Santa Fe Snowshoe Classic race report 1/9/10

I love snowshoe races. You need to be able to turn your heart rate up to 11, keep it there and not die too badly. Strapping ungainly boards to your feet favors the power runner over the finesse. High altitude racing only sweetens the deal and the pain.

As such, intrepid race hater Paul and I trekked up to the norski area in Santa Fe last weekend for the Santa Fe Snowshoe classic. This was my third time doing the race. The last two times were pretty successful with me taking third in the 5k in 2006 and 4th overall in the 5k in 2004.

We made it to the start with an hour to spare, registered and shivered a bit. As we were milling about before the race they made a pretty significant announcement: You must run the distance you signed up for. In the past, you could make a decision on whether to run the 5k or 10k in the middle of the race. The 5k is one lap of the course, the 10k two. What had happened in past years is that fast people who signed up for the 10k could just stop after 5k if they were placed well and reap the benefits of their place without doing the second lap. The race has always been pretty low key and odd, but with great prizes and raffles, so it was never a big deal, although it had cost me a few places over the years.

This year there were about 60 people on the starting line, which was about double the last time I ran it. I ran around and warmed up a bit, took a small swig of hot apple cider and headed to the start line. I lined up on the front row, so I could use my patented run real hard and blow up technique without getting impeded by other racers. As the race official was making last minute announcements it warmed up considerably. I was a touch overdressed, but no time to fix it, so I waited for the gun. However, one dude behind me whipped his shirt off and ran bare chested. I did not hear a hulk-like roar.

Me in the foreground
Start of the Santa Fe Snowshoe Classic

As we started I felt decent so I took a flyer on the slightly downhill starting stretch and got the hole shot leading to the first big climb. I felt decent on the climb and kept pushing it and lead for about half the climb. At this point Matt (orange jersey in the background of the photo above) blew by me and opened a huge gap on his way to winning the 10k decisively. I think he looked back at me and either laughed at/pitied/mocked me on his way by. I was starting to blow up something fierce. By the time I got the top of the big first hill, I was completely blown, but still in second place with no one too close behind me.

The course then winds through a long down hill. As I was running down, four more people passed me. Usually I am a great downhill snowshoe runner, but I was completely cooked. I set to the grim task of slogging along and slogged. I also set to the grim task of attempting to not vomit up the apple cider I drank pre race. What was I thinking?

I could hear three more runners coming up behind me as we went through the middle rolling section of the race. Two passed me and started pulling away as we entered the long last climb toward the finish line. I started to recover somewhat and was able to pull away from the runner who was on my heels and started to haul in the two in front of me.

The course ends on a long downhill, so I opened up my stride and tried to sprint past the two in front of me. They did not seem to be speeding up so I thought I could take them, then suddenly they turned off to do the 10k as I sprinted to the finish line. I felt a little sick, but glad to be done. The finish line timer told me good job! No one even near you. And I looked at him quizzically and then it dawned on me. I won the 5k. All the 7 people in front of me were in the 10k. Hooray!

I finished in 26:16, which I think was about the same time as 2006 give or take a few seconds. I still can't believe I won the 5k. I am happy the fast runners did the 10k and let me win. I am also happy the race organizers made people run the distance they signed up for. Thanks fast runners! In the post race raffle I won a $25 gift certificate to the local running store. For winning the race I got a nice handmade bowl and a pair of gaiters. We also got nice embroidered winter hats as a part of the entry fee. This race has enormous payback for those who actually do it. I would encourage more people to show up next year. I think everyone got a raffle prize.

bowls I have won over the years at this race
Winnings over the years at the Santa Fe Snowshoe classic

Fellow SWNordic Ski club members PaulG took 2nd in his age group in the 5k and LisaD took third overall woman in the 10k (in her first snowshoe race ever). DaveW also did some pre-race grooming to get the course in shape for the race.

A good day was had by all. Paul and I hit a restaurant in santa fe for some sammiches salads and beer and then headed home. I was sore for almost a whole week afterwards. I need to run more...

race results
2006 Santa Fe Snowshoe Classic race report


2009 year end motion update!

