Sunday, December 31, 2006
BIKE PARTS I'VE USED THIS YEAR AND MY OPINIONS
(notice i say opinions, because i'm not one of those people who believe that my own experience is the only experience)
1. Rock Shox Sid. plain and simple, these things are not great forks for people over 150lbs. out of the box, that is. they are flexy, stiff-legged over sharp edges, and generally only get 60mm of travel, whether they state 60mm or 80mm. that is, until the kaiser get's to them. they may still be flexy, but after he works his majic, they're worth a second hard look. plus, at less than 3 pounds, any weight weenie has to take a second look.
2. Industry Nine wheels. expensive. light. devastatingly good looking. if they prove to be durable, i'd say spend the money and damn the torpedos.
3. Avid Juicy disc brakes. my first set was a set of carbons. mushy straight out of the box. ended up returning the right one because it was hopeless. sold them. got ulitmates, mushy out of the box. bled them, WOW. NOW i'm impressed. no excuse for needing to be blead straight away, but do it, you'll love them.
4. Cannondale Lefty fork. simply the best fork for bump absorption there is. small bumps. bigger hits. and stiff, too. pain in the ass to mount on a rack, pain in the ass to get it repaired (and it WILL need to be repaired, just like the sun comes up and bears crap in the woods) and it only works on Cannondales. if you have to have the feel of the Lefty, it's worth it.
5. Carbon road bikes. i've been fighting technology for a while. i don't have an ipod (wife does), i don't have much electronic stuff, i drive a car derived from a '79 fairmont. but i made the plunge to a carbon road frame and I LIKE IT! there is a reason why it's all the rage, boys and girls.
6. Tires. Maxxis detonator road, cross mark ust mtn. WTB NanoRaptor mtn. Continental Gran Prix 4-seasons road. good. good. good. Specialized anything. Tioga anything. not bad, but not so good.
7. Pedals. if you're going for an spd type pedal, just get Shimano. period. don't pass go, don't go with some expensive lightweight ti whatever. just say no. get Shimano. road stuff i can tolerate deviation, as i am a speedplay fan.
8. Sram. off-road, good. great, actually. i love me some twist shifters. i love me some XO derailleurs, too. Sram road? best brakes there are. nice quality stuff, love the cranks. didn't like the shifters. call me crazy.
9. Thomson. love the seatposts. simple, not expensive, light. used to hate the old elite stem, but love the new X2 and X4's. nice looking, too.
10. Full suspension. c'mon. if you've ever read this blog, you know i'm a huge fan. do it. quit being retro. get a good one, call it a day.
11. Cranks. i've tried a lot. i like cranks. Shimano's are the best, no doubt. but they bore me to tears. i like the new Sram stuff, it's the only piece of the Force group i kept. i like the Race Face stuff, too, but the customer service there is like a government office. i'd swear them off, but i love the looks.
12. Flight saddles. how retro. but i can't help myself. i have placed my sorry butt on a lot of saddles, and none keeps me going like a flight. so sue me.
13. Titanium. don't like it. feels flexy to me. a rep for a popular titanium company told me i just wasn't riding it right. true story.
14. Cyclocross. love it. i'm really, really bad at it. i don't understand how i can be so bad. but, i'll do it again next year, and i'll buy a bike just for the races and sell it right after they're done, just like always!
15. Wheels. Mavic. they bore me to death, but they are light and nearly bombproof. i guess i've just seen too many. i love the look of Shimano's new wheels, and they have finally worked out their durability issues. Zipp. let's face it, if i could afford to buy and use Zipp wheels, i don't suppose i would be talking about Mavic or Shimano. They aren't everyday wheels, which is where people go wrong. they're race day wheels. that's ok. if you have the money for Zipps, you probably have the money for a set of Ksyriums or 7801's as every day wheels.
i'm sure there is more. i try a lot of stuff. lots of times i just change for no good reason but to change. but, i stay with things that work and i don't use things that don't. i have precious little time to ride, and i don't want a ride ruined by a crappy part.
we have learned from previous visits that a special method of ordering is necessary to get the most out of the visit. 1) because they serve a plate of killer chips with 3 kinds of salsa, that must be taken into consideration when figuring out the amount of food you need. 2) because the appetizers are big and tasty, that must be taken into consideration, too. 3) because the meals are mexican, they are by nature heavy and you will either be full after several bites or they will roll you out the back door when you clean the plate.
