Friday, December 31, 2010

Trek Versus Specialized and Other Thoughts

I've noticed a spike in my HTC- Highroad and Specialized post lately. I figure I would follow-up with another post looking more into them and a few other teams. It has come down to Specialized versus Trek.

I have come to the conclusion that the merger between HTC-Highroad and Specialized is indeed a political one. It seems that Trek bikes and Specialized run a sort of high-stakes rivalry in the pro-cycling world. It comes down to who can sponsor the biggest and the best. Trek, as you all know has sponsored 7-time Tour de France champion, Lance A., and his team throughout that reign. Trek also sponsored Lance's Team Astana  including Alberto Contador's wins and continue to support his Team Radioshack.

Trek made a big leap to sponsor the Schleck brother's team project for the coming season with huge names to their team like powerhouse Fabian Cancellara, the ever-ready teammate Jens Voigt, and young-gun Frenchman, Brice Feillu. This huge sponsorship deal probably got Specialized a little scared. They lost the big names they were sponsoring on Team Saxobank in 2010. But let's keep in mind that they will be continuing to sponsor Team Saxobank for 2011 with Alberto.

They probably thought to themselves... If we can't sponsor the number one team, we might as well sponsor the one who gets the most wins. HTC-Highroad with Mark Cavendish is where they've turned. It's all politics in my book. I come to this conclusion because I have become enlightened to the fact that Specialized target man isn't so happy about the new team bike sponsor.

Mark Cavendish isn't a happy man for the bike switch. In fact, it has been highly rumored that Cav. has asked that he be allowed to still ride and race his trusted, proven, beautiful Scott Addict bike for the 2011 season, but have it painted as a Specialized bike. If only, Mark. This will be the last year on Mark's contract with his HTC- Highroad. Who knows where Mark will go after this, but he may find he misses his Scott bike.

The rivalry between these bike companies will probably not spell a big thing when it comes to the 2011 season, but it's interesting to look into how things go for these big businesses and how important it is for them to sponsor the biggest and the best. I am a huge fan of Scott, but certainly not Trek. I am okay with Specialized, but yeah I really don't like Trek. I think anyone that shows up to a race with a Trek must be a Lance fan and I think Lance fans must be illiterate cycling fans. There are better racers out there. Just winning the Tour de France isn't everything in cycling at all. There are other, better American cyclists out there. Trek does not make the best bike out there. I think someone showing up with a trek bike and any team "Discovery Channel,""Postal Service", or "Livestrong" gear to a race or group ride is just embarrassing. Get to know the cycling sport a bit better, please. Otherwise, you just end up being "that guy."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Drive and Found

I was pretty excited to have found my long lost favorite pairs of gloves. I guess you can just ignore my last post about getting new gloves. Turns out, I really like the idea of having that outer windproof-waterproof glove with a liner.
Yeah they look messy, (I was in a rush to pack) but I'm excited to have them back. They were stowed in my trunk in a little inconspicuous bag that I didn't think had anything of value inside. I'm glad I looked. I might be inclined to get those Gore Bike Wear liners.

The Giordana ones I have are a little thin and one has a hole in it. I may or may not go for the Gore's. I will probably look for a some more economical liners. The Descente outers will be great as I know I have had success with them early last season. It's a good feeling to not have to worry about that anymore.
I drove back to Indiana, Pa today to be able to go to Pittsburgh to take my GMAT exam scheduled for tomorrow morning at 8am. I will be accompanied by my girlfriend and we will be making a day of Pittsburgh after that! I hope I do well and in order to do that; study time.

Which for Winter - Spring Races?

I thought I had already taken care of this problem last winter, but I've seemed to have lost my winter gloves. I'm pretty annoyed at that fact. I'm going to do one or two more good searches around, but they haven't turned up and if they don't still, I'll be needing to get new ones.

With that in mind, I have been looking online for the right pair of gloves that will be windproof, waterproof, and breathable. May or may not seem like a tall order, but the gloves also have to be manageable during races. My race season starts in the cold with the ECCC and ABRA race opportunities and I hope to capitalize on having useable race gloves for this and many seasons to come. It's no secret that I am not yet an elite racer. Thus, my races are earlier in the morning and that's certainly the coldest. 

I have three or four gloves in mind. I have been reading up on them and I would love some help deciding, though I know I probably won't get it here.

These first ones look cool and are breathable, but I hear they don't offer too much warmth so I probably won't get them,

Campagnolo Raytech Thermo Txn Winter Cycling Gloves

These next ones say waterproof and windproof so they might take it. Good price too.

