Who says mixte’s can’t be rad?

konacoco

 

Plenty of fresh e*thirteen mountain parts on this Kona Coco.

Check out more at the Kona Cog.

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Early preview: Specialized Crux colorways for 2014.

Here’s a sneak peek at the new Crux colors for 2014 from Specialized. I should’ve learned by now that the 2nd year of a new generation frame gets the coolest colors. I want all of them!

 

S-Works canti

 

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S-Works Disc (Red 22 hydraulic, Roval tubular wheels)
 
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And an assortment of pro, comp, and aluminum colorways (disc and canti):

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Bike-ventures.

A day full of free time and some bicycles can be dangerous…because Wednesday might have been too much of a good thing.

A couple of good friends and teammates got together to fool around on our ‘cross bikes and we ended up being out and about for 6 hours.

We visited the north location of our team shop Johnny Sprockets, and a fellow teammate suggested we check out LaBagh woods. We were given some weak directions and an intersection and we headed out, ill equipped.

Three people. Three bottles of water. One package of Powerbar Gels. Two spare tubes. Fresh spring 80 degree heat.

We weren’t planning on doing anything like this, but we’re irresponsible, and we had the whole day.

Adventure time!

It was lightly documented via cell phone with help from Sean and Joe.

We had trouble believing something like this sits inside the city limits.

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We brought two ‘cross sized tubes between the three of us. One tube was new, one was patched.  We got two flats. Guess what was up with the patched tube?

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Stranded.

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Sean tore off to Iron Cycles for a couple tubes. We repaired the leak and headed Southeast, as to not press our luck.

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This is why bicycles are the greatest man-made objects in the world. We enjoyed 6 hours of goofing off and pushing the limits of equipment that was not optimum for the task at hand, which only adds to the fun. It’s truly amazing how much fun you can have being out on bikes, and amongst all of our seriousness surrounding training for cross season, days like this are needed. If you have a rest day in your training schedule, this is how you should spend it.

We were bunny hopping logs, charging up and down the biggest hills we could find, and traded bikes, as we all were on different steeds. I on my full-rigid Karate Monkey, Sean on my Specialized Crux Pro Disc (his Crux Pro is being built), and Joe on his Crux Pro canti rig.

The Cruxes performed predictable and comfortably in rutty, rooted, steep, and muddy terrain, poignantly proving that you don’t need a dual-suspension mountain bike to ride single track. My K-Monkey was about the perfect bike for this job, offering more hooning opportunities with its fat tires and hydraulic discs, but I know the other two miscreants had more fun on the out of place ‘cross bikes.

Even with the mechanicals and short supply of spares, I wouldn’t trade that day for anything. Sean fell a couple times, Joe rubbed his brake pads raw, I had to help fix everybody’s bike at some point, and we ate at Superdawg. Good day.

We’re doing this again tomorrow. You should do it sometime too.

A couple Gapers Block 2013 photos

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This is a 4-day criterium series set in the south-side of Chicago by Half-Acre Cycling and Johnny Sprockets. It runs a men’s 5, 4/5, and a women’s 4/5 each night to help people get started with the road season and get close to cat’ing up.

Good racing in a great environment, as always! It was Joe’s first race. He got 7th.

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This guy is alright, by the way.
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Gravel racing: serious business.

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Hey, kids. Gravel racing has become super serious, and more and more people are participating. If it’s your first time, here are some ground rules for items to bring, and issues to prepare for:

1. Bike setup.

Depending on conditions, the two popular rigs for gravel racing are the cyclocross bike and the rigid 29’er. Depending on your weight, experience level, fitness level, or bike availability, that choice is your own. A 29’er would be more comfortable and sure-footed in rough conditions, but the trade-off is rolling resistance, a less aerodynamic riding position, and a heavier weight. The cross bike is faster in every way, but can be more difficult in sand or mud, and a bit less comfortable if you’re not used to grinding it out in a road riding position. 2×10 (or 2×9) setups are a almost a must on either. You could get away with a 1×10 (I did in 2012 on my cross bike) but a 2x is much more versatile. We had a long argument about tires at a Johnny Sprocket’s team meeting last night. Go with your gut, and what makes you comfortable.

2. Bring calories.

Endurance formulated liquids and calorie-dense, easy to eat foods are a must. 1000-1500 calories is the target. Just do it. You need it. If you think you need more, bring more.

3. Bring calories.

Please. Do it, for your own sake.

4. MATCH YOUR WATER BOTTLE CAGES TO YOUR WATER BOTTLES!

This issue seriously injured somebody last year at the start, somebody had a water bottle fly out of their cage over one of the many bumps in the road at the start, and the inexperience of riders in the group caused quite a crash. Don’t put just any bottle in any cage. Matching bottles and cages hold together much better than a random match-up. Do it for yours and others’ safety.

5. Overdress.

Most importantly, take care of your hands and feet. Having frozen extremities can make a rough race worse. Having clothing that can be put in pockets like a vest is a fool-proof plan. Too hot? Take it off. Get too cold? Put it back on. Layer, and be warm!

6. Enjoy yourself!

Ride, push yourself, and talk to the people around you. Communicate about the race, conditions, or about where you’re from and why you’re riding. You can leave with many new friends!

My perticular choices for this Barry-Roubaix 2013 are below. Take into consideration that our team and I are going pretty hard at the 62 mile distance, and you don’t really every have to bring this much equipment.

Bike setup:

2013 Specialized Crux Carbon Pro Disc with:

Handspun Stan’s ZTR Crest wheelset.

Clement MSO X’plor tires

Avid BB7 brakes

SRAM drivetrain

Zipp cockpit

Food:

Powerbar energy blasts

CarboRocket 333 Half-Evil endurance formula

Winter commuting rig: Surly KARATE MONKEY.

I wanted the Krampus so badly for about a week, but I wised up a realized I should ride one before I buy one. So, I shall wait for Johnny Sprockets to get some in stock in the spring to give one a whip. Sizing might be an issue also, so there is another reason to wait and ride. I still want a Neck Romancer Pug, so that still might be in the cards first.

Onto my short-term, immediate gratification solution to feed my Krampus desires:

A KARATE MONKEY!!!

So far, it’s too much fun, and it still hasn’t been on any real trails. I’ve just been bashing it around the city.

I did a custom build with the help of Manuel at Johnny Sprockets. Highlights are X9 shifting, BB7 brakes, Stylo crank, e*Thirteen XCX chain retainer, Mavic Crossmax 29 rims, Hussefelt cockpit, and Clement X’plor MSO tires, all of which I will try to review individually, or maybe in one later complete post about the bike after I pound the crap out of it over the winter.

For once, though, this bike is causing me to look forward to the winter, the brutal commutes and training, instead of dreading the hell out of biking through all the junk that midwest winters decide to crap out. I still want some fancier bits, but those will come over the winter. I pretty much want everything from e*Thirteen.

So now I have two bikes again, and the world is as it should be.

I swear that Giant TCX post is coming. I passed 60-some people with it last Sunday, and it took the beer spray and honey-bun stickyness like a champ. Good things.