Archive for September, 2010

Fork Me! It’s time for the Ronde Von Jakob!

September 30, 2010

Yes, the Ronde Von Jakob, back at long last. A few will remember our first one at the old Vineyard in 2004. This year, we return to Jakobville at the Orchard on Hwy 127 for another brutal race through the vines and now the orchards as well.

I was really rocking on my training leading up to this week. I was needing to get some dirt in my veins, so I’d been doing Cedar on Old Blue damn near every day since I got it triplized. Friday, I was out with Don of the Dead and we had a great time (other than him nearly toasting his chain). On the way back I noticed that I had a lot of fork chatter. And, it was moving around a lot coming down Thunderstorm on the way home. The next day at the start of a ride (thankfully) I spotted the crack and went home and switched bikes. When I pulled the front wheel I just barely pinched the fork and the left leg fell off…..Oooooh…..I guess I might have been suffering after that little incident with hitting the dog at 45mph…and then doing 6k miles a year on nasty shit for another 2.5 years…..I’m lucky….And, even better, Chief has a confiscated Gunnar Fork which is a perfect fit, so Choak at Carbondale Cycles  should have old Blue up and ready to be in the pits (and porting stakes and tape) very soon.

Come on down to the Ronde! Wine will flow…If only Pease were here….


Best Purchase of 2006: Record Racing Triple (NOS edition)

September 22, 2010

Compacts are for poseurs....

Well, as cross season rolls into gear, I’ve been gearing up for the coming off road extravaganza. Down here in So. Ill we do most of our training on a mix of road and dirt. And, as it gets colder, the dirt gets dirtier was we mix in serious singletrack along with fire roads and what qualifies as pavement down here in the hinterlands. I’ve long ago given up even trying to train on road bikes in the Winter, but the singletrack is simply too far from Carbondale to justify riding the MTB on pavement. And, I just can’t get into driving the 10 or 12 miles to the nearest trailhead for anything less than a race unless it is below freezing. The one bad thing about Carbondale is that despite being in the middle of nowhere, legal singletrack is 10 miles away—which seems like a huge hassle when your average daily commute to work is 10 minutes by bike (round trip). But, Cedar Lake on a crossbike is pushing the limits of gearing. Hence, the Triple!!!

My buddy Matt the zoologist has a totally cool Jamis touring cross bike which he shopped like a fiend for. It’s steel, ultegra mix, nice training wheels and vittoria randonneur tires and a touring triple (cheap fsa, but nice range, like 28-39-52, I think). Predictably, the crankset gave him some hassles and on a ride he said “why are there no triples anymore, and what is this compact stuff?” He couldn’t find an upgrade. It got me thinking about what I like and don’t about compacts and gearing. I got to thinking about the situation and went home and snagged a brand new 2006 Campy Record Racing Triple on E-bay (I finally figured out e-bay!). I had to get a new front derailleur and rear long cage derailleur (both Campy Comp, a triple specific part post 2008 or so), but Choak got it all hooked up and the Old Blue Gunnar is running fine with the Triple setup.

I’m not a fan of compact gearing. It is the worst of most worlds. In the “classic” metric, it’s 50-34, which is a huge leap. Basically, you’re searching for the big or small ring if you need to shift, so it’s not like it is a shifting advantage over a triple. The one thing which did perk me up was that the Shimano guys could shimmy up an XT rear der and cassette and run a 34-34! But, since I’m a campy guy, that would require a lot of retooling, and I hate Shimano. My best bet was either a compact with a 29-13 cassette, or go triple….And, then when I’m caught late 12 miles from home with a tailwind (say, at new Jackoffs…) I’ve got a 53-42-30 and I’m going to rig up a 29-12. But, even with the 30-25 ratio I’m clearing stuff at Cedar which I can’t do on a 34-25.

Uncle Gary Conquers E-Ville

September 14, 2010

Not even close!

My road season has ended on a high note, with Uncle Gary taking the inaugural Edwardsville Rotary Criterium. A big round of applause for all the E-Ville folk (including E-Ville Mike who snapped that shot of Uncle Gary). Anthony Dust was in rare form pulling this one off, and  Matt Dawson was working the pits.  Very cool tight course. Uncle Gary described it as “tighter than Robo’s ass.” A bit of an hourglass, short, flat, and sharp at one edge. The masters’ race went from the gun, and Gary almost went off on the first lap with a guy from up north who  I should know but don’t.  But, Tracy and Evan weren’t buying that shit so I cooked it up myself for a bit, and that split the field. Tracy Smith attacked and Gary was right on it and said “sit up” as he came through, so I was blocking. Christanel annd Gary Dyer got on Uncle Gary’s wheel as he tacked onto Tracy, and Evan tried really hard to bridge….I sat in and drifted back to the middle of the first chase, and then the guy from up northway pipped the curb in front of me. I didn’t go down, but was quickly off the back. Another guy blocked by it tried to get a free lap and failed, so I guess I did the right thing by simply sucking it up and chasing.  Steve Hall was having a great race and jousting for 5th with Evan Wykes  out of the main chase when tragedy struck with two to go. But, with Uncle Gary on top the podium, it wasn’t a bad day out.

Rob Landes was racing the 4’s, and took a prime but then got caught up in something with 2 or 3 to go. We were on next but I saw him upright and looking good. Too bad on that one, Rob was going to win. Gary Meredith took in the grandeur of the Master’s race at E-ville.  I think he had some fun out there!  Dave Neis was 5th in the 3’s!!! Woo Hoo! Not bad after racing CROSS the day before! Yes, boys and girls, it is now officially cross season! Chief went up and raced, and I think Berto and Kelly as well.

Macker’s will be up north for ABD, I’m finished and preparing for cross…Ronde Von Jakob!

Gateway Cup 2010…Almost Cross Season….

September 9, 2010

thx evil Mike: Robo celebrates!

Wow! Gateway Cup has certainly improved as a Masters venue. Let us not forget that the old Farts were relegated to category for a few years, and only had a couple of races for a few other years. But, now, we’re on for a full four days of racing. I managed to hit the first two days. I drove up with Dave and we managed a nice corner for the awesome Lafayette Square crit. What a party! You gotta love that race. I’m ok with the course, but it isn’t something I want to mix up at the finale….we had a strong Mack squad for Gateway, with Robert Kron, Mark McGeen, Uncle Gary, Steve Hall, Darrell Bratton, Frank Brummer, Mike Ozment, Jeff Williams and Robo Brokaw–who took the top spot in the final crit. Kron was 3rd on that podium, and was fourth on Saturday and 7th on Friday. I don’t know if they did a Masters Omnium but it seems like Kron must have been way up there if they did! Mark McGeen also pulled a top ten placing 9th on Friday. Awesome job by Gina Champion to take a podium spot in the women’s 3’s. It was listed 3-4, but I pity the 4 coming up in that pack. Justin was fighting it out in the big boy race, and he managed to hang in there quite nicely.

Dave and I managed to avoid crashing. And, I was pretty happy with my races. I was finally feeling like I could move up in the pack at will. It’s been a long time since I felt like that. Man, how about that Evan Wykes? Second in two of the Gateways! Evan told me about the Friday race with him in the break driven by Dave Henderson, and he was still reeling. That was a fast race. Most impressive move has to go to Nashville’s Tim Hall, who bridged up to the Henderson group when things were pretty hot and heavy. One critical observation from Gateway is that the new Big Shark uniforms have a stealth quality which makes Gary Dyer and Dodd Slawson indistinguishable, even to each other.

So. Ill was well represented with Chief, Gary, Molteni, Berto, Big Tom, Rob Landes, and some young boys in various races. Rob was awesome on Friday and Saturday, but took a tumble at the line on Sat. I think he’s almost ready for cross season.