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for all my friends · October 2010

October 2010

You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2010.

the halloween ride.


joseph (house of commons), naveen (team metromint), justin, and I had spent the last half of the week deciding what we wanted to do on sunday.  unfortunately, justin was caught up in work, so he couldn’t make it up to the city to ride with us.  joseph and naveen were still meeting me at the bridge, possibly with some company.  so I headed out from my house, the weather was cool and clear, not a cloud in sight.  I made it to the bridge and a couple minutes later, a small group of cyclists came through the connecting tunnel at the bridge.  it was joseph, naveen, connor (cat1 hero!), johannes and chris.  the whole crew was decked in metromint kits, sick.

after talking for a couple minutes, the route was decided: mill valley, ranger station, stinson, highway 1, bolinas-fairfax road (bofax), down into alpine dam, fairfax, camino alto, and back home.  I decided to ditch my idea of a solo alpine dam, in favor of their ride.  I had never climbed bofax before, and figured it’d be good to do some exploring, especially when the route connects to the familiar ridgecrest/7 sisters climb.  we headed across the bridge and the pace was kept smooth and steady.  we turned off the sausalito bike path, headed towards mill valley, and eventually 4 corners.  naveen broke off the front of the group at the start of the climb, and I picked up the pace, determined to catch up.  he was just one turn ahead of me, on every turn through the hilly residential.  I finally caught up to him on the road that would eventually lead to 4 corners (730ft elevation), and paced behind him for a bit.  I passed him, continuing to the top on my own.  I turned off at the side of the road, thinking we’d wait for the others at the intersection, but he kept riding along the panoramic highway towards the ranger station.  he mentioned something about a 20 minute interval earlier in the week, so I figured that was what he was doing.  tricked me though, here I thought we were stopping for a second, haha.

I hustled and caught up to him again, and we climbed to the ranger station (1500ft).  we regrouped and rested for a second, and then descended towards stinson beach.  the road was slick, so I was cautious and rode achingly slow, still a bit stunned from my fall a couple weeks back.  my descending wits came back, and I became a bit more comfortable with the turns near the end.  the rest of the guys were waiting near the bottom intersection for me, and we continued on highway 1.  I have to say, my flatland speed still needs a lot of improvement.  I found myself struggling to keep pace behind connor and the rest of the guys while they pulled massive gear inches across the pavement.  after several miles along the coast, we made an abrupt right turn, heading inland.  bofax.

4 miles and 1500ft of elevation gain from the coast.  one of the best climbs I’ve ever ridden.  connor and I rode in the front for a bit, then he dropped off and regrouped with joseph and naveen.  I rode solo in the front for a while, embracing the new road.  it was epic, to say the least.  the road gradient resembled the road that leads out from alpine dam, towards ridgecrest/7 sisters – interestingly enough, we were heading that direction after this climb.  we regrouped at the top of the climb, and waited up for johannes and chris.  as you can see in the picture above, the road was damp and covered in pine leaves (correct term…?).  we decided not to descend towards fairfax and alpine dam, and opted for ridgecrest instead (2000ft at it’s highest point).  it’d be faster, and probably safer because of the road conditions.

after the rollers of 7 sisters, we descended down towards the ranger station, and back towards mill valley and sausalito.  most of the roads were dry, but there were several damp patches, that made me slightly concerned.  the rubber side was kept down, and the descent went quite well.  johannes and chris split off in sausalito to get some food, and I continued on with naveen, joe, and connor, back towards the city.  we took the newly paved path (google calls it “e road”) that led under the bridge for one last climb.  I had nothing left in my tank, my legs were completely toasted.  I spun for a while to rest, as naveen passed me.  as we approached the bridge parking lot, I shot out of the saddle and put everything I had in a last ditch attempt to catch him before he hit the parking lot.  he made it through the gate a couple seconds ahead of me, though.  I was done.

I split off at the end of the bridge, wiggling my way through weekend cyclists, tourists, and oblivious pedestrians walking in the middle of the path across the marina greens.  everyone seemed to be in a weird zombie trance, walking mindlessly across the pavement.  no one seemed to hear my call outs towards them…I figured it was a combination of sunday and halloween.  at least I got home safely.

what awesome ride, big thanks to naveen and joseph for having me out.  it was nice meeting some new people, and riding with well-seasoned cyclists.

happy halloween!

