Archive for October, 2013

New bike ready to roll

Posted in Uncategorized on October 26, 2013 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

Just picked up my replacement bike….2014 Stumpy Carbon Comp 29er. Can’t wait to ride it.

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my kinda trail

Posted in Uncategorized on October 22, 2013 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

EBSCO property.  CX bike.  Fresh dirt. Good stuff.

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loss of an old friend

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on October 11, 2013 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

On the morning of October 9th, I woke up to find that my mountain bike, the Great White Hope, had been stolen from my garage.  This has been a great bike for me, and has seen some wonderful upgrades in components and overall setup.  I was hoping to get at least another year or two out of it before eventually downgrading it to neighborhood cruiser status.

If anyone reading this blog (and I know who you both are), happens upon my bike while looking on craigslist or ebay or some other site, please let me know so that I can try to recover it.

So long old pal…..

my current mtn steed

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OMSP 03-06-12

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me

me

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ride report for October 5th

Posted in ride reports with tags , , , on October 10, 2013 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

“Can you ride in the a.m.?”.

That was the text I received last Friday night from Brian.  I was going to the Auburn game the next day, but because it was a night game I was able to make an early morning mountain bike ride happen with little trouble.  I hadn’t ridden the Great White Hope in probably 6 or 7 weeks, so it felt good to be able to hop back on for some EBSCO property romping.

We started out heading up the Cat 4 paved climb of Double Oak Way, and continued along the ridge until we hit the first stretch of gravel to the left, just below the radio tower climb.  Our only real decision this morning would be which route to take.  We could 1) go to the northwest ridgeline towards Hwy 25; 2) take the southeast ridgeline to the powerline crossing then turn around; or 3) go straight down to Hwy 43 and do some exploring on the trails on the other side of 43.  We were in the mood to mix up some trail time with pavement time, so we opted for #1.

As mentioned in a previous post, EBSCO has been spreading some fresh dirt on the trails, making them a lot smoother than they have been the past few years.  We enjoyed a killer ride all the way to the first powerline crossing, where we took a quick break.  The only thing holding us back so far was the abundant quantity of large spiders and spider webs stretched across the trail at 7am.

After motoring through the trail until it ends near Hwy 25, we hopped on pavement and made the short climb to the Hwy 25 crest.  Then, it was a good fast descent down the mountain.  I didn’t quite hit the speeds I was expecting, and certainly didn’t have my fastest Strava descent, but it was a fun one.

Starting at the base of Hwy 25 we officially were roadies for the next few miles as we plugged away onto Hwy 41 towards Mt Laurel.  Brian mentioned he had never been back around Wehapa Lake and Smyer Lake, so we first tried to access Wehapa.  Unfortunately the gate was closed too tight to squeeze through, and with a house right next to the gate we didn’t want to be seen hopping over.  So, we instead got back on 41 and headed towards Smyer, where from previous riding trips I knew we could access.

Smyer Lake is a beautiful, heavily-wooded gated neighborhood with a hodge podge of rustic cabins to nicely-appointed lake McMansions.  The main road is an out-and-back, rather than a loop around the lake.  No big deal though as we had time to kill and were enjoying the ride.  After hitting the end of the road, we simply turned around and headed for home.

We covered around 25 miles and close to 2000 feet of climbing, so the mileage was good but the climbing lagged a bit behind a good training day.  No wonder I felt so fresh when done.  Thanks to BP for a great Saturday ride.

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Brian picking spiders off.

Brian picking spiders off.

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at a power line crossing

at a power line crossing

first of several power line crossings

first of several power line crossings

large spider near trail - lots of these today

large spider near trail – lots of these today

smyer lake

smyer lake

at smyer lake

at smyer lake

at smyer lake

at smyer lake

Specialized Crux – mid term review

Posted in gear review with tags , , , , , , on October 1, 2013 by 41flyersracing - o'kelley

Back in late April and early May I was in the middle of some bike swapping.  I sold both my Vassago Bandersnatch 29er singlespeed and my Specialized Tarmac road bike, and replaced them with a Specialized CruX Elite cyclocross bike.  Having never actually pedaled a CX bike until I bought it, I didn’t know exactly what to expect but was definitely intrigued by the idea of having a bike that could be taken on road rides, light trail rides, and everything in between.  I still have my 29er Stumpjumper, so it’s not like this is my only bike; but it certainly fits the bill for a do-it-all crusher.

Having already put almost 900 miles on the bike, I guess it’s too late for me to do a typical “initial thoughts” review….frankly I’ve just been too busy riding it to sit down to write much.  But after taking it on a 100-mile road ride (with slick tires), trails at Oak Mtn State Park, and plenty of gravel and dirt roads, I’ve got some fairly good ideas of what this bike is capable of and where it has strengths and weaknesses.

Frame: the bike has an aluminum frame with a carbon fork.  The frame is nicely painted/finished, and comes with nice touches such as internal cable routing to keep things clean when the elements get dirty.  It’s probably not quite as snappy as my carbon-framed Tarmac was, but I have been remarkably surprised by how good the ride quality is with this frame – not something that is easy to find with aluminum.  I should also note that I had Bike Link fit this bike to me when I purchased it, so having the correct setup undoubtedly has made a big difference compared to my previous road bikes where I just adjusted the seatposts myself and called it quits with regards to proper fitting.

Wheels: the stock DT Swiss “Axis 2.0” wheels are not exactly the most lightweight wheels, but have definitely held up well to everything I’ve thrown at them.  And for a sub-$2000 bike you aren’t going to find a lot of lightweight options anyway.  If I wanted to shed some bike poundage in the future, a new set of wheels could do the trick.  But by comparison, I bought a set of Fulcrum 7 road wheels and a 105 cassette (the CruX came with a Tiagra cassette) to use for extended periods of pavement riding and found that the wheel/cassette combination of the Fulcrums was basically the exact same weight as the DT Swiss wheelset with Tiagra cassette.  That tells me two things: that maybe I shouldn’t complain too much about the DT’s, and that Fulcrum 7s are not as light as I had hoped for…..should have spent a little more money and bought Fulcrum 5s or even Fulcrum 3s.

Braking: the brakes really about the only thing I can really complain about on this bike.  It came with Tektro CR-720 cantilever brakes.  As expected, the canti brakes aren’t as powerful as the road caliper brakes were on my Tarmac, but caliper brakes don’t offer the mud clearance needed on a CX bike.  If I were to upgrade, I would seriously look at some TRP mini v-brakes or some Avid Shorty Ultimate canti brakes.  Actually, it’s not a matter of “if” i were to upgrade, it’s “when” I upgrade.

Cockpit: first off, it came with my all-time favorite saddle, the Specialized “Phenom”.  This is the third bike I have had with this saddle and I really do favor it over all other saddles I have tried.  I really wanted to like the Fizik “Arione” saddle on two different occasions, but just couldn’t get comfy.  Both times sent me selling them on ebay only to pick up a “Phenom”.  The handlebars, stem, and seatpost are nothing special, but suit me just fine as is.  I guess I could always upgrade to a carbon seatpost for a little more comfort, but this is a CX bike and comfort gets trumped by durability.

Cornering: with the knobby Specialized “Tracer” tires, cornering is stable as could be.  Even when running road slicks, cornering is not an issue as the bike feels very stable on a lean.

Descending: some of my fastest Strava descents have been while on this bike.  If I had better brakes then I would be going even faster.  So, needless to say it descends like a champ.

Ascending: OK, so I am probably giving up a good three pounds to my old Tarmac with its carbon frame.  But really it’s not that bad of a hill climber, particularly when I have my road wheelset on.  The CruX came outfitted with 12-28 rear cassette, though for some reason I was thinking it had a 12-25.  So when I bought the cassette for my road wheels I bought an 11-28, thinking I was gaining a smaller gear.  Needless to say, I didn’t pick up any low-gearing advantage and next time I might consider an 11-32 cassette if I felt like I would be doing a lot of extending climbing.  That being said, some of my fastest climbing times have been on this bike (i.e. not my Tarmac) with the stock gearing so I guess that’s worth something.

Sprinting: frankly, it accelerates on a bad-ass level.  Some of this likely has to do with it being a really good geometrical fit to my body and some of it is the stiff frame and admirable FSA crankset.

Overall: so overall I’ve been very happy with this bike.  I should probably make a disclaimer that I am generally happy with all of my bike purchases until I find that next one that I like even more.  But this bike has a “fun factor” that exceeded my expectations.  I have yet to actually use the bike for its intended use, which is cyclocross racing.  But hopefully my Fall schedule will clear enough on a few weekends for me to get out and try my hand at a Bamacross race or two.  Even if not, this is going to be a great bike to use for some cooler weather training as I try to maintain my girly figure until the Spring race season picks up.

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set up for road riding

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Fulcrum 7 road wheels with Hutchinson tires

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set up in stock cyclocross wheels and tires

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this has definitely seen its share of mud and grass

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tapered headset and wide Tektro canti brakes

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the cassette somehow stays fairly clean

excessively fast tire wear  on rear tire - no doubt from all of my pavement riding

excessively fast tire wear on rear tire – no doubt from all of my pavement riding

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taking a break while exploring double oak mountain