Friday, September 29, 2006

Bike Pornagraphity

OK, am really starting to know WAY to much about bike manufacturing and gizmo functions. These folks are going to have to hire me soon.

The new thing in frames design is 12K carbon weave. Apparently it does not change the strength or function, but makes the weave squares far more noticeable. The carbon look is cool.

Here is a little bike porn for you, the 07 Vellum Edge in the new weave and color scheme.

There are other cool gizmos and gadgets that I'll give the low down on once contracts have been secured. Basically I'll have some new "what the hell is that" gadgets to get all techno geeked about and bore you with all the features and details. I love talking about this stuff and I am sponge when it comes to how everything works. When the marketeers are geeking out on the function, design, and engineering of their handy dandy gadget, I pay attention.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Everest 2006 Wrap Up

As mentioned previously Nathan and I headed out to the Eastern Sierras to take the Everest Challenge. This would be Nate's first time, and my third attempt. Even though I have finished the race before, and on the podium, I use the word attempt because one really has to be humble and respect the difficulty of this event. If you don't you can find yourself in a big World of hurt.

My goal this year was to ride within myself and improve on my time from the previous a few years ago. The best way to do this was to make adjustments in my nutrition and how I prepared for the start. Previously I would eat a good breakfast before, sounds smart, right? I am sure it works for some, but I found myself needing a major nature break at the top of the first climb. This lost me a ton of time. This year, I decided to eat a big dinner and just have coffee and a muffin for breakfast about an hour and half out from the start. In essence I was starting with an empty stomach and the fuel tank full. I started with two bottles of Perpetuem and kept topped up with gels along the way. The result was that I could keep moving along without the need for a lengthy stop. I only stopped once at the car on the way to the last climb to get rid of some clothing previously needed for the cold morning start and to grab some pre-mixed bottles.

The volunteers and support this year was phenomenal, it was very easy to stay hydrated and topped up with fuel. Had I known that the volunteers were going to be so dedicated and outstanding, I would have carried less. On day two I had enough confidence in the support that I actually did, and it was fine thanks to these folks.

Saturday's stage being the hardest of the two, not that either are easy, was under my belt and went off without a hitch and even a little better than expected.
I was only faced with two problems, no appetite for 6 to 7 hours after the event and I was really tired. We went to dinner and I took about 6 bites of a large burrito. It wasn't doing it. Rest, I needed rest. Back at the hotel I nibbled on fruit and other snacks as much as I could, but I knew I was still at a caloric deficit. I popped an E-Caps Xobline and actually started to feel normal again in about 10 minutes. (Interesting!)
About 1:30 AM I finally started to feel hungry and had some more nibbles. I got up with Nate at 4:00 and had some oatmeal and a banana. That was starting to fuel the tank. A couple of hours later I had my coffee and muffin and I was back on track.

With day one over and being done conservatively and Nate in the lead by 10 minutes I decided it was time to make a contribution. Futile or not I was determined to try and put some hurt on the guys that ripped it up on the first day. Yeah, they are far better climbers, but they had to be a little fatigued and with very little warmup before the first climb, a hot tempo might take a little out of them.
We started out the first climb and the pace was sort of mellow, even by my account. I rolled to the front to lift the tempo and made sure the group was on my wheel. The idea is to lift it without much notice like boiling a frog. Louie Amelburu and Greg Leibert were tied for second, so the goal was to make them expend a little energy early while Nate sat back in the easy chair.

My ego would like to think it was working. While driving the pace Louie was next to me and seemed to be breathing nearly as hard as I was. Greg broke a spoke and had to stop for a wheel change and I kept the pressure on forcing him to burn a match to catch back up. Not something you want to do this early in a second stage. A Simple Green rider attacked to get away, but the pace was enough that I had him back in the group inside of a minute. I wasn't sure if I was doing any damage so I looked back and saw a very small group of only the top contenders. "Give me a shovel, I am gonna dig these suckas a grave!"

