Monday, August 27, 2007

I Can Still Walk

The ride went pretty well, I suppose. Colleen and I rode together the entire way, linking up with a 4 or 5 Air Force guys (she knew two of them from when they were formerly stationed at Sheppard AFB) for the last 35 or so miles.

I was an idiot and tried to reset my bike computer the morning of the ride (the display was flashing in a way that supposedly indicates that the head unit's batteries were low..but they were not that old), and ended up completely messing it up, leaving it in a state of failed syncing with the wireless speed/cadence sensor. So, I have no idea what the overall rolling time was. Our best guess is about 5.5 hours. We stopped at more rest stops this year and for longer, and I think that is probably why my lower back hurt, but not to the same level as it has in some previous years.

One thing that was new was a numbness and tingling in my middle, ring, and pinky fingers on both hands. I didn't think much of it at the time, thinking it was just some temporary numbness from so many hours on the road and the amount of vibration from some of the rough roads. Waking up Sunday, though, it was still numb. Today, it's no different -- still numb. I did a bit of searching and found that it looks to be something often called 'cyclist's palsy' or ulnar neuropathy. It's explained in plenty of detail here and here and here, but the summary is that it's an inflammation of the ulnar nerve (it runs down the entire length of the arm to the hand) from overuse -- in this case, all of the hours of constant vibration and gripping of the handlebars.

Nick has run into this before, and found that some vibration damping bar end plugs from Bontrager (the Bzzzkill) work very well.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Hope I Can Still Walk On Sunday

I'm heading out tomorrow shortly after lunch to drive (actually, for Jen to drive) up to Wichita Falls for this year's Hotter 'N Hell Hundred. This year, the HHH people made both elevation maps, like this: well as a GPS coordinates map, suitable for loading into Google Earth. It's pretty cool -- you can take a virtual tour of the route this way. The map file is here, if anyone wants to try. I'm pretty heavy at the moment, and having been out of the pool for a few's not going to be pretty!

Before the ride each year, I usually take my bike to a shop to get tuned up. The past few years, I took it to Nelo's. This year, I decided to try one of Bicycle Sport Shop's more extensive tune ups, their Pro Tune. I think it's basically like the tune ups I've had in the past, but with full disassembly, cleaning, then readjustment of the drivetrain. I haven't had anything more major than the basic tune up done on the bike since getting it, and it already had a bunch of miles when I purchased it used. The previous owner had it for a bit over a year and estimates he put 6-7000 miles on it! He was a sponsored rider of some sort, at least.

Anyway, the day the bike was supposed to be finished, they called and said 'dude, I have some bad news.' It turns out that the hub flange on my rear wheel was cracked, and so I'd need a new wheel ($$$). Apparently, the tech said that the wheels already on my bike (Rolf Sestrieres) were some 'crazy light, climbing/racing focused ones'. He thought that at '180-something' I was likely over the recommended weight limit for my wheels (they aren't made anymore, but he thinks the recommended limit was 155 or 165). Me being a porker probably contributed to the wheel crack. I tried to see what my options were for a comparable caliber replacement. He said he'd get back to me, and came back with 3 options: Mavic Ksyrium SL, Bontrager X-Lite, Mavic Ksyrium Elite. The first two are direct competitors, and the last is a less expensive and heavier version of the first. He used to recommend the Ksyrium SLs, but said that upon finding that Bontrager has a 5 year warranty, that was his pick. Unfortunately, both of those were out of stock. Maybe because they are such a big Trek shop (Trek owns Bontrager), they thought they'd have a much better shot at getting an expedited order of the X-Lites to the shop in time for the ride (he was guessing 7-10 days for the Mavics).

I went ahead with the X-Lites, and thankfully, the expedited order came Thursday. They turned it around that afternoon, and I picked up the bike yesterday evening. They gave me the busted wheel back as well. This is what the crack was:

The new wheel is on the bike and now my ride looks like (with fresh wraps, a new chain, and a replaced rear tire, too):
The downside is that this was definitely the most expensive shop work ($718!) I've ever had. I'd be scared to see how much cheaper these wheels are online. BSS charged $450 just for that single rear wheel...but I've seen used sets on EBay for less than $300. For example, BSS charged $45 for a 9-speed Dura-Ace/XTR chain. Looking on Performance Bike's website? Normally $35, currently on sale or $22!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Dog is Free!

I watched way too much of this show when I was in Detroit all week every week (including the special episode on the whole Andrew Luster pursuit). It looks like Dog doesn't have to worry anymore!