Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Build update...

Here's a quick update on the build: About three weeks ago, I won and received these sweet aerobars from ebay. My angel of a wife--who has not yet asked about what I have spent on anything--asked if I got what I was expecting; my reply was "No, I got more." I had been looking for a while at one seller who had a variety of FSA/Vision bars that were all aluminum--I was in no hurry because it was a "Buy Now" item that kept getting relisted when the time expired. I was also waiting to get the headset--which you can see in the second picture--so I could put on some kind of handlebars on it to figure out some measurements and determine which size of handlebars to purchase from the aforementioned seller (I was pretty sure that I would need the medium ones, but wanted to be sure).

Then I found these beauties listed---oooh, carbon!--with a low starting bid. The story was that they were the bars that came on a bike that was "reconfigured"; the seller claimed that they had been ridden about 10 times (the sweat residue suggested more). Nonetheless, the measurements were about the same as the ones I was considering, so I threw in a bid. One other seller countered twice, but I already had a high enough bid to thwart his second attempt. Ed and I at the shop estimated that the retail would be in the $650-700 price range, but I spent (after S&H) no where near that.

As I said in a previous blog, the build is not quite done, but close. Therefore, I'm including one other picture to highlight its stealthiness, but doesn't reveal too much. When it's ready, there will be pictures galore!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

And so it begins...

Today is the beginning of the long hall. Today I started the arduous training process for a half Ironman Triathlon in Kansas on June 6. I will then take two or so weeks off to travel through Europe (as is the current plan), and then resume training again to prepare for the inaugral Omaha Triathlon on August 1. So today, I was in the water at 6:30 AM and muscled through 1.37 miles of work over 65 minutes--it was probably an hour workout, but I spent ample amounts of time recovering. This afternoon, I will teach my spin class to get some time on the bike in.

The hardest part of this is self coaching. I was talking to my training partner's dad during a run on Thursday and I was explaining my plan to "map backward" from the event. He asked how I knew all this stuff, because that is what his coach that he pays does and calls it. Well, I learned long ago, that if something is going to get done right, preparation is key. I had read a Chris Carmichael book a long time ago and was familiar with the concept of periodization, but a webinar I listened to and subsequent purchase of Joe Friel's Training Bible put it all into a visual sense. I get what I'm supposed to do now.

So now my goal is to plan out the weeks on Saturdays...but last night was hard because I was so tired. The other thing that was challenging was finding the time to fit it all in. At this point, I'm trying to plan 8.5 hours worth of training in--half of it being cycling, 30% swimming, and the rest running. That's hard! What was comforting was that this morning's swim was about an hour, so all the rest will probably be about an hour. By the end of today, I will have nearly two hours completed. Tomorrow, I hope to run after my spin class; that will put me over 3.5 hours in two days.

I think the time will add up quicker than I realize, but I do get concerned about the 13-15 hour weeks ahead--but they're a ways off yet.

As for the bike build, it is nearly done and I do have new pictures to post soon. All that's left are the shift levers, brake levers, and a chain.

As for the blog, I think that I am going to make it a weekly practice when it is sleepy at the bike shop on Sunday afternoons...after all, we are getting to the end of the NFL season and I'm going to need to have something to do.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Making my peace...

I've got so much on my mind and so many things to do and only so many hours in the day and a tendancy to procrastinate of put my focus on the secondary rather than the primary. So rather than grade papers that are stacked up against me, I'm blogging.

As for the bike: Headset is in (no pictures yet) and bars are on their way. Then it will be put on hold for a while. All that will be left will be shifters, brakes, cables, a chain, and "polish."

Been doing a variety of things, but not a settled schedule for training yet, but December 1 will be the kick off date. Right now, just trying to create a base. Fortunately, I can create that base and then up the intensity in stages. Still, the base needs to be there.

Yesterday, swam for the first time in two weeks; the latter part of that statement is the downfall. I'm not getting a steady routine in the the point that I am not comfortable there. As I was dwelling on it all day, I feel that my expectations are too high right now. I am weak enough in the swim to be frustrated; I now know enough about swimming now to be frustrated. As I told my training partner Paul yesterday, I feel like I did two years ago when I was prepping for my first triathlon--learning to swim all over again.

From here, baby steps for a while. The gist of my plan is to start small--I'm sure Paul will be asking "You're done already?" a lot in the near future. That's all I'm going to say about it for now...let me see if that works.

To my friends on and from FaceBook, thanks for your support and keep it coming...I'm going to need a lot in the next 7 months. Be a follower...rather, a supporter.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

And so it begins...

Last week I wanted to include a post just to stay in the habit; the only pic I would have posted--the only one to really document what was done (nothing but "parts are in")--is this one.

This week, I got to the shop late and I was wondering if there would be any time to add anything to the frame or not. The headset is now ordered but still not in, so I even debated putting anything on yet or not. Ed, though, said "why not?" so I went forward.
From this point I got all CT geeky and took pictures all the way through.

I like cassettes...there is something intriguing to me about this naked transmission of gears. The old and new photo shows the 8 spd 11-23 that WAS on the wheel next to the 10 spd 11-25 that is now on the wheel.

