Friday, July 6, 2012

If Only......

9 year old Finn rips it up. Wish we had something like Whistler near us.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Gates Center Track- A new Review!

Been a long time since I last posted anything here, but, I figured a new review is in order.

A couple weeks back I made a comment on Guitar Ted's blog. He wrote a long term review of the new Gates Center Track drive and had some very good things to say about the system. After my previous experiences with the first generation CDX drive, I was skeptical, to say the least.

I had a lot of fit issues in addition to the skipping everyone else seemed to experience. The off-set pulleys made frame clearance tough and I had to use extra spacers on the drive side BB cup to get the 39T pulley to fit, barely. The new Center Track is more like a traditional chain-ring/cog combo in that nothing is off-set. The belt interface is directly in-line with the crank bolts. However, Gates went to larger pulleys to provide more surface area for the belt. Allowing better purchase at a reduced tension. So, I would have to go from a 39T off-set to a 46T Center Track pulley. Chain-stay clearance could still be an issue.

So, a day after my post, Todd, a representative from Gates shoots me an email and asks if I'd be willing to try their newest offering. Not one to say no to free stuff, I jump at the offer. I had been reading some very good press of the Center Track, but, wasn't willing to fork over any more money without some guarantees. Gates did one better.

Todd and Mark hooked me up with a 46/28T pulley combo and a 118T belt. This is the same ratio that comes stock on all new Spot Rockers. The new pulleys bolted right up without issue. No need to change any spacers and the front pulley cleared the chain-stay. It's close, I won't lie, but it works. Total time to swap out parts was 10 minutes or so. If your chainline is straight, the Center Track bolts right up. I used my trusty Krikt gauge to measure the tension and probably set it a little high, just to be safe. Twice bitten and all....

From the moment of installation, I knew Gates got it right. Everything just worked. From install to alignment, the new Center Track just works. The geek in me was curious about the new iPhone app to measure belt tension. It's free, what the hell. After getting the microphone pointed in the right direction, I was able to get consistent readings that told me my belt tension was a tad too high. I was hoping to reduce the tension a little anyway, so I was glad to have the app for confirmation. I set the tension in the middle of the suggested range, 72.3 Hz and went for another ride.

This was now the 5th or 6th ride on the new system. The previous rides have a been a mixed bag of my local haunts. Some fast and flowing trails, some super technical rock crawling with plenty of climbing. Each ride confirmed my initial impressions, Gates did their homework and got it right this time. Last nights ride saw some punchy climbs, plenty of water crossings and some log hopping for fun. Even at the reduced tension, the drive worked flawlessly. The reduced tension should help with bearing life, a major concern with the previous generation. Oh, and I haven't cleaned, lubed or maintained anything on the drivetrain since I installed the belt. True "set it and forget it" operation. Perfect for the lazy single-speeder!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Runaway Cow

runaway cow
Originally uploaded by dkeg

Came around a corner to find this bovine hanging out in the middle of the road. She got spooked and made a run for the herd. David got this shot of me in pursuit trying to get my camera out. Just another experience when your on a DKEG adventure ride.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Somehow, I missed the turn on my way back from NJ and never found this track. I'll find it and ride it next time for sure.

Taneytown CX, the Turkey Chase

The MABRA cross series came to an end at the Turkey Chase in Taneytown this past Sunday.  I was glad I signed up for the race this year and even happier once I rode the course. It was a lot of fun.

Hosted by TEAM Fuji at the Taneytown Memorial Park, the venue made use of every square inch of the park and then some. The pancake flat terrain was very deceiving and the course designers threw in a number of twists, turns, off-camber hills and one run-up to keep us on our toes and working hard around the entire course.  This was another race that didn't cater to any particular style of rider and had something for everyone. The dry weather limited the amount of mud we encountered, but, there was more of it here than at any other venue I've visited this season.  Sadly, we won't have an epic cross race like the one we had at the Capitol Classic last year. Mud, snow and ice were not on tap and we raced under sunny skies and brisk Autumn temperatures.

