Sunday, May 22, 2005

May 2005 archive

Bob- In that last pic... why isn't your pepper mill lugged? Hmmm... -Me
large fella
Fri, 29 Apr 2005 07:34:00 -0400



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Mon, 02 May 2005 11:16:00 -0400
Mon, 02 May 2005 11:16:00 -0400
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That seems like an odd question eh? Raining may be an understatement, it was more like a deluge.

So I'm hard at it last night, blasting a frame in the sand-blaster when I notice something odd, water flowing into my shop. I immediately stop what I'm doing to investigate, but a quick investigation just got me drenched. Run to the water meter and shut it off. fast. I wasn't fast enough, as about 2 gallons of water had poured out directly onto my lathe by that point.

Run upstairs to see what's going on, there's some water in the kitchen, but not much. Turns out a drain line came off the sink, which means the back-up drain came into effect. The backup drain is where the water follows the pipes right down into my shop and onto the lathe......

Well, some shop-vac'ing and a trip to home despot later, things seem ok. I drenched the lathe in about a gallon of Boesheild, hoping it won't all rust up. What a great way to finish off the weekend.

I did get in a good tandem ride Sunday though. Riding with Katie M, testing the waters for a tandem race team at the Cable classic. It was a good ride, we got it in before the snow (yeah snow, yeah it's May, yeah it's MN). Katie's a good stoker, I think we'll have a good time at Cable. we put in two laps at Lake Elmo in a pretty stiff wind. I felt good, and the bike felt good. I forgot how much fun that off-road tandem is. Beth and I don't ride it as much since it's a bit on the small side for her, so it's been fun to get back out on it. I should really get a new one made to fit Beth, but it's just another project on the backlog at bbc right now.

It's time for an internet rant. Netzero.

I used to use Netzero internet service for one reason, it was free and I'm cheap. Well, my wife's not cheap so when we got married we also got cable internet (just between you and me, I gotta admit, it's pretty nice). So I tried to cancel my netzero account at the same time. Being the scammer's they are, they make it pretty much impossible to cancel. You have to call an 800 number, there's no way to cancel on the web. When you call, they walk you through a maze of some computer generated female voice telling you what buttons to push. The key here is that there's always a selection for cancelling your account, that way they can be sure to put you in the back of the que for being on hold. The first time I had the patience to wait, I was on hold for 43 minutes until I got a human. He kindly spent almost 20 minutes trying to talk me into other services that I didn't want. Acting like he was sneaky and trying to make me beleive he was helping me out. At one point this guy even said " wait, let me make sure my boss isn't within hearing distance" before he gave me his "final best offer". I thought it was pretty clear that saying "I want to cancel my account" meant I want to cancel my account. He thought differently.

Last month I noticed there was still a netzero charge on my credit card. Time to sit on hold for another day...... I called early this morning, I think that helped, it only took me 14 minutes to get a person. She was far more helpful, but still used the same word-game tricks to try and sell services. I thought I had gotten through to her and actually cancelled everything when she said "ok, there will be no more monthly charges from netzero, and only an annual charge for your megamail account".

Hello? Megamail? what's that, I don't even have that account. Finally I seemed to get through when I said I wanted nothing more to do with anything netzero had to offer and if she didn't cancel everything right now I'll just cancel that credit card (those are a dime a dozen these days....).

Hopefully that's the last of my dealings with Netzero. Ever. I should have been suspect as soon as they hired Dennis Miller as their pitch-man on tv, but I'm slow. Time to add Netzero to the list of evil corporate america, somewhere below wal-mart....

Alright, that's enough ranting for now. I did ride the carbon bike a little bit this weekend, just around the block. I didn't feel like hitting hills with it in the snow. It felt fine, felt like a steel bike. The fork felt a bit flexier than I like, but I also found the headset was a touch loose when I got in. I'll fix that and try it on a real ride this week.

out.

bbbb


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Thu, 05 May 2005 09:41:00 -0400
Thu, 05 May 2005 09:41:00 -0400
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I'm dragging a bit this morning. About once a month I get up at a pretty silly hour in the morning so I can get across town and meet some good friends for breakfast at 6am. This morning was the day and my bed was still feeling pretty good at 5am. But the pancakes at Al's Breakfast are enough to get anyone out of bed. My belly is full and better yet I caught up with good friends. Incidentally, if you live near minneapolis and haven't been to Al's in dinkytown, you're missing out.

Well, the big news around here is my work schedule. You might be thinking how's your work schedule gonna help me Bob? Well, it will if you order a frame! As of June 1, I will be a part-time engineer, part-time framebuilder instead of the full-time engineer gig I got right now. This is huge to me, as it should help me improve my lead-time on frames, and let me enjoy life a bit more. I might even be able to have a life outside of engineering and framebuilding again! From a customer's standpoint, this should help me keep a much better schedule on frame orders, repairs and repaints. It will defintely take me a few months to get a handle on exaclty how much this will affect my lead time, but expect to see the wait for a frame decrease.

In other news, I got out for a couple of shorter rides on the weight-weenie bike. I was fairly surprized at what I felt. The bike feels fine overall. It's stable, corners great and fits great (as you can imagine, by this point I've got my personal geometry dialed in pretty well). It actually feels pretty good on the climbs and out of the saddle sprints, but it doens't feel quite "right" to me yet. It's not that it's flexy (I checked the rear triangle stiffness on the table and it's the same as a light steel frame) but it feels different than my usual .8mm steel chainstay set-up. It's hard to describe in words, but if I had to pick one I'd say dead, almost over-damped. It climbs well, and sprints well, feels fast, but it doesn't feel the same. It doens't have the springy feel that I get with steel, not good or bad, just different. Incidentally, I'm using the same wheels from my steel road bike, used the same tires too, then tried narrower, lighter tires with more pressure: same feeling.

