Sunday, November 29, 2009

Club Seven

A nice day for a ride. It was about 60 degrees today. I noticed many riders on Seven's . Must be the dedication of the Seven Owner that brings us out this late in the season. I would love to get a few rides in December.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

one more ride

I took advantage of a perfect November morning and went for a 32 mile ride today. The W&OD was busy with lots of riders. I averaged just over 15mph. I took the first 15miles out strong, I was so tired from the first half of my ride that I found myself getting passed by a local with an open parka; it was catching a bit of wind and not very aero. It gets worse, he was on a kid's mountain bike while talking on his cell. One of the best thing's about Northern Virgina is the extended bike season unless you are from California, and then I guess it suck's when it gets colder.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shorter days, colder mornings and buckets of rain has limited my cycling adventures. Last week, I was able to go for a short 22mile ride. As fall turns to winter, I am reflecting upon the year. I have over 500 miles on the Seven. As with most new bikes, it takes time to adjust to the newness of it all. I would describe the bike as: light, stiff, comfortable, and expensive. Only one word can describe the whole experience and that is amazing. Thank you, Seven Cycles.

Monday, October 5, 2009

New Gu

My sister and I went for a 50 mile ride on the w&od. At one of our stops she tried a Orange Blast Gu.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Last Muse

The last Seven Muse has shipped out of the Watertown production facility. For 2010 Seven has changed the name of the Muse to...Halcyon. The new nomenclature is one of the new Traveler line of Seven bikes. I bet seven would make you a Muse if you asked nicely.

Now that I have a rare Seven Muse, I can claim it a "classic" or "historic" and a revolutionary bicycle built before it's time. Enjoy the Muse in all her glory!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dalmac 2009 Day 4

One on the best things about Dalmac is the opportunity to make it your own Dalmac. You don't like sleeping in a Tent? Get a hotel. You can't ride the whole distance?, start and end when you want. You can bring your family for your private SAG. You don't like the camp food, eat wherever you want. You can ride by yourself, or with a large group. In 2007 Aaron and I customized our experience and ended our Dalmac in Cross Village. I am so glad we did because I was spent. This year, I was determined to finish and I did not let the chance to suck down a cold beer a few hours early stop me from making it to Mackinaw. Now that Aaron and I were on the same page, we could begin our last day of the Dalmac.

Today, was our day to connect with the 5 Day riders. It was also our day to pay our line dues. I love standing in line. I learn a lot about people. At breakfast a woman in front of me likes the 4 day east ride better than the 4 day west ride. I assumed by the size of her container of chamois cream, the west was more difficult than the east ride.

The best part of today was the fact that we took it easy and enjoyed northern Michigan. Wallon Lake was amazing in the morning light, the Sun was just just beginning to warm the air that we were riding in. When we got to Harbor Springs. The five day survivors had formed a line around the Port-o-potty's I got the chance to wait in line for what seemed like a fair bit. I learned that the some of my line buddy's had made it the 9 miles to Harbor Springs safely.
We rode to Mackinaw city without any issues. We we passing a lot more people than normal. Arron wasn't saying much as usual. I keep asking him the same question to see if I could annoy him. When that didn't work, I just asked the same question different every time. after two hours I gave up, Aaron is just un-flappable.
A thousand bags in waiting is what we found in Mackinaw City. We averaged 14.7 mph. We rode for 4 hours and fifty four minutes. This Dalmac is the one I will remember. I want to thank every one that made my trip possible. And the list is long. Aaron, Jen, Greg, Andy, Dr. C. I am grateful for everything this year, Dick, Tony, Tim thanks for the pick-up, Thank you, Dad for the Inspiration, and last but not least, Bill and Mimi for the hospitality and the best view on lake Michigan!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

