Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's nacho driest Nacho Ride ever.

Tonight's rain was coming, but didn't stop a big crowd from riding out for the Husker themed ride. The Bike Pedalers Surly Cross Check worked flawlessly on the trail and made itself at home inside the One Eye'd Dog Saloon.

We left for home well before most, but only made it to Walton before the rain hit. Nonetheless it was the perfect way to unwind after work and catch up with friends. Tonight's miles = 28.1 giving me 701.5 for the month of August.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

2010 GPBC's Heatstroke 100.

Almost exactly 3 years ago we moved to Lincoln and started biking. We did the annual Kool-Aid Days ride that summer. Last year my whole family did the BBC Rolling To The River Ride. And this year we decided to ride the GPBC Heatstroke 100 together.

With me on my loaner Surley Cross Check from Bike Pedalers, the wife on her new Ruby, our oldest on his hardtail Marin MTB, our daughter on her Marin comfort bike and our youngest on his Felt MTB we set out along with my brother-in-law and hundreds of other cyclists on today's ride.

We decided to do loop #1, from SAC, through Ashland across the Gretna - I-80 exit, to the SAG stop at the LIED bridge and back to SAC.

I somehow got a flat just before the end. It's my 6th of the year. Otherwise it was a perfect ride. The kids weren't used to the hills or wind, and today was the longest ride any of them had done. But we took our time and really made it a great way to spend the morning. Today's miles = 24.5

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Looking sharp for a road ride to Cortland for water.

I met up with Chris and Council at 7:30 mmm, er, ah, make that 7:36 in Council's case. I should feel lucky I got a chance to ride with him since he often bows out of ride opportunities, so I won't write about my deep disappointment in his tardiness.

He made it up to me by letting me suck wheel all the way down 77 to Cortland. There were questions concerning my steel steed. And my humor that was as stinging as today's South wind, was just as well received.

I was dressed to the nines for the trip, and offered to reach up for a drink for the boys. After stopping for water we turned back to the star city and let the tail wind push us home.

Back in the city I continued North down the Rock Island Trail where I ran into the infamous barkeep himself from the Legendary Fox Hole Tavern who was promoting the upcoming Fox Hole 100 2-day bike tour from Lincoln to Wilbur on September 18th and 19th. The Fox Hole 100 is an awesome ride that you should make plans to be on!

Later back at home I went for a short spin with Ruby and her rider. I got along well with the Surly Cross Check today, it was comfortable and predictable. I'm still struggling to get used to the bar end shifters and miss the quick acceleration of my Felt. But once it's up to speed it floats like a Cadillac. Today's total miles = 50.2

Friday, August 27, 2010

August Critical Mass

We met up at 6pm tonight North of the Capital. Amy was promoting the upcoming Farm Walk and there is talk of biking out there again this year!

We rode through downtown and the Haymarket area. It was a great night for a spin and it was fun to see everyone. I got lots of comments and compliments on the Cross Check.

I made it home with 34.5 miles for the day.

Felt Z70 frame - RIP

10 months and 4757 miles on this bike.

This morning was gorgeous, but about 1/2 way to work my chain mysteriously jumped off the middle ring to the little ring. It continued to do that every time I was in low gears on the rear set. It was becoming a pain. No problem. Bike Pedalers gives a years worth of free tune-ups with a new bike purchase, and the Felt is only 10 months old. So after work I rode over to Bike Pedalers to have them adjust the front derailer and send me on my way.

Once they put it on the stand I pointed out the play in my bottom bracket, they opened it up to find my bearings were bad and that I'd wore a deep groove in the steal crank!

I also pointed out the cracks my Felt had developed where the rear drop outs connect to the carbon fiber seat stay. What began as a hairline paint crack eventually fatigued and separated clear through. The front fork also has some slight cracks in the carbon fiber, they haven't seemed to get worse like the ones in the back though.

Well, the wise folks at Bike Pedalers urged me to stop riding it until the frame could be replaced for safety reasons. Felt makes amazing bikes, and they guarantee their frames for as long as you own the bike.

