A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Just in time for Ride the Rockies. It's the BEEF Bike!

The BEEF Bike visits a cattle ranch on its maiden voyage.
You guys. I did something crazy this week. I got a new bike and plan to ride it on Ride the Rockies -- in two weeks! Actually, this bike has been a work in progress. It started with my daughter Haley giving me a Brooks B17 Standard Saddle for my birthday last year after I told her about my dream to build a Surly Long Haul Trucker. I guess she called my bluff!
The Brooks B17 Standard Saddle is a key component of the BEEF bike. Just like a regular saddle, it has to be broken in and molds to the shape of its rider!
My dream was to build the BEEF bike. A one-of-its-kind bike built for multi-day rides like Ride the Rockies and Cycle Oregon. A bike that maybe, someday, I will ride cross country. As I researched bike shops in the Denver area it became clear that Yawp Cyclery in Edgewater was the only choice to build a custom Surly. Their gallery of custom Surly builds (which now features the BEEF bike!) sealed the deal.

The first two pics on the Yawp Cyclery Custom Surly Builds page are the BEEF bike!
On my first trip to Yawp I explained my vision to Levi "To Kill a YawpingBird" and Brian "The Lord of the ChainRings" I knew I had found the right shop. My vision for the BEEF bike was a cross between a road and a mountain bike but not a traditional hybrid. I wanted Shimano Total Integration> (STI) road shifters with mountain bike gearing for long, steep climbs.
The combination of the Tanpan with clutch-equipped Shimano Shadow+ rear derailleur
The solution they recommended was going with an 11-speed mountain rear derailleur paired with a road compact double crankset. As Levi explained, "you'll end up with the widest possible gear range if we go with an 11-speed mountain rear derailleur paired with a road compact double crankset. The alternative would be using a road triple crankset, but that would mean using a road rear derailleur as well, which would leave you with a more difficult "granny gear." Thanks to a cool little gizmo called a Tanpan, we can use a Shimano road shifter with a mountain derailleur. Neat!"
Up close shot of the Wolf Tooth Components Tanpan for Shimano 11-speed, which "amplifies road shifter cable pull to allow for seamless communication with mountain derailleurs."
I bought the frame in powder blue, had it stripped and powder-coated BEEF red. Pristine Powder Coating did a great job matching the color. It is exactly what I wanted! For several months I contemplating building this beast myself. I put the big ticket components on my Christmas list and got the shifters from my mom and crankset from my siblings. I also got an awesome hamburger saddle bag and a leather six-pack carrier!

But perhaps the coolest gift was the DLC 11 red and black bike chain> from Leslie. It was like getting jewelry. Unfortunately, it is not long enough for the 11-speed mountain rear derailleur paired with a road compact double crankset.
I found a hamburger bike bell at a bike shop in San Diego while shopping with birthday money from my mom!
As Ride the Rockies approached and the frame and Christmas gifts sat in the garage, untouched, it became apparent I was not going to find time to build it myself. So, Haley and I loaded up the parts this past Sunday and took them back to the boys at Yawp. Five days later I picked up my new ride and yesterday I took it out for a 50-mile ride (my longest of the year).
I love the ride of this bike. I'd compare to driving a Cadillac versus a sports car (like my Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3). The ride is so smooth and comfortable. It's luxurious!

Time to head out for another ride. Have to break in that saddle!

Ride on...


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Ride the Rockies 2017 Training Update: Three Weeks to Go and We Still Have Snow!

Egad. There are only three weeks remaining until the start of Ride the Rockies 2017. How did that happen? It still feels like winter in Colorado. Maybe that's because a late May snowstorm hit us this week dropping more than a foot of snow the Denver area. Fortunately this year's route is in the Southern Rockies!
Spring snowstorms in Colorado are not unusual and quite beautiful.
The late spring on the Front Range continues to make it difficult to get in some long rides on the road. I've only been out four times so far in May. Normally I would be logging some serious miles riding two/from work by this time. However, I have been hitting the trainer hard and am feeling pretty good about my training to date. 
Rocker and I riding along the coast in LaJolla, California.
This past weekend my family gathered in San Diego for my nephew's graduation from San Diego State, Mother's Day and birthday celebrations. Brother Jon (Jonny Rocker) brought his bike so I rented a nice ride from The Bike Revolution and we went on a couple of short morning rides (32 and 20 miles). Rocker said he is finally feeling excited about RTR and could "do it today." I agreed but am still glad we have a couple of weeks to reach the peak of our conditioning. I don't want to just ride the Rockies; I want to rock it!
The view from the Mt. Soledad National Veteran's Memorial is well worth the ride up!
I've recorded 1,469 miles in the saddle since January 1 in 96 workouts burning a whopping 129,354 calories (according to my Garmin 810, which notoriously overestimates calories). My goal is to ride 2,000 before the start of RTR. I'd have to ride 183 miles per week in the final three weeks to get there. That's still possible but factoring in tapering it's not likely. Besides, I haven't ridden that many miles in a week yet this year!

My goal at this point is to pack on as many miles as I can in the next two weeks then scale back the final week. The sun is out today and the streets are fairly dry so I am going to venture out. 

Ride on!