Sunday, August 26, 2007

Leadville recap and recovery

Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? No blogging or any real building has gone on since the race- a cold, an in-law invasion, and a return to the day job saw to that.
Despite the fact that I pushed it up to the last minute on the bike build and only had a couple of miles on it, the bike performed flawlessly! Leadville marked the first time I had ridden a 29er more than 1/4 mile (test rides I've done on other builds) and it suited me perfectly. The fit was perfect (duh, it's a custom) and the 29" wheels did what everyone says they do- roll fast, smooth the bumps, and fly through the sand. And the MTB drop bars are quite possibly the greatest things ever! I think you would see a lot more of these on the trail if people would give them the chance.
Too bad the rider wasn't as good as the bike though. The race went great at first, I pushed it hard up to the 50 mile mark and was 45 min ahead of my time from two years ago. The downhills were kinda rough with no suspension and I had to stop to rest my arms a few times from the arm pump I got by squeezing those canti brakes with two fingers. I was feeling the fatigue on the way back, but it didn't really get me until the last big climb up the Powerline Trail at mile 75. Ninety percent of folks have to walk a good bit of this and it seemed like I bonked the second I got of the bike to push. I ended up 45 min SLOWER than my last time by the end! 11:35 was not the way I wanted to finish. But what can you do except go back the next time for a shot at redemption? We'll see..........

Here's a seat cluster shot of the Leadville bike. I really like how the cable hanger came out, just like it was planned ;) !

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Time is up!

Loaded the pics in reverse order today....oops. Anyway, here's how she sits, it's time to go- I have to be at the check-in Fri morning in Leadville, so I'll be packing the tools and finishing the final assembly in the hotel tomorrow. I really can't believe that I got this together in time. Of course it helps that I don't go back to work till next week and my painter is my neighbor who paints cars in his garage and will shoot my frames "whenever".
The rear brake cable hanger, just a little part that shows the custom touch or.....ummmm....shows that the builder kinda sorta forgot to braze a hanger on the frame- have I mentioned how this is the last time I'll ever do this? Mr. Sabrosa, you are right, I'm crazy.

Here's the bike as it looked yesterday morning with the first color on and masked for the second. I have new respect for anyone who masks lugs- it took me at least an hour to do the headtube and it still came out needing to be touched up.

The way it looks before I take it to the neighbor. I think the main reason he's happy to paint my frames is because I do all the prep and primering, all he does is mix paint, shoot, and get paid. I'm not complaining though.

Well I'm outta here (fingers crossed) a Leadville survivor story when I get back

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

14 hr days

That's what I've done to get this bike ready in time. Note to self: never try to build a frame 1 week before a race. The main triangle brazed up nice and straight and I went to get the seatstays out of the box and instead of finding the manly mtb sized stays I thought I ordered, I got some wimpy looking roadbike stays. Damn! I should've checked them when I first got the parts. Now, of course, I have no time to order more. The fix? I cut the ultra skinny lowers off and added some thicker 4130 to the top. Now they match the rest of the bike better, plus the stays are stiffer for the brakes.
Here's the post braze ugly fluxiness of the rear triangle with the brake studs on. Brake studs and dropouts are brazed in with brass (stronger and cheaper) while the seatstay fillets are in 50n (lower temp than brass to keep the silver from melting out of the seatlug), can't tell in the pic, but that 50n makes some smooth fillets, not much to file on those!.

Seat lug after a soak, a wirebrushing, and an attack with the angle grinder.

It's 2am, do you know where your fork is? With everyone in the house asleep, I sneaked the fork into the kitchen for the de-fluxing. A couple of brazeons and a whole lot of finishing and it will be ready for paint. Man, I'm tired.

Monday, August 6, 2007

...and so begins the destruction

Getting after the Leadville bike: it all begins with the headtube/down tube miter. This is how I start every frame, no real reason, just feels right. First, the tube is clamped in a wood block at the right angle (60 degrees in this case)- it makes it much easier to hit the right angle if all you have to worry about is holding the file horizontal. Ignore the date on the pics, btw, the camera does this every time I change batteries and I took a bunch of pics before I remembered to fix it.
Four minutes later (yes, I'm a geek and I timed myself) after a little hacksaw work and a few swipes with the b.a.f. (big ass file). You can see I drew what I thought the miter would look like for reference, I don't know why- it used to really help me to cut the miter, but now, I don't really even look at it.

Eleven minutes elapsed time, and the miter is done. More work with the b.a.f. ,followed by an emory cloth wrapped in the headtube, and a few checks with the protracter and we are light-tight baby!

A rarely seen- at least by me- funky compound miter in the seat tube. Notches to clear the downtube, bb shell, and both chainstay ports are visible here.
Next, fire to metal...the brazing begins!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A fluxed up mess!

Here's my SS 29er, almost done. Just need to figure out how I want to place the brake cable brazeons and build the fork. But wait! Looks like time is running out fast to get this and my race bike done in time for Leadville. I was thinking I still had an extra week, doh! This one will have to sit like this while I build the other one, a lugged 29er set up to run dirt drop bars. I'll be posting the in-progress stuff next- gotta go cut some tubes!