Friday, December 4, 2009

Broken Record... 26 or 29 with 27inch inseam...

Damn I need to test ride a 29er. I am having serious bike envy out on the trails of late. The local Ontario Misfit Psycles bikes are constantly catching my eye. After Winter WOW I was talking to a guy that I finished along side and felt his bike. Even with the big wheels it came in 5 or more pounds lighter than my old rig. I would have to keep the old toy as a cottage bike as it has lasted me so well all these years.

On the other hand my buddy who owns a shop locally and sells Kona products thinks I should be looking at the new Explosif 2010 frame. He has fit me on bikes before and thinks it would be far fetched to put me on a 29er. Says there is no way to get the bars down low enough to allow me to get the proper control. I asked about the Unit as it has a nice price tag and he said they just wont fit everyone. If I want to be on one he would put me on it but it would not be ideal.

Both bikes look great. My budget constraints definitely keep me out of the running for the beautiful new dissent(fe) but I have seen many happy riders on the dissent(al) and that helps me to dispel the myth that Singlespeeds must be steel. I know a couple Singlespeeders that would not agree with this comment though.

My new bike account is running dry right now but hopefully this winter will allow me to scratch something together. Otherwise I will be contemplating well into next season. Contemplating is fun tho, the fun thing is once I choose a frame it will be time to start dreaming of parts to build the new toy up.

Anyone out there 5'6" with a 26.5" to 27" inseam riding 29er's? Or is my monkey body just built to ride a 26er ever-more?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Winter WOW post race recap... A little late...

An amazing fall day. Last year we raced in 4-5 inches of fresh snow. This year sun and a high of 10. Trails were in amazing shape for the most part. Approximately 25 of the 40KM has all the leafs blown off them by the organizers prior to the race (great job guys!!). Started off a little cool but not uncomfortable. Unfortunately I only have thin and thick gloves. A nice intermediate thickness would have been nice. Stayed over at the in-laws the night before and ate drank and was merry. Woke up the next morning to a great breakfast too. All in all I was ready to ride.

Arrived at the event about 5 minutes after leaving the in-laws at 9am to get all the last minute things done before the race horn. Signed my waiver had some Hammer Gel and Heed. Installed my front tire and race plate talked to a couple guys and then heard they were herding riders to the start. Prepped and ready for a great day. We all lined up and looked at each others bikes, I was having some serious cools Singlespeed envy as there were some really nice toys about.

The horn went off and we were out of the gates. A herd of riders at least 30 wide heading for the first bend and into doubletrack... squeeze. Along one strait away people jostled for position and then up Oxygen Debt, a 4 staged climb aptly named as there appears to be no oxygen to be had at the top. Early climbs are always a bit of a pain on the singlespeed as it is hard to climb slowly behind a geared rider in granny gear.

Off we ride from there and about 2 minutes later I welcome my lungs back after getting passed by too much of the pack. I decide it is time to fix that a bit and start hammering. Bit by bit I made my way back up the field. The ride went on with lots of amazing singletrack some of witch seemed as if it had been cut only that week. Got in the zone and just kept riding and advancing my pace, using the short stretches of doubletrack to edge my way around other riders while others were also to able to edge me out.

Coming down the finish there was one more staged climb called the stairway to hell that puts you back in the huff and puff zone. I was able to edge one more rider out on that climb and then off for the finish line. Took a corner wide and was ejected from my bike with a angled tree crash... oopse. Looked up and saw my bike falling at me in slow motion. then back on and across the final length of doubletrack for the home stretch.

The finish was dusted with a few riders so I knew I had done quite well (for me). Hung out for a couple mins then went to the van to get into some jeans grab a Beer and wait around for a couple guys then off to the Chilli and Brownies feed that comes standard with his race. All in all it was an amazing race as it has been the past 2 years also. It will continue to be one of my favorite cycle events of the year.

I took 25th place out of 126 riders and 7th out of 11 Singlespeeders. Very happy with my results. I will continue to train and maybe i can do even better next year.

