Saturday, October 20, 2018

dumpster dove

Among the long list of bicycles I have owned, only two of them were purchased new, as complete bikes. The rest were cobbled together from different parts, some new and some old, in a series of constantly-evolving chimeras. The first was literally rescued from the trash.

When I was between fifth and sixth grade (this places our story in 1993), my family moved a short distance from northern Illinois to southern Wisconsin. I spent the summer visiting an empty, rural lot we had purchased and watching a house spring out of the ground as a crew of friendly carpenters built the thing. That summer, we were between permanent residences, so I lived in a rented house, and, for a short time, a hotel that had free donuts every morning.

The rental house' owners cleared out the garage before we moved in and among the "trash" left by the curb during the purge were three bicycles -- a crummy mountain bike and two BMX bikes. I was probably had outgrown the Huffy coaster brake-equipped BMX bike that we had purchased from Toys 'R' Us years earlier, so I rescued the bikes and combined the parts that I thought looked cool into one functional bicycle.

I had no idea what I was doing. I remember distinctly that the final bike had black Skyway Tuff II mag wheels (the plastic ones with five spokes), and components with esoteric brands like ODI, Sugino, Sakae, and Dominator. The handlebar crossbar was shaped with a downward brend and had horizontal ribs around it, evidence that I could stand on them at some point to do some sort of stunt. It was all black with silver and chrome components, and no brakes.

The frame had no markings on it but I later discovered that is was a late-model Schwinn Predator, a small, entry-level BMX race bike. We had to take it to a bike shop to have some generic brakes installed and have the hubs adjusted and that was that. It rolled, it stopped, what else could a kid possibly want from a bicycle?

Everything, it turns out. Over the next four years, that bike was "upgraded" with every dollar I could squeeze out of my parents by doing chores or waiting for a few birthday checks to roll in. It ended up getting an Gyro, Hollow Bullet pegs, and Pitbull brakes from Odyssey, Peregrine Silver handlebar (Peregrine stuff was gorgeous, by the way), and some DK aluminum wheels (biggest improvement ever). Every time I scraped together enough cash from my first job at Culver's or mowed the lawn a dozen times to buy one of these items, my mom would mail a check to Dan's Competition in Indiana. The anticipation of waiting for the brown box on the doorstep was brutal. I never knew what to do with the XL sized white Dan's t-shirt they sent me with the order, though.

Upgrading and maintaining an early-'90s dumpster-dove BMX bike taught me many valuable lessons:

  • Improvising with tools: an Ashtabula bottom bracket can be adjusted using a flat screwdriver and a slip-joint plier. Hub cone nuts can be tuned without a cone wrench if you're really determined. A 1/4 inch allen key is NOT a substitute for a 6 mm.
  • Skyway rims don't hold a tire at pressure much above 40 psi. In fact, the tire will slip off the rim and explode violently, usually after you have ridden several miles from home.
  • You can legally work in Wisconsin at the age of 14. The only reason I got a job at that age was to buy bike parts that sucked less than the ones I had.
  • Riding a bike with a bent handlebar, axles, pedals, and cranks is not that bad once you get used to it.
  • A heavy bike is only as heavy as you perception of weight allows based on comparable experience. It's best not to ride other kids' bikes, lest you learn what a tank yours is.
  • Making brakes work at all, much less well, on a BMX bike with a Gryo and Skyway mags is next-level bike mechanic kung-fu. Doing that with flimsy steel side-pull brakes is something else. My brakes always sucked.
  • Blaming your lack of skill on your equipment is a time-honored tradition but never gets in the way of fun.

The final lesson I learned is related to the defeat of the DIY spirit and succumbing to consumer mentality. Wisconsin winters are quite cold, but living in a house with a full-sized basement with concrete floors provided a year-round riding option for me.

I was practicing an advanced (ha!) move called an "endo," in which you apply the front brake, force the front wheel to stop, thrust your weight forward and lift your rear wheel, pausing for a moment on just your front wheel, then pivot back down to two wheels and ride away. Or something. This is not that hard of a trick is you have fully-operational brakes, but the condition of my brakes required a fistful of brake lever and every ounce of my scrawny body to be thrust forward violently if I was to have any chance of getting the bike to stop. Most of the time, the brake failed to have much effect on the front wheel and I just slowed down.

