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Month: November 2013

A Clean Drivetrain is a Happy Drivetrain

Since the El Mariachi Ti was caked with wet sand from Iceman I decided to give it a thorough drivetrain cleaning before riding any more. Everything is now shiny and clean, although I seem to have let the chain go a bit too long. After ~1800 miles it was stretched enough that I immediately replaced it, and as a result the small (26t) ring on the crankset is looking a bit hooked. I dropped a new chain on, and with replacements rings costing only $20 or so (much less than a chain!) I’m going to replace the ring as well before taking it out.

With winter coming, contrary to my normal practice of stripping off the factory lube and applying ProGold Xtreme, I left the original SRAM lube on the chain. I’m normally not too fond of this thick, greasy lube because it’s all over the outer plates and thus collects a bunch of gunk. I figure that with the potential for wet/sloppy riding I may as well leave it in place, as it’ll protect the chain from gunk penetration and be harder to wash out. With this lube the chain is notably stiffer than normal and it’ll likely pick up a bunch more gunk, but with all the other inefficiencies and sloppyness of autumn / winter riding I don’t anticipate it being much of a problem. I’ll just strip the factory lube off when I do the next drivetrain cleaning.

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Iceman 2013: Wet Sand and Fun

I was going to write a somewhat lengthy post about this year’s Iceman Cometh Challenge race and put together some bullet points about the race for things that I wanted to cover, but I can’t bring myself to flesh it out into a complete post. Instead I’ll just post the bullet points themselves, expanded a bit to be solid on their own. It was a very fun race, a nice day, but not eventful in any way that makes me want to write a lot. I simply enjoyed myself, saw lots of friends, and had a great weekend with Danielle:

Here’s those bullet points:

  • Wet sand.
  • Large, infrequent mud puddles.
  • Raining as we left Traverse City, but stopped on the way to Kalkaska.
  • Really friendly people: no problems with passes either way.
  • I thought my HR monitor was reading high, but it was either consistently off by a few tens of percent (never seen this before) or I was able to ride harder than expected for extended periods of time.
  • My official result: 14 1374 Steve Vigneau Shelby Townshi MI 9:59:35 10:48:13 2:19:11
  • Four minutes faster (would have been doable) and I’d have been in the top 10. Oh well.
  • Started in Wave 9, almost missed my start as I was using the toilet when everyone was lining up. Took longer than expected when I got done 9 was moving up to the start area.
  • Chain drop behind cassette on a steep climb when downshifting somewhere after Anita’s Hill. Unsure why: sand? Can’t reproduce.
  • Not spent at end, could have pushed more.
  • YouTube video of my finish: link.
  • Strava data: link.
  • Congrats to people who won things: Joe Seidl, Brad Lako, Alex Gonzalez, John Osgood
  • Person who died:
  • Someone got hit by a car riding away from the finish area on the road. No word on their condition.
  • Foods consumed: ~2 hours of Infinit (from a 3 hour bottle), ~40oz bottles of water in pack, caffeinated gel before hand.
  • Clothing: Pearl Izumi boots, tall wool socks, plain black thermal knickers, Under Armor thermal base layer, summer jersey, Pearl Izumi AmFib gloves, cycling cap, helmet, glasses.
  • Photos of me:

The photo above? That’s just of some random sand still on my bike a week after the race. There’s so much wet sand and grit on my bike that it really needs a drivetrain cleaning before I ride it again. It was okay during the race, but as I’d switch to a less-used gear combo there’d be a few minutes of scraping sounds as the sand worked its way off the cogs.

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Home-Made Chili Powder

This past week I removed all the furnatire from the porch, cut down the past year’s dying flowers, and brought the perennials in the house. One of the plants to trim was a chili (of which type both Danielle and I forget), which grew very mild, nice fruits. Since there were some chilis left on the plant I cut them off, tossed them in the food dehydrator, and this evening after they were sufficiently dry ground them into chili powder.

The photo above shows the tops and seeds that I cut off them poured out before putting them in the spice grinder, something I did because I didn’t want seed-heavy spicy powder. The result is a very gentle, almost buttery tasting paprika-like powder that’ll go wonderfully on eggs and other light-tasting food. I think it also might do nice things on popcorn.

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Specialized Avatar Comp Gel

I’ve really been enjoying riding the Jamis Nova, but as mentioned earlier I picked up a Specialized Avatar Comp Gel to try instead of the Specialized Phenom that’s been giving me issues. Today I headed out for a gravel road ride with Carlos and Lee and gave it a proper outdoor ride, and I’m quite happy with it. I spent 3-4 miles getting comfortable on it, but once I found a nice spot things were good.

We rode ~66.1 miles (Strava) of mixed pavement, gravel/dirt roads, and rail trail and I never really felt a need to stand up and stretch my butt muscles. The Avatar also felt a bit more conducive to being leaned over further, something that’s generally better for the drop bar bike geometry.

I did have one new problem with my index finger on my right hand being half-numb after the ride, a fair sign of nerve injury. This hadn’t happened to me before, so I suspect the new saddle has me positioned so I grip the bars differently than before. I think this means I need to work on the bar positioning a bit more…

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