Sunday, October 31, 2010

Equipment - Bike Timeline, Part 7 - Tsunami Bikes

Okay, it's been a while, and I apologize.

So, without any further delay, after all that stuff about all the different bikes I've had (series starts here), all the bikes I've raced, there's only one bike left: The Tsunami.

It's too bad there isn't a set of names for the Tsunami, like one for the road bike, one for a track bike, etc., but when you think about it, it makes sense. After all, they're all custom made. They're all just "Tsunami". My frame, in case you didn't know, is a road version.

For basics it runs a (2007) Record 10 speed kit (from my SystemSix), Cannondale SI BB30 SRM crankset (also from the SystemSix), a Ritchey 26.0 clamp stem, Mavic 315 crit bars (long discontinued - I bought the close outs in 1997), and a Thomson zero setback regular post.

For wheels I run HEDs - the Bastongnes, Jets, and Stingers.

My "load out" varies on the bike, depending on the ride, and, to some extent, how much time I have to prepare for the ride. I'll do a quick synopsis for each theme, along with notes on minor variations within each one.

Bike with all the HED wheels.

The front aero wheels are the Jets (training). The one in the middle and the other one off to the right are the Stinger6s (racing). The bike wears the Bastognes.

Racing Load Out

Sitting in Navone Studios early this year.
Note no Cane Creek bars at this point, but the new Stinger6s are on the bike.

With the race wheels, no saddle bag, no extraneous gear, the Tsunami tips the scales at about 17 lbs. It's about a pound and a half heavier than the SystemSix with similar gear (in fact the SystemSix donated most of its build kit to the Tsunami).

A huge difference is the 450-500 gram fork on the Tsunami, one that I borrowed off of another bike in the stable. With a "proper" fork in place, the bike could lose close to a half pound.

After that, though, I think the weight will be about what it is. I don't want to spend oodles of money to cut a pound off the bike, and I also don't want to give up reliability or ease of use/set-up to drop weight either.

A Rent race on Tuesday night. I must have been less serious - Bastognes, lights (and they're on).

General Training Load Out

Vail CO loadout.

I used to carry a minipump with me, but I prefer a full size pump when I actually need it. I carry a Park pump now, and it sits between the skewer and the Cane Creek Speed bars. You can see the line that seems out of place on the left side of the bike, up front. That's the pump.

I also carry a saddle bag, minimum size for what I carry - one or two tubes, two mini tools, a few tire levers, some money, and some cardboard for booting cut tire. The mini tools include an 8mm allen (pedals and cranks), a chain tool (used on a 10s Campy chain successfully), and the normal allen wrenches and stuff.

The Bastogne wheels work nicely. Light enough, durable (I haven't turned a spoke nipple on them). They don't clean that easily since the finish attracts dirt like flat paint attracts smudges. Reflective decals are a nice touch.

What I did earlier this year.

Still the same wheels and tires, but the mini pump hanging off the back. The Down Low Glow lights are on - this must have been an early season night ride.

Aero/Heavy Training Load Out

For "heavy" training, meaning on a heavy bike, not referring to "a lot of" training, the Tsunami rolls on a Jet 6 front wheel and a Jet 9 rear. I sometimes swap the Jet 6 for a Bastogne, especially if I don't feel like fiddling with valve extenders.

Fit with the heavier clinchers, the Tsunami weighs well over 19 pounds, and that's without bottles, bag, or lights. The Jets are pretty heavy, but once they get rolling, they roll nicely.

Aero wheels, all equipment on the bike.

Only thing missing is a big head light.


My goal in fitting a custom frame were to do a couple things:
1. Get necessary length in bike to "stretch out" properly.
2. Have all adjustment points "centered" in range.

The first is pretty obvious. I want a bike that fits my ape-like proportions - long torso, short legs.

The second is less so. I may have gotten a good saddle-pedal relationship on my bikes, but I got it by slamming the saddle all the way forward on a zero setback post. Since I'd already maxed out the adjustment, I couldn't even try moving the saddle more forward - I had no range of adjustment left.

It would be much nicer to be able to adjust from that point, rather than max out adjustment just to get to a perceived optimal point.

Initial Specs

When I first set out to get the frame, I gathered all my notes and thoughts on my own fit from the last, oh, ten years. I knew a long time ago, in maybe 1994 or so, when I sat on a 55 cm Merlin, that I liked a longer top tube. But since my feet dangled a couple inches above the pedals on that 55, I couldn't really ride the bike. Bar drop (i.e. height delta between bars and saddle) and stuff like handling was also untested.

But on the trainer, over a couple/several winters, I thought about exactly what I'd like. I knew that if I put pair of stacked plastic storage totes next to the bike, I could kind of lean on it and pretend they were the bars. As a bonus, since the totes were about three feet long, I could easily "adjust" my position fore and aft because I could just slide my arm back and forth on the tote.

With that "center of range of adjustment" goal in mind, I also used a straight ruler and a protractor to figure out that drawing a straight line from the BB to the center of the saddle rails took about a 76 degree angle. This made the top tube about 2 cm shorter than before (because the seat tube bisected it much more forward). If I got such a steep seat tube angle with the same top tube, I'd already be 2 cm further forward - a 53.5 cm top tube at that point would feel like a 55.5 cm top tube.

I started drilling down on specifics for the length. It seemed I could use another 5 to 6 cm of reach overall. I'd want to go to a 12 cm stem since, to me, that's the optimal "center of adjustment" range. 11 cm is a bit short, and 13 is fine. Based on a 53.5 cm top tube with a 13 cm stem (66.5 cm total length), I decided a 57 with a 12 cm would be reasonable (69 cm, plus the 2 cm gained from the steep seat tube angle, giving me 4.5 cm more length).

I went to the local shop and used their fit bike. 76 degree seat tube. Shorted possible head tube. 175 mm cranks. 14 cm stem (they had one on it already so I used that). It seemed long but okay. I took pictures and sent them to Joseph, the guy behind Tsunami.

He recommended taking the edge off of my numbers. 75.5 degree seat tube, 56.5 cm top tube. Otherwise things were a go, and I told him to start cutting.


Other than the long top tube, the rest of the frame is pretty standard. 40.5 cm chainstay, although it seems longer than that. 73 degree head tube angle, just like the Cannondale because, frankly, the Cannondale was the best handling bike I'd ever ridden. Normal BB drop. Yada yada yada.

I didn't want a weird handling frame, just one that fit me.

The part that I can't emphasize enough is the custom geometry bit. The frame is built for you. No one else. Joseph even sends pictures of the frame in progress.