I have plans to do lots of riding, and can't be with out a good bike for the 2 weeks or so it'll probably take to get a new frame, so, get this, Bike Pedalers graciously pulled a brand new bike off the floor and put my wheels, pedals, seat, etc on it for me to use till my new Felt frame comes in! Talk about service!

I have a LOT of love for my Felt. And hate to go without it for even a week or two. But, I'm thankful to have another quality bike to use in the meantime. Bike Pedalers has sold about a zillion Felts. And mine is the very first frame (besides shipping damaged ones) to ever need warrantied. I don't blame Felt. But, it'll be interesting to see what they warranty it with since 2009 was the last year they had the Z70. Hopefully they still have one laying around somewhere. If not, I hope I'll be as happy with the new frame set as I was with the Z70.

I still can't get over the great service Bike Pedalers is giving me. We've bought a lot of bikes (6) from them, but it's a true testimonial when you feel delighted with their service when you have a serious problem. There is a lot to be said for buying from a reputable local shop rather than used, on-line, or from a big box store. I've always liked Surly Cross Checks when I've tried them in the bike shop parking lots. But it'll be fun to see how I get along with it on some weekend rides and work commutes.

Stay tuned to see what happens.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The LNK Hustle

We met up under the O street bridge on the Antelope Valley Trail for tonight's Hustle and raced to Roper Park and a home South of Hwy 2 in either order before finishing downtown. I made a bad wrong turn, otherwise I rode good. I came away with 8th place out of 13. Michael Bichael took the win again. Andrew had lots of prizes, I won a tube and Dan gave me his too since it wouldn't fit his bike. I logged 15.9 miles on the race. Including my work commute today I had a total of 36.4 miles for the day.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The wife gets a Ruby for her anniversary.

It's our wedding anniversary this week, and I wanted to get her a Felt ZW5 from Bike Pedalers since I first saw one on TDN. But now their all sold out, and they changed the color for 2011. The wife loved the color and was able to find pretty much the same thing in the Specialized Ruby Elite Compact LE from Joyride.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Got the bike cleaned up.

I spent time tonight cleaning the bike up for the first time since Gravel Worlds. I then put the road tires back on so it'll be ready for the Heatstroke 100 ride on Sunday.

I rode to work and back yesterday, but took today and tomorrow off to celebrate with the wife. Yesterday I got 19.6 miles on the commute.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The misses test rides another bike.

She deserves some new wheels and has been looking for something in the right color, weight, and component group.

She has that 'new love' look in her eyes. Watching her and Ruby reminded me of her and I during this week all those years ago. They looked to be smitten with each other and seemed to be giddy as they danced down the trail.

We put it through the paces on the Rock Island to the tune of 5.2 miles.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

