Monday, November 30, 2009


"Marathoning is like cutting yourself unexpectedly. You dip into the pain so gradually that the damage is done before you are aware of it. Unfortunately, when awareness comes, it is excruciating."
John Farrington, Australian marathoner

Well that's pretty much what I experienced during my race. The titty tape worked well although I'd have to advise against using duct tape for the purpose of preventing a rash. Bandaids would come off easier.

I experienced Mr. Farrington's sentiment around mile eleven and cut the marathon short at the half way point. (That's what I get for lack of training.) Although I did clock my fastest time in the half marathon distance, the marathon would've killed me. Next up is the goofy challenge. I'll be working on an accelerated training regimen since the race is five weeks away.

The first photo is of a guy walking in stilts. The word on the course is that he's going from Miami to God knows where on stilts. I imagine it's for some sort of charity or he's just plain crazy.

As it turns out Darth Maul isn't such a bad fellow.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Turkey Day!

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I felt like I should wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, whether or not you celebrate it. I suppose most of you will be gorging yourselves on turkey with all the fixins, no doubt leaving you in a partial coma. My cohort Mr. Shepherd will not, however, be enjoying turkey, unless of course it’s Tofurkey. You see, Mr. Shepherd doesn’t engage in the consumption of animal flesh. That’s a good thing though. He’s probably a lot healthier for it. However, maybe he should try this Thanksgiving special, courtesy of one of the greatest football personalities of all time.

Here’s a guy who likes football…and giant Thanksgiving meals. Boom!

So, after you stuff yourself full of turkey and well, stuffing, make sure you remember to get off your ass afterwards and do something. Don’t sit around and get fat just because the Lions are on TV. (eewww) Get out and ride your bike, go for a walk, or pick your nose (okay, the last one has no physical fitness value whatsoever.) I’ll be taking the next two days off, so hopefully I’ll be getting in some good riding too. I sure as hell won’t go shopping, let alone go anywhere near any type of retail establishment (okay, maybe a bike shop or two.) On that note, I’ll most likely refrain from blogging for these next few days, so you’ll have to fend for yourselves on the Internets. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Change is Certain

Even though I just completed the build of The Greatest Short Track Bike on Earth, I did mention that I would be less than satisfied riding a brand other than Diamondback for the upcoming short track series. I took some steps to rectify the situation, which was mentioned on yesterday's post. SO, what’s in the box? Well, I’ll answer that.

It seems that the contents are eager to get out too

I grabbed a box cutter (left over from some confiscated airline paraphernalia), and went to town. I was pleased to find a brand new, but “older” model Diamondback Response hardtail frame. It was a size 22 XL frame, just my size.

I’m sure by now you are all aware of my love for all things Diamondback, so you can imagine the relief I felt upon opening the package. The funny thing is, I never managed to take the Trek out for even a small test ride, other than the standard “in front of the house” test. I was ready to swap out the parts and get on my real short track bike. I hope everything I have will work. I guess it’s time to find out.

The first thing I wanted to do was dig up a better stem. I complained about the stem that I had left on the Trek, but it was actually pointless. I found a generic, yet lighter stem in my parts stash that would work well for this project, at least until I find a more suitable Easton component. I also had yet another suspension fork laying around, a RockShox Dart 3. Yeah, it’s not the greatest, but it is relatively light and it will do the job. I raced a whole season on it, so it’s functionality is well documented. I greased the headset bearings and cups, and installed the fork.

100mm of plush travel, with a nice little remote lockout feature. Hmmmm.

Next up would be the stem of course, and I was able to transfer the handlebar over with minimal trouble. This was “Bike Building for Dummies”, since I didn’t even have to remove the grips and shifters. I would eventually have to remove one of the grips and one shifter to install the remote lockout, but that can be done at a later date. Have a look at my shitty picture.

The stem isn’t any kind of fancy or anything, but it does the job. The Cane Creek headset and top cap will hopefully draw attention away from the sub-par stem, at least or now. Here is another less than quality photo.

With a little more grease in my hand, I transferred the “jacked to the max” seatpost and seat to the new and improved frame. Did I mention that this frame is about two pounds lighter? Probably not, but it is worth noting. I hope it can withstand the force of my 225 pound ass (okay, that’s my total weight, not just my ass.)

Next in line was the installation of the brakes and wheels. This was fairly uneventful, so I didn’t really take any pictures to document it. I used the same parts from the old bike, with only minor modifications to the cable housings. So far so good.

This thing is gonna be hard to pedal without cranks or well, pedals. I sort of ran out of time, so yeah I have a few things to do yet. Cables need connecting and cranks need to be installed. There are a few other odds and ends left, but hopefully I can finish up in a timely manner. My plan is to take a test ride on a local trail this weekend. I guess I should finish the build first. Maybe I can get some garage time tonight to finish up. Hopefully.