Frame Quality

When I got the frame it was beautifully wrapped, shipped next day (USPS so I got it on a Saturday). I did some paint clearing around by the head tube and BB (cutting it off with a sharp knife), just so that I wouldn't take more paint off than necessary when I installed the press fit pieces.

The welds are unfinished. You can see exactly what you're getting, not the ground down finish of some other manufacturers (like Cannondale). I'm a functional bike person so I don't care, but this was one area where I got pretty consistent criticism on the frame. Apparently people like their welds ground down.

Paint was a candy orange, so a layer of light base (silver?) followed by a layer of a metallic clear orange. After a year of use I have some paint coming off where I clamped stuff (front derailleur and seat post clamp). I had one chip from packing the bike in the car.

I've flown with the bike three times, in a soft case, with no adverse effects. I thumped the top tube pretty hard with my shoe, denting it, but the paint is holding fine there.


When I first saw the frame I thought for sure the seat stays were too thick. I gave Joseph carte blanche in the tubing selection, simply specifying that I wanted a stiff frame similar to my SystemSix. I also wanted a frame comfortable enough for a 6 hour ride.

I had doubts but they were unfounded - the bike has been great. He hit the mark in all respects.

My first few rides on the Tsunami were out in California. I went on a long ride, a few hours long, without thinking about it too much.

I was amazed at how comfortable the bike felt on the drops, how low I could get, and how the bike kind of sailed over bumps. Like other bikes in my stable, I still felt some jarring if I was sitting on the saddle and hit something unexpectedly, and the back end did respond to bumps and such, but overall it was much more comfortable. I think it's a combination of the longer wheelbase and the tubing.

When I went to the HED wheels, with the wider rims, the bike got very soft. Too soft. I now run the wide rims with "normal" pressures, about 105-110 psi. Based on some feedback I may experiment with different tires - apparently some tires don't like the wide rim base, others do.


The bike has been great so far. I felt the utmost of confidence bombing down Palomar Mountain, literally going as fast as I could go in the middle of a 5.5-ish hour ride. I ran FiR clinchers with full pressure Michelin Krylions at the time. It felt a hair less sure on the low pressure clinchers later, but once I started running normal pressure, it was fine.

In some earlier races on tubulars, I ran low pressures on the mistaken assumption that the wider tubular rims required this. When I thought about it though I realized that the wide rim was an aero thing, not something for tire pressure and such. I went back to running full pressure. I still think I have some cornering things to iron out but they're my issues, not the bike's.

I did make some hard moves to avoid crashed riders and stuff, and I have to say that the bike handled well under duress.

I didn't realize that the steep seat tube angle pushed me forward a bit more than I thought. I could feel the rear unweighting in fast turns, especially if I was really pushing hard. The longer front end meant that my weight shifted forward a bit, and although the rear wheel sat in basically the same place relative to my body, the wheel has a bit less weight on it.

Other Notes

I had some teething pains, mainly related to the BB30 (I kind of redid it myself when I got the frame and it's not well done). The cranks sort of indexed as they rotated, and I measured 7-9 watts of resistance on the SRM if I had no resistance on the cranks, 15 watts if I spun fast. They were tight!

The bearings eventually broke in (they're not indexed but they only spin 1/2 revolution before they stop) but my California trip was full of creaks and crunching emanating from the bottom bracket. Again, my issue, not the frame's.

For this frame I'd like to get a BB30 facing tool and redo the thing properly. I could use the extra few watts for 2011. Free power? Sign me up.


Overall the frame's been good to me.

How good?

I'm putting in an order for another Tsunami right now. It'll have some updates relative to this one, although I expect the weight to be essentially the same. The one I'm comfortable sharing is the chainstay length - I'm going to go a bit shorter on the stays, to get the rear wheel tucked in a bit.

Other than that?

I got plans and ideas. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Racing - Proposed 2011 Rule Changes

You can find the proposed rule changes posted here.

In particular there's a note about banning helmet cams.

I plead everyone that ever learned an iota of something from my helmet cams to write your local rep (find your rep here) and let them know that helmet cams help you race better and safer.

I saw some other stuff in red but my focus was on the helmet cam one.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Life - Pre-Winter and Winter Projects

So... it's been a while since I've put up a post of any recent events. I didn't realize how much stuff I let fall by the wayside while I rode and raced through the summer. Then, after Interbike, I got to business.

And rarely came up for air.

I have a few projects, separated handily into two categories: "pre-winter" and "winter".

"Pre-winter" projects tend to get some priority since they imply that they need to get done before winter. And I define winter in a couple different ways. For cars it's definitely when it snows enough to put down salt on the roads. It's kinda sorta winter when it's at or below freezing during commuting hours.

For bikes it's when I need to wear tights when I ride, or when I need to use lights to get even an hour ride in after work.

My biggest pre-winter project involves my winter car. Obviously a winter car can't be a winter car if it's not running. Or, more specifically, not rolling.

My winter car, a great little red car, is currently floating (with assistance) about a foot off the ground. It has a front suspension, about 90% of a rear suspension, and is missing massive amounts of body work towards the rear of the car. For example...

Rust and cracking bondo under that red paint. This is the right side.

I don't want to admit it but the left side is a LOT worse. A lot. And what I don't want to mention is that the rear bumper is also off, there's some damage under that, and, well, the rear suspension is also kind of in pieces.

I also have fenders for the front, a hood, radio antenna, and some other stuff that's kind in need of replacement. I may wait on a lot of that stuff just to get the car back in driveable condition - means suspension in place and bodywork not very hole-y.

The good thing is that it starts and runs great!

Initial cuts reveal thick bondo all over the quarter panel, some rust damage inside.
Bondo was well done - didn't know it was there until it cracked due to corrosion underneath.

Cut matched to repair panel. I'll make do with this I think.

Repair panel held in place.
I was initially thinking welding it all, but I decided I'll do the easier thing and epoxy it in place.

I need to have the car on the road in the next month, so that'll be my days off. The bay where it sits has no power, no heat, so I'm using generators and I may have to use a propane heater. Hey, it's just like Bethel of days past!

Another winter project, although kind of ongoing, is weather proofing the house. I did some of it the other day, going around and cleaning out the gutters. But in the past winters we've found some "cold spots" in the house, little detail areas overlooked when it came to insulation and such. Some cold spots include a closet downstairs, the ceiling over the "isthmus-like"dining room (which, I have to admit, is pretty warm today after I added R30 worth of insulation over it last winter), some crawl space details, and weatherstripping around the main door.

