Sunday, October 18, 2015

Nissan Leaf: I Can't Believe It's Not Leather Seat Covers

So, I upgraded to CalTrend's vinyl seat covers. After a month I deem this move a success!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

2014 Riding Stats

Good Riddance 2014! 

I began riding in 2008, and 2014 was my worst riding year evah! 2014 saw me ride just over 1,500 miles, almost half coming from commuting on my cross bike. Only two weeks did I rode over 80 miles, one 70+ week and two with 60+ miles. I also had 14 (yes, fourteen) weeks where I rode a big fat ZERO miles. Pathetic! 
To put my futility in perspective, in 2013 there were only 6 weeks where I did not ride, and they are all bunched together due to a knee injury (suffered during a ride)...which actually started my trend of less riding. Still, I had six weeks of over 80 miles (4 over 90 with a long week of 180+ miles). 

Twice in 2014 I found myself in big ruts where life got in the way...I am currently in one of those ruts (gained a bunch of weight) but am vowing to not just ride more in 2015, but double what I rode in 2014. My plan is to commute much more (with more extended commutes home), as the hills around here are no joke. Also, training for the Mendicino 100 and even some multi-day 'bike camping' rides ought to get me back to where I once was. 2015 will be the year I HTFU and get'er done!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Converting Road (Cross) Bike to Flat Bar

Now that I am living only 5 miles from work, there is NO excuse not to ride..but I have a couple anyway. 1. The final approach to my house is a .3 mile 15-17% grade that is a monster. It use to be that when I could finally ride up the hill, my legs were destroyed for two to three days after. 2. I hate riding that damn road bike. I have never felt comfortable on the road bike (hence why I mtb so much), and part of it is I hate those darn curved bars. My hands always hurt on them, my back (which never hurts on endurance mtb rides) bothers me and even my knee...Stupid young bike shop guy tells me I need a new *carbon* bike and need it sized for me. Yeah and he would love to show me some that start at $2500 to $3500 all with worse components than I already have. Instead I decided to make my road bike feel as much as possible like my mountain bikes. Then end result was easy, and very inexpensive considering the price I sold my Ultegra brake/shifters nearly covered the entire cost. Now, I freakin' love this bike. It feels amazing, I have more control, no more pain of any type while riding or climbing.
This was so successful, I have already purchased the parts to convert my old bike that sits on the trainer. No more curved bars for me!


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Clearly, converting this cross bike to a flat bar was the right decision. Went on a flat 40+ mile ride (that involved a coffee stop, and was able to pull the pace line for a long stretch at ~23mph. I never used those stupid drops anyway, so this switch is all positive.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Excuses For Not Riding

I have not ridden my mountain bike (other than a few 8-13 mile rides with my kids) in nearly 6 weeks. How does this happen. I use to be hard-core. Now I am soft-core (literally and figuratively).
Summer arrives, I knock out a big ride at Hole in the Ground (near Tahoe, for those not in the know) and then...nothing. So here are my excuses:
1. It is Summer and I am on daddy day care duty every day.
2. I had several house projects, including replacing my entire plumbing system from street to every source in the house (and adding plumbing for a new outdoor shower, utility sink in the garage and a future 1/2 bath in the basement).
3. Injury. When using the trencher, I overworked my arms and literally had trouble sleeping and using my arms for nearly two weeks.
4. It was/is bloody hot, even in the evening (going soft, I know).
5. Lack of motivation. I need a goal.  I have always had races or events to prepare for. Last year I was training for PMBAR and the Coolest 24. I did what needed to be done to be prepared, including riding the trainer when I could not be out on the bike. With no race/event planned, motivation has waned. I NEED to sign up for an event!

Me shortly if I don't start riding soon (not that far off now).
There you have it. This all changes this week as I get back on the bike and see how much I have actually lost. Also, Teaching starts soon and I plan on riding my bike 2-3 days a week. I should loose weight and get in shape just in time for the holidays...where I will predictably over eat and gain weight.
And the cycle continues. ;)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Gnarvester: Two Month Ride Report

O.k., now I have ridden this beast on the following trails: Hidden Falls, Auburn (everything including Ruck-a-Chucky), Granite Bay, Fleming Meadows/Sly Park, El Dorado Hills trails, Nevada City (Scott's Flat, Pioneer, Round Mountain and more); also short (<15 miles) in Chico and Mendocino. This bike rocks! I think it is the Ultimate Single Speed (for me) as it rolls fast, is uber comfortable, and climbs much better than one would think (given the heavy tires). Going to Hole in the Ground soon and will report on that ride after the fact.

Also, a big shout-out to Carver bikes. I was having major squeaking issues with my Thomson Masterpiece post. He acknowledged that the seat tube on some of the bikes was enlarged and sent me a matching Ti post...for free! Nice! I was such a happy customer I have since purchased two more Ti bars (for my wife's bike, aka the back up bike, and one for my road bike conversion...more on that later) as well as purchasing some other small items. Service like that will keep me coming back to check before anyone else.

As mentioned earlier, the next big ride will be Hole in the Ground out near Donner/Truckee. While I have ridden some technical trails, this will be the biggest test yet. My number one fear (other than major injury) is that I will somehow crash and destroy the carbon fork or rims...barring that kind of disaster, this ride should be fantastic!

Cruising along Round Mountain

Chillin' along the trail (waiting for others) ;)

Hallelujah! Nevada City = Fun!

This park ranger cutie was so impressed with the Gnarvester AND it's rider that she insisted on a pic.
  Darn Ping had to photo-bomb us! That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Carver Gnarvester: One Month Ride Report

Love it! I have now ridden this beast all over Auburn, Nevada City, Folsom Lake, Jenkinson Lake/Fleming Meadows and even some trails in Mendocino. Rides ranging from as short as 12 miles to big rides as long as 42 miles. Love, love, love it.
The good: It is fast. Much faster than you would think given the big, heavy tires. Maybe those tires are what makes it descend better than any other rigid mtb I have ridden. The bike can rail most corners and is solid on loose, rocky climbs. Speaking of climbs, this bike is the Big Billy Goat Gruff. Sure, the wheels are bigger than most, but that does not stop this machine from easily navigating steep fire roads to fun switchbacks on short climbs to those ranging in the 2-4+ mile range with not once making the rider consider such topic as 'rotational mass' or 'drag'.

The bad: The rear drive side cable-stay rubs on my right calf when I descend. When standing on my pedals, I like to have my left foot forward and my right foot back. This has caused some blood loss on my right leg so that I now have that stay wrapped up to prevent further damage. When I have some time off, I will take it to a Ti specialist and have it removed. I am going to notify Carver and discuss this and my warranty. I am sure it will be cool.
Other negatives: The 3 inch Knards grip great on most surfaces, but sand is a wipeout waiting to happen. rather than cut through the sand like a narrower tire, or float over like a fat tire, these tires grip to the top layer of sand, then slide out as that sand moves. Very treacherous and a few near wipeouts. The same issue with mud. The tires want to slide with the top layer of loose mud and prove very unstable. I am hoping to have better luck with either the newly arriving Surly Dirt Wizard or the Maxxis Chronicle.  The Gnarvester with tire options is exciting indeed!

Regardless, I have finally built, what is for me, the ultimate single speed bike and plan to enjoy many, many more miles on this beast.

Snuck into the video on a recent 'Epic' ride in Nevada City. Good times!