Monday, January 19, 2009

Enter The Pug

Well, there was an awful lot of waiting, but the monster has finally arrived. On Friday afternoon and with many thanks to Cycle Care, I took ownership of my Pugsley. Then, life being life, I couldn't even put the grips and pedals on until Monday. Saturday was 10 hours of training on the bike, and Sunday was training on foot with Emily and spending some time together. Still, the big grey bike was still lurking when I went out to see it today and now it's ready to ride tomorrow. So bring on the glamour shots (apologies for poor quality camera-phone work, my camera is elsewhere. Click for bigger images)...

No comments about the fence... it's on the neighbour's side! Nice, clean lines from the Pug, though.

New style seat-clamp from Surly has a nice S embossed on it. Open cable guides for full-length cables/hoses.

Apparently, Hope SS hubs only come in gunmetal colour these days. The seals look different to my 1 year old one too. Note the crazy-big rims with offset build to allow a full range of gears that don't foul the massive tyres.

Lovely Hope stem, Goodrich braided hoses (to avoid plastic cracking in the cold. Arguably I should have gone with cable discs), King headset. The front is very high and wide as that's the usual style for snow bikes (so I'm told and it worked for me with the rental).

This is what it looks like to get run over by a Pugsley. Yes, the tyre really is bigger than a tree :) Also of note: the front wheel using a rear hub. For the race, that'll have a different gear from the back just in case. Even if I use that gear, I'll still claim to have ridden it singlespeed!

View from the seatpost... a 100mm FSA ISIS bottom bracket. Wise people say FSA ISIS is pretty good these days. Hope so! 

That's how a drivetrain should look! Simple lines. For the race, I'll be running a granny ring at the front, but 32t for now so I can ride it round Swinley.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

3 Mobile on MacBook

Boring and techie, but useful for people trying to use the same setup as I had...

I just switched to mobile broadband because it's cheaper than having to pay line-rental and fixed-line broadband. You can get some really good deals out there as long as you don't mind losing a little bit of speed. Unfortunately, despite coming with a nice white USB stick the 3 mobile package is a mess on Mac.

Using the connection software on the Huawei E160G HSDPA stick, you can connect to the internet but I found that it would crash within about 1/2 an hour every time, bringing the whole system down. It's the only thing I've ever used which crashes my Mac so that's a poor result. I did some googling and found one suggestion that the driver sends too many messages to the system log but changing this made no difference. In the end, the solution seems to be to use the built-in connection software instead of 3-Connect i.e. use the little phone icon in the status bar. Using that, I haven't had another crash yet... woohoo!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Lobsters are cool but...

Lobster gloves seem like the perfect balance of finger grouping for warmth vs dexterity to ride. There is a problem, though. You can do this:

But you can't do this:

And sometimes the second one is essential. Like when you hear some raging metalcore.

Oh, and these ones don't leave room for chemical handwarmers making them useless for me in the Iditarod. Good for UK, though.

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Year Carnage

New Year didn't bring any training but it did bring the chance to go play on bikes with Emily in the woods of Shropshire, and then have a fun party for New Year's Eve itself.

First, we headed out to Mortimer Woods near Ludlow for a bit of "follow your nose" riding. Riding up a deer track gave us challenging branch hopping climbs in a soft, quiet world of our own. Ducking branches and working against the slope, we eventually had to turn round for some real free riding. Just the suggestion of a flowing trail and no guarantees, it was great. And then the elbows came out. Throwing elbows is a bit of a Tuesday night ride habit with Adam and me, but it's also an occasional feature on rides with Emily. Except that with Emily it tends to involve more contact. So on a perfectly level trail, the shoving ensued and one missed elbow from her entangled our handlebars. The next thing I knew, I was on the ground and I'd hit my hip hard on the end of the bars. It took a few moments to figure out that everything was ok to move.

In the end, it was just a scratched hip and a dead leg but a bit of a shocker and lucky to be near the end of the ride. Unfortunately, the main carnage was reserved for later when a fast fire road conspired with an adverse camber and some cut logs to take out both Emily and her frame. Fortunately, she wasn't too hurt but the bike was, as you can see, terminal. Doh!

There aren't many worse feelings than hearing someone you care about wiping out in a painful sounding way behind you. Fortunately, she was ok and Merlin Cycles have been good about doing a crash replacement. When I was getting into riding the question wasn't whether or not I crashed on a ride, it was how many times. Exceeding your limits accelerates your learning, it just hurts sometimes.