At one point, my bike decided it had had enough of this nonsense and my front dropout (the thin plate where the front axle is bolted on) snapped clean off my fork. I felt a crunch and my bike stopped moving. The bike was suddenly and completely unrideable as there was no longer a way to secure the front wheel onto it.

This was quite mortifying to me because forks are expensive for a 13 year-olds budget (Craigslist wouldn't exist for another decade at least). My dad talked about having it welding back on, but the cost of doing so and the risk of it just breaking again left us shopping for a new fork.

For the first time in my life, I committed to buying something really nice- a Kore Flatland fork. I had probably seen images of this fork Ride BMX Magazine's infamous Chase Gouin interview, along with his Morales frame and Graveyard components, things after which I also pined and eventually purchased. It was heavy, it was cool-looking, and it would very likely outlast everything else on the bike.

This was another blow to my notion that everything should be fixed rather than replaced, but the first in a series of revelations that new stuff is better than old stuff, most of the time. I think it cost about $75 and totally out-classed everything else I had and for the first time, I felt good about buying something new.

Just like everything, this fork was built to outlast its usefulness as the march of technology would make 1" threaded forks literally worthless. Standards changed and this fork would become of no practical use. I sold it for almost nothing around 2004 (had it lying in a box all those years) and just found it listed for close to $200 on eBay for its "vintage" appeal. This also cemented in my mind the ephemeral nature of every purchase I would make, and the implicit compromise made when I buy into some new idea. That will be the topic of another day.

Friday, October 19, 2018

the age of disappointment

One of my earliest childhood memories involves a bicycle. I am pretty sure it was a tricycle, in fact, but no one who was around for the event (my parents) can verify this. This event, as it turns out, had a profound effect on my life that resonates today as I navigate the adult world. It's a tale of a changing world from my parents' generation to mine, a clash of worldviews, and a sense of injustice I have not been able to shake, not that I care to.

I must have been younger than five, when I distinctly recall my dad bringing me the bad news- someone (could have been a parent or a visiting friend), had run over my tricycle with a car. It was made apparent that this was my fault for leaving it in the driveway, although the lesson was probably not driven home too harshly. Little kids do stuff like that and don't need to be harangued about it to make it sink in.

I don't remember much about the tricycle other than it has yellow plastic wheels and a chrome-plated frame. The rear horizontal bar that housed the axle had grip tape on it so you could stand and push it like a scooter, which was way more fun than pedaling it as soon as the rider is big enough to do so. Standing and pushing the tricycle was a major accomplishment, a "big kid" moment for me. My memory of it might not be objectively accurate, but the subjective experience is what made me who I am, so the inaccuracies stand as the only truth that counts.

I think the rear axle had been mangled and one of the wheels flattened out, rendering it unrideable. Like most Americans raised in the '60s, my dad expected that any manufactured item could be repaired at a local hardware store or the retailer with readily available spare parts. Try as he might, the parts were not available. The best course of action was to throw the tricycle away and buy another one. True, someone with access to tools and materials might have been able to fabricate something to repair it, but that was not a realistic option for us at the moment. The tricycle was totaled because of one damaged component.

We didn't have a lot of money, and even if we did, the sense of impropriety for throwing away something and buying a new one seemed improper, savage even. The reality of the modern age was a shock to my dad, and was cemented as the unalterable trajectory of the future for me at the tender age of five.

It turns out that I am not alone in my sense of injustice at this. Many people resist, or pretend to, the throw-away culture that produces disposable goods at too-good-to-resist prices. There are often durable options (Rolls Royce makes car that last virtually forever, Chris King makes bicycle hubs with similar qualities) but those options are often cost-prohibitive to the average consumer. While many acknowledge the truth of "buy once, cry once" (meaning that, if you buy something expensive but durable, you only fret over that cost once because you won't have to replace it), we often resolve to buy the cheap option that we know we'll have to replace when it wears out in short order.

I feel like I need to "earn" the privilege of simply replacing something that is broken. I feel a drive to make a good-faith effort to repair, modify, even kludge something that is not working optimally, as if trying to fix something is an indulgence that I must endure before proceeding to enjoy the carnal pleasure of enjoying a functioning car, television, or bicycle. I'm not Catholic, by the way, but somehow that theological sense of appeasing the universe in exchange for my enjoyment of life has been ever present.

The pervasive presence of planned obsolescence has forced to us accept this, at great cost to the environment, our savings, and our sanity. Some resign themselves to not fight it, while others merely grumble about it. Very few move into the woods and isolate themselves in a suspended animation of technological progress. Most of us just accept it, despite that fact that that is the most cumulatively irrational but individually rational choice one can make. Arguing about it makes buffoons out of anyone who engages the topic as the stakes create in a zero-sum game over the meaning of civilization.

While most of us resolve ourselves to replacing broken things, giving up before we begin to think about fixing it, there's a sense of "hell yeah" when we see someone succeed in bucking that trend. When you see a bicycle with a reinforced tube that was cracked and re-welded, a modified multi-tool that has house keys instead of a bottle opener, or a car that plays everyone's favorite song instead of a dull ping, there's a sense of triumph. Some of us have stolen fire from the gods and created something new in our own image.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

bike fitting: part three- reach and stack

"Reach" and "stack" are a relatively new measurement being employed to understand bike fit, so it's taking a while for the cycling community to absorb it into their collective wisdom. Using reach and stack for bike fitting starts with the idea that the distance from the bottom bracket (center of the cranks) to the top of the head tube (there the fork goes into the frame) is not adjustable on any contemporary bicycle. (Exemptions to this are exceedingly few.)

Since you can adjust all kinds of things about your handlebar and saddle position by means of seatpost height and offset and stem/ handlebar choice, the stack and reach of the frame are the best way to predict how a bike will fit when you set it up to optimize handling by means of cockpit components -- handlebar and stem choice.

If you start at the center of the bottom bracket and draw a line straight up to a line level with the center of the top tube, that vertical distance is the stack. The horizontal distance from that imaginary vertical line through the bottom bracket to the center of the head tube is the reach.

If you need help visualizing this (which is totally understandable), check out the way Transition Bikes illustrated it for the benefit of  Vital MTB readers a few years ago .

The point of this is to remove the saddle position from the equation. Whereas effective top tube is partially determined by seat tube angle (a steeper angle would shorten the effective top tube, a shallower angle would lengthen it), reach and stack are about where your feet are relative to your feet. This is important because, when riding a bicycle at "fun" speeds, you have to stand up and get your butt off the saddle -- quite a bit! With the mainstream adoption of dropper seatposts, the saddle is often literally nowhere that affects how the bike handles at all.

A frame's reach and stack are static, but how that plays out are somewhat adjustable. You can raise, lower, shorten, or lengthen the resulting effective reach and stack (where your hands grab your grips on the handlebar). Effective stack can be adjusted by grip height (amount of spacers, stack height of stem, height of headset top dust cover, rise of stem, handlebar rise) and effective reach is the result of the length of the stem, handlebar setback (resulting horizontal offset based on length and backward angle of handlebar).

These two measurements have a proportional relationship to one another. Reach and stack form a right triangle, the hypotenuse of which can be easily predicted by Pythagorean theorem. Do you remember your first geometry lesson? If not, it's time to review.

It is my belief that you can use this effective downtube measurement to some effect to know how a bike will fit and handle based on previous experience with other bikes. If you don't have experience with other bikes, it's time to demo and borrow some bikes to find out what works for you.

If you want a sophisticated, detailed calculator to determine truly how a bike will fit you from your feet to your hands, check out the Lee Likes Bikes MTB school. I have nothing to gain from plugging his services, but Lee McCormack knows a thing or three about wrangling a bike. Chances are, his advice will put you on a bike that is "small" relative to the long-low-slack scheme of bike fitting, but it's worth exploring his methods to learn how effective reach and stack affect how a bike fits and handles.

I won't comment on the specifics of what kind of reach is ideal for any rider or terrain. For me, as a person who is about 174 cm tall (that's 5' 8-1/2"), I can find ways to fit on a bike with a ETT of 595 mm to 615 mm or a reach of 410 mm to 450 mm. that's a huge range 1-1/2 inches is a lot when it comes to optimizing a bike fit), but other factors come into play.

The point is that reach and stack are a good way to understand the way a bike will fit you, once you've ridden a bike and know what you like or don't like about the way a bike handles relative to the way your hands are positioned relative to your hands.

One final caveat, and it's a big one, is that reach and stack don't necessarily mean the same thing from one manufacturer to another. This is because the reach and stack (and other measurements, for that matter) will change dramatically depending on where the fork and shock are in the travel. Look on the manufacturer's geometry chart and find the point where (hopefully they specified this) it tells you if this is the "sagged" measurement or the "static" one.

