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Old 03-01-2013, 02:04 PM   #27511
Gummee!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Head View Post
No "good" TV at the hotel.
Guess I'll have to just wait out my cold.
The Marriott, Residence Inn wifi is so lame I can't stream MotoGP except while sitting at the desk. And even then it stops and starts. This has been the case for all of this brand of hotel I've stayed in here, Everett and in Wichita. I plan to avoid these in the future. A week from now, I'll be moving back to the Hilton. Much better wifi.
I doubt its on teevee anyhow. www.cyclingfans.com is where you wanna go.

I was off 25min. We got back in 3:55 not 3.30. Oh well. I need to beat some sense in the guy I keep riding with. Things like 'you wait at the top of the hill for your riding buddy.' We got to the top of the first uphill on Mt Weather, I waited for him, then towards the top he put in a dig and kept going! Gee thanks! You've just demonstrated how to eff over your riding buddy in one easy step.

On the other hand, that's the fastest I've ever gone across that ridge. Having someone to chase keeps the motivation up. I kept getting within 50m of him, but then he'd crest the hill I was still climbing and it'd be till the next hill that I caught up with him. Repeat the length of the ridge.

Being strong isn't everything. By the bottom of that hill, he'd blown his wad. Next hill, I had to wait for him for a good few minutes and then towed him down the hill. ...and kept towing most of the way back down Rt 55.

Getting back to the 'strong isn't everything' thing. If you're out riding with buddies, its about getting EVERYone there. If you're the strongest dood out there, its your job to keep the weaker guys out of the wind and not set a pace that blows em out the back.

If you're pulling its your job to make sure that when you're riding into a crosswind that you allow enough space on the downwind side for people to find a draft. If that means riding on the yellow line, that means riding on the yellow line and singling up when a car comes behind you. If there's just two of you, it means riding towards the left side of the right tire track so you're not putting your buddy into the gutter.

Basically, its 'don't screw your buddy' when you're out riding in a group. Whether that group is 1 other person or 100, the ideas are the same.

Like I said: I gotta pound some sense into B

M
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:24 PM   #27512
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Marriott residence Inn has the crappiest wifi I've experienced. Heck, I streamed motoGP practice one morning sitting on a Starbucks patio in Wichita.
The Hilton Homewood nee Homeboy Suites has pretty good wifi. Not as fast as at home, but it works at least. best I've found was Staybridge Suites in Mukilteo. Nice folks there too, and good riding. Very nice wine bar down the street.

I've been on constant travel since the first of last August. The shine went off the bloom a good long time ago on my first extended business trip in 2009. About a half hour into the mess at the airport I'd had all I wanted. Spending two thirds of following year and a half in Everett was only made tolerable by exploring and the people. OK, the beer and the seafood did have something to do with it.

This afternoon I got tapped to work a little special deal. meaning my weekend plans may be screwed. Any ideas I had of heading home early after only eight hours today are vapor.

So, whenever I do get off I'll go grocery shopping since I'm down to crackers and a piece of cheese at the hotel. At least it's warm here. And my buddies in SoCal tell me the heat there today is headed here so we got some warm coming. It has been cold enough at night here I've had to sleep with a beanie on to stay warm.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ducnut View Post
Geez! Sounds rough, compared to the Corporate Lodging options I used to stay in.
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:27 AM   #27513
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Thought y'all would like to know I've got a case of the screw-its.

...and the couch monster is calling my name...

Interesting race this AM. Didn't work out how I woulda figgered. ...and that Sagan is a monster! He's going great guns. Let's see how he does in the classics coming up here soon.

M
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Old 03-02-2013, 01:50 PM   #27514
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What an interesting concept: Ciclotte



Certainly innovative. I didn't bother to look at the price tag, but my little brother sez $10k

M
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:38 PM   #27515
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post

Certainly innovative. I didn't bother to look at the price tag, but my little brother sez $10k

M
$10,800 at current exchange rates (not including tax) for a stationary exercise bike? It must suck to have that kind of money.

This is what I managed today, and it only cost me gas money out to Palo Cedro and back. I know, I should've ridden from home. I'm weak.

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Old 03-02-2013, 09:06 PM   #27516
kbasa
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Nice ride, Ned!

