Monday, April 21, 2008

Missing home....

A friend here in Tejas is going to DC in a few days and asked for a little advice on where to stay, go, etc during her short visit. I jotted down what I thought would be a quick email straight and to the point, I had to stop myself after writing for 45 minutes and two pages. This got me thinking about my beloved city. How I miss you and your daily grind. How I miss the people, the energy, the "buzz", and the beauty and charm that is our Nations Capital. I miss my summer evening drives up the GW Parkway with no agenda, only an open moonroof and the howl of my roof rack. I miss your granite and marble tributes those who came before us with a dream and determination. I desperately miss your tall green trees and wild spaces only a stones throw from the hustle of the daily menutia. I took you for granted, I complained about your busy streets, and encroaching developement without understanding fully just how brilliant you really are. I want to feel your humid summer on my skin like that of a hot sweaty lover. I miss smelling autum in your leaves, and the crispness of your first snow. I miss you eternally my love and only wish I knew how to get back to your loving arms.

To all my chums back home, take an afternoon off and go downtown, explore what's in your back yard, visit a museum and enjoy a work of art, marvel at a city designed by a Frenchman long before the automobile and wonder how it's held up for so long. Take a weekend and get lost in the blue ride knowing you're only a short drive from everything, rent a cottage at the shore and gaze off into the Atlantic. You're luckier than you realize having such wonders at your becon call, take advantage of all your fine city has to offer, if not for yourself, for me.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Dialed in?

So after the shake down ride I had a few complaints, or rather my body did. The first thing I found was that my hands were numb pretty quick, I also had lower back pain the whole ride. I felt really goofy the whole ride. I got home and adjusted the saddle to more centered and level, this seemed to have eliminated my back issues on todays ride. The other thing I adjusted was my bar height. I have a Thomson 5* rise, and had read in a few places that most people have a tendancy to raise their bars when they experience numbness and this can often make things worse. I figured what the heck, and flipped the stem to a -5* and lowered my stem 10mm... two for two, no hand numbness on this ride. A final note, back when I was thinking about a custom build, I reached out to Joe P. for advice since I liked the look of his custom a lot. He gave me some great advice telling me to replace the stock M5 bolts on my Paragon's with some more sturdy M6 bolts from the hardware store. They're ugly as sin, but work flawlessly. They can be torqued nicely and have a larger surface area and deeper socket. Thanks Joe, you eliminated a problem I didn't have yet, and got rid of the squeeky sliders. Sorry, no pic's as I was leading a new 29er convert around my beloved trail. Always fun when someone new gives a "woohoo", really lets you know they are enjoying themselves.

For those thinking about an Optimus Ti:

The frame is nice, and not as noodly as I originally thought. Replace the stock M5 bolts with some deep socket M6 bolts (Lowes/Home Depot). Have plenty of Ti prep or anti seize compound of your choice on hand (bb can squeek if not properly lubed). The only misses I can see are: the welds are ugly, you know you bought Chi-ti with this bike. This is very noticable at the brake hose guides & water bottle mounts. I'm also surprised that a nice sterling headbadge is apparently attached with what looks like chewing gum... maybe the guy on the assembly line ran out of screws and decided his juicy fruit needed a good home... oh well, when my 2 years are up I'll drill the headbadge in place or replace it with something I design. Oh yeah, decals are a little shite, but all the more reason to remove them.



Tuesday, April 01, 2008

New whip....

So, after two years and many happy miles I decided to part ways with my Niner SIR 9 and go for a custom Ti bike (all the kewl kidz are doing it, doncha know?). I had narrowed down my decision to a builder, regrettably the builder got a little busy, and I began freaking out over delivery times (plus small builders had been dropping off the face of the earth with deposit $) and lack of communication and decided to scrap the custom thing and go with a stock frame. I chose to stick with Ti, and Paragon sliders as the EBB on the Niner, although functional, left a lot to be desired as far as fit/adjustment was concerned. Cue Vassago Cycles and their Optimus Ti for 2008. The price was great, although I'm not a big fan of Chi-Ti I liked the interaction with the company and they have a dedicated sales force unlike some of the one man shows I've heard nightmares about. The irony is that the wait time was about the same as if I had gone custom, maybe 2 weeks quicker.

The ride: So for the first ride, I always take the new steed(s) to the Madrone trail primarily because it's close to home, but it's also a wicked trail. It's a bit on the short side (but so am I) of course my current level of fitness doesn't encourage much more than this trail. The ride was very nice, the handling was responsive. I really could tell the difference in the shorter A-C fork, which was good and bad. There was a noticable creeking under load, I can't tell if this is a BB thing (Current Crank & BB to be replaced soon) or the chainstays being a little noodly, or the PMW's bedding in.

Conclusion: Overall it's tough to make any conclusions just yet. I still have a lot of adjustments to make, and I'm even thinking of getting fit properly to save some time and frustration as my freetime is limited for riding.

Stay tuned for more ride reports and developements, and more pix since I now have a dedicated biking camera.