About 3 miles into the climb I decided it was time to get into my own pace and leave these boys to their game. I clocked out and slowed down, to my surprise the group slowed too and I actually stayed with them. I gave it about 30 seconds and punched back in for some overtime. This lasted for about another mile and we were closing in on the back end of the shattered Pro 1/2 field.
Job done!
I rode up on Jason from Spine and we mosied along at a conversational pace for a while. He slipped away, then I caught him on the second climb, where he slipped away again at the top. Then I caught him again with about 7K to go. The end of the last climb gets a bit steep and those running compact cranks have to stand too. It seems there is a point of diminishing returns. They had to stand and grind, and so did I, but I was standing on a 39 x 28 VS. their 34 x 27. You do the math.

I finished it up strong with a big ring sprint to the line just for a final show of defiance. At that event finishing is winning, and I wanted that mountain to remember my name.

Now I am sore everywhere, much like putting one's self into a meat 10,000 feet.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Bit O Climbing

As I write this I am waiting for Nate Dawg to pick me up and head off to Bishop Cali. to do a little climbing and elevation training at the Everest Challenge.

This will my third attempt at Everest and hopefully my second time completing it. Learnt me a lot the first go and the second try was completed but I rode very extremely conservative. Kind of like over shoot and blow up, under shoot and could have gone a faster, third time should be able to dial it right in the center somewhere.

Nate Dawg is going to race it, damn thing is right up Nuke Boy's alley. Me? I see it as training at elevation and I plan on not digging a whole that I can't get out of.

Last attempt gave me a leap into new found fitness and success on the bike. For the first time I was able to put some 1st places on my resume. Albeit on the MTB, but I am better suited for the dirt anyway. That was the year I lead a team to victory at the 24 Hours of Tahoe and a podium spot at Downhillyville.

Weather reports to be mild, that will be interesting as I have never done the race in less than 95 degrees.

Looking forward to hitting the dirt again next year, the Titus Racer X is dialed in a again and screams FASTER! FASTER! And I found where to place myself for the point and shoot style of riding. I can always tell when it's dialed, it squishes down in a corner like a snake coiling up to get ready for a strike, then springs out. It's a bizarre yet awesome feeling, and I have never felt that on any other double boinger.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Something you probably did not know

The Easter Bunny is really Santa Clause in disguise.

Yes, it's true, just look at the evidence.

1. Nobody can make a living working only 1 day a year.
2. They conveniently work the same mall at different times of the year.
3. Santa looses a lot of weight working that one very long day and uses Easter candy to put the weight back on by Christmas.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

60 Minutes of what?

Took a little drive with Gianni today and during our excursion we happened upon a little bike fight out at a rodeo park in Folsom. So we figured what the heck, we had our weapons with us and looked like our colors were being flown.

So Joey O. peer pressured me into taking on the big dogs in the As/Masters As. Well, since I wasn't expecting much and I am probably not going to cross much this year I'll just do it for the workout.

We arrived a little late and had just enough time to sneak in a lap and see what I was in for. Good course for the bike in the post below. Fortunately I slapped on a bigger gear for a little more top end. The bike worked well and with riding the Mt. Bike up a P-Ridge I was starting to get some skills back.

The downside? The pre-ride was the first dismount I have done since Pilarcitos last year, and no running at all. I figured it was no biggie, I am going to get my arse handed to me anyway.

60 minutes of cross racing is really long, especially when there is this nasty little run up that these little legs just don't like (no stride). My thought was tempo, tempo, tempo, then get my feet back on the pedals ASAP. Clipped or not, get them damn pedals a turnin, worry about the rest when you can.

After the first lap things started to get split up a bit and I could use my MTB skills and Short track style of riding to move up. One at a time, I'll pick off as many as I can. The barriers were not as bad as I anticipated, adrenalin does a lot.

Style? I have no style.
Technique? More like falling gracefully.

I have come to enjoy my own little way of coming at a barrier at the end of straight. I hit the straight away as fast as I can get my gear turning, each lap shooting for a higher number on the speedo. As I approach I brake only a little and use whatever speed I can carry to bound over the barrier by only touching the ground a couple of times before in I am in the air.
It's probably wrong, and real crossers would likely just shake their head and say "what a dork", but it feels kind of good, and it feels kind of fast. So like everything else, I'll just keep doing it my own way, cause I like it.

