It might be the headwinds, it might be my bicycle fitter’s comments, or the article I recently read on the Internet concerning gearing but whatever the reason I’m cranky!


So what prompted this you ask ? ……… after the fitting of my high speed racing Roubaix, Scott, the fitter, said he thought the current gearing of 53/39 might be a bit high for the Colorado mountains. This sent me off on my research mission where I found the article saying 53/39 might be great if you live in the Netherlands with flat roads and dykes but for USA a set of 50/34 is really a better choice.


Current set-up on the Roubaix, 53/39 …….. great for Holland !

Next step is back to the cycle shop and then Ebay to search 50/34 chain rings to swop over. Not so fast cycling amateur!!! Your set comes with a BCD (technical term for hole spacing) of 130 and they don’t make a 50/34 set, only a 46/38 which is more for cyclocross rather than road riding.


Having increased my limited cycling knowledge, yet again, I finally find a 50/34 crank set by the same makers in the 110 BCD range so I have now opted for this and a bid is on the “Bay”.


Just won this set on E Bay

The whole assembly arrived yesterday (2 days early) and I should have it fitted next weekend, all being well, and then with only 9 days of school bus driving left I should be able venture further afield on the daily ride.

A male cycling enthusiast with blonde hair, wearing a blue with white helmet, blue goggles, blue shirt with white sleeves, white gloves, white shorts with blue stripes and a pair bike shoes, smirks as he rides a road bike with blue tires and gray frame

Furthest distance from the house got extended this week out to 7.6 miles which has a certain feel good factor to it as over 15 clicks up as I come back by the house. After yesterday’s efforts I’m at 1106.93 and still have the weekend to go and no local pool today.









Losing Ground

The manic cycling quest continues! Those that had any interest  in this endeavor will remember my goal for 2017 was 3000 miles up here at 7000′.

The 1st milestone was to hit more than 400 miles before my doctor’s visit on 28th March. 400 was the challenge to equal last year’s numbers on my first visit back in June 2016. This was done running out at 550.90 despite wind, snow, rain and ice.


My biggest challenge is the infernal headwind!!!

Adding the Specialized Roubaix to the inventory has increased the daily riding distances from last year’s 10+ daily target and I now seem to be clicking over a solid 20 miles on each outing.


Fast and furious!

Last week finished up at 781.83 just missing the 800 due to a bad weather day but since then, with only one rest day I was through the “800”and with some dogged determination I just made the “900” before pool playing on Saturday. Next challenge is the first “1000” kite before the end of April. I must confess these current headwinds do nothing for the enthusiasm.

2014-03-15 Bicycle Friends Headwind Humor

What a week this one has been! The weather spun backwards and gave us another look at winter with raging winds, pouring rain, serious big hailstones and another bout of snow. The combination of all of this forced the “manic cyclist” to take stock and take 2 weather enforced rest days.

So here I am, 28th April, 44.22 miles short of my first 1000 goal of the year …….. another dreadful day, bitter cold, rain, snow, hail,  and a biting westerly wind ! No matter another 18.65 in the book but the weather is still holding the trump cards.


Last year’s Tour de France when they say a spectator accidentally unplugged the air compressor!


This morning its 24F and a light sprinkling of snow. Also my son’s birthday and our local pool competition final. Two days left to crack that “1000” and only 25.57 to hit the barrier but if I do venture out this morning its looking like taking the mountain bike might be a better prospect and just knock off a few miles.

Cold at 34F but the intrepid cyclist will NOT be denied and another 13.70 comes off the required distance until the banner flies overhead.

Picture 001

The end of the 1st 1000 miles is in sight!

April 30th, the target day, and despite the misery of all last week’s weather I only need a smidge under 12 miles to go under that banner. However, its bright and sunny outside but only 30F on the thermometer and the wind could gust up to 40MPH !! I’ll be looking for a sheltered spot and just go round and round until I’m dizzy.


After 15.66 miles I had had enough of the bitter cold and crippling winds, but the objective had been achieved with the total at 1003.79 miles !


Made it !

Time for another milestone so over to Mancos and in for the last week of qualifying for their Spring Championship. Last week at the Dolores competition my play was getting back to some of its former glory and today I sail through to the final for a satisfying 2nd place.






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!


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!


The monster light unit is free!


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!


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.


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!!




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.


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.



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.


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



Shorter stem and a bit more rise


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.


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!


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.


Fitting complete!


2nd place today



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.


None of this!


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


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”.


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.





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?


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.


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


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.


……… 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.


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!!!


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


Ugly but you get the idea


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.




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!


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.


Front brake done


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.








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!


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.


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.




Be very careful


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 ????


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.


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!!


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.


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!


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”




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.



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.


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.


Waiting on the Speedo

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



Got just the place for you 2 !



……. 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?


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.



The KASK Vertigo in British colors


Suomy Timeless

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


Really nice but NOT in my size


This one is ME but a little expensive


Colors are right, my size, my price

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







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.



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.


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!


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!!!



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!!!!



It snows for the rest of the day!!!