Monday, April 28, 2008

Ft. Yargo MTB Race Recap

Last year when I raced at Yargo I had an intestinal parasite and finished poorly so I was hoping to get a better result this time. We had a large field of single-speed racers and some very good competition. The Ft. Yargo course is really good for a single-speed and the promoters changed the course and left out most of the climbs. Each lap it was pretty easy until 1 mile from the finish where there were two climbing sections with switch backs and then an uphill section after that. From there it was pretty easy single-track to the end. The weather was cool and rainy for the most part and the course got a bit more slick as we raced.

Our start was good and I was in front with another rider and soon we had a gap. Michael Scholtz was the rider with me and he happens to be a very good cyclocross racer from North Carolina. I led most of the first lap and tried an attack through the climbs and had a nice gap on him. once we hit the single track near the start/finish he was back with me so I knew he was strong and there was no more point in attacking him. So, for most of the second lap he and I crusied around the course waiting to slug it out on the final set of climbs. He put me in difficulty on some of the flatter secitons because I was only using a 34x18 which spun me out and made it hard to keep up with his larger gear.

Once we got to the climbs, we both climbed the first switch back together and then back into the woods where I led. He took over on the second set of switch backs and laid into me pretty good. I had the tongue wagging up the climbs but was hanging on. Same through the uphill portion after that. We had another racer with us from a different category and he got between us. On the last little climb my handlebars snagged a tree and I went down. He had about 10 seconds on me now and I chased hard to catch him but ended up going down again on the slippery course. In the end he won by about 40 seconds.

It was the most I'd been tested in a single-speed race so far and the challenge was really fun. I was not dissapointed to be beaten by a cross racer either.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My arsenal is almost complete. I have been obsessed with White Industries freewheels the past few months. My extra Paypal money has gone to getting them in 16, 17, 18 tooth cogs. Only 19 and 20 to go. Maybe a 21 for north Georgia forest service roads. I made a portable vise for my car for changes on the fly. I think if I ever make another SS podium I am going to string them as a necklace for the photo. They are so nice and work so well.

My ENO cranks came in also so now I am waiting on the Phil Wood bottom bracket and bearings and I'll be able to finish the bike. I don't know how it will turn out but I have not had an obsession in awhile and this is filling the vacuum.

The Yargo race looms and it should be really fun. They have re-routed some of the course and all in all the race will be around 22 miles.

I did a 15 minute impromptu TT yesterday because I was late and managed to do 302w average. That puts my FTP around 290w which is what I thought. Two illnesses have impacted that and I would like to maintain a 300w FTP for as long as possible. I don;t really want to train but with the short time I have each day to ride the "sweet spot" intervals (85-90% FTP) make it easy to climb the ladder to 300w. Now and them I'll do a 2x20 at FTP as well. It is hard sometimes to just ride around.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Z-Pack is working its magic.

Some races I'd like to do this spring/summer:

4/27-- Ft. Yargo MTB Race (SS class)
5/3 -- Dirty Spokes 12 hour MTB Relay Race (as a team)
5/25 -- Heritage MTB Race (SS or EX Class)
6/22 -- Eatonton MTB Race, TT and XC (SS Class)
7/13 -- Cheaha MTB Race (EX Class)
7/18 -- MTB Nationals (SS Class)
8/16 -- Fool's Gold 50 (?)
9/6 and 9/7 -- GA SS Championships (Peak Event) TT, ST, XC

Fool's Gold may be out of my wheelhouse. MTB Nationals participation is tenative right now.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Upper respiratory nastiness. Hopefully I'll be well by Yargo. I'd like to put in a good showing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mental Notes...

New crankset installation thought process:

Install the ENO cranks on the 108mm spindle to see if it clears frame. If the 108mm clears, check the chain line and if it is good, then no problem. If it does not clear or if the chain line sucks, get a 113mm spindle from Klein and borrow the installation tool from Peachtree Bikes or see if Free Flite has one. Pop out the old bearing catridge and spindle and install the new 113mm spindle using the tool. Install the ENO cranks and measure the chain line at the seatpost and at the rear freewheel. If they are within 1mm of each other I can live with that. If not, either run it anyway or proceed to down a large bottle of Chimay. Figure out proper spindle length for chain line first dummy!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Klein Pinnacle MTB

I got my 1990 Klein Pinnacle MTB as a graduation present from my folks. Since then it has survived huge jumps, 100 or so MTB races, a MTB tour of Montana, 24 hour races, getting me to class in college, and now its newest incarnation as a single-speed bike. In 1995 I broke the frame and Klein repainted it and fixed it for a cheap fee. All these years later it still has the original bottom bracket and cranks.

After servicing it last week it is now time for its retirement. But, I won an ebay auction for a silver lightly used 1994 Pinnacle on Sunday! Now I am set for another 18 years!

I am going to outfit it with new White Industries Cranks and chain ring. It is coming with a Manitou fork (unknown model) and a nice XTR head set.

I am ready to continue my love affair.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Flat Rock Park MTB Race

Spent a night in a cheap hip hop partying motel and I had ear plugs (whew). No pre-ride and the gear (34x16) was a little rough to push on the course. No mishaps and ended up first by about 2 minutes. Wanted more time with the gear choice but that is just being stupid. Very nice course and I was impressed by Torre's ability to get through the twisty single-track mazes like a rabbit. My lap times were 51 minutes and 48 minutes which would put me third in Mens XC-40+ (geared bikes).

The promoters are great as well. Hoping to do well in 2 weeks at Yargo. Kid's sick, spring break is over, lost my phone at the venue. Time to go to bed before anything else happens.

I am number 531

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Looks like the UCI is getting ready to restrict or ban radio communication between riders and team cars. Having never used one, I have no idea what I am missing. In 'cross there is already a ban and I am happy thinking for myself. In MTB no assistance is allowed so no trouble there. One of the main arguments is that the radios allow a heads up for dangerous obstacles. Can you imagine this logic in a MTB race or a 'cross race? It would be non-stop talking.

In last weekend's RVV Devolder's ear piece swung from his ear as he pulled it out after attacking. Phillip Gilbert's earpiece was not used after his attack in Het Volk and it was not working anyway. Both of these guys broke away and won their race. I am old school on this topic and think that a rider should know what to do without assistance or take responsibility for bad decision making in a race if they read it wrong. But, I don't get a vote.

Looks like the hole shot will be very important Sunday.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I went over to REI today to visit the world's best mechanic (Alan Smith)about my chain length for the 16 tooth freewheel on my single speed. This is what followed:

1. Hey, your sealed bearings are coming out of your bottom bracket. Let's take a look.
2. A broken plastic crank cap, let's take it out.
3. You've got some stripped threads on your crank arm let's try and get it off by re-tapping. Um, no go, OK we will put it into the vise and you hack saw it so the threads come loose. Meanwhile, I will get you a new crank arm to use.
4. Well, you cut through your axle a bit with the saw but it should be OK. Hey, I have some brand new sealed bearings right here. Your axle is a bit worn but I have about 10 tricks we can use to make it work.
5. Now that the bottom bracket is back together, what was that about chain length?

Alan drops what he is doing, devotes time to me, then asks me to show him something (the ENO eccentric hub). I won't even tell you how generous he was besides his time. I swear if I am able to get another state championship this fall he is getting my jersey. If I ever need open heart surgery I just might let him do it! He and Max are the best mechanics around.

Basically, my MTB is 18 years old. The bottom bracket bearings were 12 years old. The cranks are original. I need a new bike because this one is falling apart. But, I have seen this devotion before in old farmers fixing their tractors and drillers in the field rigging their old drill rigs to make them work again. I love my Klein Pinnacle. The only thing to do is get another one. I am going to ride this one until it fails and then figure out how I can still ride it. Alan?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Today I found out that Tufo discontinued its "clincher-tubular" cyclocross tires. Total dissapointment for me because I really liked them. Now I guess I'll build some tubular wheels and get rid of one of my clincher wheelsets. I am a pretty bad gluer but I suppose if I start early enough I can learn. Too bad Tufo, you had a good customer in me! I think I will stick with them for tubulars and avoid the hype of some of the other brands that cost over $100.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Friday I was trying to take a short cut on a road through Island Ford Park (National Park)in Sandy Springs from the Roberts Road direction. I ended up at the visitors center and asked where the through gate was that connected to Northridge Road. The man behind the desk got mad at me and said that I should be ticketed for riding in the park. I got out of there because he was getting really mad and it was pouring outside.

Well, I now know how to get through the park and I can't for the life of me see what the big deal is. The road is all paved and there is a gate but people are coming and going in/from the park all the time. I am starting to think he thought I was on a mountain bike and wanted to ride in the park on trails. So, I WILL be using the short cut. I am not being a rebel, it just makes too much sense to go that way.

As a caveat, the short cut is not easier at all. There are 3 leg-breaking climbs up from the river level. But, it is more scenic then the Northridge/GA 400 intersection, and safer too.

Oh yeah, and today I had a nice failure of a Shimano Ultegra rear derailleur cog. It cracked clean through the plastic. No harm done though, I was just surprised to see the damage as I cleaned my bike.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Today I was able to ride into work, which is a treat for me. I used to do it a lot more but now I am down to once a week at most. It is a great ride that ends up along the Chattahoochee River right at daybreak and the river and wildlife viewing is so much better than being stuck looking at tail-lights.

I do this in an hour on non-commute days, but the lights and traffic add 15 minutes so I leave at 6:45 to get to school (work) at 8am.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

One of the cool things I like about single-speed riding and racing is the dilemma of gearing. I have used a 2:1 ratio (36x18) most of the time but went for a much easier gear for the Snake TT at 34x20 (1:1.77). Now with a flat race course coming up, I am leaning towards a 36x16 (2.25) or a slightly easier gear 34x16 (2.15).

Now I mainly use a 42 big ring in 'cross and in looking at the gear ratios, I should be able to push the 36x16 but I am not sure until I try it out. A lot of the 29" racers last week were doing 32x18 or 32x20

It gives me something positive to obsess about anyway.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Next week is spring break and I hope to be able to ride at least 3, 2-hour days, one of them on the MTB. I am pretty well below 0 right now in TSB and have been for awhile. I would like to bring it up for air in time for the Flat Rock GSC MTB race on the 13th. So, I plan on getting to -2 or 0 that Saturday.

I would be nice to continue building my CTL this spring and get it back up to about 70 before memorial day and then perhaps get it to 80 tss/d by MTB nationals.

Most of my riding have been tempo with 1-2 sessions a week of either "sweet spot" riding or threshold efforts. I am not really "training" at this point with dedicated intervals and i want to see if this free-form approach gets any results.

Flat Rock will be a good test and I am planning on running a 36x16 single-speed gearing. That is pretty huge but apparently the course is very flat.

Here is a shot of my PMC up to date.