Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bike maintenance

Tonight after work I stopped by the LBS and bought a new chain for my road bike. I've known my bike was due for a new chain for a while but never got around to purchasing one. I hate to admit it, since it reflects my lack of attention to maintenance, but my chain probably has 3,000+ miles on it. Way past due. I also picked up a chain tool. I was surprised how easy it is to remove the chain. You simply lay the chain in the tool, tighten the threads on the driver pin and out pops the chain's connecting pin. Installing the new chain is easy too, except that I wasn't thinking about chain length (doh) until after I had the chain connected and noticed it was sagging against the rear derailleur cage like this:

I took out a few links, connected it back again and thought I was done. Not so fast. See the problem with procrastinating the maintenance on your chain is that it causes other parts to wear quickly, like the cassette. This became apparent when the new chain started hopping down to the next smaller rear chain ring whenever I back pedaled the crank as a result of the cogs worn to the point that the new chain wouldn't match up properly. So, now I'm going to have to purchase a new cassette.

This little lesson on bike maintenance reminds me of something a guy told me the other night while I was doing a church financial audit at one of the local wards. We were discussing how the church finances are simple to keep straight as long as you do the little things each month to stay on top of things. He commented how he tells his daughter that "it's much easier to keep things clean than to clean them up."

Isn't that so true with many things in life. The little things we do or don't do on a consistent basis whether it be mechanical maintenance like timely changing the oil in your car or replacing your chain on your bike or maybe physical maintenance like eating healthy or exercising daily if neglected end up resulting in big problems down the road. No, not earth shattering stuff....just common sense, but sometimes it's good to be reminded of these things. So, please, do yourself a favor and make sure you change your chain more frequently than I did.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

St. George

I packed up the SUV Thursday after work and headed south to St. George for the long weekend. We had a great time as a family playing in the sun* and I was able to squeeze in some bike rides in the morning.

*We stayed at a Pelican Hills condo which I highly recommend. The condo itself was fabulous and the clubhouse/HOA facilities included a theater room with plush leather recliner chairs (very nice), an outdoor pool that was heated, a nice big deep hot tub and tennis courts.

Saturday morning I got up early and rode Barrel Roll, which is located just minutes from Santa Clara. I was planning to ride for several hours but ended up getting a hole in the side wall of my rear tire just before finishing one lap. Even though my plans were cut short, I had a blast and the weather was fabulous. If I were to ride Barrel Roll again, I'd probably park my car in Santa Clara and climb up the dirt road for a better cardio workout as there was a decent climb from the paved road to the trail head.

View from the top of the Barrel Roll loop:

There were a few tricky spots that I found challenging and fun to try until I was able to clear. I rode the loop counterclockwise. Next time I'll probably go clockwise.

On Saturday I headed out early again and did a loop on the road bike that went through Gunlock, up to Veyo (that last climb before Veyo felt good) and then descended into St. George. Along the way, I rode for a few miles with a guy named Jason who is training for the St. George Ironman Triathlon in May. I have a huge amount of respect for these people, including some of my good friends, who are training for the Ironman. I have a hard time comprehending the sacrifice and effort it takes to prepare for and finish an Ironman triathlon. Jason for example was doing a 1/2 ironman that day or 1 mile swim, 66 mile bike and 13 mile run. Hats off to them....I don't really have any desire to put myself through that much pain.

Here's the volcano near Veyo. This part of the loop is deceiving because you're thinking it's all downhill from here, but the climbing seems to continue on and on. It'll make for a challenging Ironman bike leg.

Snow Canyon:

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snowshoe Video

On Saturday I opted for the snowshoes instead of the bike. I wasn't disappointed except that next time I'll pack the Superfly 29er too and go for a post snowshoe climb up the Alpine Loop from Pine Hollow. There were lots of snowmobiles, so the road was packed pretty good.

AF Canyon - Pine Hollow Snowshoe from bjchild on Vimeo.