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.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day Reflux...

Well it was another great Father's Day here at the Haskins' compound. I have to say the my wife does a really great job in supporting me and celebrating holiday's that are specific to me. Looking back, I really need to start stepping it up. Starting to get embarrassing....
This year's gift was totally unexpected (and really, undeserving). She spent the whole day (hauling too bored boys around) hunting down a Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS for me! This thing is really cool! All sorts of worthless, yet fun, info. I have some big plans for this thing... now I just need to learn to use it, big book with small sized type....

The other high lite was my Father's Day ride down to my folks. Hopped on the Delta and did the 38 mile trek down to Chester. Most of you know I have the Ride for the Flame coming up and this was a descent little training ride for the 50 miler I have on Sunday. Ride went pretty well and I was able to finish up reasonably strong. The Airborne Delta continues to impress me everytime I hop on it.
Played around with my position too. Swapped the stem to a negative rise to stretch me out a bit. My friend mark also hooked me up with a set of "try before you buy" wheels that lightened the ride up. This is a fun bike

The other thing I tried this time around was doing the route thru Google Map's "Bike" option. It's very cool to see that bikes are being considered as a serious form of transportation. This had it's pro's and con's, though.
One thing that's great about it is the fact that it does a really great job of by passing some busy stretches of roads that alot of folks may not want to ride on. They take you along routes that you would never know were there. You get to see some really neat things and realize how beautiful of a state we really live in, when you slow down.
This does kind of come with a price though. Directions can be hard to follow, especially as you are riding thru neighborhoods with small side streets and lots of quick turns (if only I had a GPS...wait...). The other potential downside, is that it can really take you way out of the way. I found myself in parts of Middlefield and Haddam I didn't know existed. One part of the route had me going up and old washed out dirt road into Chester. Lot's of climbs and deep into the woods. I skipped that part and took one of the main roads in... maybe next time.

Finally a big THANK YOU to everyone who sponsored me for the ride on Sunday. I exceeded my goal and will be helping out a great cause!!! Hopefully more to come in the following months.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oh How I Love Thee...

Well schools almost out and my "free" time is going to be going away relatively quickly. Summer will be the time of year that if I'm working out, I need to really schedule it in ahead of time and get up earlier in the morning.
I've been logging some serious saddle time on the Delta and didn't realize how much fun (and easy) it is to just open the garage and go for a ride. No packing up the Goblin and driving to go mountain biking (plus it eats up dirts roads for lunch). I'm loving this bike... THANKS AIRBORNE!

One of the places the Delta will be taking me is the Ride for the Flame. A charity ride on the 26th that benefits the Special Olympics. I'm doing the 50 miler. We'll see how my ass and back responds.
In fact I'm leaving our vacation at Cape Cod for this.... Look me up and donate if you find some loose change in the sofa.

That's all I got... two quick shills today. Talk to you all soon.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Delta follow up....(and do Disc brakes belong on a cross bike?)

Well I have some pretty solid rides on the Delta now so I thought I'd let you all know what I think.

"What brand of bike is that?" I've been getting that alot... (I need decals)

Today I did a quick loop that incorporates tar, bike paths and meadow dirt roads that aren't kept up with, and the Delta shined. Very comfortable ride. For this ride I put on some fatter slicks that I had laying around and the difference was a huge improvement over the Kenda Kwick's (For what I'm using it for right now). Keep in mind, this isn't a road bike so you're going to still feel a bit bogged down. If you're looking for road performance, look else where (although I do hear rumors about something road-like cooking in the Airborne hanger...).

If I was commuting to work (I don't need a bike to get down to the kitchen) or wanted to be able to explore dirt roads and bike paths this is the bike I'd reach for. It is perfect the way it's set up right now with the slicks. Comfort, efficiency, and reliable shifting and braking are all here.

Now this is a cross bike, so let's look at it from a cyclocross racing point of view...

There's alot of debate on the forums and such on whether or not cross bikes need disc brakes. Too be honest, I can see both sides. To me, nothing is sexier than a nice clean cross bike with canti's (OK, maybe there's a couple of other things sexier...) and when you gotta lug a bike over barriers for an hour in crappy conditions while there's a bit of throw up in your mouth, every ounce saved, counts.
But, discs do over reliable braking in all conditions and if I stop eating Funny Bones, I can save the extra weight on my mid section...hmmmmm

Well I can't teeter on the fence anymore. For the technology that is available to us as of today, I would say discs make sense so everyone but the highest of levels (and snobbiest of snobs). They just offer so much more consistent braking that I can't see how they'll not help anyone... especially mid pack fodder like myself.

What will it take to get to get discs to the elite level? Well first is going to be weight. Right now the only thing available that's not crap is the BB5/7's from Avid and they are kinda portly. I don't think they need to be that heavy.

Another step will be to develop a 140 rotor size for the front. I do find the 160 standard up front a bit over kill on a cross bike. The front brake seems to overwhelm the bike, but in a race situation, that may change. Plus, it will save a bit of weight...added bonus!

Next step is going to be to develop hydraulics. Although I think mechanicals work fine, they won't be fully accepted until a hydraulic/closed system is available. This is what I think is holding Shimano and Sram back. Where to put the master cylinder is the sticking point... there's not alot of room in those brifters.

So what's my take? This is really a great do-it-all(almost) bike. Touring, commuting and exploring are spot on out of the box (except for maybe tires). Racers? A few tweaks to save some weight and this has the potential to be a great weapon for most.
Now I just need to unload these canti's I have laying around....

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Grip review and other stuff

I hope everyone had a great week and enjoyed the holidays last week. Things have been going ok here. Crazy weather with temps kind of all over the place, but nothing like what Springfield Mass went thru last week. That area was devastated by a tornado. Scary stuff... can't believe they are coming out this way (our house got hit in '09 by a tornado). We're all thinking of our neighbors up north.

Health wise things have been ok. Fighting off some old age back issues and soreness, but nothing I can't handle. The caffeine ban has been rough. To be honest, I have been sneaking a soda here and there, but I can say I don't drink the whole thing (I didn't inhale either...). It seems caffeine related issues are under control.

In trying to stay with the Tuesday's Treatise theme, I'm going to post up a review of ESI's Chunky grips.

First a bit of back story. When I went out to Sea Otter, one of the things on my bucket list was to get some new grips. I was eye balling Ergons, but damn, they're expensive, and you can either run bar ends or not, can't swap back and forth...not a bad thing, just not a fit for me.
Then Eric, one of the cogs in the Airborne machine, mentioned ESI's and how much he loved them. Hell, the price was right and they come in cool colors, why not?
"But isn't a grip just a grip?", you may ask. Au contraire mon frere....
Being the first of any ride input, hands are an important contact point that gets overlooked. If your hands hurt, they're not happy...if your hands aren't happy, the rest of your body won't be either... result? A crappy ride. Get comfortable people!
ESI grips are 100% silicon which seems like the perfect material to me. Excellent job in "molding" to my hand a bit and the vibration damping is amazing (check out their website, they have a cool graph on there http://www.esigrips.com/Silicone_Grips_Shock_Absorbing.htm) and as I mentioned earlier, very cool colors...
On the Goblin,I've been able to try them now in a few "concerning" conditions:
Rain and mudfest race conditions... no issues
Really humid with gloves... stuck like glue.
Gloveless... velcro baby!
These grips rock!
Next time your hands are hurting and you need new grips... check the ESI Cunky's out. They also come in a thinner "Racer's Edge" model if you have dainty hands...