taking all of this info has led us to a) feast on the chips and salsa, b) share an appetizer, and c) share an entree or share another appetizer. this approach worked very well last night and the missus and i didn't suffer any of the ill effects of a mexican food hangover.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
it hadn't been a successful week of riding for me so far. i got in an hour on the trainer on tuesday morning and less than an hour on friday on the homegrown just cruising. that's the result of having hanna most of the week. i didn't want to ride when i could hang out with her, so that's the way the cookie crumbles.
i got to Ghisallo with 10 minutes to spare. about 15-16 people showed up, including anthony "gold card" borth and mitch "the masher" johnson on his fixed gear. we were all super controlled today, as complaints have arisen about the saturday morning carnage. once hitting the turn around at st. albans, a few of us hit the gas and came back with a vengance. coming down osenfort, we met up with shawn o'neal, quite a masher himself, and it was on. about 5 of us put the pedal to the metal, rotating quite nicely. gold card gave up the ghost first. then the tri guy with 650 wheels. only three left. shawn was tearing our legs off, but we pressed on. then theo gave it, and it was mano a mano, me and shawn. not bloody likely i'm going to trade off blows with a masher like him. i held on all the way past rhombach's, but enough was enough and shawn was victorious. it was a great effort though. shawn, gold card and i continued on a bit and did a steve casper power loop, albeit slowly, around the valley to add about 30 minutes more.
the beautiful mrs k was still game when i got home to do a mtn bike ride. problem: it was due to rain, and her bike wasn't finished. i couldn't fix the rain, but i've been known to turn a wrench or two, so i completed her brand new Oiz in record time. we jammed out of the house by about 2pm and lo and behold, the sun came out!
we rode at lost valley, and the conditions were perfect. i guessed pretty well on her sizing for the bike, and she's very happy with it. we had fun and she got in a great workout. lost valley is quite a bit more fun than it used to be.
but wait, there's more!
now we're trying to get ready to go out for the evening. how exciting. this must be how single people live all the time.
Friday, December 29, 2006
i had very little time this morning, but i was able to get in almost an hour before work. i broke out the neglected homegrown and pedaled around in the 37 degree morning. i was bitter. bitter because i knew the temps were going up and would probably be at a nice, comfy level about the time i was hitting the store. ah, well.
i pedaled around the hood, through some of the mismatched affton neighborhoods, and over across river desperes and then back home on the paved trail. not long enough, but better than nothing.
i want to hit the ghisallo group ride in the morn, but something tells me the rains gonna get me.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
not worn out from riding and working out, worn out from princes elijah and tyson.
i only missed working out monday and wednesday, which is 2/3's of my workouts. i did manage to make it to the gym on friday, half-awake. my riding did not suffer, though. i rode tuesday at lost valley and thursday, though raining, i rode the homegrown for an hour. yesterday i repeated my loop down to 141 in fenton and back. even though i felt tired, i was going well. climbing marshall on the way home, i was TWO GEARS HIGHER at the same heartrate as last week. so much for sleep, right?
today, i made it out to the 'wood for a little off road action. the trail was in pretty good shape considering it is december and it rained as recently as thursday. i did the state championship loop, then out to the blue ribbon and back along the river. all said and done, it was about an hour and a half. i felt like a model T, but was riding like a shelby. i don't know how that happens. i ran into quite a few guys i know, like plochmeister, tank, tom albert, ralph...it was fun to wrap up the day by pedaling around the parking lot on plochmeister's 29'er. i'll try one of those one day, but for now the oiz is the finest ride i could possibly get my hands on.
can't argue with a week like this in december.
jim and i constantly laugh about robert smigel's tv funhouse stuff. ace and gary are our favorite. jim is obsessed with it, of course. so, he bought the dvd for me. thumbs up. and, even though he makes fun of 'the stang' (i cringe at the word), he found a nice pictoral history of the mustang from it's inception to the current cars. two thumbs up.
anthony kept me in suspense, and even had to wrap the large box that arrived ups. when i opened it, i found something i have always needed, but would never buy: a creeper! yes! no more bruised shoulders after working under the car. this one even has an adjustable headrest. rock on!
great group i work with. next year i'll be a little more thoughtful.
i'm sure most people, given an extension or two, could just go on and on. lots of people really like to shop for other people, and others feel the compusion to do so. myself? i can tolerate it as long as i can get in, get out, and be done. this waiting in line for an hour or searching for parking spaces for most of the day stuff is for the birds. what about those people that go shopping at 5am on the day after thanksgiving? the last thing i want to do that morning is get up. is it worth all that to save a few coins, or is it more about the hunt, the excitement of shopping?
i'm sure tomorrow when i get to rip into all the stuff with my name on it i'll be very happy that someone stood in line, waited for parking spaces, and shopped while i slept on the day after thanksgiving.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
now THIS is the "way forward" ford should be persuing. if they aren't going to start remaking the continentals of old ( and the mark 2's, mark 3's) then they'd better get started on this one today. twin turbo's power a 3.5 v6 to the tune of 415 horsepower. egads!
