Friday, June 23, 2006

one more time

A few more things I forgot to mention in my first post today:

You might notice that I'm updating the links on the blog sidebar, I've added a few more, removed a couple, etc... Nothing too big, but you should check out the other blogs/pages over there for some good reading. If you like bikes and people who write better than me, you really owe it to yourself to read Tarik's blog, he's a funny dude who has good adventures and must always carry a camera.

I also went through up fixed what I'm sure many of you have been clammoring for, I put the correct link on my website for the current Derailleurtheband website.

Finally my thought for the day:

I was riding home last night from dinner with my back to the sunset. I love riding this way for one simple reason, I'm terribly entertained by the really long shadow of my legs while riding. It's just one of those funny things that makes me smile, if you've ever rode at sunset heading east you know what I'm talking about. Your calves look huge, knees super skinny and thighs really strong. It's like nature's caricature of what a cyclists' legs should look like. I tried to get it with my camera phone, but I was riding a fixie so I can't stop my legs from moving and the camera phone doesn't do as good with moving things, but the skinny knees still come though!

And finally, I saw this WWII poster on my friend Gordy's photosite (Gordy, hope you don't mind) and had to share 'cause it's funny. Although I wonder if they would have really used the work "ass" back in the 40's.

Another week down.

I'm really glad this week is wrapping up. Don't know why, but I've just been feeling really tired the last few days. All in all, it was actually a pretty good week.

Monday I got in a great ride. It was a beautiful night when I got home from work, so I headed out on the road bike. I had a plan, I had talked to Beth on the phone before I left and she wanted to go for an easy ride later when she got home, so I was supposed to go out for a short, hard ride and tire myself out, then go easy with her afterwards. So I headed out to Cottage Grove and did pretty much all the big hills down there in big gears. I was more successful at tiring myself out than I had planned and bonked on my way back home to pick up Beth. That was an hour and a half of big hills. Then Beth and I headed out at a much easier pace, headed down to Swede hollow, up Phalen parkway and around lake Phalen, then cruised down the parkway home and that ended up being another hour and a half. Three hours total and I was ready to eat. Beth really wanted ice-cream so we managed to find ourselves at Dairy Queen later that night which provided another funny encounter. We were sitting in the Miata eating out ice-cream when a mini-van pulled up next to us. The Dad driving got out, then his daughter (who couldn't have been over 10) got out, whispered something to her Dad and he nodded, then she came over and told Beth "that's a really nice car, ever since I was a little kid I've wanted this kind of car." She went on for a minute or so and it was so funny, you could just see the Dad rolling his eyes. We laughed.

Tuesday was band night, which was proceeded with some shop-time prepping frames for paint.

Wednesday was my birthday (and my Mom's, happy b-day Mom!), so I decided to take the day off work and do what I enjoy the most: gettin' shit done. I had high hopes of finishing up my 29'er project, doing a repair, and painting 2 other frames. I started off with the repair and had it 90% done when I ran out of gas. Literally. So I had to load up my Oxy-acet. cylinders and go exchange them. I decided to pick up my painting supplies at the same time and grab lunch, so that turned into a couple of hours. Finally got home, finished up the repair and did the finishing touches on my 29'er then got ready to paint. I managed to get everything primed, sealed and basecoated, but was running out of time, so I cleaned up in time for Beth to come home and we went out to dinner. Didn't get as much done as I wanted, but a good day nonetheless.

Thursday, did some more paint prep work, I'm working on finishing up this chaingaurd I made and it's all thin sheet-metal and it's taking more time to prep than I'm used to. I want it to look perfectly flat and smooth, so I've been doing a lot of finish sanding between primers. Then met some friends for drinks and dinner and that pretty much turned into the rest of the night.

The 29'er project is coming along nicely. The frame and fork are all done, I just need to build the matching lugged stem and then it will be ready for paint. I'm going to put together a simple web-page sort of documenting the construction of this frame since I was able to take pictures along the way. But here are a few highlights until then. To the left is the headtube, just after brazing and a mild clean-up. I'm really diggin' the subtle little side points on the lugs.

