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Month: March 2012

upgrade time…

Being off the bike is a chore.

But that doesn’t mean I have been ignoring the bikes.

OK, so my Pedal Force frame (i.e. “The Rudi Projekt”) is still in a box, awaiting a full rebuild. But the Jamis Eclipse (i.e. “Son of Rudi Projekt”) is still fully assembled and ride-ready.

That said, ever since I first bought it back in 2007, I’ve wanted to upgrade the components. And this past week, that’s just what I did.

Some background: I bought the Jamis as a frameset (frame, fork, headset, crankset and bottom bracket) back in September 2007, when my 2002 LeMond Tourmalet frame broke. The Jamis received its parts from the LeMond: a hodge-podge of Shimano 9-speed stuff from 105 and Tiagra lines (read: entry-level and sturdy, but not exactly light), Mavic Aksium wheels, Specialized saddle, THE handlebar and a few other bits and pieces. I had to buy a new front derailleur, which ended up being a Shimano Ultegra 10-speed unit.

Son of Rudi Projekt (a.k.a. Jamis Eclipse)

And the whole thing worked rather well. The frame is lovely, and the hand-me-down drivetrain worked perfectly well.

But once I had the Pedal Force built up with a full Campagnolo drivetrain, I fell in love with the ergonomics and reliability of the offbeat (to the U.S., at least) component company. And I secretly harbored a desire to upgrade the Jamis to something similar.

One thing that stood in the way: after Thanksgiving of 2007, the Jamis resided full-time in Connecticut. And since it didn’t see a ton of riding time, there was no real drive to upgrade the drivetrain. Not that the Jamis didn’t get ridden: it was my steed on the Harpoon Brewery-to-Brewery Ride in 2009 (my longest single-day ride to date), as well as the 2007, 2008 and 2009 editions of the Great River Ride in Massachusetts (the picture above is from the 2009 GRR).

But this past summer, I crashed the Pedal Force and cracked the frame. So while I decided where to send it for repair (it eventually went to Broken Carbon, where Brady Kappius did a top-notch repair job), I brought the Jamis back to DC with me to use as my full-time road bike. Getting more time on the Jamis reminded me how much I love the feel of a steel-frame bike (or, in this case, a steel/carbon frame).

In the meantime, I had acquired a lot of spare Campagnolo parts, and realized that I was only a few pieces away from having a complete groupset to use on the Jamis. A week ago, I acquired the final bits needed to go forward with the upgrade.

And let me tell you: it has been great to do something with my bikes again, even if it doesn’t involve riding!

So, without any further ado, here’s the end result:

Jamis Eclipse after Campy upgrade

The new (to the Jamis, at least) groupset includes Campagnolo Chorus “brifters” (the combined shift & brake lever units) and brakes, combined with Campagnolo Centaur front and rear derailleurs. The brifters and rear mech used to ride on the Pedal Force – in fact, the handlebar, stem and brifters were transplanted as-is from the Pedal Force, and the setup is just right (note to folks who are new to road cycling: know your fit measurements, because it makes re-assembling your bike far, far simpler).

The wheels you see on the bike are the ones I also use with the Pedal Force, which are lighter than the Mavic units. That said, I plan on getting a Campagnolo freehub body for the Mavics so that I can continue to use them with my bikes (they are bulletproof wheels).

But you know what the best part is?

It’s that my doctor has given me the OK to start riding my bike on a stationary trainer – woo-hoo! It’s the first step back to riding on the road, and makes me happy.

(Thank you to my friend, Jeff, for loaning me his stationary trainer for my in situ training needs!)

recovery update: day 26

I am realizing, through the recovery from my injury, that I’m a bit of a busybody. And it’s never more apparent than during the weekend.

My mind wants to be outside, riding the bike, skiing, hiking or doing something very active. When the weather conspires to deliver unseasonably pleasant temperatures wit low humidity and plentiful sun, it simply rubs salt into the wound.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m enjoying spending my weekend time with sprite, going to the Dupont FreshFarm Market each weekend, and trying to make up for weekends that would normally have a lot of time committed to cycling. I’m becoming more involved with local politics, if only for an issue that has bothered me for some time. I’m going to homebrew some beer with a good friend. And I’m doing some much-needed inventory assessment of my media collections.

But this isn’t satisfying my busybody self, at least not enough to be a consistent substitute for my preferred weekend activity.

Recovery continues. I’ve gone a whole week without needing to use pain medication during my awake hours (I take ibuprofen before bed to allow for a more comfortable and restful sleep). I can walk more than 4 miles without difficulty or any lingering pain. And while there is general pain, it’s not as bad, nor is it as severe in the motions that are still guaranteed to make me wince a little. I’m going to add new exercises to my fitness regimen this week, too, which adds some much-needed variety.

I may even be able to ride my bike on a stationary trainer by the end of this week, so long as the pain continues to decrease.

