Hanka where are those SRAM Double Tap™ shifters?

So I got the 2009 Trek XO2 working with my old gear from the Salsa. I am still uncertain about keeping the Campy Chorus Carbon 10 levers, I mean I like them well enough, but as it stands I don’t see myself converting to a Campy drivetrain and if I upgrade to 10 speed I’d rather go SRAM or Shimano. And currently the 2009 SRAM Rival group looks like the best deal going. The only question that remains is one of gearing. I’m not hoping to make this bike a full time ‘cross racer, more of a light off road touring & dirt buddy if you will, so even in that context carbon shifters seem like a bad idea. I know, I know, bar-end shifters and aero brake levers are always an option. But so are flatbars and a set of cheap SRAM gripshifts.

The real crux of the build, besides which shifters to go with, is just how compact of a chainset I want. Alex Wetmore has a great page talking about the pros and cons of 110 vs 94 BCD cranksets and how compact doubles, especially when you go with something like 46/32 or a 44/31, can actually give you more reasonable chain crossover. When I was looking at gearing tables for 2 x 9 mountain bikes, I pretty much came to the same conclusion. It seems most 2 x 9 mountain drive trains run something like 44 x 29 up front and an 11-34 in the back. Some racers will bump that front chainring to a 46 I guess (or down to a 42) depending on the speed of the course. A 44 x 11 gear gives 104 inches development and a 29 x 34 gives 22 inches (on 26 x 2.1″ tires w/ 175mm cranks). I mean that’s a pretty good spread for off road I’d think.

SO, I’m leaning towards using the more common 110 BCD crankset with a 46/34 up front, unless I happen to win a set of sweet 8 year old Race Face square taper Turbine cranks in a 94 BCD double configuration (or vintage Ritchey Logics) I would say that the advantage of something like a 44/31 setup using an 11-28 cogset gives almost the same range. On my Jake the Snake when we rode across the US I ran a 50/40/30 triple with a 12-32 8 speed cassette in the back and Rivendell “Silver” friction barend shifters. That worked fine. I didn’t find myself fully loaded in 1st gear very often. I’d say I spent most of my time on that trip in the middle 40 tooth ring switching between 24 to 12 on the back (45-90″ development). And as I recall, the real problem was when I shifted up to the 50 tooth ring I really only got two more gears using 50×14 and 50×12 (96″ and 112″ respectively). We generally didn’t go over 18 mph, and as I recall there were only a couple of days when I remember us using having a tailwind and actually using those big rings.

And when Hanka and Katie battled it out for 1st at Pijnacker this past weekend? Well sadly the Rainbow Colors didn’t win it on SRAM Double Tap technology, but it was a good battle nonetheless.

Future computers, cyclo-cross and dreams

Apparently Apple is getting back into the Chip manufacturing game again.  We can only hope as x86 PC users go, that they don’t abandon Intel’s architecture completely in the near future so that we can still dual boot and run Virtual Machines like Parallels and boot alternatives like Ubuntu.  What is more likely, if we’re going to play the speculation game, utilizing PA Semi Apple plans to continue to push the envelope with mobile computing implementing low power parallel processors to the point where Intel chips are not relevant.  This seems possible.  If you consider the computing shift from massive mainframes, to workstations and now laptops, the future of computing is largely OS and processor agnostic.  The excitement over so called ‘Netbooks isn’t just that you can “hack” a $400 MSI Wind Laptop and make it run OS X Leopard it’s that the model is shifting from proprietary systems and dedicated hardware moving computing straight into the ether.  Which begs the point that the iPhone is only the beginning of Apple’s mobile computing strategy and that in 10 years time the current generation of MacBook’s with their svelte machined aluminum uni-body enclosures will seem elephantine.

For the record, I did get the 7200 RPM Seagate 320GB hard drive to fit the MBP and upgraded the Airport mini PCI card to 802.11n Extreme.   It goes  pretty well over the Time Capsule for backup with Leopard’s Time Machine.  Yes, I upgraded to Leopard too.  And it boots way way faster than Tiger ever did for whatever reason (not just the 7200 RPMs).  I slip-streamed XP Service Pack 3 and then did the whole Boot Camp installation on a 100 GB partition, SolidWorks Student Edition worked fine which was something of a relief for me.

Also, I have a new 2009 Trek XO2 frame to ride off the pavement of New York.  There are a few more ‘cross races this season and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make them all as they tend to be 1-2 hours away in Jersey and it’s like $30 per race.  My hopes are to ride the Croatan Aqueduct trail, do the mountain bike loop in High Bridge Park in Harlem, and perhaps take Metro North and ride some of the trails in the Hudson River Valley.  There is a race weekend in the Hampton’s and with entry to a citizen’s race your number is entered to the raffle for a Richard Sachs’ custom cyclo-cross bicycle complete with full SRAM kit (so as to skip the 7 year waiting list and selling of kidney).

My new ride

My new ride the Trek XO2

Richard Sach's Cyclo-Cross

Richard Sachs - The best of handmade steel

Friday Night 3AM, Prostitutes on Clinton

I’ve spent what feels like the last two months working either splits or overnights. Last night was under the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan side, one of Olafur Eliasson’s waterfalls is fully visible, but at night the LEDs seem somewhat dim.

Riding up East Broadway to Clinton on my way to the W’burg Bridge I nearly ran over a hooker who had positioned herself in the bike lane presumably for callers in motorized transport. Granted, I am only speculating she was a woman of the night, but there was a man nearby who I believe was her pimp and he did holler some indecipherable at me as I passed.

