Bike Costs

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I was over at Big RIng Cycles, in Golden, CO, a couple days ago and talking to the owner, Scott, about bike costs and equipment.  He said that he sold a 23K road bike a few months back.  He said that it had a SRM on it, but the rest was just “regular” parts.

I was blown away.  I couldn’t add up the individual parts to get up to any number close to that.  We talked about high end mountain bikes and he said that it is really hard to get over $10,000 on the most tricked out mtb bike.  He said that he thought the manufactures and customers both realized that a 10K mtb bike could become a 3K mtb bike with one bad 2 hour ride or race.  So, there is a maximum that most people would spend, which makes sense.

But, the whole thing doesn’t make much sense really.  There are some really great bikes out there for less than 10% the cost of his $23,000 sale.  You’ll probably have to get some stuff 2nd hand, but that is part of the sport.  You’re not going to get 1000 gram carbon wheels, but you’ll get a bike that is much better than anything you could ride even 5 years ago.

I pretty much hate that the bike and components manufactures are changing everything so quickly nowadays.  How many different types of bottom brackets are there?  Shimano kept their freehub standard 8 speed through 10 speed.  Now the new 11 speed wheelset won’t work with 10 speed cogs.  I have a full garage full of 10 speed wheels that won’t work with my 11 speed shifters.

I like the practice of using my old road wheels for cross in the winter.  But with the choices of 10 or 11 speed, plus disc or rim braking, you pretty much have to have wheels dedicated specifically to cross, doubling up the equipment, thus the costs.

The new and the greatest equipment is a very attractive part of the sport for most cyclists.  It is for me, for sure.  I like the mechanical aspect of the sport.  I’d hate to just have to have a pair of running shoes and that was it for equipment.  Most hard core cyclists are somewhat equipment geeks.  But, there is a limit.

I feel so bad when I’m at a local criterium and there is a pile up in the Cat 4 race, or junior event.  Those guys are usually all buying their stuff.  And it is super easy to ruin $1000 worth of equipment in even a harmless crash.

It is getting ridiculous.   I have no problem with guys riding the newest and greatest stuff.  But, if you don’t have the means, don’t worry about it.  You can get a very good, competitive race bike pretty affordable still.  And it isn’t the bike that makes the rider.

 

This is what got me thinking about this.  Over at Steep and Cheap, each shift lever, left and right, for $409 each, regularly $590.  I'd never consider paying $1200 for a pair of hydraulic shifters and calipers.  It's just nuts.

This is what got me thinking about this. Over at Steep and Cheap, each shift lever, left and right, for $409 each, regularly $590. I’d never consider paying $1200 for a pair of hydraulic shifters and calipers. It’s just nuts.

 

Park Y Tool / Tri-Tool / Hex Wrench

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I pulled my bike out of my bike bag yesterday and put it together.  It was  a minor nightmare.  I have flown, 100’s, maybe close to a 1000, which is a sort of crazy number to think.  Nearly everytime, my bike is fine.  Yesterday, my rear wheel was a little tweaked and my rear skewer was bent over at a 45 degree angle.  I know, why didn’t you take the skewers out?  Laziness was the answer, or maybe more accurately, being super short of time when I was leaving Seattle.  I pretty much, normally, always do.  Plus, I jacked up my internal Di2 seat tube wire by trying to jam the seatpost in without connecting it to the battery that is in seatpost.

So, that took way longer than I’d anticipated.  But, it got me thinking about how great a Y tool is.

Some people call it a tri-tool, or a hex wrench, but I think when it first came out from  Park, it was called a Y tool.  (Calvin, correct me on this if I’m mistaken.)  Maybe that was just the slang name for it.  Whatever you want to call it, it is a great tool.  My number one go to tool.  I use the 4/5/6 mm tool 5 times as much as the 2/2.5/3, but I’m using it more and more.  Another from Park have 4/5/and T-25 torx wrench on it.  I don’t use that one much, but I’m sure I’ll be using it more and more.

