Sunday, November 16, 2014

Veterans Day - Videos!

The first video's featured here on DR2DC... Wes got some great sunrise footage w/ his stealthy light-camera mounted on the seatpost. Nice job with the filming and the editing skills Wes!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Veterans Day Leesburg Loop

2014 Veteran's Day Ride
Happy Belated Veterans Day to all those who are and have served!

Six friends and I chose to celebrate with an all day ride here in the Nation's Capitol.  We set our sights high, the 84 mile 'Leesburg Loop'.  I've been wanting to do this ride for over a year after I became aware of Whites Ferry and the possibility to complete a true out and back loop all the way to Leesburg.  We departed my place in Alexandria VA around 0630 with five riders and  met two more in Georgetown at the foot of the C&O/CCT Trails.  It was a brisk but gorgeous morning and the forecast promised warmer temperatures and continued pleasant weather all day.

I'll let the pictures and captions tell the story, I had a great time... the distance was pretty daunting and two of our little band had practically zilch for recent bike experience.  Well done Pete and Al!  Great attitudes and the willingness to do something crazy gets you in all sorts of interesting (if uncomfortable) situations!

From left to right; Al, Wes, Jude, Tony and Pete

Al and Pete speeding along Gravelly Point, both were riding borrowed Bridgestones from my stable.  Al on my wife's silver MB-3 and Pete on my XO-3.

Sunrise over the Potomac, note the crew teams out early.  Great color, I love Nov skies in this area. Morning and evening they offer so many crisp horizons and interesting clouds.

Quick detour for the Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial.

Pete at the Memorial.

Quick stop on the spillway

Blow up for two reasons, first to show the Women's Cross Country runners behind us, the girl closest to Pete's shoulder was hauling ass!!! She passed us soon after this picture and it took us a couple hundred yards to catch up, she must have been running at a 8-10mph pace at this point.

Joe in his element (and on his UBI-built custom steel commuter - he still hasn't wrapped his bars!)

Up close to Great Falls this wonderful basin was like a mirror, rock formations on the far wall were also stunning.  

The crew in middle center speeding along towards morning coffee

How gorgeous is this!?! Note the moon... less than an hour by bike from the National Mall, you can't beat this!

The crew enjoying the view.

The first shot of the new ride - say hello to Mr. Bombadil!

How's this for coffee outside, coffee w/ a view even. The Great Falls Overlook on the MD side has an awesome rock formation that offered a perfect stove placement.  Note my new Japanese wire coffee filter holder and Ocean Air Cycles roasted beans.  #coffeeneuring, #coffeoutside

MD side of Great Falls... never gets old!

More glamour shots of the Bombadil

Three bottle cages is pretty sexy... (and useful!)

ok ok I know... gratuitous amounts of Bombadil shots.

Whites Ferry!  We had splendid timing and literally rode straight on and were carried across.

Looking back on the VA side of the Ferry crossing

You have to admit that Pete and the red XO-3 cast a pretty sweet shadow here as we join up w/ Rt 15 to head into Leesburg.

Once on the W&OD the ride did start to grind a bit, we stopped for an amazing lunch at Carolina Bro's BBQ in Ashburn but I think we were about an hour late in getting those calories as it had been a long 50 miles leading up to lunch.  The W&OD's new coat of asphalt was much appreciated though.

Double top tube shadow... I belive this is inside the beltway crossing I-66.  We were chasing the setting sun at this point and nursing our aches and cramps but everyone kept up a good attitude and we finished strong.  Happy Veterans Day!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Bike 'Day' - Rawland rSOGN

The garage looks a bit different than it did when I went ahead buying the rSOGN off of a RCOG Google groups member, I had intended this buy to satisfy two things; first to be my fat tire trail bike replacing the MB-5 for riding out in Winchester and also at local trail parks and second to satisfy my curiosity with low trail geometry.  After my calamity on the Saluki however those two reasons became a distant second/third to the everyday geared commuter usage until such a time that I get the Saluki rolling again.  Having plenty of versatile bikes in the stable has it's pluses!

While it threw a monkey wrench in my life for the past couple weeks the disassembly of the Saluki did offer some sweet components for the initial build up of the rSOGN!  The brakes, wheels/tires and full drive train all made the transfer to the new frame.  This gives me a good base for setting aside delta's with the components for my initial impressions of the rSOGN.

Here is the build;

Frame: Size ML Rawland rSOGN, stock fork cut to 2.75" above headset
Headset: Cane Creek
BB: Shimano sealed bearing
Cockpit: Moustache Bars, Ritchey 17deg,90mm stem, inner tube tape
Seat: SQ Labs 610 (probably going to be replaced w/ my B17, Kalloy seatpost
Pedals: MKS Grip Kings
Brakes: Paul Stoplight Cantis
Brake Levers: Shimano aero
Shifters: Silver shifter, friction (right only for now)
Crankset: WI Eno, 44T single chainring
Cassette: Shimano 8 spd 12-34T
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Exage
Chain: KMC 8 spd
Wheels: Shimano 105 rear w/ synergy 36T, Shimano dyno front w/ synergy 36T
Tires: GB Hetre EL

I've gotten two moderate rides under my belt of 14 and 20 miles at this point and really like the bike.  I'm holding off getting to definitive with impressions till my fitness catches back up to pre-crash levels and I get some more time on the bike. The stability of the bike, particularly the 'no-hands' stability is impossible to ignore.  I wish I had another inch in stem height somehow and might end up looking for a steeper angled stem to get me a bit of that but I'll probably wait till I try out the build with noodle's first.

That Carradice saddle wedge has seen a TON of use since @dailyrandonneur gifted it to me during a #FMCC!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Forbidden Passage

Lake Waccamaw in NC is a gorgeous, wonderful spot I've been going to with family since I was a kid, the lake is very shallow and hosts an amazing array of plants and wildlife.  (it was also the site of my first #coffeeneuring outing last Oct!) My Mom recently retired to a nice house right on the water and we've been spending alot more time down there.  Several bike related projects include the relocation of our Univega 26" wheeled Tandem and a step through cruiser project that has had some issues but seems to be rolling now.

The XO-3 hanging out at the end of the State Park pier... I like the minimalism.  The lake is only about 7 miles wide at any point so you get a feel for how foggy it was this morning.
The Lake is a great place to bike as it's flat and has a road that goes about 2/3 of the way around the lakeshore.  My goal in this most recent visit was to figure out a way through that other 1/3... entering Lake Waccamaw State Park.  According to the maps it hosts a number of trails that are marked for hiking but don't specifically exclude bicycles.  With my single speed XO-3 and some 1.9"ish cruiser tires I decided to give it a go.

I'll give myself a partial success here, I did force my way through the quite challenging shore trail in the State Park but found myself stymied at the end by a hi water dam that just didn't look safe to cross.  So I got the dubious pleasure of forcing my way back through the sandy, swampy and rooted trail back to asphalt.  A great adventure though it was damp and I was thoroughly beat down by the end of it.

Some random facts and background on the Lake;

NC State Park site for Lake Waccamaw

Dept of Natural Resources discussion on Carolina Bays
-Lake Waccamaw is the largest of the Carolina Bay instances and apparently they are quite a mysterious geological/biological formation

Council Tools
-Anyone looking for Made in the USA steel tools and Axes can look no further, they make exceptional drop forged tools right here w/in a mile of the lake. They got there start supporting the local turpentine industry

The next day my wife and I completed the other half of the ride all on pavement via the tandem and had a great ride. Enjoy the pictures;

That darned drainage creek and the hi water dam really fouled it up for me but it was a good ride all the same.
Speeding through the paved section of the State Park.

The Park Service does a pretty regular prescribed burn policy to encourage the natural growth cycle of the pine trees that actually depend on fire to germinate the next generation of trees.

Smoke on the water eh?!?  This is from the pier pictured earlier in the post along the coastline that I followed via the trail.  Primordial comes to mind...

Another prescribed burn and a fresh one at that, the trail is along the right hand side of the frame.

Trail work needed, much of the trail was fire road in width as it is here but it was also marshy and or sandy with the lake encroaching from the right and the swamp coming in from the left.

Here we have a big tree down and while I nearly turned around I decided to risk snakes and other beasts and slide through underneath pushing the bike ahead.  Having to do it a second time on my return trip really freaked me out b/c I hate snakes and this seemed like the perfect haven for them.  I made it through without a sighting thank goodness!

I don't have much in the way of great photo's of the swamp, I was beat down tired and dripping with sweat and condensation the whole way.  But this view is typical of the left inland side of the trail.

Ahhhh... so close and yet so far.  The water was pretty darn hi and I decided not to wade across carrying the bike.  Another time perhaps.  No pictures from the return ride, I was pretty disheartened at the time but having done it twice solidifies my mind against trying this trail again any time soon!

Sunday, August 24, 2014


It's been a rocky couple of weeks for vehicles and me... All three cars have been in and out of the shop with some frustrating issues and more dramatically two weeks ago I crashed my bike - yes, the Saluki.

The good news is I was able to get back on a bike this weekend after nursing a right arm/elbow for the two weeks.  The Saluki fork is most likely going to be replaced and I've stripped it down to frame and fork to facilitate a thorough inspection as soon as possible.

But today is not about the crash, or the state of the Saluki.  Adding to the ridiculous nature of the past two weeks is that the used Rawland rSOGN I'd been keeping an eye out for over the post year or so came available and I received it last week, it was very frustrating to be unable to ride a bike (and limited in my wrenching ability) through this weekend.  Tonight I got the rSOGN built up enough to roll around the block.  Long way to go but it's a nice start! I'm glad I have the new frame to distract me.

Just past 'rolling chassis' mode, front/rear brakes operational, 44x12 ghetto singlespeed and only half the bars wrapped.  Seems like test-ride material to me!

Moustache bars - eat your heart out! The XO-3 donated the bars as it transitioned to a more stately Albatross cockpit.  The Paul Stoplight canti's are on loan from the suddenly idle Saluki but they look sharp here as usual.
Full Build list coming, nearly 100% borrowed parts... I had the Sugino triple crank installed before I realized that the seat tube on this puppy is larger than 28.6 which scuttled my plan's in that area but by going to the WI Eno Crank w/ 44T chainring I was able to use the Saluki's chain straight up.  In fact the rSOGN is now sporting the full Saluki drive train.

More to follow this week!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New Drivetrain Feeling

I'm quite a bit late in posting a full set of images and discussion of my primary, and gorgeous green ride... the not-purple-saluki.  And this post won't fix that but it will tease it a bit and show off my two favorite parts.  First is the ever so sweet White Industries Eno crankset with 44T SS chainring.  This was acquired through a fairly interesting trade with a friendly enthusiast on the RBW Google Group and I couldn't be happier with the ride. I took the opportunity to replace my chain and cassette at the same time and am blissfully enjoying 'that new drivetrain feel'  with every ride right now.

The second shot show's you my primary view of the sweet piece of MUSA-CNC'd aluminum.  And last but ever most certainly not least you'll note a teasing, semi-obstructed view of the vintage Paul 'Stoplight' Canti brakes... they stop great and look better.

I promise a full post on the Saluki soon... gotta do the summary for two reasons; 1. I'm pretty satisfied with the build now and I think this is roughly it for the time being, and 2.  I've got a new frame build in the works and I don't want to get into that till I've detailed the Saluki! :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday Night Trail Riding (Happy 100th Post!)

A bit of envelope pushing at Wakefield Park for some evening trail riding.  My friend Jonathan is a serious mountain biker and we've been musing about hitting up this park which happens to be roughly in between our two homes for some time now.  Call it a Polar Vortex miracle but we finally pulled the trigger this week and settled on Thursday.  Great night to be outside, the vortex has removed the typical mid-summer humidity and heat from the region and left us a warm but very comfortable setting.

The ride gave my my first real opportunity to test out the new bosco handlebar setup for the MB-5 as you see here.  While I hadn't gotten the bike out for a serious test my friend Ryan's son had borrowed it for a scout trip and he apparently had a great time with it.  He also left it with two broken rear wheel spokes, a flat tire and a busted shift cable but all of these were easily fixable.  I had a 'spare' 135mm, 26" wheel w/ 7 spd freewheel laying around by chance and managed to get the bike back in tip top condition Wednesday night in prep for the ride.

No pictures from the ride itself I'm afraid, suffice it to say that we were out for about 1 1/2 hours returning to the vehicles around 9PM as it started to get dark.  I was fully prepared to be left in Jonathan's dust both from a conditioning, experience and equipment perspective.  Aside from his significant mountain bike saddle time he was riding a cool double suspension bike (carbon?) that sported a hydraulic button operated seatpost lower-er-er...  pretty spiffy!   The MB-5 looked a bit antiquated but it aquited itself extremely well.  
I believe that Wakefield is considered to be a very easy mountain biking course, i.e. not to 'technical'.  But it had some thrilling rides as far as I was concerned, I"d been there several times before but this time I had the benefit of merely following Jonathan's lead as he picked our route through a web of ~8 miles of single track, double track, slaloming descents, some mild bumps, creek crossings and wooded trails along a creek.

I managed to stay on the bike for the most part, no catastrophic instances in any case.  I was thrilled at the leverage and comfort that the 55cm Bosco Bar's gave me, the 2.1" knobbies picked up second hand last year worked great giving me just a bit more grip especially on some of the wide embankments in the slalom section.  I did my share of hoping off the bike to walk in several steep sections and found that I would very easily 'wheelie' the bike when ascending.  I also had plenty of brake squeal.  The only immediate equipment change I'd make on the MB5 is to replace the brake pads.

I'm anxious to get back out on the trails sometime soon!