26 June 2015

Crank Addicts Tokyo RAAM Update

The individual RAAM is wrapping up.  Favorite and 3-time champion Austrian Christoph Strasser DNF'ed with unstated ailments relatively early on, but his friend and compatriot Severin Zotter took up the slack, completing the solo trip from San Diego CA to Annapolis, MD in 8 days, 8 hours and 17 minutes.  U.S. entry David Haase placed second, around 12 hours back.

Crank Addicts Tokyo progress
As for the teams, Crank Addicts Tokyo are hanging in there in 4th place (out of 8) in the 4-person age under 50 division.  They slipped briefly into 5th, but over the last 12 hours have opened up a decent gap, ahead of their Brazilian rivals.  Indeed, they are now almost as close to the CEF Team Australia Shiv ahead of them as to RS1 Brazilian team behind.  If they can keep this up ... and CEF/Shiv slips up in any way, they might find themselves on the podium.  At least there is still a chance ... so they cannot let up!  Just another day and a bit more left!

The RAAM website has all kinds of information, and the Facebook Page has videos as well.

Sadly, one solo rider, Anders Tesgaard, who had completed almost 2600 miles and had been in 3rd place half way through the race even, was struck from behind by a vehicle while on a climb in West Virginia, airlifted to a hospital and is listed in critical condition.  Solo RAAM is, indeed, a dangerous event.  As dangerous as climbing Mt. Everest?  Well, no.  But dangerous, still.


UPDATE:  The Crank Addicts Tokyo finished in fourth place out of nine in their category.  Congratulations on a great long ride!

21 June 2015

Helmet Refresh with Octoplus ... from Effetto Mariposa

I have at least 5 helmets sitting in my garage, 3 of which I use, and two of which are for my sons when they come back home or other visitors.

Two of those I use are nice light Giro Atmos models.  The new one has front and rear lights attached for randonneuring, while the older one is strictly for road cycling.   Both are still in usable condition.

The third helmet, an unknown model by Bell, is for in city riding and commuting.  It often is clipped to my bars in an open parking area, exposed to the elements.  Paint has faded, and the inner padding is almost gone.  But it is never suffered any kind of major impact, and so retains its functionality as protection for my head.  Besides, the faded color gives it a kind of "distressed" look -- one of many things that says "I did not just take up riding yesterday!"

So how to extend its life?  With Octoplus from Effetto Mariposa, a "Universal Bicycle Helmet Pad Kit", to quote the packaging description.  Made in Italy.  The company is in Lugano, on the Swiss/Italian border.  Effetto Mariposa has some really cool niche products, including this one.  I use their Caffe Latex sealant for my tubeless tires, and the road version of their "Shelter" product to protect the most vulnerable areas of a carbon frame.  David Marx of RGT knows the head of the company and recommended Octoplus to me.

The package contains a sheet that has lots of the required padding sections, plus velcro attachments with sticky/tape backing to attach to the inside of the helmet.  This is what the pieces are supposed to look like:

Which is very accurate.

Here is the rest of the material after the usable parts are removed.  This might be useful as ... a piece of art, in a kind of SW native American pattern for a wall hanging?

It took about 10 minutes to remove the pieces and attach them inside my helmet.  The result?  No more velcro rubbing directly against my head.  No more scuzzy, worn padding.  Feels like a new helmet!

A really nice way to extend life of a helmet.

A note -- while I used all 8 arms and kept them attached to the "body" of the Octopus, it is possible to cut, separate, fold, bend and generally redo with the padding wherever it works best.  Given the velcro attachments probably already in your help, plus the 10 small additional strips you get with the kit, it should not be hard to get a fit that is just right.  In fact, I may end up trimming the end of a few arms.  We shall see.

A nice product ...  Maybe Giro, Bell, OGK, GVR, Kask,  Lazer, Catlike, Spiuk, MET, Carrera and other helmet brands will not be so happy with it, but given the prices they charge, this kind of approach makes a lot of sense.

UPDATE - September 2015.  A second helmet refresh project completed with Octoplus.  The helmet has a completely different pre-existing set of padding, and requires a different layout.  The Octoplus works fine.  And this time I saved plenty of material for use on another helmet!

Bonbori Rindo on Saturday

Jerome and I had a nice, half day ride on Saturday out to Itsukaichi, over Iriyama Pass on the Bonbori Rindo, then back into town.

On the Rindo, most of the way the traffic looked like this.

Before the climb really starts

On the actual climb, still beside a beautiful small stream here ...
 However, in a few places the traffic to/from a quarry at the bottom of the actual rindo looked more like this.

We were at the top quickly ... Jerome fully recovered from his 600kms last weekend, and only a flat tire holding me back from a good time.

Then we had a spectacular view of Tokyo stretched out on the Kanto Plain below at places along the top.

All in all, a good ride!

