29 May 2008

There Are Some Things I Will Just Never Get

There are certain things that you just can't help but realize when you are out for a ride, luckily phones now have cameras! If you live in the Greater Cleveland area, chances are you have been in or around Euclid, Ohio at one time or another. Euclid is a bit disturbing to me for many, many reasons. It's kind of confusing, a very industrialized city with a ton of housing, apartments, on the lake, lots of different cultures, bars, and on and on. No where, in my mind, is there more of a baffling mixture of culture than this: That's right folks, the Polka/Softball Hall Of Fame. As you know there is nothing more American than polka, er, softball, uh... polka AND softball! There is only one person who could make sense of such a crazy thing, but I will let Matt go unnamed since, in fairness, this would make him as happy as you or I getting a new bike. I kid you not, he would be that happy. I just can't figure out what the hell they were thinking with this one. That's to say, I wonder if the meeting went something like this:
"So what could we put in to discourage tourism and keep the pesky tourist types out of our neighborhood?"
"I KNOW! Softball only kind of sucks, as does polka, but if we combine the two..!"
I'm convinced the crew that thought this one up was the same group of guys that came up with Oklahoma's state motto:
"Oklahoma, OK!"
Yeah, that was the best they could do. I guess I can't complain though when Ohio's is "The heart of it all." Oh well, I guess I may never get it.

28 May 2008

Weekly Roundup May 28

This week, coming off of the Memorial day weekend, I am going to keep the roundup short and sweet. With that, friends, The Weekly Roundup!

Cozy Beehive: This week I’d like to star with something that is, in my mind, very appropriate. Ron shares Plan de Corones - Giro d'Italia 2008 Stage 16 TT. This is a quick explanation of the 16th Stage of the Giro d’Italia on a never before used 8 mile section. The reason I find it appropriate? Coming off of my incessant whining about hills, the stage is a 8 mile 3600 foot climb. Explanations and videos abound in this awesome post.

Bike Munky: Bike Munky shares some of his favorite gear with us in Commuting & Gear. This week focuses on his Six Six One gloves, and Shimano XT shifters and long derailleur, which was recently replaced with a SRAM medium cage.

50K Loop NS: Hoorah! Bluenoser is back! New Helmet is a quick but upbeat welcome back post from Bluenoser. Apparently he busted his helmet on the MTB and is currently looking not only for a new helmet, but someone to buy and give his MTB the TLC it needs. Glad to see you back BN, hope all gets better for you really soon!

Miles And Madness: Apparently Dominic feels like Judi is Over Trained? I had no idea that was even possible, but I am curious what is up with all of the chicken kabobs that I’ve been running into this passed Memorial Day, anyone have an explanation on this? I’ve heard of, like, 8 people who did kabobs. Anyway, there’s also a really boss video of her Doberman taking down a couple of turkey necks for dinner.

Let’s Rock… : Finally, and this one is a fun one, congratulations to YeahDog on her First Night with her hubby Dan in the new place. Lisa, you had me at Crazy Bread! Sounds like a really nice, quiet place. Congrats, hope you guys enjoy it for many years to come!

Well, that’s all she wrote for now, what are you waiting for? Get out and ride! As usual, I’m the Phun Cyclist, you stay classy Cleveland.

