Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cap City cross

I'd been feeling a little off the last few weeks and not riding tip-top as a result, so I ended up taking a weekend off from racing to let my noggin reconnect with itself. The cure was the maiden voyage on my new Epic, and it was exactly what I needed.
I got a fairly good start considering I was gridded in the 3rd row. I was maybe 4th or 5th wheel after the first few corners, then played pseudo-teammate for Ryan and went to the front for a piece.After he attacked I settled into a group of three for 3rd-5th. Of course, before he launched I did have to show Ryan how to hop the barrier/run up:I hopped it for the first several laps but I noticed my rear wheel clipping the leading edge so rather than bomb out on it I started running it, which really wasn't that much slower anyway. I was working the technical sections well, but I still didn't feel like I had my top end back so I ended up getting gapped over the last two sections and ended up 5th. It's still my best result in the Elite field of the OVCX series this year so I'll take it. Perhaps this is me racing myself into form. I guess we'll see how this weekend's Kentucky state championship goes.


-the ATM

Sunday, November 16, 2008


For those of you that add up the posts on the right side navigation page this is nothing new, but I'm guessing I'm probably the only one that knows this is my 100th post, so it seems fitting that it's a post about a new bike.

As part of my Grand Plan hatched in early 08, I'd get a hard tail and race that for a season then keep it and buy a full suspension rig to have two race day rigs in my quiver. Well, that kinda happened a little sooner than planned but as they say, I got a great deal!
I was really happy with the build of my HT and want to wait for 09 gruppo bits, so I figured I'd start The Great Component Swap from the HT to the dually after the Iceman. As you read below, it's after the Iceman so here I go:What better place for MTB pics than on a trail? Granted, it's not the full race build, but imagine about 5 less pounds in the wheels and you get the picture. It was a good build if a bit slow, but being a used rig I had to go through the bushings/bearings in the back and I only remembered that I have two bike stands after I swapped the frames out for the last time I needed to pull parts. Plus, for reasons unclear to me other than perhaps marketing, the headset for the HT uses 45x45 bearings ala Campy's Hiddenset while the Epic uses a 45x36 bearing more typical of MTBs HOWEVER they extended the head tube while keeping bearing position the same, so the bearing is recessed in the head tube which prevents proper stackup of the parts. To get around this I used a 5mm stem spacer under the cap until such time as I can procure the Specialized Mindset headset they list in the manual. It rode great today, so it must not be THAT bad.
Speaking of rides, the bike is pretty damned sweet. I'm still dialing in the suspension, but it seems reasonably close to where it should be, and I like it. Alot. I can only imagine how the 09 Epic rides. I wish I was good friends with Todd Wells so he could loan me one of his 09 race rigs. I guess he could do that any way, but I expect being friends with him would grease the skids a bit.

I hope PRO mechanic Zach is reading, since I have to pay tribute to his top tube routing of the rear derailleur. He implemented on Don's Epic and I was smitten with the full cable housing routing passing through the seat stay. I also hope he appreciates my front derailleur:OK, it's not baller Record but I had the Centaur with the right clamp diameter in stock. It shifts pretty good, and I expect it will get even better once I put my 108mm BB in (again, had a 113mm in stock) to tighten the chainline and allow a bit more fine tuning of the cage placement. All in all, 23.5 lbs with maybe another half pound to come off closer to race season next year. I'll take it.
Anyhoo, I'll leave you with a few parting shots since it's pretty rad.
the sun shone down on me, and it was good

it even knows which way to the trail


-the ATM

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Iceman Cometh...

...the Iceman goeth.
The last few years I've managed to score an invite to the Iceman as a result of winning my age group for Indiana, but I've always been low on motivation to drive almost 9 hours for a sandy double track race. Having reasonable form and more of a desire to finally do the race, I committed to it. A mini bonus was that I got bumped up to the PRO race. Sweet.
I really started to get nervous about it the day before, once I arrived in Kalkaska. Since I had nothing but time on my hands I stewed about it, going over timelines for pre-race and general race day plans. Once it was close to go time, I headed over to the start line and wound up 3rd row. I figured the start would be critical and that turned out to be true. Only I wasn't nearly as aggressive as I should have been. I ended up in a decent group of 5 guys, and we generally worked well together until the end. At the line I took 34th, which was disappointing but a mere 30 seconds up was 25th place, so I did my normal brooding for a day then got over it on the VERY long drive home. I have to say I felt very Euro when there was a crowd of people a few peeps deep on each side of one climb screaming their brains out - good for a few extra dubbyas of motivation.
In the mean time to help that pain, I figured I head to the Bell's after-awards party and drown my sorrow in booze. I've long been a fan of Bell's brewing efforts, and especially like their Porter so at $3 a pint I was in. A few beers in, I noticed the Best Brown I was quaffing wasn't exactly transparent, which isn't un-normal for Bell's since one motto they have is 'Live life unfiltered' but I've never had it that thick before. Mmm, mmm, good!


Anyway, I've finally given myself some time to post an update as I sit here in a hotel room in wonderful Peoria, Il. Life is pretty crazy for me these days, and I have what seems like zero time to do it all so I flounder a bit on everything. This, too, shall pass but in the mean time I'm pretty wrecked. Good thing is I am still motivated to ride and race my bike, which helps for this last stretch of racing before settling in to a long few months of endurance rides. This is bolstered by a new addition to the family, but details and pics are forthcoming.

On another positive note, I got a belated birthday gift tonight from one of my counterparts at my customer.
Quite possibly one of the best lines of all time. Period.
"which one is your wallet?"
"It's the one that says..."

Until then, later.

-the ATM