3 laps to go and I pick off one more rider, it appears that he didn't like me passing and we sprinted for this whole shot through a gate about an inch wider that my Monkey Lites. This lead to a quick run around a baseball diamond and onto the straight away with the barrier. I buried the tack trying to make sure I didn't get passed back and homeboy must of been chasing hard and lost his senses. I cleared the barrier and then heard a loud crash behind me. LOUD!!!
Like 6' tall bowling pins being knocked down.
My evil plan worked, gas em so they make a mistake.

Courses like this one are pretty good for me, they change a lot, with a lot of short quick sections, and slightly technical. Once into the laps I like to break a course up into small sections and set little speed goals as a I pass through it, only thinking about that short section. What breaks the sections up are areas where you don't pedal, turns, down hills, or barriers.

60 minutes later and I ended up 7th overall and 4th in the geezers.
Damn! Foiled again, now that I am in the points I have to go back and do the whole series. It would be disrespectful not to.

I really would like to buy a real cross bike and see what I can do with the right equipment, but the dollars are tight. I do like the look of the Bianchi San Jose.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Cross This

Un engrenage, une vitesse

Laugh hard...

It's a long way to the bank.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mind going numb.

And not comfortably, mind you.

I am caught in particular cycle where everything seems to be happening all at once.

Being in the moment is a bubble in time, there is a tolerance before and aft of the center of that bubble. If you want things to go well, your nose needs to be touching the front edge of that bubble. That's where shit happens really fast. You have a limited reaction time in order to make things happen if you want your plans to workout. Stuff has to get done!

Questions, questions, and more questions. Logistics weighed, forms updated, budgets projected, and goals defined and set. Then starts the implementation and management.

The goals get achieved, the entity grows beyond expectation, but so does it's hunger. It's bigger, yet more refined, it's powerful which also makes it a beast to keep on track.
It's like a surgical strike with a 12 gauge shot gun.

Contacts being made, deals being done, commitment, commitment, commitment.

Follow up on this item, check in with that person. Is this what we need? This thing doesn't fit on that person's thang. Gotta find a different thing, and for the same price.
Great, it worked, problem solved...NOT! Now that persons thang ain't working with the new thing.
And the man in the back says "but I just bought one". Yeah? And?

It isn't about the individual. WE ARE BORG!
Coagulation of the mass.

That's the risk, that's the reward.

No, I am not talking about my job, this is what I do for fun...

I think.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

This is the law.

Below is the law, and points out exactly why the officer
was in the wrong.
I am unable to locate any section that states bicycles
shall ride single file.

21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway
at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving
in the same direction at that time shall ride as
close as practicable to the right-hand
curb or edge of the roadway except under any
of the following
(1) When overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle
proceeding in the same direction.
(2) When preparing for a left turn at an intersection or
into a private road or driveway.
(3) When reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including,
but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles,
pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or
substandard width lanes)that make it unsafe to continue
along the right-hand curb or edge,subject to the provisions
of Section 21656. For purposes of this
section, a "substandard width lane" is a lane that is too
narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side
by side within the lane.
(4) When approaching a place where a right turn is
(b) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway
of a highway,which highway carries traffic in one direction
only and has two or more marked traffic lanes, may ride as
near the left-hand curb or edge of that roadway as practicable.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sometimes you just have to take a stand!

We had a little confrontation with a cycling inept police officer today out on the Saturday ride.
He almost caused people to crash and was being overly demanding that a large group ride single file even after we allowed vehicles to pass.

Sometimes life presents opportunities to make changes/improvements in our community, and you have to willing to take a stand and read the moment as a catalyst to something much bigger.

Below is the email I sent to the Chief, and two lieutenants at Pleasanton PD.

