Woke up in all my clothes.
My ladyfriend and I drove up to Seattle Friday night and ate sushi with some of her friends. Spent the night in the Wallingford neighborhood and she woke up to run off and help a friend move. I slept in pretty heavily and scampered off to find a coffeeshop and internet access. Hopped on the pit bike for it’s first ever ride. (I was frantically gluing tubulars and wrapping bartape as we were running an hour late yesterday.) I got it from Sacha Wednesday morning and spent the last 3 days getting it together while running the shop. It weighs exactly 18.5 pounds with the Chris King clincher wheelset. One pound more than the race bike with the Chris King tubulars. It is atypical of me to just hop on a bike and race it before riding it in a bit, the rear brakes feel tight but, besides, it is identical to the race bike.
Sweet. I feel tight but, excited to race. I did not rain nearly as much as it was in Portland and the course should be tacky but not a total mudfest.
I’m going all out. My realistic goals for the year are top 20 finishes and not getting lapped by the Trebons and Wickses of the pro cyclocross scene. I’ll only get faster when I ride with faster people. By the end of the season I may change my expectations a little bit. Been pre-registering for a bunch of my east coast races: Granogue, De.+Cross Nationals. They do the call up based on UCI points first and then order of registration. Since I currently have no UCI points…
Off to Thai food.
Wow. I am still recovering from last weekend. Have not even unpacked from our race on Saturday. Still got boxes of stuff littering the floor of the shop. I am super stressed out!
The promotion of our first cyclocross race went flawlessly. 270+ racers in attendance and almost no problems. There were a few missed start times, noteably in the singlespeed and women’s races. Which actually made the racing exciting, as some of the favorites were about a minute or two behind the race for the first few laps. I think we made a little money on the race which is pretty stunning. We will keep that in our pockets for the next race we are promoting.
The Veloshop PIR supercross. Maybe we have a race flyer up? It is not finalised.
My race last Sunday in Eugene went pretty well. I rode smart and attacked Jon at the bell to snag 2nd place. Jon Myers is a diesel engine. If I eased up for a second he would have ridden right away from me. I was pretty stoked to hold him off in the last lap. He always whips my butt on the mountain bike. It would not have mattered which one of us won, we just had a really great battle for the last 8 or 9 laps.
As you know, my laptop computer died and I got a new harddrive installed for a couple hundred bucks. Any lessons learned? Back up your data. I lost a ton of great photos, my racing resume, the updated version of the Veloshop website, tons of sweet euro cross footage I snagged off the web, etc, etc. Ouch. I have spent the last 3 days restoring my Ibook to OSx and getting it all cleaned up and useable. I still need OSx versions of all the programs I had, Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Quickbooks, etc. (hint-hint)
I just snagged Ryan Trebon’s old black spooky brakes for my “pit” Vanilla. I’m still waiting on the Carbon Spooky’s to arrive from TUFO North America. My Ritchey components arrived 2 days ago, I got my Chris King clincher and tubular wheelset built up and I spent hours debating between the black Arione saddle or the limited edition silver and blue Arione saddles Fizik set me up with. I went silver and blue with white bartape. I’ll likely switch to black when the going gets super dirty.
The epoxy is drying on the steerer tube insert on my Alpha Q fork and I’ll have the pit bike rolling tonight. FYI tech nerds, here is what I am running. All the gory details. Both Vanillas are built up exactly the same besides the frame tubing. The race bike is True Temper S3 and I think the pit bike is Columbus Foco. I’ll ask Sacha and clean up my techy info later. I HAD photos of them (remember my laptop died?) I’ll take more today when I get the pit bike out on a test ride:
Chris King 1-1/8 black threadless headset
Chris King Classic 28 hole hubs front 2x rear 3x
DT Swiss Revolution 1.8-1.5 double butted spokes with alloy nipples.
Velocity Aerohead/Escape rims.
Zipp Ti skewers.
The wheels weigh in at 1475gm. I have not drilled them out yet. (heh, heh.)
Dura Ace 9v 12-27 cassette, DA chain, single right DA STI and DA 10v rear derailleur.
