I found this 1997 GT LTS-5 dual suspension mountain bike at a thrift store for $50. But I had a coupon, so it only cost me $40.
Here is a video of the bike before I did any clean up on it.
The rear elastomer shock was totally junk. So I took it apart to see how it worked, and how I might fix it:
I figured out that I could use the shock from an LTS-3 with some modifications. Here is a video of how I did it:
Next, the fork boots were ripped and torn. I couldn’t easily get exaction replacements, so I replaced them with Lizard Skins Boots which are made from Neoprene:
And the grips were worn and also ripped. I bought some pulled grips at my local bike shop for $5 and installed those:
The work continues. I still need to replace the shifter and brake cables/housings. And I need to true the rear wheel. Then I am about done.
Dirk Friel and his riding partner were riding as far to the right as possible. Riding in line on the tiny 10 inch bit of paved shoulder. But that wasn’t good enough for this nut job. He followed them for five minutes blaring his horn. He could have easily gone by them. But no. He holds up other cars, making them go around him. And according the comments on the video, this guy has allegedly harrased other cyclists too. It would have freaked me out to have a crazy person like this in a 4000 vehicle stalking me and honking the horn continuously. Not sure I would have been as calm and cool as these guys were. What’s difference if someone is pointing a gun at you, or a 4000 pound SUV that easily turn you into road kill? An inexperienced cyclist, might have panicked and fallen into the path and SUV! Police have been contacted and I hope they do something with this butt munch! Bikes have a legal right to be on the road. I have seen some people posts that cyclists should ride on the side walks. But in many places THAT is illegal.
The Colorado Police have been notified and they were going to contact the driver of the SUV. I read a post on another site saying the driver lived in Erie, Colorado. His name has not been released. Probably because he would have hundreds of cyclists harassing him at his house.
Follow up: 75-year-old? James Ernst of Erie, Colo. is charged with two counts of harassment, one count of impeding the flow of traffic, and one count of improper use of a horn or warning device.
I have a friend that I ride with sometimes who was looking for a road bike. She currently has an older Trek mountain bike. But she wants to keep up with me on some of my longer training rides this year. So I have been keeping an eye out for a good deal on a road bike for her. Today I was in a thrift shop and found a Specialized Sirrus Triple for $95. It was in very good shape other than the handlebar tape and seat. I measured her for a bike frame and the optimum size would be about 46cm. The size of this bike is about 52cm. So I think it might be too big. I will have her try it though. But for the price, I figured I could clean it up and sell it for more than I paid. After doing research on Google, I am pretty sure it is a 1991 model. If it is too big for her, she says that her son can ride it until he outgrows it.
The specs are:
Cro-Mo frame and forks, Sakae SR Custom Modolo anatomic bend handle bars, 90 cm stem, Wolber GR 622 / 700c rims with Wheelsmith spokes, Suntour HA hub, Panaracer 700x25c tires, Suntour GL hub, Sakae 170 mm cranks, Vetta saddle, Suntour Accushift Plus indexed shifters, Suntour Edge front and rear derailuers, Dia-Compe BRS Edge brakes and brake levers, triple chainrings on the front, and a 7 speed freewheel on the back.
I plan to put a new seat on it, add a threadless stem adaptor and stem. I will wrap the bars nicely. I am also going to overhaul the hubs, bottom bracket, and probably replace all the cables and housings. It will be a sweet ride when I am done.
Bike chains need to be cleaned and lubed every once in a while to extend their life. This is especially true after riding in the rain or mud. The chain may develop surface rust which is no big deal unless you leave it there. But cleaning, degreasing and lubing a bike chain is easy and takes like 10 minutes.
Stuff you will need include Park Tools Cyclone Chain Cleaner (chain scrubber tool), citrus degreaser, a couple rags, and chain lube. You can buy Park Tools or some other brands of degreaser at a bike shop, but it is much cheaper to go to Home Depot and buy a gallon sized bottle of citrus degreaser, and it works the same.
