Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shakin' all over

I was gyrating like Vince Taylor

Riding the QBF last week, I noticed a low speed shimmy in the front wheel. I really hadn't ever noticed it before, but it was pronounced enough that I began to take notice. I actually stopped on the homeward leg of my commute and took a very close look at my frame and fork, because I thought something might be fractured. Nope. And the front wheel seemed to be decently true.

However, when I spun the rear wheel...yowza. It was as crooked as a dog's hind leg. I'd like to say because of the massive torque generated by my T-Rex sized quads, the hub twisted the spokes and pulled the rim into the shape of a wobbly potato chip. Most likely, it was the weight of my massive ass and loads of crap I lug to work during the week.

The wheels on the QBF probably aren't the highest quality, and they may be machine-built. In any case, I think I might take a shot at tweaking them back into shape. -D

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fixie Season

The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are beginning to turn...

Yup. Time to break out the Quickie Blue 'Winter training bike'. The last couple of commutes have been on the QBF. It had been sitting for a while, since I was busy riding the Double Cross, my 29'er, and the other two Schwinns to work. It looked a bit forlorn and neglected sitting there, and since the mercury was dipping into the low 50's morning wise, thought I should at least give it a spin.

QBF Maintenance: put up on bike stand, notice chain is a bit slack. Loosen rear wheel nuts and take out slack. Dribble wax based lube on chain. Squeeze front brake handle, it works. Pump up tires. Done.

And just like that, we're off. Occasionally, I have to remember that this bike does not freewheel, and you can't just decide to stop pedaling to coast. I relax, but the pedal comes back around and that darn bike just won't let me. Pedal faster, dammit!

I'm not as fast on my fixie. I notice this since I leave the parking lot about the same time each day no matter which bike I'm riding. I always seem to arrive 10 minutes or so later on my fixie, which means I'M JUST NOT PEDALING FAST ENOUGH. Maybe I'm a little more relaxed on this bike, but it seems like I'm always working harder to achieve that relaxed riding state.

Last year whilst winter riding, I wiped out on some black ice behind a busload of school kids. They didn't seem to notice, but I never noticed anything when I rode the school bus in the morning either...I was too groggy and bleary eyed to care or my eyes were just closed. I'm wondering about a nice pair of studded Nokians on the QBF...yeah...then it'd be a true winter bike. Does that seem a bit wacky? Nah.

I grabbed a couple of more components for the Bleriot. I picked up the J-Tek Nexus bar-end shifter and some pedals from Harris Cyclery. I was going to order the shifter directly from the J-Tek website, and was quite surprised to see a notice posted stating that J-Tek Engineering was suspending operations. The owner has some health problems and has decided to shut down for a while until things improve. I hope he gets better soon...first things first and take care of yourself! -D

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Corporate Cup Run 2009

Did it again. I ran the Omaha Corporate Cup Run.

It's the only organized run I do anymore. When I lived in Kansas City, I was running at least a 5K nearly every weekend. After I moved to Omaha, I ran a few other runs but the frequency dropped dramatically because, well, there just weren't as many. I believe I started running the Corporate Cup in 1996, and I've done it every year since then without fail. Here's how it usually works.

About a month or so before, I think about running to get my muscles in some kind of running shape. I know through experience that biking doesn't cut's a different set of muscles altogether. I've biked pretty regularly before runs thinking it would get me in shape for the run, and I'd be so sore after I could hardly walk for several days. The last few years, I've always tried to run a few times just to make sure the old running muscles still kinda sorta worked. Stretching always seems to help as well.

I've really improved my times over the last couple of years (under an hour), not just because of training and stretching...but making sure I thoroughly hit the john before I take off. That porta potty stop halfway through the race always seems to kill off my times, a bit. One year I was standing in line - I was next and a fellow that was in dire straits asked me if he could cut in front of me. I told him sure, but it'd cost him. He handed me a $5 bill! I certainly didn't turn it down, and I figured I could pinch up another minute or two. Easy money.

The run usually starts around 8 am or so, on a Sunday morning. Who in their right mind gets up early to run on a Sunday? At least 10,000 corporate Stooges, nyuk nyuk nyuk :>) I usually try to time it so I don't have to stand around too long, a few minutes of stretching, yawning, and farting. My lovely wife has always driven me and dropped me off so it's easy. What a woman!

