CARDS AND LIGHTS

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No, I’m not reflecting on Christmas again, but I must confess it has always been my favorite time of the year.

Today its the “Credit/Debit Card” and the mysteries therein! My business card for Cozy Comfort expired 11/16 and a new one never showed up so naturally the bank was contacted and another one was ordered ………. NOTHING!!!

Once more the bank are called and the sequence is repeated and after the statutory 3 weeks has gone by with zero result they are contacted AGAIN. They claim they have NO RECORD of the request but after a lot of arguing they will order another one. As we get ever closer to the middle of March it finally arrives and I duly activate it at the local bank. Small problemeeee!!! its the same account as my personal one so I now have TWO!! Once more the irate customer orders yet another card for the correct account and the infernal wait begins.

Meanwhile while Brenda is attending her father’s funeral  I look at my personal UK Lloyds account and see I have been shopping at TESCO in Solihull !!! For those not in the know TESCO is a giant supermarket store chain in the UK rather like Safeway. Of course Brenda has never shopped there and its her card these criminals have somehow got hold of ?????  3 test runs for 2 GBP at a store in Cheshunt UK, which is just outside London, and then THREE larger transactions for just under 100GBP each at stores in Redditch and Solihull which are in the Midlands close to Birmingham. The Bank closes her card, issues a new one, and refunds all the money to my account.

Brenda gets her NEW card a week after she gets back from Buffalo but I’m still looking for my new local card and decide I’d better check all the others. My UK  Credit card for MBNA now runs out 4/17 so I contact them and they tell me it was sent on 3/22/17 so be patient for a little longer………. 10 days goes by and now we are in mid April so yesterday morning I contact them AGAIN and this time they will expedite a new card for next Friday, but in the meantime they will cancel the replacement card and put the account on hold until I get the new one. Well that’s the first task complete for Friday morning  so now onto the next annoyance …. The Cadillac running lights!

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New bulb at the ready

The Driver’s side daytime running light had failed so I go and get another one and earlier in the week set about changing it. To do this on the Cadi requires taking nearly the entire front off to get behind the oversize headlights. Rods, clips, nuts and bolts, and the headlight is free but the bulb has not failed but the plastic holder is decidedly burnt and cracked. Put it all back and get the correct holder, which must be “gold plated” as is costs $39.00 for a bit of plastic!

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The monster light unit is free!

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Crispy crittered!

1130, tools at the ready, the Cadi is opened up once more and some minor surgery is completed before buttoning everything up and it is duly tested and works. Second job of Friday morning complete!

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The gold plated plastic holder goes in

A few more minor jobs finished off and now my “dance card” is fairly free. No ride today but never mind its horribly windy.

The post arrives……….. Yes, you guessed it the bloody replacement card from the UK has turned up …….. and to add insult to injury so has the local card.

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Yes, here it is, but no worry WE have cancelled it already!!!!!

Quick phone call to the UK but TOO LATE the die is cast and it can’t be reversed!!

TONY DOWN

THE FITTING

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First fitting

Many of you will remember when there was ONLY ONE, James Bond, and I’m talking Sean Connery of course. Well during those countless early Bond movies you would often see him at his Saville Row tailor’s being fitted for his new suit or DJ. Indeed during my 30 years in the Royal Air Force I can remember my own multiple fittings for uniforms and formal attire with Moss Bros our military tailor.

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Some 50 years later here I am having a “fitting” for my new bicycle. A lot of science goes into this and I’ll settle for the simple rather than plunge into any wind tunnel requirements.

Saturday morning and with all the required cycling bits I’m at Kokkopeli’s in Cortez and ready to see what needs to be changed. The pristine Roubaix is strapped into the frame and its time to start pedaling.

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Phase 1 seat height and fore & aft

Scott, the fitter, tells me I am a “toe pedal” and runs round taking various pictures. With his danglemonitor I’m measured for angles and with more pictures the first adjustments are made. The seat comes up a couple of inches and the seat moves forward an inch or so and now my numbers fit within the prescribed angles.

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It feels a bit different so now the stem needs to be changed for a shorter one and come up from 7 degrees to 16.

Phase 2  Stem & Bars

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Shorter stem and a bit more rise

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Scott, my tailor of the day, says we are about right and shows me the “before and after” pics. I have now decided I need these “shorty” levers as in the event of an emergency I might not get my hand on the main lever in time.