27 May 2008

Why I Hate Riding With The LBS Guys

Please allow me to preface the title with this: I actually love to ride with the guys from the LBS (local bike shop-in this case Spin). Ok, with that said, I hate riding with the LBS guys. Why? You may ask, and as always I would be extremely happy that you did. The reason I jest about riding with the LBS guys is that they give me a down home, old school, country style a__ whoopin'. If you have read from the beginning you may remember I've Decided Why It Is I Ride. The person that I went on that ride with was the same person that I went with this past Friday, hey Don (not me, the LBS Don), and by the way he is a saint for waiting up at lights for me. Anyway, I cracked out the road bike for the first time since snow started to fall last year. I was super excited, and felt great going into it. Don (not me, the LBS Don) and I went for a 27 mile run, with a mere 240 foot climb out, which was mostly a decent descent (heh heh) on the way back back. I was so excited about the ride, until I started getting just blown out of the water. I was doing OK, I guess, my average speed was only 14.8 MPH, due in part to the fact that I was tanking on almost every hill of any consequence, and though there are only a handful they were seemingly killing me. This would be a great time to share the elevation... OK, there you go. Like I was saying, those short jumps in altitude that you see were seemingly killing me. I know I haven't done some crazy road stuff in about six months, but come on! I've ridden long rides on MTB, true they were pretty long and SLOW, but I didn't feel like I was killing myself doing them. Could this really be? On thing that totally had me freaked was the first thing to go, and pretty quick, was my breathing. That was remedied equally as quickly by hitting the inhaler (remember me talking about the asthma crap, "crap" was thrown in for BlueNoser who wrote to tell me his blog is back up. Hey Thom!) upon not being able to breath. That was cool, but I was still getting short of breath on hills, and it seemed to be mainly on the right side. Anyone who may think they have an idea why please don't freak me out, I plan to have it looked into. So needless to say, once again see the elevation chart, the return trip was much easier than the trip out. Anyone have any ideas how I could kick butt on the next ride? For that I would welcome any and all comments, seriously.
Saturday might as well have never happened, I woke up early to help a friend move. Prior to what one might think it was totally fun, and I really like the people involved in the moving so it made it a blast, left there kind of late and had to shop till it was dark.
Sunday was chores most of the afternoon, followed by a cookout. After the cookout, however, Mrs Cycling Phun (Mrs CP) and I went out for a trail ride. Yes, I know she is hot. No, I have no idea why the heck she's with me. Yes, camera phones suck which is why I am waiting for Apple to send me an iPhone to use and plug the heck out of (just an idea Apple PR. Oh, and I know who you are). So we went for a short ride Sunday night and got to take a minute to chill on a park bench and catch a sweet sunset. So the bottom line is not all was lost, I guess.

22 May 2008


No Friday post, late ride, work to get done... Will post something Saturday, then off till Tuesday for Memorial Day.

Weight, A Minute

First I want to take one minute to be giddy, I got home from work today to find this... That's right folks, the Twin Six guys were really on their "stuff" and must have got the Fat Cyclist stuff out the day the orders were placed. I got the shirt and my bottles and stuff today! Not 48 hours after I ordered it, kudos guys! I love my shirt, it's a decent consolation for not getting a jersey I suppose. I also got some surprise goodies that I'm not going to go into right now, that's for another day. I will clue you in on something, the goodies are really cool, and I'm sharing! I'm going to try to get to that next week, but it might be the week after depending how much work I'll have to catch up on after Memorial Day.
For no I want to talk about an issue that has me so hot right now I could spit. Sidebar: (It's been a while so I thought I'd throw one in here) What the hell does that mean anyway? "So mad I could spit." When I get mad I've been known to throw out some colorful words, throw things, and generally crush the closest (now) disposable object, but spit? Really? OK, back to the subject.
One thing that makes me horribly mad is weight. Read that as gaining weight, food, fat, consumption, however you need to in order to get the point. I was sub 185 at Thanksgiving, and I'm back just over 190. More specifically between 190 and 193 depending on the day. I mean, I know I got a bit lax around the Holidays and there were birthdays and such but eight pounds? Really? So I've come to a few conclusions. One is that I have too many luncheons at work. It seems like every week I have a business lunch to go to, and they don't serve muesli, and I generally like what it is they are serving. I have been making a point of trying to stick to salad, and sometimes lean protein when available (Read: fish or baked chicken). I've also started to notice something else here. Tell me if I'm wrong, is it WAY more expensive than ever before to eat healthy? I was at the store and bought the fruit and veggies that I've always bought that used to be, like, under $30. Go to the register and it was, like, $62! What the heck, man?! I think that there's a conspiracy to make me (and others) fat! For the same amount of money I could go out and purchase a Kiwi or a, *insert your (least?) favorite value meal here. The good news? With gas being a necessity to get goods from point A to point B (be it by train or truck) the prices are likely to skyrocket from here, so we likely won't be able to afford to eat. Man I'm not looking forward to that. It really is a catch 22, isn't it?

21 May 2008

Weekly Roundup May 21

I had my first bail on the MTB this past week. It was totally cool, and all is well so that is good too. Coming up on a three day weekend, I’m going to have some time to ride, likely all three days. What are your plans for the weekend? Besides riding this weekend? The Weekly Roundup!

Fat Cyclist: I’m totally blown away, that is all I can say about Fatty’s blog and the awesome people who are regulars. The New Fat Cyclist Jerseys: Sold Out In One Day! The short story is that the men’s pink sold out in eight minutes, by the end of the day Tuesday (the day they went on sale) the men’s orange were done and the women’s pink sold out in the afternoon on Wednesday. The best news is tat all of the proceeds from those jerseys, and some special surprises put together by x.com>Twin Six, will go to help Fatty’s wife in her battle with cancer. Keep checking Fatty’s site for more great posts, more updates on Susan. Win Susan, WIN!

