Friday, May 29, 2009

Excited about racing this weekend.

It seems to me that the month of May in Virginia is not very good for racing. Added to the fact that I have had to miss some races because I wasn't able to get off work, it seems like my season hasn't even started yet.

Well I am going to Richmond on Sunday for the Bryan Park Circuit Race.

Can't wait!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Help Wanted

My hope is that the Smithfield HAMmer Fest 2-man TTT is so successful with so many racers that I have a hard time finding course marshals. But I am pretty sure there are people out there who are not planning on racing. If this is you I could really use your help. The Virginia Beach Wheelmen consist of 6 racers. We are very limited when it comes to our resources for a race like this. I want to ensure enough course marshals so that every racer is safe and no one has a chance of getting off course.

So if you can help please contact me early. Thank you. Another thing, if you are racing and a family member is coming to watch you, there are great course marshal positions with great views of the race. Probably more exciting then the start/finish line.

Contact me please.

Thank you.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Cyclist vs. Motorist Issue

As many people know a couple of weeks ago Daniel Hersh was struck and killed on Shore Drive in Virginia Beach while out on an early morning ride. The police determined the accident was not due to reckless driving, excessive speed or alcohol. Therefore no charges were filed against the driver. As you could image this sparked quite the debate on both the VCA and MABRA google groups. The majority of the outcry was for justice to be done.

It is quite the tragedy every time a cyclist his hit by a vehicle. We know how aggressive some drivers can get and how obnoxious they act toward us. It seemed there was a period of time that I would get into a confrontation each time I went out on the roads. "Get on the sidewalk", "Nice shorts", "Hey look its Lance"... These obnoxious drivers all have one thing in common...THEY SEE US! They are probably not the drivers we need to worry about. Sure they raise are blood pressure and make us angry. They give us something to complain about, and yes they sometimes pass too close at high speeds. But at least they see us.

The driver that killed Daniel Hersh claimed she didn't see him. That is scary because how do you fix that. Reflective vest...he had one, flashing light...reportedly he had one, riding far enough to the left for drivers to see us but far enough to the right so they can pass...sure. But what if they still don't see us? What if they are still distracted? Should they go to jail because they are negligent drivers? Many people on the email groups are saying just that. PRESS CHARGES! As a firefighter I have seen many accidents that seem to have just happened. Maybe caused by a momentary lack of attention. Also as a driver I have had momentary lacks of attention which could have resulted in the death of a cyclist had a cyclist been where I was at that time. Here is a list of things that taken my attention from the road. Are you free from these distractions?
  • Talking on the phone
  • Changing radio stations
  • Singing along
  • Yelling at the kids in the back seat
  • Eating
  • Picking your nose (don't deny it, I've seen you do it)
  • Watch the person in the car next to you pick their nose (see I told you)
  • Checking out the "hot" runner
  • Texting
  • Daydreaming
  • Sneezing
  • Drop something on the floor board and try to pick it up
  • Read a map or program your GPS
I could probably go on and on. The bottom line is that drivers are distracted and we probably won't ever change that. So do I think the driver that killed Daniel Hersh needs to be prosecuted? Probably not. If they cops said it was an accident it was probably an accident...although a very unfortunate accident. Anyone of us could be in her shoes. No one is free from distractions. The hope is that unfortunate accidents like this opens eyes to some of the things that can distract drivers and make them more aware. This driver is not going unpunished. She is living her own personal hell I am sure.

What can cyclist do? Well I get just as frustrated with us as I do with the motorist. We expect to be treated as if we belong on the roads, yet too often we are our own worst enemies. How many group rides have you been on in which the group is taking up a full lane, plus passing each other for a sprint on the next lane? How many times have you seen riders cut in front of cars and then yell at the them when they honk their horn? How many riders have you seen run red lights because no cars were coming? I have been on rides in the county with fewer then 6 riders in which I yell "car back" and no one attempts to get single file. We have a right to the roads, but we do not own them. The attitudes of many cyclist need to get better before this problem can resolve itself. Our aggressiveness on the road only leads to further animosity and increased aggressiveness by the motorist.

What can be done? Ride safe and ride nice! That's my new motto. Be nice to the motorist. Assume every honk is a friendly honk and wave. Say "thank you" to the cars that give us the right away regardless if they were required to or not. Showing everyone that we belong on the roads is the first step to show the cities that we deserve safer roads. Acting like we own the place will be the fastest way for the roads to be taken away from us.

Ride safe and ride nice!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Problem Solved...The Shimano 7900 chain issue

I got the new Shimano Dura Ace 7900 chain back in late February. This is the directional chain in which the engraved side needs to face out.

It comes with a Quicklink which you could use to connect it. The Quicklink is also directional and goes on like this:
And should look like this when on the bike:

Everything seemed to work fine. Then on a rainy Saturday morning my bike got dirty. I went home and cleaned it immediately like I usually do. The next day I had a clicking type of feel in my cranks (at least that is where it seemed like it was coming from). I took the cranks off and inspected them...they were fine. I replaced the cassette, tried a different rear wheel, and even swapped pedals. No fix. This mainly occurred when I was in my 21, 19, 17... basically at the top of the cassette whether or not I was in the small or big ring.

I finally put the chain from my TT bike on and it fixed the problem. So now I was a little pissed. I just spent a bunch of money on this chain that lasted me for less then a month. I inspected it numerous times. I verified 50 times it seems that the chain was installed correctly. It would not skip at all on the work stand and only seemed to skip or click in those low gears.

I finally realized it definetely had a feel like a stiff link. But non of the links were stiff. So I finally took the Quicklink off and replaced it with the old fashion Shimano replacement pins that is still an option with this chain.

Problem solved. That quicklink must have gotten some dirt or grime in it and because of how precise it is, messed it up.

Anyone else have any problems. I couldn't find any information on this during this time of annoyance for me. So I thought it would be a good idea to post it this issue so someone else doesn't end up pulling their hair out.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Story of the Old School Photos

My brother James came across some old pictures at our parents house. He realized the value of them and scanned about 800 of them to his computer. It was pretty cool to look back at them. Many of them were old cycling pictures. Our parents went to every race and always took pictures.

There were ones like this which I think might be Cycle to the Sun in Maui (but I'm not sure).

There were a couple like this. Remember this race? New Horizon crit. Recognize anyone? Eric Saunders is there near the front.

And there were really old ones. When helmets had a hard shell and even a small skin suit was baggy on me.

So James took a lot of these pictures, scanned them and posted them on Facebook under the title "Old School". Not too bad, right?

Except there were more pictures.

There were ones like these:

I am the one on the far right. And who could forget those Glamor Shots:

And who hasen't occasionally dressed up like a girl?

Well let's just say Facebook is a pretty large network. There were many comments made on Facebook about these photos. But then my lovely wife chose to repost the pictures under her account which opened them up to even more people I know...people I work with.

The result was this:

That is the framed pictures from "Old School" hanging on the walls of my fire station. They ended up being sent to the people I work with from numerous sources.

If you can't laugh at your past what can you laugh at. Who else is willing to have old pictures of them hanging at work. These are the type of pictures that your mother is dying to show your girlfriend the first time you bring her home.

Good times.