On the flip side, when I'm seated and riding the horrible roads near my house, I have to say the thing does feel a bit smoother. I'm not a believer in that kind of subjectinve ride thing, but I did an unscientific test. I rode my usual lugged steel road frame on the test section, then road the new frame with the wheels and tires from my lugged frame (25 c tires at 100 psi), then road the new frame with same wheels, but 23 c tires at 140 psi. On any other frame I own, 23c tires and 140 psi would beat the snot out of me, on this frame it felt just about the same as the 25c tires. odd. Maybe there is something to this stuff, but overall, the "dead feel" I described in the previous paragraph overshadows the smooth ride for me personally.

I'll wait to pass judgement until I can get in some really long rides on it and some longer hills. I was really expecting it to feel more like Coleman's Waterford R-33 than like my zero uno lugged steel bike. It doens't really feel like either. Feels more like the Trek OCVL frames we used to sell at BJ's, which I never really cared for either. But I guess that's the beauty of personal preference, what I don't like is exactly what someone else does like (or it's what someone else was told they should like by a mass marketing machine).

One thing is for sure (ok two things) it's really light, and that campy record carbon stuff is nice. The bike weighs in at 17 lbs complete with a fairly reasonable build kit. The big splurge were the record carbon cranks, which could only happen because Campy recently drastically reduced the price of them in the US. They're still way up there in the chi-chi parts range, but not as bad as they were.

They don't weight what campy claims, but hey, most people I know don't weigh what they claim either. This set came in at a whopping 540g. Not bad, and they're a definite improvement over the aluminum record arms which I have and which I never felt were as stiff as they should be (for a crank that cost's that much).

Using the same frame and BB but just swaping cranks I was able to completely eliminate the front deraileur rub I used to get on steep climbs. For those of us that like to really power up things in big gears, these are nice cranks, I'll take the slight extra weight when it comes with this kind of stiffness. And they look soooooo nice on there!

Paint is in order next around the shop. I've got 5 frames waiting for paint, so that's what I'll be doing this week/weekend. Buck hill spring cup is this weekend as well. I think I'll hold off though until the real buck hill racing begins next Thursday night. Besides, I've only been out on the mountian bike twice this year, I need to ride!

Yesterday was an emotional one for me as well, I packed up my MB-0 and shipped it out. It went the way of E-bay, as I hadn't ridden it in about 2 years. I really loved riding that bike and I'm sure I'll miss it, but the sad fact is my back just didn't love riding that bike. It was the biggest size Bridgestone made, but the reality was it was just too small. I'll miss it, but I hope the new owner enjoys riding it as much as I did. It's way too nice of a bike to sit around my shop collecting dust. Besides, I've still got another zip frame down there collecting dust (but it's definetly not my size).

Looks like I've managed to ramble on long enough...

bbbb


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Re: thursday morning ramble
Congrats on the job situation Bob!! Amy will be happy to hear about this for sure! -Me
large fella
Thu, 05 May 2005 10:56:00 -0400

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Re: thursday morning ramble
Come on bbbb, Saturday is just training for the upcoming Thursday at WFBH! You say you need to ride, might as well be at Buck on Sat!!!!
tttt
Thu, 05 May 2005 16:36:00 -0400

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Re: thursday morning ramble
Al's breakfast, a real treat. Basically an alley with a rooftop, a big griddle, and cans of melted lard that get applied liberally. What else could you want in a breakfast joint? My favorite part is sitting on my stool eating breakfast while three or four people line up in the two feet of space between my back and the wall. The funny thing is that I walked past that place about 100 times before I even knew it was there.
JimT
Sun, 08 May 2005 01:21:00 -0400



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Mon, 09 May 2005 08:33:00 -0400
Mon, 09 May 2005 08:33:00 -0400
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True temper Alpha Q sub 3 fork painted in Chrome-illusions fade
http://bobbrowncycles.myblogsite.com/_photos/fork1.jpg
http://bobbrowncycles.myblogsite.com/_photos/fork1.thumb.jpg
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Mon, 09 May 2005 08:34:00 -0400
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http://bobbrowncycles.myblogsite.com/_photos/head1.jpg
http://bobbrowncycles.myblogsite.com/_photos/head1.thumb.jpg
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Mon, 09 May 2005 08:34:00 -0400
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http://bobbrowncycles.myblogsite.com/_photos/head2.jpg
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Mon, 09 May 2005 08:34:00 -0400
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http://bobbrowncycles.myblogsite.com/_photos/head3.jpg
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Mon, 09 May 2005 08:36:00 -0400
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Custom made lugged BB shell for the Columbus Super Muscle chainstays
http://bobbrowncycles.myblogsite.com/_photos/bb2.jpg
http://bobbrowncycles.myblogsite.com/_photos/bb2.thumb.jpg
bb2.jpg
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Mon, 09 May 2005 08:37:00 -0400
Mon, 09 May 2005 08:37:00 -0400
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Super-muscle chainstays with Chrom-illusions translucent over them.
http://bobbrowncycles.myblogsite.com/_photos/chainstays1.jpg
http://bobbrowncycles.myblogsite.com/_photos/chainstays1.thumb.jpg
chainstays1.jpg
top-secret

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Mon, 09 May 2005 08:41:00 -0400
Mon, 09 May 2005 08:41:00 -0400
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Well, this was a busy weekend around here. I spent all day Friday doing prep-work to be able to paint frames again. (home remodeling filled up my painting area). Got all five frames preped Friday and ready to go, in the process, I dropped a 1 hp motor on my left thumb making it basically useless to me for a few days. Great way to start a big batch of painting.

