Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The New Dream Cycling Trip

I will be a father soon, 1-3 weeks to go is the current estimate.  Fatherhood will change everything from what i have been told.  My free time will now be focused on the kids.  

But i can still dream...

Last year Mark and I went to Belgium for a week to watch the RVV and ride the course.  We had a great time and typical Belgian weather.   When we returned i realized....it could be better.  This time of Europe there are bike races twice a week if not more often.  That means that a short trip of say 10 days could include 3 great Northern classics which would leave 5-6 days to ride bikes on the race courses or other places.  
Here is my idea:
Friday: depart for Belgium
Saturday: arrive, unpack the bike, pick up rental car, go see Tom and Nele, give Tom a bunch of shit for being a Belgian that doesn't like beer or cycling.  Go for a ride to shake off the Jetlag.
Sunday:  RVV  race around the countryside to see the pros suffer in the beautiful flemmish ardennes
Monday:  Ride the RVV, starting in Oudenaarde, follow the signs to ride all of the helligens
Tuesday: Ride part of the route of the Gent Wevelgem  Mostly flat, 4 hills, just to get a feel for the course
Wed: G-W race around the countryside to see the pros (no real suffering here...it's flat afterall)
Thursday:  Trip to the Ardennes  ride part of L-B-L some nice hills, but everything is paved.
Friday:  Ride somewhere else, day trip to holland or Germany, or just hang out and try to sample one of each of the 300+ belgian beers.
Saturday:  Ride Paris Roubaix, come on ....it's flat
Sunday:  Paris Roubaix, watch the pros suffer on cobbles.
Monday:  Go home
Looks like fun,  maybe 2011????  
Wonder if Tom will be in his house by then??? Doubt it. :-)

Monday, February 23, 2009

My Quick Ride Route

Back in Staunton if i only had an hour or so to get a ride in, i would do the Springhill loop.  It was about 21-22 miles long, and i would push myself to see if i could do it in an hour. (the answer is yes, i was successful).  Now that i am in a new town, new home, new roads, i've been looking for a route that i could do in an hour or so.  Below is that route.  It is an out and back route that climbs to the top of Burnt Mountain on RT. 136 and then back home.  It takes about 1:15-1:20 to complete.  I will work towards knocking it out in an hour, but somehow i doubt i can fly up the hill that fast....who knows, maybe someday.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cycling Fashion Faux-pas: The pain and suffering of limited cycling funds.

I have a rule when buying clothes, my shirts should not cost more than $10.  I try to carry that rule over to pants, shorts, t-shirts, basically any other non-cycling related clothing that i may need to purchase.  Granted, it is not always possible to stick to this rule, sometimes you have to pony up a little more.  The strange thing is, i have no such rule when it comes to cycling apparel. That $15-30 dollar dress shirt, that i will wear to meetings and meet customers in will make me stress about the cost, but dangle a $100 jersey on sale for the low price of $65 at the PI outlet and i'm salivating.  It's all about trying to look good while you are doing one of your favorite activities.  That is the "On the bike" fashion, but what about the "bike fashion"????

Note the pictures below:  the first is my ByStickel travel bike, notice the pretty green michelin tires.  I realize that this green color doesn't really go with anything, but there "was" a certain uniqueness about them a few years ago.  The key was that you had to go with two, you can't run just one colored tire.
The next pic is of my old Litespeed Alum/carbon bike.  Notice the blue bar tape, blue paint, blue tires.  A thing of beauty.  Color coordination is key.  The downside is if the bike breaks.  Like this one did, your new bike is red....you are stuck with extra tires that don't match.  The shame!!!
This third pic is of my cross bike, another fine example of color coordination, yellow sidewalls to match the yellow paint, red tread to match the wheels, this happened by accident actually.  But you know i would have made it happen eventually.
I know what you are thinking...is there any real meaning behind this post, or did i just want to find an excuse to show off some bicycles....mmmm....mmmm....what was the question again??  My point is this:  we are having twins in May, so we are trying to watch our spending.  I have some old tires in the basement, black, blue, gray, red, but no matching sets.  I have decided that before i replace another rear tire on the road bike, that i will wear out the extra tires in the basement.  I know right, how embarassing is that, one gray tire, one blue or two red tires that don't match. WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TOOOOOO!!!!  I hope my kids recognize the sacrifices i have made for them.  I hope no one recognizes me when i am on my bike.  I'm sooo embarassed.  Thanks for listening.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Original SUV - Sweeeet Utility Vehicle

Here is my new ride.  The original utility vehicle.  My in-laws got a new car, so i bought this from them to drive back and forth to work.  Better mileage than the truck, and less wear and tear on the truck.    Pretty sweet huh.  I  think it was the wood paneling that sold me.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Mac and Cheese Recipe...(kind of like OK Cafe's)

So over the past few years i've been making a Mac and Cheese recipe for all of the pot-lucks and major holiday meals.  It is, in my opinion, the best mac and cheese EVER!!!  I got it off the internet and it is supposed to be the same recipe that is used by OK cafe.
Here is the recipe (with the modifications i have made.

8 ounces of macaroni (i don't use the elbow shaped, i typically use the spirals or coil shaped noodles)
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon sugar
large pinch of cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon (heaping) ranch seasoning
10 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese grated
5 ounces of monterey jack cheese grated
6 ounces of parmesan cheese grated 
I typically use the lazy(pre-shredded) cheese

pre-heat oven to 350 degrees, cook macaroni according to package, drain and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the milk, heavy cream, sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, ranch seasoning. mix well.  mix in the noodles and stir till they are coated.  Add in the cheese and mix until fully incorporated.  Pour into large baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  Remove foil for last 5 minutes.

There ya have it.  And yes, it is as healthy as it sounds.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The idea of a single speed bike is that it is supposed to be simple, uncluttered and open up a whole new world of freedom when cycling. None of those pesky gears to make it easier to go up hills or so you can go faster going down hill. Vast expanses of bar space for your squeaky horn or coffee cup holder. Freedom!!! and it's simple.....WHOA, not so fast, is it really simple? Maybe because you don't have to set up a deraileur it may seem simple....BUT IT'S NOT!!. The beauty of a geared set-up is the spring loaded arm on the deraileur that tensions the chain, who cares if the chainring is round...the deraileur will suck it up. Also, a standard mountain bike has vertical drop outs, there shouldn't be any question whether the wheel is straight.
In building, riding, tuning and maintaining my Single Speed bike, i have discovered that some of these items add a whole new degree of frustration to a bike that is supposed to be simple. Tolerance on Chainrings, cranksets is HORRIBLE. My chain will go from super tight to super slack in one rotation. This is even on chainrings manufactured specifically for SS use. come on folks, I'm not asking for a concentricity of .0001...but at least try to get it close so that the tension is consistent through a revoloution. Who knew this would be such an issue, before i read a blurb on the Park Tools website that pointed out that chainring manufacturers do their technical drawings with crayons and no rulers, i was struggling to figure out why the heck the chain tension on my bike fluctuated so much. I switched chainrings, rear sprocket, crankset, bottom bracket, chain....what a pain. The other thing with the SS with sliding dropouts is making sure the wheel is straight. Not really a big deal, but a regular bike doesn't have this problem. I had to break out the builder's square to get it close to centered. Hopefully everything stays put. I guess if i want a truly simple bike, i need one of those "like a bikes".

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finally...a Muddy cross race

Today was the make-up race for the GACX series. I was orginally planning on doing this race because i wasn't making the trip to Savanah, but with my DNF, i still have a big goose egg for points in one race....shucks. Today's race was in Conyers, GA. After a beautiful day on Thanksgiving, and okay weather on Friday, it rained all day saturday. (oh, did i mention Georgia Tech beat Georgia on Saturday!!!!) It was raining this morning as Sara and I drove out to the race, so we knew it would be fun. The course had a bunch of off camber soup, with some real squishy sections, two stream crossings and some slick hills that felt like you turned the pedals twice as much as normal because the back tire was searching for traction. I finished 8th out of 17, so not too bad. I stayed upright the whole race too. :-)

Here i am making it to the top of the slick hill.

A nice after the race shot, with a close up on the muddy bike below. I finally had an excuse to wash the bike.