Monday, October 29, 2012

The Wheels Go Round

It's been awhile since I've thrown out some wheel pr0n and I've had a couple interesting builds lately, so I thought it might be time! First off, in the tool-pr0n category, I finally collapsed and got myself the Wheel's Manufacturing Large Bearing Press. This thing is a work of art as far as tools go, with finally machined handles and threading for smooth operation. But the real beauty is the assorted, perfectly machined drifts for all the popular bearing sizes. The drifts are perfectly machined to fit both the internal and external races of the bearing, keeping everything square and in good condition as the bearings are pressed home.
The fact that the drifts are the same (just ever-slightly smaller) than the outside of the bearings have been awesome with some of the super-lightweight hubs and their bearings that fit further inside the hub, with almost no extra room. This is one tool I wish I got to use more! There aren't even many shops that would even use this very often, since who actually works on bikes anymore... but when you do need it, it makes pressing bearings actually fun. Though... pressing out carbon fiber axles still remains a bit nerve-wracking! Since I was doing more mountain bike races this year, I decided it was time to build myself up some new wheels! I laced some Rotaz hubs up to Stans ZTR 355 rims; I wanted white, but had to stick with black just for the lighter weight. 28, 2-cross Sapim Laser spokes and nipples. Then finished them off with super light KCNC 160mm rotors and matching titanium skewers. And of course, some custom made spacers since I was of course running my Gates Centertrack rear cog. I couldn't have been happier with the way these came out! I forget exactly what, but they were right at about 1,400g for the pair. Makes me laugh when manufacturers brag about 1,800g "lightweight" mountain bike wheels.
Even with their light weight they held up beautifully! The KCNC stuff was almost a bit too light... and my standard TRP Dash rotors worked a bit more consistently on the long descents in the high-country... and the front skewer was sometimes not as happy with the extra force from the disc brakes. But with the right tires, these wheels were incredible. And inexpensive to boot! Speaking of my Gates rear cog... this was one of my favorite sites at the show; something I've long wished for! A one of a kind, authentic Gates design cog profile, mated to a White Industries freewheel. I really hope these make it to production! Especially with disc brakes coming to cross, there could be a lot more hubs that would work for cyclocross bikes - thread-on disc brake hubs with SS-specific flange spacing and bolted axles.
On the road side, I built up my first set of Dash hubs, now that they have some that are a bit more "user-friendly". It was an interesting set of wheels using the new Mira G2 and Veronica hubs, Pillar titanium spokes mated to a pair of Enve 1.45 clincher rims. It seemed weird at first to have these clincher rims on such incredibly light hubs, but some guys definitely prefer racing on clinchers these days.

I wish I remember what they weighed in at, but alas I don't. The rear hub is a mere 129g though. Pretty insane. It has a wild design, and while I question the longevity of it (though who cares when it's a race wheel, right!?) I was in love with the absolute minimalism in the design. The most impressive bit of this is the Tune style cassette mechanism ring, which in this case, was machined to include the hub "flanges" as one single piece. That piece was then wrapped in the carbon fiber of the hub body. They were pretty though... but a very pricey bit of kit!
I saved the best for last though... how about a PAIR of aero wheels that come in at a mere 870g!? If I ever tricked myself into spending that much on a set of carbon rims, it would be hard to pass up the AX-Lightness 42mm rims. The finish is just completely beyond any other rims I've built, and the weight is so impressive. These were mated to a pair of Extralite hubs with titanium spokes.
In the ridiculously light hub category, I really like the Extralite range. The UltraRear SX is all of 135g, (this one, and it's matching front, was upgraded to full-ceramic bearings), they build up super nice, dissasembly is simple, and even more impressive is that they offer bearing adjustment on the hubs. It's fascinating taking apart bits this light, and checking the fine-details of where the weight was saved! It's also crazy that the impressive Tune Mig 170 hub isn't light enough to fall into this "ridiculously light" category! And as cool as these wheels are... just wait until you see the bike they're going to go in!

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's Made of Cheese

Just a couple photos I took the other night when I was bored, and knew that the shitty weather was coming soon. It wasn't the clearest night, but it was less windy, and acceptable for some "okay" pictures. I'll have to continue working on a few settings... and hoping for a truly clear night eventually.
Much closer...but I couldn't tell exactly what KIND of cheese the moon is made of...
...personally I'm sticking with the conspiracy theory that the moon is a giant metallic, hollow spaceship, since it sounds the most (ridiculous) fun.
I even caught Jessica and Seb outside one night when it wasn't too terribly cold.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Upcoming Races

The cool evenings and light clouds were great for the sunsets last week, and I seemed to get a few okay photos.
It worked out well that I still had Craig's bike last week, and Jesse was able to come up to Boulder and keep adding to his cyclocross mileage for the week. Tuesday I took him out for my "usual" Tuesday cross ride. It was interesting since he had Strava running, and I had been meaning to see what the ride looked like, since I had just been "riding" it, totally clueless.
It's always nice when you figure a ride is about 20 miles... but it turns out to be more like 32 (we took a short cut home due to the sky pictured above; IOW, no daylight left)! I'm pretty bummed that I won't be able to make the first F1 Gran Prix at the new Circuit of the America's, though last week, they did announce for sure, that both MotoGP and V8 Supercars will be coming next year!! Man, I'd love to make either of those races! And they're a good bit more affordable, being only about 1/4 the cost of a full F1 weekend pass. And even better was today's first lap on the course, run by Mario Andretti in his John Player Special World Championship winning car, from 1979. Easily one of the most gorgeous cars ever... and just listen to the sound of that beast! Mario's lap was followed up with this lap by Jerome D’Ambrosio in a Renault RB30. I've "driven" the course in the new Codemaster's F1 2012 game, and it's a pretty amazing track even there. It should be awesome for both racing and spectating!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Long Sunday

This past weekend I opted to sin mightily and skip the U.S. Gran Prix races that were going on up in Fort Collins. Instead, I stayed close to home and hit the first Boulder Ultra Cross "non-event". I had been feeling a bit sick through the week, and this was going to have a bit less intensity. Plus, it was just plain going to be fun to do a massive cyclocross loop, with a bunch of others in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. And I figured it would be a fun experiment on the single speed bike, especially given that the course was over 50 miles, with nearly 6,000ft of elevation gain!
The first climb was a real brute, beginning right at the start line, half paved, half dirt, and climbing over 1000ft. But it was just a warmup for the second climb, measuring nearly 20 miles, and climbing to a bit over 9k feet in elevation.
This second climb had a great mix of everything, pavement, then dirt, then fireroad, then rocky double track and finally some singletrack.... conditions deteriorated as the climb went further and further! Ending ultimately with a steep hike along a bank where we came back out to "civilization". Civilization being a real, dirt road.
PBR, bacon, some power gel, and a quick break after topping-out.
We were met there also by some fans, providing bacon to the riders.  It's pretty funny looking back, how there you are with a couple new friends, carrying your bike along a cliff, when you come up to someone offering you bacon from some tupperware.  Rather than asking perhaps "who the hell are you", "why do you have bacon", "are you trying to seduce me"... instead you just happily grab a strip, thanking your fans and start chewing. You have to love non-events like this.
It was so nice to finally go down hill again, the only issue was that the next climb was going to be up Lickskillet. I've gone down it a ton, but I've never even bothered riding up it, because it's miserable. Climbing nearly 1000ft in a single mile, on loose, bumpy dirt road... it was bound to torture on the single speed. I was psyched that I was able to ride up half of it though - even if my knees were still feeling it on Wednesday! Plus, I knew that after getting over that, the ride was gravy from there. With just two more short-ish climbs and a great descent back into Boulder. I couldn't stop laughing on the final climb... I knew the road quite well of course, but you just KNEW that you were getting close to town, when you started seeing other cyclists again and well over half of them were all out "training" on their carbon wheels. Ahhh... Boulder. Meanwhile... the rest of the Gates Team was up in the Fort riding the USGP. Some, not as well as others. Taylor made a proper bet with Raleigh Sally, which he lost 45 minutes later. But he proudly made good on his bet wearing nothing but tighty whities, some sharpie;
"Lance Never Doped"
...and being a super-fan before the start of the Pro Men's race! Good on ya' Taylor.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Colder and Colder

The weather was miserable on Friday and Saturday, and it was still cool on Sunday... but super clear!
I wanted to say something political for a second... but I won't get drawn into that trap. Thank me later. I'm considering bailing on the USGP this weekend, to get some good ol' fashioned cx racing in. This one looks too good to pass up. Likely to be a monster on the singlespeed but would almost seem like cheating on a geared bike. Who's game!?
One good thing about the weather getting colder, is that it means Sweet Baby Jeebus's birthday is coming soon! And well, I think I've been a pretty good boy this year;
You know... just sayin'... if you need hints or anything...there's a new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 45th Anniversary Edition

Friday, October 5, 2012

Seb Fly Don't Bother Me

I absolutely love the hysterical, sadistic laugh...
You have to understand that the "slap" in this movie and the resulting manic laughing is caused by mom wandering around killing flies dead. If we aren't careful, the next thing he'll love is having us lock him in a cage.
Or else he and his cousin will form a biker gang.

It's Already Time for Fall!?

Straight from a "summer" post, to a "fall" post... oh well.  Maybe the shorter days and colder weather will give me more inside-time, to update the blog again?

Well, at least Sebastian is excited about fall... and the endless amounts of mud and sand that the colder, wetter weather brings.

The little man is growing fast, and routinely goes for "walks" of his own now... we don't need no stinkin' stroller!

At least the colder nights mean clearer mornings, and scenic mountains.