Was out riding yesterday with the boys. Missed one ride on saturday, as i was putting the 5 speed system together for the Jones. It is a temporary affair, mainly for the Kielder 100 which is creeping up pretty fast. The word on the street is that there is a fair old amount of fireroad, as there surely would be in any 100 mle off road race in the UK.
(thanks to bike love for the chainstay protector! carl had slipped one into the last bag of team kit.)
I didnt do last year because i was doing the Shenandoah 100 which was on the same day - during which i cracked pretty horrifically and was about an hour slower than i wanted to be. A lot of the reason for that was i used a smaller gear than i had previously. On singlespeed at SM100, you either have a very smooth spin and use a small gear to get up the climbs, or you use a bigger gear that allows you to motor the fire road and accept walking some or most of the climbs. Previously i was in the latter camp, but last year i spent several months spinning to try and learn to go as fast on the smaller gear. Problem was i was out of shape and pretty exhausted from work and SM100 was right at the beginning of the trip so i had no time to get myself together. Needless to say i sucked hard. But it was an experience.
I'm kind of getting over my need to do everything-all-the-time on a singlespeed. The vertigo has taight me the joys of not only using gears, but also having suspension. Theres a new project in the works from Sean which i'm really looking forward to. I've been compromising BA to use for some more xc orientated trail and i'd rather keep him meaty, beaty big and bouncy. Anyways, more on that later.
So once i got the 5 speed together i snuck out -despite the mizzle- to try it out. It functions well, but i underestimated the gear for what i need and am going to use a 36 tooth ring. Setting up the e13 xcx in the correct orientation was a witch. I think because i use a king bb which has less material proud of the plate for the chain guide, meaning the tool has very little purchase. Still, got there in the end. the 17-19-21-23-25 sprocket block is a dura ace cassette that i cut and filed down to fit better on the DT singlespeed freehub. If i was very careful i probably could cut some material off the back side and maybe -maybe!- squeeze a 15 tooth king cog on the outer section to get 6 speeds, but its really pretty usable with the 17 and an aforementioned 35 tooth e13 g ring. I dont need the low end as low, so a 36 should make it pretty good.
As mentioned this is a stop gap. The new beast will be a 1x9 (option to 1x10) and will have an even better spread.
I've also become increasingly interested in photography. I've previously only used a Canon elph, which is a pretty basic but tough compact. I decided to invest in a Canon s95 which came into the shops this weekend after playing with Chipps' s90 and getting good advice from him and Mr Makin about what i needed in a camera. The initial results are on my flickr. I was using the bracketing feature to check out the capabilities of catching riders in low light on an ISO limited to 400. It worked pretty well, though the bracketing meant i got some odd shots. I have a LOT to learn, but having a bit more manual control is useful. Its also very useful having a wife who is into photography and can explain some of the principals in words simple enough for a caveman-point-and-shooter like me.
(Hambo at speed - as ever clicky to make biggy and CRITICISE! - i need to learn!)
So far i've been impressed with the results - the camera is capable, i just need to be able to use it consistently.
Ok. Monday. Its raining everywhere. I want to be in the hills. So it goes.