Saturday, December 31, 2011

Winter Bike Mechanics

As a bike mechanic it always amazes me how in winter how much time, energy, and effort triathlete's or cyclist's will put in on the turbo trainer. Or their strength, swim stroke, or running form. Yet they put in zilch during that same period for bike work or whatever else could be done. It's really such a waste.

Sure as a mechanic it's wonderful as I get to crank up the labour costs when I have to use blowtorches and hammers to pull your siezed into the frame BB. Especially since the majority barely do any bike mainteneance.

Winter is the perfect time for you to take your tri or road bike to the shop especially since it will only sit bolted to the turbo trainer all winter. Shops are slower during the winter so the emchanics have more time. Take it down to the shop and have the mechanics pull every bolt, clean, and regrease or loctite it. Replace any cables or housing that is cracked. And can't forget to pull, clean, and regrease your seatpost. The seatpost a common area for bonding to the frame. Now is also a good time to pull the old bar tape and install some fresh tape. By doing it now you get to start the year with a bike ready to go and you avoid the annual Spring panic when everyone races to the shop when the sun finally comes out of hibernation.

The other aspect of this time of year that is good especially with the bikes mounted to the trainers. Now is the perfect time to install the new parts like bars, brakes, derrailleurs, and such. Maybe it's just me but as a coach it makes more sense to use some of that time stuck to a trainer to see if one really like those new aero bars or saddle. Plus in winter it's much easier to take one's time and install parts properly. Less being in a hurry and not wanting to miss ride time because we all know how hard it is to get triathlete's to give up training time.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best and Worst of 2011

24 hours till New Years begins so it's that time to review the year.
Worst Event:
Easy really... getting taken out by a car.
But can't of course ignore that I messed up my foot in a bail in the spring so wasn't able to run at all since the spring.
Best Events:

Dundass Monstercross because ride with friend's and soup post ride. Plus the once a year visit to Cafe Domestique.

Antirace because I got to ride some where new. As well as get entertained by the antics of those who inbibe.

Tour du Buttertar because it's always good to refresh one's memory of suffering.

Getting hit by the car in August. Because it shows that the crash skills I learned from years of hurling myself down frozen ski race courses are still there.

Best Parts:

DMR Cro-Mo bars... strong and tough. After installing and a few rides noticed my right hand and forearm no longer get aggravated. Exellent.

Rear wheel...built myself and bombproof.


Fox Launch Knee.. easy to put on and forget. Saved my knee at least twice.

Core Rat Ballistic Jacket.. bombproof, windproof, and keeps warm when wet.

LG Alpine Canada bibs shorts... has Alpine Canada on it.

Can't really say about the what for next year. But it appears that the Dark Side is calling as have been on the treadmill 3 times in the last week.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fear Factor

So far 3 successful rides of this long ride riding up the incline with 11 fails.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Metal Education

In the last month after making a decision to correct a 4 year old bad decision. I began researching into a more useful frame for road riding. Sure I loved my old Centurion Ironman but the problem is that the fork is dead and it's hard to replace.

After consideration I have decided on a Cyclocross frame. Simple frame to do it all on. I'm not aiming to win a World Cup or keep up with Dave Scott. So I won't be requiring weight weenie light or aero dynamics. But of course with the various materiels available it can be a bit of a mine field. Fortunately I had a source of real world info on frames and materiels. I would ask my Croation boss Jay.

Jay learned everything about bikes and frames the hard way in Europe. Doing his own repairs, racing, and working for various teams. Add to that add in a education on machining and metals to go with it. The guy is a walking library of info you will never see in a book. So over the last few weeks I have been picking Jay's mind about frame material. And it has been a bit of an education. It would surprise most to know that in Europe riders don't flip their bikes like we do here in North America. They will buy one frame and ride it until it breaks. Sounds so much like what we where like in the 80's. But what he told me confirmed what I was thinking when it came to frame materiel.

The only choice for a frame that was to be bought once was.... Chromoly steel. Because once the inside of the frame has been sprayed with oil to inhibit rust. A steel frame would keep going. And knowing my destructive habits towards aluminum frames. Well my only option was steel. Plus for me having seen how much abuse my Chromag steel frame has taken in the last 4 and a half years. Well... why go different and tempt fate? Have the same chain stay failure in 4 years? No thank you very much.

