the entire ride. saturday night we went out to see the closing night of the lady in the van at mum and then went out for a few beers at race street.

sunday i met up with patrick to go ride the trails in wissahickon. we met up at the art museam and rode up the paved trail along the schuylkill to manayunk and then onto a paved trail into the park. neither of us knew the trails well, and this could be a recipe for disaster, but from looking at the map it seemed like most of the trails were blazed and branched on and off forbidden drive, so the plan was just to try and explore some of these trails.

unfortunately, soon after we got on the trails it was obvious that patrick's bike (a borrowed, coverted singlespeed) was having some difficulties: the spring in the singleator didn't have enough tension to stop the chain from jumping. i've had the same problem with mine and thanks to ricky's trailside field fix on mine i knew the solution, but during the adjustment disaster struck and the singleator lost all tension.

after trying all kinds of bodging to get it working again, we found the source of the problem: the hook on the end of the spring, that holds the spring in place and inside the arm had bent and wouldn't stay in the hole in the arm. patrick broke out his leatherman and we tried bending the spring back into shape, but it just wouldn't hold. eventually we gave up, patrick started walking out, and i rode back home to pick up my car and give him a ride home from the trailhead to his place in west philly...

we may not have seen much of the trails, but i'll get back there to explore them some more, since i liked what i was able to see.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

these bike racers today are lightweights...

from an article on velonews today talking about the history of La Primavera (Milan-San Remo) here's a description of the 1910 running of the race...

In 1910, for instance, only four of the 63 starters survived a bitterly cold April day. They set off in low temperatures from Milan and headed south on rutted dirt roads toward the major climb over the Apennines at the halfway mark. Snow was in the forecast.

As temperatures plummeted, the snow set in over the 1745-foot Turchino Pass. Its descent was glacial, with the wind blowing snow into drifts 8 inches deep. The survivors, including eventual winner Eugène Christophe of France, had to dismount and push their heavy bikes through the drifting snow. Survival was becoming a matter of life and death.

After collapsing from the arctic conditions, a frigid Christophe was led by a local villager to a roadside inn, where the patron removed the French rider's wet, frozen clothes, wrapped him in a blanket and plied him with hot grog. When feeling returned to his body after a half-hour, Christophe returned to his bike and headed south through the snow.

On reaching the coast road of the Italian Riviera at the foot of the pass, conditions became brighter and Christophe, age 25, soon overtook the handful of riders who had passed him during his stop at the inn. He arrived in San Remo an hour before the runner-up, but he was still suffering from frostbite and spent the next month recovering in a clinic before he could ride his bike again.
now go read the rest of the article over at velonews...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

tall regular coffee, black...

managed to roll out of bed early enough this morning to get a 30 minute run in before getting on the bike to come in to work. my legs felt heavy on the way in - thanks to the running i assume - but i made good time and it wasn't too cold out... tonight i'll take the scenic route home to. now it's time to head over to starbucks and get some free coffee

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


it think march has a bit of a sadistic side... teasing us with a beautiful weekend like the one just past and then sending us back into the freezer the next.

saturday i hit the roads of montgomery county to get some more miles and hours in on 2 wheels. started out the ride with dietrich, then split up when he had to head back to meet contractors. i kept heading north, up past falls to sceneca rd, then looped back down river road into potomac village where i ran across pooch, susan, and mark. we rode together for the next few miles, heading back into the city on macarthur blvd.

towards the end of the ride i ran across dominic and a friend of his in the park. they were looking for a way to connect a couple bits of road and i rode with them for a while to get them where they were going. it was a great day to be out, shorts and short sleeves (with armwarmers to start out) were all that was required, the sun was shining, and my legs felt great. saturday evening we had a few friends over to the house, grilled some buffalo steaks and sat around a fire in the backyard eating, , drinking, and talking...

sunday morning i had a couple of hours free so i loaded up the mountain bike and headed a couple of miles down 95 to fountainhead. i wasn't sure how my legs would feel after saturday's ride - i'd pushed pretty hard to make sure i was getting a good workout - but it turns out they felt really good. i rode 2 full laps in 1:40 at a pace that wasn't comfortable, but wasn't a full on race pace, without any signs of cramping or bonking. i like the new singletrack that's been added to remove the old doubletrack sections and make the old "optional dead-end loop" no longer optional or dead-end.

if i was smart i would have figured out my schedule for yesterday to take adavantage of the continued good weather, but alas, i ended up spending an hour on the trainer at last night. the temps are supposed to drop down into the 50s for the rest of the week and then into the 30s on saturday. hopefully i'll be able to make it out to wakefield this thursday, but it looks like saturday's group ride in philly is going to be a chilly one.

