Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hometown Bicycles

Cindy and the girls were in Mason OH this weekend at a national dance competition, leaving me home to watch the Tour and ride all I wanted. With Lance, Levi, and well heck, all the Americans out of reach of the podium, the race lost something for me. And it rained at home. And I missed the girls. But still, it was a vacation of sorts.

The trails were muddy Saturday so I decided to ride to the Ann Arbor Art Fair. If I could choose my skill set, instead of being at the random mercy of the DNA my parents gave me, I would be an artist, an elite bike racing artist. I am neither but I do respect those that are. Typical of my poor planning, I got to Ann Arbor right as the art fair ended. It was interesting to see the artists close up, a side of the art fair I haven't seen before. Like everything, selling art is a business and a lot of effort goes into it.

Since I am considering selling my Tomac, I figured I better fix the spongy front brakes. I bled bicycle brakes for the first time today since all my other bikes had V-brakes. I'm still not enamored with discs. Hydraulic brakes work great but V-brakes are light, cheap, simple, and they stop a moving bicycle. Hardly a problem that needed solving in my simple way of looking at things.

I did a bike shop ride this afternoon. Sean recently left another local bike shop to open up his own: Hometown Bicycles. If I couldn't be an artist or professional bike racer, owning a bike shop would be a close third. Being an Engineer is way down on my list. The riddle goes: "What is an Engineer's best form of birth control? It's their personality." Meh. Sean does a lot of neat things as a shop owner, like letting us drink beer behind his shop after rides, things the big stores just can't do. He is a good mechanic too. I told him my brakes were spongy even after I bled them. He asked if the hose around the compression fitting had a clean cut. I noticed it didn't. He said that's the problem, the little stringy things that stick out from a poor cut affect the movement of brake fluid through the lines. It is nice knowing someone who really knows bikes.

The shop ride itself was an eye opener; I got my ass kicked. I wasn't expecting that even though I haven't been riding hard this season. I struggled on Thursday group rides and my race results have been poor; in fact, I dropped down to Sport geared for The Big M race a month ago. Before the race I told myself I would stay in second until the very end so I wouldn't win by too much. I didn't want to get tared and feathered for sandbagging. The previous time I dropped down to Sport geared for a race was a few years ago and I won by 7 minutes, I didn't feel right about that. I finished The Big M in the middle of Sport. I need to get my act together before the Iceman. And I will.

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