Saturday, July 24, 2010

Forty-Four with Fred and Friends

I've been struggling with fatigue. The side-effects of Amoxicillin, which, as my dentist failed to explain, is known for tearing up your GI tract, and causing colitis up to six months after you stop taking it. About 3 days into the 10-day course I was symptomatic enough to look it up on the web.

Sometimes getting the blood pumping, and doing a little sweating is the perfect remedy though, so I signed up for a moderately paced, 25mi ride on Thursday, and headed out the door for Guy West Bridge - the starting point.

I took it easy as it was 5:00 and the heat was still near the peak of the day, and its been bothering me during this little bout of malaise. I got there a few minutes late, but we were waiting for a no-show for another 10 minutes anyway, so a chance to chat and catch up a bit. Happily Perry and Kathy (for some reason I always want to call her Susan. I hate it when that happens! She must remind me of a Susan in my past somehow) were there, so we ended up with a very nice group of 4.

One of our club riders broke a drive-side spoke on his Ksyrium SL wheels on the Death Ride, so that and my friend Marsh doing all 5 DR passes on his quest to do "50 Great Things for 50" this year to mark his 50th Birthday were topics for conversation. I embedded Marsh's slide show of the DR below.

Fred, or Phred as we call him, shares my love of wrenching, and is very knowledgeable, so we were trading insights on wheels, and his single-speed conversion. Every time I look at the petite freehub body on a SS hub, I want to try slipping just the large, spidered gears from a cassette stack on it, and build much stronger and stiffer dishless wheel for my mtb.

7-speeds and no dish with 9-speed gearing

It turns out there is quite a lot of interest in this idea, and several wheel builders are now building custom wheels on Chris King and Hope hubs just for this purpose. IMHO it's the perfect compromise between 27-30 gears and one. Even with V-brakes in back, using Velocity's O/C (off-center) rims I think a dishless wheel could be built, making for an incredibly strong XC wheel.

Oregon's Wild Beauty

By the time we got to the turn-around point at Sunrise we were on to their mtb trip to Oregon a few weeks ago. This is the 2nd yr Fred has done this group outing, and in fact, organized the trip this year. Perry and Kathy also went, and Kathy had fun regaling me with all of the little side-bars that happen on such outings.

Just as we were about to start heading back, I happened to notice Fred had two different kinds of wheels on his bike, and the front one was the same as mine - except for the straight 14ga spokes. With Mavic OpenPro rims and Ultegra hubs, those are the perfect bomb-proof commuter wheels. A good match for the single-speed setup.

We waited up for Kathy after returning to William Pond Park. Realizing that Perry had sprinted ahead of us, we wanted to let Kathy catch up after 15 minutes. We hydrated briefly and had just pushed off when Perry showed up, riding towards us. It turns out, Perry had broken a drive-side spoke, just like Javier did on the Death Ride!

Mavic makes great products, and the Ksyrium have a great reputation, so I'm not sure what to make of this, but I did start looking around on the web for other reports, and it turns out there are some builders who were predicting these failures. I think the cause is the aluminum spokes and radial drive-side lacing. Unlike iron, or any alloys, like steel, which contain iron, anything made of aluminum will eventually fatigue to zero strength. IE: you never really own anything aluminum - you just rent it.

Fred and I  waited up for Perry and Kathy (I just found out it's not by chance they always show up for rides together. A very cute couple!) just before the Guy West Bridge to discuss how they had parked to get around the construction going on there. We said our good-byes, they went on, and Fred and I headed back for Watt Ave and home. I'd spent almost the whole ride in Zones 3-4 to that point, so I hammered a bit on California coming home, but generally it was a nice relaxing pace.

I got home feeling great, ate well and uploaded my Garmin data. I was surprised the little 25 miler had turned into 45 miles, but then remembered I had ridden to and from Guy West. I was really tired yesterday, and still a little weak today, and that is getting frustrating, but nothing time won't heal.

 Fred, enjoying his Mountain Bike Oregon ride

I have to say, I always enjoy riding with Fred, and for the first time I think I know why. Yes, we share an interest in wrenching, and neither of us likes large crowds much, but mostly I think we share the same philosophy. I like to win on occasion when I want to challenge myself, but that winning is about me doing well, not crushing or humiliating other riders.

My hope is always that when challenged or challenging, we both benefit. The only thing I hate about winning, is that everyone else has to lose (pickup racing offers everyone a chance to win, and save face if need be). In short, I like riding with Fred because I enjoy the riding. Not the win (or loss), or the group experience, or even the competition necessarily. I just enjoy the riding.

 Oregon Vistas

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