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This Saturday was the Appalachian Cyclocross Series Race #6 sponsored by Michael Miller DDS in Buckhannon. The race was set on a balmy saturday morning, with the temperatures hovering just above freezing the entire time. For this being a very ‘southern’ race, as it is considered for WV Cyclocross, there was still a pretty fair turnout, and a lot of fun was had. I ran around the race course, shot some video, and got some post race interviews too.

I saw a lot of people from Trek of Pittsburgh, Steel City Endurance, Western Maryland Wheelmen, Dynamic Physical Therapy Cycling, Iron City Bikes, WVU Cycling, Pro Graphics, Mountain Mama, and even a few Ohio guys.

The course was moderately short, even in terms of a cross course, but it was rough. The grassy fields were mowed the day before, but were sorta lumpy. It took the energy out of people pretty quickly. There were three noteable barriers that you will see in the videos: Typical 12″ cross barriers, a very small stream path that had to either be jumped or hucked over, and a chicane laden vertical switchback that was very entertaining for the spectators to be around.

Lots of racers were using dedicated cyclocross bicycles, and I even saw a classic 1976 Raliegh road bike out there along some of the mtn bikes and whatnot. Everyone seemed to have fun, and JR really put on a good race.

Now, here’s the videos:

Watters Smith Cyclocross Race – Pre Race

Watters Smith Cyclocross Race – Race Footage 01

Watters Smith Cyclocross Race – Race Footage 02 / Post Race Interviews 01

Watters Smith Cyclocross Race – Post Race Interviews 02

Watters Smith Cyclocross Race – Post Race Interviews 03 w/Gunnar

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boeshield t9 bike lube review

What Boeshield says about their products:

“Boeshield T-9 is Space Age Technology for Bicycle Chains

  • Solvent Base flushes out old lubricants.
  • Penetrates deeply to thoroughly coat inner pins and rollers.
  • Dries to a clean Paraffin Wax film so it will not pick up dirt.
  • Lubricates and protects for 150 to 200 miles per application.

Completely Waterproof
Once dry, Boeshield T-9® will not wash off in rain, puddles, and mud. Water washing will remove sand, dust, and grime, but not the lubricant.

Guarantee
We feel we have the best product of its type on the market. If you can find a better penetrating lubricant and protectant, let us know, and we’ll refund your purchase price.

One Step Application: Clean, Lubricates, Protects
Spray on and wipe off. Boeshield T-9® will dissolve itself and flush out any other lubricant. For best results soak thoroughly and allow 2 or more hours for complete penetration. Then wipe off all external residue.

No Dirt Pickup
After wiping, Boeshield T-9® will dry quickly, leaving no sticky film to gather dirt and mud.”

boeshield t9 lube review

I received a sample of Boeshield’s product back in May ’10 to review for the site. I was enthusiastic to try out a ‘clean’ lubricant for my stable of bikes As of posting this review (31 Oct ’10), it has been six months, and my sample just ran out.

That means, this 4oz drip-bottle of lube was able to be used 72 times, according to Garmin Connect‘s recordings; which is more than likely closer to 80 uses. Yes, I used the Boeshield after either every single ride, or every other ride depending on which bike it was being applied to. Boeshield’s site states that it can effectively last up to 200 miles, but I am a cautious person who enjoys a clean drivetrain. This means that a single bottle of Boeshield can last around 14,000 miles (10% human error margin removed) of riding. That is longer than most bike chains will last. See what I mean? This stuff is a pretty good value.

Once applied to the chain, it is suggested to wipe off the excess an hour or two later. The lube is also pretty good at removing and displacing dirt and crud from the insides of the rollers and side plates. After a ride, you will see it coat your chainrings and cassette with a light layer of paraffin. This is a bit annoying looking, and takes a little time to remove without solvents, but it really is there to protect the bike. If the paraffin coats the teeth of your drivetrain, just imagine the beneficial properties that are in play on the chain!

I also enjoy putting a drop of the pivot points of my derailleurs, pedals, and brakes. I have not seen increased performance from these items with Boeshield application, but it has become quite ritualistic, and is very easy to apply and clean.

The 953 miles I have put on my carbon road bike (with brand new chain at start of application) has developed very little chain stretch and is still under 1/12th of an inch of wear. This alone has made me believe the worth of the product.

