Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Thank you

Thank you all, marriage success!

Just hitched!

It has been an amazing last couple of days. I can say with certainty this was the best decision I've ever made. (And I've bought a lot of bikes that I thought were excellent decisions)

Getting adjusted to co-habitating again (my last roommate moved out about 4 years ago) has taken just a bit of getting used to again, but for the most part it has been easy and awesome.

Probably the one area of my life that has taken the biggest hit from all this (not just this last week but for the last few weeks/months) is this blog. I look back at some of my most popular posts and see that some of my quality has definitely slacked. It would be nice if it were an immediate fix, and there are certainly steps I intend to take towards a fast fix, but it will undoubtedly take some time to get this page back up to where I feel it should be.

With that in mind I hope to start having a short "repair this" guide / series that is/can be much more accessible to the intimidated home mechanic. I also hope to get back to doing reviews, as it's one of the things everyone loves (myself included) And finally we'll have a couple of spotlights for some sponsors for the 2016 race season. All big dreams/hopes that I intend to come through on. We'll just have to see though!

Anyways, thanks for checking in! More (focused content) to come in the near future!

- Christopher Morelock

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Mawwiage is what bwings us togethew today!

That bwessed awangment
So yeah... since you are probably reading this on the 21st, that means that around this time tomorrow (or, if it's Jan 22nd or later when you read this) I'll be married. Honestly, it hasn't quite "sunk in" quite yet, although this week I've been running around trying to get last minute things done. My friends tell me about an hour beforehand is when it actually starts to "drop" on you. Not that there are any cold feet or anything like that... I'm extremely excited. Jenny is everything I could ever want in a partner, so I think I'm marrying up. :)

Saturday was my bachelor party, where all (well... almost all) my friends came together and we partied like we did when we were 20. (err... 21, yeah... that's it.) Actually it really just involved some very nice scotch, some long talks and breakfast at Cracker Barrel. (always a classic) 

The last of us... only the tough make it til' 3 a.m. and beyond
So, I'm sorry this was a short post... I've had some other stuff on my mind!

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it! Next time you hear from me I'll be Mr. Wit.

- Christopher Morelock
Mr & Mrs Wit

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

An Adventure in Wheelbuilding

Building a wheel is something I've been interested in trying for a long time. It's one of those things that always held some "mysticism" to me when it came to bicycles. The problem has been... it's tough to find a reason to build a wheel when 99% of your riding is on a Trispoke and a disc.

Well, the cyclocross bike gave me an excellent excuse. It came equipped with some fine (if bland) clinchers but I was a little more interested in tubulars, being the snob that I sometimes am. My first inclination was to go with what I know...which is to say buy a used set of tubular 303's and be done with it... but then, where's the adventure in that. So, after some time scouring the internet I decided that I *might* be able to build my own wheels successfully. The first step was purchasing Roger Musson's book, and then reading up on what kind of wheel would be good for my needs. After narrowing it down I settled on the Velocity Major Tom's. They fit all of my needs, aluminum braking, strong, wide, tubular and although it wasn't a major concern they were also fairly cheap. I lucked up in hub selection as well, as an ebay vendor was clearing out Shimano sets so I picked up an Ultegra 6800 combo for $100, which seemed about as reliable as I could get without dipping into the "over budget" selection.

Measuring ERD gave me some initial concern... as does basically anything that requires precise measurements, so I waited to measure myself as opposed to just trusting Velocity's published ERD. It turned out to be a wash as using Musson's method I ended up with 598, the same as the website. At least that gave me some peace of mind moving forward. With a correct ERD and the necessary values of my Hub (which I found online) it was time to pick spokes.

The first thing that caught my eye of course was a nice bladed CX-Ray... the next thing that caught my eye was the price tag of them. After some quick addition I realized at $3+/ea I was going to have a fortune in spokes for my 32hole rims. Common sense took hold and I "settled" for Sapim Lasers in black, which was much more reasonable from a bulk standpoint.

But no job is easy to finish without the right tools... and wheelbuilding tools were a spot in my toolbox that was quite slim... a cheap Parktool spoke wrench being the extent of it.

Jenny's father happens to be a master when it comes to wood working and a lover of anything that involves a plan or diagrams, so I passed off Musson's book/plans to build a truing stand and was floored with what he delivered just a couple days later.

The Wheel building corner

I was able to craft a nipple driver using Musson's instruction out of an old flathead screwdriver, but failed (somewhat miserably) at making a competent dishing tool. In the end I sucked it up and ended up buying two Spokey's, a set of Park Tool Spoke Keys, a Park Tool dishing tool and a Park tension meter... hopefully everything I'll ever need in the future to build wheels.

As far as the building is going... I'd say so far successfully. It's far more time consuming than I had imagined, but there is something soothing about the methodical work. I'm still new enough that a spoke being slightly less tensioned than the others still freaks me out, as does a slight bit of wobble (under a mm) but I have confidence I'll get everything pretty well sorted and get quicker.

So far I've only "finished" the front wheel, but here it is.

So begins the tubular stretching

I'll probably go back over it one more time using Park Tools app before I begin gluing the tire, but I'm happy with how far I've got now!

Thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016, A New Start

Finally I can quit with the hints and just say it. For 2016 I'll be racing with Provision Multi-sport Team. If you're familiar with the blog and my issues the last year you'll have heard the name before and know that they were instrumental in helping me return to racing. This year I'm hoping to extend that to a return to multi-sport as well as just cycling.

Now I'm going to have to scour the Internet for a free Disney font to use.

I'm excited and hopeful that 2016 will be my best year so far. To help me with some of my lofty goals, and to keep me in check and healthy as I start running and swimming again, I've enlisted the expertise of Coach Joe Peeden to help re-mold me into a swimming, biking and running machine. 2015 was a drought in the way of race reports on the blog, due primarily to the fact that I indeed wasn't doing much racing! This year hopefully that will all change and we'll be back to a healthy dose of the interesting stuff.

It also wouldn't be the first post of the year if I didn't put down my resolution. In general I'm as bad as everyone else is when it comes to them (that is, I make it Jan1 and forget it Jan 11) but this year I would like to try something that should be very easy despite the fact that I don't think I've ever successfully accomplished it. For 2016 I would like to be more positive in regards to my training and racing. Instead of constantly focusing on the "bad" parts of my day, I hope I'll be able to see the good parts and focus on that. I know, I know... I've never been a glass half full kind of guy, and I'm not all that into the whole new age feel good movement, but resolutions should at least be intended to help us become better people, so that's what I'm hoping for. You guys are responsible for keeping me held true to it as well... see me lingering on the negative side too long and give me a sharp reminder of this post!

Here's to a great new year!
Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it

- Christopher Morelock