23 October 2014

Daddy bought a new bike and this one is carbon.......


It's been a while since I have posted anything here, this is the brief update of what has been happening in the Blades household.  I managed to fluke a 1st place over all in the MTB series single speed category, I also managed a 2nd place overall for the road hill climb series intermediate category.
Amanda has a new bike
New bike for Amanda
We have been re arranging the garage.
Garage improvements
 Fiona has turned four already and is growing up faster than I can believe.
my not so little girl anymore :)
Most importantly I have to say thankyou to my amazing wife for staying with me for four years.... I really am pretty obsessed with bikes and she puts up with an awful lot of my riding and talking about bikes all the time, Love you Amanda.
10-10-10 first dance
We are now well into October I can safely say Summer and Autumn have passed at this latitude. Well Autumn may make a come back but its looking unlikely as we have received our first snowfall.  The official measurement was 1.5 inches however that is over by the airport, where we live it was between 3-4 inches and on the hills between 6-8 inches which was a lot of fun.  Hopefully the snow will stick on the hills. Though as I still haven't gotten around to fitting studded tyres to the car, snow melting from the roads is not really an issue for me.

Back to the title of this post, yes I bought another bike.  Although my old fat bike has found a new home and hopefully the second wheelset I built will too.

Why a new bike?
A couple of reasons, the main ones were as follows;
It was getting pretty embarrassing parking the competitions bike outside of work, especially as the competition is across the road from where I work,
I really wanted a lighter bike that could take bigger tyres (Old bike could pretty much only take a 4" tyre).

What did I get?
I bought a Borealis Yampa X01 build  but added carbon cranks to the stock package and bought some carbon rims direct from china.  I also purchased some custom orange items to brighten up the bike.... thanks to Becker gear for the great frame bag

Bike Build in progress
Carbon rims
Frame bag
What does it weigh?
My bike weighs under 25# with Specialized Ground Control tyres (4.6"), If I put on the Dillingers I have from last year I think I should be sub 24# which is 6# lighter than my 9:Zero:7 from last season.

What am I planning to ride this season?
My goals are to build mileage and get comfortable riding longer distances and overnights in winter conditions.

And that is pretty much it well apart from some nice photos of the bike out in the snow right :)
More posts when I get around to it.

Fresh snow
Blue sky day riding with Kevin

06 June 2014

Sometimes whilst riding you just get lucky

Recently I have been fortunate enough to find time to fit some longer rides into my schedule mainly due to Amanda taking care of Fiona.  My first big ride was the Anchorage Palmer Anchorage ride (See here)

Then we had family in town, we did a lot of sight seeing however we were able to get out and ride some of the local trails to a lunch stop, Fiona completed 15miles on the trail a bike, her longest ride to date and our guests got to experience some of the local trails, although we didn't see any big wildlife whilst riding we did have a nice lunch and the riding was good.

The following weekend I got the chance to ride with the Alaska Randonneurs again.  The ride this time took us down to Seward, this particular ride starts early, 4am I guess the thinking is lower traffic, less wind and the chance to take the train on the return if you are only riding the 200km route.
For the first 7miles the route was very windy, so windy that some of the riders decided it was more sensible to turn around and abandon the ride, the next 83miles we were mostly riding in the rain with only occasional periods of wind.  The last 40ish miles were completed in the sunshine albeit with a fairly strong head wind, on these long rides I'm still working on my nutrition, though I am getting better.  I completed the ride in less than 10hours again (mostly due to Brant letting me draft him for the last 20+miles).  Once in Seward I  got to hang out in Subway (where the ride finished) with some experienced long distance riders before my train ride home, all in all a great day out on the bike!

Photo bombing Brant in the rain at the first checkpoint

Fresh snow on the hills, top of Turnagain pass

Swollen rivers and great mud guards

And then the sun came out

Tuesday 3rd of June was first round of the XC series at Kincaid, it was fun to be back racing on dirt. The event had over 150 participants, which is their biggest turn out ever.  This year I have decided to ride in the single speed category, due to being busy I ended up racing my bike with the fat wheels rather than the 29+ setup I intended to ride originally (29+ wheels are lighter).  My race was going pretty well and I managed to pass a number of people, when I finished the race I thought I'd possibly got a top 3 place, it seems luck was on my side though.  The last person I passed on the penultimate section of Singletrack (who had dropped his chain),  ensured I got a 1st place in single speed category, this is the first time I have ever won a race, I think a number of people were surprised to see a singlespeed fat bike with pink tyres passing them, next time I will ride 29+ as i'm sure this will not shock as many people when/if I pass them....... Probably!

The bike rolls well but has the aerodynamic properties of a brick

Kicking up dust

Finishing

The 4th June was Anchorage bike to work day,  on this day there is a significant increase in the number of people who bike to work, the weather was fantastic for this years event which saw a real swell in numbers (From BCA facebook page "Bike to Work Day counts are in. We saw an increase of about 20% from 2012 (the last Bike to Work Day that was sunny - last year was a wet, snowy day that lead to lower numbers).").  
I took a 26mile ride with a couple of colleagues to visit some of the bike to work stations before heading to work, we had, sticky buns thanks to the Trek store,  bacon donuts with the police,   Blueberry muffins at the blueberry station and bacon at the BCA(Bike Commuters Anchorage) station.

Quiet part of the coastal trail.

Morning commute with friends
That is all from me for the time being, hope everyone is well and take care until next time.
Nick

24 May 2014

My longest ride to date, probably.....

Due to family commitments I normally only work one day at the weekends so I get to spend some time with Amanda and Fiona. Saturday the 17th was different.
Up here in Alaska there are many options to enjoy the outdoors with numerous clubs and groups to help get you out enjoying the outside.  I have been doing quite a lot of racing on bikes with the different divisions of the Arctic Bike Club, a couple of weeks ago I even managed to fluke a 3rd place in one of the races,  a combination of right place right time.  One of the groups I've been meaning to ride more with is called the Alaska Randonneurs. They organise rides which vary in length from 100km right upto their 1200km big wild ride.
These rides are not races although there is a time element and the courses are not premarked, they give you a set of controls and a time range to be at the controls.  At each of the controls you need to get your Brevet card filled out, this might be as simple as answering a question or just getting someone to sign the card, once this task is complete it's onto the next control.
I can safely say I was lucky with the weather on this ride, we had a blue sky day and low winds for all of the day, temperatures ranged from 40F to 68F and most of the car drivers were pretty good with giving bikes space.
The route took us from Anchorage out to Palmer and back, including riding to and from the event I clocked up 138miles, total time on the course 9 hours 57min, total moving time 8.5hours.  I am looking forward to trying another one of these events out.

There is a link to a couple of snap shots from the ride on my book of faces page, I 'll try and put a a link here when I'm next on a computer, although I forgot to take photos for most of the return leg :-/

Until next time
Be safe Nick