Tuesday, December 04, 2007

8 Hours of Boggs III

Open Registration for Boggs III just opened up!

Race is Saturday, April 5th, 2008 9:00am to 5:00pm and only $55

More info at Bike Monkey

The Velo Nerds will be well represented there and we're really looking forward to it!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Two thumbs up for Shimano SPD pedals

I've been riding Time ATAC pedals since 1998. I started in Boston since they were praised for their ability to shed mud, and I used to ride through quite a bit of it. Then I ended up with 3 bikes I rode regularly and they all had Time pedals and I only had one pair of shoes so moving over systems would be a serious cash investment. But for the last few years I've been increasingly disappointed with them. I had to replace my cleats every 9 months since they made from soft brass and I also would replace the top plates on the pedals (older Time ATAC) every year or so and those weren't cheap. But no matter how maintained I kept them, after a month or so my foot would always slide to the outside side of the pedal and leave my foot at a funny angle. It always felt weird but never hurt or anything.

I finally bit the bullet and got 3 pairs of Shimano SPD pedals (1 * pd520 and 2 * m970) and I *LOVE* them. My feet stay exactly where they're supposed to be and click in and out with no problems. I looked on ebay and found some great prices and got in touch with the good folks at Cycle Smithy. If you're looking for a deal, get in touch with them (and maybe haggle a bit). After looking at the two models, I'm not sure the 970 warrants almost 3 times the price of the 520's but they don't have Shimano written in ugly letters on the side and they do say XTR all over them and I'm a slut for the XTR stuff. The weight advantage was negligible. I feel like the XTR 970's have a little more float. Either way I'm super happy with my new pedals!

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's hard out there for a derailleur

It must be because we get to ride in pristine redwood forests every single day, but we sure seem to get through a lot of derailleurs and hangers on our rides. Nicole holds the world record breaking at least 4 in the last year complete with hard to find Ellsworth hangers too. I broke an XTR rear derailleur that was less than a week old, what's worse was that we weren't even supposed to be there, we were lost and it was all my fault too. Don't be fooled that we're just a bunch of dorks who don't know what the limit screws are for, these were all legit sticks in spokes or hitting obstacles on the side of the trail. But the worst was yesterday, Erin came out for her very first ride with us and only the second ride on her new Blur and right near the end (whether she liked it or not it was going to be the end) of the ride, her jacket fell out of her pack and got caught up in her wheel and totally borked up her new derailleur. But as usual it's all fixed and ready to go and we'll keep on riding.

Remember: You read it here first, we totaly scooped Velo News on this one :)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Whiskeytown 9-5

Several VeloNerds and associates went to the Whiskeytown 8 hr race this weekend and it was a HUGE success, so awesome.

Results:

DJ: 8 laps (2nd place!)
Me: 7 laps (4th place)
Nicole: 6 laps
Ben: 6 laps (riding with Nicole)
Sophie: 5 laps
Geo: 5 laps (3rd in clydesdale)

2 of Nicole's laps didn't get counted since she didn't go through the transition so Sophie got 1st and Nicole 2nd

the course was awesome (9.5miles approx), kinda like riding at Boggs, a great mix of single track, technical and climbing and some fire roads. The overall feeling of the race was just like racing should be, very friendly and supportive really cool. Must do again. Also heard of a 8 hrs of Boggs that's in March.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

24 Hours of Adrenaline at Laguna Seca, Sept 2007 Results


LapDJJunKyleScottyTime
11:16:00


12:00:00
2
1:07:00

13:16:00
3

1:15:00
14:23:00
4


1:20:0015:38:00
51:09:00


16:58:00
6
1:07:00

18:07:00
7

1:18:00
19:14:00
8


1:22:0020:32:00
91:12:00


21:54:00
10
1:09:00

23:06:00
11

1:18:00
0:15:00
12


1:22:001:33:00
131:13:00


2:55:00
14
1:15:00

4:08:00
15

1:20:00
5:23:00
16


1:19:006:43:00
171:11:00


8:02:00
18

1:19:00
9:13:00
19



10:32:00
Best1:09:001:07:001:15:001:19:00

Worst1:16:001:15:001:20:001:22:00

Avg1:12:121:09:301:18:001:20:45








Number:208


Rank:4 out of 10


Number of Laps:18


Race Time:22:46:23


DJ wishes it be known that his first lap (like all first laps in the results we post) includes the run, and also a 5 minute delay since they were held back for 5 minutes after the soloists left.

24 Hours of Adrenaline at Laguna Seca, Sept 2007

We might as well have planted a flag when we showed up on Friday. 24 Island was ours and the family of friends that filtered in over the next few hours filled out our ranks with enough laughter and beer to cement another weekend in the sweetest camp area at Laguna Seca. OK, that and the waving BR beacon light over the kitchen.

