Friday, September 28, 2012

Decisions And Cyclocross

Battle at Barlow
This weekend will be the first cyclocross race of the year for me.  I had kind of hemmed and hawed whether to make the trip up to do the Battle at Barlow race on the far end of Portland or grab the mountain bike and camping equipment and try to get one last glorious ride in at Waldo lake. But in the end the race beckoned just a little to hard.  Not only would the amount of time away from home be less, but the potential call up points for the Cross Crusades race series was just to much to pass up.
So know there are a ton of things to do. I've got to finish gluing up my tubular wheels. I'm rocking two sets this year (With a potential third set if I can find a replacement hoop soon.). Both are going to have Challenge tires on them. I've had very good luck (Knock on wood...) with them in the past. So my carbon Easton wheels will have the Fango tires on them.

Fango 33
These be the Fango.
And my Mavic Reflex will have the Limus tires on them.

Limus 33
The Limus's or Limi.
The idea behind the wheel/tire combinations is that the Fangos are a very good all around tire. They role well and grip well too. But definitely have an advantage when the conditions are dry and loose to more wet and tacky. The type of conditions where having a fast rolling tire is important and braking isn't... Thus the carbon wheels. In the dry, carbon wheels brake just fine. Even if the conditions get a little wet they will still do alright. But in the nasty stuff... They slip and slide all over the damn place. Having the ability to be able to slow down quickly trumped the mud shedding capacity of a deep section wheel. At least in my brain.  You guys may see me change my mind real quick though... So don't hold me to it.

The Mavic/Limus combo on the other hand is my ace in the hole if things get super slippery. Peanut butter mud to super sloppy stuff. This combo should do the trick (I hope.). On top of the fact that I should be able to slow down faster. Thus letting me keep my momentum going longer. All of which should allow me to make better bike race. At least in theory.

So anyway, That's part of what needs to happen to get prepped. There are of course other things. Clothes, towels, tools, wheels, pumps, gauges, cleaning supplies, food, beer and various other sundries.  All that crap needs to be brought together in one central location and made ready.

I'm always amazed at the amount of stuff that you need to race cross. It's easily 10x more stuff than you'd need for a summer road race. Part of that is fun. Part of it isn't. And when you're pressed for time it down right sucks. But it's all part of the game.

So wish us luck! I should have a ride report and some pictures up Monday.

Thanks for reading!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fred Fashion 101

This brave soul looking off into the Fred future.

Fred fashion is an interesting thing...

Everybody starts somewhere in their cycling wardrobe. The initial purchases of shorts (Because you are unaware of the invention of bibs and why they are so far superior.) and a jersey that's 2 sizes to big because you're to embarrassed to be seen in the shorts.

The next thing is socks and shoes. Here again you usually get the wrong type of shoes. Because it seems like getting a pair of shoes to ride with should be super simple. But it never is. MTB or road? Velcro, buckles or BOA? Blah, blah, blah.

 All these things are then followed by a jacket and for what ever reason the first jacket we all get (Yes, I was a Fred initially too.) is a bright yellow or green one. The logic being that we want to be seen on the road. Which is a sound idea. But it can get worse.

A lot worse...

The next thing they do is get a rear view mirror...

I call BS, and say its the grey matter between your ears...
 The logic of this picture is exactly the problem with the mirror.  The mirror in and of itself is also a sound idea (Although a dorky one...). The problem is that people rely on them WAY to heavily. I've ridden with plenty of people with rear view mirrors on that they are busy looking through that tiny ass little space. Never mind that you could hide a fleet of Mack trucks in the area that it doesn't cover. Or that even in a car you are suppose to turn your head and look before moving. To me they are just an excuse not to physically look behind you. And in my mind that's a big fat fail.

After the rear view mirror they usually clutter up their handle bars with all kinds of technology (Because they need to know what and where and how and why they are riding a bike I guess.

This guy is of course missing his iPhone attachment. Because unless your ride is on Strava. It doesn't count...
Freds rarely opt of the "less is more" type attitude. More is always more in their eyes.



Bags are the (I believe.) number one reason Fred's get into cycling. First you have the saddle bag...

Usually the larger and more expandable the better.
I mean where else are you going to put your two extra tubes, CO2, multi-tool, patch kit, gels, car keys, scissors, small ferret, gardening shears, a Kindle and a liverwurst sandwich!?