They have a seeded runner section which always goes first. I've never been seeded, although I am getting a bit seedy. Then the rest of the 10K runners go (including my fat, slow ass), followed by the 2 mile walkers, strollers, kids, dogs and other assorted farm animals. I usually start out with a slow, loping limp and end up with a somewhat faster, hopping, pigeon toed hobble. People are weaving, jumping, dodging, tripping. You try to avoid ramming into the walkers that inevitable get mixed into the runner's start, and try to avoid tripping from the faster runners who step on the backs of your shoes. I always stop and get a cup of water at the 2 mile and 4 mile marks, and have always choked it down without puking. I try to keep a steady pace to keep ahead of the 80 year old runner who always inevitably passes me and makes me feel like a lumbering hippopotamus.

As I get toward the end I always try to focus on someone that's slower than I. Maybe that mom pushing that stroller with twins, or the octogenarian with the lower-leg prosthesis. It makes me feel great when I blaze past them, spitting and wheezing, one shoe untied. As I round the corner for that last sprint towards the finish, some flaxen haired youth usually flies past me no matter how hard I think I'm sprinting...I do it just to impress my wife who's standing on the sidelines, phone at the ready to call 911. Medic! I stumble and trip across the finish line, nearly taking out several race volunteers.

About a half-hour later, after I catch my breath my wife finds me and we go get our free breakfast of bananas, bagels, and donuts washed down with a gallon or so of water. Since my employer is right there downtown I hit the fitness center showers and we head for shopping, or home depending on whether I'm still ambulatory.

I get up the next morning, sore as all hell and hardly able to walk. I curse myself for not training enough for the run, and always question why I still do this every year.

Then next September rolls around, and there I am, standing at the start line. Glutton for punishment! -D

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Romulus for Sale (no, it's not mine)

I e-mailed Patrick today. I had to tell him about the 61cm Romulus for sale on the Riv website. I'm sure it won't stay there for long, but man...if only I had unlimited funds and unlimited space. Another bike? I'd be sleeping in the yard for sure!

On with the Bleriot Build! I rec'd an order from Velo Orange including a nice Brooks flyer special seat, crank, chain, bottom bracket, and other assorted bits. I installed the seat so I could sit on Bleriot for the first time, and notice I was reaching a bit farther than I'd expect. Come to find out, I'd ordered a 12cm stem, while my other two Rivs have 11cm stem. And yes, that centimeter makes a difference! Think I'll either sell or exchange the stem for a shorter one. In the meantime, I stopped at the LBS to order some chain half-links and a Surly Singleator for chain tensioning. Things are starting to shape up! -D

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Some Days

All I wanna do is sing and dance. -D

Monday, September 14, 2009

FOOTBALL, Bleriot, Winter Biking and Singletrack

Yes, football season is upon us!

Right now, I'm watching the first of a doubleheader on MNF. Patriots and Bills. Not that I care much about how pro football comes out, the wife and I are big college football fans. Great games on Saturday, especially Notre Dame/Michigan.

The Cyclones didn't fare so's hard to lose to Iowa at home. OU, however beat another ISU 64-0, so the weekend games weren't a total loss. Looking forward to most of the Big 12 games.

The build progresses. I put in an order with Velo Orange for most of the remainder of the parts I need (saddle, cranks, chain, brake levers, etc.) Still need to order the J-Tek shifter, but that's coming. I patiently wait for components to arrive.

Patrick sent me an e-mail saying he was getting his bike 'winterized'. He's setting up his Bomba for off-road action, and asked me if mustache bars were good for singletrack. I've never had mustache bars on any of my bikes, but I understand they're good for general on/some light off-road use. If anyone reading this blog has used or is currently using mustache bars let me know what you think.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It appears to be rideable!

I felt it coming on last week.

Sore throat, I knew there was a cold on the way. Sure enough, on a holiday weekend to boot. Plus, the weather was way nice for biking. But I made the best of it by loading up on cold medicine (the non-drowsy kind), and starting my rear wheel build.

No fact, this one really went together better than the front wheel. There was some tweaking but the wheel came out nice, round, and true in short order. There was also resting and consumption of fluids throughout the process...I didn't want to overdo. I also installed the Dia-Compe centerpulls, and checked out the cable routing for the Nexus shifter. I debated using the supplied twist shifter, attaching with a Hub-bub bar end extension, but most of the builds I saw using that solution zip tied the cable housing to the frame...not an elegant solution.

J-Tek engineering to the rescue! They make a Nexus bar end shifter...check it out here

You know you want one

I can route a shifter cable through one of the existing downtube shifter bosses using an STI cable stop, and I can cover the other one up. Problem solvers makes a screw on cover just for that purpose. Not inexpensive for sure, but certainly cleaner than zip-tying a cable to my frame.

Next...brake levers, crankset, bottom bracket, chain, pedals, and seat. Stay tuned! -D

P.S. Fortunately, I was well enough on Monday to ride Ramby a half-century :>)