We also want to curtain the house - the uncovered windows make you feel cold just looking at them. Some thermal liners will start the job, with some colorful curtains completing the yet-to-be-completed-since-we-moved-here window decoration.

In addition, the closed door bike room (don't want cats sticking paws in rotating wheels and such) means a "C" shaped air flow chamber in the basement, versus an "O" shaped one (the closed door chops the far end of the "O" in two). Since I'm fascinated with air flow and such (like aerodynamics, cars, bikes, stuff like that), I've felt this incredible urge to put vents and such in either the doors, the walls, or both, so that the C becomes an O again.

As a bonus, since the bike room gets warm, the basement should get warmer. And I should be cooler on the bike - I'm using two huge fans right now to get the air moving in the closed chamber bike room.

Of course there's the forever monkey on my back - the Bethel Spring Series. That project starts just about... last week (if you want the details right). That needs to be underway long before the first snowstorm hits.

That brings us to winter...

I separate the winter projects from the "pre-winter" projects simply because the pre-winter stuff has to get done first. After those early things get done (or not done), there are some "winter" projects. These include those projects where you bundle up, hunker down, and get stuff down while the blizzard storms around outside. I have a few of those too.

First is to revamp the Carpe Diem Racing website. I borrowed some time by using Blogger to put up the last couple years' sites, but now I figure is a good time to go and do the site "on my own" again. It won't be earth shattering, but with a Mac anything should be possible, right?


So, for 2011, I'd like to have a simple site created on a Mac.

It would be nice, too, if the site worked with a mobile browser. So I plan on making a super simple site that would make it possible for folks with smartphones to check out the site. I didn't realize the magnitude of the differences until I recently started fiddling with a smartphone.

Another winter project, with an expected start time of late this month, is ordering a second Tsunami frame. I'm calling it a winter project because the build will happen in the winter. The easy part, for me, will happen now. This will be my primary bike next year if things go well, and I'll need to have it by earlier January. I don't want to spend three long days building it like I did last year - I'd rather have it for a couple weeks. This means getting the communication gear revved up for the refinements I want for the Tsunami 2.0.

I obviously have some ideas in mind for this frame, so I'll need to discuss it with the builder to see what's realistic, what's not, and what things I'm missing in my brainstorming. I've been thinking about this since, oh, about May of this year, so it's not like I haven't had time to try and think things through.

For racing I'm also thinking towards next year. As a newly minted 2, I'll be in the last percentile of experience and strength, so I'm looking for any possible advantage I can use to improve my riding. Fitness-wise I'm pretty close to tapped out - I can't get oodles better, not at this point. I mean, yeah, I might pick up 10 or 20 or even 50 watts FTP, but that would put me solidly in the Cat 4 numbers, not Cat 2 numbers.

Face it, I'm not going to be picking up 150 or 200 watts FTP. It's just not going to happen. So I need to use what I have.

Therefore I need to optimize what I have. This means strategy, of course, but also equipment. I don't have any major developments in store for next year, but I'll be experimenting with some stuff so that, if they work out, I'll be used to using this (new to me) equipment by the time races roll around.

I'll also be refining things. One thing is bike efficiency. This year it took anywhere from 3 to 15 watts simply to turn the cranks - the bearings were awfully tight, and when I initially built the bike, it took a good 7 watts on average to turn the cranks. If I spun like mad (with the chain derailled on purpose) I could hit 15 watts, but I'm using 7 as the number because I'd see that number at reasonable rpms, like 80 rpm or so.

Late in 2010, when someone questioned the number, I checked again, but then my power meter was on the fritz. However the crank didn't index around the clock like it did before, so it's probably closer to 1-2 watts to rotate (it still stops within 1/2 pedal revolution if you spin the unchained crank).

I plan on honing out the BB shell, installing new bearings if necessary, and getting that 1-2 watt number down to zero. The new frame should be at zero also.

I'll be using some different equipment too, and I'll see how that affects my riding. You'll see my experiments in action if I find they work out with no negatives in my experiments. In other words, even if the benefit seems minor, if it doesn't adversely affect my riding, I'll take the benefit.

With that I think it's time to head out to the garage and the red car. The other day it was 33 degrees (the blue car told me it was "icy" and its summer tires had wood-like traction), and a customer noticed a tiny snowflake.

Winter can't be too far away.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Helmet Cam - August 31, 2010 @TuesdayTheRent

After my upgrade request got filled a lot quicker than expected, I had a little conundrum. I had a race the next day. It was the monkey on my back race, one that always gave me fits. I got shelled week after week after week, unable to maintain the pace, unable to handle the smaller fields with the correspondingly less shelter offered.

But, as a newly minted 2, I felt pressure to do better than that. I needed to be good enough.

This drove me beyond what I could imagine.

Here's the story in an almost-15 minute, new YouTube time limit helmet cam clip.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Racing - Cat 2


In 1983, when I first got my license, when I first watched a bike race (the US Criterium Championships in Nutley, NJ), when I first learned about bike racing, I learned about this thing called a "Cat 2".

'Twas a mythical creature.

They abounded at the crit championships. Gleaming legs, impeccable form, perfect tans, gleaming bikes. They looked and rode like gods.

I realized that I was different from them.

They knew something I didn't know.

And right then, right there, I decided that I wanted to be a Cat 2.

At some level I never believed it would happen. It's just like a lot of things in my life. I wanted to do this or do that but never really thought that it'd happen.

I went and got my license and dreamed of the whole Cat 2 thing but it seemed kind of out of this world.

Life, though, kept happening.

For example, when I first saw the Tears for Fears video for "Everybody Wants to Rule the World", I thought, "Oh, man, that's what I want to do!"

Tears for Fears Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Uploaded by Celtiemama.
What I wanted to do.

I really wanted to go on a long trip, driving, contemplating, being on my own, driving all day through anonymous non-descriptive stuff (like desert or plains or something that's not New England-like), then pull into a rest stop and pick up the phone and call someone important to me.

And have me be important back to them.

Things seemed to kind of flow with a lot of these fanciful ideas of mine. About four years after I thought about this totally unreachable cross-country trip idea, I set off on a trip yet to be chronicled here. I had a not-so-cool car, my bikes (road and mountain), all sorts of backup and redundant gear, and set off on a trip.

Over the course of the trip I pulled into a rest stop or two and called people who were important to me.

And, yes, I was important to them too.

I won't go into details here (the first post would barely get me across Pennsylvania, even with my wordiness), but suffice it to say that I had an interesting, adventurous, and ultimately successful trip.