But a true blue Fred won't stop there. Oh, no! They want a bento box...

Fred's have to find a place to carry their chap stick and extra gels (Can't fit them all in the saddle bag.).
 Then if the ride is more than 62 miles (Metric century in Fred speak.) they also want a handlebar bag.

Please note that you will always have a spot for your awesome 90's cell phone...
This bag is mostly for your camera, tripod, ear warmers, arm warmers, cell phone (As noted.) and extra gels...

But the true fashion Fred's for the 2012-2013 fashion season seem to be favoring fanny packs.

As this young Fred is demonstrating. The mobility of the fanny pack is what's key. I'm also really enjoying his combination of aerodynamics with the TT helmet, the high visibility belt (I can only assume he left his jacket in the saddle bag.) as well as the extra caring capacity that comes with the fanny pack. One can only assume he's keeping personal belongings in there. Like his wallet, extra cell phone (In case the 90's cell phone battery dies.) ID and extra gels...

Please understand that like any good scientist. I'm just here to judge... I mean observe and record my findings. Come up with your own hypothesis and enjoy viewing these beautiful creatures out in the wild.

Thanks for reading.

Rubber side down,

Big E

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mountain Biking In Bend

The morning sun off the Deschutes in Sunriver.
Part of what I was talking about yesterday was true. I did need to recharge my batteries. Evidently my batteries are solar powered (I'm green like that.). So what better place to do that than in a place called Sunriver!?

My family and I spent a week over there getting dirty on trails. Eating a lot of junk food. Drinking to much (Beer for me of course.). And soaking in various modes and temperatures of water.

There was deer whispering...

The boys were viciously mauled by rabid woodland creatures...

Pants wearing (Only part of the time.)...

Ugh, Big E know how to dress.
And a fair amount of mountain biking...

I managed to get A to go out with B and I on a spin.
Of course A was already better at pretty much all of it than me. Which in made my jealous heart lime green (See how green I can be!?) with envy. Ah, to be young and full of natural talent!

But we saw many beautiful places.

More Deschutes river.
There were an amazing amount of trails just outside our door. I felt pretty stupid because I've stayed at Sunriver many times and didn't even know they existed until this trip.

A and B trying to find a suitable place to throw my useless body...

Dillon Falls.
 B and I went and traipsed around the Tumalo Falls area on Saturday. I've said it before (Although not on the blog.). I LOVE the trails around Tumalo Falls. LOVE THEM! Tons of climbing. Which for a fat guy like me isn't a fantastic incentive. But the views are gorgeous while you're suffering. And once the pain and wheezing (It's all about 5000') are over. There are some of the most flowey (Yes its a word. My word...) trails you will ever set a tire on. Most fun you can have with your pants on! Just awesome.

We eneded up getting lost (My fault.) and did a couple of trails that I had never done. Some with a pucker factor of about an 8.5. But it was still a lot of fun.

Water falling on the North Fork trail at Tumalo.

Tumalo Falls. A little hazy because of the big forest fire (26,000 acres) just outside of Sisters.
So that's my, "What I did on summer vacation"  report. Tomorrow, on to other things!

I really appreciate all the welcome back wishes, cards and chocolates and stuff. You guys are a bunch of sweeties! XOXO

Until tomorrow...

Rubber side down,

Big E

Monday, September 24, 2012

I'm Back!!!

Sorry it's been so long. I really needed to recharge my batteries.

Discover a cure for the common cold.

And find my car keys...

But rest assured that the little hamster in my brain has been feverishly spinning on his rusty wheel this whole time. Keeping me and the rest of the people in my head awake.

My head hurts...
 I've got a lot to talk about. Some of it's going to be old. I'm just letting you all know ahead of time so you don't think that I've slipped through some sort of space time continuum and am confused on the date. Rest assured that I still have all my faculties about me. I just wanted to talk about them and it's my blog and I can do what I want (So mnhaaa!).

So this post is really just a shot across the bow. A warning as it were. That I didn't forsake you all like I did my pet turtle as a child ( Who knew that box turtles could love so long?). That I still have things to say. And most importantly...

I'm back!!!

Rubber side down,

Big E