Wednesday, November 30, 2016

All the things in a brief thought barfing

Thanksgiving and the couple of days that follow are behind us. Finally. I did my best to keep my head low all the way until Tuesday and feel I did a relatively good job of it.

Of course Thanksgiving for my wife and I, both having extended family that lives in the immediate area, (that is, the south) means Thursday was filled with eating, visiting, eating, and some more eating. We ate at my grandparents at around noon, then promptly fled to her aunt's to have second lunch around 2. To say I've seen enough ham and turkey to last me a few days is an understatement.  I did manage to get a nice ride in pre-gorging, so I can take a little solace in that I wasn't a total slob the whole day. Just most of it...

Then came the unholy day of reckoning in the civilized world... Black Friday. Honestly I could care less about doorbuster deals and huuuge savings on things I can buy cheaper online, but I admit I was interested in picking up a few rare selections from my local wine and spirits store. So Wes and myself headed out to try to snag something impressive.  In the end, I came away with four bottles of Goose Island Bourbon County stout at $12/ea. Not an amazing haul (I had my hopes high for a nice bottle of bourbon from Buffalo Trace, but all was for naught.) I'm not a huge beer snob, but the Goose Island is pretty good, so a successful outing. I spent the rest of the day hidden in my house, actively avoiding what I can only assume was mad rioting at the local Best Buys.

Hopefully no recalls this year

On Saturday was Turkey Cross, which I had the full intention of making my first successful cross ride. I don't count the Privateer race I crashed out of in the first 45 seconds ;) I dragged the wife out to the venue despite some biting wind and hung out with Jimmy (who was announcing) and some other friends. In between races I figured it would be best to get a lay of the land so I got kitted up and headed out on the course.

It quickly became apparent to me that I am not a technical cyclocross rider. With much of Turkey Cross being downhill off camber turns, my crap skills were magnified. I came down the beginning portion twice, and both times I was on the very limit of keeping myself on course. I was also going very slow. At that point a more adult, reasonable part of me came through and won out over the normally confident egotistical side of me... I wasn't going to be able to handle this at race pace. I also wasn't going to be satisfied with taking it easy in the race. Know thy self and all that. So I took the baby back b*tch approach and didn't start the race.

I know I know. Maybe it was wrecking at the Privateer race and still harboring lingering injuries, maybe it was good old common sense, maybe it was something else... but for some reason that inner voice said it was folly to race. Considering two people ended up with hospital trips, I kind of feel like I was right... Lucky number 3 is not where I wanted to be. (That kinda rhymes) So... yeah, need to work on my technical cyclocross skills... a lot. Riding for years pretty seriously and still just a total newbie, so much to learn! Very humbling but awesome.

Jimmy got this sweet shot, good enough to share! Handup gloves are excellent fwiw. (although PBR is pretty ghetto)

ahh sweet nectar of the hipster gods.

On the plus side, despite not spending any time in an actual store, I did get 90% of my Christmas shopping done! Score!

And that's a lead in... I've got a couple of items for sale myself. If you have any interest you can shoot me a message on Facebook, here, email...etc. Check it out, Blog reader specials ;)

All of the prices include Paypal fees, but you will have to pay shipping.

 First up is my beloved Planet X Stealth. You can read my review on it on the blog. It's in pristine condition, plenty of steerer and seatpost left. I'll include the saddle and stem. It's a size medium (501/405 stack/reach) from circa 2010. It is $350

This is a specialized/dupont Trispoke (700c clincher) It is a "B" wheel from the true portion. It is not enough to notice unless you have your brakes set VERY close to the rim. I ran it with Simkins Egg brakes and Tririg Omega's on Ventus brake levers for years with no issues, but full disclosure.  I'll include the skewer and if you want it the tire (old) that's on it. $275

This is a RENN 575 (700c clincher) that is in very good condition. Bearings, brake track etc all in good condition. It is currently a 10 speed but it is well documented online on how to convert it to 11 speed if you need to.  Flat disc, has the excellent whoosh whoosh sound! $275

Cobb Jof Randee saddle, has been ridden approximately 7 hours (enough time for me to give up on it) on the trainer and once (~30 minutes) on the road. So while it is used, it's basically new. No tears or discoloring. $140

I might add some other stuff in the near future, but those are the ones I have pictures of. Let me know if you've got any interest!

Thanks so much for reading, I got ahold of the new Silca portable wrenches yesterday, I'm going to put them through the wringer and hopefully have a review up next (or the next) week.

Until then,

Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Rock Hill (back to going in circles)

This past weekend was an excellent little jaunt over to Rock Hill, SC, and more specifically the Giordana velodrome.

morning rising on the Giordana velodrome

The calm (literally... the wind kept messing this picture up)

If you've never been to Rock Hill, it's worth visiting no matter what kind of cyclist you are. I didn't really imagine places like that existed, where cycling wasn't just an afterthought, but something to be built around and focused on. Obviously the velodrome itself is something to see, but the BMX track, closed criterium course and trails are all absolutely top of the line.

impressive even to somebody like me who would wreck straight out of the start

But, I went to go in circles, not go off road. (That's this coming weekend) so back to the track stuff.
Some of my fellow Knoxvelo/Hicks guys and gals went down for the certification class on Saturday morning, and I came to get some helmet testing and just some good old riding in myself over Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately, due to the wind (and the fact that the track was actually quite a bit more busy than I had expected) I didn't get any definitive data on my helmets... a task for another day.

That said, I got a good workout in both days, and got to test my glue job on my track wheels. My Walker Brothers disc was actually a pleasure to ride on, and my no-name 5 spoke was actually a lot easier to handle in the wind than I expected it to be given it's surface area.

doing some laps

The Hicks Chicks looking like a team not to be trifled with!

Geared up, looking like a Fred

Jimmy braving the cold
I can't say enough good stuff about this trip. I was very, very impressed with Rock Hill's attention to detail. It also helps a lot to set it up in a positive light that I was surrounded by some great friends (and my loving wife, who even found something to do at the local YMCA which was literally next door to the velodrome) sharing in the fun. Hard to believe just going in a 250m circle can be considered fun, but so it is!

This weekend it's back to the cyclocross racing for me... as I try my damnedest not to wreck in the first minute of the race this time. Unfortunately that will probably be about all there is to it for the rest of the year and through the majority of winter. I'll be grinding away on Zwift most likely. If you have an account you can find and follow me (I'll follow you back!) - you'll see me listed as
C.Morelock (Provision Racing)

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone, and thanks for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

The "yo brahhh!" picture of Jimmy and myself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Skull and Cross

Well, cross is coming here. And she is a fun, merciless mistress.

My first cross race ended pretty quickly, with a bashed up left side and the need for a new helmet. Sigh.

About 2 minutes post wreck... get me a beer!

It's odd, I had pre-rode the course quite a few times during the day before my race, and where I wrecked was not somewhere I had picked out as a dangerous section. It was a downhill on loose gravel, but for the most part was not something technical. Usually after I take a spill I have a good idea of what I did wrong, but this time I am still at a bit of a loss. There was no fishtailing, loss of control, just me on the ground. I am guessing I hit a little dip enough to bounce me up, and as I landed I had too much weight on my left side and pushed the front wheel out from under me. Pretty crazy, my skinsuit came away unharmed despite me looking a little worse for the wear.

the key is to look like you have some idea what you are doing... which I obviously didn't...

That said, I had a great time the day of the race, and all 45" of my race. Cross has one of the best atmosphere's in cycling. Not quite mountain biker wild, but relaxed and easy going. Stopping at the top of a hill to drink part of a beer is something that doesn't happen in a road race or time trial! (Perhaps thankfully)

Jimmy on his single speed making it look easy

It was also the first time my poor wife has seen me wreck (pretty amazing I've gone as long as I have without a spill now that I think about it) and she took it in stride pretty well, at least after we were adequately satisfied I didn't have a concussion (thanks Rudy Project helmet, you will be missed.) so that is a good thing. I've been pretty sore since Saturday evening, but fortunately have been able to get back on the bike and get my workouts in.

Later the night of. "oh this isn't going to look so bad"

Tuesday morning... looking good ;) right... guys... 

This coming weekend we are taking another road trip, this time to Rock Hill Velodrome so that I can get some more track time in before winter fully sets in. It helps that a lot of friends are going to get certified on Saturday... it should be a great trip with lots of good times! Hopefully I'll also be able to get lots of track time and training in, as well as some aero testing if I can squeeze it in... and of course (hopefully) some good pictures! Then the weekend after it's back to some cross racing (My goal is to not wreck for the first minute this time... high expectations) at Turkey Cross!

Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A big week

First, I apologize to my non USA readers for the following rant... but maybe you can learn something from it as well. I'll keep it brief.

I procrastinated quite a bit on this weeks post... mainly because I've had a nasty sinus infection since returning from the beach, but it played into the election perfectly. Now this certainly isn't a political posting, and I definitely would never suggest taking political advice from anyone as uninformed as I am... but I will say one thing that has dominated my thoughts for the last few hours from looking at my Facebook and Twitter. (along with every forum known to man)

At the end of the day... treat other people well man. Shit. What I've found from the last couple hours is that I know a lot of assholes. If you were a Trump supporter, be gracious... you won. No need to post "Welcome to Canada" pictures on your wall. If somebody feels like they need to move, it's their choice, thankfully. If you were a Hillary supporter, the train has stopped. You aren't changing anyone's mind now, and even if you did, they can't do sh*t about it. It's like the Soprano's... IT'S OVER. I've seen tons of people threatening "if you didn't vote for X we aren't friends any more." Look... if that's what it takes to end a friendship... we weren't friends to start with, and the reason is probably because... you are an asshole. So all I can say is... let's move on, fly your American Flag the same way you did yesterday. Keep taking dumb selfies about you being patriotic. Try to be a good person... that's what we need way more than one office chair filled.


End rant!

The other, probably more exciting thing that happened this week was... I turned 33. Man, how time moves on... another year in the books. I actually had a very good birthday (thanks for asking!) which is pretty uncommon for me historically. I went to work, had dinner with my lovely wife and best friends, and had some pricey scotch. All in all I'd call that a win. I've also kind of went on a buying spree... so many awesome bits of kit I couldn't help but pick up.

White looks pretty good actually
These are the Aerocoach align pads. They released them in a very timely manner... I was just complaining that I was afraid of my arms coming off the pads at Dick Lane not a month ago, and then there were these. I am confident that that is no longer a concern! I was kind of thrown off that they only came in white, but after actually installing them I think they match my P3 quite well. I think Xavier and the guys at Aerocoach are doing great work on a lot of different products, and would suggest having a look at their site.

with computer mount very awkwardly placed!

These Nitto's were more of a splurge. I've had that old LOOK Ergostem for a couple of years now and not had anything to use with it (it's the design without a removable faceplate, so no aerobars will work, and it's 26.0 so most road bars won't either) so when I caught a slick deal on these on ebay I went for it and snagged them. The SOYO grips look great and have an insane amount of grip to them, but holy crap are they a pain in the butt to get on. I should have used an air hose (like a golf club grip) to get them on, but foolishly went for the windex / boiling method. My palms were ripped to shreds but I did finally get them seated. Imagine... the keirin racers use rubber cement on them! Of course I'm not going to be twist/sprinting them with quite the same force most likely.

put down the pitchforks! I know what I'm doing...

Finally there was this guy. Yes, it's a Chinese no-name Mavic io clone. Yes, I know the horror stories about Chinese wheels. I know it might not be aerodynamic. I know it might disintegrate.
That said, this wheel actually blew me away in it's quality. The rim is pretty narrow (20 1/2") and the blades are actual air foils and not just flat carbon. Does that mean it's a fast wheel? No. Certainly not. But it does give me a little hope that it's a little closer to the "stolen design" side and farther from the "make it look like this" side. I plan to put it through some tests when I get the tire glued on... I'm very, very interested to see if it is at all a slick wheel. I figured if not, there would be plenty of hipsters who would love to have it on their whip.

Thanks so much for reading. I really appreciate it! Treat everyone how you'd like to be treated and we'll all do just fine!

- Christopher Morelock

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Good times and a nice break.

Returning to the real world from a vacation is always bittersweet. On the one hand I'm always anxious to get back into the swing of things, nice and refreshed and honestly a little ready to return to the structure I enjoy in my day to day life. Some people think that's boring, and if so... I guess both myself and my wife are boring people. It's odd, while for a week at a time every so often I greatly enjoy just being lazy, drinking and eating fine food and just overall not doing anything I don't want to do... it starts to wear on me about 3 days in. Used to I never fully went into "vacation mode" and I'd stress about getting my workouts in, what I ate/drank/ etc... and at the end of the week I wouldn't feel like I was ready to leave. Now I milk that week for all it's worth, so that when the end of the week comes I actually WANT to get back to my normal diet and workout schedule. Don't get me wrong, the last couple of days back have sucked riding... but in a good way.

Let's be honest though, the best part of coming back from vacation is sharing the memories, not hearing my inner reflection on it.

No Swimming you say! Don't you worry, I got over that years ago! 

The two Raleigh's getting ready for a sandy trek through the national park.
We decided to take a selfie while stuck about a mile into a sand pit too deep to ride in. 
Later on after finally escaping the sand pit!

Praline brown sugar bacon from Cowgirl Kitchen. This is a necessary evil during my trips to the beach, because it is awesome... probably really healthy for you as well.

Then there was this monstrosity. Triple Pork Nachos from the Chaunticleer eatery. Yes, instead of chips you get pork skins. This one is definitely healthy... low carb and gluten free. Dr. Adkins would shed a tear of love.

What you're really there for. White sand and emerald water.

Honestly this just looked cool.
The wife puts down so many watts she ripper her crank off! Fortunately the local bike shop (Shout out to Big Daddy's Bike Shop) was kind enough to loan me a 10mm wrench to get her back on off the road.

It was an excellent trip. We even managed to get a couple of (pretty scenic and leisurely) rides in. I'm not too much for all the nature/sentimental stuff, but I have to admit the sunsets there are pretty phenomenal.

Going relatively late in the season (22-29 Oct) we managed to dodge most of the crowds, which is always a relief on vacation. Even our favorite restaurant which usually has an hour + wait was walk in seating this time! On the day we left the little town of Seaside was even putting on a Halloweener race! (Two weenie dogs enter, on emerges victor!) I tried to snap some pictures, but unfortunately all I got was people hugging the arena. Alas... you'll just have to take the missus word for it that it was adorable.

Now that I'm back it's time to get the blog back on track! Reviews, how to's, random word vomit! All coming on a weekly basis!

Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it!

- Christopher Morelock