Mark V, Di2, and Rebecca’s Private Idaho

The second edition of Rebecca Rusch’s Private Idaho 100-mile gravel grinder began on a crisp 40 degree morning at the very end of August. Normally I despise the cold, but on this day the slight gnawing from the cold gave me a little confidence…confidence that my electronic shifting system might work when I needed it most. Unfortunately, confidence based on fact and that which is based on superstition can be easily confused.

Though I recently designed a gravel grinder/CX frame that Davidson Bicycles fabricated out of titanium, I chose to take advantage of Specialized’s “‘Test the Best” program to demo one of their premium production bikes. Though I have been assembling custom Davidsons with Di2, I have relatively little riding time on it. This is partially because I usually can only fit the smallest size frames, but Specialized brought two Crux with Di2/hydraulic disc in the 46cm size. How could I resist? ….especially since I could avoid the hassle of airline travel with my (non-S&S) gravel bike.

Unfortunately, my red Crux had some sort of digital gremlin in the left lever. I didn’t notice the problem when I first picked up the bike on Friday because I arrived just at the end of the pick-up session and needed to find my room for the night (which is kinda a funny story on its own). The left shifter had seemingly no effect on the front derailleur. When I went back the next day’s pick up session, Dane the mechanic and I couldn’t find anything definitively wrong with the system, but now the front derailleur seemed to shift if I spastically pushed the buttons again and again. I began to wonder if there was some sort of sequence that I had inadvertently discovered…something like a video game special move involving button combinations and rhythms. Curses! If only had spent more of my youth playing Street Fighter for Nintendo!

With Shimano’s diagnostic tool, all the shifters and derailleurs were showing with no problems, but even after we updated the firmware (which is roughly equivalent to rebooting your PC), there was no change. So I figured I’d chance it, thinking that I’d really only need to shift the front a few times if I was lucky. We had already tried all reasonable fixes; if this were a shop situation, there would be nothing left but sending the derailleur and/or lever back to Shimano, but I wanted to do the grinder on Sunday morning. That night as I rode about town searching for my pre-race Chinese dinner, the front shifter became inexplicably obedient. I could only guess that it was temperature related, as the night in Sun Valley was nippy. Perhaps the Private Idaho grinder would be cold enough that I could have faith in my front derailleur…

In the end, the front derailleur locked out in the big ring, but I had a pedal/cleat failure that had already convinced me to abandon the full 100mile route in favour of the 50mile version.

Under the Bridge Sometime

Under the Bridge

Spokane street, heading to West Seattle

Monkey light lit up Spokane Street, under the West Seattle Bridge. Hadn’t notice the scene pop like that before and ridden there hundreds of times…got the shot with the Sony A7R.

We’re off today and hope you’re enjoying the holiday as well. Get a good ride in.

Mark Finds His Idaho with Broken Cleats and Di2

mark v

Pacing and wondering how Mark V was doing at Reba’s ride, my phone buzzed just with these texts…

Apparently some Di2 shifters are temperature sensitive, or at least my front derailer won’t shift in anything over 60deg.

It was fuck all cold, 39deg this morning

And then!

Fuck broken cleats and electronic shifting, ol’ Gunsmoke here don’t need carbon fiber neither.

As I learned, you quickly find an Idaho you didn’t know on forest service roads. For me it was a smokey-haze, that had me running like my motor was plate restricted. For Mark, cleats and Di2 failed, and his ride ended early.

This after he got his required Chinese food!

Chinese food

Mark V Chinaloads before a race

Now he’s recuperating somewhere with a story to follow…

Stretching Tubulars

Hutch stretched

Hutchison Mamba being stretched

Spent a rainy, holiday weekend morning stretching tubulars. It was like wax on and wax off. First the stretched Hutch tire was moved to a new set of ENVEs we’re demoing, and another tire put on the stretching rim. It’s these routines, that lead to September, when kids go back to school, road season ends, and CX begins.

It’s a return to what we know, which is a return to things we have grown to love and trust.

Hutch CX

Mamba on an ENVE rim

Like the barrier drills practiced in a school yard, stretching a tubular is a return to a structure that gives room to practice, and learn and grow.

Back to bike school is the theme of Issue 16 of our magazine and we’re working on that now.

ENVE XC 29

Getting glued next

If Bikes Are Transportation, Protect Us

Ours is a click-based economy, that values the comment and traffic, no matter the content or context. I asked and they responded and hoping other media does too. I was told once by a journalist that there’s not enough staff to moderate, so hey turn the comments off on topics like this…

That active thread isn’t going to save an old-media business model.

This time is for family, friends, and colleagues to grieve over the loss of life on a Seattle street that seemed built by Seattle’s traffic-engineering experiment committee. It ran a bike lane where cars turn left onto i5.

When advocates and lobbyists tell us, “bikes are transportation,” I encourage you like me to ask them to put money where their mouths are, and build infrastructure that’ll better protect vulnerable users.

For more discussion about 2nd avenue, follow SeaBikeBlog and be careful out there. Seattle isn’t the ‘bike town,’ politicians say it is.

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