Monday, August 23, 2010

Stans boogers

It was time to give the wheels a fresh stans-ing before heading to this weekends festivities. There are some wicked (bad)goathead and puncture vine patches out west so it definitely pays to use sealant. This is my 4th consecutive Cruise the Blues, and it never fails to excite me. Doug and Bud put on such a great event, and its really awesome to see folks racing bikes that had been wearing cowboy boots, wranglers, and were checking cattle just prior to registration.
Weather looks great. You have no excuse.

If you use C02 in your tubeless tire setup you have probably seen these little fellers before.

I usually do not get such large uniform specimens. I line them up in my window sill in the kitchen.
One day I will find a use for them.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cranks and BB's

Found another fried ISIS bottom bracket in the SS......they hardly last a year. sigh.
I also get a chuckle our of the fact that buying a complete crank set with BB only costs 50 dollars more than just buying the BB.
I am also surprised at just how little has been developed as far as cranks getting lighter. I really do think that the lightest setup you can get is a Middleburn with a WI square taper bb. So I guess my question is whether or not outboard bearing bb's are truly stiffer (measured as deflection) than other crank interfaces (octalink, JIS, ISIS,) What about Hollergram (how my TN friends speak of Cannondale technology)?

I can speak to the fact that 15G cranks from the Hive are pretty stinking stiff and still lighter than cranks costing twice as much. They shift good too. Not Shimano good, but good non-the-less.

Is one brand of external bearing bb longer lasting than another?

It kind of makes me wonder what the weight differences between SLX, XT, and XTR is, once you remove the chainrings?

just ruminations.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


So this past week I had the opportunity to go out to Portland to see my family. I haven't seen my folks in over a year. It was the typical Stamper family get together with lots of smoking and drinking.

Actually, it turns out that my sis-n-law "Mandy Lou Who" is hopelessly addicted to candy cigarettes. She literally bought a carton of candy cig's. My folks did not know what to think.

The Oregon Coast is pretty pimp once you get away from the Californians.

Driftwood shenanigans.

Even though it looks like awesome weather the temp never got above 55F. However the sand warmed up at low tide, and it felt really awesome to sit on a log and put your feet into the warm sand as you were shivering.

Al cropped this picture.

Traffic jam on hwy 101

Then we stayed a night in Portland. We dined at the HUB. I was sated.

This week the nub is going to review several new brake sets, and then Waller and I have some Gravel Worlds shenanigans cooked up.

PS. If anyone has a EZ-UP tent (or something in that genre of shelter)that I could use for the weekend, I (and many others) would be especially grateful. I promise it will only be used for good deeds, and will provide you with a cash deposit.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Laramie and CO rambling

Wow. I am sitting here typing this at 4 in the morning since I went to bed at like 8 pm, and I am still thinking about how I felt and what I need to change ( I initially wrote this sitting in a dark car last week. Writing is like therapy for me, except cheaper, with no couch, and no one to talk too......ok its nothing like therapy, but it give me something to do at 4 am). I rode too hard for the first 30 miles and was done at the 52 mile mark. Cramps just shut me down.

Did not feel like I was working too much from a perceived exertion standpoint, but elevation will elevated your heart rate as it tries to process more oxygen. I think I am starting to understand the nature of my cramping issues. Its not a hydration issue as much as it is a physiological response to my bodies ability to buffer lactate. The worst part about this is that I know I need to spend time on the road in group rides to get the kind of high intensity sustained efforts needed to train for things like this…..or just not go out as hard. Meh.

The other flatlanders had some strong showings. Cornbread finished about 30th, fellow Bad Goat Zach Dubas stayed strong all day, to finish about 60th despite his bike being a 3 by 1 as his shifter broke early in the day. Patterson and Joe Fox were also strong all day and finished within a few minutes of each other. Brad Reed also had a great day despite stopping several times to wait on me as I rolled around on the ground cramping. He rode my SS all day long and finished with a smile on his face.

Waller had a really crappy day as he took a big spill at one of the rut/waterbar/launch pad. He tore up his shoulder pretty good, and put a hole in his pretty new white kit. Patterson was behind him when he went down, and later described it as as a spectacle on par with the Hindenburg (ie. crash and burn).