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Very impressed with these little fellas, easy to use and great for my confidence. They fit into the main cables so it becomes an either/or operation.

Back home and time to fit the other speedo as I couldn’t easily read the numbers on the other one!

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That’s better!

A very successful morning and now back in time for pool which goes very well after almost 2 months dithering about in the doldrums and even suffering TWO First Outs! Today I played well, enjoyed it, and finished in 2nd place.

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Fitting complete!

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2nd place today

TONY DOWN

“THE WHEELS ON THE BIKE GO ROUND AND ROUND”

On the last day of Spring Break Brenda’s father died. This was not unexpected as he has had a series of strokes over the last few years.

Arrangements are made and she leaves for Buffalo on Wednesday morning at some ungodly hour for a series of flights to Dallas, then Charlotte and finally Buffalo. We make the 70 mile run to Durango by 0520 but then the “50lb one bag rule” comes into play and hers is on the scale at 60 ! A big plastic bag later and I have 10lbs of clothes to take home. Believe it or not this extra 10lbs would have cost an additional $100 …….. scandalous!!!

The flight gets delayed and after all the rerouting she finally makes it to Buffalo but the troublesome bag did not!

I was also in Durango on Tuesday for my Doctor’s visit and thanks to NOT SMOKING and, no doubt all the 7000′ fitness training, I’m now off my Iron Lung nighttime oxygen and no longer need the twice daily Advair inhaler.

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None of this!

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I hear what you say!

This year my fitness target was set at 3000 miles, which, after last year’s 2031 miles in the book seemed feasible. So far I have already exceeded my ongoing targets. My original thoughts were maybe 400 by 3/28/17  (my Doctor’s visit) as this was the number for last year on 6/4/16, my first visit, after taking up  cycling again. Despite some days of miserable cold, rain, snow and the mind numbing wind, some dogged persistence of the aim banged up 550.90 by Tuesday’s return to the hospital. ……. by the end of March 2016 I had 80.61 compared to this year’s impressive 585.42

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Monday, and Brenda should be back today, so another trip to Durango. The cycling mileage continues to climb and by the time I’m off to work for the afternoon run I’m at 642.59 and if all goes well I’ll be in Durango around 1930 with her ETA at 1952. a good run, although it snows like hell up on the high ground of CR 17 & 18. Time for a quick Shrimp & Lobster sauce at the Ocean Pearl and I’m on the road in the rain, snow and sleet.

Well for the most part its daylight so I can see where the road is going. On time and arrive at the airport and find her flight is running 20 minutes ahead of schedule.  It arrives and the passengers are quickly in the terminal, but once again her bag is not!! Nobody in the building so she will contact the airline later.

Once more the weather changes and its snowing heavy wet snow and hard work seeing through the “Startrek Asteroid Belt”.

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Even worse in Durango itself as there is NO street lighting and bloody dangerous in these conditions. More snow, rain, fog and low cloud to contend with including a couple of spinoffs on the main road but we make it by 2130.

Tuesday, and Very Windy! also cold and bloody miserable with all of yesterday’s snow in full melt. With crappy weather I still manage to add another 40 miles and finish up the week at 682.55 …… and Brenda’s much travelled bag arrives with a broken wheel.

 

TONY DOWN

SPRING BREAK 1/2 WAY

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Wednesday marks the 1/2 way point of this year’s Spring Break. Up until today the weather, apart from some wind, has been very nice,  warm and sunny, but tonight its all set to change.

Well surprise, this morning and so far the predicted doom and gloom has yet to arrive. Still dry, overcast, and precious little wind. Some breaks in the cloud, very much a wait and see day.

Colder for sure, chilly wind and then a couple of snow showers around 1100 but now dry again but pretty miserable. Mid afternoon and now its colder with sleet and drizzle so No ride today and a rest day was probably no bad thing.

At the start of Spring Break there was 374.69 on the odometer and now prior to the enforced rest day I’m at 470.59 . Still hoping to hit my target, and more, by 3/28/17.

Still a few things I need advice about (becoming a bike shop pest) I need to know if my riding position is correct? Is my reach correct? Do I need the bars higher? Time to consult an expert before I do anything. Having read all the articles and seen some of the videos it seems there is quite a lot to this fitting game. A high percentage of it is common sense but you DO need someone to check the angles and measurements. The acid test is how does it feel?

