Sunday, June 30, 2013

B&S Brake Adapter

The partybike is back in the stand well on its way to v3.0! I figured I would break the build into a few posts so I could focus on a bit of the weird that is going on this time around.  But before we get into specifics I suppose I'll cover the thought process behind v3.

There was nothing wrong with v2, in fact the 69er version of the party bike worked much better than I could have imagined.  After taking my lashing at the Pinnacle (and dealing with some chronic joint issues this season) I was forced to meditate a bit on what I'm doing to myself.  I ping-ponged back and forth a bit on what I thought I should do moving forward but eventually landed on using my fast/light/rigid bike for my 'important' races which I have now decided are the longer format races I've been doing lately and that I needed a friendlier bike to race the slightly more brutal EFTA courses.

Thats where v3 comes in.  If I was going to race the partybike it was going to need to be a bit more 'normal'.  The 69er worked better than I thought it would but it was still pretty weird to sit on and kind of ridiculous to climb.  So I decided if I was going to race it I wanted to find an adapter to convert the old Trek 22mm direct mount to the more standard IS so I could run disc brakes, I would need disc ready wheels and a decent 26er fork.

The adapter was going to be the tricky part but after a bunch of research I settled on the B&S Brake Adapter.  This thing isn't exactly mainstream, feels more like something a hobbyist made for their own purposes and then a few friends liked the idea and wanted one as well and it gained enough steam after that that maybe they did some sort of limited run of them.

It seems solidly machined, definitely has some heft to it (weight weenies beware).  But I would imagine you'd want this to be solid with the types of braking forces it will be dealing with.

speed holes!

I went with this adapter because many of the other options would have you mounting the brake between the chain and seat stays and many of them required you to do some weird stuff like using a front brake caliper on the rear as well as using a slightly bigger rotor to make up that difference.  Some people also claimed that certain frames just don't have enough room for that to work at all.

This design extends beyond the seat stay and has you mounting the brake where most modern frames have them situated.  They don't guarantee that this works with all frames either but based on pics online I thought I had a pretty good chance.

I wonder why this 22mm design didn't last? Its so conveniently located and easy to work with...

It doesn't come with mounting hardware but I have been wrenching long enough that I have amassed all kinds of extra/spare stuff and I ended up having some bolts that were pretty much perfect.  It took a little bit of time to get things all lined up.  Clearances are a bit tight but it all came together.

I still need to get myself some real hardware for mounting the brake itself.  Right now I am just using some presta valve nuts that ended up being the exact size of brake bolts, go figure.  That was good enough to get things situated and prove that it would work.  I'll hit the hardware store tomorrow for something more substantial.  I'm very interested to get it cabled up to see how solid it feels.  I don't want to jinx it but I think its going to work just fine.

Slapped the rear end all back together and scoured the parts bin to see if I could re-gear a bit bigger.  32x18 was just a tad small for me in general on a 26in bike, more like a climbing gear but the easy change to 32x16  is a little tall for me to stay on top of.  I think I'm at my best/most efficient somewhere in the 48-49 gear inches range.  Unfortunately with the parts I had I couldn't land there with any 'normal' gear configs.  But I did have a 38t ring and my 20t cog that I use for the Pinnacle laying around which gets me just a hair over 49 gear inches.  And it looks kinda funny, which is good.

I'll cover some of my other new parts in the follow up post when I finish the build hopefully later this week.  New fork should arrive by Wednesday I believe.  Good chance I could be racing this at Moody next weekend.

Monday, June 24, 2013

NEMBAfest 2013

I survived.

Always nice heading into a huge riding weekend not knowing if various body parts are going to make it through to the other side.  Even though this is only the second year NEMBAfest has been up at KT we already have a fairly dialed routine.  Shaun and I get up to Burke late morning Friday, get camp set up.  The Dbones arrive shortly after and we get some afternoon shred in.

Shaun and I rolled over to the open field camping area and it was already looking almost as full as it did mid-fest last year.  Good sign.

Friday we did our now 'usual' climb up to Dead Moose, head over to Moose Alley cross to White School and down into town ride.  Somehow I got top 10 on Dead Moose Alley on a fully rigid bike.  For shame, freeriders, for shame.  Moose Alley beat me up good but hands, wrist and shoulder were hanging in there and I was having a blast.  The new stuff over in the White School area is fantastic.  Farm Junk, Sky Dive, Swan Dive all excellent additions.

We rode back up to the expo area and decided to try out the new climbing trail The Shire to get back up to the campground.  There really is no good way to climb that middle section of the mountain and this new trail is no exception.  Fresh grassy fields with a weird incredibly tight technical section thrown in.  We decided to bail before the switchback section and just take the road back up to camp.  Who knows maybe the switch back section is awesome but the first part was infuriating, which grassy fields usually are.

Saturday got off to a non-forecasted drizzle'y start and stayed that way pretty much all day off an on.  Never really rained that hard at any time but by the end of the day things were pretty greasy.  Early on my shoulder and wrist were a bit perturbed and the hands were tender.  But eventually I won out and things stopped hurting.  Body must have given up and just pumped endorphins out.  We did a nice loop courtesy of Mark T's local knowledge.