Friday, December 22, 2006
much better news is hanna moving up to level one in her gymnastics class. she's totally jazzed about it. her skinny little butt is perfect to be a gymnist. she's built just like my mom and her grandpa dave, tall and lean. who knows? she may end up taller than me!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
photo courtesy of dan s.
also courtesy of dan s is my new powertap. not new, no. new to me, though. i am so excited to try it out, i can hardly wait.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
my oldest brother gregg and his wife nancy live in a beautiful home in kimswick, with a stunning view of the mississippi from their second floor bedroom window. they invited us and my other brother nick and his wife angie, who also live in kimswick, to a little pre-christmas get together.
being that the vomitorium was still in effect, i went solo. i really wanted the kids to see everyone, but since tyson began liberating his breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in the early afternoon as well, it didn't make much sense. maybe another time.
it was great to get together and laugh and talk. i gave my mustang-owning brother a little low-down on his silver '05 gt and how to make it faster. he was lusting after a new Shelby, but i think he'll be happy with a few personalizing touches to his current steed. gregg and his wife are 16 and 18 years older than i respectively, so they have a completely different perspective on our family life growing up which my brother nick and i find fascinating. almost completely different experiences with our parents, different homes, different schools, etc. it's like your own family in an alternate universe. lots of my older relatives that i never got to know were more contemporary with gregg and my sister tammy, so their stories and experiences are valuable archives. (my sister didn't attend, living in arkansas and all)
they broke out the photo albums and lots of pictures i have never seen before. gregg and nancy look like models in their wedding photos. gregg was the cool 60's kid with the lamb chop sideburns by the 70's. they were very liberal with the camera, which makes me want to do the same so our kids can piece together memories and family facts and fiction using pictures along with the stories we tell them. my mom used to complain that gregg and nancy took way to many pictures (mostly because she hated getting her picture taken, but somewhat because she liked to complain, a trait that i have grudgingly become to accept as one i have inherited) but i cannot agree with her. it's never a waste to document your family's growth and change.
it was a great time, and i was sorry to have to leave, but someone had to come home and relieve deanna from her responsibility at the vomitorium....
lost valley was mostly jeep double track, and outright gravel roads. that has changed somewhat, with very cool sections of single track splattered in here and there, most notably the last 10 minutes of the loop.
it's an 8 mile loop, which starts out with an impossibly boring 3 miles of jeep track. once the first climb hits, the trail branches off into some cool single track, which all too quickly returns to the double track. back into some narrower stuff around the wooden bridge, back to the boring gravel road, finally into the cool stuff before the end.
i went backward once to ride the cool final single track, then i rode up the middle of the loop via the gravel climb. the gravel climb was apparently an old asphalt road that has deteriorated into broken sections of pavement and gravel. it takes a good 5 or 6 minutes to get all the way to the top. fortunately, once at the top, you are at the fastest section of the whole shibang, exactly halfway through the trail. that way, i got to ride the last single track again.
all told, i road about an hour and a half, which is plenty, given that it was only 32 degrees and my fingers had ceased to be fingers and were now simply frozen sausages. a nice byproduct of riding there is that it's only 20 minutes from work.
to add insult to injury, rocky, the dalmation heretofor known as chunky mc eatsalot, ate a whole pound of peanut m&m's. he nabbed the bag off the computer desk (i don't know what it could've been there for...). that was after eating a half loaf of bread and a half pound of salami the day before. chunky then spewed the entire lot of it onto the couch and the new area rug in the living room, just as i was getting ready to leave for work.
when i called my coworker jim to tell him i'd be, uh, a touch late, and explained to him what happened, he quickly coined my home the vomitorium.
thanks, jim. all humor truly is based on tragedy.