Ritchey WCS 44cm 31.8 bars
Ritchey WCS 110 stem
Ritchey WCS 175 crankset, single 42t ring w/Spooky carbon chainring guard outer.
Chain watcher on the inside.
XTR 112 bottom bracket. Perfect chainline.
Crank Brothers triple ti pedals. Quattro road cleats. (Q-factor adjustability!)
Spooky brakes with Ritchey red compound brakepads.
Ritchey WCS carbon seatpost. (I hacked 20 grams off the post, got it sub-130 grams!)
Schwalbe Fast Fred tyres (dry, fast)
Schwalbe Racing ralph tyres (wet)
I know, I am a big nerd.
But, besides training, equipment is one of the most vital aspects to a good race. I value equipment that will not crap out on me (obviously) and like to push the limits on what I can get away with. I ALWAYS test out my new or modified gear while training and make sure it is solid before I go out and race on it. I’m a pretty light rider and decent bike handler so, I can get away with super light gear and Ti parts.
The bikes are solid.
Just under 18 pounds with the tubular wheelset.
So, my laptop died. I’ll get it back in a few days, the hard drive is
dead. All my data on it is gone. That means I’ll have a lot of work to do
when I get it back.
We promoted our cyclocross race this Saturday and then Brian Ellin and I
raced in Eugene on Sunday. I got 2nd behind a, not quite recovered,
bandaged wrist, Ryan Trebon. That is exciting.
I have a hundred people to thank for this weekend, I’ll write a real entry
when I have a computer again.
Just Out did an article about queers and bikes. If you are local, take a read. I certainly got a little mis-quoted but, I have come to expect that with all the recent publicity. If I really am working 10+ hours a day and training 4+ hours a day, I’ll go with it. heh heh…
Rode the time trial of my life, catching my 30 second and 1 minute rider in the first few miles before getting off course and adding 10 minutes to my time… Ugh. Long story short, I really hurt myself in the TT and easily did a top 5 ride. The officials adjusted my time but, not (in my opinion) fairly. I got put behind the riders I caught on the results and then went into the crit that evening pretty frustrated. Had a mediocre crit, getting caught on the inside in the last corner. Local riders having an advantage as the road and crit courses are weekly training race routes. I abandoned the road race after 50 miles. It was kinda pouty of me. Lesson learned.
It IS my fault for taking a wrong turn but, I wish the course was a little better marked. It just kills your stage race to fuck up the TT so bad right off the mark and go from a potential top 10 to 5 minutes down and in 30th. Bad for the motivation.
Whatever, it is all training for cross at this point anyways. 40 minute TT, 60 minute crit, 2 hours of driving breaks in the road race.
Really excited to hear that Erik Tonkin got 10th at the mountain bike nationals XC. Amazing. I’ll get to put the hurt on him this Thursday. Ha!
This weekend felt like a big waste of money. I really just wanted to be home working on wheels at the shop. I will not have a single weekend off starting next weekend until mid-December after Nationals.
Oh, I did it! I bought a new freaking Ipod. Now my Ibook and Ipod and I can go on coffee dates all the time and scowl at my friends when they try to talk to me. “I’m working and listening to music! Piss off!”
I can’t wait.
More later, I gots to work.
Pulled my Achilles tendon at the Sellwood cyclocross practice this morning. Jamming up the runup. Getting a massage tonight from Molly Carlson in anticipation of the final road stage race of the year, the Eugene Celebration. The cross season is coming up so quickly, got to get all these race wheels built before our race in Hood River on the 24th!
Got a couple of cross sets in this morning before an aggro dog walking lady decided to declare our activities illegal and send her dog into the way of our little route. It is kinda tiring to go through this every year, “We HAVE talked to the city about this, we are allowed to use the park.” We cut practice short and I went home before running down to work.
Sold that Ipod! I was honest about it too, let them know the run time was pretty crappy, 2 hours at best. What do I get a new one engraved with?
Spent the night at my ladyfriend’s house. We had a talk. It went great. Now we are closer. Funny how that works. Often relationships get to this point where you can take stuff personally and think for a second that the other person is TRYING to hurt your feelings. When really, we just need to work on communicating.
