An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rock Steady

Within the last three weeks, I've become involved with a youth triathlon team as a volunteer coach for cycling and running.

It all started with an email from the WSBA (Washington State Bicycle Association -- the local bike racing organization) list asking if there was any one who was willing to help out with coaching the team. I took a look at their website, and though I was a little hesitant to commit all our free time, my wife and I agreed to help out as we could.

Rock Steady Junior Triathlon Club is a triathlon team for ages 13-19, with the racing goals of getting the kids to the national qualifier triathlon in Monroe, WA, in June, and to Nationals (in Ohio last year) in August. The racing that these kids will be doing is draft-legal ITU style racing. Much like a bike race sandwiched between a swim and a run (from the bike perspective), or a run with a swim and bike warm-up (from the running perspective).

We met last week with the head coach/front-man/founder of the team and discussed what the team is doing, what the team needs, and what we have to offer.

So we're going to be helping out with the team. My role will be to help educate on riding in general, and especially with regards to riding on the road and in a pack and paceline, riding safety, and reading traffic and races.

Even though I've never raced a draft-legal triathlon, I HAVE raced many non-draft-legal triathlons, and hundreds of bike races.

The first workout is next Monday, April 1st. I think I've got some good introductory ideas given April Fool's Day...

It should be a fun adventure.

Rock Steady.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Coming soon -- Frame building class with Ti Cycles Fabrication

I just got the confirmation today -- in just over two weeks, I'll be in Portland taking the frame building class at Ti Cycles Fabrication, and I'm totally JAZZED!

I had the pleasure of contracting Dave Levy at Ti Cycles to build a custom titanium road racing frame for me about 18 years ago (I think, I'm really not sure what year it was), and not long after that, a steel track/single-speed bike, both with Softride beams. I still have those bikes, and though the single speed doesn't get much use now that I'm not racing on the track, I used the road frame for last year's RAMROD.

Ti Cycles moved from Seattle to Portland several years ago, after closing their retail location. Dave now runs the bike frame fabrication business, as well as Cedar Ridge Fabrication ("car stuff", as it's termed). I visited the shop just a couple weeks ago to talk with him about some options on my road frame (revising the front end geometry as well as increasing the tire clearance on the chainstays), and asked about the class. He had been planning one for March, a "concentrated" class in the space of one week, which fit my needs perfectly. Turns out there was still space in the class, and I just happened to get a little windfall that allowed me to afford it.

Ti Cycles isn't afraid to go outside the norm to make a bike frame. At the latest NAHBS (North American Handmade Bike Show) in Denver just a week ago, they showed a cargo bike that attracted a lot of attention.

I've got a pretty firm idea what I want to build in the class, and there are just a few details to work out with tire and chainring clearance in the chainstays. Coming out of there with a bike I've designed and built will be awesome. Riding it will be a game-changer.

So then it'll just be a matter of getting my brazing set-up together and practicing my brazing techniques.

The beginning of a new era.