Monday, November 30, 2009

Been off so long, can't remember what day it is.

Chatting with Danny yesterday, he mentioned that he had managed to forget what day of the week it was, and that made him happy. I think that is a good sign of a successful vacation. And a well needed one at that, since it only took a few days to get there.
"Hello brain, I won't be needing you for a few days, so I'm just going to go ahead and leave you at the shop on my work bench."

It's been a nice little break for the three of us. Thanks to all our understanding customers for putting up with our unconventional business hours (or lack thereof).

I did manage to get a couple of rides in during my time off, inbetween serious sessions of eating, drinking, and slouching like a teenager in front of the T.V. (I was at my parents place most the time). One ride in La Tierra (Santa Fe) with my Pops, on singlespeeds, for a couple of hours. And then again today (monday) in the foothills with Charlie.

Charlie and I rode some of the "far north" foothills, the connector from the Tram House to the La Luz road, and then some trails in the hills north of there. We rode for a few hours, in the foothills, primarily on trails that I had never done before. And they were good, and legal, and in the foothills. It was sweet. These "new" miles will come in handy this winter when the east mountains are snowed in and I'm putting in way too many days in on the foothills.

There were scenic views:


I rode Charlie's O.G. Maverick, his 10 year old ML7. That bike still rocks.


There were even some pucker moments on the trail:




And the weather was as good as you could possibly ask for:

I really like living in Albuquerque.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bikeworks Holiday Hours

Never one to pass up an opportunity to not work.....

We will be closed:

Thanksgiving (Thursday) November 26

Friday November 27

Saturday November 28

and Sunday / Monday, the 29th & 30th (as usual).

That would be five days off in a row, HA!

I will be checking email periodically while we are closed, in an attempt to be somewhat helpful to our customers while slacking for 5 days.

We will return on Tuesday December 1st for normal hours, all full of vim and vigor.

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for being our customers!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Roller Races are Go!

Thanks to our friend Elliot, we are up and running at the shop with the roller races. The requisite computer knowledge to make it all go was miles above our heads, so we outsourced with great results.
Saturday was pretty much derailed due to our distraction from the races.
I just spent a few minutes looking through YouTube trying to find a cool video of some roller racing, as I didn't take any pics or anything on Saturday. I have come to the conclusion that roller races are a blast to participate in, and absolutely horrible to watch on video.
You will just have to come by the shop and see how fun it is for yourself. We are using the fork mounts for the rollers, so there really isn't any skill involved, therefore nobody has an excuse to keep from playing.
After a little more time getting the whole "system" sorted with the hardware and the computer and the bikes and all, we'll start working on booking the shenanigans at a brewery or bar.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cross bikes, mtn bikes, computers and beer...

Did another cross race last weekend, and there's plenty more to come this weekend:


The Tijeras Night Cross race is supposed to be one of the best of the year around here, according to some reliable sources.

Played hooky yesterday and did a fantastic Otero / Cedro all day Mtb. ride. It was very good times. Except for a few short muddy sections, the trails were dry and generally in fantastic shape.



I did manage to get a little too excited at one point, and thoroughly slap myself onto the ground. It appeared as though a smaller rock dislodged under my tire, resulting in the highest speed endo I can ever remember having. Fortunately I landed in-between rocky sections and on relatively soft dirt. Had the wind knocked out of me, seems that I hit my head (sunglasses came off), but only minor scratches really. I think I got lucky. Strangely, I remember thinking shortly before I wrecked "who was it that just told me about wrecking on this trail?..... wow, I'm going fast, I sure am glad Charlie had a helmet to loan me.. WHAM!". I guess I should have been thinking about where I was going.

I have no choice but to entirely blame Charlie for this crash:



Once again, I found that I completely love my Maverick ML8. It has enough travel to get you into trouble, but it also will get you out of trouble when you get in over your head (usually). Sometimes though, better judgement takes over no matter the bike you are on, and you decide just to stay on the ground:



In the end, I think we did about 25 miles, and it was fantastic. I've been hearing there might be some weather rolling in, so there's a good chance that was my last ride in the east mountains until the spring. So glad we made it out, I definitely didn't ride out there enough this year.
Every time I go ride in the Sandias or in the East Mountains, I get so happy that I live in Albuquerque. We have so many miles of unbelievable singletrack within 20 minutes of the city, it's just ridiculous (don't tell anybody, the lack of trail traffic is a blessing too).

In shop news, our Roller Sprints electronic hardware and rollers arrived today. Unfortunately, the software that accompanies the electronics we bought is proving to be a little over Danny and my heads, as far as all that is required to get the thing wired up and talking to the computer.

You see, my level of computer sophistication has me very comfortable with software that requires you to click one button to download, then a second button to install and run. On occasion there is a little box that must be checked saying you agree to something or rather, and maybe the option to choose "standard" or "custom" installs (always go with "standard", duh).
This software, however, had us downloading all sorts of different files, pieces of code, strange code editing software, and all other sorts of shenanigans from different places. I was uncomfortably remembering things I kind of learned in college 8 years ago when I took that one programming class that was required:

"hmmm, 'putty', 'Linux', thats sounds familiar. I think we're looking at the actual program code. This isn't good Danny, maybe we should wait 'til tomorrow and just call the guy."

The sparse instructions quickly left us hanging, and with the distinct impression that whoever wrote the instructions severely overestimated our level of computer-dork speak. We're gonna get on the phone tomorrow, and hopefully force somebody to walk us through it slowly and painfully one step at a time.
And if that works out, we will be up and pedaling our asses off while going nowhere by the end of the day.
If it doesn't work, I will be calling out to all our computer savvy friends and customers to come by and make it go for us. We fix bikes, you fix computers, that's the way it should be.

Once it's up and running, we plan to set about getting a schedule of venues at which to hold roller racing events. All venues will be place where alcohol is served, hopefully. There has been a lot of excitement from everybody we've talked to so far. We'll keep you posted.

Hmmm, it's 10pm. Is that too late for one more beer?




We got out for a long ride yesterday. I thought I'd share a few pictures for you. Some of you folks in the colder parts of the country might get jealous about our weather- and you should. Move here and enjoy it with us. By the way Dan wrecked in grand fashion. He said he was OK and finished the ride strong, but the next day he was a bit sore along the entire length of his right side. Be nice to him.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Almost Happy Birthday to us!

Next week, it will have been two years since we opened. Yayyy for us.
I came across these photos yesterday. I believe they were taken a day or two before our "grand" opening:



Things look a little different now. These pics help remind me of just how much work we've put into this place.

So, as a two year anniversary present to ourselves, it looks like we're going to be picking up a Roller-racing setup:

http://store.opensprints.org/

It's gonna look like this:


In case you don't know, the setup is basically stationary bike racing, on rollers, hooked up to a computer / television display, so you can keep track of time, speed, and who wins, etc.
I'm picturing these set up in the shop, at the Anodyne, at Marble Brewery, with copious amounts of drinking, lots of heckling, and maybe a little betting thrown in for the fun.
Good times.

We're also starting conversations about a 2 year anniversary party. It will most likely take place a little after the actual date, but that will just give us more time to make it that much more awesome-er. Stay tuned.

Yesterday I continued this months trend of building badass hardtails;



A titanium Cove Hummer, 140mm travel fork, hugely oversized shaped tubeset, a solid XT build kit, this bike is sweet. It was built as a special order, and has already left the shop unfortunately. But before it left, we bounced around the parking lot on it. It was one of those bikes you could immediately tell was going to ride really really nice on the trail, very light, springy and lively feeling.

And Tony continued the trend of building Evil's:



The Evil Revolt, their full on DH race rig. This is the first one we've actually built, with more coming soon (we've got two more frames in the shop, with at least a dozen guys drooling on them).
This bike has a suspension design by Dave Weigel (of DW Link fame), featuring his newest acronym, DELTA : Dave's Extra Legitimate Travel Apparatus. Rad.

Tony also wants me to let it be known that we now have Freelap Timing systems in stock:

http://www.freelap-usa.com/products.html

This is basically a watch and timing pole setup that can give you very accurate lap times, a must have for anybody trying to get faster on a bike on a given course. For example, you're not sure if it's faster to jump or manual a section on the BMX track? Dang, problem solved. Trying to figure out the hot line down one of our DH courses? Booya, it's done.

Okay, time to start pretending to fix bikes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I can type a lot!


This weekend turned out to be a good one for getting some riding in.
We are taking full advantage of the busy summer months being behind us, and sneaking out of the shop for some extra riding whenever possible.

Sunday there was a cross race at the Bosque School, a private high school down in the Busque near Montano. So Saturday Danny and I played hookey for the first couple hours of work while we rode down to check out the terrain and get some miles in on the cross bikes. It was a great time, we managed to ride on dirt ditch paths pretty much the whole way from Menaul and Edith, all the way to the school. I wasn't aware of any of the paths we took, and they were a great way to get across town on a cyclocross bike.

We poked around the school grounds for a little while, generally just checking out the place. The course wasn't marked yet, so we couldn't practice or anything, but it let me get a little better idea about gearing choice, as my cross bike is set up single speed at the moment.
Then from the school, we crossed Montano at the river, and rode some great Bosque style singletrack north all the way to Paseo del Norte. Then we hopped back on to the bike path, and took the Northern Diversion Channel all the way back south to the shop.
It turned out to be a great little morning cross ride, with a very surprising amount of dirt miles achieved without getting out of the city at all. Nothing that would have been too thrilling on a proper mountain bike, but perfect for cross bike tomfoolery.

Then Sunday was the cross race down at the previously mentioned Bosque School. This was apparently #4 of the New Mexico Cyclocross Series. Race #5 of the series will be at the UNM North Golf Course. I'm excited.
We managed to get Charlie out to partake in his first cross race, as well as Marc, who, despite having a totally rad titanium Raleigh singlespeed cross bike, hadn't done a cross race in "something like ten years." That didn't stop him from thoroughly dropping me halfway through the 3's race though. Charlie told me the next day that he couldn't remember the last time he breathed that hard, and was optimistic that all his post race phlegm hacking might have somewhat increased his lung capacity. Seems logical to me. I think Charlie is hooked, as he was talking about racing next weekend almost as soon as this race was finished.
The race was a blast, a very fun course through some very scenic terrain. The kids going to that high school are lucky, it is absolutely beautiful down there.

(this is where, if I were smart, I'd insert a few awesome pics from the cross race that my lovely wife could have theoretically take while spectating the event, you know, if I had thought to bring the camera along)

Sunday evening had me laying around the house, realizing that cross racing is a little abusive on the ol' body. I was feeling the familiar hip soreness that I get after my bi-annual running excursions, as well as some knee pain (that I'm thinking is due to a too low saddle height), and some odd foot bruising and swelling, most likely from my less-than-graceful cross dismounts in my should-have-been-retired-long-ago Sidi's from 2002. But, despite my better judgment and a slightly swollen knee, I made plans with Charlie to go play on our new bikes in the foothills on Monday.

I knew my knee was going to bother me, but I had been staring at my new bike (see previous post) all week, and it hadn't seen dirt yet, and it was starting to make me a little anxious. So we met at the top of Montgomery for a good old fashioned north foothills loop.
I wondered as I drove north along Tramway, from I40 to Montgomery, how many hundreds of times I had made that drive to do this ride. It also occurred to me that going northbound on Tramway used to be much quicker. It seems as though the lights used to be timed, and you could pretty much just cruise at 50mph all the way. Now it seems that you catch the first 4 red lights absolutely no matter what. It's like they are intentionally timed to make sure you can't hit any greens. Is it just me, or did this not use to be the case?

Anyways, the ride was fantastic. I quickly figured out that gearing choice on a two-speed Hammerschmidt setup is tricky, With a 160% difference between the two gears up front, you either have a 24 or a 38 tooth chainring, effectively. This is a big difference. I built my bike with an 18t cog on back, and the result put me in no-mans land nearly the entire ride. I didn't have the "gusto" that day to turn over the big gear, but dropping down to the easier gear was almost always too easy. It's going to take some experimentation to get it just right. I'm thinking a 20t or even 21t in back will be the way to go.

I noticed a few other things during the ride. I have 30" wide handlebars on my bike, which is significantly wider than anything I've ever ridden before. The trend in the DH world is definitely to run wider bars, but most those guys are running 29" wide bars, with a few guys picking up the 30's. I liked the bars, and figured I'd just trim them down eventually. Much to my surprise, once I got through the trail-head gate, I completely forgot about how absurdly wide my bars were for the entire ride. I did however, feel very confident on all the technical section, and was motivated to get "all trials-y" a couple of times. I think this was in part due to the nature of my new bike, but now I'm curious to see what some of my other bikes would feel like with these huge bars.
The awesome chainring clearance provided by the Hammerschmidt was also noticed, especially on one technical step up, and another time when I was getting "all trials-y". There was that moment when you brace for the inevitable grinding of chainring on rock, and then... nothing, you were up and over without damage.
I had a blast pushing the limits of the bike through corners as well. There's just something satisfying about the way you can corner on a hardtail, really controlling the rear tire with the pedals. I've never ridden a long-travel hardtail before, and the combination of the control a hardtail provides with the slack front end geometry, and huge tires, is really cool. Oh, and a 150mm travel Rock Shox Revelation U-Turn Air, is a hell of a fork.
I'm excited.

Charlie likes his bike too:





So, lastly, if anybody is still reading, we're going to start back up with our weekly night rides from the shop. So next tuesday, come on out and join us. We'll try to get out of the shop as close to 6pm as possible, usually on the bikes in the foothills at around 7. We now have a handfull of demo/loaner lights for people as well, after gearing up for the Burner:



So those of you without lights can give it a shot, and then get hooked, and then buy some badass lights from us. Yeah, we're employing drug dealer tactics, so what?


Dang, that was a lot of words to type. I haven't written this much at once since college. And once again, my lap is melting from this lava-hot laptop. Time to go.