Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finished cannondale 29er

So, here it is. I finished it last night - some minor touches, and am leaving later today for the race this weekend in southern TN called the Cohutta 100.

Last night I changed the stem out to an xc3 SI stem which has an integrated steerer tube so there are no bolts on the stem portion. I needed a shorter stem, and this was supposedly lighter by a lot so figured, what the heck, I'll get it. The claimed weight was quite a bit off, but it's still about 100 grams lighter than the original setup. More importantly, I've the correct reach to the bar!

Installing this stem/steerer combo was not the easiest thing in the world. Removing the original aluminum tube from the HT was quite the challenge. There are two humps on the tube which I can only assume go where the headset bearings are. They like to get stuck in the HT when being removed. I had to hammer it out at first with a wood block over the tube, and then had to stick a pipe inside and hammer it some more. Then, finally, I pulled it out pretty easily with my hand. Installing the new combo stem was simple and straight forward. It just needed a few happy slaps from the hammer to set it in place. The new stem looks nicer, and was well worth the slightly higher price vs the same model stem only shorter. The price difference is about $50.

If you attempt to do the above, take care with the lefty fork. After the tube is removed the fork is free to crash to the floor!

I also changed the tires. After posting a pic of the bike on's forums a few members chimed in on the tire choice, and one had done the same race last year. They said the mountain kings would be squirmy in the gravel and not as quick as some other tire choices on the hard pack single track. So, I ordered up a set of Kenda Small Block 8's on Monday. I upgraded the shipping to overnight since they were heavily discounted online, and got to work Tuesday. The new tires saved an additional 170 grams over the mountain kings. There was a 31 gram difference in weight between the two small blocks. 530 and 561 were the weights. I'm really glad I got the faster shipping. Sealing these tires was not as simple as the Mountain Kings, which sealed up perfectly fine after the first inflation. Just this morning, two days later, have I finally got them totally sealed! It took 4 rounds of stan's dances:
to get these suckers sealed.

The final addition I made were the grips! Thankfully, this is a very nearly mindless task especially with the ODI lock-on type. I chose the Ruffian model since they are pretty thin and aren't squishy. This, imo, ='s better handling!

So, here she is in all her glory. In to the woods and mountains I go!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

First ride to my parents house this year

On Friday, instead of taking the train I decided to ride to my parents house for one last long ride before I head down south this coming Thursday for the Cohutta 100mi mtb race in TN and GA.

The weather was beautiful, in the upper 60s most the ride, and sunny with very little wind. Perfect for riding hard all day!

The route I take to my parents house is 95 miles with ~7250ft of total elevation gain. Nearly all of the climbing is in the final 50 miles. I have to wonder, does this ride ever get easy? I think it probably doesn't. The hills just beat the crap out of the legs.

I was tearing the road up until I hit the hills. My average speed after 43 miles was 22mph. I finished with an average speed of 19.82mph. 95 miles, 7250ft gain, 5 hours. Definitely my best time ever. I've clearly gotten significantly stronger since just last year. I must admit to pooping out near the end. For the last ten miles I was dreaming more about the food I was going to eat, rather than focusing on my 90rpm's or keeping the speed up. I noted at one point I was on a 19% grade near the end.

This route would be great for a stage race with a whopper of an ending. The last mile includes a brutal climb with the grades hitting 18% gaining nearly 1000ft!

The MTB racer is nearly set up

Today, I finally had all the parts together to finish the build for my Cannondale 1fg 29er single speed. The bike was a behemoth straight from the factory, and with quite a few modifications I've whittled away the weight to make most weight weenies weepy eyed. From really heavy, probably 25+ pounds, to now 20 pounds right on the nose this bike should be perfect for the 100 mile races it's targeted for this season.

The only original items from the stock build are the stem, handle bar, and crankset. The cranks will be replaced eventually, but since the current cranks do work perfectly fine and aren't much heavier than the chi chi stuff out on the market, they will stick around for a few more days.

The last bits I was waiting on were the wheels and brakes. I decided to go tubeless with the wheels so Stan's no tubes rims were the best choice. ZTR 355 29er rims, dt swiss super comp spokes 32H 3X laced to a Lefty hub up front and an American Classic disc single speed hub in the rear. The wheelset weighs in at a very light 1600 grams and that includes the 18T cog, spacers for the cog, yellow stan's rim strips, and the valves for each wheel. Minus all that jazz the set probably weighs around 1500 grams, maybe a touch less. That's crazy, in my opinion! They are the same weight as my road bike wheelset!

