Saturday, November 20, 2010

Rain Cape

Second ride of the season requiring my full jacket, first ride with my winter gloves and rain jacket.

Some blue sky mixed in with black rain clouds... I knew I was going to get wet at some point.

Met Peter and JB at the Gate. After the Bump I quit watching my watch and just plugged along. Always nice to see other riders unafraid of a little precip.

Put the rain jacket on near the Upper Washout, pretty solid drizzle the rest of the way to Junction.

Didn't get too cold, managed to stay reasonably comfortable the whole ride. Wish I'd brought glove liners for the way down though.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hace Mucho Viento

Left home and it was chilly enough to wear my winter jacket for the first time this season. Turned on to NGR and it was like riding in a clothes dryer vent: warm and humid... very strange transitional weather.

Met up with JB and Peter at the Gate. They dropped me at the Bump.

Above the Bump it was really windy - the kind of wind that makes you get out of the saddle just so you don't get blown off the road. It was a pretty consistent strong wind, but every once in a while a gust would come by in a different direction that would yank my front wheel into a precarious angle.

Excuse du jour for being slow: business trip and airplane legs.

Coming up around Chainbuster I got passed by ex-regular Tomás. At Junction we all decided to go back down and pledged to be careful... it was a little scary around some of the hairpins. I stopped at the bottom of the Bump for a video and caught Dudley, Tomás, and Peter doing a little paceline. Sorry, but I didn't notice my lens cover wasn't open all the way.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Just Junction

Wow, four weeks in a row with no Diablo rides, that might be a record for me. Today was nice weather, and it's the last Saturday of Daylight Time.

Got to the Gate a little early and gave myself a head start on JB.

Not too many riders, only got passed by one guy.

Newsbit from the Mountain:

When JB got to Junction he asked if I'd seen the guy on the odd eliptical motion running bike. I said "no", but I've been seeing more and more of those things around, including a couple at Foxy's last month. Then the guy arrived and I took a video of him:

He looked a lot faster and smoother on that thing than I would have expected. He was a nice guy too and answered our questions about it. It's an EliptiGO and he said it was especially good for riders and runners that have messed up their knees (didn't say if that applied to him or not). Later from home I checked out their website and they have videos of guys doing THE DEATH RIDE, and other epic events on these machines. Pretty amazing, not for everybody of course but I'm in favor of diversity and having options so I declare the EliptoGO a good thing.

In other news, my Eddy Merckx is ready for foul weather, and I've swapped out my old Ultegra STI 8-speed for aero levers, downtube shifters, a mountain bike rear derailleur, and a super-wide range cassette. Mostly I was looking for lower gears for winter but the old brifters were pretty much shot (especially when cold) and I also wanted reliable shifting in the slop.

Shimano makes two kinds of plain brake levers, the Dura Ace model and the non-Dura Ace model... but the DA model doesn't actually SAY Dura Ace on there so... what's the point, really? I got the cheap ones, they look pretty much the same.

9-speed downtube shift levers only come in the Dura Ace branded version... nice.

Don't call it a "granny gear", call it a "Koppenberg Kassett".

Two issues with MTB derailleurs here: #1 the cable goes in kind of funky and you have to keep it short or it'll rub on your spokes, and #2 there's no cable adjuster since there's normally one on the MTB shift levers.

So if you've got downtube levers like me, there's no adjustment anywhere to fine tune the indexing. I tried to get the cable tension just right with only the anchor bolt but didn't even come close.

So I did a little on-line research and discovered an in-line cable adjuster thingie that I figured I could put in that piece of housing between the stay and the derailleur.

Went to Performance and talked to some dentally challenged chicken diddler who convinced me by his clueless response never again to pass through those doors.

Then I went to Sports Basement and asked the same question and got two guys who not only had the part but knew exactly what I wanted to do, and the younger one offered to install it himself for a 15-minute labor charge. He'd clearly done this several times before so I went home and got Eddy and while the young guy was installing the doodad, the older guy regaled me with stories of riding Paris-Brest-Paris and hiking in the Alps... a far superior experience than putting it in by myself would have been.

It looks a little klunky but works a treat!