Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Heat ride

Jeez... it was hot today. Personally, I'm not a fan of this weather, and at one point my temp gauge read 105 degrees. Riding in this heat is not what I had in mind, so tonight's ride was a fun game of "catch the sunset": try to get in as much riding before the sun goes down. Of course, there were a ton of field mice, so I'm sure the snakes had a good day. The usual turkeys and deer were out.

Then I came upon this poor soul, dying right there on the street. I don't think a car hit it, otherwise it would've been smooshed, so I'm thinking a hawk or some other kind of predator may have got it, decided it wasn't on the menu, and then dropped it. It was a biggum - like 2.5 feet. Sorry snake... I even have to believe nasty ass snakes have a place in heaven, right?

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I got a decent ride in, short and hammer time. I think I need to just HTFU and go out earlier and brave the heat so I can get in more time. Ugh.

A few neato pictures taken at sunset. As always, the trusty iPhone 4 does not fail.



Today, the Suzuki DRZ-400SM went to a new owner. I had to let my past go - sad, but things have changed. I probably would've kept it had my wife still been riding a motorcycle, but after she sold her's I just put it away and never rode it. I think it will properly be ridden by the new owner. This is the first time in 10 years that I haven't had a street motorcycle - will I ever go back? Who knows? Now, I just have my Honda CRF250X and after CX season is over, I will be happily rolling the trails once more. Goodbye for now, SuperMoto.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

CCCX Race #2 Report - Manzanita Park

Yet another day of thrilling racing. Or, in my world, gasping for air, feeling pain and sucking dust. Today's festivities were held at Manzanita Park in Prunedale, Ca. It was nice because there were actual working bathrooms with stalls and everything! Much better than the usual port-o-potties.

"C" Classers lined up at 9:00am and the whistle blew promptly. My whole goal for today was to take what I learned at the last race and apply it: don't try to hang with the leaders EVER, race my own race, get my position and hold it. I think I did fine considering this was my 2nd race ever with a 25th out of 29 riders. Although that sounds sh*tty to most, to me it's a better standing than what I did last race and that is all I really asked for. Maybe next week I'll do better?

I did space out a couple of times which lost me some places - the course was incredibly complex and I wandered off-course. WTF? Oh well... the guy I lost a place to ended up breaking his chain and he had to run to the finish line, which I happily capitalized on.

A LOT of crashes today - I saw a handful of riders bite the dust in front of me. The course was insanely sandy. I didn't crash, and I actually rode pretty conservatively given my circumstance and goals for this year. I know for certain that a crash would definitely lose me a place. I can understand being super aggressive if I was going for top 10 - but at this point, that is out of the question. Again, stick to the game plan of holding my position and don't gas out.

The wife stayed at home today, so no pics of me until Scott Mosher releases his stuff for the day.


A decent shot of the infield of the course. It sure did twist and turn like hell in this section!


My flat bar bike. People actually were offended by my set-up. I had one guy come up to me telling me to cut them down. I asked if there was a rule for wide bars and he said "No" - if that's the case, why you up in my business, stranger? I actually am going to cut them down, though, to 28" wide. But, it always wierds me out when people approach me sideways like that - especially complete strangers, and especially when I'm feeling good about finishing the race.

This is my brother, Deric, lining up. He looked very strong and composed.

Men's 35+ B Class going!


My Bro.


Diggin' deep!

My brother had a kick ASS finish, and dropped two riders on the final stretch to the finish line. The last part of the course was a fast dirt downhill, to a very, very sandy 180 turn (where a LOT of people ate it) and a climb up to the line. Deric pulled out the old MTB skills, drove in between them on the dirt portion, and hammered passed them on the climb. Both riders looked like they were going to catch him, but they both gassed out at the top where my brother had a picture perfect finish. AWESOME!

Here's a few vids from today, too. Sorry about my yelling but I get pumped! Friends of dionridesbikes.com include: Deric, Jen, Nathan, Jay Jay, Rob, Scott, Kjeld, Creedence, Jesse and Miss Mary Perez (from Ciclista Bonita). Good seeing you all out there!

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

One last sit-and-spin before tomorrow's race...

Pics of the wide, flat bar set-up for tomorrow's race festivities at Manzanita Park. After riding it this way for a couple of days, I think I prefer the leverage.




Friday, September 24, 2010

CRITICAL DIRT - A Study In Crossification


I wouldn't say it's 'cross racing in the modern way of thinking, but still VERY epic!