Also, coming in a drip bottle, it can be applied in a very clean and sparing manner. This leads to the bottle lasting a bit longer than a spray, and it prevents any excess spraying or dripping from landing on your rims, or possibly even your disc rotors.

The 4oz drip bottle retails for about $10. Last week, I went to my LBS and purchased a new bottle of boeshield, just because I have enjoyed its protective and lubricating properties enough to pay for it. As the price of bike chains, and drivetrains increase, you should really take as much effort as possible to protect them. Boeshield is just another step in protecting your investments.

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Last Wednesday, someone donated three older bicycles to me. They were grungy, and felt like they had a major film layer of coal or sap or some kind of odd mix of the two; as if they were in someone’s basement for forty years. Well, to my surprise, they were in pretty decent shape. The tires were not dry-rotted and held air. I thought, “Hey, this will be a good project to work on!” as I looked them over. The main problems were to update the brake cables, housing, bar tape, and clean up the components.

ross bicycles, allentown, pa, pennsylvania, road bike, classic brakes, drop bar, american made road bike

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I used a lot of steel wool and Simple Green to remove the gunk from the frames, and even more steel wool to polish the rims, and any other chromed parts that started to have rust blemishes. Hard work (2+ hrs, each), but the shine was totally worth it.

ross bicycles, allentown, pa, pennsylvania, road bike, classic brakes, drop bar, american made road bike

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ross bicycles, allentown, pa, pennsylvania, road bike, classic brakes, drop bar, american made road bike

Click for larger image.

ross bicycles, allentown, pa, pennsylvania, road bike, classic brakes, drop bar, american made road bike

Click for larger image

ross bicycles, allentown, pa, pennsylvania, road bike, classic brakes, drop bar, american made road bike

Click for larger image

I ended up repacking all of the bearings on the hubs and headset, and luckily didn’t have to pull the bottom brackets… I don’t even think I have the tools needed to pull a one piece crank from the frame… *Pfew*

The gearing on two of the road bikes were massive. like a 44/53 tooth chainring. We are in West Virginia, not Florida… On a cruising-style road bike, there is no reason for such huge gear combination. The cables in these two bikes were also rusted, and I didn’t want to spend close to $20 replacing cables, let alone housing. I had an idea… Why not just make the bikes a single speed bicycle by toying with the limit screw on the rear derailleur?

Brilliant! Since these bikes are meant for town cruising, a 44/18 gear ratio is fantastic. I’m sure whoever I sell these bikes to are not going to go try out all of the local hills, so having them not have to worry about shifting or derailleur adjustment will just make their life easier too. The bikes also looked a lot nicer with two less bunches of housing on them. Very Chic~

montgomery ward, open road, classic road bike, vintage road bike

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The cruiser bicycle had a seized seatpost. I hate when this happens. It also kept the seat in place with one of those old, outdated clamp-on seat clamps that also clamp to the tube at the same time… Ugh… Why? Eventually I got it to move around, and get it to a very generalized height. Good enough. I hate seized seatposts… Ugh… I even hate saying seized seatposts…

Murray, nassau, cruiser bike

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So luckily enough, in between running errands, hanging out with friends, and going on a small ride, I was able to clean up and restore three bicycles over the weekend. I have about three or so hours worth of labor on each one, but I am not trying to become rich by selling old bikes; I just want people to afford and enjoy some pedal powered activities…

If you know anyone who wants a classic bike, let them know I have a couple for sale!

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I am having a conflict of interest in determining of what to think of cyclists that ride in the rain. Putting miles on the tarmac while the precipitation is on is a job for professional cyclists, but what about for the sportives and enthusiasts? Are we crazy for thinking that our favorite loop ridden in the rain somehow makes us closer to the riders on a Pro Tour team? Does riding in the rain have any advantages that over-weigh any disadvantages? To further investigate this inner struggle of mine, the following issues will be discussed:

  • Motive for riding in the rain
  • Skill
  • Gear/Maintenance
  • Positive/Negative aspects
  • Alternatives? – If any…

First off, why are you wanting to ride in the rain? West Virginia has on average 210 days (+/-15 days) with less than an inch of rain. This means there is more than enough time to ride in perfectly acceptable weather. Why would someone want to expose theirselves to rain? I can understand if you don’t want to miss those much needed training rides, or you hate the trainer; I hate the trainer too. Camaraderie between friends while being exposed to inclimate conditions is also an acceptable circumstance in my opinion. It sucks to miss group rides, and facing something like a rain shower can make it even more fun. All of these reasons are pretty badass, and can be rationalized without looking too crazy…

On the other hand, just because you have visions of cobbles, and self-torture after watching a rainy version of one of the spring classics doesn’t mean you should go out and try to re-enact scenes in your head by riding in the rain… This is where it starts to get silly. You are not Sean Kelly, you do not have a contract; you are not contractually obligated to ride in the rain. Heck, you may not even have the gear or talent to maneuver well enough in the slop that the roads are slathered with during a shower. Your petty dreams of Belgian cobbles are a fantasy in WV, and keep it at that, otherwise you will be placed on my crazy people list.

Okay, so you are kitted up and have your layers on or whatnot. You think you are prepared for the WV roads ahead of you just because you have your cycling cap on, and a pair of knee warmers. What about the grit, the loss of grip on the road? Do you know how to properly thermoregulate while on the bike? Handling? How does your bike change when the roads are muddy, or just overall slick? Are these things you have encountered before, or are you just going out willy nilly; with all concerns being thrown to the wind? If you haven’t done this before, start slow. Don’t pump your tires up before the ride; keep them about 10psi lower than usual. Cut the ride length by about 20-30% for a first rain ride.

Bring a spare tube and co2, and please….. Please tell me you know how to change a tube, and won’t whine about changing it in the rain. I’m already waiting for you to start pedaling again; I don’t really want to hear you complain. If I wanted that, I could have just stayed home and listen to the family complain about the noise my trainer makes.

Also, if you are a newbie rain rider, be sure not to crash into me on the downhills. Prep your brakes before you actually plan to brake by tapping them a few times first. This gets some of the water and muck off the machined lip of the rim, and makes braking a little more effective. Lastly, if you didn’t bring a splashguard, or fenders, stay far enough away from me that I don’t have to be sprayed in the face continuously by the water coming off of your back wheel.

The skills of riding in the rain are pretty common sense, and most people with an IQ level higher than the number of teeth on their outer chainring catch on pretty fast. Just don’t be afraid to slow down if you need to. Better to get home safe, than to have to call for a ride to get back.

Bikes – They’re tools, not jewels.

You should still maintain them like they are a Smithsonian-quality artifact, but don’t be afraid to ride it like you stole it. Pros don’t do a thing with their bikes after they cross the finish line. On the other hand, you do, and will have to be prepared to inspect and clean things appropriately. Make sure rain isn’t going into your seat tube, clean your chain, and get the grime off your drivetrain/pedals, and make sure all of the pivoting parts on the bike are in good shape. If for some awful reason you are riding a steel bike… make sure to bring it inside post-ride. Rust is a terrible thing. Trust me.

