I've been rolling on the road tubeless setup for a week now with no problems. I think I've dialed in 95 lbs as my optimal pressure. 95 feels nice and firm for out of the saddle sprint intervals but it's soft enough to absorb the rough pavement SLC is famous for. Cornering seems improved as well. My front tire is still tubed and when I push it around faster corners I can tell the rear is tracking better than the front. I have yet to test it's stability on a screamer 40+MPH decent but I'm looking forward to it. Tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr Max Testa over at TOSH for a bike fit on my MTB. I want to eliminate poor fit as the cause of my back pain on the bike during long hard efforts. Once the fit is dialed in then I'll know that any problem I still have is with strength, flexibility and fitness which I can work on.
After reading about the new road tubeless systems coming out a year or so ago I knew it was for me. I am 6'7" and weigh 185-195 depending on the time of year. I have found that when riding a 23c road tire I need to air up my rear to at least 120 lbs and my front to 110 lbs or I wont be able to get 10 miles without a pinch flat. I know that a lot of people run these pressure's but they have never felt "right" for me. I feel like the bike has no traction on any kind of rough pavement and I am constantly on edge going downhill because I feel like I'm going to slide out on every curve. Road tubeless promised to do much the same as MTB tubeless, allowing the rider to ride lower pressures without pinch flats. My only dilemma with going tubeless was that I needed to buy the Dura Ace tubeless wheelset which at close to a grand was not in the budget. Just this winter Stan's came up with this. A conversion kit to allow normal road wheels to run Hutchinson Fusion II tubeless road tire. I bought enough stuff to do just my rear wheel (in case it didn't work) and set it up yesterday. The setup was a bit of a pain. I needed a compressor to seat the bead and the soap and water trick didn't work. I had to run sealant along the bead to get it to pop into place. I wanted to ride it right away so as soon as I got the tire mounted I went for a short ride. The Stan's sealant had not yet sealed everything when I left the house and I hoped that it would seal while riding. I headed down Wasatch to see how everything went and it was better than I had hoped. The ride was much smoother and all of the little bumps in the road from the chip sealing were eliminated. The tire made Wasatch feel like it had brand new blacktop. The tire did seal while I was riding but I had lost a lot of pressure in the process so I decided to keep the ride short. I was hoping to get a real ride in this evening to really test the tire but looking out the window now it's dumping snow so we'll see.
Yesterday I got in 4 solid hours on the MTB. 45 minutes commuting in to work in 36 degree temps was probably the highlight of the morning. The real fun began after work. Left work a little after 4pm and drafted semi's through the industrial park on my way downtown. Spun up 3rd west and through downtown chewing on bus exhaust the whole way. Headed up to Capitol Hill on 5th north and the aptly named Wall street where I made my best attempt to keep the bike moving forward without flipping backwards. That has got to be one of the steepest roads in the area. Recovered in the capitol area, rode through the neighborhoods and up the service road that takes you to Shoreline at the radio towers. Blazed the single track DH to city creek and man was that fun. It was my first real descent since last summer and my hands were screaming by the end from braking. The funny thing was I forgot to unlock my fork before hitting the DH and I didn't even notice. That's how nice a 29'er is. Maybe I should man up and go rigid! Trail was totally dry except for a hundred yard snow drift near the top. Cruised down 11th ave past Popperton and picked up shoreline again by dry creek. Ran into Bob by Red Butte but I was daydreaming as I tend to do when I ride by myself and didn't realize it was him until I was 1/4 mile further down the trail. By that time he was probably half way up dry creek. One of these days my daydreaming habit is gonna make me ride off a cliff or something. Rode dirt to the zoo and pavement back home. Whipped up some Pasta w/ fresh Pesto while I waited for Rhonda to get back from her Shoreline excursion with Lyna (happy b-day!). Ate and passed out for the night. Gotta love Utah, greatest snow on earth, greatest trails on earth, valley singletrack in March and you don't need to use a drop of gas to get to it. When you moving back California Bob?