Andrew, I'm using a Garmin 705 GPS and uploading the data to Strava and Ride with GPS. My team is on Strava, so I can compare performance with my team mates. I have long added rides to RWGPS, so I'm continuing it. The GPS captures all the elevations. It also has HR, cadence and speed connections. If I was filthy rich, I'd add a hub that records power.

Here's today's big party:

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Old 03-03-2013, 04:25 AM   #27517
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gummee! View Post
What an interesting concept: Ciclotte



Certainly innovative. I didn't bother to look at the price tag, but my little brother sez $10k

M
I'm sure it's worth every penny.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:04 AM   #27518
k7
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400k done

~254 miles in 18:26... I think. We fought the wind a bit, a few asshole drivers, etc but overall, it was a good ride. I had a shot at under 18 hrs but the guys I was with couldn't go more than 14-15 and I was good for 17-18. I decided that there was more perceived safety, at night, with others than alone.

We started at 0603 (officially, 0600) and ended at 0026. There was a group of four who finished in 15:40 - they know how to work well together, something I can't get my buddy to understand. They were the first group to finish, we were the next. There were seven still out when we wrapped up.

I had Garmin issues - my data is FUBAR'd but I haven't touched it yet. Too tired and sore but I'll look at it later.

My time was well over an hour better than last year. We saved time by not eating a good meal all day.

More to follow.
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Old 03-03-2013, 11:19 AM   #27519
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Originally Posted by k7 View Post
~254 miles in 18:26...My time was well over an hour better than last year. We saved time by not eating a good meal all day.
Oooh man...the tradeoffs!

Nice job!
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Old 03-03-2013, 02:33 PM   #27520
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My little report - Around the Bend 400

One good thing about repeating a brevet you're ridden in the past is that you're given an opportunity to better your previous results. One downside is that you know the areas that combines high traffic and rude drivers....not be confused with high traffic and rude cyclists.

This is a route that circles from Casa Grande to Gila Bend and then traverses Phoenix from west-to-east where we eventually turn south and west back to Casa Grande.



When we rode last year's version, David Brake and I were relatively new to brevets and weren't 100% that we could even ride 400-km (250 miles) in one day. Our confidence level was higher this year and without stating the obvious, I think each of us felt we could finish better than last year's 19:50.

We kept to our normal routine – breakfast at the Chandler Rd Waffle House followed by the short drive to Casa Grande. As fate has it, that breakfast was the only full meal of the day so I'm thankful we took time to eat properly.

The usual suspects signed up for the 400 and we had a few visitors. Catherine Shenk from Boulder registered as did Ronaele Foss from Colorado Springs. I think Ronaele likes the AZ group - she's become practically a regular attendee. We met Catherine on the Utah Triple Loop 600 last year. One word of advice regarding Catherine: “Don't pull on Superwoman's Cape.” She's a heck of a rider and always smiling.

The briefing went a tad long on Saturday morning and that's fine. Getting everyone to listen is akin to herding cats so our start was delayed a few minutes. What's a few minutes when you're faced with 15-18-20+ hours in front of you?

The A-team was off the front as if shot from a cannon. This time, we didn't make an attempt to hang with them – those guys, and gal, are amazing riders who know how to work together. I think it was Catherine, Carlton, Steve and Roger who formed the core. My apologies if I left someone out.

The first few miles to Maricopa were uneventful almost to the point of boring. We passed a few here and there and performed a leap-frog routine with Matthew Jungers who is an affable, strong first year rider. I believe Matthew is a PhD student at ASU. Just for the record, I have socks that are older than Matthew. We met on the SNP 300 towards the end and finished together.

When we made the turn to Gila Bend, I was anticipating this portion with near glee. *The climb out of Maricopa is described as “railroad grade” which is code for “recumbents can maintain 16-17 mph without killing themselves”. In reality, it's only a climb from around 1150-ft at the 37 mile point until you top out at around 1520-ft at the 61 mile point. *There was a bit of tailwind which helped.

The route from that point into Gila Bend simply screams “fun”. Bob Lynn and Margaret O'Kelley, both from El Paso, can attest that someone did the “GEICO pig” when passing them on last year's ride.

I guess it was about this point that the wind started to build but it wasn't a factor on this section. My speeds topped out at 37 mph as we descended 800 ft over about 17 miles into Gila Bend. Screaming fun.

We waved at the A-team as they were heading out of Gila Bend – happy to note that they weren't too far in front of us but not willing to admit that they likely sat down to a*leisurely*breakfast at one of Gila Bend's more famous restaurants. (I'm kidding of course – everyone knows that there's nothing in Gila Bend that rises above a 2-star restaurant.)

David and I talked about not spending too much time in Gila Bend but with the wind building and a long leg to Buckeye, we decided to eat a little something before striking out again. We hit the Burger King for a quick bite and we were amused at the attention that our recumbents attracted from a bus-load of elderly travelers who had stopped at the same location.

Once we hit the road again, we passed Matthew again and settled in for the long slog to Buckeye. The wind was mildly brutal and it turned into 'mind over matter'. Just sit back, try to maintain some semblance of pace and patience while knowing that it won't last forever.

We seemed to catch a break as the road took a slight turn towards the west and crossed the Gillespie Dam Bridge. This year, we noticed some new additions to the site which included a historic marker that told the story of the bridge and the dam.

These pictures are from the site noted above. *I've copied and linked them from my account in case the site above is ever taken down:









We stopped for a few pictures and as was to be the pattern, Matthew caught and passed us again. This was my favorite stop of the day – I enjoyed learning about the history of the dam and in true Arizona fashion, this one shows the pioneer spirit of self-sufficiency that ranchers have displayed over the years.

Buckeye was... well, Buckeye so we passed through on our way towards the east. *I was concerned about the traffic around Phoenix International Raceway which was holding a minor NASCAR race.

I'm from the deep south. I know rednecks and racefans and am leery of them. I've been to exactly two races in my life. The first was at the old Birmingham Raceway which was event that preceded NASCAR. I wasn't more than 5 or 6 years old. The only memories are of the noise and not being able to see a lot. The last race was at PIR several years ago. I took the scenic route across the desert from the Mobile area on a KTM 950 and parked literally outside the main gate. I left after a few hours – racing in that format isn't for me.

The roads leading to the venue were configured to move people away from the track, not cyclists going past it. I knew that the road going into it is wide but they had moved the east-bound traffic to the far right, one lane, in mostly gravel-covered asphalt. We didn't have any issues but those few motorists behind us were frustrated at not being able to easily pass us. Some took to the lane going west to get around us. There was no traffic there so it wasn't an issue.

We stopped at the Circle K at Southern and Avondale which was covered by vendors selling NASCAR-related gear. As usual, the recumbents attracted the attention of a few but mostly, we watched as sun-burned fans purchased beer and water to sustain themselves after a hard afternoon of watching their favorite drivers master the oval track of PIR.

Prior to hitting that area, we had caught Matthew again and were riding mostly as a group of three. I can't speak for the others, but I was happy when we turned off of Southern onto Broadway! That's one mile further away from the Circle K and one more mile moving tangentially away from the race crowd.

We set our next goal for the store at Pecos and 51st Ave. This is the last stop between there and Chandler that has supplies. I know this location well – from my house to the store and back is roughly 45 miles so it's a regular route for me. Wide shoulders, low volume but you do see the occasional DUI-related traffic stop or accident. There was a cyclist who was hit there a few months ago by a drunk driver but for the most part, the reservation police keep a high visibility on 51/Riggs Rd and have even stopped to see if I needed assistance when wrestling with a flat tire. Good guys.

As we turned to the east towards I-10, we came across Tom Baker maintaining a secret control. I was surprised to see them and actually rode past them and did a u-turn to come back. Actually, it wasn't a secret control but David had fun asking Matthew to name the 11th Vice-president of the US.

From the record – I google'd it – it was George Mifflin Davis:



We talked about our food options with Tom knowing that there were plenty of places to stop as we traversed through the east valley. At one traffic light, David mentioned the promise of food at the last control so we agreed that we'd skip any other food stops and take advantage of the food there.

Now, I'm not sure what David heard but trust me, I was a little disappointed when we arrived at the intersection of Combs and Schnepf only to find an ice machine and a Coke machine. OK – we can deal with this – where's the next market or Cicle K?

As we resumed our travels, I spotted a small market on the left and led the group there. Big mistake – all they carried was Mexican snacks and food meaning the pickings were slim for typical cyclists food. No matter – we made do with dulce de leche, potato chips, drinks and other snacks as the local kids entertained us with their music and driving antics.

It was a relatively quiet ride back to Casa Grande – no issue with drivers until we hit Cottonwood and one particular, impatient driver decided his horn was the mechanism of choice for informing us of his displeasure.

We arrived back at the start of 00:26 or 26 minutes more than my personal goal which was to start and finish a 400 on the same day. Still, it was a much better time than last year's 19:50 but far behind the A-team which I believe finished at 21:40 – an amazing ride.

What worked?

  • Riding with David and Matthew – good friends, good riders

  • Our speeds were respectable without killing ourselves

  • No flats and no significant equipment issues

  • The A-team - a very good group of riders!


What didn't work?

  • We goofed up a little with food – we really need to be more cognizant of our needs and not purposely ride past so many food stops.

  • My Garmin 810 locked up and FUBAR'd my ride data. I hate when that happens since it's nice to have the route plugged in but we did well without any GPS routing just the same.

  • I was cold - one more layer would have been nice but luckily, it didn't reach the 'miserable' setting.

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Old 03-03-2013, 10:56 PM   #27521
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k7 View Post
One good thing about repeating a brevet you're ridden in the past is that you're given an opportunity to better your previous results. One downside is that you know the areas that combines high traffic and rude drivers....not be confused with high traffic and rude cyclists.

This is a route that circles from Casa Grande to Gila Bend and then traverses Phoenix from west-to-east where we eventually turn south and west back to Casa Grande.
...
Thanks for that whole report! I've always been curious about randonneuring and brevets. The longest day I ever did was ~126 miles, but on tour, so I was very loaded down. I would be perfectly content to just nail a double century one of these days...Congrats on this one!
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:57 AM   #27522
k7
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The future of US pro cycling?

After reading this, I remain hopeful about pro cycling's future.

"Dombrowski also took into heavy consideration Sky’s uncompromising stance against doping. While teams of the past often facilitated doping, today most squads make a public show about denouncing cheaters. Sky’s strict no-tolerance measure meant it had to part ways with some skilled people last fall, including Bobby Julich, a former Armstrong teammate."

k7 screwed with this post 03-04-2013 at 08:22 AM
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Old 03-04-2013, 09:02 AM   #27523
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Wow, Gerry. Just wow.

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Old 03-04-2013, 09:31 AM   #27524
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Good on you, Gerry. Don't worry about that Garmin data crap. It's just crap. The time not the avg speed, is what counts. I have found my Edge 200 to be much less accurate than a properly calibrated cyclometer. Or maybe my slow friends are just magically faster, even though I have to wait on them at all trail intersections.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:39 AM   #27525
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SRAM XX1, first impressions

Saturday night I took delivery of my new Epic S-Works, which is fitted with SRAM's 1x11 drivetrain. Some observations I've made are as follows:

1. My worry that the XX1 wouldn't have the gear ratio I need for very steep climbs proved to be unfounded. The 42 tooth gear in back gives me more torque than I'm ever likely to need -- even more than the lowest gear combination on the conventional 2x10 and 3x10 drivetrains my two previous mountain bikes had. At the same time, the smallest cog in back is designed for speeds I'll probably never achieve on local trails. I can only assume it's there for pedaling downhill, because it's just crazy fast.

2. Shifting into the correct gear on the go will take a lot of relearning. The difference between one gear and the next on the XX1 is enormous. I'd grown used to shifting two gears at a time on a 2x10 because shifting only one gear didn't make a noticeable difference. Not so on the XX1. This is especially important to remember when downshifting, because holding down the shift lever too long will automatically shift two gears rather than one. This is how it's supposed to work with conventional drivetrains, but if used injudiciously with the XX1, you'll suddenly find yourself pedaling madly against no resistance.

3. Chain slap is a thing of the past with the XX1. There's one very bumpy descent at my local trail which would cause the chain on my other 29er to slam wildly againtst the swingarm, making quite a racket. The XX1 made no sound at all, just as if the bike had come equipped with a chain tensioner.

4. Shifting is the smoothest of any bike I've ever ridden. Instead of the customary scraping sound the chain makes as it moves from one cog to the other, this one just makes a quiet 'thunk'. The ghost shifting which plagued my previous 29er is, I'm happy to say, a distant memory as well.



I had some trepidation about 'beta testing' something totally new, but the owner of a local dealership offered to sell me the XX1 system at $500 below retail and charged me nothing to install it, so I decided it wasn't a deal I could pass up. Mine is the first bike in the area to have the XX1, so it will be on display at his shop for most of the week, when I'm not riding it.
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