Category Archives: Road Biking

Been a While

It’s been almost a year since I last updated this blog.  In that time a lot of things have happened.  They are as follows, in no particular order:

My wife and I had a little girl.

Jane

I became the store manager at the shop where I work.

My car needed a repair that would have cost more than the car did originally.

I picked up a BMX bike.

I picked up some new shoes and Speedplay Zeros.

I picked up a new frame for my wife.

I stabbed my leg with an XT brake lever during a Pivot demo.

I raced the RAGNAR Miami to Key West race with my entire immediate family (and a few other people).

Team Much Dutch

I raced the RAMBO 4 Ways in a Day race again this year and placed 6th in my division…out of 6.

On the big bike.

I stopped riding my road bike in favor of my mountain bike.

I rode my mountain bike while Atlanta was shut down because of snow and ice.

I continued to switch between clipless and flats on the mountain bike.

I was featured in two online newspaper articles.

I ran my mountain bike into the roof of my garage.  Twice.

I rode one of the most expensive mountain bikes I’ve ever put a leg over.

Nickel. Full SRAM XO 3x10, Easton Haven wheels, 130mm Rock Shox Revelation fork with carbon steerer tube, Rock Shox Monarch RT3 shock, Truvativ stem, bar and seatpost. Maxxis tubeless tires, ODI lock on grips

I participated in a trail day or two.

My plan is to start contribute to this blog more often.  Since my leg injury healed I’ve been getting outside more and that’s a positive change.

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Is It the Engine or the Equipment?

So I crashed on my mountain bike a few weeks ago and the damage to my knee totally took me out of the game (both physically and here on the blog).  No running, no riding, and with the slump in activity, even my swimming felt the hit.  But I’ve started PT and hope to fix my knee for good.  And then this situation came up and I felt it was certainly worth sharing…what do you think?

Lately I’ve started coming to the realization that it’s not always about the equipment but more about the engine behind it (i.e. me and you).  It’s interesting to me, because I’m coming at it from the perspective of someone who works with the newest cycling technology every day.  My job is to convince people that the newest cycling technology will make them better riders.  And I believe it will.  Mountain biking went from rigid clunkers to carbon full-suspension 29rs to DH bikes with more than 10″ of travel.  Road bikes started about as steel and since then have been made from aluminium, scandium, carbon fiber, heck even bamboo!

But the other day I got to ride a tricked out version of the aforementioned Santa Cruz Tallboy 29r owned by one of our regular customers.  This sub-25lb. bike had everything: Edge (now called  Enve) composite wheels, SRAM XX 2×10 drivetrain, carbon handlebars and a Rock Shox XX Sid fork.  Everything, that is, except clipless pedals.  That’s right; the guy who owned this bike worth over $5k (and that’s just at dealer cost) didn’t even clip in.  After years of riding, he’d just never gotten the hang of it.  But that didn’t stop him.  His regular circuit at Big Creek would turn my legs and lungs into a lump of jelly.

A few weeks ago, pre injury, I raced in the Big Creek Time Trial Series.  I felt alright about the time, it was slower than my 4 Ways time, but told myself that it could be better if I had a newer, lighter bike.  This was confirmed when a friend picked up my bike and called over to the officials, telling them to knock a few minutes off my time because of how heavy it is for a XC bike.  Later that same week, I was talking with one of the regular customers at our shop, mentioning my plans for a new bike.  He asked what my recent lap time was and looked at me in disbelief.  Even with his new bike that weighs four to five pounds less than mine, my slow time was two full minutes faster than his best lap time.

This caused my focus to change a bit.  Instead of worrying out when I’m finally going to scrape together enough cash for my new mountain bike, I’m going to focus on improving my body using the equipment currently in my possession.  Feeling sorry that I own a 35lb. XC bike – think of it as resistance training.  Still have a granny gear on my road bike – just means I need to hit up steeper hills.  Bum knee – more time to get back into swimming and rock climbing and build my upper body while I rehab the knee.

Beach Ride

This past Memorial Day weekend, I visited my family in Florida and decided to ride to the beach with my parents.  It’s just under 50 miles from door to door, that is to say, door to dunes.  I was a little concerned at first because I haven’t done a ride of that length in at least a month and I had flown into town, so I didn’t have my bike.  But my parents are friends with another couple that rides and quickly got me sorted out on a steel Bianchi with full Campy components; a first for me on both counts.

So we prepped in the morning, loading out bottles with water and mix, rolling Cliff Bar quarters into little balls, and topping off the tires.  I had spend and hour the previous night getting the bike fitted to my typical riding position (and marking the bike so I could put it back how I found it). We rolled out around 6:30am and quickly settled into a 3 person paceline, switching places every five minutes or so.  The first hour rolled by quickly. The second hour found me suffering a bike from riding a bit I wasn’t used to.  Being that far out, there was nothing to do but put my head down and keep my pulls at a steady speed.  After the second rest stop, I found a renewed energy.  Okay, maybe it was the iced coffee drink my mom made me finish off, but the third hour seemed to fly by.  At the last rest stop both of my parents got something to drink while stopped as well as a sports drink for the road.  My mom was worried when she saw that I hadn’t finished either of my bottles.  Though as I pointed out, we had climbed a total of 300′ in about 30 miles.  300′ is what I climb in about 3 miles here in Atlanta, so I was still feeling fresh.

I had told my parents about bridge sprints, but with the holiday traffic building as the ride went on, whoever was pulling the paceline won the sprint without contest.  I managed to luck out and combine a bridge sprint with a county line sprint.  As we neared the coast, my parents warned me about the steepness of the causeways we had to cross, but I was unafraid.  Despite starting up the tallest bridge, a whopping 65′ of vertical elevation, in third position, I managed to gain the lead and hit almost 40mph on the descent.  My mom, on the other hand, is still developing her descending skills, so she topped out at around 30mph with my dad somewhere in between the two of us.

About 4 or 5 miles out from the beach, the rest of my family, who thought the three of us were crazy, passed us just as the traffic started building up on the roadways.  By the time we hit the A1A Coastal Highway they had secured a spot on the beach.  We stowed our bikes in the car and hit the surf, glad that the trip was only one way.

Lonnie Day

I had a good friend named Lonnie who used to work at our shop.  He died recently (more on that later), but he was and is an inspiration to me.  He rode his bike more than most people I know, despite working over 60 hours a week at two jobs (and one was a graveyard shift).  Now there are times where I’ll be having what I call a “Lonnie Day” or doing a “Lonnie Workout.”  If it’s nasty out or I’m feeling tired and lazy, I’ll remind myself how after work Lonnie would wait to sleep until noon just so he could ride in the morning with his friends.  If it’s good weather outside I think about how he’d be in the middle of a ride, smiling as he ticked away the miles.  He had a goal to ride a century a month in 2009 and he was going to be close.  My goal for 2010 is to ride just one.  But I know who I’ll be thinking about the whole time.