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

Monday, November 28, 2016

No fanfare

This is how the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
 - T.S. Eliot (The Hollow Men)

I surpassed my year's goal ride time over this past holiday weekend. This is the second year I've made it over 500 hours of on-the-bike time, a goal I made on a whim towards the end of 2014 after feeling like I hadn't done all that much (though I'd made just over 385 hours of ride time).

I passed the 500 hour mark on Black Friday, while much of the nation was joining the annual shopping melee. With the typical Pacific Northwest weather, and my lack of desire to go out onto the roads when visibility is already low or to subject myself to prolonged exposure to rain and road spray, I put in a session on my stationary trainer. In fact all my riding over the holiday weekend was on the trainer. Yeah, the goal died with a whimper.

The "drainer", as it's lovingly called in many circles, is comprised of an old Scott Waimea aluminum frame, cracked at the seat tube extension that holds the seatpost in place, semi-permanently affixed to a Cyclops "The Silencer" Direct Drive trainer. Which means I take off the back wheel and clamp the frame by the rear dropouts. But I don't find it all that silent. In fact it's just as noisy as the 20-year-old Minoura it replaced.

Anyway, I've been tracking the hours of the various forms of riding I've done the last two years, and find that I've been putting in a LOT of time on the trainer. More this year than last year, to the tune of 160+ hours so far. More than I've done on the mountain bike this year, and approaching the road miles I've put in so far. And given that the remainder of the year is often the worst, weather-wise, it's likely that the number will only go up.

I've also been participating in a 30-day plank challenge on Velocipede Salon, which started with short daily planks and has progressed exponentially to over four minutes (with two days remaining, and upping to 5 minutes on Wednesday). Between that and the time on the trainer, my wrists are constantly aching.

Which brings me to the reason for the entire post. (yeah, we were all wondering where this was going)

I need to fix the position on the trainer! Too much weight on my hands, and at the wrong angle. The Waimea was bought as a knock-around road bike that I could leave somewhere with little worry about weather (aluminum frame), ready to just jump on at a moment's notice. In its first year of life in my passel, it resided at work and saw many training rides around the local roads. But the position wasn't ideal, so it eventually fell out of favor. When the prospect of a permanent trainer bike came up (due to another frame essentially corroding out of existence), this was the bike that was the logical choice. But again, the non-ideal position is catching up to me.

I'm hoping that a different stem can fix the issue. And I think I have the tubing in the garage to make it myself. It would be my first attempt at a part that makes a lot of people nervous (along with forks, a bridge I've already crossed with no issues). We'll see how it goes. The reason I'd be making it myself is that I suspect it will end up being a very non-conventional design. A one-inch steerer coupled to a 31.8mm handlebar, and likely very long and tall.

So a new stem, a new construction, and hopefully new life and comfort on the trainer.