Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back to Blogging

As "Video Killed the Radio Star" (Buggles, circa '79), so did Facebook kill my blogging entries. Race report, ride reports and non-cycling life were plastered on Facebook for all my "friends" to read. Posting a sentence or two on FB to summarize my ride or what I had for dinner was easier than blogging. Also just a few fellow cyclists (mostly from Gamjams or the 757 region) family and the occasional ex-girlfriend would read my blog posts anyway. With FB, it reached all my "friends" whether they like it or not.

But what really motivated me back into blogging was the hearing of the recent passing of a fellow cyclists who I enjoyed reading his blogs on his races and adventures. He was an excellent photographer who posted his cycling photos for us spandex clad wearing cyclists to view. Going through my entries of years past, I have posted more than a few pictures of me caught from his lens. I enjoyed racing against him and found him on more than several occasions as a great person to draft and sit-in as I try to recover during a race.
With hearing the news of JB, I spent a few hours rereading his blog. As we were racing the same CAT 5 races and cross races years ago, it was great to read his views of the races we both entered. It was great memories captured by pictures and words.

So for all you readers that happen to hit this blog because you saw it on Gamjams, saw it FB or are a stalking ex, I will make an attempt to get this blog active again.

With my attempt at focusing on triathlons this year, I'll update this blog on my swim, bike and run training sessions and races. Who knows, maybe one day someone will go back and read my blog and think of all the great memories we had a chance to share together. Thanks JB.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chuckatuck CX @ Lone Star Lakes

Chuckatuck CX at Lone Star Lakes

Sunday, October 18, 2009




Only the above listed races are permitted and sanctioned by USA Cycling. No other races or activities at the event are sanctioned by USA Cycling. Held under USAC permit (pending).

On-line and race day registration only. NO mail-ins. On-line registration closes October 16 at 6:00 pm. Race day registration opens 9:00 am and closes 20 minutes prior to your event. One day and annual licenses will be available for unlicensed riders. No refunds. Event held rain, snow or shine. 2008 CX BAR winners $3. Second race is $10.

The Race Director and Race Officials reserve the right to cancel and/or modify segments of the event as deemed necessary for safety. There is no rain date for this event.

Course Description: Mostly flat and big ring fast. Located on the scenic Nansemond River waterfront.


Lonestar Park

Bob House Pkwy, Suffolk, VA 23432

Google Maps - Once inside the park, follow Race signs.

From Peninsula: RT 64 to RT 17 and over the James River Bridge, right on Brewers Neck Road (RT 258), then left on Benns Church Blvd (RT 10/32), left on Kings Highway (RT 125), left on Bob Parkway into Park.

From RT 664: Take exit 9A to RT 17 / 164, turn left at Crittenden Road, right onto Kings Highway (RT 125) and right into Bob Parkway into Park.

Pre-registration at www.bikereg.com. Any questions email promoter at aabracing@gmail.com.

Table Tutorial

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

GamJams Reviews: Headlight

This was originally posted in January 08. It is reposted for the www.GamJams.net Lights Review.

With the warmer than usual weather experienced in the '757' lately, I've been able to get off the trainer at night and ride outside. Seeing the various lights (and having light envy) on other bikes and with the recent Roadbikereview.com light review, I decided to do my own review on my light setup. I hope this info will be helpful to those looking to ride at night.

Roadbikereview.com is doing their LED Lights Shootout again. They will review various lights that are suitable for both trail and road. The previous light shootout was about 2 years ago. Click here for the old review. You will notice some changes in technology from the previous review.
As you notice from the title they will be focusing on LED lights. LED has surpassed halogen and the latest technology has some LED lights as bright as HID lights. The advantages are listed in the new LED Lights Shootout article.
The latest review is on the Dinotte lights. As an owner of an older Dinotte light, I was excited to read their review of the 200L, 200L Dual and 600L lights.

My older Dinotte light is only rated at 120L (Lumens) on high and 80L on low. That's sufficient to ride on the road but lacks in the trails without the use of another light. The runtime averages about 1.5-2 hours on high and close to 3 on low. It attaches to either helmet or bar. With the longer battery extension, you can just mount the light on the helmet and the battery pack in your jersey pocket or camelback. Since the light is less than 80g, it's hardly noticeable on your helment. Besides the easy mounting feature (uses a rubber hoop), the best feature is the use of 4 AA batteries. I use rechargeable 2500mAh and carry spare AA as a backup. These batteries and charger can be bought in bulk at your local Sams, BJs or Priceclub for about $15.

