Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In goes the floor.

Back to the "big quitment" as the Baby Don would say.

Getting close.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Broken Bike, Broken Heart

Cora's bike arrived today--it sure is a beauty! She could hardly contain herself as she was unwrapping it. . .

Until she got to the very last piece of bubble wrap encasing the left seat stay.

Ouch--you gotta think that had to hurt the big Russian.

I guess I'll have to wait a little bit longer to make my hottie tackle the big hills with her triple. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

VT 50

Well, it seems that the theme this year is bad weather--the VT 50 did not disappoint!
We got up to Vermont the day before and the weather was absolutely beautiful--60's, not a cloud in the sky--just perfect.

I went to bed feeling a bit anxious because the forecast was for rain, lots and lots of rain.
I had both bikes ready to go--the 26er with mud tires and the 29er with Stan's Raven (wishful thinking). Everybody was saying that given the week of great weather prior to the race that the course was in "great" shape and a day of rain would be welcome, i.e the course will hold the water because it's been so dry. So I was thinking that maybe, just maybe I could get away with a faster tire and have a legit chance at the 6 hour mark.

The rain started at about 1 am and it seemed like it had no intentions of stopping. I got up at 4:45 and it was still raining. Cora made a heck of a good argument to get back in bed and spare myself the cold, wet sufferfest that was inevitably waiting for me. (Actually, I think she wanted to spare herself the cold, wet sufferfest of crewing for me!)  I got downstairs and had the traditional breakfast of oatmeal, banana and raisins which I washed down with a FRS.  I stepped out on the porch--still raining pretty hard but it was not as cold as I thought, it was in the high 40's. I did not want to make the same mistake as last year and over dress, so I was again a bit stressed about my clothing choice which was fleece bib knickers under a standard bib, craft base-layer, short sleeve jersey, arm warmers, neoprene gloves and shoes covers and the plastic rain jacket.  In the end, to my great surprise, I was comfortable all day.

I was running late as usual, so after getting outside and realizing that the weather was the real deal, I decided on the 26er with the heavier tires--great choice (it turns out that I could have used more tire).  I rode the 5 mins up to the pre-race meeting in the cold rain, trying to get myself psyched for what was sure to be a really wet day. At 6:30 am, the sport wave was off and the rain came down harder--the first 3 miles is pretty much downhill and therefore fast which made for a really cold start. So I spent the first 15-20 mins shivering and telling myself that I'd be warmer when the climbing started which I was. 

It quickly became very evident that the course was not dry and definitely was not holding the rain very well. Last year was muddy, really muddy, but the dirt roads for the most part were ok.  At this point in the race, the roads were soaked and the worst was soon to come. As we turned off and hit the first bit of singletrack which is a steep climb, heavy thick mud was everywhere, so the hike-a-bike began and seemed to never end. I thought last year's race was bad and this was hands down 10x worse. 

I realized that 6 hrs was not going to happen when I was 30 mins slower than last year to the first aid station.  So my goal was to finish, which I was starting to think was going to be tough--every time I saw Cora, she said people were dropping like flies. I actually did not feel all that bad on the bike, but mentally the cold rain and the crazy amount of mud was just plain making the day no fun. I finally finished in 7 hrs 36 mins. and it rained the whole time. In retrospect, I would still say it was zero fun but I do have the satisfaction of finishing, which I needed.   Nonetheless, I renewed last year's vow to never do this race again. That sounds fine until I get to thinking about how awesome these trails must be on a cool, crisp, clear and DRY fall Vermont day and I'm ready to take my chances again.  Now how can I convince Cora?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yes--more U2 in Boston

We have done a lot of driving this month--all well worth it. In Boston at Gillette Stadium--it's crazy how these new stadiums are all about making money--everywhere you turn there is something for sale and rest assured, it's over-priced--40 bucks for a t-shirt, 40 bucks for parking, and on and on.  I'm glad I don't drink because the beer was off the charts as well. The Boston show was a totally different atmosphere than Toronto. We were a bit closer and I thought the playlist, although only slightly different, was better--good times. The only downer was the 2 hours we spent in the parking lot trying to get out after the show--for as much as you pay to park, you'd think they would have designed things a bit more efficiently.

Cora dizzy from all the driving.

Much bigger here in Boston--much different feel.

Bono doing his thing--well!!

Can't wait for the next go around!!
From u2gigs
The playlist

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

They're here!!

I got home from work and found this--it's been 5 years in the works, so to see it happen was a nice healthy dose of reality.

What's left of the maple that was just behind the house--off to the saw-mill.

They say about two weeks and the basement will be done.

They tell me about 7 months and we should have a finished product!

I found a hottie to ride with.

Miss Hottie lowering the boom on me.

The fuel of choice--Skittles. I should have known.

I had a great time with Cora--nothing better than you-me time on the bike. I can't wait until her new bike gets here.

U2 Toronto--what a night!

What a great venue!

This was the playlist from the show.

A hand-full of photos to tell the story. If you are into U2 and want to download some great bootlegs check out U2start.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hill Repeats

Got out early for a little work before we take off to Toronto. Cornish Hill repeats--they're a bitch!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Yelp, it's true I'm going to the other side.
After a full on custom bike fit up at Fit Werx  in Vermont,  I
just ordered a new Serotta Ottrott--should be here in about 3 weeks.
It will look basically like the bike above except it will have Dura Ace, white seat and white bar tape--can't wait until she's here!

Off  to Toronto in the AM for some U2 in the PM.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Max's first day of school

Today is Max's first day of school--Cora missed the fun as she left the house at 4 am to go down to Connecticut to get our passports renewed for the U2 show in Toronto.

Off we go....
Group hug.
The Bull has arrived!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A long, long really wet ride

I neglected to get up early and head towards the Serotta factory, so my laziness meant that I had to start my ride after I got back from Saratoga.  Ordinarily, that would not have been a bad thing, since I like to ride in the afternoons/evenings anyway, but the forecast called for a steady rain.  The weather was pretty nice up in Saratoga and of course, it didn't start raining until we pulled up to our house.
Riding in a cold rain is rarely fun, but starting out for a long ride in the cold rain is just downright unmotivating.  I needed to get 6 hours in, which wasn't going to be easy, but given my experience in Leadville, I felt like I needed to toughen myself up by biting the bullet.  

2 1/2 hours in, Cora met me for some quick refueling.  

54 degrees and 5 hours of rain--good times.

Motoring up Black's Road--as crappy as it was, I managed to churn out some pretty decent watts--I had to in order to make the big wheels escape the mud suck. 
Wet, wet, cold and wet.

I got home after dark, just as the rain was ending--go figure.  Cora met me at the door with a towel and a hot cup of my favorite coffee.  I have to be honest-riding in the rain is a lot of fun when you're prepared for it.  Love the neoprene gloves--best $20 I ever spent.  Tomorrow's an easy ride, and then another 6 hours on Sunday.

If real time is your thing, have a peek.

Serotta Factory Tour

Well, I finally made the big leap and decided it was time to get a new road bike, one that actually fits.  Given that I'm old and not terribly flexible, my options for an off-the-rack bike were limited.  So naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to go custom. I looked at Seven and Indy as I like my current bikes very much, but after reading more about Serotta and talking to several people who ride them, I decided to check them out.  

Cora and I drove to the Serotta factory in Saratoga Springs.  We took a very informative tour and spent some time talking with the workers and ogling the bikes.  Serotta's technology is second to none and their attention to detail is incredible.  As we learned, Serotta has committed to making their own parts, i.e. drop outs, bottom brackets, cable guides and seat collars just to name a few. They have recently opened a factory in California to make their own carbon tubing--all this is done to control quality--so they have "complete control" over the customization of each bike.

CNC machines were cutting drop-outs as we toured.  They manufacture as many parts as they need to stay about a week ahead of their orders.  

This is the inside of the CNC machine as the cutterhead whittles a $40 block of titanium into the designated piece--it doesn't take long to understand why these bikes are so expensive--as they say, you gots to pay for quality.

Here are some of the machined titanium parts.

The CNC machines also work on carbon, shaping the tube ends for an absolutely perfect fit, increasing the strength of the joint as they are bonded.

Carbon fork blanks.

This is a jig in a heating room holding an uber sweet Meivici as the joints are bonded.

Bikes awaiting paint.

This is the finishing room--after seeing so many cool paint jobs at the factory, I'm rethinking my need for a custom Jackrabbit paint job.

One of the large machining tools--I believe they said it was used in fabricating steel frames. 

Frames awaiting repair.  One of the huge benefits of getting a Serotta is the extraordinarily reasonable crash repair program.

The shipping department.

A vintage Serotta track bike.

Custom bike made for the Russian cycling team.

Another vintage racing frame.  The 7-11 team frame was out in California for some show and tell. 

The tour was super cool.  After seeing the detail and precision that goes into every frame, I knew that I had to get a Serotta--the only question was which one. . .