Waller and I fared much better in the post race festivities as we both won new Feedback bike repair stands and consoled ourselves with the spectacular gnosh and libations that the Laramie crowd put on.

We were not able to match the wisest wizards and their mighty wizard staffs, but then again we were able to talk in complete sentences also.

The next day we headed to WinterPark to watch the UCI downhill race and crash with the Basels. It was pretty amazing to watch the pro’s clear some of the huge rock gardens. Then Basel proceeded to try to tear our legs off on the backside of Sol Vista the next morning. We were all burping up little chunks of our breakfast (shrimp and grits (nowhere near as pleasant as it sounds)) as we climbed and climbed towards a higher state of asphyxiation and reflux. We wished the Basels goodbye.

Dubas and Michelle head back to Manhappenin. We also got schooled up by Michelle on how girl scouts roll.

Brad Reed, Waller and I turned our noses south and headed for Crested Butte.

I love Crested Butte riding with its wide open vistas, long fire road climbs and sweet descents. The last time I went to CB I rode 4 days on a rigid SS and I was wanting suspension. This time I came armed with gears and a fork, and was ready to rock. The only disappointment was the amount of precip we had. It rained everyday, and while the trails handle the moisture really well, I could hear my drive train dying with every revolution.

Brad rode and pushed my SS (still race geared 34x20) with nary a complaint.

We first rode Reno ridge to Flagg, Bear, and Deadmans Gulch.

What would Joe Fox do?

Once we started the climb up to deadmans Gulch it started to rain….alot.

The Deadmans descent is usually pretty nasty, but this was just awful. The moto traffic has created a lot of holes that tend to hold water, and make things pretty miserable if it is anything but bone dry. We collectively killed about 80 bucks worth of brake pads on that descent.

The next morning we decided to ride 401.

I had talked it up to Brad and Waller and I do not think that they were disappointed. We just had a spectacular time cruising down that descent. Then we hit The Secret Stash for the world champion Notorious F.I.G. (formerly known as the figalicious) pizza. Lives were changed.

We decided to try to ride Doctors park that afternoon, and climbed the 9 mile gravel road climb. Once we got to the top we met a couple of guys that had just shuttled it and they looked like they had just finished wrestling pigs, so I decided to bail and ride the road back down. I would have loved to ride it, but descents are no fun when you are always tense and just trying to stay upright.

The next morning we headed for Denver to take Brad to the airport. After sending Brad of to the old country, Waller and I turned south to head down to Colorado spring to visit the Whetstones. Tyler took us on a after hours tour of the entire SRAM facility. I was really blown away by what I saw. Super cool stuff. Then it was heading west again towards where the women flock like the Salmon of Capistrano……. Aspen, to lay siege to the Maroon Belles.

Waller was less than enamored with the town and its bourgeois display of wealth, but not before I got is a shouting match with some hippy on a street corner that wanted to establish a tracking system (like COOL) for food so that food would be safe.

Disclaimer: Micro rant will follow: I cannot stand it when people think that there are simple answers to complex issues like food safety(like throwing money at it). If you want safe food, wash your vegetables, grow your own, and cook your meat to 160 degrees. Frivolous legislation is no match for overcoming stupidity.

Anyway, Waller and headed up to Crater Lake, set up camp, and crashed hard. That was probably the best sleep I had gotten all week, and actually Waller had to wake me up at like 7:30….so much for a early start.

The ascent of Maroon Peak is in no way direct, but does involve ascending 2800 feet in less than a mile. Lots of time is spent picking your way through steep couloirs and scree fields to 14,000 feet.

Waller made a new friend.

Total climbing from our campsite was over 5000 vertical feet, but the worst part was the descent. It started to rain as we were picking our way down, things were pretty dicey at a few points compounded by the fact that my quads were screaming all the way down. I have felt pretty spent after a lot of endurance events, but I have never been just so totally wasted as I felt after going up and down Maroon peak.

This goat was pretty awesome (and no this has not been photo-shopped), and you can see South Maroon Peak directly behind the goat.

All in all it was a really great trip. I really needed the time away from work and it is always great to chill with Brad, meet new faces, and shout at some hippies. Me and Waller even managed to get home without killing each other.