Friday, February 25, 2011

You Don't See _That_ Every Day.....

Anyone who knows me knows what to expect: something odd and unexpected. I've been that way all my life and I'm not about to change now so you might as well fucking get over it.

I've been looking for something odd and unexpected to build into something odd and unexpected for a while now, and I've come up with something that fits the bill (click pics to enlarge):

This is an early 90's Fuji Suncrest rigid MTB, set up as a road fixed gear. 700c instead of 26", drop bars instead of flat. This isn't just an ordinary winter basement project, I had a goal - build up a completely new bike buying as few parts specific to the project as possible, while ending up with something odd and unexpected. I came close, in that the only thing I bought specifically for the project was the frame (was originally a whole bike - for $20). Everything else I had as spare parts, except for the stem and pedals (taken off other bikes).

I'm not going to go so far as to say I'm chickenshit, but there's no way in hell I'm riding on public roads with no brakes, a wife, a daughter, and a three bedroom mortgage. I had these long-reach raleigh (weinmann) centerpulls, that just happen to match the span from the seat-stay bridge to the 700C wheels. I used some pads from a set of V-brakes I scavenged from an old MTB a while ago - pretty much new.

The Drivetrain. According to the math, my selection of a 38x14 is just a bit taller than a 42x16 - my gear of choice. In order to properly tension the chain (due to vertical dropouts) I used an early downhill-chainguide I bought when a local bike shop went out of business ten years ago. The owner said "hey, ya want this?" I said "sure , why not". That's an American Classic threaded hub laced to a Matrix ISO rim. If you're less than 40 years old you have no fucking clue what I just said.

The front of the cockpit. Note the other raleigh center-pull that just happens to match the span from the fork drilling to the 700c braking surface. The front wheel is an ofmega hub laced to another Matrix ISO. Again, if you don't remember watching the Creature Double Feature on channel 38 (bonus points if you know where they got the theme song for the show).................

A bontrager saddle that I have no idea where I got. Note the Mavic Challenger in the background. The Mavic Challenger is a spun aluminum disc wheel with a threaded Mavic hub. This motherfucker weighs about 5 pounds. I was thinking of using it for this project, but it's a tubular, and I wanted this to be a bit more pedestrian.

A close up of the cockpit. Yup, that's a 1st generation EC90 carbon handlebar. Believe it or not, I just happen to have one lying around. I had to steal the stem from my 'cross bike because the top tube of this bike is so long. It's a 6 cm stem. If I went with a flat bar I could have used one of the many 10 CM stems I have laying about, but a flat bar on a road bike?

A sweet set of '91 Campagnolo Chorus Aero brake levers. No Solo, these aren't the ones I bought from you.

I have yet to take this out on the road, but I have ridden it for a while on the both the rollers and the trainer. So far, so good. If you happen to see me on it, don't try to drop me, 'cuz I can spin this bitch like an Asian Basket Job.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Foul Play Is Suspected (H.N.T.)

A quick note on the Domination Of Our New Overlord:

Foul Play is suspected....The problem is that it wasn't really a equal contest. Watson was fed the 'answers' by a text file, which in terms of processing time means it had more than likely arrived at the possible 'questions' before Alex even finished reading the 'answer'.

If it was really going to be fair, they would have required the computer to process the 'answer' with voice and/or character recognition software, because that's how we humans do it. I'm not suggesting the computer would have lost, just that they skipped an important and critical step with regards to processing and understanding information. The point is, Watson is on some level an exercise in AI (or 'AI completeness'). Is it fair then, to skip over the critical process of sensory perception in the context of human intellect? I personally don't think so. In that regard, It was sort of like Casey Martin being allowed to use a golf cart. Granted, Eddie Timanus was granted a few special accords when he won 5 straight games, but he still had to process the clue as it was read.

But enough of that. This is a bike racing blog, right? Well, last weekend I went on my first road ride of the year with Matt Simpson and Justin Spinelli. Justin has been doing all his road riding on an old stump jumper with a rigid fork and one chainring, so Matt texted me and suggested I bring my IF. No problem....sort of.

I grabbed the wrong shoes when I left the house. My IF has crank Bros pedals and these shoes had Time ATACS. I didn't realize it until I tried to clip in. Matt came to the rescue with a pair of mavic shoes that had Crank Bros cleats. We were off. Destination Warner Hill in Derry.

