First, the explanation...
I will be traveling most of this week, and Jon is also out of town. This means that our posts are going to be a bit on the spotty side. I'll try and get some news or ride report up as much as possible, though, and next week we'll make up for this short -- and unavoidable -- dry spell.
Now the tease: I'll have my Polo Pony review up shortly, but until then, I'll just throw out this quote from the review:
"The Polo Pony jersey is made of CoolPlus fabric to help manage moisture. There are no pockets, that would detract from the Polo shirt styling that Hoss has given this jersey. The front has a six-inch opening, held closed by snaps. Hoss lists the fit as loose, and it is... but not t-shirt loose. I'd call it loosely fitted, not tight like a traditional road jersey, but not t-shirt loose either.
Hoss sent us both the short and long sleeve versions. Both fit the same, both have the same look to them -- minus the sleeve length on the short sleeve version -- and feature the same fabric. The long sleeve version doesn't do much to block the wind; this isn't a cold weather jersey. Think of it as a cool weather jersey for those times when you might, or might not, need a vest. Early morning in the summer, or cooler night rides in May come to mind. "
To find out my verdict you'll have to wait a week. Sorry.
I hope you are all enjoying the early Summer weather and getting in some long rides.
Monday, June 25, 2007
First, the explanation...
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Whew... just when you thought we were just doing ride reports, we've got some gear news for you. First up, Shimano.
As you recall, Shimano introduced their Shadow rear derailleur with the new XT group. Well, I guess that they decided that it was a good enough idea to carry it over to the XTR group -- as an aside, can anyone think of the last time they introduced something on a lower group and then used it in the top-o'-the-line stuff? I cannot. Behold, the new RD-M972 XTR Shadow rear derailleur.
The photo is courtesy of Shimano. Aside from not sticking out as far, the use of carbon fiber for the pulley cage saves 22 grams over their other XTR rear derailleur. The revised bracket axle helps keep the derailleur from slapping the chainstay as well. The new Shadow RD will be available this September. Pricing is to be determined, but I'd hazard to guess that if you are worried about it, you can't afford it.
FSA has been sending out press releases right and left. Their sponsored riders did very well (winning overall -- DiLuca) in the Giro di Italia and most of the releases were about that. Now, I don't cover racing here, though I follow it and am anxiously awaiting the start of the Tour, but we did get some info that is gear related.
FSA has announced three new products, first the SL-K Light road crankset. We've reviewed the SL-K before, in fact, I am still using it. This new one uses hollow crank arms in order to bring the weight down. To keep cost under control, they are also using some glass fiber reinforcement in addition to the carbon fibers. Carbon fiber these days, if you didn't know, is in such high demand that it's price is very much on the rise -- thanks mostly to projects like the Boeing Dreamliner and other large aircraft. The cycling industry is a bit player here. That being said, the new arms are only 120g per set, so the use of the heavier glass fiber hasn't offset the weight savings that the hollow arms provide. The new cranks are also 10speed compatible, and the entire crankset, including bottom bracket is 710 grams.
The second new product is the new Gravity handlebar. This comes in two flavors, standard and Light. Both are aluminum riser bars, but the Light version uses 7075 aluminum (triple butted) and is suitable for DH, All Mountain and lighter freeride. The standard version uses 2014 aluminum (also triple butted) and is meant for more burly freeriding and downhilling, as well as dirt jumping -- you know, the more abusive side of mountain biking. Both bars feature a revised bend, allowing for better brake lever placement. Both bars are 710mm wide as well. They are available in 31.8mm clamp diameter only.
Finally, the last new FSA product is their OS-99 stem. This stem is made of forged 7050 aluminum -- forging is the strongest method by which to make something out of aluminum -- and comes in a scant 103 grams for the 90mm length. This is lighter than most, if not all, carbon fiber stems. FSA's forging process yields a stem that is very close to final shape so there is little machining to be done after the forging process. It is for 31.8mm bars only and comes in 80, 90, 100, 110, 120 and 130mm lengths. The hardware is titanium.
And there you have it, four new products that are available now, or will be later this year.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Something I didn't know was that Golden Spike National Monument sits up at a higher elevation. When I saw the climb, I almost was upset to find that there was climbing on this ride (for some reason, I had imagined a flat course). But, then again, I really enjoy climbs.
At the start of the climb, I settled into a nice easy pace. I didn't want to burn myself out before I even made it half way. I felt solid.
My legs weren't sore. I really enjoyed the climb--except, that is, for the last 100 meters when I got passed by someone I was trying to hold off.
There is a slight descent to Golden Spike, and the wind was at my back. I was flying and I felt fantastic. You see, it didn't feel like a tail wind. Nor did it feel like a slight descent. I was crest-fallen when I turned around and saw my speed falling. The descent was fun--especially since the main bunch was on the uphill at that point.
There's something thrilling about smugly descending past a few hundred people suffering up the climb.
Part of the Tour de Cure route is an out-and-back. I had been back-tracking a bit, but was about to turn off and head north. At about mile 55 I hit the next pit stop located right at the turn-off.. It looked busy, so I decided to take my chances and skipped the long lines with this one. They space the pits only about 15-20 miles apart, so I was fairly confident that my water/food supply would make it.
About 5 miles later I started to really regret the speed and miles I'd just covered. I was starting to slow down and I was tired. Also, it started to really feel against the wind.
One thing that isn't encouraging when you're just over half way through a ride and heading dead into a stiff head-wind is to pass several flags hanging limp on their poles. I should know. I'm not sure of the physics behind it, but I'm pretty sure I was riding against the wind and those flags were just wrong.
A guy from the local bike shop rode by and offered to pull a bit--which was a relief. That is, it was a relieve until I realized that, a) I'd have to pull soon, and b) he was going faster than I could sustain. After a few trade-offs and too much fatigue, I finally told him I needed to slow down. Much to my surprise, he said, "That's fine with me, we can't help each other if we're pushing too fast of a pace." We worked together, with another joining our group, for the next 10 miles or so--until the next stop.
One of the sponsors of the Tour--sorry, I can't remember the name--had sunscreen at this stop. So, besides grabbing a few packages of Shot-Bloks and filling up my bottles, I slathered myself with some thick sunscreen.
A side note: Whenever I apply sunscreen, I think how nice it would be to have shaved arms--as well as legs--instead of these hairy monkey arms.
Anyway, the stop was much needed. I hit the road with a vengeance and got into a good grove. Even better was when another fast group started to pass me. I stood up, gave it a few kicks, and hooked on to the back of their 4-man group. It was going fast, but I figured with four others pulling, I could get away with minimal time in the lead.
As it turns out, I could get away with no time in the lead, as they were rotating so slowly, we came on to another stop before I had my chance to pull. Good thing, too, because I really started to feel pain in my legs and butt.
As I neared mile 80, I also grew concerned that I wouldn't make my sub-6 hour time. Though I was maintaining a very fast average speed (which was rapidly decreasing), my stops were adding up quickly. It is amazing how much time is wasted gathering food and taking "natural" breaks. I thought--not for the first or last time--how nice it would be having James be my support team for the ride.
A few punches at my computer, however, revealed that at this point--mile 80--I still was averaging 20 mph. For me, at this distance, that is flying. Of course, none of it would matter if I couldn't keep it up.
I shifted down and applied a little more pressure on the pedals.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
The weather was beautiful in Brigham City Saturday morning. I was exhausted by the time I arrived--having just made the drive from Orem. I woke at 4:00 on Saturday. But never mind the exhaustion, the weather--as I was saying--was beautiful. I planned on arm-warmers to start my ride off, but there was no need. I was plenty warm. I was surprised at the number of Gold's Gym Utah team members. It seemed that half of all the riders who showed up to ride were part of the Gold's Gym team.
What is it about the start of races--or even rides like this one--that I can't seem to start out at a normal pace. The announcer shouted "Go!" and we were off. Actually, at first the pace was really slow. I kept looking down at my speed--surprised that we were only going 15 mph. However, that didn't even last a full mile. Soon, we were up in the mid 20s. We were a large pack, and the farming communities surrounding Brigham City were desolate. In other words, we controlled the road.
Then a funny thing happened. A motorcycle--which appeared to be part of the even staff--slowly passed us and then got at the head of the pace-line and allowed everyone to draft off him. Funny, I thought, I guess this is the difference between a "ride" and a "race". At this point, we were maintaining around a 27mph pace.
Than, a not-so-funny thing happened. The motorcycle must have missed a turn. The guys near the front of our pack suddenly looked worried and we all turned around and pick up on a different road. Evidently, we missed our turn-off. Later, I discovered that this added about five miles to the ride. Five extra miles.
Now I was in a much smaller group of about six riders. Also, we were in a cross-wind. So rather than getting behind the guy in front of me, I sat in next to him and hardly had to work at all to keep up our pace. Very soon we were at the 2nd stop (having just passed by the first without stopping) at around 30 miles. My average speed thus far was around 23 mph. I was in and out of the stop in record time--I didn't even have to wait to use the portable outhouses. When I got back on the road I was riding solo--and would remain so for at least the next 20 miles.
My review of the BBB Winner glasses is up. These are a good sports glass for the money -- $90. Now that doesn't sound so cheap, but the glasses do come with four (4) sets of lenses -- Orange, Yellow, Mirrored Clear (awesome lens) and Mirrored Grey.
Check out the full review HERE, then come back.
Oh, good, you're back.
Jon, as he mentioned, did the Tour de Cure last weekend. I know he is working on a write up of his ride, so I won't spoil it. I'd just like to thank all of you who helped out with this and either donated directly or purchased something from Nashbar, Perfomance Bike or Backcountry. Look for his report later this week.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
If you don't know about my Tour de Cure ride, please see this post.
Today's post consists of two parts.
First, Thank you.
Thanks to all those who helped me meet, then exceed, then shatter my fund-raising goals. I really hate fund-raising, so I am doubly grateful. My goal was to raise $500 for fighting diabetes. With the help of many of you--through direct donations and by buying through one of our ads (NOT the Google ads, mind you), I've reached $675! That's 35% more than I planned for! I'll be riding the Brigham City Tour de Cure event on Saturday.
Second, a note about shorts.
I got my Gold's Gym Utah team (that's the team I'm part of) for Saturday's ride, and decided I'd better do a pre-ride in it. After all, if I'm going to spend 100 miles in it, I'd better know ahead of time if I can handle it. (The clothing--I already know I can handle the miles.)
In an effort to be unisex, I think, the shorts provided are just that: shorts. Now, there was a time in my life when I just wore cycling shorts, but ever since my first pair of bibs, I've never looked back. So, it was with fear and trepidation that I went out on an easy training ride with these non-bib cycling shorts.
I have to say I was surprised at the comfort. I mean, I expected a saggy uncomfortable waist-band, but that's not what I got. I'd like to say it is because I lost weight and now have chiseled abs, but my wife can testify that it isn't the case.
One thing I forgot about non-bib shorts was this: convenience. Using the bathroom (either "1" or "2") is much simpler. Also, have you ever gotten dressed only to forget your HRM chest-strap? With bibs, this can be a pain, with plain-ol' shorts, it isn't a problem.
So, thank you, Gold's Gym Utah/Tour de Cure for reminding me of that. I still wish you'd given me some decent bib shorts, though.
Monday, June 04, 2007
I just got this press release, so I thought I'd pass it on. No pictures yet, but as soon as I get any, I'll post 'em! (The stuff in italics is from the release. If it's not italicized, it's commentary from yours truly.)
Shimano Ultegra SL: The New Lightweight Special Edition Ultegra
Shimano adds a special edition of Ultegra featuring a new Ice Grey color and a significant weight reduction. The special version drops 97grams from the standard version.
Where is the weight saved?
Most of the weight is saved in the shifters and crank. The new Dual Control levers feature more aluminum and now share more in common, materials-wise with the Dura Ace levers, dropping 43 grams. The cranks now use a steel bottom bracket axle, machined from billet, allowing less material to be used than the standard version crank. In combination with lighter bottom bracket cups and aluminum chainring bolts, 35 grams are saved. Another 19 grams are saved between the brakes (-10g) and the rear derailleur (-9g).
New Ultegra Compact 10 Speed Crank
In addition to the standard double and triple chainring combinations, a new 10 speed Ultegra branded compact crank has been added to the options. The compact crank will be available in both the Ice Grey SL version as well as the standard color. All Ultegra cranks feature Hollowtech II technology, using a 2-piece system with oversized spindle and bearings for stiffness and Hyperdrive chainring designs for unmatched shifting performance.
Why the Special Edition?
With the jump from standard Ultegra to Dura Ace being so significant, Ultegra SL offers consumers a component choice where they can capture a unique cosmetic and weight savings at a cost that bridges the gap.
I think that the last bit, it most interesting. I guess that the price jump is too big between Ultegra and Dura Ace. 97 grams, though, isn't a whole lot, to be honest. The use of more metal in the shifters is nice, but you can buy aftermarket aluminum chainring bolts -- I, however, replace my aluminum ones with steel for durability and less creaking.