Wednesday, October 21, 2009


No matter how fast and furiously I pumped the handle, air just continued to leak out of my floor pump's chuck. Take off, turn bezel tighter. Must have been leaking past the seal. Damned pump. Replace and flip the lever viciously-- that'll make it work! PSSSsssss...PSSSSsssss...PSSSSsssss.

No amount of fiddling seemed to have ANY effect. I finally discovered that air was leaking from the Schrader side of the pump's chuck. What? I've had an uneasy relationship with this Performance brand pump. I want to heave it through the nearest window (preferably with glass in place to give a supremely satisfying ker-ash!) but that would just be a waste. The damned thing has always been a little fiddly-- all because I was trying to be a tight-wad.

Can I get a replacement chuck? Looks like Topeak produces an "upgrade kit" for any floor pump. Hopefully I can find a replacement chuck locally. I hate ordering stuff anymore. We'll see.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wheel repair...

Remember my "dented" rear wheel on my F700? Yeah... about that. Well I took an adjustable wrench and gently coaxed the rim hook back into shape. And then it just broke. A big chunk. Right out.

Yeah-- there's no fixing that.

Fortunately I managed to score a "new to me" set of wheels. Mavic X139 rims with a Deore rear hub and... zuh? A Specialized "Stout" front hub with some sort of crazy-ass skewer... axle... thing. Oh wait-- I get it. So it's a big fat skewer/axle. A skaxle. A skewrle. So I guess the deal is that it makes the whole thing stronger and capable of putting some serious squeeze (skweze?) on the fork drop-outs. A good thing with disc brakes, I suppose. Although damn, it's got that stupid external cam design. Jeeze. I put some REAL Shimano quick-releases on there not too long ago. (Real as in-- internal cam.) Not these cursed scrotty externally cammed things that are impossible to close properly because they rely on those stupid little plastic meniscus things that deform under load and don't really do anything else besides annoy the heck out of me and why are they the only deal now? Cheaper to make? Lighter?

Sherman, set the WayBack machine...

Once upon a time (like 1991??), some teensy company thought that there wasn't enough color in our quick-release world and decided to churn out CNC'd bits. What on earth was their name? Man... that's bugging me. Anyway-- the stupid levers (externally cammed like most of the levers today) were a pain in the ass to get sufficiently tight and even harder to open! Stupid things. So guess what? After a year or so they re-released them called "Twist-Flips" or "Flip-Twists". The idea was that first you flip them closed to get them initially tight and then twist the lever to snug it down. How retarded. It's still stupid.

Don't believe me? Well, here's what Sheldon had to say about the damned things. "Despite the marketing hype associated with these "boutique" skewers, they are actually considerably inferior in functionality to the traditional type."

So now what.

I guess I need to find a new front hub-- a Shimano.

Oregon Action: Cross Crusade #1

Note: This is a repost of my entry at the Crossniacs blog

A few days of light rain prior to Sunday’s opener of the Cross Crusade series had me hopeful for some mud at Alpenrose dairy. Not so. We wound up having “excellent” weather– sun and mild temps in the high 50’s/low 60’s. Since my family was coming along this was indeed perfect weather.

The course was not dusty which was a plus, but all the bumps were there out in the back straightaway.

The Alpenrose race always seems to be the most highly attended, likely due to its close proximity to downtown Portland, and this year saw a NEW record set for attendance — 1438 racers, not including the huge crowd of spectators — handily breaking last year’s record of 1267. Where do all of these people come from?

Anyway– parking was a mess and we rolled in about 10 minuted before my Master B race. Spying fellow Crossniac Jim Hendricks, I pulled up seeking help locating parking and was instead treated to a view of shirtless manflesh. Hurrying on my wife spotted a vacant parking spot. After shearing off the side view mirrors I hustled everybody out the windows, threw the cars keys at my wife, waved to my son and sprinted to the registration shack to barely, I mean barely, get my registration in for the race.

Caffeine overload plus Pre-Race Bladder Syndrome forced my to the row of Honey Buckets. (Ah! That self-sponsored racer’s home-away-from-home!) After what seemed like hours (but what was less than 5 minutes) I rolled up the back of a field of 248 racers (Master B, Master 50+, and Junior men). I had missed the lottery-style call up based on race numbers (I should have been in the very first group!). Ever the humble push-over I accepted my fate as just.

The start was typical Cross Crusade #1 Alpenrose Wal-Mart After Thanksgiving Sale stampede.

Fortunately the course designers had done a pretty good job and bottlenecks were greatly reduced.

Time for an “Unfortunately/Fortunately” story!

Unfortunately, halfway through my race I flatted. Fortunately I was almost to the pits! Unfortunately, in my haste to get to registration I had left my pit wheels in the car. Fortunately there was neutral tech support provided by Shimano! Unfortunately I was hypoxic and the pit officials had to walk me over to the wheels and actually put one in my hands. Fortunately I was able to get the wheels changed! Unfortunately the Dura-Ace wheel (nice wheel, btw) had a fat-ass tire on it and was rubbing on my brake pads! Fortunately I had plan. Unfortunately it involved leaving the rear brakes disconnected– whee! Fortunately the Shimano tech twiddled with my brakes, told me I had the wrong kind of brake pads (Get away from my Kool-Stop Eagle Claw II’s shut up!) and sent me on my merry way.

After two more laps I struggled back to finish DFL. Wait what? How could I push until I saw stars to finish DFL… ow wait. In my category. There were still hundreds and hundreds of racers out there.

So. DFL my first race in Crossniac colors. 123 out of 123 (There were two that DNF.) But I finished with a smile and squeak of the shark horn and ON THE SAME LAP AS THE WINNER. So I was DFL but not lapped. Booyah.

Fellow PacNW Crossniac Will Cortez had finished 88th in a field of 159 Cat C’s (Zoinks!), Jim Hendricks was 42nd out of 58 Clydesdales, and Guy Smith was 180 out of 187 Master C’s (Double Zoinks!!)

Next up: Rainier.

I’ll see about getting a photo or two to post here…