Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Franken-bike Part 2 - The Donor Cycle

Once we had the frame and fork for my bike, thing got a bit more complex.  The frame is French and that means French-threaded.  (Who knew there was such a thing?)  You know the old saying "Lefty loosy, Rightie tighty."  Not true with the French.  They screw things on and off the opposite way.

That sent Steve searching for French threaded bike parts - wheels, headset, bars, brakes, derailleur, chain rings, chain, seat post, cranks.  Low and behold a few days later, a Motobecane bike came up for sale about an hour away from San Diego.  The bike had been repainted and we couldn't tell exactly what it what model it was.  Steve studied the photos and said "those dropouts were on put on the top end bikes.  Let's go take a look."  On the drive, I tried to not get my hopes up that we'd find all the perfect parts  in one stop.  I'd be happy to find one or two parts that we could harvest.

When we pulled up to the seller's house I knew the bike would be perfect.  In the driveway there was a vintage Jaguar XJ Convertible, 3 meticulously maintained Harley-Davidson motorcycles and 2 SUVs in perfect condition.  His garage was perfectly clean with one wall dedicated to those big red Craftsman tool cabinets.  Next to those cabinets was a hand-built triathlon bike.  This is a guy who knows good quality and knows how to take care of his stuff.

The donor-cycle was a gem with every component being top or near top of the line. The re-paint job was a signed Joe Bell paint job - again top of the line.  Steve wiped the drool from his chin and I paid the man.  Yep, miracle of miracles we found a perfect donor cycle on the first try.  It's almost a shame to harvest the parts, but the bike is too small for either of us to ride.  We'll resell the frame and some tiny person will love it. 

(PS...Sorry for the posting scarcity.  We've planned an entire wedding in the last 2 weeks.  We rock! But man, we're exhausted.)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Franken-bike Part 1

A few months ago, I told Steve that I wanted to to the triathlon on a mixte bike.  (Mixte is what many people remember as a ladies bike.  To there's no top bar on the frame, instead both bars go lower.)  The last bike I really loved was a mixte.  I want another one and I want to ride it in my triathlon.

There are certainly no modern racing mixtes. Steve told me he'd research to see if there were any vintage mixte racing frames.  It turns out, that there were a very, very few built and they are generally expensive if you can find one.  I'm 5'8" with long legs, so I'd need an uncommon frame size which would make finding one even more of a challenge.  Plus, he'd have to find suitable parts all on the vintage market since modern parts might not fit  Steve said, it would be some sort of Franken-bike, but he'd try.

Once I knew the bike had ever existed on the planet, I knew Steve would find it.

He put together a list of specs that I don't understand.  Things like Reynolds 531 tubing and blahblahblah.   Steve has been searching the internet and visiting bike shops.  Finally we stopped into Velocult the vintage bike shop by our house.  And behold - a perfectly sized mixte frame and fork.  The shop owner just had it repainted and the original chrome fork is in perfect condition.

We snapped up my beautiful hot red Jeunet mixte.  Now that we had the frame and fork, we could start the search for parts.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

These are not resolutions...

While I said I didn't have any resolutions, I do have some stuff I'm working on these days.

Fitness:  I'm gearing up for the Ironman training season.  That training doesn't really start until late February which  means I've got about 7 weeks of "not-sure-what-I'm-supposed-to-be-doing-fitness-wise."   After the Las Vegas race in early December, I gave myself complete rest.  Complete. Rest. The couch is almost bolted to my butt.

Rest is boring. I've got 7 weeks to do something.  I decided on a mix of Insanity cardio workouts and heavy weights.  The best thing I can do to prep for Ironman training is to get my weight low (thx Insanity) and my strength rebuilt (weights).   My lower body is still strong but my upper body strength is nowhere near what it once was.

I hit the first Insanity workout yesterday and I was gasping for air.  Its a killer workout and I love it. Today I ordered myself some adjustable weights. Because our house is tiny, it drove Steve nuts  that I had a big bin of dumbbells cluttering the place. In the interest of home harmony, the big bin o'dumbbells is replaced with one set of adjustables.  And secretly I've wanted this set of adjustable weights for a long time.  I've looked at them longingly online and at sporting goods stores, but I didn't want to spend the money.

Nutrition:  Steve and I agreed to eat at home more this year.  Last year, especially when the job stress was huge, we just gave up on cooking.  Between travelling and working long hours there was no time to plan meals or purchase groceries.  Our fridge had condiments and fruit.  When we got home from work at 7 or 7:30, it was all we could do to pick a restaurant.   It was a big waste of money and time.  Plus, it's hard to make good nutritional choices in most restaurants.

This year, I'm trying to plan menus and shop once a week.  I love to cook; it's the menu planning that's such a nuisance.  I don't normally cook using a recipe, I'm more intuitive about how to combine flavors. It's hard to stand in the grocery store on Sunday and anticipate what I'll be inspired to cook on Thursday.

This week I tried one of the popular menu planning websites.  I purchased a membership and everything.  After two nights of awful dinners, I had to call and request a refund.  Monday night's dinner recipe was sort of bland, but okay.  Tuesday night's dinner was the worst thing I've ever cooked.  I ended up tossing most of the sauce and adding a lot of wine and garlic.  (Wine and garlic being the universal cure to bad entrĂ©es.)

So the fitness stuff is well underway, but it's back to the drawing board on menu planning.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year

Somehow, it's 2011.  How did that happen?  Normally I make a new year's resolution or two, but this year I think we'll be too busy to attack any additional goals.  In addition to our normal jobs and commitments,  here are the things we're committed to doing this year:
  • I'll be teaching a course at a local university.
  • Steve is the assistant coach of a cycling team.
  • I'm finishing up a professional certification.
  • We're both doing a half Ironman triathlon.  I'm doing an ultramarathon.
  • We're planning a wedding and getting married. 
Yep, we got engaged!

You'll have to pardon me if we have no time for resolutions.  We already have a full plate.  I'm not sure how we're going to get it all squeezed into one year.   I suspect most people are truly busy.  If you want to take this year from the resolution treadmill, you have my complete support.

Cheers to 2011.  May it bring everyone wonderful things.

2011 Race Calendar

Far fewer races, but more focus for 2011.   I'm sure I'll add in some more short tris just to prep for Vineman.

Safari Park Half Marathon
March 13, Encondido, California

Vineman Half Ironman 70.3
July 17, Napa to Sonoma, California 

Want to visit the race calendars of years past: