16 January 2006

Five millimeters

I learned midway through the 'cross season this year that having my shift levers positioned higher would give me better control off-road, as opposed to the nearly straight positioning of my road bike. To make things easy, I just rotated the whole handlebar up … thanks to having "ergonomic" drops on my Ritchey bars, that gave me the best of both worlds -- high levers and a deep drop to grab. And lo and behold, it worked! Better control, better leverage!

Once the weather turned, I realized the disadvantage -- with more clothes and thicker gloves, the drop/lever spacing became difficult to manage. So I decided to rotate the bars back down, but also to raise the levers just a smidge more … just a de-tape, reposition, re-tape job right?

At 8:15 on Saturday night, I started the project, first by cleaning the bike. Figured I'd be done by 9 at the latest. We finally crawled into bed 5 millimeters and 3 hours later, and only after Kim ended up helping clean cassettes and washing the chain!

What I expected to be an easy re-tape job kind of went crazy, all because I have 'cross-top levers on my handlebars. These nifty in-line brake levers are great helpers when you're on the tops, but because of the cable run make even simple changes a multi-step process. I didn't realize this going in, and ended up having to cut housing, reposition and re-tape as I tried not to let my nerves get the better of me …

In the end it worked out great, but is a stark reminder that the guys at the Shop definitely know their stuff better than I! Especially that one guy … not Lou … not Alex … damn. Can't remember his name right now. Maybe after another cup of coffee …

Bloggers I know: In case you didn't see the comments from a couple of days ago, I'd like to draw attention to a few blogs from friends of mine!

Steve Driscoll is a fantastic rider on Mack who had an unfortunate run-in with a Buick (or and Olds?) a while back (the day after winning his first Cat. 1/2 race!), and just started blogging. Check out his Thursday entry for why it's great to be a bike rider, and to find out more about Sock Monkey and his collection of stuffed dinosaurs …

Mike "No Purchase" Necessary is an ex-Macker (now Mesa) with a huge engine and not much body mass … this guy is going places, and fast! He's in Arizona (not Mesa) right now, training for the upcoming assault on the season. Watch for his St. Louis-based team to be throwing down hard in three months …

Kim "mnlove" is a Minnesotan "trapped" in Virginia, whom we've known for -- wow, this is scary! -- something like 13 years. She went to school with Kim in St. Paul, and has kept in touch over the years. Her entry for last Thursday is funny in a thought-provoking way, and I guess I can forgive her professed "hatred" of Disney because she likes Finding Neverland and John Cusak …

Ride update: Tough ride yesterday out in Crystal Lake with the Mack crew -- Andy, Scott, Andy A., and Michael Zellmann. (Yes, that Michael Zellmann.) We were missing ex-Macker Mike Macedon, so with only five we headed out into the 20mph wind … The extra body would have definitely helped, but locals Andy, Scott and Mike did a great job pulling Andy A. and me around the cornfields and small hills of McHenry County. Let me tell you, the 3km climb up Deerpass just about killed me! I did hook up the PowerTap for the first time, not to train "by" power, but to train "with" it -- that is, ride by feel, but have the power numbers to look at later to get a sense for where I'm at.

Oh, and when our ride time came in at 3:48, I spent 13 minutes spinning around the parking lot in the 32-degree weather with no jacket on, just to say I got in more than 4 hours and prove how tough I am. Not really. Really.

Passings: I completely forgot that Friday the 13th was my one-year anniversary of having LASIK surgery! If you're considering having your eyes done, and are a valid candidate, I can't say enough how much of a life-changing event it is. I still wear glasses quite a bit -- but they're sunglasses, with no prescription, and the ability to read and see at night and -- gasp! -- see clearly when I shave my legs has been incredible. The staff at the Eye and Vision Center, headed by Dr. Marian Macsai (Julian Baumgartner's aunt, no less!), was amazing, and I really believe that my life is better now that I no longer have to rely on glasses. If you're interested, please feel free to ask me anything … I got the opportunity to watch a procedure before I went in, and although very scary to see up-close via closed-circuit TV, it was fascinating!

ONLY 333 DAYS TO NATZ!!

3 comments:

Kim said...

13 years, are you sure?! You guys have been married for almost 10 so I guess that's right. Wow!

I would totally move to Chicago just to breathe the same air as John Cusack! (Don't tell Gregg)!

So, when are you all coming to visit? ;)

Chris said...

Even better, Cusak is an Evanston native ... And you know I meant that it was 13 years that was scary, not that we know you, right?

David Johnsen said...

I'm in Chicago, and I can see from my front window where John Cusack filmed a scene for High Fidelity, less than a football field away!