Saturday, November 22, 2008

Rolling in the Slipstream

Today, unbeleivably, I got to ride one of my favorite road routes with one of my favorite road teams; Garmin Slipstream. The Argyle Armada has set up camp in Boulder this week to get a little team-building and relaxation taken care of in the off-season. I figured there was a slight chance that here, in the dead of the off-season, I might be able to hang on for a ride with them.

This morning we gathered outside the St. Julien hotel where the team has been staying at 10am. The entire European and US based team was there as well as a handful of journalists and yours truly.

Leaving town and heading north on 36 I was amazed to find myself chatting with Dave Z and Tom Danielson while sitting behind Magnus Backstedt. We were about 20 or so back in the pack and taking full adantage of the draft soft pedaling at around 28mph. Then we turned west up Left Hand Canyon toward Jamestown and Ward. You can see the team cars with photogs in the back in this shot getting pics for the mags.
David Millar turns us around near Jamestown for the return to town.

I spent a fraction to long at the turnaround point chatting and found myself lagging behind the peleton as we started up the ferociously steep back of Lee Hill. Thats the group just in sight in this shot.
And this is my face as I crested Lee Hill trying my damnest to keep America's newest Protour team in sight.
By the bottom of the decent I had bridged back to the team and we hooked right onto Broadway heading back toward downtown. At this point in my usual rides I'd jog sideways onto a less trafficed street. Not so when you're riding with Garmin...
When you've got David Millar, Bradley McGee, Magnus Backstedt and David Zabriskie pulling for you its fine to take up a lane of Broadway and cruise at 35mph through town.
The equipement these guys ride is pretty amazing. I'd never heard anything like the squeel of thirty sets of Zipp carbon tubular wheels under braking before this ride, or the sound of 20 powertap rear hubs clicking down into a climbing gear. Its something I won't soon forget.
But no matter how bling Garmin's Felts are I still felt compelled to snap a shot of the Eriksen in front of this world class show.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'll take it

Turkey week in Moab looks to be promising in the weather department. Should go some way toward justifying why I want to take four different bikes with me...

Check out the webcam from Red Cliff Lodge this morning. Not bad at all.

Changing gears

For my birthday this year Abby took care of me with a new crankset for my Eriksen. The c5 as I call it, for Campagnolo Chorus Carbon Compact Crankset. This is something I've been lusting over for a long time as I live in Boulder, enjoy climbing, and there's a ton of it around here. Lots of it is seriously steep too, so my previous low gear of 39x25 was pretty brutal at times. At the same time I'm physically way more adept at turning big gears in the flats, so I didn't want to loose any top end speed. Thanks to the girlfriend, I now have the following finely crafted Italian ratios with increased range.

Ratio : Speed at 90rpm
High 52x12 : 49.3kph / 50x11 : 53.7kph
Low 39x25 : 17.7kph / 34x25 : 15.5kph

+ 4.4kph of speed on the top end and - 2.2 on the bottom. I like that, and before you ask about bigger gaps between cogs, remember that I spend lots of time on a single speed. So anything is a bonus after that. Initial impressions are great. All the climbs which previously had me rocking around like a shelled domestique can now be conquered with slightly more high rpm spinning, or as close to it as a 100kg oaf can manage. Good stuff.

Monday, November 17, 2008

November's Endless Summer

I hope I don't jinx us with this post, but wow; what weather we've been having! Each weekend I prepare to bid farewell to sunny days and shorts and each weekend I find myself out in the sun having fun. Pretty unbelievable. Let's hope Moab is this luscious next week for turkey day!

It did snow a teensy bit Thursday night. Friday morning I found that Mr. Boulder Tesla driver drives his future car in the snow, which I thought was awesome. So I parked my sporty snow car next to his. His is cooler. That afternoon it was 50 and sunny so the convertible may have come in handy.
Boulder Mountainbike Alliance is building all sorts of awesome trails around town that are perfect 29er territory. So much so that Lew had to go pull the trigger on one. We spent Saturday practicing our credit card airs out at Marshell Mesa and enjoying another day riding in shorts during November. You can just make out snow capped 13,000 foot peaks through Eldorado Canyon.
Sunday was another blue bird day. Things started out as well as they possibly can with Heuvos Rancheros at Walnut Cafe. Abby, her mom Sally and I had a great table on the patio.
We spent much of the day golfing at Haystack Mountain. Its a bit like if Up the Creek Campground had nine holes, in other words; casual and awesome.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Spot is Done!

Spot Brand steel frame
Spectrum custom Ferrari paint
Gates belt drive
Velocity Blunt rims
Chris King hubs and headset
Thomson stem and seatpost
Jim Potter's mad skillz on the wheel build. 3 cross tied and soldered.
The dream single is done!

Should we bailout the Big Three?

