Sunday, December 30, 2007

Homeowner's Insurance...hopefully

First ride back from my extended "rest". Amazing to see the drop in fitness with Cyclingpeaks when you're sick and can't get in the miles you'd like over the holidays. However, the legs feel great and I should have fun climbing San Bruno on New Year's Day.

On my way back I decided to take a detour in Almaden Valley. A few days ago there was a huge fire at a local home. I've ridden by this house once before and was amazed at how big it was. Today the feeling in my gut was a bit different...
Rolling up to the house nothing looked too out of the ordinary, but as you turn up the road on the north side you start to see the damage. The front of the house is just a false facade to the fire's destruction toward the back. I've got a friend who fought the fires down in the San Diego area this summer so I can only imagine the magnitude of what he experienced. For me, this was pretty chilling...

So often I take for granted all the small things that I've accumulated over the years. You know, those small things that trigger memories of past events you've shared with family and friends. Pictures of Paris with the wife, random trinkets from Manilla and plenty of refrigerator magnets from around the world. These poor owners have lost all of this, and that sucks!

What really caught me off-guard as I was taking in the whole scene was the number of other people randomly driving by and checking this out too. There must have been at least five cars that drove up, stopped, stared and then moved on over the course of the three minutes I was there. I wonder what was going through their minds; hopefully no jerks murmuring, "Karma's a bitch..." That's just wrong!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Cold, Cold Go Away

Man, do I hate having a few free days from work and find myself stuck at home due to a lingering head cold. I've been trying to shake this thing for the past two weeks and it just won't go away. You name it, I've probably done it to self-remedy this illness away. Tomorrow I see the doctor and I'm hoping he'll prescribe some antibiotics to kill whatever's in my sinuses and have me on the road to recovery.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

San Bruno Recon Ride

A fair number of teammates (Matt, Ricky, Ozzie, Robert, Clark, Ramon, John H., Matt & myself) showed up this morning at Madhouse Coffee for our 10am recon ride of the San Bruno hill climb course. What a beautiful day! All the local peaks were visible: Mt. Tam, Mt. Diablo, Mt. Hamilton, Mt. Whitney (ok, it wasn't that clear, but close). Also caught some of the LG team up at the top after our last interval.

After a few interval climbs everybody decided they pretty much had the course burned in to memory. It should be fun to kick off the 2008 season with the large number of teammates who are lined up for this event.

The Parlee is still making a small creaking sound from the BB, but I'm in no hurry to get it looked at again. Maybe it just needs a few more miles and it will go away...if not, then back to the shop for some quick adjusting. Everything else looks good on the bike. Minus a few of the unneeded parts and with the race tubulars, this baby will be ready for some vertical magic. Hmm, maybe I can have somebody take my brakes to the top of the hill so I can put them on for the descent?!? That will save about 350 grams.

And here's one last thing to help you get amp'd for the race...last year's hill climb race video. I'm nowhere near the front, but it's a good watch anyways. Larry Nolan pulls the climbers up for the first mile or two then peels off, and folks just start blowing up and falling to the wayside like Duncan Donut coffee cups. Plus the soundtrack is very fitting thanks to U2.

Friday, December 21, 2007

They do it BIG in Texas

The deal gets done in Dallas and I've got an hour or so to spare before I have to get to the post-deal party. I remember hearing that a certain bike shop in the local area was pretty darn huge. After doing some searching of old posts on different bike message boards I read/post, I found it. Richardson Bike Mart!

It only took me 10 minutes to get there from where I was, and it was on the way to my final destination. Perfect, I knew there was something about my rest week off the bike that would work in my favor. I walk into the store and am warmly greeted, "Welcome, to the world's largest bike store. 34,000 square feet of everything you need!" Hmm, sounded interesting, but let me be the judge of that statement...

Yeah, this place was huge. They had 12 colors of every Trek and Specialized bike you could ever want, even some apparently limited addition bikes. But not that it mattered much to me since I can't fit those and they cause back injuries. You could tell Santa had briefed them on moving tons of bikes this season because there were some deals to be had, but nonetheless, I kept on walking through the isles...

After 35 minutes of walking through the entire store, I've got some words of advice. This IS the worlds largest bike store, because I've never seen so many bikes under one roof, unless you consider the bike parking structure in Amsterdam.

But they really only had bikes!?! I thought it would be fun to see more components: saddles, seatposts, stems, brakes, handlebars, etc. You get the point. They had a poor selection of this kind of gear. I ended up walking out of there without a penny spent! It felt like a small bank account victory knowing that a store that size had nothing to offer a guy like me.

I've realized now that it's not the size of the store, but the contents that matter. I'm on a record breaking spending spree at Velotech over the past 3 months. Yeah, Merry Christmas to me this year, and next, and next, and next...enough spent there to last a couple of years.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Do I look like Augustus Gloop?!?

Back off Oompa Loompa's of the SJC airport! I'm not Augustus Gloop or Charlie Bucket. I'm just a guy trying to get past you as I go through security. So enough of your "How's the weather up there?" and "Gee, you're really tall..." comments. Hurray, you win the award for pointing out the obvious!

Yeah, I've heard them all before, and quite frankly I've got a thick skin because this stuff has never really bothered me. But as I sat in line and endured the same comments from the Starbucks lady I decided I've had enough.
On a rainy day like today where I'm wet from parking the car and I've got a flight ahead of me to the land of the longhorn, back up and mind your p's and q's. Do you want me to ask you why you're so short and stocky?

If I don't get my exit row seat on this full flight I'll probably find the shortest person sitting in that damn row and give them a major case of stink eye. It's one thing to have somebody of smaller stature draft behind me on the bike, but dare you take my exit row seat, then we've got a problem that will need to be settled on the landing strip.

Enough of this piss'n'vinigar from me, time to get back to more important things...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Build Details

Time to share a little bit more info about what is built up on the Parlee. This is by no means a weight weenie build, but there probably are a few components that could be swapped out to get it a pound or so lighter. If you've got a suggestion please drop me a comment below:

  • Frame: Parlee Z3 (custom geometry, 63cmTT)
  • Crank: Campy Record UT 180mm
  • Seatpost: Campy Chorus 31.6/350mm
  • Stem: Deda Newton 140mm (stripped logo w/ nail polish remover)
  • Bar: Reynolds Ouzo Pro 44cm
  • Shifters: Campy Record
  • Brakes: Mavic SSC
  • Front/Rear Der: Campy Record
  • Cassette: Campy Record
  • Headset: Chris King
  • Saddle: Specialized Toupe 143mm
  • Cables: Campy
  • Pedals: Look Keo
  • Chain: Campy Record
  • Skewers: Salsa Steel
  • Cages: Arundel
  • Wheels/Tires: Reynolds Alta Race (w/ PT SL, Schwalbe Stelvio), Nimble Fly (w/ PT SL, Continental Competition), Zipp 606 (w/ PT SL, Vittoria Corsa CX)
Total weight w/ the Reynolds is 17.5. With the Nimble's I think it's around 16.8. Any weight saving considerations need to keep in mind you're dealing with a 195 pound cyclist. Recommend away...


I have never been so happy to be off my bike today. At the SJBC Winter Series RR, I knew I wouldn't be able to hang on for long due to the past two weeks of intense training. Needless to say I only lasted 1.5 laps and my legs didn't have any power. Funny how the body just shuts down when it can't do any more. Sure, I tried to bridge across to a break which I made successfully did (and the wattage numbers prove it...20 seconds to bridge while holding 838 watts); so I did learn something about the effort required to bridge. But in the back of my mind I knew it would be in vain as I later found out that the peloton took notice of my attempt and 2 minutes later our break was caught again.

What's up for next week? Gotta take the Parlee in for a few tweaks and stay off the bike for a couple of days to rest/recover. Perfect timing with the wet weather coming in later this week and my trip to Dallas.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ouch, that hurts...

So a little history might be in order for those who aren't familiar...for those who are, I'm sure you're tired of hearing my bitching'n'moaning about this particular injury. I fully expect to hear from you "HTFU", which by the way is my new slogan to my cycling friends who need a little verbal assaulting from time to time.

The deal with the new race bike goes back to some of my favorite letters and numbers. Remember Sesame Street? Yeah, I was edu-macated on my letters and numbers via that fine piece of public programming. Fondly I remember how shows were brought to us by the numbers and letters; just happens that the letter "L" and the numbers "4" & "5" just happened to gang up on me. Put them together and you've got an L45; nothing significant you say, but add some punctuation and it's otherwise fondly referred by me as an L4/5 herniated disc. Thanks a lot Big Bird you yellow freak!

Things were fine and dandy on the old Specialized E5 s-works. Fine if trying to fit oneself onto a frame that is too small is any indication of success. Sure, the bike was stiff, could sprint well and climbed rather decently, but it descended hills like a bi-polar all-star. Try putting one of your natural bike talents (size/weight) to use on a frame that won't allow you to maximize that aspect of what you bring to the game. Not fun; I've had too many scary descents on that bike. Needless to say I needed a frame that would not put me in the position to further risk another L4/5 injury and something that was an upgrade...should we say.

Going custom on a frame is not foreign to me. Did it once on the Serotta and decided to do it again. Hell, going custom has been part of my life since I had to get my high school graduation suit made since nobody has anything big enough to fit a 6'9" basketball player. I did a little research, talked a ton with folks on message boards and came to the realization that custom carbon was my material of choice and I'd go with a Parlee Z3.

I've only had two rides so far on the new bike and there are way too many adjectives floating around in my head to describe what it's like to ride this bike. I'll throw a few posts from time to time on my musings on this frame as the sensory overload calms down and I get back to reality.

Parlee Teaser

I don't have all the info ready for ya'll yet, but there's going to be quite a bit of details coming soon about the new race bike. One word says it all: Parlee!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What have I gotten myself into?!?

I read enough of these blogs every day that I decided why not join in. No specific focus except for things that are relevant to me (family, friends, bike training/racing/crashes, work, etc.)...