Fit Recovery


This blog is written in plain, fly-over country English. The Author reserves the right to forego nonsensical, feel-good gibberish.

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The Cat Ate My Bar Tape… What to Do In Case of a Bar Tape Emergency!

Emergency! might be a touch much. Well, take “might” out of there… it is a touch much. Still, this is a funny story, so let’s roll with the click bait.

I wish that Title was a joke. It’s not. My cat, Zeus, actually ate my bar tape – and right down at the bar-end plug, too. I was prepping the Venge for Tuesday night duty when I noticed it. I loved that bar tape, too. Reflexively, I immediately ordered two more sets – I figured one for the Venge, then another for the Trek… I could match them up. The Serfas Polka Dot, black on black bar tape matches perfectly with the dot matrix on my Montrose saddles – a perfect “finishing touch” bar tape – not overstated, like Supacaz, but I see it as subtly spectacular.

Now, if you know anything about me and my bikes, if you’ve read more than a post or two, you know I’m not going to live with chewed up bar tape for very long… what I wasn’t thinking when I ordered new tape, was “how can I fix this?”

You can fix this, actually. I realized I could the next morning, and that it would be quite easy, if a little time consuming.

I simply unraveled the bar tape all the way down to the end, overlapped it by about a half-width of the bar tape, re-wrapped it making sure the figure-eight at the hoods landed exactly at the same place on the tape (because it had already assumed the shape from staying wrapped around the hoods for the last few months), and Bob was literally my Uncle.

The key, of course, is making up that little adjustment evenly, with each wrap of the tape, so that I didn’t have any gaps or wide wraps that would end up making the whole thing look “off putting”.

And it came off without a hitch. I wrapped the overlap into the bar end and let the plug secure it. I took my time with each successive wrap of the tape to make sure that every wrap was just right and ended up so not only was the fix imperceptible to my exacting eyes, it looks slightly better the second time around!

So, the moral of the story (beyond, don’t leave your pride and joy race bike where the cat can eat the freaking bar tape) is, in the even your tape gets chewed up at either end, don’t panic. With a little time and effort, it’s fixable.

Now, let’s say you develop a hole in the bar tape in the middle of the wrap, something that isn’t so easily fixable. This will likely require new bar tape unless you kept the leftovers from your initial wrap job. Technically, with a little effort, you could splice something back together using angled cuts so the splice doesn’t quite stick out so bad, but if it were me, a hole in the middle of the wrap would mean new tape. To get my by until the new tape arrived, however, there’s a simpler solution…

Put the bar tape back together the best you can and wrap it with electricians tape, or better, fabric tape like the stuff used on hockey sticks – they call it “gaffer’s tape”. My riding buddy, Chucker used this method quite successfully. You can’t hardly tell where the bar tape ends and the gaffer’s tape starts. This solution isn’t permanent, however. Eventually, with sweat and wear, the gaffer’s tape will show signs of fading and wear. Eventually, you’re going to have to cut all of that away and go with fresh bar tape.

And there you have it – what to do in the event your cat eats your bar tape. Ride hard, my friends… and here’s to hoping an overly affectionate pussycat is the biggest problem of the day.

TNIL; I Rode Better Than I Felt Edition

Tuesday Night In Lennon is a funny thing. You never know quite what you’re going to get but you do know you’ll need the good bike and your good legs. I had about 90% of my good legs last night (I thought, incorrectly, I only had about 80% when I got to the meeting spot). I’d been feeling a little “blah” the whole day and made a decision late in the afternoon that I’d give Lennon a go and if I got dropped, well so be it. I prepped the Venge, loaded up the Equinox and rolled out – not exactly knowing what to expect from the night and me.

The warm-up wasn’t terribly fast until we were about three miles in, heading north. The guy up front, Craig, has some internal “get there-itis” thing going on that I can’t wrap my head around. If ever there was a time to relax and spin the pedals, a seven mile warm-up before a 30-mile romp north of 25-mph would be perfect. But no. Not for Craig. He’s gotta get there so he tends to treat his warm-up like he’s late for something. After a mile above 20-mph, a quarter of that uphill and picking up speed, I eased off and slid off the back to spin a little easier with Brad on the way back to the parking lot. The important point was, I wasn’t unable to keep up due to not feeling great. It was more of an unwillingness during the warm-up.

The main event was looking a little tricky. We had a few new people and a few who weren’t going to keep up if the pace was pushed. If we were going to roll out with the A’s, it was going to be ugly, with B’s strewn all over the course. Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and we rolled out a minute after the A’s left. I was in no shape to try to hang with the A’s.