Descente Shelter Winter Gloves

The next pair are apparently super warm for sub(sotto) zero temperatures. I am tempted to just get these and say no big deal to the possibility of sweaty hands, but they might really be overkill. I see that they have a reputation for being a bit bulky when riding, but it is a possibility.

Giordana Sottozero Glove

The next Giordana pair are probably the most intriguing for me. Three-season gloves with a wind proof back seems like a definite option. I could wear a liner under for extra warmth and have these for any weather condition. Then again, it is only windproof on the back and no waterproofing. This is tough.

Giordana Tri-Season Glove

Maybe Giordana isn't the way to go, but what is? I am thinking Maybe I will take these liners and toss them under those Descente gloves up there.

Gore Bike Wear Underglove III Winter Cycling Gloves

Having the big outer glove and the option of taking it off mid-race was something that I enjoyed last year. Near the end of my race I would take off the outer, more bulky glove so I could have great grip when I would need it most during the sprint. The big gloves would have done their duty and it payed off nicely. I feel like that is the way I'm leaning. I'm not sure if these will be thee ones I get, but probably. We'll see. There are a lot of options and I really need to make the best one. Thanks for the help.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Few Pictures... I need Practice

So these were taken yesterday with my new camera... you know the one. I was on my trainer and playing wii. Pretty cool. And before you say anything I was still pedaling! Average heart rate for the work out was 132 bpm. Anyway, here are this pictures! I know I need more practice...
This is about how things look every trainer ride.
Except yesterday was made hot by that wood-burning stove.
Wii time!
Two hours on schedule for today. More E2 means more Wii. If you'll notice above, I have a hand towel wrapped around my top tube and stem. Carbon fiber doesn't like salty sweat. Also notice the Macbook. If not playing wii, I'm either talking to my girlfriend on there or watching some race that I've downloaded.

Lately, I've been really interested in the Japan cup. I think that would be a really fun race to participate in. It makes me really want to go to Japan. I'll bet I could find some pretty amazing riding over there. 

25th of December

I hope everyone's enjoyed their time with friends and family. I have to say it has come to my attention that not only are some soldiers away from their families today, but also some cyclists are away. The ones I've heard about are training in Europe -- sacrificing for the dream. Haha not entirely as "patriotically" honorable as soldiers sacrificing their lives during this holiday season and every day, but I like it.

One such case of cyclist away for the holidays can be read about here. I can only assume some roadies are away for the holidays as well, but the cyclocross season is still hot right now. A cyclocross camp  going on these days can be read about here. Plenty of these riders are away from their families for camps like this just to learn how to prepare to be a professional in europe. I would imagine the first lesson is being able to be away from family. Rough.

I'm lucky enough to not be at that level just yet and I've had a very enjoyable Christmas with family. Here's a gift from me to you. I mean it should only be accepted if you like free, full, online, road cycling magazines. I really don't know how many of you will actually be interested in this, but here it is. If you do care to take a look, at least you can see a glimpse of what keeps my and so many other's interest in pro cycling. Peloton Magazine. If you are REALLY interested... sign up for a free subscription. You won't... but you can. It's got some great interviews and images. Just what I like.
I've been trying to upload some photos I've taken with my new camera, but I've run into some annoying difficulty. I'll figure it out. I must say, I am definitely not away from family this Christmas, but I didn't take today off. Three and a half hours was made nicer with a new family Wii! I think I'll play some before I go to bed. I'm really looking forward to spending New Year's in Pittsburgh. Pictures and pictures to come, folks. Thanks again for reading.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

I just ordered this bad boy for my Fizik saddle and safety. The clip system will come in handy and will prove to facilitate the habit of bringing a saddle bag with me on rides rather than risking going out there with nothing. Ones I have owned before are a hassle to put on and take off. This one will be a breeze. That's really why I can say I didn't have one before. Taking it on and off, having it slosh and shake around, trying to tie it tight and stay that way, being able to go through it when I need to.... All of this proved difficult with a cumbersome saddle bag. No more, I say!
I got a gift card for Amazon and I made a "Wish List" of things I would like to get or could use. It soon became apparent that there was a void in my riding that I hadn't paid much attention to before. I have ridden the past year and a half without a saddle bag. I never needed one. I guess I figured... oh that stuff will never happen to me. Now I'm thinking, okay it hasn't, but what if it had? I've been kinda lucky. At any point I could catch a flat and be S.O.L. 20-30 miles out. It would be  a shame to not be able to take care of myself. I've had my event of being stranded and needing a ride.

With this, I will have a few necessities that I have been neglecting to have and a few in a better spot. I suppose I'll list them to help you all keep track...