Bike Munky: Bike Munky shares a story that I think everybody faces at some point. For me the affair was Diet Pepsi Max, for Munky The Affair is with his road bike. Apparently the mountain bike has forgiven him, and they have come to an amicable understanding.

Cozy Beehive: Ron gives us one serious and one humorous this week. I am quickly becoming an addict of CB. I really like the engineering aspect that Ron offers. Cardboard Bicycle is just as it sounds. Someone out of a container company decided to find a way to engineer a bike entirely out of cardboard, and it’s way cool. Likewise, How Bicycle Helmets Are Made is a video showing (the obvious) how bicycle helmets are made, start to finish.

Harp Rider: Harp’s post on his recent race, theRace Report: Psycowpath #3 Platte River Battle Royale is a quickie about his recent endurance event. Apparently he loved the new Marin, but would’ve appreciated a bit more time to break it in. In the end it seems as though fun was had, and Harp seems to have come to the conclusion that he wants to challenge himself to race an endurance again. Keep plugging along bro, by the way… Really like the new Marin!

Miles And Madness: Judi got some new New Gear, and she is lucky its girlee gear or I might try to steal the helmet. I need a helmet…

Well, that’s all she wrote for now. When you’re done reading this, get you butt out and ride, OK? As usual, I’m the Phun Cyclist, you stay classy Cleveland.

20 May 2008

Sunday Ride

So, to continue on from yesterdays horrific post...
I got up early, went to church and left in a rain storm after to go to the LBS Spin. On todays to do list, bribe Thom with some beer to cut the chain off of the Rockhopper for a cleaning and lube job. By the way I'm really digging the Pedro's Extra Dry, for the record if Pedro's would like to send me some stuff I assure you I would not complain. Anyway, I hung out while he gave it a once over lubing cables, checking over the now broken in drive-train, and doing a basic checkup. God bless him for putting up with me for the half-hour or so I was monopolizing his time. These guys are good, really good, and patient like nothing I've seen before. If I haven't mentioned it before, if you're in Ohio and need a bike look up Spin. It cleared up nice while I was in Spin, which was cool on account I wanted to ride after I was finished. I finished up, bought a seat bag for the MTB, and the second I opened the front door the sky opened up. It poured for about thirty minutes and then? Then it was like a different world. It was still wicked cold for May, about mid forties, maybe fifty, but it was sunny and dry. Of course I had to take the newly tuned bike out for a spin. I hit some of the local roads for about five miles or so, moved onto some trails for a bit, a nice couple mile loop a few times, some hilly areas, a few times around the one mile loop, and finally some more roads to get home and wind down. All in all it made for a really nice end to a weekend. This weekend in the States is Memorial Day, and that means a three day weekend! I'm still finalizing the weekend but it looks as though there will be four days of riding to look forward to, pending no sudden interruptions. So what are your plans for the weekend?
Oh, and one more quickie, congratulations to Fat Cyclist for the huge success that was the launch of the New Fat Cyclist Jerseys. I was one of the few, the proud who were on the site right at noon central when the launch went live and by the time I got my address and credit card info in the large mens pink jerseys were totally sold out. As a matter of fact, all fifty of the pink mens jerseys sold out in eight minutes! Many of the others were well on their way to selling out as well, and by the time this post hit the web I wouldn't be surprised to see many more items sold out. Check out the New Fat Cyclist Jerseys and get all of the updates, including all the inside info on the special surprise items that Twin Six put out as a surprise to Fatty and all of his readers. There is some really, really cool stuff available. As a reminder, all of the proceeds of the Fat Cyclist gear goes to the Win Susan fund, to help Fatty's wife kick cancers ass! God bless Susan and family!

19 May 2008

Oh Deer What Can The Matter Be

Pardon the ridiculous kids song reference. for those of you who have no clue, you are better off. Friday I managed to get out for a ride, not crazy long, but a ride. As I was cruising the trails I stopped for Geese and their fairly recently hatched goslings, and got hissed at. You can't fully appreciate this if you've never pissed off a goose. After a little bit more riding I came upon a mom and dad duck and their recent additions. Ducks are cool, they just try and get away as if they would be saying "nah, don't want to hang now. Seriously, just leave us alone for now, OK?" No crazy hissing or trying to chase you like geese. Geese need to learn how it is, they might as well be puntable but they think they should chase a person, and we let them, I digress. Anyway, I played around on some hills for a bit and cleaned `em a couple of times, watched the waterfall for a bit, took in the nature, and froze my rear off, but enjoyed it.
So I figured I'd finish riding this one mile loop a couple of times and then head out. It was getting late and cold and I was OK with being done. So I started plugging along at a nice pace, hit this area where there is a pretty minimal decent carried out over about a quarter-mile some railroad ties protruding out in a couple spots, high brush on either side, gets you going at a decent clip. That is when it happened, and I guess everyone needs their first. Three deer the size of my car jumped out of the brush, spooked by my bike, and right in front of me. Somehow in the midst of all of this I managed to either lay my MTB down or go over the bars or something. All I know is I went to crushed limestone face first and the following occurred:

Helmet: -1 (visor was on and hit the ground first busting the foam on the front of the helmet)
Oakley XX Glasses: +2 ( Love my Twenties Oakley are the sh__, they hit immediately after the helmet and took zero damage)
Face: +1 (got dirty but no scratches, cuts, or bruising)
Specialized Rockhopper: +1 (The only damage was the Shimano Shifters got scratched)
Knee: -1 (I'll get back to this)

I think that about sums it up. I feel the incident left me at a +2. When I say that Im also going with a -1 for the knee which took a decent skinning. Most people would take this as bad and the only reason I gave it a minus one is picking rocks out annoyed me. I actually really got into the idea of a skinned knee. When I got home I said to my wife, "Check it out! Isn't that sweet? I can't remember the last time I skinned my knee." (I think that's a "boy" thing and likewise don't expect anyone other than guy to get charged up by it.) So if it weren't for the stinking rocks it would've been a +3. With the rock situation in mind, I could see why people would shave and argue "it helps it you have to clean out a wound." My legs are about as hairy as Sasquatch, and it made it a total pain search through and pick out junk. For this reason I will never argue anyone if they say they shave to better clean wounds, and likely will probably wind up shaven by summer.
That's it for now, but while I've got you, don't forget that Fat Cyclist's 2008 Jerseys go on sale TODAY at noon central time on the Twin Six website. All proceeds will go to help Fatty's wife Susan in her fight against cancer, and will help the Fatty Family as well. So go buy a jersey and we'll chat more tomorrow.

15 May 2008

Donate To Help Susan Nelson (Fat Cyclists Wife) Fight Cancer

I have to preface this by saying I'm not trying to be rude or pushy but when I think there is something worth saying or talking about I like to take the opportunity to make sure it's said. With that said, I think it's always really awesome to see people pull together to help through prayer, donations, and kind words. There have been a lot of people who are doing things to benefit Susan Nelson (the wife of Fat Cyclist) in some way and I wanted to take a quick moment to throw together a list of where you could donate to directly help Susan in her fight against cancer, or generally help in the fight against cancer. Fat Cyclist, the man not the blog, has been gracious enough to keep his regular readers of FatCyclist, this time the blog not the man, up to date on how his wife Susan has been doing. If you read his blog you know that it's like a giant worldwide family, and I know there are a lot of people who might want to help out, here are a few ways:

If you would like to help Susan directly by donating to help cover medical expenses, medical devices, just general needs of the Nelson family, as well as travel for family to come out and help, you can do so through a special fund that they've set up: Win Susan Fund. The email address for payment is winsusannelson@gmail.com.

Also, Fatty and Twin Six have teamed up again for Fat Cyclist's 2008 jersey. You can find out more at 2008 Fat Cyclist Jersey Coming Soon. They will go on sale at NOON Central time Monday May 19th, and I have little doubt that they will sell out VERY quickly. This year all of the proceeds from both jerseys will go to help Susan.

Ultra Rob has a website and has an article titled: How I'm Going To Help Fat Cyclist. I encourage you to check it out if need to buy some gear. The short story is this, next Monday and Tuesday the 19th and 20th when you use Ultra Rob's Outdoor Gear Search to purchase bike gear and other goodies, he'll donate all of the commissions to the Win Susan Fund.

A regular of the Fat Cyclist Blog, Mike Roadie, is going to be doing the San Jose LiveStrong Challenge in honor of Susan this year, and you could donate to Lance Armstrong Foundation through Mike Roadies LiveStrong Challenge Site.

The final site I'll leave you with for now is one that Fatty talked about earlier. The hospital that Susan was in a while back, The Hunstman Cancer Foundation. Huntsman is equally an awesome place and it's founder, Jon Huntsman, is an amazing man with an inspiring story of philanthropy.
I encourage you, if you can, to take a minute to donate as much or as little as you see feasible, and whether you can donate monetarily or not please take a moment every day to keep Susan and family in your thoughts and prayers.

14 May 2008

Weekly Roundup May 14

True I’ve been putting out fires for a few days now, and I’ve been stressing pretty hard. The up side? I’ve been getting chances to ride. The weather looks like it’s going to get hellacious from now through Friday, but Friday afternoon will likely clear up in the afternoon and turn into a great day to, at minimum, ride after work. With that friends; The Weekly Roundup!