I am having a conflict of interest in determining what kind of cyclist rides in the rain. Putting miles on the tarmac while the precipitation is on is a job for professional cyclists, but what about for the sportives and enthusiasts? Are we crazy for thinking that our favorite loop ridden in the rain somehow makes us closer to the riders on a Pro Tour team? Does riding in the rain have any advantages that over-weigh any disadvantages? To further investigate this inner struggle of mine, the following issues will be discussed:      * Motive for riding in the rain     * Skill     * Gear/Maintenance     * Positive/Negative aspects     * Alternatives? - If any...  First off, why are you wanting to ride in the rain? West Virginia has on average 210 +/-15 days with less than an inch of rain. This means there is more than enough time to ride in perfectly acceptable weather. Why would someone want to expose their selves to rain? I can understand if you don't want to miss those much needed training rides, or you hate the trainer; I hate the trainer too. Camaraderie between friends while being exposed to inclimate conditions is also an acceptable circumstance in my opinion. It sucks to miss group rides, and facing something like a shower can make the bonding process even stronger. All of these reasons are pretty badass, and can be rationalized without looking too crazy...  On the other hand, just because you have visions of cobbles, and self-torture after watching a rainy version of one of the spring classics doesn't mean you should go out and try to re-enact scenes in your head by riding in the rain... This is where it starts to get silly. You are not Sean Kelly, you do not have a contract, you are not contractually obligated to ride in the rain. Heck, you may not even have the gear or talent to maneuver well enough in the slop that the roads are slathered with during a shower. Your petty dreams of Belgian cobbles is a fantasy, and keep it at that, otherwise you will be placed on the crazy people list of mine.  Okay, so you are kitted up and have your layers on or whatnot. You think you are prepared for the WV roads ahead of you just because you have your cycling cap on, and a pair of knee warmers. What about the grit, the loss of grip on the road? Do you know how to properly thermoregulate while on the bike? Handling? How does your bike change when the roads are muddy, or just overall slick? Are these things you have encountered before, or are you just going out willy nilly; with all concerns being thrown to the wind? If you haven't done this before, start slow. Don't pump your tires up before the ride; keep them about 10psi lower than usual. Cut the ride length by about 20-30% Bring a spare tube and co2, and please.... Please tell me you can change a tube, and won't whine about changing it in the rain. I'm already waiting for you to start pedaling again; I don't really want to hear you complain. If I wanted that, I could have just stayed home and listen to the family complain about the noise my trainer makes. Also, if you are a newbie rain rider, be sure not to crash into me on the downhills. Prep your brakes before you actually plan to brake by tapping them a few times first. This gets some of the water and muck off the machined lip of the rim, and makes braking a little more effective. Lastly, if you didn't bring a splashguard, or fenders, stay far enough away from me that I don't have to be sprayed in the face continuously by the water coming off of your back wheel. The skills of riding in the rain are pretty common sense, and most people with an IQ level higher than the number of teeth on their outer chainring catch on pretty fast. Just don't be afraid to slow down if you need to. Better to get home safe, than to have to call for a ride to get back.  Bikes - They're tools, not jewels.  You should still maintain them like they are a Smithsonian piece of art, but don't be afraid to ride it like you stole it. Pros don't do a thing with their bikes after they cross the finish line. On the other hand, you do, and will have to be prepared to inspect and clean things appropriately. Make sure rain isn't going into your seat tube, clean your chain, and get the grime off your drivetrain/pedals, and make sure all of the pivoting parts on the bike are in good shape. If for some awful reason you are riding a steel bike... make sure to bring it inside post-ride. Rust is a terrible thing. Trust me.       P.S. Not My Bike   Better yet, take your rain bike/cross bike out instead of your main steed. You do have more than one road bike, right?  Depending on the temperature of the rain, you may want to add a layer or so extra clothes to what you are wearing. Just remember to keep your head and core warm, and keep moving. Rain is cold. It will be cold on you. Not much you can do about it. Kit up and don't complain. You were the one who wanted to go out on a rain ride...  What are the benefits of riding in the rain? Any? The novelty of it is pretty exciting, but once that wears off, what is left? The acquisition of superior bike handling may be the only key element that can be gained from such training. Falling or getting sick due to the weather are the main negative consequences, and the prior is more of an eventuality than a potential consequence. Falling happens, you just have to be ready for it, or be lucky enough to catch yourself.  Even with the threat of looking crazy, having to prepare a bit more, and chances of getting hurt, there aren't really any alternatives to riding in the rain. Stationary trainers are just about the most unmotivating thing you can do. I think I would rather not ride than ride a trainer. Seriously. As long as it isn't too cold or intense, get out there and ride in the rain. Keep your awareness up, and enjoy the ride. Stay warm, ride hard, and enjoy being outside.

P.S. Not My Bike

Better yet, take your rain bike/cross bike out instead of your main steed. You do have more than one road bike, right?

Depending on the temperature of the rain, you may want to add a layer or so extra clothes to what you are wearing. Just remember to keep your head and core warm, and keep moving. Rain is cold. It will be cold on you. Not much you can do about it. Kit up and don’t complain. You were the one who wanted to go out on a rain ride…

What are the benefits of riding in the rain? Any? The novelty of it is pretty exciting, but once that wears off, what is left? The acquisition of superior bike handling may be the only key element that can be gained from such training. Falling or getting sick due to the weather are the main negative consequences, and the prior is more of an eventuality than a potential consequence. Falling happens, you just have to be ready for it, or be lucky enough to catch yourself.

Even with the threat of looking crazy, having to prepare a bit more, and chances of getting hurt, there aren’t really any alternatives to riding in the rain. Stationary trainers are just about the most unmotivating thing you can do. I think I would rather not ride than ride a trainer. Seriously. As long as it isn’t too cold or intense, get out there and ride in the rain. Keep your awareness up, and enjoy the ride. Stay warm, ride hard, and enjoy being outside.

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I’ve sold off my Dawes road bike to a buddy of mine who has been looking for one since spring. I haven’t ridden it very much since the addition of the cyclocross bike, and I can understand where the cross bike has filled in the place of a true multipurpose drop-barred bike. It will have a good home, and I got some more space to pile more useless stuff in it’s place~

I have also reviewed and added my GF Cobia to the My Bikes section.

2009 Gary Fisher Cobia

Gary Fisher Cobia

  • Frame – Platinum Series 6066 butted & hydroformed aluminum, cold-forged dropouts, G2 29″ Geometry
  • Fork – Fox F80RL 29, 80mm travel, custom G2 Geometry 51mm offset crown, air spring, external rebound & lockout
  • Bottle Cages – 1x Bontrager Race Lite Cage, White
  • Headset – Cane Creek 1-1/8″ threadless, semi-integrated, semi-cartridge bearings
  • Stem – Selcof 80mm 10 degree
  • Handlebar – Selcof Flat Bar 580mm 3 degree bend
  • Brake Levers – Avid FR-5 Brake Levers
  • Shifters – SRAM X5 Trigger Front/Rear
  • Bar GripsAll City BMX Star Grips
  • Cables/Housing – Clarks Pre-Lubricated Cables / White Housing
  • Brakes – Avid BB7 Mechanical Disc Brakes – 180 Front / 160 Rear
  • WheelsShimano M475 hubs, Bontrager Ranger disc 29″ rims, 32h
  • Skewers – Random Skewers
  • Tires – Bontrager XDX 29×2.1 Front / Intense System 29’er 29×2.25 Rear
  • Bottom Bracket – Shimano Octalink (Generic)
  • Cranks – Shimano FC-M442-8-S, 44s/32s/22s, Octalink
  • Front Derailleur – SRAM X9 FD
  • Chain – Wipperman x9 Stainless
  • Saddle – Bontrager Race MTN – White
  • Seatpost – Control Tech One – 400mm x 27.2mm
  • Seatpost Clamp – Generic Bontrager
  • Pedals – Shimano PD-M520 White
  • Cassette SRAM PG950 11-34T
  • Rear Derailleur – SRAM x5 Long Cage

The Gary Fisher Cobia is a wonderfully complicated and sweet bike. The pricepoint of it in 2009 was just a hair over $1000, and came with parts that were fairly matched to that price. Subsequently, I have upgraded the entire cockpit, the brakeset, and suspension fork. These changes were mostly for aesthetics or on a whim, but I believe they were for the best. My bike now has a near complete Silver and White aesthetic to it, all the way down the the pedals and stem. The Avid BB7 upgrade from the BB5’s were influenced by a deal from a friend on a brand new set, and the front fork was an offer that I could not resist; well… that and it was white.

I’m 167cm tall, with a 76cm inseam, and this is a 15.5″ frame. I chose this size, due to the fact that everything I read was that a smaller wheelbase was better for a 29″ bike. I was right; I still have issues on sharp switchbacks or turns, and SUDDEN changes in elevation; whether it be up or down. These issues are things that over the year of ownership, I have learned to find little ways to make up for the size of the bike, and geometry. Rarely ever does it slow me down enough to where I think about it.

What does bother me about this bike is the chainsuck. I have read and heard from other 29″ GF hardtail owners that they get unavoidable chainsuck issues just like me. Heck, I even clean my entire drivetrain after every single ride, and I still have issues. Whether it be from middle ring to granny ring, or vice-versa, I get the chain stuck between the chainstay and the middle chainring…. maybe…. one out of every seven times. It has eaten into the driveside chainstay, and I’m sure as hell that Trek will say it is just human/operator error. When they design a bike with less than 4mm of clearance from the chainstay to chainring, something is wrong. I know they needed lots of clearance very close to the crankset due to the larger wheel, and the opportunity and availability to use a big tire, but this is ridiculous. Seriously.

This bike has been a great beginner’s foray into mountain biking. It can handle just about anything you throw at it, except drops/jumps. If you have the nerves, you can keep up with your 26″ dual suspension friends, or even the 29″ DS’ers; that is if you have the legs…  The Cobia has taken me places that I have never expected to go on any kind of bike, and I like that.

Final Words? GO TUBELESS.

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