Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ride to sunrise this Thursday.

Leave Seattle around 3PM.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I sold my car, didn't buy a De Rosa.

I have been looking for a new (to me) racing frame for a little while now.

I have always said I would trade my car, a 1994 saab 900, for a bike.

I had been watching this 2006 carbon De Rosa King in my size on ebay for a week and thought this was the perfect time to do it. I thought I would have to bid about 1200.00 to get it, so that's what I priced my car. I had a little talk with my wife, we have only about 15 bikes laying around so some discussion was in order.

The car sold without issue after being on craigslist for 12 hours. 4 hours until the auction for the De Rosa ends. I am sick with a combination of buyer's remorse and non-buyer's regret. My wife made the decision for me and bid 1k for it, I upped it to 1290.00 with 10 seconds to go. I lost it in the very last second by 25 dollars.

I did win ONE LESS CAR!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I finally finished putting together the bike for which I built the frame, my first frame. Written about here, here, and here.

I rode it to work several days this week, taking it over broken streets, across railroad tracks, over rough unpaved roads with large gravel-filled potholes and exposed railroad ties, and up and down steep hills. (That's the ride from the heights of West Seattle to Pioneer Square, via the railyards servicing the harbor.)

To my utter surprise, the frame didn't fall apart. In fact -- although this may be the blind love of creation speaking -- it's just about the best riding bike I've ever ridden. I just can't get over it.

Notice the drawn-in front end. That's the 74 degree head tube angle. Yet, there is sufficient fork trail that the bike is not twitchy. It's very stable. (By comparison, the Specialized Allez Elite I have built up has a mind of its own.)

It also tracks straight, although it's a little hard to tell with a fixed gear.

To finish the bike, I sprayed it with a light coat of metal primer. Hopefully, this will let me see any flaws that develop. I had to file one of the rear dropouts a bit to get it to accept an axle.

I built the rear wheel with a 36-hole Alex DM 18 rim, Surly hub, and Sapim 14g straight spokes crossed 4x, and mounted a Panaracer Ruffy Tuffy tire (from Aaron's, who first alerted me to this tire). Front wheel came off my pile of front wheels. I added an IRD bottom bracket (also from Aaron's) and a Pake track crankset (46t). Rear cog is 18t or 19t. Brake calipers are old Campy Athena from a bike I had 20 years ago, paired with new Tektro levers. Saddle, stem, headset, seatpost, and bars are just stuff I had lying around.

Well, I'm hooked. I'm planning my next frameset, perusing the online catalog of Nova Cycles to see what frame materials are available, and how much they cost. I'm in the process of arranging access to welding gear at Pratt Fine Arts' sculpture studio. And I'm enjoying the challenge of devising ways to build the frame without $5,000 worth of jigs and fixtures. People keep saying that framebuilding is all about problem-solving, and they're right!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ballard twilight crit.

In a field of 78 only 30 finished. I was #27 across the line due to a crash on the second to last lap. I knew it was going to happen, my wife predicted it. It was the first race she came to watch.

It was very nice to have her there screaming at me on each lap. "You're slow" "Squirrel Power" "Go Chad GO"

I also had some coaching from Kevin on each lap. "Get out of the back of the pack" "You're slow" "That's not where you want to be"

I stayed with the lead pack for the entire race and avoided many crashes. I was 5th wheel in corner #1 with 2 laps to go and all of a sudden there were bikes on the ground in front of me. I locked up my brakes and rode up one guy onto the sidewalk and crashed on my hip and elbow.

Ted you'll like this part. My bike was fine. I straightened my handlebars and rode the last two laps. Only some scuffing on my saddle and some more dings on the shifters. My first thought was MY wheels are going to be toast. I guess the guy in front of me cushioned the blow.

I sprinted for 27th place.

Here are some pictures: http://www.wheelsinfocus.com/2009/Ballard/45/index.htm

Monday, June 1, 2009

CAT5 race report: Enumclaw Omnium

This was a fun set of races.

A TT on flat farm roads.

A figure 8 crit in the city.

A road race up a long climb then down highway 410, then over again.

TT. 10km

I have never done a TT before and didn't feel like spending any money on any TT gear.
I settled for just some TT clip-on bars, 25 dollars from recycled cycles.

Here is the start:

We started out every 30 seconds. I caught the guy in front of me in 1 mile. I almost caught the guy who started a minute in front of me near the finish.

I got 9th place with a time of 15:38. 1st place was 14:42.

Crit. 20 mins.
At first the idea of a criterium scared me. Not so much any more, I am starting to like them a lot. There were 3 or so mid-race primes, a couple for face moisturizer and then some for points, I took second in the one for points.
I got 10th overall. I lost a couple positions at the last second for not following through on the sprint and looking at my stupid speedometer which said 32mph. I have to remember to leave that thing in the car next time. Oh and I forgot to shift, I had four more cogs.

After the crit I was in 9th overall.

RR. 30 miles
This thing had a couple mile long climb that hurt to go up fast. The lead group of about 10 split off, I hung with them until 200m to the KOM line, when 5 of them split off and we never saw them again. I was in a group of 3 trying to catch the leaders when we got caught by about 6 more guys. We tried to work together to catch the leaders, it didn't work. The second time up the hill I was feeling ok, but not good enough to leave the group. I tried to leave the group around 1k to go, that didn't work. I tried again at 200m to go, didn't work. I passed 3-4 people near the finish to come in 13th.

I finished 13th overall. I need to ride more hills, maybe on a 48x16 fixie, in jeans :).