Monday, January 18, 2010


just what I needed, a Quickbeam ride. nothing fancy. nothing intense. just a 20m spin on the QB with a few tunes in the ears and thoughts not particularly anywhere.

No riding, no blogging

Looking at my ride total from January, I'm now aware that I haven't been riding except for some weekend mileage. Frankly, the combo of the boys' schedule- with many practices and games blah blah (not blah at them participating, mind you) and a very heavy schedule at work have made it difficult. The fact is, once I decided to undertake Nat'l Board Certification, I knew it would be tenuous. I can't expect more than a ride here or there until the end of March, and that's how it goes.

Yesterday, as we did last Sunday, the RiverCityCyclingSociety rode a very casual 20m+ Coffee Ride. You can take a look here. Of note, though, was the batch of great bikes we had for such a small ride. Dave brought his new Surly LHT and HOORAY for him. I've loved mine and hope he finds the same satisfaction with his. From his observations I would say that he's quite pleased. The beast found in the middle of this pic was a Riv Bombadil, courtesy of a new ride associate, Patrick. He lived for a while in Minneapolis where he did some biz with Hiawatha, home of my Bleriot. It was awfully fun to talk both RBW and the Minneapolis scene. Really, for 3 people all who are in a kind of rivbike mindset some of the discussion was deservedly negative. Patrick's Bomba is impressive, firstly because he's 6'4" and it's the tallest @#$@#@% bike frame I've ever seen. I swear the top of the bars almost came up to my nipples! What we commiserated over, though, was rbw's clear-coast treatment, as he decided to do that instead of paint. The 2 complaints, both visible, were that there were run spots especially on the top tube. It looked weird, unfinished. Who let's paint run? or clear coat? secondarily, because the clearcoat was applied unevently- unlike a paint job- he was getting little spots of rust in areas like around the lugs and the dropouts. I love rbw, but this is unacceptable. I know the clearcoat is an alternative, but it should protect the frame just as well. I would be dismayed at it; I won't speak for Patrick, but I'm sure he has his reservations.

Dave and I extended our rbw discussion a bit more, with Dave positing that rbw's days are numbered. They created a classic steel renaissance in the 90's. With its success in a relatively narrow-but-active market, this success beget new projects like Surly, Salsa and Velo-Orange. The problem is that you can buy sweet steel, although not always lugged, from each of those competitors for less or much less than you can from RBW. In turn, I/Grant has had to change his business model, but this model, to me, doesn't seem so RBW. When you spend years railing against sloping top tubes and compact geometry and then resort to it to stay in business, that says something. Same goes for the Japan to Taiwan move. It's all economies of scale and business and exchange rates, but in Dave's eyes, and I think in mine too, RBW is becoming not what RBW has been. Once you ditch the ideology, you're just a bike maker, and a new SOMA San Marcos, Salsa Casseroll o Surly LHT looks inviting...and much cheaper. That said, the most comfy, spot-on bike I own (and I own x+1) is the Quickbeam- pure RBW Japanese dreambike- and the 2nd is the Bleriot, the first of the RBW Taiwan incantations. We'll see what the future holds, but the bike biz would be much sadder without RBW. I/Grant's vision is quality, Velo-orange quantity. Both are important.

As for Dave's LHT, it's all @#%# roses. Aside from his ghetto rack, which he's trading out as soon as the new one arrives, that bike is gold. I look forward to see it set up full tilt.

As for me, I had some heart issues Friday and some weariness yesterday on the ride, so I don't now where I'm at physically. I DO know that I'm as heavy as I've ever been, and I'm sure the 3rd is affecting the 1st and the 2nd. So it's off the booze (yummy!) and the treats (yummy but not as yummy as the booze!) and let's see if I can know 20lbs off. Blah!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chuck Hayes

Nice article in the NYTimes about former 'Cat Chuck Hayes, always a fan favorite from the latter stages of Tubby's tenure.

17-0. Nat'l media starting to get on board. Time for a loss and a gut-check, but boy, those freshmen like to play!


Doug's taking a break, maybe short, maybe long. He garners lots of readers because he seems like an awfully nice guy and rides tons of miles, all with a seemingly great attitude. If you haven't been to his site, now's the time to catch up on some old reading. And good luck to Doug with what comes next, to paraphrase him, the next 2 weeks or the next 2 years.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cold Ride, Hot Coffee

Same pics at RCCS Cold Ride, Hot Coffee Ride. good time for all. Take a look here.

