Archive | January, 2013

Icy-Hot

30 Jan

On the way home from work last night I was on a mission to get a Photo Tag (ie the game ‘tag’ but via bicycles). The general idea is someone on a local bike forum takes a photo of a landmark somewhere in the city of Philadelphia with their bike in the photo. You then try to figure out where that spot is, ride to it, and take the same photo. You then ride to another spot, take a photo, and the game continue. Now some cheating happens now and then, especially with advent of Google street views… but that’s beyond the point.

So took 70th street in West Philly north to Cobbs Creek Parkway to get the Photo Tag that had been lingering for a few days. I had never been on that MUP before but it was pretty nicely paved with very few intersections since the west side of the trail backs up to a park/creek. The sections where it was close to the road (ie over bridges and such) there would be a sufficient amount of glass & debris from car wrecks and such. At Hoffman St (south of Baltimore) you can go right towards the city onto a bike lane or stay left on the path. I stayed left to continue north and was surprised when the trail busted a long sweeping fast left decent into the pitch dark woods. I got confused with a turn off and ended up on 60th and Baltimore and cruised up 55th to Walnut to grab the tag. West Philly is such a radically different place than east of the Schuylkill River.

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I made the new tag pretty easy as plenty of people ride past it in hopes to get the game moving again. Sometimes the far out tags bring the game to a standstill for a whiles.

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This morning during the commute I realized that we were getting some sun rays in the morning now.

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Rarely see ice + fog

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SNOW!

28 Jan

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The icebeard was in full effect again.

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I had to dry off, pull the ice out of my beard and head back out to an appointment.

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After passing on riding Saturday afternoon I was persuaded to ride MTBs Sunday at Belmont with Thom and Mat.  Maybe its because Im new at MTBing (ie no technical skills) but I HATE Belmont.  Its really tight, twisty, and for me especially slow with my poor log hopping abilities.  But for some reason I actually had fun there this weekend.  I was trying to keep up with Thom on his new-to-him rigid SS and finally finding some flow in the trails.  Maybe Ill actually really get into this MTB thing some day.

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Saran wrapped helmet mod

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A couple deers out there were so close and just hanging out, not scared at all.  Must be city deer?!

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Lesson Learned

23 Jan

I was in a rush Monday night getting studded tires and such on for Tuesday’s icy morning. I had looked through my parts bin for fender break-away mounts that attach to the front fender but could only find (1) of (2) needed. So I put it off. Break-away tabs hard mount to the frame on one side while the fender snaps into place on the opposite side. The idea is if a stick or something gets caught, the fender will detach from the bike and less harm will happen to the cyclist. Being that I was running the studded tires (what are much wider and taller than my normal slicks), I didn’t have the normal clearance from my tire to my fender. This isn’t an issue on pavement as it’s mostly flat, but on trails is a different story.

Last night I turned left and headed down the access trail to the double track. The frigid temps had the snowy dirt ruts frozen and in therefore very bumpy. I probably made it 200ft down the incline when the bike bounced and the front fender got eaten up by the front studded tire. If you havnt had the pleasure of experiencing it yet, when an object gets stuck in your front wheel it will stop cold. The bike then acts like a sling shot with the pivot point being about the front wheel’s axel and you WILL go over the bars. During the graceful plunge, my hands were still gripping the bars during rotation and eventually I landed directly on my back, knocking the wind out of myself. I laid on the snowy ground for a second, laughed, and proceeded to check out the damages. After riding, messing with the fender, riding some more, and re-messing with it, I finally gave in and took it off. Its never fun to stop and start when its cold cold.

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This morning was another cold one. 11°F ambient temps with an 8mph constant head wind. Ice beard in full effect + bloody nose that I was nursing for a few miles (tilted head up riding is intriguing at best.)

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First Ice of the Winter

22 Jan

Last night after making dinner I sat down to eat. I started to lurk Instagram and noticed a slew of people posting snow photos in Philly. Its sad when you learn about the weather via an iPone app… anyways I looked outside and a there was snow on the cars and wet roads. I knew the forecast for the next day was a high in the 20s and that meant ICE. It was already 9pm and I had to get 3 studded tires on and mounted (2 for myself and 1 for the lady).

I had picked up Nokian Hakkapeliitta W240 (700 x 40c) studded tires a few years back. Last year I don’t think I used them once due to the nice weather but the year before they got some solid use. A couple months back I picked up (1) studded tire off some wild dude from Craigslist for $6. Ill have to grab the make/model off the tire later tonight and see how she liked it.