I do not have ANY free time. The time I do have I fill up with training or recovering from training. (read: watching the shittiest movies you can imagine, Planet of the Apes series, Mean Girls, Best in show.) I am so particular about when I have to get to bed and eat etc. My life is pretty structured and dating someone takes a real effort to make it work. I let her know I was conscious about making time to spend with her. (Hangouts are typically on my terms. I have the big obligations.)
That meant shooting pool at Dot’s cafe last night and eating dinner together at like 11pm while watching a movie. It was sweet, though, I had the worst stomach ache while training this morning. Glad we only did 2 sets, I may have barfed on the third time around.
I finally bought an Ipod, used, for about $100 from some jerk. It is a piece of crap, has like a 1 hour battery life. Oh well, I’m going to sell it today and just buy a new one. There you go. I guess it is about $60 to get a new battery installed. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.
I raced the local PIR training crit last night and snagged 3rd, again. Woke up this morning for a couple of hours on the Vanilla cross bike and had some shoe trouble. Sat around the Stumptown coffee shop on Belmont waiting for Brian to bring me some tools. 7am phone call: “Hey Brian, wake up, remember that ride we are supposed to be on? I’m on it, and I need you to bring me some tools! Get out of bed and come up here!” Now I forfeit the ride and head dowtown to the other Stumptown coffee for MORE coffee and a vegan muffin+cookie courtesy of Veganopolis and, I’m at the shop oogling some Exustar carbon fiber mountain bike shoes on the interweb.
Went home last night and showered, waited for a lady friend to stop by and accompany me to Jennifer and Tony Kic’s BBQ. We headed over there, stopping at VegeThai to get me some dinner and things were just kinda tense the whole time. I felt like I did something to piss her off in the ten minutes we had been hanging out. She said nothing was wrong but, when we hugged goodbye, we had this REALLY long hug, and I kissed her on the cheek, “You SURE there is nothing going on? You, ok?”, “Yeah, I’m fine.” But then she abrubtly left and we did not make out. We ALWAYS make out. Wierd. Well, she was late for a prior engagement.
My first Elite XC win of the season! And my last, seeing as the season is over. My expert class teammates Patrick and Steven took silver and bronze respectively while I snagged the gold medal and the cash! I did not have a great feeling about the race beforehand. Had a stomach ache but, decided to start really fast, cross style (I took the hole shot) and just suffer for the whole race, wanted to work on trying to recover after forcing a hard start. It went ok, I had a mediocre race to be honest, my shifting was all over the place and I got misdirected off course once. I caught up to Doug Ollerenshaw (after he flatted) and we drilled it on the climb, it was grueling to hold on to his wheel and then he let me past on the boulder strewn-descent. Passed a bunch of riders with mechanicals, busted pedals, chains, flats. It was a tough course. I have ridden better for sure but, sometimes you just have to actually finish the race to win.
Brian Ellin won a thousand dollars in the raffle! That was crazy, we are all walking off to the car and, they announce his name. Crazy. He did not even race the XC! He was across the street at the Oregon hillclimb and came over to watch our race finish up.
Yesterday was the “I have an intense personality and I am going to try and ruin your day” day. I was in high spirits all day and had to deal with too many customers! Too many! The guy who got up in Keely’s face while she was building a wheel, the guy who insisted on getting upset that I did not have the pursuit bars he wanted, the indecisive messenger bag girl with the “I feel guilty about not buying it from you, I gotta go.” complex. The customers who acts like I am screwing them over when I sell them a tube for $4. The customers who buy expensive shit, return it, want it back and return it again. Please, just make up your mind. I don’t care if you do or don’t want to buy it, just figure your shit out and come talk to me.
Actually, the catch is I DO care. As frustrating as many people can be, I take all the bike shop interactions very personally. I’m still thinking about the interactions that went to shit yesterday and what I can do next time around to not let people walk out the door unsatisfied. I have been a customer in shops for years before owning one and, I swore to never be “that” bike shop. The snobby, eliteist, hard to talk to, cooler than you shop. I’ve been getting better at being diplomatic and, forgiving in my business interactions. Not everyone knows a ton about bikes and it can be intimidating to try and figure the stuff out. I like to think I am the exception to most shops.