We rolled out in a fairly tight group and it was kept marvelous. With partly to mainly cloudy skies, a light and variable breeze, and temps in the upper 70’s (24 C), you couldn’t have asked for a more perfect spring evening. The group, for the most part, performed well above expectations and, with all of the headwind at the first half of the ride, we held a decent 20.3-mph average until the tailwind after the first set of hills. The next several hills were fast but nothing too fast to put people in a hurt locker. Our pace crept up to 22, then 23-mph with a 24 & 25 mixed in now and again.

Put simply, the ride was thoroughly enjoyable.

I started running out of gas with about five to go, just before the home stretch. I’d been up front, first three bikes, for way too long and after a decent uphill pull, I flicked off and headed back for a rest. Just as I was about to tuck in at the back of the group, a new guy in front of me flicked off in front of me and stopped pedaling, opening up an instant gap. I was screwed. As I tore around him, trying to marshal enough to get on the back of the group, I told him to never do that again. I dodged right to get in the far right lane of the double pace-line and catch some draft while I worked my way back into the group.

The home stretch was fast and mainly downhill, so that 20.3-mph average worked up to 21 even (34 km/h) before it came time for the sprint. I was holding on but gave the sprint a go anyway, taking the pace from 25-mph to 32-1/2 (52 km/h). And I burned my last match going over the line at 31.4.

I didn’t eat much last night, just enough to get some food into the gullet, but I slept like a baby. I sweated a lot out again last night, so I’m hoping this funk is almost done. I know how I feel is directly tied to my effort on the bike. The harder I go, the more it takes out of me and the flu symptoms return… but I just can’t help but go fast.

Cycling Under the Weather; Feeling the Need for Speed

I rode 52-ish miles with my friends Sunday morning. After struggling with the vaccine flu much of the week, our CFO gave me a gift of a mild case of the sniffles, which, under normal circumstances, wouldn’t have been an issue – I doubt I’d have even gotten sick. Being drained from my body’s vociferous reaction to the vaccine, though, that case of the sniffles hit me hard. I was feeling pretty gnarly afterward.

Yesterday was another day, though. I woke up in a pool of my own sweat in the morning, so I figured I’d sweat it out the night before. I felt reasonably okay much of the day, though I faded as the day wore on. I made my way home a little early and managed a 15 minute nap before suiting up and that helped a lot. I rolled off down the road to pick Chuck up at 4:50, hoping I’d get to his house for the extra miles, but he met me about 3/4s of a mile up my street. I was feeling considerably better, but riding tends to run me down pretty quick of late and that usually means a rough night of sleep.

The plan was pretty simple; a nice, enjoyable 20-miler at a “Tuesday Night is tomorrow so let’s chill” pace. And that lasted for about two miles. I can’t remember if it was Chuck or me who took the pace up first, but it got hot in a hurry. I was on the Venge and it’s an absolute missile this year. Low and sleek in the front end, the Fast & Light 50 wheels… it’s just fast, solid and a wonder of perfectly solid craftsmanship. All of a sudden, we’re seven miles in looking at a 19.2-mph average and I start thinking, “Wait a minute… tomorrow’s TUESDAY NIGHT“.

I mentioned as much to Chuck and we both decided to dial it back considerably. While I struggled with being a little under the weather, the ride was fantastic and the conditions were spectacular (light breeze out of the south, partly cloudy, and room temperature).

And I paid for it last night. Worth it.

So, I don’t know if I’m going to head out to Lennon or not. I’m not 100% (hell, I’m not 80%), but there’s that need for speed that simply must be satisfied. Maybe I’ll go out and see how it goes… I’ll give it my best and if 80% isn’t good enough, I can simply slip off the back and take it home at my leisure. That’s probably how it’ll go.

One thing is for sure; I’ve had about enough of being sick for the next five or six years!

Cycling Zen

I am more at home on two wheels than on two feet.On my bike, I can dance. I can fly.I can escape.Two wheels set me free… #cyclingzen

Cycling Zen

From my Tasmanian brother from another cycling mother!

Truer words have never been written.

The Bontrager Spectre Helmet with Wavecell Technology; A Review

Bontrager’s new Wavecel technology Specter cycling helmet ticks two very big boxes for me. First, being mildly allergic to bee stings, after a decade of riding with some form of cycling cap under my brain bucket to protect from the wayward bee flying into a vent, I can finally, safely go without. That little bit of freedom alone was worth the reasonably priced Bontrager Specter helmet ($149.99 at your local Trek bike shop).

The second, I’ve got friends who’ve crashed wearing them and escaped serious head injury. And each friend who crashed wearing a Wavecell helmet bought another to replace the damaged brain bucket. Better than all the BS taglines a company can come up with is a person who has crash-landed on their melon and purchased another of the same helmet.