The following is my part of a back and forth email rant concerning this article... Also, for full disclosure it should be stated that I think the above F150 SVT Raptor unveiled this month at SEMA is disturbingly awesome, much like many earth f$%#ers on the road. It may, however, show that Ford has been concentrating on the wrong stuff. Of course, Toyota just launched a Tundra that does 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, so they're not exactly walking away from big vehicles either...

I think the failure of the big three is due to the fact that they had their own gigantic domestic market of not particularly picky or discerning customers. Many of whom didn't even try foreign cars because they wanted to 'buy domestic.' Every other car maker on earth is working to sell cars in all kinds of diverse markets, thus pushing the envelope of what they can build. The big 3 simply spent the last 15 years making farm yard work vehicles, dressing them in leather and wood 'King Ranch edition' style makeovers, and selling them at huge margins. Cars have been a second thought for them, something you pump out as cheaply as possible and who cares if they're any good or not, sell them to Hertz.

Not making a 'Prius' is a part of this whole deal, but the big3 have been completely ignoring anything but trucks. They haven't made good sedans, hatchbacks, convertibles, sports cars, hybrids, anything... just trucks and SUVs. While BMW, VW, Toyota etc have all been striving to make cars that Japanese like, that Germans like, that Italians like, picky Brits like, and of course, that Americans like. Thing is, when they're done engineering the crap out of their cars for all these different diverse places, roads and people they end up being really really good. Take a Passat out after a Malibu. Or a Mazda3 after a Cobalt.

Then when all the rest of the world realized they could sell big ass trucks to Americans and really make money, they put all their engineering goodness into their trucks as well. I recently rented a Dodge Ram for a week and loved it, until I rented a new Tundra the next week. Who knew highway interchanges didn't have to feel like rafting?

Look at SUVs as well. Americans gobbled up the old Ford Explorer 'Eddie Bauer' Edition like it was god's gift to the car business. Then they tasted the 4Runner, then the X5, then the Taurag and then even SUVs were all over for Detroit. They answered with the H2 and H3 so you could really feel American and play Desert Storm on your way to work. That'll go over well internationally. Meanwhile Chevy started working on small cars again. So they rebranded Daewoos (Aveo) and tried to sell them here with the help of NBA players. Oh no.

I don't really totally understand the ramifications of job losses that would be related to letting the Big 3 fail, but from a purely product view it seems like we're just rewarding mediocrity. Invest in Tesla or Fisker or someone who's moving the game forward.

The other aspect to this seems to be the issue of whether its fundamental to the economy. I can see the pressing need to save the finance industry so that business can still function and I can still find fancy cheese imported from all over the world at the store. If there were no GM, Ford, and Chrysler, couldn't I still buy a expertly made vehicle from right here in the UsofA? Say, a BMW x5. I just read last night that the new Toyota Venza is their first car to be conceived (um...) designed, engineered, and produced all in the US. So you see, it can be done.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Awesome Friends

This weekend was my birthday and some of my favorite people were around to enjoy it together. Ian flew in from New York City, Carly and Ross drove down from the mountains, and my awesome girlfriend made sure the festivities never ended. We even got Jim Potter out on a mountain bike! Saturday we loaded up and got 9 of us out on Picture Rock trail in Lyons. Check out the group photo from the summit! Afterward it was beers and chow chez Oscar Blues and then a late evening cooking and cocktailing back at the ranch house.
Jim Potter, Mike Parish, Ian Mcculley, moi, Rob Jones, Steve Lewis, Mike Dahl

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Coolest. Cruiser. Ever!

I stumbled across this yesterday on the Lynskey Performance blog. Apparently this lady wasn't interested in high performance mountain or road bikes, but just wanted the coolest cruiser you could possibly imagine. I think she succeeded. Custom ti, Gates belt drive, carbon fork, dt wheels and the all important white phatty street tires. Just awesome.

This one is worth clicking on to enlarge.
Also, if anyone's is looking for an $2,500 Christmas present for jr, this may be the ticket. Also from Lynskey. I think a three year old would really appreciate the King headset and carbon post, as well as the oh so stylie white bar setup and polished ghost flames.
Or this one from Vanilla (possibly even cooler) if you're into steel.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

First Cross Race

Sunday I cruised down to Harlow Platts Park in SoBo at 7:00am and nabbed the final spot in the cat4 Boulder Cup Cross Race. It was my first cx race and some might suggest that cruising our favorite hangouts on Pearl the night before on tandems till around 1am might not have been the best preparation. I however think it would've hurt either way, so one might as well not squander a beautiful evening staying home and drinking water. The race hurt like hell but I had the omnipresent support of good friends all over the course to keep me going.

Some pictures from the day:

Chris and Evan were there with the cameras.
Mike D and I post race.
Roosting the sandtraps

Kate shows us her PRO style.
Also, check out Suitcase of Courage for photos from the Elite Men's race.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cross weekend in Boulder

Things got kicked off today at Boulder Reservoir.