I'm looking forward to picking up a newer 200L to run a dual on my bars alongside my existing Dinotte light.

Since my existing Dinotte light shot a wider beam but was not sufficient for some of the trails or unlit backroads in my area, I picked up a helmet light for a spotlight. After researching online and on various forums (www.candlepowerforums.com and www.bikeforums.com), I came across Fenix lights. These lights received high reviews by the forum members for inexpensive and bright light options.

I went with the Fenix L2D (pictured). It's the size of a small flashlight and puts out a tight spot up to 175L. With a "Twofish Bikeblock", it easily mounts to my helmet. This light also runs AA batteries which reduces the hassle of having various batteries for each light. The claimed runtime is 2.5 hours on the highest setting (175L).

To be seen from the back, Dinotte also offers a tail light but at 140L of red light, that may be overkill for my use and the guys behind me in the paceline would go blind. As a commuting light, that would be a great option but is also expensive at $170 for a tail light.
I use a Planet Bike Blinky Superflash tail light. It's brighter than my other tail lights (Cateye, Blackburn) and has a brighter main LED light supplemented with 2 smaller lights. It has various mounting options for seatpost or seatstay and also a clip for your jersey or hydration pack. This was also rated high by commuters in various online forums. The only downside is the need for a phillipshead screwdriver to install/remove the mounting bracket. Other lights have "tool-less" mounting brackets. The "tool-less" feature comes in handy when I'm running late for my night group training rides and need to switch over my light from another bike.

Remember, just because you can see a car coming doesn't necessarily mean they can see you. Please use lights (both front and back) and reflective clothing whenever you ride at night.

Editor's note: Since the original post, I have picked up the newer 200L Dinotte light. There's a big difference in burn time and brightness from the older model. This past winter, I used a dual Dinotte setup on my handlebar with the 120L pointed downward and the 200L beam straight ahead. This set up was utilized on our shop's Thursday night mountain/cross ride through light non-technical trails and pavement.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jeff Cup - Burrito - Flash & Boom

Suffered on climbs but worked on my cycling tan. I can't use excuses like flats, dropped chain or lost contacts - just didn't have it today.
Photo by Jason O. Watson

While OTB I was thinking post-ride dinner.

Exit 171B.

Joe enjoying it...Photo courtesy of Shawn B's Facebook page.

Back in C-peake while almost home - A Flash and a Boom! It was so bright that I thought someone shot a camera flash in my car. (Read the latest meteor story.)

(Comet Hale-Bopp shown and not what I saw)

I'm in need of some flat Sportsplex crits for some confidence boosting.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

GamJams Review: Seatposts and Saddles

My perfect seatpost would be:
a. The adjust-ability, sturdiness and strength of a Thomson
b. The bling of a Bontrager XXX Lite
c. The lightness of an AX - Europa Carbon Seatpost (85g)
d. The setback of a Ritchey WCS

Since that seatpost doesn't exist, I'll make do with what I have. On my road bike I have a Specialized Pave Seatpost that came on my S-Works Cross frameset. Besides the funky (gimmicky) insert in the post, the seatpost compliments a carbon bike. Ride-wise feels no different than high end aluminum (Ritchey WCS or Thomson) or other carbon seatposts (Bonty XXX Lite) that I have. I don't recall if the adjustment was an issue when I set up over 2 years ago either (man I hope that post isn't stuck in the tube).
The cross bike, 29er and fixie have a Thomson. All are straight except the one on the cross with a setback. Thomsons are made to be on anything off-road. The tilt-adjustment is a no-brainer and superior than any other seatpost I've used. And it's strong without being an anchor. My 27.2/250 weighs in at an acceptable 220g (claimed). The only downside of the post is the minimal setback (offset). It is limited to 15mm compared to a Ritchey WCS with an offset of 25mm.
The other seatpost that I have is a Bontrager XXX Lite. It's basically a straight seatpost with up to 5mm offset. It's nice on the eyes and the one bolt adjustment works great. I have this on my TT bike because I needed a long (400mm) non-setback post on my compact-framed TT bike and it's what my LBS had at the time. The carbon does take the chatter out of my aluminum TT bike making that "Hour of Pain", well in my case, an Hour plus, a little more bearable.

