Thursday, November 19, 2015

2015 Specialized Demo

   Little late on this one, but it is still worth looking at. This is the 2015 Specialized Demo, with a really cool asymmetrical frame design. The Demo is a dyed in the wool downhill bike.

2015 Demo

   This bike comes with a whole host of features:
  • Full carbon frame (with some alum in places)
  • 200mm rear travel
  • 27.5" wheel size
  • aggressive head angle
  • Offset axle from fork
  • Nice short chain stay
  • BB30
   What really makes this frame interesting is the asymmetrical seat tube, allowing the shock some room to move.

Media shot

Built up shot

Drive side

   Because frame designers can build strength into carbon with such precision, there is no danger of this design. I really like this bike, and I hope we continue to see frames that really take advantage of carbon as a material. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sienna Lake Results (Or Lack Thereof)

   You can probably tell from the title, Sienna Lake did not go as planned. After finding a crack in my Norco, I ended up racing the Cannondale on Saturday. The bike performed admirably, making me wonder how much difference the bike makes in the end. But that didn't matter, because I didn't even finish.

Early corner

    There was a pretty nasty sidewalk we crossed over and at the end of the race, apathy got the better of me. I didn't hop up like I should have, resulting in a pinch flat. It was really frustrating. This race had a pretty terrible rate of attrition, with almost 1/3 of the class DNFing. 

CAT 4 Results

   The course was a ton of fun though, with mud, ditches and hills. Here's the entrance to the ditch.

Me, not crashing

   I am pretty happy with my riding up until the flat. I didn't crash and was sitting 10th when things went south. Can't say the same for these folks:


   Next week is the big bad Bowl if Death at Louisville, last race of the Cyclo X series, should have the Norco back, and am eager to race. And not let a pinch flat end it early!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Friday WTF: E-Bike Whyyyyy

   From the files of Safety and Economy, the drill powered E bike:

By Black and Decker

   Nothing like having a 6" hole saw spinning right below your ass. Oh well, those fascists at the department of transportation have never understood true visionaries.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Schoolyard CX and Interlocken Race Reports

   Couple of races in one report here! First, Schoolyard Cross at Alexander Dawson School. This was a pretty fun course, couple hills, terrible grassy section. As usual, images from Racer Shots and respective photographers.

Top of a short climb

Running the barriers

Cornering skillz

The Good: Mom and Dad were here to watch, wore a pretty fun costume.
The Bad: Perhaps a turtle costume wasn't the best choice. Started in 6th and slipped back about 2 spots a lap.
The Result: 15/32
Comments: In retrospect, that is a great finish. I would have loved a top ten with the whole family there, but a 15 is good. OH MY GOD I JUST SPILLED WATER ON MY LAPTOP. This is another course I will look forward to next year.

   This recent weekend was the race at Interlocken. This was another course I had never ridden, and it was challenging.

Big 'ol mud crossing

"On your left."


Muddy aftermath

The Good: Couple nice technical spots, not a ton of climbing
The Bad: Started in 12th and slipped back about 4 spots a lap, lots of grass
The Result: 26/55
Comments: Chilly morning! I liked this course, and I think next year I'll be excited for it. I didn't have it this week and I don't know why. There were some transitions from pavement to grass and back that were tricky. Bike ran great, handled the mud as well as I expected.

   I got home and was washing the mud off and noticed a crack in my frame. This is back on the chainstay near a mount for my rear derailleur cable. Big time bummer. The bike is at the carbon repair shop now getting fixed up like new.


Monday, November 9, 2015

New(ish) Single Speed Mountain Bike

   Man, this one has been sitting in the drafts queue for a while. Last winter I spent some time building up a new single speed mountain bike. I came across this Cannondale Trail SS on eBay, and it seemed like a good opportunity to replace the IRO. 

Halfway apart

   The nice thing about an aluminum single speed is that it's not terribly expensive to get started. I picked up the bike for $400* and put another couple hundred in parts into it. Here is the parts list:
  • Truvativ Nior Carbon Bar (used, eBay)
  • Easton EC90 100 mm 0 Degree stem (used, eBay)
  • Avid Elixir 5 Hydraulic disc brakes (new, eBay)
  • SRAM EXO BB (Community Cycles)
  • Truvativ Noir carbon crank (used, eBay)
  • Easton Monkeylite seatpost (had already)
  • Ergon grips (had already)
  • Fizik Arione seat (had already)
  • Rock Shox Reba 100mm fork (had already)
Money Shot

   So I had a lot of the parts already, and the ones I bought I was able to get priced really well. Now, on to assembly!

Parts in Bill's shop

   Half way through assembly, I came upon a problem - with the bottom bracket installed, the crank was loose. What happened was I had a SRAM crank, and a Shimano bottom bracket, and the width of the external bearing shell for the Shimano is thinner than the SRAM. 