Friday, March 10, 2006

wakefield thursday

great ride at wakefield yesterday night... made sure to get there early enough to do a lap around accotink and ended up joining tommy, mike, bunky, pete, and david for a good tour around those trails then we looped back through the parking lot at wakefield to pick up lights and join up with the MORE thursday night ride. somehow i got singled out to lead the "fast" group but i let ricky & chris get to the front and just sat in the middle of the pack. a fast pace, few stops, and bone dry trails made for a good night. towards the end, mike miller and i dropped away from the group to get a bit of a cooldown in as we were out for over 2 hours.

it's feels great to be outside, on a bike, on dirt, in shorts & a short sleeve jersey, and riding with friends...

Thursday, March 09, 2006


neglect? ok, yeah i probably have been neglecting this place a bit recently, but i feel like i've been running around non-stop for the last couple of weeks. things are calming down a bit now, so maybe it's time to fill in a few gaps... first up: downhill skiing at canaan & timberline, xc skiing at white grass. rather than a blow by blow of the whole weekend, here are quick reviews of the 3 areas...

canaan valley

canaan valley ski resort is a quiet little ski area nestled in located in canaan valley state park. many years ago when i first started skiing canaan was - at least in my mind - operating on about the same level as snowshoe, but as time passed and my skiing abilities have improved it's clear to see that canaan isn't much to write home about. the mountain itself is somewhat awkward, and the trails are laid out strangely. the hill is steep at the very top, then levels out for quite a while, and steepens up at the bottom. this makes for some good intermediate runs in the middle section of the mountain, but most of the trails converge in the middle of the mountain (meaning you're skiing the same section of trail all day) or have a long runout to steeper sections near the base. on the plus side there are almost no crowds - on the saturday of the presidents day long weekend we skied directly onto the lift - but this is mostly an indication of a resort in trouble as there where plenty of lines the next day at timberline.


a couple of miles up the road from canaan is timberline. the mountain and resort have a more typical layout without the ideosyncracies that plague canaan valley. there are a couple of green "bunny slopes" at the bottom of the mountain, a long (2+ mile) meandering green run from the top that's great for new skiers that are tired of the bunny slope yo-yo, plenty of blue cruisers, and a couple of black and double black runs to test the better skiiers in any group (and the edge grip of your skis on ice). the only gripe i have about timberline (other than the lift lines, which i expected on a holiday weekend) was the speed of the lifts - they were some of the longest lift rides i've been on in years... time for some high-speed quads?

white grass

which of these is not like the other? just between canaan and timberline in the location of an old rope-tow downhill area is white grass ski touring center. this was my first crack at cross country skiing and the folks at white grass couldn't have made it any better. heather and i were kitted out with gear in the their lodge/rental shop/ticket office/cafe/retail shop within a couple minutes of showing up. after i managed to get ahead of myself and fall down almost as soon as i got the skis on, tris gave us both a few tips, and we were out in the snowfarm within a few minutes. mike, tris, and i did make one excursion into some of the trails in the woods, but the lack of snow cover make the going difficult and we headed back to the snowfarm pretty quickly.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

live action simpsons intro...

just in case there's anyone that hasn't already seen this...

Thursday, March 02, 2006


i'll admit it, i'm a slacker about commuting by bike... i enjoy it - i've got a nice 6 mile ride through rock creek park - but it's hard for me to get over the inertia and get the ball rolling.

back in the fall i worked up to commuting a couple days a week, but the days were still long and the weather still fairly warm and when the clocks went back it wasn't as easy to do and fell back to the car.

now that the days are starting to get longer i'm trying to get back into the habit. i rode in yesterday, got to work early (though not as early as i'd have liked to) so that i could leave early and get in a good workout before heading home. need to remember to factor in the time it takes to change in and out of the bike gear though, as i was later leaving work than i'd planned and it was almost dark by the time i got home...