Cold Ride, Hot Coffee

Just sitting here drinking coffee on a cold Sunday morning, but the mind is building its anticipatory set for an opportunity coming at 10.00 this morning. Fatguy hatched a plot, and now we have a ride coming. Under the RCCS banner, Dave will lead a Cold Ride, Hot Coffee ride through the easy streets of central and west 'Ville, all starting from one coffee shop (Heine's or Breadworks), passing by another (Sunergo's) and finishing back at our departure. (I just thought of the fact that we'll pass Day's, Highland's, and Quills, and maybe others too) I'm pretty daggone excited. It's the perfect sorta ride to battle our 20F, messy snowy streets syndrome we have. I would say 50% of roads/streets are fine in the city, but the other 50% of small, neighborhood streets are covered with a mishmash of ice, snow and slush. Not being from the great north, I doubt many folks are prepared with their Nokians, so we'll just see how the texture battle goes.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Frozen Leg Presses

made the necessary preparations and hit the road and trail today for come-what-may at 12F with a windchill at -2F. It was probably my 2nd coldest ride ever, but the cold was fine. I actually dressed a little warmly up top and had to unzip some jersey zippers to keep from overheating. The issue at hand, though, was sheer difficulty. Our recent snows made conditions adequate for riding; the snow was very dry and had some grip to it. My prob, though, was just sheer difficulty. I felt like I redlined the entire ride. Perhaps my use of the RedlineMonocogSS was the issue. Perhaps I needed a smaller gear. Perhaps my body was compensating for the cold with less efficiency. Whatev it might have been, I found every pedal stroke difficult today. every one a leg-press. I went via Seneca Gds to the Cherokee trails, where I found evidence of bike tracks from yesterday (PrestaSchrader perhaps? I think I saw a tweet to that effect) and 1 track from earlier that me. I found that I had to work hard enough just to manage the downhills that I climbed virtually none. I walked the hill up to Hogan's Fountain and from there, demoralized, NO, tired, I headed to Breadworks for a hot cup and then home. My mileage reported will be greater than that traveled, but if I had been wearing a HRM, it would've looked like a hard-ass hour+. I probably have to go out tomorrow to vindicate the effort. =)

cold Monocog

Beargrass Creek in a cold, near-frozen state

Pissy Panda

frozen junk, may melt in 2 weeks

Something I did find entertaining while looking at PrestaSchrader's site was the "Jen's Factor", as seen at the Cyclocosm site. For those of you not educated about pro cycling, Jens Voight is a monster of a hard man, a 38 year-old German who never quits, wins alot, and appears to be clean as a whistle, unlike his many pro brethren. If I take this Jen's Factor into account, I was between a Jen's 4 and a Jen's 5. The description for the 5 is as follows:

Overview: desperation ride, often cut short
Apparel: looking pro takes back seat to survival
Conditions: rough, difficult, challenging

I don't feel like my excursion was really long enough to put to the Jen's Factor test, but that is one damn apt description. It wasn't fun, but it was done. And if today's was tough, tomorrow's might be transcendent; that's why we ride, right?


Right now the 'Ville has a temp of 10F with a windchill of -1F. These are temps I'm not too accustomed to, so preparation is key. I'm going to pilfer my 14yrold's ski goggles and give those a try, but otherwise it'll be more of what we've all been wearing now for a week or more. Tubesock or not, if you now what I mean? We have 4" of snow on the ground, so the mount of choice will be the SSMonocog with beefy tires. My intention is to head towards the parks for some trails, but we'll see where the adventure takes me. Very importantly, I've been preparing a playlist for the ride. I lieu of my typical podcasts, I'm going for some "wakey wakey" tunes.

Monday, January 04, 2010

cold commute 1.2

It was cold this morning AND this afternoon. It's winter. Deal.

I'll add to that with a few clothing observations. I preface any discussion of how to dress for my commute with the info that it's at a minimum 6 miles with a small bit of rolling hills, although nothing substantial. I can dress a little off and get away with it. That said, being too cold or too hot for 20-30min is no fun. This morning at 17F I had a comfy head, feet and torso. My feet did great w/ 2 wool layers and the plastic bag trick. My legs, though, were cold. I had on wool underwear- 1st time for that this year- a thin tight and a thicker "running" tight. It didn't get the job done and my stiff legs for yesterday's ride never warmed up.

To the contrary, the layers I had on this morning when cold worked perfectly at 26F this afternoon. The torso, however, with 2 wool layers and a Bellweather jacket, was too warm. Tomorrow I might play around with the ensemble to get something more precise. The patterns suggest that mid-10s/mid-20s are our weather future for the next 2 weeks.

Grin, Ride, and Bear.

p.s. I'm adding this post-script b/c I forgot to mention being "humiliated" on my way home today. My legs were stiff and sore the whole day, I assume, from the fixie ride yesterday. As I was turning from Nightingale to Illinois at the base of the hill at the Nature Center/Creason, I saw a cyclist descending to my left at a fair distance. I turned and tried to maintain a reasonable pace, although the sore legs made it a weak effort. At the top the cyclist had made up significant ground and was just behind me. He on his Surly Crosscheck fixie said something nice and motored past me like a train, a 55 yrold train if you catch my drift. We went separate ways through Creason and I headed through the light at Trevilian and Newburg ahead of him. I've met him before, perhaps riding a KHS fixie; if I remember, he knows my workfriend 'Lance', who rarely commutes now. Perhaps I'll be that spry at his age.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Louisville Ghost Bike Memorial Ride