Most manufacturers will list the reach and stack of a bike based on those angles at "sag," which is where the angles of the bike will settle when a rider is mounted on the bike. This is usually considered to be 20-30% of the suspension travel, assuming this is a bike with suspension in the front, rear, or both ends.  Typically, the angles and lengths will change relatively little on a full-suspension bike, but change noticeably on a hardtail.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

bike fitting: part two, effective top tube

Effective top tube, often listed as ETT. This is a great number to look at to pick a frame that fits, but it has some shortcomings.

ETT is the distance from the center of the head tube (the short tube at the front of the bike where the fork goes through to steer) along an imaginary, horizontal line to where that line intersects with the seat post. You can try to measure this for yourself, but chances are that the manufacturer of your current bike has this listed somewhere, so look it up

This measurement tells you how far the front of the bike will be from the saddle, ig. how "long" your bike is. If all other angles and measurements on a bike remain the same, you could pick a frame size entirely based on ETT. That is not the case, to the extent that bikes among models vary from one model to another and the approach that manufacturers' take from one year to the next evolve over time. It's still a good place to start if you know what kind of bike you're looking at.

For reference, a medium frame cross-country mountain bike frame might possess an ETT of 590 to 615 mm, maybe longer, depending on the manufacturers' philosophy. modern bikes are generally getting longer in favor of a longer front end to the bike, which is usually tempered by a steeper seat tube angle (which makes the seat more forward on the bike) and a shorter stem length (which brings the bike backward).

My point is, you need to take ETT, like everything else, in the context of the rest of the bike. Once you find an ETT that works for you, you can use that number, with some caveats, to find a frame that will fit you.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Mtb geometry part one: standover (meh)

There's a lot of hokey old advice about standover on a bicycle. Standover is the distance between your crotch and the top of the bike. Standover is nice to have, but some people have unrealistic expectations based on decades-old advice about bike fitting. Standover is NOT how you fit a bike, but it's an important safety feature and a good place to start.

If you walk into a bike shop and the salesperson has you straddle the bike, asks about "clearance" and tells you that's the right size, leave the store immediately because that shop does not know what they are doing.

Regarding mountain bikes, look at an old bike from the mid-'90s or before. Rigid forks, 26" tires, horizontal top tubes, steep angles with short top tube lengths and long stems. This is what made it possible to build a mountain bike with tons of standover for the rider. When suspension forks became popular and then ubiquitous, this raised the front end of the bike, making it harder to get the frame lower. Then came longer-travel suspension forks and then 29" tires, and most bikes have a noticeable upward slant to the top tube. Gradually, getting a bike with those previously generous amounts of standover became more and more difficult.

In short, modern bikes generally don't have a lot of standover. Get used to that and move on.

To understand the numbers on a bike manufacturer's website, you need to know your true inseam. You can call this "cycling inseam" or "anatomical inseam" but this in NOT the same thing as your pants size. Your true inseam is likely an inch or two longer than your pants size.

To measure, find something flat with a square edge like a large book or a T-square stand shoeless with your back flat against the wall. Pull your measuring device up between your legs firmly. Don't hurt yourself, but get all up in there. You're looking for the bottom limit of your crotchal region, how far it is from the ground. Mark the wall at the top of your measuring device -- that's your "cycling inseam." Subtract an inch or so from that, and that's the minimum amount of standover you need.

When you start checking out bikes in person, throw a leg over the bike and stand in the middle of the frame. If the bike was designed with some level of intelligence, you should be able to stand with the nose of the saddle right behind your spine without the top of the frame touching you. On most modern bikes, you'll have barely and inch. That's OK, because moments when you're going to stand flat-footed directly straddling the top tube are exceedingly rare. you can stand on one foot, support yourself on one pedal, lean the bike over, etc when  you dismount.

But if you cannot stand anywhere over the bike at all without injuring yourself, you might want to try a few different models. Don't "size down" on a bike with a high standover, because, as I'll discuss later, the way the bike fits while you're riding it is far more important than how it fits when you're not even standing on the pedals.

If you have relatively short legs and a longer torso, you might have problems finding a frame that fits you well when riding and get a reasonable amount of standover. For people with long legs and a shorter torso, you're probably better off with a bike that fits your reach well and use a lot of exposed seatpost to make the bike fit you. More on that later.

Monday, August 27, 2018

mountain bike geometry, part minus-one

I have been interested in obsessing over mountain bike fit and geometry all the years I have been mountain biking, and I think I have learned some things worth sharing. These things apply to my experience with riding hardtails, mostly singlespeed bikes, but they may be of value to everyone who wants to ride trails with confidence and grace.

I must say first that everyone is different, so what works for me might not work for you. None of this is dogma. Bike designers generally know much better what they are doing, and given the variety of riding styles, skill levels, and types of terrain that are included in "mountain biking," what one designer thinks is the perfect "trail" bike might be horrible for you. Take all marketing and other expert advice with a grain of salt.

In general, a bike that fits you and suits your riding style should:

  1. fit your body proportions so you can ride it comfortably without feeling stretched out or cramped,
  2. allow a full range of motion on the bike so that you can control it, and
  3. give you confidence to handle the terrain.
A bike that does these might be a super-light rigid race bike or a full-suspension battleship. It depends on your anatomical dimensions, where and how you ride, and your skill level. If you know a little about those things, you can make an informed decision about a bike or frame without buying a bunch of different bikes over the years, which is what I have done.

Before you explore specific bike setups, ask yourself the following questions about yourself: Am I fit? Can I bend at the waist, squat, hold a plank for more than a minute? Riding a mountain bike is a great way to get fit, but riding a bike that is set up for someone who is in better shape than yourself will lead to injuries. A bike that is set up for someone less fit and flexible than yourself is going to hold you back. A bike that meets your skill and fitness level halfway will do you good.

Don't set up a bike so that it empowers your faults and makes them worse. I'll get into specifics on that, but I find that some people allow their bike setup to slide into further levels of laziness as the years wear on, putting them at a disadvantage for shredding.

If you are honest with yourself about what you can do, you can start looking as specific aspects of bike design to know what will work for you.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Hill country Hundy 100k gravel ride

I have enjoyed several gravel grinder races in the past few years. I have never entered a race on paved roads, mountain bike trails, a BMX track, cyclocross mayhem, etc. Something about an easy, breezy bimble along miles of crunchy gravel roads with dozens of other freds sounded like fun. Low-pressure competition, endless horizons of countryside to take in, and the challenge of spinning your bike up and down mile after mile of serene country dirt roads sounds like bliss.

Like eating a really spicy curry that ignites your throat and sinuses and makes you question your life choices until you get to the sublime flavor behind the heat, riding gravel roads is bliss after you break through the gauntlet of frozen fingers, numb toes, a sore bum, windburned face, sand pits, cattle guards, corrugated road surfaces, aid stations that always seem one kilometer away, missed turns, cow poops, dust storms, and convent-like solitude that hours spent on a country road. You start to wonder, "where are the 200 other riders who were with me when we left? Did that cow just mock me? Why did I start with 35 psi in my tires when I clearly should have 33?"

I rode my new Traitor Crusade singlespeed cyclocross bike for the Spinistry Hill Country Hundy yesterday. I am sore, as I expected, but the bike served me well.

My official time was 5.5 hours, but my GPS counted about 5 hours because it doesn't count time stopped to pee, take photos, chat with the other riders at the aid stations, and so on.

The bike

"gravel bike"

The Crusade came with a 36 tooth front chainring and a 16t cog in the back. I rode it like that once and decided that gear was too steep for my climbing skills, so I swapped in a 17 tooth rear cog, and then an 18 tooth. 36x18 puts my gear inches the high 50s. It's quite a bit higher than what I have on my mountain bike, but low enough that I can grind my way up some hills at a reasonable cadence. The route took me up over 2,000 feet of climbing and none of the hills made me feel like to was going to rip my knees apart.

I am re-thinking this strategy - choosing a lower gear that climbs well but it not as fast on the flat sections. Perhaps it would be better to use a taller gear so I can make better time on the flats and suffer through a few climbs. I'll experiment with that and report back.

I feared that the stock 32mm Kenda Kommando tires would be too narrow for comfort on the long miles of gravel, but they did OK. The Hundy featured several miles of proper road pavement and a few miles of rough paved country roads. All of the gravel was level, hard-packed, and of a fine grain. I only wanted for traction a few times and was glad to have relatively lightweight tires for the climbs.

32mm tires were sufficient for control on this particular selection of gravel but I plan to put some bigger tires on this bike just so I can use the comfort provided by the extra volume. It looks 38mm is the limit for the rear and I can put just about whatever I want on the front. I think something in the 40-42mm range should be fine. 

Otherwise, the Cowbell handlebars were comfy, the WTB Devo wrecked minimal havoc on my butt, and the Cateye handlebar bell provided moments of whimsy when I needed it most. I carried a Back Bottle (full of Gatorade) in my jersey pocket, a bottle in the downtube cage, and a bottle in the Jannd frame bag. Snacks and my phone stayed in the toptube bag until needed. I really need to find a way to put a seat tube bottle cage on this bike, but, being a CX bike, Traitor didn't bother with seat tube braze-ons. The downtube fender was robbed from a Trek kid's bike and mostly serves to keep road grime off my water bottle spout, cuz no one wants to drink water with a little cow poop in it, even if it's just a lil bit of cow poop.

I carried some home-made goo (brown rice syrup, coconut oil, molasses, coffee), some Clif bars (those suck to eat while riding, no room to breathe in your mouth), and some weird electrolyte pills that I have had forever. I ate a big breakfast of a coconut-chia pudding/ banana/ oatmeal/ protein powder smoothie and scrambled some tofu with seaweed. When the ride started, my belly was still quite full and that slowed me down. I don't know how to go about eating any earlier and I am open to suggestions!

The ride

There were fewer riders in attendance than I expected after seeing the crowds that gather for Chainring Massacre and Castell Grind, but it was at least 100 riders. We started at 9 a.m. with what was supposed to be a slow, neutral start. The escort car took off and I found myself quickly falling losing positions. The mangy peloton went through downtown Llano and turned onto a country road. We were five miles and some change before we hit real gravel.
endless miles of cenTex dirt
This is Texas Hill Country. The moniker is appropriate. Hills because of the elevation. I climbed over 2000 feet, but the 100-mile route was over 3000 feet of climbing. As much as I enjoy a challenge, I am glad I turned off at the split where the 100-milers left everyone else.

There were also cows on the road, along with the cattle guards and cow-landmines. Cow poops are easy to avoid if you're not sleeping or texting while riding, but cattle guards must be traversed on the bike. Get some speed, stand up, and let the bike bounce and float under you as you cross one. The rails of the guard make a cool "bzzzzzip" noise as your float over them.
Guess who left that there!
dozens of these things on the route
The best part about these country gravel events is the views. You can enjoy them one of two ways: pace with another rider and chat or set off on your own like a monk and just soak it in. The droning crunch of gravel under your tires, the passing clouds above and sandy-dry riverbeds under your path make you forget about everything else for a few precious hours.
This crossing was high and dry as they get. Others were wetter.
As you float over the crest of a hill, you can live momentarily in an infinite row of undulating hills that stretch into infinity to roll forever.
Riding this event was worth it for this slow coaster of hills.
I met the Chumba guys around 1/3 of the way into the route and they had bananas and pouches of liquid calories (aka Capri Sun). I stopped for a moment and talked with Vince about obscure bike-adventure magazines. When I have the money, I'll buy one of their bikes because they make cool stuff nearby and support fun events.

The rest was a weird trip. Cows, sand-river crossings, rolling hills, and I kept passing and getting passed by the same 5-6 people. The temperature was well "sweltering" but not quite "warm" either. There was ample cloud cover but some stiff headwinds. The result was that you sweat enough to dehydrate quickly, but not enough that you notice it until it's too late. The dry air and wind would wick the sweat off and let it do what sweat is supposed to do: cool you down.

The result is that you dehydrate without knowing it. I started to drag around mile 48. I knew I was getting to the home stretch, but I was starting to feel like I could barely move my legs. There was a water/snacks station around mile 48 and I noticed that I still had an almost full water bottle. That's a sign that I was rationing my water too closely. I started drinking water more heartily and, within a few minutes, I got a second wind and felt like flying.

I rounded out the last few miles of pavement in a blur with my newfound strength, provided by the magic of H2O. I nearly missed a turn at the convention center where the race started and triumphantly pumped my fists in the air as I crossed the official finish, for an audience of 4 or 5 people who were milling about. I had a chat with Kevin from Spinistry and he let me stand on the "fast" box of the podium. I felt "fast" but not faster and certainly not "fastest."
recovery sammie- PB, jelly, smooshed banana. X2.