Friday, March 20, 2009

Milan- San Remo Pick

Look out for Davide Rebellin. I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

GamJams Reviews: Cleaning / Degreasing - The Pre-Moistened Wipe-y Things in the Gym

This week's review is about cleaning agents. I'm a total nut-job about keeping the bike(s) clean. Number one rule for keeping the bike clean? Don't let it get dirty. True of most things. Shoes off in the house. Don't cook like a whirling dervish. Keep your poo in the potty.

Anyhow...we live in a tiny apartment. It's clean in part because I don't wheel nasty, grimey, muddy, greasy bikes into the bedroom. SVR is a sweetheart for putting up with five bicycles in our 750 s.f. of indoor space, so the least I can do is keep those bad boys looking spotless.

Here's my process. Keep my gym access card in my cycling wallet. At the end of every ride, I roll straight into the gym in the basement of our building. I grab four pre-moistened towelettes from the dispenser in the gym. I pull the front wheel and wipe down the tire, rim, and hub with towel #1. Next, I flip the bike upside down and do the same to the rear wheel, still attached to the bike. That's towel #2. Towel #3 is for the rest of the frame exposed while the bike is upside down. Next, I flip the bike over and re-install the front wheel. Towel #4 goes to wipe down the top of the frame and any other, non-moving, dirty parts.

Of course, who knows what those towelettes are saturated with? For all I know, the solvent is terrible for carbon and aluminum. Somehow, considering the product is distributed for gym use (and presumably for people to wipe their bodies with), I imagine it's pretty mild. Still, though, the best I could do for this entry's title is 'The Pre-Moistened Wipe-y Things in the Gym.'

I also use some paper towels to wipe down the chain after every ride. I lean it against a wall and simply run the chain backwards while firmly gripping the towel around the lower run of the chain. The sweet spot is holding with enough pressure to affect some cleaning, but not with so much pressure that the towel shreds into a zillion small shards.

Once in a while, I mount the bike in the trainer (again, 750 s.f. doesn't exactly allow for a workshop with a stand and toolbox and workbench) to give the chain a good scrub down. I use Pedro's Bio Cleaner and spray the heck out of the chain and go through the same process referenced above. With the Bio Cleaner, I use a proper rag instead of paper towels. Heavy saturation usually leaves the chain looking okay. It never gets too dirty to begin with (see rule #1 above), so this spray down is usually good enough. I always let the bike sit overnight before re-applying any lube. Gotta let the cleaner evaporate before applying new lube. If not, the de-greaser will simply break down whatever new lubricants I apply.

Considering the review is only supposed to be about 'cleaning/DE-greasing,' I'll leave it at that.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Pleasant Trade-Off

Ended up opting out of the trip to the Barn this weekend in favor of trying to nurse myself back to health. Been suffering a raw throat for about a week and I didn't think 8+ hours of riding in the cold and wet would improve my chances of healing up. Reading some of the enthusiastic reports of the riding in WVA, I stand by my decision. I did get out for a ride in the drier conditions Saturday. Legs felt like heavy, heavy bags o' sand.

Of course, the weekend's exciting news is hardly mine or ours. E&K welcomed their son to the world early Saturday morning. Andrew Bernard Ellicott. We've seen him twice already and he's an outrageously cute little bugger. I've never had a good sense for children and have never felt much of a draw towards them, but this guy just exudes cool and I can't wait to watch him grow. While the other visitors in the room were catching up and hearing the stories of the hours leading up to and following the birth, I was plopped by the little crib thing transfixed by Andrew while he slept. are some grainy shots from day two. Congrats to mom, dad, son, and extended families!

E promises he (and the 'he' in this case is Andrew) should be good to go for the 7AM next Saturday...assuming the weather is fine.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Why I Don't Post

I'm lax about posting largely 'cause this is the kind of excitement I have to share. The weekend went as follows:

Friday evening: We had every intention of cooking at home Thursday, but caved and hit up 2Amys instead. So Friday saw a nice NY strip, a couple Yukon Golds, and some asparagus sitting in the fridge awaiting heat and consumption (the act of eating, not TB). Simple ingredients, but good flavors. Paired with some new Cabernet SVR is into, we had a fine meal at home. Also, I finally watch 'Children of Men.' A bit one dimensional. The thing coulda been over in 25 minutes and it woulda been the same movie. Not sure what the critical claim was all about.

Saturday: Up early enough to not have to rush to get ready to ride. The 7AM is often unappealing cause it puts me in a state of frenzy just to get up and out the door by 6:30AM. Anyhow...MattyD. and I met up and committed to a jaunt out to Poolesville. The deal was to try to flog each other a good bit on the way out there. We did manage a bit of that and then bumped into some other DCMTB fellows just outside the Bretton Woods entrance and we all headed out to P'ville as a larger group. Matty and I throttled back a bit for the remainder and that probably turned out to be a saving grace. After 3:38 of ride time, I struggled like heck to get out of the Park on Porter and up the stairsteps from Connecticut to Wisconson. Ouchy. All-in-all, though, an excellent showing considering my very, very inconsistent training regimen.

After a quick shower, SVR and I knocked out groceries for the week and kicked back for a bit before heading over to D&S's. They planned to cook some Best Recipes gumbo. Sounded promising. When we arrived, S was pushing the roux well beyond her comfort zone. Tom Colicchio would have been way proud. Things were looking very good, with nice shrimp, spicy Andouille, healthy chicken breasts, a uniformly diced 'holy trinity,' and homemade shrimp stock all lined up for incorporating. And then D effed it all to hell! Adding the stock in one fell swoop was a big mistake. The result was not a thick, brown, rich stew. Instead, the pot looked like dirty dishwater with little roux floater terds. In the end, SVR pulled through with some fine improv skills and we had a hearty and flavorful Andouille and shrimp pasta dish.

Speaking of improv...the remainder of the eve was spent at The Source theater. They're running 'FIST: The Tournament of the Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament.' I'll leave it at this: great idea, poor execution. I didn't laugh much.

Some brews at The Squirrel closed things down and it was off to bed already an hour in the sleep hole.

Sunday: Up at the ass crack and off to Trade Zone to do my volunteer duty. Marshaled turn one for all the races and was kinda surprised by the number of absolute dip-craps that tried to turn on to the course. Needless to say, I saved the day a number of times (pat, pat).

Standing and watching for four hours just about wore me out, but I still had to kit up and put in some miles with hEllicott and Dr. B. I hadn't ridden to North Beach in many years and forgot how hilly that area can be. My teammates absolutely pummeled me, but it was a swell time. I opted to ride the Giant all weekend and don't have my own data to spew, but apparently Evan's PT registered a TSS of 199 for day. Total weekend hours amounted to seven and mileage was just around 130. Needless to say, I need to carry that sorta load forward and ramp up on all fronts.

As The Wrob aptly pointed out, Walkersville should prove a painful ordeal for me. He kindly offered to save me the longer drive to the course and dress up in his old RHD kit and kick me in the nuts for a full three hours. He even offered to do that for $13.50 less than I paid to register for the race. What can I say? He's a giver.

After a rush to get home, we ended the weekend with another fine meal at 2Amys. The Commish, hEllicott, and the nearly born baby (Monkey, for now) joined us and it was great to sit outside with them during the calm before the inevitable storm. Hard to believe how different things will be for them in a week's time.