As I climbed the bridge’s bikepath I had various thoughts, namely how many Johns actually solicit while riding their bicycles? Which led me to think about bearded potbellied men on recumbents, tandem recumbents more prcisely, trolling the LES and Chinatown late at night with an empty seat hoping to score. It’s a funny image I think. And surely a boon to the image of large bearded men on recumbents everywhere.

A final thought: riding my bicycle is faster than taking the subway. I supposed I knew this, and most nights my excuse has been that I was so tired, why would I want to ride home? But the best reply to this is twofold: 1) after a long night riding home is a good way to unwind 2) there is literally no traffic in NY city at 5am. Seriously, I had some beautiful rides home coming up through the damp verdant jungle that is the east side of Prospect Park Brooklyn, riding home from Church Ave. Also at 5am, if you are lucky, there will be passed out tight jeans fix’sters on the Williamsburg Bridge who just couldn’t quite make it home from a debaucherous night out in the LES.

So yes, commuting on bicycle has somehow renewed my faith in humanity, even if NY is still far too automobile-centric. My hope, and perhaps it’s closer than we realize is 1000$ per barrel oil and every road a bike lane.

Build an Itinerary

So I would say there has been something of a work slow down, what with the writer’s strike and all. I mean, what do I know? I am not local, but I do have health care and I did get my teeth cleaned. My LDL/HDL levels are good. I need to go jogging or ride my bicycle more. The rocks though. That’s all I can think about. There is this youth group full of kids in Central Park, some sort of “Parcours Club”, it’s like a break dancing club without the music. They really like Umpire rock and doing flips off of the fences and park benches.

My itinerary is built. I flew to New Mexico and hiked with Matt. I will be in Denver with Chris and I imagine we’ll do some snow shoeing. In Tucson and points further south Zoe and I will sweat in the desert and then in Joshua Tree we’ll climb on rocks and camp out. A kid I went to high school with, Garret Christensen (he starred in a short “Vietnam film” I had to make for my US AP History class) has a blog as he recently completed a “yo-yo” of the Continental Divide Trail [ South > North > South ] in less than 180 days (that’s something like 40 miles a day of hiking in the mountains). He’s going back to school for his Phd. of Economics in Berkeley, CA. Apparently women’s clothing retail is suffering this holiday season, so if you’ve been eying that new skirt…

Taos Parking
East Mesa Taos

High Road

Our first hike of the trip


sweet jesus cold 3k

tidal basin 3k high noon. my god it was cold. i made the poor decision to ride my bicycle downtown despite the several inches of accumlation rapidly descending. enough people showed up and there were enough course police blockades, that we went inside the Jefferson memorial tunnel to sign our wavers and discuss rerouting options. the out and back backwards around the normal 3k course was what we did, ended up being a bit over 3k I think, as we hit the halfway perhaps a little under 6 minutes, and it felt like we were going at a good clip. At that halfway turnaround a masters age fit gentleman turned on the afterburners, while another guy followed, I was about 20 yards behind. Unfortunately 3rd wasn’t even in the cards for me today, on the last 100m I sprinted my right thigh into one of those giant planter barricades while heading for the finish, a guy in a sweet Craft windbreaker passed me. 4th it was, a little over 12 minutes for some distance greater than 3k. cold and snowy as hell, it should be noted.

hope for the American track scene

Slick rubber on top of concrete doesn’t make an ideal indoor track surface. Jared and I, however, were not deterred and took to running some of the “main events” as it were today at the Thomas Jefferson rec. center in Arlington. You really have to love the mile. We were split up into groups. At first we were worried because 5′ was the cutoff, and we were not that confident about our training, but they changed the cutoff to 5′:10″ to even out the heats. Prior to our race Jared and I had written our 38″ splits on our hands for easy reference if we decided to run a 5′:04″ mile.

Before I go any further, I should mention that this entire gym was filled with kids age 5-14. There were essentially no highschoolers, or young adults. Many parents, after watching their kids, would race an event. It was really funny for Jared and I, as we asked outloud, “why aren’t more kids in the mid-twenties hanging out at an indoor track in at 8am?” It felt like an odd Christopher Guest movie, where the rank amateurism was offset by the savage enthusiam of the parents and the tenacity with which some of the 10 years olds would run the 400m’s, 800s, and the mile! Yes the mile! Rugrats!

Anyhow, Jared and I had a good race. I ran a 5′:05 and Jared a 5′:10. Jared beat me later in the 800m race by over 5 seconds, which leads me to think that he should’ve used that extra energy of his on a faster mile. I joined a group or older gentlemen as the lead leg in the 4x400m, my first lap was around 27″ the 2nd around 38″, which I think is promising. After going to little Vietnam/ Seven Corners, we spotted a horse mounted police officer smoking either a cigarrette, or a cigar. I laughed. I think it’d be awesome if all the mounted police smoked tobacco pipes with riding Rock Creek. It gives me hope. That and watching kids have fun running. Thanks for reading.

DCRRC Turkey Trot 5 miler

31 min, 15 seconds. A nice morning race: friends & family. What happened to Bradford Skow? We were supposed to run together. I had a good race. There were no mile markers or timers. I think I may have been 18:00 at the 3 mile, it’s hard to say.

MCRRC Marathon in the Parks

3 hours, 31 min. But we all know about pitstops. And not expecting to run 26.2 ever again. It shows that it can be done. Like Boston in 2000, 8 minute pace almost, no worries. I thought I was going to run 15-18 miles easy. I ran 26. No worries. Matt Johnson was there for me. I appreciate it buddy.

AUSA Bearingpoint Army 10 miler

1hour, 8 minutes. Another nice wet cold morning that lends itself to solid racing times. The Eisemans were there cheering on Beth and her friend. Mama Beattie was there to see her dear son. It was a solid run, legs got a bit tired towards the end. No worries.