Archive | August, 2012

Loving the weather

29 Aug

The weather has been amazing up here lately. The only problem is that it feels like early summer with the low temps while in reality summers almost over. Im not looking forward to all the school busses and traffic that go along with the summer being over but oh well. Last night was the last Belmont Grass Track of the year.


A couple sweet steel rigs out there. Thom’s new Ritchie build.


and a sweet Bilenky


At some point there was a ride a lap, run a lap race. I opted out of this one.


No sure what kind of antics the KindHuman dudes are into, but this upcoming weekend could get interesting…


And like that grass track for the year was over. we all lined up for a quick photo before people started cracking brews.


Afterwards a few of us took the long way home on the fireroad



over strawberry mansion bridge


onto the boxer trail


and finished up with a quick lap on the NOT Bicycle Therapy cross course.


Fast forward to this morning.  Amazing out.  Little humidity and a tad cool when you start riding.  You cant beat it.  This coming weekend is the ‘Budweiser Made in America’ festival in Philadelphia.  They’ve been setting up stages, tents, and everything else since last weekend.  Looks like its going to be wild by the museum this weekend.




I rarely take in the architecture on Penn’s campus… its just a bit hectic to take in the sights around there.





I was on the SSCX bike so i cruised the double track in the wildlife refugee this morn.  A good amount of people out and about on the trail which is always good to see.










28 Aug

Thursday night I met up with a buddy and his brother who were coming through Philadelphia on their way to Maine. They started in Pittsburgh and rode the GAP trail down to Md, then up to York via Gettysburg’s to jump on bike route S. They stayed until Saturday before continuing north on their tour. Before they left we grabbed some brunch Saturday morning then proceeded to get some bike work done. The game plan was to replace a spoke and re-true his rear wheel but that soon became repacking the bearings and working on some other small issues.



This yielded a late start but I made it out to my buddies to help get some car work done. There was plans of riding cross but that didn’t pan out.


Plethora of our ratty rad cars/


They had also found some cats living in/underneath his polo project. So if anyones looking to adopt some supper sweet kittens let me know.


I found a nice drawing that Ben drew of said kittens.


After a bit or work I was off to get my real task done in the suburbs, gluing up my cross tubulars… ill post a bit more about this later on in the week but luckily our teams skilled mechanic Pete helped me through the process. Jamie got a sweet instagram of me doing a bit of work.


Ohh i was also able to peep my new mtb frame!


Sunday morning was the free cyclocross clinic put on in Belmont Park by Army Road. A ton of people we out trying to dial in their skills for next month. I probably didn’t listen as much as I should have but had a great time.





Afterwards we all cruised over to the reservoir cx track to get some laps in. After riding a bit we ended up hanging out for a while and I was trying to learn the art of ‘bmx’ hoping instead of the tried and true ‘mtb’ hoping. It didn’t go so well but o well. Stolen photo from the missus

Day off

23 Aug

Ive been riding the new All City Nature Boy single speed cross bike a bunch lately. The 42×16 gearing works well for the road as well as flat grass/dirt but it will be way too tall for any actual elevation changes. I plan on going with a 2×2 setup at some point but need to do some research in what gear ratios would work best. First up with me finding some spacers to throw on a freebodied wheel. I usually test out gear ratios using old broken apart cassettes. It works pretty well.

I made it from work straight to cross practice last night with a few minutes to spare before the fun started. A bunch of the regulars were out with a couple other new people. It was a great turnout. I ended up doing the first 5-lap ‘race’ and sitting out the next one to tighten up my headset, recover, and help a friend throw on some tires. Pushing a tough gear has put a bit extra strain on the knee that it didn’t like so much. I had just listened to a podcast talking about the irreversible damage that one can do riding through pain with the scar tissue left behind and the tendons eventually becoming tighter. It soften hard to not ride but sometimes its for the best.



So today I took off completely from the bike and drove in. 11 straight days of riding probably is a tad too many coming from a month before of very little. It was a good change up though and always interesting driving the beast.


The Nature Boy CX

21 Aug

Yesterday was the madden voyage for the new bike, an All City Nature Boy SSCX steel do everything type of bike. It will be my daily commuter, grocery getter, and single speed cyclocross race machine. I wasn’t looking for a new rig but as any cyclist knows its always n+1, where n is the total number of bikes you own. Also I cant pass up a good deal. Yes I know I have way too many bikes but what can you do. The bike is more or less stock at the moment. I swapped out tire quickly, flipped the stem and threw on some eggbeaters.


Headed home and swung through the double track to test her out on some gravel.



Then a couple quick shots along the trail.



I headed through west Philly and up to Belmont for the 2nd to last grass cx practice. By the time I got there people were warming up and there were a ton of people there. The lady and friends were already there by the time I pedaled up and missed the first ‘A’ group while I was trying to let out some air in the tires.




A flat grass track is perfect for a steel SSCX bike. Don’t need to worry about anything but hammering and cornering.


There was some dog running.


And some 1 handed beer racing.


Edit:  Thanks for the photo Steve!!!

After we got rode home the lady had made some pizza dough for a couple pizzas for my birthday. I had a slew of tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, and fresh oregano from our local CSA, and got to work on a quick marinara.