Saturday was was a paint bonanza. Got up at 7 am to get going early. Got primer and sealer layed out first, and the first stages of basecoat on a couple frames. I painted the nature-lover frame this weekend, so I knew there was going to be a lot of masking. Sprayed the silver base coat on the lugs, then spent about the next 3 hours masking the two headlugs. The seat-lug gave me fits getting the basecoat to lay right, so I had to spray and smooth it a couple times. Then about 2 more hours to mask that lug (keeping in mind I can't tear or cut with my left hand due to said thumb injury). There's probaly about 50 little tiny pieces of tape on each lug by the time it's all done, but on stuff this intricate, that's the only good way to do it. Luckily 3M manufactures the best fine-line flexible masking tape around, so I've got a nice stock of it.

On a frame with lugs like this, I went through about 40' of 1/8" wide tape, and a few razor blades. The key is being able to bend the tape around the curves, then always using a very sharp fresh blade to trim the excess.

Once everything is masked, then it's time for the primary basecoat, the green in this case. Spray a couple coats of that, then remove the tape, carefully, very, very carefully. It always seems kind of anti-climatic to me, hours and hours of taping, then spray and remove it in about 10 minutes.

In the end, this one came out really nice. The green is a custom mix, with a lot of silver pigment in it, so the silver lugs actually work qutie well with it. The pictures don't do it justice truly. Check out the "Nature Lover" gallery link on the left for a bunch more pictures.

I also painted up the carbon experiment bike in this batch of paint. I decided that bike was already pretty over-the-top compared to what I usually work with, so it might as well have an over-the-top paint job as well.

So out came the Dupont Chrom-Illusions paint. This stuff is pretty cool, and I had enough left from another job to do this frame. But just "plain" color changing paint seemed a bit too tame for this bike, so I put in a few extra touches. The decals aren't actually decals, they're painted in, in silver under the illusions coat, so they also change colors, but differently than the rest of the frame. I also made a translucent blend of the illusions paint into the bare carbon areas, so you see the carbon weave under the translucent colors:

I wasn't sure how that effect would work out since I've never painted anything like this before, but I'd say it's pretty stunning in a high-tech-carbon-geeky kind of way.

I did the same thing with the Alpha-Q fork, fading it down to a translucent carbon weave at the tips. There's a good picture of it in the "top-secret" gallery on the left.

I am really happy with how the lugs and BB shell came out though. To me, the BB shell and the seat-lug are actually the highlights of this frame, not the carbon stuff. They were the most work, and are definitely unique (but hey, somebody's got to build this stuff).

Take a look in the gallery for a bunch more pictures (and better resolution that they appear here). I also have a couple in there of the seat-lug, showing how I integrated the connecting tube for the carbon seatstay assembly into the lug. It's pretty sweet, even if I do say so myself.

It was funny to finish up both this carbon frame and the nature lover frame in the same weekend. They're both incredibly custom frames, totally unique from anything else out there, and also about as far opposite as I could get. The carbon bike is the most "high tech" type bike I've ever built, but I think stuff like the nature lover is still higher up on the cool chart!

I also did the first two 205 Kenwood Racing team paint jobs in the new colors. They're looking good. I'm waiting for the new decals to arrive this week, then those will be out the door too. Git yer' gold paint jobs now, so your bike is ready when the new team jersey's arrive!

bbbb


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Re: Busy weekend
WOW! Beautiful work Bob... really lovely. I bet Beth is gonna be tickled with that cycle!! Very cool job on the transparent carbon... snake/reptile-like. -Me
large fella
Mon, 09 May 2005 12:07:00 -0400


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Mon, 09 May 2005 10:30:00 -0400
Mon, 09 May 2005 10:30:00 -0400
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I managed to sneak in a ride yesterday after work, between rain clouds. I debated for a while if it was even worth heading out, and finally decided it wouldn't kill me to get wet. I took out the carbon bike after making a few more fit adjustments. It felt a lot better, I tweaked the hoods up a bit higher and raised the saddle about 2mm (side note, I'm completely in awe at how finicky my quads have become to saddle height, it seems like if I'm 1mm lower than usual it plagues me the whole ride).

I headed downtown, then up to Summit Ave. Figured a nice cruise along there to the river would be good, and get me home before the big rain came. I realized about 500 ft into my ride that I forgot my blood pressure prescription (bad genetics suck!) had run out yesterday, and I hadn't taken my drugs today. That's always a bummer when it happens, my heart rate shoots sky high right off the bat and I know I have to take it easy. I also realized about 5 miles in that i had forgot my spare tube, I made a mental note to stop at GP on the way and get a tube just in case....

So along the bike lane on summit I went. About a mile in, I noticed someone riding behind me, but he was very polite and kept his distance, not really drafting me, just staying behind. Once we stopped for a light, we got to chatting and rode a few miles together. Real nice guy named Jay, turned out we had a few mutual friends. I enjoyed the company and the conversation, so much so that I completely forgot to stop at GP for a spare tube. Jay peeled off at the Ford Bridge, I crossed and thought I'd ride up river road and make a nice loop. Well, fate had other plans. As soon as I was over the bridge the bike started feeling funny, yup flat tire up front. sigh.

No spare tube, nobody around, check my tool kit hoping maybe i had a patch left. No such luck, but I did have the next best thing, duct tape. Taped up the hole, re-installed the tube and pumped it up, it held air better than without the tape, so I figured I'd limp it back across the river to St. Paul Cycles. Well, I limped it back across, only to find St. Paul Cycles is no longer there, it's now a Chipotle. Ordinarily I'm a fan, but I really wanted a tube much more than a burrito at that moment. I could feel the valve stem on the front wheel, so I decided it was time for another pump-up of the tire ( a tire's not really flat unless you can feel the thump-thump-thump of the valve!). I couldnt' think of any other shops in the area, so I limped it back to GP, stopping to pump three more times before getting there.

