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

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Wild Idea...

I live in the Pacific Northwest, sometimes referred to as the Pacific Northwet. Moss is our biggest crop. Slugs are our single most numerous fauna.

It's said that people move to this area because they visit during the summer. All two weeks of it.

Okay, that's a bit of a stretch. Summers here are awesome. Not too hot, bluest-of-blue skies, green mountains... Of course people who live here realize those mountains are green because it RAINS the rest of the year.

Still, the bike racing scene is a year-round affair, with road racing from February to September (and it truly sucks until you get well into April), cyclocross from September through November (the more mud the better), mountain biking pretty much all year, track racing from late May into early September (though it's hit-and-miss until July 10th or so).

Track riders either cross over to another discipline or get fat. Or both, in some cases. There is a subset of track riders that don't ride on the road. At all. But the Marymoor velodrome is outdoors... The only indoor 'drome anywhere near here is Burnaby, BC (that's Canadia, for the geographically challenged). That makes cycling at best a seasonal affair.

So I have this wild idea. How about another indoor velodrome? I've always wanted to have one. Or at least have one available. I'm sure I'm not the only one.

You see, there's this abandoned huge warehouse near me, and I think it'd be PERFECT. It used to house a Lowe's Home and Garden, but they moved to a new-and-larger location (just across the street, taking out a big chunk of forest and trails... ) a year or so ago, and this building has stood empty since. A Top Foods grocery store right next door, Wal-Mart within a quarter mile, a mall just a couple blocks away. Good parking, could easily house a 250m track with room for stands, a bike shop, a frame building shop (hehe), a food vendor (a local donut shop has expressed interest in the building as well, though he wants to open it as a BMX track)... Could even do 'cross races with some creative course work (see that video I posted just a couple days ago).

I talked with the owner of the bike shop where I work, and he's got some ideas on cost, though having the loan note overhead could be daunting. Insurance could be an issue as well (one reason I'm not too keen on a BMX venue).

We've got some feelers out on interest for the venue as an indoor velodrome...

It's a wild idea, and it may not go anywhere, but I think it's worth pursuing.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Getting my bearings...

This past week, I've had two bearings go out on me. Sealed cartridge units that are supposedly impervious to the elements. Well, mostly, anyway.

The first was on the front wheel of my mountain bike. I suppose this one can be excused, as it's probably 16 years old (the wheel, the frame is only a couple years old), and has spent the majority of the last few years of its life in an outdoor bike rack at work (mercifully under a stairway, but not completely sheltered from the elements). This is the single speed bike Specialized Hard Rock Sport I keep at work for lunchtime forays onto the service roads that surround the manufacturing plant where I reside during the normal daytime working hours. I've purposefully kept this bike simple and cheap, as it's not locked up (it's inside a gated secure facility), and it's kept outdoors. I've been toying with the idea of upgrading the fork to something with more axle-to-crown height, less rake, and disc brake compatibility, but when I think about it staying outdoors...

ANYway... I noticed a squeaking noise as I rode last week, and it didn't go away when I stopped pedaling. Hm... Okay, not in the drive train. I schlepped the bike home on my one driving day (I try to bike commute as much as I can), and checked things out in the late evening hours. Nearest I could trace was the front wheel -- some slight play in the axle, and a rough bearing. I replaced that (just happened to have some even OLDER spares), reassembled, cleaned and lubed the drive train for good measure, and I was good to go.

The other was a little more involved, and on my trainer bike. This is an old Scott Waimea that I've configured as a road bike and kept on the trainer (I used this one in the "retro division" triathlon I did last June, so it does see SOME road use). Again, a squeak developed during a late evening session (I hesitate to call it a "ride"), timed with the left pedal. I added some NFS lube, and things quieted down for the remainder of the slog. The next time I got on, it started up again. Loud! I finished the session, and then pulled things apart. This one will be a little more expensive when it comes time to actually replace the parts -- fortunately I had another bike with the same configuration that I could cannibalize. What had happened is that the left side bearing had not just gone rough, it had seized entirely, and the squeaking was the spindle rubbing against the stationary inner bearing race. Yeah, metal on metal friction. So not only did the bearing need to be replaced, but it had worn a nice groove into the spindle. New crank time! I realize that FSA Gossamer cranksets are a dime-a-dozen and not really lightweight, and I've got them on several of my bikes. Now I've got them on one less bike (the one I cannibalized to keep the trainer bike at the ready).

Sure, living on the trainer it could be considered to see more harsh weather than the mountain bike that's stored outside -- not just getting rained on when I ride it, but SALTY rain. It just happens, no way around it really, even with a towel draped over the top tube.

So those are my maintenance tribulations of the last little while. Luckily it didn't take a long time to remedy, as I've had precious little of that lately -- the 3-month-old girl seems to want to take up a lot of it...

And a final note for today -- I saw this video on BikeRumor today, and thought it just looked like an interesting, cool race.