Now, that’s just the main two boxes. I bought my wife a Specter last year because she’d crashed and I wanted her to have the best replacement I could buy. I bought mine so we could match on the tandem. A little corny, yes, but I can live with that.

Now that I’ve worn mine a couple of times, I have to get into the things that were done right with this helmet, and there’s a lot to crow over. First, the chin strap system and clasp are fantastic, infinitely adjustable, and easy to get the straps to lay perfectly flat against your face… simply, and without much fuss. Just follow the instructions in the manual for a perfect fit. Next, the Boa closure is vastly superior to the old ratchet style fitting systems. The pad system takes a page from Kask sweat pads that actually retain sweat so you’re not dripping sweat into your glasses. Simply remove said glasses and push the helmet to your forehead to squeeze out the sweat. Having owned a half-dozen Specialized helmets, everything from the cheap to S-Works, Specialized wishes their sweat pads were this good. Finally, is the fit. It’s a rare day I’ll crow about how a helmet fits, but the Specter’s fit is exceptional. Wonderful, even.

Without question, the Bontrager Specter helmet with Wavecell Technology is one of the best cycling helmets I’ve ever worn. It is a bit on the heavy side at 330 grams, but the weight is the only thing I could think to complain about – and even at that weight, it didn’t bother me a bit over yesterday’s 52-miler.

If you’re in the market for a new helmet, I happily recommend the Bontrager Specter.

The Waning Tendrils of My Vaccine Flu… I Actually Took My Toy and Went Home Yesterday!

My vaccine flu is hanging on… you know what, it’s Easter, I’m not saying anything bad about anything. Let’s just say, it won’t let go. I’ve been off Tylenol for a couple of days, and I feel like my normal self the vast majority of the time, there are simply periods of time where, as good as I may feel, it’s just enough to let me know I’m not quite over the finish line yet.

Friday night was an interesting night of sleep for me. I rode Friday evening with Chucker and it was quite chilly. On finishing the ride, after feeling reasonably good all day, the chills started when I got in the shower. Then the sweating, then the pain hit (though the pain wasn’t near as intense as it had been days ago). I slept like a rock till 2 am when I woke, took a couple of Tylenol, then sat on the couch to watch a movie, figuring I’d be up the rest of the night. I fell asleep on the couch and didn’t wake up till 7am (!) and I felt good.

I was nervous about the days’ ride, though. We were going to do 62-1/2 miles and it was going to start out chilly but warm up a little over the few hours we’d be out riding. The wind was strong out of the south southwest – 15-mph (24 km/h). I tried to push the negativity to the back of my mind while I readied the bikes, ate some breakfast, and dressed to roll.

The ride started out ugly (I’m going to refrain from using names to protect the guilty). The lead guy was right on the white line, leaving no draft for the six behind. He went off the front almost immediately and the rest of us formed up so we would get a little draft. Another took a mile, then I did before falling back. At the back, one of the guys was literally riding the white line. No draft. The guy in front of him was a bike and a half off the others… I simply jumped the two of those guys and cut in line. I was fourth bike now. This kind of thing happens regularly until the group forms up. Under normal circumstances, it’s really not that big a deal. With the vaccine reaction, I ran thin on patience and energy almost immediately.

Then, one of the guys pulled off the front. Third bike, my wife at the helm. Almost immediately, it was decided to catch the guy off the front. The pace quickened and another guy went around my wife because, apparently, he didn’t think she was catching up fast enough. Second bike. In a quarter-mile I went from last bike to second without any rest.

I didn’t even say anything. I checked my radar, then up the road, and pulled out of the line. I turned around and said something to one of the guys and headed for home.

Originally, I’d figured I’d ride by myself, but as I hit the first mile south into the wind, I thought better of it. I turned around and went home. I wasn’t going to suffer a relapse in my vaccine reaction riding in that crap. My wife called to find out what happened and I explained that I just didn’t have the energy to deal with that crap.

Twenty minutes later, I was asleep on the couch.

An hour later, I was up, showered, and on my way to the bike shop where I picked up a Varia taillight for my wife, a mount for the light, and a new helmet for me (more on that another post). I felt awesome after my nap but never bothered to go back out for my ride. The sun came out on the way home, though, and the weather went from cool, cloudy and windy, to sunny, windy and quite nice. I took another nap.

I felt great all day, till about 4pm, when I couldn’t take it anymore. It was too nice outside. Sunny, low 60’s (17 C), still windy, but at that temp, who cares?

I prepped my Venge and went for an awesome, solo 22-miler. I shed my arm warmers and my light cap after five miles. Into the wind, I just relaxed and spun the cranks. With a tailwind, I’d pick up the pace, but not by much. I just enjoyed the sun and the ride… and my new helmet, which is amazing.