How about the 10-speed spred out? The change of colors indicates the change of material: titanium. Lots of holes and grouped as 3, 2, and 5 singles. The Dura Ace lock ring is the cherry on top!

And then the corncob went is a little fatter than the old one, but oh, the places we'll go.

From there I continued with the drivetrain. To the non-cyclist, the rear derailleur would seem a mystery. To me it looks like the alien-to-be curled up in its pod awating Sigourney Weaver's laser blaster to shoot it to hell. Nonetheless, it is an intricate piece of machinery with coils and pulleys that manages the micro-shifting of any bike. With this whole group the coolness comes in its two-toned quality of slate gray and polish!

Here's the last photo of a naked frame.

Even on the bike, the derailleur still looks fetal...coiled and waiting to spread out and churn away.

A lot of newer crank shafts at going to a hollow unit. So I may have mistakenly referred to this as the bottom bracket (which, technically, it is) these are actually the two sides' cups that hold the crankset. The sealed bearings are in the fat ends of this unit.

Shimano is a smart company that with their highest-end stuff, they are still going to put a labels on these parts to indicate which wat to tighten--I appreciated that. I don't know how many times I've tried to discern the direction of the threads to confirm the credo of tighten to the rear with BBs.

The crowning jewel of any drivetrain is the crankset; it is the biggest part of the drivetrain, and the higher you go, the prettier it gets. On my Gunnar, the carbon Chorus crankset is the prettiest part of it. Dura Ace isn't carbon, in fact, it looks bulky.

En contrare--the backside of the chainring arm is hollowed out! It is super light. It is standing up on its own since the hollow spindle is attached to the crankarm itself.

What's good for the front is good for the rear.

The front derailleur is such a simple piece that does so much. The main control of the macro-shifting mechanism has an elegance to it as it shifts from ring to ring.

The last thing that could be done--since there is no headset yet--was the rear brake.

The greatest challenge was to determine the appropriate shoulder bolt to use. From Kestrel and Shimano, I had two longer bolts; however, when I first put one in the frame, it didn't reach the brake bolt. So I found the longer shoulder bolt designated for the front, but with that was used, it bottomed out before it tightened.

So I went back to one of the other longer shoulder bolts and it worked just fine once I pushed it in all the way...duh.

Finally, the rear wheel with new cassette was put in. Before I hung it up for good, I had to weight it one more time. The frame weighs 3.4 lbs; at this ponit, with a lot of parts to go, it is right at 11 lbs.

Now the build is on hold for a couple of weeks.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Getting ready...

There are days to set aside on the calendar and today is one of those! Schnoctobeerfest! A one-day bike and beer fest with a group of the greatest guys ever. Plenty of photo ops out there.

Check out the pics when we get back and on the CiTyBiLLy Rides blogspot.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Not much new to report...

My Achilles' heels in the past with journals has been being disciplined enough to keep it going. With a blog, I feel the same pressure. So, though there isn't much to report, I must report to maintain the habit.

Went to the shop yesterday. All parts were ordered, but none in yet. Despite the fact that the special from Giant had expired on October 1, we still got the sale prices...including the killer discount on the crankset.

Ran inside on a treadmill today, and felt really good. I had intended to pyramid four miles at 6.5, 7, 7.5, and 7 mph; but felt good enough (and probably started too low) to go to 8 mph for the last mile. Finished the 4 miles in 33:20...not bad for not having run since the Omaha Marathon 10k.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Making the big step...

So I went into the shop yesterday...tired and wanting to get away. For the most part, I am anxious about making a handlebar decision that I want to get a headset and the fork in and some cranks on so we can figure out which length bars to get.

So all I went in to order was a headset.

Then Ed says, "Hey, Giant has components on sale." So we compared with the group price from the Quality catalog and Giant's pricing was huge savings...especially if they honor the crankset price, which may have very well been a mistake (but we hope they honor it). So save upwards of $400 on the cost price of most of the Dura Ace components.

All along I had decided to keep a spreadsheet of what I paid versus the cost price versus the retail price. Needless to say, I'm saving a lot of money. Sure, it helps having the bike shop connection, but it also helps having the knowledge to know what to look for if shopping on ebay.

So the basics are ordered, a few things to go yet, based on measurements and such.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Not much progress, but...

The only thing I did this weekend was put new rubber on the deep-v wheels--they're blue.

Been doing a lot of looking around ebay for a set of handlebars. Really looking hard at the Vision by FSA TT/Tri bars, but I am finding more and more info by just looking at the varieties out there. Still considering those bars, but THERE ARE DIFFERENT SIZES, and the Quality catalog isn't really clear on that. I have determined that I need the medium size which are 42 cm wide and about 36cm long.

Found a set for $130, but also found another set (from the same seller) for $160--the difference is the latter have lower side bars, so they would have a similar feel to drops...on the rare occasion one would be out that wide. Still deciding, but I think I'm safe with the 360mm length. I also feel that I have time with this particular seller on ebay...if it doesn't sell, should be back up for sale soon; they also had a lot of Campy stuff.

