Monday, January 17, 2011

Bottle Test #1+ First Time Up Diablo In 2011

Took a regular/ clear water bottle, insulated Polar bottle, and insulated Camelbak Chill and Ice. Seltzer Bottles will be included in the next test when it gets warmer.

Put in Southern facing window--but sun didn't come out all day. Inside temperature 64-67 degrees. Froze the bottles and left them out for 9 hours--plan to measure ice remaining in the bottle.
After 9 hours strained out liquid and some ice remained. In the clear bottle two little pieces of ice remained, in the insulated bottle sausage sized blocks.
Dr. J. Clear Plastic Bottle--ice remaining in bottle, 7 grams (1% of liquid)
Polar Insulated Bottle--ice remaining, 159g (31%)
Camelbak Chill-ice remaining, 173g (31%)
Camelbak Ice-ice remaining, 217g (40%)
Camelbak Ice best at keeping water cold. Camelbak Chill, though, did as well as Polar but is a lighter bottle and hold a bit more liquid (note: as mentioned in prior post, I don't like the draw on the leakproof Camelbak tops, so I put polar tops on them.)
Weight of Bottles
Clear 88 grams
Camelbak Chill 108 g (w/ Polar Lid)
Camelbak Ice 120 g (w/ Polar Lid)
Polar Insulated 132 g
Amt of Liquid In Bottle
Clear 651 grams
Camelbak Chill 557 g
Camelbak Ice 536 g
Polar Insulated 520 g
While testing, 2 weeks late (rained out on New Years Day), Jack, Dr. Dave and I climbed Mt. Diablo. Until @1250' couldn't see 10 feet in front as dense fog. Then it got sunny and very very warm--partially very warm as we were all bundled up. My wool tee-shirt dripping wet at the top.
Lots of "tourists" (Dr Dave's word) on Mt. Diablo. On the summit ramp 2 pickups and a 3 wheeler blocking the road while debating who was going to go first. In the start of the Muir de Ward a minivan in neutral square in the middle of the road. And going downhill from the Junction a cyclist in the twilight zone cut across the road and cut Jack off..
We came out of the
fog below. This guy needs a tan--but first time ever took off shirt at top of Mt. Diablo so it could dry off a bit.

Oh shit--we gotta go back down where its freezing

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Patterson Pass (2011)

(January 15, 2011) Patterson Pass Loop--Start ride with Diablo Cyclists, w/ Ward, Ca. Mike, Christine and Jack, 90 miles, 3930' climbing, 16.5 mph. (Data and all photos from Ward Industries)
Diablo Cyclist Livermore Loop ride scheduled, 65 miles and a fast course with only 1500' climbing. Day before weatherman promised a high touching 70 degrees, after last weeks 40-45 degree ride this sounded like the time to put in some bonus miles.

We had a huge group (20-30 though Danville Police estimate the Diablo Cyclists terrorizing their city at 2,450,501.) Even though a high of 70 was promised--it was still 45 and foggy at the start of the ride.
Weather quickly improved and lots of hi jinx--getting the pace going to get away from the self promoter on the tandem and Ward getting po'd when some folks wheel sucked and wouldn't take a turn at the front--all which set up a nice breakaway to "the Trees."

Club rode together (more or less) for 50 miles and then I took off to do the Altamont-Patterson Pass loop with the folks listed at the top of this report. Altamont is the scene of the infamous Rolling Stones concert (Younger readers, "Google" Rolling Stones & Hells Angels.) Patterson Pass is a climb I like with short steep sections punctuated by level recovery--though it becomes a bitch when the wind is blowing. If the wind is blowing it is always a stiff headwind, noted by the numerous windmills that dot the area. When riding out in the Livermore Valley there was a constant wind blowing so I expected the worse.

When the bonus mile group split from the main pack California Mike was stoked--just returning from a couple of year exile in Honolulu--this was his first long ride with us in awhile. On a gentle grade some cyclists from the Valley tried getting by us and we hung on their wheel and occasionally shot off the front--Mike being real aggressive on the downhills. The sun also disappeared as we rode in dense fog with the temperature suddenly plummeting 15 degrees.

Unfortunately we lost our (now non tanned) buddy as he started having a mechanical--half of his chainring bolts had "disappeared." With Ward's assistance he reshifted the remaining chainring bolts to even the load and he returned the way we came while the rest of us pushed on.

The route we were riding is part of the Devil Mountain Double course and is labeled, though we ignored the absence of a road label when we took a wrong turn. I'll blame Ward for taking the "Club leader in Getting Lost" crown (I'll reclaim it eventually) as he led us under the freeway to a dead end.Part of the Garmin Trace--something is wrong, why is it showing us going up to that dead end (orange dot), Ward?...Ward?...Ward?

Climb up Patterson Pass was great--sunny with no wind--especially when I remembered I had on the training wheel with the harder gearing, and (STUPID TIME) at first was putting bike in wrong gear and wondering why it was so hard. Long downhill back thru Livermore where we all shared the work; Jack was in a zone as unlike him, when he was in the front he hammered through every yellow light. Wind picked up a little but it seemed we always had a tailwind.

Christine starting up Patterson Pass climb--no headwind--windmills off to the side and top were not turning ("If the windmills are turning you are screwed"--Steve Berry)

The bonus mile group
on top of Patterson Pass Road.... ...even though Christine said she rather be in a Thomas Kincaid painting

Looking back down Patterson Pass climb from the Central Valley--a half hour earlier we were freezing in the fog bank below. Lucky for us windmills are sitting still.

Knew we wouldn't get 100 miles, so outside Livermore thought about going half way up Mt. Diablo--but around Danville (10 miles from finish) the sun disappeared and the thermometer started to drop, it wasn't that cold but now san vests-leg warmers-arm warmers which hadn't been needed 15 minutes earlier it was now COLD so Diablo became less and less appealing. On the boulevard we saw a recumbent rider sitting (actually laying) lower than boxboy.
Great January Ride--Patterson Pass may not be this tame again all year.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tinkering With New Stuff

The constitution of the State of California promises no tuition State Colleges and nothing less than sweatshirt weather year round. Fees and other things did away with the "no tuition" promise long ago--and this has been an fn cold winter (for wimpy Californians.) Can't ride as much, no fun wearing as much clothes as start resembling the Michelin man --so we pay more attention to "tinkering." Cycling is a great sport--I don't think there is any other sport that involves so much obsession about equipment and adjusting stuff oneself. Sure there are 1000's of oversized, super flex golf clubs out there, but I don't think anyone cuts down their clubs on a whim before a round, or gets a 2-3-4 iron from one set and a 7-8-9 from another set. But part of the fun of cycling is tinkering--mixing and matching. I like to say that my favorite bike--the Litespeed Siena--started off as a full Shimano Ultgra bike--now the only Ultegra left on it are the shifters and the front derailleur. The brakes and seat post are not even Shimano but Campy.

Below is not my favorite bike but my "second" adult bike, after my grad school Gitane rusted away from neglect in a shed and I could no longer run after the kids when they were cycling.
Now, if I want to go to the store-1-3 miles away in suburbia and get out of FN car once I get home, and DON'T want to change into cycling clothes, this is the bike I take. Eggbeater Candy pedals are good--can wear regular shoes or wear cleated sandals (yellow Eggbeater Candy's were chosen as they were the first ones spotted on sale.)
Maybe this bike suffers from "goofy overkill"--but its a reaction to every year's new and improved laterally compliant and horizontally bullshit new road bikes with oversized this and ultra stiff that and now top tubes that look like they were ripped off of cantilever bridges drizzled in paint by a graffiti artist.
Two recent improvements. Ward gave me down some of his old but very good V brakes as I wanted to learn how to install bike brakes. Maybe a little overkill (Cal Mike-"V brakes on a hybrid?!") but now I'm sure the bike will stop properly as it rolls next to a Peets Coffee. I also didn't want to have to tie my pants leg on the drive side any more--so found a frisbee type disk that slips over the crankarm.

Meanwhile, getting ready for warmer weather, bought two of the new Camelbak thermal bottles, Chill and Ice (A & C), the former is supposed to keep your drink frozen 2x as long, the latter 4x as long. A little narrower profile than the Polar thermal bottle (B), so easier to get out of the cage and holds 1 more oz. I will test which bottle insulates best once it gets warm. Camelbak bottles comes with a drip proof nipple (C) , which is great for protecting the bike frame from drips but I didn't like the draw on it. So I wound up with combining a Camelbak bottle with a Polar cap (A)

Meanwhile, I've never like carrying a Hammer grenade (H & I) on a bike ride, and less so the individual packets. Re the grenade I don't need 5 1/2x servings except on a 200 miler, a grenade almost fills 1 of the 3 jersey pockets by themselves, and really take up too much room when 1/3 full. The individual packets (D, 2 weigh 71 grams) have a metallic taste, you feel like you have to finish the whole thing when opened, and/or have to ride around with them in your shorts leg until you finish or find a garbage can (or dump them in the wilderness as apparent on the Death Ride.) I tried a small bottle (E) last year, but most small bottles have tiny caps and the Hammergel clogs any opening/ and they are a pain to fill from the bulk Hammergel bottles.
Ward alerted me to a smaller tubes with oversized caps--very soft sided Gotubes. Only trouble is while their cap is oversized, its made like the top of the Camelback, leak proof but hard to draw the thick goo out. It looked like the search for the perfect small bottle would continue--but found out that while the NEW Hammer grenade caps (I) with the strange cap thread wouldn't screw onto a Gotube (hell, it barely screws onto the Hammer grenade) the caps from the old style Hammer grenades (H) do. Wonderful.
Gotubes come in 3 sizes--the ones above hold 1.25 oz (F) and 2 oz (G, filled 116 grams), which is two servings of Hammergel. So now its easy taking the equivalent of 1-2 packets in an easy carry option.
Now need to go on long rides and test all this stuff out.