28 October, 2007

Equipment: upgrades, changes, needs (desires)

With the end of the season now seems like a good time to talk about equipment - what happened this year, and what is to come.

With an increased (renewed?) interest in cycling this year, I have certainly spent a lot of money on parts, accessories, equipment, nutrition and entry fees. The beginning was the decision to enter the 24h of Hot August Nights, which required me to buy a lighting system. I settled on the new 2008 NiteRider MiNewt.X2 and I'm very glad I did. Hitting stores only a week before the race I was not sure if I'd be able to get it, but with repeated visits to Ziggy's Cycle & Sport in Kitchener I got it with a few days to spare. Performance was exactly as quoted by the manufacturer which is more than can be said for many of the lighting systems on the market. Support by NiteRider at the race was fantastic with quick charging and friendly reps working at their trailer. I would definitely recommend this system, or the much more powerful TriNewt that was released this year as well. They boast lengthy burntimes (which are not at all overstated), fairly quick charging and they look pretty sleek too.

Trek 8000
This fall I've gone through a couple of chains (ask me sometime if you'd like to hear why), a new cassette to match the new chain (the old one was very worn), a new 22T chainring (thanks Jon!) which has remedied much of my chainsuck issues in those gears, as well as much in the way of energy drink and chews. The most recent item was new hubs and having my rims built around them. I got a Hope Bulb (rear) and Pro II (front) from Universal Cycles in Portland, OR and had them built by Dave at True North Cycles, and he did a great job. They ride wonderfully, and the new hubs are a major improvement on my old Deore level Shimano hubs.

My 3 year old Avid mechanical disc brakes will get an overhaul this winter. New pads, rotors and some stainless bolts as well as a general cleaning lubrication should have them feeling good as new for next season.

I recently got a pair of Egg Beater SLs and they're absolutely beautiful with the blue ano retention spring. They work very nicely as I've come to expect from Crank Brothers.

Given that I'm planning for a new mountain bike in the spring, the Trek will soon live its life as a spring/fall training bike. This likely means some narrow, knobby mud tires and I'm thinking I'll set it up single speed with drop bars just for fun. I picked up an On One Midge bar from eBay and I'd like to see if it's as ergonomic as it is claimed to be by its almost cult following.

The one thing I will really need for next season is a new pair of mtb shoes, as mine are thoroughly worn out.

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Soon I will be logging nearly all my miles on the trainer riding my road bike (Giant OCR2). I plan to start going out on group rides to work on my road skills and fitness next year, which I'm greatly looking forward to. Though it's not quite too cold/wet to ride yet, I'm already anxious for spring. I have interesting things to say about riding in wet autumn weather from this weekend, but I'll save that for another post.

2007 Race season recap

My season of racing ended with the last of the Ontario University Cup races at Boler Mountain in London, ON. This series was very fun, and though all my finishes were near the bottom of the pack in the Men's B division, I learned a lot about what I can work on in the future as well as what kind of competition is out there from other university students. I had significant mechanical issues at two of the races, with only the Mansfield XC and the Boler races going smoothly in that respect. This of course has pointed out what aspects of my bike need maintaining, though most of these issues truly were unavoidable. Plans are underway to upgrade many parts on the Trek 8000 this winter, and depending what the financial situation looks like once I'm working I may consider adding a second mountain bike to my arsenal. All my teammates with their True North 29ers are causing me to really desire one myself.

In any case, I know where my fitness level is at as well as which areas of certain courses suit my riding and allow me to pick up time. This is good knowledge to enter winter training with, and by the end of next season I hope to have set some goals and to have met them.

Aside from the U-Cups this year I participated in the Chico Racing 24h of Hot August Nights, which was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Endurance races are high on my list of priorities for next season and preliminary talk of forming a team for the Summer Solstice and Hot August Nights races has already begun. I'd also like to do the U-Cups again next year, possibly I'll try some O-Cup races.

a change of direction

I've decided this blog is to become a dedicated log of my cycling activities, not because school and bass playing is not still going on or interesting, but because I simply wish to focus and change direction here. This will allow me to keep records of my training and races as well as generally report what is going on with me and the sport.

I think that covers just about all that needs to be said, so look forward to this different direction in the time to come.

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