Today On A Bike

This week’s been a bit tough for me with a kidney stone, something I deal with once a year or so. I didn’t get a lot of miles in this week because of that but I did manage this relaxing ride at Northshore and a group road ride earlier this week. It was my first time riding my fatbike there. It’s a rough ride on a rigid bike even if it’s got fat tires. Sadly, my titanium fatbike probably doesn’t have a long life with me looking forward. I love it but I don’t think I’ll ride it enough to justify keeping it. I think a hardtail or another Epic would get a lot more use in my normal mountain biking down here in Texas.

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Spring Knoxville MTB Trip

I joined some friends for a spring mountain bike trip this weekend in Knoxville Tennessee. We largely rode the Urban Wilderness trails. It was a fun trip to see some good friends I’ve not seen in a bit. I slept in my Element part of the way from Texas to Tennessee on the drive up to our Air BNB house rental. My element and Ibis are as dependable as ever.

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New Bike Day! 2017 S-Works Tarmac eTap

After the crash at last years State Championship criterium, I had to make some decisions. I did a lot of thinking about what I wanted to do about a road bike. I could have replaced the damaged parts on my 2014 S-Works Tarmac, but I decided against that. I took the opportunity to take the insurance money and put myself on a newer road bike. It felt like the right long-term decision. I also sold the non damaged parts from my 2014 Tarmac to a teammate. Again, it seemed like the right thing to do.

Fast forward to now. #newBikeDay

I decided upon and bought a 2017 S-Works Tarmac eTap. The Tarmac was the easy part of the decision, I loved my last Tarmac. Light, nimble, eager to jump and attack, terrific climber. What group to buy was the only real question. I landed at Sram eTap largely because Specialized wasn’t going to put out a new Dura-Ace Di2 bike anytime soon when I did some checking. I decided to give eTap a chance. To be fair going into this, I loved my Shimano Dura-Ace Di2. It’ll be interesting to discover my thoughts on Sram eTap as time goes on. I’ll be honest with my opinions and post follow ups.

I flew back to Illinois Saturday morning to go see some of my favorite people, the owners of Bloomington Cycle & Fitness. I may be 782 miles away in Texas but it’s still my local bike shop at heart.

Scott and Caryn, the owners of the Bloomington Cycle & Fitness are so good to my family. I was running so late Saturday after a lot of unfortunate things happen like the death of a new MacBook Pro and Southwest losing my bike bag for five hours. In the end, Apple came through in a big way with a brand new replacement and Southwest found my bike bag. Lots of stress that day but Scott and Caryn’s positive attitude made all the difference. I was instantly reminded why I love that place and those people. Scott stayed late to fit me on the bike and make all sorts of changes I’d asked for. They are the definition of great knowledgable customer service. I love that place.

Now back at home, I took some pictures before I take it for a it’s first Texas ride.

I asked for the Sram Red 22 crankset to be replaced with the new Sram Red Quarq crankset to keep access to a power meter.

 

I loved the Roval CLX40 wheels on my last Tarmac and I anticipate loving them on this bike. The CeramicSpeed bearings seem to roll forever and are as smooth as anything I’ve ever felt. The S-Works Turbo Cotton tires are something I’ve wanted to try for a long time now, I’m excited to get on them.

I had a straight S-Works carbon seat post and S-Works Romin saddle swapped in to recreate the pieces I loved on my last road bike.

The 11R carbon in the S-Works is pretty amazing stuff. Rider engineered performance I’m excited to experience.

The S-Works handlebar has a drop that I love so far. Very comfortable so far. The shifters and brakes seem comfortable and work well so far.

The frame is an engineering and art masterpiece. The shaping on the head tube is beautiful and functional offering great stiffness.

It’s really light at 15.43 lbs with the Sram Red Quarq power meter, two water bottle cages, and Speedplay stainless pedals, and K-Edge Garmin mount. I’m really happy with everything so far, it should be the beginning of a great relationship with the bike.

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Changes

It always feels like one cycle comes to an end while another one starts when I update the first post of this blog. Editing the post up until now was to add another year to my age as my hair gets a little more grey, but the change tonight hit me in the feels a little more.

Cycles in Life. Not a straight line towards or away from one thing or towards a different thing. Different cycles of events and feelings. Not a goodbye, just an I’ll see you later. Different events and opportunities. A time and place to reflect on the amazing experiences and fond memories of people and places.

Cycles In Life

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Putting Tires On Dirt In Texas – Northshore Trails

We’re settling into life in Wylie outside of Dallas Texas now. I took the opportunity yesterday on a beautiful sunny 68ºF Sunday to ride my Ibis HD3 at Northshore trails near Dallas Texas. It’s the trail system that I’d been wanting to ride since moving based on reviews. I only had enough daylight to ride the East loop which makes up about half of the 20 or so miles of singletrack. I’ll be back soon to loop the whole place.

Gathering my stuff took about twenty minutes longer than usual because of the move and it’s been a while.

It was really nice to ride again. The roller coaster of flowy and technical trails were a lot of fun. There was plenty of rock and the trail flowed as well as about anything else I’ve ever pedaled. I had a great time and will be back regularly.

Riding local rocky trails in 70ºF temps in January. That’s something I’ve never typed before.

I met some nice local DORBA members. I wanted to show some of the technical climbs and descents. Here’s a local making his way up a rocky steep climb and he later held my phone to capture me rolling down a section. #itsAlwaysSteeperInRealLife :)

It’s been too long, but now that’s made correct. I’ve got a lot of exploring and riding to start doing every week. I’ve found several mountain bike trail systems and will begin to check them out. I want to ride up and around a lake in my area on my cross bike. The roads are busy enough I’d like to find an out of traffic country loop somewhere. I’m hoping I can make that happen in the coming weeks. I’ll join the big group rides on the road as soon as I can make up my mind on what road bike to buy. (Please Specialized release the 2017 S-Works Tarmac Dura Ace Di2 soon…)

Thanks for continuing to read this thing I started a few years ago. I hope you find some joy out of it in this sometimes crazy but often times wonderful world we’re living in.

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Looking Back & Looking Forward

I’m sitting in a hotel currently homeless as we just sold our Illinois home and we’re about to make the drive south to our new home in Texas. It seemed like a good time to write a quick post to look back and look forward. In a few hours my wife and I are going to our local bike shop’s new years party, something of a special tradition at this point. One last night here to smile, talk about fond memories, and try not to get sad about leaving.

Looking Back

I had an enjoyable year on the bike with some great memories, new amazing trails ridden, and even raced my first year of crits ever. Some of the highlights are:

I had some changes done to my Ibis HD3 that I’d been wanting transforming that bike into something that fits so well into what I want. I wouldn’t change a thing.

I had a great early season trip to Alabama to escape the cold of the north and ride some rocky mountain bike trails with some decent elevation. Really fun trip I hope becomes an annual thing.

The annual Giant City roadie camp weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year. I love the combination of being with great friends, early season excitement to ride, and a pretty beautiful place to ride in Illinois.

The Lake Tahoe trip was second to no other experiences I’ve had. Really great trip. It was big mountain biking but terrain and views were different from what I’ve seen in Colorado and Utah in past trips. Really beautiful place. 

Looking Forward

I’m looking forward to the exciting possibilities in Texas. I plan to explore as much of the riding as possible. It looks like there are many places with Singletrack in the area. I hope to find some gravel somewhere. I know the road riding will be warm and year round. I’m excited. I’m also sad to leave so many of the people who have made such a huge impact on my life when I moved here nine years ago. You know who you are. I love you. Thanks, really.

Onward & Forward.

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