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So the fitting is comfortably connecting  5 of my moving parts to the Roubaix.  The correct length of seat post height is the most critical, which then gives the right power at the pedal.

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Think I got this one correct as I used the same length that I have on the Giant MTB

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Then using ME as the “bendy toy” see if  “my angles” match up with the data sheet and start thinking about how to correct what ever the problems might be.

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……… and if it can’t be fixed, either sell the bike, or go in for some serious surgery!

Of course it maybe the change from MTB and Trials could be part of the issue, a bit like changing from a Trials bike to a Crotch Rocket!

The most comfortable cycling position is with the hands on the cross section of the bars.

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This seems to be about my perfect reach but is not really the brightest position as your hands and fingers are not near the brakes or shifters! About as stupid as  “Highway Pegs” on a “Hardly Albeson” ……. but don’t get me started on that one!!!

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Current set up on the Roubaix

Stem and “angle of dangle” seems to be where I’m looking next. Currently I’m using 100mm/7 degree rise and I think I need to be shorter in length and higher in angles, although of course any rise in angles will bring the bars back closer to me

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Ugly but you get the idea

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Then there are the bars themselves which can be rotated, but the levers and shifters must be in a sensible position.

Having searched the local area my local shop is both the most convenient and cheapest so I’ll be in there next Saturday to see what can be done.

TONY DOWN

 

TESTING THE ROUBAIX

With Spring Break upon us and delightful warm spring bluebird day weather there is NO EXCUSE not to be out there testing the new toy!

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Ready to go

Another visit to my Doctor on 3/28/17 and I would like to have 500 of my 2017 target of 3000 miles in the books by then. Might be pushing it a bit but I now have 389.35 so only a smidge over 100 miles for my Spring Break week.

Sunday morning and time to deal with the last bits on the Roubaix. Front brake cable to be connected, tighten up all the handlebar allen bolts. Measure the seat post height on the Giant and set the Roubaix to the same. Test the new pedal cleats and their release mechanism as we don’t want an “arse over header” in the driveway if I can’t get my feet on the ground! Finally, fit the new Cateye speedo odometer and spin the wheel.

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Front brake done

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The numbers may be too small !

New plans with the Roubaix are for longer daily distances with the higher speeds of the road bike. This will mean I’m farther from home and will therefore need a “pack” for essentials. I used to use  the tested and true Camelbak back pack but being against my back it made me sweat profusely in the Phoenix sun. So for Colorado I’m going to revert to the “fanny pack” that I have always used on all my Trials bikes.

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Having tested it with the “load” …… its a bit small! Never mind it will do for Trials

Standard kit to be carried will be: spare tubes and of course the pump! Cell phone with its camera, the wallet, a few tools and cable ties and a couple of icy cold bottles of Gatorade.  No more packs of cigarettes and lighters to even think about.

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My current endeavors have seen my opening run from the house setting off into an Easterly wind and with a slight uphill and false flat scenario. This can be bloody hard work on the 70 year old legs and body. However once the first mile is in the books it seems to get easier as you know its very slightly downhill when I turn round and there will be a tailwind on the way home. I used to go outbound towards Telluride for 1.25 miles but recently have extended this up to my furthest distance of 4.60 miles. In truth this has been pushing my luck without the “essentials” and would be a bloody long walk home if I got a flat tire.

This summer the intention will be to ride as far as South Fork (14.00) before turning round. Eventually, perhaps, have Brenda take the car to Rico and drop me off for the 38 mile run home ?

Seems the weather was too good to be true and after Wednesday this week we are back to rain and snow and a 20 degree temp drop just to remind us its only March.

After my standard ride yesterday, which was good, time for some Shade Garden clean up and a few spring time beers …. very nice! The Roubaix did not get its test ride.

Lots of things to do around the house and garden this week so busy,  busy and then the potential “wet weather program” of pool practice as pool has NOT been going so well of late becoming almost novice like in its execution and decidedly lacking in finesse!

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Very, very smooth!

The first ride is in the books, feels a bit strange after the Mountain Bike but I have to say IT is VERY SMOOTH ! The bike has SRAM Force which is their next to top of the line system and has the “double click” changing system. Press once and hear a click and the system upshifts. Press twice (one longer sweep) and the system downshifts. The riding position is obviously very different and might require a more angled stem riser to put me in a more upright posture. However, for a first ride I’m quite impressed!

