Monday, April 30, 2007


I took the retro rocket out both days this weekend. It is superb. I must admit that I am a hell of wrench. :) Does it climb well? Let's not get carried away.

Saturday was a gorgeous day in the Hill Country. This picture was taken heading West on Fitzhugh Road. I love riding the quiet country roads near my house.

A cock pit view of the ROCKET.

"Look at me when I talk to you MOTHERFU..." This cow refused to look at me regardless of how annoying I tried to be.

The rain we have had recently has made all of the creeks run nicely.

I am in the office all week and will race again on Thursday night hoping to improve over last week. Next week I have to attend a 3 day meeting up in Washington near the Columbia River Gorge. Should be incredibly boring, but the scenery should be spectacular.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Thursday Night Crit Report

The good news is that I improved over last race. The reality is that I couldn't hang on to the pack after the 5 laps to go card was pulled.

I got to the track before the first race which was the Cat 3/4 men so that I could warm up. I had a good warm up and decided to do one more short spin up the road to stay loose. I wasn't paying attention to the time and when I got back to the track, the Cat 5s were already lined up. SHIT! This week there were probably 40 people in that race which also included the Masters 4/5 Men and the Women 4s. So, I rolled up to the back line at the start. Not good at all.

The race started pretty fast in my opinion. I pushed it off the start and after about 1/2 lap, I was probably in the bottom 1/4 of racers. As the race went on lap after lap, racers started dropping off the tail end of the pack creating gaps. So I was forced to go around and bridge up to the pack. I only had so many of those in me before I couldn't bridge up and got dropped with 5 to go.

The biggest problem was my inability to move up in the field and avoid the chaos at the tail end. There are two reasons for this. The first is that for my skill level on a course that is basically all corners, it is hard to advance. The second is definitely my fitness level which is just not there. The low HR workouts I have been doing are designed to help me lose weight, not become a crit monster. I can say that I gave it all I had at the end because when I got dropped I was at my max measured HR. That was all I had. All in all it was a good race for me. Even though I am not really competitive in the end, I am still learning how to race crits. That will be valuable later in the summer when I get the fitness issues taken care of. My average speed was 22.5 mph which was 1 mph faster than last race.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Retro Rocket

It is finally done. It took longer than expected but I am very happy with the outcome. I can't wait to take it out for a long ride. I think I will do the shop ride on Sunday which is more of a leisurely ride so that I can get the feel for it at a reasonable pace.

First I would like to thank my head wrench, Angelo "The Bug", for all of his hard work and knowledge. Here he is probing for thread integrity and metal fatigue. It's a new technique.

Here is a side view. I will zoom in on all of the parts in the following photos.

The frame is a steel Cicli Rossetto. The frame is designed and sold by the owner of Fog City Cycles in San Francisco.

The rear derailer is a New Old Stock "NOS" Campy Super Record. The freewheel is a "Narrow Six" 13-23 from Suntour. The frame came with the current standard 130mm rear spacing. The rear hub that I wanted to use requires 120mm spacing. So off to Pro Cycle Works the frame went for Erik Vitela to narrow the rear drop out.

Front derailler is NOS Campy Super Record. I am not sure why, but I think this is the most attractive part on the bike. This thing is just gorgeous. I bought most of the NOS Campy parts for this build from Greg at Bicycle Classics.

Campy downtube friction shifters.

The crank is a Gipiemme Cronosprint. The chain rings are 52/42. Behind the crank is a NOS Campy Record bottom bracket - the old spindle and cup type.

The front and rear hubs are High Flange Campy Record. These may have been the best score on the bike. I got the pair in the original box as NOS on EBay for $135.

The rims are 36 hole Wolber "Gentleman 81" for a gentleman rider. PFFT! Peter at Southwest Cycle Sport laced the Campy hubs up to these rims.

I got these gum wall Veloflex tires from Michael at Texas Cycle Sport. These tires were perfectly flat (un curved) out of the box and were tough to mount. They are also lightweight and thin so I am a bit concerned about flats. Again, there are not a lot of choices out there for gum wall tires today so I will have to make due with these.

