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

Friday, November 13, 2009

There's a hole in the bucket

Just putting up a couple of photos of the skylight addition. Hard to capture on camera due to how much light it adds. Glad we decided to do this.

Guys are working on evening out the spackle right now. Hopefully this will be the last of the work inside the house. It is pretty obnoxious having to drop everything to be around while the roofers work.

Faith's birthday request

...a trip to Chattanooga, TN

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Heckler face lift pt.1

Okay, mentioned I had some changes on the bike front.

Well, here is the main visual...

I came home from my Wednesday ride to find my replacement swingarm in the entryway. Cool. So I forged ahead into the task of swapping out the swingarms and the pivot bearings. An hour later I had the bearings out of the frame. Long story. Basically Santa Cruz uses a machined shoulder in the frame to locate the bearings. This shoulder means that you have no mechanical access to the outer bearing race. So removal depends on the bearing staying together while you beat it out with the inner race. One came out clean. The other decided it would be more fun to separate, leaving me a headache to get out. I managed to get'r-done and installed a fresh set of bearings.

Another discovery, but a more positive one. With the disappearance of Cateye cloth bar tape I was looking for a new chainstay material to protect the aluminum frame from the steel chain. I came across 3M splicing tape. Cool stuff, rubber and tacky. Easy to work with and cheap. Cover that up with white vinyl and you have yourself a very inconspicuous chainstay wrap.

Raw Materials:

Big Thank You goes out to Santa Cruz MTB for the warranty on the original swingarm.

Tuck and roll

Good stuff right here

I can still remember a crash I had back in high school where I clipped my pedal on asphalt, tucked and rolled through the crash, and came up totally unscathed. The hard part is fighting the natural urge to superman.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Still trucking

Not blogging a whole lot at the moment. Guess I just have better things to do. Sorry, to my 3 faithful followers. I will try to get back to the 2-3x a week deal. Hard part is having interesting events happen with the same frequency. My life is not so exciting.

Weather here in the Southeast has been great. It did rain yesterday, but otherwise riding conditions have been stellar for the last couple of weeks. Okay, maybe stellar is overshooting a bit. But I have at a minimum been able to get out on the bike with some frequency as of late. The ride log tells the tale. I am getting in about 80-100mi/month (October was high due to Tsali trip). I would like more, but honestly don't really have the time to designate. So that will have to do.

Only problem with the elevated riding schedule is that I keep breaking stuff. This is getting a bit old. Erin gives me the stink eye when I am heading into the garage to "work on my bike" again. Heck, I am tired of working on it as well. I just want to ride. Latest casualty, my swingarm. I have been breaking pinch bolts with some frequency since the purchase of the bike. Well, to liven things up the bike decided instead of breaking another bolt that it would just give up the alloy threads in the swingarm. Willie over at Santa Cruz was very nice to me and has a new swingarm in the mail. Hopefully the new design will be less of an issue. No pinch bolts anyways. I was able to dig up a longer bolt from the LBS and salvage a few more rides out of the damaged swingarm, but I will need to mail it off to Willie when the new one arrives. Can't complain about that. I honestly didn't expect them to warranty the thing, so paying shipping back to SC is a small price to pay.

More on the warranty front. Specialized also ponied up some warranty parts for my command post. After Tsali the post had got gunked up and the sealhead was questionable, so I left it at the shop to be sent in for a rebuild. Specialized decided to just send parts instead. Again, can't really complain. Only thing lost is a bit of time to swap out the parts.

Last breakdown was more of a wear and tear item. The rear derailleur finally gave up the ghost. Shifting has been crap for a couple of months now, but when I swapped over to the Rocket twist shifters I could no longer get consistent shifting across the cassette. Guess 3 years is a decent lifespan for a rear derailluer. It is weird wearing out parts. Usually I replace stuff well before that time arrives. If I sell them while they are still functional I get to play the shell game and apply the proceeds of sale towards new parts. Now I am stuck with a broke down derailleur and have to shell out 100% out of pocket on new. Fortunately I had a spare Saint derailleur sitting about to

Not a breakdown, but still an item requiring attention. The new fork is a bit much. Turns out for my riding the Heckler's break even setup is a maximum of 140mm front travel. The added 10mm has pretty much demolished the steep and technical climbing ability of the bike. I hit the switchbacks on Sunday and had a heck of a time. So it looks like I will be cracking open the Revelation and reducing travel. I don't know what people riding with 160mm forks on this bike do. Either they really like climbing with the saddle up their taint or they hike the climbs. I am not really into either of those options.

