Truth

campagnolo neutron wheel

I’ve spent a fair amount of time truing up my wheels over the past few days. Zipp 404’s. Handbuilt DT’s.

It had been a while since I had to do this.

I rode a pair of Campagnolo Neutrons for 10 years and never had to touch them.

Not once.

Years ago, I worked in a bike shop and built wheels. Hundreds of them. It took a lot of time to get the final tension and truing just right. And I always felt rushed to get them done.

I have more patience now.

 

Memorial Day

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Many of my Memorial Day’s were spent racing the Tour of Sommerville, a 50-mile criterium in New Jersey, one of the oldest races in the U.S.
The pace was blistering fast with plenty of crashes, bumping elbows and jostling for position.
It was something I could do because others had fought and died for the freedom that allowed it.
Thank you.
Your job is far from over.

 

Running On

first day of summer

On Thursday it felt like the first day of summer with the air dewy sweet and warm and I biked into work and noticed that my cleat position was off by a millimeter or two which might explain why my left calf kept tightening up and why I mark all these settings and positions so I can tell quickly if something has changed, though in this case it took me a while to notice and do something about it when I noticed it at work, so I popped out the multi-tool and set about fixing the cleat position so that a short time later when I was getting on the bike in the heat of the setting sun for my ride home it felt all right again, even as I rolled down the hill before I had started to apply power and even better once I was on the long climb up Pine Hill Road and marveling at the difference a mere millimeter can make and marveling again at how this still surprises me twenty seven years after I started on the bike, after the first awkward pedal strokes, crashes, hills climbed and descended, races won and lost, saddles slipped and cleats askew, lessons learned and mistakes repeated again and again, so that on the warm Thursday in May where it felt like the first day of summer, I carried those lessons into the ad-hoc sprint workout I had decided to do on the way home, ten or more sprints and some extra distance above and beyond the forty kilometers I would have typically done for a commute, sprinting for the distance between one or two telephone poles, short burts of speed and turns of the pedals in a 53×17, mostly on a slight downhill to aid in the acceleration, sometimes on an uphill for power, remembering to relax my shoulders and upper body after the first two or three, appreciating the stiffness and solidity of the carbon fiber bike beneath me, the resilience in my legs, the warmth in the air, the way the sun spilled through the new leaves of the trees by Heard Pond where I peaked above fifty kilometers an hour and dodged potholes and avoided going down while the speed ebbed and I caught my breath, recovered, then did again and again, spacing them out along the run home, past green lawns filles with children playing as if they had all suddenly appeared like the leaves on the trees, appeared with olders sisters and young mothers wrapped in summer dresses lounging lazily on porches and lawn chairs, flashing brief smiles as I rolled by, kids waving and dogs pursuing as I rolled by, my head down and rocking the bike back and forth, while I sprinted by, finally losing count of the number of sprints, finally rolling through town and down the side streets, not wanting the ride to end despite the failing daylight, still wanting to run on and on.

Thank You, Al!

schwinn sting ray

Al Fritz, the creator of the Schwinn Sting-Ray, passed away last week.

The Sting-Ray was my first two-wheeler.  Mine was metallic blue with sparkle grips and banana seat.  I rode it everywhere.  Sometimes it was a horse when I was cowboy, sometimes a Jeep when I was in the Army. Sometimes it was just a bike that I raced with my friends in the neighborhood.  The Sting-Ray started my lifelong love affair with bicycles.

So thank you, Al!

Sterling Road Race 2013

First bicycle race of the season, again this year, was Sterling. I did the old guys (35 +) race because I don’t have the distance in my legs to race 80 miles with the young guys. So I raced 6 laps of the hilly 8-mile circuit instead of 10.

This year went better than expected. I settled in after the first few laps. I didn’t ever feel I was in danger except when I found myself doing something stupid like taking pulls on the front.

By halfway I was starting to race for real, staying at the front, covering moves. I even lead the pack up the climb one time, got a gap but didn’t have enough in my legs to make it stick.

With 2 laps remaining it started to rain. We had brought back the break and I started to wonder about getting a result.

There were a few more attacks leading to the finale but nothing stayed away.

I was in good position as we rounded the final corner and the uphill finish. But I was impatient and dove down the inside, got bogged down in my gear, stalled out behind another rider and then hit a storm drain.

I managed to recover and for awhile I was sprinting my way into the top 10 until I faded out and was passed by four or five other riders before the line. I felt really good about the race until I realized only 35 guys were registered.

Maybe the race was slower this year. Maybe I was just better prepared. Either way I was happy with the finish.

Experiment

marwe v2 rollerski replacement wheel

Saturday was the first rollerski of the season at Littleton. It was too soon. It felt like we had just gotten off the road a few weeks ago.  Some people like rollerskiing.  Not me so much.  The novelty has worn off.  I think I’d much rather be on a bike dodging the rutted pavement, potholes and crazy drivers.  I will admit however that the drivers seems to give you more forgiveness on rollerski than on a bike.

I’m trying an experiment.  I replaced the worn out wheels on my V2 rollerskis with the slightly less worn ones from my Marwe’s.  This way I get the benefit of speed reducers with the superior Marwe wheels.  The only hiccup seems to be that these wheels run much slower than the V2’s.  So slow in fact I don’t think I need the speed reducers.  I had a hard time keeping up with the fast group on Saturday.  Maybe it was the skis.  Or maybe it’s just me.