2009 Dalmac Day 3

My first Dalmac was in 2001, I was surprised I finished that one. I remember the morning we left Lake City, the temperature was just over freezing. This year it was much closer to 50 when we rolled out of Lake City. Aaron woke me up at 6:10. I know because he told me, and it didn't feel like 6:10. I had not heard one tent zipper yet! I crawled out of my tent to find Aaron ready to go with his tent down and gear packed up. I knew a early start would be good for our 91 mile day . It was very quiet as we walked into the school. I was surprised to see that a line had not formed yet. I found some coffee and started to drink it. After about 20 minutes, I realized that they were late getting breakfast ready. I went for my second cup. By now Tony and Kerry had sat down. Aaron was telling me he had been up since 4:30 A.M. packing up. Just then, I looked at the clock on the wall and noticed it was 6:05. I asked Aaron what time he had, "it's 6:50. he said" I said "thanks for waking me up at 5:20 Aaron, fix your watch."

Tony, Aaron and I left Lake City at around 7:20. It was cold, foggy and dark. I turned on my frog LED and let it blink all morning. It is very hilly in Missaukee county. I took it easy knowing that the "Wall" was in our Future. We caught up with Dick south of Kalkaska. I never got to thank Dick for getting a flat. It was the best flat I never had. Greg and Andy flew by us while we were having a Flat Luau on the side of the road.

My absolute favorite stop on Dalmac is Dockside on the Clam River. Torch Lake is known by people that have never seen it as the third most beautiful lake in the world. Once you have seen Torch Lake it becomes your number one. Greg, Andy, Aaron and Dick enjoyed our lunch. and headed out knowing we had 40 miles to go. Aaron and I were quickly dropped before we reached Bellaire. We caught up with Dick in Bellaire. The hills become much longer and higher as we approach Lake Charlevoix.

Aaron and I got addicted to Cliff Blocks during our summer training rides. Aaron liked to keep them in his back pocket. On one of our downhill runs I noticed they were about to fall out. When I mentioned this to Aaron he was not concerned. On the very next downhill Aaron informed me his blocks had been dispersed across the road, he sounded gitty when he told me that the blocks bounced. He said they were sucked from his pocket because of the incredible speed he had achieved just moments before.

As we rode into East Jordon, I knew what was ahead. I keep pointing and saying. "their it is, Aaron" Aaron had told me he was not going to ride into Mackinaw City. I said "I am riding to Mackinaw with or with out you." Then after the dramatic pause I said "your going to finish with me!" As we approached the "Wall" Aaron told me he planned on walking up the "Wall" I had been thinking the same thing. We stopped short of the steepest part of the wall. I wanted to make the wall. I have rode up twice and walked up twice. I decided I would rather ride up than walk this year. It felt good to make it. What no one knows is the fact that I had the Seven built for the Dalmac and the "Wall". The Seven was built with a drive line that could take a 190# dude mashing the pedals up hill. The Seven was as stiff as any Klein mountain bike I have owned.

I love Boyne City! I was looking forward to our stop. We took the Boyne Mountain Shuttle into town. Greg and I had a beer on the deck of the BRI and Aaron had something lighter. We enjoyed fish tacos at the Red Mesa. I knew that this was going to be my best Delmac with one day to go.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dalmac 2009 Day 2

Any experienced Dalmac rider knows the weather forecast. I had been paying close attention to the NOAA web site for a week. Flying in from D.C. limited my choice of gear for the ride. I knew it was going to be cold the morning of our second day. Unfortunately, I could not bring my very comfortable North Face sleeping bag. My plan was to borrow one from my friend Aaron. When we got to Vestaburg, I remembered 24 hours to late to ask for that sleeping bag.

Aaron and I often refer to our 2007 Dalmac because of the painful and memorable experience it gave us. On the third day of our 2007 ride, Aaron walked over to my camp chair with a OMG! look on his face. He asked me how good of friends we were? I was like "what do you want?" Arron then told me a story that we still laugh about today. He colorfully described something he witnessed in the bathroom only minutes before. A man asked another "how good of friends are we?" The other man said "I think we are very good friends, why?" The man then asked if his friend would look at something for him? Arron thought those two men must have been real good friends if one was willing to give the other the weather report from Uranus, if you know what I mean! Anytime, I want to get Aaron to laugh I ask him "How good of friends are we?

