Monday, September 1, 2008

Labors of Love


September already... the time where the air has just a bit of a chill to it in the mornings and evenings and occasionally you catch that whiff of the Fall season on a light breeze.  September is a month of changes.  Back to school for some, baseball shifts to college football for others.  For cyclists we start making choices between the long fingered gloves, embrocation, and arm/knee warmers...   We debate if we are over or underdressed, to hit the road, or bust out the CX bike.

This Labor Day weekend, I actually rode 3 days in a row for the first time in almost a month.  I've been so stupidly busy with Pain on the Peak that most of the other things I love doing have fallen by the wayside.   At least according to my TrainingPeaks Performance Mgmt Chart I had a good taper!

Saturday was a club ride, and the first time I had been on my bike since the wreck the previous week.  The team decided to head a different direction from the club and make a final jaunt out to Timber for the season.  This is one of our favorite routes and always has a good deal of fireworks going off during the course of the ride.  I felt just okay, and did my best to hang with the team.  Unfortunately during the climb up Route 6 after Cedar Canyon, someone mentioned my rear tire looked a bit squishy.  Sure enough, I was starting to get a flat.  Ultra thin piece of wire had worked its way into the tire and had nicked the tube.  To add insult to injury, I tube I grabbed that morning to restock my saddle bag was of the short stem variety and couldn't made it through the rim.

Fortunately, one of the other guys who had dropped off the pace earlier rolled up and had a patch kit.  While I was able to get the tire inflated, I'm always hesitant about riding on a patched tube so I decided to turn back and try and meet up with Traci's group.  I lucked out once again and caught them at the start of Dairy Creek, and rolled back into town with them.

That afternoon we ran to Performance and bought a ton of tubes for both road and CX, along with some Hutchinson Bulldog CX tires that I've been lusting for and unable to find anywhere.  They had 6, and I ended up buying 4 of them.  I also replaced my saddle bag after getting made fun of for having duct tape holding together my old one.

Sunday, I went up to Leif Erikson with Ron to do a bit of a recovery / CX ride.  It was a good opportunity to break in  new tires, in addition to checking the seat position / fit of the new saddle I put on.  I also wanted some hours on the CX bike to build more confidence in how it handled after my wreck.  This was my first time on the trail and I can understand why its a big hit with CX riders. Ron took it easy on me and even made sure to flat at the very end of the ride when I stopped to say hi to a few Ironclad/PSU guys at the trailhead.  To make it that much more of an authentic CX ride, it rained on us.

This morning was my introduction to the Monday Morning Vertical Reality ride, which has been a PV staple ride for years.  The ride leaves out of the Grand Central baking in Multnomah Village at 9am and does about 35 miles with ~3500 feet of climbing in it.  I've always wanted to do this ride, but my schedule just never allows for it.  I was a bit concerned on how the legs would do on the third day of riding, but I felt surprisingly good and hung with the lead group for the duration of the ride, which had Springer and a couple of strong dudes from Tireless Velo in it.  Considering I'm not much of a climber, I'll take this as a moral victory.  Traci was also out on this morning with us and had a wonderful ride with Doug and Mitch Gold.  Big kudos to those two for hanging out with her and giving her a ton of encouragement as she comes back from the knee issues she dealt with this season.

>>--CX UPDATE-->

The CX chariot is doing well.  The new tires work like a champ and my set of KORE brakes should be arriving at Veloce this week.  I'll get those setup and my bar's re-wrapped and I should be good to go for the next Farm Crit at Krugers.  I'm debating switching over to an Ultegra setup rather than the SRAM Rival one I'm on, but I'm not sold either way yet. 

I swapped out the saddle I had for a Fizik Arion TT saddle I had laying around on a whim.  Sometimes whim's end up being strokes of genius!  The TT saddle has a lot more padding at the nose which made for a much more comfortable ride. 

Picked up a  pair of Ironclad's IMPACT gloves from Dave of Team Ironclad.  If you are looking for a new set of CX gloves, go get these now.  They eat up vibration like a fat kid eats cake.  BikeTiresDirect is running a special on them right now.  (Glad to see those guys up and running again after the fire.)

The CX body (me) is doing okay.  The road rash and bruises have mostly healed up and the stitches come out tomorrow, but I have some definite issues with the right shoulder.  I can't lift things with an overhand grip, which engages the muscles of front and top of the shoulder, very effectively.  After speaking with a few of the doctors in the club, I might have a minor shoulder separation or potentially damage to my rotator cuff.  Suck.  Since I have an appointment tomorrow to get the stitches removed, I'll see what they have to say.

The CX race, is progressing along well.   The team has been absolutely busting their asses on top of the work they already do for a living to get this done for the CX community.  Promotional material is going out to all the local shops and being posted where lots of cycling eyeballs will see it.  We've been beating down doors and picked up a few new prize sponsors which will be announced later this week, and will be adding a Women's Masters 40+ category into the mix as well.  We did our second venue walk through last week and started with the "macro adjustments" to the course.  This adjustments were made courtesy of a bulldozer.  Yes a bulldozer.  No I'm not lying, I have proof.  We took a number of video's of the venue so if you'd like to see what's in store for you, check em out!  There is also a really cheezy MS paint hacked venue map here.

Lastly, to cap off this labor day weekend, we'll talk about beer.  I have two homebrews in the works.  One is called "Purple Haze" which is a Marion Berry ale, not to be confused with McMenamins beer of the same name which uses boysenberry, or a raspberry wheat ale done by Abita.  It's been bottled and should be ready to drink by end of September.  (I should mention that McMenamins Purple Haze is available right now for a short period of time.)  My Russian Imperial was given two thumbs up by the guys over at Main Street Brewing and will be bottled soon.  Depending on the bottle tactic my friend Todd wants to use, it may be ready to go very soon or need some bottle aging time.  I can hardly wait!

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