The brakes are Gipiemme. I got a good deal on these as NOS on EBay, however, I missed that the seller was in Poland. It took them almost 6 weeks to show up. You can see the headset which is a 1" Threaded Chris King.

Gipiemme brake levers with gum hoods purchased from Banana Brain.

Brooks leather handle bar wrap. Note the masterful wrap job by yours truly.

Brooks Swift Titanium Saddle. I put two coats of their saddle soap on it to get it all good and weather proof. I also put a coat on the handle bar wraps.

I bought these new on EBay because they are the same pedals that I use on my other roadie. This will make it possible to use the same shoes with both bikes.

And finally a view from the front.

I had a good time building the bike and am happy with the result. However, I think I will focus on riding the bikes I have now rather than building or buying more. At least for a while that is. :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sprouting Cacti

The cacti are blooming in Texas right now. It is an interesting sight to see. I didn't even know that cacti bloomed until I moved down here.

Not much has changed since my last post. I am still eating well, training, blah blah blah. I rode on Sunday and got poured on. My bike is filthy and my shoes are still drying. It was just not a fun day.

The retro rocket is done. I am just waiting for the tan wall tires to show up. You would be surprised at how few options there are out there for tan/gum wall tires. I will post pictures shortly. I am really happy with the way it turned out.

I am looking forward to the Crit on Thursday. This will be the first one in a month due to travel and other commitments. My goal is to improve over the last race. Time will tell.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Will It Ever End?

Another TdF Brain Fart.

Not much to post about today. I took The Bug for a bike ride after work. He loves biking already. Every time he goes to the garage with me, he points to the bike and says Ride Ride Ride. I am proud of him.

I got all of the parts for the retro rocket. I will be building it this weekend. I am excited to take it out for a spin. I will post pics tomorrow or Sunday.

I am going for a long slow Fat Boy ride tomorrow. It should be relaxing. :) I am sure all of these low HR workouts are going to make me suffer at the Crit this Thursday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I have had a productive few days in Chicago. I have a late morning meeting tomorrow and then am off to the airport for my flight back to Austin. It seems like it has been a long week already. On Monday I booked airfare for my work trip to NZ, Australia and Bangkok which will take place the last week of May and the first week of June. All for the bargain price of $13,000. Yikes! Two weeks away from The Bug is a long time. I don't like overseas travel anymore for that reason.

Fat Camp is going well. The bike at the hotel has a TV screen mounted on it. So I have my nice 130bpm rides while watching monster trucks crush old RVs. It really helps pass the time.

I had a nice dinner last night with two of our sales people and their wives. The restaurant had a 1999 Far Niente Cab on their reserve list. Good 1999 Cabs are getting hard to find and are always expensive, especially at restaurants. This bottle was no exception, but it was well worth it.

It won't disappoint if you can find it.

Have a good Thursday.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Fat Camp

Yesterday I got my April program from my coach. After discussing my goals for the year, he made a frank statement. "Chris, your weight needs to come down before you can make serious progress on your goals." As some of you more frequent readers know, I have stated that in the past. Since September I have dropped about 37 pounds. I am about to go under 200 pounds for the first time in several years. Back in my first go-round with cycling I was tipping the scale at about 170 pounds. Even then, I was still a bit heavy in my opinion. I find that with weight loss you have to have goals on the way down. My first goal was to get to 200 pounds. The second goal will be to get back to 170 pounds. I will decide from there how much more if any I should lose. My average weight loss has been about 2 pounds per week.

So, basically my April plan is a "Fat Camp" of sorts. Lots of off the bike stuff like push-ups, sit-ups, stretching, cross training, etc. The bike stuff is all low HR workouts to keep me in the fat burning zone. I was a bit bummed at first because I want to be competitive in the races that I have committed to in May and June. So I was hoping for some high intensity workouts. However, the facts are the facts. It is simple physics. It takes more power to move more weight. I can only generate so much power so that only leaves the weight to work on. So, for the next month or so Chris will be in cycling Fat Camp. All you skinny bastards out there remember that you could end up in Fat Camp with me if you aren't thoughtful about your decisions. :)

Sunday, April 15, 2007


I set out to redo my HR test today after a botched test on Friday. Mr. P rode along with me because he wanted to get out on the bike. I was able to get my HR higher than on Friday, but not where I believe the MAX is. I will let my coach decide how to move forward.

We have a babysitter coming tonight, so the wife and I are going to go out for dinner. It should be fun. A meal once a week without getting hit by flying Mac & Cheese or a sippy cup is nice.

I will be in Chicago on Tuesday, Wed, and Th of this week. I will have to do my workouts on a stationary bike. That should be a real joy. I guess I will just fire up some SOUTHERN FRIED ROCK AND ROLL and get after it.

I am not trying to rub it in, but the weather here today was spectacular. Note the Radillac for scale.

The nice clear water of the Colorado River.

The Mansfield Dam which holds back Lake Travis.

Mr. P feeling the burn at the top of Steiner Ranch Hill.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Beating Heart

I recently signed up a coach. The reason that I wanted to get a coach was to make sure of two things: 1) That I am eating right. 2) That I am getting the most out of the limited riding time that I have available. He sent me the nutritional stuff which I read through and think it is very doable. Before we get started on the riding part, he wants me to do a maximum HR test. Yesterday I set out to do the test but didn't end up with a result. Basically the test has to be done on a long hill for resistance. I picked a hill which was too short. Right at the time I was to begin my sprint I crested the top of the hill, with a tail wind to boot, and was gone. I tried to push my HR up on the flat, but with a tail wind and me hitting the mid 30mph range, it was no good. I only got to 170bpm. I am going to retry the test on the 2 mile climb on Rt 620 tomorrow. I am sure I will not run out of incline on that hill.

I put new tires on the roadie yesterday because I kept getting flats on the rear. Upon close inspection, the rear tire was worn pretty thin. The tires only had about 800 miles on them, but I do run about 135psi most of the time. So off with the old and in with the new:

Yeah, what the fuck ever. Just don't go flat BITCHES.

The retro roadie should be completed within two weeks. A bonus for raising prices last year was paid unexpectedly and should be just about enough to finish the bike. All the parts are ordered and I am just waiting for them to arrive so that I can throw it together. I am pretty excited about it. I did find that buying New Old Stock is actually more expensive than buying new current stock. Who would have thought it?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Wednesday With Sweet Cheeks

Sweet Cheeks is in Austin visiting family so I was able to meet up with her today for a ride. We did the Damn Loop which is about 31 miles. She is a great rider and we had a blast. She didn't hold back on the big downhill on Rt. 2222 either. I hit 54mph, and she was not far behind. She goes uphill pretty darn well too. We finished off the ride with a few drinks at the Starbucks that we parked in front of. It was great to meet Sweet Cheeks and I hope to get to meet more of you eventually.

It was a gorgeous day for a ride. We met at the HEB grocery complex at the intersection of Rt. 71 and Bee Cave Road.

Sweet Cheeks cresting the climb on Rt. 620 by Steiner Ranch.

My attempt at a self photo. How the hell do you people do those so well?

It is good to ride with someone who likes to chat as much as I do when I ride :)

Heading back to the cars after a great ride.

After I got back from the ride I took the garbage out, hopped in the shower, and headed out the door to pick up The Bug. When Bug and I got home he helped me water the plants. Then he enjoyed a yummy daddy prepared dinner of raisins, cookies, Black Beans, french fries, chicken strips and apple juice. Delicious! I then put Bug in the tub and scrubbed the dirt and food residue off of him. Then came the ordeal - brushing his teeth. What a pain in the ass. Any suggestions from you more experienced parents out there?? How do I keep him from either turning his head to avoid the brush or biting it once I manage to get it in his mouth? I think head locking a 16 month old may be a bit much :)

Monday, April 09, 2007


I had a pretty good lunch ride today. After almost 2 weeks off the bike I didn't feel very strong, but I expected worse. After about 2 minutes on the road some dude on a Wilier passed me without even looking over or saying hello. Then we came to a hill and the dude just dies. So I passed him and said hello. After the top of the hill he passed me again and kept looking back at me for the next 5 miles. I think he thought we were racing or something, but I was just out for a spin. Some people are just TOOLS I guess. I got in a solid 45 minutes of riding which is all I can manage due to time available at lunch.

Anyone out there ever use the tubular clincher tires? TUFO makes a few varieties. I like the idea of tubular clinchers for crits, but would like feedback from anyone who has actually tried them.

My wife went out of town today and won't return until Thursday. This is the first time that it has just been The Bug and I for an extended period of time. Tonight went well. I picked him up at daycare and we headed out for pizza. He ate most of the sausage off of the whole pizza. He is great. He kept saying MORE, MORE, MORE. So I just kept feeding him sausage. We came home and played outside for a bit. Then I threw him in the tub and put him to bed. Only 2 more nights! I told him tomorrow I would take him out on the bike. He was pointing at it in the garage tonight. :)

Sunday, April 08, 2007


It is April in Texas and I have an inch of ice on my deck. I got back from Europe on Thursday evening and have yet to get on the bike. I had it all planned out for Friday, but got a call from daycare in morning that The Bug was sick and needed to come home. Saturday and today it has been sleeting. Tomorrow looks to be shaping up ok, so I should be able to get back to riding.

While on the flight home on Thursday I had a lot of time to think. I thought a cool post would be to identify the athletes and celebrities/characters who have had either a positive or negative impact on my athletic activities and manliness. Some are before my time but I am a bit of a sports historian. So, here they are in no particular order:

Cassius Clay/Muhammed Ali - Because he absolutely was the GREATEST OF ALL TIME.

Eddy Merckx - if I need to explain this one to you, you shouldn't be reading this blog.

Florence Griffith-Joyner - Because she was the most graceful athlete I have ever seen.

Dick "Night Train" Lane - Because he was one of the best Corner Backs in NFL history. Because he mastered the clothesline tackle. And Because he had the best nickname in the history of sport.

Kobayashi - Because this dude can eat 54 hotdogs and buns in 12 minutes and still weigh 150 pounds.

Dave Stoller - Because he showed me what it meant to be totally committed to a hobby. He also showed that sometimes our heroes are not heroes at all.

Jonah Lomu - Because during my 4 years of college rugby he was the best player on the planet playing for the best team on the planet (New Zealand All Blacks)

Julie Furtado - Because she was the first person I have ever seen absolutely dominate a professional sport. She was a woman amongst girls prior to her illness.

Secretariat - Because his win by 31 lenghts in the 1973 Belmont Stakes may be the greatest performance by man or beast in sports history.

Steve Prefontaine - The story of his death taught me that sometimes life just isn't fair.

Ric Flair - Because he was a Wheelin', Dealin', Woman Stealin', Limousine Ridin', Jet Flyin' Son of a Gun. WHOOOOO!

Thomas Hearns - Because he wasn't afraid to lose. He fought all the great fighters of his time and brought his best game. His loss to Marvin Hagler was one of the greatest fights of all time.

Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs - Because they showed me that the good guys don't always win.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Paris Pictures

Most of you have probably been to Paris, so these pictures are not going to be anything new to you. I had some time on Monday and hit a few of the common sites. I have seen all of these before, but it was nice to see them again.

The Parisians aren't crazy about it, but I think it is pretty cool.

The Plaza de la Concorde.

Famous to bicycle fans and shoppers alike.

Sigghhh. What could have been. If I hadn't squandered my prime years as well as lacked talent, drive and motivation, I could have ridden a victory lap with the Stars & Stripes.

One of the many flower patches in the Louvre gardens.

A view of the front of Notre Dame cathedral.

One of the many cups of coffee at one of the many little cafes that I visited.