Here's the fork crown all brazed up and ready to rock. I do love those old bridgestone crowns, but man was it a pain to braze and clean up. The casting doesn't have the smoothest shape to it, so I had to do a lot of sanding to get it how I wanted it. The tire shown is pretty small, it's a 1.75" tire, so a 2"+ will nicely fill out the space.

I'll just leave it at those couple pics to tease you for now. I'll get a bunch more up once I make that other web-page. I gotta start thinking about how I want to spec this thing out.

In other news, I updated the sale page a couple weeks back and never mentioned it here, so I thought I would. There's a bunch of new parts on there and even a complete bike, so check it out, buy my junk.


Friday, June 16, 2006

misc ramblings

Well, another week is gone, thankfully. Had a nice ride Wednesday night. I rode over to Minneapolis, met up with an old friend then rode back to St. Paul, spectated at the time-trials on shepard road, then road back to Minneapolis and finally back home to St. Paul. That's a lot of back and fourth!
The time trials were fun. We didn't actually intend to stop there, but got sucked into the glam that is bicycle race spectating. It was virtually impossible to ride down by the start and not run into people we knew, so we hung out for a while, saw a few really fast finishers and headed on out way. The time trail was only 4.5 miles long, so there was some serious speed being laid down. Doug Swanson came though under 9 minutes, meaning he averaged over 30 mph the whole time. I think a few of the Pro's came in under 8:30. That's smokin fast.

On the ride over to Minneapolis the first time, I encountered an all-too-familiar phenomenon on Summit Ave: boneheaded riders. I swear Summit Ave is the Mecca of riders without any common sense or courtousy. Summit is the main bike highway from St. Paul to Minneapolis, and it's my fastest route to get to downtown Minneapolis from my place. So naturally when I'm on it, I 'm usually running late to meet someone so I put the pedals down all the way across it, which means passing lots of riders. Now most of them are nice commuters just on their way home and they're friendly as can be, but it's almost impossible for me to make it all the way from downtown to downtown without some stranger jumping in on my wheel completely unannounced.
I don't mind people drafting me, but fer cryin' out loud people, let me know you're there. There are parked cars all along the route, so doors can fly open at a moments notice, I have to swerve quite a bit to avoid things in the road, people, cars, etc... It's simply not safe to have someone an inch off your rear wheel and not know about it, and it's even less safe for you bonehead.

Wednesday I had an interesting one though. I passed a guy that was obviously comutting home from work, riding his schwinn letour with aerobars and double panniers (I'll never understand aerobar usage in a major metropolitan area). I passed him going about 7-10 mph faster than he was going, I made a very safe pass when there was no traffic around. Well since they can't time stoplights in St. Paul, you hit most of them when you head west. About a mile up I hit a red light and waited. A few minutes later this guy rolls up and promptly goes around me to get in front of me at the light. Guess he thought he'd get the jump on me at the light or something...
Light turns green, he barely moves, but finally start riding, I end up having to pass him again 25 feet down the road. Never saw him again after that.

I just don't understand some people.

I finally got around to getting our air-conditioner working at home yesterday. We've had a few humid days and a few hot ones earlier in the year, so it was overdue. I thought all I needed to do was splice the wire that had been cut during construction. So I started there. Got that patched up and turned on the power. I figured I'd lube the motor before I started it, so I went outside to take off the cover and check out the internals. That's when it hit me, we moved the air conditioner during construction and never fully remounted it! So a five minute job turned into an hour or so as I had to clean off the concrete slab, level it, re-fill in the dirt under one end and finally mount the air conditioner down to the slab. Oh yeah and hose out the inches of cottonwood that fill up the heat exchanger each year. By the time I finally got it all back together and running, it was just about time to head out to meet some friends for dinner.

I think we're going to try and check out the downtown crit tonight. Crits are so much more fun when you're spectating instead of racing, especially one this fast. Maybe get some frame painting done this weekend, sounds like it's supposed to storm most of the weekend, that's good painting weather!


Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Ok, so I lost steam in finishing up that last posting. And to answer Fride's question, you're a week off, I rode up north the previous weekend and it took me a week to write about it... yes you saw me this past weekend on the on-road mtb ride thing Saturday.