This year, when I asked Aaron If he had a sleeping bag for me he said he had something better and handed me a blanket. Two days later, I found out it was his only blanket. Aaron did something for me most of my friends would have said "you are going to Freeze tonight!" The next time Aaron asks me "How good of friends are we?" I will reply, the best!

It got down to 43 degrees and when we started our ride it was about 47. I was telling Aaron how cold I was and I needed to warm up inside. the Coffee was good and I was looking forward to the ride. We ate breakfast with Tony and we talked about riding together. As we were getting ready to leave, our friend Dick from Day 1 rode up. No one wanted to wait for Greg and Andy because of the punishment from yesterday. I have ridden with Greg a lot, It doesn't matter who else is on the tandem Greg is always fast.

We rode all morning at a good 16mph average and I think Greg and Andy caught us at about 40 miles out. We stopped for lunch in Lake George. It was 11 am and we were feeling good with 40 miles to go. Because today was going to be a 90 mile day I didn't want to go over 16mph in the afternoon. We all agreed to stop in Falmouth for Ice cream. Aaron was complaining a little. As the hills got bigger I got slower. The group got split up on Forward.

The best thing about the ride today was the light and variable wind. In 2001, 2002, and 2007 wind was always a factor. Aaron and I stuck together and were the last in our group to roll into Falmouth. We found Tony and Dick resting and eating Ice Cream Bars. I was surprised how tired everyone looked. I had been saving my energy all day. I was looking forward to the last 10 miles. We rested a little more for our push into Lake City.

Aaron was tired, and I could tell I was pulling him into camp. I pushed hard to see if I could drop him. No chance, he was stuck like glue. It was great to have a tent service this year. The worst part about the service is how it separated our group. I didn't get the time to talk with Greg as much as I wanted to. The air mattress made me forget about talking to anyone.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dalmac 2009 Day 1

I left the Dalmac staging area with Aaron around 8am, we met up with Greg and Andy on the tandem. As Aaron found out, The first day of Dalmac is typically fast, but chasing a tandem is painful.
When Aaron and I rode the Dalmac in 2007, we went our own pace.
This year we had a full-on mini peloton to draft.

With-in minutes of starting our ride Aaron lost his cycle computer wire to his front wheel. He had no idea we were cruising at 19mph.
My blog has followed our training for the season. Aaron has been good for a 16mph average for about 22 miles. This would explain why he was tired after lunch in Perrinton, MI.

We rolled into Vestaburg, MI at 1:30p.m. We were on our bikes for 4hours and 30 minutes. We averaged 15.7 mph for the day.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Yes, I ride a bike.

The first thing I did today is fill my water bottles. The next thing I did before my morning ride is put a questionable banana in my bag. A lot of people have asked me if I ride a bike. I always say "I ride a lot" The response often is "really"? I am not sure if they are in disbelief or excited because they just found a new ride partner. Then, I often show off my secret biker tan line. Yes, I am a biker!

I went for a short 2hour ride today. I knew I needed something to fuel up with at my halfway point. I found a banana in the bottom of the fruit bowl, score! It was a little brown , but I couldn't see a perfectly good banana go to waste. It must have been hot in my Arkle Tail Rider bag because, when I unzipped the bag, I did not recognize my banana. It was black, and much smaller than I remembered. I picked it up, and the now liquefied 'nana was covering the inside of my Arkel bag.

I chucked the banana peal, took a drink of water and got back on the bike. Yes, I am a biker!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

7 things

My entertainment for this years Dalmac will be Aaron. He has put up with my quirkiness for a long time. This year will be his second and my fifth Dalmac. We have been talking about what to bring with us on the 4 Day west ride. Two years ago, I declared the morning of our first day of Dalmac as my first day of training for the Dalmac. I was miserable, and I am the type of person to let everyone know how miserable I am. Aaron is the polar opposite. After many choice words about how I was doing, Arron would just keep pedaling. It was not until after the ride that I understood that he was feeling the pain of his first Dalmac. Aaron unselfishly gave his blanket to his bother who might have not finished without it. Arron also shared his Motrin which became our Dalmac candy. The 3 MOST important things for every Dalmac ride is drink enough water, Eat enough food, and be as warm, dry, and be as comfortable on and off the bike as possible.