Let’s Rock…: A special shout to Yeahdog, who ran the Y-Me this weekend. Y-Me – The Thought Did Cross My Mind is the story of the seemingly pseudo-apocalyptic weather that they had to face. Also, if you didn’t donate yet there is a link that you can donate, she’s only $200 away from her goal of $1000 to go to Breast Cancer, I’m sure if we all pitch in she could get there in no time.

Fat Cyclist: I’m sure most of you reading this blog already know what’s going on with FC. In all of the sad posts and seriousness, Fatty shares the story of A Good Weekend. Check out his blog and if you’re able to, donate a few bucks to help Fatty get all the bills paid, get the needed items for Susan’s day to day care, help out people traveling in to help and such.

Cozy Beehive: Ron has a list of hilarious Tuesday Shorts but to me the most interesting might just be his follow up of the catastrophic failure of the Mavic-R-Sys failure. Also, there is a great bonus with the Marco Pantani video, nice touch Ron. Good luck on the move and in the new position with Dresser-Rand.

Bike Munkey: He’s back from holiday and apparently suffering the same issues I am state-side. The Amazing Incident Of The Exploding Tyre is a quick but funny post very similar to the issue I had last week.

Travels With A Tin Donkey: Sprocketboy takes the time to point out an awesome exhibit in the Portland Airport. Portland, Oregon Is Becoming To Bicycles What Cremona, Italy Is To Violins… is an exhibit dedicated to the renaissance of frame building going on right now in Portland. One of the key players in making this happen is one of my favorite frame builders for women, but I love what they do from an aesthetic standpoint, Sweetpea Bicycles.

Miles And Madness: Finally a quick Congratulations going out to Judi. In I Won she shares the story of how she won a sweet Fuji Cruiser! Congratulations Judi!

Also, just as an update for fans of 50K Loop NS, Bluenoser is on hiatus for the summer. Training and an exorbitant amount of work have prompted him to put the blog in a holding pattern. He does, however, assure me that he will be back in autumn, and says to say hello to all.
Well, that’s all she wrote for now. When you’re done reading this, get you butt out and ride, OK? As usual, I’m the Phun Cyclist, you stay classy Cleveland.

13 May 2008

Careful What You Wish

You may remember yesterdays post where I mentioned that I ride way hard when I am pissed off. I think I went so far as to allude to the fact that maybe I need someone to piss me off berfore I ride, er actually to quote "I just need to find the right person to push my buttons so I get super torqued off, gnash my teeth, and crush on my bike." Yeah, right, you DO know exactly where this is going. So anyone who has a job knows that Monday's are notorious "what fire will I have to put out today" days. This was surely no exception. Dare I say, in the world of Monday fires this was the equivalent of a suitcase nuke, a la the show 24. I'm not going to get into the specifics of the situation because not only is it not my place, but all involved could have bad feelings, and I could wind up canned, and, well, it would just add fuel, read that as plutonium? to the fire, uh, aforementioned suitcase nuke. Anyway, the second it happened I was like, "screw it, my day is done!" The saving grace was I brought my MTB to ride this evening. I grabbed my bike, and in my suit, took it to a warehouse in the area not being used and proceeded to pound out some laps around the building in slacks, a shirt, a tie, and dress shoes. Sadly I do not have a picture of it, but I assure you it looked pretty slick. So I actually managed to get some work done today, ate SUPER well, read as healthy, and 6:00PM came, and went. I was riding with John at work, 6:30 came. John got his bike and realized the back tire was dead flat, like no air at all. My trusty Specialized Air Tool Comp would not grab onto the valve, WTF?! So we walked it a few doors down to a service station and filled the back tire. Now 7:00 and all is well, we got out and started on the way. We took a bit of a leisurely ride. When all was said and done an hour and a half and about 20 miles later we got back with zero sunlight and high forties for temps, by the way I was in shorts and luckily thought to pack the arm warmers... it was cool to say the least. But you know what, when it comes down to it, it was so worth it. We stopped and checked out some sights, and just enjoyed ourselves. I got to just enjoy myself and not have to worry about who is getting dropped or who I have to fight to keep up with. It was just a great ride. It was this kind of ride:
Sorry, I know it could be better, but it was a phone cam.

12 May 2008

National Ride To Work Week & Riding Pissed Off

Today will be two, two, two posts in one! I don't really have a whole lot to say so I'm going to give you two quick thoughts.