As Fride alluded to there was a supposedly epic ride planned this past weekend. I was pretty excited to actually get to do it and have long rides two weekends in a row! I showed up at CRC at 7:30 right on plan and amazingly there were already other Kenwoodies there. These rides are getting waaay too organized. We had everyone by 7:45 and hit the road headed to the River bottoms.
As usual I was on a mono-speeded bicycle, but unlike usual there were many folks on bikes with those gear-changer-thingy's on them. I had opted to gear up slightly for the ride, but was very much undergeared for what was ahead.

We rode down on roads, it seemed like the long way, but we got there and my legs were about blown from spinning so fast on the pavement. Met up with KK at the entrance and called Fride to find out he and the other Fride had parked at the Bloomington ferry bridge parking lot instead of the lyndale parking lot as they were instructed. So we rode west for a while and eventually hooked up with the Fride bro's. They rode with us just long enough for Gary's chain to break, fixed it and turned back. Probably a good move as we were heading into the nettles area of the trail in order to get to the cedar ave bridge.

It had been a very cool morning when we left and I discovered a great trick for the nettles. I had worn knee warmers and happened to have on thin but tall wool socks. I was able to pull the socks up and the knee warmers down enough to fully protect the legs and got the sweet bonus of looking like a Norwegian xc-ski tourist riding a bike!

Made it through the nettles and onto the cedar off-road commuter trail and took that pretty much all the way to the Mendota Bridge. From here I thought we were planning on hitting the new mtb trails in Medota Heights, but several had timelines to hit, so we all hit the roads back to CRC. Not a bad ride, but a lot of pavement for a mtb ride. ended up being about 4 hours.

Stone and tttt both had new steeds to try out on the ride, both steel geared 29'ers. One a Kelly (RIP) and one a Sycip, both really nice. Kind of gave me the bug to get some work done on that rigid 29'er I've been thinking about. So...

I spent Sunday in the shop, working on putting the finishing touches and paint prep on a frame that's recently been complete. I had a lot of chroming to do to some small parts and all the dropouts, so that took some time, but while letting parts soak in the chrome bath, I started cutting lugs. I've had a set of Richard Sach's Newvex lugs knocking around the shop for a while and I planned to use them on a mtb project and this was it. Here's what they look like as they're cast. I'm really not crazy about the style of these lugs as is, they're supposed to be an updated version of the classic Nervex lugs from the 70's, which they are, but I didn't really like Nervex lugs that much either. So I bbbb'd them up!

They're actually really nice castings, good job on the design Richard. I just don't care for the rounded points all over them and especially the forward points that wrap the headtube. I went for a little more sleek style with small straightpoints and then really simplified the wraps around the headtube. Oh yeah, they're stainless too, so I'll be polishing them out, should look pretty nice on the finished product.

I'm still unsure about the seat-binder, I'm not crazy about this look, but I'm debating what I'll do to them, I guess it depends on how I attach the seat-stays.

Here's my other pet project from the weekend. I scored a used set of XTR cranks on ebay for $27. They had been sprayed with this awful rubberized underbody coating. Not sure why someone would do that, but they did. No matter, it came off easy in the blaster. Them I went to work polishing up the arms. I've always thought these would be great cranks if they came in a polished version, and I think I was right! These are destined for singlespeeding as you can tell by the spot spiderless ring set-up. I think they'll probably end up adorning the bike with the lugs from above.

I also found out that I should be getting my shipment of Reynolds 953 steel later this summer. The stuff has been impossible to get, so I'm in for the next shipment. I can't wait to try this stuff out, and I've got a few tricks up my sleeve for making some truly one-of-a-kind frames with this, so keep your eyes peeled later this summer.


Friday, June 09, 2006

long weekend ride

That's a trick title to the post, it was a long weekend and a long ride that occurred on the weekend. Guess I shouldn't have to explain my puns, but when they're that bad...