The bottom bracket on the Roubaix is much closer to the ground than the Giant and obviously this means I can touch the ground on tip toe while still seated. I think I would like the bars about 2″ higher for the “modern” more upright posture so that needs to be investigated with a visit or two to local bicycle shops.

A lot of garden work on the “Dump” and “Shower” signs after the winter storms and they are back up fighting the gusting winds. Time for a few stickers on the new ultra light weight Lazer helmet. It matches the bike color scheme beautifully and I’m well pleased.

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Second ride into a headwind and with such a light machine a few pedal strokes and the speed surges up!  So far haven’t got into the higher gears but I’m keen to see the 20 mph + numbers come up.

Bad weather coming in tonight so a ride tomorrow looks unlikely but you never know. The 500 target is well in sight, and as the article closes I’ve hit 470.59 and its only 3/22/17.

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

 

OPEN THE BOX !

Finally, having had the precious cargo of the S Works Roubaix in its packaging downstairs for a week, the time has come to open the box!

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My assumptions are: the wheels have been taken out, the handlebars are off, the seat post has been removed………. We will now see if you are right, Sherlock.

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Yes and No. The front wheel was out, back still in. Handlebars off but cables all connected apart from front brake. Tires are soft, seat post off and as I already knew no pedals. It was beautifully packed with copious amounts of bubble wrap, Styrofoam tubing, and sheets of brown paper. Delicate work with the Stanley knife cutting through tape galore exposing more and more gorgeous paintwork.

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Ooooooh!!!!

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Be very careful

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Coming together

Time for a little thinks bubble? Although these bikes are built in the USA the primary teams using them on the World Circuit are all based in Europe. What nuts and bolts do they use? As I suspected its Metric but for some strange reason the nut on the pedal (other than the rider) is 9/16 ????

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100 lbs goes in

Having worked out how the valve works on these high pressure tires 100lbs goes in both, pedals greased, left and right threads and the bike is back right side up.

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NEW pedals on

Last few adjustments to make, seat height, handlebar position and reconnect that front brake cable and tighten up the headstock. Should be ready for “it’s” test run come Sunday morning!!

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Only pedal tension to check

Meanwhile the Giant MTB has not been idle and the pedals have punched out 361.29 miles at close of play Thursday 16th. Current target is the 400 mile banner by Sunday.

Amazing deal on Ebay Thursday night! For the FIFTH time I asked a seller for the chest size on a cycling shirt that goes beautifully with the new Specialized Roubaix.

I had previously pointed out various things that I thought were WRONG in her listing and in some cases she corrected them but NEVER did what I asked for and re-measured the chest armpit to armpit!

The listing gave the measurement as XL and she claimed it measured 18″ armpit to armpit and was a 36″chest which in men’s wear would be a small.

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Looking at the picture, the shirt appeared “baggy” on the model and assuming a bust measurement of 36 the shirt just had to be bigger, so once more I requested the size!

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The shirt was re-measured at 44″ and now the rub……… she offered it to me for $1.00 !!!!! + shipping!!!!!!!!!!! …… well, of course I said “YES”

 

TONY DOWN

EXCITEMENT BUILDS TO FEVER PITCH

Just over a week has elapsed since the fickle finger of fate tapped the “Buy It Now” button for the “S-Works Specialized Roubaix” bicycle that I wanted.

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Since then, despite snow storms, mud days and some very variable weather, goodies to feed the new “wonder cycle” have been pouring in to match its arrival deadline.

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I’ve been glued to the Fed-Ex web site watching the progress on my new wonder cycle as it has been wandering across the country. From its start point in deepest Alabama at Hoover on Feb 27 it made it to Birmingham AL on the 28th, passed through Nashville TN and night stopped in Geary OK on Mar 1st. Up very early it made it to Winslow AZ and by mid afternoon was off again to Phoenix AZ. A 12 hour layover in Phoenix before another 12 hour run to Aztec NM where it arrived at 0443 on Saturday Mar 4th. Should be with me sometime on Monday.

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Waiting on the Speedo

Meanwhile the speedo arrived, and the mystery pedals came in after going round CA for a day or two.

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Got just the place for you 2 !

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……. and finally on my return the “box” has arrived. Now I need to extract it and start the rebuild………. and now here we are on Saturday 11th March and the box hasn’t moved!!! Maybe Sunday?

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The weather has changed, temps are way up hitting the 60’s, bugs, cyclists, and dumb arsed Harley riders are all out!

More exciting offers from Ebay and some items too hard to resist. A couple of pairs of shorts are coming my way and the next quest is for a NEW helmet to go with all my new color schemes. Trouble is my head size is right between Medium and Large and so far I haven’t found a local dealer who carries what I want so I can try them on for fit.

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The KASK Vertigo in British colors

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Suomy Timeless

So far this is what I like but of course all this might change in a heartbeat.

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Really nice but NOT in my size

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This one is ME but a little expensive

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Colors are right, my size, my price

……… and then a few more contestants entered the arena …… oh, decision, decision ???

 

TONY DOWN

 

 

 

ANOTHER SNOW DAY ?

The forecast weather keeps changing and by my bedtime, around 2200, there is an inch or so on the rail and the forecast is 4-8″ over night and another 2-4″ on Tuesday morning.

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0430 and the alarm goes off so stagger into the kitchen for life giving coffee to see about 9″ on the rail. Strange no phone call from the Boss to say stay at home. The snow is still dumping and 30 mins goes by before the phone call to say the game is ON!!! …….. well I’m absolutely flabbergasted ……. I can’t believe the insanity of this…….. dressed, ……outside clearing 9″off the windows,  hood, windscreen, when Brenda shouts “2 HOUR DELAY”………. back to my coffee and now wait out the time.

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Still snowing HARD!!

Later back outside and still snowing! Remove the most recent 2-3″ and set off out of the drive onto the snow packed roads. Braking action non existent so this is going to be slow …… very slow, and of course I’m not exactly in a good frame of mind.

Up the hill and approaching the Dolores Bus Barn two 18 wheeler cattle trucks on the hard shoulder where one has jackknifed himself into the soft deep snow on the verge!

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Great start to someone’s morning

Now creeping into Cortez in the early morning gloom at 30 mph and of course Joe Harvey Dumbshit is now tailgating me in these awful adverse conditions…… but wait, ….. there’s more, as two international world rally drivers come past me at twice my speed as if there is no problem at all!!!

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Just approaching Main St when my phone goes off to tell me it’s been declared a Snow Day……. but Joe Harvey is still tight on my rear end so I’m forced to turn into the Maverick gas station so he doesn’t ram me! What a morning!!!!

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It snows for the rest of the day!!!

TONY DOWN

THE “B.I.N.” BUTTON

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Seems the game is on! I have been watching the No1 road bike of my dreams “daily” with multiple visits to check and see if anyone had stolen it out from under me. The list of watchers grew on an almost  hourly basis. Price reductions on both my No1 and 2 choices, which were both from the same seller, attracted even more watchers, and eventually I could stand it no longer!

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My No2 choice, the 2007 Specialized Roubaix

The fickle finger of fate strayed over the “Make Offer” button and the digit wavers nervously and finally presses the caption. I went in at $149 under the “BIN” price and was surprised when I received a counter offer! Well, he came down $80 so I accepted and should have the machine in my possession within a couple of weeks.

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Mine!!!  ……. drop dead GORGEOUS ….. the No1 2011 Roubaix

Flush with this success I put in a few more “Best Offers” on other cycling items and once again these were all accepted in no time!

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Rather nice riding shirt to match

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…. and another!

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……. a set from the same seller

Moving on I now need to order some pedals and another odometer like the one I have on the MTB. Further review shows a different make with hidden sensor and a “stem mounting”.

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Looking again at the bike pictures, (they really make me drool) I can see where the speedo will mount so now its pedal time as everyone who sells a bike always takes their precious pedals with them.

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Speedo will fit lengthwise on the stem ……. don’t you just love all the carbon ?

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Even comes with color coordinated brake shoes!

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Who ever owned this machine kept it beautifully clean

Well much thought goes into the pedal selection and with my Sidi shoes I need the 2 bolt fitting or Shimano SM51. After going through all the pros and cons I decided, either rightly or wrongly, to go for a similar pedal to that fitted on the Giant MTB which has double sided entry. At least I know I can get my feet clipped in which ever side is up.

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So those are my choice and will fit the “Cinderella” missing bits

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Like everything else the cranks, chain ring and bottom bracket are scrupulously clean and virtually unmarked.

So now its time to review, today is Feb 28th and with 9″ of snow on the rail this morning at 0430 a snow day was finally called, and not before the “2 hour delay” and driving into work in insane conditions

First riding month of 2017 complete with 165.38 miles completed of the 3000 mile target. I started this cycling thing last Feb on the 28th and racked up  a massive 3.39 miles!!! I wonder where I will be on 31st March ? …….. and lets not forget we are still in winter !!!!

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TONY DOWN

2017 THE YEAR OF THE PEDAL

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While all of the above maybe true a NEW bike would be nice!

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For 2016 I was on my Giant MTB which was top of the line in 2002 and retailed at around  $3500, although I didn’t pay quite that much. I did however buy a road bike and enjoyed the higher speeds riding around Phoenix but for the most part used the MTB on all the winding multi use paths in the Scottsdale area.

With a new chain and a new set of forks my “old bike” knocked up 2031 miles in 2016 in the pursuit of fitness and “living” post the severe bout of pneumonia. Of course when you have Stage 3 COPD it was an easy decision to give up smoking after 62 years! Well my learned Doctor said he had never seen a recovery like it and was also impressed with the total miles as he is also a dedicated mountain biker.

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The last ride was Thanksgiving Day and since then the weather has shut me down but with some Christmas pressies of riding thermals its time to get out there once more. This year’s objective is 3000 miles! for the 70 year old.

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……. and they work!

 

Superbowl Sunday and I set off again and now 1 week later despite snow, rain and cold I only have 2964 miles left to go. The winter months have given me plenty of opportunities to research many things of a cycling nature and I’m currently looking at two used bikes from Specialized. As it happens both are the Roubaix model. I hope they stay on E Bay long enough for me to buy one which could be around the end of March.

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This one is the older of the 2 and is about a 2008 ?

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This one is either 2011 or 2012 and I love it !!!

It seems there have been a lot of changes in the last 15 years or so with frames, riding positions, pedals, electronic gear changers and even disc brakes, although I see these are still banned from the Tour de France.

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Valentines Day, and after a quick fix on the hot water boiler with a new igniter, peace is restored as well as hot water. I also see that the 2 Roubaix bicycles I have been watching have both been reduced…… I just hope nobody else is tempted before I can be ready to buy.

With cycling now underway Pool has also restarted at another local bar which was the Hollywood MkII after the first one was burnt down. When owner, Travis, brought in this awful woman the bar went downhill in a heartbeat as she sacked bar staff, 86ed several locals, and cut others off at the bar. Very soon everyone drifted down to the Riverfront which has just gone through some mighty strange proceedings.

Supposedly the Riverfront came up for sale and it was rumored to have sold around the $Million mark. The first closing date was going to be just before Christmas! Fortunately that didn’t happen and new dates came and went for January. We were all told the NEW owners would be re-opening very soon with their own people. The next thing that happens is the bar shuts down on a Tuesday lunchtime and the next day there are “Out of Business” signs in the windows!

Some say it was a health violation, some say taxes haven’t been paid and it seems as though the staff have not been paid either. More rumors are the deal fell through and now our town bar is CLOSED!

With the move of locals to the Riverfront Travis closed the Hollywood and this sold last year and became the Montezuma Mexican bar and restaurant. The pool tables at the Riverfront have now appeared in the Montezuma and I’ve qualified already! Dolores pool players will NOT be denied !!

The second week on the pedals finished up with 100.72 miles on the odometer which is a good start to the year, although its snowing furiously as I write ………..

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Guess I’m not cycling this morning?     ……….. 30 mins later

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I don’t think so!

That white stuff continued ALL Sunday and zero was accomplished on the riding/health kick. Monday and we take a trip into Durango to see the NEW flooring that Brenda wants for the main bedroom. Quick visit to “Steamworks” for lunch then a few other shops before coming home. The weather has improved, the temps are up, and the weekend’s snow has melted!

Off I go again  and another 11.47 is in the books. Tuesday and Wed are nice days with hardly any wind and temps around 50F. Two days of 14+ a day but then on Thursday its snow again and today, Friday, its bitterly cold and windy…… and still snowing.

However my “Buy it Now” finger is getting itchy on Ebay.

TONY DOWN