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Entries from May 3, 2009 - May 9, 2009

Sniff Sniff | You know how this will all end, right?

I hate myself for liking Boonen. No, loving Boonen. I'm a tank like him (6'2" 180) and always empathize with the big men who have to suffer like pigs when the terra firma tilts up and the waif's float away. God help them when the land flattens out again...

Anyways, oops, he did it again. The boy's definitely got a problem. This is not recreational use (WTF does that mean anyways) in my opinion and the fact he's turning to blow again...after what all thought was a rad and remarkable step back up to the peloton's 'top step' after his Roubaix win this year and with it erasing all that bad in his past from his first cocaine bust...

So how's it going to end?

It's all going to end up on Belgian reality TV. Probably right after Wellens and Me re runs or that crappy show about the Planckaerts. I can see it now: It'll be about a struggling Boonen, all bloated, working in a factory being managed by Ludo Dierckxsens, as he tells tales about depression and pressure and....(insert the 'where are they now?' TV show play book from VH1 here).

Pressure? Try growing a family, Boonen. Get laid off and push hard to continue supporting your family. Try maintaining some self respect and salvage the respect little kids have for you in Belgium while they read your own comic book.

Hit the buy now button folks...

Edge Composites XC Carbon 29’er Wheels | Plus 5 Questions with Jason Sager!

So I teased a few days ago on Twitter about a set of carbon bling that my main man Jason Sager swung by Boulder for me to test out. Since then, and nearly 200 miles later I have become obsessed with them…

The Edge Composites Carbon XC 29’er wheels!

First some background. For those of you that do not know him, Jason was one of the initial cyclo-bloggers using the primitive social interweb tools available in the day to talk about his antics….but mostly using his words; use pictures as the new words. Visit his Flickr account and you’ll see what I mean. My man snaps pics prolifically. Anyways, his blog I often credit for inspiring me to start my own and we started an ‘internet dating relationship’ over the years commenting back and forth on blogs, sharing emails and thoughts, etc. His diatribes of professional racing life were and still are downright entertaining and we all got to witness him pursue his career as a bike racer, become a new daddy and as of late, take on some new and extremely exciting career responsibilities. More on that in a moment.

So, I thought the best way to cover the review of the Edge Composites wheels I am testing in addition to a little more knowledge about Mr. Sager would be to do it in a ‘5 Questions with’ format as I’ve done in the past.

So first, let’s learn a little about Mr. Sager, his new role at Edge and our common stance on Ankle Panty Socks and our attempt to save Todd Wells from wearing them.

Click to read more ...

Sidi Dragon SRS | Take 'em apart and re-assemble 'em. 

So, you all know I lust Sidi's and for nearly a decade, I've had virtually zero issues with them....save a buckle I broke after a yard sale crash some years ago which I replaced super easily with a buckle from an older pair (although parts are REALLY easy to get at most shops).

What makes Sidis...and the Dragon SRS in particular...so compelling is how they have been built entirely on a modular 'platform'. Last night at the New Belgium Brewery Short Track event as an example, I noticed my cleat felt a bit loose. Not enough to panic, but noticeable. This morning I investigated and low and behold, my second issue in a decade with Sidis (not a bad track record): A cracked 'base' plate...which is the internally housed mounting plate where the screws of the cleat thread into the shoe. I panicked and thought initially: holy crap: how am I going to get this thing fixed? Then I remembered: Sidi's come apart!...

I first took all the components of the sole of the shoe off. And by the way, all these are replaceable so when you wear out the sole components as an example, you can replace 'em easily. eBay has a zillion vendors selling them. Everything from ratchet straps, soles, mid sole grip pads...EVERYTHING is replaceable.

But as I dug in to try and get that base plate out I discovered...d'oh!: The carbon fiber stiffening plate when peeled away actually doesn't release or give access to the plate! Panic again. (In the picture below, I've already extracted the base plate...and it is located where you see the two parallel access holes in the ball of my foot...directly where you mount the cleat)

But the panic was short lived. I recalled in my foggy memory that if you peeled away the inner sole, you could get access to the base plate. So I took out the padded instep to get access the base sole layer. I tried to peel that mo-fo back, but it was tightly glued. So then I took a small allen key and from the outside of the show and pushed slightly on the inner base plate itself in towards the shoe and VOILA! A little trap door opened. It had been pre cut ingeniously by Sidi into the inner base sole layer just for this purpose of replacement. The plate popped right out into my hands. Check it....

I merely then flipped the plate upside down (there are 4 screw holes in the base plate...only 2 of which are ever used) allowing me to use the undamaged threaded side of the plate...the cause of the cleat slippage was that part of the base plat cracked leaving the screw loose and not able to be re-tightened. Presto! Fixed shoes!

Ergon GA1-S Grips | White sex for your hands

So my main man Jeff Kerkove, endurance racer for Topeak/Ergon,  sent me an email a few months back more or less saying: "Keller, white sex is being created and coming your way. You gotta try them!" And low and behold, voila, on my doorstep a few days ago I received a box containing the white, and very sexy, goodness. The Ergon GAS-1 ergonomic 'all mountain' grips.

Ergon is a company that takes two things extremely seriously: Design and Ergonomics. They are tightly coupled however to ensure that style does not compromise use and vice versa. It's fairly unique in fact and it's obvious that their industrial design is rooted in one part beauty, one part science with a huge dose of usability and comfort.

The GA1's came in some very attractive packaging. It made me wonder how profitable for Ergon (or reasonably priced for the customer) the product could be with such magnificent packaging! But alas, the packaging has its own design purposes. Ergon thought through how a consumer could 'feel' the grip before purchase on a make shift 'handlebar' (see exposed white grip in the picture to the left which is mounted to a solid piece of plastic tubing).

All the instructions were extremely clear and neatly wrapped inside the clear plastic tube of the packaging....in German (of course) as well as English.

Some data points...

  • Color choice: The GAS-1's come in three colors, white (like mine), green/black team and black and gray.

 

  • Sizes: They come in small and large (mine were small) and even with large hands, they felt perfect. Spongy and filled up my hand well, as opposed to having 'nothing' there. (I wonder what the larges feel like as these 'smalls', bottom line, feel perfect).
  • MSRP is $30
  • Ride: I have a couple of hours on them and thus far the feel is fantastic. It has an ergonomic shape (yet not with the 'palym' support such as their GX series grips have. These are more or less 'straight' but with some contour that you normally do not see on 'traditional' grips. The grip material's feel is somewhere between sponge and hard grip. in other words you get all of the benefits if having your hands sticky to the grip (with or without gloves) yet it provides a comfort beneficial to long haul days where your hands will inevitably suffer exhaustion. 
  • Where to buy: Your local bike shop by this time probably has a connection to Ergon or their main suppliers can easily get them. They are widely distributed now here in the States. Certain online sites like Competative Cyclist now carry them too if you are having trouble sourcing them locally. Or visit their list on line.

So, all in all, I'm loving them. Once I have a few hundred miles on 'em, I'll give a status update as to their longevity, compound breakdown, etc etc.


The Hunterberg Ride | 'Cross bikes and smiles

Today was Hunter Smith's 2nd annual citizen's 'cross ride. Super fun with riders of all abilities. It was a 'no one gets dropped' affair and Hunter had it dialed...from the meeting point to the Gatorade he had stashed for us along the way to the party he is known to throw afterwards with beer and brats as the draw.

The ride is one I am super familiar with albeit with more roads connecting things. I use parts of this 'course' as a principal training route throughout the summer. This is a super crappy rendition of the ride....so do not follow this map as I did this by hand, not by GPS:

The ride took us over some of the classic haunts including the (in)famous Koppenberg climb used in Boulder Racing's classic Koppenberg race...

The group was fantastic and all had a great time. Webber and I needed to separate from the group apres Kopp climb and get back to our families wherein we proceeded to annihilate each other doing tempo work and urban trials/messenger racing all the way up Broadway to get back in time for wife/sitter relief. We made it. All in all, a great way to spend a Sunday. 

Click to read more ...

Freecaster.TV | Free live MTB World Cup Coverage

Wow. Just watched the WHOLE World Cup in Houffalize Belgium today. Unbelievable! Freecaster.TV is now my go-to site for watching this stuff....all in HD.