Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cyclocross anyone?

So what do you do when fall race season is over? When you've hardly ridden in two weeks? When the temperature plummets and the snow falls? You enter a cyclocross race, that's what you do.

If all goes as planned, I've decided to race this local cyclocross race in Murraysville. I'm admittedly not a cyclocross racer, but the couple I've tried I really liked. Now, I don't know how much I enjoyed them at the time. Near unconsciousness and vomitting perhaps were the reasons. But for days afterward I would tell anyone who listened, and several that didn't want to, the play by play of the race.

I will be easy to spot at the race. I don't have a cyclocross bike (mtb might actually be a good choice anyway with this weather), I don't wear one of those bright colored race kits with all my sponsors' names on them (ok, no one sponsors me), and I don't have shaved legs. But I'll be trying to burn off some Thanksgiving calories all the same. Hope to see you out there.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Winter of our Discontent

Shakespeare's words came to me as I sit here on this dreary, rainy day. I vainly grasp the hope that fall will last longer, that there will be a few more days I can steal away from the onset of winter. Alas, I know it's a fruitless endeavor. But then reading some other blogs and forums, I saw the thing that will get me through the rides in the single digits, the icy slush finding that one bit of bare skin I inadvertently left exposed, the cruel winter's wind that tries to toss me into oncoming traffic. I saw the proposed WVMBA's 2009 race schedule.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fox Fork F29 - first impressions

First, the color really does not match my dos niner, but then again I admire function over form. I was hoping to review the Fox fork and how it differed from my Reba, but a mechanical changed this a bit.

On our weekly Wednesday night ride, I ran over some punji stick that punctured my rear tire but good. Why when people snip small saplings do they leave a perfectly shaped spear-like remnant? Anyway, my rear tire was punctured by this evil object, leaving a gaping hole. Besides the sloppy work of putting a tube in to a tubeless tire, I was now in need of new tires. I really didn't want to buy new tires when my new fork was installed, as I wanted to test the fork with as few variables changed as possible.

So anyway, forced to buy new tires. Ended up with Kenda Nevegals, they went on easily with the Stans sealant. Mark the master mechanic put on my fork, and I was ready for a test ride.

Went for a ride at North Park. I probably rode about 20 miles in 2.5 hours, on all of the trials that I've ridden for years. I wanted to see how the bike reacted to familiar trails. So instead of reviewing the fork, I ended up reviewing the fork and the new tires.

First impression: awesome. The tires gripped great, even with (dry) leaves covering the trails. Cornering was really good, I was able to stay off the brakes more than ever.

I think not only did the tires help in the cornering, but I felt as if I had very little to no brake diving from the fork. The fork will still need to be tweaked a bit until I'm completely satisfied (rebound seems fast and not exactly sure about the compression), but overall the fork is set up pretty nice. The improvement in lateral stiffness was obvious as I rode over the rocky sections. Unlike the Reba, I came out of the rocks pointed in the direction I intended. The extra travel was very noticeable (I went from 80 mm Reba to the 100 mm Fox) and seemed much more plush.

But as always, I often wonder, is it the new fork or the mental game that I play with myself. The confidence that I gain with new equipment may be the only real difference, I'm never sure.

What I didn't like. I really wish Fox would have made a remote lockout for the 29er version of this fork. Hopefully they will have one to add on next year. I really don't like having to reach down to lock out the fork. And while I move the lever, I often accidentally move the compression dial which is located beneath it. But these are small problems in the big picture. In return I get a better, stiffer ride, and yet more plush.

The real test will be how it handles the motorcyle trails of the Punk Enduro on December 14. If you're in the Pittsburgh area and have never done a Punk Enduro, well, you need to. And really the weather can only be better than last year (all, and I mean all, day rain, argh).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

You know you're crazy when...

I'm not usually in to watching videos of guys doing big jumps. They all look the same after a while, but for the last couple of years I've been addicted to watching the Red Bull Rampage.

More so, I really like the behind the scenes kind of stuff. This video shows one of the riders prepping a big gap. Pretty impressive. Then while you're at make sure to watch the Red Bull Challenge finals, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Christmas comes early

Santa Claus, better known as the UPS man, knocked on my door tonight, and what did I find? Yep, a new Fox Fork F29 for the dos niner. Can't wait to get this thing on and put it through its paces. I'm going from 80mm Reba to the 100mm Fox. From all I hear, I should really like the extra travel and the stiffness of the Fox. I'll give you my review in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Lance's new training regimen

So how does Lance train for his comeback for the Tour de France? He races his mountainbike of course.

If you haven't seen this video of the Leadville 100, well, you should...

Leadville 100

That video makes me want to get out and try a 100 mile race. Then I realized my lack of genetic ability, my extra weight, and my lack of any real training may hold me back a bit.

Then I came across this video of Lance doing a recent 12 hour relay race...

12 Hours of Snowmass

I like the part where the one racer says he thought he could gap Lance a bit in the technical sections, but he wasn't able to. If you're like me, I figured that, sure Lance had the legs of a roadie, but could he really hang with the top guys in the dirt during the technical sections? Well, I guess he can.