That’s my opinion of the weather. Gray, wet, cold… nasty. Upside of getting out? I chatted with a nice guy on Richard Sachs road bike. Classic Sachs color and “atmo”. The guy passed me pleasantly enough, but I called out “Richard Sachs? You bastard!” with a big smile on my face. It caused him to slow up, and we chatted for a few miles until I turned around. Nice. I also saw a Waltworks the other day. The new Niner carbon fork, fronting some nice black painted steel. Super clean build. Midwinter riding is bringing out some people and stuff. I’m still my old self however, because I got the name of neither fellow.

I did have some biker trash fun today though. One of the set of wheels I got with the frame (that I *still* have not built) was a pair of Zipp 505 clincher rims laced to a set of ISO disc DT Swiss 240 mountain hubs. Since they don’t have discs on them yet, I had no issue throwing them on the ‘Roll for fun. I got the usual biker snob looks of disdain running aero Zipps in midwinter on a steel bike, but that sort of thing just makes me smile. Some folks don’t know how little style they have.

Lack of cooperation displayed below… sigh. Allez!

  • Date Jan 24, 2010
  • Time 10:34 AM
  • Total Distance 17.30 mi.
  • Weather Conditions light rain mist
  • Temperature 32.0 ℉

I didn’t think it was going to happen at all…

…cause the weather looks like this:


But I managed before it started sleeting/frozen raining. I try and do some sort of epic ride every year around my birthday. I used to try and do it on my birthday, but that’s almost never possible somehow. But it doesn’t matter because it seems like no matter what day works out, the weather does not cooperate. It has been extremely cold, sleeting, snowing, or some combination of all three. So the epic part has been less about miles and more about just getting out there in this nastiness. So today, by going early I traded cold for frozen rain. Feels like a fair trade. It was about freezing when I went, all layered up. Since I has just put a new seatpost and saddle on the Salsa I took it around the corner to make sure things were good. Saddle was good, but I adjusted a cleat and added a layer. Uphill was fine, but downhill was leaking through.

Suitably protected

[On top, Merino wool base, mid weight poly, waffle weave jersey, Rapha Winter Jersey and Lightweight Softshell (I could really use the regular one, but alas, I can’t afford it) and a Pearl Izumi jacket over that. I had a winter wool cap on, and a Winter Collar to pull up over my mouth and nose on the downhills. Half lobster gloves. On the bottom was Mad Alchemy embro and a single winter weight long bibs. Lake winter boots, no special socks (well, they’re cool white with red polka dots, but not winter weight and you couldn’t see them anyway. I went with circulation over insulation in the warm Lake boots.]

I made my way to the hills and started climbing. I love the quiet that days like this have. It’s Sunday, it’s early, the weather looks threatening, most sane people are pulling covers over their heads. Who’s out? Some folks running in loose sweats, a pack of cyclists going in the other direction with their clear rain capes on (they looked cold…) and couple of people looking miserable while walking their dogs.

So yeah, it was quiet. And I love that. You can hear all the forest land interactions. Skittering of little things collecting food. Birds dropping portions of whatever from the trees. The occasional snap of a twig under a hoof. And the superbly quiet whirring of a tuned drivetrain.

I rolled up past this one incredibly sized mansion. Past the closed summer camp perched on the side of the hill. Up the final steep pitch and past a group of guys who looked like they were about to go hiking and were in the middle of the pre hike joshin’ and jokin’ around. Finally deeper in the park and the quiet is near complete. The lakes were frozen and the gravel roads frozen and fun to ride.

I didn’t feel like rolling all the way around, the back half of this ride is less pretty, so rode out to the Church in the Woods and turned around. What a lovely ride to start the year.

This bike has been with me for a while but in a few incarnations. I’ve used it as a commuter built as a single speed on the mean streets of the City. Recently when I rebuilt my “summer” bike I moved the old parts here. I’ve been using it on the trainer and rollers, and for some of these messy rides. It bears the brunt of the worst weather, my most tired riding, and the indignity of the rollers… all with a bike like smile. It’s smooth, and more than stiff enough, comfortable, and pleasant. It complains about nothing except… when I really step on it going uphill I can wrench the rear tire askew in the dropouts. No matter how I clamp the wheel I seem to be able to do it, and since it happens at the worst possible moment (going up a steep uphill is not the time for what feels like a some serious braking with a preceding rise in gear if I don’t do it all at once.) I’ll have to work on that problem. All else is really lovely.

