Cranky's Corner

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Tonight I became a bike racer

Yep, thats right, tonight I actually entered my first sanctioned bike race so I need a license and all that jazz. However this was not a road race as most of you might think. No, no, if you saw my previous “Tire Teaser” post you might have an inkling. I pinned on a number for a cyclo-cross or CX race. Now if you don’t know what cyclo-cross racing is, well, it’s hell on wheels that involve, barriers, stairs, running, carrying the bike and sometimes also includes mud, snow and all sorts of foul weather. If that isn’t a good enough description for you here is a video that summarizes it well. Thankfully our course was dry and it’s way to early in the year for snow.

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This past week certainly has not been a banner week for me on the bike, actually the last 2 weeks have been pretty poor time and mileage wise. Why? It’s because I’ve been fatigued, but not what you think. By that I mean I haven’t been physically fatigued but rather mentally fatigued. Work has been stressful and grueling at times and then throw in life’s other little challenges and my brain is spent at the end of the day. It’s funny because I can be physically fatigued or sore and still get out on the bike. Getting out on the bike, even if it’s an easy spin, just makes my body feel better and loosen me back up. However when it comes to mental fatigue I can’t even fathom getting on the bike. Every morning I get up, get excited if it’s going to be a nice day for an afternoon ride, have a good lunch to fuel my planned ride but by the time I get home in the afternoon I’m just spent and can’t muster the energy to get out on the bike. Sometimes I think if I can just get out I may feel better but I’m so frazzled a slip of focus while riding could have severe consequences so it’s probably better I surf that couch and let my brain rest.

Today was my first day out since last Sunday. My legs felt dead at first and I though it was going to be a horrible ride. But I didn’t set out on a hammer fest and turned down a few new roads today and ended up having a blast exploring. After a stop at Starbucks I even tackled this one hill I’ve wanted to do for a while. I ended up having a ton of fun, banging out a bunch of hills and just loved being out on my bike.

Then I came home, switched shoes and took the CX bike out around the ‘hood for about a 20 minute spin, riding the grass, hopping curbs and practicing some dismount/mount and shouldering skills.

Overall it was a great day. I didn’t care about time, speed or setting records. It was just a day for me to enjoy. There are few things greater than powering yourself down the road, breathing in the fresh air and conquering all types of terrain. You know I must really be fatigued if I don’t even want to kit up and get outside.

Tire Teaser

What on Earth am I cooking up with these?

Clement MXP

The dreaded BB30 creak

My Cannondale is the first bike that I have had with press fit bottom bracket bearings. I knew going in that some may develop creaking or clicks but I prayed to the BB gods and hoped it wouldn’t happen to me. Well apparently my token sacrifices didn’t suffice and on a training ride last Sunday my cranks developed a click. Here is a good video showing what I all of a sudden had to deal with. This isn’t my bike, but symptoms are exactly the same.

If you do a little research you’ll find a variety of info and remedies online. From a simple re-greasing of the bearings, to replacing the bearings to installing the bearings with Loctite 609. Interestingly a lot of people complain about the creaking/clicking starting after a rain ride or washing the bike. The day the problem started it was after a rain and the roads had a little water on them but not enough to cause issues I would think, but who knows. I could have taken it to the shop since the bike is under warranty, and although bearings are wear items this shouldn’t be happening within the first 2000 miles, I figured I’d take apart the crank and give everything a good cleaning and re-greasing. I didn’t have anything to loose except maybe 30 mins of my time.

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Freight trained

I was on one of my usual weekday routes that take take me something between 45mins to an hour to complete. I have 3 general routes, one flat route, one moderately hilly and one with a couple of good climbs in it. I generally use these as hard efforts trying for PRs and maybe a KOM if I can swing it (not likely lol). If I need a recovery ride I’ll do the flat route at an easier pace usually. Anyway, on this particular night I was riding the moderately hilly route and heading back towards the homestead. I was on this section of road that has a short little uphill then it levels off before another short uphill which leads into a false flat.

As I hit the little flat section between the two little hills there is a street on the left and a group of riders are waiting for traffic to pass. I give the wave and keep may pace up the next incline and then picked up the pace a bit on the false flat. I’m doing about 20mph and I can now hear the group of riders behind – it was expected, I knew I wasn’t going to hold them off nor was I trying. The lead rider give me an “on your left” and then tells me “nice pace” as he passes me. The plan was to hang on to the back of the group after they passed and get a little free speed. That never happened. While they didn’t pass me all that fast I under estimated their speed and didn’t give it enough gas to hang on and I lost the wheel.

What really irked me though was they gave me zero room as they passed. I was riding the white line and there are a few storm drains that extend out to the white line and a little beyond, which normally of course I’d adjust my line into the lane and stay there until all drains are passed, but that wasn’t happening this night as I was given no room and I had to navigate the storm drains at speed. Each drain is surrounded by concrete so I had a smooth area to ride on but none of then are level with the road which made for some fun. So boo on that group for not being courteous. I always pass single riders with adequate space especially if I can see some road furniture ahead.

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