Tuesday, June 30, 2009

BCBR Stage 3: It's Only a Flesh Wound

Stage races may be an amazing way to sample a region's riding, and they're obviously effective at boosting one's fitness, but they're definitely NOT a good way to meet women. Like the majority of sporting events, BC Bike race is a sausage fest, so much so that all the normal annoyances that typically haunt the ladies like queues at the washroom and the shower are reversed, leaving the men frustrated and covetous of the empty stalls behind the doors labeled with a skirt.

You know you're starved for the company of the better smelling sex when the most enjoyable part of your day is getting gravel picked out of your face by the MASH nurse. Granted, the insertion of gravel into your face probably put a damper on the earlier part of the day by comparison, but we all know ho much the scrubby thing hurts...

So to begin: Shout out to Sharon for not being gentle. My future career in modeling thanks you.

On the theme of yesterday's post, if there are THREE things one learns from stage racing, the third is that in the game of flesh rock scissors, flesh never wins. The story isn't really that important, let's just say certain incidents could have been avoided with a little better attention (Don't worry mom, it got stitched up real nice).
Today's stage was 60km, 1600m of climbing (mostly on road), and tons of twisty rhythm singletrack of both the fast and the technical variety. Eric proved himself to be a true athlete, coming out stronger today than on days 1 or 2 and broke out everythnig he learned at Otis and on the road to both time trial the bejeezus out of the open flats sections and cruise the technical singletrack with a grace that left at least two teams soundly in the dust.

Stan's also came in handy in the last km, sealing a sizeable gash in Eric's rear tire (after the addition of CO2) well enough to keep us rolling to the finish without losing any places.

Overall Finish time was just a smidge over four hours for a week-best 25th on the day, bumping us to 27th(?) overall (unoffical results). Injuries clearly make us ride faster. If only the first aid didn't take 15min we would have been top 20.

I was pretty convinced up to an hour ago that we were pretty bad-@#$ dudes, with my crashing on my face doing 25 cents in km's and then making a monster team comeback, but then my ER doc offhandedly mentioned that he crashed his bike doing 200kph last week. He also puts out 104,398 watts at the track.

4:30 am wake up tomorrow, with much more racing to come.

BCBR Stage 2: Rocky 1 and Rocky 2

If there's one thing to be learned from stage racing, it's that shame, modesty and maintaining a pleasant odor are all overrated. This morning, we all rode a school bus to the ferry toting bag breakfasts complete with kiddie sized juice boxes. Not long after, we all changed into our gear on the ferry (many of us out in the open), and as I write this, the two guys in the tent next door are talking in great detail about their bowel movements. I'll spare you the details, but let's say more fiber is most likely called for. Being someone who says what he's thinking most of the time, The near-complete eschewing of all unnecessary social convention is one of the most liberating parts of the experience for me. Convention is silly, and deep down we all want to talk about poop.

If there are TWO things that one learns from stage racing, the second is that there are good days and bad days. Today, racing-wise was not a good day--or more appropriately, not a fast one. After a fast start and 25k of mid-blowingly good technical singletrack, Eric again battled his body chemistry for control of his leg muscles for the next 25k, and we spent about 10min being lost at about the halfway point. Despite nearly time-trialing me off his wheel on the long logging-road descent where we blew by at least three teams, we came in a somewhat disappointing 31st on the day, dropping to 30th overall.

On the upside, we had our first day without a mechanical, the Sauserwind tires are rock-solid (and fast), and Eric discovered "Sharkies", the elctrolyte fruit snack, which seem to agree with him nicely:
Oh yeah, and we also rode more than four hours on the best collection of singletrack we've ever seen.

Sleep now, go hard tomorrow.

PS: Eric made a cameo on Velonews.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

BCBR Stage 1: Eric Lives to 30

Stage one of this year's BC Bike Race was short, intense and left nothing to the imagination. The course's 29km was packed with 1500m of vertical, most of which was gained and lost in a pair of super steep continuous ascents/descents. As a race season introduction the day was trial by fire for Eric, who was plagued by cramps but nonetheless rode confidently and spent most,but not all, of his time on the right side of the handlebars. The day was too much for the venerable Panaracers as well, which blew off my front rim on a hard hit with 20min to go, forcing the insertion of a tube and leaving a huge ding in my rim, pictured here after being bent back and filed smooth:

That's one blowout too many and an invitation for a testdrive of some Specialized Saucerwind 2.0 tires with the 2-Bliss bead. Impressions to come...

It's days like today that really make better riders. Crashing through the woods in a train of people with serious technical game (the level of technical riding here is way above that of other stage races I've done) you do a lot of things you never would have even thought of trying solo. Aggressiveness is the best remedy for excessive gnar. Most of the time you come out rubber side down. The rest of the time you aim for the soft dirt.

Overall finish today 26th. Bringing the pain to Nanaimo tomorrow, though the pain might only be felt in my lower back.

Like a Bat Out of Hell.

After my bedtime so I'll keep it short...

When preparing for a big race it's often very easy to lose sight of the important things--not the right tires, adequate rest and dialed gear--the wonder and adventure that brought you out in the first place. The reason you race a lot of bikes and don't watch much primetime TV.

Waiting helplessly for Eric's wheels for two days, blowing two tubeless tires off a rim on Friday (hope that's fixed, eek!) and splitting time between Eric's family and taking care of business was definitely a recipe for a bad headspace and the stress was palpable every time we hit another setback or kink in the plan.

After two hours of logistical nightmares at registration this morning it was looking like more of the same--too much to do, too little time. We hit the road in our borrowed jeep, bag lunch in hand (multi-tasking, you know) and gritted our teeth to battle the traffic back to town. Then, just as we hit the main drag, windows down, egg sandwiches in hand (that's a boiled egg in bread, btw), I looked down and noticed a cassette tape sticking out of the deck. "Meatloaf: Bat out of Hell". In went the track, down went the windows, up went the volume and instantly the stress melted away into a vat of late 1970's vintage cheese.

It looks like we might have net along the way, so keep listening...

10am start.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Holy Crap BC!

The wheels arrived around 2pm today. With eyes as big as saucers we tore into the box like kids on Christmas, giddy with dreams of adventure, delighting in the assembly of our toys.

We managed to hit the road at about 4pm. Our destination: Mt. Seymour park, the site of Stage 1. My delight and anticipation revealed itself for frustration in disguise. You see, Mt. Seymour is a downhiller's paradise. Carbon armour is the style. Lycra is definitely of a different culture.

I suppose the idea of sending us to a DH park on the first day is to give us all amped for the coming race, perhaps setting Day 1 as a microcosm for the remainder of the race. Frankly tough, it's a tough haul, and while I hope to ride most of it in the race, I'm sure there will be much grumbling and perhaps much walking. I'm sure the race directors will have many colorful comments to consider regarding this one. A DH park in a XC race, wtf? Or in the words of the a DHer we met at the park, "They're running you down Severed [the trail]? I don't envy you..."

I believe the last time I felt like this was when I was 17, looking down a black diamond slope of a ski run at Donner Pass, feeling like I was about to roll off the edge of the world. I stood there just staring at it, the moments dragging thoughts through my head, and while the world stood staring up at me, I hoped one of these thoughts would be the confidence to let it go, a faith in my abilities, a new found understanding of how things should be.

Anything is scary if you look too closely. The answer then, is simply not to look at it. Riding is about having the experience to pick the one good line from among many in a moment's assessment, the confidence in your body to follow through, and the coolness to stay focused on the road ahead. Staring too long at any one object kills the flow, and next thing you know you're face to face with that rocks you were so entranced with. No, it's better to let it roll.

For your viewing pleasure, a couple vids of Keith and me working out the kinks on Sunday's course. It gave me pause to consider what the hell I was doing and do a quick game theory analysis on my life. We managed not to shoot our eyes out. We rolled it, perhaps not totally gracefully, but totally stoked at the bottom:

There will be many good days of riding ahead.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oh buffer, how I love the so...

Day two in [north] Vancouver. Eric is on the ground, but missing a box of luggage that includes his wheels and a number of other useful things. ETA on the wheels? Oh, about 26hours after it's supposed to... We hope. In the meantime we're getting very familiar with this page. Good thing we planned in a few days of buffer.

In the meantime, the bikes got sort-of built,

we checked out the local bike shops--one of which came complete with a coffee filled VW van--

and admired the stunning scenery (more to come):

Eric was floored by the steepness of the mountains riding up into the clouds on the outskirts of the city--mountains we'll be climbing in only a few days.

Tomorrow morning we hit the trails and try to get that preview...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Of Bikes, Blogs, and Sleeping in Airports

Still in Vancouver. Still in the Airport. Still have wifi. If Tim Horton's stays open all night, I may never have to leave.

After not really sleeping, except on the flight, in pushing 40hrs my brain doesn't have much left in it except blogging. If racing makes me this cracked out, I might be able to pull a Kerouac every night and have half a dozen books written by the 4th. We'll also finish dead last.

Speaking of dead last, did anyone see the start list of this thing? It's a veritable who's who of elite MTB racing. I'm the last guy on earth to engage on character worship, and even I recognized all these peeps:
  • Seamus McGrath / Chris Sheppard (see, even MTBers dope!)
  • Alison Sydor / Lea Davidson
  • Catherine Pendrew / Katerina Nash
  • Ryan Trebon / Georgia Gould
  • Chris Eatough (<--!!!!!!!!) / Jeff Schalk
  • Barry Wicks / Kris Sneddon
  • Andreas Hestler
yeah, and then there's these guys.

If we don't get beat by more girls than the Teams of 4 field has entries, I'll be a happy camper--well that and if we don't have any serious mechanicals.

While most people like to adhere to the rule "don't change anything before a big race". We dared to be different earlier this week and went back to the wrenching-board to work out the final bugs. I finally put on the big and 32t middle rings I've been avoiding all year because of the NE terrain and the $225 replacement cost if I want to replace it with another XTR when it wears out. I also shoehorned in a second bottle cage with zip ties and electrical tape and trimmed the shift levers down so I could trim another 1/4" off the bars per side, leaving this final product:

Eric didn't escape the rule-breaking either, as the application of age-defying lotion by the gallon continues to obscure all the Yeti's wrinkles--like this one, that we drilled out to keep it from spreading:

then there's the frankensaddle:

and frankenshim:

We also replaced the RaceFace 22t chainring and SRAM 970 cassette with their Shimano XT counterparts and readjusted the rear derailleur cage spring in an effort to keep the drivetrain from skipping under power on rough terrain (we also switched out his back wheel for one of my training wheels that was decidedly less beat up). Don't know if our fixes helped yet (that's how down to the wire it was), but at least it's sexy lookin':

And finally, the most rediculous bottle cage setup ever. I can't believe I let this happen, but it'll probably work (zip ties have since been done neatly). Why do they put braze-ons under the down tube anyway? useless:

and the full monty:


Now that we're (almost) up here and settled, we're hoping to get a big ride in tomorrow and preview some of the first stage or two, work the kinks out, etc. then it's two days of easy spinning and enjoying the city until go time.

Newly equipped with a Casio exilim EX-FS10, there should be some worthwhile photo evidence of our race vacation between now and Sunday. After that I'll probably pack the camera, but uploading opportunities could be limited until the end of race week. Meanwhile, results will be posted on the BC Bike Race site, and probably also in the other major online cycling rags.

exciting, eh?

Stage Racing 101: Getting there from here

Helllooo, and welcome to beautiful Vancouver, BC! Despite not yet managing to get out of the food court (I'll get to that later), our neighbors to the north are already hard at work offering up all the comforts of home, with a bonus feature or two:

...god save the queen. All kidding aside, the Vancouver airport is rather pleasant: free wifi, parquet flooring, lots of natural light, greasy spoon Chinese food restaurants, about a million Chinese tourists (not eating the chinese food) and a strange forest-themed exhibit with real birds nesting in it (possibly not the intended design).

Apologies for not being more prolific lately, but interestingly enough trekking out to a stage race requires a lot of preparation, and a lot of stuff:

Exactly 100lbs of stuff, to be precise (tools and parts not shown). Thanks to a little creative packing, both Eric and I got our bikes on as regular baggage--$175 bike fee my a##--but with a little help from a couple hundred non-english speakers with a canceled flight and an incompetent gaggle of airline employees I'm actually the only one who made it to Vancouver...

After standing next in line for about 30min waiting to get checked in our attendant failed to be able to print my connecting boarding pass, and despite my warnings, also failed to start checking Eric in before the flight closed. If I had to guess, he's probably somewhere over the Rockies right now (crosses fingers).

Though missing your flight due to clerical error is awful, it might not be quite as frustrating as barely getting checked in and then almost missing it anyway because a TSA employee is having a crap day and decides to take it out on you:

"BAG CHECK!!" says the x-ray tech.