First off I'd like to point out that this is day one of ride to work week. While I'm not riding in today, crazy morning rain in the forecast, I am hoping the weather will cooperate so I can ride in Friday (National Ride To Work Day), but it looks like with the exception of tomorrow night there is rain everyday this week. I'd love to know what everyone who rides into work does as far as making themselves presentable to the public after the ride in. Where I work we have no way to clean up from a ride, and I can't go through the day looking and smelling like crap. Seriously, if you have any ideas I'd love to hear them.

This weekend I only got one short run in on Saturday. Late out of work Friday with a mild case of food poisoning or something and Mothers Day and, like, forty something degree torrential downpours (it IS spring, right?). Anyway, I had a metric crap ton of stuff to get done Saturday too Long story short, the whole day, er weekend, had me pissed as hell which lead me to a realization. I LOVE to ride when I'm mad. I think that may just be the answer to the whole thing. I just need to find the right person to push my buttons so I get super torqued off, gnash my teeth, and crush on my bike. Tonight I will get to ride. We're starting the first of what should become many rides from work. We're probably going to ride after work tomorrow, but we are likely going to start lunch and after work rides depending on the day and such, so that has me excited. If this starts to go well, I may just start a run in the neighborhood at 6:00PM or something weekly, anyone be interested in riding with us would have the opportunity, I'll keep you guys up to date if that happens.

Well, that's about it. Get some good rides in and keep checking in!

09 May 2008

Help Fat Cyclists Wife Susan In Her Fight Against Cancer

Even more important than the Lessons Learned is the real world. That is why I am posting this after my regular post, this way it will remain at the top of the blog all weekend. The following was left by a friend of Fat Cyclist, in regards to something he set up to help Susan, Elden, and their families and friends with what they are currently going through. I encourage anyone who is able to help out. Here is Kenny's Message:
Dear Readers of Fatcyclist.com,
This last week has been truly tragic learning of the down turn of Suzan’s illness. As I read these comments left by all you good people, the over all theme is the same. “What can we do for Elden, Susan and their kids?” I decided it was time to stop wondering and time to start doing. I set up a bank account in Elden’s name at a local bank here in Utah. It is linked to pay pal. The pay pal account is winsusannelson@gmail.com. If you don’t have a pay pal account you can also donate by going to my business’s website http://www.kennysphoto.com and clicking on the link in the middle of the page, where you can donate with the credit card of your choice. Please know that all funds collected will go directly to this bank account and after a two month period will be given to Elden, Susan and Family. Elden is unaware of this account, until now, of course. I’m not sure how he will react to this comment, but if he removes it, I’m going to continue to put it back on his blog and I invite you as fatcyclist readers to also put this on your own respective blogs. I truly believe that we bless our own lives, when we help others, so I hope that Elden will allow us to help him through this very trying time in his life. He truly has touched each one of us, through his writing and his friendship.
Respectfully yours,

Lesson Learned: I Hate Math... Gear Ratio Differences Suck

One thing that I noticed very early on is that there is a huge difference between road gearing and mountain gearing. I'm going to do my best in layman's terms to try and describe what it is I'm referring to, Ron is welcome to jump in and help out if he'd like. OK, so my road bike is geared 53x39 in front with a 12-26 9 speed cassette. On the other side of the spectrum my mountain bike is geared 42/32/22 in front and 11-32 8 speed cassette in back. OK, so all these numbers are crazy confusing, right? Layman's terms... the more teeth in the front, the fewer rotations of the crank to turn the back wheel. The fewer teeth in the back the fewer rotations to turn the wheel. So in the big ring in the front, small ring in the back it is more difficult to pedal, but you go faster, with less turning of the crank. Likewise small front big back means your turning the crank over and over and going nowhere. You have to make more rotations on the cranks to turn the wheel which makes it cake to pedal and you move wicked crazy slow. OK, most of you know that, I'm just setting this up for the following.
Now that I have that out of the way, one of the first things I noticed is that in dirt, mud, grassy areas, etc. you are automatically fighting resistance factors to go, let alone to go fast. one thing that is different in the mountain bike world is that you don't always want to be in the big ring. I like to try my best to stay in the big ring on the road unless I'm climbing. On the MTB, the big ring is reserved more for flats, down hills, and to impress those of the opposite sex. Also, when you are on hard pack or roads, its so different than when you're on a road on a road bike. Part of it is the gear difference, but another piece of equipment plays a part in my case. The MTB is a 26" wheel the road bike is a 700x2_c wheels (the blank differing, in my case 700x23c). The difference here is two fold. First you have a far skinnier tire, less resistance. Second it is larger, taller, which means fewer full rotations again covers more distance. I didn't really think about these things going into riding but are finding that they are stark, night and day differences.
Lesson Learned: Physics, math, gear ratio, etc. sucks, but they make cycling a whole lot easier sometimes.

