Riding This Week


Chainbuster MTB Racing Series - Georgia's friendliest MTB racing. 6 & 9 Hour Endurance racing for solo or teams.

Dirty Spokes - Duathlon and Trail running series. Love these guys. First class events.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas and the Next Bike

Christmas at my house is so much fun. I have two girls, 8 and 12 years old. They are what I like to call "low maintenance" because at this age they can actually do things on their own. With the proper inspection of course. What I mean is you can tell them to unload the dish washer, go take showers, brush your teeth, and get your clothes out for tomorrow and it actually gets done...most of the time. Which is still a far cry from having to change a diaper or keeping their fingers off the stove.
My wife Lisa may have a slightly less exuberant opinion of the girls direction following skills and I can understand that since she's with them all day, every day. But I'll probably never be as happy with things as I am right now. They try to please us. They are excited about EVERYTHING! They have great attitudes and don't really care where we go or what we do as long as Mommy and Daddy are happy.

This can't last.

I know that my status as the Greatest Dad in the World may be in jeopardy once the teenager lurking inside them comes to the natural understanding that they are in fact smarter than we are. It's coming...I can feel it.

But for now I'm loving life with the kids. We celebrated Jesus' Birthday with family and friends for three days straight. There's bad food everywhere in my house. Candy, cookies, cake, buttery salt filled leftovers all call to me when I walk through the kitchen. My system is totally confused. Normally I eat as healthy as someone like me can find. Wheat beagles, peanut butter, fruits and veggies. My only vice is the cookies at Subway. 3 for $1.00 I mean come on people. Speaking of Subway I've been really enjoying the new Fruit and Yogurt Parfait. You can get that with the meal instead of chips. Comes with a granola packet too! But then I blow it all by getting a cookie. Fresh baked cookies! I'm so weak.

The Gift

I received many great gifts this Christmas but the very best one came from my wonderful wife. She gave me a National Championship Jersey signed by my favorite rider George Hincapie. The story of this gift actually began back in September. I was trying to organize the Lt. Governor's Century and sent an email to the folks at Hincapie Sportswear asking for their help. They responded by sending me the jersey. When it arrived I was so very conflicted in my soul. Not only is it what it is, but it was even in my size. Say that ten times.

Me in my "Signed" George Hincapie USA Champion Jersey
I displayed it in my basement until the Century Ride where I reluctantly added it to all the cool silent auction memorabilia. During the day I was out supporting the riders and I asked Lisa to bid on it for me. When I finally returned, everything was gone and they were cleaning up. I asked about it and she told me it sold to someone with more money than us. Oh well. It went for a great cause.
Little did I know there was a conspiracy a foot. She did a great job of lying to me. And don't think that fact hasn't been on my mind just a little bit. A lie that it seems my own children were aware of because they all stopped their own Christmas joy to watch me unwrap it. I reacted perfectly by jumping around in the living room and then wearing it all morning. I tried to wear it to bed but Lisa wouldn't let me.

A gift from Jessica Pattillo

So by now you must be wondering about the title of this post. "Next Bike?" Well I've been working on my next project bike for a year now and I think it may be close to happening. Simply put it's a Ritchey BreakAway Cross bike. You see I have a dream. My dream is to travel all over the world and ride in the coolest places. I want to do Gran Fondo's and see the Tour of California. I want to go to Europe and climb Mont Ventoux. And on the less dreamy side I want a bike to take to the beach and race local cyclocross.

After many hours of research I settled on the Ritchey BreakAway design. It's a proven design that actually provides a great ride. At first I wanted the Titanium version. But then Ritchey released his new line of BAB's and I decided the new steel would work just fine.
The Next Bike
My process began with the purchase of a used Giant CX bike from Habersham Bicycles. The goal was to use all the parts from this bike to build up the frame from Ritchey. Originally I wanted the Ti frame so the black stem, seat post, and other stuff would work just fine. Then they came out with this beautiful white bike. Being steel made it considerably cheaper although a little more than a pound heavier. After many sleepless nights I decided that for its intended use this bike would be just fine. But to me one of the reasons this bike is so nice is because of the "wet white" finish and matching wet white stem and seat post. So I worked on selling and buying the correct accessories. Keep in mind that all of this has taken 12 months to make happen. Chad's next bike is not in the budget. I sold, bartered, and traded many things to make this happen including the original Giant frame. Now here's what I have:

What's not in the picture are the wheels. I have the original set of Giant CX wheels with Small Block 8 tires and for road trips I have a set of Ksyrium SL's. But I'm sure my Zipp 404's will look especially nice on this bike should I choose to run them. Now all I need is the frame.

What is a Ritchey BreakAway Frame?

Dinning on the West Coast
A few years ago I took my wife to California with me. We stayed with my aunt who lives in near San Jose. This was during the Tour of California and obviously that was what I wanted to see.
It's a great story for another day but the thing I want to tell you is this. I shipped my bike out there and it cost me a fortune. I wished I could have figured out how to pack it up so tight it would fit in a standard sized suit case and fly without extra charges. I'm dreaming again right?

Ritchey Ti BreakAway Bike
There are several other choices for doing the same thing. The next best thing to what Ritchey offers is to add S&S couplings to a bike you already have. This requires that your bike have a perfectly round top tube and down tube. I actually met a guy on this years Six Gap ride on Hog Pen with a coupling bike. Works great. But he had an old Ti frame and paid $1,000 to add the couplings.

Is the Ritchey dependable as a race/century/everyday riding bike? I asked the same question and after a lot of reading reviews I've decided it must be. BAB's have a tremendous following. Here's the newest review I found online:

I have just finished an Ironman on my Ritchey Ti Break-Away Frame! Thought I'd share my experiences. Beforehand I was weighing up the options - Ti Time Trial Frame requiring full bike box, or Ritchey Break-Away Frame, with road bike geometry but able to be packed into a suitcase. Two factors swung it. The first was the journey - car, bus, plane, bus, car, ferry, car arrive at race site. Hmmm, no brainer there. The Ritchey bike bag was going to be a lot easier than manhandling a bike box everywhere.

The second was the terrain, a tough mountain course on the beautiful Italian island of Elba. A time trial bike was not going to help much. But this was a fast, technical course involving complex multiple hair pin bend descents - could I trust the frame joints with a 88kg rider on board racing as hard as my incompetence as a triathlete would allow? Of course the only way was a test. So the week before I completed in a sprint distance triathlon on a hilly course that concluded with a fast, steep descent with two 90 degree turns, one on top of the other. It handled like a dream - smooth and creamy. And so I wended my way to Italy from the UK to start my 8th Ironman.

The Ritchey bike was quite simply an absolute delight to ride. I chucked it as hard as my nerves would allow into each and every bend. Each corner providing ever more reassurance of the competence of this frame. Now I like descending, I like descending a lot. In fact, I take it as a personal affront if anyone should even think of passing me on the way down (different story on the way up). I had immense pleasure reeling in other cyclists astride their full carbon race weapons - especially, as I was riding a folding bike.

So, what lessons have I learned? The joints are super strong and reliable. They can cope comfortably with heavy riders hammering the hell out of themselves. The Ti-Carbon Frame is the armchair of cycling - it's very, very comfortable, a touch whippier than a full aluminum frame but all the better for it. And yes, the bag is just outside airline luggage specifications - but after half a dozen flights - no one has challenged me yet. So, if you're sitting there thinking, "would I ride this bike when I am not traveling?"  The answer is yes. I've just sold my other road frame, because owning a Ritchey frame means it's now redundant. I'm just plucking up courage to explain to my wife why I need to replace my single speed frame with a Ritchey Break-Away single speed frame.....wish me luck!"

Best wishes
Dom Irvine

So, I've pre-ordered a New Ritchey Steel BreakAway bike and I can't wait. They say it will be shipped in January but I doubt it. My goal was to race the Southern Cross race in Dahlonega in February on it but I'm not so sure now.
Southern Cross Race in Dahlonega, GA

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with your family!

Join us for a GAP’s ride from Turners Corner General Store this Saturday Morning Dec. 31st at 8:00AM. There are already around 15 riders coming including Joe Elam, Stephen Sisk, David Latty, Dustin Mealor and the newest of newbies Trent Smith. This will be a NO DROP RIDE. We’re just heading out for 35 miles in the mountains. If you ever thought of riding up there this is the time. We believe it should take no more than about 3 hours so that puts most of us back at the house before lunch. Bring a friend! Pass this email along to anyone you think may be interested.

Also, if anyone would like to be our SAG Driver I’d appreciate it. It’s always great to have a vehicle close by to take pictures and help out.

Address: 13870 Hwy 19 N., Cleveland, GA 30528

If you need anything (gloves, warmers, ect) let me know. I look forward to seeing all of you there.
BTW: I have some left over goodie bags from the Lt. Governor’s Century I’ll be bringing for everyone.

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!


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