Thursday, March 29, 2012

BuDu Race # 4 - Whidbey Island Cruise

Last Sunday, time for round four of the BuDu race series, otherwise known as Cooking in the Kettles.  Race venue was Fort Ebey State Park, not a bad place to hold a mountain bike race - pretty cool actually.  Camping available, real rest rooms, great trails, and scenic views as the added bonus.  Nice.

Last year, Racer Boy Ian, competed here in the U-12 division, younger riders doing the shorter 3+ mile lap with little climbing.  This year, it would be Beginner class for 13 - 18 year old kids, on the full 7 mile lap, complete with 1100 feet of climbing.  A bit tougher gig. 

Oh-dark-thirty wake up call to catch the 7:00 AM ferry over to the Whidbey; quicker and much more scenic then driving.  Ferry almost empty, with most vehicles sporting mountain bikes.

Compared to usual, just took a few pictures and posted 'em above slideshow style.  Fair amount of racers at this event, me not included.  I elected to continue my lame streak and enjoy my spring allergy hell.  Sniffle, drip, curse.

Ian rolling in towards the finish, looking like a mini pro, pretty cool for 12 years old.  Rolled in for last place today, idea being getting back into the racing groove.  He's been on his bike maybe three times since 'cross season ended in December.  Said he had fun and that's what counts. After loading up, we hit a pizza place in Coupville, before hitting the ferry for home.  Sunny spring day, great father/son time.  We'll take it.

 Quick post and a few pics.  Thanks for reading and stopping by the ol' blog.  Until next time...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tour of California - GoPro Video

While cruising the web, came across this footage from the Tour of California, via GoPro cameras.  Most GoPro footage usually involves mountain biking and other so called extreme sports.  Pretty cool change of pace to ride with a pro peloton from a GoPro view...

I own a GoPro camera that I've only messed with a bit.  Need to break it out and do some experimenting.  Fun stuff to play with.  I'll pencil that it soon.

Monday, March 19, 2012

BuDu Race # 3 - Boo Hoo

BuDu series race # 3 throw down at Fort Steilcoom park, south of Tacoma, was on the schedule for today.  Racer Boy Ian was a little on the fence about hitting this race, but having him waking me up at 6:00 AM proved his interest.  Fort Steilcoom not being one of his favorite places to race, not enough singletrack for his riding style.  We've hit these places a few times over the course of a few race series now, so he's getting a little picky...

We head out the door for the hour plus drive to the start line complete with 38 degree temps, wet ground, and wet snow falling.  Could be a painful day.  We agree if the weather continues to look this ugly, we retain the right to bag it all and head home.  Halfway to Tacoma, the skies clear a bit.  Not bad at all, though on the chilly side.

A bit of confusion while signing up at the registration tent - well - turned to confusion later.  Girls at the tent mention 1 lap for Beginner class and 2 laps for Sport.  About a 4+ mile lap.  I ask Ian what he wants to ride, he says 2 laps.  I sign him up for U-19 Sport class.  That race doesn't start until 11:00 AM, now we have some time to kill.  Ian takes off to pre-ride the course.

The 9:00 AM racers line up and I see a few of Ian's teammates ready to roll.  I ask 'em what class they're doing, they mention Beginner class for 2 laps.  Uh?  A few minutes later, boom, off they go.  I head back to the registration tent, now confused.  I find out Sport class is actually 3 laps.  That's a 12 mile race, plus warm up lap, for 16 miles or so.  Add in racing against kids up to 19 years old.  Middle of summer, Ian could handle this.  Middle of March, with only two or so mountain bike rides under his belt since 'cross season ended in December - no way.  He'd be hurting big time, no doubt.

Racer Boy Ian is in a bit of gray area, being 12 years old.  His racing age is 13, since he turns 13 this year - those are the rules.  That bumps him up into the 13-18 Beginner class for this series, or U-19 for Sport class.  Different race venues run different number of laps depending on the course.  For the 12 and under division, where Ian was last year, the 1 lap races felt short to him, 2 would be about right.  So today, that would have been Beginner class.

Ian rolls in from his warm up lap and I give him the news.  At one point, the race director tells me the Sport class may only do two laps, but later it remains at three.  I elect to pull the plug on Ian's race day.  I want to keep all this as positive and fun as possible, with reasonable challenges along the way.  Ian agrees.  The race folks are cool, we get a refund and change numbers back to Beginner class, where I'll keep him for the remaining races in the series.  I always keep in mind we're talking about a 12 year old here, and would rather error on the easy side of things.

Getting up a 6:00 AM and driving 100 miles round trip for nothing is a bummer, but hey - stuff happens.  The BuDu gang run a great series and even though my gut said no to the Sport class for Ian, thought the laps would be right.  No big deal, many more races in the future, including the next BuDu race.  We're not talking world peace or pro contracts here.

While at the race, with the confusion, grabbed a whopping three pics for the day.  Here's one of teammate Anders heading for the finish line, looking good in the 13-18 Beginner class.

After the drive home and homework time spent on a science project, Ian and I hit the local trails for the late afternoon roll.  Super muddy today, but felt great to get out.  We did about 10 miles of woods rolling and Ian was pretty toasted at the end.  I made the right call earlier in the day - for sure.

As long as his interest remains, plenty of rides and races remain in Ian's future.  I plan to keep it as fun as possible, ramp it up as needed, and error on the low side of things if required.  For us, the best approach to it all, and it's been working well.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Seattle Bike Expo 2012

Spring in the air, despite temps in the 30s and plenty of rain lately.  The annual Seattle Bike Expo is proof of impending warmer weather and more time spent on two wheels.  Full family outing last Sunday to partake in the expo festivities.  Even non bike crazy wife Lori and daughter Amy appeared to have a good time.

This expo is allegedly one of the larger events in the US, presented by the Cascade Bicycle Club, which is allegedly the largest club in the US.  With the number of booths, bikes, events, and people milling about for two days - probably true.  I've hit this gig for many years now, not a bad way to spend a few hours.  It also allows the opportunity to run into people I know from the local bike scene, and that's always cool.

A few Pics 'N' Words to commemorate the day...

Racer Boy Ian volunteered to hand out catalogs and assist at the Redline booth, one of his team sponsors.  The junior racers pulling various shifts for the two days.  Despite his far away camera look, Ian mentioned his two hour gig was fun.  I think it's also a good experience for a 12 year old, no?

CBS, that's short for Cascade Bicycle Studio, brought out some high end toys to gawk over, including this sweet Seven.  CBS is run by Zac Daab and Terry Buchanan, who are also very involved with the local cyclocross scene, promoting the super successful MFG series

Racer Boy Ian has two full MFG series under his belt, and I've dabbled (painfully) in a few races myself.  Believe me when I say they're cool events, we've been to quite a few.

Many vendor booths to cruise through, including Schwalbe, the maker of fine tires.  I've never ridden Schwalbe tires, just posted this 'cause I like the picture...

Dirt Rag Magazine has sported a booth for a few expos now.  I've been a subscriber for 20+ years; my favorite bike magazine and always puts a smile on my face when it hits the mailbox.  If you ride mountain bikes and don't read Dirt Rag - well, frankly - I feel sorry for you...

Soma San Marcos built up real world style.  This frame was designed by Grant Petersen of Rivendell fame, so I'm sure it rides great and now available at lower price point.  Corporate types call this a win win situation.  Very cool, but not really my style; though lately I've had the jones to build up a Soma Smoothie frame.  A little more race oriented, but room for fenders and affordably priced.  It also appeals to old school steel me.

Speaking of old school steel, here's a modern twist on that.  The Colnago MasterYes please, I'll take one.  Oh yeah, I can't afford it.  I'll weep silently, in Italian.

Paul Component Engineering at the expo this year.  Table full of very trick, handmade in the USA goodness to lust after.  Very nice stuff.  Daddy like.  Please send money.

Co-Motion has been quietly making really nice bikes down in Oregon for many years.  This model, the Nor'Wester, very nice steel road bike - with room for fenders.  Oddly enough, I've always wanted one of their aluminum Ristretto models, a no nonsense race bike.

One of the many scheduled talks included Geoff Drake, author of the recent Team 7-11 book, along with Ron Hayman, former member of Team 7-11.  Cool, eh?

Unrelated fun fact:  I used to work for the company that made those speakers flanking the stage.  BFD, I know.

Mountain bike technology marches on with this Norco Revolver as proof.  Lightweight 29er with full suspension.  Pretty trick.  Something like this is right up my XC alley, and a reminder how far things have progressed since I started mountain biking in 1984.  I'm fully digging my 29er hardtail, curious to sample some full suspension models.