08 May 2008

Lesson Learned: Clipless Pedals Are Way Different Than Flat Pedals

Some of you may remember a post from a while back when I spoke of getting my mountain bike. I was debating what I would do for Pedals. I couldn't decide ultimately how I was going to set up the bike in terms of pedals, that's to say flat pedals or clipless pedals. I am starting to lean more, much more, toward setting the mtb up clipless. While I was out on it the other day, and as I was bouncing around the trails and hills, i felt myself pulling my foot up as I'm used to doing on my road bike. On the road bike I'm used to pulling my foot up on the pedal on the upstroke, on the mtb I found myself pulling my foot clear off the pedal at times. Other times I found my feet bouncing off, or rolling the pedal over as I rode the particularly bump sections. I also find myself re-centering my foot often on the pedal. To further add insult to injury, or in this case injury to insult, not only was I riding sketchy because I kept wanting to lift my feet clear off the pedals, but I've done so so many times that I've bashed my calves and shins enough times to, at times, waddle like a penguin. So I guess what I'm trying to say is...
Lesson Learned: Clipless pedals seriously help your circles when pedaling. Also, once you are used to them it's hard to ride without them.

07 May 2008

Weekly Roundup May 7

This week has absolute chaos. Life has been so busy that I’m not even going to start to bore you with the details. It’s been utter chaos, but good chaos, the kind of chaos that makes you money. It’s Tuesday and day two without getting a ride in, I NEED to get one in tomorrow. Oh well, so is life, and with that friends; The Weekly Roundup!

Fat Cyclist: I’m going to kick things off with the Fat Cyclist this week. I’m not however going to draw attention to any one post I’m just going to reiterate my post from last Friday. Fatty’s wife Susan is going through more than anyone should ever have to right now with her cancer. Fatty is kind enough to keep us up to date on how she is doing and has really made, in my opinion, the entire group of regulars feel like a part of the family. Please check out his blog, and please keep Susan, Elden (Fatty), their children and families in your prayers.

Cozy Beehive: Ron takes us on an engineering trip through his mind in Ideas For New Cycling Products: Part 2. Here he shares some of his ideas for new cycling products like Adaptive Stiffness, Shape Changing Helmets, and the Cable-less bicycle. This is a follow up to his Ideas For New Cycling Products: Part 1. These feats of engineer are almost, uh, unbelievable. These are truly funny and interesting.

Bike Munkey: A great post to leave for holiday with Munky! Munkey is on holiday this week, vacation to us yanks, and leaves us with Why The Bike Is Better Than The Car. A Theological Debate. I also find it very appropriate since May 12-16 is bike to work week. Hey, don’t forget that!

Travels With A Tin Donkey: Apologies to Sprocketboy for not throwing out love in a bit. I am still pounding down the muesli and loving it! Sprocketboy made a quick Escape To The Old Dominion. He and his crew took a “few hours drive” from Ottawa down to Virginia. This is a quick chronicle, and might I say SB, nice pictures!

Harp Rider: Finally a quick Congratulations going out to my boy Harp who picked up a New Sponsor. Way to go brother, race hard and keep up the good work!

Well, that’s all she wrote for now. Enjoy the beautiful spring weather, get out there an ride already! WAIT! First read this then ride. As usual, I’m the Phun Cyclist, you stay classy Cleveland.

06 May 2008

Lesson Learned: Tire Go Boom!

Wow, all I can say is wow! So just to set this up for you the eldest so got his first mountain bike as an extremely well kept hand-me-down from grandpa. So I took it as an opportunity to show him some basic bike maintenance and checks before riding. The bike sat on the concrete all winter and hence the tires were toast. So I started by showing him how to put the front wheel back on, some basic brake checks, and that brought us to the air situation. The tires, again, were toast. Like, down to a whopping zero toast. So I precede to whip out ye olde Specialized Air Tool Comp and pump my little heart out. For those who are paying far too much attention, or just have as much free time as I do, you probably caught the following. I did NOT show him how to pull a wheel from a rim, I did not show him how to check tubes, more importantly I did not show him how to check rim strips. I say the latter because had I showed him how to check rim strips, I would have likely noticed they sucked and were not on properly, and I probably wouldn't have blown the tire completely (and literally) off the rim. That did, however, wind up being a good thing. Once our hearing recovered from blowing a tube directly next to our ears, I was able to show him how to pop a tire off a rim and replace rim strips, tubes, and tires. I guess not all bad, right?
Lesson Learned: Tires (more importantly tubes) get too big, go boom... and they go boom REALLY loud!