  1. Extra tube. Never carried one before. Again I've been lucky and never sustained a flat in a tough spot or where I needed significant help from other riders. I go for tough tires these days. Trust me, I have had my fare share of flats. Oh, they've pissed me off so I got really tough tires. Bad memories.
  2. Co2 cartridge and tire inflator. I never thought I would want this type of system, but I would rather have it than carrying a "big" pump. Oh, they're not big at all. Right, but that's just it. How am I to get to 100-120 psi with a little wussy air-pusher (or wussy arms? shh...). Anyway, I feel like this system will be a huge advantage out there for whenever it might will happen. By the way, I still need to go out and get the Co2 and inflator. They were features on my "Wish List," but I would think I can get one that I know I will like at a shop for a better price than including shipping on these.
  3. Tire levers. Yeah just keeping that in mind.
  4. Cash. Couldn't hurt.
  5. I might transfer ID and keys in there just so I won't have to have that mess in my rear pocket. Maybe even my phone? I don't yet know if these are waterproof. I guess I'll categorize the rest as game time decisions. 
I won't be putting any patches or glue in there, that's what the new tube is for. Hopefully I'll remember to recheck the tire for any shards of glass that might be stuck in there before inflating the new tube under it. I'll either have another tube or Co2 canister in there for back up. Probably another canister if I mess up on my first time using the inflation system. A second tube with no way to fill 'er up would be no of use, you see?
I've enjoyed being with my family a lot this holiday season. It is nice to be recovering from a tough, but productive semester. With one more to go, I have a lot that I'm excited for this Christmas. Ladies and Gentlemen, I really hope you've enjoyed reading this post and I hope you all are enjoying Christmas and the holiday season with friends and family! To you, I wish a happy holidays and a Merry Christmas! Thanks for reading, now go hang with the fam!

Thinking of A New Year

I suppose writing more on my blog has been sustained before making it or having to make it a "new year's resolution. That, I'm happy with. I think my new year's resolution might have to be watching what I eat. I know I ride a lot and say I can eat whatever I want, but I want the discipline I have on the bike to scoot over to what I eat too. I know I have to pull resources together to be as successful as I want to be. I have a lot of great support around me and I know people who know me, can see my passion. This time of year can be stressful and I just don't want to fall back on my commitment to cycling.

Anyway, I think my steps to a diet plan will have to be achieved through steps. I can't see myself just jumping on something without clearing the obstacles. Obstacle one: I am stubborn. I know I have to be ready and willing to do something like this. I know I can be determined, but diligent and disciplined are two other things. Obstacle two: I am not perfect. I will mess up and make the wrong choices, but I also know that once I have made it a part of my life, it will be easier to stay with and hop back on. Getting it to become part of my life is the tricky bit.

That means making a habit of the right choices in food and diet. I think I can do this by:

  1. Finding out my eating habits. - I have to see what I eat, how much of it I eat, how often I eat, and even why I eat.
  2. Figuring out what diet or plan might be best for me. - I do not think I will be making a huge change in lifestyle, but I want to research what kind of diet will be best for me, personally.
  3. Exercise portion control. - Americans overeat. I overeat. It is a part of our culture and lifestyle and we don't even know it. I must sever myself from that and really focus on what my body needs.
  4. Food is not the enemy. - Nothing one eats has to be bad, just the amount and frequency. Food is a very enjoyable part of life. I plan on enjoying every bit of it and finding new things to try.
These are a few of the things I'm keeping in mind on my quest. I do not think this will b a hard thing. I am going to enjoy knowing that I am looking to improve myself and what I enjoy eating. A cyclist needs a lot of calories. That is one fact I have going for me, but I cannot be careless. 

I am going to start logging what I eat and how much. I hear doing this will reveal a lot about someone and their eating habits. It will help me know where to focus my plan and diet. I have already begun researching a few diet options. Rather than just stopping at portion control, I have found a diet that I think I like. The Pescetarian diet. For me, this will be only out of health concerns and I hope everyone recognizes that. I don't need to justify myself to anyone. I just want to be clear. I know with this diet I will have everything that I already enjoy eating and I will be able to keep in mind what to limit myself on.
Maybe this is sending the wrong message, but I like sushi.
I enjoy food and I would like to keep this up through the new year. I am exploring options and ideas for meals. I will enjoy this endeavor!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

This, That, and Another

This evening's post will have to do with my random thoughts accumulated on a trainer ride, possibly where they come from and developments in IUP Cycling. I suppose those are all the reasons for which you or anyone else might be reading this blog... which I very much appreciate. Nonetheless, I'm not sure what to talk about first. I must admit, when thinking about my blog posting and these three points I intend to discuss while on my trainer I did think about how I would get to this point, (of indecision about which to write about first) write about getting to this point, and still not knowing which to address first. Over-thinking much? Don't judge. Just enjoy the ride, toots.

For my education's sake, I guess I will talk about the issues in the order by which I presented them in the sentence up there wherein I listed them in the first place. (What a load of crap I know.)

Random thought accumulated on my ride. Right.  Okay. If only I could remember them. Gimmie a second... Okay. Yeah, I got it.  I was thinking how pumped I am for the upcoming season.

I want to win. I want to destroy people. I want to use what I've learned and carry my passion for this sport in a big way. I'm pumped to race with teammates. I want to lead them to wins and I want a few of my own. I cannot be satisfied with how I did last year. I want to improve. I know where I could do better and I know how I won and lost. I want to make huge strides and be a marked man at the races I go to. I want people to know my name and talk about my racing. So pumped.

Alright that was fun. Look for it next season. Now I think I'll use this to move my mind to IUP Cycling since what I have to say about where my thoughts on recent trainer rides come from actually have nothing to do with the thoughts I've just expressed. I have recently put out on my facebook that I am looking to mentor the next IUP Cycling club president. David Watkins, a freshman honors college, geology major (?) has stepped up on deck an wants to take the reigns for next year and beyond. He's got my vote. The kid has shown huge interest in the sport of cycling, leadership initiative for even asking about the opportunity, and he hasn't even raced yet. I also know he's gonna be good. With fours years of track and cross country under his belt in high school, I think he is ready for a big cycling career.

So now he's gonna shadow me at places I need to go to around the school for the club and I'll be copying emails to him to teach him the ropes. Anyway, To keep me sane on some trainer rides, I have been listening to audio web episodes of Radiolab. I love this stuff. It really makes the time fly and gets my mind thinking. I like their scientific approach and the depth to which they will explore any given subject and some theories surrounding it. I hope you can take a listen sometime. You won't be disappointed. Also, if you're feeling risky, give this song a listen. it was on repeat after I listened to a Radiolab episode to finish my workout today.

Long, crazy post. I know. Thanks for reading. Shoot me thoughts, please!

Lunar Eclipse

Stayed up to see the lunar eclipse last night. It was pretty cool as far as astronomical feats every 400 years (on this date) or so go for me. It was nice to stay up with no consequences to reap the next day. Anyway, I tried and failed to take a picture of it. I was using my mom's camera as I haven't received mine yet.

My attempts are entirely underwhelming. I won't make excuses like I didn't have a tripod. It's camera skills that I lack. I will say that it would get in focus nicely.... then whip out of it before it would capture the image. Annoying. Anyway, here's what I got...
And here's what I was going for...
not taken by me
More training today and it's back to structured and timed workouts. I've procrastinated what the workout for today will be, but I'll be ready after some holiday shopping.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Approval Is What I'm After

Well, I think I've finally gotten to the bottom of the needed approvals for our jerseys to be put into production. The colors are right, the design is sweet, and I am ready to get them asap.
Maroon -- Crimson... same thing, right?
I am hoping this is the last approval I will need to give and the rest will be up to VoMax.

On the training front, I am going to again ride tonight without the structure of a time limit. I guess I'll find something interesting to watch on tv. I had better since it is rare that I can ride with the aid of a tv to keep my mind off soreness and pain that will accumulate. You know how it goes.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Trainer Ride and a Big Idea

I must say I'v never been more excited about a trainer ride. Over 3 and a half hours and I felt great. My cycling shoes never felt so comfy to strap on and my R2 is like a dream... even on a trainer. I didn't have any time in mind, just watching football on tv and having my phone by my side was enough to keep me going. Not that I needed much motivation or anything... I just wanted to ride.

My legs are hungry. I feel like I've neglected hem the past 2 weeks and today they soaked it up and couldn't have been happier. I am excited for the upcoming season. I can't say how I feel my fitness will be going in compared to last year's but I do hope to demand more out of my legs this time around. Wonder when my burnout will come?
It's MINE!
One thing I hope doesn't burn out is the million dollar idea I came up with on this ride. I mean, I haven't heard of anything like it before and I think it could have some real application. No no... I'm not about to just tell everyone my idea. I am going to do some serious research and put some effort into this. Of course it could fail, but I would kick myself if i didn't try.

Back To It All

I'm back in Virginia for the holidays and this break I've got a working, usable, beautiful bike to ride. Alright, it'll be on the trainer, but I'm gonna love it. Base 2 - week 1 is on the menu for this week. This will not only help my physical fitness *blah blah,* but I think mentally as well. 

I need to just take a bit of time to collect my battered mind from school and sit on that bike. I am excited for Christmas. My sister's birthday was today and I know she really enjoyed it!

I was also able to tune and and out to a Ricky Gervais  HBO standup special. Quality stuff Mr. Gervais!
Yeah, that's him!
Tomorrow I am to figure out my week's training schedule and I'll probably hop on the bike for an hour or two of easy, easy spinning. I've been a slob the past two weeks because of school. That's gonna change, sir.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Look Out

I'm proud to announce that IUP Cycling has a new look for the 2011 season! The overall format of our kits remains the same. However, with a few color changes and design tweaks, IUP has a new appearance for the coming year. I have worked closely via email with VoMax Techwear to develop the new look. Here, at least is what we had the last few seasons as far as our jersey goes (I don't have a pic of our bibs like these, but you should know).
I do like these old jerseys. The new designs went through a few phases of options as far as the jersey zipper and hawk design on the shorts.
A few things off, but in the right  direction.
Finally, I was able to adequately communicate what I was thinking to VoMax' art department guy, David and he was able to get back to me with this... (look closely and you'll see the differences)
I am happy with this design. Yes, I see that the "bottom" wing of the hawk is cut a little at the bottom there, but I think it balances it out for the "top" wing's tip to be clipped. Anyway, I am excited for these and I think the team will enjoy the color change and more unified color schemed look. I would like to thank Zach, Mimi, and David for their continued support and hard work for our team and the many others they service. We are happy to do business with them.

They are going to send me some color swatches or something to make sure the colors are all good to go and match our kits from last year and I guess also match what I want. I think we'll be receiving the full kit order mid February. I wish it was sooner, but waiting will make them sweeter. Thanks for reading. Lemmie know what you think, please.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Mental Break. Designing for IUP Cycling

I've been studying for finals this week and tomorrow is the penultimate day of this semester's work. I have three finals beginning at 8am, two of which are all essay. Thursday's final is the last and again calling for my attendance at 8am. I have still more studying to do for these, but I thought I would update a little about IUP Cycling's developments that I've been working on.

IUP Cycling has had the same jersey design for the past two years. I have liked the jersey design and adding bib-shorts to those last year was a nice perk. However, I was a little dissatisfied with the end result and have taken the steps to make sure the designs are up to how I feel they should be - a professional level. VoMax has been really accepting of my constant feedback and design requests. I know they're real busy and I appreciate them allowing me to make my voice heard.

A check will be sent to VoMax from IUP's account for the full amount. I am thinking Thursday will be the final day of designing and I will show what we've been working on then. I've gotta keep you waiting. Now back to studying.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Commitment for 2011

I think I'm needing something to shoot for. Collegiate racing is going to be a lot of fun, but I have to be realistic. I may not be able to make the weekends I want to due to my 15 credit hour course load. I'm not complaining and I do look forward to racing it. Who knows how things will shake out..? The reality of it all is evident in my workload now. I am limited in my training abilities due to time constraints from my work and study load. Thus, I might be better serves training to peak for some races later in the season. Then again, the ABRA racing season starts just as early...

To that effect, I have taken a gander at the Appalachian Bicycle Racing Association's Road and Criterium Racing series events. This looks to be a comprehensive, challenging and rewarding year to race. I know I will not be able to make every weekend, but it would be fun to try.

Putting these carrots in front of me will help me hustle and stay on track in my training. I'm looking forward to the 2011 season.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cyclocross Natonals

I watched the USA Cycling's coverage of the elite men's and women's U.S. Cyclocross Championship races. I have to say, it was badass to see Katie Compton stomp on the pedals and competition. Her win was nearly uncontested and definitely the most decisive of the day. Her national title is now her 7th in a row. Well done!

The elite men's race was a bit more competitive. Early out of the gate Jeremy Powers made his presence known shooting off the front and assuring everyone he was a more than serious contender for the stars and stripes. A few laps in, he is jockeying for first position with Todd Wells. I believe it must have been during that 4th lap, or at least with 4 to go, Powers goes down in a turn and it was as though his bike froze up on him. The chain must have been stuck or wedged somewhere and my heart sank.

I think it really put me in a funk to see happen. I had been looking forward to seeing him win the championship jersey, but it was not to be. Todd Wells is an incredibly strong rider and a well deserved winner for his 3rd national title. J. Powers was gracious in defeat  taking 3rd and knows that he will live to fight another day. He was genuinely happy for Wells and I can't wait to see him race more the rest of this season.

Here's a link to a more adequate race summary. CX Magazine

Pittsburgh's Dirty Dozen: A Must Do

I know I have been missing out. Pittsburgh's Dirty Dozen has been happening for years now and I have not participated in it yet. Oh man do I want to do this. I have to do this.


I know my Addict R2 will come in big when I do this next year. I will also have hopefully participated in a few cross races so my fitness will be in tact. I'm gonna be watching this from time to time just to remind me how much I want to kill it here. I know I could win a hill. One day... maybe.

Gimmie Gimmie

In this lovely season of giving I would only ask that people leave comments and generate discussion. I know my stuff isn't too interesting, but I'd like to see what people think. Questions and discussion are all good here.

Anyway, I figured one cannot have enough water bottles so I just purchased two more from Ritchey. The price is right and my current water bottles have been giving me attitude. I got the 28oz because I personally don't see much reason why an amateur like me would want a smaller one. Well, okay I do sweat a lot, but alright I can't see why I would want anything smaller. Don't tell me for weight...
I like me some hydration. I've been a fan of Ritchey for a long time and I was surprised at how affordable these are. This purchase goes a long with other types of component/product purchases for me. Simply trying to save money and go for the cheapest will often leave me with really poor quality stuff. Either it breaks, proves difficult to manage when riding/racing, or just lets me down too often. I trust a company like Ritchey to make a quality product. Keep in mind, I'm not just going to throw away the water bottles I do have. I've been to races having forgotten to fill up the bottles on my bike before leaving my place/ the hotel.. happens. I am happy to have extras for the road. 

Lemmie know what you think...

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Few Favorite Pro Pics From 2010

Since my last post was so wordy I figure I'd leave this one to pictures from this past year in the pros as I like to see it.
Philippe Gilbert having a laugh with those Schleck brothers. 
Philippe Gilbert in the red of the Vuelta's leader's jersey 
P. G. dropping the hammer 
All the respect in the world for Ivan Basso and I love his fan there 
Team Sky With Wiggo to boot. 
Fabian Cancellara... moto doper?  
Reigning world champion passing the torch. Thor Husovd crowned, Cadel Evans  had a great year.
Win for P. G. 
A look at the Garmin-Cervelo merger 
Jeremy Powers winning big. 
Me in a cool blurry shot..? 
P. G. win 
Cadel going for the win. 
count it 
The breakaway during the world championship race including a Colombian... so close to lapping the field! 
Classy Mark Cavendish bunny-hopping the line.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

First Ride Flop... (Should I even post this?)

It's easy for me to say I'm not perfect. I have many faults and I'm my own biggest critic. I'll save the dive in this deep end for another time, but for now I'll just tell you the story of my first ride on my R2 today and how I blew that one.
Well, I decided since I have missed 6 of my 16 training hours for the week due to scholastic duties, and since I have this beautifully new bike just sitting in my room with me, why not suck it up, layer up, and ride? The ride turned into quite the memorable one. Let's just say, I took the long way home and couldn't make it back before the sun had decided to set.
Let me back up for a second. My ride actually started off on the wrong foot. As I was debating whether or not to actually go out and ride, I naturally checked the weather widget on my mac's dashboard. The  thing reads 36 DegF and partly sunny. "Right on," I think. Wrong. I had forgotten to change the widget to tell me weather about Indiana, Pa from Annandale, Va. I realized this mistake after I was snugly in my room after the ride.

Anyway, my ride was going just fine. I mean I guess it was actually 5-6 degrees colder starting off than I had been lead to believe, but I was feeling strong, excited, and able-bodied. I was actually happy with myself for putting on as many layers as I had, packing a second pair of gloves, and fearlessly venturing out when others would wisely turn tail and sit on their trainers. Sure it was cold, but I was dealing with it and getting it done. Time seemed to fly and I was enjoying battling the elements. Honestly, another reason I was out there was that I had just read this blog entry from Steevo and it got me itching to make my own adventure.

Miserable... I may have gotten there, but not until the very end of my allotted ride. What happened was... The cold and wind, during my 2hour 45min ride, had been whipping at my eyes causing them to do that glazed, bloodshot, blurry vision thing all cyclists will know. That, coupled with the setting sun, made for a tough admittance of defeat. After 34+ miles of nice easy tempo riding, I finally pulled over at the Creekside convenient store and called for a ride home.

2hours 45min earlier when I embarked on this ride, I really did not think the sun would be setting as early as it was. Should have looked that up, but I didn't even know how long I would be, how much (of the elements) I could tolerate, or how poor my vision would become.

