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.