Brake Uncertainty

Not long ago I maybe have discovered what caused my accident last may. Back then I rode with an almost new Shimano XTR Race M-9000 brake. I just made one tour with the new brake. The accident happened on a steep downhill section on a wide forest path. I constantly had to break a little. Suddenly I braked a bit harder end everything went south. Until now I thought the slippery chalk gravel caused my wheel to swing off. But after I read a review of the Shimano XTR at MTB-News I figured that maybe the brake itself was the problem. This version of the XTR brake (and also its XT version) can have a changing pressure point. Means that if you press the brake lever once, release it almost(!) completely and press the lever again, the pressure point moves more far away from the handle bar. So the point where the wheel locks happens earlier. I rode with this brake since August when I was allowed to bike again. I didn’t have any real problems. But I was extremely careful because I didn’t very confident on difficult sections after my spill. After I read the review I tried it and I could reproduce it immediately.

When I first bought the XTR I almost chose the Magura MT8 instead. Maybe I’ll have a look at some secondhand MT8s now…

Best Winterpokal already

Last weekend this winter became already the most productive of my life yet.

Every winter from October to March MTB News hosts a competition called “Winterpokal”. For every fifteen minutes of biking participants get one point. My best Winterpokal so far was 2010/11 with 114 points. As of today I have 120 points this winter. Maybe I have to catch up on some kilometres this year. 🙂 And we have just December. I hope I can keep up my motivation.

Hitting the wall

According to my training plan like last sunday I had to complete another 4 hour ride yesterday. I found a nice route on komoot and started riding shortly after 2 o’clock. I didn’t look at the route in detail, because when riding with my mountainbike there’s hardly anything that can stop me. Butwhen I was half way through the route it got dark. So far I was riding through the northern suburbs of Berlin but now I left urban territory. What followed was many kilometres of dark forrest. Normally when I’m riding in the Grunewald that’s no problem, because I know the place. But in an unknown wood in the dark it’s almost frightening. Additionally there was very thick fog yesterday. Although I had a very bright light I couldn’t see any farther as 5 metres. So it came that my heartrate was noticeable higher when I was in the forrest. Actually I rode in the GA2 and tempo zones instead of GA1. Because of that I stressed my body a bit too much. Approximately one hour before the end I hit the wall. I didn’t have enough to eat with me.

 

When I was at home I didn’t feel very comfortable although I ate something immediatly. I ate two crumble cakes and four pieces of Pizza. I know, that’s not the optimal nutrition after such an effort. I have to stock proper bars, gels and ingredients for recovery shakes again. So I went to bed early, but I couldn’t sleep. It felt like my body has things to do to manage this tremedous effort. When I finally fell to sleep it was very restless. I wasn’t tired in the morning, but I felt still very stressed. My first pedal strokes on my way to work felt terrible. It got a bit better after some metres but it didn’t feeld good. Also my heartrate felt like it raised pretty quick.

Frozen berry.
Bike at the fence of the Tegel airport in Berlin.
Bike at a frozen river.
Bike in the woods.
Bike in the fog.
Besides the bonk and the dark forrest it was a very nice and rather fun ride.

What I’m learning from this training sessionit is crucial to eat enough during the workout. I suppose hitting the wall doesn’t get me anywhere. Not that I didn’t knew this before but actually experiencing it is quite another thing.

Now I will look into ways to make my own bars, gels and shakes. 🙂

Scanning Schmargendorf

I’m following a traing plan again. Last sunday I had to complete a four hour endurance ride.

At first I wanted to ride in the woods. But thats not very appealig if its dark. So I decided to look araound in a part of the city I don’t know that well: Schmargendorf. In Schargendorf live rather wealthy people. There are many nice villas whith pretty Christmas illumination. I simply rode up and down the streets. It almost felt like I was a Google Street View car. I have to do this a couple more times this winter. Maybe next time I will have a look at Charlottenburg. So I can work through all parts of Berlin unter next summer. 🙂 My Strava heatmap will become a bit more balanced.

The City Bike Transition

The weekend after I received all parts I started the MTB to City Bike transition.

I began with the tubeless conversion of my wheels. They came without rim type installed so I had to attack some. This was rather easy. I tried to inflate the tyres without first mounting them with a tube — and failed … aigain. After I found a tube which was more or less fitting — I used a 29" tube although I was working on 26" wheels — I was able to inflate the tyre instantly. The tyre has to be inflated once before it works without a tube. But after that it is pretty easy. I filled in the tubeless sealant and shaked the wheel around. The following day I kept a close eye at the wheels because sometimes the sealant takes a couple of days to seal the tyre reliably. Two days after the conversion I hat to stop at a gas station on my way to work because my rear tyre was almost flat. But since then the tyres are seal.

The rest of the assembly was pretty straight forward although it was mostly the first time I did it. The crank arm was easily removed and the new one was likewise easily installed. Same with the cassette and the rear derailleur. The only thing that took a bit of trial and error was the adjustment of the rear derailleur. At first it didn’t shift very good. I had to adjust it with its screws and try a bit with the position of the Bowden cable. When I was finished the shifting worked, but ther was still a faint clicking sound. I figured that it will be gone after a couple of kilometres, and that’s exaclty what happened.

I’m using my new 1×11 City Bike now for two weeks and I love it already. It feels so smooth to ride and shift. Somehow the one by shifting feels very solid, smooth and accurate. I can only imagine how the top of the line 1×12 SRAM Eagle will feel.

Chocolat

Chocolat is my text editor of choice! I use it since it was in an early beta. Finally, some days ago, I bought it. Actually I thought the price of $49 would be too much for me. But when the beta phase ended and I had to switch back to other editors like SubEthaEdit and SublimeText 2 I felt the pain. After a half an hour customizing Sublime Text 2 I pushed the buy button. What I like about Chocolat is its extremely pragmatic design. There is nothing what distracts you from your work. Coda for example looks very stylish but it is not that useful. That said, Chocolat is stylish, too. But in a very minimalistic way. On addition in Chocolat are many short-keys available. So it’s easy to navigate through your files and code. What I find very convenient is that if you open several files in the same directory, Chocolat assumes this directory as your actual project-directory. I like that because in fact that’s almost always true. I hope my investment will be worth it! 🙂

ToDo lists

Even though I work in my Diploma thesis with electronic todo lists, it feels more rewarding if I cross a item with a pencil from a list on paper. Otherwise, it is more frustrating if I can’t achieve all the things I wanted to do.

Why is that? Is it because the combination of my thoughts and my exact moves on the paper with the pencil create an additional memory level? Maybe there should be a todo list app which forces everybody to write the items by hand.