First, shift the bike into the lowest gear. Prop the bike up against a post or wall, or mount it in a bike stand if you have one. This is going to be messy, so do it outside, or put some sheets down. Open the Park Tools chain scrubber and fill it with citrus degreaser up to the fill line. Clamp the chain scrubber onto the lower part of the chain, where it goes between the chain rings and the derailleur. While holding the handle of the chain scrubber with one hand, rotate the pedals in reverse (backpedal). Allow the chain to go through the chain scrubber. Dirty degreaser will probably be splattering around at this point. Rotate the cranks at least 30 times.
Remove the chain scrubber from the chain. Discard the dirty degreaser. If the chain is still dirty or rusty, refill the chain scrubber tool with fresh degreaser and repeat the above process. If the chain is very dirty, or may take two or more repetitions.
When the chain looks clean, hold a clean rag around the bottom part of the chain where the chain scrubber was attached, and backpedal. You may have to reposition the rag to soak up as much of the degreaser from the chain as possible.
Now that the chain is clean and dry, it’s time to lube it. Take marker pen, and make a mark on the side of one of the chain links. Starting at the marked link, drip a single drop of chain lube on each link of the chain (on the roller/rivet part), while slowly backpedaling the cranks. Continue to do this until you reach the marked link. Now run the chain through a clean rag to remove any excess chain lube.
Congratulations, you are done!
I first heard about the Black Fly Challenge during one of the Thursday night trail runs that I do. The running group leader mentioned he was going to be doing it. I checked it out, and it sounded like fun. It had been a couple years since I had done the Ramble Around Prattsburg mountain bike race, but that had been a blast. So I signed up.
I debated about which bike to use. I had a home-made cyclocross bike that was build on a Trek 700 frame. But I wasn’t sure if it would hold up to the course. I decided to use my Diamondback mountain bike. I already had some cyclocross type tires mounted on it. I found some cool drop bar ends on the internet, and mounted those on my bike. I also bought an ISM Adamo Peak saddle, since I love the Adamo Race saddles I have on my tri bike and road bike. I got that adjusted over a couple long training rides.
I decided to make the race weekend a camping trip for me, my wife and our dog. I reserved a spot at the Lewey Lake Campground. We arrived Friday afternoon, and set up the tent. Then we headed into town to find some dinner. We ate at a Mexican place. We were not impressed. After dinner, we headed back to the campground, and slept.
I woke up early Saturday morning, and started getting all my stuff ready. I ate half a Subway sandwich. I debated about which jersey to wear…either my Louisville Ironman Jersey, or my Primal Wear X-Ray jersey. I went with the X-Ray jersey. There were a few raindrops, but that was it. I debated about bringing my Sugoi rain jacket, but decided that I would likely just overheat, or have to carry it in my back pocket. I was going to be catching a bus from Indian Lake out to Inlet, and wasn’t sure if stuff would be shuttled back to Indian Lake for me to pick up. I wore some sweat pants and a sweat shirt. When I found that I could leave stuff on the bus, and get it after the race, I was happy.
Chet, a guy I knew from some previous races was also on the bus, and we chatted on the long ride. During the long ride, it started pouring rain. Hard rain! Just coming down in buckets. I was starting to wish I had brought my rain jacket. When we got to Inlet, the rain was still coming down. And it had cooled off. What I wore to race in was bike shorts and a short sleeve cycling jersey. With the rain, and a cold breeze, Everyone else was wearing rain jackets, or at least layers of clothing to keep them warm. I was actually shivering. I was seriously starting to worry about hypothermia, and wondered if I should get back on the bus and ride back to Indian Lake. But I decided I would tough it out and hope that I would stay warm once I started cranking away.
I checked in and got my t-shirt, and number plate (# 268). Would have liked to have had a 5 in my number, but oh well. Boots and Ellen from Yellow Jacket Racing were passing out timing chips. I’ve seen them a lot lately. I put the number plate on my bike with twist ties, and then hung out inside the building to stay warm, and out of the rain. After a while, I went out and sat on the bus which was nice and warm. But eventually the bus driver said he was going to be heading back to Indian Lake. Fortunately the rain slowed, and then finally stopped. I got on my bike and rode it easy around the parking lot, while waiting for the race to start. I was told that racers in the beginner category were supposed to start in the back. I didn’t care. I figure position would sort itself out. I had my Garmin 305 mounted on my handlebars to track my heart rate. I planned to keep my heart rate mostly down in heart rate zone 2-3.