Call-ups moved a few guys forward and the rest of us back a little. The pack was dense, but, I picked the outside line and that helped as we went into the first set of turns.  I was on the right side (lower line) of the first off-camber hill and that helped move me ahead of some guys that tried to stay high. An inside line got me to the next section in good position and I picked through the crowd when the opportunity presented itself. The main group got strung out pretty quickly and it was hard to ride most sections in a pack. Single file through the tight turns, jump on the gas and pass before the next turn. There were a few open power sections to pass or get passed and I tried to limit any losses in these areas. I'd close down the gaps when the course became technical and hoped the guy in front would crack or bobble. I was running 15th on the second lap and was at the tail end of the lead pack. The second pack was about 10-15 seconds back from us and loosing ground as the race progressed.

On the third lap a rider took a bad line, went into the fence and took out the two guys behind him. I tried to sneak by on the inside line and got knocked down as one of the riders picked his way out of the mess. Everyone recovered quickly and I moved up a couple spots in the process. The lead rider slid out at the bottom of the off-camber run-up and I had to lock my brakes to keep from running into him. That sent me down and into the tape. We both recovered (again) and got to work on the next technical section before the road section and the timing table. We both gunned it on the road and were jockeying for position on the bell lap. He held his lead and I held his wheel. I managed to pass on the back side of the warehouses and he puled ahead near the ball fields. It was a good battle. We opened the gap on the chase group and had a few guys within striking distance ahead. Bill was one of these guys and he lost a few spots in some altercation a little earlier as well. They caught wind of our challenge, kicked it into high gear and effectively shut down our attack. Crossing the line, I was 11th overall for the Masters B race and 5th (again) for my age group. The top 3 overall finishers were in the 45+ age group as well. There are some pretty damn fast old(er) guys at these races.

Like Rockburn, I had a LOT of time to kill before the tandem race at 4pm. I passed the time the same way I did 2 weeks ago with a couple beers, talking with friends and taking some pics of the other races. Cyber Monday seems to be slowing down the internet, so, I'll post those pics a little later. The extra time did give me a chance to re-dish & true the rear wheel on the tandem, adjust the brakes, tension the timing chain and give her a proper look-over. The borrowed C'Dale was ready for her final cross race of 2010, possibly forever.   

David was not at the morning race. He decided to sleep in and met me for the tandem race late in the afternoon. That meant my stoker would have fresh legs for our challenge against Padam,  the reigning tandem masters. We rode around to warm the legs while the Elite guys raced. There were a lot of tandems rolling around the park and it appeared there would be some kids out there as stokers. A very cool thing to see. We lined up on the front row and were a little bummed to see the Kelly team of Connolly-Shiao (KBS/LSV) missing from the race. However, the Tom Tom club was there as was the AFC team of Blair-Driscoll. We got the hole shot and actually held the lead a little longer this time. As expected (I am a realist) Padam passed us and we went into chase mode. We were able to keep the gap a little smaller this time and even closed it a few times during the race. At one point we were right on their wheel with only a few turns left in the race. I can only assume they were toying with us, because they blew our doors off once we hit the road on the bell lap. The Tom Tom club was slowly moving up on us throughout the race and at one point I was concerned we didn't have enough course left to counter their advance. Once we hit the technical sections, we were able to put those fears to rest and could focus all our attention on the leaders. As we crossed the line, we looked back to see how far back the Tom Tom team was.  Oddly, they were not behind us. One of the teams with a junior rider was in the third position, followed by another team with a junior rider. Off in the distance, we could see the Tom's stoker off the bike and pushing, as he has done in several other races. Mechanicals have plagued them throughout the series and kept them off the podium once again.  However, this being tandem cross, everyone is a winner and they scored a nice bag of premium coffee beans. We got a water bottle. I guess we'll have to assign alternating weeks to share it. Hmmm........