So sometime in the last couple of weeks the year ended and the new one started as one would hope, so it is time for the year end motion update.

The big news in motion update is that I completed 100% bike commuting last year. Basically from the time I started my current job in February of 2006 until the end of 2009 I drove to work about 10 times. I did two year or more uninterrupted stretches from 8/06 to 8/07 and from 4/08 to the end of 09. In other news I already broke the no riding to work streak this year, more on this later in the post.

So, on to the totals:
2964 bike and a measly 76 run. That averages out to 8.12 miles per day on the bike and .2 miles per day running.

The bike was good this year. Lots and lots and lots of commuting and errands. A fair bit of racing and an extremely modest amount of training and recreational riding. The breakdown is as follows:
711 on the Big Dummy
568 on the Kelly Singlespeed MTB about half on studs for the winter
476 on the Kogswell PR
288 on the Bike Friday Fixie
251 on the Stud shod Raleigh twenty
237 on the Hunter 24" BMX bike
156 on the three speed Schwinn Breeze
106 on the three speed Schwinn Traveller
100 on Bones, the Kelly Fixie
36 on the Kelly Road Bike
25 on the Picnica
10 on the Kelly singlespeed Cross Bike

My monthly mileage was remarkably consistent within the usual seasonal swings:
192 Jan
191 Feb
247 Mar
276 Apr
301 May
341 Jun
248 Jul
292 Aug
185 Sept
274 Oct
233 Nov
184 Dec

September a bit weak due to not riding for 12 days while in Egypt. Otherwise I traveled a bunch, but usually had a the fixie friday with me. Off the top of my head I rode it in:
Lincoln Nebraska, Knoxville Tennessee, San Francisco and Pleasanton and Livermore California, Seattle and Richland Washington, Las Vegas Nevada, plus at least one or two tiny rides here at home in Los Alamos New Mexico. I rode the picnica in Amarillo Texas. I raced my mountainbike in Durango Colorado and ended up nordic ski racing all over Colorado.

I made it to NJ, Salt Lake City and Egypt as well, all without riding.

The Big Dummy proved very useful and ate up a lot of commuting miles and won the yearly mileage for the second year. Between studded tired commuting and riding training and racing, the SS MTB came in second. The rest of the bikes were pretty well used. Other than the MTB the Kelly fleet was underutilized, the fixie was and still is in a state of much needed repairs after a 4 years of hard riding and abuse. The road bike was only used for one race and maybe one other ride, the cross bike was not raced on and barely used at all. I do have a 29'er kelly Singlespeed in the pipeline.

Overall there were 1228 miles on one speed bikes, or 41% of the yearly mileage.

Running was terrible this year. I barely ran at all. Work was busy enough that I only did a handful of lunch runs and I had some long term knee issues that were constantly there this year. I did get them checked out, and I have some IT band bursitis in my left knee, but somewhat surprisingly that is all, no meniscus/acl tears, no arthritis, no lack of cushioning. So I am pretty happy about that. The nice orthopedic doctor told me to stretch and ice and take it easy when it was sore, but no restrictions on activities, which far exceeded even my best hoped for result. Anyhow, the 76 miles I ran is less than my best week running when I was skinny collegiate runner boy. Oh so many years and pounds ago.

Speaking of pounds, I ended the year at 198 pounds which is mildly inflated by the holiday gain, but really really really typical of any year recently save 2005. I think I ranged in weight from 192 post xc ski season to 203 or so after a long business trip to california, where I really enjoyed being able to eat a wide variety of good food again. Again I would like to get back to below 190 which will undoubtedly help the running and the knees and the racing on bikes. So yet again, lets shoot for 187.5 pounds by the end of the year. Cantaloupe diet and fenfen here I come.

So in the mode of resolutions I still resolve the usual:
more gooder, less badder, more thinner, less fatter
More specifically I say I will once more yet again attempt to achieve 3650 miles ridden for the 10 mile a day average, I think I can do it this year. I changed my job a tiny bit which requires me to be at multiple facilities more often which will increase the bike commute a fair bit. I may also try to do some lunchrides, which I have not done since 2006 or so. I also started doing some longer rides hauling Aida in the chariot last year and she really liked it, as did I, so those should continue.