What really got me scared and ultimately to call the ride was that blurry vision. Cars passing with their headlights on (due to the setting sun) rendered me nearly blind. I could not see the road in front of me and I did not want to misread anything and go down, especially on my new bike. It was as if their headlights were magnified by the addition of a large bright circle of intense light around each headlamp. I also knew, blurry vision or not, that I was not about to try to head through steadily dropping temperatures and coming nightfall with still about 20-25 minutes left to ride. Pulling up to the convenient store I knew I had no other choice.

I first called my girlfriend and reception was terrible where I was plus I had forgot that she didn't know exactly how to get to me. I then called my good friend Jon and he was able to get me, knowing exactly where I was too. My feet were numb, my thumbs were numb, my body was losing heat and I bought some candy to calm me down. By this point it was about 20-19 degrees out and I was extremely appreciative of my friend picking me up.

I guess that's my story. I feel like an idiot, but who cares? I don't know there is a lot I should have been more careful to check. Oh well... it was an adventure worth of a first ride on a new bike. I was happy to log 2hours 45min! Tomorrow, I'll be heading to the gym. Studying for finals is kicking into high gear. Cycling will have to be a pastime. Thanks for reading.

The Bike

I couldn't be happier about this Scott Addict R2. I'd say it's a real IUP Cycling team bike if there ever was one.
This bike has it all (as far as I'm concerned)! Let's start from the top. Fizik Arione saddle from my R3. I love this saddle and I'm happy to be still on it. Ritchey Carbon Pro seat post, Ritchey WCS Carbon Logic II handle bars and stem. These carbon upgrades were the first that I noticed. It was striking how very nice and polished these look. I did not really ever think I would own carbon bars and stem, but I'm not at all complaining. The handle bar tape, which my girlfriend helped me pick out has a newly designed finish from Fizik for 2011. It matches the tuxedo black strip on my saddle perfectly. (more pictures later) The frame itself is the 2011 Scott Addict R2 and lighter than my R3. The paint scheme (above picture does little justice) is incredible. I am very happy the frame colors match our IUP Cycling team so nicely. Again, I did not expect to have this kind of matching or upgrade in frame. The components are still my 2010-2011 Sram Rival groupset. Also switching over from my R3 are my carbon cages... nbd. Lastly, the wheelset I have been upgraded to are the Mavic Ksyrium Elite set. These are not the lightest, most aero wheels, but I am very excited to be riding them. Pedals are the same Shimano PD-R540 from my R3. I'm happy with those and they complete my bike so nicely.

Overall this bike is quite the upgrade from my R3. It is 3lbs lighter coming in at exactly 15lbs 8ounces (15.5lbs)... amazing! I can't wait to take it out on the road and enjoy the light, stiffness it claims to have.

I can't say enough about Glenn and his Big Bang Bicycles staff. They have helped me through this problem and fitted me with a beautiful bike beyond what I could have asked for. I was able to keep my R3 frame and battered parts and I have yet to figure out what it is I will do with them. In any case, Glenn and his shop was genuinely happy for me. I appreciate the help his mechanic Craig and staff continue to provide for me and IUP Cycling. He tasked me to "Do the bike justice," and that's exactly what I intend to do this coming spring.

I will have more pictures later and a few updates and/or link to the specific parts this bike has. I am so happy my girlfriend was with me to get this bike and I know she will be enjoying her new Canon T1i DSLR! I hope to enlist her services and talent for IUP Cycling and at least taking pictures of my cycling.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Picking Up (Addict R2) "D2"

Called Glenn at Big Bang Bicycles yesterday to discuss the "Behind the Scenes" work he and my insurance company had done to hash out a proper quote and replacement for my bike. He told me they really gave him a tough time figuring out what I did and did not need. I feel bad he had to go through that for my sake and I really appreciate his hard work and effort for me. I do know he appreciates business and my obvious loyalty to him and his shop. I'm glad he gets to sell another bike and keep me riding. 

In any case, I'm heading to his shop today after classes through the snow and all to snag me that bike. That bike is gonna be a 2011 Scott Addict R2 frameset with Ritchey WCS seatpost and stem (at least),  and Sram Rival with some original and newly replaced parts to that. I'm not totally sure what wheels I will be receiving, but I do believe Glenn said they will be more elite wheels. I'm excited!

I'm very appreciative of Glenn and his shop altogether for helping me out. They have returned a second year to help IUP Cycling and we are grateful. I'll be posting again soon with pics and details of my new bike. "D2" will be a fun bike. He'll last longer than the R3... I promise!

Monday, December 6, 2010

New Fav American Rider

It's been hard for me to say I really like any one American cyclist. That all changed when I realized how good Jeremy Powers and his Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld team are. If you don't know how dominant Jeremy Powers and his two teammates, Tim Johnson and Jamey Driscoll are, here is their team website: Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld. They have been on fire this year.