Of course I made it. Otherwise I wouldn't be typing now.

I had a lot of other fanciful thoughts, and one by one a lot of them came true.

However, the more I rode, the further away the Cat 2 felt. I raced for three years, even winning a Cat 4 race, before upgrading to a 3. Once a 3 though, things progressed... slowly.

I read how Greg Lemond wrote down all his goals. He was on top of the sport as a 16 year old, and he wrote down some lofty things. World Champion. Turn pro. World Champion as a pro. And Tour de France.

I wrote down some goals too, during the winter before my first Senior year. I learned about goal setting and worked backwards from being a pro. For me it came to this: If I couldn't do Philly, I wouldn't be able to make it as a pro.

Now back then you could just kind of sign up for Philly. One of the local Masters guys did it. Off the back, but he was there.

So basically I wanted to race Philly. I wanted to race it bad.

Of course I'd never ridden 156 miles in my life, and I hadn't ridden more than, say, 40 miles at any kind of reasonable pace ("reasonable" = getting dropped by Juniors in a road race).

So when I graduated out of the Junior ranks, I immediately got a huge gear (53x12) and started piling on the miles.

I did ten thousand miles that year. I finished one race. I was so tired, so fatigued, I couldn't hang on when the pace went over, oh, about 23 mph.

But, man, at 23 mph, I was strong!

So that kind of put paid to that idea of riding as a pro. I never rode 156 miles at one time that year, and I still haven't.

I decided to aim a bit lower. Although Philly seemed unreasonable, maybe Cat 2 was a bit more realistic.

To get that mythical upgrade, at least at that time, you had to get top 3 in three races or top 6 in six.


But I never placed top 6.

Well, barely, sometimes, the few times I could finish a race.

I'd have to do that six times in a season to get my upgrade.

Since I could barely hang on in a Cat 3 race and I got destroyed in Cat 1-2-3 races, that Cat 2 thing felt simply unreachable.

It kind of went away for a while.

A few years later I managed to score a few good races, enough so that a Cat 2 racer (and official) offered to upgrade me. He told me he felt I was ready to make the next step.

Incredibly, I felt the opposite.

Okay, fine, I loved bike racing. I loved duking it out. But I trained like I practiced violin as a 5 year old - briefly, rushed, and the absolute bare minimum necessary.

When the official offered to upgrade me, I turned him down. I felt unready, uncommitted.

A Cat 2, standing nearby, commented that it was a huge step to upgrade. I'd have to almost double my training miles. He pointed out he went from doing 250 mile weeks to over 400 mile weeks.

My then girlfriend couldn't help herself.

"You mean he'd have to ride like 90 miles a week?"

The Cat 2 looked at her, puzzled.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, he rode 45 miles this week. So if he doubled it, it'd be like 90 miles."

That didn't go over too well with the Cat 2.

Although that was a slight exaggeration, it was just a slight one.

I started racing more. I learned about Tuesday night sprints at SUNY Purchase. When those stopped I'd do the Tuesday night Cat 123 Floyd Bennett Field races in Brooklyn. I woke up early to do Prospect Park, then, if I could stay awake, drove over and did the Gimbles ride. I raced the 3s and the 123s.

I raced and raced and raced and raced.

The upgrade requirements started getting a bit more detailed.

I kept missing.

15 points. I'd have 13.

30 points. I'd have 28.

So on and so forth.

I thought I'd win one race. I got a 50 mph leadout down a slight hill, my leadout man totally spun out. I had it in the bag for sure, totally had it. My leadout guy was so fast he placed top six in the race.

50 meters from the line a guy rocketed past.

I lost.

The guy who beat me was from Colorado. His license, after the address change, came back "Cat 4". He was a Cat 2, and he requested a correction.

"Sorry, we have no record of you being a 2. If you really are a 2, you'll be able to upgrade in no time."

He won his first three Cat 4 races. He won his first three Cat 3 races. And he beat me in one of them.

I needed those points, but I couldn't get them. He got them.

I got 7th a lot. 8th. Places that didn't score points. I got 11th a lot for some reason. But not enough top 6 places to get the points to upgrade.

Then life kind of turned a corner. I had less time to train. Less of a bike environment. I didn't have my pulse on the industry like I had before.

I contemplated not doing Bethel, meaning not holding it.

(I never contemplated quitting racing though.)

I gained weight. I gained a lot of weight. In my collegiate years I barely broke 110 lbs, at 5'7". In 2003 I was over 215 lbs. My mom had been dying of cancer, and I made her an almost deathbed promise: that I'd win Bethel and the CT Crit Gold medal for her.

After her suffering finally ended in August of 2003, I started riding more, thinking of the promise I'd made just a couple months earlier.

I lost about 35 pounds, leaning down to a passable 180 lbs. Two years later, balancing on the razor's edge of starvation and strength (or so I thought) at about 177 lbs, I won the Bethel Spring Series. The next year I earned the gold medal in the CT Crit Championships.

I hit a plateau though. Not enough racing, and since racing was my training... well, you get the picture.

Two years ago I started doing the Tuesday night races in East Hartford. I'd do the A races (I had to) racing against mainly 3s and 2s, with the leg breaking Cat 1s making appearances occasionally.

I'd drive to the New England Velodrome the next day, spend a few hours pedaling around, racing when it was time, and learning that, guess what, I needed to re-learn how to suffer.

I also started going to some group rides, a Monday local shop ride my most regular one. Over two hours typically, with enough regroupments that I could safely experiment with extreme efforts on hills and such.

I started finishing races that were out of my league just a few years ago. The extra racing, the group rides, they were paying off.

Then, in the fall of 2009, it came to a screeching halt.

I lay on the road, a double fracture of the pelvis, a screwed up shoulder.

For the first time in my life I thought about bike racing as a subset of my life. It was always just a part of me, but now, well, I thought of what it meant to me.

About eight weeks after the fall, when I started working again, I decided that cycling was a part of my life.

I embarked on a militant dieting schedule. I shed weight that I'd been carrying for years, for almost a decade.

I ordered a custom frame, 5 or 6 cm longer than my current frame, with a shorter seat tube and a shorter head tube.

I revamped my whole wheel line, going to the wide rim theory, going with HED. Light carbon tubulars for racing, various clinchers for training.

Over the winter and spring I went on three, yes three, training trips. Well, two were just trips where I brought the bike, but I spent time training on three trips.

And suddenly things started clicking.

Races where I struggled to finish were high placing races. Races where I thought I'd get shelled... I placed. Races where I thought I could contribute just a pull or two for a teammate... I spent laps at the front of the field.

