Friday, June 10, 2011

Portrait Night at Signature Cycles with Rob Vandermark of Seven Cycles

When I was visiting with Paul Levine of Signature Cycles last week for a fitting at his Central Valley location, he invited me to the upcoming Portrait Night at the Greenwich Signature studio. The idea is simple, Paul invites an important figure in the custom bicycle business to speak, spreads the word to people who have bought or might buy through Signature and then additionally offers the opportunity for bike owners to have their portrait taken alongside their custom Signature bike by professional portrait photographer James Patrick Cooper. I've seen a few of these portraits and they're really quite nice.

The event is scheduled for this Thursday evening from 6:00 - 8:00 pm and features Rob Vandermark the founder and chief designer at Seven Cycles in Watertown, MA. I'm a huge Seven fan and look forward to hearing Rob speak about the Berlin Show Bike, the gorgeous urban utility bike he's planning to bring (pictured above), among other things.

The funny thing is that I'll be having my picture taken alongside my totaled Independent Fabrication Club Racer. I told Paul that I'd love to come, but only if I can get an additional portrait taken with its replacement which should arrive within the next 6-8 weeks. It should make for an interesting before/after comparison.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

George Rides the Ridge!

Well today was the day I've been looking forward to for quite some time. My first event (and longest ride!) since the August 26 accident and, as you can see from the photo above, I look nearly normal. The Ride the Ridge Hudson Valley Challenge is a fixture on the local riding calendar and a fundraiser for a very nice independent school in the area. Not to sound snooty, though, but until this year, I never felt that a 50-mile event was really worth suiting up for. My how things have changed.

I live about 20 minutes from the start, so I didn't have to rise too early to pick up my registration materials and prepare for the ride. It was a thrill to go through my checklist last night and scurry around the house looking for all of the necessary items. It was hard falling asleep last night knowing that in a few hours I would be experiencing the excitement of a large group ride for the first time in over nine months.

I know I should be glad to simply be riding pain-free in an event of this length, but my weak legs and terrible cardio fitness really created a disconnect between my mind and my body. I was able to override the impulse to hammer, but finding myself in an unfamiliar part of the pack of riders huffing up hills I used to charge up was a bit disorienting. For the most part, though, I was able to climb seated on this ride with 2000 ft. of gain which was a pleasure to see. I really prefer to climb in the saddle unless things are really nuts.

While this was a local event, I was surprised to see so few familiar faces. I did run into my friend Doug from Woodstock at the start with his beautiful new carbon Serrota. I also had the pleasure of riding with Andrey and his son Alex in the last few miles of the ride as they were finishing the 30-mile loop. When I saw him in the distance, I knew that anyone with bar-end shifters and a rando bag had to be a friend of mine. It was great to catch up with Andrey who is in the midst of a successful season filled with qualifying rides for PBP.

The only physical discomfort I felt today came in the last few miles when I felt a little soreness in the area where my left femur enters my hip. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is nothing more serious than some tight and/or weak muscles and tendons rather than any nascent problem with my bones.

Next up: I hope to ride the Flatlander's Delight 200K permanent before the end of the month, but I may have to fit in a 100-mile training ride first, just for good measure.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Finally Time for a Fitting!

Today I made the trip back to Paul Levine's Signature Cycles studio for a proper fitting to see if anything's changed since the accident that would affect the build on my new Independent Fabrication Club Racer. Luckily, I found that my numbers were pretty similar to the ones Paul had on file from 2008. My hamstrings are still tighter than I'd like them to be, but my pedal stroke remains strong and symmetrical. The only modification I may need (which may be temporary) is to slide the left hood back just a few centimeters to accommodate a slight limitation in my left shoulder range. That will probably straighten itself out and I'm very pleased that none of the permanent measurements on the new frame will be affected.

I've decided to go with the exact same model, same color, same component group and same accessory set-up. I was completely satisfied with the last version, and without going crazy over researching a replacement, I'll be very happy to just get back on the road with a familiar friend. In only six to eight weeks, this chapter will come to a close.

I may go with the hammered rather than smooth Honjo fenders. Need to think about that one. Perhaps I'll take a spin through my new copy of The Golden Age of Hand-built Bicycles for inspiration.