Width differences

  So although the spindle for the crank fit through the Shimano bearings, it was too long. When tight, there was still some wiggle room. I got another BB from Community Cycles with the proper width and the whole thing went together like butter. 
   First ride was also great! The bike climbs well, handles well, does everything an alum frame should. The steering angle must be a little more steep than the Scalpel, because some corners it feels kind of different. Since it's a hard tail, and a single speed, it is a different kind of riding than I'm used to, lots of standing up. 

First ride map

   I originally planned on riding this bike in the CU Short Track series, but with the first race only having a handful of entrants, I moved to the B class racing my geared bike and have been using this to ride casually. Overall I give it a great review, looking forward to the spring when we have some fun morning rides planned!

* Natalie and I bid the bike up $100 against each other on accident. Oops.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday WFT: Hammock Bicycle

   Have you ever thought, "Hang gliding looks like fun, but I want to skip the heights and go straight to the uncontrollable dangling from a harness." Enter Street Flyer. Here's how it works:

1. Get a running start

2. Contain your excitement

3. Away you go!

   The designers claim it combines the movements of swimming, running and flying. I guess if you find it thrilling to swing around in a harness moving as fast as you can run on all fours, you're in for a treat. Check below for a video of the action. 


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Perfect Tuck

   Riding your road bike downhill is a thrilling experience. Once you are coasting faster than you can pedal, the only way to gain speed is to get more aerodynamic. Or draft someone. But we're talking about tucking so imagine you're alone.

   On a road bike, there are a few ways to tuck. The most simple, and safest, is to keep your hands on your hoods or drops and get your chest as low as possible.

Tuck #1

   This way you can keep pedaling if the opportunity arises, and you can steer and brake with confidence.

   What could be faster? Put your hands on the flat tops of your handlebars and tuck your arms under your chest! With your arms under you, your profile is greatly reduced and when combined with a low tuck will reduce even more drag.

Tuck #2

   This is a lot like Tuck #1, but you have less control over steering and you have no braking. This is best used when you can see a ways ahead and are familiar with the descent.

   Now, get that big ass of yours out of the wind. Dropping your body lower to the bike will mean an additional reduction in drag.

Tuck #3
    At the cost of control, you are getting as close to the bike as possible. This is not popular with large fellows or anyone worried about self image.

   Move your head forward! Is this the perfect tuck? I don't see how it's better than #4, but this guy is a pro, so he knows things I don't. Works best if you timing chip is in your helmet.

Tuck #4

   Lastly, the Superman tuck. A Peter Sagan feat only to be attempted by the most handsome riders. 

Tuck #

  Which tuck is right for you? Well, that depends on how much risk you're willing to take. For me, a nice safe #1 tuck is fine. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

CX 2015 Season Update

   This season I'm trying to race a lot, so every weekend I've been getting after it. There have been a half dozen races, and here are the cliff notes: (All images grabbed from respective photo sites you can find here.)

Ryolite Park (Season Opener) - Castle Rock, CO
Running the barriers

The Good: Season opener! Rode the Cannondale for the last time.
The Bad: Did a brewery tour the day before and spent 10 min after the race dry heaving. 
The Result: 18/40
Comments: I'll take that finish for the first race on a pretty challenging course. Got some fun water hand ups from Calvin.

Cyclo X Valmont
Coming off from the run up

The Good: First race on the Norco
The Bad: Worst result this season
The Result: 30/50
Comments: The first race on the Norco, riding it pretty stock. Wasn't able to keep it together this race and got passed. A lot. Wandered around like a lost child after the race for a while. 

Cyclo X Boulder Res
Another barrier shot

The Good: Great weather, no flats, no crashes.
The Bad: Lots of running through the sand.
The Result: 6/35
Comments: My best finish so far! The sand turned out to be a great advantage for me, I guess. 

Amy D Memorial Arapahoe High School
Thanks to Kim for this shot

Crash aftermath

The Good: Super fun, technical course
The Bad: Crashed twice from being too aggressive
The Result: 10/40
Comments: Got the Norco set up how I like it. Went down twice, once had to straighten my bars and that cost me a place or two. Really enjoyed this course, didn't seem to favor anyone. 

Cross of the North - Fort Collins
No Images this time

The Good: Technical, hot race
The Bad: 3 challenging climbs up a hill, got passed right at the finish
The Result: 12/40
Comments: Had a pretty solid race considering the hills. Rode a pretty technical run up which made me happy. 

US Open of CX Valmont
Coming out of the sand pit

The Good: Awesome weather, felt great on a challenging course, got 2 upgrade points!
The Bad: Weird start with 40+ 4's
The Result: 5/50
Comments: The start was chaos and I was able to put a lot of guys from the 40+ between me and the rest of the class, and held onto a top 5 for the race, really happy with that. 

Cyclo X Flatirons
Picture best illustrates how I felt

The Good: Felt technically smooth and confident.
The Bad: Got beat up pretty bad on a couple hills.
The Result: 10/45
Comments: Focussed on not crashing and racing smooth, worked out with a top ten finish. 

   For my first season of racing seriously, I'm really happy. I've been riding with some fun guys, getting reasonable results and having a great time.  The remaining races are mostly the rest of the Cyclo X series, and a few odd races here and there. Only about 5 weeks left!