Behind the Norco, notice the downhill type Trek in the Bicycles West booth.  Bicycles West is a chain of shops in the Seattle area, run by two guys I know - Kurt and Jim - who took over the operation about a year ago.  Great folks, check 'em out for service and/or a new bike. Kurt was the long time local Trek rep, before diving into retail himself.  Kurt and Jim really know bikes, they won't steer you wrong.

Oh yeah, Jim also used to work for the company producing the speakers mentioned above.  See, this was all somehow connected.

Federal law dictates all bike expos must include a BMX show.  We are now in compliance thanks to the Ride and Glide Extreme Sports Stunt Team.  Say that three times fast.

The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance does plenty of goodness to keep mountain biking alive and legal in the Seattle area.  I stopped by and plunked down some dough for a family membership, been awhile since I've done that.  During the early the mid '90s, I was pretty involved with the club, then known as the BBTC (Backcountry Bicycles Trail Club).  Cool to see how its grown and run by a whole new generation of riders.

Nice titanium 'cross bike from Davidson Bicycles.  That's Bill Davidson himself peering through the spokes.  Davidson has been turning out custom frames from the back of Elliott Bay Bicycles for many years now, and if you're in the market for a handmade frame, they should be on your list.  I recently had 'em tweak my beloved Hakkalugi frame back into shape.

Super sweet steel road bike from 333fab, a local Seattle builder.  That's Maxwell Kullaway peering at his own work of art, since he's one of the brains behind 333fab.  I chatted with Max at the show and once before during a MFG 'cross race.  Nice guy and nice bikes.

Another bike from 333fab and my favorite of the show.  Insanely spiffy titanium 'cross bike.  Oversized headtube, Breezer style dropouts, simple graphics and serious race look.  Man, I really dig this.  Expensive as hell, but potentially your do everything and last forever rig.

Expo featured a classic bike show with all kinds of history represented.  Back in my day, this Schwinn "Orange Krate" was the cool ride.  Well, until BMX took over and rendered these bikes into the garage, hibernating to fetch loopy prices on eBay - back to old dudes who wish they kept theirs - rendering the crazy circle complete.

Old school Merckx looking perfect in orange.  All hail Eddy as he beams from the head tube.

Classic Masi and Gios keep each other company.

Schwinn Paramount track bike.  Fixie hipsters unite.

Old school travel frame. In Campy we trust.

Daughter Amy plays the name the bike parts game.  One of the kid zone features.  Racer Boy Ian looks on as big brother.  Unknown kid in blue sweatshirt stares at folding chair.

Kids attack the riding course, while green shirted Cascade volunteers block the exits.  There is no escape.

Pics out of order, we'll conclude with a classic Cinelli.  Bask in the chrome and Campy shift levers.

That's all from Seattle Bike Expo 2012.  A full afternoon of bike gawking and bike chatting.  Catalog collecting and picture snapping.  People watching and hamburger eating.  Yup, a full day.  We'll be back in 2013 to repeat the process.  Until then...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

BuDu Series Race # 2 - Mountain Bike Season Begins

Mountain bike race season officially begins in the Pacific Northwest, with the BuDu series kicking it off.  A very well run local series that Racer Boy Ian competed in last season with some pretty cool results.  A fun series for sure.

For this year, son Ian missed the first race due to basketball commitments.  Second race of the series, held last weekend was also no go for Ian, due to a bad cold.  I missed both races due to a bad case of being lame, and still being very much in my winter slump.  Woe is me.

I hit the second race anyway to pick up Ian's 2012 race kit, since some fellow JL Velo teammates offered to lug it over.  I wandered the course a bit to shoot a few pics, slideshow posted as proof.  As I get old and feeble, seem to enjoy shooting races more then actually (allegedly) competing in 'em.

Running through the woods reminded me how fun the trails of Soaring Eagle Park are.  Need to head back soon for a little singletrack fun 'n' frolicking.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Bicycle Gyroscope Action

Think you're doing all the work balancing a bike?  Think again Bunkyshe blinded me with science...

Click here to witness the spectacle via YouTube.  Blog embedding apparently a no no for MIT science types.

Here's another example, complete with professor type giving it a go.

This explains why bikes are more stable at speed, riding with no hands works, makes ghost riding possible, and the location of Elvis.  Well, maybe not the Elvis thing.

Science class now dismissed.  Go ride your bike.