Monday, November 05, 2007

shop n rant.

long time between postings lately. Too much going on to have time to write...

Lots of big happenings though. The biggest of which is I'm pretty much done with my big shop move/remodel. It was a ton of work, but the end results were worth it, I love the new space. It's actually not a lot bigger in total area, but much cleaner, brighter and properly laid out.

Most of my tools now reside in cabinets and drawers instead of hanging from every corner and wall possible. That should help keep the expensive tools clean and rust-free.

I installed suspended ceiling in the shop and insulated above that, so it's nearly sound proof to the living area above. It's also physically separated from the house utilities (furnace, water heater etc...) and from the living area, so the dust should be contained a lot better. The lighting is probably the single biggest upgrade, between more lights and the white ceiling, it feels like daylight in here now. gotta love that.

Hopefully sometime in the next month or two I'll have time to update my web-site and include a proper virtual shop tour!

I've also consolidated some equipment to save space. Got a bigger belt/disc sander and no longer need and bench grinders. Got rid of some overlapping metal and woodworking stuff, etc... All in all it's a lot less cluttered.

Speaking of that, I've got 2 bench grinders that I have no need for if anyone needs one. Local would be better, but I suppose I could pack & ship. First one is a nearly brand new Craftsman 6" grinder. 36 and 80 grit wheels and I can throw in the best wheel ever invented, 3M scotchbrite deburring wheel ($25 wheel). Great for deburring and polishing. It's got a handy light too. I think I've used it about 3 times, just never needed this one. $35

The other one is a little bigger, it's a home-made 8" wheel grinder/polisher. It might look a little rough, but it works great, especially for polishing. I've got 2 or 3 grinding wheels and several polishing wheels to fit it. 2 speed belt drive. High speed for polishing is great, the motor has plenty of power for polishing or grinding. it doesn't have a switch, I just had a switched outlet, but you could easily add one or just plug it in as needed. $20, take it home today!

'cross. 2 races since last I wrote: powderhorn and Ham Lake. They were about as different as 2 courses could get. Powderhorn was incredible. The Hub did a stellar job setting the course and running the race. Spectators everywhere, huge hill run-up, what more could you ask for. Thanks to lunaticbiker for the pic.

All the running I've been doing really paid off on the hill, I felt like I really made up time there, but the long rolling part of the course was tough with the gear I had. Oh well. (yes, the hill is as steep as it looks in the pic)

Ham Lake this past weekend was completely different. very flat course with a ridiculous 2 single barriers. This was another SPBRC race, and while I appreciate the fact that they're putting on races, I hate what they consistently do to perfectly good 'cross courses. Seriously, 5 years ago this course would have had 5-6 barriers on it staggered throughout the course. Now there were 2 about 30 seconds apart on the whole damn lap. Lame.
The only thing left to give the roadies any grief at all was the twisty sections of doubletrack where it seemed everyone forgot (or didn't know in the first place) how to handle a bike off-road.
Seriously, this really gets me fired up about MN 'cross in general (not ripping SPBRC here, I'm ripping everyone). 'Cross courses around here used to be really good and offered a real advantage to those that actually had some 'cross skill. Now all the whiny roadies set up the courses to be as easy as ridable as possible because they don't like gettin' off their bikes. If you want to do a road race on grass, go do Chequomegon and stay home for 'cross season. The whole point of a 'cross race course is supposed to be to prevent the riders from getting in a rhythm, that means variations, hills, barriers, logs, whatever. Yeah I know UCI rules and all that crap specify # of barriers allowed, but come'on here none of these local races follow the other UCI guide lines and they don't need to, we're not racing for UCI points here. I don't think I've been on a course yet this year that met the UCI minimum width guide line for the entire course, not to mention all the folks with disc-brake equipped bikes out there, etc...
Every race should have at least 3 sets of barriers or natural obstacles that require you to break your rhythm. Triple barriers are even better. Stop softening up 'cross to try and get more riders, there's already too many out there for the # of race divisions we have. Powderhorn was the closest thing to a real 'cross course I've seen this year. Nice job Hub.
end rant.
end post.


Anonymous said...

Hey man,

This is Bjork's Uncle, Swede Johannsenn, and I know 'Cross!

You need to suck it up and race the best, and the best is Ripley.

Believe it or not...

YES, that JUST happened.

-Me ;-)

Unknown said...

Shop looks great, Bob!

If you are ever out SF area during cross season, you'd love the McLaren Park CX race. Steep runup, and then it climbs.

Bob said...

Folks, both grinders are spoken for, thanks for checkin!


Bill Connell said...

Nice shop, too bad i missed out on the grinders ;-) Let me know if you want any help with the website.

I agree on the devolution of cx courses, though i haven't even been racing that long. I love it when a course rewards good bike handling and dirt skills. As much as i didn't like the labyrinth at the Boom Island race, at least it was a different skill item for a change.

- Bill C.

One Eyed z said...

I was intown for the Homie Fall Fest and checked out the race at Powderhorn park. Once again this year I took the bike but didn't race due to abuse I put myself though the day before.
We spoke breifly after your race. I introduced myself because you were sporting the BKB stars and hearts. Good times and a good race. Next year I am racing.


Anonymous said...

That is a very nice bicycle work shop Bob Brown. It looks very neat, clean and orderly. The lighting looks bright and cheery too. Good work.

DYG said...

Bring back old school cross