BC Rando 400K…

25 05 2013
Mike in control...

Mike in control…

I helped Mike and Steve run the Hell Week 400K last Thursday. The weather was awesome and the riders put in strong performances which made running controls easy. We enjoyed some lovely sunshine running a control near the Denman Island Ferry and then retreated to the Best Western Hotel in Chemainus where we watched the NHL play offs while waiting for riders to come in for a 280K control plus the final control. Luxury hotel rando volunteering. ;)

I posted some photos to Flikr here.

The start...

The start…

Folks familiar with the BC Rando Club’s Hell Week will notice far too much smiling in these photos. Sadly the excellent weather meant that the legendary level of suffering for this week long Super Randonneur series has not materialized.

Eric on the move...

Eric on the move…

I offered to blast riders with cold water from a garden hose at the 280km control so they could get more suffering value out of their ride, but nobody took me up on it! ;)

Ken doesn't look like hell at 280kms...

Ken doesn’t look like hell at 280kms…





Victoria Populaire 50K…

28 03 2013
Team Raspberry Rocket mid-ride...

Team Raspberry Rocket mid-ride…

Sharon and I tackled the BC Randonneurs Victoria Populaire last Sunday on our Bike Friday Tandem Traveller XL. We decided on the 50K route because Sharon is scheduled for knee surgery this spring and we didn’t want to push things too hard and cause her any issues. With the ride to and from the event we racked up 70kms.

Click on map for more details...

Click on map for more details…

The event was well run as per the usual high standards of the BC Rando Club. It was a cold, but dry day with around 100 smiling riders. The course is easy to follow and has some nice scenery with enough hills to be interesting, but not punishing.

Ride pin...

Ride pin…

We racked up 50.85kms in 2:55 and finished with a Bike Friday Pocket Llama and a Cruz Bike recumbent. That seemed fitting. We had a great day out on the bike and we’ll be back next year to tackle the 100km course once Sharon has new bionic knee… ;)

Our beast of burden...

Our beast of burden…

Our Bike Friday tandem continues to impress with its ease of use and solid performance.  =)





At the start of the Chili 200K…

4 03 2013
Bikes arriving at the start...

Bikes arriving at the start…

Brynne manning the registration...

Brynne manning the registration…

There is always paperwork to complete...

There is always paperwork to complete…

High visibility...

High visibility…

Control card...

Control card…

Croy HQ getting busy...

Croy HQ getting busy…

Mike pumping up morale...

Mike pumping up morale…

Guido, Jim and Phil...

Guido, Jim and Phil…

One less car...

One less car…

Eager to start...

Eager to start…

Lots of neon...

Lots of neon…

Excellent turnout...

Excellent turnout…

Mike giving out last minute instructions...

Mike giving out last minute instructions…

and they are off...

and they are off…

happy to be rolling...

Happy to be rolling…

ch26

Heading north on Milgrove…

They keep coming...

They keep coming…

and coming...

and coming…

and coming...

and coming…

and coming...

and coming…

and the last of the pack...

and the last of the pack…

My bike feeling lonely at the start...

My bike feeling lonely at the start…

Steve showing off the 200K pin...

Steve showing off the 200K pin…





Rene Herse Bicycle Show 23 Feb 2013 [near NAHBS]

5 02 2013
Click image for event details...

Click image for event details…

Rene Herse and Boulder Bicycle will be holding a large display of their fine bicycles near the NAHBS location in Denver on 23 Feb 2013. Click on the image above for all the details. It should be pretty interesting and if you are in Denver for NAHBS it’s well worth checking out.

I wish I could make it!





Cycles Alex Singer

26 01 2013




Selle Anatomica Holiday Sale…

3 11 2012

Click on image for more info…

My favourite saddle is on sale at 50% off. If you want to try one now is the time.. ;)





I need stoke!

13 05 2012

That’s what I am talking about….=-)

I had reasonably firm plans to ride a my longest distance ever this weekend. I had a GPS route loaded. My bike was tuned and mostly packed. The weather looked awesome. I had the time off from any other commitments to do it. I am as fit as I have ever been in recent years. I had little doubt I could complete the ride.

But, despite all that I bailed on the ride during the last 24hrs before departure.

I could give you a long list of reasons why this happened and I think they are all valid, but the bottom line for me is I ride my bikes because I like doing it. Sometimes the rides are hard and I am not having fun every second, but under the suffering deep down there is a part of me that’s still happy to be on my bike.

On this occasion I lost that stoke. Without it the whole point of riding is lost to me.

I could have made myself do the ride and hoped to get into it at some point along the way. But, I have a really, really, really hard time rationalizing that when the ride would take up my whole weekend and served no useful purpose other than for the sake of some arbitrary achievement.

Instead I slept in Saturday morning. Had a leisurely breakfast. Surfed the web and wrote this post. My mountain biking gear is packed and in an hour or so we’ll head out to the trails for a ride. After the ride we’ll pick up a few supplies we need to start building up Sharon’s purple Pugsley. Game 7 of the NY-DC NHL playoffs is tonight. We’ll probably go mountain biking tomorrow as well and have a backyard BBQ afterwards.

I’m stoked about all of that!

Now none of this is to say that a challenging ride is a bad thing nor is it to say I won’t be lining up for a big adventure down the road. However, when I do you’ll know it’s because I’m excited to be on my bike.





Mo’ Rando Tweaking…

1 05 2012

Time for some shoe surgery...

I have a bad memory. If I don’t take care of stuff when it’s on my mind I’ll totally forget until the next time I have the same problem. That’s usually sometime that I can’t fix it so the cycle continues – often for an embarrassingly long time. So when I got back from the weekend’s 300K I had a to do list of things I wanted to sort out.

Surgery up close...

First off was cutting away part of the tongue of my bike shoes. They are fine for 100kms, but somewhere between 100k-200K they start to irritate me. Not awfully, but enough that I wanted to solve the problem. I just chopped the top part of the tongue off so it didn’t rub my top of my foot near the ankle.

Got the granny? - Yes!

Next up was sorting out my front derailleur so it would shift across all 3 rings reliably. Not sure why I couldn’t take care of it on the ride, but my brain wasn’t running at 100%! Anyways a few minutes in the workstand and it was sorted. I did a road test just to be sure.

Miche needle bearing headset keeps the front end turning...

I checked the headset tension and it was a bit less than I thought it was so I snugged it up which got rid of the hand’s free riding shimmy. Clearly it’s a pretty sensitive adjustment!

Smoothing out the edges...

I tweaked the saddle position slightly and used a dremel tool to smooth the edges of the leather around the perimeter of the saddle as well as the cut out.

It's a dirty job, but some component has to do it!

I cleaned the chain – which in my world is wipe it down with a rag and re-lube – finally wipe off excess lube after 30mins.  Checked chain wear – it was fine. I don’t futz with my chains much. I buy cheap ones, give them minimal maintenance and throw them out when they start to wear out, but before they trash my cassette/rings. I don’t notice any performance differences between $15 chains and $100 chains.

Got to measure the roll out...

Checked tires, spoke tension/rims, brakes and fenders for problems….all okay!

A necessary evil on a rando bike...

Re-calibrated bike computer as it’s been reading high. Roll out was 2063mm. The Cateye owner’s manual suggests a rollout of more than 2100mm for this size tire so that’s why you have to measure the roll out to get accurate odometer numbers.

Petzel e+lite & Bern helmet...

Made a note to buy some spare batteries for my Petzel e+lite as it’s been used on two 300K’s and some night training rides. I don’t want to run out of photons when my GPS craps out at night and I am relying on the cue sheet 100%.

My Boulder Bicycle on last weekend's 300K...

Except for the derailleur adjustment nothing I took care of was life or death, but these items took a couple hours to fit into my day and they’ll make my next brevet a little easier/nicer. That’s a good thing!





Crouching Rat 300K…

30 04 2012

300K Map - click for larger...

I rode the BC Randonneurs Crouching Rat 300K on Saturday. I’m uber busy at the moment so no detailled ride report will be forthcoming.

Photo: Eric Fergusson...

Ride Stats:

  • Distance = 301kms
  • Event Time = 17:10hrs
  • Off Bike Time = 2:23hrs
  • Ride Time = 14:47hrs
  • Elevation Gain = 2377m

Busy start...

Ride Links:

Tobin - the Patient Randonneur...

The Good:

  • well organized and executed event
  • started/finished at a bakery with excellent espresso and tasty beer [in that order]
  • varied route with lots of different terrain/scenery
  • Tobin [shown above] hung out with me for most of the ride even though he was capable of a faster time
  • friendly faces and treats at most controls [salted pretzels are my new favourite next to chocolate milk!]
  • got to see a lot of familiar BC Rando Club faces
  • traffic was quite polite/courteous
  • 2 different old men on mountain bikes who decided to race us at various points on the course!
  • chose the right clothing for the day so I was comfortable with minimal fuss
  • wasn’t nearly as destroyed as the 2011 Hatzic Hills 300K
  • ~20kms of gravel to switch things up a bit…=-)

Mr. Lazy...

The Bad:

  • my front derailleur wouldn’t shift to the small ring [there were some uber steep slopes I would have used it on!]
  • lots of steep climbs all packed into the first 150kms left me pretty worn out on the 2nd half
  • 2nd half of the ride started with a long stretch of highway riding into a noticeable headwind – demoralizing!
  • GPS refused to navigate us along the route I had programmed for the last 60kms to the finish [when riding in the dark in the city turn by turn GPS warnings are so nice!]
  • course seemed far harder than it should have been….not sure why, but I heard that from several people who I didn’t ride with so it wasn’t just me!

Sumas Mountain Control...

The Ugly

  • we took a 5km detour off route and climbed the most heinous climb off the day only to find out we were on Old Claybourn Rd instead of Claybourn Rd!!!
  • definitely the most punishing bonus miles I’ve ever done…=-(

BC Randonneurs 300K Event Pin - 2012...

Thanks to Chris Cullum who organized the ride as well as his intrepid band of volunteers who staffed the controls! Another fine BC Randonneur Club event in the books…=-)





Rando Tweaking…

27 04 2012

650B All Road from Boulder Bicycle...

My freakishly fun Boulder Bicycle All Road randonneur machine.

Downtube barrel adjuster for rear derailleur...

I had some sudden shifting issues last brevet which I solved [mostly] on the bike by using the downtube barrel adjuster. It’s conveniently located within easy reach while riding.

Shimano XT rando derailleur - fixed now...

As I was going over my rando bike this week [as should be done regularly] I noticed the barrel adjuster at the rear derailleur had come completely unscrewed and was sort of hanging there askew. That explains the sudden shifting issues! Doh!

Fizik Mircotex bar tape...

I’ve been meaning to put some white tape on the Boulder for a while, but haven’t been motivated enough to do it. We’ve had a few rainy days this week so I got my butt in gear and got it installed. It looks pretty spiffy and supposedly it’s tape you can clean so it should stay white a while.

Miche needle bearing headset...

When I first got my Boulder I had a fairly serious shimmy problem. As it turned out I had the headset installed incorrectly! Doh! This type of low trail bike with supple wide tires and a very flexible frame is a candidate for developing a shimmy. The whole topic of shimmying is very complicated and not fully understood. Bicycle Quarterly has published several articles related to this topic if it interests you.  My bike has a needle bearing headset as opposed to the more common ball bearing headset. The needle bearings provide more resistance to turning than a ball bearing which prevents or reduces the development of a shimmy. My bike is pushing the envelope of using very skinny ultralight tubing for a large frame [59cm TT] and a reasonably heavy guy 175lbs. It has taken some playing around with the headset adjustment to find the sweet spot for me and my bike. I can’t recall the last time I noticed any tendency to shimmy and the extra resistance in the bearings isn’t something you can feel when you are steering.

Update: I lowered my tire pressure for the Crouching Rat 300K and was able to get the bike to shimmy if I tried. So the shimmy is not totally gone. It doesn’t happen when I am riding normally, but if I try to ride no hands I can’t pedal or it will shimmy. I’ll play with the setup some more. It’s not a problem I’m going to do much about since it’s not causing a problem in practice. However, if you need a large frame I’d consider the oversized ultralight tubing for a somewhat stiffer frame. If I was independently wealthy I’d build up a 2nd Boulder with the oversized tubing so I could compare them back to back. Sadly I am not!…=-)

Grand Bois Hetres = 650B smiles...

I understand increased tire pressure also helps reduce shimmying, but I like my tires soft so they do their job of absorbing road shock and keeping themselves glued to the road. The standard Boulder Bicycle All Road uses ultralight oversized tubing which would stiffen the frame a bit. I have wondered if I was to order a new rando bike if I would want to go for a stiffer frame or not. I really like how efficient my bike is to climb on and how it responds to hard efforts. I wouldn’t want to give that up by getting a stiffer frame, but without a side by side test it’s impossible to know how much difference there would be.

Gravel country riding = 650B terrain...

Just to be clear I feel like the performance, comfort and versatility of an ultralight skinny tubed 650B bike like mine is well worth the setup hassles of dealing with a shimmy. I’d also point out that Boulder Bicycle can build you a 650B rando bike with zero shimmy issues. I purposely pushed the limits of what is practical to find out what would happen. If  I set my bike up poorly it can shimmy pretty seriously. If I set my bike up properly I have no shimmy even when I am tired and mashing the pedals without full concentration on steering my bike.

Food to go...

My last 200K demonstrated the benefit of staying on the bike between controls. One element of that is being able to eat on the go. So I’ve restocked my bar bag with a bunch of energy food I like that I can munch and pedal. I will still pack a sandwich or two on a ride for those times when I do stop at a control so I can switch it up with some real food.

Mostly wool bike clothes...

Having bike clothes that cover a wide range of conditions is also key to avoiding frequent stops between controls. Our rides in BC start on cool to cold mornings, but often see warm to hot afternoons with cool evenings and cold nights. I’ve been enjoying wool cycling clothes lately. For my next ride I’ll start with a SS wool jersey + wool arm warmers + a wind vest + ear warmers. On the bottom I’ll have a set of 3/4 length wool tights with wool leg warmers underneath [puts two layers over my knees]. At each control I’ll evaluate how I am doing and shed layers as needed. The key is not to sweat so much I soak my clothes which will be uncomfortable even with wool. In spring here often just taking off the ear warmers and wind vest is enough to transition from cool morning to warm day.

If it rains and/or temperatures get crazy cold I have a rain jacket, rain chaps, rain gloves and rain booties to put on that serve as some extra climate control options.

Selle Anatomica saddle...

Of course you can only stay on the bike for hours if you are comfortable. My saddle and my feet are totally happy these days even for 10hrs+ of nearly non-stop riding. My hands are comfy if I wear bike gloves as opposed to unpadded fleece gloves and I move them around the bars a bit. So I can start the ride in warm fleece gloves, but I should switch to bike gloves after a few hours. This also means I have a spare set of gloves on board if one set get wet/damaged/lost. My main comfort issue at the moment is tension in the area between my shoulder blades. This is due to poor bike posture and letting my neck/back tense up. I can avoid it by sitting on the bike in a more ergonomic position [sort of like not slouching in your office chair] and also consciously relaxing my upper back as I ride. I also stretch that area out every time I stop at a control.





Volunteer Bling…

26 04 2012

My 2011 BC Randonneur Volunteer Pin...

I’m no uber volunteer. There are folks in the BC Randonneurs that put in a million more hours to support the club, but I feel like if you want to see rides happen you have to be willing to put in some effort to make that happen. Start with helping out at one ride and see what happens. You’ll likely enjoy it a lot. Then see if you can fit in supporting a second ride. Every little bit helps and if everyone shares the work it all gets done easily without burning out a few generous folks.

Sure that means maybe you don’t ride every event that you might like to, but that’s life. You have to put something in to get something out.

I’m never going to win a volunteer of the year award, but you’ll always see me helping out on the other side of the table at a few rides.





Hills Are Alive 300K…

22 04 2012

Who is in Control here?

I had the pleasure of volunteering at the BC Randonneurs Hills Are Alive 300K brevet yesterday. When the alarm went off at 0430hrs I panicked for a second realizing my bike wasn’t ready for the ride…until I remembered I just had to help out at the event….not ride it! The 0630hrs start was well staffed so I mostly took photos and did my best imitation of a Rando Cheerleader.

Team Croy ready to rumble...

Once all the riders were off I grabbed the stuff I would need to staff a control at ~222kms along the route from our fearless ride leader Mark. I debated getting a nap in, but decided to be productive so I fixed our BBQ after breakfast. Then it was time to head to the control for a 1300hrs opening time. I stopped at the grocery store to stock up on a few items I always like to see when I pull up to a Rando Buffet [chocolate milk, chocolate bars, peperoni sticks, chips, coke, etc...]. Sadly while at the grocery store I forgot to buy any real food for myself…an error that came back to haunt me as the clock ticked past 2100hrs in the evening.

Mark gives the riders a few pointers before they head out...

Another volunteer, Patrick, showed up right at 1pm to lend a hand. As it turned out our first customer wasn’t until nearly 1600hrs so it was good to have some company to kill time.

Steve M shot the video above while he was volunteering on the ride.

Lee, Jim & Phil - far too cheerful at ~120kms...

My second mistake after not bringing any food was to forget my laptop. The Ottawa Senators were playing hockey at 5pm and we were getting a strong WiFi signal from a nearby house. I’m such an amateur sometimes! Luckily we could follow the score on my phone and we won. Go Canada!

The big picture...

The main pack came through between 1730-1900hrs and we did good business at our control. Boost and chocolate milk were very popular as were chips and brownies. Not much interest in cookies, fruit or muffins.

Happy customers...

After our control was the last 80kms which has some very tough climbs that have to be pumped out with very tired legs. Our stop was mostly a morale and resupply stop to keep the riders stoked for the last effort.

Guido gets back in the saddle...

The weather stayed sunny all day and the temps rose to at least a warmish 12 deg C. Ideal conditions for a tough ride like this. Once the main group was through we had one last rider out on the course at night. Not ideal – especially when they are near the edge of the cut off time. He rolled in after 2100hrs just before the control closed and made the smart decision to stop riding. We packed up the control and returned the control supplies to Mark at the finish while Patrick gave our last customer a ride home.

Jeff heads back out...

All in all it was a great day to be outside supporting the ride. As the saying goes – “This shit doesn’t run itself!” and if I want to have rides to participate in I have to support the club when I can. I rolled home around 2230hrs to crack open a cold beer and then pass out.

Ed on the move...

Hills Are Alive 300K links:

Click to enlarge...





Why you should buy a Boulder Bicycle randonneur bike?

13 04 2012

Me and Boulder Bicycle All Road 650B randonneur bike....

I talk to a lot of people about my Boulder Bicycle All Road and about what randonneur bicycle to buy. When I was looking for a randonneur bike I went through all the production options and determined the Boulder Bicycle offerings were the best.

Here is why:

  • you get the proven Rene Herse low trail steering geometry
  • cost is reasonable
  • you can have 700c or 650B in all sizes
  • you can have lugs or TIG welded frame by Waterford
  • you can have oversized or skinny tubing
  • ultra light tubing available
  • semi-custom sizing option is available for reasonable up charge
  • custom paint available
  • frame/fork is design for integrated use of front rack and fenders [everything fits perfectly as a whole]
  • front and rear lighting mounting has been designed into bike
  • available as a complete or as a frame/fork/rack
  • exception support and customer service from Boulder Bicycles
  • reasonably quick turn around on orders
  • designed & built by randonneurs for randonneurs

When taken all together there really isn’t another production randonneur bike option that comes close to this level of performance, customization and price without going the full custom route.

A lovely profile shot...

Here is what Boulder Bicycle has to say on the matter:

“A Boulder Bicycle frame represents the latest step in a journey to build frames that perform without compromise.  The designs of our randonneur frames are obtained through careful study of classic Rene Herse geometries and those of other French makers.  Some of the “classic” designs work better than others, and we obviously select those from the best-performing historic examples.

Over the past 10 years the French randonneur bicycle saw a rebirth in the United States.  Mike Kone, lead designer at Boulder Bicycle, was one of the early proponents of French randonneur machines.  In fact, some of the most notable writers and modern proponents for this style of bicycle saw their first Rene Herse bicycles in Massachusetts when Mike Kone owned Bicycle Classics inc.

Classic geometries are juxtaposed with modern materials to create the current line of Boulder Bicycles.  Waterford Precision Cycles does the actual frame construction.  Waterford was somewhat reluctant to embrace the low trail and light tube specifications used on Boulder Bicycles, but they have come to appreciate the performance of these machines.  In addition, Waterford brings expertise to the Boulder Bicycle line which is unique to the industry.  Waterford has arguably built more custom and semi-custom high-end steel frames than perhaps any builder in the county.  Their understanding of materials combined with their access to proprietary materials is an invaluable asset.  They are unyielding in their quest for reliability.

There are many builders constructing randonneur style bicycles.  But our extensive experience yields advantages.  We know what geometries are most likely to perform well.  We know when we are pushing the envelope with extra light tubing.  And as students of bicycle history with many examples we’ve personally ridden, we know what is most likely to work well for a rider.

Many of our Boulder Bicycle customers think of their purchase as a stepping stone to a Rene Herse.  They are welcome to think that.  But in reality, there is no performance gain in going to a more costly frame.  If there was a better tube or a better geometry for performance, we would use it on the Boulder Bicycle.  But there isn’t.  Now a Rene Herse frame (or a frame from some other wonderful builders such as Peter Weigle) may offer cleaner wiring integration or more elegant lug shaping or fancier racks.  But when it is you and the bicycle and the mountain, your Boulder Bicycle will deliver the same ride and performance as a frame costing many times more.  So please take advantage of our experience and eye for value, and let us supply you with the bicycle that will provide the ride of your dreams.”





My Rando Load…

12 04 2012

Clothing...

For the gearheads out there I thought I would share the state of the art in terms of my rando gear. It occurred to me as the recent 200K approached that I should streamline my kit down to the bare essentials, but I decided to stick with a general purpose load that would see me through pretty much any spring brevet on Vancouver Island.

Clothing:

  • wool long sleeve jersey
  • wind vest
  • wool 3/4 tights
  • wool leg warmers under tights [double layer over knees]
  • wool socks
  • SPD shoes
  • fleece gloves
  • ear warmer
  • helmet
  • rain jacket [in bar bag]
  • rain over gloves [in bar bag]
  • rain chaps [in bar bag]
  • rain shoe covers [in bar bag]
  • full finger bike gloves [in bar bag]
  • buff neck warmer [in vest pocket]
  • sunglasses [worn or in vest pocket]

For summer rides I would shift towards wool short sleeve jersey + arm warmers and wool shorts. I’d also skip the fleece gloves. I haven’t done any uber long rides [600K+], but if I did I would probably want a spare set of jersey/shorts/socks/gloves around the mid-point. Ideally in a drop bag so I don’t have to carry them.

I like wool for long events as it adapts to varying temps well and is warmer/comfier wet than synthetics. It also doesn’t get smelly as fast! I’ve had good luck with Ibex & Woolistics products.

Rain chaps are not as protective as rain pants, but vent better and are easier to use. I’m not likely to start a ride with all day rain forecast, but if I did I would likely get some rain pants. I would also add a waterproof helmet cover.

My Boulder All Road 650B rando bike...

Bike:

  • Boulder All Road 650B low trail rando bike
  • Grand Bois 42mm Hertres 650B tires
  • 48/36/26 x 11-32 gearing [I use only 36T front ring 99% of the time]
  • Honjo full fenders with mudflaps
  • SON dynohub + Edelux light + Planet Bike Superflash rear light
  • Selle Anatomica saddle
  • Nitto Noodle bars
  • Berthoud bar bag on a Nitto rack and Berthoud seatbag
  • frame pump + bell
  • Garmin Etrex Vista CX GPS
  • Cateye Strada bike computer
  • 2 water bottles

Berthoud bar bag on Nitto rack...

Gear:

  • Petzel e+lite [clipped to helmet visor]
  • multi tool
  • tire levers [seat bag]
  • patch kit [seat bag]
  • 2 spare tubes [seat bag]
  • 1 spare tire [seat bag]
  • 2 fibre-fix emergency spokes [seat bag]
  • chain tool & spare quick link [seat bag]
  • spare set of batteries for GPS
  • pen and ziplock bag for control card
  • camera
  • cellphone
  • credit card + $20
  • ID + health insurance info

View of Berthoud seatbag...

Food:

  • dilute Kool Aid in 2 water bottles [resupply along route with water + Gatorade mix]
  • 2 sandwiches
  • 2-3 packs of shot blocks energy chews
  • 2-3 energy bars
  • carry $20 + credit card for food along route
  • eat at each control and grab water

If there are few controls and little resupply along route I will pack more water and food.

Lazy on the move...

This isn’t the most minimal nor the most excessive amount of rando gear folks carry. I think it strikes a good balance of being versatile and dealing with likely situations without needlessly weighing me down. It also handy to carry the same basic load on all brevets so you can just grab your bike and know you have what you need.





Tour de Cowichan 200K…

9 04 2012

The route...

The two biggest challenges in successfully completing this ride were:

  1. getting out of bed at 4:30am on a freezing cold morning with no Rando Buddy waiting to shame me for sleeping in.
  2. the last 50kms where my lack of training put the hurt on me big time.

When my alarm went off Saturday morning I wasted 10 valuable minutes pondering the existential dilema of riding the 200K or staying in a warm bed. I had prepared just about everything the night before including 2 cups of tea and breakfast. So Getting out the door wouldn’t be too hard. The forecast was for warm sunny weather which was helpful. The route was through a lovely area of Vancouver Island which got me stoked. Even better the start was at a bakery and the finish was at a pub. How could I say no?!

Thank you Weather Gods!

Even with my preparation the night before I got out of the driveway 15mins later than I had wanted to. That meant driving very fast the whole way to the start at Chemainus while hoping the police had some crack dealers to bust at 5am on a Saturday rather than set up speed traps. I got to Chemainus with about 15-20mins to spare before the ride started. I rode leisurely over to the start only to find it closed. Hmmm…the ride started at The Dancing Bean last year and I guess I hadn’t read the ride page closely enough to pick up the change…=( I slowly rode around town looking for signs of life and men in tights! It didn’t take too long to spot the start at the Utopia Bakery and some familiar faces.

Jeff & Steve getting registered...

My first problem showed up around this time when I powered up my GPS and tried to load the route. My lame-ass Garmin tells me it can’t navigate the route because there are more than 50 way points. For the love of God! My phone can hold the entire contents of the Great Library of Alexandria and my GPS can’t sort out a 200K route? I had forgotten how pathetic the Garmin operating system was since last year’s rando season. Oh well – I loaded up the track of the route that I had put on the GPS and used that instead. A track is basically a trail of dots showing where someone had gone before. Not as nice as turn by turn directions, but it was better than a punch in the head!

Martin addresses the riders at the start...

The 20 odd riders rolled out onto the course in very chilly temps. I was starting to doubt my clothing choices as it was a lot colder than I had expected, but I didn’t want to stop and put on a jacket because I’d lose the Rando Train! As it turned out my wool layers were ideal for the cold to warm weather we ended up with. I was trying to stay with a slower group that wouldn’t kill me on the ride. I tend to go out too fast and then suffer at the end. I settled into a larger group that was going my speed on the flats, but they really slowed on the climbs. I had to decide if I wanted to push on to a faster group that climbed at my pace, but that would probably go faster than I would like on the flats or stay where I was. I didn’t want to ride alone so I needed someone to stick with. I ended up leaving the larger group and finding a smaller group up the road.

Jeff - photo: Melissa

That group got whittled down to Jeff and I. He was going a fast pace that I could manage in his draft, but I started to feel guilty after a while. I wasn’t sure how long I could wheel suck before I went from Rando Buddy to Rando Jerk. Eventually Tobin rode up to us and we were three. This 50km stretch  to the  first control had a lot of climbing in it. [You can click on the route map at the top and get an interactive ride map.] I was climbing pretty well and managed to hang on on the flats. I did take a turn at the front to assuage my wheel sucker’s guilt, but it was tough enough that I knew that wouldn’t be happening a lot on this ride! We eventually caught up to John [who as it turns out is a blog reader] and he motored along with the three of us in tow to the first control near Lake Cowichan at around 50kms. It hadn’t warmed up much to this point and we started to doubt the forecast for sunny skies.

Photo: John M. - See I wasn't kidding about eating a lot at the controls...

I was keen to keep my stops as short as possible on this ride and the first control set the right tone for me:

  1. stop
  2. put some food in your mouth
  3. pee
  4. get control card signed & put away
  5. eat some more
  6. adjust clothing
  7. adjust bike [leather tension on my saddle]
  8. eat some more
  9. get rolling
I’m guessing we were in and out of the control in 7mins or so. One thing that helped is I was wearing fairly flexible clothing that I could vent while riding to adjust for changes in temperatures, wind and effort levels. I also had lots of food on the bike I could eat while riding. I made a conscious effort to eat a small amount consistently throughout the event. I also had something to drink every time I thought of it and every time anyone else pulled out a bottle I grabbed mine for good measure. So when I rolled into a control I wasn’t trying to recover from the damage I had just inflicted on myself. I was simply adding some extra calories to the tank and taking care of tasks I couldn’t do on the bike.

My Rando Rig taking a rare break...

I was feeling good leaving the first control and I knew if I could get the next 50kms done easily than I would have conquered a good chunk of the climbing and I could roll the last half of the ride with less power in the legs. We did great getting over the lumpy bits on the way back from Lake Cowichan towards Duncan. I was starting to think I might not get crushed like I usually do on these rides due to my non-existant training regime. I got on the front and took a pull on the Trans-Canada Hwy section of the second leg trying to contribute something to the group. As we turned off the highway and headed to the Kinesol Trestle I was getting pretty low energy. I don’t think I was bonking simply because I had been eating pretty solidly on the ride so far. I suspect my body was just reaching the end of my typical long workout timeframe at 4-5hrs and was starting to wonder what the heck was going on!

John walking back from the Kinesol Trestle...

Happily control #2 at the Kinesol Trestle [~116kms]  was well stocked with provisions. I repeated my routine from control #1, but took an extra 5-6 mins to sit down and rest. I didn’t waste this time though and I kept a constant flow of food entering my mouth without gorging. Jeff and Tobin had gone up the road during the climb to the trestle with John and I following a bit behind. We regrouped at the control, but didn’t ride together too much more as our speeds kept diverging. I totally appreciated the company thus far and the ability to draft some stronger riders. It was way nicer than the solo death march I had envisaged earlier in the week! So thanks guys!

Tobin, Lazy and John at the Secret Control @~ 130kms...

Not shockingly [to me] my energy levels kept dropping from this point onwards. I can’t really be upset or surprised when I don’t put in a reasonable amount of preparation for these rides. John and I stuck together on the ride to control #3. He was stronger on a lot of the sections and went ahead to wait for me at key spots. It was still nice to have some company even if I didn’t have the speed to stay with him all the time or to do much chatting when we were together. There were a couple fun fast downhills on this section that put a grin on my face. The 3rd control was at 151kms so this was a short leg. I was happy about that as I needed the morale support, food and to feel like the finish was at had.

Control #3 @ ~151kms...

The last 50kms to the finish was really hard for me. I eventually lost contact with John completely and got passed by Gary Baker. The KMs ticked down very slowly – very slowly! I just kept the pedals turning and kept eating. So far in the ride I hadn’t got off the bike between controls and I wanted to stick with that strategy so I ate a sandwich while coasting down a couple long gradual hills. I did eventually have to stop for a brief pee break, but my general plan to keep moving and keep control stops short did contribute to a low overall time for me. I know when I am suffering looking at the odometer is a bad thing as it seems to be broken it’s counting so slowly! The fact the finish was at a pub meant I could look forward to a pint and a Rando Burger. That helped keep me pedaling along. Eventually I got to a pub and I thought it was “The Pub”, but I didn’t see the control sign or any bikes. I took a moment to consult the route sheet and I knew my brain wasn’t at 100% so I didn’t rush the cognitive process! While my neurons fired very slowly Martin Williams [friendly neighbourhood brevet organizer] came out to let me know I was done.

Photo: Melissa

Happy Happy! I got my route card signed and was handed a finisher’s pin. I immediately grabbed a seat and started looking at the menu!

Stats:

  • Total distance = 202kms
  • Total ride time = 9:30
  • Avg speed = 22.9kph
  • Riding time = 8:49
  • Time off the bike = 41mins

Tobin at the finish...

The Good

  • got out of bed at 4:30am!…=-)
  • great weather
  • great route
  • enthusiastic friendly club volunteers at the controls
  • ate and drank well
  • good folks to ride with
  • no bonus KMs
  • finished middle of the pack
  • no flats or mechanicals
  • wore the right clothes for weather conditions
  • bike was comfy
  • 650B tires were ideal for all the rough pavement and gravel patches

Photo: John M. - Jeff, Tobin, Lazy and John @ the Secret Control....

The Bad

  • shifting needed tweaking
  • saddle needed tightening
  • GPS route didn’t work
  • lots of rough pavement needed my full attention [especially when drafting]
  • low energy on the last part of the ride
  • didn’t take many photos

The Ugly

  • nothing! – sweet…=-)

Photo: John M. - ready to roll out of Control #3...

What I should do different next brevet?

  • check out the bike a little more carefully [shifting, saddle, ect...]
  • turn on GPS at home and load route to ensure it will navigate
  • pack food that’s easy to eat on the bike [open some packages in advance]
  • train hard – hahahaha…yeah right!

Photo: John M. - Let's get this party started!

Related Links:

Route sheet and finisher's pin...





Victoria Populaire – 70K!

26 03 2012

Team 20" at the end of the ride...

Sharon and I rode the 50K route at the BC Randonneurs Victoria Populaire Sunday. Add in ~20kms riding to/from the event and we rode farther than ever before on the tandem. Sharon also rode her longest ever distance on a bicycle. Obviously 70kms is not going to impress folks that ride 1200km events, but considering Sharon didn’t ride a bike when I met her this is a great achievement. Even better Sharon’s talking about riding the 100km route on our own this spring. Our distance riding progress may be slow, but it’s steady…=-)

50K Route Map - click for bigger version...

We met up with Aaron and Laura at the start. They were riding Dahon folding bikes so we were all rolling on 20″ wheels. We were joined by Brian and Mike on their big wheel bikes. The day was sunny and there were something like ~140 riders joining us on the course. The organizers did a great job staffing the controls and the route was well chosen for pleasant cycling.

Rider organizer Dave M giving the troops last minute instructions...

We let the majority of riders start in front of us so we could enjoy a relaxed pace around the course. I had my gps running as well as the course cue sheets. Between the two we managed a first ever zero bonus KM event by staying on course the whole time!

The intrepid members of our 50K posse at control #2...

The tandem proved comfortable for this distance and we had no issues cranking up even the steeper climbs on the course. I’m more and more impressed with our Raspberry Rocket on every new adventure. Thanks Bike Friday!

Sharon taking a breather along the route and enjoying the views...

Thanks to the BC Randonneurs for putting on a great ride for those riders not quite ready for a 200K brevet. Thanks also to Aaron, Laura, Sharon, Brian and Mike for riding with us…=-)

Mr.Lazy happy they have cookies at the control!

Victoria Populaire 2012 photos:





Victoria Populaire…

24 03 2012

Click on image for details...

We’ll be riding the Victoria Populaire tomorrow. You should as well if you live within striking distance of our fine city. Post ride we’ll be headed out for beer and snacks at a pub.





650B Dirt Dawgs…

30 01 2012

My Boulder Bicycle 650B rando rig...

Training might be too strong a word for our first road ride of 2012, but when you are as lazy as we are you need to count every pedal stroke. I was stoked that pulling my Boulder Bicycle All Road down from its winter slumber hanging from the wall of my office didn’t reveal much work needed to get her operational. Some air in the tires and dead batteries in the taillight & bike computer were the only items that needed attention. I like a bike that doesn’t need a ton of maintenance.

Pre-ride shenanigans...

Taking a photo break...

Aaron's new Bridgestone rando beast...

You can always spot the rolling pumpkin...

A few more tweaks...

eVent jacket and wool keep me comfy and dry...

Aaron coming...

A lot of the ride was slick gravel or mud - perfect 650B terrain...

Aaron going...

Hanging with our good friend...





Ty’s First 200K

5 12 2011

Ty and his trusty Specialized rando MTB...

Ty’s first Brevet, The Del Puerto Canyon 200K, or “Descent into Hell!”

“The day started out just fine. In fact, during the pre-ride introduction, Rob Hawks, the local SF Rando club president, introduced me as the newest member of the RUSA. as they had just processed my application last week. The whole group of 76 cheered and clapped. I thought it was a nice gesture, and I really appreciated it.

Left town and was quickly dropped of course since I was riding my under-geared 99 Specialized Hardrock mountain bike. I had done my best to make it suitable, by putting on Specialized Fatboy 216 x1.25 slick tires and fenders, but still very slow compared to the rest of the proper road bikes.

It started out with a slow climb out of Livermore. The descent was awesome! I was going so fast, that I thought “whew! I better slow down!” Literally at that moment I came upon a crash. Three riders on the ground. EMS was already there and working on one of them. Two of them were sitting up and looked OK, but the rider on the ground looked like he was in bad shape. I later found out one of them had a broken collarbone and leg. The other broke four ribs and had a punctured lung. Both are still in hospital, but in good spirits and anxious to get riding again.

So that put a damper on things for a bit. After the decent, it was a long, pretty flat ride. At mile 50, I got to the second control, where I had a ginormous double-cheeseburger. One of the SF Rando members came in after me, which surprised me, as I thought they would all be long way ahead. Turns out he had stopped at the accident. He said it looked like collarbone was broke on the rider on the ground. He didn’t realize, at the time, that the other rider was injured as well.

He and I rode together for a while. We took turns drafting. I was clearly hold him back, so after about 10 miles he began to surge ahead. I saw him look back, and I waved him forward.

At mile 62, I got to the third control, which was the beginning of 50 miles through the remote, and I mean remote, Del Puerto Canyon.The first 18 miles were a pretty slow, gradual climb. Wasn’t going too fast, but wasn’t that tough either. The last three miles or so were VERY tough. I literally could not keep peddling, so I got off the bike a few times. I hate doing that, but had no choice if I wanted to keep going.

Finally got to the next control about mile 84 at the Junction Cafe. Literally in the middle of nowhere. Had a pulled pork sandwich there. Was told by the other two stragglers that there was one more difficult climb, then descent for the rest.

By this time, it was raining and getting dark. I kept plowing on, but again had to walk a few times during the last climb.

The descent was very scary. Very tight, twisty turns. There were no lights out there, just my bike. I was paranoid about running out of juice, so I went on low beam, but kept my speed under 20, I think.  No way to tell for sure, as I could no longer see my speedometer or cue sheet All I could really see in the rain was the lane divider. If there had been any road debris, I would not have been able to miss it. I was tired, and had to stop and use my Petzel elite to look at my directions. I was getting paranoid and scared that I would miss a turn!

Just remembering the name of the next turn was tough. I knew I had to check every cross street. Thankfully, there were none for most of the rest of the descent.

As I got closer to town, probably mile 100, the road ended, thus saving me a dilemma. I took a  right turn and headed toward town.

At this point, my legs, feet, and hands were soaked. Thankfully, I was wearing wool socks, which still kept my feet warm when wet, and I did have a good rain jacket, so my core was dry.

It was getting near 7:30, and the official finish was 930. I thought I had no shot as there was probably 20 miles or so to go. There was also one more control, where I had to stop and answer some question about the area. I decided there was no way I was going to attempt that. I just wanted to get back to  my car at that point.

Meanwhile, the event organizers were wondering where I was. I had last checked in with my wife Tanya before the last descent, which was nearly three hours past. I wanted to check in again after that, but with the rain, dark, and difficulty in navigating, I was just focusing on getting “home.”

Well, the  ride contact person called Tanya asking if she had heard from me, probably about 8pm,  and she got worried when she realized they were worried. She tried calling my cell, which I was not answering, as it was buried deep in my Ortlieb panniers.

Lesson learned #1 – Keep cell, with backup battery, on my person during a brevet. Get a waterproof bag of some kind.

So at about 8:40, I am figuring I have 10 or so miles to go with no shot in finishing under the time limit. I had also had a minor crash when I couldn’t decide where to turn, and ended up hitting a curb. No real damage, other than a scrapped knee.

I am plowing along, thinking “soon… soon,” when a station wagon pulls up alongside me. The car was matching my pace and yelling something through the open window. I was listening to a radio play on my ipod nano to pass the time and keep my mind of the cold and wet, so I had to pull my earplug to hear what he was saying. At first, I thought he was asking for directions, and was about to tell him I couldn’t help, when I heard him say, “Are you Ty?” I said, “Umm…yeah?”

It was Rob Hawks, the ride organizer and local SF Rando president. He told me he was going to pull over in a bit to talk, as the road was too narrow. When he did, he told me the last two riders had just checked in, so I was the last one out. I was surprised he was checking for me, because I was still within the maximum time, but since most riders had long since come in they had gotten concerned, particularly as they figured I was in the middle of that dark remote canyon in a rain storm.

He asked me if I was OK. I told him I was, that it was primarily my under-geared, old mountain bike that was the reason for my slow time. He said I only had 8 miles or so to go and asked me if I wanted to try to finish. I said sure, but I and thought I had no shot. He said that I had 40 minutes and though that I could make it if I pushed on.  

Lesson #2 – Get a proper bike before my next brevet!

I kept going, somehow finding some more energy and started really pushing. I got a little confused right near the end, but got to the last control with four minutes to spare! When I rode up, the volunteers all cheered. It was pretty cool, to say the least.

Anyway, I signed in, turned in my brevet card and receipts. Rob Hawks offered to give me a ride back to where my car was, but I felt it a matter of pride to get back there on my own. It was actually one of the hardest things to do as stopping for just that 10 minutes or so allowed me time enough to feel the cold and chill from my sopping wet gloves, pants and sock.

So I rode back to my car, after almost getting lost again,  loaded up my bike, and got into my car, shaking the whole way. I drove home to San Mateo from the Dublin Pleasanton Bart with the heat on. Got home, ate again, took a shower, and then slept for 10 hours. Pretty sore the next day,  but managed a Costco trip!

Can’t wait to do it again!”

Ty Smith

RUSA #7188





2012 BC Rando Schedule…

31 10 2011

My Boulder Bicycle All Road...

The BC Randonneurs have released their 2012 schedule. It looks great with quite a few shorter summer rides which makes me happy. I always found it funny that my rando season essentially wrapped up just as the weather started being nice. With 200km and 300km events in the summer I hope to get a few more rides in and enjoy Vancouver Island at the peak of its cycling season.

My goals this year are modest:

  • Victoria Populaire – 25 March [with Sharon on our Bike Friday tandem 50km route for sure and if Sharon's up for it we'll do the 100km ride]
  • Van Isle 200K – 7 Apr
  • Van Isle 300K – 21 Apr
  • one 200K in the summer
  • volunteer at 1 or 2 events

Yup – not an overwhelming set of goals. No new distances and not too many events. I plan on defending my 2011 Lantern Rouge Championship Cup.

You may be wondering why so few rides and nothing more than 300K? Well in the past when I have set more ambitious targets and not achieved them it felt like failure even though I have yet to DNF a brevet. I’m old enough to know that if I don’t do something after 2 or 3 tries than it’s because I don’t want to do it or I can’t do it. I know I can ride a 400K for example, but I haven’t made that happen which leads me to believe that despite wanting to achieve the goal of completing a 400K I don’t want to ride 400K if that makes any sense!

So my way around that is to stick with goals I know I will achieve and enjoy. When May 12th rolls around and the Van Isle 400K is being held if I’m up for it I can always jump on my bike and ride it and if not I haven’t failed to meet a goal and I can spend that weekend kiteboarding or MTBing or whatever I’m passionate about at the time.

I’m rando-lite and proud of it!…=-)





The Tao of Wow!

19 10 2011

Person, paddle and SUP - all you really need...

Over the years I’ve been exposed to a number of spiritual traditions.

  • My dad is Hindu.
  • My mom is Protestant.
  • I went to a Catholic high school.
  • I practiced yoga daily for over 3yrs when I was younger.
  • I’ve read extensively about Buddhism and other Eastern traditions.
  • And I’ve had friends that came were on many different spiritual paths.

Now that I am in my 40’s I find myself spending less and less time reading books about this topic or going to places where spirituality or religious experience is the focus. Not because I have no interest in that part of my life. In fact as I get older it seems to me that this is the whole point of life – to get a handle on your life and what it means. I’m finding that the most rewarding place to explore the experience of my life and to understand what it means to me is not in a yoga studio or in a temple, but in the everyday moments I live. There is no spiritual guide to help you down this path. Surfing and cycling don’t have a religious dogma to learn or spiritual instructional program. But, there is no reason that you can’t connect with God just as well flying through the air kiteboarding or gliding along in your sea kayak as you can in a yoga studio or church.

In fact I think that engaging in the direct experience of all that life has to offer in these ways has a benefit. Since there is no book, no manual or lexicon your mind is not being channeled down specific paths of thought. Your experience is beyond the bounds and constraints of language. Without words or a set of ideas someone else taught you you can engage with your life on a deeper level.

That lets paddling a SUP become a moving meditation. A consciousness expanding voyage into your reality. An appropriate metaphor when you picture a tiny SUPer floating on a vast ocean.

Your bike can be rolling along on two big prayer wheels as you pedal.

The wave that rises up behind you and pushes you along on your surfboard has travelled from halfway around the planet to interact with you in this one brief moment which makes it easy to appreciate the infinite connections we have with everything else.

Just to be clear I’m not down on churches, yoga studios or any other spiritual tradition. I figure there are so many flavours of humanity out there not everyone is going to get turned on to the same thing. Find what makes you passionate and embrace it.





Petzel e+lite 5 Month Review

14 09 2011

Small light with powerful kung-fu!

I bought a Petzel e+lite this spring to use on brevets so I could read my cue sheets and as an emergency light to effect repairs in the dark. It saw use on a 300K and on a few training rides. Since then it lives in my office and has been used as a convient light for more mundane activities like finding my keys when I drop them under the deck at midnight! Click on the image above to read my original post about this light and for basic product details.

Lots of options...

What do I think so far?

  • attaches securely to the visor of my Bern helmet
  • very lightweight so does not affect my neck on long rides
  • easy to operate with cycling gloves on
  • red light is nice as it doesn’t kill my night vision
  • provides sufficient light to read a cue sheet and to act as an emergency “be seen” light if you main light fails
  • quite bright for its size
  • easy to change where the light is aimed while riding and it stays in place even on bumps
  • very robust – I ran this light through my washer/dryer in the pocket of my pants and it works like new
  • I don’t like small coin type batteries, but I am still going strong on my originals so it’s not awful

Ideal for a visor or baseball cap...

Overall I’m pleased and would buy this product again. My only gripe is the type of battery it uses and it would not be possible to have such a small form factor with a couple AAA rechargeables in there so it’s something I can live with for the benefits of the weight/size. As Rando season approaches it will start to live on my Bern’s visor again.





Aaron’s Kogswell PR Rando Bike…

8 08 2011

Aaron's lovely Kogswell...

Kogswell PR Build:

  • Size 56cm frame (54cm actual CC) treated with frame-saver.
  • Double-butted tubeset, steel frame & fenders, kinda portly
  • FSA PigDH Pro Stainless, deep cup headset
  • Vetta rack, heavily modifed to fit forks/crown, brakes, & lamp
  • Campagnolo Veloce QS 10spd shifter/brakes
  • Campagnolo Veloce Ultra-Torque Crankset 170mm, 50-34t, 145.5mm Q-Factor
  • Campagnolo Veloce 10spd Rr der. & Veloce Fr der.
  • Campagnolo Veloce cogset 12-29t 10spd
  • Campagnolo Veloce 10spd chain, with Connex quick-link
  • Campagnolo Daytona 9/10spd hub 32h
  • Shimano DH-3N72 Dyno hub 32h
  • Schmidt Edelux lamp
  • PDW Radbot 1000 rear lamp w/reflector
  • Velocity Synergy rims Blk 32h
  • Grand Bois Herte 650Bx42 tires, Clay-red thread
  • DT Swiss Champion stainless spokes, brass nipples
  • All Campagnolo Shift/Brk cbls/hous.
  • Shimano XTR V-Brakes with Travel-Agents, Kool Stop ‘Salmon’ pads
  • Crank Bros Acid pedals
  • Elite bottle cages
  • ?? 27.2 seatpost (came with the frame)
  • Brooks Flyer Special sprung saddle
  • Brooks D-Shaped tool bag
  • Velo Orange stem 110mm 6 deg. 25.4mm
  • Salsa Bell-Lap bar 44cm width
  • Crane Striker bell
  • Serfas Echelon syn bar tape, light marble
  • B&M mirror
  • KMs so far: under 30.

A boy and his bike at the beach...

Aaron sez:

“I have yet to fashion a handlebar bag & may break down & buy one before that actually happens. There are a few things I’ve still to do: wire the dyno hub, as cleanly as possible, make/buy a front bag, & improve the poor fender triangulation. Also I want to make a nicer mount for the rear light. I may mount it low in the rear fender or utilize the canti brake housing stop as a mounting point. But mainly I can’t wait to get some real kms in the saddle, already the bike is supremely comfortable & stable. I’m looking forward to a life-time of happy rides & experiences. A big shout-out has to go to my employer, Fairfield Bicycle Shop, without them I’d have no frame & a very difficult time setting up this bike with the specific, quality parts that us Randonneurs covet. I plan to have my impressions of the bike written up after I’ve logged 200-500kms in the saddle.”

Custom DIY front rack...

Aaron will continue to tweak his bike as he rides it and I’ll ask him to report back in a few months once his broken her in nicely. Great job on the build Aaron…=-)





Canoe Club Bike Ride…

4 08 2011

K for Kogswell!

Aaron got his Kogswell 650B low trail rando rig built and wanted to show me so we went for an EPIC 7km ride to the Canoe Club patio on the Victoria BC inner harbour. Micro brew, local food, sunshine, warm temps and good friends – not to mention bikes!

2 is for Tandem!

Aaron’s bike is lovely and I’ll see about getting him to do a guest post with details and lots more photos.

Stylish colour scheme and red GB Hetres...

We are just so happy it’s finally summer that anything fun outside is a winner with us!…=-)

Z is for Zoolander!





VO Chainstay Protector

10 07 2011

Effective, but F-ugly!

The paint on my 650B Boulder Bicycle All Road is delicate and it gets ridden with less care than it deserves as I am usually pressed for time and not at 100% when I’m riding a brevet. I managed to get a couple decent chips in the right chainstay’s paint in the first ride or two so I threw on the Lizard Skins chainstay protector shown above. It works well, but it’s not aesthetically well suited for this fine machine. I could tell it was bugging Aaron as he offered me a clear stick on protector on more than one occasion!..=-)

Velo Orange elkhide chainstay protector installed...

I declined to swap out the Lizard Skin protector until I could get my hands on one of these Velo Orange elkhide chainstay protectors. It suits the bike much better while being cheap and effective at its job.

That's much better!...=-)

You can get the VO protectors in a bunch of colours shown below. I’ll report back with a long term review in the winter.

Lots of options...





Edinburgh Preston Edinburgh 600km

6 07 2011

Another great rando video…=-)





Brynne’s Rando/Commuter…

8 06 2011

Freshly installed Velo Orange metal fenders...

Mike C swung by with his lovely wife Brynne’s rando/commuter rig for some fender love. We installed a set of Velo Orange smooth metal fenders on her Soma Double Cross.

Beautifully smoooooth....=-)

Like my previous VO fender installs they went on pretty easily. We had to scrounge some scrap metal and DIY a rear bracket to get the rear fender low enough on the wheel for a nice fender line. The front fender went on pretty well, but next time I have a moment I’ll DIY up a bracket to lower it down a just a tad.

Next up some mudflaps!

I’d also like to fabricate some mudflaps and get them installed when I get a chance. Mike was mentioning that this bike will be seeing some other upgrades like: a new dynolight, new stem and new bars. This a pretty sweet ride and with a bit of new bling will be even nicer…=-)





Ripple Rock 600K Start

29 05 2011

Mike C gives the riders a pre-start briefing...

I helped out at the start of this weekend’s BC Randonneur Vancouver Island 600K. 

A bent and a bunch of cool rando DFs...

I saw my first Vancouver Island rando recumbent. A Barcroft being ridden by Luke Galley. There were also 3 Berg custom bicycles in the pack.

Socializing at the start...

I showed up at the start to see the riders off and then ran a secret control early on in the ride. That allowed me to be useful and still get away to Nitnaht Lake to kiteboard this weekend.

Luke's Barcroft rando bent...

The weather looked great for the start. I hope the riders have a fun weekend on the road.

Riders' eye view of the start...

This is my second 600K of the year – without actually riding a bike! Next year I’ll have to enter the event…=-)

Rando-fied Kuwahara...

I’m planning on heading over to the finish to see the riders come in when I’m back from Nitnaht Sunday.





Velo Web Reader’s Rides…

22 05 2011

Boulder Bicycle All Road action...

Raymond Parker publisher of The Velo WebLog was kind enough to add my Boulder Bicycle All Road to the Reader’s Randonneur Rides section of his site.  Thanks! Since I haven’t published a full review of this bike yet the material posted on Raymond’s site is a nice concise summary of my experiences so far.

Yes I am Lazy!





The remains of the rando year?

21 05 2011

My gang colours...

Back at the start of March I plotted out a brevet schedule for 2011. So far I’m mostly on track except that I replaced one 300K with a different one and I missed the Highway to Hell 400K. My goal for this year was to ride a 200K, 300K & 400K on my new upright rando bike. Keeping in mind all my previous brevets were on a recumbent so even a 200K is new territory on DF [diamond frame]. I’m pretty happy with how things are going so far. I’m comfortable on my bike. I’m navigating the courses well enough. My equipment is reliable and performing well. My fitness sucks, but I know what the solution to that problem is even if I don’t want to utter the “T” word at the moment.

Looking forward my plan is to ride the following:

  • Nanimo Populaire 100K – 25 June
  • Make Up Brevet 400K – 16 July
  • Fall Islander 200K – Sept 11
One fly in the ointment is the likelihood I’ll have to travel to Ontario for work most of July. So I may miss the 16 July 400K. I won’t know until July comes around so I’ll just keep planning on riding it and see what happens. If I can’t participate my back up plan is to drive to Port Hardy at the north end of Vancouver Island and ride the ~450kms back home with a hotel sleep stop in the middle. Not a 400K brevet, but I wanted to tour the island anyways and it will give me a handle on riding a 400K so that next year I can keep my progress rolling and try my hand at a 600K.