We got in just under two hours of solid riding, and according to Garmin about 35 miles with 2500 feet of climbing. I got dropped a few times on some of the longer hills, but i wasn't too worried about that. I've done no real cardio work since december, concentrating instead on free weights, and hell, it's still fucking february. Besides that, I had my "endurance" breakfast before the ride (bacon, egg, and cheese bagel, hash browns, milk, OJ, and coffee), so I wasn't going to go very fast, but I certainly wouldn't get hungry for the projected 2ish hour ride. At one point both Matt and Justin were eating, and matt offered me a bite. I explained my breakfast and added "I won't be going too fast, but I'll go pretty far".

The only real issue I had was a pain that popped up in my right knee, especially when seated and spinning. I ended up getting out of the saddle on every climb for the last 45 minutes or so. Since I had the strength from the weight training it was actually easier for me to stand on a heavy gear than sit and spin, and I was actually keeping better contact over the longer hills than when I was sitting. I found out after the ride that was partly because Justin had started to bonk. He had put over an hour in before he met us, pushed the pace up all the climbs, and still had an hour to ride home. I was reminded of a quip by Kerry Litka that "Justin will go out for a 5 hour ride, then go home and eat a carrot". (Ok, maybe it wasn't justin she was talking about, and it might not even have been Kerry, but it's still funny). In any case, Justin always was faster than me, and probably always will be, so I can't criticize his training techniques.

Still, other than the knee pain, I didn't feel too bad, didn't have any problems staying with them on the shallower hills and flats, and had no problems getting back on when I did get dropped on the climbs.

I think this weekend I'll finally get out on Ice Bike.

H.N.T. (again, foul play was suspected)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Belated Valentine Sentiment

From Sam Kinison - Who could say it better?

(no, those aren't esperanto subtitles)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mi am Stylish, En Esperanto!

Mi estis looking por a temo por a blogpost, kaj dankojn al Mia Favorata Rockstar, Mi nun havi unu, en Esperanto!

Laux al sxi, Mi am a stylish blogger. Mi fari ne really scii kio tiu rimedo, sed Mi havi a feeling gxi does ne havi multa al fari kun mia sxuo

Tiel, Mi havi been tagged kun this 'stylish' afero, kaj gxi veni kun a tasko (he, kun granda potenco veni granda responsibility, gxusta?)

1. Fari a postxo kaj ligi dorso al la homo kiu tagged vi kun la award
2. Akcio sep objekto pri via self
3. Award al sep alia bloggers
(All rajto, tiel mi changed la regulo a peco)

En alfabeto ordoni, here estas la tabelo de bloggers Mi ofta - kun esperi ili will pagi gxi forward

Single Spuro Spirito
(ne specific posxto here, ili are _all_ bona)

Sep objekto pri mi....mmmmm... Mi am going al doni vi ok, kaj oni da ili will _ne_ esti vera. Trovi la mensogo.

* Mi estis born en ethiopia
* Mi am a klasika trained musician kaj toured Europe kiam Mi estis fifteen
* Mi went al naux diferenca lernejo de la fojo Mi graduated alta lernjo
* Mi havi rebuilt tri automobile motoro kaj done major ripari sur multa pli. Mi could havi been a mechanic cxe oni pinto.
* Kiel a juna infano Mi had severa asthma kaj could ne kuri cxirkaux la bloko
* Mi havi been an oficialulo biciklo competitor por 25 jaro.
* Mi marathon personal rekordo is estas nur 3:49
* Mi havi had du edzino kaj estis fiancxo unu pli

so de kurso, la Ranting Rockstar estas la stelo here. Mi could justa sendi vi al sxia front pagxo sed mi am going al sendi vi here.

Cxar, popolo, _tiu_ estas efektiva blogging.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Love Letters

I want you to be my housekeeper; beekeeper; floor, chimney, and mine sweeper. My window washing, grocery buying, dinner cooking, obsequious submissive concubine-domestic....but most of all, you will just shut the fuck up. - Henry Rollins

H.N.T. - Excalibur: The Lady Of the Lake

Yeah, yeah, I know it's friday, I lost a day somewhere, so fucking shoot me.

For those of you who particiapted in high school for the social event, allow me to edify you with a bit of culture from english literature:

In the legend of King Arthur, he was granted his royalty through Divine Providence, by receiving the magic sword Excalibur from The Lady Of The Lake

The maiden paused, as if again
She thought to catch the distant strain.

With head upraised, and look intent,

And eye and ear attentive bent,

And locks flung back, and lips apart,
Like monument of Grecian art,
In listening mood, she seemed to stand,
The guardian Naiad of the strand.

Now, this isn't to slight other interpretations of Arthurian Legend. To quote Michael Palin:

"You can't expect to wield supreme executive power because some watery tart threw a sword at you."

And lastly, just 'cuz I really like this one: