Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday News And Views

TIMP News:

Okay folks, I am working on ironing out the final details on the Trans Iowa Masters Program. The cues are being uploaded to the site, with the "First Semester" and "Mid-Term Test" already on the page. I hope to have the final part up within a few days. Here are a few notes of interest:

  • There probably will not be a full course recon. I just don't have the resources to do that at this time. I do have a few possibilities for checking out sections of the course, so I hope to be able to get some of it looked at. 
  • That said- Riders will be on their own from the standpoint of doing any on-the-fly re-routing. (Which should add to the adventure part.) There is a clause in the Rules that addresses re-routing, (see rule #5 on the TIMP page), so it shouldn't be a big deal. Still.....I hope to check out as much of this course as I can soon.
  • There are two riders pledged to do the course already
More news on TIMP will be coming soon! Stay tuned......

Charles City Iowa May 1968
46 Years Ago:

Yesterday marked the 46th year since "The Tornado", as we folks who lived through it say. My hometown of Charles City Iowa was devastated by an F-5 tornado a little after 5pm on May 15th, 1968.

I was just a little boy at the time, but this event pretty much shaped my life for years to come afterward, and of course, it isn't something one forgets. Thirteen people lost there lives that day, and thousands were injured. Pretty traumatic for anyone let alone a young child to live through.

Yet, as they say, good things often come out of tragedy, and I witnessed many a good thing that came out of this calamity. One of those very minor things was my attraction to bicycles. You see, since the tornado ripped apart so many households, bicycles were strewn about the surrounding wild areas where we had the pick of the litter, in a way of speaking, for several years afterward. These bikes we would scavenge, tear apart, assemble, and modify without fear of failure or retribution from someone's parents or the authorities.

I gained a very basic understanding of bicycles from this time and I suppose you could say it stuck with me and grew. Would I have been a bicycle nerd without that tornado? Maybe. But you never know..........

Apparently Shimano thinks they are Campy.
How Much For That Chain Ring In The Window?

Okay, so the good news is that my Ultegra 11 speed 46T chain ring has arrived. (Part # coming soon!) That's a good thing, since the 52T ring on there is just not very useful for my preferred gravel riding style.

The bad news? Well, apparently Shimano chain rings have a very special.......something. I'm not sure what it is, but the retail price on the 46T chain ring is........get ready for this! 


Yes- that's for one aluminum chain ring with 46T and a bit of fancy forge work. I didn't order a Campy one by mistake, did I?'s a Shimano ring alright. That's stunning, discouraging, and  seems just plain wrong. Besides the fact that it is uglier than sin, plasticky looking anodized grey/black. If it was beautiful, didn't look like it came off a department store bike, and was......oh say about 100 bucks less at retail, I could swallow that.

But this price for this ring is ridiculous. Plain and simple. But.........I will buy it, because there are no alternatives. At some point, there will be other, more reasonable 11 speed compatible options, and this crankset will be replaced so I can afford to keep buying replacement rings. The gravel is not kind to these things, ya know.

Good Luck To The Almanzo Riders! 

By the time you read this, the long course, which is called the Alexander, will  have riders on it. The Almanzo 100 and Royal 165 will start Saturday. Should be a great weekend, albeit cool, for riding. Good luck to all those taking part in the events out of Spring Valley this weekend!


youcancallmeAl said...

Hooray for the advantages of friction shifting and sugino cranks

bostonbybike said...

Hooray for Sugino cranks: