Anyway, it's been a long journey from the start of my "Keith wants a new bike" saga where, for about a month, I haven't ridden the exact same bike twice, which doesn't seem to be hurting my race results too badly--10th at Hopbrook, 5th at Fat Tire and only behind Colin by a minute and a half--but it's been driving me a little nuts. For the sake of brevity, as some of you have expressed disinterest in my talking about bikes instead of my feelings, here's the summary of what I've learned from the bike build that time forgot:
- Contrary to what it says on the internet, you can't just slap a 650B wheel on the front of a really well designed bike and expect it to be better. If you look carefully at the geometries of big wheel bikes, you'll notice that the head tube angles are actually steeper than 26" bikes and big wheel forks have more rake than regular forks (I'd explain to you why, but you don't care). By adding the 650b to the front of a regular 26" bike, you push both these quantities in the opposite direction. Suffice to say this doesn't feel so good.
- Nobody wants to buy decent stuff on Craigslist. You can sell crap for way more than it's worth, but people won't even glance at anything nice that they might have to pay reasonable money for.
- New standards are the devil. I don't want oversized bars any more than I want an oversized gut, but sometimes you can't fight progress...
- Plastic has no place on mountain bikes. (see rant below)
While the bike is still a disaster, my body seems to be faring a little better. As I mentioned earlier, the gym paid off in spades, and after a little home improvement, I have a pull-up bar to continue the upper body work without making the trek across town. Pull-ups, Push-ups, dips when I figure out how to do them at home, and the pipes should be in good shape come the last week of June. The question I'm really asking myself now is "what's the weakest link?" Keeping up the aerobic intensity doesn't seem to be a problem this year, as I averaged a HR of 179 for the entirety of last weekend's 1.5 hr race in the 90 degree heat, but even with the ability to make heartbeats like a hamster, my hardest efforts were hampered by an oncoming feeling of BONK in the second half of the race. Could this be strength, fueling, weak aerobics? I'm not really sure, but with the answer comes the key to a little more speed.