On February 4th 2010 I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I was completely stunned. I'm starting the "Scope That Colon! Initiative" to help others feel more comfortable dealing with this disease.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Memeorial day Weekend

A little over a year ago my father in law passed away. Although we didn't always agree on everything, he did teach me one thing. He loved his country, was proud to have served, and appreciated and respected all others that also served. Remember that this weekend in between your hot dogs and sales. Please stand up for the Flag at the parade, buy that service man a coffee at Dunkin Donuts or simply shake a service woman's hand and say "Thanks for protecting my family, my friends and my country"....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday's Treatise..or "You want to do what...?"

It was around the end of last fall when I got the word from Jeremy, Airborne's bike design swami, that the new cyclocross bike will have... GASP... disc brakes! I live in New England, a hot bed for cross, I can't be seen with disc brakes on my cross bike... the Mafac gods would be turning in their graves...

A couple of weeks back I saw a big box (BIG box) sitting on my front door when we got back from school and I felt like a high school junior trying to get into his prom date's dress (or at least this high school junior)... that sucker was boxed well.
Yes, inside was Airborne's $1099 (Yes $1099) Delta. No decals meant that it was another pre-production model (I see a disturbing trend here). But that's OK, this one was a bit larger size that isn't slated for production...yet. I'll push for it for all us Sasquatches.

Here she is in her full build form. I kept the bike as stock as possible for fairness but I had to swap out the bar and stem to something a bit larger. Everything went together very smoothly.

So here's the problem... how do you test a 'cross bike? By definition cyclocross is a race usually run in the Fall, so that aint' happening. So what do you do? Go out and have some fun on it... dirt roads, bike paths, a bit of woods and some urban exploration are all open to you now. Let's be honest here, it's only a small percentage of cross bikes that really see a race anyways, so it's not a stretch.

So I headed out to the meadows on it the other day. Nice and rough and perfect for a compliance test. I came away pretty darn impressed with the ride quality of this bike. Purty darn comfy if you ask me. The BB30 bottom bracket was nice and efficient and the frame design made me feel fat dumb and happy.

Alot of it had to do with this... this was my first real foray into carbon fork goodness. Great design based around the disc brakes with no shutter and plenty of comfort.

Another feature is the Apex drivetrain, which is unheard of at this price point. Crisp shifting every time but I have to be honest here. I'm not completely sold yet on the SRAM Double Tap shifters. It seems like alot more throw is needed for that second shift... I think STI is easier, but the jury is still out. An 11-32 cassette will get you anywhere a bike like this should go (but more on that later).

And now to the crux of this bike and it's uniqueness, the disc brakes.
Like it or not, disc brakes are coming and I have to applaud my Ohio friends for taking a lead and putting them on the bike... most will do by the fall. 160 rotor up front with a 140 in the back gave me plenty of stopping power... I'd be curious to know why they didn't do 140 both front and rear. After playing a bit with the set up, I found the perfect balance between power and modulation with the BB5's. As for weight, I don't know yet. I'm rightfully assuming that they add a couple of pounds and I don't know how that will translate when you have to carry your bike up over hills and barriers when you're in oxygen debt. Time will tell. For commuting/ touring/monstercross... this is a perfect set up.

So what kind of bike is this? It is a cross bike, but any company would be silly to build and market a bike strictly to cross racers (low #'s) but on the flip side, racers may look at it and say "It's just a touring bike, I don't need discs"... it's an argument that is never going to be settled until some Belgium hotshot wins on a disc bike.
That's the beauty of the Delta though, $1099 gives you an opportunity to do what ever you want with it. Race it, tour it, commute it... it's all good.

If you want a true racer bike, you'll definitely want to work on shaving some weight.. best spot (with out going crazy) would be the wheels and tires. That's an area I plan to work on in the next month or so... You can also do OK with smart cockpit swaps too. The other thing to swap would be the cassette. There's no need for a 32 tooth on the back of a race bike.

If you plan on touring this would be a nice way to go. Comfortable efficient frame with plenty of gearing and powerful and reliable brakes. Just be warned that even though there are rack mounts on the stays, there aren't any on the drop outs due to the disc brakes. Any descent shop should be able to help you get around that.

Are you a commuter or just want to explore? Go ride and have fun. I'll have to try some bigger tires for a MonsterCross set up. I'll let every one know when that happens.

In short... fun bike... go get one here...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday Musings....

So it's another Monday in which the week end wasn't nearly as long as it needed to be. I think the dreariness that is currently hanging over our wonderful state has alot to do with the cranky moods that Mom and Dad are being subjected too. Where the #%*& is the nice weather already?

Of course no weekend would be complete with out my usual Friday nite/Saturday shifts at Dick's. Not sure what I'm going to do about that job. I really can't keep going with the way things are right now but I'm also in no position to change the "culture" of what goes on there. It all starts at the top, and I'm no where near there....I have three months to figure out what I want to be when I grow up... frustrating...

Here at home, things were kinda lazy... movie time and Wii seemed to dominate in between rain showers... Finally got to see "Grown Ups"... ehhh, I thought it would be funnier.


The other day I had to go see the internal surgeon that did my resection. This whole cancer deal started with a problem with rectal itching that at some points becomes unbearable. That lead to the colonoscopy that discovered the tumor. Well the itching still hasn't really gone away so I went back in to see what we can do.
First thing he did was take me off caffeine. For those who don't realize it, the anus is one of the few muscles that contract when in a relaxed state. Caffeine irritates that area for alot of folks and affects the contraction and it's inability to do it's job... go figure.
Also it seems like my pH is off in that area so he gave me some lotion to use.
I took the week after the race off the bike hoping that it wasn't riding that was irritating the condition... thank heaven it doesn't seem it.
So anyways, I'm off caffeine now... if I'm mean and irritable, please understand....

Look for a Tuesday's Treatise on the new Airborne Delta. I spent some extra time on it yesterday and I'm pretty excited to share the ride with all of you....

Monday, May 16, 2011

What a difference a year makes....

Hard to believe what a difference a year makes. This time last year I was a few weeks into my chemo and still sore from the colon resection that left an 8" scar just bellow my belly button.
Wind ahead to yesterday, and my biggest complaint was that I didn't want to get wet...
Yesterday was my first race post-cancer. A fun little race in Winstead put on by my good friends (and favorite shop) Biker's Edge in Bristol and Torrington.
When I got up Sunday morning it wasn't just raining, but pouring. That wasn't going to stop me... but maybe become less interested? Con and the kids decided to stay home instead of brave the monsoon... good call on their part.
I finally found the venue after getting a tad misplaced but then realized I had no money to enter... back down the hill to the ATM. Well warm ups didn't go quite like I hoped... just riding trying to stay warm but it was fine... I just wanted to finish and that I did!
It was a muddy, greasy race of attrition but I did it. Best part was passing a guy thru the Start/Finish straight before the single track and hearing Charlie Beal cheer for me on that. Found myself tearing up on the final lap when it really hit me how far I've come... Called Con when I finished and we both had a good cry on the phone... it was kind of embarrassing actually but I don't care... It was one huge step.

I owe a ton of people a ton of thanks... Airborne, Bontrager and Biker's Edge have all supported me on the bike.
But the amount of support and good will that my family and great friends that I've been lucky enough to surround myself with, is immeasurable... THANK YOU ALL!

Muddy bike pic....

Muddy self portait

Hmmmm ... when's the next race?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday's Treatise (Yeah it's a word, look it up!)

So in my quest to inject a bit of life into my blogs, I've decided to start "Tuesday's Treatise". I'll do my best to review stuff in a some what entertaining fashion. These reviews my include bike stuff, TV shows, women...who knows. I'm also open to suggestions...
So here goes...
Today's first review...my garage and work space.

This place is a wreck... One of the problems with our house is that we live in a flood plain and don't have a basement. So therefore, anything that you would put in a basement, is also in the garage...which REALLY sucks. Look a the pics...Beverage fridge, freezer, shelf of food we never use, shelves of crap and toys that we can't throw away but never get used... how am I to function there? Plus I'm always in a rush so nothing really gets put away like it should.

I love working in my garage during the summer. Put the Sox game on the radio maybe pop open a Stoney's (or PBR) and work on a bike or do some welding. But it's really hard when you can barely walk thru it at all.

I have two bikes sitting here that are extreme fixer uppers. Not sure what to do with them... maybe donate them curbside on garbage day. I know there's some one out there who could really use them. Then I have a few new Airbornes to build and put some place and then get the really nice (albeit, really BIG) bike boxes out of the way. They do a fantastic job packaging those suckers up....

Here's my bench and it looks like Mr Goodwrench threw up on it. When I got back from my frame building class I built this to give me room to work. Now it's just a gathering place for more crap... I need an Extreme Garage Makeover....But notice how safety conscious I am with the fire extinguisher?

Another annoyance of working out there in the summer... mosquitoes. You have to have the door open but then you get nailed with them... I'm going to have to invest in one of those garage door mosquito nets that are all the rage in Florida.

So there you go, my first treatise... on a scale of 1-5(5 being the best)... I give it three stars (I need to come up with a better scoring system...haven't completely thought this out yet). Bump it up to four if I can get it organized and clean.....