Enough rambling... I'm out...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Clean drive-train - Faster ride... (in my head??)

Amazing lunch hour ride today. Feels like the training for Sunday is coming together. Personal best on my 11K lunch hour loop. Climbs felt good, singletrack felt good (Mostly... explain later). Flat doubletrack spinning was fast. Everything just seemed to click.

Here is the question, I cleaned my chain, chainring, and cog just prior to the ride. I have let them get grungy for my basic utilitarian riding and training of late. Almost looked like they were growing fur. Over 11K should I really notice a tangible difference in speed? Well either the clean drive-train or the knowledge of the clean drive-train sped me up. Or maybe a bit of both coupled with the tough training schedule. Ah who knows, either way Sunday will be fun.

One lesson learned today was that when riding singletrack in the fall it is best not to have your weight shifted forward when obstacles are hidden by fallen leaves. Came close to impaling myself as my front tire nearly stopped on either a rock or a root (not sure as it was hidden). This was in the trails I ride almost daily and should know like the back of my hand. Glad I did it there rather than on the lesser known trails on race-day Sunday.

Well better get back to work. I really need to take a camera along on my lunch hour loop sometime as all this explaining really does not do it justice.

And that's it for now... I'm out!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Growing (Training) Pains

Well started to ramp up my training yesterday and I feel it. I did not think I had let myself slack so much but I am weak today. No pain which means either I did not push hard enough or I have kept in decent shape. I started out the day yesterday with my standard 6K ride to work with an upped amplitude. From there I did 2 Laps to the top of the 10 story hospital tower at 10:30am and again at 2:30pm. As well as a 5K lunch hour run.

This does not seem like much as it is my standard routine through much of the year. Usually I do either the ride in/home or the stair climb tho and not both. Today started the same as yesterday just a hair slower. The 10th floor climbs this morning were a breeze. The lunch hour ride was slow though. I kept a decent pace but Paul was able to jump the pace a few times in the flats. Usually I should be able to spin fast enough on the flats to keep him at bay. Good riding Paul!!

I will continue along this training path with minor rests on weekends up until my Nov 22 Winter Wow race which I finally signed up for yesterday. I think I need to drag out the fixie and do some hill climbing on my steep 50x16 gear ratio to add to leg strength. I think I will need to taper off a bit at the end so that the legs can rest for the race a bit.

That is all for now... Will try not to wait so long before my next post.. I'm out!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend, and More...

Well it's that time of year again. Close down the cottage and plan for a long cold winter. Went up for one last hurrah with the family. Fun times as always. While it was fairly cold up there the weekend kept the rain away from the important fun. We took Saturday as tho we were planning to be up there for a while and neglected all the work, instead taking the kids and heading about 25 mins further into Muskoka for a great hike. Found some fun trails at Torrance Barrens there were a mix of rock and mud-puddles as well as some nice trails resembling great singletrack. The trails would be great on a bike but might be a little short so probably not a great place to plan your next day ride. On foot they were perfect for my family until my wife read that there may be rattlesnakes. Then her and my daughter just wanted to find th quickest route to safety. All in all a great day.

When we got back to the cottage I did a little bit of external cleaning and winterizing before settling down for dinner, some pumpkin beer and a movie with my wife. Sunday was a bit of a rush packing up, and doing the final winterization like emptying the hot-water tank and draining the pipes. From there it was off to Toronto for Thanksgiving dinner.

Holiday Monday we spent taking in fall by going to a Apple Orchard and picking a bag of Jonas Gold goodness. Then it was of to the pumpkin patch to get some more pumpkins for the front porch and some pumpkin pie. Also caught a tractor drawn wagon ride thu the patch with the kiddies.

Last night I took some time and composed a video for my wife as she is hoping to win a contest to spend a weekend being host to her Donnie Wahlberg. Here it is if you want to take a peak. Good luck Krista.

Woke up this morning to a thick frost and bundled up for a cold ride to work. love the feeling of the heat from the push hitting the cold from mother nature. Took it rather easy and enjoyed the day.

Lunch hour was a different story tho as I found myself ready to go for it. A brisk 2 degrees had me dressing for the cold again but with the sun up it was a whole lt warmer than this morning. I rode myself to the brink allowing it to feel as tho I had a big belt around my lungs preventing the intake of any more air. My legs felt weak and my odometer was reading better than ever on this loop. A great 11KM ride was had with the usual mix of Road, Sidewalk, Doubletrack, Singletrack and 5 epic climbs/decents. Not too bad for a lunch ride.. Then back to the office to shower off and get back to work. Oh did I mention it was my personal best on this course...

That's it. I'm out for now...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Latest Find/Project

Well 2 posts in one day, am I overdoing it? Here is my new toy I found at the road in someones trash. I guess they did not see the same greatness in this. Well possibly not greatness but funness no doubt.

From what I can tell it was once a singlespeed touring bike that has been fitted with a 3 speed internal geared hub. I will start by trying to bring back the chrome and release the seized rear brake. Failing that I could remove cable brakes and put a coaster brake on it. Then to decide ether to keep it as a 3 speed or bring it back to its singlespeed roots? I will likely be building it for my wife in the end. If I can talk her into riding it that is.

My garage is becoming an endless pile of project bikes. I think I may be sent out there to live with them if I keep this up.

Again, I'm out.

Foooood and Fun!!

What an amazing day out there today. Ride in to work was brisk. Just love riding on fall mornings. All day at work I was starving for some reason. Ate my lunch then down to the cafe for a tuna wrap with all the fixins, and dill pickles on the side. Then off for a great lunch hour 11K loop including portions of Kitchener's Skills park and some leaf covered rooty singletrack and doubletrack.

Minor mechanical issues plagued my ride as my left cleat ketp coming loose during climbs. Time to tighten up the pedals or replace the cleats. No need to get all pissy and wreck the ride tho enjoyed 3 runs down the 4X and climbed the Freeride course (I'm sure the kids woulda been shaking their heads if they had seen me). Was feeling a little more comfortable on the 4X today and was starting to gap some of the tabletops. On my old Nishiki XC rigid toy. I could use a Nummers for this kind of riding but the climbing might just hurt more. Anyways the ride closed out great with a hammerfest on the way back to work with a nasty headwind.

Then the afternoon was a blur. Still starving I ploughed thru the end of the work day happy to have a 4 day weekend in front of me. Then home to satisfy my hunger. I will give the world a piece of my strangeness in the form of the random items recipe I cooked myself for dinner. Made my little guy chick quasidillia's as per his request. I decided to grab a deep pan and start adding items for myself. Tonight I went with Broccoli, Carrots, half a Vidalia Onion, a Zucchini cut up to emulate fetuchine, Ragu sauce, Chinese hot sauce, Worcester sauce, and Yellow mustard. Bring concoction to boil and then simmer until desired tenderness. All in all it tasted awesome with a nice bite.

More to come in the next couple days. Need to replace Grips, Chain, and Bottom Bracket on the Nishiki before November so will write about that job whenever I stop procrastinating. Soon I will end up out on lunch or my commute with another busted chain if I keep this up.

Til next time. I'm out...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

And a new season is upon us

Sunday night was the start of this years hockey season for me. Or should I say the ultimate test of this years cardio training. And it was a success. Although I felt extremely overheated. probably due to all the equipment. Anyways it was a fun time and within a couple weeks I should have my skating leggs back. Mondays 5K run seemed to go on forever after hockey though.

And Monday of last week I began training again for my last race of the year. The winter WOW. I have raced it the past 2 years and it has been a blast both times. Last year it came with a blast of snow that slowed us all down and made us all appreciate the post-race chili feed. It is a 40K single loop threw Mansfield outdoor center and Dufferin Forest trails. It is held by the they put on a great event and then afterwards we all sit down for Chili and Brownies in the Mansfield lodge. After a hard race we bitch about the cold and snow and talk about how excited we are to do it all again next year. Still waiting for the details this year as no update is posted on their site yet. Race set to go on November 22.

Cant wait!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I read a book called Newton by Rory Tyger to my kids regularly as a bedtime story. It features a bear who gets scared of noises specifically CREAK, CREAK, CRE-E-AK!!! I have often wondered if this book would lead them to being scared of such noises. Over time I have realized that it is me who has become scared of the CREAK, CREAK, CRE-E-AK!!!

During my first lap of Hot August Nights I heard the noise, only once when pushing over the top of a hill. I was nervous of it and tried to reproduce the sound back at camp. Nothing so I put it away as a one time odd noise. As mentioned in my 6 Hour Blog entry the creak came back and all in all ended up being my first ever broken chain. I put in a quick link and all was well. I noted to self that now is the time to replace my chain and since I am running Singlespeed and there is play in my 18 year old bottom bracket I might as well replace that while I am at it.

I am a professional-crastinator so I have not yet got around to this 2 weeks later and continue to ride the bike. I was beginning to think I could just forget the repair and ride the way I have been when my lunch hour ride today back came CREAK, CREAK, CRE-E-AK!!! I guess it is time to kick my own butt and go out and get a chain and bottom bracket before the inevitable.
Other than the nightmare the lunch hour ride was a nice mix of doubletrack, singletrack, climbs and descents that stretched out to 11K today. I felt refreshed afterwards and felt it time to release my words...

Well that's todays fun...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Shameless Plug - Singlespeed and Fixie Wear

I created a line of clothing a while back to catch the humorous side of cycling. Particularly to allow Singlespeeders and Fixie's to poke a bit of harmless fun at your geared friends.

I know there are many other designs that do this but was just fiddling around with The Gimp one night and liked how it turned out. Figured I would see if anyone else like it too. What do you think?

Back to normal blogging tomorrow. Im out...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Eating for an Endurance Event

I have read many, maybe too many articles on fueling the body for a race or Epic adventure. I have put together my basics over time and they seemed to keep me in good shape through the 6 hour this past weekend.

I start my altered eating plan 2 days prior to an event. I like to have Liver and onions for dinner this night to increase Iron, and vitamins. The day before the race I try to get some Cod Liver from the local European market ever since my Father in law gave it to me one night before a race and I did well. And for evening the night before the race I have Liver and onions with spaghetti and Tomato sauce fried in the pan also. Covers the Iron, Vitamins, and Additional Carbs needed for the race.

These things I figure are all just done to get inside my head and make me feel prepared. May not actually do anything on the day of the race but they make me feel prepared. I think convincing myself I am ready is half the battle.

On the day of the race I like to start my day out with a heavy breakfast consisting of cereal, fruit, and yogurt. Just get enough easily absorbed calories into myself before I switch to a race diet just prior to the event.

30 minuites before start I like to have a piece of fruit and some Hammer Gel. As the event progress's I fuel myself between laps with Hammer Heed, Hammer Gel, My Mother In-Laws peanut butter granola bars (My wife makes these now), and fruit. This past weekend I was stopping every 2-3 laps and having half a bar, a shot of gel, some fruit and washing it down with heed. I drink water alone on the course.

This mixture of foods seems to keep me going well without feeling hunger and without bonking.

Maybe this post will add to some other guy like me who likes to mix all the things he hears into his training/eating regime.

Thats all I have to say about that....

Sunday, September 13, 2009

EPIC 6 Hour Race

Amazing day yesterday. Started out nice and cool but sunny. Sun stayed up thru the whole day. Mike and Heidi found us a great spot to setup for our solo race just before the timing tent under a couple of trees overlooking the lake. We showed up a little late after peeling ourselves and kids out of bed after my daughters cheerleading party the night before.
Got setup re-lubed the chain, met another singlespeeder that took an interest in my old Nishiki. Then it was time for the pre-race meeting and all the minor formalities. And then off to the bottom of the hill to start out a day of fun times.

The horn went and we were off up the hill. This being my first ever solo event I was on a mission to find the right pace to keep going for 6 hours. To many endurance riders who do 8's and 24's this may seem laughable but for now it was my mission. Then into the singletrack and of course the group tightend up and we all rode the same pace. Then I took a wrong turn and went into the tape. It was heckling by Mike that made me loose the Slow and Steady win's the race philosophy and it was time to hammer. Passed a few riders before deciding I was going to kill myself and settled in between 2 other solo riders that were keeping a really nice pace. We rode like that for the first 2 laps and then one went in for food.

Lap 3 part way thru the other guy and I ended up modifiing our pace slightly and I was off on my own for a while. Seemed like a good time for a first pit-stop. Stopped fueled and off. 2 more laps passed with some nice quiet riding and started to hear some nasty noise in my chain. Started quick degrease with Baby Wipes and relube at every 2 laps during pit stops. Seemed to help things out.

A couple laps later I was passed on one of the hardest climbs of which there were not many by a guy sporting a Misfit Psycle who was just flying. I think those things have motors :)

As the race wore on my pace was slowing slightly and I was trying to decide if I should drop it a bit to keep from bonking. I passed the timing tent and for the first time checked how I was doing. Turned out I was in 2nd place and only approx 2 hours remained. Any previous plans of slowing pace vanished. I went back out and hammered. 3/4 thru the lap I passed Mike and he started to joke with me but I had to let him know I was stoked to place and moved on. Climbing the final hill of the lap I dropped my chain. Been riding this bike with no major changes since last August and never dropped a chain before. Popped it back on and 2 more pedals and it snapped. Bugger all, picked up the chain and ran the bike and chain in.

Distraught I went to camp and not exactly sure what happened there but Paul who had stopped by to cheer for a bit had gotten me a quick-link for a 9 speed chain from another rider. We forced it onto my 7 speed chain and popped it in using pedal and wheel leverage. And I was off again. All hopes of placing crushed. I started the lap out in 3rd place.

Last couple laps were kind of a blur but when I came in at the end they told me that there was someone who made it out for another lap before 3:30pm and that I had completed back in 2nd.

Amazing race held by GORBA. Thank you for letting myself and Mike join the club last minute in-order to compete in this club race.

Afterwards they had a great BBQ and Krista gave me a Beer. Mike turned down a beer I assume because he is doing a run today. Madman played Hockey Friday, 6hour Saturday and Terry Fox Run today. Not sure I could do all that.

He experienced some nasty mechanical on course also as his freewheel jammed and had to ride his geared/suspended toy basically as a fixie thru all of his later laps. Good on ya madman. Just check photo enclosed you will see the crazy in his eyes :) ...

Thanks Heidi for keeping our bottles topped up and thanks Krista for all the great pics you took. Another great day on 2 wheels.

I think that's it for now... I'm out...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A new country loop!!! Great ride!!!

Well, as you can guess from the pic today's lunch hour ride I chose a loop thru the country. After looking at my previous loop and zooming out I found an alternate route that looked fun. So instead of a ride just shy of 18K this time it was a ride just shy of 25K. Altho my previous post stated that I would be thinking 26 vs 29 on this ride that was not in my mind at all. Not long before I left Phaty tweeted this. Now my mind was racing why would a bent top tube be a bad thing. I am not sure why but I am sure there are well founded reasons.

Is it weaker? Harder to fit the cycle to the rider? Too noodly? Or esthetically not pleasing to certain cyclists? Does it rob the cyclists of pedal power in some way? If you can shed some light on this subject please let me know.

The other thing I kept thinking about was the Blackberry in my jersey pocket. Should I take pictures of the shoddy road repairs. Nah I don't want to stop. Do I take pix of the country side, maybe in a bit.... Then eventually I stopped.

All in all a great 25K. I will probably just do a short 6K ride to the office tomorrow and a walk on lunch to round out my training for Saturday's 6 hour solo race... If I have not mentioned this is my firs solo endurance race so i am starting small with a 6 hour. Ride report to come after race...

That's all that's runnin around in my head with the hamster right now... I'm out...

26 or 29 on my next Singlespeed MTB???

I am lovin' the look of next years Kona Unit but have always read that for short riders 29ers don't fit the bill. In the last couple weeks I have found that there is a new thought on this. I read a decent article that has made me rethink the big wheel - small guy issues "The 26-inch Hard Tail is Dead". I may not agree with the title but the information inside seems to make sense. Was talking to a guy the night before the 24 Hours of Hot August Nights over beers who shared these opinions. He said to me "It is an amazing feeling to coast down a hill passing 26ers who are pedaling". He is the owner of Misfit Psycles so may be a little biased. I am loving the diSSent FE frame and associated build kit but am a little poor to ride a toy like that.

Prior to all of this I was trying to figure out how I would fund raise enough to buy myself a Kona Explosif frame and a decent build kit to go with it next year. All excited that Kona has decided to release the 26er chromo Singlespeed compatible frame again.

Oh well, will probably end up thinking about this far too long and wind up broke next year anyhow. I will live to contemplate another day. In the end I will probably just replace the bottom bracket in the old Nishiki and keep on pounding the pedals on that fun old toy. Maybe I will pour over this topic on my 20K lunch hour ride on the old fixie today....

More next time... I'm out...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fixie Cycling - City Congestion

As mentioned in my last post I figured I should talk about the contrasts of riding the fixie near my house. I look out my front door into a busy overpopulated suburban subdivision with postage stamp lots and cookie cutter homes. I look out the back window and see farmers fields and a gravel pit. Huge contrast. Usually I find myself riding to work and into the urban side of things. As I have to work 5 days a week it just turns out that way. Yesterday working from home I had a great ride out the back. The positives were trees, farmers fields, almost no traffic. The drawbacks are that roads seem to be patched instead of fixed out there.

I did not really notice the difference until riding in this morning and smelling the city. Wow it was nice to smell country air. Think I need to work from home more often so I can get this wonderful air.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A great lunch hour ride in the country - from the city edge...

Well, after a long weekend of sloth... Or at least working in the backyard instead of training... I decided to work from home so that it would make it easier on the wife and kids for first day of school runaround. Well that means no ride to work or home. I decided I needed at very least a decent lunch hour ride. I do have a 6 hour solo mtb race on Saturday and all.. My first solo race.

Well I have started this post all over the place, lets hone in on the ride. It was amazing. Started out on an epic climb and then into the country roads around my place. There were 5 nice climbs and only 2 stop signs and 2 stop lights. 20KM loop of fun.

I took out the fixie as the mtb is at the office right now. Perfect tool for th job. Of course the plans to modify the fixie kept swirling thru my head. Here goes... Winter hits I tear this toy down to its smallest pieces... Remove all unnececary braze-ons. Take it to a place in town and have it media balsted and powder coated... Remove bar tape... polish all chrome... Rebuild brakeless, or new mini front brake lever (Undecided)... Install new grips, not tape... Post new pix... Have fun riding shiny new toy next year..

Yup, thats how the ride went too... Mind completely drifted off and ride was bliss... Until next time, I'm out!!

I think I was going to talk about trees and corn and stuff in the fields and lack of congestion on the streets... Maybe next time...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Oh to have a cycling blog!!!

The uninteresting and mundane life of an avid singlespeed cyclist. Really I am kind of a cop-out... I have 3 bikes with three distinct gear ratios... One Singlespeed MTB at 34/16, one Fixed/Singlespeed roadie at 50/16, and one Fixed MTB at 44/14... So every time I go to the garage I am really choosing a speed/gear ratio and therefore not true singlespeed??? Back to me and my abnormality I call cycling. I talk to many with cool and interesting singlespeed and fixie toys. Mee I have an 18 year old Nishiki Apache for my MTB... That is the newest bike I currently own... My road bike is a single/fixed Sears dept store from early 1980's and the fixed MTB is an old $4 garage sale peugeot convert. I just like to ride and do so with minimal investment. Other than the costs I seem to pour into the Nishiki to keep it race ready! Well am I rambling enough for an introductory note? I think I need to go cut the lawn, then maybe I will go for a ride.... I'm out...

egggman's Zazzle