...along comes a surly, overweight, aging man who is clearly annoyed that he had to get up from his chair in the back and heaves my backpack upside down over his shoulder and would have dumped it unceremoniously all over the floor behind the counter had I not reached over and stuck out my hand to divert the waterfall. Suggesting to the one man entirely in control of my security pass-through time that he might want to pay attention to what he's doing was probably not the most pragmatic approach to the situation at the time, but when a guy's ONLY job is to pick up bags from a conveyor, inspect their contents and put them back, you'd think that not damaging the contents of the bags through gross negligence would be a basic skill criteria. I draw the patience line at FAIL.

Long story short he dumps my entire bag, then refuses to let me repack it myself and proceeds to be unable to get everything in, at which point he angrily defers to me, but not before insisting that he run it through the X-ray again.

Then I took off running, not just "oh, I might be a little late", but using benches as vaulting platforms, Indiana Jones being chased by a giant boulder style hauling-it to the gate, which I reached barely in time to get a seat with no overhead storage. I feel like a pretzel...

More soon!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Alternative Livlihood

I had another TDD post queued up for today, but this velonews article where a wildly successful ex-downhill racer was caught with 400lbs of marijuana was just too good to ignore.

As racers we're always looking for ways to get ahead--in the singletrack, in life--and as every good downhiller knows, the line most taken is often not the fastest one. I'm not really sure it's a statement on the rider or the state of the sport that an athelete with 14 national titles can't have a more resonable existence based on her athletic success than on driving around with a van full of illicit drugs, though selling drugs is not unlike downhill racing: 6 days a week you smoke pot and ride bikes, 1 day you do about 5 minutes of high-risk, high-reward "work" and are set for another 6 days.

Take the 6 off, 1 on strategy to the meta scale and naturally you wind up at spending a couple months procuring and selling off 4oolb of drugs (street price roughly $2.56M), then proceeding to smoke the profits on the chairlift for about a decade. Right?

A day doesn't go by when someone doesn't write a book expounding how [insert sport here] is a metphor or training exercise for something of greater importance--life, globalization America--I can see the book deal now, "Moving the QP. A Downhiller's guide to the quick sale." ...applies to used cars, drugs and ponzi schemes of all varieties.

By analogy, XC endurance racing must train management consultants. Like your typical McKinsey employee, endurance racers spend hundreds of hours repetitively slogging away at something that isn't really that difficult, but few people have the endurance and careful patience to succeed at themselves. When we're done we party for a day or two and then compulsively jump into the next project for fear of getting behind. If only we could bill ourselves out at $300/hr. We'll work on our business plan next week...

Wish Eric luck on his thesis defence in... 71 minutes!

BCBR starts in 9 days!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sin-gineering (an FMEA exercise)

By now, every self-respecting cyclist on earth has heard this account of a Mavic R-Sys wheel exploding spectacularly under a VeloNews reporter. Needless to say it's not very good press for our snooty friends across the pond.

If you compulsively scour online bike news to the the first one with every tidbit of new gossip, you may have also already read Mavic's strained response where they attempt, with a questionable level of convincingness, to make the point that the wheel's failure was a result of the crash, as opposed to cause thereof. Even if you did fleetingly entertain the belief that this were the case, it still doesn't absolve Mavic engineers of being cognitively disabled (notice how PC I am today?)

Those of you who are engineers probably recognize the Acronym FMEA--Failure Mode and Effects Analysis. Simply put, FMEA is an exercise that one performs with a product or system to identify the many ways that the product can fail and assess the potential risks posed by each mode of failure, the point being that one must expect that some products will fail and that an acceptable failure mode is equally important a design criteria as the performance characteristics of the product when intact.

Generally, when performing FMEA one identifies the failure mode, (catastrophic atomization of wheel resulting in high-velocity faceplant), the severity (high-velocity faceplant seems pretty severe...) and the frequency of occurrence (I can't imagine they made more than 10,000 of these things, so even one failure is a pretty big deal).

If you're an engineer, your job is to make sure the stuff that will get you sued basically never happens. For instance, you should be pretty darn sure that if you're a wheel maker, your wheels don't blow up if you breathe on them wrong. It may be true that being breathed on is not in the description of the wheel's normal use, but it's darn likely, given that they cost $1,200 and are designed like the wheels on an 18th century pushcart, that someone sooner or later is going to lean in real close to get a good look, and since they likely haven't ridden the wheels yet, they'll still be breathing.

It is for the reason above that the engineering world invented "Factors of safety". If you know that a certain component failure--say the lift cable on an elevator snapping--is going to hurt a whole bunch of people really badly (hopefully you're making the analogy here all by yourself), then you build that component a whole lot stronger--say 11x (which is actually the factor of safety for elevator cables)--than you ever expect it to be strained. When was the last time you heard of an elevator cable snapping, despite there being thousands of elevators in every major city, many of which are shoddily maintained and decades old? Yep, never. It simply doesn't happen.

Anyone who's been riding bikes for a long time knows that awful things happen to wheels. You hit potholes. You graze other cyclists or bushes on the side of the road. Occasionally you slide out or have to jump over something. Rims get bashed. Spokes break. Normal wheels, even the ridiculously expensive deep-dish carbon tubulars, weather these sorts of things every day without exploding and tossing anyone, but if any of the above happened to an R-Sys wheel Mavic would throw up it's hands and say, "not the intended use?" Sorry sir, you're not allowed to ride this wheel in the real world, it's simply too dangerous...

The fact that the road-cycling world would even accept a product so ridiculous in the first place, nevermind allow any attempt to defend it, is another example that there's something seriously amiss in roadie culture. A MTB product that performed like the R-Sys wouldn't last a day. Clearly playing in the dirt keeps some of us grounded.

Ride stuff that works. It could save your life.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Captain Nopants?

It is a natural human tendency to believe--or at least rationalize--that one's choices are correct (otherwise we'd choose something else). By extension, this means that everyone else making another choice is wrong or somehow "different", often sparking debate, rivalry, even bigotry. In the cycling world there is no more classic example of this phenomenon than the curious and expansive rift between the disciplines of road cycling and mountain biking.

As a mountain biker who spends much of his outside time with roadies, I have struggled for years to understand said rift. First off, the two sides can't even agree on a similar name-suffix for their sport, with the roadies leaning toward the more reserved and austere "cycling" while the off-roadies gravitate toward the simpler and more direct "biking", but the differences only begin there. Clothes, hair, affinity for filth of various sorts, pickiness about the weather, natural affection for treadmill-like exercise apparati, are all issues of contention among the two groups, but last night I believe I discovered the fundamental difference between them--a difference that both defines the rift and explains all its secondary effects--a willingness to drink beer and get naked.

The discovery, made in the company of five or six mountain bikers clustered on a rooftop around a pitcher of homebrew ESB, was that every one of us had unusually large numbers of stories involving nakedness, often also involving beer and bicycles. I wouldn't have been surprised given the five gallons of fresh available beer, if someone had suggested we all get naked on the sopt, though as far as I can remember this did not occur. Thinking back, nearly all the people I have ridden trail with over the years have been great fans of both beer and nakedness, especially in combination. A coincidence? I think not.

Like the great Henry David Thoreau who was "inordinately fond of wading naked through the streams of Concord." mountain bikers' freedom of spirit, adventurous disposition and frequent communing with nature brings them an inner peace freeing them of their need for clothes, fancy terminlogy, or the need to smell fresh at all times. Thus, they need not wear tight pants (though many may choose to) as pants, you see, are only transitory--soon discarded for cleaner ones, or maybe nothing at all.

Road cyclists, confined to the paved ribons of a contrived suburbia, instead exhibit an acute repression of self. They will not get naked, for their natural environment forbids such indescretion, yet they struggle to mimic its effect with skinsuits and body hair removal. They commune not with nature, but with the elbows of other sweaty cyclists jostling for position in a peloton boiling with restrained aggression. And they will for months refrain from the drink in the name of training, only to release their repressed vice in a binge of regretful behavior. To quote my recent favorite anti-hero:

“364 days of the year, everything is fine, but the one day I drink too much, I black out, lose control and find myself doing [coke]”

When you need your mom to stick up for you in the papers at age 27, you've got yourself a problem...

The conclusion, if there must be one, is that the rift separating the world of road cycling and mountain biking is not un-bridgeable. There is, in fact, a(n oft repressed) mountain biker in all of us--the free and unencumbered impression of our true selves. We need only to have a few beers, take off our (spandex) pants and let it out.

And so to nature...

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Fine Print

[Apologies in advance to those who already saw my facebook status and got the punchline of this post. That's what you get for stalking me on the web. Anyway...]

The monthly newsletter is a staple of MTB stage races. While you're obsessing over the event for six months, the organizers take the opportunity to sell you as much crap and inflate their facebook group size as much as possible while you're listening. For the most part the whole newsletter thing is pretty useless until the last one when all of a sudden there are a whole pile of logistics to take care of.

BCBR dumped a pile of forms and manuals into this month's newsletter, which I--being the studious and obsessive character that I am--read thoroughly all the way through. Of particular interest was the "Race Fit Guide", the goal of which was for you--the racer--to figure out whether you're gonna survive 7 days on the Canadian west coast.

As I'm opening up the PDF I'm thinking, "cool, maybe they'll be a fitness test" but to my disappointment, all you need to finish BCBR is to get your seizure disorder under control, avoid head trauma shortly before the start, and get checked to be sure you're not at high risk for cardiac arrest. Here I thought we were going to be bad-ass, but apparently as long as both of my feet are planted firmly outside the grave everything should be fine.

Why'd we even bother training?

"BC Bike Race is not a rehabilitation program; it is neither a place to quit smoking, drinking or drugs nor to deal with behavioural or psychological problems"

Aww, crap. I was totally going to stop the EPO this week so as not to raise red flags when we fired out to a podium finish in stage one, but now I guess we'll have to add the whizzinator to our gear list instead. Hopefully there will be beer at the BBQ tent or we might have to drop out before stage 2. Most would argue that the behavioral and psychological problems are what got us here in the first place...

Similar language must have been in le Tour's pre-race literature, judging by the confessions of the now retired Berhard Kohl:

“Apart from the caffeine, pseudo-ephedrine, painkillers, EPO, human growth hormones, insulin, I took all that before, not during (the Tour)... The cycling milieu was persuaded that this EPO (CERA) was not detectable. I obtained the product from another cyclist and I injected myself three days before the start of the Tour. In my mind, I was tranquil.”

Reminds me a little of a certain stand-up routine (not work safe, explicit lyrics):

He and Boonen might do well to have a listen...

Back on the bike.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Buyer Beware!

Everyone likes to get good stuff cheap--I sometimes even enjoy getting good stuff for free--but when shopping for MTB parts, trying to get too good a deal might instead get you taken or at least not as good a deal as you think you might be getting. Ebay is a notorious place for such things:

A couple months ago I sold my old Superlight on ebay, described as follows:

This is a 2006 Santa Cruz Superlight frame (size XL) with a FOX Float RC shock. Though it shows cosmetic signs of use, both the suspension pivot and shock have been fully rebuilt and work excellently. The canti bosses on the rear triangle have been removed, making the bike disc-only. Removing the bosses has no structural effect on the frame. The frame has some cosmetic marks consistent with a few seasons on the trails. See last photo for detail.

This has been an incredibly efficient pedaling, smooth and utterly reliable frame. So good, in fact, that I recently bought the newest version (this one has a slightly shorter wheelbase than the new one and was a bit too small for me)

Having owned both v1 (2001) and v2 (2006) Superlights, I've accumul
ated a number of useful bits for the frame that are included in this auction:

- Salsa Flip-Lock seat clamp (possibly the most secure clamp ever made)
- An array of extra suspension pivot parts and hardware( see pic), in varying states of newness
- 2 pairs of replacement pivot bearings
- Cane Creek S5 Headset with newly replaced bearings (has small cosmetic nick on cup that can't be seen when headset is assembled)
- Extra headset bearing
- 1 cable stop hose-guide adapter.
- A one-of-a-kind, handmade, solid-brass driver for removing the suspension pivot

I made the driver mentioned above to more easily service the pivot bearings and safely remove the pivot for airline travel. With the fork and linkage removed, a bike with this frame can fit in a standard size airline case such as: http://www.plattcases.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=322211AH&Show=TechSpecs
With the right build the bike in the case will also be under 50lbs, which means no airline fees for bike vacations. Instructions for using the driver will be provided.

Buyers willing to pick up in Boston Area need not pay shipping.


Top Tube (horizontal): 24"
Head Tube: 5.7"
Head Angle: 71.5 deg
Seat Tube (center-top): 21.5"
Seat Angle: 73 deg
Wheelbase: 42.8"
Chainstay: 16.7"
BB Height: 12.3"
Standover: 29.2"
headset: 1 1/8"
Seatpost: 27.2mm

Based on a fork with 461mm axle-crown length


For full disclosure, detailed photos of the numerous marks the bike had acquired after having the crap kicked out of it for three seasons were included. Note the detailed listing both of the geometry of the bike AND what's actually included in the auction.

The bike sold for a pretty fair price, shipped, positive feedback was garnered, blah blah blah...

Not two months later, it's back on ebay from a 3rd party (in same state as the buyer) with this description:


I have a Santa Cruz SuperLight in black. XL frame.

If you are looking at this ad, you are quite certainly aware of this bike's reputation as one of the best true XC full-suspension bikes out there. The design is relatively simple w- their Single pivot design and elevated chainstays. This has not changed over the years, nor has Santa Cruz's reputation as a manufacturer of world-class high-performance bikes.

This auction includes:

XL Santa Cruz Superlight frame

Cane Creek S-5 sealed cartridge bearing headset

Fox rear shock

Salsa QR post binder (black)

extra set of pivot bushings and such

a tool specifically made for 01-06 SC Superlight frames to make changing these bushings easy.

There are no dents/ dings/ cracks in this frame. The pivots and bushings appear to have no play or slop....everything is tight. The Fox Float RC shock has no scratches on the stanchions and the seal shows no evidence of leaking. It is ready to ride. This bike is disc only. 2 owners ago, the guy must have not liken the v-brake posts aesthetically-speaking, as they were removed and brazed (filled) in. I do not think this would save much weight (but I could be wrong), so i am assumin he did it for a cleaner look. The owner before me had it for 2 years and built it up but did not ride it much, and never off-road. I am guessing this bike to be around an 04, but not for certain.

Please ask any and all Q's prior to bidding. If you would like additional photos, just ask, but please be specific in your requests for what you want captured in photo. Item is sold as-is, but check my feedback and bid with confidence. I will ship internationally, but please ask before you bid as some countries will not accept large packages and I can give you an estimate as i will shipt it via USPS. The stated shipping price of $30 is only for shipping via Fed Ex Ground to the lower 48. Expedited shipping can be had, but buyer will pay the extra charge(s). While shipping insurance is optional, I strongly suggest that you use purchase it. I will not be held liable for any damages occuring to the product after it has left my hands. I have shipped well over 50 frames and bikes and this bike will be well-packaged and secured. I will ONLY ship to a confirmed PayPal address if using PayPal.

I accept PayPal. Cashier's check and USPS MO are the only other forms of payment I will accept, unless you are picking the bike up personally, and then cash is always "king."

Thank you and Good Luck !!


The seller quotes the wrong model year (in Q&A, not above), cleverly walks around the fact that there's a lot of cosmetic imperfections, and says it was "never ridden off road". SERIOUSLY? One look at this thing will tell you it's been ridden HARD. It's probably logged more miles in a week than many bikes on ebay have ever seen.

Buyer Beware.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Against All Odds, the Yeti Defies Extinction

With BCBR looming in the not-so-far-off distance, it finally came time to do what one must inevitably do to one's beat-up old bike before packing it up to go stage racing:

[insert ominous music]

The Complete Overhaul.

Overhauling a bike is not unlike putting it in a Star Trek transporter:

You strip it down to atomic components,try to remember how everything went together, then try to reassemble something that looks and works like the original somewhere else, using all new stuff.

As Prof. Krauss notes above, there's a number of problems with this. First of all, there are some laws of physics in the way:
and second, you can't do it without Scotty:
Lacking futuristic technology we often fell back on disassembly techniques such as hammering, drilling and grinding:
But in the end (= 4:15AM) all the pieces, including all 50ish pieces of the suspension linkage,
were reincarnated in un-broken form.

Natural selection, the powerful albeit oft questioned force, has simplified bikes significantly since the 2002 Yellow Yeti [Kokopelli AS]. It's predecessor, the ASR, uses about half as many suspension pieces than this relic of times past (my bike uses about 10pcs total), and a good thing too--the overhaul took us about 6 hours from beginning to end with a pretty substantial tool chest, and we're still not entirely done...

The YY may have outlived its era, but a little help from a pair of dedicated conservationists has allowed it to struggle on.

On mountain bikes in the mornin' fo' sho'.