Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pescadero ride, TOC Stage 3, projects

It’s been a while since I’ve last posted but I’ve had a few great rides and have some updates on some bikes I’ve been working on.

We’ve had some unusually wet weather here in California due to El NiƱo conditions so far this year, but there were a few nice breaks in the weather in April. For a long time I’ve wanted to ride to Pescadero and back from where I live. To ride to the coast, I usually have ridden to San Gregorio, the first 15 miles rolling hills plus a good climb up to Skyline boulevard. Once over the top, mostly downhill on Highway 84 to San Gregorio, then a short climb up to Hwy 1 on the upper part of Stage road after about a mile or so on Hwy 1 a nine mile climb back via Tunitas creek road and over Kings Mountain through Woodside. About 57 miles total.

Going to Pescadero involves another climb on Pescadero road over Hayes Hill past Sam McDonald park, then mostly downhill, flat to Pescadero. Once in Pescadero you take Stage road through a beautiful valley and then climb some rolling hills to San Gregorio and then back up the amazing Tunitas redwood forest climb. I rode this April 18 on a perfect clear day. About 70 miles total, more than I’ve ridden before and well worth it. Going on longer rides definitely puts you in a different mind set, the experience of riding this far and with some climbing involved, has made me feel more confident to be able to pace myself and go farther now on rides.

Miyata commute bike
I’ve been now regularly commuting to work by bike and CalTrain. Sprinting by bike to Caltrain is great training and I’ve been commuting on an excellent vintage Miyata 310 I set-up with with tt bullhorn handlebars and lightweight components, including retrofitting current dual pivot brakes, this is an awesome commute bike.

Fuji Del Rey

A while back I rebuilt a mid 80s Fuji Del Rey frame, originally a sport touring bike, that I set up in the French randonneur style. It’s a production frame, but fairly lightweight and I recently added some aluminum fenders in hammertone finish. May 18, I took a day off and rode this bike to watch part of the Tour of California Stage 3 race (SF to Santa Cruz). I rode to the top of Pescadero road just past the 3rd "King of the Mountain" marker (a points classification). I rode along the course on Highway 84, on the way up to Skyline boulevard there was rain and in some places very heavy fog/mist. With fenders this was no problem. On the way up, some roadside fans with cowbells gave me a ring while I rode up 84 to Skyline that was cool. I had a bell too, so was able to ding them back.

Once I got over the crest of Hwy 84 at Skyline boulevard where packs of fans waited in the rain and mist, I didn’t see any riders or even fans for a number of miles until I got to La Honda. As I descended 84 the rain had cleared, now my goal was to try to reach the 3rd KOM before the racers did. I descended through La Honda, where local town folk came out for the race, then I proceeded a few miles down the road to where you make a left on Pescadero road. A few fans were there as the road climbed going towards Sam McDonald park. I was surprised to see so few riders, it seemed like most people who came to see the race only wanted to go as far as Skyline, perhaps having second thoughts because of the rain and mist.

I was now elated to be away from work and riding on this fantastic road and charged to get to the 3rd KOM marker, that the bike race was going to come by was just another perk. I made it past the KOM at the crest of Pescadero road with about 15 minutes to spare before the race passed by. The rain had cleared and I enjoyed a sandwich overlooking the beautiful valley westward before the racers arrived and disappeared in a flash. I made a few photos and shot some video and then made my way back along 84 and West Old La Honda along pristine green hills and amazing wildflowers. This is a ride I will not soon forget.

Original Pelissier Randonneur bike project
Last saturday I picked up the Pelissier frame that local machinist Peter Johnson finished making the bottom bracket caps for. These were missing and an odd thread. Peter did a superb job on these, using some hardened aircraft aluminum for the caps. It will now be set-up with cartridge bearings and a straight spindle Phil Wood bb stainless steel axle, he included a sleeve that I will glue with Loctite to the axle before assembling to prevent it from shifting laterally.

From VeloTouriste
Next up:
1. Rechroming the steel Phillippe stem and finding a top cap or having one made.
2. Getting the NOS Stronglight P3 headset installed (no ball bearings were included, this was the way they were supplied in the '50s)
3. Rebuilding the wheelset (the original Super Champion 23mm wide 650b rims are good just weathered, front has a flat spot probably fixable when relacing. rear hub axle is bent (have a vintage replacement). The original tires were Dunlop "Balon Leger" will buy some 650b tires closest to the size of the originals.
4. Refinishing the rare LeFol Lepaon (zeppelin style) fenders as they were very weathered and pitted, it's been some work hand refinishing these.