I realize I'm late to this cyclocross gig. Anyone who knows cyclocross in the US knows these guys. I heard about them, namely J. Powers, on vimeo. They have these eight episodes (so far) of Jeremy Powers and his teammates riding all the big US cyclocross races. This kind of production makes me want to keep riding and tear it up in cyclocross next year and beyond.

In other news, it's mighty snowy here in Indiana, PA. This is like some spring semester snow. My riding is still stumped due to lack in bicycle and the snow. Although I might be getting my new bike this Tuesday, I find myself riding the rowing machine rather than any of those terrifying exercise bikes...
Break away!! haha
I'm into my Base 1 phase's 3rd and most difficult week. I think I have to log 16 hours. It's like a part time job. I'm not complaining, but next week is final exams' week for IUP. This is going to be a tough one. Although next week is also a recovery week for training's sake, it'll still be hard to get through. I think I'll be hitting the books harder this week than I have this whole semester. I know I'll survive, but I do wish I could have cycling as a full time job like those cyclocross guys.

More on my rowing to come...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Behind The Scenes

Seems as though Glenn at Big Bang and my insurance have come to some sort of agreement about what the insurance will pay for my replacement bike. It just so happens that this replacement has turn out to be worth more than what I originally paid for my bike. Sweet!

I don't know how it all worked out tho. Although it is more than what I originally paid, I really don't know what I will be getting for it. I don't know if this will have a great outcome, or just where I was. I don't know what I'm saying exactly, but that I hope I can get back the right bike for me. I really don't want to make a habit of keeping a bike intact for only a year.

I don't know what they worked out behind the scenes, but the show must go on.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nothing Scientific

Seems as though the real cold and snowfall has hit early this year, but I'm probably wrong. In Indiana, here it's gone December - cold, windy, and snowy. I mean, I know I don't exactly have much reason to be outside, but it is always a bit of a pinch when (even if I had a bike to ride) I can't go out and ride.

My training program is in full swing and I've got to do a bit of catch-up. Yeah, I got lazy for a bit there, but I think I can handle the amount of training hours required of me. Not a big deal. I rowed for 3 hours yesterday and I didn't bonk! My secret was eating a bowl of oatmeal right before I left for the gym. I don't think there was anything scientific to it, but I just wanted to have something in my stomach when I was going to be in some pain after 2 hours.

I'm going to have to train on the rowing machine for a while I think. Until I can get back my bike, I'll be at the gym. And smarty-pants me forgot my trainer at home in Virginia, so I'll have to wait to ride on a trainer until I go home for winter break. Sometimes I don't know what is going on in my head... distracted and a little stressed I guess.

Anyway, I've got a computer about to die and a lot to get dome today.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Big Bang Back-up

Yesterday, I dragged my girlfriend to Big Bang bicycles to face the music and get my bike looked at. The decision to deal with terrible weather, tormenting traffic, and the over- an hour drive was spurred by my conversation with the insurance company.

I was finally able to express to the insurance agent that my bike frame and various parts needed to be replaced. She was understanding. I then went on to express to her that I felt some parts could be saved. She told me that that was exactly what she needed to hear and wanted me to do. I was thanked for my cooperation with her and the insurance process.

I was reaffirmed that they will replace only when the cost of repairs is more than the cost of the bicycle. I won't say I'm terribly worried, but after getting an itemized quote/ estimate of what would be replaced, I cannot help but wonder what the insurance agency will do. Thing is, the cost I paid for the bike originally was less than what the quote I got from Glenn was... by a lot! Glenn wants the nest for me. He jumped at the opportunity to get me the best possible set-up I could reasonably get. I'm not going to go into great detail of his quote since I do not know exactly what he had in mind, but I do know I will probably have a Scott addict R2 frame. A lot of components do need to be replaced and the wheels are going to be replaced too.

In any case, Glenn was nice enough to fax the quote to my insurance. I know my mom mailed the original receipt of my purchase of the bike to the insurance company yesterday, so they are going to see this big quote before the original price. I am hoping this will go in my favor? I told them the original price that I paid for it and have, of course, been honest the whole way through this process. I just don't know if they will want to accept this quote. Okay so I am a little worried, but I know this will still be a step-by-step process.

Anyone's call as to how this will go. Anyway, I've got 3 hours to do today and my girlfriend wants me to spend it on the rowing machine. This will be fun and I think Glenn wanted to put me on a bike like this one with Sram Force and yes, that's an integrated seat post. *drooling*