We were pretty beat Saturday night and the rain started to pick up a bit so cooking around the fire wasn't really an option.  We decided to head back into Lyndon (with probably the rest of the entire 'fest) and grab some grub there.  We found a China Buffet that ended up being perfect.  The hostess/waitress Amy was so incredibly happy and pumped about everything that you couldn't help but smile and have a good time.  They actually have a pretty impressive web presence for a Chinese Restaurant in northern VT (that Amy kept telling us to check out).  We had a blast and the food is good so if you are shredding KT check out the Lyndon Buffet (right across from the Trout River brewery in Lyndonville).

just look at how happy Dustin is...c'mon

I decided to pack it in Sunday and rest the shoulder.  I was concerned with the rain overnight that trails would be pretty slick and my shoulder doesn't handle quick jerky hail mary recovery movements so much right now.  Looks like some pretty big T-storms rolled through there that afternoon and if I had gotten caught in one of those I would have been pretty sad.

Got home and iced things a bit.  Immediately after icing my shoulder it felt horrible.  Worst it has felt in weeks easily.  Then I went to bed and woke up with it feeling the best it has felt in weeks.  No idea what is happening in there.

The brake adapter arrived over the weekend to bring the party bike into the current centuries tech.  I'll be picking up the new wheels this coming Saturday morning.  Guy selling the fork is being weird so hopefully I can figure that out soon.  Either way be on the lookout for a build post coming soon as work begins.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Pinnacle EFTA NECS 2013

Two words.  Rude.  Awakening.

Talk about 0-60mph.  Jumping into 3 laps at the Pinnacle with hardly any time on dirt let alone race efforts is a stiff drink for sure.  For those that don't know I've been dealing with an angry shoulder for several weeks now and I've just gotten things a bit more stable and I felt like I was good to ride/race with things taped up tight.

Due to the shoulder issue I have been trying to stay off dirt and stay quiet to recover, doing mostly commuting and some road miles to keep the fitness from completely falling off.  My fitness isn't horrible right now but I found out pretty quick that my top end is a bit dull and the rest of me hasn't been 'trail hardened' yet.

We had a decent sized SS field and unfortunately for me it was pretty stacked.  The start was pretty fast and I was positioned fairly well for maybe the first 300yds or so then as the first few pitches punch you square in the gut I could feel that the legs were a bit sluggish.  Each pitch the lead group inched away and I wasn't making up any ground in the singletrack.  But I was probably still sitting about 5th-6th of 10 or so.  I was all over the place on the first lap.  Functioning while redlining is one of those things that you also need to build into and my decision making and line accuracy was lacking at first.

The shoulder was holding up and I was starting to settle in.  I got passed on the last fire road climb right before topping out but I was able to pass him back once we started heading back down.  Shortly after that Bully came up behind me like clockwork right before the sustained descending started.  We have a routine where he catches me about there and then I show him how to crash at high speeds in spectacular fashion.  Not sure what he was thinking but he passed me a bit too early and he missed my crash this year.

We were in a pretty good pace line probably about halfway down ripping through a few quick S turns and I came out just a bit wide on the last one and my front wheel got out into the sluff and I took a dive.  Happened so fast I didn't even really let go of the handlebars, just high sided pretty hard and flipped over and rolled down the embankment a bit.  Luckily it was nice soft loam.

Finished up the lap without getting passed back and got back to slogging back up.  Second lap I was riding much cleaner and getting into more of a groove.  Was still feeling pretty sluggish though, no real punch.  By the time I got into the second descent I was starting to get pretty thrashed.  If riding steel is rigid, riding carbon up front is rigid+.  Without a doubt this fork is much more harsh than the Sanko steel Redline fork I was on last year.  But to its credit it may beat the crap out of you but when you point it it locks in and it shreds.  I'm going to have to do some heavy pondering though.  Steel is still pretty accurate when it comes to steering and compared to this fork is down right comfortable.  I'm going to have to decide if the accuracy and weight is worth the punishment.  I'm not making any decisions yet but short term I've got a line on Bully's old red Salsa fork and long term I might need to actually think about suspension...maybe.  Don't hold your breath.

The other thing I sort of took for granted was the callouses that I usually have pretty well built up by this time of year.  No time on dirt means no callouses, combine that with a much more brutal front end and you have a recipe for this.


Luckily adrenaline kept me from really feeling this during the race.  I could feel things getting a bit squishy and I was fairly certain what I was in for when I crossed the line.  And sure enough two big blood stains on the palms of my gloves.  I got right to trying to gross everyone out in the finish area.  I got a lot of "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU" and "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WILL YOU JUST BUY SOME SUSPENSION"

Held my position for 6th of 10 starters (with one DNF).  My time was about on par with what I usually do on this course although I do think I probably lost more time of the descents than I usually do.  And even with all these issues I still beat an ok percentage of the geared Expert field.  So all in all it was an ok day and the shoulder is holding up well today so I'm gonna chalk it up as a win.  A raw, bloody, squishy WIN.