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Why do we ride?

14 Jan

I was fat, broke and lazy. I’d lost any semblance of high school runner shape, several years of fried food and complete inactivity left me breathless trying to play disc golf with friends. Even attempting to squat to put away dishes in lower cabinets was beginning to become quite uncomfortable. Something in me started to realize that my condition was going to go one way or the other. I was either going to get in shape, or give up. Well, being broke, I bought a cheap fixie online and started riding a bike again. Continue reading

Product Review: Giant Surge

15 Jun

Hello beer cyclist followers! It’s been a long time! How were things for you while I was away? I’m happy to announce that I have finally emerged from the ‘let’s be depressed and hate ourself’ rock that I crawled under like 2 years ago. Whew, about damn time folks!

Anyway, more on that sprinkled into future posts, today I am going to talk to you about shoes! Yes shoes! Don’t worry, it’s apropos to the site, I’m talking about my new cycling shoes.

I was recently given the opportunity to try out a pair of Giant Surge race shoes from my wonderful bike shop, theRecyclist. For the past 3 years, I’d been riding a pair of the most basic Body Geometry shoes from Specialized. Not bad shoes, but I was in for a shock.

It really shouldn’t come as a surprise at this point, but often times when I get new gear I am surprised at how much of a difference it makes. Shoes are most assuredly no exception.

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The first thing I noticed about these shoes is the fit and the comfort. I kind of expected racing shoes to be uncomfortable, but these fit wonderfully. They way the BOAs are set up makes the tightening of the shoes holistic and balanced. I do have fairly wide feet, so finding shoes that fit me well is difficult when not considering performance. The one thing I have noticed after putting about 500+ miles on these shoes is that my big toes do get scrunched. To the point that I don’t think I would wear these on a century or anything, but I totally think that’s okay, the comfort up to the 50-70 mile range is great for this style of shoe.

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Giant is working with a sort of new technology with this shoe, and it’s the part I cant really speak much about as I don’t have much with which to compare. The bar on the bottom is supposed to provide torsional flex and improve pedal efficiency. I can’t say how much of a difference it makes, but the shoes are certainly stiff, yet move enough to not be painful to wear. At high speeds and while racing it’s good to not even think about what’s on my feet. The power transfer compared to my old Body Geometry shoes is staggering.

I would definitely recommend these shoes to other racers. Again, I don’t have a lot to compare, but the performance I’ve experienced is substantial.

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The Scenic Shore 150

30 Jul

Well, it’s over for this year. I completed my ride last weekend, and it was a great one! Saturday proved to be quite windy, but I managed to maintain a pretty good average for the century ride. On Sunday, I met up with some awesome folks who were moving at a pretty good clip, and we averaged almost 20 miles per hour! We got a little splash up from the road on sunday, but otherwise, the only actual rain I felt was on saturday during lunch.

It was quite a difference from last year, weather wise. I remember getting sprayed with a garden hose at the last rest stop last year, and this year we were practically looking for blankets! It was nice weather, but definitely much colder than last year. I also want to say, that the volunteers for this ride are spectacular. Every single person I encountered in both years of this ride has been so positive and helpful, it really makes me want to keep coming back. They carry our bags to the trucks, cheer us on, greet us with huge smiles; it’s really cool to be treated like that for a weekend. Thank you guys so much!

All in all, LLS has almost raised their $1,000,000 goal, and are still hoping to hit it by August 16th, I’ll update if they do, but either way, I am going to be doing the ride again next year and hope to break my $380 mark from this year! And now for some iphone photos (=

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Props to the guy who rode the 150 on this beast!

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It was raining on the way home, so I took advantage of the empty parking lot.

Got my rider packet… Little bit Excited

10 Jul

So, I got my rider packet for the scenic shore 150 yesterday! I’m feeling excited, not that I’ve raised the funds. I was way off the $1000 mark but I did make more than last year so who knows, maybe I’ll get there one of these years! I’ll try to snap some awesome pics on my iphone on the ride, last year it was absolutely beautiful!

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My first century

9 Jul

Well, since I finally got a bike with some gears it was about time to ride a century! Since I’ve been welcomed in by all the wonderful group riders here in Appleton, it’s been an interesting ride, pun intended (=

I’ve been given plenty of advice, as well as beers, rides and am getting a really great deal on a wonderful bike (who I have since named Gallafrey by the way). I heard about the ride on one of our weekly rides out to High Cliff State Park and decided it was time. We met at a park and ride at 5:30am, got the bikes packed up and headed up to Menominee for the Menominee River Century.

We had I think about 26 riders on what turned out to be a gorgeous day. We started out at a pretty easy pace as usual, and I even saved us from certain doom! Well, at least from a few miles out of the way. A couple of the signs weren’t exactly clear and we were so happy to be riding that we turned at the loop meant for the finish. Thankfully I was paying attention, and got everyone turned around. It was nice to be able to contribute. The first 60ish miles were pretty much a breeze, I felt beyond great. One of the rest stops had burgers, which was awesome; they also had some wonderful fresh peaches and cookies and everything. Miles 60-80 brought some new loops and scenery, and by around mile 80 I was feeling it. Susan asked me how I was doing and I responded “Well, I feel pretty much like I just biked 80 miles”. The last 15 miles or so are a slightly down hill stretch with a gorgeous tailwind so we picked the speed up to about 23-24 miles per hour.  I even managed to hang with a couple faster guys at about 85 miles in, pulling about 25-27 for a while. My legs blew up, of course, and I fell back to the pack, but it was an encouraging burst!

Even the weather cooperated perfectly, with high 70’s low humidity and perfect sunlight. I managed to build upon the crazy tan lines I’m crafting. Such is the life of a cyclist. Anyway, I felt pretty great overall. I was definitely feeling sore at the end, especially the backside, but it felt awesome to complete my first 100 miles. Around 84 miles I felt like Sam in Lord of the Rings when he tells Frodo, “this is the farthest from home I’ve ever been” (the most miles I had previously ridden in a day).

I’ve got a few longer rides coming up, including the Scenic Shore 150, Race the Lake and the Door County Century, and we’ll see what else pops up over the summer. In the meantime, keep riding and thanks for checking out the blog!

I got a geared bike! Bianchi Trofeo

10 Jun

Well,
it finally happened, I procured a geared road bike. It’s been a journey, for sure, but I am really excited to ride! I’ve been doing group rides for a while now, and after seeing a 2009 Bianchi at a shop in Two Rivers (that was waaaay out of my current price range), I couldn’t stop talking about it.

Lo and behold, one of my riding partners heard me out, and remembered this bike sitting in her garage, and now a few days later, it’s in my living room being tuned up (= She offered me a very reasonable price which I plan on taking. First I have to get some shoes (hopefully tomorrow) so I can take here out on a good long ride, but I can already tell it’s a fit. After doing some minor adjustments we are clicking like old friends. She doesn’t have a name yet, but soon, friends… soon.

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So I’m spamming myself to sell some bikes (=

2 Jun

Well, I found a bike. Ummmmm, it’s a really really good deal, and I am trying desperately to come up with the necessary cash. It’s even my color. Yeah. So I am selling two bicycles, and have listed them on craigslist.

One of them is my red Firenze GL5000. I noted in a previous post that I have given up work on this bike, but taking it for a test ride today, it’s really not a bad bike. I cleaned it up nice and it actually rides pretty well. The deurailler needs some tweaking, as it has issues with the small gear in front, but it shouldn’t be a big thing. The chain is clean and there’s no rust to be found anywhere. I thought it looked better without the fenders and rack, but they come with and are easy enough to put back on.

I’m asking $75 to start, but come take a look and make me an offer, and we’ll see what happens!

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The second bike is my old mountain bike. This one has stories behind it, let me tell you. It’s a 1996 frame, and the frame itself is still in great shape, with only a few nicks in the paint. I got this bike in high school and on a really rainy day after a cross country meet, I sort of daydreamed off and ran into the back of a parked car. OOF. The car was fine, and no one cared much, but my bike was another story. The fork was shot, totally bent. This leads to the one glaring problem with this bike that you’ll have to deal with.

My friend put a set of shocks on it, but the for doesn’t quite fit. I’ve been told all it needs is a spacer, so it may be an easy fix for someone with know-how. The brakes are perfect, I mean they are sharp, as well as the shifters. The tires also are still in really great shape, and they are pretty decent tires. The crankset is meh, could use replacing, but the bike still rides and shifts. I’m asking $75 for this one as well, but again, negotiating is fine. Oh, and it comes with a really sweet set of lights a friend gave me. They light up greenish-yellow and are great for night-time visibility. I really just want to get a little closer to that gorgeous Bianchi that’s never going to leave my dreams (=

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Thanks for looking, and if you know anyone interested, please pass it on.

GT http://appleton.craigslist.org/bik/3844961969.html

Firenze http://appleton.craigslist.org/bik/3844973179.html