Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Axle, New Tires

Well, I've installed a new axle on the Trek, a new chain, and new tires. I also bought some new bar tape, but didn't have the time to put it on. The old Trek worked pretty well this morning on the club ride. It did much better than its hot, sweaty owner.

I bought a couple of Continental Ultra Sport tires from my LBS last night for $18 each. I'd like to buy tires with better puncture protection, like the Continental Ultra Gatorskin for this bike, but I didn't want to shell out the $40 per tire. These tires rode well for me today. They're 28's so I can ride some short stretches of gravel also.

Jon suggested that I re-align the dropouts, but two of the mechanics from my LBS have never heard of such a thing. I think I can make my own tool out of a couple sections of threaded rod - stay tuned for further updates.

The heat is supposed to break tomorrow and I will happily welcome it. All you people out there in bike land stay cool.

Happy riding!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Note to self: before a really long ride, put new tires on my bike and take extra tubes and a full patch kit. Also note: just because I haven't had a flat in 2,000 miles doesn't mean I won't have a flat on a really long ride.

I did the Ride Across Indiana (RAIN) last Saturday. I met up with Michael of Ear to the Breeze blog fame. His write-up on the ride is very nicely done. He captured the essence of the ride with his photos and description. My description will be a bit shorter.

It was a long ride. Really long.

Oh, it was hot. Really hot.

At the 48 mile mark I had a flat tire. No big deal. Changed the tube, headed down the road. At the 50 mile mark I had another flat tire. Huh, I didn't have any other tubes or a patch kit. Michael, with whom I had been having a very nice ride, offered to stay and wait while Alex drove back from her sister's in Indy. That was going to take a long time, so I had to urge Michael to go on. When Alex showed up, I was able to get another tube from the car, plus two extras, plus I had a spare tire in there as well I put on the bike.

I had another flat at the 80 mile mark. But that was the last mechanical problem for the rest of the ride. I don't think I have ever sweat so much in one day as I did on that ride. I supplemented the sag stops with stops at three gas stations along the way to get water and Gatorade. My nephew, Austin, who works in a bike shop in the UP gave me a bunch of Gu packets, which I consumed all across the state.

People were strewn along the entire distance, leaning against trees, buildings, laying on the ground - some in shade, some in the full sun. I stopped to give some of my Gatorade to one person, waited while another called her mother to come and get her. But there were so many people stricken by the heat and humidity, I felt bad passing them. I had to hope they were going to be OK and that they had someone to come and get them.

Happy riding!

Monday, July 12, 2010

I Got The Broken Axle Blues

We got home from vacation on Saturday night. Sunday morning, I headed over the the start of the Three Rivers Festival Bike Ride, sponsored by Three Rivers Velosport Club. I was hoping to get one more century ride in before this Saturday's Ride Across Indiana.

At the 28 mile mark, as I was going up a steep hill, the rear wheel lurched suddenly into the left chain stay of my old Trek 500 bike. I stopped to see what the problem was - it was a broken axle. I had heard of a broken axle before, but I've never seen one until now.

I cranked the skewer down extra tight and rode gingerly 14 miles back to my truck. I have a new axle on order from the LBS, which comes in on Thursday.

I'm really glad this axle decided to break now instead of on the longer ride on Saturday. I thought briefly about riding my Tricross on Saturday, but my old Trek is much faster and I think is the better choice for a really long ride.

We stayed in this cabin again in the Adirondacks. It's one of two cabins Alex's family has rented on and off since the late 50's. Although we took our bikes, my riding was confined to the environs around Friends Lake. The hills out there are huge, and my legs aren't strong enough and my lungs aren't big enough to haul my big Indiana ass up too many of those hills.

Down the hill from the cabin a couple miles is the upper reaches of the Hudson River. I've only seen the Hudson from Glens Falls, NY and north - I can't imagine it being big enough for big barges and ships.

Another view on the Hudson.

This is the fisher's eye view of Friends Lake. Although the week was unmercifully hot every day, Anders and I managed to catch a bunch of nice-sized largemouth bass. Only one northern on this trip.

Happy riding!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Gone Fishin'

Well, vacation starts for me early tomorrow morning as we get up and make our annual drive east to Adirondacks and Vermont to visit Alex's family. We are staying in a couple of cabins on Friend's Lake an hour or so northwest of Saratoga Springs. Fishing every day for Bill, and some biking too.

This past week has been very busy for me, but I was able to get out and ride a bit. I learned a couple valuable lessons this week:

1. Drink lots more than I think I need when it is humid and 90 degrees. I learned this at the 80 mile mark of the Decatur Flat 50 Plus century I did last Saturday. The last 20 miles were rough.

2. When more than two people wearing "Men of Steel" jerseys show up on a club ride, be prepared to suffer (or split from the group). The 25 mile loop went by really quickly.

Hope all of you have a great 4th and a great week. I would try to post next week, but the fish are calling. And there's not much wi fi around where we're going.

Happy riding!