Pretty soon all the riders were lined up, the announcer counted down, and we were off. From the start, we were on paved roads for the first couple miles headed out of town. I started passing people right away. I got a couple pictures of other riders including a guy riding a unicycle, and a dad and two kids riding a three seat tandem. There was a lot of climbing in the first couple miles, and the pack got spread out. There was a nice fast downhill on the last bit of paved road before we hit the dirt road. I flew down that braking just before hitting the dirt road. There were some good downhills on the first part of the dirt section and I flew down these as well hitting close to 30mph. At the 3 mile mark we started climbing again. At around the 4 mile mark I heard a knock sound from my seat, and it tilted forward. Crap! It had slipped one notch. I got out my multitool from the underseat bag, loosened the bolt, repositioned the saddle and tightened the bolt. I kept the tool in my jersey pocket just in case, but didn’t have any more issues with the saddle. From a little past the 5 mile mark, we had about 2.5 miles of fast downhills and I hit speeds close to 30 mph on parts. I brought vanilla-orange Carb Boom gels, and took one every 8 miles. I downed them with the Pepsi I had in my two water bottles. One benefit of all the rain was that there were no black flies to deal with!
There was another uphill at about 7.5 miles, followed by a downhill at mile 9.7. Then there were some flat sections. But these flat sections were anything but easy. The road was covered with this wet sand that just sucked up energy. It was like pedaling uphill even though it was flat or even downhill.
At about mile 13 we started a long steady climb up Wakely Mountain. This lasted until about mile 21 and was followed by a long downhill. I saw some signs that posted the speed limit at 15mph. I laughed and mumbled “Kiss my a$$”. Just then I passed a cop in an SUV parked on the side of the road. I waved at him, and then proceeded to go flying down the hill. I hit speeds at over 30 mph on these rocky dirt roads. It was awesome! Being able to bunny hop over large rocks was a very useful skill here! It gradually turned into rolling downhills. I passed a lot of people in the last 10-15 miles of the race. Where my cyclocross tires inflated at 85psi sucked in the wet sand, they were great on hard packed dirt.
I let out a whoop as I passed Wakely Dam because I knew where I was! Then there were a couple photographers just around the corner. I passed a water stop at about the 29 mile mark and they said only 10 miles to go! At about the 32 mile mark, we were back on pavement. Then my 85psi tires rocked and I slowly started picking off mountain bikes. I just kept spinning the pedals consistently. When I came to a good downhill, I would pretty much lay on the handlebars with my shoulders resting on the grips. I loved flying down the hills! Then I passed a signed that said one mile to go. I was pushing at this point. The course narrowed to the shoulder of the road. I managed to pick off a girl on a cyclocross bike in the last 100 yards or so. I finished the race in 2:54.29. I found my wife who said she got a picture of me crossing the finish line.
Chet finished not too long after me. We rode our bikes over to the bus, and got our stuff. We talked about upcoming races, and then headed back to the cars. I loaded my bike up. Then I went in checked out my results and headed for the food. I bought and ate a couple hamburgers.
Then my wife and I headed back to the campground and I took a long hot shower and changed into some fresh clothes. Then we headed back into town and got some dinner at Willie’s BBQ. This place was pretty good. Good food, decent prices and friendly service. Then we headed back to the campground and pretty much stayed in the tent the rest of the night as it started raining again. We got up early the next morning, packed up our stuff and headed home.
I am hoping to come back and do the race again next year. They change the direction of the race every year, so next year it will go from Indian Lake to Inlet. I think the course might change a little bit as someone mentioned some single track when it goes in that direction. I am hoping to buy a true cyclocross bike before then.
Here is my Garmin data: