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It’s been tough to blog lately. This past summer I made little effort to get to internet access. I spent most of the summer NOT riding due to an issue in my back/neck/shoulder/arm. I’m better now and after pretty much taking a full year off from doing anything hardcore on the bike, I’m prepping for a next summer starting today.

I spent 2 hours this evening cleaning out my toolbox. This was initiated by an oil spill of some sort in the top compartment. I ended up dumping half my tools into the wash bucket with lots of soap, water, and orange cleaner. I thought all the handles on my Park cone wrenches were black. Turns out they’re blue. I ended up resorting all my tools, picking out all the duplicates and tools I don’t use for bike repair, and removing all the non-tool items like cable housing and zip ties. I completely emptied the box and scrubbed it with a sponge and the hot, soapy water. After rearranging everything, I’m much happier. I placed all the tools I use a bunch like those large T-handled Park allen wrenches, the tape measure, the shock pump, and my torque wrench set in the top of the box instead of in a difficult to open drawer. I put all the chain lube, anti-sieze, and rarely used tools in the bottom drawer. Genius! Should have done that years ago.

Now I’ve got to sort out all the parts I pulled out along with the tubs of parts on my work bench. Once I get that done, I’ll be ready to do actual bike maintenance. And boy do my bikes need some love. So do Jen’s bikes. Her’s more than mine.

I’ll be ripping off the parts from her strange fitting 659’r that was supposed to be a 29’r two time national SS winning Titus to put on her On One Inbred which is currently draped with junk parts, commuter wheels, and a rack. She said she didn’t want to have a heavy SS, but why ride a light one with a strange geometry and a weird sized rear wheel that barely fits and handle like a Corvair convertible?

Did you hear about Jen’s attempt at a 3rd national SS title? I thought it was a valiant effort and I’m very proud of her….and myself. Why am I proud of myself? While I was hanging out with Connor and Jen was pre-riding the shitty national course in Idaho, I saw Rebecca Rusch on a hard-tail that was converted to a SS. I kept my mouth shut all week knowing that if I said anything Jen probably wouldn’t even start the race. Jen was WAY under geared for what turned out to be a running festival and Rusch plowed through the waves of geared riders that started ahead. Luckily Jen has been doing a bit of running herself and moved into 2nd place at the hike-a-bike short cut that was near the top of the course. Rusch put down the fastest women’s amateur course time of the day. Jen finished in 2nd more than 9 minutes down. I was proud of her because I knew she was under geared and she only did 4 mountain bike races previous since the end of Summer 2009 when I knocked her up with Connor. Of course, she was pretty disappointed, but it was Rusch’s home turf. And honestly, nobody really cares. She also beat last year’s champion by 3 minutes. Not bad for someone riding a wierd fitting/handling bike that’s 5 years old.

After I get her bikes all dialed (the Titus will become the Chariot dragging device), I’m going to do some major stuff with my bikes. More to come….I promise. Maybe I’ll even have some pictures.

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The camping in Breck has been interesting.  We are now surrounded by a Texas Wheelchair (ATV) convention and the rain has been pretty steady.  Downtown Breck is PACKED with cyclists and 4th of July drunks. 

Jen is racing tomorrow and I’m hanging out giving her a feed.  She’ll be on the hardtail rolling the Pacenti NeoMoto in the rear and the Nanoraptor in the front.  Her ride today was rippin’ fast.  She should do well as long as we don’t get sick from the lake water we put into our camper.  Yeah….long story which I will spare you from.

Luna has a new boyfriend.  His name is Koa and he’s awesome.  He really loves Luna and they play together well.  Koa belongs to Pua and Ron Sawicki.  He’s absolutely hilarious.

P7010015

Ron and Pua have been awesome to hang out with.  Ron is very generous with his stuff.  So far I’ve borrowed his Nomad bike wash and his bench grinder.  He’s also kicked down some Infinit nutrition and some Okole Stuff…which absolutely rocks.  It will definitely be nice to have in a 6 day stage race…which I start Sunday.

I hope it rains a lot!  I love riding my SS in the slop.  6 days of slop would be even more awesome.

Wow!  Being married to a pro cyclist can be really funny.  Women do a good job of providing themselves with lots of defeatist-speak (sp?).  They can be so negative…I’ve learned to let it flow and don’t even try to turn it around.  What’s even funnier, is that the last two races we’ve done have both fallen on the day that that time of the month starts.  So the negative-speak is frequent and sometimes loud.  The good part is that the hormone cycle is prime for athletics.  Yep.  Believe it or not, women tend to perform quite well aerobically when they are menstruating. 

So this weekend was a return trip to Socorro.  Day 1 was the hillclimb up mt. baldy (10,800′).  I promised myself last year that I would run a 22t, but after lightening the bike to 21.5 lbs and being told that the last pitch was covered in snow, I went back to the 21t.  Half way up I would have shot myself if I’d had a gun.  The middle part of that climb sucks.  A 22t and I would have been at least 4 minutes faster.  I finished 8th overall this year….3 places better than last.  My time was pretty rippin’, but it hurt. 

Jen’s competition…Cannondale pro Nina Baum was running some trick wheels and tires.  They didn’t quite work out for her as she had to use her air cartridges several times up the road.  Jen won by 4 minutes.

We had a fun ride down.  Being rigid reminded me of the old days when I used to bomb down the old coal truck roads in Tennessee.  The roads are quite similar, just a bit shorter and not as high an altitude.

Jen happy to not be on the bad end of mechanicals....and enjoying all her warm clothes.

Jen happy to not be on the bad end of mechanicals....and enjoying all her warm clothes.

It's hard not to smile in places like this!

It's hard not to smile in places like this!

This road gets really steep.

This road gets really steep.

There is also a lightening research facility up there.

There is also a lightening research facility up there.

Day 2 was the XC race in the Cabradas.  We gathered a good crew in what little area there was to camp. 

camp-1

camp-2

The wind died down and made for a beautiful evening.  Mt. Baldy ended up getting some rain.

Mt. Baldy in far backgroun.
Mt. Baldy in far background.

The XC was super fast.  The SSers and the women started 5 minutes off the expert men.  Myself and this kid Isaac caught about half the expert field before the end of the first lap.  The start of the second lap, I attacked on the road and held Isaac off for a gap of about a minute for the win.  I felt really good and went out for lap 3 with Jen.  Jen had a huge gap and was riding the 659er  1×9 really well.  I ended up dropping back to help some riders who were SOL in the middle of nowhere.

The Cubradas backcountry is really neat.  The race loop is super fun and I’d encourage people to check it out.  Make sure you have a map or gps as you can get ridiculously lost out there.
Here’s parting shot.
luna-carrying-the-winnings

Today we had two rattlesnake encounters today on our 5 hours SS adventure around the Franklins.  Our first one was this little western diamondback just south of Bowen’s Ranch.  Jen almost ran over it and it didn’t move until I got my camera out and went back to take pictures.  After I snapped these pics and put away my camera, we looked up and there was a very bummed out hawk flapping at us.  It’s funny how a bird like that can communicate his displeasure.  I felt bad.  Sorry I disturbed the balance.

 

   
Then…..after about another mile on the road I saw this bad boy!  And he was either pissed off or just making sure we wouldn’t get too close to him.
He was rattling hard when he headed under the bush, then he got into a great pose for me and just rattled away.  This fellow wasn’t that much longer than the first one we saw…maybe a foot longer….but what was impressive was the size of his head and his girth.  It was at least twice as big as the first snake.  Not the biggest I’ve seen but the biggest I’ve photographed.
The rest of our ride was pretty uneventful other than the stifling heat.  Jen was suffering, but rode really well.  She’s loving her 659er and can’t wait for the neo-moto tire to arrive even though the quasi-moto his holding up just fine.