So what to bring, I have 7 items that are at the top of my list.

1) Bag Balm
2) Motrin(Arron's)
3) Hammer Gel Espresso w/caffeine
4) Favorite pair of Perl Izumi Bib's
5) Ear Plugs
6) Rain Jacket
7) Pack Towel

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Muse Takes a Road Trip

I took the Muse out this morning for one last shake down before the Dalmac. I love this 19th century stone bridge. My bike looks tiny under the bridge. I guess it is tiny, not many 35cm bikes with 700c wheels in the world.

41 miles today. I am close to my goal of 1,000 miles. I averaged 15.2 and completed the ride in about 2h 40min.

I very carefully wrapped my bike in bubble wrap and put her in this case. I spent 3 hours this afternoon preparing the Muse for the Fed Ex road trip to Michigan. If I never see her again I took this last picture as a memory.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dalmac Memories

I will be ridding in My 5th Dalmac this year. I was just reminiscing about my Dalmac rides of old. Feel free to fill in my memory gaps or share your Dalmac stories

Dalmac 2001: 4 day west. I remember ridding out of East Lansing strong and fast. I was ridding my mountain bike back then. Before we hit Alma for lunch, my legs hurt so bad I thought I would never make it to Mt. Pleasant . I was hoping for some rest that night, The Central Football tradition to fire a cannon for every touchdown was not helping, I counted 8 touchdowns. Drunk students and breaking glass, kept me thinking this dalmac was a mistake. I remember a loud train, followed by thunder, followed by rain, followed by lighting, followed by high winds, followed by my tent pushing against my face. Why I left the tent to fix the pulled up stake, I am not sure. In 10 seconds of tent fixing, I had my quick shower for the morning . Day 2 brought strong winds 25mph+ and suffering, I had to dig deep that day to finish. The most interesting thing to ever happen to me on Dalmac involved my first and only Regulation length Dalmac Flag. It was so long the orange Flag was torn off by the Jet Stream. The fiberglass poll swayed with each stroke of the cranks. It annoyed everyone passing me. Thankfully, when I reached Central Lake my tent dried quickly in the high winds as I attempted to pitch my tent. I collapsed inside the moment I finished. I was awoken by loud students returning from a away game. This was one of my worst days on Dalmac. Day 3 was cold but I felt better. I think the Beer at Dockside on the Clam River gave me a reason to ride that day. After we left the Dockside, I was ran off the road by a truck. my off road skills came in handy as I chose the ditch instead of a front fender. Day 4 was my first wall attempt, I made it up in my small chain ring, and on to Mackinaw.

Dalmac 2003: 4 day west. I rode my now vintage mountain bike. ( A side note: this is the same bike that I let my dad use on a previous Delmac. In 1999 he managed to crash on and over the guard rail on the Mackinaw Bridge) I only remember 2003 as the year that I was chased by 3 dogs.(one at a time)

Dalmac 2005: 4 day East ride. I talked my Dad into one more ride. I was ready with a new bike and well prepared. My dad wasn't. He had a tough year and I found myself waiting for him every day. At the time, I was annoyed. Now, I realize that I enjoyed riding with him more than the fast group I was riding with. 2005 was the one and only Dalmac that I crossed the Mackinaw Bridge. My dad made the crossing my best day on Dalmac.

Dalmac 4 2007: 4 day west. I was not prepared for what I was about to receive. I felt old. I was tired every day. I was happy to be ridding with AP and I was very happy when we finished. We never did ride to Mackinaw, so we promised to ride the whole route this year.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Muse on the road

The Muse has finally seen the road. Today was shakedown day. I made a lot of adjustments on the 50 mile maiden voyage. I have to thank Spokes Etc. in Ashburn for use of a stand and the Hot Dog. After 18 years of riding Mountain Bikes, the road bike is a new experience for me. The stretched out riding position and Dura-Ace brakes and shifter will take some time to adjust to.

