What's the weather like in Doug's neighborhood?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Done with the weather

Yes, the forecast is gloomy again. It has been raining off and on, cloudy, and humid. Pretty hard to figure out if or when to squeeze in a ride. Best bet seems to be just throwing the bike in the truck for the day and hoping for a break in the clouds to sneak out for a ride. So far in May we are sitting on 8-15in of rain, depending on where in N.Alabama you happen to be riding. 17 of the previous 25 days have had rain and the next three are forecasting at about 80% probability.

That is a lot of water to deal with. The ground here is pretty well saturated. So even if the rain is light it still makes the trails too mucky to ride. I have been getting in some fire road rides over the last couple of weeks, but that is getting a little old. Man, I don't know how people in the North West handle it. I'd go crazy living in this rain year round. I like my trails dry and the sun shining.

Sorry, that's all I got today. Just had to vent on the weather. Our Memorial weekend was a bust due to weather, kid plans, and laziness...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Okay, I can't claim to have the most boring blog...

Sorry Chris, but I gotta call this one out :)


If you know what the heck he is talking about you ought to be getting paid for it. Seriously that mumbo jumbo just makes my head hurt. I had to suffer out a programming course at SJSU for my degree. Fairly rudimentary and more than enough programming to last a lifetime for the average engineer.

Okay, it is Friday and blazing into a holiday weekend.
How about some more MacaskillZ

This guy is sick, throw some Beastie Boys remix into it and you have a good little video...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Being lazy

Well, I have been finding it hard to post much lately. Lack of photos and significant content doesn't instill much motivation there. Sorry, just the way it goes sometimes.

New gear:
1) Fox Sergeant shorts.

Fox still cuts their gear for bean pole, little boys, and xc racers. They fit my waist, not much room in the trunk so watch for plumber's crack if you are following me. One bonus feature that is interesting, the shorts are stretch material! Crazy. Now I have a stretchy liner and a stretch shell. That's some comfort right there. The fit is athletic, not too baggy. I give them a thumbs-up.

2) Fox Ranger Shorts.

Weird fit on these shorts. I got them a size larger than the sergeants. It is like they only made the waist bigger. Trunk space may even be smaller. So pair up a loose waist and too little room in the rear and we have major crack making a showing. These ones are on their way back to the vendor.

3) Hoss Ponderosa shorts.

I have always heard good report on these. They are about the cheapest of the cycling specific shorts. I gotta say they are comfy. The chamois liner is very well done. Only issue I have is the droopy chamois that is a side effect of sewn-in liners. Not a big deal, it just catches the nose of the saddle on accasion. Okay one more gripe, my 38in waist puts me in a XXXL size. That is just weird as most brands would reserve that designation to 42-46in waist.

4) Kenda Nevegal 2.35 dtc tire.
I pulled the Ardent 2.4 off the bike. It was just too big for my fork, it liked to throw rocks, and if you hit mud forget about it. The nevegal is very comfortable. Weird thing is I never liked this tire pattern in CA. In AL though I liked it on my 29er and now on my heckler. It just works for the rocky terrain here.

I have been getting a fair amount of trail time in. Mostly shorter lunch rides. The legs are finally coming back and I am able to notice that the small elevation climbs here are not too bad. It is a motivational thing to hit that level where the body starts to work again. I have been riding mostly with friends, which is a nice change of pace from the solitude of so many rides last year. I have hooked up with a crew that seems to have regular rides so it is much easier to hookup on a ride with them. The group also has several guys who are of a similar pace and stamina. We still suffer, but there isn't the demoralization of getting dropped too.

The SORBA club rides have been getting rained out. Yesterday there was a large group out for the Wednesday night ride. The biker's lot was packed as full as I have ever seen it. I broke off and rode with the usual suspects and not the SORBA club. The groups criss-crossed several times and even rode Goat trail in series. That kind of split our B-team as a couple of us jumped into the end of the SORBA pack and kept up with them. It made for a nice break at the benches. A pinch flat and a broken chain were the carnage trailside, but it was on other's bikes not mine.

Today was an Arsenal 8-9mi loop. I was running on dead legs, so I took it back a notch and just grunted it out. I am glad I went for the ride despite it not being a fast day for me. I made 4 or 5 new friends on the trail. Stupid wood ticks are really favoring me out there. On the overgrown trails I am picking up several on a ride. Fortunately I have sensitive enough legs to catch them cuising on my shin or calf, usually before they bite. A bit of mud and damp trails didn't help with maintaining forward momentum, but I managed to make all the climbs so nothing to complain about. For the last couple of miles my bike is chirping. No big deal, I probably should have repacked the hub bearings by now anyhow. Out on the pavement I look down and find the true culprit. My rotor is badly bent and complaining with each revolution. I am getting pretty good at rotor truing, but I think this one is a goner. Oh well, I am overdue for a rotor failure. I think last one I bent was in 2005, so I have had a good run. The rocks out here finally struck a blow. One must have gone airborn and slammed my rotor along the way.

Throw in mowing the lawn and some work and you have it in a nut shell. Hopefully your life is more exciting these days. Either way, keep the rubber-side down...

Monday, May 11, 2009

A little something clever

Okay, I am not an advocate of ipods and riding. But I do like the creativity behind this short video...

All in my head from Mattdevine on Vimeo.