But not yesterday. Some days you just do not have the energy to wade through peoples bullshit. “You know what is one of the most annoying things for a mechanic? When the customer hovers over them working.” I calmly told an uber-annoying older guy yesterday. “I know, I’ve been a wrench for 30 years! Mt. Tam, racing, shops, old school, blah, blah, blah…” “Ok, then why are you still standing there?” I replied as I had to shoo him off, away from Keely. Shit! I don’t care! Show us some respect, and maybe we will humor your senile rambling.
…are amazing. Truly. I still don’t have any components to get them built up so I dug around upstairs, pulled some trashy wheels out of the recycling and banged them back into shape and got the A bike running. Just in time to ride out to the cross practice at Alpenrose Velodrome (good job Craig Sinanian winning the madison last night! I would have been there but, I was busy moving!) hung out at the practice and then rode home in the dark through the Oregon Zoo. Kinda scary, I did not have any lights and was not sure if any of the gates across the road were open or closed.
Thursday morning was the Sellwood cross clinic. 3-4 sets of a fast cross course set up in the Sellwood park. Rode the Vanilla down there and practiced riding from the back and moving up during the race. I get antsy when I am not in the front, get real nervous when I cannot see the lead rider and what is going on in the front of the race. Good practice. My legs are sore. “Explosive!” (that is what I say in my head on run ups.) Be explosive. I must look hilarious, just killing myself on the run up, trying to get those legs to move faster than they ever have.
I had a pair of 10v Record levers and a 9v Dura ace drivetrain, slapped that on the bike. I know, blasphemy, mixing the two together. It is all I got! Works great, just wants to drop from the 3rd to the 1st cog instead of to the 2nd position. If I feather the lever is sticks right back into the 2nd. Maybe a wafer thin spacer will fix that.
Still waiting and still debating what grouppo I should run on my cross bikes. I am committed to Campy Record. Yet, two $300 derailleurs is excessive, for me (underfunded racer). I should spend that on flight and paying Kylee to cover the shop while I go get stomped on the East coast. Shimano 9v stuff is getting cheap right now too. I could snag a pair of STI’s and just go with the less expensive 9v stuff. That is what I am feeling. Though it is not going to stop me from shooting one more email to CampyUSA asking for help.
I am going to rant again. What is up with CampyUSA? I think I understand the business plan. Keep the product elite. Don’t hook ANYONE up, domestic talent, teams etc, no pro deals, employee purchases, no risky/potentially pointless sponsorships. That keeps the Campagnolo name and identity “boutique”. If you want it, you have to pay for it. And we ALL want it. There is this huge culture of Campy obsessed people, it has always been this far off dream of mine to actually own a full Campy Record group. A frustrating thing for me, being a tiny, tiny dealer is stocking and moving Campy product. I fill my cases with Campy and people scoff at the price. (“I can get it cheaper online.”) Then, if I want to stick it on my bikes, which will only help me sell more of it, I have to put down a grip of cash and don’t get any kind of discount or pat on the back. To be honest, if Campy just made a tiny effort, shit, a free tshirt or something, I would be more than willing to drop a ton of cash on Record parts, destroy them racing cross and praise Campy up and down as being the coolest company ever. I suspect they are victim to the dilemma most companies are: fed up with demanding and ungrateful racers, riders and dealers. Point being, I consider myself a great marketing opportunity, it is a shame they don’t jump at it. I already push Campy a ton for very little reward, most people do NOT buy thier Campy gear in my shop and I get no product support. It is somewhat of a deadend for me business wise. What sense does it make for me to stock a product that does not sell? Hmmm…
Now, I sit, nursing my legs. A soy mocha and snickerdoodle finished. Dreading the wheels I have to build today. Not really, I love the wheelbuilding. Love it. What was yesterday? A 10v ultegra front wheel for Mark W. A 9v ultegra rebuild for Steven H on a fucked rim, gotta rebuild it today…
Ouch, got to run too. Been working on the computer for far too long!