The Dura-Ace 7900 group was chosen for many reasons. First, a compact crank is available for the first time with Dura-Ace. The 50/34 gearing has worked great on the Specialized. Also, a 11-28 rear cassette is offered, this setup should help me climb the 22% grade of "The Wall" in East Jordon Mi. The groupo looks great with the Seven titanium frame, and has a futuristic look. the future of Shimano at least.

The front Arkle bag works very well with the new internal mounting of the cables on the Dura-Ace 7900 shifters. The stem mount Cateye V2 gives me max hand positions. A clean and simple look is what I was after with the Muse.

I am going to change a few things before Dalmac. The road pedals and shoes are an issue for me. The new SIDI's are uncomfortable and walking on the cleat feels like two ice cubes are under my shoe (one ice cube would be acceptable). Walking and stopping are unsafe at any speed. I was also having issues clipping into the Crank Brothers pedals. I started using clipless pedals 15 years ago, today it felt like it was yesterday. My carbon seatpost was slipping, because I had already installed carbon prep, I am worried that this will be a problem. I re-adjusted the seat clamp to the recommended 70 in lbs. I will monitor the situation.

My body is sore tonight, My neck hurts, back is tight, and my butt is tender. I was felling it at 30 miles when I made my first food stop. I may have to use my seat and shock post from the Specialized. I know Aaron is looking forward to my beloved cushioned seatpost.

It was great to see my year long project finished. I wasn't sure I could get it completed in time. I have to thank everyone who has helped me out. It means a lot to me getting this Muse rolling.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Bike Computer

The Muse will sport a Cateye V2c double wireless bicycle computer on the Dalmac. This will be my third Cateye computer. The irony is, in 1995 I vowed to never use a cycle computer again.
The first bike computer I purchased was a Cateye Micro. I put it on my 1991 Klein. Back in the day, I would time my loops at the Poto trail in Michigan. The moment of truth came after the computer "reset" during a ride, I said "never again". To this day, I have not put such a device on my mountain bike. I have a different thought process for the road. When I did my first Dalmac in 2001, I used my 1994 steel Barracuda hardtail mountain bike sans computer. I had no idea what a good cadence was or even what it took to go 100 miles. I also had no Idea what speed I could pedal for 8 hours. I just rode in my top gear until I ran out of energy. That was about 40 miles into day one. Today the computer helps me train and establish a foundation that I can build upon. The Cateye V2 is able to display 3 sets of data at once. This will allow me to keep my hands on the handlebars and my eyeballs on the road.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Muse Worthy

I have been using Arkel products for many years. When it came time to find a handlebar bag for my Seven Muse, the only choice for me was Arkel Over Designs. I purchased the smaller bag because it fits my short reach handlebars much better than the large Arkel bag. The aluminum brackets and bank vault construction, separates the Arkel from other products on the market today. If you have seen photo's of my outdoor bike, you would have seen my beloved red Arkel Tail Rider trunk bag.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Trail Time

Knocked out a quick 40 today. I averaged 15mph on the W&OD. AP, how does your secret weapon compare to that! The trail was busy at 8am and by the time I hit Leesburg I encountered a mass of Marathoners. I doubled back 10 miles short of my destination to avoid the congestion. Stopped by my fave bike shop in Ashburn, Va. Spokes is having a huge tent sale next weekend where you can get great deals on the high end bikes you won't see at the normal local bike shop.

I am close to finishing the Muse just in time for the Dalmac. I will update as I receive the goods.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday Ride

I woke up to gray skys and raindrops. I walked to Starbucks for some warm oatmeal. I saw my Brother in Law walking towards the Buck as well. We had some conversation over coffee and caught up on current events. By the afternoon I could see patches of blue thru the mostly overcast sky. I rode 39 miles today. The trail had moderate traffic today. I got passed by a lot of riders on road bikes. I was wondering if I could keep up on my Seven Muse. The ride would have been boring if I didn't have a bug fly in my ear. I also saw a person ride off the trail into a bush. I think he had been drinking a bit because he was laughing about the whole "I just fell off my full suspension NEXT" for those who are not aware, a NEXT is a bike often purchased from Wall-Mart and preferred by people who are just visiting the U.S. and need transportation that is more affordable than public transportation.