Anyway, the Y tool is my favorite all-time bike tool in history.  When Park first “invented” them, I thought to myself, “Why didn’t I come up with this idea?  How simple.”

The first time I remember using a Y tool was probably in the late 80’s.  I would have guessed that was close to the date when they were first around.  But, looking it up on Google, I found a 50th anniversary edition listed.  That amazes me.

I use the 5mm on the tool the most.  It is amazing how long one will last before it wears out.  I’m not really sure I‘ve ever really throw one out because the corners get rounded.  I’m pretty sure I never have.

When Thomas Frischknect first came over to the US, to start his MTB racing career with Ritchie, he was staying with me in Boulder.  He had never seen a Park Y tool.  He was thrilled with the tool.  He wanted to figure out how to buy 100 and take them back to Switzerland to give to his friends, etc.  I don’t exactly remember if we ever got the 100 tools for him, but I’d imagine that he got them and spread the joy.

Anyway, small things, easy to overlook, are the things simplify life and make it more enjoyable.  I try to appreciate this little things, that help make my life easier.   The Y tool is definitely one of them.

Park has changed up the design of the tool over the years, but the tool is essentially the same.

Park has changed up the design of the tool over the years, but the tool is essentially the same.

 

The Campy T wrench was a go to tool back when I rode Campagnolo parts.

The Campy T wrench was a go to tool back when I rode Campagnolo parts.

 

All these Campy tools have a place in my heart.

All these Campy tools have a place in my heart.

 

1st Fatbike Ride

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Yesterday we took some time off from the basement project and went out and rode fatbikes.  Vincent has his own Surley, but obviously I don’t have one.  Luckily the guys over at Bike Ring Cycles, in Golden, are really nice and had an “extra”, “demo,” Borealis Echo that happened to fit me.

I put parenthesis around extra and demo, because the bike was brand new.  It is a carbon frame, with the new Rockshox Bluto fork for fatbikes.  It was incredibly light and it didn’t even have Hed carbon wheels.  And it rode like a dream.

I’ve never done a legitimate ride on a fatbike.  I’ve ridden them a couple times, just around the parking lot, etc., but this was the first time on a real ride.

We headed over to White Ranch Park, just a couple miles from Vincent’s, to ride.  It was perfect conditions for a fatbike, snow and ice on the ground, cold, super windy.

I was a little apprehensive initially.  I only have my road shoes and haven’t ridden off-road, on ice, in a while.  I had to dab, or more honestly, just walk, a couple times before I even got to a some stairs, which were totally not rideable.

My road shoes kept getting clogged up with snow and ice.  They are nearly impossible to clean like mtb shoes clear.  I could whack them tons of times on my pedals, while moving, but they wouldn’t clean.  I had to dig my cleats out and then Vincent would push me from behind to get moving.  That is a first.

Anyway, it got a lot better.  I didn’t dab again all the way to the top.  It was super windy, so windy that when it was headwind, I barely had enough gearing with the 1 x 11.  You hardly ever think of wind as an issue when you’re riding mountain bikes.  This was the first time too, that I’d ridden 1 X11.  I don’t think that it has easy enough gearing for the average bike rider.  I was riding the big cog in the back a fair amount.

We started kind of late, so only rode out an hour or so up.  I hadn’t ridden in over a week, plus it is altitude, so I can’t say that I was perky.  But, I wasn’t horrible either.

We turned around to head down.  I had let a ton of air out of my rear tire and it was nearly bottoming out.  Man, do those bikes cruise over rocks.  A super plush ride.  It would take a while to get used to the handling, it is slower than my normal mtb bike, but it felt much safer in the snow and on ice.  Probably because of the huge amount of contact that the tires have with the ground.

I was in front and all of a sudden I hear Vincent say something about a flat.  I knew we didn’t have any spare tubes.  Vincent stopped and had a front flat.  We were going pretty quick and there were a bunch of sharp rocks on the trail.  We were still a couple miles up and I figured Vincent would have to walk down.  But, not Vincnet.  He just kept riding.

It was amazing that the tire didn’t come off the rim and how fast Vincent could ride on a front flat.  He was slower, but not that much.  It got harder when we got back to the road and it got flat.

The is an enormous amount of resistance when a fatbike tire doesn’t have any air in it.  I ended up putting my hand on Vincent’s back and push him.  It was nearly dark and we needed to get back.

The Echo rode great.   LIke I said above, the gearing probably isn’t enough for everyday use.  I couldn’t believe how well the bike tracked riding straight, no handed.  I could throw my weight way to one side and the bike still went straight.  I’m not sure if it was because of the fat tires or what, but it was, by far, the easiest bike I’ve ever ridden no handed.

All and all it was a blast.  I needed to get out, plus, it is always fun trying out new bikes.  It might be a while before I have my own fatbike, but it might not be as long as I might imagine.

Vincent heading into White Ranch.

Vincent heading into White Ranch.

 

Pretty high end bike I got to demo.

Pretty high end bike I got to demo.

 

It was pretty much brand new.

It was pretty much brand new.

 

The views were pretty good.  The trail was steep enough, especially where it was snow and ice covered, that it was pretty challenging.

The views were pretty good. The trail was steep enough, especially where it was snow and ice covered, that it was pretty challenging.

 

Check these houses out. Click to enlarge.

Check these houses out. Click to enlarge.

 

Vincent riding back on a flat front.

Vincent riding back on a flat front.

 

With my road shoes.  Not something I'd recommend on snow and ice.

With my road shoes. Not something I’d recommend on snow and ice.

 

 

 

Where Did Chris Horner End Up?

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There is a report that Chris Horner has officially signed a contract for next season.  But, his agent, ex-pro rider Baden Cooke isn’t releasing the name of the team.

I’m not sure what that is all about.  Maybe a big launching press conference or something.  You’d think that it would be a  little anticlimactic considering how last minute it is.

I’m not sure why Chris is having so much trouble holding a job on the Pro Tour level.  Obviously, by his results, he is in the top 5% of ability of the pro peleton.    His agent, Baden Cooke, said recently that “It’s age discrimination.”

I think it is a bigger issue than just that.  His results are out of this world.  I think that might be more of the reason.   I think Trek would have kept him if there wasn’t some underlying issue going on with him.  But, it hasn’t really kept other riders of the same ability and circumstances from getting jobs at the Pro Tour level, so maybe Baden is right.

Last year, after winning the Vuelta, and having the same problem, Chris said to Velonews that-

Remember, I can do masters 40-plus races. Maybe I’ll win a masters world championship like that or something.
Chris won’t have to be racing master’s again for another year, at least.
We’ll see where he settles, but, we’ll have to hold our breath for a few days to find out.
Where do you think he will land?
I figured Chris would start a ‘cross season if he didn’t find a road contract soon.
Chris, me and Todd Wells at Jingle Cross a while back.

Groundhog Day

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It’s sort of been like Groundhog Day, the movie, here for me.  Seems like I keep doing the same thing over and over again, with nothing much really changing.

Don’t get me wrong, I like the process of tiling, or even construction in general.  It takes intellect and physical ability, plus nothing is even the same twice.  At least in the construction I do.

This project is bigger than I had anticipated.  I never get the time right when guessing how long it will take to do something related to construction.  I’m not always guessing shorter, but usually.

I should be done with the shower today,  not grouted, but all the tile set.  I’ve never attached tile to a ceiling.  At least big tile.  This is big tile, 18 inch porcelain.  Wish me luck.

This whole process makes me appreciate cycling more and more.  I don’t mind the “Groundhog Day effect” when it comes to cycling.  I think that is because cycling never is that repetitive, even though it seems like it is.   I’ve written about this before.  Cycling is attractive to me because it is always a little different, thus new.

It is super windy here in Colorado today.  It started last night.  Vincent lives up near the mountains, by Golden and for some reason, the wind get channeled down and just blows like crazy.  It is so windy that the whole house nearly shakes.  I like weather, but some much wind, at night, when I’m trying to sleep, is a little disconcerting.  I remember riding Tour of Southland, on the South island of New Zealand, and the windy would be howling all night and I sort of dreaded the next day.  And it really never stops there.  Luckily, that isn’t the case here.

Looks like Jingle Cross was super successful again last weekend.  John and the guys there do an amazing job.  The race has been going on over a decade and only gets better.  I’m not missing it again next year.

I went for a short hike, more like a walk with Vincent yesterday, up some singletrack, on the snow.  There is no way I could be racing cyclocross, so at least I don’t have to worry about that decision.

Vincent was talking about riding fatbikes today.  Not sure if that is going to happen, but I do need a little change of pace.  My current pace seems to be slowing as the days go on.

 

I've never used 18 inch tile on walls.  It looks pretty good.  The shower is huge, with nearly 9 foot ceilings.

I’ve never used 18 inch tile on walls. It looks pretty good. The shower is huge, with nearly 9 foot ceilings.

I didn't have a saw to cut the hole for the shower head pipe, so I just tiled around it.  Don't worry, I measured pretty carefully to make sure it was the right size and square.

I didn’t have a saw to cut the hole for the shower head pipe, so I just tiled around it. Don’t worry, I measured pretty carefully to make sure it was the right size and square.

My hands are pretty wasted.  I never can seem to keep gloves on very long.

My hands are pretty wasted. I never can seem to keep gloves on very long.

 

Got this friend request on Facebook.  Vincent said it is computer generated.  Not sure why her name isn't Jesus Chester or Chester Denis or something.

Got this friend request on Facebook. Vincent said it is computer generated. Not sure why her name isn’t Jesus Chester or Chester Denis or something.

One Week since I Rode

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I can’t believe it has been a week since I rode last.  That was in Seattle and I haven’t even put my bike together yet.  It’s sitting in Vincent’s garage in the bike bag still.

Man, does a week go super fast.  Actually, now that I think about more, it seems like it has been a super long week.

It’s pretty usual that snow sits a week on the ground,  the front range here in Colorado, especially in November.   That maybe isn’t the only reason I haven’t ridden.  Well, yes it is, now that I think about it.  I could always take a couple hours out of the day to ride.  Plus, I have much more energy when I ride some during the day.

I’ve been following the Jingle Cross results a little.  I can barely stand it.  It is probably my favorite cross weekend of the year.  If you’ve never been there, then you should sometime.   Brian Matter looks to be going great, after his Iceman Cometh win, finishing 3rd and 5th so far.

I got a little bummed when I got an email with a Strava alert and it said that Ned Overend road the 2nd fastest lap somewhere in New Mexico.  I clicked on it and, yep, Ned must be racing cross.  Makes me jealous.

Yesterday went pretty badly, construction-wise.  I was screwing up the backer board most of the morning, with the intention of tiling later.  I don’t know what happened exactly, but the tiling never got started.  We ate a super dinner that Lisa cooked, some pesto stuffed chicken, and then went downstairs to tile.  I had planned to work late into the night, but that didn’t materialize.

I mixed up a bunch of thinset, let it sit while I was measuring the floor for tile.  I marked a few tile to cut around the drain and when I went to use the tile saw, it wouldn’t start.  Nothing.  Man, that put a huge dent in the job process when the tile saw doesn’t cut tile.  Like it comes to a standstill.

Vincent proceeded to to disassemble the tile saw and found that it was missing a brush, so he couldn’t fix it because he didn’t have the appropriate brush sitting around.

So, I took the batch of thinset and put down some Ditra membrane, which supposedly keeps the tile from cracking, something like a slipsheet.  I’ve never used Ditra, only cement board, but we are tiling a cement floor, so putting concrete board down would be redundant I guess.

Vincent came back with a new tile saw this morning, so the coast is clear to actually make some progress.

I hope to watch some of the Superprestige Asper-Gavere, on video later today since I missed it live this morning.  Don’t tell me who won.

The shower is ready to tile now.

The shower is ready to tile now.

Messin' around with the floor layout.

Messin‘ around with the floor layout.

I didn't want to waste a bucket full of thinset, so....

I didn’t want to waste a bucket full of thinset, so….

I put this Ditra membrane down with it.

I put this Ditra membrane down with it.

TGIF again

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It’s funny how Fridays just keep coming and coming.  I usually don’t pay much attention to what day of the week it is.  (I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.)   That only applies when I’m not racing.  When I am racing, I’m very cognizant of the day.  And it really doesn’t matter that it is Friday again, for me today.  I’m not going to be doing anything different tomorrow than I’m doing today.

Today is going to be the 5th day in a row I haven’t ridden my bike.  It has been wicked cold, here in Denver, with snow cover on the roads.  Vincent suggested that I take his fatbike out this afternoon and ride a little off-road.  That sounds like a great plan, but I know how that goes.  It goes like, I get caught up in something I’m doing and the afternoon disappears.

This morning there is an inspector coming by to check out the shower pan.  It seems weird that there is a shower pan inspection, compared to other aspects of home owner construction that there is no inspection for.   All you have to do is show that the shower pan holds 2 inches of water, without leaking and, I guess, drains out through the drain, ie. slant underneath.  Mine is fine I think.

A couple days ago I got wrangled into “helping” Vincent install a couple TV’s at a remodel.  Vincent did that for a while, install low voltage wiring in new construction.  He’s doing this for a friend.  Man, was it a job.  I had to drill holes through 13 inches of rock and brick, then mount a TV bracket flat on the rock.  It was a pretty challenging job.  I have no idea if the 1 inch masonry bit was just wasted or the rock that hard, but it took forever.

Today, after the inspection, I’m going to finish the shower pan and then maybe lay radiant heating mat and tile the whole area.  We can’t install the drywall until the framing inspector comes by, and that seems to be tougher to schedule that the plumbing.

Jinglecross  starts today in Iowa City.  I would be going there, just to watch, if I was around Kansas.  I love the race and it is a very spectator friendly place to watch cross.   It is the 11th year of the race.  I’ve done it every year, other than when I was hurt, or once when I was roofing my building during the winter.  I’m going to be torn following the race from here.

Random fun fact.  Apple stock is really doing some big moves the last week.  I read that the value of Apple, the company, is more than the whole Russian stock market.  That means, if you sold all the Apple stock, you could buy all the stock of every publicly traded company listed on the Russian stock market.   Plus, you’d have enough extra money to buy each person in Russian a new iPhone 6 plus.  Man, that is a lot of money.

Okay, I think I need to get going.  Vincent is calling.

Shower pan layout deal.

Shower pan layout deal.

 

Sort of finished, before the next layer of concrete.

Sort of finished, before the next layer of concrete.

 

Vincent's homemade test plug.  I'm going to get a real one right now.

Vincent’s homemade test plug. I’m going to get a real one right now.

 

Seems like the only time I get out of the house is to go to HomeDepot.

Seems like the only time I get out of the house is to go to HomeDepot.

 

Rocks the TV mount had to be attached to.

Rocks the TV mount had to be attached to.

Barely made it with this 1 inch masonry bit.

Barely made it with this 1 inch masonry bit.

Worked.

Worked.

 

Had to attach at TV here too.  Was much easier.

Had to attach at TV here too. Was much easier.

 

The snow doesn't seem to be going anywhere here.

The snow doesn’t seem to be going anywhere here.

 

Jack, Vincent's dog, has been hanging with me here.  We go for a long walk every night.

Jack, Vincent’s dog, has been hanging with me here. We go for a long walk every night.