Rhonda and I did a sweet little 50ish mile road ride up to Suncrest yesterday. Rode from the house down to the shop where I stopped to order a saddle. My road saddle has been sticking it to me (literally) for awhile now and it was finally time for a change. Kids may not be in the near future for us but I like to keep my options open. From the shop we did a little tour of Draper and then hit the climb to Suncrest. I've got to hand it to Draper. The city is taking cycling very seriously. They have tons of singletrack and are building more every year. They also have very nice road bike routes with wide smooth bike lanes. It really is a pleasure to ride down there. It was Rhonda's first time climbing Suncrest and she really enjoyed it (once she was finished that is). The funny thing about Suncrest is that it's the only climb I have ever done where the climb up is much funner than the descent. I have done it a number of times and every time there is a hellish crosswind on the way down that literally tries to throw you under the bus. Yesterday was a little worse than average crosswind wise but it was way fun none the less.
Did my first bike commute of the year today. Yeah, I know Bart does it all year, with bells on, but I'm not Bart and I dont much enjoy riding in temps lower than 40. Well it was only 38 this AM but I figured I would broaden my horizons by 2 degrees. Took the 29'er because I've learned that dodging road hazzards, debries and crappy drivers over in Worst Valley City is much more like mountain biking than road biking. It wasn't too bad of a ride. Took me 40 mins by bike while it normally takes 25 by car. After work I'm planning on enjoying the sunshine by riding downtown and hopping on the bit of shoreline thats ready to roll before I head home.
I got a sweet deal on a new 2005 Giant Reign frame off of ebay last week. The plan is to strip the parts off of Rhonda's Iron Horse Azure expert xc race bike that was retired when I bought her the Rush for x-mas. There is nothing wrong with the Azure but it's a 3.5 inch travel bike and is too similar to the Rush for her to use it much. The Reign is a 6" travel bike with a mellow headtube angle that will be a blast to ride on some of the rougher local trails and especially on our trips down south. The only thing not transferable from the Azure will be the Scareb 100mm fork so I'm digging around the net looking for a nice deal on a 150MM fork. Something like the Marz All Mountain would probably work nice. Now I just need to find the time to build it and sell off the IronHorse frame and fork. It feels like I spent the entire winter building bikes. Since x-mas I have torn down three bikes and built four others from scratch. It's actually a lot of fun but it takes a decent amount of time away from other things.
This weekend I worked on getting the fleet ready for this summers adventures. New cables for the roadie and some adjustments and maintenance on the MTB's. Also hit Jennie's pre-season shin digg on Saturday night. Good times all around and it was fun to catch up with some of the ski fanatics who disappear from bikes as soon as the snow flies.
I still have Lost's episode from Thursday on my mind. What a mindf**k! I was one of the many that didn't catch on until the end that it was a combo flash forward/flash back. The writing on the show is phenomenal and the only thing I can compare it to was the academy award winning screenplay from the Usual Suspects. Every week keeps you on the edge of your seat and I end up analyzing every scene trying to get the full meaning out of it.
Missingsaddle.com is a new (at least to me) site who's goal is to try to group together a lot of the Pro cyclist's blogs for easy browsing. It's nice being able to hear what's going on with some of the pros not generally covered by the media. Not a ton of pros yet but they are adding more every week.
Back to work today after my 10 days off riding in Dixie. I had one final misshap during my road ride on Sunday. Blew a sidewall on my rear tire and needed to use the dollar bill trick to boot it so I could get back home. It was a great trip and I gained a lot of useful info to prepare me for race season. The most important thing I need to work on is my core strength. Any time I put out any kind of real extended effort my back starts to tighten which forces me to reduce my pedaling output long before my legs or lungs give out. I had this problem to a limited extent last year but it is far worse this year. I believe that my weight training this winter created a muscle imbalance between my legs and core and that the added power in my pedal stroke is overloading my core strength. I have a month till Cholla so I'm going to increse my core training quite a bit to try to rectify the problem.
