Project Pink Pt. 2: No Fluid, No Shoes, No Service.

I feel pretty damn accomplished right now. Frame Saver has been applied. The King headset and PF30 BB have been pressed in, the Rival 1 crankset has been installed (after a panic search through the parts bin for the drive-side spacer), and the Rear (and only) Derailleur has been installed.  AND for the first time ever, I cut my own steer tube, chamfered it, installed the Star Nut, and assembled the front end. That was a big accomplishment for me, and I am stoked to cut down a few of my other steerers that could use some shortening.  I installed the Salsa Cowchippers, and the Rival 1 levers.

518732_862bThen I ran into a problem. The Rival 1 Hydro group, which was procured at a nominal fee, was accompanied by various hydraulic cables, two mismatched hydro calipers, one missing the pads, and the whole system was, of course, dry.  No fluid, no shoes, no service.  Shit.  I mean, I COULD just go NOBR AKES, but it just seems like this might be a ride that would benefit from a little stopping power. Maybe.

I have contacted my go-to hydraulic brake/bike build human about the problem.  I was hell bent on completing this project without dragging the unfinished carcass to a shop, and I definitely didn’t want to have to do this during the 30 days before the Brai.  I’m waiting on my wheels, they may be a week or two, so there is time.  Maybe I’ll watch a few YouTube videos on how to put this whole brake system together.  How hard can it be? I await a return message from my problem solver…

I really can’t wait to ride this thing.

Sam

CNB

Getting Personal AF

A few months back I started a journey to regain my health, both physical and mental.  The starting line of this journey was a fat, miserable, depressed guy who had yet to accept that his undoing could easily be undone.  As I sat on the tailgate of the Swaggon struggling to buckle my riding shoes between held breaths, it occurred to me that this was not how my life was meant to be.  It was time to make a change.

I put down the fried chicken, hot roast beef sandwiches, and fast food.  I had spent the last year prior to this change feeling sorry for myself, being depressed, considering what actions I had taken to get to this point. I was suicidal. I had trashed a relationship. A lot of my life was upside down, and I just wanted to hide in a dark room until I didn’t have to breath any more.  Riding didn’t help, it was a chore to get miles in when you don’t even want to leave the house.  I became even more self destructive. My alcoholism flared up. Problems compounded. People hurt me, and in turn I hurt others, but mainly myself.  Depression is a fucking monster. I’ve dealt with it my entire life. Sometimes I’m in complete awe of how I made it to this point in my life with all of the self-defeating shit my mind pulls. I fed my depression beer, shit food, and lies.  I fucked up a lot of shit.  I was lying to myself about how I was doing, until that day the struggle to clip a buckle on a shoe cleared the clouds around the actual struggle that was happening: My body was dying and my mind didn’t give a fuck.

I went Vegan.  My life instantly changed.  That’s not hyperbole, I felt the change for the better within 24 hours of putting down my old habits.  It has been incredible. I have lost nearly 50 lbs since March 5th of this year. My clothes fit better, MY MIND WORKS BETTER, my average moving speed is up 25%, and I have energy to do the things I want to accomplish.  My creativity has gone through the roof, and my home studio is being used on a daily basis to write shitty music.  My depression has subsided, and my self harm thoughts* have mostly gone away.  My loved ones have noticed, and they are happier now that I am not some miserable lump on the Earth.  I feel myself starting to love life again, and I’m back to building a positive existence and using that to make my people happier.  All this from just changing what I ate. It’s not some crazy fad diet with asinine rules, it’s not some self loathing  way of sequestering yourself from eating “good food,” and it’s not something that people should fear.  It’s an ethical way of treating yourself, the planet, and the other creatures on this planet.  Yes, some people get a little annoying about spouting off about being Vegan, BUT IT’S BECAUSE THEY GIVE A SHIT AND THINK YOU SHOULD TOO.  Honestly, I kind of enjoy it when people give me crap for being Vegan. At least I know that it’s crossing their mind.

So I’ve made a bunch of improvements, and life is a better for those around me, for the most part, because of it.  BUT my weight loss has paused at 270 for the last few weeks, and because of an injury I haven’t been able to ride my bike.  I have a goal of 235 by October, which is pretty heady considering the amount of work it will take and the amount of free time I have to take on said work.  I think I can do it, but in all honesty I’m happy that I’ve come this far.  I’m happy that I can say “I lost 50 lbs, but I’m still fat.” It’s a kind-of-funny self deprecating remark that reminds me that the travels aren’t over, that health and fitness of the body and mind is not a destination, it’s a journey.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental wellness, there are resources out there. A good start is contacting the National Alliance On Mental Health

Be safe in your journey,

Sam

CNB

*I know this is a very personal thing to share, and I don’t want anyone to worry or think this a cry for help. I have cried, I’ve gotten some help.  I am putting this out there for others who struggle every day with thoughts of ending it all, so that they know that they aren’t alone in this, and that yes, even “successful” people struggle with thoughts of self harm. It’s something I have struggled/dealt with nearly every day for the past 38 years. I’ve lost some of the most important people in my life to their own hand.  Depression is a real killer.  Please get help if you feel like you need it, and if you see someone struggling please be there for them.

Project Pink

Last year I was having a set of wheels built for my road bike over at Beaverdale Bikes* and Ed mentioned that he had picked up some 650b hoops recently and maybe I might possibly be interested. I had been researching turning my Fargo into either a Rohloff equipped 27.5/650b or single speed, but a good friend of mine had actually turned his exact same year/model Fargo into said smaller rimmed Rohloff setup, so I figured I could skip it. I hate passing on a deal, but I had no use for that size rim.

A few months ago I was having a discussion with Guitar Ted while out on the Gents Race about his trials with the new WTB Horizon for RidingGravel.com, and a then-soon-to-be-announced gravel version of the 650b “Road Plus” and I was a little interested.  He had joked about sending me a set, but I don’t have a bike that can run that size tire.  I started thinking about the tires and the hoops at BeavBikes and how I do not need to start another bike project.

518732_862b

This is roughly what I’m going for.

Enter Project Pink. Project Pink is a steel framed 650b “Road Plus/Gravel” bike that will be running SRAM Rival 1×11 Hydro, a dyno setup for my K-lite light/USB system, and of course the new WTB 650X47 Byway rubber.  Tan walls, a really cool custom wheel set, and a pink frame should make this a standout gravel/rando setup.  I’m looking forward to putting this together and getting it out on the dusty trail. I might even take some time here to chronicle the build.

Sam

CNB

Knowing When To Say When

All the disciplines of endurance cycling have their own key aspects to success, be it packing right for the Tour Divide,  the right support team and program for RAAM,  tolerance for the usually crazy weather on Trans Iowa, the ability to pedal alone for 4200 miles of the Trans-Am Race.  They all have some unifying factors such as training, fitness, mental toughness, etc, but there is one true common denominator:

Knowing when to say when.

Ending your bid at an endurance sport attempt isn’t a failure. Carrying on past your limits into the danger zone can cause catastrophic results. Physical injuries, mental health issues, or worse.  You can end up too injured to carry on training or riding for an extended period of time, which happened to a good friend during his bid to finish the Trans-Wisconson some years back.  He eventually recovered from nerve damage in his hands (a common injury in endurance riding), and went on to finish the Tour Divide in 2015.  In my experience it’s tough to gauge the severity of hand numbness while on an intense ride, but had he pulled the plug earlier at TW the need for being off the bike so long could have been avoided. Just an example, sorry to bring up hard times, SF.

Know whether you are running in the red or running into a wall.

Today Greg Gleason pulled the plug on his Tour Divide. Greg is a beast of an endurance athlete, a Salsa Cycles sponsored rider with an inspiring story, Trans Iowa wins*, and more. He was having a number of problems including neck and breathing (not un-common issues in these races), and recognized that it would be a much better idea to face the facts rather than attempt to pedal through these maladies any further.  His Tour Divide was over for 2017, and he will go on to tackle the race in 2018.

It was an emotional moment for Greg, which he shared via video on social media, but he was resolute that this was the right move and he will be back next year.  That is a winning moment. I, for one, am going to miss watching the “GG” dot at Trackleaders, but you can bet that he will be back in Banff next June and all of us Gleasonites will be eagerly watching him work his magic.  In the beginning of the race he was in the lead ahead of Josh Kato, Brian Lucido (current leader), and Stephan, and killing it. I believe had it not been for this breathing and neck issue he could have pulled a top 5 finish, if not better. But Greg is a smart rider and knew it was time to pull the plug, and that is the true mark of a pro. Thank you, Greg, for being a bad ass, a great guy, an inspiration, and self aware enough to keep safe. Your family, and your cycling family, will appreciate seeing your future exploits!

Sam

CNB

*Greg took second place at TIV13 this year, which may been first had he not insisted on riding his Tour Divide rig for the whole thing. Greg, using TI for loaded GDMBR training. Whoa. Beast Mode.

A Bum Deal

I recently slipped and fell on my ass.  I mean literally, not the usual figurative ass falling that um…befalls me…once in a while.  It seemed like just a little inconvenient bruise, and

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The GT v1.2

after just two days of resting it I decided that it was time to go for a test ride on the old GT touring frame I had just finished building up.  It was a fun ride, just a scant 28 miles out to the Cumming Tap and back, that helped work out some ideas to fix the bugs still going on within the build. I even kept an average speed of 17.6 mph, which is about 4 mph faster than my former normal pace.  It seems the weight loss has been working wonders there.  My tail bone was seemingly fine, I had been taking Ibuprofen to help with any inflaming, and of course I had a few libations at the Tap.  My legs felt great, my backside wasn’t doing to bad, and it was a beautiful night to ride. Good Times.

Ever since that day, I have been in more pain. I was told to rest it, but laying on the couch just makes me a grouch (my twitter account will show that), and that actually makes my back strain a lot worse.  Best thing to do is stand up, stay on your feet, I read.  I did that for a few days, to no avail. I have tried riding, sticking to just putzing around the East Village, and that’s ok, but the ass hatchet Fizik I’ve got on this GT doesn’t have a lot to offer someone in the course of tailbone relief.  Riding hurts. It’s not happening. I’ve been trying to keep my spirits up and my diet in tact, it’s so easy to fall back into bad eating habits when you’re injured.  I had just recently reached a plateau in my weight loss, and was ready to put in some hefty amounts of endurance miles to start burning off the rest of this chub chub I had built up over the last few years. I’m cool with staying where I’m at, though. I’m still feeling 200% healthier than just a few months back.

I know this is a long-term recovery injury, but I’m going fucking out of my mind not riding.  It’s JUNE, FFS! It’s the actual cycling season! I’ve got so many miles to ride, so much camping/dirt bagging to do, so many bikes to break! I just feel like this injury keeps feeling worse, and so do I as I contemplate how long I won’t be riding bikes. Time to grab some shop towels to mop up my crocodile tears.

There’s light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s a little difficult to see right now.

CNB