A Dirty, Slushy Ride with Debris

Gloomy

While Steve and Pam portaged around a fallen tree, I took a quick photo with my iPhone inside the Biologic Reecharge case. The day was that gloomy looking. The ride dirty and slushy with debris everywhere. Tweeted Retweet when we got back

Rode straight into the Pineapple Express today, full soak through in minutes, pushed the limits of our outerwear. A dirty slush ride.

Regarding the outerwear, the ride itself didn’t seem that epic until we turned into that storm and it was like a cold, constant, punishing Silkwood shower. That’s the first time eVent couldn’t handle the conditions and its clammy tendencies made me feel too cold. Not only did I sweat the laminate out, but it got wet too. The water came in from my neck, down from the helmet and cap. I couldn’t vent the clamminess either, cause I didn’t want more water flowing in.

The best thing to do in situations like that, besides calling your mommy, is to burn calories to stay warm. Steve was ahead pushing through and I got on his wheel with Pam inline behind. In a few miles, about 45 minutes later, that storm front and icy squall passed and the temps were balmy. eVent worked well then and did what it’s supposed to do. I unzipped to dehumidify the microclimate and was back to comfort in a few more miles.

When the eVent gets clammy, a stinging cold rain against your face, and even darker storm clouds ahead, a good wheel to pick is @sgluckman.

Up a hill and ‘round another bend, I saw the storms clouds gathering, getting dark again, and the temperature dropped. I decided to drive it back home and with a tailwind got on top of the gear. I knew all of us would get in a bad or worse way, if treated to another squall.

Prepared

Reviewing Novara’s first-gen eVent jacket a couple years ago, I said

you can get cold real fast if you’re just wearing a thin liner and a jacket.

In the Winter, when I’m wearing eVent, I always carry a balled-up rain cape in a jersey pocket. I had the cape at the ready for this ride too, but we made in home just in time. As Pam heated up mochas, the rain started again. We were also relieved to have not crashed on black ice.

Mother Nature is boss ‘round here and no matter the technical materials you’re wearing, she’ll remind you of it, at will. It’s best to prepare, as well as you can.

Review: Redline Conquest Carbon

Redline Conquest Carbon

With the 2012 Conquest Carbon, longtime cyclocross stalwart Redline steps into the carbon era with a machine that is both drastically different from their previous offerings and yet a wholly mature design.

With its tapered steerer carbon fork, internal cable routing, BB30, and disc compatibility, the Conquest Carbon has all the latest bells and whistles, but I’m struck by how the basic lines of the bike are so straightforward. When designers draw out carbon road bikes, too often they take a simple machine and add “flare” to make it stand out in the market place. And if that doesn’t really detract from the bike’s function, it’s because caliper brakes are simple to mount and the rider only touches the bike at the bar, saddle, and pedals. But during a cyclocross race, a rider is all over the bike, beside it, under it…cantilever brakes are typically messy in their routing and even disc brakes are deceptively difficult to accommodate. Plus you have to worry about mud, grass, or snow building up on the bike. When frame designers decide to add styling features to a cyclocross frame so as to create a family resemblance to the rest of the brand, the results usually detract from the performance and ergonomics of the bike. Conversely, the design of the Conquest Carbon is deceptively simple in its execution, with all the functional elements in harmony. Those five years of development allowed Redline to refine design, and the new bike emerges as a well thought out gestalt that nevertheless shows clever improvement in nearly all details. With its debut, the brand’s aesthetic utterly resets. It’s no surprise that the only other Redline product that the Conquest Carbon resembles is the “Project 79” Flight Carbon BMX bike, a wildly ambitious yet fully realized design in its own respective category.

Redline Conquest Carbon in snow

More Light & Motion for the dark days ahead

Light & Motion Vis360

Over the last ten years, lighting technology has improved dramatically. I remember ten years ago when I was delivering pizzas late at night, and I was burning through AA batteries on my mini-halogen light. So I invested in a big dual-beam headlight so I could be sure to have bright, consistent light till midnight and beyond. Nowadays, mini-halogen light have essentially vanished, and by comparison LED units can get much better performance out of the same AA batteries. Why would you want buy a light system anymore?

Well, it’s true that $30 buys you a much better light than it did a decade ago, but seeing and being seen should be pretty high on your priorities if you are riding your bike in these winter months of darkness. Over 60% of bike-car collisions happen after 4pm, when people are distracted from their driving and visibility is worse. It would be wise to take advantage of the newer generation of lighting to improve your safety rather than taking a barely-good-enough approach. Just as LED technology has improved replaceable cell battery powered lights, so too has it improved rechargeable light systems. But for light systems, it’s not just the LED but also the battery technologies as well as smarter circuitry to push performance even further. Lithium-ion batteries give more power, more consistently with more burn-time and less weight than lead-acid or Ni-metal.

Light & Motion Vis360

Korean Actress Yoon Eun-Hye on a bicycle

For the Korean television series My Fair Lady(2009) , it was reported that popular K-drama actress Yoon Eun-Hye learned to ride a bicycle for her role as a spoiled heiress. In a particular scene, her romantic counterpart - an argumentative butler with low class roots - teaches her to ride a bike. Actress Yoon showed her professional resolve by learning how to ride a bike for the role despite her initial fears. In a neat twist, fact mirrors fiction. But what is really fact, and what is really fiction?

For her role in the earlier (and much better quality) K-drama Coffee Prince(2007), the actress filmed multiple scenes in which her character, a hardworking tomboy, makes morning deliveries by bicycle. She’s also seen making noodle deliveries via motorscooter. A more cynical view would hold that the story about her learning to ride a bicycle for the later series was just a publicity sleight of hand.

20090909_eunhyebike_add.jpg

A year after My Fair Lady Yoon Eun-Hye modeled for Basic House China for their Summer 2010 Collection. Several of the photos depict her riding a bike. So, whenever she may have learned, it appears as if Eun-Hye still remembers how to ride.

bimg3.jpg

If there’s one thing I know to be true, it is that one should never try to teach a hot Korean girl to ride a bike…because your ex-girlfriend who was a non-friend associate with the Korean girl will find out years after the fact and get super-pissed about it (even though the ex broke up with you a year and half prior to the bike lesson) but not say why until 6 months elapse when you will ask her why she’s being so…er,unpleasant…. at which time she will tell you that she doesn’t need friends like you and then tell you to never contact her again. And that’s why I’ll never be welcome in Baltimore.

…..oh, and here’s a gratuitous magazine cover of Eun-Hye. I looked really, really hard, but I didn’t see a bicycle in this particular photo

yoon-eun-hye-dazed-confused.jpeg

ENVEs with File Treads for the Feb Kermesses

File treads for the first race of 2012 – the Tufos are glued onto a set of ENVE 25s with DT Swiss hubs. Light, fast wheels, with tires for various terrain conditions. The Andy Salmon Kermesse next month features 2 miles of pavement and 2 miles of road near Mt. Rainer. Last season, I raced a previous incarnation of this Kermesse

After 2 to 4 laps on rolling pavement, you hit the rocky, compact dirt and into a climb with enough rise to burn; especially after ten times.

Last time I saw so many flats, a desert hillbilly threw tacks out on a race course in the Horse Heaven Hills. The promoter Prudog will tell you to just run 25s or 28s and you can do that sure, then you’ll flat like everyone else will. File treads are highly recommended.

long climb

Lonely as it is hard

Kermesse is Flemish for a type of bike race that occurs on a circuit, usually around a farmhouse, church, or center of a small town. A Kermesse usually takes place during a related festival. The Feb Kermesses are to promote the Ohop Valley and town of Eatonville, where they ride bikes too.

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