Monday, November 23, 2009


If you tuned in early this morning to read about my weekend misadventures, you were most likely still greeted with last Friday’s post. I had an early morning work schedule thingy that cut into my blog posting time. So for that, I am truly sorry. Okay, now that I am done with the sniveling, I guess we can continue. I mean really, do you think you really missed that much? And do I think that I am so important that y’all would miss me when I don’t post for one day? Geez, I gotta stop being so serious.

As far as weekend stuff, I guess I’ll begin with the actual first day of the weekend. I didn’t get any bicycling done, since I had promised Little Miss Sunshine that I would help her with her weekend plans. She’s done enough for me with the bike racing thing, so I at least owed her a few hours of my time. Saturday morning she did a little craft show at a neighborhood of one of her coworkers. You see, LMS has a nice little hobby (besides mountain biking) that keeps her busy and makes a little side dough. She makes all kinds of assorted sewing goods, from purses and hats, to everything in between. I went with her to help set up a table at the event, and to also calm her nerves a bit since it was her first one.

She’s all smiles, but the nervousness is consuming her.

I feel compelled to inform you that I did have a vested interest in the success of the craft show. I provided a few things for sale that I made as well, at the request of Little Miss Sunshine. I started making some things from recycled bicycle parts recently (I have a lot of spare parts), and she asked that I provide some for the show.

These are available for sale to you, my dear readers. Let me know if you're interested. I will ship anywhere in the United States. (how's that for shameless plugs?)

I didn’t stick around for the whole show, but LMS tells me that it was a success. She handed out plenty of business cards, and hopefully that will lead to more opportunities. I was happy to help. The rest of the day (for me) was spent doing regularly-scheduled vehicle maintenance, so I could transport Goose to all of the local trails (and to a lesser extent, take me to work.) Even though I didn’t get on my bike at all, I wouldn’t call it a wasted day. These things needed to get done.

On a shameless bicycle related note (how can it be shameless when this is a bicycling blog?), I do however have some news on the Greatest Short Track Bike on Earth. I received a package Friday afternoon, and I was itching to examine the contents. I will share it with you all, in due time. For now, here is a sneak preview.

You’ll just have to wait around for the rest of it. I know Beans is waiting…

Friday, November 20, 2009

Let’s Run!

I don’t think this guy will be joining us. He's accomplished enough.

I was the horn da udda day with Mr. Shepard, and I had asked him how his training was progressing. You may notice that he does post on here from time to time, and in his last post he mentioned something about the Space Coast Marathon. He is slated to run this race next Saturday, and his training has been less than stellar up to this point. Nevertheless, he still seems to be looking forward to it. I guess I could run a race with little training too, under the right circumstances.

Aparrently this thing is a huge event and things are really crazy. I tend to think that running 26.2 miles in one shot is crazy all by itself, but whatever. Pfffffft. There seems to be a space-related theme to this race, most likely due to its close proximity to the Kennedy Space Center (hence the name Space Coast.) It’s not just regular astronauts though, that would be too easy. There are crazy folks dressed like stormtroopers, and the rest stops even have a “space” theme. Weird. Here is some info that I stole from the website, just in case you were too lazy to click on my linky before.

As part of the celebration of the Space Coast, here are some of the amenities planned this year:

• Custom “Astronaut” Medal and a “Space” Certificate to recognize and commemorate their accomplishment of all finishers

• Start your race to the roar of a Space Shuttle countdown and liftoff on the Jumbotron

• Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex admission discounts to participants

• “Space” Props along course and at finish line area

• “Space” Themed Water/Aid Stations all along course

• Volunteers in NASA-like uniforms and hats

• “Space" Photo opportunity with astronauts walking around the pre-race dinner and race site

• Opportunity to win a dinner for up to four people to “Dine with an Astronaut”

Huh, sounds like fun. All I have to do is run 26.2 miles. I guess I had better get to training. I have a costume in mind too, although it doesn’t really fit into the “space” theme.

Indiana Jones was played by Harrison Ford. Harrison Ford played Han Solo in Star Wars. Take that, bitches.

Well, I sure don’t remember signing up for this race. That might be because I didn’t. Wow, I really get distracted on here sometimes. I was actually talking about Mr. Shepherd and his racing adventures. He will most likely provide us with a race recap sometime after the event, but I wanted to give y’all a heads up on it. He hasn’t been able to train a lot for this race I guess, but he should be fine. I know one guy that can run with the best of them, and he doesn’t train that much either.

There is only one guy that can outrun Forest Gump.

I’m not really too worried about him being able to run a marathon (I’m sure he isn’t either), since I'm sure he has a pretty good fitness base. If it were me, I would be scared to death. There are so many things that can go wrong with your body when you push it that hard. I have a tendency to freak out about any lack of training (real or perceived), but Mr. Shepherd is as cool as the other side of the pilow in these instances. Still, there are things that can go wrong.

