Monday, June 26, 2006


Some of us never learn. Duncan joined our family yesterday. He's a 8 to 12 week old St. Bernard/possibly lab mix. Kinda cute, isn't he?

Friday, June 23, 2006

Along the Great Divide

Today at noon (mountain time) marks the begining of another GDR, or Great Divide Race. This is a really cool grass roots race that just has to be an adventure. I can imagine someday riding this route, that the Adventure Cycling Association developed as an off pavement long distance touring route, but it boggles the mind to contemplate racing it. If that isn't enough, apparently at least three of the competitors are doing it this year on fixed gear bikes. Wow! Go Rudi, Matt and Dave! I bought Rudi's artwork, Prisoner, a few months ago to support him in this ride.

In other news, I picked up a new bottom bracket for the Fuji on the way home yesterday. I was just going to get a new spindle, but ended up going for a whole new cartridge BB. I got that installed and and cleaned up the bike a bit. The bars, seat, fenders and front wheel were all a bit off kilter from Tuesday's crash, so I trued the wheel a bit, straightened everything out, and re-adjusted the brakes. I also went ahead and added a front fender mudflap, which I'd been too lazy to do for a while. That done, I should have ridden into work today, but since the weather is supposed to be severe thunderstorms pretty much all day, I wimped out again.

When I was at the shop, I should have picked up a couple of tubes. Wednesday evening I went to Schaeffer Farms with Todd and Craig. It was harder for me than two weeks ago. I think I was still recovering from Tuesday's crash, and I recently put slightly harder gearing on the QB in the quest for the perfect on and off road gear. Usually on any given MTB ride I'll have to bail off the bike once or twice and may have a slight fall or two. This time I just couldn't make things connect. Getting used to the powergrips that I had replaced my clipless with, I fell really hard three times, once reopening the elbow gash from the day before. So anyways, Todd is following me up one section of trail and says " How often do you get flats on those skinny tires?" I said I didn't want to answer because I would jinx myself. Didn't matter. Apparently even thinking about it was enough to have the front tire let go. It was slow a enough leak that I could ride and bit and pump it up, but I was hot and tired enough for it to really stink. I'll get over it. Bikes are still great, but I have a long way to go to not embarass myself in August.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I noted a couple of posts below my creative redesign of my chainring guard on the Quickbeam. I wound up ordering a bash guard to preserve the chainrings. It seems to be nice, some kind of thick plastic, which is supposed to hold up well. Since I was down in the pit working on bikes last night I thought I would get her mounted up. Why do things never go as simply as they should? It seems that the 110 bashguard will fit on a shimano crank, because the fifth ring arm is opposite the crank arm. On a sugino xd crank, the fifth ring arm is under the crank arm. The ring does not fit... Well, no problem, I'll just snag this old set of shimano exage cranks and use them. Whoops. Not tonight. They would seem to need a much wider bottom bracket. Last chance was for a shimano deore triple. This one fit, but they are 170mm instead of 175s. Maybe they will smack fewer rocks. Now, do I want to move the chainrings over to the replacement crank, or keep them intact for an easy swap spare? I dug through the parts trunk and settled on an old (but new condition) 38t biopace ring in place of the 40, and will leave off the 32 entirely. This will give me a 38/23, for 46 gear inches or a gain ratio of 3.4. Flipping the wheel to the fixed cog 38/18 will give me 58.8 gear inches or a gain ratio of 4.4. The only other issue is that I can't go for as broad a tooth ranage when flipping the wheel, due to the big old fat tire I have back there. The wheel won't go anywhere near the front of the track end, so to flip things around I made a short section of chain removable with two powerlinks. This is starting to make things needlessly complicated, so I'll keep the bike mostly in the 38/23 through the end of summer.

I was thinking about how to minimize the amount of stuff I take to Sweden this August. Rather that taking multiple pairs of shoes, I want to take just one pair. My old Sidis were comfprtable enough for this, but my new ones are a bit too "tech" to use off the bike. I may get a pair of Lakes or something or just use the street shoes I have. Since I was putting together a whole second crankset, I put platform pedals on and then added the Powergrips I got last Christmas. I like Kent Peterson's take on powergrips. I don't have to decide just yet, so I'll be riding and testing.

Lastly, I was getting tired of having to carry an allen wrench around in my pocket to adjust my saddle height all the time (or at least at the trailhead). I like the saddle up pretty high when on road, but bring it down over an inch lower when in the rocks and logs. I found an old quick release to replace the bolt. I think it will work pretty well.

And that's why I never throw anything away.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


So I'm all excited about getting my summer commutes started. During the school year, I help get the kids ready and off to school, which doesn't usually give me time to ride in to work. School ended last week, so today I rode my fixed Fuji Sports 10. The weather was cool and a bit drizzly, and I was loving the ride.

Once I get into Frederick, if I have time I ride around a few minutes to cool down. Heading back to the office, I was at the light at Court and All Saints. The light turned and I stood to crank away. Suddenly BAM!

I'm over the bars and sprawled in the middle of the intersection. The BB spindle (original to the bike, some 30 years old) had sheared off at the left crank. I got up and dragged the bike over to the curb to let traffic by. One fellow in a pick up truck was nice enough to stop to see if I was OK, and he offered me a ride. Since I was only three blocks from work I declined. Thanks for the offer though. The group of a dozen or so day laborers hanging out on the block were nice enough not to laugh at me directly as I headed past and to the office.

Once there I took stock.

Bike - Aforementioned sheared spindle, bars knocked askew. Right brake lever kocked askew, rear wheel crooked in the dropouts and dragging a bit, bagman hoop pulled out of mount on left side. Fenders all bodged up. Nothing that can't be put right fairly easily.

Rider - deep gash on outside of left calf (I think from the jagged end of the spindle). Both knees scraped (pavement), Left elbow scraped/bruised (it took the main force of the fall on the pavement). Left anterior abdomen bruised (stem or bars), inside of right upper arm bruised (handlebars?). Misc. indeterminate cuts and bruises. And, of course, pride. Nothing that can't be put right fairly easily.

All in all, I got away pretty good. Twenty minutes earlier I was bombing along a busy shoulder, standing and really cranking down as I headed through the rollers. Lots of chances to have it shear at speed. Maybe thats the payoff for the karma posted below.

A couple of shots of the culprit.

If the one or two bottom brackets I have sitting in the bins at home fit, I can get her back together in time for Thursday's commute. UPDATE: No Go. The BB I had was a 113 and too narrow to place the same crank back on. I'll have figure out the right width and hit a bike shop soon. I'm pretty stiff and sore but will be riding at Schaeffer Farms tomorrow evening. Suprisingly, the sorest part is my right calf, which did not hurt for hours after the crash.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Building Karma

I was heading into work along 26 today when I saw a cyclist with a flat talking on his cellphone. Since the cellphone is not usually needed to fix a flat I stopped to see if he needed help. Ben had flatted his cool old 80's era Shogun on a pothole just before Mt. Pleasant and had broken the stem off of his only spare. I ended up giving him a lift into town to his job. He can pick up a spare tube (or 2) at Wheelbase at lunch and make the ride home. Does one build good karma if one is aware that is what one is trying to do? With school over, my morning responsibilities are limited to me, and I'm hoping to really increase the amount of bike commuting I do. I need all the goodness I can get.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New Shop Update

A couple of months ago I mentioned I came across a new area shop. Looks like they are really up and running, with a grand opening event on Saturday. Their website is, which is a little close to Fixing Frederick, but I guess I can live with it. I'll be doing akido / yardwork / cookout on Saturday and will miss the party, but here's hoping them a successful start.

BTW, Happy Birthday Thangbrand, you viking antique you.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Reporting in.

Nothing much going on. I didn't get out on the bike last weekend, and I probably won't this week. The focus is on getting the patio done before the weekend. We have sort a a multiple anniversary / father's day / relatives in town thing going on on Saturday. I finished all the pavers last night. I'll probably get the retaining wall to where it belongs, but not really built. Backfill and stuff will have to wait until later.

The Evil Tractor finally died. It broke a really inaccessable bolt that I couldn't/didn't get out without stripping the hole in the frame, and I'm fed up. I ordered a new tractor last week. In the meantime, I borrowed the in-law's walk behind to get the section of yard near the house. I must have walked about six miles mowing. Now we are in a race to see if the new tractor makes it here before the grass grows enough to need mowing again. They say maybe Friday. The equipment is a hit on the budget, but I've sort of been expecting it for a while. At least this is a real tractor with a cat 1 three point hitch behind. If I can get some implements over the winter, next year's gardening season should be the best ever.

Here are the last two ride reports from week before last. 06-04-2006 Finishing up Thurmont and 06-06-2006 Hillcrest.

After more decorative adjustment of my chain ring guard last week, I finally ordered a real bashguard. When it gets here I'll probably pull the whole bottom bracket from the Quickbeam and teflon tape it to get rid of an annoying creak that seems to be a regularly encountered issue on these bikes. I'll also be looking at reducing the other various creaks and squeeks on it to get it to the same level of silent running that I have on the Fuji. I've reserved the post-brunch period on father's day for a ride, so we'll see what happens.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Registration is open

SSWC06 registration is open. I sent my email. Who's going to Sweden?

From Tobias. Entries on the first day of registration:

UK = 18
Scotland = 5
Sweden = 12
Germany = 1
USA = 10
New Zeeland = 1
Australia = 1
Norway = 1
Netherlands = 3

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Wednesday Ride

I've been skipping the pedaler's ride on Wednesdays to get more offroad time. This week I made the trip to Schaeffer Farms. I hadn't ridden here in quite a while and I'd forgotted how nice and smooth it is. Yea! Perfect for a cross bike. I'm still having confidence issure with larger logs and logpiles, but I'm riding pretty well. Todd and Craig met me there and as usual Todd had to do a lot of waiting, but Craig is more close to my speed and fitness. Todd must think the Wed. rides are a jinx. Last week he had to leave early due to his wife's car trouble, this week when we got back to the lot, someone had smashed into his van. Trashed the rear hatch. At least they were good enough to leave a contact number instead of driving right off.

Monday, June 05, 2006

B5 Update

Waayyy back In January, I hooked up with a bunch of, uh, "portly" riders in a weight loss challenge. My original post about it is here. Well, the six months is up and it was time for the moment of truth. I'm pretty pleased. Since January 6th, I'm down a total of 13 pounds. If the truth be known, my chart would look like a rip saw with the number of ups and downs it has taken. Even better news on the Time Trial front. I've cut a minute and 29 seconds off, going from 10:17 to 8:48. I guess all those little rides are helping.

This is an OK photo of the road. Pretty flat. Straight. Wind was from the west, so no help, but no penalty either.

The bike hasn't changed much. Front rack and a larger bag than at the beginning. Oh, and I added a bell. Much fun.

Note the parking rack. My bike is possibly the first one to ever be used at the Woodsboro park and ride. Pity.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Gambrill Park

I ended up going to Gambrill Park and doing the Yellow trail yesterday. Todd came along and at the last minute brought Craig, with his brand new SS, a Fetish, I think. We started out clockwise to climb High Knob and get the painful part done early. Past the overlook and down a really rocky section that I still can't clean. Recouping at the bottom, Todd's cell rang, and his wife's car wouldn't start. He and Craig ended up bailing and I continued alone. I took it easy and did pretty well. I rode the entire section before crossing to the east side of Gambrill Park Rd. once across there is some wonderful twisty singletrack leading around to some fun descents, and the inevetible climbs. Walked the climbs again. then through the woods, down a fast firebreak, and to a super tech climb I didn't even try. Topped out to a couple of rock outcroppings. Lots of folks do the drops here. I was just happy to get down them on the bike along the rolling lines. So happy, infact, I hiked back up and did it again. Then a bit more rocky climbing to the fast decent back to the parking lot. Fun.