Well when I consider that I'm a father and married I have to put aside my "want" and focus on what frame and material will meet my needs. Sure in an ideal world I would have multiple bikes... DH, 29er, Cross bike, road bike, and a tri bike. but in reality my needs require one bike able to ride road, do a group ride, race occasionally, and a little off road fun. Plus add in the fact I prefer to bash my way through winter riding outside. So when all things are considered a steel cyclocross frame is what is needed.

Plus there is one other consideration not usually mentioned. Steel frames have a bit of give meaning they absorb road shock. This doesn't seem significant but when I have a tendency to large volumes of bike mileage. Then add in a permamently messed up lower back from a bad ski racing crash. Steel doesn't aggravate it... while aluminum has done it every time. And aggravated backs take away from the fun.

Of course I readily admit I do take pleasure during races at beating other athletes on the appropriate bike while I'm not. I raced in the early 2000's on a 1988 Centurion Ironman..Dave Scott edition against guy's on the latest Cervelo's. It's kind of a Tom Warrenesque thing. But that is another story. Though it's really about the fact I want to do this once not replace every 3-4 years. And I'd much rather do this once more and have a frame that lasts for a long time.
So after much research have arrived at the choice of a Planet X Kaffanback frame and fork. The biggest plus being that it comes with disc and cantilever brake mounts. This is provides me options for brake choices and rim choices in the future. It will be interesting to document how this build goes.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What Tools Carried

Since I had to clean out the tool section of my larger hydration pack. I thought now was a time to share what old dirt bag type riders carry in their packs on the trail to do trailside repairs.
One has to understand that having grown up in BC and especially starting mountain biking in the mountains. I learned the importance of being able to do your own repairs. Because the reality is if you can't it's a long walk and potentially cold walk out.

Tire levers are always required. Normally smaller plastic but because I use a more heavy duty tire I carry these metal levers. The longer length allows more torque to be applied when prying of stubborn tires from the rim.

Shock pump for when the forks need some air. As having one's fork bottom out easily is no fun.
Spare tube as it's easier to simply replace the tube and patch the damaged tube at home.
Small hand pump for when a flat happens. In some situations this will be supplemented with a couple CO2 canisters.

Gerber Multi Plier.. handy for many things from pulling objects from tire to cutting up energy bars.

You know it always amazes me how many people ride with nothing for tools. Nothing messes up your ride like having a mechanical that can't be fixed because you don't have tools. Plus in some places it can equal a very miserable walk home.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sunday's Ride

2 pic's from last Sunday's ride.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2012 Upgrade List

With winter it's time for the annual what needs to be upgraded or the wish list for parts and gear.


Gravity Dropper seat post
DMR Chomoly bars
Hope Matchmakers- special project
Ultimate Strap
DRC X Monitor ED-1
Bike Light- Magicshine bar and helmet
Gore Fusion 3/4 shorts
Dakine Amp18
Shift MX gloves
Shift Squadron jersey
Combat Pants
Fox Flux Helmet

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Trail Fairies

Mint Sauce is right. They do exist.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Craig's Purple Panties

This was taken at the Del Stalk portion of the Anti Race weekend. Craig was awarded these $5 panties from the crew of Lap Dog's racing. It was amusing to see how he kept getting more conspiracy theory about this as the evening progressed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2011 Anti Race- Part 2

This year I received an invite to attend the famous or infamous invite to the Anti Race. And end of year gathering put on by the un evil empire known as Misfit Cycles. And it's figure head Peter the Misfit.

So on Saturday Oct 23rd did the fun filled drive up the 400 to Barrie to then get up to Collingwood. Of course like most plans they don't stay intact. So arrived late so had no time to change from DH wheels to lighter wheels. So it was heavy DH tires on DH wheels. In the scheme of things it seemed more beneficial to have a working brake with DH sections expected. This was due to a late evening brake swap in a Starbucks of all places.

But I didn't forget to swap my tools, pump, and tube to the ride pack unlike a certain Team Dicky the Forgetfull.

Of course after the usual swapping of bike related insults. Apparentely the Mistress offended our host No Gears Peter. Something about her dirtbag esthetic offended his delicate singlespeed sensitivities. And off we went with a little road cruise to warm up for the death hike of the day up the escarpment. Nothing like an endless grunt.. the last time I did something like this I was payed.