She also made me a sweet bicycle card and cake. The Brux (Russian River & Sierra Nevada colab wild ale) was excellent as well. Got in a bit over 40miles yesterday on the new rig, ate some pizza/cake, drank some good beer. It was a good birthday/



20 Aug

It was a good weekend with some ups and downs. It was my birthday weekend, so Friday night involved more drinking than I wanted/anticipated and I ended up falling asleep at the bar. I had already told some teammates that I would meet up to ride Saturday morning so after hitting the snooze a few times I stumbled out of bed and got my kit on. By the time I met them 15mi or so in I had gotten most of my gusto back.



We cruised the SRT and made it into the city for a quick bite at Mugshots Coffeehouse. I grabbed a everything bagel w/ hummus and a cookie, both filled the void and gave me some much needed energy. I can never eat once I wake up so most of my rides are done on a ’empty’ stomach.

I had debated riding back home but cruised up west river drive with them before saying goodbye. I needed to get back home and take a nap.



A friend came down from NYC so we did some of the random tourist things and walked a ton! So much that I still have shin splints while im sitting here typing this…


My game plan was to have a fun semi-relaxing night without getting too wild, but again it didn’t happen.


Woke up a bit late Sunday with plans to ride some cyclocross with friends. It was a diverse crew and we were having a good time.


After taking a break for a bit I went out hoping to speed up the lap times. I stood up to pedal out of a corner and BAM, chain breaks pulls through the rear derailleur, bends the cage and pulls the threads/bends the hell out of the hanger. Luckily when the chain dropped and got entangled between the cassette and the wheel it didn’t take out any spokes, just left a few nicks in a spoke or two on my crappy wheelset. Day done.


Ive broken a few chains in my commute before so I always have my multi-tool with chain breaker with me. The chain was done so I stretched it over a just too big cog and cautiously pedaled home in a 42×26.



Now both of my cross bikes are down and I promised the Spooky Cx rig to a buddy for his first race, Nittany Cross that’s less than a month away… Luckily I had already planned on scooping up a ‘new to me’ bike that will double as a SSCX race rig and a daily commuter. So we drove north a bit and grabbed the bike and stopped off at out favorite chain for free chips/salsa and some Tecate.


More details on the bike tomorrow but I rode it in this morning to test her out.


Upping the miles

17 Aug

My main cycling goal as of lately is pack in as many miles as I can to try to make up for the 3 months I was off the bike. Ive been doing pretty good so far at accomplishing that and have ridden into work everyday for the last two weeks (~320mi) and have fit some extra miles in after work a couple days.

The game plan for Wednesday was to ride to work on the cross bike then try to make it back to Fairmount by 6pm to check out the new cyclocross course. It was spotty all day with rain but as I rode out a few miles from work it started pouring. Since I was on the cross bike I decided to take the double track in John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge but it was pretty soaked at this point.



After an hour in the rain I was drenched and curious how many people would come out for cross practice. There as a good amount of familiar faces and I was already drenched, muddy, and ready from cross.


The course is really great.  Its mostly tight twisty turns with a small amount of trails in the woods.  This setup is more about technique than about power which is perfect for dialing in your skills.  Being that the course was new with no ruts and coupled with the rain made a really slick course.  It was great to get a feel for the bike sliding out again,  balancing the line between sliding out and total control.





The lady came out and got a sense of what mud was as well.  I think having the course so close with be very beneficial to acquiring bike control quickly.


We hung out for a bit and rolled home with a couple of friends.  A big thanks to everyone who put time into the course!



Yesterday I took the roadie into work in order to spin the legs out in the morning for some recovery.  On the way home I heard some buddies were going to ride so I did a quick lap around Fairmount before calling it a day.  190mi so far this week and hoping to get a long ride in and some more cross practice done this weekend.

I picked up some new podium chill water bottles to beat the heat of summer. i like the squirt bottle tops but the caps cap easily grow black mold with non-water drinks.


I also picked up a Philly cap from my friends at GoCycling. Ive never had a non-cotton cycling cap before but Im loving that its made of a wicking material and doesnt retain water like your normal cap, plus it matches my paint scheme nicely 🙂


Luckily I made it to Loyd Hall just in the nick of time coming from work as my buddies had forgotten I was going to meetup and ride. It was mostly a chit-chat ride but fun no less. Even got to watch some shenanigans on the north side of the Strawberry Mansion bridge after a glass bottle flat/


Belmont Grass Track

14 Aug

Last night was the first time ive ever actually been able to make it for Monday night grass track cx practice in Belmont. I was actually able to leave work at 4:30 and rode home quickly to swap bikes at the apartment, grab the lady, and head out to Fairmont Park. The cyclocross practice starts at 6pm Monday nights and as usual we ended up being a tad late. This week they had a small oval type setup with a A and B heat. Most ‘races’ were 9 laps but sometime switched up with X number of people getting pulled every X lap. It was fun railing corners again with a bunch of the local guys that are part of the mens 2/3/4 field.



Since we got there a bit late we had to jump right into the action. I knew what I was getting into, but it was the first time for the lady really riding grass at a fast pace and riding with other people trying to pass her. Luckily the B group was predominantly made up of women which was nice. After the first round I remembered about all the excitement/suffering that is cyclocross as well as the push your body/mind gets from racing with other like minded individuals.



Afterwards we hung out for a bit and I drank a Tecate that was kindly given to me. Thanks d.lowe for putting it on and the free beer. Next up is Wednesday night cross practice at the new Bicycle Therapy cross course on the other side of Fairmount.