So last Friday I returned to my binge training plan. Hadn't ridden much in a week or so, then rode up to my folks cabin north of Brainerd with a couple of friends. It was a long day, but a great one. I started off early meeting Deanwood at CRC at 7:30. From there we headed over to Mark's house to pick him up and head north. Unfortunately I was way-layed before we even got to Mark's house, my boss called my cell phone. Unfortunately it wasn't just him, but half the staff at one of our plants too. They had a make-believe crisis that I had to talk them through, so after a few minutes on the phone my boss apologized for the call and we headed on our way.

We carpooled up to Big Lake, parked the car and hit the road the right way, on 2 wheels. We picked a route of county roads all the way to Brainerd. The roads were light on shoulders, but even lighter on traffic, so they worked well. We headed north and fought with a little headwind until the lunch stop in Pierz. We were all feeling the ride already by noon, so lunch was a welcome rest. We stopped at Anderson's cafe and motel to check in for some lunch. They certainly were accommodating and pleasant and I think were fascinated with the fact that we were riding our bikes up past Brainerd. They even made Mark some bonus steak fries since they thought we'd need extra energy. All in all the cafe/motel was odd, but we left full and re-energized.

From there we pressed on up county road 45 to Brainerd. The wind was taking it's toll on me and the pace was pretty fast. About 80 miles in my legs were done, cramps in both quads. Yuk, I hate cramps. I had to just spin them out, and eventually they went away but those miles really sucked. Once we hit Brainerd I was feeling better and able to start taking some pulls instead of just sucking Def and Mark's wheels. From there we hit the Paul Bunyan trail all the way up to Pequot Lakes. The trail was a welcome change as it was shaded and had little wind. I should probably say it was a welcome change for me, Def was still cranking away hard and Mark seemed to be doing great, I needed the break.

We kept on and finished off the ride. In the end I guess it was around 120 miles, but none of us had computers so we don't exactly know. Based on the overall time and the time we stopped for lunch I think we were holding about 20 mph for most of the ride, that's enough to make me hurt.

We got up to the cabin at 6 pm and had beaten the other folks meeting us up there, so we took to the lake. The semi-cold water was awesome on the legs, like instant physical therapy on my muscles. Then it was a nice relaxing evening waiting for the others to arrive.

to be continued....

Thursday, June 01, 2006

still busy...

So here's the second part from yesterday's post, the bike. As I mentioned I finished one up this weekend, built it up Tuesday and delivered it last night. This one was a bit more fun than usual for a couple of reasons. First off, it was built for a good friend who'll be using it to compete in the Madison Ironman this year and secondly, it's an actual full-on racing bike, which I don't get to build as many of.
The flashy orange paint job is what really get's your attention first, but there are a few other details that make it fun too.

The frame is mostly Columbus Life tubing, built with Slant Six lugs. I really like these lugs the more I use them. They've got plenty of material where I want it and have a nice general shape right out of the box. I tend to carve off some meat on the headlugs, but the seatlug is great for fast-back stays or a wish-bone stay like this one has. There's a nice sized area on the back of the lug to fit the mono-stay. The more I look at this frame, the more I like the wish-bone stays when combined with the sloping top-tube.

I built it up for the customer as kind of a budget racer. He didn't have a pile of cash to throw at it right now, but needed it to be good enough to race an ironman, so I put together a unique group of parts to save some cash, but give him a good solid foundation that can be upgraded later.
The drivetrain is all 105 stuff, with the exception of the crank. I opted to sub in the new Race-Face Cadence road crank instead. It's got a nice integrated BB with external bearings like the shimano offerings, but I think looks much better, weighs less and is a bit cheaper. The Canadians seem to have really made a good product here, I wish their off-road cranks had as narrow of a Q-factor as these.

For wheels I opted to spec out Neuvation M-28's. You probably haven't heard of Neuvation, it's a one-man company making some really nice overseas built wheels. The parts in the wheels are impressive and he basically has zero overhead, so that keeps his pricing down. If you're looking for wheels on your new BBC, let me know, it's virtually impossible to beat the deals on these.

This one will be put to the test pretty fast, the new owner, Deanwood, and myself will be putting in a 115 mile ride tomorrow. I don't think any of us are really prepared for it, so that should be interesting. I'm really hoping it's dry and not as hot as it's been, I'm still nursing some sunburn from the past weekend.