Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cozumel Ironman Race Report

I spent the last few days in Cozumel, Mexico watching my sister-in-law race in her first iron Man! It was quite the event to watch, complete with victory, defeat, heartbreak and tequila. Here is a rundown of the course:

The Island of Cozumel, Q.Roo

So in an event like this they swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and then run 26.2 ( a marathon). The swim course was pretty rough from what I understand, 2700 people fighting a current and some pretty rough open ocean. The bike was three laps of a really pretty and straight and well maintained road. The run took three laps through town where the majority of the spectators were. Here are a few pics from the race day:

The train of bikes 

Christina on the start of the run

Christina toward the end of the run

She did awesome, stayed positive the whole time and was really upbeat about it afterward. She finished in 13:20:00 which is a fantastic time! Not everyone had such luck with training and equipment however. This unlucky fellow had ripped off his rear derailleur in some crash, and was walking his bike dejectedly through the crowd like a lost puppy.

"Has anyone seen my hotel?"

At the finish they had some booths set up with some merch and a Specialized tent with some bikes to check out. This was a chance to look at some cool new technology. Here's a look at the Ultegra DI2 shifters, which I'd never seen. Fun fact: not compatible with Dura ace DI2 because this Ultegra system is 11 speed. (...can't the software be upgraded?)

Teh future.

Here's the Transition, their tri bike. This bike is notable for a couple things: The massive downtube houses a bladder that can hold something like 1500 ml of water. This is nice because it keeps the handle bars clean and moves the weight down near the ground so the an already twitchy bike becomes more stable. 

Transition in front

Here's a look at the same bike set up with DI2 shifters. The nice thing here is that you can shift from either the aero bars or the base bars. 

Shifters shown in black. 

I was struck that these bikes were very unridable. Most had the brakes unhooked or not tensioned and the tires were all flat. Not that they were doing test rides, but come on, show us the complete package. 
   Overall a sweet chance to check out a fantastic race, watch some family and friends compete and check out some cool bikes! Next stop Kona, Christina?

Monday, November 19, 2012

New House Project - Garage Workbench

   Natalie and I recently moved into a larger place, and also a larger garage! Gone are the days of climbing over bikes to get other bikes and digging through tools to get other tools. One of the first things this place needed was some place to work. The condo has a great bench and some shelves, and this place doesn't have a lot.
   Project one was a work bench. This is the space I started with:

The only clean corner

   This is where the existing shitty shelves were and we are putting in an awesome workbench! First we went to Home Depot and had a pretty fun time picking out what we wanted it to be made out of. Next, came home and started cutting and screwing everything together. 
   This is the frame and the legs, screwed to the wall: 

Half way there

   And here it is all wrapped up! Initially I had wanted to build angled upports so it would be a bit cleaner, but the brackets were tearing into the drywall and the whole idea was just falling apart around me. Enter good wife Natalie to suggest we.... don't do that idea and do something simple. That's why this thing has the legs on the end. Much easier to build, strong as can be and leaves a bunch of space underneath for stuff. Screwed on a couple layers of work surface and we are ready to rock!

Final product

Next we started work on some cubbies we saw in a friend's garage. These are for us to keep our bike gear and other stuff in. They went in pretty easy... a few modifications here and there, but overall pretty straightforward. 

The next thing is a pretty massive bike hanging project! Stay tuned for the garage opening party invite!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sexy New Cannondale SI Chainrings

I am a bit of a Cannondale Whore. Yes, I am. Now that that's out of the way, check out this awesome new chainring tech. Cannondale has taken producing their own components really far recently, with in-house stems, seat posts, handlebars, hubs and cranks. This is the next hot thing form the crank department.The SISL crank may look unusual because it had no chainring bolts!


The larger and smaller chainring are both made from one piece of aluminum, creating a strong, light unit. A standard chainring set looks like this:

Chainring bolts shown

This is actually 3 pieces: 2 chainrings and what's called a spider, that attaches them to the rest of the crank. By removing the excess parts you save weight and the one piece design will flex less. The claimed weight of the new system is a scant 484 grams for the whole crankset! Of course this limits what you can run if you like unusual combinations of chainrings, but the options available should please most riders.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bike Report From Sydney

I'm back from my mighty trip to Sydney and boy, did I see a lot of bicycles! I was staying near a pedestrian bridge that had a bunch of bike traffic. So, here's the breakdown:

Lots of single speeds and commuters. Most people had brakes and everyone was wearing a helmet, which was cool. I also noticed that they have the brake levers reversed.... or we do... in any case back is left in this crazy upside down world. A typical bike:

These bike lanes are something kind of new. They're pretty cool, and given the number of cyclists and one way streets, the traffic lines seem to make sense. What I really like is the curbs keeping cars out completely:

Bikes here also apparently get abandoned and stripped for parts, as this one did:

This guy on the ferry had a sweet single speed by a company called Cooper Bikes. Nothing flashy, just a clean build. 

These cats at a restaurant at the end of the ferry route looked like they had ridden there from somewhere kind of far away. Nice Cervelo BTW: 

These people clearly don't realize what an all white bike means in the US (hint: it usually a memorial for someone died where the bike is locked up):

And bikes are one of the preferred methods of transportation to the bars!

Brand distribution was surprisingly normal. There were a couple brands I didn't recognize, figured they were local manufacturers. All in all it looks like Sydney is a sweet place to ride a bike! Beer report to come soon!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Revolutionizing Chainrings! (not really)

   Hello! It's been a while between posts, but I am actually in Australia for work!

The view from work

Everything here is about the same as it is in the States... funny accents, everyone is real friendly but beer isn't as good. So! On to some Australian  bicycle stuff!

   I was browsing the internets the other day, and an ad came up about a new Australian (fittingly) chainring company. This product is a singular chainring for running with a 1x9 or 1x10 system. This is an increasingly popular way to setting up a mountain bike, as a single front ring. What this company is doing is offering some of the less common numbers of teeth.

A couple of things that I'm not sure about, according to the website: lightweight and revolutionary. I don't thing that selling uncommon tooth number chainrings are revolutionary, unless you mean that they actually make revolutions. Second, lightweight, yeah, maybe without the dual chain guides. This prompted the following discussion:

                  Geoffrey: yeah...
                  i don't see this as a revolution.
                  i can say the same thing about a single speed
                  why use 9 gears
                  when you are riding you are only using that one. save
                  weight, get rid of the rest
                  me: haha good point
                  and you're often standing, why have a seat?
                  sometimes you're not riding at all, you're at work or
                  having sex. why even have a bike?
                  this becomes an existential conversation fast.
                  Geoffrey: haha!
                  me: i'm making this conversation a blog post
                  Geoffrey: make it happen!
                  me: which will be redundant since you're the only
                  person who reads my blog
                  Geoffrey: eh, its a good read

Well there you have it. What may be interesting is to see if this company caters to the SRAM XX1 system 1x11 drivetrain coming out soon...