There was no relapse after the ride. No chills, no shivers, no sweating, and no Tylenol. I ended up with 30 miles on the day and, while I probably could have stayed with the gang, I’m glad I went out on my own. I’m close to back to normal, and I’m glad. I’ve had about enough of this crap! This was only supposed to last two days. It’s been a week.

Anyway, Happy Easter, my friends. And remember, as bad as things can get, it’s not Pontius Pilate bad:

PP: “Hey, what’s up?”

Bob: “Uh, the tomb is empty, and nobody broke in to steal the body of Jesus. It was sealed and stayed sealed, but the body is literally gone.”

PP: “Wait, what?”

Bob: “Yeah.”

PP: “You mean that really was the son of God!? And you losers made me kill him? Oh, $#!+.”

Look at the bright side; It’s never going to be “I killed the son of God” bad.

Cycling Verses from the Lost Book of Jim

Yea, though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil, for I am drafting off the Lord on a Specialized Venge… and he’s way faster than evil, so kiss it, evil.

Jim 24:7 The work shall always keep till after thine bike ride.

Happy Easter weekend, everyone.

Would You Like Fitness and the Ability to Drop Weight at Will? Don’t Worry About the “Best” Way…

Once you hit middle-age and discover the difference between real food and fast food, you’re in trouble. Add to this the ability to use the kitchen in the manner it’s designed for (rather than a countertop for a microwave) and gaining weight is just a bit too easy.

If you want to be able to eat responsibly, be merry, and watch your weight (without having to watch it too hard), don’t look for the method that “works best”. Trying to do something you don’t love to stay trim, consistently, is not easy. It’s the opposite of easy.

Look for the thing that, when you wake up on a Saturday morning and you’re suiting up, makes you think, “My God, it is good to be me.” Do that.

And, if worse comes to worst, buy a bike and hope for the best.

It’ll set you free.

Marriage Quote By Mokokoma Mokhonoana: “Being a bad…”

I hope this quote by Mokokoma Mokhonoana helps you somehow… Every marriage is full of challenges… If you need some help to overcome them, here it is!…

Marriage Quote By Mokokoma Mokhonoana: “Being a bad…”

I don’t know what the deal is, but I reblogged this post from another author because it made me chuckle… it didn’t show up like it normally should, assuming due to a glitch in WordPress. Credit to the original author…

Does Rim to Tire Width Matter In Terms of Tire Wear?

We can all remember the good old days of the 23 mm tire on the 19.5 mm wide rim… they weren’t all that long ago (most still run this or a 19.5/25 mm combo). A few years ago, they started making rims wider because tire widths were on the increase as evidence made it clear that a plusher ride was more important to speed than a skinny, rock-hard tire. I’ve been running 25 mm tires on 23 mm wide rims on my Trek 5200 for the better part of two seasons. At the same time, I’ve been running 26 mm tires on 25 mm wide rims on my Specialized Venge. The 25s develop a flat track on the center of the tire while the 26s (on the 25 mm rims) aren’t nearly as pronounced.

Now, what I’m about to get into could very well be simply be a difference in tires (Michelin Pro IV 25s vs. Spec. Turbo Pro 26s), but the 26s aren’t developing a flat track in the center of the tire like the 25s are. That got me to thinking, I wonder what would happen if I put 24s on the 23 mm rims? The thinking, of course, is that with less of a “lightbulb effect” from the tire to the rim, the wear of the tire might improve.

I’m about to find out.


The Trek with Michelin 25s on the left, Specialized Turbo Pro 24s in the middle and Specialized Turbo Pro 26s on the Venge at right. It’s quite plain to see how much more clearance just that one millimeter gives between the 24s and 25s on the Trek. I haven’t quite decided which is a better ride, but I’m liking the 24 Turbo Pros at 90 psi a little more than the Pro IV 25s. It’s not a huge improvement, of course, but the ride seems a little more supple.

Anyway, if the two photos above don’t illustrate enough how much better the profile is between the tire and rim, as the “lightbulb effect” goes, have a look at this one:

Now, an important question would be, do the aerodynamic characteristics of the tires even matter on a Trek 5200? Not at all. A 5200 is only slightly more aerodynamic, as bicycles go, than a brick. But, if there’s an improvement in tire wear (and a small advantage in feel), plus a little aero gain that wasn’t there with 25s? Well that will absolutely make this little experiment worth the exercise.

I’ll have more on this at a later date. So far I like it. A lot.



DALMAC - 2016 The Wall

July 2013 Lake Burton, Tiger, GA

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