Monday, April 16, 2012

podium fun

2012 Morgantown Road Race (3/4)

For a fun (and funny) race report, read what the winner had to say about how it all went down here.

My response(s):

(1)  My beard is not bad.  It is awesome.  Actually it's not really a beard at all--I think of it as the consequence of not shaving.  But it's still awesome.  (Personal bias, obviously, but beards that require maintenance are girly.  Hair: keep it wild and free or get rid of it all together.)

(2)  The "He must be a mountain biker" comment is hilarious.  Yes, I do like a little fat-tire fun, but I'm sure my mountain biking friends would read that and roll their eyes.  (While it may be a little pathetic that I'm still towing the line at Cat 3 road races after so long, I started road racing in I think I've earned my roadie stripes.)

(3)  But what's really funny about the mountain bike thing is the "roadies and mountain bikers don't always mix" thing.  Why not?  Because mountain bikers have way more fun and don't take themselves near as seriously?  :-)  We could all learn a lot from mountain bikers...

(4)  Not a response to Craig, but a related point about the Morgantown RR in general: take a cue from the mountain bike crowd and let's have some fun after the race!  I mean, I know you didn't expect us to be sitting around for hours waiting for our results (not your fault), but still, how about some music (you had the PA system right there)?  How about some food vendors?  How about...anything?  Road races, besides the actual racing part, are so boring.  Anyone who's been to both mountain bike (or cyclocross) and road events knows what I'm talking about.  Promoters, get with it, man.  Want to attract a crowd?  Make your race into a legitimate event!  (For a case study in boring, let me submit the Rich Ruoff / Dave Butterworth model.  Even when you win you leave feeling mildly let down.  For a case study in good, Turkey Hill.  I'm totally sick of the race itself, but I'm still going this year.  Why?  My daughter looks forward to it all year!)

(5)  I know he didn't know me or anything, but I can't help but be a little offended the dude didn't think I could climb.  (Tell me, Craig, who was putting the hurt on with the last climb, eh?  You forgot to mention that you didn't (couldn't?) pull through once.

(6)  When he asked if I knew how much further we had I thought he was asking if I knew how far we had on the pack, to which I first answered, "Nope," but then modified my answer in the form of a complaint against motorcycle officials that give the pack time checks but fail to give any information to those in the break.  I hate that.  Anyway, he didn't respond.  Now, realizing that's not what he asked, I assume he had no idea what I was talking about.

(7)  On the matter of conversation, I think in total words said I won.  I mean, besides the perhaps unintelligible rant against moto officials, I also initiated conversation immediately after bridging.  When I caught Craig I pulled up along side and (politely) asked how he was feeling.  When he said he could work, I think I responded with something appropriately hip and witty like, "Giddy-up" or similar, then (again, politely) moved to the front and took a nice long pull even though I'd just finished bridging the gap.  So, you know, I can make conversation.  (I do, after all, make a living from talking.)

(8)  Chapeau on the finish.  (You deserved it.)  I didn't see the 1k marker (as was alluded), and I really should have attacked earlier.  Multiple times.  After the last climb, in a TT to the finish, I'm sure I would have won.  But that's not bike racing, and I was clearly out raced.  (Too focused on driving the break, and not enough focused on winning the race.)  Anyway, nice work, Craig.  It was an awesome win.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 SMSS & Ironmasters TT Series

The South Mountain road racing brain trust has been discussing summer mid-week riding fun and do we have something good cooking for you!

As many surely know, Mark Laser has been putting in years of service to the South Mountain road riding community with the Twirly Top Time Trial Series, which morphed into the Ironmasters Time Trial Series, which has been interspersed with King's Gap TT fun and other delicious and FREE summer events for the two-wheeled inclined.  But Mark's got other things cooking now, has put down the torch, so to speak, and, well, with it just sitting there I figured a few of us could probably manage to pick it up and keep the fun going.

And then there's this awesome South Mountain Summer Smackdown that we've been doing the last few years--a team style cycling competition, scored like a cross country meet--and we for sure want to keep that going, because AWESOME.

Well, we're going to sort of integrate the two this year, and this is how it's going to work:  Every second Wednesday, starting next week, we run an event--either an ITT on the Ironmasters course on Pine Grove Rd, an ITT on King's Gap Rd, or one of FIVE South Mountain Summer Smackdown events.

Here's the tentative 2012 CALENDAR:
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 Ironmasters TT
Wednesday, May 02, 2012 SMSS #1 - E. Big Flat HC
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 Ironmasters TT
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 SMSS #2 - Pine Grove RR
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 King's Gap TT
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 SMSS #3 - Ironmasters TT
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 Ironmasters TT
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 King's Gap TT
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 SMSS #4 - Caledonia RR
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 Ironmasters TT
Wednesday, September 05, 2012 SMSS #5 - Ironmasters TTT
And everything is FREE!

Scores will be kept.  Boasts made.  Smack talked.  Please proceed.

If you're not on the regular Goates spam server then please leave comment below with some way to get a hold of you and I'll put you on the you can get notifications of all our fun.  (Or just join the "shipcycling" Yahoo group.)  But if you're on my list, then there will be more reminders and notifications of slight schedule changes or reworkings or whatever, but the general idea is as shown above.  
Plan to come play next week.  Parking at the Mountain Creek Campground as usual.  (You'll get a reminder email next week with the address and details and whatever.)
A short note on the team organization for the SMSS:  I mentioned above that we score SMSS events like a cross country meet.  That means the sum of first three riders' places from each team score the team's points, the lowest team score wins.  Riders four and five from a team can displace the riders from another team, causing them to score more points (bad for them, good for you).  

As for the teams themselves, the SMSS was conceived as a "club challenge," meaning area USAC clubs competing against each other.  Like South Mountain Velo vs. YBR vs. Ship Cycling vs. Lost Boys, etc.  And we'll still do that, and hope to get some of the AVC crew to join us too, and perhaps Round Here Racing, and maybe the Mountainside mtb team, and anyone else that wants to play...  But we also have a place for anyone that doesn't have an official club affiliation or can't get anyone else from their club to come.  In other words, composite teams.  You show up on race night and we'll assign you a team.  Makes it more fun. 
Also, though we've schedule everything for Wednesday, if the weather looks nasty then things get pushed to Thursday.  If that happens, there will be an email.  So...more reason to get on the Goates spam server.
Ok, I think that's it.  Get excited!

Monday, April 2, 2012


FC: "Really?"

asking Nick

I wrote a letter to Nick this morning.  I really hope he responds...

Actually, what I really hope for (beyond world peace) is a bottom bracket "standard" that is light, stiff, easy to understand and maintain and, most of all, is actually standard!

Hi Nick,

I need a comprehensive guide on BB30 maintenance. 

I think we’re all very familiar with the chronic creak potential of BB30, yet it seems to me there’s no reliable way of assuring that (1) a newly installed crank won’t develop a creak and (2) the spacers and dust covers have been installed properly such that the crank spins as freely as it should and that, to the extent that one can expect, the bearings are protected from contaminates.

My best success in installing BB30 cranks comes when I install a new bottom bracket using a headset press, then install the crank.  As far as what to do about spacers and dust covers, it all seems like so much guess work, so, I guess, and usually (I think) things have worked out ok.  However, the real trouble comes when a crank has to be pulled (for, say, sending a Quarq to be serviced, or simply moving the crank to another bike) and those pesky bottom bracket cups stay with the crank spindle rather than in the frame.  Of course, getting a BB30 crank out of the frame is a taxing and stressful experience in and of itself, but beyond that, in my experience, there’s no “good” way to remove a BB30 bottom bracket bearing race from a crank spindle without _feeling_ like the integrity of the bearings have been compromised.  (I recently saw a tool made for this purpose with a Specialized stamp on it, though I haven’t been able to experiment with it yet.)  So when I have to pull a crank and reinstall it, I leave the bearing race on the crank, but it seems that when I do that a creak _always_ develops after a few hours of riding, even when using Loctite to secure the bearing race, as per the recommendations of Specialized and Park Tool.

I’m coming to the conclusion that I should consider BB30 bottom brackets as one-and-done installations.  In other words, if it crank has to be pulled for any reason, I might as well discard the bottom bracket.  This frustrates me on several levels, and I really don’t want it to be true. 

On the second point, regarding when and how to use spacers and dust covers, I’ve found the documentation that accompanies a SRAM BB30 bottom bracket to be completely unintelligible.  Sometimes I finish an installation and notice a bit of spindle (maybe 1 mm) hanging out of the frame’s bottom bracket shell in a most disconcerting manner.  But, if there’s no creak, I’m super hesitant to pull the crank and experiment with possible solutions because (1) it’s damn hard, (2) the aforementioned concerns about bearing integrity, and (3) if the thing’s not creaking, I don’t want to change anything! 

So, your thoughts?  Secrets?  Basic (and not-so-basic) dos and don’ts of BB30 care and feeding?

If it matters, I’ve been sweating over BB30 bottom brackets for nearly four years with varying levels of success on two different Tarmac SL2 S-Works, a Crux, and a CAAD9 CX, all with Specialized S-Works cranksets.  (I’ve also a Stumpjumper with a press fit BB30, which fortunately has had no creaking issues, but when it comes time to replace the bottom bracket, I’ve no idea how that sucker is coming out.)

Thank you,


If any of the two people that read my blog have any hints, I'd love to hear them.