6 brave souls did 11 in 11, that's miles in temps for this morning's Memorial Ride. Soon after starting we lost one, but we picked another up along B'town. I'm not good with names, so no list. It was a casual and sedate ride in clearly tough temps. Thanks to Jimmy for getting it done (he might have had it the worst; his hands were pretty cold as I understand)

Afterwards, Dave, Mark and I had some coffee at Heine's, and after that Dave and I rolled through the 'hood to pick up a few easy miles. After that I received a message that we needed butter, so Dave and I rolled out again to Kroger for butter and brew (Schlafy's Coffee Stout. Sick Good!). We finally finished with 19m total, all below 24F. Not bad (on the fixie too)

Let's hope we have no need of a '10 Memorial ride.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Year's Day ramble

Date: 1/1/10
Month: 40
Year: 40

I wrote the post on the RCCS site, so take a look there. Suffice to say, I started the year in dramatic fashion, where Fatguy and I did a mixed-terrain 40-miler in 20F temps. I was really glad when it finished, but I'm really glad I started the year as such.

Friday, January 01, 2010

More 2009 Repaso

I'm stealing an idea from FatGuy and putting down monthly totals. I find it interesting how much they vary with little rationale. Some months are mega for obvious reasons; I'm not teaching in July and henceforth, the road beckons. Yet I'm in school in February and in November, both cold months, and Nov. brought many more miles. Overall, I had a much better start to the year, getting more miles during tennis season in March, April and May. The Fall was more less inspiring until November's rush. And I was just plain lazy for vast swaths of Dec.

1/2009- 355
2/2009- 159
3/2009- 200
4/2009- 115
5/2009- 307
6/2009- 459
7/2009- 570
8/2009- 257
9/2009- 287
10/2009- 271
11/2009- 447
12/2009- 204

Favs of the Year?:

Jan: Maiden voyage on the RiverCityCyclingSociety, our erstwhile effort to bring something interesting to the 'Ville cycling scene. I'm not sure it's been a particular success, but all the rides have been memorable, and sometimes miserable. And the #$@#$@ ice storm.

Feb: RCCS BrewCruise, nicely hosted by Lithodale. The 1st RCCS ride was visited with painfully cold temps, this one by rain and sleet and 35F. To be honest, it was tons of fun! And the Bike Summit.

March: RCCS Clark State Forest Ride. Is it obvious that, for the virtual lack of "popularity" of the RCCS efforts, I really like the rides, this one even with all kinds of goofy problems.

April: RCCS Paris-Roubaix Redux, one of my fav rides of the year. For the 3rd time in 4, we had atrocious, torrential weather, leading to many flats. It got so bad that we didn't go out for libations afterwards. But the 4th month also brought a special purchase!

May: Two different rides comprised my 5th month favs, a 35-miler up Blunk Knob w/ Dave and a 60-miler on the new QUICKBEAM from Lou to Lawrenceburg. It was quite a try-out for the singlespeed.

June: This was a good bike month, with a Mason Co. country ride on Father's Day, a 70-miler show-n-go with the RCCS and a pretty Indiana Knob ride with Dave, albeit one that almost took my life. =(

July: Had lots of highlights, w/ big mileage, a great-but-taxing mixed-terrain in IN, and a host of vacation rides in South Dakota and Missouri. Of these, by far the best was along the Katy Trail outside Columbia, MO. We had an *outstanding* family vacation to Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills. We love SD!! I just looked and I failed to mention my longest ride in a long time w/ my solo 80 at the end of the month.

Aug: You know, not much happened in August on the bike. Mostly a bunch of commutes as school started. Oh well. Oh, and the harddrive died. That's always great.

Sept: The early a.m. hammer-fest w/ Litho and a country ride in Casey Co were the choices here. If the stupid fender hadn't loosened on the Bleriot, the Casey Co. loop would've been much better. Machine-gun fire!!

Oct: Nothing too fancy here. Jimmy's 40oz Fun Run is the winner for October. I also had an adventurous commute w/ broken chain on way to suburbs with death roads. The month was dominated with the dead transmission of the truck. Car-free we are...not.

Nov: Man, now that I look back on it, November provides a panoply of outstanding rides. In no particular order, Dave and my Bethlehem 45er, birthday ramble out in Oldham w/ Dave and Dale (again, I almost died on a downhill), QB50 w/ Dave, pre-turkey country ride in Mason Co., another RCCS Brew Cruise and finally, a really wacky RCCS mixed-terrain ride which became a mtbike ride. Crazy that one was! What a month on the bike!

Dec: Easily the highlight of a low December was the RCCS Henry Co Hootenanny. That was one great 50-miler in nasty conditions.

Great rides with great folks, and come good commuting along the way. That's what the bike is about! I'll finish with a retort as previously stated.

Beauty IS the point, especially on the bike.

FS Bridgestone RB-1-DONATED

*Donated to a young bike-hungry friend. Good luck!* And to acquaint yourself with the Cult of the RB-1: