Category Archives: Velo life

fitness report (a.k.a. “lack thereof”)

Dan Empfield at Slowtwitch has it figured that at age 45 the average man should be able to run his age for a 10k, minus 20 seconds for every year under 45.  So I should be able to do it in 41:40 (no prizes for guessing my age, now).

By comparison, the last time I timed a 5k I did it in 42:40.  I’ve never even run 10k at once.  Ouch.

This summer, for one reason and another, has been pretty bad as far as training goes.  Cycling has been minimal, running has been a bit more but rather irregular, swimming nonexistent.  At present I am in the throes of a full-on push to get back in shape, for two reasons: firstly, after I hit 35 my metabolism hit a brick wall and I gained over 20lb since; and secondly, X-C ski season is approaching (yeah, yeah, I know) and I wish for it not to suck.

September, I have a goal to run every weekday.  As long as my feet don’t give me trouble – which they might – I see no issues following through on this and it should drastically improve my running, which goes to pot very quickly when untrained but also improves at a reasonable rate when working hard at it.

Then after that I mean to get a set of rollerblades which should prepare the legs nicely for skiing.

No more fat & lazy, that’s the motto!  And now off to the gym.

new road bike on the way

As is my usual procedure, it being the coldest part of winter, I am planning a summer sport.  (Same goes for summer.  I’m all about the cross-country skiiing then.)  Not only does this provide a nice distraction from the current weather … well, in all honesty, I have to say that I think part of why I’m building a bike now has to do with direction, or the lack of it.  Cycling has always been my “thing”, albeit I’ve never been terribly good at it, and after Dad passed away I found myself rather adrift.  No excuse really, there’s the guitar that ought to be commanding my full attention (but which hasn’t been touched in two weeks), and there’s plenty of other important things I ought to be doing, but I think unconsciously I felt that to really get back on track I needed to get back to my roots and that’s on two wheels.

So with that ramble out of the way, now it’s time for a new road bike.  The best road bike I’ve ever had was a $350 Diamondback with Exage on it, and for the last few years I’ve been making do with a 1970-ish Bottechia that is a nice enough ride but weighs the best part of 25 pounds.  Clearly it was time for something light and quick, and now I had a bit of funds to use for it as well.  Not too much otherwise I would have just bought a nice Rocky Mountain from the boys at Tinker Creek.  But the high end Rockys were too much money and the entry level ones just didn’t appeal.  All I wanted was a nice simple aluminum frame, cos I like aluminum, and I don’t like frames with all kinds of weird curves and oddities just for the sake of having them.  When this GT GTR Series 2 frame came up, it seemed to be just the ideal thing.  Only cost me about $275, too.

Then the next thing was the components.  I like Shimano stuff a lot, but I’ve never had a fully Campagnolo bike and I really, really dislike the looks of the Shimano brifters.  So it was settled that I should build it up with Campy and so that I didn’t change my mind I quickly bought these Vento wheels.  The Ventos are reasonably light, not featherweight but not bad, and they’re very strong and look good.  I like that they’re silver, too.  I want to go with a mostly silver build on this bike, so that I get a nice classic look.  Never been that fond of black parts.  I feel a bike is already enough form-follows-function that a little gleam on the parts is a nice touch, more so than drab black bits.

So here’s a couple pictures of the frame and the wheels.



this summer’s training …

… has been rather strange.

Haven’t been able to get into the swing of things properly at all.  Always one thing or another that knocks me out of my rhythm.  And then since I’ve mostly been swimming, and that’s mostly refining technique at this point; and the rest of my training has been mostly running, since that’s my weakest area; my cycling has suffered badly.   In fact I haven’t even taken the TT bike out at all this year.  Think I’ll do so this weekend, I miss going fast!

Speaking of little annoying disruptions, this morning I get to the pool in a great hurry as per usual, go to get my stuff out of my bag, … wait, where’s my goggles.  They’re ALWAYS in the bag.  OK, maybe the end pocket – nope.  Other end – nope.  Le sigh.  Go back to front desk, they haven’t had any turned in.  Go back home in defeat, and they’re not there either.  So, you know, stuff like that, there’s a day’s training lost, no good reason.

inching along

Bit by bit we make more progress toward summer.  It will be the same as usual I suppose.  Wait, wait, wait – SUMMER! oops, it’s over.

OK, that’s a bit pessimistic even for me.