2010 Gravel Worlds

Here's Gravel Worlds through my eyes. It was a excellent event! Entry costs nothing and everyone is eligible. That is very cool. The Pirate Cycling League did an amazing job running the race. Sign up was fast and easy, thanks in part to an opportunity to sign waivers the night before in downtown Lincoln. Saturday morning all we had to do was check in and have a number wrote on our leg. Cornbread made some announcements before hand, and at 6am we started with a neutral roll out. There were 98(?) official racers that started and a few others that rode out as well. As the day wore on most dropped out. 30-some ended up pedaling the whole 150 miles. Congrats to each of them! It was an epic accomplishment! The roads of course were not closed, but we had very little traffic, and everyone was really cool about sharing the road as far as I could tell. There were separate classes for single speed, mens and womens, even tandem. The single speed riders (bikes with no gears) are hardcore and really were tested to the limit on some of those big hills! I got in behind Guitar Ted for a spell and snapped this picture. You should read his take on Gravel Worlds. There was a light fog as the sun rose. There was basically no wind most of the day. And some of the country we rode through was really scenic. Again, congrats needs to go out to the PCL guys for picking an amazing route. Yeah, I was sucking wind. Riding on gravel, or in many cases on dirt roads has a lot more resistance than pavement. And they don't grade the hills or fill in the valleys on the county roads like they do on the highways. Riding gravel is a true test. And riding in a big group gives you a sense of urgency and extra energy, the moral support we give each other is amazing. I always ride better when I'm with others. To prove we'd made it to the edges of the course we had to stop at three checkpoints and buy a Nebraska lottery ticket. Powerball tickets show what time they were purchased. These stops gave us a chance to pickup drinks and food too. Some of the dirt roads were still damp from rains earlier this week. The clay soil made for some tacky riding and since I was using my Felt road bike with the widest tires I could fit on it (28mm) the mud would pack up the fork making it even harder to pedal. Most riders use cycle cross. But there were mountain bikes and even some other road bikes. Between Valparaiso and Malcolm I was struggling to keep my core body temp down and was starting to bonk. Patches rode with me the whole time, and I was asking to take breaks more and more. In this picture I had to lay down in the ditch for a few minutes before getting back on to ride more. By the time we'd hit Malcolm it was about 12:15 (I think) and I was shot. I could have gone more but it would have been slow and painful. This is where it went from being fun to being brutal. And since I am a casual cyclist and not an athlete I had no problem calling my wife and getting my sorry butt hauled back to Lincoln. I left my phone with Patches and told him to call me when he got tired and I'd go get him. Patches took the liberty of snapping some pictures with my phone. This is a 'sign' directing racers to an 'oasis' for water, snacks and rest. A few locals that lived along the route offered up their property, food, water, hospitality and more and were a welcome site to riders who were feeling sapped after all those miles! When I got back to Lincoln I picked up some gallon jugs of water and left them on the route around 4th road & Hwy 2 at about mile 120 for anyone who might be running out of water at that point. Then I called Patches to see if he wanted picked up yet. He asked me to meet him in Hickman. I waited outside of Hickman with this group from Omaha that knew about Gravel Worlds and decided on their own that it'd be cool to set up a stop. They took a day to sit out in the sun and they spent their own money on pop, beer, ice, water, pizza, pb&j, candy, etc. to give out to cyclist. How cool is that? These guys rocked! The hospitality of everyone throughout the day was overwhelming. Here Patches rolls into the 3rd and final checkpoint before the end in Hickman. Yes, it's 98' on the bank clock. He had 115 miles on his mountain bike. Since he usually rides a recumbent, the first thing he said to me was, "I could keep going, but my ass is killing me. Next year we're going to train for this and finish it!" This was around 4pm after 10 hours of riding! I picked up a couple of others from Lincoln in Hickman who were too thrashed to go on and gave them a ride back to the fairgrounds where the race started and ended. When I was there Jon Vandracek rolled in and took 1st place in the Masters Men division. You can find all the results on the PCL blog. Take a look at the dust on my legs once I took my shoes and socks off!

All in all I made it to the first two out of the three checkpoints before pulling the plug. I felt pretty shelled and hot by the time I quit, but otherwise was ok. I quit the 150 mile gravel race with an average speed of 12.6 mph, average cadence of 72 rpm, ride time of 5 hrs 13 min, and a total of 66.1 miles.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My last commute.

Today was my last commute till after Saturday's Gravel Worlds. I picked up some provisions today and switched tires on my Felt to my wider set. I can't wait! Excitement is really building!

Today's miles = 20.4

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

See you late'r.

I went into work late today and stayed late to make up for it. I'm hardly ever on the trails that late in the morning or afternoon. I was surprised at how busy they were and how many more users I saw at these later times. It was really cool to run into friends that I usually only see at events. I should make an effort to shake up my commute more often so it doesn't get too mundane. Today's miles = 19.7

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

2010's Hawaiian Nacho Ride.

Tonight was the annual Hawaiian themed Nacho Ride. We had rain last night and during the middle of the day today. It cleared up in time tonight for the Nacho Ride, but it was cool and breezy. I think the weather today kept many riders from coming out. The trail was soft and mushy, but not real muddy and didn't have standing water or puddles anywhere there isn't usually.

Nonetheless there were still a bunch of fun loving bikers who rode from Lincoln to Eagle for food, drinks and time with friends.

With the ride to work and back, then tonight's Nacho Ride I ended up with 48.4 miles for the day.

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