05 May 2008

Lesson Learned: A Chamois Is Your Friend

This week looks like it will undoubtedly have a theme. I went riding Sunday, the only day it was possible to ride since we got what had to have been thirty inches of rain between Friday and Saturday. The creak running through my yard was running extremely quickly, and taking all sorts of dirt and plant with them. That would not have been a problem had I had a creak running through my yard before the rain came. As it is now I have pools of water where I had grass, but I guess that's enough about that. On to lesson one.
So I grabbed my jersey, threw on a pair of shorts over my boxer briefs, grabbed my gloves, helmet, the Oakleys, checked tire pressure, re-inflated to about 80 PSI, threw two bottle in the cages and headed out. Now, for those of you who caught it you already know where the fatal flaw was in all this. For those of you who haven't picked up on it, go back and reread this paragraph so far, go ahead, we'll wait. OK, so you should've picked it up by now. I had grabbed the old lady's bike out of the basement and inflated her tire, did some tweaking and oiling and such and didn't even consider that maybe, juuust maybe I should be wearing some shorts with a chamois. Show of hands, who thinks that's a good idea? Good, so we're all on the same page now. I went out in the dirt, which made things worse, and due to the aforementioned rain the trails were almost completely dry. Dry, but pitted like they were trenching to lay underground cable, and rocky. Yeah, so I made it a couple hours and realized I just couldn't do it anymore. I headed back to change, and my ass felt like it was on fire. My Ischial Tuberosities (sit bones) felt like they were having skewers jabbed in them. It was an insanely intense amount of pain, and needless to say I didn't get back out.
Lesson for today: There's actually two here. The first is don't be an idiot. The second, lycra really is that important.

02 May 2008

Sometimes I Just Have To Be Serious

Anyone who knows me really well knows I'm usually like that kid who never grew up, but I do have a very serious side. This is one of those times. I've been going back and forth today as to whether or not I should say something. I wanted to say something, but I didn't want to say the wrong words. I didn't want to seem insincere, or make people question why I say the things I do. After a long day and far too many slow points in the day with time to think I'm just going to come out and tell a story. You can make what you want of it, you can do what you will, but please take my advice.
I started the morning as I always do in what I like to call my "morning haze". Since I gave up coffee it's just kind of that way. The sky was extremely ominous, it was raining, and it was gray. It was the kind of day that people with seasonal affective disorder don't like to deal with. I don't believe I has SAD, and I hate dealing with them. I went about my usual morning muesli, didn't have a spoon, watered my plants at the office and sat down to work. I grabbed my lunch and sat down after for my usual lunchtime tradition of blogs. I got through a couple of them and got to Fatty's. For those of you who don't know Fatty, I think I speak for every single person who reads his blog when I say we feel like we know him very intimately. He has let the readers into the innermost personal depths of his, and his families lives through his blog. Often it's funny, sometimes it's serious. Today, unfortunately, it was way, way, way too serious. I don't say that in a bad way, Fatty, Elden, needed to say it. Elden left me in a whirlwind of emotions. Part of me went back to my fathers passing of cancer, part of me starting somewhat selfishly thinking about my family and thanking God that so far my family has been blessed with good health, but mostly I just cried. I sat and read, and reread the post and cried a bit more. I didn't even want to comment. I posted something, just to let Elden and Susan know that I will continue to think of and pray for their family as so many other readers had, but really... what can be said. A perfect example is: I feel like I've droned on enough about this. So, with that I want everyone who sees this to do something. Please take minute to go to Fat Cyclist and read Like Dandelion Seeds. Once you've done that I can't tell you what to do after, BUT! Please do something. If it's donating to Mike Roadie's LiveStrong Challenge, or Huntsman Cancer Institute. Even if you are not able to make a donation you still can do something. Pray, please keep Elden, Susan and their four children in your thoughts, hearts, and Prayers.
I think I speak for everyone who's a regular of your blog Elden when I say this. We love you and your family like our own. You guys can beat this, you WILL beat this, you have to... God Bless.

01 May 2008

Spooky Bike Stories

We've all had that one moment in time. You know the one: you try your damnedest to get your shoe to unclip, but no matter how hard you try you just can't. So, what happens when the exact opposite happens? When you unclip way to easy? What happens when you unclip way too easy and you are in the Twilight Zone? What happens when you unclip way too easy, you are in the Twilight Zone, and you suddenly get punked by a ghost and then the ghost steals your bike? I'm not one hundred percent sure, but I'm guessing that's what happened here. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
(This seriously made me laugh my ass off)