Now I'm not the biggest fan of GP in the world, but it's a nice shop with lots of high-end stuff. A bit too much ego for my tastes, but they're not all bad folks. I buy a tube and a patch kit (better safe than sorry again at this point) for which they charged me $10. Seemed pretty steep, for the cheap-o QBP tube they sold me. Seems like they're about $5 everywhere else, but maybe I'm just too used to wholesale pricing....

I rolled the bike in to change the tube and borrow their floor pump (which I greatly appreciate the fact that they don't mind that kind of thing, points for GP). The fellow working the counter was very friendly and took a look at the bike. only commented that "we've seen a few of those paint jobs lately". Then he went straight in back to appearantly fetch Dan, the owner. Dan came out, but didn't say a word to me, just talked to someone at the counter the whole time. He kept looking at the bike though, seemed unsure what to make of it. I didn't bother to say anything, I had a ride to finish off. I thanked them for the use of their pump and headed out.

The bike felt good again with both tires up to par. By this time I was prett comfy on it. It honestly started feeling like my other bikes, which is to say it kind of blended into the background of my ride. That's how I know I have the fit dialed in, when you don't notice anything.

I rolled back to past downtown, finished up on a couple hills and rolled into my driveway just as a drop of rain hit me. Perfect timing.

bbbb


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Re: Ride and rain
Wouldn't want to look stupid by asking about something now, would they... That's too bad - for them.
nathan
Wed, 11 May 2005 15:38:00 -0400

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Re: Ride and rain
Always amazes me-as well as troubles me too... how adults aren't really that different than children. The same games, the same immaturity, the same "I admire something but won't ask because it might make me look stupid or too in awe of it". There are days when I just feel like packing me, the wife and daughter up and living on a fucking island with no contact to anyone or anything else. BB, next time you encounter that LBS owner you should say, "It's cool... you can ask questions. No need to be shy about something you won't ever have the skills or ability to accomplish in your lifetime... ask away!" -Me
large fella
Wed, 11 May 2005 16:49:00 -0400



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Wed, 11 May 2005 10:15:00 -0400
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Warning, this is 100% rant-filled opinion. Don’t read this if you’re an easily offended weekend warrior mtb’er or an unripe tomato. I’m just in one of those moods….

I went for a mountain bike ride last night in Battle Creek, just a short one to see how the bike was feeling before Buck Hill this Thursday. Battle Creek used to be a killer place to ride, miles and miles of trails, all of which were great, and all of which seemed to exist in harmony with all the other activities the park has to offer. Then the late 90’s came. Mountain Dew commercials became an instructional video for some people on what mountain biking should be, weekend warriors flooded the park and quickly destroyed the balance. The Park is very hilly, that’s what makes it great. It had very technical descents, great singletrack, and fast open x-c skit trails. But the weekend warrior is that unique breed that believes the front brake on a bike is the device of Satan himself, therefore the only “cool” way to go down something is use the back brake, and skid the tire the whole way. The trails started eroding away faster than they could be maintained (since the county didn’t really do any maintenance). The bulk of the trails were soon closed to bikes, the county claiming they were too dangerous for the general public. The park went from a place that I could once do a 4 hour ride and not double up a trail to having enough singletrack left to fill about 20 minutes.

Enter MORC. Morc is the local mountain bike advocacy group. They work hard to keep trails open when public officials want to close them to mountain bikes, they work on improving the trails, and on improving general knowledge about mountain biking. Those are all very worthwhile ideals, and something I really want to support, but try as I might I just cannot. You see morc has literally changed the face of mountain biking in the Twin Cities area. They used to be an advocacy group trying to keep the trails open, but it seems to me in the last couple of years they’ve shifted to a trail rebuilding group, attempting to make all singletrack in Minnesota look like anything but Minnesota singletrack. For those not familiar with the area, mountain biking around here has always been really great, the trails are generally smooth dirt with very tight, twisty, technical singletrack. The earth is not rough and full of rocks and roots as might be found out east. It’s not full of huge 36” diameter downed trees and wet areas that require log or plank bridges to cross. Minnesota singletrack has traditionally been characterized by tight trails, narrow gaps between trees, smooth dirt and somewhat rolling terrain. It’s just about all gone.

There seems to be a trail-building kick going on in Morc these days, they rebuilt the whole trail system at Lebanon hills a year or two back. They took an area with lots of rolling hills, but very little singletrack and changed it into 100% singletrack. Seems like a neat idea, but the whole thing is so fake and contrived feeling that I can’t even enjoy riding there. There must be 20 fake log crossings out there, meaning they deliberately piled up logs on the trails just to provide some kind of obstacle. There are fake plank-type bridges that cross nothing, you could ride right around them on nice firm earth. There are rock-gardens which are simply out of place, they don’t look like anything that could naturally occur in Minnesota. It’s just a pile of rocks in the trail. To top it off it’s not really singletrack, it’s wide. The trees have all been cut back far enough that you could probably walk through the whole trail holding a 4’ long pole horizontally and not hit anything. That’s not singletrack. They had to go add all the contrived obstacles just to give the trail some technical element. It could have been such a cool trail, but it’s not.

Theodore Wirth has been partially Morc-ified. Wirth isn’t quite as bad though, they haven’t added nearly as many fake man-made obstacles. They appear to have made a deliberate effort to try and get some of the technical aspect of the trails from the curves and twists. I appreciate that, but they did cut back most of the trail to nearly double-track status again, hopefully they’ll let it grow back in and not keep cutting.