Cloudy and dark

The frozen lake, although I wouldn’t walk out there at the moment.

Harriman Hills

The previous snow is almost gone.

Salsa Casseroll

The Salsa Casseroll does yeoman’s duty during the wet winter months. I normally have fatter tires on there, but I was too lazy this morning to change out the wheels. Besides, these guys have been getting the brunt of the roller sessions. I feel like I owed them some fresh air and gravel.

View across handlebars

Haven’t used 3T stuff before. This stem is not too expensive, not heavy. (6 degree, 100)

Salsa Casseroll

I got a Bontrager seatpost with the Moots Monster Cross. I had this Fizik Antares saddle waiting in the wings for the Moots, but I dropped the combo on here because Aliantes have been less comfortable than they once were. I wouldn’t mind a smidge more padding, but the Antares are working better, and the post saddle combo was lighter to boot. I’ll Ebay stuff this week.

Church gets new slate roof

The Old Church in the Woods which never seems that active but is clearly getting fresh new slates and copper flashing. Shows what I know. Slate roofs look amazing, and cared for, can last 100 years or so. My kind of conservation.

Screen shot 2010-01-17 at 12.55.09 PM.png

Redis in Practice: Who’s Online?

Redis in Practice: Who’s Online?: Redis is one of the most interesting of the NOSQL solutions. It goes beyond a simple key-value store in that keys’ values can be simple strings, but can also be data structures. Redis currently supports lists, sets and sorted sets. This post provides an example of using Redis’ Set data type in a recent feature I implemented for Weplay, our social youth sports site.
Where […] [Nicely done. You should include the cron job!]
Source: Luke Melia

Frame source

When most people think of snow and bikes it looks like this:

Or maybe even as below for some very dedicated folks who love biking and winter.

But for Mike Curiak, it looks like this:

snxc 006e.jpg

There’s a lot about this very special bike that you can’t know from first glance. For example, the frame tubes attach to a “gas can” to fuel a stove. You can see the “tank” with the Moots gator on it over the cranks. Lots of other cool stuff. Why? Because Mike doesn’t just go for a ride in the snow. Mike is a legend in endurance biking circles.

He has competed in the Iditabike for the past 10 years, winning the 350 mile version once and the 1,100 mile race twice. He holds the course record for the northern route (the race alternates between two different routes every year). He also holds the record for the Great Divide Race from Canada to Mexico along the Continental Divide. Until last year, he was the record-holder for the Kokepelli Trail Race, pedaling between Moab and Grand Junction in just under 14 hours.

Back in 2007 of the Iditarod Train Invitational he said “Last year was brutal — the highest temperature I saw during the entire race was 26 below.” High of 26 below? Hmmm. That takes preparation. This isn’t the time to discuss unsupported wilderness adventure, backwoods riding, or long distance riding. Suffice it to say that Mike knows a thing or two about it.

Here’s a video of his tour of the Iditarod Trail, Knik Lake to McGrath in early March 2009. and ova heya is timeline of his snow bikes and their evolution so far. [An aside: Eric Parsons designs and sews the gear you see on the snow bikes. Eric adventures pretty hard as well but when not he runs Epic Designs. You can custom order stuff with measurements, or go with stock stuff, or design whatever you need for your adventures. I haven;t ordered from Eric, although we’ve talked about a few things. Another excellent choice is Jeff Boatman’s Carousel Design Works. I have one of Jeff’s Escape Pods. Bomb proof. One of the great features of all three gents is that the designs are informed by doing. In their own adventures they depend on the stuff they design and in the cases of the bags sew and build. Rubber to the road people, rubber to the road.]

And while he doesn’t sew bags when he’s not out adventuring Mike runs a shop called Big Wheels where he specializes in hand built wheels for your 29er. He’s thorough, has no need to build “boutique” wheels to help you spend money (but can if you wish), and will recommend rims, hubs, spokes that match what you tell him about your riding, what you plan for the wheels, your weight etc. Go order a set. You’ll be happy as a clam I tell you what.

You might recall that I said I was perusing someone’s blog and they started posting pictures of a new bike they built. So clearly that person was Mike. And it actually starts a bit further back than that. The bike was delivered on Friday Nov. 2nd 2007. And the first ride pics the following Tuesday. But those pics weren’t really enough to peak my attention. The pictures of the built bike however inspired me to write to Mike and ask some questions. That was in February. And it wasn’t too much longer before there were ride pictures. Oh my.

So this frame sits in a work stand ready to be built. I have two sets of Mike’s wheels and a set of Billy’s wheels to choose from (at the moment they’re rubbered as fat, middle, road). Next week I’ll order the missing parts and get busy. That’ll be the next installment.

mfrd 017c.jpg

Lastly, since many of you do ride in the winter, and a common discussion is cold feet and footwear. Have a look at what Mike’s system: Warm feet are happy feet.

Anticipation… arrival


This story starts 2 years ago in early February. A person (to be named later) was posting pictures (the pic above is his as well) about a newly built bike. I had some questions, wrote to him, and learned a few things. Several months and a bike sale later, I was looking to build something similar adjusted for my situation. But the bike business is a tweaky one at times, and my LBS couldn’t easily become a dealer, and paying retail (which my LBS would have done for me) seemed wrong, and at that point paying retail directly to the company (an option) seemed wrong too. I really think it’s important to support local businesses.

So I took my thoughts in a slightly different direction and built the Jones 3D Spaceframe bike. That took the rest of 2008. Saving money, making decisions, finally ordering, waiting for it to be crafted, then the build itself. And it’s been awesome. But it wasn’t a replacement for the previous idea, and I hoped to one day get back to it…

A few weeks ago the original frame that started all of this was put up for sale. Actually a “rolling chassis” as the industry says, with wheels (2 sets actually) a fork, custom stem, Bontrager seat post, and King bottle cages… all for about the money I had saved. I considered for a few moments, but knew that if I wanted a chance I had to move. So I called Lisa, sent an email to the owner, and was first in line. I checked size, looked over pictures and drawings (it is a custom frame) — things looked good. And here we are with a chassis to build up. It’s based on the MootoX YBB, and after dropping a few parts on for test, it seems very close in the one measurement I was concerned with to the bike I ride the most. Sweet.

My LBS is closed for vacation so I can’t order the build until they’re back. Since I wait, you wait. The next installment will provide some more back story about the guy I got this from and his exploits, and then more about what makes this bike unique, and then we’ll finish up with the build. Allez!

If only…

In late December when Lance Armstrong tweeted: “Epic ride . . . 115 miles, 6.5 hrs, 10k ft climbing, 5300 Kjs. Sunny and 70 most of the day til we finished in the dark.”

To us mere mortals that’s an average of 17.7 mph (28.5 kph) on a mountainous training ride. Ouch.

In part it explains why the story of Joao Correia, who lost 60 lbs. and is riding for Cervelo Test Team is so compelling. Inside of each and every person is a voice that says, if I could only train more, drop the weight, I too, could be a pro. (Hey people, try and remember he was a pro before he gained that weight, *you,* most likely, were not.)

I’ve been fascinated by that voice since I was a little boy. I know the truth now. I’ve played with top notch football players who were going to the NFL combines and not quite making it. I’ve played on fields, and courts, played chess against masters… I love learning my current limits. It just extends my reach.

I’ve also been on bike rides with Cat 1 & 2 racers (who are still not pro level) and as usual, what they do on a bike and what I do on a bike are only similar in the broadest sense. That’s cool. I don’t aspire to be a pro or even race. But there’s always a little voice inside of me that says… if only. That voice makes anything possible.

Nothing this large…

…should be outside my front door. That print’s about the size of my hand.IMG_1535.jpg

This is what happens when your tech doesn’t tighten the QR on your semi horizontal dropout bike (The wheel pulled to rub against the chainstay). Plus you get dropped by jackasses on what is supposed to be a slow training ride. I was better company anyway.IMG_0435.jpg


The deer do so enjoy romping around my back yard.