This guy couldn’t hold it I guess.

This is what Mr. Shepherd could look like at the end.

I guess Mr. Shepherd will enlighten us on the finer points of marathon racing, in due time. I don’t want to scare anyone away from running (I am a runner myself you know.) I just wanted to give my take on this crazy distance running. I don’t see it in my future as a runner, but Mr. Shepherd is all about that shit. I hope he does well. Instead of parting with the likes of Mr. Half-Dead Guy and Mr. Diarrhea Pants up there, I thought I should leave y’all with some actual images from the happenings at the Space Coast Marathon. I’m out for now. I think I’ll go running today as a matter of fact. See ya Monday.

Those people will get burned up when that Space Shuttle takes off.

Pooper Troopers.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Build Me a Winner

Here we are at part two of the “Greatest Short Track Bike on Earth” build. Okay, there’s no way in hell that I’m building the “greatest” bike, but it’s still fun to try. I’m building this thing on a self-imposed tight budget (for no other reason than the fact that I m cheap), just to see what I can do. There are a few upgrades I have in mind that can’t be done with the spare parts I have on hand, so I’ll have to get creative. Let’s see what I’ve done so far, shall we?

Next up on the agenda would be the “street” tires I have on this former commuter bike. I like the Kenda Flame tires I had, but they are worthless for trail riding, even if it is going to be ridden on a “short track.” I need a little grip, so I opted to use a set of spare Kenda Small Block Eight tires I just happened to have lying around. First, let’s asses the situation.

The flames made me look faster, honest.

Looking at the above photo, it seems that I used this bike for more than a “commuter.” The dirt on them tells a tale of off-road misadventures gone awry. I have to admit that I did venture off road a lot on my “road rides.” From now on, my “road rides” will be road only. I’ll build another bike if I want to play around on the streets and the dirt at the same time. How about we get these suckers off of here, shall we?

No, I won’t keep the reflectors. That’s just silly talk.

I had forgotten what a pain in the ass it is to mount and dismount tires with a wire bead, as opposed to the Kevlar bead tires I normally use. The other disadvantage of a wire bead tire is weight. Not to fear though, my Small Block Eights (or Crazy Eights as Little Miss Sunshine likes to call them) are of the Kevlar variety. With the rear tire mounting complete, I found something else that needs to be removed, never to be seen again.

Kickstands are so 1980’s.

There’s no place on a racing bike for a kickstand, since I don’t plan on stopping long enough (or at all) to give my bike a rest. I changed the front tire as well, and I noticed that I had another set of spare parts, albeit of a less than desirable quality. I guess I will just toss them in the “Why the hell do I keep this shit?” bin, and be on my way. I took some photos for my own (and your) reference.

Maybe I can put these on a beach cruiser or something.

When everything was all said and done (yes, I talk to myself a lot when I work on bikes), I looked at the new and improved “Greatest Short Track Bike on Earth” and I was pleased. It’s amazing how much of a difference a few parts can make. I admired my work for a few minutes then I took it for the standard neighborhood test ride. I liked it, especially the new wider bars.

Man, that stem is out of place. I’ll have to find a new one.

I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for some more inexpensive upgrades, most likely through good ‘ole ebay, and some local sources. I’m on the lookout for a new stem, crankset, and rear derailleur first. That damn ugly stem will be the first to go if I can help it. I decided to bring Goose out into the yard for a meet and greet. He was less than thrilled with his new roommate.

“WTF? I thought you were a Diamondback rider?”

Sorry Goose, but the only thing I had for a short track bike was this old Trek 4300. Why the hell else would I attempt to race a bike made by another manufacturer? It’s not like I want to turn my back on the fine folks at Diamondback just for a shot at short track racing glory. This thing will have to suffice for now, at least until I get my hands on a hardtail Diamondback frame. The short track season is two months away, so I still have plenty of time. I wouldn’t bet all of your money with a bookie thinking I’ll be racing on a frame from Trek next season. If it came down to that, I’ll run the short track series with Goose. The Trek thing is just an experiment to see if I would even enjoy riding a hardtail on the short track stuff. I’ll probably take it out for a spin or two, just to see what happens. I just hope no photographic evidence surfaces of me riding this non-Diamondback. In the meantime, there is a new frame acquisition in the works, I promise. Just hold your horses.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bored as Hell

When things are slow at the B-43 International Headquarters, I tend to wander around the garage looking for some bicycling-related projects. After the immense lovefest I gave y’all about Goose, you probably figured I only have one bike. There are currently 7 bikes, one almost-built up frame, and two unicycles at our location. There is also one frame on the way, but I’ll probably get into that subject at a later date.