I am contacting you to in an attempt to reach out and resolve some issues that happened this morning (9-2-06) at about 9:30 AM on Vineyard Avenue with a large (40+) group of cyclists and one of your officers. I view this simply as an issue of education and understanding of the basics of cycling and pack riding.
While many people own and even ride quite a bit, there is an enormous gap of experience from the casual cyclist and the avid cyclist that races or spends many hours in the saddle, riding in groups and alone.
A couple of points that I will discuss below are:
1. Expecting a large pack of cyclist to behave/maneuver like an individual cyclist.
2. Giving instructions that are uninformed and puts riders in harms way,
3. Naively stepping directly in front of a Tandem Bicycle traveling at 20+ MPH and expecting it to stop on a dime. (Dangerous, for him and us).
4. The correct perception of a pack of cyclists vs. a small group or individual.
5. An obstacle is an obstacle.
6. Bike Lanes: Good for individuals, bad for groups.
7. Fixed Features
1. There are certain things one can and can't do when in a peleton, one of the basic rules that MUST be adhered to at ALL times is NO SUDDEN LATERAL MOVEMENTS. That means it takes time for a large peleton to go single file.
Yes, I know that the public perception and even the law may read that a group of cyclists are to ride single file. However, a LARGE group of cyclists will always be at least two wide unless the pace is so high that they are strung out. WHY? Because no one can pull the whole pack around all day. Cycling is a sport of energy conservation, and drafting is always a factor. A rider in a draft is working as much 60% less than the rider breaking the wind. That is why one line is moving forward while the other is moving backwards. There is always a rotation in place with riders sharing the work load. This is a basic fundamental of pack and group riding, it's as old as the hills and is governed by the laws of physics, not the cycling ignorant laws of the state.
As cyclists, we always do everything in our power to give way to autos, when safe. It is common place for cyclists at the rear to call out "Car Back" to inform the rider ahead that we need to go single file. This call out is then passed forward until it reaches the front. In a large pack this can take a little time. Typically until the whole pack knows what is happening and can respond, there really isn't anywhere for a cyclist in the middle of the pack to go. If he makes a sudden lateral movement he risks chopping the wheel behind him and causing serious injury to many riders.
2. A non-cyclist or even a relatively inexperienced cyclist (by cyclist's standards) may very likely not have pack skills or may have never ridden in a large group. Therefore is likely not aware of the protocol that has been developed over decades of cycling that are for everyone's safety. Giving a command and expecting immediate compliance without understanding the nuances of pack riding puts all of the riders in harms way. I have been racing and riding for over 10 years without serious injury, I know what I need to do to be safe. I am in control of my bike, and ONLY I know what I need to do to be safe. No cyclist is going to compromise his or her own safety because of the uninformed demands of a public servant.
3. Today my wife and I were on our tandem, with the two of us this vehicle ways over 275 lbs. It's easily a comparison of a car to a tractor trailer. Your officer stepped directly into our path while we were trying to slow down to speak with him. He was at a point in our line that was physically impossible for us to come to a safe stop by. I almost had to lay the bike down creating a very high likelihood of causing sever injury to my wife. I called to the officer several times during this event that he needed to move, he naively did not. With another cyclist on either side of me, I was barely able to find a safe path around him. This is a CLEAR indication that this officer is uneducated to the nuances of cycling and what is reasonable to request of riders to when it comes to making maneuvers. This is simply a laws of physics issue.
4. As I have pointed at, a peleton (large group) of cyclist maneuver much different than a single rider or small group. The example used is often that of a school of fish. Sudden individual lateral movements put everyone in danger, and is therefore not allowed and is policed by peer pressure. Bad pack skills will earn one quite a tongue lashing and public humiliation. With that in mind a peleton must be perceived as a large vehicle rather than a bunch of small individual ones. It is extremely important for officers to understand this, and to act accordingly when working with a group.
5. Drivers are often faced with many obstacles while traveling on the roadways. At any given time they may have to contend with farm equipment, construction equipment, wide loads in transport, roadway construction, railroad crossings, or even Grandma who drives 10 miles an hour under the speed limit. A pack of cyclists is NO different, it may cause a temporary delay, but usually not substantial enough to make a difference in the driver's overall travel time. It is unreasonable to expect a peleton of 40+ cyclists to instantaneously yield to one or two cars. In our society, majority rules, today we were the majority, not the two cars. We were in the process of getting them around us, but patience is not too much to ask...ON A SATURDAY.
Our group was traveling quite fast and was only mildly under the posted speed limit for the road.
6. Bike lanes are a short cited design feature that the cities seem to think help cyclists. I speak to this issue with two forms of authority: I am an avid competitive cyclist, and I am also a traffic signal and roadway designer who has worked on most of the roads in the Tri-Valley, including 4 signals on Vineyard.
While bike lanes do serve a purpose for the casual cyclist, Mom and Pop, and children going off to school, it is extremely inadequate for the avid and savvy cyclist. The bike lanes are seldom in a condition that is rideable, often filled with broken glass, rocks, and roadway debris. This means a road cyclist in order to avoid constant punctures must ride to the outside of, or even to the left of the bike lane. This level of hazard is NOT visible to the motorist, and is especially not visible to an officer seated in his car traveling on the outside of the peleton who are completely obstructing his clear view of the possible obstacles we must contend with.
Again I point out that demanding compliance to and instruction given is unreasonable and puts the cyclists in harms way.
7. Fixed Features are objects or items that are always in the same place at the same time. They are fixed, they will be there today, they will be there tomorrow. Most group rides while not technically being organized by any official group, are typically a fixed feature due to a tradition of the ride. The rides typically meet at the same times, at the same places, and ride the same routes. On Saturdays there are several group rides in our community, they WILL be on the roads. Drivers should expect them to be there, they should plan their trip accordingly, and consider the use of main roads rather than using cut-through routes. Typically cyclist numbers will be heavy on these roads that are supposed to have low travel volumes. It's an attempt to avoid cyclist/automobile conflicts. However, there are rude and selfish individuals in our community that feel they own all the roads and drive irresponsibly, and then proceed to file complaints about cyclists when the conflicts happen.
I would be happy to work with your department to develop cycling educational programs in order help your officers better work with the cycling community at large. I am willing to make myself available for discussions, Q & A sessions, or even a fundamentals of group riding class. The key to bridging the gap is education and understanding.
The cycling community in the Tri-Valley is very large, and growing. It is made up of financially prominent individuals and professionals in many high-end industries. It is important that our concerns and needs are incorporated into the communities we live, work, and ride in.
Please contact me after digesting this information.
(End Message)