Weekend in review. Lame. More rain. More TV and being lazy. I changed the oil and filters on the mower and that's about all I have to show for the time off. Austin has some crud and was puking all over yesterday. I still am feeling a bit weathered. So we had an unproductive weekend. Oh, got out and saw the Disney nature film "Earth". Pretty cool movie, full of great nature filming.

Monday, May 4, 2009

You'd think there were no more cats and dogs

Seriously, it has been pouring here since what Thursday I think. About the only good to come out of it is that I got motivated to clean the gutters during a break in the storms on Saturday. Gotta say, the task was not nearly as hard as I had thought. I probably won't put it off so long next time :)

Not much to report since the last blog. I got in one ride last Tuesday, but was still feeling the effects of Sunday's marathon. I am also thinking part of my recent sufferring while riding is due to illness. My guess is that the fatigue is my own variation of the crud Erin and the kids have been carrying. Other than general fatigue on the bike, sore throat, and a bit of crusty flem in the mornings I seem to have done okay. At any rate, the ride was about 10mi around the Arsenal trails. They had finally dried out to the point of a good ride and all climbs actually rideable.

Goodies in the garage? Not a whole lot of action there. Box of goodies from SpeedGoat came in on Tuesday. I got some new tires. Going to give the Maxxis Ardent tires a shot. Picked up a 2.4 for the front and a 2.25 for the back. I mounted the rear with tube chocked full of sealant. The front I mounted "ghetto tubeless" (basically using a smaller diameter tube to seal the spoke bed). No issues there. The front tire is an honest 2.4 and weighs in at about 825g, so it is a decent tubeless candidate. I am not so sure about the 600g 2.25in, it may just be too thin for me to run without the support of a tube.

Other stuff in the box is mainly maintenance items. I got a new granny ring, so at this point I have replaced all the gears on this bike. Figure I should be good to go for the rest of the season. I also scored some derailleur housing. So I re-cabled the rear derailleur with full housing to the back. That should keep some of the crud out of it and make for a bit better shifting. I used a silicone lube in the housing, just to test it out. It might not attract so much dirt/dust.

So in my spare time I have been getting the bike cleaned up and ready to ride some more. Looks like I will have a few more weeks of mud to contend with. I have been liking the White Lightening wax lube. It is a bit more effort to keep up on, but it does keep the entire drivetrain much cleaner. I think once we get out of the mud season I will appreciate it even more.

Speaking of mud and slick conditions, I also got me some new kicks. I sold off a few items from the parts bin and applied the cash towards a new set of shoes. I have been thinking that it was getting on time to retire my 4 year old M182's. They have served me well, but they are not very good for the hike a bike over wet and rocky trails. I am not really sure why all the high-end shoes have hard rubber on the sole, but it makes for very poor traction on wet rocks. So I stumbled onto the M086 shoes. This model has all the features of the M182, but is about half the price. It also has a softer rubber sole and rubber toe spikes, so hiking should be a bit less sketchy and a bit more comfortable. About the only negatives I can see are 1, it looks like a soccer shoe, 2, the toe spikes are not removeable/replaceable (I never have removed or replaced my others, so I guess that is moot), 3, the inner liner of the shoe is white (I am sure that will be remedied shortly and I will give them a nice mud color that will remain for the duration). I installed the cleats, sealed up the sole, and slapped in some gel inserts. Very comfortable. I should have been running gel insoles sooner. I have been using 2 insoles for a long time, but the gel feels way better. I will have to post back on longevity though.

Shocking? Well, I have been testing out several rear shocks on the Heckler. I have decided that the RP3 is where it is at. I like the coil a lot, but the wieght penalty bugs me and also running a coil in back and air up front doesn't agree with my sensibilities. Only issue with the shock is that it rides harsh initially unless I have lower pressure and then it likes to blow through travel. So I am sending it off to get tuned for the Heckler and my riding weight. Push Industries gets the nod. They have a few tricks up their sleeve to get the shock working more in-tune with the suspension instead of fighting against it. Fox has announced a pro-tune service, but it isn't quite up and running yet. So push it is. I swapped out the air sleeves yesterday. Apparently the AVA sleeve, even closed down, is actually a larger air volume than the high volume sleeve. Who knew? Okay, the guys at Push knew. Re-installing the air sleeves confirmed this as it was much harder to compress the non-AVA sleeve and install it. Now I just have to mail off the RP3 and wait about a month to get it back. I am not entirely stoked on the wait time, but this time of year the waits are longer. It will be worth it to have a shock that is actually tuned though. It is an odd notion in the bicycle industry. We have always favored external adjustment. In motorcycles it is the norm to have your shock tuned for your personal weight, preference, and your bike. IMO that is a far superior approach. This 1 size fits all mentality in the bicycle industry is just wrong. Stay tuned for results (probably mid-June).

Other news on the Home front?

Erin is going back to work. She has taken a teaching position at our neighborhood church. It is good and bad. Extra money is good, but there isn't necessarily a good balance of amount of work versus amount of money after you factor in the kids care while she is at work.

We are all a lazy bunch of couch potatoes. Spent most of the day yesterday lounging around and watching TV.

Mowing lawns sucks. The mower seems to be behaving itself once again, so hopefully I am mostly done with the annual maintenance items. I picked up air, oil, and fuel filters this week which I will install when it stops raining.

That's all I got for now, business as usual. Keep the rubber-side down...