Monthly Archives: December 2012

Splicing Di2 Wires

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It’s nearly 2 am and I’m pretty beat. Another day where time seemed to get away. I realized yesterday that I wasn’t going to have any luck getting longer wires for the Di2 I was putting on my cross bike. I decided that I couldn’t drive 3 or 4 hours to a race without that bike, so I spent most of the night spicing the existing wires and adding length to both the rear derailleur wire and the wire from the shifters to the bottom bracket.

It really didn’t take all that long, I watched a movie with some friends in the middle of it. I have to admit that it turned out great. Each Shimano wire only had two small wires. I had to go over to “The Shack” and get some shrink fit tubes to cover the soldering unions, but other than that, it was pretty quick and simple. I added 8 cm to the chain stay wire and 15 cm to the common wire to the union box.

Eventually, my bike is going to be all internally routed. I don’t have the correct seat tube battery or that is what I’d be doing now. Anyway, I didn’t get my bike back together, so I’m skipping the race tomorrow in Iowa and riding with the group from my house at noon. That is, if, I get my bike back together before then. It is supposed to be near 70 tomorrow, but it might be raining. That would be a drag. I’ll see how I feel and how the rest of the day goes before I decide about driving to Tulsa to race on Sunday. It is supposed to in the upper 70’s on Sunday there, which would seem pretty hot racing cross.

Okay, I’m heading to bed. Sorry about the lame post, but that is pretty much all I did today.

I got some extra wire off an old printer cable.

Then, I soldered the wires together after putting the shrink wrap over the wire loosely.

I put small shrink wrap over the individual joints and a bigger piece over the whole exposed area, covering the 4 places I soldered.

I had to add close to 6 inches on one of the wires.

This is the state my bike is in now. Nothing taped on clean or any chain or brakes on either. I’m using an 11 speed chain. It is supposed to shift a lot smoother on the 10 speed cassettes.

The were selling these at Radio Shack. Plus, when you paid they asked if you wanted to donate to the LiveStrong Foundation. I wonder how that is going for those guys?

Custom Frames?

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I’ve always been asked whether I ride stock bikes or custom. Everyone thinks it would be so cool to be able to design and tweek their bikes to their own specs. But I tell them, “I don’t know how to design a frame, that is what the bike companies have engineers for.” Historically, I ride the same bike that they ship to the shop. That is a little different riding the Eriksen bikes, since Kent pretty much only builds custom frames, so each and everyone is different.

The reason I’m writing this is that it is so hard to stress how every little change that you make on your bike, can, and will affect the handling and ridablity of the bike. Yesterday I went out for the first ride on the Di2 electric shifting. It’s awesome, BTW. But, what surprised me the most was that the front end of my bike felt like it was way more twitchy, quick, than it had been previously. And the only thing that I changed on my bike was the derailleurs and shifters. I must be in a slightly different position forward and backwards and the levers must be just a little longer, maybe, so it feels much like a different bike, especially when I’m climbing. Maybe it is just not having the derailleur cables binding the free movement of the bars, but that seems like a stretch.

It is very hard to know what you change on your bike to make it ride differently. Obviously, tires are a big deal and change. But, you wouldn’t think that changing the levers would make any difference at all. Stem length, handlebar width, saddle, all can effect the ride. But, you won’t necessarily know what it does until you do it.

I guess the moral of this story is that only make small changes on you bike, and only one at a time, if you want to recognize what the changes actually did.

12 started, but there were only 4 at the end. Nearly 70 miles in the upper 60’s. Not bad for Dec. 1st.

This is Little Jack, or John Jack, since we have another Jack that rides. He’s really Jack Funk, and he’s not going to be a junior this next season, finally. This ride was just a 2 sandwich ride for him. He says sometime he carries up to 4.

Kansas City Tragedy

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I suppose most of you have heard about the Kansas City Chief linebacker, Jovan Belcher, who shot his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, then drove to the stadium and shot himself after thanking the coaches. If not and you want to, then click here.

It was an awful thing. But, it didn’t have much to do with sports. He happened to be a American football player, but that is all it has to do with sport. It does have a lot to with what “we” as a society, have decided what are our constitutional rights and what people perceive that makes them feel safer.

This whole thing could have been avoided most likely, if Jovan didn’t have the misfortune of possessing a handgun at the time of the incident. I assume it was a conscience decision by him, but I really wish he didn’t have the choice to make it.

We all deal with this on some basis pretty regularly. I hesitate to express any outrage at someone I feel is not driving correct, concerning my safety, just because of this. I don’t feel safer because citizens of our country can legally carry a handgun. I feel much less safe.

And in reality, everyone is much less safe. I saw a study once that said if you owed a handgun, you had a much higher chance of dying from homicide. I found this study that shows when you have a handgun in your home, your chances of dying from homicide is 5X as high as if there wasn’t a handgun in your home. That is significant. And outside of your home is significantly higher also.

One day, my brother came riding home pretty shaken up. He had been riding down 29th street in Topeka and a guy in a pickup passed him super close and then turned the corner and drove into his driveway. Kris turned the corner and stopped in front of his house. The guy came running out of his garage, enraged and pulled out a small handgun. Kris, immediately turned around and started riding down the street as the guy ran behind him with gun pressed into Kris’ back. Kris said that it was about as scared as he has ever been of dying. The guy could have very easily tripped and accidentally pulled the trigger. It was nuts.

Anyway, I saw Bob Costas on Sunday Night Football, say his piece on this issue. He quoted an article by Jason Whitlock, an ex-writer of the Kansas City Star and currently at Fox News. I looked up the article. Here is a little-

I would argue that your rationalizations speak to how numb we are in this society to gun violence and murder. We’ve come to accept our insanity. We’d prefer to avoid seriously reflecting upon the absurdity of the prevailing notion that the second amendment somehow enhances our liberty rather than threatens it.

How many young people have to die senselessly? How many lives have to be ruined before we realize the right to bear arms doesn’t protect us from a government equipped with stealth bombers, predator drones, tanks and nuclear weapons?

Our current gun culture simply ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience-store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead.

I couldn’t agree more. If people that own handguns have a much higher chance of dying by homicide, and obviously, people that don’t own guns, who get killed by handguns, are not safer, then no one is safer. We’re all much less safe. The perceived safety of owning a handgun, is a false perception and actually completely wrong. I feel really bad for all the people that are so scared deep down, that they think that they need to carry a handgun with them at all times to feel safe. I’d think it would be very stressful.

I’m nearly sick to my stomach every time I hear of a story, such as above, that could have been easily avoided, if there wasn’t a handgun in play. I believe that each and everyone of us has the ability to be so enraged, that we could make a rash mistake, such as Jovan did, if in very specific circumstances. When a handgun is in the mix, these “normal” behaviors can turn into tragedies.

I have no idea why, we as a nation, allow this to continue. It is so wrong on so many levels. Disputes should be decided with words, not deaths.

The baby in the photo is an orphan as of Saturday.

Are we Jacking our Hearts???

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I got an email a few days ago from John Mandrola, MD. He’s a cardiac electrophysiologist from Louisville, Kentucky. He also races cyclocross passionately. He has a blog at

Anyway, he has a video, at the blog above, from a very prominent sport cardiologist, Dr. James O’Keefe, that presents some data on the effects of chronic endurance exercise on the heart. Much of the data pertains to runners and triathletes, but cyclists are What are you doing for Thanksgiving? involved too. Here’s a link to a WallStreet Journal article on the subject from last Tuesday.

I watched the full video, which is 18 minutes, and it is a presentation for the layman. It has a bunch of charts and tells you a lot of information. Below is a video of Dr. O’keefe that he made for the Mayo Clinic, that generalizes his premise.

What Dr. O’Keefe says is that the amount of exercise that we’re all doing is a pretty bad thing for our hearts. He has lots of statistics and studies that he uses. Essentially, when we exercise for long durations, our hearts, which are already very enlarged, get micro tears in them. He cited a study when took blood samples after the Boston Marathon and virtually all of the samples had troponin, the protein that they test for to measure certain heart disorders. Also, he presented information on atrial fibrillation and calcification of the heart due to excessive endurance exercise. The good news is that the conditions can be reversed.

Anyway, after spending some time Friday, researching the validity of the whole issue, I decided to call Dr. O’Keefe and see if I could talk to him personally. It turns out he is local, over in Kansas City. I spent a long while trying to get past the levels of interference that all doctors seem to have. Eventually I got the voice mail of Joan, his assistant and left a message. So far, after two business days, no return call. I’d say I have about a 20% chance of getting a hold of him this way. I’ll have to be more creative, I guess.

I think I’d be about the perfect guy for him to study. I’ve been doing endurance athletics nearly since I’ve been able to walk. Plus, I’ve hardly ever taken more than a couple weeks off since I was a teenager.

The reason this is important to me is because when I feel shitty riding, I seem to have the same symptoms. And one of those symptoms is kind of a weird feeling in my chest, like my heart is just a bit achy. I’ve had it lots of times, and have always attributed it to allergies, because it eventually just goes away and I get going good. I’ve never had this flatness or weird feelings in the winter, November and December, when there aren’t any real allergies.

I’ve had a few emails exchanges with another heart guy from OKC. He has been good for my mindset. I understand that these studies on long term exercise are in their infancies and there needs to be a lot more done.

I’ve never been under the illusion that what I’ve done virtually my whole life is very good for my general overall health. Especially my heart. I personally know a lot of riders that have had major heart issues that pretty much ended their careers. I think when people do things that are very extreme, especially physically, that usually doesn’t work out that well for their longevity. I’m kind of a quality of life over quantity of life type guy. But, that being said, I’m not really to a point that I feel like throwing in my chip.

Hopefully, I’ll start riding good and get out of this funk thing pretty soon. And maybe I’ll get a hold of Dr. O’Keefe and he can answer some of my questions. After watching him talk, I doubt he’ll put my mind at ease, but at least I’ll have a little more knowledge to mull over.