And yes, anybody who knows me understands that I typically despise riding a stationary trainer. In many respects, I consider it somewhat fake cycling with minimal tangible benefit and a ton of boredom. I generally dislike working out indoors, even during the coldest of winter days, so I may get creative with this endeavor and set up a stationary trainer outside, on the sidewalk or at a local park, so long as it’s not raining. We’ll see….

But it still won’t be the full-on freedom package that I adore about cycling. It may be weeks before I’m commuting to work, and longer still before I’m going on club rides (a weekly ride I host starts up again in April, and I won’t be able to join the folks riding until sometime closer to May). And it will likely take most (if not all) of the summer for me to get back up to the speed and fitness of my usual riding buddies (I’m trying to steel my resolve about riding alone, which is the likely reality of a lot of my rides when I first start out again).

With my big summer goal ride now something for another year, I’m feeling the relief of removing the pressure that is involved with preparing for a big ride on a specific date, while feeling like I’m staring at a lot of unknown aspects of my summer. Will I get to do any big rides? If I can, will there be space available? Will my friends be able to ride with me, or will I have to go alone, knowing that I’m bound to meet lots of great people at the ride? It’s a lot of undefined time, which makes my mind race because it wants to fill up those days with activities on the bike – yet it can’t, at least not yet, and not with any certainty.

As you can likely suss out, I’m not all too happy about this. It makes me angry, sad, unhappy, you name it. As I tweeted last night, seeing folks riding their bikes makes me happy and sad: happy that they are out riding, sad that I can’t be among their ranks.

But I try to find the positive in all of this. I’m learning a lot more about the wonderful machine that is the human body. And I’m learning a lot about myself and certain aspects of my personality that I’ve not fully understood or appreciated until now. I will come back from this injury, stronger than before (if only because I’m a stubborn busybody), ready for any and all challenges. And before I know it, I’ll be back on the bike for the summer, and winter will return and I’ll ski once the snow flies again.

But right now, I’m impatient and frustrated. So if you encounter me and I’m a bit crabby, please realize that it’s very likely not your fault – it’s just an unfulfilled and fidgety busybody at an uneasy state of forced rest.

ten on tuesday: sing a happy song

While some of Carole’s suggestions for “Ten on Tuesday” are, shall we say, not my speed, this one is perfect: songs that put you into a good mood.

Y’see, today I made the tough decision to withdraw from the Death Ride this coming July. Healing from my injury is taking longer than I hoped (and certainly longer than I like), and I had to make the choice: heal under the pressure of having a big event ride on the horizon, one that would test my physical and emotional mettle, without knowing whether I’d be physically healed enough for the challenge; or let it go and heal as my body tells me it should, however long that takes.

I chose the latter.

So some happy songs are on order – great timing, Carole! And, as Sarah did, I had problems limiting this list to just ten songs.

  1. “Here Comes The Sun” – The Beatles. An optimistic song, with such lovely acoustic guitar from George Harrison, great drumming from Ringo, and lovely harmonies from John and Paul. Abbey Road is The Beatles’ true swan song, and this song, which opens side 2 of the LP, is so, so great.
  2. “Good Vibrations” – The Beach Boys. A song that is summer to my ears: such masterful work from Brian Wilson, Mike Love and the other Boys.
  3. “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” – Simon & Garfunkel. I can’t help but sing along and shuffle to this song. I’ve seen both Simon & Garfunkel and Artie, as a solo act, perform this. The latter was fun because he brought his then-four-year-old son on stage to sing it with him.
  4. “Little Lies” – Fleetwood Mac. Weird choice? Well, this song reminds me of skiing in Summit County, Colorado, as it was a hit when I first went to a fall ski racing camp at Keystone, back in 1987. Good times, those.
  5. “On The Road Again” – Willie Nelson. A song about hitting the road and traveling – love it.
  6. “Moving” – Supergrass. Britpop, with killer beats and hooks galore, is always a fave.
  7. “Linus and Lucy” – Vince Guaraldi Trio. No words, but how can you not dance to this song? Envision the Peanuts gang in A Charlie Brown Christmas as they “rehearsed” for the Christmas play: dance, dance, dance.
  8. “Good Day Sunshine” – The Beatles. Another happy song from the Fab Four, this one from Paul. Sure, it’s a rather simple love song, but it’s so infectiously happy – what’s not to like?
  9. “Love Shack” – B-52s. The Athens, Georgia, band’s consumate road song, and one that sticks in my craw from the old high school days. “Tin roof – rusted!”
  10. “That’s The Way God Planned It” – Billy Preston. You can hear the joy in Billy Preston’s voice in this song, and when he performed it live, he would dance his way around the stage as he really got into the moment. Sure, I’m an atheist, but this is religion in song, without a doubt.

Got your own happy songs? Share ’em in the comments.

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