Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fun Filled Weekend...

Not too long after my Friday post, I got the call from the good folks at Harpeth Bicycle Shop to let me know my new bike was ready.  I didn't expect for it to be fully assembled but once I arrived, everything was setup pretty nicely!  After shooting the shit about the uneventful life, I loaded the bike in the truck and headed back to the Boro to make a few small changes to my new rig.

 At the house, I started pulling parts from various drawers in the bike room.  One thing that I have neglected lately is my bike room.  I have wheels, tires, bike frames, tools, small bike parts and bike clothes strewn all over the place.  This is definitely something that I need to get under control as I have resorted to handling any bike maintenance in the dinning room.  So, back to talking about the new bike.  I changed up a few things on the Nature Boy.  First was the brakes.  The brakes that came on the bike, Tektro CR520, are crap!  I'll put them to the side for now and probably throw them on some frankenbike build in the future.  For the time being, they are being replaced with my Avid Shorty 6's until my Paul brakes come in later this week.  Another change that was made were the wheels and tires.  The wheels that came on the bike aren't horrible, they're just a little heavy and they're bolt on wheels.  I had a wheelset that I've been waiting to use for a while.  The front wheel is an old Campy Record hub laced to a Mavic Open Pro rim.  The rear wheel is an older Dura Ace hub also laced to a Mavic Open Pro rim.  Both wheels have 32 spokes which should make for a strong enough wheelset for cyclocross.  As for the tires, I got a new set of Vittoria XG Cross tires from a buddy of mine who broke his collar bone recently and isn't in the position to use them right now.  I also have a set of Maxxis Raze tires that will now go onto my spare wheels and will be used as pit wheels.  I stripped down my Surly Cross Check of some of its parts to exchange over to the Nature Boy.  These parts included a Thomson Elite seatpost and an Easton EA70 stem.  I've got a certificate for a new Thomson product that I have recently mailed in and I will anticipate a new Thomson stem for the bike.  As for now, the bike is setup pretty nicely and should be fine for any CX endeavors.
Before the bar tape change
After the bike and owner got a nice night's rest, Saturday was full of fun on bikes!  Saturday morning, I took the new steed out for a spin around town.  I started the ride with a trip to MOAB for some new bar tape.  On the way to the bike shop, I took the short route near Murfreesboro's shopping centers.  This made me chuckle quite a bit because I probably passed 150+ cars waiting in stand still traffic to get their holiday shopping complete.  It felt liberating to be on the bike and not in a car even though the temperatures were in the low 30's.  As always, it's a great time visiting my local bike shop.  The guys at MOAB know their way around a bike really well and they are a great crew to shoot the shit with.

Riding through tons of traffic
The rest of my ride on the new bike included scoping out the construction area of the new greenway extension.  The new section is really nice and I'm looking forward to it's completion.  This will connect a lot of new subdivisions to downtown via a car-free path.  Hopefully, this will encourage more people to consider the bike as an option for commuting.  The unfinished section is mostly hard pack and gave me a chance to place with the bike in its natural environment.  Everything felt great!  The bike is a little more twitchy than my Surly Cross Check but I found this to be more to my likings. 

New (finished) section of the greenway
Saturday evening, my wife and I headed up to Nashville for the roller races at the Nashville Bicycle Lounge.  There was a decent crew that showed up.  We all got started off with a qualifying race in which I was paired up with the shop owner and good friend, Dan Hensley.  I'm going to be humble here.  Dan spanked my ass in the qualifying race!  Dan didn't care about qualifying for anything as he was the host of the event.  He only wanted to humble me a bit before I raced everyone else.  Well Dan, you accomplished your objective!  I don't know how many heats that I raced in but I came out in victory (aside from my slower qualifying time than Dan's) at the end of the night.  After several beers, tired legs and a moment of liquid regurgitation, I left the bike lounge with the Golden Saddle.

Sunday was race day.  Saturday night really took a toll on my buddy.  My legs felt horribly tired and my stomach was killing me.  Anyhow, I still packed up the bike and headed up the mountain to Tracy City for the CX race.  The race was at someone's farm.  The course was in a cow pasture and a small wooded area.  When I arrived, everything was frozen.  It appeared as though the area was experiencing freeze, thaw, freeze issues.  I pre-rode the course and realized that I was in for a world of hurt.  My bike was geared with a 42 tooth chainring and an 18 tooth cog.  This was an easier gear that I've been pushing all season but this course had some longer climbs than what I've been racing.  Also, the course was really bumpy when it went through the cow pasture.  I got to the start line for the Single Speed race along with 6 other guys.  Most of the guys were Cat 1/2 racers and two of which are former CX State Champions.  Off the start line, I had a good position into the course.  I felt strong and was riding smooth until the course crossed a gravel road and the course tape was missing.  I ended up off course for a brief moment and was passed by the entire field.  By the time I made it back on course, everyone had a good 30 second lead on me.  During the race, a lot of the frozen ground had now thawed into cold, sloppy mud.  The new tires did great on shedding the mud but the tread wasn't the best on hooking up in the corners.  One part of the race that I really enjoyed was the run-up.  It came after a long sweeping downhill into a mud pit.  The run-up itself was a steep grassy/muddy hill that was slowly eroding away with each racer's pass.  I was able to pull in the 4th place guy and held my position for the remainder of the race.  Unfortunately, I was unable to even keep sight of the remainder of the field.  After the race was over, I felt worn out!  I went to the truck to change my race number so I could race the Cat4 race.  By the time I made it to the truck, the Cat4 race was starting.  I ended up missing the start time but I guess it was for the best.  I felt so tired and all I could think about was drinking a little beer!  I sat back and watched a few more races, washed the bike and hit the road for home. 

Muddy Bike
 The weekend was great overall.  I wish things would have felt a little better at the CX race but it's all good.  I have no complaints about the bike but I do think I'm going to tweak the gearing a little bit.  The next few days are going to be spent taking casual rides and working on some of my bikes.  Also, it looks like I'll be racing in the Snake Creek Gap Time Trial series this January, February and March!  This is my first year racing this series and I'm really looking forward to it!  As for CX, there are a few more races coming up in East Tennessee but I'm not sure about my commitment to racing them.

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