Thanks to everyone who made this weekend the grand time that it was. The heat and the course combined made for a hearty bowl of hurt that we all took heaping spoonfuls from. But the generosity of comrades and good spirit shared around meals and the fire made it as festive and friendly as ever. Thanks to folks who brought firewood (some by the truckload!), went on water and ice runs, kept the lanterns lit, and all the million things that you did that kept our half of 24 Island feeling like home away from home.

Here's how the Velonerd race went, from my perspective:

DJ unselfishly offered up his body just before noon to take the traditional place of the newbie (Scott) whose ankle was still recovering. At the start line, we kept him and Caroline company. Suddenly, everyone else was gone and DJ and Caroline turned on their heels to chase down the horde. Up the hill and around the flag they ran, and as the masses filed through, there was DJ near the front of the pack! What a sprinter, he took off and burned off a mega fast lap through all the dust and traffic. All I could think of, being next in the rotation, was, "What? He's back ALREADY!" That was an oft-repeated thought for the rest of the 24 hours.

I did a lap in the 90 degree heat and promptly began dehydration cramps, limping the last mile home. That would set the (whiny) tone for me the rest of the race. Charlotte did her level best to massage away the spasms and without her I would probably not have made it back to camp. OK, I feigned pain to get her attention -- who wouldn't?

Kyle was next in the rotation, the only rider on our team on a hardtail (but 29'er!). He set the standard for consistency and was --well -- consistently fast throughout the race. Even faster for his last lap, when he looked at his watch and turned on his afterburners to cut his time down and get us out ahead of Trailhead Cycles. He beat them back to the timing tent by one minute to get our next rider out the course. Did I mention he drove from and back home to Sacramento on his own?

Scott was our newest Velonerd, coming all the way from Reno to crank out amazing lap times. He'd never seen the course until his first lap and had never done a night ride. Totally amazing performance from Mr. Stimson. He was feeling so good near the end, he took my turn in the rotation, following close on the heels of Kyle's superman effort, and almost made it in by noon, really giving Trailhead Cycles a run for their money.

Alex was there to keep our drink index up and to supply amazing fire-throwing talent to the night. Even with a broken clavicle, he pre-rode the course with us and moved picnic tables around to create the kitchen. He's also been kind enough to post our results on the Velonerds website.

Way to represent, Pocket Protector Peloton!

Race report by Jun. More pictures available.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Why tubeless tires suck

I'm posting a rant. You may disagree with me (It's allowed) it's unlikely you'll change my mind. This is starting to get as firmly set in my mind as specialized water bottles are the only way to go, widek bells are the only bells and Thule side arm and T2 racks are the only ones worth having. I still love my cable disk brakes. and oh yeah, race face sucks.

Tubeless tires suck (in my opinion) for the following reasons.
  1. They leak air. You either put goop in there which reduces your weight savings or you pump them up all the time. This might be due to my first set being Panaracer Fire XC Pro UST which really suck, you could see the goop coming out all over the tire it was like a sieve. Kenda have been better, but the goop got between the layers and made a tire tumor that killed the tire (they replaced it, but lectured me not to use goop in tires, even though my Hutchinson New Python's came with goop!).

  2. Flats on trails, you end up not wanting to fix flats on trails and trying to hobble home on really low tires. If you use goop, putting in a tube on the trail is really messy and when you come to take that tube out when you get home it's ruined and goopy. Even if you don't use goop it's still going to be a pain taking out that valve stem and trying desperately not to lose it since you won't have a spare. It's always going to take longer than just swapping out a tube.

  3. Setting the tire. I have an air compressor and I've still had to give up on a Kenda UST tire being tubeless since I still can't get it to sit right on my tires. They have raised writing on the side that lets air escape too much for them to clip onto the rim as they come out of the inner ridge. It's always crap shoot as to whether it's going to be easy, or an hour trying to put a new tire on.

  4. Pinch flats. I got a pinch flat in my Hutchinson New Python UST from the railway tracks by Rincon, the tire is pretty much toast now. $50 wasted and I only rode about 60 miles on them. I'm not even sure I can use them with a tube (but I'm likely to try).

  5. Cost. tubeless tires cost at the very least $25 usually $35 to $50. I can get a lot of really nice tubed tires for $20 (plus $3/tube of course!).

  6. Valve stem bending. If the valve in my UST rim gets bent by a pump I need to get a new one, which is going to be a pain since no one stocks them.

  7. I don't run low pressure anyway. I run 40psi in my tires, tubed or tubeless, it's a nice round number that's easy to hit on the pump dial and I'm used to how my bike rides at that pressure. Any less pressure and I would seriously worry about damaging my rims, making them useless for all tubeless tires.