At the top it was a rest, some beverages, heckling, then off to ride mud, leaves, rock, and singletrack. No idea where we went as the area around Collingwood am not familiar with at all. Some good technical stuff. Unfortunately some racer heads where still a bit in racer mode still so no chance to retry some sections I messed up on. There was a few I would like to have retried. Maybe need a road trip next summer.

Of course we have to add in the 30 minute wait in the woods to figure out where the 2 local riders went to. Only to have them rejoin us 45 minutes later further along the trail. One guy had hurt himself so had headed back early via road. While Ted had crashed hard and caught back up to us. And we continued the parade through the woods with howls galore. And in some sections was reminded why I want a Gravity Dropper post on the Mistress soon.

And with Misfit Peter complaining that he was hungry we arrived at the DH into Collingwood. Which became a sudden every rider for himself affair. And then we where at the cars. For me it was 4 hours riding a beast hardtail with the wrong wheels and tires. And near the end some slight grinding of the BB bearings. Legs a little tired yet still okay despite the low volume of riding this year.

Till next year and hopefully in better riding fitness as well.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Misfit Hack

There we have it proof that Misfit Peter is truly a hack.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

2011 Anti Race

Some pic's from the non event. Details later.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Burke Brook

Monday went for a Don ride. Took a different entrance this time. Came in from the section near the mental health and Rehab facilities off Bayview.

Improvised crossing

Burke Brook.

From Sunday's Bluffs ride... a Hawk checking out traffic.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Sunday ride in Scarborough.

They replaced the Highland Beach with rocks.

Some where on the Bluffs

Found a DH track. But by orders of the Secret Trail Society that is all I can show.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

2011 Paul's Dirty Enduro

Made the trek up to Ganaraska for the Dirty Enduro for the 3rd year. And doing the 30k for year 2. Plus unless I'm getting paid I don't wake up for 9am starts any more.

On the way up had the mental argument of ride cliplless or flats this year. Or basiically treat this seriously, crap out a liver, and puke at the finish. Or treat it as fun.. bomb the DH's and skid the corners. I do admit wasn't feeling the race mentality this year as knowing a month ago was nailed by a car and lost almost 2 weeks. Then messed up my shoulder 2 weeks ago in another bail in the Don. Plus had been thinking about some news I received from BC.

The decision was made just after getting out of the car. Bunch of riders getting all stressed out prestart. Forget that noise let's have fun this year so flat pedals it is. Maybe watching Klunkerz the night before wasn't a great idea.

After the pre race briefing it was off. This year there was alot more fireroad to begin which was nice as it allowed the riders to spread out more so there was no pile up at the singletrack. Though it was like a funeral procession with everyone so quiet... no woo hoo's. A couple of wheelies and the BBBBBRRRRAAAPPPP BBBBBBBRRRRRAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPP noises took care of that. Because this is supposed to be a fun.

Then it was into the singletrack. Since this isn't being treated as a race I will not bore you with things like elctrolytes, puking, leg cramps, and whether my heart rate was to high. Nor will I whine about there being to much sand. That would remove the fun aspect of this year.

Climbing was just that this year. The fun was in the DH's, clearing root sections with a good hop and launching off the small drops. Then of course railing some corners and some 2 wheel drifts in the sand. basically riding like a goofball. Like a Crazy Canuck pumping some of the bumps for some fun.

Didn't stop at the aid station like in past years way to easy to stop and delay riding more. So back into the singletrack. And more of the same railing turns and bombing the DH sections. And suddenly it was the last bit before the finish, so popped the bump for a wee bit of air then it was done. After hanging for a bit was to the car to change out of the sweaty gear and back for some chili. Caught up with Dean formerly from the Cycle Solutions crew now of Picton. Met 14 Stone of MTbr fame. Watched the awards then it was time to hit the road.

The Don dirt jumps where calling. Beer, jumps, and other mayhem.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dirty Enduro

Raced the Paul's Dirty Enduro. Job done and will post a report in the next couple of days.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

East Don

Some pic's from the Don on Friday and Saturday.

Bike took the long way.

Freight train

East Don

Friday, September 2, 2011

Mentality and The Mental War

In the last few weeks on a forum I peruse. There have been discussions about pedal types, smoothing of trails, and so on all leading to the usuall internet sniping.

Yet when you put aside all the physical arguments for all these sides it really boils down to one simple issue. As a coach the mental aspect is by far the biggest challenge we face when trying to teach a new skill, correcting mistakes, or even simly getting an athlete to relax.