Battle Creek is starting to show signs of morc-ification. The worst one is the singletrack downhill on the southwest corner of the upper part of the park. That trail has been around for a long time, and it’s always been a challenging but pretty safe descent. Well, after one of the trail building sessions last fall it became a challenging and downright dangerous descent. They went and buried large chucks of concrete on the steepest section of the trail, deliberately making it about as rough as possible. It’s very ride-able, but it’s not fun anymore, and worst of all (unlike the trails they closed earlier because the were too “dangerous”) it’s actually dangerous. I’m not one to worry about a trail being dangerous, I’ll ride most anything, but this one is truly a bad trail. The concrete chunks are laid in there to form little jumps which require a landing on other jagged concrete chunks. It’s just stupid.

There are two reasons why I think this kind of stuff happens. First, I suspect morc got some kind of corporate sponsorship from Mountain Dew. That deal must have included a clause saying they had to try and make all their trails resemble something found in a ‘dew ad.

Second, far too many people buy long travel full suspension bikes to ride in Minnesota. Then they’re disappointed them they figure out the natural terrain here doesn’t require a full suspension bike, so they feel a need to make artificial terrain that makes use of the boing-boing in their bike. This is also the reason fake man-made obstacles rule the trails instead of tight technical real singletrack. A full suspension bike can take the difficulty out of riding rough terrain, but it doesn’t make the person any better able to handle a bike. Meaning they’re still incapable of riding tight sections because they can’t steer! When trails are being built they way I described above, I think it’s for one reason: to make these folks on double boingers feel like they’re good riders. I got news for you, riding a motocross-bike-minus-the-motor over a few logs doesn’t make you a good bike handler. Being able to hang with Geno on the singletrack at buck makes you a good bike handler.

I’m really straying off topic now… It’s not that I hate Morc (really!) I think they started off as a good idea. I just want them to really look at what they’re doing to our trails, and how they’re removing all the character.

And despite the fact that I don’t like the direction of a lot of the trails, I do help out on trail building and repairing Morc equipment for them. I’d rather have poorly designed trails than no trails, but given the choice why can’t I have well designed trails!

Tomatoes. What’s up with Tomatoes this year???? (I’m on a roll with the ranting thing if you couldn’t tell). I eat a lot of sandwiches, pastrami being numero uno on the menu and I like tomatoes on my sandwiches, in my taco’s, on a salad…. You get the idea. But this year the tomatoes have just sucked. I don’t see a lot of news, so maybe there’s something going on I don’t know about, but every tomato I’ve had in 2005 has been hard, green, unripe, or just plain crap. Can someone please let me know what’s going on? They used to be nice and flavorful, not too firm, not too soft. Now days it’s only rock-hard and no flavor what so ever. I suspect some of them are really red-colored iceberg lettuce cores. I’m not eating it.

bbbb

(I promise I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow)


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Re: on the warpath.
You see bbbb, MORC now controls all the tomato growers as well, so the tomatoes are going the way of Minn Single Track. If only someone would buy Kenwood Cycling and gather all the forces of good together to form an alliance to take over MORC and the tomato makers of the world. This is the only way things will regain their flavor! Maybe the tomatoes in Cable this weekend will be good??? I know the trails will be!
tttt
Wed, 11 May 2005 11:31:00 -0400

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Re: on the warpath.
Pepsi, which owns Mountain Spew also owns, yup-you guessed it... United States Tomato Growers (USTG). Hmmmm... ?? I smell a conspiracy!! Seriously though... 2 things- 1. It's GREAT to hear you rant Bob! 2. Just last week we've been getting decent tomatoes (again I repeat... Not great-just decent) here... so you aren't alone in the Sucking Tomato thing. -Me
large fella
Wed, 11 May 2005 14:37:00 -0400

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Re: on the warpath.
I guess the best I can do is respond in rant form as well since it seems fitting. You did hit the nail on the head. Trails are better than no trails. Leb sucked plenty before MORC ever got there. Battle Creek didn't become crap because of MORC, it turned crap because to many people started riding there and the trails couldn't hold up to it. Damn the popularity of mountain biking to hell. Your true grip though should be with IMBA. They teach MORC to build trails so "morcified" trails really should be "imbafied". If you come up with a way to make sustainable trails that mimic the glory trails you speak of and I would bet cash money that MORC (and IMBA) would listen to ya and probably build them. As for bike selection and a mountain dew lifestyle riding a rigid steel bike doesn't make you a good rider either. Whatever puts the sparkle in your eye and your soul is what you should ride. It still is two legs turning two cranks turning two wheels. The tomatos as did the trails always seem better back in the day. Now it is time to make my daily duke. That always lightens me up and puts me in a better mood. Autobots roll out!
berrywise
Wed, 11 May 2005 15:29:00 -0400

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Re: on the warpath.
...wanker. ;-] Yeah, it might be two legs, turning..., etc BUT it cannot be denied that so many idiots are so idiotically brainwashed and lead like lemmings to what's popular. Full suspension, alum. & carbon, etc... and yes, slugging down Mountain Poo. If you actually think otherwise... then Madison Ave. has got you by the balls as well. To qoute a qoute, "I suspect everyone." -Me
large fella
Wed, 11 May 2005 16:23:00 -0400

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Re: on the warpath.
I agree with your rant. I'm also grateful for the work MORC has done. I moved from the East coast to MN eight years ago. There were hardly any trails here and certainly none of any distance. Out East, you can spend four hours on one trail and never do a piece twice and the terrain is all natural. Much more difficult than what you find in MN. The only thing close to East coast riding is Lutsen. So between MORC and the BLAST, more trails have popped up, and I'm extremely appreciative of that. However, I am concerned that they will be altering Afton. Afton is pretty close to natural and I don't want to see it become a Lebanon! My husband's comment about Lebanon is that "MORC vacuums the trail"! I think we need a Lebanon, but I also think we need variety in the cities. Let's not make every trail a Lebanon duplicate.
wacker
Thu, 12 May 2005 10:03:00 -0400