"CRITICAL FILM - A documentary about a very special weekend of cyclocross racing. It only took 126 km of dirt, gravel and cobblestones divided in 4 stages between Dresden and Leipzig, 80 racers, 9 hours, 35°C, 600 liters of water, a ton of food, a world cup quarterfinal and many many enthusiastic souls, to make this an unbelievable experience.

They call it CRITICAL DIRT - A Study In Crossification."


CRITICAL FILM from e r t z u i ° film on Vimeo

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Carbon Fiber Trigon Fork - 6 Month Review

I am up for a 6 month review on my 26" Carbon Fiber Trigon Fork. Finding very few reviews of this fork on the web, I feel it necessary to share my experience.


I purchased this fork in April and posted about it HERE. I bought this fork more for the rigid set-up than the weight, although it is MUCH lighter than any steel option. Even with the very nice Rock Shox fork that came stock on the Motobecane Fantom Ti, I still have a huge problem with suspension forks - they seem to just bounce around too much for my tastes - lock-out and all. I also hate messing around with adjustments, air, lockouts, etc.

I've always preferred "set-it-and-forget-it", and what better way to do it than with a rigid fork? I was skeptical at first because I am over 200lbs., but after reading others post about their experience with a carbon fork, I thought it'd be fine. I never thought I'd be descending rock gardens with it, so heavy abuse was never my intent.


I've ridden this fork on just about anything a suspension fork would - and I am very, very impressed. Most of my ability to ride a rigid fork, I feel, comes from my BMX background where you have to "trials" ride more than just having the ease of suspension carry you over obstacles. Again, I prefer the former over the latter. However, the true advantage comes when climbing - especially on fire roads.

There are two cons about this fork that I have found:

1) It is not suspension corrected. I had a 100mm suspension for on the Ti bike before, and there is a definite change in steering geometry. For some, like me, this will not be a problem. But for others, it may pose a problem - depending on how you like your bike to handle.

2) It has a carbon steerer tube. For weight weenies, this is great, but it was definitely sketchy using the expanding compressor top cap that it came with. Also, clamping down on it felt very sketchy, as well. So far, no issues with slipping but I do have to point out that it is a sensitive area.

As an aftermarket part, I am very happy with it. Rigid riding is not for everybody, but for those like myself, I think the Trigon Fork does the job well. For $215, it would be hard to find a competitive bargain.

PROS:
  • Extremely light weight (claimed 525 grams/1.16 lbs)
  • Rigid set-up is low/no maintenance
  • Smooth, not as harsh as aluminum.
  • Available with v-brake mounts
  • Great value for the price

CONS:

  • Made in Taiwan (some people take issue with this)
  • Not suspension corrected
  • Carbon Steerer tube is a bit sketchy
  • Possible weight limitations
  • Rigid may not suit you

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The King and I | My 1st Cyclocross Race, CCCX1 Fort Ord, Ca.

Before getting into the nitty gritty of today's events, let me first talk about the chill part of my weekend...



THE KING AND I

I wasn't feeling very well on Friday, which scared me because I didn't want to ruin today's race. On Saturday, my wife took off to the Renaissance Fair, so I decided it would be a good, light, pedal day to keep the legs primed and to take Kingston out. We ended up doing a pretty long ride (about 20 miles) and we went on dirt trails, asphalt, stopped at a park and Kingston unsuccessfully went for a swim for about 5 seconds.

I love these types of neighborhood rides and hopefully one day, if I get to move back to Santa Cruz, I will be able to get in these types of rides more often. San Jose drivers absolutely, positively have no bicycle awareness in their brains.







MY 1ST CYCLOCROSS RACE, CCCX1 FORT ORD, CA.
So take tubby ol' me. Been riding off-road with some true dedication for about 2 years, got to a decent fitness level, lost 30lbs... and let's do the stupidest thing ever and throw yourself in one of the most grueling forms of bicycle racing imaginable - CYCLOCROSS.

I've been listening to my brother for a good amount of time, "Just try it, D... you ought to try it... people go out there with old mountain bikes and tennis shoes... you outta do it..." And being the sucker I am with a false sense of confidence, I said... "Can't be that bad, right? I'm in decent shape, can climb okay and pretty good at mashing... I can probably do okay..."

Today was a humbling experience, to put it lightly. First, the start was at the bottom of a hill, immediately facing my biggest weakness (hills). Second, my bike has been shifting like crap and I dropped my chain off the rear twice (of course, while riders passed me) and I did crash but managed to stay upright. Without going into too much detail, I probably can't have children after that one, if you catch my drift. I got to rub shoulders and elbows with the other racers.

In the end, I finished 2nd to last place. Ugh. I think I would've finished a lot better if I didn't have that dumb mechanical.

Some changes need to be done to my bike. After today, I realized that a drop handlebar, for me, may not be the way to go in 'cross - I thought I could handle myself well since I've been riding the drop bar for awhile on very technical stuff, but at those speeds, the last thing I need is to second guess myself. Also, the width is just very difficult to use for me. I think I'm going back to a low rise bar with a 120mm stem. Also, I really need to dial in that derailleur - but my switch to the ever-so-familiar and non-failing friction shifting will do the trick. Also, 8 speed with a 11T small cog will help, especially in flat straights like what we had today.

I mounted up my carbon riser bar in my garage tonight and see if I can manage a shoulder-to-hill run. It's possible!

After today's race, I was absolutely dizzy from exhaustion. Plain and simple - out of all the athletic things I've found myself doing, cyclocross was by far the most difficult thing I've ever done in MY LIFE! But! I'm ready for more - just more room for improvement, hopefully drop more poundage to help me get up those hills a little quicker and get better at technique. Here are some photos from today.

Beautiful day for a race! It did get kinda hot, though...

The start! Not bad position for me - then the drop'page began.

In the drops, going through the loose stuff.

Ugh, this was exhausting!

Are we done yet?

Mouth open, gasping for air.

More barriers!

Aren't we supposed to RIDE these things?

My brother (Deric) with killer position!

Go dude! Drop this guy!

I think after this shot, he ate it in an off-camber turn.

Killer smooth dismount and re-mount.

Heart rate is UP.

Finished!

Now it's time for the kids. There goes my nephew, Nathan!

My other nephew, Jay-Jay.

"I do it myself!"

Me with my nephew. As you can guess, I'm the big one.

Nathan still jammin!

Up and over!

Jacob won!

Nathan with his medal.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Still training...

I've been really pushing myself leading up to the race on Sunday, but generally staying away from anything that is going to land me an injury (i.e. Rocky Ridge). The true testament that all this riding is paying off is that I actually ran a few days ago, which, not to long ago, was impossible for me to do without getting extremely winded.

Aside from the barrier drills, I know the pics alone don't show anything different than what I've posted before, but I've up'd my output, rather than mosey'ing up those climbs. Shorter rides, higher intensity.

Here are a few from my recent training rides.




Monday, September 13, 2010

Good Day @ Sportsbasement Bicycle Swap Meet

The wife and I had a great day at yesterday's Bicycle Swap Meet at the Sportsbasement in Sunnyvale. $3 entrance fee for shoppers was donated to the Bicycle Coalition and free food and drink was offered to all.

I was able to walk away with a nice wad of cash in my pocket and about 50lbs. less bicycle parts I had hanging out in my garage. Bargain shoppers were able to walk away with super good deals; I let my Ritchey Pro Logic road bars go for $15 and my Crank Bros. Candy SL Pedals go for $10 - just to name a couple.

Surprisingly, my ON YOUR LEFT! Bells were a hit. I also donated three UGLY! Pads and matching bells to the San Jose Bike Party for their raffle at the next ride. I talked to the SJBP BIRDS, and it looks like things are changing for the better in regards to their organization of future rides. Good job to all!

This was my booth, "I will look through your treasures, gypsy. Is this understood?"


Friday, September 10, 2010

Jersey Shore

Yeah buddy! AK Apparel did me a doozy... just had to pay the hefty premium for it.



How Many R&R days from Training?


I went on a "training" ride yesterday. Since I don't have all the fancy gizmos or computers to tell me my V02 max, heartrate, watts, etc. I just ride as hard as I can with little break. Did this on my rigid Ti MTB - a re-newed romance since I put gears back on it.

From my house, I took Los Alamitos trail to the IBM climb, which I was 30 secs. - 1 minute faster from my last timing. From there I took no break and attacked the Coyote Peak climb where I got the pic above. I chilled for a sec and descended, and spun high cadence for the road ride back home.

I did this ride after a two day break from intense riding - so I'm wondering where the sweet spot (as far as days off) is for me. 1-2 days seems to work very well. I noticed this at the CX clinic, where many were huffing and puffing, and I had no issues.

I feel like my fitness is improving - this same ride would've killed me a year ago. I hope this all helps when I'm at the cluster f*ck start at Fort Ord in a week!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Bro's Race Rig

My brother sent this over to me the other day - 16.88lbs of race readiness. Love the new paint - too bad it's gonna take an extreme thrashing!