Saturday, 19 September 2015

ABA 5 - Pumphouse 'cross - dear cyclocross gods, please have mercy on me

The Synergy Pumphouse 'cross is close, a totally awesome technical course, and has been blessed in ongoing fashion with good weather.  Today was no different, with huge turnouts of people with smiles on their faces.

Cindy raced well, and I got a few pics as Brit was just happy relaxing while being football carried.  All was happy.

I got in a respectable warmup.  Lined up in a respectable spot.  The start is ballistic but I had an un traffic'd line that wasn't too bad.  As the groups sorted out, I felt a little sluggish but not bad when I looked around.  I think last weekend's lingering congestion had worked its way out of the system enough that I was convinced after the first lap that I'd survive today.

It's all good racing at the Pumphouse.  Just slicing corners and keeping your head up for your buddies.  I was always looking up to Devin just ahead, and for the most part was at a place that I was happy with relative to him.  Then I started to close the gap; as I came out of corners I felt like I always could drop a gear and stand on the long straightaways to generate some speed.  Yeah!

Until... my front tire started getting soft.  Next thing I know, Mark Jung is coming back up to me, and I'm losing time in every corner as I have to baby my front tire.  Eventually I pulled into the pit to air up.  At this point, I'm done with tubeless.  I need to get tighter bead tires, perhaps more layers of rim tape built up, and I've been surfing 3M's web site on permanently tacky spray glues that I figured might just give that extra % of resistance to burping.  I didn't feel any catastrophic burps, but their must be small ones.  Back to tubes for the remainder of the season.

I felt good on the stairs today.  I was taking them two at a time, and not feeling clumsy.  I always felt a second closer to the guys in front.  My mounts felt clean and powering forward.  I was happy.  Until once I couldn't pedal after.  My chain had bounced off my lower pulley wheel on my derailleur and gone between the pulley wheel and cage.  I didn't see it right off the bat, but felt it.  So I pulled over and had to do a reasonably thorough visual inspection to get that remedied.  That and the tire issue sure were moving me back.  At least I felt it right away and didn't muck up my drivetrain by pedalling.

Hopped back on and started givin' 'er to see if I could pick up a few spots till the end, 2 laps left.  Was going hard on the straits to get to, and hold, a higher speed to close gaps.  It felt good burning off those matches.  Came through the "crosswalk" entry to the race, the tight corners, then there's the swoopy uphill corner.  Pedalled into it, leaned in, lined it up to pedal out hard and keep accelerating.  That first hard pedal stroke, not even with a shift, sounded real bad.  Crunch.  Derailleur in spokes, spokes broken, derailleur cage snapped, derailleur cable and housing wrapped around my cassette, wheel warped all in an instant.

Dear cyclocross gods, please have mercy on me.  I love 'cross, and usually derive so much pleasure from it.  After those first two 7th finishes I was elated.  Not so much the numerical result, but that it represented pedalling my ass off for an hour as hard as I could, and not crumbling at the task. I realize and am comfortable with the fact it has to be a special day for me to be top 10 in Alberta.  This is evidenced by my assigned number two years running being #12.  Either really muddy, really snowy or icy, or just when I'm on fire.  But I like those days when I can squeeze them out.  Those were the last races I even finished.  Last weekend was this latent congestion, this weekend a bike implosion.  Just let me ride some more to finish, without excess cost.  When I walked into Bow with my bike on my shoulder, Franzky saw it right away and gave a wincing look and an "ouch" comment.  Those experienced eyes can estimate a cost of repair in an instant.

The day was good though.  I hear people cheer, for me and everyone else.  I tried, but couldn't really help Jeff ahead of the race with his rear brake.  I helped Michelle with her tire pressure setup and some 'cross chat.  Ryan helped me with the pit stop when my tire needed some pumping.  That's 'cross.  Yes, it's competition, in theory.  You do want to see where you line up week in and week out.  But week in and week out we're all out there together, same group of friends, with some new infusions every year.  You give support, receive support, help guys on lines, they help you, etc.  It all shakes out at the end of the day.  Love it... just looking for some luck!

Friday, 18 September 2015

A tribute to Il Campionissimo - Fausto Coppi Chrome

The good news is the bike came together just wonderfully, however a few months later than planned.  I was collecting on average one piece a week, being patient and letting things come and go on eBay and other sources that went beyond reasonable pricing.  When pieces were used, as opposed to New Old Stock, I tried to stay at the "barely can tell it was used" side of things.  Having said all that, this came together remarkably frugally for what I view as a beautiful and functional end result.  It was helpful that I didn't stick to a period piece, which would have been more costly, and/or much more difficult.  I was going for a combination of elegance and functionality, hopefully that il Campionissimo himself would be pleased to ride.

Frame: Fausto Coppi, Colombus Thron steel, 2,065g.  55.5cm, mid 90's, new old stock.
Fork: Chromoly Fausto Coppi, 700g.
Stem: Cinelli X A stem, 26.4mm clamp, 120mm, 73 degree 1" quill stem.  Forged aluminum AL6082-T6.  New old stock, 90's vintage.
Headset: Campagnolo Record.
Handlebar: Cinelli Nerve, 44cm, 240g.
Shifters: Campagnolo Chorus 10 speed. 
Brakes: Campagnolo Super Record vintage, 1972.
Cable housing: vintage stainless steel wound cables.
Crank: 1973 Campagnolo Record Pista Track "Engraved Logo" 170mm 144BCD Crankset, 560g. 
Chainring: 46T TA Specialties track ring, 1/8th, French sourced replica.
Bottom Bracket: 111mm Campagnolo Record.
Derailleur: Campagnolo Record 11, long cage, new old stock.
Cogset: IRD Elite Road 10 speed Campagnolo 11-34. 
Chain: Campagnolo Record.
Hubs: Campagnolo Record 28 hole, new old stock.
Rims: H Plus Son TB 14 clincher, 23mm width, welded joint, high polish, 490g.
Spokes: Sapim Race double butted.
Skewers: Campagnolo Record.
Tires: Challenge Paris Roubaix gumwall 27mm 300 tpi are my Italian tires of choice.
Tape: Selle Anatomica, leather.
Seatpost: Campagnolo Super Record Polished, 27.2.
Saddle: Selle Anatomica X series, white.
Pedals: modern Crank Brothers Eggbeaters, red caps to contribute to the color scheme.
Accessories: Polished bell.  Stainless and bamboo bidon, stainless cage.

With modern shifting, wide range gearing, large tires with a high thread count, and an amazing leather saddle, as one would imagine, this rides like a dream.  Fausto would be proud.

22 lbs even of metallic, usable art, a tribute to il Campionissimo Fausto Coppi, and to Italy herself.

Clean, beautiful drivetrain, in the beauty of metal, save for the Campagnolo Record 10 sp carbon cap (only Centaur and Veloce were all metallic in 10sp).  I went outside the Campagnolo line for a cassette, as IRD makes these wide range cassettes that give this a little more functionality as a 1x drivetrain.

The Challenge tires are a joy to ride, and stuck to the period look with the gum walls, plus Challenge is an Italian company.  The Campagnolo Super Record brakes do their job... but certainly don't stack up to modern ones.  The hubs on the other hand, are pure silk and are a testament to the Record line.

The Selle Anatomica is a wonderful saddle. In the right light, the Campagnolo Record post gleams.

The Record headset is smooth as silk, and the stem is a thing of beauty.  Swapped out the hoods on the shifters for white.

Stainless bidon, bamboo on cap.  Stainless cage.  Eggbeaters for practicality, and the red caps match nicely. 

Amazing finish on the stem.

Internal brake cable routing.

Engraved and painted bottom bracket logo. Smooth as silk Campagnolo Record bottom bracket, 46t chainring.

Campagnolo Pista track crankset circa '73. The chain ring is essentially the only non-Italian part, but since TA Specialties manufactures in modern times what I couldn't find elsewhere, I'm ok with that.  I could find other Campagnolo rings, but not in a size that would give me riding practicality.

Il Campionissimo himself.  Ahh, to be immortalized as lean, young, fit, stylish and in a forever driving forward an attack.  Bellisimo.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

ABA Cyclocross 4 - Redbike Redcross

We had a great night sleep, almost 12h. Brit barely made a peep other than eating.

It got cool over night and cloudy. This is 'cross weather. I'd be even more pumped if I weren't congested.  It's an awesome course, awesome weather, but instead of racing in sitting out - probably wiser decision.  Brit liked breakfast at Denny's. 

Cindy is feeling better every race. 

Brit is most indifferent, but the chainsaw in the cheering section and the guy with the aluminum bike frame banging it with an aluminum handlebar probably weren't her favourites. 

It would appear most of east Edmonton and Sherwood park are one big construction area. 

ABA Cyclocross 3 - School of 'cross

Well, school is going to hold me back another year or straight up fail me.

I had a bit of a sore throat going into Wednesday's midweek race, but body had power to spare. Post that it was two nights of less than optimal sleep. Sore throat wasn't as prevalent, so I lined up to race. 

But it's apparent my body is working on something, as not only couldn't I hold 'cross pace, I couldn't hold like half 'cross pace. I did a couple laps then pulled myself to go sit at at good vantage point and watch it unfold. 

At least I got a cool photo out of it from the barriers - thanks Tim!

It was Brit's fifth race to spectate. There's other little kids who want to come play with her. It's pretty easy. 

Cindy felt stronger at the end of hers, which is good. Liked the course, minor issue with the her seat. Here's the duo when I'm about to pin on Cindy's numbers. 

Good group dinner at Joey Tomatoes. 

Monday, 7 September 2015

'Cross recovery

I wanted to spin out the legs without the ferocity of what a cyclocross race does to the body. Looks like south was the right call. 

Now it's rest. I take my rest tips from Coach Marvin. Marvin is a power napper extraordinaire. 

I don't do the inverted head ball curl as well so Maggie and I stick to the La-Z-Boy. 

Sunday, 6 September 2015

ABA cyclocross 2 - Bici rodeo 'cross - totally different test, sameresult

Today's bici rodeo 'cross out by Cochrane was colder, drier, and much more of a fitness test over a skills test. Not enough corners nor were they hard enough to make time. 

Cindy registered for open women, which she worked her way up to, but in practical terms is hours nearer to my race time to make an easier day. She says all her training and rest had her feeling good for the day ; )  it's good to be positive, and it's good she's getting these in. Riding and rest however are not her lead ups to the race. It's hard to even get a warmup in when Brit is hungry. But she races with a smile start to finish. She's a crowd pleaser!

I did my same warmup as yesterday. After a night of baby stuff, getting Cindy here basically on time and watching her race, I climbed in my snow suit in the back of the car and napped with my head on a diaper bag and my legs at whatever angle fit. Oh the glory. It was great, probably got a half hour in until Brit made noise again. It's almost comedic. 

That combined with a 5k roll around outside the course and probably 10 mins on a paved road, then it was strip down layers for start. 

It was a fast start. I wasn't first or last. Mac had a flat tire on a fast downhill and crashed, we avoided collateral damage. The from 4 took off like there's no tomorrow - Mike Van den Ham, Ian Auld, Shawn and then Barry Furlong, Paul Ignatiuk, Andre and I hung together for a bit. Barry and Paul took off, I did about 5 laps of drafting Andre in the headwind sections before he cracked me. He kept attacking so hard, I thought a) I keep on and blow up, b) he's going so hard he's going to blow up.  He held it. I did the last 4 or so laps solo and held on for 7th, felt good. The back side of the course with the off and on was harder than the headwind long climb, that steady state feels good after Haute Route.

I haven't seen real results but I think it's this:
1. Mike Van den Ham
2. Ian Auld
3. Shawn
4. Barry Furlong
5. Paul Ignatiuk
6. Andre
7. Erik

I don't know behind, a cyclemeister was chasing me... but the rear view mirror isn't so hot on the bumpy 'cross courses.

ok now real results:

Saturday, 5 September 2015

ABA cyclocross 1 - CX Natural High Okotoks

Cindy made her return to cyclocross today and rode smiling start to finish. I pinned it from start to finish in my race and loved every slippery limited traction corner out there. No sense complaining about 6C and rainy weekend when I can race bikes more expensive than my car in mud as hard as possible for an hour chasing buddies around then drive home freezing in my undergarments trying not to touch too much. I wouldn't have life any other way.  Long live cyclocross.

Thanks to the organizers for putting on a great event in true 'cross weather!

I haven't seen real results yet but I think it's this:
1. Shawn
2. Ian
3. Issac
4. Andre
5. Mac
6. Markus
7. Erik
don't know behind me.

ok real results now:

Two deadgoats in the points is a good way to kick it off.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Midweek Mayhem 1

Beauty day and lots of people out to feel the first burn of the season. 

Excitement was more subdued for me after a few turns when the pile up occurred. I chased a bit but had to pull over on the hill to fix gears post that. Practiced hopping barriers, was 2/3 on attempts - the one Trev was there for was the worst of the three, other two were clean!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

'cross is here!

Today a couple hundred people around Calgary woke up with a focus beyond that of an average Wednesday.  'Cross is here - clear the slate of life's responsibilities to race tonight!

After perfecting the 'cross bike in prior nights, it's pulled out to ride to work today.  Silent, fresh, tuned and tweaked to perfection.  Those fresh grippy tires feel so supple over the cracks in the pavement and train tracks that the commuter felt. Someone passes you on the bike path as your eyes are distant ahead, thinking about The Race, not now.  Let them pass, you know you have more in you, but you'll need every ounce of it tonight.  Grass is unforgiving to any level of effort, as are the riders around you.  

It all starts at 6:45... you've back calculated your day.  You won't eat dinner at the normal time, you'll eat a few hours before and lighter, because you know that 'cross intensity and a full stomach don't mix.  Maybe you've got the lucky socks and jersey on that'll help when you're hurting.  It's in the back of your mind all day.

Some might race you, but most won't.  They race themselves.  Running it to red line right off the start smashes the routine of daily life.  You can't remember your day's or week's stresses if you try.  Your soft car seats, job, school, kids, errands all get displaced for an hour. The fierce burn of your lungs and your tires gripping the grass for all they're worth are cleansing. Your pace is set my the absolute maximum air intake your lungs can process and your legs can turn to motion. Not 50%, not 90%, but to you maximum for the entire race. 

I love the cult of cross. There's no admission requirement other than to give it everything you can between start and finish.  Get out there and crush it tonight.