I am going to reduce the running miles goal to 150 as I have not come close to 365 miles run in a year since probably 2001. For the record the yearly totals that I can find are:
Bike Run
2003 2880 128
2004 3667 252
2005 3000 250
2006 4000 100
2007 2883 165
2008 2817 108
2009 2964 76
(2005 and 2006 are estimates based on partial year reporting)
But again, pretty darn consistent, over 8 miles a day biking for the last 7 years, if I could find the records going back to 2000 I bet the numbers would be slightly higher, but pretty much the same idea.

In other motion news, I did not, to my knowledge, go for a swim in 2009, save for a couple of times swinging the baby around the pool. Turns out I really would rather do almost anything else if there is not an ocean around. I went ice skating 3 times last year, it has kind of dropped off the table as it used to be a lunch date for Elena and I, but now with the baby, I just try to come home for lunch.

I went cross country skiing 18 times last year. A really high percentage of which were races.

Speaking of races, I raced a fair bit last year, 14 times, as I was inconsistent in my race reports this past year, here are all the races I did:
XC Ski:
Chama Chile Classic (10k classic)
NM Cup (12k skate)
Alley Loop (21k skate)
Durango Langlauf (30k Skate)
Alpina Stampede (21k skate)
Pajarito Pinhead (10k Skate)
Big Shooter Bonk (40k Skate)

Chama Chile classic (5k)

Atomicman Duathlon LittleBoy

Mountain Bike
Tierra Torture Short Track
Tierra Torture XC
pajarito Punishment XC
Road Apple Rally XC
Single Speed World Championship Durango

Pajarito Trails Festival 10k

That was 15 races. Pretty good. I skipped cross season completely and did no training races at all this year as I skipped the local timetrial and splash and dash series entirely.

All in all I love racing, it was a pretty hard year with all the racing and maybe not that much training, I am getting a bit old to fake it as well as I once could, so maybe 2010 I will train a bit more. That is, honestly, why I drove to work for the first time in over a year last week, so I could go skiing at lunch. If I am going to try to do some longer nordic ski races in 2010, I need a bit more time on the skis. The winter time is not really good for riding around here, I like riding in the cold and snow, but 3 miles each way subsistence commuting does not quite cut it for building fitness. So this winter I may drive in once a week so I can sneak off and get some skate skiing in.

As for last years non-motion goals:
Core strength, organization and teeth flossing
Well, we got a water pick, which hopefully obviates flossing, and I used it, so I will continue. As for the others, well, I will endeavor to improve these!

I think 2010 will be a great year, may you ride as much as you think is fun to do.


Review, Velo Orange Grand Cru Threadless Bottom Bracket

Threadless Bottom Bracket from velo-orange
here is what you get

This is a pretty simple and well executed design, each cup of the bb has a taper with a sliding split sleeve on it. As you screw the two halves of the bb into each other the sleves slide up the taper, expanding against the inside of the shell. When you can't tighten it anymore, it is wedged in there good. You are done. The bottom bracket is available for $60 from Velo Orange

update 1/5/10: Lots of questions about "will this work on my fisher or fat-chance or merlin with no thread BB shells or a thompson bb, etc..." I do not know, but I do know this:
the silver split ring measures at just above 33.5mm when placed all the way down the taper, and 34mm all the way up. I think the ID (at thread tips) of most bottom brackets (english swiss french) is something like 33.75. You basically have to have the ID of the bb be between 33.5 and 34 for this to work. Might be a little slop at the outer ranges, but not much.

I tried installing this BB on 5 different frames. 2 were very easy , one took some work, and two were impossible due to problems with the frames.

Oddly colored bottom bracket. Alas it does not match the classic bullseye hub

Playing with the bottom bracket on the table the bottom bracket begins to engage at about 78mm in between the cups inner flange. After three full turns the distance between the inner flanges is just over 75mm.
three turns and you are at 75mm flange to flange
When the bb is completely tightened to the point of bearings binding, the inner flange diameter is just below 68mm. However, the inner flange diameter has little relation to where the tool will actually tighten down in a given BB. Both flanges do not make it all the way to the bb shell. Due to the internally expanding design and variations in ID of the BB shell and roundness, the spacing between the flanges is usually a tiny bit to more than that wider than the BB shell. Alas, this means that there is virtually no way you can use this BB for a Raleigh twenty with a 76mm bottom bracket shell.

The bearings are replaceable cartridge bearings. Bearing assembly is held together with a snap ring. I did attempt to dissasemble the bottom bracket, but the snap ring had larger holes than my snap ring remover, so I gave up. Update 1/5: Per the comments, the snapring does sit in a groove just outboard of the bearing. This is a stress riser in an already highly stressed area.

Update 1/8/10: Tom from Velo Orange responds in the comments:
"the BB spindle material is much different from the 70's Viscount/ Lambert BB's that were sold back in the day. Newer material (Boron hardened steel) with a newer alloying process produces a BB spindle that is less brittle and may significantly reduce the chance of failure from where the snap-ring groove is.
Of course, if there is ever an issue, Velo Orange will stand behind the product and cover it under warranty."


The cups have 6 lock ring cuts on the outer diameter as well as large pin holes on the face. The cups are all aluminum, and the lock ring notches can strip out when you are cranking hard on it with a single point lockring wrench. I used a variety of bb specific lock ring wrenches as well as a couple headset and track ones, not one interfaced securely enough to avoid the possibility of stripping the notches when tightening. The pin holes are large and deep, but I did not try to use them for installation. None of the modern shimano BB tools interface with this bottom bracket (Park tools BBT-18, BBT-8, ) I believe the correct tool for this job is a Park BBT-4 with the 6 notches. I have every bb tool ever, but not this one, so I can't confirm it. update 1/5/10: commenter points out the bbt-4 is not the right tool. It has rounded notches, not squared ones. Velo orange says single point BB tool is the right one and cranking hard is not necessary


I did install and remove the BB on 5 different frames and thus subjected the bottom bracket to repeated installation and really cranked on it to see if it would loosen over time, so I am pretty sure you can get this seated well without stripping the notches with a single point lock ring wrench. I also cranked on the drive side cup after fully tightening the non-drive side, I had multiple notch stripping here, this is probably not a good idea.I did this on the frame where the drive side flange was not seated on the BB-shell. If you do this, you may find it very difficult to remove the drive side of the BB. When I did this it sort of bound on itself and did not move. This is a great sign for the solidness of the bottom bracket, to remove the bottom bracket (if there is room ) you can insert a screwdriver between the flange and the silver slider and wedge it out.
update 1/5/10: Velo orange says single point BB tool is the right one. In retrospect for normal installation, they are correct, it does work fine for a single installation and removal, as long as you don't crank on it too hard.

Again, if your inner BB-shell is out of round or dirty or subsized, the flanges will not seat on the shell. I think the best bet would be to do all the tightening from the non-drive side. If I was redesigning this, I would make sure it interfaced with either the BB-18 tool (Shimano Isis 8 notch) or the BBT-9 tool (18 external notches) for the outboard bearing cranks, both of which are easier to find in a shop right now.

well seated in a miyata Terra Runner

So in total I easily installed this BB in a:
1980s Miyata Terra runner ATB frame with a English threaded BB shell width of 72mm
A 1970's track frame with a french threaded BB shell, 68mm width

Raleigh Sports with bottom bracket installed

I was able to install it in:
1960's Raleigh Sports, with a 71mm raleigh threaded BB shell. However due to some rock hard grease on the shell between the threads, the tapers would not seat fully. The down tube and seat tube protude through the bb shell lug on this frame, they may also impinge upon the bb slightly. Even after cleaning the grease, the bottom bracket did not seat fully. I do not believe that this will affect the function of the Bottom bracket.
Installed in Raleigh Sports, note drive (blue) side flange not fully seated

I was not able to install this bottom bracket in my Raleigh Twenty with 71mm bottom bracket. The interior of the bb is actually slightly smaller than the threaded portion, preventing the silver sliders from entering the frame fully, which prevented the two bottom bracket halves to thread into each other.

I was not able to get the BB to install in my Raleigh Twenty with 76mm bottom bracket. It may be possible to get the threads started on a bottom bracket this wide, but I do not see it as a likely bet. It certainly did not work on mine. As with many Raleigh frames, the worksmanship is sloppy, and there are some weld blips in the bottom bracket shell between the threaded region that may prevent this bottom bracket from working at all, despite the length. It is probably possible to hacksaw the bb shell down and use this bottom bracket, I don't particularly recommend this, although sheldon brown did (here, search for hacksaw).

For wider shells, remember that the nondrive side cup will stick out a little farther than the shell and I could see this interfering with the crank arm. All the extra width will effect where the outer flange on the non-drive side sits. Not the drive side. So a 73mm shell, for example, will have the non-drive side bb axle effectively 5mm closer to the centerline of the bike than it would on a 68mm shell. Not a big deal on longer bottom brackets probably, but not great if you are really trying to use a narrow bottom bracket in a wide shelled frame, as you might with a SA hubbed raleigh sports for example.

I had no trouble reinstalling threaded bottom brackets in two of the frames I tried this on. The threads do not seem to be affected at all. All these frames are steel! This could be an issue with aluminum frames, but I do not know.

Finally, the BB came with no instructions. Based on my experiences, here is what I would recommend.
0. Check to see if there are any obstructions in the bottom bracket shell that stand proud of the threads, if there are and they are removable, do so, if not, consider not ordering this bottom bracket.
1. Clean well the BB shell of the frame you want to install this bottom bracket in.
2. Grease the bottom bracket shell.
3. Remove the silver sliders from the bottom bracket
4. Grease the threads on the bottom bracket.
5. Lightly grease the tapered section of the bottom bracket.
6. Lightly grease the inside and outside of the silver sliders
7. Reinstall the silver sliders and push them down the tapers as far as they go.
8. Place the drive side of the bottom bracket into the shell, press as deeply as you can.
9. Place the non-drive side of the bottom bracket into the bb shell, until it makes contact with the other side.
10. Turn non-drive side threading it into the drive side. Turn until it is tight.

And then you are done. In fairness, I did none of this on the Miyata and the french track frame, I just threaded it in and it worked fine.

In conclusion, I think this product works great. I think this will work nicely on most frames. It is a nice solution to dealing with swiss threaded bb's, french threaded bb's or frames with slighly munged up bb threads. Depending on your BB width, this may work great on your old Raleigh Sports. It may not work though, due to characteristic Raleigh sloppy worksmanship. Furthermore, I do not believe it will work on any Raleigh twenties with 76mm bottom brackets. If there is anything in a frame's bottom bracket shell that stands proud of the threads, this bottom bracket might not work.

Tool Notes: I removed the cottered cranks and bottom brackets off of three different raleigh frames. Two twenty and a sports. They were all at least 30 years old and one of them had probably never had the bb pulled. I used a cotter pin press and raleigh bb tool from Mark Stonich's bike smith design. If you work on bikes with cottered cranks and have lots of old raleighs with the annoying subliminally flatted raleigh drive side cups, these tools are completely worth it. They are not cheap, but they are very well made.

Finally, I received this bottom bracket to review from Chris at Velo-Orange. And review it I have. I will keep it installed on the raleigh sports for now and build that up with a coaster braked 650B wheelset I built up and report back with any issues as i put mileage on it over the next month or so.


On Flaming Bikes of Death

As the new year descends upon us, I reflect, I like bikes and have for a long time. I also think back to the proto-internet cycling influences that have created the cycling world we know today. One was, of course, sheldon brown The other? Chunk666. I recently came across this image of and via the johnny appleseed of mutant bikes, megulon 5. Image circa 1995. Great stuff. Brings tears to the eyes.

Photo by Nielson Abeel

If you have not checked out Chunk666 in a while, head over to their website/lifestyle store or their blog or read more about flaming bikes of death.

Anyhow, Happy biking in ought-ten.