Anyhoo, I was standing in the garage staring at the fleet like I often do and I decided that a project was in order. You see, I have my beloved Goose, which has been my racer, trailbike, and all around bad-ass mountain machine. A year and a half ago, I bought a hardtail Trek (on the cheap I might add) to use as a commuter/grocery getter bike. It had a rigid fork, knobby tires, and v-brakes. I thought it would be perfect for riding around town, with the occasional long road rides. I added some Kenda Flame smooth tires so I could ride faster on the pavement. Being a mountain biker first though, I ended up putting a squishy fork on it after a brief period pf ownership.

I rode the shit out of that bike, doing everything from urban mountain biking to 20+ mile road rides. I added some bar ends for the road action, but I knew eventually I would end up with a road bike. I found another killer deal on a Trek road bike, and that was the end of my pretend roadie adventures. All my road rides would be on a “real” road bike from now on. The unnamed commuter bike was parked in the garage, where it proceeded to collect dust. It caught my eye the other day, most likely because it looked so lonely. I brought it outside for some fresh air.

Look at my seatpost, “jacked to the max.”

I started thinking about how a lot of the local riders around here have different bikes for different kinds of riding. I figured with the Winter Short Track Series coming up in January I could use a “short track” bike. All I had to do was round up a few spare parts from the B-43 warehouse.

Some of these parts look very familiar. Hmmmm.

These small yet important upgrades could make the difference between a piece o’ crap and a race-winning machine, at least that’s what I told myself. I grabbed the usual hoppy beverage, and I was ready for some installing. First to go was the heavy-as-a-lead pipe seat post. I replaced it with my favorite, the Easton EA50.

Still “jacked to the max.”

I had to make sure the seat was in a comfortable position.

Next up was the cockpit. A shorter than I like flat bar and some tree-catchers were unbecoming of a short track bike, at least in my not so expert opinion. I needed something that said,”racer bike,” for all to see. Upon further inspection of my spare parts, I realized those words weren’t printed anywhere on them. Maybe I don’t need to change anything at all. Let’s see if there is anything like that on my current setup.


While bar ends are relatively easy to remove, the grips on this bike were a little more of a challenge. As much as I like to swap around parts, I finally switched to lock on grips to facilitate the easy removal of components. The commuter bike wasn’t equipped with such easily-removed grippy goodness. I would have to resort to the standard grip removal tactic.

Yep, a little compressed air is all it takes.

After a small battle with the air compressor, I managed to get both grips off of the handlebars, and they are still in good enough shape to be used again. I just tossed them in the spare parts bin, since I had some lock on grips for this particular project. I grabbed the Easton EA50 low-rise bars (yes, from here), and adjusted the position. I was hoping to get a perfect fit the first time. So far so good. I slid the shifter pods on, tightened the grips, and I was ready.

Much prettier.

At this point, it’s looking to me like I’m making some progress. While these are indeed small modifications, it’s still fun doing some bike wrenching. I just enjoy swapping around parts and fixing mechanical problems. It soothes my soul. Well, that and a few beers, but whatever. While I would love to keep this post going, I’m going to stop here. Today is the anniversary of the day that I arrived here on Earth, so I’m not trying to overwork myself. I’ll go out and get drunk or something (isn’t that what people do to celebrate their birthdays?) I’ll finish this awesome bike building seminar next time. Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Little Post Kids Ride Riding

We cleaned up after the kids ride, and our faithful volunteers Doug and Dawn wanted to do a little more riding. Lunchbox and I were down for it, so we headed back out to the trail for a little leisurely-paced singletrack goodness. It was nice to enjoy the weather and the trail, and not have to worry about trying to break some speed record. The trail was in really great shape considering all the rain we received over the past few days. The four of us took to the trail, and I took a few photos here and there.

Lunchbox jumpy real nice.

Dawn is riding with a lot more confidence these days.

Doug is fearless, even though he crashed shortly before this was taken. He only seems to crash when I’m around. Hmmmm.

Group ride.

There is a new trail feature at Sherman Branch, made from a fallen tree. I attempted it several times throughout the day, so I wanted some photographic evidence of my accomplishment. Lunchbox and Dawn were both happy to oblige. I sure hope I don’t get camera shy and fall to my death.

Here goes nothing.

Too late to turn back now, and too high up to bail.

Okay, this one’s blurry, but it gives you an idea of the end of the feature.

This is the front view of the end of it.

That thing was crazy fun. I think I did it a total of five times, and it became more fun each time. Maybe next time I’ll try it on the unicycle. No, no. That would be too crazy, and crazy is not my speed. Well, sometimes it is. I’d seen enough crazy that day anyway, especially with this odd sight on the way home.

Yay! We found a giant marshmallow farm!