Monday, December 18, 2006
i pulled myself up! rung by rung, i have pulled myself up multiple times tonight. my fat little hands have kung fu grip, and these chubby little legs push and my short little arms pull, and up i go. i also fall when i forget to hang on. what's with the hardwood floors, dad?
after this photo was taken, i cruised my way over to that chair, and inched my way around that, too.
baby growing up...progress as promised!!!
the fed ex guy dropped off a few boxes from orbea today, and one of those boxes contained the kaiser's new oiz frame. he's a closet orbea fan from way back, and has been leaching information from me since i got my oiz a few weeks ago. once he found out i really liked mine, he jumped on an '07. of course, his is the blue i really wanted, and of course, his is .06 lbs. lighter. if there is only one thing i have learned, it's that i'll always be one-upped by the king of the weight weenies, even if we buy the exact same parts!
besides the kaiser's bike, we received a couple more opal frames for customers, the last of the '06 frames. the more people see these things, the more they like 'em.
also dropped off were a couple of really cool wheels from mavic, 2 pairs of ksyrium ES's, and a cosmic carbone premium set.
never fear. he shot this photo of the newport custom. it appears to be in incredible condition, evidenced by the obviously superior digital camera. i'm not sure how this comes out on blogger, but i can zoom in to read the script very clearly on the front fender. there are other photos, particularly a rear end shot that shows more of the pristine condition this old monster is in. i'll post that one when i'm not being paged for service hear at home.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
this was the first week in 2006 that i actually stayed with the program for a solid 7 days. m/w/f at the gym, t/th/sat/sun on the bike. sad, but true.
after picking up christin again in the afternoon, deanna joined me for an afternoon ride. this one was going to be a little longer, and i was really poopin' out. if she hadn't been game to ride, i wouldn't have gone. it was getting windy, i was tired, kinda crabby...but she gets to ride so rarely and it is the first time in quite some time we were able to ride 2 days in a row.
we rode down to the grant's trail trail head at orlando gardens. just as we got into a groove there, we saw an older gentleman with a flat on the side of the trail. as i was asking him if he had everything, he asked if i had a pump. "i sure do!" i helped him out and back on task we went. we took the trail all the way to the end in kirkwood, then through kirkwood, webster, shrewsbury, down to the river desperes trail and home. she was draggin' a bit, too, probably from overdoing it yesterday. the motto of the mrs. is simple: anything worth doing is worth over doing, and in this we really share a lot.
and then tonight, we took eli and tyson to a christmas party, where i ate way too many finger foods to even enjoy dinner. the kids got a surprise visit from santa. it was so funny to see their little faces. priceless.
my friend shawn, who has been with Balaban's for years, gave us a hefty gc for our wedding. it's taken a long time to use it up. we went there in july and only bit into about a third of it. last night, we devoured another third. i do mean devoured. good stuff, indeed, and the service is as good as any fine restaraunt. i highly reccomend the salmon.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
filled to the brim with starbucks, we dashed out to castlewood to meet these guys, jeff and mike. they are good guys who, like most of us, don't get to ride enough. i noticed, too, that their bikes were nice, but could use a bit of upgrading...i know the perfect place for that, fellas!! jeff drives a bitchin' camaro subaru, which makes him alright in my book.
i ran into so many people i knew at the 'wood. i felt like a rock star. there was ralph, sally, carrie, andy o, jim vandeevan (of all people!!). kinda of like a reunion day or something.
this is the happy couple after the ride, still happy. deanna did the impossible: not a single fall! she kept the dirty side down and rode very well. the trails were great, but soft, which required a higher output for speed attained. she was pretty tired by days end, but as usual began to ride stronger as the day went on. the boys rode well, dispite jeff needing a qualified mechanic needing to look at his shifting...
when the crew was done riding, i took off for a couple of hot laps on my own. i was tearing up the trail and feeling good when the lords of the inner tube descended upon my rear wheel and took what is rightfully theirs. five minutes later, after having snubbed the tube lords, i was tearing up the trails again. up the cardiac climb, i saw the majic 188 again, so thursday was no fluke. but wait! there's more! i circled around, going down justin's, through the field, and headed up ranger station. i planted my pearl izumi clad rear in the saddle and powered up ranger station, getting out of the saddle and attacking at the top. the monitor had been beeping for about 30 seconds already so i knew i was in for something big, and i saw it. 189. yep, i'm still alive and kicking, baby!
my pennance for the extra riding time was having to ride home. deanna had to pick up the new baby sitter, so she had no time to wait around for me to get my rocks off on new heart rate monitor highs. i was still riding a pretty good high on the way home. i rode with the crew at castlewood for 1:30, by myself for another hour, and had another hour to get home. of course, marshall road was again on the parcourse. this time, i merely pedaled up it with vigor, rather than the piss and vinegar that i had thursday. nevertheless, it marked the end of my freight train of cycling, as i bonked big time at the top. i still had to trudge 30 more minutes or so to make it home. the freight train had become more like a zoo train.
i love riding my bike, and i love sharing that with the beautiful mrs k. too many things get in the way of us riding together, but life is just like that.