Saddles are so personal. My road bikes and cross bike have Fizik Arione on them. It fits and doesn't cause numbness. It has long rails so you can push it forward for TTs or set it back for climbing. (Check out Floyd Landis' ToC setup).
I also used a Specialized Toupe on my old road bike and now resides on my fixie. After an initial break in period of my sitbones, it felt fine up to a ride of 1.5 hours. 2 hours in the saddle would be painful. It's light and looks good especially in white.
The TT rig has a cheapo Forte/Performance Brand T1 saddle. For $40 and a padded nose it works.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bike Thieves Suck

The mainstream population put down their Big Mac and $9 frappy-latte coffee drink long enough to finally find out that LA is back in racing because they heard on E! or another entertainment site that his TT bike got stolen (and eventually recovered) at last week's ToC.

A bigger story and more egregious, that won't get close to the press coverage, is David Zabriskie's house break-in last week while he was also at the ToC.
The Salt Lake Tribune as well as a dozen other cycling sites and forums posted the news.

Here's the laundry list of what was taken:
Black 2008 Subaru Outback, Utah plate A189NC
Black 2006 Toyota Scion, Utah plate 094VWM
Giro D Italia race medal
Olympic Seiko watch
Beijing Olympic ring (silver) with initials "DZ" engraved ($4,000)
Olympic time trial bike, plus 12 other bikes (combined value of $100,000)
Cervelo (black/red) bike frame -- team issued ($5,000)
Tag Heuer watch ($6,000)
Bose speaker/receiver system ($15,000)
Sony 52" flat screen TV ($4,000)
Two MacBooks and one Mac desktop, plus hard drive ($8,000)
A pair of Space legs, a recovery compression system for legs ($5,000)
Seven Marvel sideshow statues ($11,000)

Yeah, bike thieves suck.

Speaking of comebacks - Tiger teed off at 2:10 in Match Play competition. Watch those TV ratings go up for the Golf Channel and CBS' weekend coverage (if he makes it to the weekend).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dismal Dash Time Trial Registration Open

Enjoy a weekend of racing in Suffolk and kick off the first BAR races in the 2009 VA Cycling season. Race the Sleepy Hole Smackdown on Saturday and the Dismal Dash Time Trial on Sunday.

The Dismal Dash Time Trial registration is now open on Bikereg.

White Marsh Shopping Center
1226 White Marsh Road, Suffolk, VA 23434

General Info: ChampionChip timing provided by Kale Running. First rider starts at 9:01 AM with 1-minute intervals. Pls. be at the staging area 5 minutes prior to your start time. Start times will be written on the back of your number.

Entry fees include $2 USCF and $1 VCA fee. Unlicensed racers (CAT 5 or Women CAT 4 only) must purchase a one-day license for $10. Annual licenses are available for purchase online at USA Cycling.

No refunds, race runs rain or shine. Cat 5 Men are permitted to ride in Masters Time Trials. The TT categories are for prize distribution only. Results will be provided to VCA who will award BAR points. If you have questions regarding VCA BAR points visit their website at Virginia Cycling Association.

***FOR 2008 VCA BAR winners: Sign up for event under 2008 BAR Winners, entry fee is waived but $2 USCF and $1 VCA fee payment is required ($3). Fill out online registration and email promoter obrienkim@gmail.com with your DD TT race category.

Packet pick-up: Saturday, March 14, 2009 at Sleepy Hole Criterium, 4700 Sleepy Hole Road, Suffolk, VA between 11 AM and 2 PM. Packets can also be picked up at the race on Sunday between 8 AM and 11:30 AM.

All racers must present a valid USCF license (or purchase a one-day if your category qualifies) at time of packet pick-up and sign the USA Cycling release form. Racers under 18 years of age must have parent/guardian signature on release form. One-day license (CAT 5 men and CAT 4 women only) will be available for purchase at time of packet pick-up (CASH ONLY). All USCF rules for Time Trials apply. Portable toilets will be available onsite. No warming up on course, trainers recommend.

For Course Description: A flat, out and back course (u-turn around) with only one turn.

Questions: Email Kim at obrienkim@gmail.com

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