New Setup!

After spending most of the year on my SWEET FM098 that I ordered and built earlier this year, I had an itch to change things up and go to a TT setup for a bit. It happened to be prime time to do it because A) getting ready to move B) focusing on studies and running and C) it was time to give her some TLC for all the miles I got this summer.

So here’s what went down:

First, I was able to trade my SRAM Force Brifters (Brake/shifter levers) on Slowtwitch for a set of Specialized Shiv alloy time trial bars with SRAM brake levers and SRAM 500 shifters. I was VERY excited to get these bad boys in the mail.

I started off by stripping my bike of all the old, nasty cables that had rusted in some spots doe to crappy weather in IL. Next time I’ll make sure I get things cleaned regularly so I don’t have tons of crap sitting in the lines. Once I had everything stripped off I did a thorough cleaning of the drivetrain. I’ve come to really like the new line of bike products by WD-40. It did an excellent job on my nasty cassette, my grimy crank and just plan disgusting chain.

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I forgot to take before pictures of most of the stuff, but believe me, it was nasty and the WD-40 did an excellent job of cleaning it up. It even helped my sink stay clean when I rinsed everything.

Now was time to put it all back together again. This is the second time I’ve run cables on a TT setup and let me tell you, it is WAY easier than getting everything adjusted on a road bike. Especially with front derailleur as all you have to do is set the position and you can adjust it on the fly as you shift your rear derailleur. The only thing I found to be a pain in the but while setting this up was threading the brake cables through the internals of the aerobar. But, once I got it figured out by threading old shifter cable through as a guide it went way smoother. The final outcome on the setup looks amazing, I think. Only one adjustment is needed from this point and that’s finding a smaller stem so I don’t have to stretch quite as far, stressing my lower back. I’m very excited to take this out for some long miles in California in the coming months!

Without further ado, here’s the newest evolution of my machine:

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You’ll notice that I’m using the Speedfil A2 BTA (Between the arms) bottle cage with Garmin mount on top. This is the latest thing for hydration in an aero format. My Garmin Edge 500 is tucked behind my hands and, therefore, hidden from the wind, creating better aerodynamics.

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Traditions

Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Three holidays, just inside of a month and a half that have more traditions tied into them than any other part of the year. If you catch me on a normal day I have always had the tendency to be a bit of a Scrooge and Bah Humbug! to all of the holiday festivities. No to Christmas music, no to lights, no to the commercial spirit that prevails from Black Friday until the day before Christmas. While I still don’t, and probably never will, agree with the amount of commercialization that has come to eat it’s way into every holiday possible, I have come around to enjoy more of the family-centered traditions that my wife has brought to our family.

I don’t remember much of the traditions that my family had for the holidays growing up, other than driving around on the night before Christmas to look at all the lights on houses throughout town and black-eyed peas for dinner on New Years day. I don’t think it’s that my family didn’t have traditions, but more likely that I didn’t pay attention to them and thought of them just as something that was or wasn’t done and I didn’t make a big deal out of it. When I moved away from home after joining the Army I never stayed up with any traditions, never really got into celebrating for the Holidays.

This year is different. I was always told by my friend and coach, Jason, that I would change my attitude about it when my daughter was born. I would typically blow the thought off and just keep running, but he really had something to it.

While cleaning my mancave out a little over a week ago I decided that I would pull up the Christmas decorations. I had discussed it with Marnie and told her that I wouldn’t be bringing anything up until after Thanksgiving. Then I did it anyway. I kept thinking of how I wanted it to become a tradition and in my head I could see Genevieve’s eyes light up every year in the future when we brought out and put up lights and ornaments.

We had also discussed not getting a tree because Marnie was worried about Genevieve getting into it and causing a huge mess or even hurting herself. I grabbed the second half of the gate that we had ordered to cordon Genevieve off from the house and explained where we could move furniture to make it work. I could tell that Marnie was excited, and I was, too. Our first real tree in the three Christmas seasons as a married couple.

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My family is just beginning to put together traditions as we are still a young family. I see the importance of traditions for the family. There are lots of things wrong with how consumerism has affected the holidays, but I know we can help focus our little part of the world where things are most important.