Thursday, April 30, 2009

Frame Class, Continued

Frame completely assembled. Brazed on chainstays, seatstays, rear caliper brake bridge, and top tube brake cable stops. All that remains is cutting down head tube and seat tube, reaming and facing head tube, reaming seat tube, chasing and facing bottom bracket, and cutting the fork crown. And filing all those ugly blobs!

Today was a milestone for me, as I did my final brazes unsupervised. Of course, I also set my shoe on fire, but that's another story...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Frame So Far: Photos from UBI Chromoly Brazing Class

Fork before assembly. Fork will be threadless, 1.125 inch, with flat crown, oval legs, and 40mm rake (which we achieve by bending straight blades). Not a traditional track fork, but close enough.

Fork in jig, after brazing, front view. Tips are brazed with brass; legs and steering tube are brazed with silver.

Fork in jig, after brazing, side view

Fork out of jig, after brazing, before finishing. Fork tip brazing is sloppy, so will require a lot of filing.

Head tube and top tube in Henry James jig, after brazing. Head tube angle is 74 degrees, but the frame will have a sloping top tube, so the actual angle between head tube and top tube is closer to 79 degrees. The lug set is called "slant six". Top tube is oversized: 31.8 mm.

Brazed front triangle, in Henry James jig. Note the head tube-top tube joint is fluxed -- prepared for re-heating to remedy a gap in the braze. Seat tube is 31.8 mm, and down tube is 36mm. So, this is a very oversized tubeset. All main triangle tubes are butted. I had originally gotten the miter angle on the downtube wrong, and I could not salvage that tube, so this is my second downtube. All miters (except the seat tube at the bottom bracket) were done by machine, with a Bridgeport vertical mill.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Product review/ Vance Creek RR review

First, my review of some tires.

Vittoria Open Corsa EVO CX:

These tires can be had for about 60.00 each at your LBS. I bought two of them for my racing bike. I returned one of them due to it shredding in less than a month. I kept the one on the front tire because it seemed to be holding up just fine. Maybe just a bad batch. It fell out of favor with me this last weekend, story below. These tires look good, minimal logoing and all black. Ride quality is pretty good and cornered just fine in the two crits I was just in. I think their problem is with how thin they are, mine seemed to puncture rolling over gravel. The one good thing about these tires is their ability to run flat, see story below.

Vance Creek Road Race:

My first Road Race ~40 miles.
This race is in Elma, WA, it is about 120 miles away from my house and about 90 away from anywhere you want to be.
I signed in, noticed that I need to switch my number to the left side. I went back to my car. Jersey is in Everett. Oops, luckily I have a nice medio "technical fabric" t-shirt and an extra number. Unluckily, I now have no place to put the gummi bugs and gel pack that I will surely need during the race. I ate the gummi bugs before the race, here's proof:

We all lined up and the race started with neutral roll-out until the bottom of the hill a mile away. I guess neutral roll-out means that we just go 30mph and stay in a group. I say that because it is about what we did until I couldn't control my bike any more. I had a flat on my front tire but with this kind of tire, the "open-tubular" vittoria evo, it did not feel like any flat I have ever had. It felt almost like my QR skewer had come undone. As I looked down at my skewer and saw that it was still on I looked and saw that the badly deteriorated chip-seal looked like a food processor hungry for meat. My front tire was flat but was staying under my rim. It probably saved me from crashing in the middle of 50 guys doing 30 down a hill on a cheese grater. I probably said some swears then announced that I needed to get out of the peloton.

I pulled over to the side of the road where neutral wheel support gave me a loaner. With the loaner wheel now in place I looked across the valley to see the rest of the group several minutes ahead. I drafted the wheel support van for about 5 miles until he had to stop for some reason. It took me about another 15 miles before I caught anyone. I managed to catch about 10-15 people throughout the rest of the race. I really wish I had this one to do over again. I have not seen the results but I think I came in about 30th, I started off about 5 minutes behind and I was wearing a tshirt.

So if you want some tires that cost a lot, look good, corner good, but explode on gravel but won't kill you when they do, I recommend the vittoria open corsa cx. If you want tires that stay together but might have big words on them or higher rolling resistance, talk to Vaughn.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My first crit.

I rode in my first crit ever yesterday. I was a little scared from the horror stories of CAT5 races at seward park that I have been hearing and reading about. But I went anyhow.

I rode from work downtown hoping to make it in time for the "My first crit" class at 5pm but I was late. I made it just in time to pay, pin my number on my jersey and take a phone call from my son Jaden about bingo night at this school. I told him I had forgotten and I was about to be in Deathcrit 2009.

I went to go line up for the start and then PSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSTTTTTTTTTTT!!! I got a flat. I ran back over to my bag and performed the world's fastest patch job. I was mildly disconcerted that I could see the patch through the ~inch long hole in my tire. I started pumping away with my tiny saddle-bag-sized pump, two minutes later and I got up to about 15psi. The guy in charge of taking the money took pity on me and told me there was a real pump in the back of his van. 30 seconds later - 100psi. I rolled up to the back of the line just in time for the start of the race.

I reset my heart rate and speed monitor and it was go time. Within sixty seconds I was doing 33 miles an hour, I only took note of the speed one other time. We went around the course clockwise which means that the finish and mid-race sprints are uphill, which I was doing at 16.7mph and my heart rate was 176. I never noticed the speed or heart rate after that first lap. I didn't realize that the bell ringing was to signify the mid-race sprints until I came in around third on the 8th lap sprint and people started disappearing backwards after the line.

I barely remember the last two laps except for a few things, the two guys in front of me seemed to be waiting for people to pass them, which I didn't do. The other thing I remember was that there was something in my throat but I couldn't think to spit it out. I got passed by about 15 people on the last lap going down the hill but made up at least 5-6 places going up the finish hill before crossing the line.

I finished in about top 10, didn't get dropped, and most importantly, I didn't crash.

I'm hooked, see you on most Thursdays at seward park.