Okay, so that's a lot of bunk going on. Expect a new parts breakdown in the next week or so.

Last week my boss sent me a link to this Ares video. Ares 1-X takeoff to touchdown. Pretty neat time to be working for NASA.

Around the house we are finally getting to the end of the whole tree falling mess. The new roof is on. Skylight is installed. The tree is gone. Stump is ground. We are a little bit of paint and a gutter away from sticking a fork in it. I will be glad to be done with that. We ended up going through 4 seperate roofing companies to get things in order and actually get the work done.

Leaves are falling. I have a pile of bagged leaves out on the curb for pickup with the trash. Austin spent a fair amount of time helping me out on Saturday. It did require buying him a rake. He raked, bagged leaves, and even helped mow the lawn. No complaining either. It was nice to have the help.

That's it for now. Gotta do some work...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shooting stuff

Another cool video clip of some high speed photography.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mixed bag

Weather here in the SE has been unpredictable as of late. At least more unpredictable than normal. Fall has arrived. With a bit of a chill, then more rain, then wind. The trees are dropping their leaves pretty quick. Not much color this year due to all the rain and the lack of any early season frost. Still some beautiful trees around, but they are fewer this year.

Yesterday I snuck out for a quick ride at the Land Trust. I figured even if it was a bit wet in there I could still get in a 5-8mi ride. As I was unpacking my gear up at the trailhead Steve pulled up. It was nice to have some company and motivation to ride a bit harder.

Right out of the gate I pulled the wheel out of the dropout. Kind of a weird sensation powering a climb and having the wheel snap out. Guess you really need to reef down on the Saint axle. My hadley alloy axle doesn't require nearly the same amount of torque. Quick fix on that and we continued on up Tollgate Trail. No rest, straight into High Trail. Maxxis super tacky High Roller 2.35 UST tires are fantastic in the wet terrain. Really loving it. Unfortunately Maxxis no longer produces the tire in this softer, 42A, durometer. They offer it in non-tubeless though. At any rate the compound really grips on the wet rocks and roots. I found myself trying to make it spinout and only managed to succeed once on the entire ride. It doesn't do any better in wet mud, but I try to avoid that stuff anyways.

We stopped for a rest at the junction of High and Bluff Line trails. Snapped a couple of pictures.

the heckler with it's new fork

Steve all kitted out

Yours truly

We headed down Bluffline. Steve was on a realatively new set of brakes, so they weren't bedded in yet. He rode it out with a bit more respect for that issue. I bombed down the trail at a decent clip. The RockShox 2010 Revelation Team model is quite a fork. Despite being a factory tune, intended for someone lighter than my own 240lb, it performs fantastic. It handles big hits and high speed about as well as my fork that I sent out to be tuned specifically for me. At the same time it takes the small bumps much better. The Black Box damper and Dual Flow rebound cartridge are a huge improvement over the 2009 forks.

I had enough time at the bottom of the hill to get the camera out and catch Steve on the final descent.

I had come across the top of that rock, slid about 2 feet sideways, and almost ended up in no man's land off to the Steve's left hand. Fortunately the tacky tire compound regained composure and I was able to get back on course. Again very impressed with the tire compound. Note to self, search out more NOS HR UST ST tires. 2nd note to self, Bluff Line is super slick when wet, slow down a little. Usually under these conditions I would run the trail at about half speed, but the tires made me do it faster. Since I wasn't getting that sketchy loss of traction feeling I just kept on hauling.

Another shot taken the corner up from the last. My point and shoot can't really capture the elevation change very well. I am about 30ft down from Steve and about 40ft away, that's a pretty steep section.

Last one for the day. Just looking up in the trees. Nice day to be outside even if it was a bit slick.