And towards the end of this year... I had enough points. In fact, in the spring, my overly optimistic self realized that if I didn't stop placing, I'd be forcibly upgraded.

In late August, the 30th to be precise, I decided that for 2011 I'd try and race as a Cat 2. I had the points, finally. More importantly I felt ready. A specific ready, but ready.

I didn't know that you could request an upgrade online. I mean, yeah, I saw the little square on "My USA Cycling" where it said "Request an upgrade" or something like that. But I never clicked it. I just figured a pdf would pop up and I'd have to mail it in.

When I clicked on the square, it simply asked for some info. I filled it out as best I could, and when a customer showed up (I was doing it at work), I figured "What the heck" and submitted the form.

A few hours later I checked my email.

"USA Cycling Support Ticket Closed"


I opened the email. When I realized it had to do with the upgrade, I dialed the Missus.

"I just got upgraded! I got upgraded!"
"I'm a Cat 2! A Cat 2! I can't believe it!"
"Wait, how do you know?"
"Email. I sent in a request and put down all the races and put down when I worked for someone else and I didn't think I'd get it back for a week but then I checked the email and it was right there, right in the email, it said the support ticket was closed and I was like I didn't open a support ticket but then I realized it was the upgrade and I clicked and it said I got it!"
"Are you sure you got upgraded?"

I rushed back to the computer. I couldn't focus, all this mumbo jumbo I typed about my races and stuff, and at the bottom I saw the magical words:

"...a Cat 2 sticker for your license..."


We both giggled.

For a few hours I was on Cloud 9. I posted on BikeForums "Time to walk the walk. Cat 2."

Would you believe someone thought I had to take two cats out for a walk?

Then reality set in.

Holy smokes.

I can't race a 3 race with SOC. I have to do the P123 race, or, heaven forbid, a P12 race. Those are some frickin' fast racers. I watch the races and I'm just astounded at how fast they go, and how long they go that fast.

Now I gotta race them.


Someone said that this was a "specialist" upgrade, and there's no denying that. I'm a flat to rolling crit specialist. If you want to be really precise, I specialize in crits that end in a hill or have a finish that is a descent away from any hill on the course. Oh, and I really like it if there's a way to move up in the last lap. I know, wishful thinking for a Cat 2 race, but I'll see if I can make it work.

Another thing - the race can't average more than, say, about 28 or 29 mph.

Any hill more than, oh, 200 meters long, and I go shooting off the back.

Time trials? Don't make me laugh. Actually, I'll save you the embarrassment of spitting up the coffee you're drinking. I'm that bad. Really.

And road races?

I do my best road races in the wheel van.

But yeah, I'm a 2.

The next day, on August 31st, I did the last Tuesday@TheRent (or in Twitterese, @TuesdayTheRent). As a 2 I felt, well, obliged to be a good racer. And although I hadn't finished a Rent race since forever ago, I hung in there. I suffered endlessly, thought of giving up a bazillion times. Every time I thought of giving up, I remembered... "I'm a 2" Heck, I even won the field sprint.

So, where the proof? I know you want to see the Cat 2 sticker, right?

Yeah, well, so do I.

Because I was so amped when I read the email, I didn't see the "send a self addressed stamped envelope" bit until just now.

I'll have to post the picture of the license at a later time.

I gotta go find an envelope.

Two of them, actually.

And two stamps.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Interbike 2010 - Tour de Lake Mead

I talk of the 2010 Tour de Lake Mead the first day we attended Interbike 2010. It was a great day to ride - warm, dry, sunny, with perfect pavement.

Here are almost 2 million more words (at 1000 words per picture, 60 pictures a second, and a little over 9.5 minutes of film).

2010 Tour de Lake Mead


Monday, October 04, 2010

How To - Wired SRM Powermeter Battery Replacement


I have an SRM.

(waits for applause to quiet)

SRM calls the cranks and the computers two different but similar things. The cranks are the Power Meters (because I guess they measure power) and the computer on the bar is the Power Control. I don't know why, but it's the only place you can click a button or something. So it's the Control.

For short, the cranks will hereforetowith (that's lawyer speak according to a non-lawyer) be called the cranks or the SRM. The computer will be called the Power Control V or PCV or head unit.

I have a wired SRM. That means I don't have the "wireless SRM" (cranks) or the Power Control VI or VII (PCVI, PCVII). I have the regular wired cranks and the PCV.

Okay, SRMs have a bunch of things going for them and one thing not. The good things are all the stuff that you never want to deal with, the stuff that you don't realize you want until you don't have it. Some things you want in a power meter include things like accuracy, ease of use, reliability, ease of data download, data analysis, and durability.

There's one bad part: batteries.

The PCV head unit takes a fancy rechargeable battery pack that is no longer manufactured. Seriously. Someone is getting them made kind of on the side, but you seriously cannot buy them anymore. The battery pack, from the guy who does it on the side, costs $10 per battery pack plus $10 shipping for however many batteries you get.

The cranks take a non-rechargeable battery. Depending on the crank, you may find a round battery, a rectangular one, or two rectangular ones. There may be other variations, but the moral of the story here is simple: before you order a battery, figure out what's in your crank. Then order that one.

Luckily someone still makes the crank batteries.

As anyone with an SRM will tell you, when you start riding, you need to reset some variable thing. I have no idea what it is, but the crank tells the PowerControl some number and when it's stable you hit Set. The full version (it takes 5 seconds) is as follows:

1. You wake up the crank (spin the crank back a revolution or two) and wake up the head unit (spin the back wheel or hit a button on the it).
2. You hit Mode and Set at the same time. You get smaller font number down low - that's the head unit's value for this variable. And you have a bigger font number in the middle - that's the crank's opinion on what the variable should be in the computer.
3. When the crank number (the larger font) stays still, you hit Set. The lower number changes to whatever the upper number displayed.
4. Hit Mode to exit. You're done.

Now, a little while ago, I was getting ready for a race. I woke up the crank and head unit, went and hit the Mode + Set, and watched the crank number.

It kept moving. Like a lot. Like up another 100-200-300. Normally it'd be in the 250 range. This time it was bouncing up to and over 800.

On my rides I'd get some crazy power numbers. 3000w max. 1200 average. Etc.

A good way to tell if your crank batteries are dying is see if the crank number keeps moving in one direction. That's my experience. If it does, you need to replace the battery.