The Nokian’s were going on the SSCX All City Nature Boy (w/ fenders) and the other tire was going on the front of the lady’s SSCX IRO Rob Roy cruiser commuter. If you’ve never ran studded tires before they are SLOW. The rolling resistance is wildly different than a normal slick. On top of that the Nokian’s are much wider than I run normally and have a semi-aggressive tread pattern for off-road use. I usually run a 42×16 with slicks but wanted to run 42×18 with the studded tires. Unfortunately my chain length and fenders had other plans, and I ended up running it in the inner ring using a 39×18. I was a bit worried last night about spinning out during the 16mile commute in a 39×18 but it wasn’t that bad this morning.

 

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I took it slow and romped around in the icy bike lanes. Like usual the city roads were shitty with salt on only a few. Luckily the suburbs were mostly cleared.

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I took the double track in to take in a as much nature as I could before the work day started.

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Today was also the first day this season that my water bottle froze 🙂

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It was 19°F with wind chills taking it to 1°F so I tried out some my Pearl Izumi AmFib Bib Tight for the first time. I had picked them up last year during the summer when they were heavily discounted. They performed really well today with toasty legs the entire ride even with the wicked wind. The fit length wise (I went with a Large) and ankle tightness were spot on. If I ever use them more frequently Ill try to give an actual review.

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LWC Afterparty

21 Jan

Friday night a couple of us cruised down to the Lone Wolf Cycling Crazy Train After Party at Bicycle Revolutions. After the ride a few weeks back there was suppose to be a big party in Pennypack Park which was unfortunately shut down before it started by the police/park rangers. I was intrigued to check it out as well as grab a patch, hang out, and drink a few brewskies. We watched a quick edit one of the guys made as well then prizes were given away which eventually turned into throwing prizes into the crowd and watching people scramble for tubes, scratch lab electrolytes, and other random items.
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Scratch lab electrolyte mix + tequila = health consensus margaritas

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Its been amazing weather for mid-January around here. 50F and sunny is hard to beat. Sunday morning I met up with some of the Kelpius MTB crew and we did some riding at the Wissahickon.  It was the first time I actually started to feel comfortable on my new bike. Ive also started to learn the trails a bit more now that ive been there a handful of times.  Hoping to work on my technical skills over the winter and try out a couple races next year.

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Not sure what this poem meant.

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Then a guy on a unicycle showed us up

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We stopped off for some food/beers at Falls Taproom.  They had some legit beers on tap, I was surprised.  I went with a Friendship Brew (Black Saison) collab from Green Flash / St. Feuillien.  It was quite tasty and not too big for a mid-ride beer.  As for food we all went with a black bean burger and I grabbed some very tasty seitan wings.  They had a little patio out front that we were able to ‘lock up’ out bikes via helmets and watch them the whole time.  Ill definitely be back for another meal/beer coming home from the Wiss.

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We ran into the LWC crew for the second time that day on the SRT. I made them pose like this.

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Weekend.

14 Jan

It was a semi-productive weekend. We drove up to Bear Creek Mountain Saturday morning to attend the PCA awards banquet. I hadn’t been to Bear Creek since it was probably Doe Mountain when I was a kid and the hotel/resort they built seemed really classy. The award banquet was for for road, track, and cyclocross going 5 deep plus 3 out of state medals for some categories. There was some serious effort put into setting it up and giving out the 100+ awards.

My teammate Maria was getting an award for road racing and another for getting 2nd in the PACX elite womens field over all. A bunch of teammates came to watch/take photos which made the event a lot more entertaining by heckling some of the recipients. Ive been in such a cross mode lately I forgot that road/track people are a bit different… a little more dialed, well dressed, and refined. Im glad we didn’t bring cowbells to use instead of clapping every 10 seconds 🙂 I was able to take 1st overall in the mens B PACX cyclocorss series and the jersey that went along with it. The lady told me to soak it in, since ill be in the back of the pack in the elite race from now on.

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With the amazing weather they were forcasting for the weekend it was hard to stay inside most of Saturday but 65F and sunny for Sunday sounded even better.  Riding home from a part later sturday night I was a bit worried about the amount of fog but figured it would burn before I was ready to get up and exercise.

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Ellis and I took our time and got out around 10:45am.  We did a quick 2 hour jaunt around Gladwyne and the surrounding area.

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Coming off River Rd we ran into Mike and Gerald and cruised with them a bit.

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A few people came over to stream Cyclocross Nationals and drink beer/eat junk food.    I guess this is what people who watch real/more common sports do??!

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LWC – Crazy Train Video

9 Jan

Video Jawn:

(original song version not used due to copyright issues)