75 mile road tour through the slickrock canyons and redneck towns in the mountains NE of St. George yesterday and five hours of city limits dirt today. I'm blown. My legs ache, my back aches and my ass is raw. If my car was fixed yet I'd probably pack up and head back to SLC tomorrow, take a long soak in the bubble tub, order pizza and drink fu-fu drinks all weekend. Since I have no where to go I'll HTFU and ride a bit more tomorrow. My car wont be finished till 4PM on Sunday so it sounds like I'll be riding sunday AM as well. It feels good to ride, it's just hard to get started and hurts when I'm done. I'll quit whining now.
Got a frantic call from Rhonda last night at 9PM. Our cat had fallen off a ledge above the stairs and fallen 12 ft down into the basement. She was crying and not using her front leg. I told Rhonda to call the vet to see what he said. His answering service paged him and he called back right away. He said Rhonda could take the cat to the pet ER if she wanted but he recommended just waiting till the AM when he could see her. Apparently cats can fall up to 30 feet before they will actually break something. Thats crazy! A 12 inch tall cat can fall 30 feet without any serious damage. I fell 3 feet off the top of my bike last fall and could barely move for days. She took the cat in this AM and the X-rays were negative so the vet put the cat on some anti-inflammatory's and had Rhonda lock her in a room so she wouldn't move around too much. A car wreck, the flu and an emergency trip to the vet all in a week. What's next?
Got in a nice tour de Green Valley today on the MTB. 3.5 hours with 40 mins of tempo. Legs felt pretty good but the hard tail was killing my back after the hard effort. Need to get in more core training methinks.
My plan for Monday was to do a 60 min recovery ride and then to spend the afternoon helping Rhonda's mom around the house. Instead I woke up dizzy and nauseated from a stomach bug with very bad timing. Why does that crap always happen on vacation? I had the mother in law run to the store for some nausea meds which helped immensely. By late afternoon I was able to keep down Gatorade and some lite food. Went to bed feeling much better. Woke up this morning still feeling a little light headed but was determined to push on with my vacation. Ate and drank what I could and hit the saddle for a two hour endurance road ride with 20 mins of a pathetic tempo effort. Felt almost normal after the ride so all is not lost. I'm going to try to get out for a few hours tomorrow to see how things go.
We left Salt Lake at around 7:30 Thursday night to head for St. George. At 11PM we were cruising 75MPH down I-15 and I plowed the car into a rather large deer who decided to jump in our way. No injuries and the bikes were fine but the car is a wreck. The deer blew up the front end of the car and destroyed the radiator. We chilled at a truck stop till 1AM when the tow truck finally arrived. The driver dropped us a motel in Cedar City and dropped the car at a body shop. Rhonda's mom picked us up from the motel in the AM and we somehow piled my bikes and all our gear in her Taurus for the trip down to St. George. After arriving in St. George I put the finishing touches on my 29'er and we headed to the race course for a pre-ride. Rhonda ripped through the pre-ride and dropped me on the DH while I fought through a rear tire that did not want to seal and tried to figure out how to ride a hardtail again. We had all our ducks in a row for race day but somehow Rhonda still only had time for a 15 warm-up before the call up. Time seems to always get away from us on race day's and we need to work on that. Rhonda set her AM problems aside for the race and rode "her race". She concentrated on keeping a smooth pace on the climbs and aced the downhill. She beat last years time by five minutes and took 3rd, 8 seconds behind BK's wife Tasha and not too far behind Dot Verbrugge who tore the course up and took the win. The whole women's 35+ field was fast this year. The winning time was a couple minutes faster than last years winning time. It was a great day for everybody I know who raced. Travis won the men's 40+ race with a personal best time and he'll be moving up for the next race. Greg and Christan both beat last years times by 5+ minutes. Megan killed it in the sport women's category for her best finish ever in the that category at 4th. Bob knocked 6 mins off his personal best for a 5th place finish. We didn't stick around for the Pro race since the people I was with had limited time and wanted to get some more riding in but you can see a recap here. After the race we did 20 miles on Church Rocks/Prospector which was in perfect condition and finished the day off nicely. For today we had a plan to ride Hurricane rim but 40+ MPH winds put and end to that so we did a loop on BCP, Stucki, and Barrel instead. Tomorrow I am doing a 60min recovery spin around Bloomington to prepare for some big road miles this week. I forgot the PC cable for my camera so no pics this week.