When I speak of the Mental War it's not just our individual self doubt I am referring to. It is the Mind Body Conflict I am talking about. Which put in simple terms... our mind makes us feel good when we do things that conserve energy and is basically taking the easier choice. So when one is faced with a trail challenge that requires us to use more energy get over then the ride around. If we take the ride around our mind without us even realizing it makes us feel good about it because it took less work.

The reality is that we have this body that can ride flat pedals, clipless, and so on. Yet it is all controlled by an operating system (The brain) who's number one goal is to use the least amount of effort possible.

Unless one puts the mental effort in we will always choose the easier option. Another example is the whole which pedal is better argument. Science has proven that riding flat pedals take more work mentally and physically. While riding clipless pedals uses less mentally and physically. So the mind rewards us again by making us feel good when riding clipless. And in the end the whole Clipless vs Flat pedals argument is not about what works better. It's about what our mind unconciously tells us is better based on energy conservation and requires the least amount of work.

At the end of all arguments, jabbering, and such it boils down to choice. The choice being,

A. Take the easy way and be happy with things as they are


B. Accepting the challenge to do new things and learn new skills.

Pick one.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dirt Bag Tech

Took a little work at the shop to fabricate a mount for the rear.

Came up with this.

Added a spacer on the upper bult to stop the caliper from rubbing on the disc.

And it all works.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Price of Weight Weenism

My buddy Lee was a follower of weight weenism for a while.

His bodged together rear derrailleur.

Fixing his light weight chain....again.

Age and youth.

Monday, August 22, 2011


This arrived Friday. A pair of Hope Enduro brakes via Ebay. After getting them could tell they needed a bit of work. After pulling the levers, checked to see if the internal spring at the lever was good it was. Next checked the brass bushing within the lever... siezed as suspected. After digging through the brake part bin found another lever with a still good bushing. A rebuild and one working rear brake.

Now to try and mount the rear tonight. Let the fun begin. Fisrt to make tea.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Road painting Fail

Saw this earlier in the summer. Took a pic of it finally.

Bike lane is now against the curb so now one has to dodge cars turning right.

Interestingly the paint crew got the other side right.

Oh look..

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Greazy Cream

Let's take a look to see how it's healing post crash.

Definitely a nit of bleeding every now and then. I put antibiotic cream on the area every time I changed over the dressing. Even though the doc said I didn't have to it was easier to keep one on for work.

Definitely some infection came off with the dressing.

Not to bad. Not much infection to be seen. Though it's been itchy off and on all day... it's healing.

Another angle in the mirror. But all things considered better to have lots of blood and it end up looking like this. The alternative could have been months in the hospital.

Found this on the camera.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Jens Facts

In the spirit of the crash I bring you this in tribute to the poster boy for hard crashes and suffering,

After his fall on the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard the Peloton had to be re-routed, the impact from Jens' face hitting the pavement left a 40 ft. crater.

Jens' injuries are not "Life Threatening" because nothing Threatens Jens... Ever.

Jens doesn't "Dance on the Pedals" he curb checks them.

Jens had a plan to market his sweat as an energy supplement, It was named CERA and was promptly banned.

Jens Traveled back in time and set the pace on the Ventoux in the 1967 Tour de France. The British have never forgiven him.

Jens Voigt puts the “laughter” in “Manslaughter.”

Jens Voigt climbs so well for a big guy because he doesn’t actually climb hills; the hills slink into the earth in fear as they see him approach.

If you are a UCI ProTour rider and you Google “Jens Voigt,” the only result you get is “it’s not to late to take up kickball.”

Jens was a math prodigy in elementary school, putting “Attack!” in every blank space on all his tests. It would be the wrong answer for everybody else, but Jens is able to solve any problem by attacking.

Jens’ testicles are bald because hair does not grow on a mixture of titanium, brass, steel, and cold, hard granite.

Eddy Merckx was actually a neo-pro at the same time as Jens, but Jens dropped him so hard that he shot backwards in time to the 1960’s, where he became a great champion.

Jens once had a heart attack on the Tourmalet. Jens counterattacked repeatedly until the heart attacked relented, conceding that Jens was the stronger of the two

If Jens Voigt was a country, his principle exports would be Pain, Suffering, and Agony.

If Jens Voigt was a planet, he’d be the World of Hurt.

Jens Voigt doesn’t know where you live, but he knows exactly where you will die.

Jens Voigt doesn’t have a shadow because he dropped it repeatedly until it retired, climbing into the CSC team car and claiming a stomach ailment.

Jens Voigt once challenged Lance Armstrong to a “who has more testicles” contest. Jens won… by five.

Jens wins stages by tearing holes in the space time continuum.

If Jens is moving forward, everyone else is moving backwards.

When you open a can of whoop-ass, Jens Voigt jumps out smiles, eats a bowl of Muesli, and attacks.

Jens Voigt doesn’t complain about what suffering does to him… but suffering constantly complains about getting picked on by Jens Voigt.

Jens Voigt can start a fire by rubbing two mud puddles together.

Jens calves are so massive that doctors had to surgically remove 33% from each leg.

Guns kill a couple dozen people every day. Jens Voigt kills 150.

Have you ever seen a pothole in the road? Those are from the sweat of Jens Voigt.

Jens Voigt rides so fast during attacks, that he could circle the globe, hold his own wheel, and ride in his own draft.

Jens Voigt nullified the periodic table because he doesn’t believe in any element, other than the element of surprise.

The grass is always greener on the other side. Unless Jens Voigt has been riding on the other side in which case it's been reduced to the rocky subsoil

Jens' wheels are typically 48, spoke and soldered 4 cross, as everything buckles under his power.

In the 2008 Giro Jens won a stage. This wouldn't have been unusual except he wasn't on the roster for his team and showed up at the last minute and raced on his Electra "Amsterdam" townie.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Today got taken out by a young kid driving. He crossed double lanes over while yapping to the girl in his car. Hit me with his left side which bounced me into the right side of a parked car and over the hood. And slam into the street, could see his rear wheel 6 inches from my head.. According to the witness's he had a look of sheer panic when I sprung up and moved to try and block him getting away. So he took off.

Arm is from when my arm broke his side window as he hit me. Dripping every where. bike has it all over the handlebars.

By the time the cops got to me with the amb guys I was pulling up in front of the ER 3 blocks away. Thanks to the witness who called it in and passed on to them where I was headed.

The Doc pulled some glass shrapnel. It wasn't that deep but it was bleeding like crazy before they cleaned it up.

I feel nothing.

Yep tonight was a fun filled night.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Big Dirty Pickering Ride

On Sunday was the Big dirty Pickering Ride organized by Nick. Another free event put on by buddies for buddies. All bikes and all pedals where accepted. After gathering at Nick's in Pickering and the usual taking forever to get organized it was off for the ride.

Unlike the last ride I chose the more DH oriented wheelset option. Gotta make it even harder.

Nick led us out into the side streets that led to the trail. The route as the previous rides started took us through a local park with the usual rock to play on. Since Tim chickened out I had to nail it and it was cleaned. And then it was the trails of the Duffins Creek Valley. After a good climb it was the exit at the tracks.

Then it was the rail trail .. well unofficial as they where abondoned and unmaintained other then locals using it. Lots of sweepers and such to deal with. At one point a bit of fun was added as Tim tried to do a Lee style race pass but he discovered that I know how to block very well. Later in the ride was reminded that I do need to get a dropper type seatpost. Will make riding a little smoother.

Nick took us into a section of Rouge trails I hadn't seen yet. Or I mean when I first looked in 2002 there wasn't much there really. Now there is a trail. Though I suspect it's from the local residents walking there more then anything else. But it's good to know there is something else to ride.

Then as we have barely begun the climb of Ben Trash..... thunder and rain. The full drench. And of course the wait for the made the wrong turn on the climb crowd. All the while listening to Tim whine about his tires having nothing for tread. That's what happens when you become a weight weenie apparentely.

After descending and then a log scramble it was the ride back to Nick's. Pretty much the same rail trals back with a wee bit of mud puddle thrown in. Of course having to stop to try and ride Nick's little downhill line. Not as easy this time with there being a thin layer of slick mud.

After a bit more trail and cutting back through the park at the beginning we where back at Nick's. Upon which it rained some more though Nick had erected the large tent in anticipation of this. And it was BBQ time.

All in all a good ride. Riding flat pedals with the DH wheel set up wasn't a big issue. Though a dropper style seatpost with remote would have been a benefit.