Next Saturday, not at the shop--wedding to go to. Need to get a lot done next Sunday.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Brainstorming...beget brain drops

Yesterday, took it out of the box, put the rear wheel and seat post/saddle in, weighed it at 7 lbs, and discussed where to go next.

Ed is still pushing Campagnolo--and I would love to, but it is pricey. Another advantage would be to get a group with a compact crank, but put that on my Gunnar and the traditional crank on this one--then I would have a more comfortable time in the mountains on the Gunnar.

But there is a problem: Campy bar-end shifters--in the catalog--only come in 10-speed, but Record and Chorus only were listed as 11-speed. So, does one wait to see what is available in the new catalog?

So I think that I am resolved to sell my Trek for about $700, and then go with Shimano Dura Ace. If I get that price for the Trek, then there is only about another $700 to go (yeah, never ends there).

At this point, we need to do some more measuring to determine the right combination of components.

Jay stopped in after getting back from InterBike and I got a bag o' swag--AWESOME.

Sam also came in with a shop pic of him on his time trial machine. He thought that the Talon looked really cool. John opened his big mouth, though: one of my goals for next year is to do the CSG Time Trial, because I want to beat Sam and his $11k machine. "Yeah, Mikey wants to catch you," John says and blows my plan. It is a long time 'til next summer, though, and memories vary from one to another.

At the end of the day, went back in the box.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A look at the future...

Starting in January, I am going to beginning a training plan to complete a half-ironman triathlon. As a part of that preparation, I am building a bike that will be specifically configured for that type of event.

So the blog will--hopefully--be more regular, but also chronicle the preparatory progression for this June 6 event. I do feel that these activities will still fit into my intended theme for the blog, since both can allow me to be very introverted and introspective. I will still comment on the rest of this messed up world, but the inspiration may come while training or building.

Enjoy the journey with me.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What a wonderful world...

I know that people are in business to make money...but when it ripples down to my money, it bugs me.

I love website that delivers free livestreaming music based on preferences you put in. I could listen for hours.

But I'm not really upset with Pandora because they had a great thing going and--at least I was--people were spreading the word. They seemed to make their money by selling advertising space on the site; that's okay with me, since I only looked at the site when I turned it on.

Last month, though, I got an e-mail stating that my monthly allotment for Pandora was running out. WHAT! As it turns out, Pandora needed to pay more money for the royalties of the music to their artists. That's fair, but that expense was trickling down to me. To continue listening, I could pay a flat fee to cover the rest of the month, or an annual subscription.

Here's the bright side: the free monthly allotment is plenty for me--if I alternate between Pandora and what I have saved on my laptop, I'm good.

Curse you, Lars, and all the other greedy bastards.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Full Plate Gets Fuller

I have a retired colleague who always posed this question in large staff meetings: If our plates are already full and you want us to do this, too, what gets taken off the plate?

The administrative reply was always one that we just had to keep piling it on...make it ALL fit.

I'm to the point as an educator where I'm feeling like the plate is full.

In short, hug a teacher today.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Two minutes absent of forethought

Went to my son's middle school cross country meet Friday. All of the high school events were run and the middle school race was set to start right on time.

A storm was rolling in, but looking like the chance for rain was beginning to fade. Just before the gun went off, I saw a flash of lightning, but they started the race anyway. The herd passed by running south, we parents,, all scurried to the other side of the field to see them run north. I had heard some parents saying already that the organizers were going to stop the race due to lightning. As soon as they went by us, they were stopped and we all went to our cars.

My wife asked, "How long would the race have taken?" I told her about fifteen minutes.

One might be thinking that I'm upset about their stopping the race; not so much, since I understand the safety issue. What irks me is that no one looked over his/her shoulder to make the decision to not run BEFORE they shot the gun off! Are you telling that the sky looked noticeably different one to two minutes before? Look up, for Pete's sake!

The opening


I had a mere handful of goals for the summer, before the school year started, and really accomplished none of them. One of them was to create a blog.

Finally, on September 12th, here it is.

Why the title? It started with a noble concept of getting students involved! A district-wide drive to develop individuals' "assets" so they are "better human beings." One of their lofty goals--a SMART goal, if you will--is for every student to be involved in something. Having been active in high school myself, I seemingly would not be opposed to this; however, after taking or giving numerous personality assessments, it seems to me that there will be some individuals that would rather not.

For example, I am a "green" personality. One who is heavily green really enjoys time alone, independence, not relying on others. To illustrate this, I have what my wife refers to as the "man cave" in our house where I have bicycle stuff galore. The previous owner of the house put slide bolt locks on all the doors to this room--don't know why, but I have left them there with the ever-present threat that I will go in someday and lock them all.

How inane is it to expect every student to get involved? Let them be students first and, for some, just get through high school? Is there anything wrong with that?

Ever since, I've had the thought of creating a blog--maybe even a book--that allows me to express an opinion from this point of view. I don't mean to anger anyone, just voicing an alternative perspective that is uniquely mine.

So in the future, read and enjoy.