Oregon Randonneur Bike Under Construction - Bantam Bicycle Works

After my post a couple days back about the "made in Japan" parts I am sending off to Bob Kamzelski for the "made in Oregon" randonneur bike, Bob was kind enough to forward a few more photos of my frame in construction at the Bantam Bicycle Works shop.

This is what framebuilding looks like when you use silver brazing paste and lugs to "give birth to" a new bicycle frame.  Much more messy than the almost antiseptic TIG welding process!  (And the acetyline torch produces a More like an artist doing something creative.  Less like a factory where the humans might be replaced by, well, the robotic welders of a Nissan or Toyota factory.

The beauty of lugs -- some bicycle fans can get a bit obsessive on the topic.

Ready for some Mafac Racer brakes
Why the gap in the downtube?  S and S couplers, of course!

The frame is done, including couplers (though still needs racks, paint, etc. ...)  You can see photos on Bob's Flickr photostream here.  The full frame looks like this:
... but you should check out the photostream for more photos of beautiful lugs, the bridge between the seat stays, and more!

20 June 2015

Parts for the Oregon Randonneur Bike ... Mostly from Japan

Bob Kamzelski (Bantam Bicycle Works), former head framebuilder at Bilenky Cycles in Philadelphia, is building me a randonneur bike this summer.  I plan to inaugurate it on Cycle Oregon in September.  Of course, the bike is "made in Oregon".  But it also will have some really great components from Japan ... and a few from elsewhere.

This will be a beautiful bike!

Some of the items I am sending to Bob, most of which I have gotten via Hiroshi at C Speed:

1.  Honjo Koken "hammered" fenders.  The standard by which all others are measured.  (Photos by Hiroshi)

 2.  Nitto 65 seatpost / pillar.  Beautiful.

3. Nitto B135AA rando handlebars.  Nice curves!

3.  Sugino Mighty Tour Compact cranks!  Beautiful!

4.  Minoura bottle cages (3).  Basic but nice!

5.  Two polished metal (herashibori) bottles.  Complete with drinking cap/cup and cork.  Beautiful!

 And a few parts NOT from Japan:

6. Supernova E3 Pro 2 dynamo light. My favorite.  And this new version throws off a bit of light outside the main beam to far L and R for safety.

7.  SV -8 Dynamo hub for front wheel.  The standard!

8.  Beautiful leather bar tape from Dipell of Australia (thanks to David Marx of RGT)

9.  Brooks "Professional" Saddle, broken-in with the Lon Haldeman method ... not easy with the "Professional" model with uses the thickest part of the cow hide.

Slathered with mink oil for the break-in rides.
This is going to be a REALLY nice bicycle.  Oh, did I mention that Bob is building the frame already?  He sent one photo. ... and more may show up on Flickr or the Bantam Bicycle Works website before it is done!

13 June 2015

Chubu 600 - Jerome's Final PBP Qualifier

Since the SR600 Fuji does not count toward the standard 200/300/400/600 series needed to qualify for PBP, and since Jerome's travel schedule kept him out of a few planned 600 km rides in May and early June, today Jerome is riding a Chubu Audax-sponsored 600km brevet to complete his PBP qualifications.

Tanaka-san is also participating as 実走スタッフ-- I guess Chubu Audax staff who get to ride the event.  His Facebook note mentions that "other than [Litt] the entire [2014] Fleche team is participating and everyone is hanging in there."  Bonne route, Jerome, Tanaka-san, Kozakai-san and Higuchi-san.

Makes me wish I was there!  And I look forward to being reunited at PBP.
8AM, early checkpoint.  Note the Audax Japan PBP 2015 jersey on the approaching rider.
Lots of castles in the Aichi/Gifu area.  Ground zero in the Oda/Toyotomi/Tokugawa transitions.
A later PC, during the Noon hour. Jerome's Look and yellow water bottle on the left side.
At this blistering pace, as long as the weather does not get too hot, I think Jerome is going to set a record for his 600 km time.  30 hours?  Not impossible by any means on this course.

Messrs. Tanaka and Kozakai outside of famous sushi restaurant

dinner and message check, photo shoot

Spectacular Kaisendon for Jerome

Happy camper, shiny top light
Moonlight swim in the Sea of Japan ...

Recalls other famous Jerome swims. ...

The group stopped at a Kanzawa "Kenko Land" for a decent sleep, and suffered through some heat on the second day.  In the end, Jerome finished together with Messrs. Tanaka, Kozakai and Higuchi, in around 37:40.  A leisurely time, but one that allowed plenty of leeway in case of difficulty and time for good food, some sleep and a swim in the ocean!

En route to the start, Jerome reports that he stopped to visit his homestay family from many decades past.  Little did they realize when they accepted a homestay member that it would be a relationship of this length!  Based on the garlands around his neck, he seems welcomed home as the hero returned from battle.