Weekend in LA

Decided to take a quick trip to LA for the weekend to visit some friends and family. So naturally that meant it was time to check in with the So Cal chapter of Boyz on the Hoods.

TophersExpedition

Topher was kind enough to let me borrow his 56cm 1984 Specialized Expedition. Funny story is that I previously owned this Expedition, until I decided to size down and found an identical one in 54cm. The bike actually worked pretty well for me considering the Rivendell/French style/”fistful of seatpost” style of fit. Anyways, Topher recently re-built it with a Sugino triple, Veloce shifters, and a bangin’ wide rim wheelset coupled with some Jack Brown Green tires. I got to put some good mileage on it and can give it the thumbs up as an all arounder gravel grindin’ sport touring fat tired fun (got any other marketing buzz words?) bike!

On Saturday, Luke, Topher and I rode down to Turnbull Canyon in Hacienda Heights. Cycling through different cities in Los Angeles County makes you feel inconsequential compared to the great expanse of the land and while the scenery doesn’t quite match the Bay Area, there is something about the weird cultural landscape that I’m not sure how to describe. I also forgot how brutal the sun can be and we spent most of the day roasting away. We capped off the day by drinking some 7-11 Slurpees and eatin’ some tortas in El Monte.

On Sunday, we met up for the Feel My Legs I’m a Racer #8 event. Basically, it’s a fun yearly race/ride that’s thrown by Matt Ruscigno and the SWARM bike crew, and it traverses ten of the steepest hills in Los Angeles.

I made it up 6/10 hills, and attempted and failed another, and skipped the three steepest hills in LA (Eldred, Baxter and Fargo). Topher and Luke fared better than I did but the general consensus was this was one tough ride. Once again, big props to Matt and his volunteers for throwing this event, as it takes a lot of planning and coordination to hold such an awesome event. Speaking of awesome volunteers, I also met Errin (Frontage Roads DOT com) and he hooked it up with some patches and stickers. Thanks dude!

Here are some awesome photos during the event (courtesy of Donovan Jenkins and Michael Wagner) that demonstrate some of the pain we experienced:

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Can’t wait till the Bay Area and So Cal Boyz on the Hoods unite for another joint ride. Until next time…

Carlin’s Rock Lobster CX

Carlin here, presenting my newest bike. A custom Rock Lobster tig welded steel frame. I ordered this back on November in the midst of CX season. After three races, I came down with a serious case of the cyclocross bug, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Paul Sadoff’s no-nonsense, pragmatic, rider-comes-first philosophy towards bikes and frame-building, so it made perfect sense for me to order a frame from him. The guy works hard, is great at what he does, and genuinely loves the sport of cycling and the community around it.

I believe the front triangle is True Temper OX Platinum tubing, with Dedacciai chainstays and seatstays. I’m using a mostly Shimano drivetrain. The crankset is a  SRAM Force 110 BCD crankset on which I’ve switched the chainrings to a traditional CX compact (46/36). Combining with an 11-28 10sp cassette in the rear gives me a wide enough range to ride almost everything I’ve encountered in the Bay Area thus far. Paul Minimoto brakes provide some serious stopping power for either steep fire road descents or coming around hot corners in a CX race. The rest of the bike is standard fare: 3T stem and seatpost, Specialized Romin Ti-railed saddle, Ritchey Logic II handlebars, and Lizardskins bartape.

This isn’t a pure race bike, and I intend on using it for almost all of my recreational rides that don’t require me to carry a load (e.g., touring or extra long brevets), thus versatility is key. The bike has fender eyelets in case I ever move to a region with a climate less amenable to cycling. As a direct result of this, Paul also slightly increased the tire clearance to allow me to have fenders and still run decently wide tires. I plan on having two wheelsets for this bike, both with Shimano hubs laced to Velocity A23 rims. During CX season, the training set (with 32H Ultegra 6500 hubs) will be run with slicks and serve as my primary wheels, while my nicer set (28H Dura Ace 7900 hubs) will have knobbies mounted, and function as race wheels. When CX season is over, I’ll swap the knobbies and slicks and run my nicer wheels on longer recreational road rides, while using the knobbies for whatever weird mixed terrain adventures await.

I haven’t done a serious ride on this bike yet, but the two short 20 mile rides I’ve done so far have been an absolute blast. The moment I sat on the saddle and set my hands on the bars, my first thought was “Oh yeah. This bike was definitely made for me.” I’m looking forward to many years of quality time in the saddle of this top-notch frame!