Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ask This Old Bike: Klein Kunundrum

Dear Ask This Old Bike,
Do you know of anybody that would be interested in this bike?  It is (my brother’s) Klein and was bought new for $2000. I could be wrong but thought he said it was a 60 inch frame.  I could get more info from him if you want.

Hugs & Kisses,

Your #1 Fan Forever

Dear #1 Fan Forever,
I can ask around and let you know.  You’d be looking for someone just getting into cycling…a really tall guy on a budget getting into cycling, like maybe one of the college basketball players whose NBA dreams were crushed in the NCAA tourney last week.  This is a 60cm frame.  If it was 60 inches, you might have to sell it to Godzilla.  Although I can’t see the model name on the top tube, Klien is/was a nice brand.   This is a road bike, with time trial bolt-on bar extensions.  I’ll guess it’s probably 10-12 years old, judging from the brake/shifters, quill stem, and standardish spoked alloy wheels.  Even though it was a relatively decent bike in its day, it shows it’s age and is missing a few parts that could be important to riding a bike, like, uh, pedals and a saddle. 

On the plus side: it has middle tier Shimano 105 components, appears to have newer tires, is clean and white (which is very “in” right now like Lady Gaga.)  I’d suggest buying a saddle and pedals, even used.  Most bike shops have used saddle and pedal bins where you might be able to pick up something cheap.  Also, I’d get a bike shop to put some new handlebar tape on it.  That faded pink speckled bar tape, although nicely done, is Ugly Betty and very personal.  I’d suggest white, black or blue tape (to match the tires).  Switching bar tape and finding some used pedals and a saddle is very inexpensive and the money invested would result in a quicker sale and higher price.   Lastly, I’d suggest taking the TT bars and elbow cups off.  They’ll have no impact on the bottom line sale of the bike and you might get a few extra bucks selling them separately.   

I’d guess you might be able to get $325-450 for it.  That’s $325 as-is but WITH some sort of a saddle.  It’s acceptable to sell road bikes without pedals.  I think $450 is possible if you follow my suggestions, find a racer-ish saddle, some decent clipless pedals, clean up the bike, take great photos of it and provide a full list of components and specs to buyers on ebay.  In the meantime, I’ll throw it to the sharks.  I mean I’ll ask our readers on Facebook and see what they say.

John  is the Ridgid Shop Vac included?

Brett fixie project?

Fred First generation 105 8s STI. Wouldn't ask much for it.  If it's in reliable shape, $400-$450. (less if components are rough.)

Jaden (I know someone who) would probably pay $50 for the crazy bar tape, even used.

Dave Reflectors still intact.  I'll guess 1995.  Shifters are worth a surprising bit. $250 complete. Parts could fetch 400.

Jason‎ 150-200, tops. You guys should have noticed that it is missing the saddle.

Kevin no pedals?? Now how are going to ride a bike without pedals or seat. ;) 

Corey…it appears to be a threaded steerer with a quill stem. that a Thomson seatpost? That would increase my bid by $40.

Zach ‎$10,000. it's a Klein, not made anymore, so very collectible. And it's got collectible Scott Neon Lay down bars.  Total bonus.

Rick I did have that bar tape on my bike about 15 years ago.

Andrew Looks like someone made the mistake of locking their bike up by the saddle.

Tom you need to take it Iowa and have Mike and Frank at Antique Archaeology apraise it, it looks farm fresh so it it good pickens:)

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Man Crush & the Holy Trinity of Cycling

Back of Cavendish, Full-On Fabian 2010 TOC
You’ve seen the video, heard the stories and all of sudden Sasquatch’s thick matted fur is all up in your grill so close you crinkle your nose and squint your eyes at the Yeti stench.  Yeah.  Mmmph.  You urk back a little puke and say to yourself, “That’s a beautiful Big Foot.”  Seeing Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen up close is sort of like seeing Sasquatch, only you’ve never stood on the couch cushions shouting as Sasquatch grits his teeth and pounds the pedals under the red kite with the contorted faces of those he’s dropping in view between his 4 day beard and his shoulder.  I saw Boonen, Cancellara and Hincapie together last year at the tour of California.  My wife blasted me for my giddiness as I angled the camera to capture all three in the same photo.  To her I looked like a tween snapping photos at a Justin Bieber concert.  To me, I was witnessing a cycling holy trinity. 

Stay Thirsty My Friends
Quite a few women read this blog.  While some of you may want to have mad wild Belgian/Swiss RV sex with Tomeke or Fabian after the finish of this weekend’s E3 and Gent-Wevelgem, man crushes are nothing like that.  Let it be clear, I do not want to boom with Boonen.  I don’t want Cancellara to wear my ring on a chain around his neck.  A man crush is nothing sexual or gay.  A man crush is something of appreciation, like seeing the perfection in the Brawny paper towel guy’s beard, admiring the timelessness of Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man in the World, or the suaveness of the Old Spice guy.  Advertisers are well aware of this.  Dos Equis, Brawny and Old Spice would be out of business if a video ever surfaced of Heidi Klum cleaning the bathroom counter with a Brawny paper towel, a Dos Equis beer in the other hand and a stick of Old Spice in view on the cabinet. 

Beautiful, yes.  But, what The hell Am I looking at?
The emotion behind a man crush is why grown men’s mouths gape and eyes rise in wonder at the cornerstone of the Empire State Building.  It’s why men marvel at the bland smooth concrete massiveness of the Hoover Dam and insist on “popping the hood” and peering at the engine of a Ferrari.  It has nothing to do with understanding the engineering principals behind these wonders.  It’s simply the sight of pure blunt-force perfection.    It’s man beauty.

Stoic Boonen 2010 Tour of California
I think that’s what I see in Boonen and Cancellara.  I saw both of them in person, together at the start of the Big Bear state of the Tour of California.  Boonen, minutes later would drop out of the race.  Cancellara would be pack fodder.  It didn’t matter.  Like the great pyramids and Notre Dame Cathedral, their cache of wins and hard-guy moments earns them a timeless respect.   Conversely Frank Schleck winning the Criterium International did nothing for me.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Autonearbyu Syndrome: How To Lose Schababerle

Schababerle, the 2nd race in the Ohio Valley Spring Road Series is this weekend.  Here's a summary of survival for those making the trip to this spring classic climb in Northern Kentucky.

Autonearbyu Syndrome:
The incessant urge to quit every time your sniveling broken body passes your car at the intersection of California Cross and Rt. 10.

The crowd of people along the last pitch of the climb who have done this race enough to never do it again and have resorted to heckling your sorry ass as you deliver the mail.

El Perro De Tres Patas
The legendary three legged dog of Schababerle lives along the descent back to California Cross.  Unlike Ghost Dog who lives on Rt. 8 between Mentor and Silver Grove, at least you’ll see El Tres coming.  The issue is, at this point, you’ve finally caught your breath from the climb and closing gaps in the crosswind and all you want to do is chill in the pack.  It’s the perfect spot for El Tres to get a jump on eating you.  Think of it like this.  Ghost Dog comes out of nowhere, from behind another team’s unseen lead out train like Robbie McEwen.  El Tres attacks are as conspicuous as a bag of leaves in a windstorm, much like Cadel Evans.  You’ll see and hear him well before he gets you.  However, because you’re just getting your eyesight back from being over your lactate threshold for the last 20 minutes, you’re easy pickin’s.  El Tres doesn’t come out ever year.  Judging from the fact that he barely raises his head sometimes, it’s been rumored that El Tres has been high on doggy Ritalin from time to time.  El Tres will never die.  If he does there’s no shortage of three-leggers in Kentucky to take his place.

Realizing that Godzulla, the diabolical founder of this race with the tattoo arm warmers in the mis-matched Xavier kit who attacked from the gun on Rt. 10 just to mess with you, finished in front of you.  (See Fat Boy 10 Attack)

The Fat Boy 10 Attack
From the start at Flintlocks, with 5 or 6 times up the beast in your future, you’d think it’d be a rather mellow ride up Schababerle at least the first time, at least until the toaster, at least until the first pitch.  Nuh-uh.

If you’re unfamiliar with the toaster, Schababerle is actually a nice scenic climb with two slight stretches of quad relieving lulls on the way up.  The toaster is the last pitch to the tippy top.  When you get there it will feel like riding down and into a BMX style half pipe. Then you’ll realize it’s bigger than anything you’ve seen on the X-Games.  Frantically you’ll dump it into your lowest gear.  If you don’t drop your chain shifting from your 53-17 to your 39-27 at the wrong moment, you’ll soon find yourself looking at your cassette thinking that you brought the wheel with the 12-23.  

That said, no doubt, a slightly grizzly looking dude in an unfamiliar kit will attack well before the base of the climb on Rt. 10.  You’ll write him off as a big boy trying to get a jump on the climb and let him go.  He will be followed by three or four others thinking that his effort to get his caboose on the climb before everyone else is a good idea.  However, 5 guys up the road in different kits tends to make the alarm bells go off, especially knowing that the right turn into Schababerle and the first left on the climb will stretch the pack into a long 2-3 rider wide line.  No matter how you cut it, you’ll be following multiple attacks and be on the edge of crying for mama between bouts of the pukes before your Garmin even registers a change in elevation. 

Hell Hole:
The port-a-poddy along the backstop by the Flintlocks softball field that’s been there all winter and just beginning to thaw.  Guy tip: remove your sunglasses from your helmet before peeing.  Girl tip: invest in a Bumper Dumper.

“Sin” Ders
If you bought brand new road tires for the season, take them off your bike now.  Obviously you’ve never ridden in Mentor, KY in March.  You see, they don’t use salt on the roads here in winter.  Calcium chloride and beat juice are for pussy-towns like Cincinnati.  There’s a giant coal power plant just down the river.  When the coal is burned, cinders are the result.  It’s burnt up coal, what is referred to as coal ash.  Questionably biodegradable, it’s a wonderful thing.  It doesn’t really melt ice or snow.  Instead, being much like teeny tiny shards of black glass, they spread it on the roads.  It embeds itself into the tires of cars, essentially turning them into studded tires.  Brilliant!  It works exactly the same way with bike tires.  Only, your tires are .7 mm thick.  Suddenly those brand new Conti GP 4000 S’s have a hundred cuts on them.  Inside each cut is a microscopic black piece of glass.  If you don’t pull them all out after the race you’ll get flats for weeks.  My best advice: put your crappy-old out-of-fashion light blue Michelin tires on.  The best thing you can do is avoid the "black sand" and every time you hear a rider say “gravel” imagine them saying “glass.”  Throw your tires away after the race.

The state of residence for the winner of your race whose jersey you’ve never seen in your life.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Banned Radio Found in UCI Parking Lot

Banned Radio
(Nose Hit News Service - Aigle, Switzerland) With wires sticking out the back, this car radio was found lying in the UCI’s parking lot.  “At first we thought a car was broken into,” said a skateboarder doing bitchin’ kick flips with his friends outside UCI headquarters, “but this is Mr. McQuaid’s parking spot.”  Apparently someone is on a radio banning rampage.  “We’re totally putting this on eBay,” said the teen.  They did not realize the radio is a total piece of shit and we doubt McQuaid drives a vintage VW.

Swiss Radio 1 Tower
However, later in the day, villagers report seeing a large boisterous figure climbing the radio tower high on a hill outside of Aigle, Switzerland.  Passerby's report the man appearing like a giant on the 2500 meter tower as it swayed from side to side in the spring wind.  Moments later the antenna snapped off the top and impaled a dairy cow adjacent to a Swiss cheese factory.  “Either Swiss Sasquatch is up to his old antics or this (expletive) cycling radio ban has gone too far,” said the cheese maker.  The man on the tower reportedly jumped down and was last seen running with arms flailing into the forest.

UCI Headquarters
After an open letter was sent out to professional cyclists detailing his reasons for the UCI’s ban on race radios, there are signs that all radios within the control of the UCI could, um, maybe, quite possibly may be banned.  “The UCI is very quiet today,” said a delivery service driver for SwissEx on the UCI route.  He added, “I had the radio on in my truck.  Went into the UCI to drop off a package and completely missed the end of the zany morning zoo’s prank phone call.  It sucks.  The receptionist usually has the same station on.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Death March: Kickboxing With Edward Scissorhands

Here, the fateful choice was made to swim.
Note: As you know I'm writing an article for XXC Magazine's April/May Issue #11 about the Sub 9 Death March. Part of the story will be the tale of the Rogue Racing Project foursome that found themselves wet up to their chests, plundering like Vikings through the stickers, bushwhacking and bleeding their way north toward Elkinsville Cemetery.  Gary Lunsford's story was so detail packed that I hated to edit it down to a paragraph or two for the magazine.  So, with permission, here in it's original form is the response I got back from Gary when I asked about their little mistake.  Thank you Gary and Rogue Racing Project for sharing your adventure.

By Gary Lunsford:

I had been plotting and scheming for weeks. I had been studying every map. I had friends that lived near the course doing recon rides for me. I bought a new Garmin 705 to track my racing and training this year. We even stayed the night before the race at my recon guy’s house and got debriefed on the situation with 3-D fly by mapping on large computer screens in his “laboratory”!

#7 is the wrong turn, #17 is roughly Elkinsville Cemetery
We KNEW exactly which way we were going to ride and for sure get all the checkpoints. We elected to go straight to Elkinsville first. It turned out that the eventual race winners, Messer and Gallagher had the same exact plan. So when they passed us on Combs Road, we knew the race was on!

All of this doesn’t mean squat when you combine two simple factors. 1) taking the Garmin on its first trip in which you are trying to follow a preloaded off-road route and you haven’t figured out all the bells and whistles yet, and 2) you KNOW you are in second place and you have your head down hammering to keep the leaders in sight.

With those two facts, our two teams, came out of Combs road and around the gate only to be greeted by a large horse that had jumped out if its corral and was in the road. Just a distraction. We hit the afterburners in search of the DRT boys. With them not in sight at this point and with a full head of steam, we screamed past the right turn for Elkinsville.

My new GPS was beeping frantically, but I couldn’t understand its strange new language (yet). Not a single one of the four of us even gave a thought to the intersection. And that was where all the chaos began….

Riding $4000 canoes.
About another mile down the road, there appeared to be standing water in our way. The obvious result of all the recent rains and flooding. Kirk was the first one to “put in” and we all followed, Looking in the shallow water for Messer and Gallagher’s tire tracks in the muddy bottom. Before we knew it, we were axle deep, but still peddling. Up ahead, we could see that the road emerged from the murky depths. Obviously, this was just a little water puddle to cross in the race, because Sub9 productions wanted to make it interesting. We got back on the gas. All of a sudden, more water. This time we could see the other side…..but it was deeper this time. Hmmm, no tire tracks again. The leaders must have been walking their bikes here! We rode through this water too. This time, I looked down and realized my water bottles were under water. Did I mention that it was really cold river water?

The dry land on the other side this time was a high spot created for an abandoned bridge over the creek. They had bolted a guardrail across it to alert vehicles it was unsafe to cross. Once on top of it, we could now see that to venture on, meant back into the water again! This time the road, or what we assumed to be the road curved around a bend, out of sight. The answer was simple enough to our crew and we immediately headed across the water and up onto the ridge on the inside of the bend. Simple enough we would just traverse the ridge until the road appeared again.

Results of Kickboxing with Edward Scissorhands
Now keep in mind that all four of us were convinced we were following the road to Elkinsville and we were going the right way.  After about a half a mile of walking on the side of a steep hill, we could see that the water only grew wider and deeper.

Plan B was now needed. The funny part here is that no one said, “lets go back”. The part we had all wrong was that we were standing on a hillside facing north, with endless water to our west and thoroughly convinced that we were still south and east of Elkinsville. We needed to forge ahead.

I forgot to mention my little issues I encountered along the way. The first two bike submarining excursions had left the leg warmers I had on soaked and falling down and had gotten shredded in the chainrings. I too them off at the abandoned bridge and hung them on the guardrail to dry! (note to all that read this, if you find these Bellweather brand black legwarmers, please return them) The other little problem I incurred was that somewhere in the murky depths, my SPD cleat literally fell off my right shoe! No more clipping in. Crank Brothers pedals slide all over the place on carbon soled race shoes.

The Fire Tower Climb was cold for Gary
As we made our way north, we encountered several creeks that were feeding the newly installed lake that we NOW know as Blue Creek Road. So with everyone of these, we would simply change heading and go upstream until we could cross in waist deep or less water. Every time we crossed now, I was carrying my bike up out of the water. After the last leg of the underwater riding, where literally, my headtube was creating the wake, I realized I was seriously screwing up a seriously expensive bike! My bike, a factory team issue Cannondale CFR 29er, with all the cool custom parts was not meant for this! When I rode up onto the bridge, I unlocked the suspension and compressed it. Water shot out of the vent holes in the boot like a lawn sprinkler! All I could picture in my head, was Tom Cruise in the movie “Risky Business” standing in the waiting room of the Porsche dealership when the service manager walked in and asked “who’s the U-Boat commander?”  

At this point it starts all becoming a blur. After several reviews of the maps and no longer trusting my GPS (mistake! I just didn’t know how to set a waypoint, yet) we decided to get up on a ridge and check cell phone receptions and pull up phone GPS functions.

We finally get signals and with our cornucopia intelligent minds, we determine that we are in fact, off course. We conclude that we need are NOT making good time anymore and need to seek out some form of road to get back on course. We determined that the closest road was to our Northeast. The only issue was that there was no trail going that way. No problem, we will just make our own. Having been a career Boy Scout and having had survival and orienteering training as a ski patroller, this all seemed logical and simple.

They Made It To Elkinsville Cemetery
While most of this trekking was on foot and pushing bikes through so much briars and underbrush that today I look like I lost a kickboxing match with Edward Scissorhands, we followed the plan. The whole time as I am pushing and dodging branches and thorn bushes, I am trying to get a handle on the GPS controls, frantically pushing buttons, changing screens, etc.

At one point we come across an old Toyota FJ40 4x4, abandoned years ago and now an obvious frustration release for lost hunters with high powered weapons.  Even in the middle of BF nowhere, someone had stole the wheels off it! Funny! I had the feeling that my GPS was still functioning and tracking our every move, I just couldn’t “speak the language”. In hindsight, if you look at our GPS download, and zoom all the way in at mile 10.6, you can actually see the FJ40 sitting in the woods! It was at that point that I figured out how to see and set a waypoint on the Garmin and pull up the compass screen with the directional arrow to the waypoint. NOW we had a tool that we could use, as we were no had any faith in the maps. We found what appeared to be a jeep trail from years ago, long since forgotten and unused. But it was a sorta trail and it looked like the only way that FJ got down in there. So we started up the ridge following it. Some sections were kinda rideable. I was the only one on an MTB. I was the only one who didn’t get a flat in this race, but I was the slowest of the team on the roads. Did I mention my Carbon Lefty was full of water? I could see the Stan’s plugging thorn holes one after another! I bet I have 50 holes in my tires.  At one point we stopped and Matt and I use the small role of medical tape in my pack to try and cover the open wounds on our heels from the miles of hiking in wet cycling shoes over steep terrain. It helps a little.

According to their GPS this is home.
My GPS finally says that we are only 1.6 miles away from the Elkinsville cemetery and we are headed in the general right direction. With that and then finally figuring out the mapping on it, we see that we need to head off the old trail and down the valley and follow another creek out to what looks to be a road. After another mile of hiking and bleeding, we hit GRAVEL!!!! Stierwalt drops to the ground and kisses the grey terra firma! We paused only long enough for him to remount and we were off! We had found the road at its very end, so there was only one way to go.

As we gained speed and felt relief, I get noticing that the GPS arrow was continually point off to my right and we were getting farther away from the cemetery. Our road tee’ed  into another more traveled gravel road. It was obvious that we go right. Now all of a sudden things looked familiar to me. I saw this road on the Gravel Grovel race back in November. I knew where I was, kinda. We came up on the Nebo Ridge parking lot and found the map board. All of the pieces came together. About that time, two guys roll off the Nebo trail. They are just out for a ride and proclaim “Death Marchers? You guys are off course” With a bit of advice from them and our directional suspicions confirmed we headed up over a huge gravel road hill to Elkinsville. But before we pulled out, I had Matt use the medical tape and along with some zipties he had, we fastened my foot to the pedal.

Feeling Funky Early
When we began the climb, I remembered….this was the tough hill that had so many people walking it at the Gravel Grovel race. I was strapped in! I had no choice but to ride it out! I made it up on a cross bike last time, so an MTB with a granny gear shouldn’t be an issue. It was still a bitch!

At the bottom on the other side we pass Combs road where we had been 3 hours earlier! Up ahead we see two other teams turn out from the road we missed. 

What can ya say? That one little mistake only took a little more than 3 hours, 12 miles of tail blazing and swimming, several flat tires, hundreds of cuts and scrapes, four wet frozen asses, and four sunk bikes to correct.

We did finish what we started. And somehow we didn’t finish last! We just took the scenic route.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Death March on Ghost Roads: XXC Magazine Article Preview

I feel like I’m trying to solve that childhood math brain teaser, only train A is my teammate and I traveling 5 miles of pavement and 5 miles of gravel and train B is us traveling 4 miles of gravel and 3 miles of singletrack with two creek crossings.  Which one will reach Callahan Cemetery first?  That problem and dozens like it have burnt up more emails, Facebook posts, and text messages in the past two weeks than two teenage girls trying to pick out outfits for the Lady Gaga concert.  Today, the day before the Sub 9 Death March in Indiana’s Hoosier National Forest, at least we’re certain that we’ll be wearing mountain bike shoes and our hot spandex shorts.      

Since there isn’t a set course and the object is to reach all the mandatory check points and get to the finish in the quickest time, the variables are mind numbing: gravel, time bonus checkpoints, pavement, singletrack, shortcuts, swollen creeks, a firetower climb, slippery mud, crosswinds, the ever present chance of mistaking a hunting trail for an official trail and the drama of which checkpoints will be mandatory.  The last two weeks of planning, while a great distraction from work and team building exercise, have been nearly maddening.  Thank goodness we met at the Rusty Bucket over a beer.  My BioWheels/Reece-Campbell Racing teammates and I probably revised our route once every two days.  Maybe after two weeks my eyes are catching up to my master's age, but I swear there are roads or trails that appear to go through from point A to point B on Google Maps, but at a second glance they disappear in the middle of nowhere.  It very well could be a death march. 

Read More In the Next Issue of XXC Magazine
Back before this part of Hoosier National Forest was an area of recreation and conservation, before the Army Corps of Engineers built the dams and lakes, this was family farm and logging country.  The stones in the cemetery, lined up by name and some dating to the early 1800’s, are testament to that.  The stones in Robertson Cemetery have quite a few Robertson’s, same with Todd Cemetery.  When your grandparents were young, there were farms and farm roads, logging camps and logging roads here.  Eventually, however, the land was used up of its riches.  The farmers and loggers moved on to richer soils and older trees.  About that time, the government began purchasing parcels.  The rivers were dammed, the town of Elkinsville evacuated, and the lakes and park born.  Consequently, in the last 50 or 60 years, like the modern day ghost town of Elkinsville, some of those old farm and logging roads have simply been retaken by nature.  Internet mapping hasn’t been so quick to notice the ghost roads.  Suddenly your GPS isn’t so reliable. 

It's 8:45am and we're awaiting the announcement of the other two mandatory checkpoints.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Anatomy of a Death Rig

Death Rig Jason LabeledReader Jason was brave enough to post the photo of his Sub 9 Death March Death Rig to The Best Bike Blog EVER's Facebook page.  He was the only one.  The Death March causes cyclists to evaluate everything.  Jason's running a seatbag big enough to carry a bible and a wooden stake in case of a zombie encounter at one of the cemetery checkpoints.  Personally, thinking maximum power on the roads and minimal time in singletrack, I even considered road pedals.  The test ride was unsuccessful, road pedals are not a good idea if you have to walk more than 3 steps in the mud or run from a pack of zombies and/or vampires.  Like Jason, I opted for the happy medium of Candy SL's, a platform for the road and good mud clearing.  Most readers were afraid of sharing team secrets or having their fragile cycling ego's crushed by the scrutiny of bloggers with a paint program and way too much time on their hands.  Jason, we commend you.  Now prepare for the scrutiny.

Jason, like over 150 others spent the last week matching his bike to the exact percentages of gravel, pavement, dirt road and singletrack their team plans to encounter.  Judging by the Jet Race file-treadish rear tire and knobby front, we figure Jason is making the most of the gravel roads and minimizing muddy uphill singletrack exposure.  Others planning to ride mountain bikes, will no doubt try to take advantage of the singletrack shortcuts between check points.  I will say it right now, we will likely see a road bike with 28c file treads barely clearing the fork crown and seatstays.
Right at this minute, Jason is reconsidering his rear tire choice, as noted by the extra wheel.  He may also want to take care of that mis-matched red cable housing near the rear derailluer tainting his otherwise pristine Death Rig or it will drive him nuts for 4-5 hours on Saturday.  Yeah, that was the first thing we noticed.

Good luck y'all.  For details and to register click here for the Sub 9 Death March Website.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Joe-Made Fender = Fail

In anticipation of a wet Sub9 Death March this Saturday, I made a fender from this 100 count CD tower.  I work at a radio station and empty compact disc towers are as abundant as men and women who can give you the time and temperature four different ways.  Its 44 degrees at 4:44.  That’s 16 minutes before the hour and we’re expecting a shower.  44 minutes past four and the thermometer reads 44.  Quarter to five and just shy of 45.  See.  I’m not making that up.

Tube snippet btwn frame & fender keeps it from slipping
In the respect that my Joe-made fender may keep some water from hitting the front of my body during the Death March in Hoosier National Forest, I have succeeded.  In the respect that it looks like a pot smoking 10th grade shop class dropout crafted it from a CD tower of Metallica bootlegs with a pair of dull tin-snips and ugly green zip ties, it’s also…a glaring success!  In your eyes, you are making a note never to ask a certain blogger to come over and help with your home construction project.

Anything I cut ends up looking as straight as Steve Buscemi’s smile.  I know.  Measure twice and cut once.  The problem is my one cut is always more crooked than a Wall St. hedge fund manager.  I threw my first three drafts away.  I will blame the first two attempts more on the plastic being too brittle or the possibility that I am left handed and the tin snips were not.  The third attempt got burned.  A friend suggested that I heat up a screw driver to poke holes in for the zip ties rather than drilling and risking cracking the plastic.  That really didn’t work.  So I tried heating up the plastic.  While I enjoyed a 3 second high from the fumes, I turned my fender into a burnt Frito Lay potato chip reject.  It should be noted that I cannot operate a cigarette lighter and should never be put in the position of using anything with fire aside from the stove and only under direct supervision of an adult.

My fourth attempt wasn’t that bad.  Well it wasn’t awful.  It didn’t totally suck.  Well maybe it did.  Yeah.  As the two old men critics on the Muppet Show would say from their balcony, “That was horrible.  Get him off the stage.  Boooooo!”

The only redeeming qualities of my ho-made fender are that it is clear, which looks kind of sporty.  It probably will keep some water from hitting my legs and working its way into my socks, which is also nifty.  The glaring FAIL is that while the edges are straight, they are not 90 degree from the factory cut edges.  It’s also slightly off center.  Okay, the Mississippi River runs straighter between Dubuque and New Orleans.  And, after reading a recent article in Bicycling Magazine about Aero bikes versus light bikes…my fender is as aerodynamic as a city bus.

The final death blow is that you can buy a nifty perfect fender, that's much better than mine for one tenth of the time commitment for $9 at your local bike shop or REI if you click here.  That’s sort of disconcerting when I figure I put at least 2 hours into this project.  How much do you make an hour?  I'm guessing enough to buy a freaking $9 fender.