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threw on the fender, lowered my tire pressure, and headed out to rodeo beach.  the forecast and radar were reading relatively clear (but cloudy) weather, so I wasn’t expecting too much rain.  I was more concerned about the road conditions, because it was still quite wet out.  at 80%+ humidity, I was hoping it’d be dry across the bridge, but alas, it was not.  to avoid steep, technical descents with cars, I opted for rodeo beach, a ride I usually reserve for pre-dawn rides.  the descents on the route are quite manageable, even in the wet.

it started drizzling a bit on the initial climb, but on my second time around the hill, the rain stopped and I was able to take a picture from the top.  you can see a bit of the beach on the right side, as well as the roads that lead to the climb.  I basically ride from the right hand side, up to the top, and then down on the left.  there were several group rides heading out from the bridge as I was coming back in, dozens of people, too many to count.  hope they stay safe, the roads are slick.

definitely glad I brought my fender out today, though.  probably saved my back from a lot of water and grit that would’ve otherwise ended up all over the place.  now the bike is gritty, to say the least.  on the bright side, it’ll be clear weather the rest of the week.  excellent.

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I really don’t think that I possess the coordination to ride a cyclocross bike.  but if I did, I’d probably build up a yeti arc x.  why?  yeti has been building mountain bikes since the mid-80’s.  now, they’ve fine tuned aluminum and integrated it into many of their mountain bike frames.  hell, they’ve even made a dirt jumper (called the ‘dj’) that’s aluminum and just plain scary looking.  the quality of the welds, gussets, tubing shape…everything is well engineered and picked with a fine tooth comb.  there are details on the dj that are just unparalleled from other manufacturers.  like the adjustable rear dropouts, which allows for chain tension adjustments if you run the bike singlespeed.  or throw on some gears, and a rear derailleur, there are cable tabs for that, too.


I’ve been considering a dirt jumper for a couple weeks now, I’d replace my bmx bike with it.  the benefits of having a dirt jumper over a bmx for commuting?  longer wheelbase (stability at speed), bigger wheels, possibility of gears, disc brake (think, rain), and that’s it really.  it’s like a bigger bmx bike, with disc brakes.  and I’m sure with some taller gearing, it’d feel much more stable than a bmx bike.  it’s an idea I’ve been playing with for a while now…probably won’t see the light of day for a year or more, but it’s nice to dream.

enough about dirt jumpers, we’re talking about the 2011 arc x, yeti’s first and only cyclocross bike.  on their website they mention that a limited run was made initially, but then mass demand caused them to push their one-offs to production.  have at it, the arc x.


the piece I’m most fond of is the drive-side chainstay.  notice how it’s thinner near the bottom bracket shell to clear the chainrings while still providing ample clearance for meaty tires.  the a-symmetrical tab that joins the non-drive side and drive-side chainstay is for stiffness.  so, there are 3 pieces of metal for just one chainstay?  the arching chainstay, the thinner piece that connects to the bottom bracket, and then the reinforcement tab.  oh goodness.  yeti, you’ve just blown my mind.  I probably stared at the photo above for 20 minutes.  there is so much aluminum, so many welds all over the place, yet somehow, it still looks refined and well designed.  from the brake bridge, to the continuously arching seat/chainstays, to the welded dropouts, and the brake holder near the seat cluster…they took all their knowledge on mountain bikes to create an aluminum cyclocross masterpiece.

where is cannondale on all of this?  as much as I appreciate the cannondale brand for what they’ve done for the cycling community (bb30 drivetrain, integrated bearings, oversized head tubes, lefty fork, etc.), their new caadx is pretty much a caad9 with a slack headtube and a top welded rear brake boss.  the derailleur cables are still routed on the downtube.  isn’t the whole point of riding/racing cyclocross to be in the mud, trails, and handling the bike over barriers?  the last thing I’d want to worry about is mud or debris messing up my derailleur cables.  even the cannondale superx, their new flagship cyclocross bike, has the cables running along the down tube.  even if you seal them and put some of that gore protection on the cable ends, wouldn’t it still be easier to get the cables out of the way all together?  it’s like putting a band-aid on the fact that the cables run in a vulnerable area, where they’d come into contact with road debris all the time.

that being said, props to cannondale for integrating everything they’ve learned from rear rigid suspensions into their superx.  it also has a bb30 bottom bracket shell, and a massive tapered head tube, a 1 1/4″ lower bearing.  they’ve also flattened out the top tube so it’s easier to shoulder.  yeti has done something similar with their arc x, they’ve shaped the tubing to have a gentle slope along the top tube.  the frameset includes a cyclocross specific easton ec90 fork, 1 1/8″ through, and a chris king headset (BLING!).

down to some numbers.

cannondale superx: 1530 grams (frame, fork, headset), ~$3700 with sram rival, ~$7400 with sram red (found one on ebay for $5500)

cannondale caadx: ~1500 grams (frame alone), ~$1900 with sram rival

yeti arc x: 1564 grams (frame alone), ~$1200 for frameset (ec90 fork, chris king headset), ~$2600 with sram rival, ~$3300 with sram red

obviously, the superx is on the higher end scale of cyclocross bikes, but it’s interesting to see the price differences nonetheless.  all spec’d out with sram prices because they were just easier to find across all 3 bikes.  yes, I know that there are dozens more cyclocross bikes from almost every manufacturer, but since I don’t ride cyclocross, I figured introducing the yeti with some cannondale’s was reasonable.  feel free to look at bianchi, ibis, trek, ridley, moots, independent fabrications, blue, focus, giant, kona, surly, specialized…and so many more.  what does a purchase come down to, though?  brand loyalty, product differentiation, aesthetics (shocker!), features, and of course, price.

I’m always fascinated with the engineering behind cycling components.  it seems that cyclocross has really surged in the last couple years (this past year has been even crazier than the rest), leading to more things being designed and produced for the specific cycling genre.  it’s always interesting to keep up with what’s going on in a realm not too far off from road bikes.  cyclocross occupies the space between the road and cross country trails.  the bikes are purpose built.  you can’t ask for much more.

geez, now I really want to build up a cyclocross bike.

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nothing is better than an intense leg rolling session before bed, followed by 9+ hours of sleep.  it feels quite good to take a day off the bike.

actually, I still rode my bmx to work.  but I don’t consider that riding.  it’s commuting.

oh, and a side note, look how nice it is outside.  hope it stays like that through the weekend.  it’s suppose to rain friday and saturday…but forecasts are sometimes wrong, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

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a bit different than muir woods.

climbing buildings is ballsy work.

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I hit up muir woods today, as a replacement for paradise loop.  they’ve been working on repaving the surface around paradise drive, so it would’ve been the same scraped asphalt ride as last week.  minus the rain, of course.  it was sunny out, but a bit windy.  on the backside of muir woods it was miserable, lots and lots of headwind coming from mill valley.  but at least it wasn’t wet out.

on my way back from muir woods, I spotted two guys on road bikes, both wearing backpacks.  they were heading towards sausalito from the bike path.  I was slowly catching up to them, when the guy in the back doing the drafting turned off.  when I came up to pass the guy in front, I’m pretty sure he thought I was the same guy that was drafting off of him, because he instantly jumped on my wheel.  and he stayed there.  for miles.  he rode on my wheel through downtown sausalito, along side the waterfront, on the initial climbs and the climbs up to the bridge, all the way across the bridge.  I really should’ve said something.  free rides aren’t cool, but who’s really benefiting from it in the end?  it sure isn’t him, he’s saving a ton of energy.  at least I got a good workout in.  a couple of points along the way, I heard him drop back a hair.  maybe it was because of that backpack he was wearing.  I should’ve dropped him…oh well.  it wasn’t worth the extra effort.

his isn’t a race, bro.  you’re commuting.  chill out.

spotted riders outbound: 9+ (I lost count, wasn’t paying attention…ha)

spotted inbound: 4

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props to this guy, all black components to make the frame just pop.  haven’t seen a build like this in a while.  wheels are obviously race only tubulars, but still baller nonetheless.

taken from sffixed.



I misplaced one of my short finger gloves this morning, and scrambled everywhere to try and find it.  I ended up saying, ‘SCREW IT’, and riding without gloves.  my long finger gloves were right on my shelf, but I really don’t like them.  there’s just so much disconnect from the bike, you can’t feel the shifts.  everything is vague.  that being said, I definitely should’ve worn them, because it was really cold on the backside of the headlands.  there were some warm patches of air, which felt SO good on a cold morning, but other than those, it was just plain dry and cold.

and I think I’ve figured out my light, finally.  on the medium and low settings the light works perfectly fine, but if I switch it to the high setting, it just fades to the fail mode.  if I start the light from the high setting, it lasts about an hour, more or less.  I forget if i mentioned what light I have…it’s a dinotte 200 lumen headlight, visit their website.  I’ve had it for about 2 years, but stopped using it for a while, since I wasn’t riding at night or early in the morning.  that could have something to do with it, maybe the batteries are dead…well either way, it works, just not on the high setting.  silly lights…

oh, and continuing with the rider count I started yesterday, here’s today’s count.

riders coming into san francisco: 4

leaving san francisco: 3

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out on that 6am tip.  there is definitely something up with my headlight, also.  I ran it on the low setting the entire time out to rodeo beach, and by time I got out to the hill, it was already stuttering to the dim, I’M GOING TO FAIL SOON, setting.  it was still dark out, since the sun hadn’t risen yet, so it was a bit worrisome.  then I hit this reasonably sized pothole…that really woke me up.  thank goodness for spokey wheels (or ‘spooky’ wheels, if you’re feeling a bit of halloween creeping in).  I managed to climb the hill, and descent on the low setting the light reverted back to.  the second time around, it started getting a bit lighter out, the sun was starting to come up.  excellent.

I want to start counting the amount of people I see on bikes.  but not from every location, just starting and ending from the bridge, san francisco side.  today’s count: 4 – one touring bike going out, 3 road bikes that looked like they were commuting, coming into the city.

maybe if I charge my light tonight, it won’t die mid-ride tomorrow morning.  what a concept.

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