I am not sure if I can get the Seven finished in time, I will have to have the bike finished and ship it back to Michigan no later than the 20th of August. I have ordered a crank. Finding a 165mm arm in compact gearing is difficult at the high-end of the market. Just glad to have that part out of the way.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It was great to get back on the bike again after a week off. I was out the door at 7:30am and rode for about 3 hours. My cycle computer was not working due to an original battery. I was not sure what my average speed was, however I did get passed by a few riders. I have a new battery now and I am ready for the next ride.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Less than 60 days before my Tour de Michigan, I am not ready, and my Seven muse is less than finished. My personal goal was to have ridden 1000 miles of pavement, and have a new Seven I could ride before the tour. Reality bites with 550 miles of training and need of a complete groupo. I am dealing with some poison Ivy, actually, a lot. I have taken a week off the bike.
The best news of the week was a pair of undamaged Reynolds wheels arriving.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The 96th Tour is on!

Americans are well represented in France this year. Kai's favorite Christian Vande Velde is in 8th 1:24 sec. behind. Lance is in second 0:08 behind the yellow jersey. Also noteworthy is Amrstrong teammate Levi :39 sec back in fourth overall. See the Tour on VS.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tour De Cure

I road the Tour de Cure metric century today. I was regretting that decision after about four hours of pedaling.
The weather was perfect. My old bike was running just as nice as the temperature. I met a lot of great cyclist. Some even gave me some unwanted cycling advise. I was able locate and hang with cycling legend Alexander on his fixed gear bike for 30 miles. During the final 10 miles I only wanted to get back to Reston and drink a cold smoothy. When we were going about 22mph at mile 40 I knew I was pushing it. My body shape prevents me from going much faster than that. I averaged 14mph for the day. If that seems low, it is faster than I average when I ride for 20 miles. I rolled into Reston Hot and spent, but I got my smoothy and that made life good.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I had the opportunity for a 3 hour ride today. I rode to my favorite rest stop just west of Leesburg, VA. on the W&OD Trail.

Monday, June 1, 2009

VandeVelde School of Style

My Nephew Kai, recently entered his first bicycle race. At 3 years old, he felt compelled to challenge his friends in the 4-6 age group. After receiving a Like-A-Bike for his 3rd birthday he had little interest in riding until he met Christian Vande Velde. Christian inspired the style Kai was sporting at this years Air Force Bicycle Classic starting line. With the only laminated birch frame in the field, Kai pushed his 7.7 pound velocipede mid pack. No one remembers how he finished that day, only the comment made by former U.S. Postal Pro rider Frankie Andreu "look at that kid!" as Kai crossed the finish line.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Old friends and old bikes are often what we cherish most. My 2005 Specialized Sirrus Pro Disc is one of those bikes that I have enjoyed for the past five years. While I am waiting on the completion of the muse, I have been putting more miles on the Sirrus. I rode this bike on the 2005 and 2007 Dalmac. I remember the 2005 ride for how easy it was, my dad and I were on the East route. I remember the 2007 ride as the year I did not have the time to prepare, and paid in pain tickets. Same bike different experiences. That is what I love about this bike.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Who was the hobgoblin of the Brittany moor?

Known as the hobgoblin, Jean Robic was one tough bastard. He crashed during the 1944 Paris-Roubaix race and finished with a fractured skull. His short stature and crash prone riding style led the press to largly ignore him. Robic was best known as the winner of the 1947 Tour de France. He did not capture the Yellow Jersey untill he finished in Paris. Robic was one of the only men in history to race for and win the yellow jersey on the ceremonial final stage. Robic was one of the greatest cyclo-cross racers of the 1940's. He was a French Champion and the first World Cyclo-Cross Championship in 1950.