Today I put my new Panaracers on the MTB.  If they’re as good as they are sticky on the hands, I’m gonna own the trails this summer.  Doug says they’re what he always uses, and James was very impressed with them, so I have high hopes.  They are the Fire XC Pro.  Need to find out if the bridge is up on the lake trail already, gotta try these things out ASAP.

red-letter day

Well you don’t get too many days like this one!

First item on the agenda was the Morden Triathlon. Everything went smoothly, pretty much … and we won! I was not too surprised by it, although I was surprised by how slow the cycling field was – however, I didn’t have to run 10.5k after the bike, and most of the rest of them did. So that’s understandable. Beautiful day for it, gotta say the whole thing was pretty much flawless front to back. I didn’t have a computer on my bike, so I don’t yet know my exact time (they didn’t post relay results on the results board … slackers). Should know soon. It was just over 50 minutes I think, for the 30k.

And then:

I bought a car! Yup, the endless string of boring “car search” posts can now be concluded (you think your sigh of relief is big, how about mine?!). It’s a Q45. Bought on ebay. I didn’t at all expect to win the auction. It was sitting at $5000, and I sniped it for $5200 max bid … and ended up winning it for $5100. Seriously, who gives themselves that little margin??? Oh well, works for me. Here she be:

So now I have to send a certified cheque; that’ll be done Monday; and also arrange shipping, which should also be done Monday. Hopefully shipping doesn’t take too long.


Well I’ve been kinda run off my feet lately, but yet not that much of interest happening … the MR2 is for sale now, guitar recital is done and went better than it could have but worse than it should have (does that ever change?!), planning Don’s bachelor party which is a bit bigger task than I really expected (it should be good though), etc.

And, this little rocketship is done.


No, it’s not remotely comfortable.  It isn’t bad for about 20km though, which is the longest distance I ever plan to ride it, except for the Morden 30km bike leg.  Ride quality is quite good, it’s just the position that hurts a bit … it’s okay though when you’re hammering, and that’s all this thing is meant for.  And it definitely is very very fast.  Having said that, I am still dialing in the position and I think I may try going down and back a bit.  It isn’t UCI legal now, not that I’m worried about that until next year at least, but it is a point to consider.  I need to get video so I can do the “eyeball wind tunnel” analysis.

Cervelo Eyre Tri frame

Ritchey Probiscus integrated aerobar

Drivetrain is a mix of Ultegra derailleurs, Dura-Ace shifters, 105 crank, Dura-Ace cassette (nine-speed)
Campagnolo Mirage monoplanar brakes operated by Cane Creek 200TT levers

Wheels are Velocity Pro Elite 650C rims, Wheelsmith spokes, Ultegra hubs; 24h front, 28h rear; carrying Clement Criterium tubulars.

Titec El Norte seatpost, Profile Tri Stryke saddle.

Project Curbside final update

Well today was a beautiful day so I took the Peugeot out to give it a bath and pose for photos.  It is finished except for rebuilding the headset and bottom bracket, and it still needs proper pedals, but other than that it’s done.  So I expect this will be the last post about it.  The bars are wrapped with 1″ polypropylene webbing.  This is difficult to do because you need to maintain a good amount of tension on the webbing as you wrap, in order to get it to stay put.  But once done, correctly, the result is a very durable and grippy bar wrap.  What else … most of the stuff has been shown before I guess, the brake is on now, the original centrepull worked fine once re-greased.  The aero lever combined with the centrepull gives a very tidy cable routing.

So overall, pretty pleased with how this project turned out.  This was my first fixed-gear conversion, and also my first bolt-on cog conversion.  I expect I’ll be converting more bikes, but I’ll probably use conventional hubs from now on.  The cog was a good experiment but offers few practical advantages, no real cost advantage, and makes a fair bit of extra work and parts chasing.


cog on

Cog is drilled and mounted on the Project Curbside wheel.  This was a bit of a task.  I started with a very small bit, then had to drill the holes up one size at a time.  I tried going straight to the finished size but the steel just hardened up immediately.  A better cutting fluid than WD-40 might’ve helped.

Notes to self: 1) gloves are a very very good idea when holding a cog down while drilling 2) if you ever have to replace a cassette, Miche makes theirs from some extremely hard stuff.


Project Warp 9 update

Well today I picked up the Cervelo Eyre Tri frame up from the shop. They have prepared the frame, and installed the bottom bracket and headset. Of course I had to start bolting on a few parts. Pix attached. The seat will be lower, I hope. That seat-to-bar drop makes my neck ache just to look at it!

If you want all the gory details you can see the Google Notebook I made for this project here.

pict6056.JPG pict6057.JPG