Thursday afternoon, while Paige and I were away from the house, Louis Pierre, the world's most terrible companion beast, found a bottle of peanut oil that we hadn't unpacked yet, and ate a bunch of it. He spread the remainder throughout the house, and just to be thorough, he stomped oily little footprints across all of the areas he had missed with his first bombing raid. At some point during or after his attack on the house, he yarfed up a few slicks of oil mixed with almost digested kibble in my bike room, and he created a large mystery puddle in the john. This is not really relevant to anything; I just wanted to make sure he was properly shamed on the internet. The internet never forgets, Louis.
Anyways, I'm back, and I missed this!
After 5 weeks of intense (for a lazy crud like myself) engineerin', wedding planning, house painting, and moving, my life has finally returned. I wish I could tell tales of my glorious and adventure-full riding and racing from the last month, but the truth is that, even on the sunniest of days, the best I could manage was a short lunchtime workout, or a slightly longer commute route home; not exactly stuff to set the internet aflame.
What, then, to write about? I was pondering this on Wednesday afternoon as I was getting ready to meet Mandy Bootz (
future current Speedvagen owner and racer) at Tabor for some frozen, rain soaked hot-laps. I was sitting in between boxes and bags overflowing with years worth of collected bike crap, grabbing this and that on autopilot in order to put together a workout kit, and I realized that despite having boxes and bags overflowing with years worth of collected bike crap, I only frequently use maybe 10% of it, and most of that 10% is old stuff. With that in mind, I wanted to pay some respect to the bits and pieces of my bicycle life that I couldn't do without; the things that are in constant rotation; the things that, rather than excitedly looking to upgrade, I dread eventually having to retire.
My Sidi Ergo 2s: These shoes are, I believe, 5 years old now, and they've seen full use from February until cx season each and every one of those years. I can't remember how many times I've replaced the cleats and heel pads while the shoes just kept truckin'. To me, with Sidis exclusively, there's something really beautiful about the way the white turns to yellow, and the manner in which the material over the toe displays its scars. I can't think of another clothing piece that ages as well as white Sidis. The guts around my left heel cup are finally starting to give up the ghost, and it's really tough thinking that the shoes' days might be numbered, and that number might be double digit only. Perhaps they can be saved by some crafty shoe repair shop; I'll be checking that out shortly.
Every Flite saddle I've got: Passionate saddle love, I'm positive, is not uncommon. With so many shapes and models either coming and going or being constantly tweaked, I expect all of you probably have a stockpile of your favorite and you dread the day that stockpile runs out. The 2nd generation Flite is that saddle for me. I collected as many as 9 at one point. One met its demise with a particularly shameful cx remount, and another was gifted to my Pops to go along with a new bike he bought. 7 remaining sounds like a lot, but right now they grace the seatposts (or seat mast topper thingies) of 7 different rigs, so if any of them die I'll have to hunt for replacements. They're not difficult in the least to find now, but the day will come... Also, much like my Sidis, these saddles just look better and better the older they get.
Giro DJ full fingered gloves: I was heartbroken when I learned that "DJ" in this case did not stand for disc jockey (too cool), but instead "dirt jumper" or something (being trick incapable, I am still not totally sure what dirt jumping actually entails). Nevertheless, these gloves, which I think I paid a whopping $13 for in our team order, are perfect road/crit/track/xc/cx gloves; no padding to speak of, excellent grip, and perhaps most importantly, wild ass colors. I've got 3 sets, and I wear one of them nearly every single day without even considering anything else. The thought of any harm befalling them pains my heart.
Velocity Aerohead rims: Specifically a normal one in front paired with an off-center rim in the rear. It was no secret that the dish required on Campy wheels was typically worse than those built for 10 speed Shimano. Now that Shimano's freehub body is longer to accommodate 11 speed cassettes, I imagine that the two are quite close. Regardless, with the dish as extreme as it is, an off-center rear rim goes a long way towards evening out the spoke tension between drive and non-drive sides, and I love that. You can most certainly build great wheels with standard rear rims, but the concept of the off-center design is very appealing for its delightful simplicity; such an elegant solution to an existing problem. I have heard from multiple sources that the current rise of the wide rim has resulted in a reduction in the production of normal-width Aeroheads, and possibly the end of the off-center Aerohead entirely. I've spent a little time on wide rims. I thought it was just fine. I don't, however, personally see that the claimed benefits are enough to justify 50+g extra per rim. At under 125 lbs (I didn't get fat last month, hooray!) I can run pretty nutty low pressure on 19-20mm rims no problem, and I've always thought the "on a narrow rim, the tire mushes to the side more while cornering" argument, while completely logical, might be a bit overstated. With that in mind, the Aerohead is my perfect rim. NW weather being what it is, I know each and every one of my rims has a very finite lifespan, I just hope to put off losing my Aeroheads as long as possible.
And that's my short list! Them's the things that I love using day-in and day-out, and wish I would never have to replace. What are yours?
PS: Because one can't survive on rap and water alone:
PPS: And because I really wish I could: