27 December 2010

The new Kicks

It was cool that this year we had a white Christamas in Bikewright Land. That does not happen here all the time. I could count on one hand all the years that I remember that it has snowed on Christmas.

Yesterday the local bike fourm had a post about a snow ride and some made it out but not as a group. Check out Joel Dirt he posted some pictures on his site. Also Crankee has some pictures on his site from the snow we had a week or so ago.

I figured there was a good base of the white stuff to breakout the new snowshoes that I got at the end of last years snow season. I headed out for a 2 hour hike to Camp 7 and back. The weird thing was there were places that the snow was a good 5" deep and then you would hit some spots that it might be 2".

Here are some pictures from my hike.




I have not figured out why this square hole is in the tree, but who ever did it did a good job. Maybe a covert woodpecker cam??








Nice to get out for a couple hours. I hope we get some more snow or I am going to have to make a trip to White Grass to get some real snowshoeing in this year.

14 December 2010

The Broken Wrench Workshop

For the last couple of years that I have been working on my bicycles I have been saving up, no no been a hoarder of scrap metal and broken bicycle parts or just figuring out how to recycle this stuff. You can search the web and find companies making all types of products out of other people junk (broken bicycle parts, tubes & tires).

Well you know that's cool and for the most part those efforts have not been round my neck of the woods. Until now! I won't have to save up 25 tubes and send them to a company on the west coast to make bags or wallets.

Check it out here at The Broken Wrench Workshop

These guys are just starting out and are some local rollers. Hook Matt up today with my nice little stock pile that I have been working on. If you checkout here I posted that if somebody wanted the Proflex 455 they could have it, well it found a home or will find rebirth as a piece of bicycle furniture.

12 December 2010

Scouting Things Out

It seems that my planning have been off for the last couple of months. Plans to get a workout, ride, or whatever has been just off for me. This past Tuesday was no different. I had taken the day off to scout out some new trail, well new to me. If you remember back to this post I had taken a hike with my little one and a friend and all the time I was thing this would be a cool place to ride on a cross bike.

Well back then I did not have a cross bike and since I have got mine rolling now I have been wanting to get down there and ride. And here you go!



Canal Gate


If you look back at the map on the last post these pictures where taken from points 3 to 1 on the map. I only got to ride the western end of the trail. I ran out of time to finish up going east on the trail.

As far as places to go ride and see something different and making an adventure this is about as far south as you can go. Because this is south of southside of the river.

Say tune as I get the whole route mapped out.

30 November 2010

CRITICAL FILM

Saw this video post over on the XXC Site

Glad Jason posted it! Great little film. It was cool to see a guy in Germany wearing a Waltworks t-shirt!

CRITICAL FILM from e r t z u i ° film on Vimeo.

28 November 2010

Turkey Day Ride



Guess where I was riding Thanksgiving Day.If you don't know see the tags.. We went out of town this Thanksgiving and I was able to take the cross bike with me and I was able to put in a 3 hour ride. I had a great time.

There were a lot of people on the trails and pathways, but the following picture had to be one of the coolest things that I saw. Okay maybe the first after seeing two college girls doing yoga on top of a rock wall..




Now that craftmenship!Check them out here

23 November 2010

Fall Ride on the Waltworks

This was a little something I put together from a ride in the park a couple of weeks ago. I would have posted it sooner, but I have had issues posting it to the site.


13 November 2010

Made In America, Part 5

It has been over a year since I did one of my Made In America post and I think I have found a winner. I was at the trading post at the 2010 National Boy Scout Jamboree and looking to see what cool gear I could find. Some of the outdoor gear is a little on the high price side but sometimes you can find a great deal.

About anything that BSA can stick a logo on is in the trading post and this was no different. I reach the back of the trading post and up until now I have not found anything to blow my money on and then I found it.

I found XGO technical base layer for $20. I had seen the XGO brand for their flame retardant T-shirts and I was impressed with this 2nd level base layer top.

Longworth Industries Inc is the parent company of XGO, Polarmax, and OPEDIX. the OGX production facilities are located Candor, North Carolina. Other than the bag that the top came in it is all done here in the USA!



The XGO Phase 2 is a midweight 2nd layer made of 100% Acclimate Dry polyester. It is a relaxed fit with flat-seam off-the-shoulder contruction. All the stuff like anti-order, anti-microbial and wicking properties are U.S> Military standards.

Since the weather has gotten a little cooler I could start to do my test. I have used it both as a outter layer and also as a 2nd under layer. The fit is on the mark for me. I found that I wear a XL in about everything. But there is always a fit issue. Most of the time the sleeve is to long and the fit on the XGO is just right. It is light weight and has a nice soft feel to it.

XGO is bikewright approved! If you are looking for a technical top or 2nd layer at a great price then I think this is it.

06 November 2010

UNIVEGA Alpina Sport-Project UPDATED # II

The UNIVEGA is done. After many months it is DONE. What was the hold-up? The front derailleur. The UNIVEGA project has the most page views (375) than anything else that I have posted.Go figure! Go here to see the last post.

My goal was to build it as cheap as I could and still have a good looking bike and I think I did that. With a free frame and parts that I had onhand I still think I spent around $80-$90 on it. That does not include the rack, bag & lights.

There where a lot of lessons learn on this project and that is only going to help me with my MB-1 project.

15 October 2010

Waltworks Cyclocross Bike- DONE!

After many weeks and a warranty shifter the Walt is done. Today was my maiden voyage which was a mix of road, fire road and some single track.



The bike has a solid ride feel and has quick handling. The steel soaks up the bumps and gives an overall smooth ride.



So far I am please with my pick of parts and I am loving the Salsa Bell Lap bars. It does take a little to get use to, but I and no issues with my hands hurting.





The gearing is a little high but I figure that's going to help me in the long run..
I will have to play with tire pressure to have a smoother ride on the single track.

12 October 2010

Hard on the Equipment

I forgot to post this picture from the cross race on Sunday.



A good day of racing was a bad day for this bike. The racer did finish the race. The guy had only had the bike for 6 weeks.

10 October 2010

Altius Festival of Cross

This past weekend was the Altius Festival of Cross.I was only able to get out and see the racing on Sunday at Chimborazo Park. My wife had to work so my daughter and I left mom at home. I figured anytime that I can get my daughter out to see other girls or women doing off-beat sports such as bike racing the better! Luck had it when we got there the women where racing.

Chimborazo Park was the first place that I raced cross in 1998 or 1999. It's been a while so I do not remember the year. But it is a great palce to watch it because you can stand up on the hill and see all of the course. Not only did we get to see the race but we also got to see Statue of Liberty and there is also the National Park Headquarters which is in the building that was the Chimborazo Hospital during the Civil War.

This clip is just after the start


Run up on the lower level of the park. From this point I am only about 50 ft from where I took the first video.


My daughter and I sat at the barriers during the race and had lunch. What a great place to catch the action. Now there where two racers that I remember that I would like to share with you. One was a guy that I called him old school and he seem to like that. The dude was racing on an old Trek 620 with downtube shifters and basketball shorts. Check him out! Got to love it...



Next was this guy riding for ALAN. This dude was fast. the first clip is a group of guys I think in the same race at the barriers.



Now this is how it is done




While I was on my way back to the car I found this cool bike up on top of the car with "Old Schhol's" bike.



Now I not going to miss this next year!

04 October 2010

Broken!

This is what you do with old broken spokes



That's right, make flags so the yard crew do not run over the sprinkler heads.But that is not what this post is about. I had to take the cross bike down to the LBS to do some adjustments to the new bike for me. Got a call from the shop to tell me that something was wrong with the shifter and that Sram was sending a new one for replacement. Great! Another couple of days before I get to ride it!!!

Want to thank Rowlett's for checking out the problem and getting the warranty taken care of for me!

I guess I will be watching the cross races in Richmond from the sidelines this weekend!

16 September 2010

Building up the Walt

For just a couple of hours over the last couple of nights I have been working on putting things together. I know for most people they would have a new dream bike put together in a couple of hours and would have some miles under their belt on their new ride. Not me! I want to take my time make sure things go together right and I like knowing how things work while I am putting it together. Be one with the bike!

Here's what I got



Walt has a really good deal on parts to make a build package. You can only get the parts if he is building you a frame. So don't ask him to sell you parts!

If you have been following my Blog for the past year you know I will make a post about items that are made in America and it was a goal for me to put as many parts as I could on the bike that where made in the GOOD OLD U.S.A.

First up is the Headset from
Cane Creek I went with the 110 and it is CNC Machined in Fletcher, North Carolina. I have a Chris King on the Bontrager and wanted to try the 110.

Next up is the
Thomson Seat Post, Elite X4 stem and seatpost collar and they are located in Macon, Georgia. I went with Thomson because they are bombproof and they are just cool!Do I need to say anymore?

The last two come together and they are the brakes and pads. Because of a
Cyclocross magazine articleI was going with IRD brakes but could not find them in stock so I went for the big money and got the Paul's Neo-Retro brakes.

Here you can see them on the fork


You can check the site out
here These things are cool! They look cool and the spring is on the outside. So they are backwards to other brakes. They are a little different to set-up but seem to have tons of power. Made in Chico, California. The brakes come with Koolstop Thinline Brake Pads I am not sure where at in the US they are made but they are made here.

That's it in the Made in the USA department. Let's see how far I get on it on Friday. I have to pick up the Salsa Bell Lap bars and some spacers.

15 September 2010

Right Out of the Box!

I believe the last time I had a new bike was in 1998 and I have been long overdue for a new one. I figured it was time in my life to get a bike built for me and I have been jonesing for a cross bike for 10 years.Here's what I was looking for. I wanted a American made steel cyclocross bike that I could race but could also be a bike for adventure and could handle some single track. It needed to be well built and would last for years to come.

So after a 1 1/2 years of searching the web on custom builders and cyclocross bikes I picked Waltworks to build my bike for me. Walt had already built a fork for me for my Bontrager and I have been very happy with it.

It has been a process since about April of this year. That's when I put my down payment and sent in my fit sheet to get on the waitlist. Then about the later part of July, Walt and I started on the design process and then it was on to him building the bike. I would guess since the time we started to the time I received the bike we have emailed each other about 25 times and almost as many phone calls.

Having a custom bike built for you is different than going to your LBS and buying one off the showroom floor. I have to say that Walt was great to work with and he knows his stuff. So if you are looking for a builder then you need to check his site out!

Now on with some pictures!



Here's the frame in what I call Waltworks Team Blue



If you are going to build a custom bike you might as well have a custom headbadge made. This one is made by Jen Green of Revolution Cycles Jewelry



The fork



A little lug work. Walt keeps his builds on the low down and does not do a lot of lug work but this is standard on his bikes.



Kind of keeping with the seat tube with the lug look.



Kicking it old school with Breezer Dropout on the rear. Rear spacing is 132.5 so I can run road or mountain hubs.

Okay, that's all I have time for tonight. I am working on putting it all together and I will share the build list and why I picked what I did in another post.

09 September 2010

All I am going to Say is Stay Tune

I got word today that my Waltworks has shipped! I hope to have it in the next couple of days.

02 September 2010

2010 Devil's Backbone Mountain Cross Report

You might want to skip this post if you are looking for pictures. But you cancheck out last year's report and pictures here.

This year's event turned out to be as good as last year's event. It is still listed as a non-competitive event but as I over heard one of the riders say "If there is a timer then it's a race" I think he made a good point. But what is cool about this event is that it can be a race or a non-competitive event or a epic ride with friends or you and the mountains. It's your pick!

My plan was to do better riding the course and have a better finish time and for the most part I met my goal. This year's course was a little different making it easier for riders to make it in to the feed zone area.

Here is a map of this year's course



**WARNING** If you have a mapmyride account and want to print the cue sheet some of the legs are WRONG. The map route is RIGHT. I think it would be best to do your own map.

It took us about 26 miles to get to the first feed zone which the second feed zone is in the same location. I think the first part of the course was longer and there was more climbing this year. It seem to take forever to get there.

The second leg of the corse was a nice downhill section, which was made with a slate type flat rock and was different than the hours of gravel road that I had just been on. You could fly down on this stuff! You know what goes down must go up and it did. With a climb back to the Blue Ridge Parkway. This was one of the harder sections for me. We hit the Blue Ridge up around Irish Creek and from there it was 3 miles up.

The third leg of the course was departing the second feed zone with about 8-10 miles of downhill gravel roads. Riding back on the downhill section ran-up on two pot smokers in a jeep. I was going about 40 mph when I got up to them. I guess they found it funny to speed up and throw rocks and dirt up every where.Not too smart of a thing to do since they did not know that riders where up infront of them on the trail.

By the Numbers:

65.14 Miles
5:49:58
2913 cals burn
4 water bottles
2 cups of Coke
2 cups lemonaide
1 cooke
2 1/2 packets of CLIF Blocks
1 Handfull of M&M's
126 riders
75th place


One improvement for me was that I could climb more of this course than last year which was a good thing. I also learn something to. A 29 inch or 700cc wheel does much better on this course. I have taken care of that issue for next year with having a Waltworks Cyclocross bike built. I was a little late with getting my name on the waitlist to have it here in time for this year.

18 August 2010

UNIVEGA Alpina Sport-Project UPDATED

Here is my last post on my Univega project. It has been a very slow project for me. There where times that I should have done work on the bike but had to work on my own stuff and other times I just did not feel up to it. It has also been slow to be able to find the parts I needed at a low cost.




Here is the updated picture of the bike. The last thing I am working on is the drive train. The front D that we ordered off of ebay is the wrong one. I mean the wrong one that was sent. It needs to be a top pull and it is a bottom. Once I get past that she will be done.

Here is a picture of part of a donor bike that I just receive. Can you guess what it is?



If you guess a Proflex you where right. If you guess a 455 Proflex you hit the nail on the head. Everything that I read about the Proflex is that the elastomers would get hard and as you can see that is not the case with this one. The picture was taken one week ago and now the elastomer has total melted away.

Back-in-the-day I wanted a Proflex with a Girvin Shock. That never happen! If this bike had been one of the 855 or up I would think about rebuilding the bike. But the 455 was a low end model and to find a elastomer would be like finding the Ark.

I know there is a bit of a Proflex following over in England and if somebody wants the frame they can have it. Just pay for shipping.

13 August 2010

Watch the Videos and get out and Ride This Weekend

Spotted this over at the XXC Magazine site

BESKIDY MTB TROPHY 2010 from VELOUR on Vimeo.



The color and sharpness of the video is just amazing.

Here's another video I think you will like that I found over at ecovelo



What's cool about this? I think they did a really great job pulling off a Queen song "Bicycle Race" not I Love my Bicycle.

Enjoy, check out XXC & Ecovelo which are two great sites and go out and RIDE YOUR BIKE

08 August 2010

Bad Day on the Bike is Better Than a Good Day at Work

I took off from work this past Thursday to make myself a four day weekend. The plan on Thursday was to get some work done first thing in the morning and then go for a 50 mile ride. I figure I could make it back before it go to hot... There was the first Darwin thought that I had.

Next up I hit the cobblestones at the end of my driveway and my Garmin Foretrex 201 GPS goes flying off the handle bar and across the road it goes. I was sure that all the data would have reset it's self, but to my surprise it was still working.

I got to my turn-around point with no issue and I felt that I had made good time. So on my way back I am on a bridge that crosses the Appomattox River and I hear this plastic sound going across the road. I look down and my GPS is gone again. There is no sign of it anywhere on the bridge. I look over the side and I do not see it. But there is a trail so off I go down to the river. Great, the place where I think the GPS landed is covered in posion oak.

So after just looking around and not getting in the posion oak I figure I will have to come back in the morning when it is cooler to look for it.

So off I go to finish the ride to get back home and that's when it hit me. The heat! It must have been pushing in the upper 90's but it might as well had been a 1000. That Darwin thought that I had in the morning was catching up with me. That last 10 miles was a killer.

That afternoon I notice that it was getting dark outside and I could hear some thunder. Great! The weather guesser on TV is calling for a bad storm. I better go back to the river to find the GPS before the storm hits. Off I go and within 5 minutes of getting there I find the GPS.



After hitting the bridge and going over the side and falling 15 to 20 feet the GPS was still running and had been running for over 8 hours. Great way to test the battery? Could not believe it!

Saturday, off to do a pre-ride of the Devil's Backbone Mountain Cross course. David is going to ride with me and we are looking at doing 40 of the 60 plus miles. I forgot the cue sheet and had to go back to the car to get it. Not knowning it at the time and this is a learning moment for everyone in blogland. Check the cue sheet to make sure it matches the map. The one I downloaded off of mapmyride.com was wrong! Go figure!

On the way back we where met by 3 dogs that did not like us riding by their house. David is going to pick-up the pace to try and make it past them. The owner is in the yard yelling at the dogs, like thats going to help. I dismount and put the bike between me and the dogs. This works great until I get back on the bike.

Now I have a shifting issue and about every third turn of the crank the chain pops like it wants to shift to another gear. This is happening in every gear. After about 3/4's of a mile I get to start working and it's a good thing because I have a monster of a climb to get up.

I get back to the car and I know David has been waiting for me for sometime now. He did not know that I had a shifting issue and I did not know that one of the dogs had bit him. Not bad, but still.

Sunday, is not my day of rest but a day for repair. Come to findout that one of the pins in the cassette broke and that was the cause of the shifting issue. I would like to know what is the normal life cycle of a Sram cassette. This is the second one that I have had the pin break on me.

I am going to try this again next week and I hope I have better luck! But it was still better than a good day at work

01 August 2010

A 100 Years




A 100 years of Scouting. Took a trip the 2010 National Boy Scout Jamboree on Saturday. Most of the boys in the troop are there for the 10 days but we had a few that could not go so they went up as visitors.

We had a great time and there was a ton of Scouts there and there was a ton to do. The above picture is a headbadge from one of the jamboree bikes. At the end of the jamboree you can pick-up all types of outdoor gear for penny's on the dollar.

What's more impressive than the headbadge? That the Boy Scout of America has been around for 100 years.What other youth program has been around that long? None that I know of.

If you where a Scout at sometime in your life, I think you will always remember that. I know a lot of people that I meet tell me that they where in Scouting and one of the things that they wish they had done was stayed in and made Eagle.

30 July 2010

Waltworks Waitlist- We are in Production!

The last time I posted anything about my Waltworks custom cyclocross bike was back in April when I made the wait list. Now Walt has the tig welder out and cutting tubes.So the dream is coming together.

Now this process is totally different than going down to the LBS and purchasing a bike.We spent a week on the phone an emails on the design. We would talk things out, I would take another measurement or a picture and then we would adjust and talk again.

I think the biggest difference in building a custom bike from purchasing one from the LBS is you have on idea what it is going to look like or how it's going to fit.I mean you know what a bike looks like but how is a longer TT or HT going to look and how is it going to fit. I think this is where you have to have trust in your builder and they have to have great communications skills.

The fork has been completed and the frame has been started. I did order a headbadge from Revolution Cycle Jewelry and I think that will make a nice touch to the bike.

16 July 2010

Gear Review-Chaco Sandals

I guess it's time to do a gear review and it's not bike gear.Two years ago for Christmas my wife bought me a pair of Chaco Sandals.How she found a pair of sandals at a local store at Christmas I don't know.

This is my second summer wearing them so I have some miles in them to do a review.First off I will tell you that if I have a bad pair of shoes or boots my lower back will kill me. So a mark of a good shoe or boot for me is that I can stay in them all day and I will have little to know back issue.

The Chaco Z/1 Vibram Unsweep is a simple sandal with boot like support. Matter of fact that's what they look like. A Vibram boot sole with nylon webbing. Unlike other sport sandals all there is between your foot and nylon webbing is nylon webbing. You would think that this would not feel good or cause hot spots but it does not. Also there is no Velcro to have to clean sand out of, just webbing!

Bottom line, buy them! Yes $95 bucks seems like a lot for a pair of sandals but your feet will thank you and in my case my back does.

08 July 2010

What Post! I've Been Watching the Tour!

I have been riding and watching the Tour and the blog has been on the back burner. But I do have a few things to post from over the weekend. So I will leave you with something today...

For the last couple of weeks I have been doing a lot of fire road riding. I know that the best ride for the Devil's Backbone is a cross bike and I will not have mine by that time and I am going to make due with my Bontrager. With this in mind I need to pick the best tire set-up. So I have been doing my own Bikewright tire test.



On the left I have a Bontrager Connection 1.95 410g which is the tire I used at last year's DBMCX and I have been riding for the last couple of weeks. On the right I have a WTB All Terrainasaurus 1.95 655g tire. I had used this tire way back in 99 when cyclocross was still a off-beat sport around here.

First let me start off by saying that I think both tires are out of production and Bontrager doesn't make what I would call a replacement model tire in 26". But it looks like this would be the replacement for the WTB tire.

The Bontrager Connection is a good tire that performs well. The two things I notice is the front wants to washout a little with speed in a curve and the rear keeps good traction on a uphill climb out of the saddle like this.



The WTB All Terrainasaurus is a solid tire on the road. I could also tell it was a heavier tire. Hard to believe that you can tell the difference of 245g. The front hooks up in the same speed curve and the rear looses traction on the uphill.

So I am think about running the Terrainasaurus on the front and run the Connection on the back and see how that works. It might give me the best of both worlds! I have seen a post on another site that said that a good tire might be the Panaracer Pasela. I think this would be okay on the road but I would not ride it on a gravel road which half of this course is.

I think I might checkout this blog to get some ideas on some tires.

29 June 2010

Bikewright Has Past The One Year Mark

That's right the Bikewright Blog is a year old.It has been fun over the last year sharing my rides and working on my bikes.I hope this year will be just as fun. For those of you that stop in to read, I want to say thanks.
So stop reading and get out and ride!



Bikewright

21 June 2010

Father's Day Ride, Load the Pockets

Happy belated Father's Day! My Father's Gift was a day out to ride the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. This was going to be a training ride for the upcoming Devil's Backbone Mountain CX event.

First off I like to thank Mrs. Bikewright for holding down the fort so I could get in a long mountain ride. Next I would like to thank the wrenches down at Rowlett's for finding that noise that the bike was making and getting the shifting spot on.

My ride starts at Rockfish Gap where the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Skyline Drive meet. At 08:30 the day was starting out at a temperature 75 degrees 89% relative humidity with a strong wind from the west. Funny thing is the weather sites are showing that the wind was calm. My plan was to ride from Rockfish Gap to loft Mountain Wayside. There would be a place to get food and water for the trip back and giving me a total mileage of 50 plus miles.

Rockfish Gap sits at and elevation of 1903 ft and is one of the lowest gaps in the southern district in the park. Also bring some cash because between March -November it cost a person coming into the parkway $8.00

At 09:30 the Skyline is quite with few cars and a few backpackers heading back to the parking lots after a weekend on the trail.Here are a few things I saw on the way.






This picture was taken on the eastern side of the park. It could be a UFO landing site or maybe a landing zone for government black operations or maybe its just open fields on Pasture Fence Mountain.



The climb up Turk Mountain was a hard pull with an ascent of around 1100 ft. Here is a map of the route.



I took a break at Loft Mountain Wayside. When it was time to go I wanted to get a couple more miles north so I could make the total trip 60 miles. A good around number. After leaving Loft Mountain I pass going the other way a group of cyclist that where touring. What I saw next was cool! The more I think about this it is crazy. Check this bike out!



A homemade recumbent! This kids dad made this recumbent out of a regular bike. See where the back crank is located. Same as on a regular bike. His dad and little brother was riding this bike together. It has disk brakes and the rear had a mountain bike drive train. I know I hit speeds of over 40 mph but I don't think I would want to be on the front of this bike with those speeds. They where riding 64 miles and would spend the night at Wintergreen. There trip would end in Gatlinburg, TN.

On another note I ran into a thru-hiker aka (Yogamatt) he had been on the trail since 31 March 2010. I wish him luck and I hope he makes it to the end.

Here are the facts:

60 miles
4:36:55
6 Bottles of water
1 Mt Dew
1 Cookie
1 Pretzel
4 Clif Gels
3111 Cals Burn

I ended my trip here I had the Beer-Boiled Bratwurst from the Double H farm and I wash it down with The Drunken Weasel and a Kolsch 151. Both are Germany Style Beers. You get the theme!

18 June 2010

Last Weekends Road Ride-A History Lesson

Just getting around to posting a couple of pictures from last weeks training ride. Looking at the pictures you would think that I am riding in some far off rural area but I am only 12-15 minutes, if that from every store that you would want to go to.

Another 15 minutes riding would put me out of the county. I think know matter where you ride in Virginia you get a history lesson. Let class begin!

Winterpock Va. is area in the western part of the county and Winterpock and Clover Hill is area where coal was found in the late 1830's. Winterpock was the name that was giving to the mining community. Here is a picture of an old country store.

The Winterpock Grocery


Just across from the store was a sign for Lee's Retreat. Yep, The route of Lee's retreat from Petersburg to Appomattox Virginia where the Civil War ended.




Click here to learn more about Lee's Retreat

Next up is Eppington Plantation. I pass the road to this plantation about three days a week for the last 9 years. So this day I plan to check it out. One thing I could not believe is that there is a dirt road in Chesterfield County that is over 2 1/2 miles long.That was cool! Then to see this old plantation home.



Click here to learn more

That's it boys & girls the lesson is over. Stay tune for my Father's Day ride

10 June 2010

Picking Your Battles

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend I made my mind up that I am going to ride the Devil's Backbone Mountain Cross event again this year. That was day 93 days out from the event and I have started to get ready.

I wish that I had pulled the trigger months earlier on getting my Waltworks cyclocross built for this event, but I was a little late in doing that. The cross bike is the weapon of choice for this event.

So just like last year I will be riding my Bontrager. I have started training on the fire roads in Pocahontas State Park. I can make a nice 23 mile ride without crossing the stream at the base of the dam. One of the guys on the local forum said "That not the same type of fire roads. That not going to help." Well, I think it does and this is what I have learn so far.

1)Fire road riding (aka gravel grinder) can be as easy or hard as you want to make it. It doesn't have to be single track to be hard.

2)Riding up a hill it is best to ride in the middle of the trail and not where truck tires have made tracks. I find that when I have to ride out of the saddle if I ride in the track my wheel will loose traction. The rocks are loose in this area. If you ride in the middle the rocks will stay in place and this is helped by the grass.

3) If it has rain or the grass is wet, it is best to ride in the tracks on a downhill. This is because your front tire will pick-up water and dirt and it will get in your eye every time.

4) Square off curves or corners. Remember back in school, the shortest distance between to points is a straight line. There can be some danger to this as I found out the other morning when I almost hit a tree.

5) Test different tires. I have been running WTB Velociraptors and they are a great XC tire but I felt that they are slow on the fire roads. So the other day I change them out for a set of Bontrager Connection tires. I used these last year during the DB event and they did a good job. They are 1.6 in and I run them at about 45lbs. The difference in the change was about 14 minutes off my time over 23 miles. I think that is a big difference! But I don't know if this is the best tire for the job. That is a course made up of 50% road and 50% gravel/dirt roads. So if you know of a better tire let me know.

I will need to step the training up a bit and on Father's Day I will head to the mountains for some hill training. Over the next couple of days I will plan out the route and I will post on the blog.

28 May 2010

SWEET!

The Bontrager is up and running again with a new set of wheels. Well almost.. When I first rebuilt the Bontrager I was wanting a nice set of wheels made up with WTB Grease Guard hubs and skewers and rims.

I was able to win a couple of bids to get a set of 32 hole Wilderness Trail Bike Paradigm Hubs. The hubs are made with the WTB Grease Guard bearing lubrication system. To service the hub all you have to do is take a small grease gun to pump in the grease and the old grease comes out at the red O-rings.












Next, I was able to find a pair of WTB Dual Duty Rims. One of the reasons that I had chosen to go with the Dual Duty rims was that I could run it disc or rim brake and since I had the Waltworks fork made with a disc tab. I could use the same rims with different brake set-up.



But my project came to a stop for months, well okay how about 8 months! Wilderness trail bikes no longer makes the skewers. Great and I keep on getting the loosing bid! In one last ditch effort I put a wanted post on MTBr and that's where I land a set. I know for 25 bucks I could have bought a new set of another brand that would do just as good, but it's all about the look.



The wheels where lace with Wheelsmith black DB spokes and silver brass nipples. The wheels were hand-built by my friend Dartman. Time did not work out for him to teach me this fine art so two six-packs had to due plus I gave him a nice beer glass from the Hofbrauhaus.

I took off this morning for a 20 plus mile fire road ride and the wheels did great. I hope to get many more miles and I hope that it does not take me as long to get another set of wheels built!

12 May 2010

I blew-up at Powhite!

Not me the rear hub did!



The day before I had to do some work on the bike. The top of steer tube was rusting!! Thanks for the shop that put the fork on for not putting grease on all of the tube...

My plan was to get in a early afternoon ride over at Powhite park. I had ridden about 3 miles when I came to a hard hill climb that I needed to gear down to the granny to ride. I am all set-up for the climb and I peddle about three strokes and I go nowhere.

I check the bike out and I don't see anything wrong so I try it again. Nowhere ! Wait just a minute the back wheel is not making that clicking sound when it free wheels.

I still don't know what's going on, but figure it has something to do the the inside of the hub. Well, there is only one thing to do and that is walk out.

After getting home do I see that the hub shell has a crack. The hub/wheel is a Specialized M4 that I got back in 1999 or 2000. I had the wheel rebuilt about two years ago. So I guess I got my monies worth out of it!

29 April 2010

The Hell with the Man!

That's right, the hell with the man! I took the week off just because. Well not totally I had to take care of a few things last night. But other than that I have been able to do some work around the house and get a ride in about every day.

Yesterday I did some riding in Pocahontas State Park my local trail. I took a few pictures to share.

First up we have a nice rock garden on Lake View III. This part of the trail sits on top of a hill top and looks like you are in the mountains which is two hours away.



Just up the trail we come to another rock outcropping where somebody has put a little bike mojo up. This is my favorite section of the trail!




The weather has been crazy this week. On Tuesday I was on the hopes of doing a 30 plus mile road ride. I got cut short due to a rain shower. It must have only rain in a 5 mile area, but it was a hard rain and I got good a wet.

23 April 2010

A Couple Weeks Late... Mount Vernon Trail

This post is a couple of weeks late but here it is. After my last big trip across the pond I had a two week break and I was off on another trip to NOVA. That's Northern Virginia. It's not another state like West Virginia but is referenced as such.

I was staying on the Maryland side of the Potomac River at a place call National Harbor. Nice place, a little over the top and was outrageous in price. I took my Bontrager in hopes of riding from the hotel to the C&O Canal in Georgetown.

Here is a interactive map of National Harbor and the bike path that takes you to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge



This is on top of the bridge that takes you from the east side to the west side of the bridge. Cool brick work with fresh mulch and new trees and plants.

Looking south at north bound 95 traffic. You have to love living here to put up with that crap every day. If I had to drive in that traffic to get to work, you could not talk to me until about twelve o'clock. In a lot of places I could ride faster by bike than car.



On the the south of the river you pick-up the Mount Vernon Trail. Here is a good resource on the trail. I did not go to Mount Vernon on this trip. Some of the points-of-interest that I saw was, Olde Town Alexandria, Arlington National Cemetery (I have a fallen friend there..Big Daddy), Gravelly Point.

The Mount Vernon Trail is a little hard to find in places. One of the first points-of-interest was the Wilkes Street Tunnel. Here is a fun link to learn about the tunnel.

Inside the tunnel I found these two tags. I am not up on this kind of stuff, but my understanding there are those that are gang tags and those that tag so their tag can be seen.

Avant Guard:Represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted



Kommune1:Was the first politically-motivated commune in Germany



I bet now since I have posted the above pictures you will see something like this the next time you are out.The tag can be of anything but should be about 4" round.


Next up was this cool fence that blocked this factory.It shows Washington over the years as a kid to the president.










On the way to the C&O I saw a lot of commuters on their way to work. I think this is the only way to get around up here. Riders had all different set-ups from beater bikes to full-on race rigs.

I was able to get in three days of riding in but was not able to get that far on the C&O due to weather. Overall the Mount Vernon Trail is a neat way to see NOVA & D.C. hope you enjoyed the post as much as I enjoyed the ride!