For the tires, I chose Continental Mountain King 2.2. They weigh 630 grams each and were very easy to set up tubeless. I could've gone a bit lighter here but would've made some sacrifices either in durability, traction, or both. Since you can only go so fast, anyways, on a single speed, I figure it's good to have some traction!

The brakes I ended up going with are the Hope Mini X2 Pro 160mm up front and 140mm in the rear. The build quality of these brakes is absolutely incredible. Drool worthy for any CNC afficiando. These are the lightest brakes out there besides the Formula R1, and from all the info I could glean on the web, the Hopes are a better brake. They feel amazing. Straight out of the box they are bled and feel perfect. I do need to shorten the lines, but will wait until after the 100 mile race this weekend to do so.

So, without further ado, here're some pics:


Sunday, April 5, 2009

Training Ride #2

The observant reader will notice on the calendar to the left I was supposed to be riding the 300km brevet in Westfield, MA today. Well, I bailed on the brevet. I'm not sure I'll even do one brevet this year. Why not? To get the type of training I need requires my weekends to be devoted to a different style of riding. Brevets are very fun, and I'm a bit disappointed I can't integrate them in to my schedule, but unless I quit my job or eliminate at least one day of work they aren't going to happen. Last year I used the brevets to force myself to ride the long distances required to get ready for something like the RAAM qualifier, and I also was hoping to meet some like minded folk to do other longer rides with outside of the brevets. The latter was successful, and when I visit CT I have a few contacts for some long and hard century or greater rides! The problem with brevets, for me, is the riders do not go fast enough - yeah, I can ride solo up front but that is not how a brevet is meant to be ridden - and they require way too many stops.

To be competitive in the 100 mile endurance mtb series I can not be dilly dallying around for 14 hours riding 125 miles. I need to be wreaking havoc on my cardiovascular system, or, a bit simpler, my entire body, on very high intensity endurance rides on the weekends, and more focused training on the weekdays e.g. intervals. The weekend long ride right now is at 4 hours, and I'll be extending that time as the year goes by to coincide with the RAAM qualifier in September.

What do I do on a long weekend ride? I warm up for about 15 minutes, gradually, and once I hit NJ on the other side of the GWB, I start the log on the bike computer and start pedaling as hard as I can physically sustain for the allotted time period. Having a nice base to work with has made this ride a much more predictable and achievable workout. Last year I would've crapped out halfway through, or not gone hard enough most the time. This year, I know what I'm capable of and am going 10% beyond that for the entire ride. I must admit this ride is NOT comfortable, and I also have to confess I don't notice the scenery much - I realized after the ride today I failed to glance even once off the GWB to gaze upon the beautiful NYC skyline on a perfectly clear day. But wait, I don't find the ride to be miserable, and it's even pretty fun, but some times the suffering can be pretty intense. Mostly, I think, my poor wife is exposed to the worst of it. I stumbled in today, barely making it up the 5 flights of stairs to our walk up APT, and, literally, threw off everything I had on as quickly as possible, tossed on some shorts so I was reasonably decent, and proceeded to crash on the couch. My breath was a bit short, and if I took a deep breath it would make me cough. I felt like I was going to puke. My legs were ACHING. A dull ache, a constant burning sensation. If I stood up they would shake, and feel like they were on fire. So I sat back down. Eventually I worked up the courage to forage for some food, so I grabbed the easiest thing possible to eat and drink out of the frig and pantry - a tall glass of milk, o so chilled, and some guacamole and tortilla chips. Probably not the ideal combination, but, who cares? It was pretty difficult to eat the food. The milk went down easy, though. After that I napped for a few minutes and decided I should shower. I felt better then and headed back for some more food - this time a bit more recovery oriented. A milkshake with hammer perpetuem and m&m's:) Usually I use peanut butter but we're currently tapped out. This is a tragedy. So, I'm probably rambling and will cut this off now. Welcome to a small glimpse in to my training ride!

some stats from today's windy ride:

Total Values:

Distance: 80.50 mi
Ride Time: 3:54:47 h
Rest Time: 00:00:49 h - darn small town stop lights!
Elevation Gain: 5510 ft

Average Values:

Speed: 20.57 mph
Heart Rate: 144 bpm
Temperature: 67.3 F