Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Addition: Bluehouse Maven

Is it winter yet?! I'm so excited to get these out in some pow. I picked them up last night from Jared at Bluehouse Skis and dang, they are HUGE! At 139 in the waist they make my Line Prophet 100's look tiny. Of course, it wasn't long ago that I thought my Prophets were big compared to the old school Rossignol Rebels they replaced. It's all a matter of perspective I guess.

Only 4 more months until the real season starts and no, I'm not talking about cyclocross!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Draw your own conclusions

I found this graphic, courtesy of The Science of Sport website, quite interesting:

For those of you who follow cycling you'll recognize the names of Riis and Pantanti as two riders who either admitted to, or tested positive for, the use of performance enhancing drugs.


Friday, July 17, 2009

What's up with Boise Cyclists?

I've ridden two days for a total of 6 hours in Boise so far this trip and I have yet to pass a person riding a bike that hasn't either waved, nodded, smiled or said hello to me in passing. In fact, even the triathletes down on their aero bars have made an effort to show some sign of acknowledgement.

You might think that I've encountered relatively few riders and that those I've seen just happen to be of the friendly type. Well, that hasn't been the case as I've spent the past two days on some of the most popular routes in the city: Hill Road and Bogus Basin Road. It's been a nice surprise and if there is such an award I hereby nominate Boise as the friendliest cycling city in the west. And keep in mind that I have yet to ride my mountain bike so these are, generally speaking, roadies. I know - crazy.

While the trip has thus far been quite enjoyable I did manage to leave one very important item at home: My legs. I don't know why but I've had nothing on the bike. This morning I left the house at 8:30 AM and while it was significantly cooler than yesterday, I still had no snap on the climb to Bogus. However, this time I started much slower and was able to make it up to the top. It's a great climb with an even better descent.

I'm really enjoying riding tubeless and seem to notice the biggest difference (besides the fact I'm not fixing flats) on the downhill. Like yesterday I was again carrying more speed through the corners than I have in the past. It's been a lot of fun and almost makes me forget how slow I climbed up.

After the ride I decided to take my cold bath to a new level and added most of the contents of a 10 pound bag of ice to the tub. It made for an uncomfortable first 1-2 minutes but hopefully it will result in my having a better day on the bike tomorrow. Speaking of which, those of you racing the Boise Twilight Criterium will want to have a good hydration plan as it's forecast to reach 104 degrees! I will probably be spectating with a CamelBak filled with ice water!

Friday's Pie Tracker: Raspberry

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Suffering in the Heat

I rolled away from my parent's home in Boise this morning at 10:30.  My plan was to climb Bogus Basin road to the lower lodge of the ski resort that shares the same name. Unfortunately my body had other plans and when my legs went MIA half way up I decided to flip a U- turn at the Forest Service sign.

I still managed 2,200 total feet of elevation gain for the 40 mile ride but wish I'd been able to reach the pine trees and cooler temperatures up higher on the mountain.  You see, it's quite hot right now in Boise - close to 100 degrees for the daytime high temperature and Bogus Basin - especially on the lower slopes - is painfully exposed to the sun.

I think a combination of heat, 5 hours in the car last night and going to bed at 1 AM took a toll on my legs. After showering I filled the tub with cold water (my folks get their water from a well so it's really COLD) and soaked for 15 minutes. Hopefully that helps on tomorrow's ride as I'm planning to head back up. 

Today was my first official ride on a full (front and rear) tubeless setup. Everything worked great and I finished the ride with no flat tires. I must admit to being nervous as I started the descent as a rolled tire or blow off would have most likely resulted in a painful, high speed fall. However, it didn't take long to begin to trust my tires to the point that I stopped using my brakes. Bogus Basin is a super fun descent and the lower pressure I'm able to run tubeless seemed to give me more grip than I'm used to. Very cool!

Pie Tracker:  Pumpkin (not just for the holidays!) and Apricot (with fruit picked from the tree in the backyard).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Road Tubeless

Last night while I watched Stage 9 of the Tour de France I converted the front wheel of my road bike to a tubeless setup. I went to bed too late to get out this morning so my first ride will be later this evening. However, thus far everything looks good and the tire held air just fine overnight.

It terms of the conversion itself it was really pretty easy. Keep in mind that I'm not a very handy guy so if it was easy for me it should be extremely simple for you. (While I can do simple bike maintenance like installing a cassette, chain, bar and/or stem I struggle with more complicated tasks like, for example, adjusting the front derailleur.) I used the Hutchinson Fusion Road Tubeless tire (which is, to my knowledge, pretty much the only option currently available) and Stans valve stems and sealant.

Since my Mavic Ksyrium ES rims don't have internal spoke holes, all I really needed to do was remove some of the excess rubber around the valve stem (so the tire bead could engage the rim hook), screw the valve stem in place and mount the tire. The only sorta tricky part was inflating the tire for the first time. I wasn't able to get enough air into the tire to seat the tire's bead so had to remove the valve core in order to inflate the tire. Of course, with no valve core I lost all of the air as soon as I removed the head of my floor pump. However, the bead stayed seated so I was able to replace the valve core and re-inflate without a problem. Since I didn't have a way to get the Stans into the tire via the valve stem (I need to buy some small diameter plastic tubing) I had to unseat a section of tire and pour the Stans directly into the tire. Again, I was able to re-inflate with the floor pump as most of the bead was still seated.

I'm curious to see how road tubeless works out. I've been running a tubeless setup on my mountain bike for the past 3+ years and have yet to experience a flat tire (that's not to say I haven't punctured, just that I've never had a puncture that didn't seal). If the same proves true on the road bike I'll be very, very happy.

As far as weight is concerned I'm guessing the front wheel is the same, if not slightly heavier, than before - mainly due to the sealant. In my mind this is a small price to pay for the convenience of eliminating flat tires from my road riding.

I should have my rear tire converted in the next day or two and will post an update after a few weeks of riding. If anybody has any personal experience with road tubeless I'd be interested to hear what you think.

UPDATE: I just finished converting my rear wheel to tubeless and it was much easier the 2nd time. Earlier in the evening I rode over to Revolution (about 21 miles round-trip from my house) to pick up some more valve stems and a 2 oz bottle of Stans. I ran about 95 PSI in the tubeless front tire and it rode great. It also felt different, though I'm at a loss to describe what the difference is. More lively? That sounds too cliche. A bit squirrely? Maybe, but that makes it sound like the wheel was hard to control and it wasn't. Who knows - I'll try and get out for another ride tomorrow now that both wheels are done and see if I notice any changes. Oh, and I should report that I didn't have any flats - front (tubeless) or rear (tube).

Friday, July 10, 2009

Two Summits

In the morning I was at the top of the Alpine Loop in the morning, accessed via bicycle:

In the afternoon I was at the top of Hidden Peak in Little Cottonwood Canyon, accessed via the Snowbird tram:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day in Park City

The past two years I've ridden Park City's Mid-Mountain trail on the 4th of July. Both years I've been lucky to ride in cool temperatures under cloudy skies which presents a welcome relief from the heat of the Salt Lake valley. Today I even rode for a few minutes in the rain - while the sun was out! The moisture made the already damp & tacky trails even better. Seriously, conditions couldn't have been much better. The seemingly neverending rain we've experienced this past month can get a bit tiresome, but it sure makes the forest lush and green. I'll take rain over dusty trails any day!

Normally I start from Park City Mountain Resort but today I decided to park at The Canyons and ride the pavement as a warm-up. This made the fun little grunt up Spiro much more enjoyable as doing this climb with cold legs hurts. It was then all Mid-Mountain goodness until I descended Holleys trail back to the car.

Friday, July 3, 2009

New Ride

No, it's not a new bike. Unfortunately my "needs" have taken a backseat to the baby. Kai is pretty spoiled compared to our other kids! Those Maclaren strollers are pretty nice.

Thursday, July 2, 2009