You'll point out that I said up there that the one bad thing about SRM are the batteries. And you're right, I said that. The SRM units are not necessarily user friendly when it comes to battery replacement. So, at least in my mind, they decided to do the work themselves. If you want to replace the battery, you need to send the unit back to SRM.

However, if you have relatively still hands, can work with small parts, know how to solder, and have the guts to put a solder near your $2000 cranks (that's a guess on current eBay prices on the crank), then you can do it yourself.

This covers only the crank. I'll do a head unit later.

First order of business - find out what battery you need for your crank.

My initial foray into my SRM spider.
I realized those holes are for lightening. Cool.

Open the case (use a thin screwdriver to just pop off the white casing). Carefully examine the guts. You should see a battery like the one above, maybe two, or a round battery that resembles a stack of quarters inside a cannister.

Now Google the battery specs. You'll see some sites come up. I chose one. There may be others.

I opened it up more. Cool.
Note large o-ring on big part of crank, small o-ring hanging off of white cover.

Now wait for the battery to arrive. You have to wait because the batteries cannot be air shipped. It's got to pound pavement all the way to your shipping address.

I ordered a couple since I have a primary and backup SRM system. Both, mind you, have dead or dying crank batteries.

Soldering at work.

Note my various tools, from left:
1. Soldering torch. Radio Shack, if you must know.
2. Black oven pan, so I don't drip hot solder onto desk pad.
3. Moving up, some electric solder from Radio Shack
4. Box above that batteries came in.
5. Little batteries (two of them) in a plastic bag. The sense of scale here is important. These suckers are little.
6. Clear tube is the cap to the soldering torch. Important because it holds the flint to light the soldering torch.
7. The crank arm.

I use a butane torch because no need for electric outlets. No chance of touching soldering iron to wire. No electric burning smell by default. Plus refilling them with butane is cool.

I had to put the pen there to hold the battery in place.

There are these tiny brass looking wire things that loop around the spider. Don't mess with them.

Basically you heat up the wire. The solder melts and the wire pops off.

Then the hard part. You need to heat the wire again for the new battery, touch the solder to the joint, let it flow, and you're done.

Don't dwaddle with the soldering iron else you'll keep it hot, the solder won't set, and the wire just pops off.

Next time I'll use some kind of clip. I got stressed with the balancing act I did to hold the wire, battery, and everything else in place.

Although SRM checks the battery to make sure it's up to snuff when they install a new battery, I don't. I don't have the tools to check the charge/discharge and other stuff they do when they install a battery. I guess I can always redo it if I do it myself. But to pay someone else to do it, well, they have to get it right on the first try.

I started thinking of ways to mod this, so I could either install a rechargeable battery (and a recharge port) or adapt the connectors so there'd be no soldering.

I didn't think of anything so I didn't do anything. But I'll keep thinking.

Someone else, either SRM or someone, is trying to make a transmitter that would pick up off this wired arm and transmit Ant+ protocol up to the head. That would be totally awesome.

Make sure you remember which battery is dead and which one is not.

Luckily the new battery has some extra mounting pins on it, else I might have soldered in the old battery. That would really suck.

Getting closer. Magnifying glass so I can see minute details.

It got tedious, especially with the hot torch. I ran out of time at work and had to head home, the crank carefully transported with a half connected battery.

Once home I redid both connections and popped the cover on. The white cover is a bit stubborn so it takes a bit to pop on. The o-ring in the center doesn't help any. Make sure both the outer and inner o-rings are seated properly. Press firmly around the perimeter of the white cover.

Ultimately the small ring holds it in place, but until you get the rings mounted you need to get it at least close to in place.

And... well, I could use the same picture for before and after.

So... now for a month or two of testing. I hope this works. First indications look good, but I need to wait for some bumping around and stuff before I call it a success.

I actually did all this work in mid-September. About 3 weeks later, so far so good. Wattage is back to mortal numbers. I'll see how it continues. If things go well, I'll do the other spider during the winter sometime.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

How To - Pacelines


The other day I had the good fortune to ride with three other riders that knew how to ride in a paceline. I also experienced this when I spent some quality time doing huge efforts with SOC (one of the aforementioned three) and Botto.

A good paceline is a joy. You go faster with less effort. You work together as a team. You contribute your own strength.

It's satisfying.

However, a paceline consists of a delicate balance of contribution, expectation, and strength.

A bad paceline... it's a disaster. Stressful. Unhelpful. Scary. Embarrassing.

One of the typical problems - riders surge when pulling through. Rested, a bit stressed by the fact that it's their turn, they let adrenaline get the better of them. They pull through hard, causing the glue holding the paceline together to stretch and disintegrate.

Too often the rider pulling off doesn't slow either. Often this is because they expect the same surge to come from the next rider, and they don't want to get dropped on that surge. The rider ends up riding next to the paceline's lead rider, contributing nothing, expending everything.

What I find in my own experiences is that many riders pulling off expect the rider coming through to surge. Since surging is bad form, if the rider coming through doesn't surge, the person sits next to the paceline, pulling without pulling.

The lead rider of the paceline who is (not) surging is doing the right thing - maintaining speed/effort. It's up to the rider pulling off to slow down.

So how do you ride a paceline?

When I pull off it goes something like this:
1. Wiggle elbow on side to come through. Right elbow wiggles if I'm pulling off to left. I've heard opposing opinions on which elbow to wiggle. Other than emulating the pros, the best argument I've heard for pulling off opposite the wiggle is that when the rider behind can see the wiggling elbow even as you move.

When in doubt, wait for the wiggle to end and the rider to move. Note rider's wiggle side and move direction for future reference.

2. Pull off. Get outta the lead, in other words.

3. Immediately coast for a count of 5 to 10, give or take. It takes that long for the first two people to go by me. I always coast, always. It signifies I'm done pulling, and since I pull off in a subtle way (I don't swing 10 feet over), it's a different way to make it very clear I'm done. Note: an experienced rider will immediately realize I've pulled off, but a less experienced one may not.

4. Start soft pedaling. Stay close to the line, no more than 2 feet away, preferably a foot away. Being 8 feet away is bad. Looks dramatic, allows you to check out everyone's form, but if you're in anything but a "feeling super comfortable and we're going way too slow" mode, it's a waste of energy.

5. When second last rider is approaching, ramp up speed. Mind you, if the group is going 25 mph, I've never slowed too much, in this case probably 20-22 mph minimum. Once I stop coasting I basically don't slow anymore.

6. As last rider goes by, start to equal speed. You need to speed up before they pass you completely, so you need to almost equal the last rider's speed. You can't equal it else you'll just ride next to them.

7. When last rider's BB goes by, start moving back in gradually. Accelerate that last bit to get onto the wheel.

8. Slide onto wheel with 3-6" clearance, soft pedal to avoid going into the back of the rider, relax, drink, blow nose, etc. The latter is important - blow your nose when you're last, not leading.

If you think the paceline is going too slow, the best way to contribute is to take much longer pulls (problem is if it's a double paceline) or to pull on downhills.

Tip: if you hear constant coasting, you're going too slow. This is particularly important on downhills. You may be pedaling your brains out at 45 mph and everyone behind you is on their brakes. Either pull off RIGHT NOW or speed up.

You know that expression "Siht or get off the can"? Well, if you hear a lot of coasting you need to get going or move over. You're screwing up the paceline. YOU need to fix it. If you don't fix it you throw away the whole reason for doing the paceline - easier efforts at higher speeds.

Tip: if you have a power meter and you hit a hill, let the power go up a bit but try and maintain a steady pace. Riders naturally go 50%-100% harder (250w to 375-500w), but don't start doing 800-1000w efforts. Keeping it steady, 0% increase, will result in riders touching brakes. I think a safe number is 50% over flat land power.

Tip: if no power meter but you have a heart rate monitor, try and keep HR steady.

Exception: if you're in a race and chasing, it's best to ramp up the speed. It takes much more time and energy to slowly close a gap. It's much better to close it quickly. Those that can follow your increase in pace deserve to be there. Those that don't, don't.

When you ride in a paceline you become a part of it. Do your part and contribute towards making it a good one.

Enjoy the ride!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Pedal For Paws Charity Ride

At 4:45 AM of the morning of Pedal For Paws, a ride to benefit Forgotten Felines, the alarm went off, the new-to-me (it's a replacement for the original one, whose shutter button broke) DroidX ringing off its default alarm tone, increasing gradually in volume (which isn't a default setting). I somehow knew it was about to go off so I must have been slightly awake.

Which is hard to believe because the day before had stretched out a bit longer than I expected. I worked a full day first, then rushed home to get ready for Saturday's ride. Throughout the day the Missus would call and update me on things.

One of the major things?

Bring my bike.

With an incomprehensible exhaustion setting in after Interbike (I sat on the stairs at home one evening and woke up a bit later with a curious Riley looking at me from two steps up), I'd only managed to move my bike bag about eight feet since I'd gotten home. I had some serious motivation to move that bag eight feet - a corner of our garage accumulates water efficiently, and I'd placed my bike bag square in the middle of that spot. With extreme downpours daily for a bit, I had to move my bike.

In other words, in the almost-week that went by, I'd gotten the bike moved eight feet.

Now the Missus was saying that it'd be a good idea to bring the bike. SOC was really looking forward to doing the ride, and he thought I'd like the ride too. We'd do the 50 mile loop (which encompasses all the other loops) as a sweep team, to check for stragglers and such. I'd need a bike for that.

First, though, I had to pack clothing, bike gear (the important stuff of which I realized, after some searching, was in the bike bag), and...

Change the cat litter.

Sexy, right?

I'd gotten some more Tidy Cat this week. The green version is my current favorite, and, based on which one the cats use first, is the cats' favorite too. The orange is a close second, with the light blue the bulk filler that the cats like. The dark blue doesn't do much for me or the cats and they chose light blue over the long-available red.

(And get the clumping kind in bins or jugs, not the clay version in the bags.)

I used about 30 lbs that night, a bit more than usual.

I finally assembled the bike, perhaps not perfectly, with the idea that we'd have 20-30 minutes to get ready for the ride. I knew I'd need to check the bike quickly before the ride, but, running out of time, that seemed to be enough.

I tossed everything in the car and headed down to Ride Headquarters. Although not raining too badly, it was still wet out. Ride HQ sat very close to the Wednesday night ride loop, and I knew I could make some good time in dry weather.

Wet weather...

The tires (Michelin Pilot Sports, bought used, and used by moi for an additional 25k miles already) worked fine. No hydroplaning, no uncertainty, and lots of stability.

With my DroidX's shutter button working, once again I could use it as a dash cam. My standard modus operandi is to record until I stop driving, think about any "incidents" that might have happened, and if nothing happened, erase clip.

What I didn't realize is that each time I took a call, it'd shut off the cam. It takes a few clicks to find and erase a clip, and I didn't have that click freedom while driving. The Missus was trying to coordinate meeting for dinner, my drive, and Ride HQ tasks, and she kept calling to check on my progress. Therefore I slowly ran out of available memory.

The last call ended with me about 18 minutes away from our meeting point (diner near Ride HQ). I had 17:34 of memory left on the MicroSD card. I made it my goal to make it there before I ran out of memory.

16:52 later, I'd parked the car. I hit the shutter button to stop recording.

We handled a lot of last minute preparation once back at Ride HQ. The SOCs' enthusiasm was refreshing, although I didn't act it that night. For me the night before an event is very business-like, not very pleasant, just get things done, get to bed as quick as possible. The SOCs were keen on not just holding a good race but also being good hosts to us guests.

We turned in, me so exhausted I barely remember getting into bed.

Although I knew Saturday would be a long day, I didn't realize just how long.

It started when I got in the car and started it up.

It started up fine, but the tach went immediately to 1500 rpm and then to 0. All the idiot lights on the dash stayed on. The headlights wouldn't stay on, blinking on and off randomly. The engine alternately revved up and bogged down, with something telling the engine to speed up or slow down.

All the dash lights on, tach at zero, engine revving and stumbling, at o'dark o'clock.

It was my nightmare - my vehicle dies on the morning of the event. Luckily we had started with four vehicles, four drivers. With one knocked out, the other three went on. I Googled and checked things for a good 30+ minutes, but realized that this was either an ECU reset or a bad sensor.

SOC returned back to Ride HQ to pick me up. We'd be marking the final part of the course. After I disconnected the battery (to reset the ECU) we set off to check the course and mark the final bits of the 50 mile loop.

Now, for me, when I do charity or group rides where I have to follow cue sheets or route markings, I get really stressed.

I had a hard time describing this until I came up with an imaginary visual reference.

Think of it this way. When I ride on a course that I don't know, I have a stress bar, like a bar that extends sideways. As I ride, the stress rises. When I see a route marking or sign, the bar resets.

Straightforward, right?

The more intersections I pass, the further the bar registers. Uphills, it registers a bit quicker. Downhills, a lot quicker (because I'd have to climb back up if I missed a turn).

My philosophy when marking a course is to keep the stress bar low.

Of course practical considerations apply here. For example, it'd be really unstressful if the route had a line painted on it for the whole distance. My stressbar would never budge from zero. But 50 miles of painting a stripe... that's a bit much.

Likewise, putting a sign on every telephone pole would be great too, with a stressbar that never registers, but, again, 50 miles of signs on telephone poles... that's a bit much too.

We worked with a somewhat limited number of signs, tried to make things good, but when marking a route early in the morning, versus marking it when parking lots are full and parked cars spill out into the roadway...

Next year we'll keep my stressbar close to zero, I promise.

We headed back, our "we thought it'd take 2 hours but it really took 4 hours" course checking recon drive making us late for everything.

Kitted up, SOC and I joined a very patiently waiting Hob and Dorothy.

After a small square of brownie, a tiny cookie, and a half bottle or so of lemonade, we set off on a memorable ride. Memorable for a number of reasons.

First, as anyone that's put on an event knows, there's a lot of stress involved. Riding is a great way of dealing with said stress. It was a great ride with great weather and a perfect way to rid myself of said stress.

Second, I hadn't ridden with Hob or Dorothy for a while, and both have gotten much, much stronger in that "while". It was interesting to see the difference in strength but also good to ride with them for the companionship. There's something special about the bonds you create when you ride with someone on a long-ish ride. Although 50 miles isn't long to Hob or Dorothy (they recently did 150 mile rides), it's long enough to build some of that bond.

One of the moments - Dorothy had been pulling on a hill at a pretty good pace, me just behind, with Hob dangling at the back. Suddenly, checking back, Hob announced that SOC had disappeared. We'd dropped him.

We all eased up. I looked at Dorothy.

"You must have been like, 'Finally!' when Hob said SOC dropped off. Now we can go easy."

We all grinned.

In actuality SOC took a call regarding the ride, so he eased up so he could talk to the person sensibly.

Third, since we all have some sense of group etiquette, we never had any "moments" where someone does something stupid and everyone else looks around with the "who invited them?" look on their faces.

Fourth, since we all race, and there were a few town line signs here and there, we ended up doing some very impromptu town line sprints.

During the ride I found the limits of my hurried bike assembly, in the dark garage. First I had to put the Cane Creek Speed Bars on before we even started. Then, during the ride, I adjusted my stem twice and my bars once. I had the bar tilted up just a tad too much, making the drops uncomfortable, and the stem had sat in a permanent crosswind angle to the left. I fixed them both but it took a couple tries.

Hob commented that my constant bar fiddling reminded him of Eddy Merckx adjusting his saddle in the Worlds (I don't know if anyone knows but he was never comfortable on his bike after a terrible crash early in his career - I mention it here). And, this morning, when watching a seemingly unrelated link on YouTube, guess what I found in the sidebar?

Yep, the clip.

The Worlds from Ole Ritter's film "La Course En Tete"
The piece played after the finish one of my favorites.
And, no, I don't know what the piece is.

The bar adjustments helped. After missing a good half dozen of the town line sprints, I quickly snapped up three in a row (including two, pretty close together, for the same town!). I liked the second sprint the best - as I took off I could hear someone mutter, "Son of a..."


Don't worry, the whole karma thing comes into play, just like it always does. The third sprint, along with the tremendous all-day pace set mainly by Hob, put paid to my legs.

I came off on the next little bump, literally a bridge hill over some road or some tracks, my quads furiously trying to cramp. I couldn't push down with straightened legs so I could only pull up when seated. I could stand if I kept my legs really bent and not for very long.

That means, for those of you keeping score, that if I stayed in the saddle, I could really only pull up (and my hamstrings started to go from all that pulling up).

If I stood, I had maybe 10-15 bent-leg pedal strokes before my quads went.

I kept coming off, the weakest of the quartet, with SOC playing dutiful teammate and waiting for me repeatedly.

Thankfully we had gotten pretty far before my legs gave out, and SOC and I were close enough to watch Dorothy take the last town line sprint.

(I think we all took three each, which would have been interesting. If anyone took more, it'd have been Hob - it seemed that he took mercy on us after taking the first few sprints.)

After the ride I felt pretty stunned, like someone whacked me in the head with a non-marring mallet. I wasn't hungry, I was more sore than I've been in a while, and tired from everything.

We got back to Ride HQ. I reconnected the battery in my car. I saw exactly what I saw in the morning. Called AAA. And my car got taken away in a flat bed.

When the driver was chaining down the car, I realized my car looked exactly like one of those drag race cars I see every now and then.

"Hey, my car looks like a race car now!"

The driver looked at me.

"Fast and not so furious?"

I could only laugh.

"Fast and not so furious"

Apparently he'd raced a similar car in Englishtown, NJ, one of the biggest drag race tracks on the northeastern part of the US. His car made literally three times the power of mine though (mine is stock).

The Missus, doing the money stuff, gave us the good news. The ride had raised a lot of money, with a lot of riders showing up. With no previous numbers to work off, we'd underestimated the interest and actually ran out of all sorts of stuff. Next year we'll be better.

Overall the day was excellent, with great volunteer turn out, great rider turn out, and even (I didn't want to say this until it was public knowledge) our own TJ dressed in a Sylvester suit! I didn't realize who it was until long after the ride. So, TJ, sorry if I didn't recognize you, although that black and white outfit was quite distinctive.

To cap off the day we went for nice simple dinner. I was really tired, nodding off even on the way to the restaurant. During dinner we talked about the ride (of course) and how we could make things better for next year. To capture my hard working enthusiasm, SOC snapped a classic shot.

Dreaming of winning another town line sprint

That about says it all.

Thanks to the riders, volunteers, and donations that helped make the first Pedal 4 Paws ride a success. And a big congrats to Mrs SOC who came up with the idea over a year ago (!) and made it work.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Racing - Bike Throws

Bike throws...

When I read that Phinney and another guy (sorry, between the two I've only heard of Phinney) shared the bronze (shared!), I had to find a picture of the finish line camera view.

Here it is:

From this page at

Kudos to Canadian Guillaume Boivin for snagging half the Bronze. Note how his pelvis is behind the saddle, and in fact the saddle is pretty much under his chest? This indicates that he's as far back on the bike as possible, which therefore means the bike is as far forward as possible.

Phinney didn't throw the bike as far as Boivin, but he has the second best throw in the picture.

The other guys really didn't throw their bikes, just sat down extra hard.

Although this may be nitpicking, it's clear that Phinney was in position to win the bronze himself. I guess that's what makes the difference at this level, the split second timing.