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Re: on the warpath.
I agree with your rant. I'm also grateful for the work MORC has done. I moved from the East coast to MN eight years ago. There were hardly any trails here and certainly none of any distance. Out East, you can spend four hours on one trail and never do a piece twice and the terrain is all natural. Much more difficult than what you find in MN. The only thing close to East coast riding is Lutsen. So between MORC and the BLAST, more trails have popped up, and I'm extremely appreciative of that. However, I am concerned that they will be altering Afton. Afton is pretty close to natural and I don't want to see it become a Lebanon! My husband's comment about Lebanon is that "MORC vacuums the trail"! I think we need a Lebanon, but I also think we need variety in the cities. Let's not make every trail a Lebanon duplicate.
wacker
Thu, 12 May 2005 10:06:00 -0400



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Thu, 12 May 2005 10:43:00 -0400
Thu, 12 May 2005 10:43:00 -0400
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bobbrowncycles


Seems I really stirred up the hornet’s nest yesterday with my rant. The president of Morc felt the need to copy and paste the whole thing on the Morc message board (Without permission; Please folks, lets check copyrights before cutting and pasting). Later he removed it and linked to my blog instead, thanks Scott.

I was quickly chastised with everything from being a “fool”, not being a “thrill seeker”, and suffering from “mild ignorance”. A really funny poster also wrote this:

I drink a case of mountain dew a day and I skid into every corner! Honestly, IMO anybody who uses or creates sterotypes is an ignorant jacka@* and I cant give them the time of day, so who cares what this moron has to say.

The person who wrote that also identifies himself on the Morc board with this picture (honestly, it’s under his name on every post):

Sorry, buddy, but you just lost all your credibility with me in breaking stereotypes. Hyperbole is lost on some.

But by far and away, my favorite was from Chris D who in response to my blog post wrote (verbatim) it is a long-winded tirade lacking a clear point. And later: I take offense to his lack of structure and hyperbole.

Folks, I’m sorry if you don’t like my lack of structure, that’s exactly why I wrote that on MY BLOG and not on the Morc message board. It’s a blog not the Evening News with Dan Rather. I can write a long-winded tirade that lacks a clear point, that the beauty of it. I don’t want this thing to look like a series of newspaper articles, I don’t always want structure, sometimes I want emotion and free-flowing consciousness (even if it doesn’t read well). My blog is not some deeply thought out journalistic masterpiece (a quick glance at any of my writing should reveal that!) it’s my thoughts put on (virtual) paper pretty quickly and with (hopefully) a touch of comedy or satire. That last part was lost on a lot of folks.

The good news out of all this is that it really seemed to spur on a conversation on the Morc board. Sure there were lots of bone-headed comments directed at me and at others, but there were also lots of good thoughts and constructive criticisms shared. Several folks wrote out some good well-thought out comments, and I wrote some more thought-out (less stream-of-consciousness) responses. It was quite evident who actually read what I wrote and who skimmed it and came to their own pre-conceived notions about me. I only care about that first group.

My hats off to the directors at Morc and the trail stewards. It was quite apparent that they did read and understand most of what I wrote, I even think they were able to see past the Mountain-dew hyperbole. Shawn Sheely started some very good discussion on what could be done to improve things. Thanks Shawn.

Enough of that, I’m just bracing for what’s going to happen when the tomato growers cut and paste my long-winded tirade lacking a clear point on their message board! I won't be able to get a ripe tomato to save my life. (Richard, thanks for the tip, I’ll check out Kowalski’s next time I’m over there)

Let’s move on to something better, a ride report. I had a great ride last night. I took the tandem out with Katie for one last hill ride before the cable classic race this weekend. It was great, we rode for almost an hour and a half. Katie made great progress as she said she wasn’t white-knuckling the bar, and kept her eyes open much more (if you rode stoker for me off-road you’d probably close your eyes too!). She’s actually been a great stoker, even moreso when you consider she doesn’t really mountain bike at all. My hats off to her for bravery in riding this big bike at Cable this weekend.

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Re: Rant on ranting
If you're going to post a comment like that on the MORC board at the very least you could preface it with a warning that you're just ranting. The sheer nerve you display, Bob! ;) I wonder (seriously) if your Dew-drinking corner skidder isn't just going over-the-top, maybe a little like our large friend Scott? Will it all be worth all this drama if MORC ends up making some changes? Peace.
nathan
Thu, 12 May 2005 12:23:00 -0400

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Re: Rant on ranting
Bob, I hope this whole MORC thing ends with a positive solution. To be truthful, I was a little disappointed in your post/blog. If you were truly concerned about some things regarding MORC and trail development, there are MUCH better was to address issues than a PUBLIC blog. Different ideas and opinions are the exact things that makes MORC run as well as it does. Although there were more than enough knuckle-heads responding on the MORC board, I hope it was made clear to you that your input is both valued and welcomed… but not necessarily any more important than what already gets considered. MORC goes through many, many, MANY different opinions before they act. I think that gets to the root of some of the responses you have received. Take Care!! Jay Bergland
JBergland
Thu, 12 May 2005 12:32:00 -0400

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Re: Rant on ranting
Hey Bob, Just fyi on the tomato crisis - it is a result of all the hurricanes in FL earlier this year. Many of the crops were damaged, so prices are up and quality is terrible. Angie
NYBella
Fri, 27 May 2005 11:34:00 -0400



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Fri, 13 May 2005 09:42:00 -0400
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This weekend was a wet and cold one here in the Midwest. Pretty much just rain and mid 40’s for highs, but that didn’t stop the Cable Classic. It probably deterred most folks capable of rational thought, but not a select group of Kenwoodies. Seven of us headed up Friday after work to stay at Deanwoods in-law’s cabin. AKA the Loveshack.

