Thursday, April 22, 2010

Race Prep Pro and Lite

Whether getting your bike ready to be sold, a newly acquired used bike, or just some much needed TLC, my knowledge and attention to detail will ensure you receive a thoroughly and properly tuned machine.
I charge a flat rate of $30/hour for my services. This includes travel so I am willing to come to you or pick up a bike. My shop can be made mobile for most services and I am available for events. Race Prep Pro and Race Prep Lite are examples of full services that can be performed.

Race Prep Pro
The original full service. Intense attention to detail to return your bike to as close to showroom condition as possible. Nothing overlooked.
---->Click Here<-----

Race Prep Lite
Perfect for maintaining your bikes numerous components. Ensures proper operation and maximises the life of your parts. Focus on the riding not the ride with a well oiled machine.
---->Click Here<-----

Race Prep Lite

In addition to the Pro service I am now offering Race Prep Lite. Taking a lot of the major services that make up Race Prep Pro, Race Prep Lite is a more affordable option that still covers all of the areas of a bike that need frequent tuning and checking. Having properly adjusted, cleaned, and lubricated components greatly increases their life and helps them to function the way they were designed. Covers mountain, road, cyclocross, if it has 2 wheels and pedals then chances are it can benefit from a service.

Race Prep Lite is $50 and includes
-Lite bike cleaning
-Full drivetrain cleaning (cassette, chain, chainrings, pulleys)
-Full drivetrain lubing
-Derailleur adjustment (front and back)
-Derailleur hanger alignment
-Brake adjust
-Headset adjust
-Hub adjust
-Installation of new small parts provided by you (chain, brake pads, grips).
Other services available for additional charge. Just ask, it can be done.

Right now I am located in the Barrie area with frequent trips to Peterborough. Services can be arranged any time by contacting me at:
705 229-6923 call or text

Starting to wrap up down here

Went for an easyish spin with Andy yesterday. Did the Table Rock to Ceasar's Head and back down 178 route, never get bored of that one. Nice combination of quiet twisty roads with a good climb up 276 (Ceasar's Head) and fun descending back down the 178.
Everything is really green down here now, feels like summer back home (hopefully we get one this year). I am racing on Sunday in Georgia about 2 hours from the house and have an easier week on the bike. Hopefully I will do better than last year when I had my bad stomach cramps. I am looking to redeem myself and feel sort of fit but being that it is the first race you never really know what's going on for sure with your fitness. Next week is my last week down here so I'll have to get in some good miles while I still can and then it is back to Ontario which I am looking forward to.

Andy geared up to go

Some nice back roadsTwisty roads after Ceasar's Head
The ride

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Testing - Specialites TA Chinook chainrings

My Specialites TA chainrings after 1000km's of use

Specialites TA are here to accommodate your chainring needs.
I have used these chainrings before so I have a bit of experience with them. Had them on my 2008 Anthem Advanced with XTR 970 cranks. Personally I use them on my 2x9 setup. I don't much care for lugging around useless gear ranges that I never use so I thought I would narrow my gear option and shed some grams in the process. More on that later though. Both times I have ordered my TA's from and received exceptional service with fast and cheap shipping and good pricing. I originally ordered some Blackspire Super Pro chainrings but shortly after they arrived I weighed the big ring at an insane 90grams and ordered the TA's that evening.
Main advantage of the TA's is that they come in many different options. You can pretty much find any tooth count in most standard BCDs (bolt circle diameters) so they are compatible with almost all cranks. That way you can tailor your drivetrain to suit your needs. This time I wanted them in 26/38 tooth counts. I ordered 2 sets to save on shipping.

Out of the box
These babies are exceptional! You really don't expect to get such a nicely finished and lightweight product for the reasonable price they cost. Come in their own little cardboard sleeves and are available in black or silver finish. The black coating is only applied to the area that is not going to get marred up from the chain so they don't look like crap after the first ride.

On the trail
One of the most amazing things about these rings is the shifting. You are hard pressed to find any negative feedback on these rings. They shift exceptionally well and last much longer than you'd think. The don't shift as flawlessly as XTR rings when under high load but you shouldn't be shifting under high load anyway. You might miss a shift or two but I'd say they are on par with RaceFace who also make great rings. Shimano is still in a league of their own, both in performance and astronomically high price with their XTR rings.
I have used these particular rings for about 1000km's now since I arrived in South Carolina at the beginning of March. They show almost zero signs of wear as you can tell by the pictures.

Specs and features
These guys are light, about 50grams for the 38t and 25 grams for the 26t. TA offers them in pretty much any reasonable tooth denomination and have a few different models to choose from. The Chinook series is their 4 and 5 bolt light weight mountain ring series. They come with well laid out pins and ramping and an alignment arrow to keep them in sync.

If you are looking for a certain gear ratio for your unconventional drivetrain setup then the TA's are pretty much your #1 option. The performance to value ratio is amazing. They are one of those products that are such a good value that they make their competitors look silly.

-options and compatibility

-not flawless XTR shifting

Value - 30 degrees out of 31 degree South Carolina weather
Performance - 7 bloated roadkill possums out 10 bloated roadkill possums

Cleaning up the crap

Somewhere in Africa many hungry children would be quite upset at the 6.5 bags of food that I threw away the other day. Some people might think that leaving their last slice of cheese, or 2/3 consumed milk jugs, or 1/2 loaf of bread is doing somebody a favour. It is pretty amazing how it adds up.

Drove by the happening Pickens market the other day. Parking lot is packed, we are talking 1000+ cars. They do it every Wednesday and Saturday morning. I'm sure there is a lot of moonshine and firearm exchanging.
Andy and I did an easy couple hours at Issaqueena this afternoon. It was off and on rain but we managed to stay dry pretty much the whole time. Just the odd wet leafy tree branch in the face. Trails there handle water really well and are always rideable the day after rain without much pooling. Also found a nice high res map of the trails. There is 80km or so of good riding and it's about a 20min drive from the house.
I think people should be doing more early season mountain bike training down here. Forget the road camps if you are a mountain biker. It is the perfect way to get in some singletrack and hone your skills before the season starts. Issaqueena is always in good shape right from when I arrive at the beginning of March.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Awful in SC today.......

awful warm! WAH wah
Was another scorcher today. Sun is getting really intense and it is hot down by the lake so I decided to head into the foothills today to do some intervals. Was doing some tempo sprints, ride tempo for 4min then sprint for 1 min then back to tempo. Always a good time trying to bring the HR from 185 back down to 160 when you are on an 18% gradient. Stayed with my intervals all the way up to the base of the Wig-monster (Wiggington Rd.) and decided I might as well giv'r for the mile to the top. Legs felt good going up but I was spent at the top and it was hard to finish my next 2 sets but I plugged along anyway and got them done. Up in the mountains was nice and cool with a cool breeze but it quickly got hot again as I descended into Walhalla. Couldn't get out of my bike shorts and into my swimsuit fast enough so I could have my pbj and chocolate milk while I cooled the legs in the lake.
House is clearing out and I'm getting ready for the next batch. I hear there is snow and rain forecast for Ontario this weekend. Isn't there a race there on Sunday? Pretty typical of the Ontario weather to do that. Looks like it is cooling off to 20-25 degrees here the next couple days too, good mtbking temp.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The best thing about A/C

is still being able to take hot showers!

Rode with Fabs and Gareth yesterday. Took them on one of my new favourite rides, Black Mountain with an extra Coontree Loop back to the car. Had a nice random pedal un-clip at the top of a gnarly rockpile and had to ride the X-Ben like a raging bull to keep the face from getting intimate with mother earth. It's a great ride with about 1000m of climbing and a couple good really long descents (not to mention some very tiring technical uphills). Here is what that looked like.

Took today off the bike. Got some errands done and changed the battery in my Polar RS800CX. Much to my frustration all of my settings were deleted so now I have to re-program wheel sizes, heart rate zones, all of my menu preferences when I start a workout. Good times. Polar do frustration really well. Hilariously illustrated by going to their website and checking out the forums and all of the angry people. Not that it's all bad, I have generally been pretty happy with this Polar despite some of its shortcomings.
That's about all that has been going on around here. I am looking into some North Carolina rental houses to potentially run the Tour out of next year. That way the group would need to do a little less driving to get to the trail heads. Message me if you are interested in next years Tour. If I come down to SC next spring it will be the same arrangement as the past 2 years with the house I am in now and pricing should be about the same. The NC house would be in addition to the house near Seneca. I would get the NC house for maybe 2 weeks and still have the Seneca one for 9 weeks. Just checking out my options....

Monday, April 12, 2010

Nice to have big hills

Rolled over to the Oconee Foothills trail system today. About 40min on beautiful back roads in the sun. The main climb is nice twisty singletrack and takes about 13min to get to the top. Did 3 rounds of that at high tempo then headed home for some chocolate milk, pbj, and a dip in the lake. Looks like nothing but sunny skies and hot temps for the next week or so and everything is turning green pretty fast.

Also spotted this guy a couple days ago. Had to go on a rescue mission due to a locked freehub. Dave was stuck up on the Whitewater climb so I drove down with the part and some tools.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ride singletrack faster

There are a good amount of tricks to help you ride faster in singletrack. I know a lot of them but that will only get you so far. My singletrack riding is passable, nothing spectacular. To increase speed in the twisty stuff I might suggest some sustained intervals on the mountain bike in the trail. Today I got in a good 4 hour interval workout on the mountain bike and felt really good for the first time since I've been down here. It was either the flu or a bum knee that held me back until 2 weeks ago. I wanted to ease into it with some more base miles before doing workouts like I did today. It has been frustrating not being able to push the legs so I am relieved to finally be able to do so. Here's what today looked like.

1 hour warm up ride over to the trails

20min race pace (threshold zone 4)
10min active recovery (mid zone 3)

1 hour ride home

Went through 4 large 750mL bottles during the 4 hour ride which is a big help for recovery. Also went into the lake at the house after the ride while I ate my pbj and chocolate milk.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Back Online

After a seemingly endless 20 days or so without internet it seems to have maybe returned to stay. Seems someone erased all of the wireless settings on the router so will still be a few days before we can go wireless again but at least we have something!
Just finished up the mountain bike tour week. Everyone got along really well and seemed to enjoy it a lot, I know I did. Only had 1 day of rain on Thursday so we rescheduled that ride for Friday and with all of the sun we've had the trails were still dry despite the deluge. I can definitely see the tour happening again next year if I do this whole South Carolina house thing again.
Since we last spoke I'd had that knee thing going on. Well I can say that I have been completely liberated from that hindrance and can start training again. I have been travelling around a ton in the past 2 weeks getting my routes ready for the tour so I will be skipping the first race that I was going to do down here. Need to rest up a little bit and can get some good intervals in on the mountain bike across the lake at Issaqueena.
Still some room left for the next couple weeks if anyone is interested in a little Southern living. Many of us fill our days with....
Car washing

Bike washing

Icecream eating

Mountain biking

Boat riding

Sunblock applying (a la robot viking style)
And epic trail touring
Looks like 25+ degrees and sun for the foreseeable future and the lake is warm. Pretty much the best time to be down here so if we don't get a summer in Ontario at least I have my time here.