If you don't ever say anything, things will never change, and someone has to be willing to say "NO, THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE". At the same time one also has to be willing to reach out and offer to work towards a resolution. Incidents like what happen today are catalysts for change and raising the awareness. It's not always easy, or comfortable, but if you back down before a shift happens, it was all for not.

I even spent some time on the phone with the Watch Commander. Awareness was raised, both sides contributed to trying to bridging the gap. He is going to take the time to speak with his officers and share some of my points.
In the worse case scenario, the Pleasanton officers will have a little more awareness before becoming belligerent, and jumping in front of a tandem.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Nome's Bike World (and music studio)

Just thought it would be time to push my rant down the history list. I am feeling much better now.

Looking forward to this weekend riding the tandem, riding the single, and riding.
In between riding I will be able to get some stuff around the house done. The bike shop has been used and abused this year, it's time to finish the outside with a coat of paint.
It sure is nice to have though, and when I am frustrated with a part that won't do what I want it to do, I can join Dyllan on this.

But I ain't tryin no back flip! Joey tried that and landed straight on his head. I thought he was going to break his neck.
That is my bike shop in the background. Built it myself, with a lot of skilled help. Actually I helped others build it, like handing them nails.
I did do the roof, heck it's even better than the roof on the house. They used two nails, I used three. That stuff ain't goin anywhere.

I think next year I have to rip up all that yellow stuff formerly known as lawn. My wife refuses to water it as a ploy to get backyard redone. We want to do it in all gravel and raised planters.
Low maintenance.

For now my grass is indigenous.

But only the back, the front is maintained every Tuesday by 5 guys who can be found hanging out at the local Home Depot during their spare time. It cost a little, but it's worth a lot.