I had the good fortune of driving up there with tttt and deanwood himself, so I didn’t need to bother with getting directions, or so I thought. Deanwood has a knack for telling you when to make a turn almost exactly 2 feet before the actual turn, especially if you’re going 65 mph. But we made it up there, got things unpacked and decided it was time to check out the trails with a little pre-ride. But first, Deanwood decided his eyelashes were too long, so he trimmed them using the natural gas stove in the cabin (watch the kenwood weekly for details on that).

So we headed up to Cable to register for the race and to get in a little ride. It stopped raining, so things were looking up. The trails weren’t too bad, just a little wet, but firm. There were a few big puddles, but nothing tttt and I couldn’t avoid. I can’t say the same for Jeff, he was just having a rough start to the weekend.

Trails seem to be ok, as long as it doesn’t rain all night, things will be fine. Go back to the loveshack to meet up with the others and do some carbo-loading.

Next morning, tttt gets up at 5:30 and takes a paddle around the lake, the rest of us sleep another couple hours. I wake up to what appears to be a clear sky and no rain. Things are looking up. We get some breakfast going, tttt makes eggs, everyone eats whatever gets them prepped for a race. Tommy Mac does peanut butter and banana bagels, Stone Phillips take in about 5 shots of espresso, I tend to go for volume: three packets of oatmeal and a couple of eggs, banana, oj, and a power bar. Freeride just frets over not being to the start line two hours early and Katie Mac gets to see what a group of freaks we really are.

Head to Lakewoods for the start, and naturally during the drive there, the sky’s open up. Rain, rain and more rain. We park and get the bikes ready in the rain. I get the tandem all unloaded and hope everything works. Katie and I head to the start line.

We lined up in back, I don’t like to be too far up on tandem as we usually just block other riders out. But about a mile in, we realized we were a bit too far back, so we started passing people on the dirt-roads. Things were going pretty good, the bike felt good, we both felt strong, so we let it run. All was good until the trail got skinny. Once we hit the singletrack, things went downhill a bit. The rain was still coming down and the trail was really greasy. We were able to handle most of it, but we had to go really slow. Climbs were problematic. We rode most of them, including quite a few that the single bikers were walking, but we couldn’t really use any force. It was all about traction and a light touch on the pedals. We ended up walking a lot of singletrack because I simply could not get the bike around the tight turns without any traction. That was a little frustrating since we rode the whole singletrack last year on tandem. Oh well, can’t control the weather, and Katie seemed to still be having fun so it was ok. I suspect we walked about 2 miles of trail by the end of the race, finishing in about three hours. That was a long 3 hours. We both felt pretty good at the end, we couldn’t really hit it hard on the bike due to the lack of traction, we were just tired from being on the bike that long. We won the tandem class by a landslide (we were the only tandem), but didn’t stick around to pick up the award. We were too hungry.

A trip to the sawmill on the way home for some grub, and we were all on the road back to the cities. Rumor has it Stone Phillips had a great race coming in 17th, and Deanwood pulled out all the stops at the start and led the race out for the first mile before he politely agreed to let Jeff Hall take it from there.

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Re: Cable Classic
Great read! I love it... burnt eyelashes to spinning wheels in the mud to winning your division (with one entry no less!) to not staying around to get your trophy!! Sounds like a great weekend in all. So can you use deeper tread tires next time for better traction or does the mud just get that bad that nothing works? Either way... sounds like fun to me. Photos?? -Me
large fella
Tue, 17 May 2005 13:25:00 -0400



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Wed, 18 May 2005 13:52:00 -0400
Wed, 18 May 2005 13:52:00 -0400
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bobbrowncycles


Since it still appears to be the monsoon season outside, I decided to get my workout done indoors yesterday. Usually Tuesdays and Thursdays are the my days for spin class over the lunch hour, but the gym is in the process of remodeling the room that they hold group classes in, so no class. You might think I’m crazy subbing a 45 minute class for real riding, but I swear that spinning class has done more to increase my comfortable spin cadence than all my years of fixed gear riding. It’s not only a good aerobic workout, but I think it really does help my cycling technique if done right.

So no spin class yesterday, but I got in an hour of aerobic stuff on the machines. I usually start with the elliptical thingy (I don’t know the real name). If you set it on hills, then put the level on 18-20 (out of 20) it’s a hell of a workout, very realistic simulation of out-of-the saddle climbing on the bike. I warmed up on that for 30 minutes, then went to the treadmill for some sprint intervals. Not bad for the indoors. Judging by the weather today, it looks like something similar is in store.

Since I didn’t ride last night, I worked in the shop. Made more progress on the tandem. I’ve got almost all the lugs done, which is by far the hardest part. Once they’re set to go, just miter the tubing and start brazing. From a construction standpoint, I like lugged tandems much more than fillet tandems. Yes, they’re much more overall work, but the hard work (not fun work) is all upfront. With a fillet bike, the hard work (smoothing the fillets) is last. I’d much rather get the stuff I don’t like done first than have to face it in the end. Weird psychology huh?

I also decaled the first of the 2005 Kenwood team paint jobs. They’re hot. The gold with red lettering just screams High Life. The green pin striping puts it over the top. I’ll get them cleared tonight hopefully, then out the door.

I have to go to Wausau WI for work tomorrow (engineering stuff, not bike work, bummer). Not looking forward to the drive, it always makes for a long day. To top it off, tomorrow night is the opener of World Famous Buck Hill. So I’ll have sat in a car for 6 hours before hopefully racing my single speed up and down the hill. At least it gives me something to look forward to on the drive home! I’d really like to make it out there since I know I’ll be missing next week’s Buck due to travel plans.

So I got to thinking a bit today about 29’ers again. I hate when I start thinking about stuff like this because I always come up with more work to try out. tttt is selling his 26” wheeled Fox Fork with the Fox inertia valve set-up. That’s hot, it automatically locks the fork up when you climb or make slower large compressions. I’ve wanted one of these for a 29’er for a while, but they don’t make one. Cannondale recently released a version of their Lefty fork with the Fox valving in it. That got me thinking….

I know for a fact that I can reduce the travel on the lefty fork by machining a couple special parts up (same way I modify the headshok forks and Moto’s. thank you Cannondale for making your product so tweak-able). If I were to limit the travel of the Lefty to 70mm, that will allow it to work with a 29’er wheel. The stock fork requires 110mm between the lower crown and the top of the tire for safe clearance (100mm travel with 10mm top-out) The difference in tire outer radius between a 26” and 29” wheel is about 30mm. So if I were to just limit the fork to traveling in the lower 70mm of it’s range, the tire should always clear safe and sound.

Only problem is I hear some bad reports about issues with the Fox version lefty right now. I might need to make sure they get those worked out before I could ever drop that kind of dough. Anyone got a used Lefty laying around that I can buy cheap to experiment on ? I’ll watch ebay. I’ve got an extra headshock frame around I could experiment with. Hmmmmm.

I better stop now before I come up with more stuff to eat up my time.

I had a sandwhich for lunch with ripe tomatoes! I'm so excited.

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Fri, 20 May 2005 11:13:00 -0400
Fri, 20 May 2005 11:13:00 -0400
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bobbrowncycles


Yesterday was one of those days that might have been better off just not happening. The recent monsoons have left our yard pretty saturated with water, and that was enough to start filling up the window wells during some hard downpours wed. night. Yup, water in the basement. That greeted me at 6am when I got up. I couldn’t deal with it much though, I had to hit the road for business meetins in Wausau WI at 10am.

So I drove 3 hours each way to have 2 hours in meetings, that’s always fun.

Than to round out the day I thought it would be good for me to loosen up the legs by racing at buck hill. I quickly stopped by the house on the way back from Wausau, grabbed a bike and some clothes and headed out. When I got to Buck I had been in the car for 7 hours already that day with only one meal. Not exactly a recipe for success.

I hadn’t really been feeling good all week, and I thought buck hill might improve my general mood. Nice thinking, but reality never seems to quite follow. The first two laps were ok, I kept Tom and Stone in site, but I started feeling pretty bad on the third lap, dropped back quite a bit. I did something I can’t remember ever doing at buck on the 4th lap, I fell! Slid out on a slick root, ended up on my side. It felt kind of good to just lay there in the dirt. I couldn’t get my left foot out of the pedal, so I just laid there a minute relaxing. Got back up and finished her off. No real damage, heck there wasn’t even anyone around to see it. Luckily the remainder of the lap was almost all downhill. I coasted it in to finish pretty much right in the middle of the field. Not impressive, but I lived. I don’t think I’ll do the race immediately following a seven-hour car-ride thing again though.

It’s looking like I’ll have to miss the next two buck hills, I’ll be out of town both weeks. That’s a bummer, and part of why I wanted to at least get one in yesterday.

Time to catch up on some housework tonight I think, so not much new to report from the shop. Hopefully get in some quality time this weekend to finish up some painting and get going on that tandem some more. That is once I get all the rainwater out....

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Re: WFBH
B- Sounds like you folks really got poured on. Hey, it's gotta stop sometime right?! Not a great couple days for you... keep your chin up and the Worm will turn! Here's wishing you a dry shop... -Me
large fella
Fri, 20 May 2005 13:45:00 -0400



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Tue, 24 May 2005 14:39:00 -0400
Tue, 24 May 2005 14:39:00 -0400
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bobbrowncycles


Hmm, it appears that the blog was down this weekend and part of Monday, sorry for the inconvenience. It’s a free service, and it seems pretty good, so I won’t complain too much if they have glitches occasionally.

Got in a good ride Friday afternoon. I managed to meet up with Curt Goodrich on his ride home. He wanted to check out the carbon bike and I wanted to get in a ride on it, so that worked out well. It was kind of funny riding that thing with him down River Road though. I’m on a super-light steel/carbon racing bike with full campy record wearing my roadie geek type clothing and Curt’s on his prototype Riv Saluki with full fenders, racks, saddlebag and wearing Riv Woolies. People must have though we were quite the odd pair rolling down the road.

Side-note: I love to tease Curt about riding “old” bikes. People see him on a Riv with nice fancy lugwork and a saddle bag and just seem to assume his bike must be “old” and he must be some old grouch. Stereotypes are funny things. So if you see him out riding, compliment him on his “neat old” bike!

After Curt peeled off at his house, I rode on a little more and hooked up with Billy O and the French Chef. We cruised around St. Paul for a bit, down Shepard rd. and I pulled off at Downtown. Time to head home. My legs were about worked over anyways, so I did the hills to get home and called it a day.

Finished up a couple of repaints this weekend, it’s always nice to get those out of the shop. I needed to, I’ve got too many new one’s coming in. I’m running out of room.

We started moving the deck Sunday. See, we’re planning phase III of the great house remodel starting in late June. That phase will involve a really big hold in our front yard where the new tuck-under garage will go, and living space on top of that. The deck is right next to this area, so it had to go. We’re moving it to the back yard, where we’ll access it through a new slider from the existing living room. Does that sound like as much to you as it does to me? I thought so. And that’s just the pre-work!

So far, we’ve got about half the deck base moved and in place. Once the base is there, screwing the boards back on should be easy.

The weather is still looking all right today, the rain should hold off until tonight, so I may cruise on over to Opus to do some crit racing. It’s the last night for Opus this year and I have yet to make it over for a single race. Maybe I’ll show them what a slow out of shape guy on a fancy bike can do (which isn’t much).

Well, I’m signing off for a few days. We’re hitting the road for the long weekend to visit family, so probably won’t be any updates here till next week.

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