  8. Tire choice. There's so much more choice in tubed tires than tubeless. for the race at Laguna Seca I was looking for a semi-slick <= 2.0" tire and it took ages to find the Python UST. there are a gazillion tubed tires I could run.

  9. Talcum powder. I like to put talcum powder in between my inner tube and tire, I miss the smell when I'm changing a tire on the trail.

  10. Building tubeless wheels is kinda weird. I have Mavic 819 disc tubeless, I think, you screw a nipple holder into the rim, it's clever, lots of revolving weight and lots of nooks and crannies to get dirt in I'll never clean out.

That's all I can think of, I'm sure you can easily come up with 10 explanations of why all my reasons are wrong.

Here's a nice rebuttal from JohnG.

I think one's experience with UST tires largely depends on three factors:
  1. The rockiness of the terrain you ride
  2. The tires you use
  3. Your weight
While I like Panaracers for other applications, their UST models *suck*. They burp constantly. Other makers offer models with beefier beads or casing, but these are monsters to mount and seat properly. As an alternative, I suggest Continental Vertical Pro 2.3 USTs. They have been solid for me the last year or so. Dave Cohen also uses them.

USTs make the most sense if you are riding sharp rocks on a regular basis. In the Bay Area, such trails don't exist (with a few exceptions). But up here in the Sierra, we have trails that are nothing but rocks. For a 200+ lbs guy like me, tubed tires are a pain because I pinch flat so frequently on the technical trails I love to ride. After riding USTs for 3-4 years now, I won't be going back to tubed tires again.

You might also be interested in what James has to say over at Lactic Acid Threshold.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

2007 24hoa Results

The results are in barely 36 hours after the race finished, awesome.

We came 9th out of 27 teams in our category with 20 laps (we went out for one more lap but came in just 2 minutes after the 25 hour cutoff time). I was super stoked that we went out for that final lap, even though as it turned out it wouldn't have affected our results at all.

It was the best race yet, we were competing heavily with the Google Earthlings and also Team MBOSC which made it more exciting (and stressful).

Hopefully we can post a wordy blog post with pictures and all but for now youll just have to deal with our new laptimes layout. This works great in a spreadsheet (like docs.google.com).

LapKyleCarlosArkSteveJunTime
11:08



10:00
2
1:06


11:08
3

1:06

12:14
4


1:10
13:20
5



0:5914:30
61:12



15:29
7
1:07


16:41
8

1:06

17:48
9


1:12
18:54
10



1:0020:06
111:17



21:06
12
1:16


22:23
13
1:30


23:39
14


1:23
1:09
15



1:132:32
161:15



3:45
17

1:09

5:00
18

1:09

6:09
19


1:21
7:18
20



1:028:39






9:41







Best1:081:061:061:100:59
Worst1:171:301:091:231:13
Avg1:131:14:451:07:301:16:301:03:30







Number:
225



Rank:
9 out of 27



Number of Laps:
20



Race Time:
23:52











Friday, June 08, 2007

24 hours of Adrenaline here we come!

We're off to the 24 Hours of Adrenaline at Laguna Seca this year. Team VeloNerd will be representing in our shirts and ties and propeller helmets as usual! We're going to be camping with our friends from the Google Earthlings and also a team from Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz along with an all female team of friends who everyone I ride with knows as The Menstrual Cyclists but their offical team name is Tits of Steel. I seem to have geeked out (what else would you expect) and we'll have net access the whole time we're there so expect a few updates over on the VeloNerds Team Blog, that's where we'll also post our results once we know them. If you pop by come on over and we'll give you a sticker. The Earthlings have a keg too....

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Two Loops

A rider at work commented how every time they thought about riding Soquel Demonstration Forest and doing two loops they thought of the Raisin Bran box with two scoops written on the front. They managed to persuade someone to knock up this image and then allowed me to post it here. We hit SDF on Thursday and it rocked really hard. Since it was before we had to go to work we only did one loop (sawpit) but it sure was great to be hitting jumps on legal trails. On our way out we bumped into a specialized van heading up the fireroad, presumably shuttling some lucky buggers.

Now whenever I see a Raisin Bran box I think of riding SDF.

Crashy Crash

Here's Erik after a spectacular crash. There we were minding our own business traveling down a trail that had a few jumps on it and suddenly BOTH dropouts on his Fox fork snap off and he slams in to the ground. A 3rd Degree ac separation of his shoulder and a pretty long hike out followed.

Erik was really brave the whole time and didn't cry. He suspects his fork mount bike rack was what weakened the fork. He'd had trouble with the bikes coming loose and so had been making sure it was extra tight and wiggling it once it was in to make sure it was firm. Both dropouts sheared off at the same point and the wheel came out so viciously that it bent the disk at 90° in the caliper.

Looks like Erik's making a quick recovery and expects to be back on the bike soon.