Monday, August 25, 2008

HHH weekend part 1

I e-mailed the people we thought were going. The goals many had for the season seemed to dissipate at the last minute. More about that later.

My new Chris King headset for the Y-foil arrived (just in time or so I thought). We went over to the Uptown bike store and despite no bikes in the service bay, they said they had no time to do it. It looked like he just did not want to by how slow it was. Over to RBM Garland where Caryn's eye batting usually gets her discounts and the head of the line treatment. Today, no such luck since they were way backed up with repairs. We decided the Stronglight had one more ride left in it. The car packed and the bikes racked up, off to Wichita Falls we go. Without fail, we always seem to get going at rush hour, so last years traffic snarled route through Southlake and Roanoke was discarded in favor of the traffic snarled route to Denton.

It is always exciting to see all of the bikes loaded up in vehicles heading up to Wichita Falls. This year we seemed to see fewer for some reason. We got to Wichita Falls too late to see any of the crits, they were obviously just ending as we got there. The parking by the MPEC facility was abundant for once. Inside, the expo was inhabited by most of the same exhibitors as in the past.

I preparation of the heat on the ride, we usually get acclimated by driving with no A/C on in the car (and sleeping in the tent.) Because of this, I was really looking forward to getting a beer. Two years ago, we were so spent due to the drive (and having stepped in a fire ant mound) that even the Coors light tasted great. Sometimes even the most modest things can be appreciated in the right environment. This year it was a Shiner Bock.

The Kucharik clothing exhibitors seem to bring the same items year after year. If you have a longing for some neon yellow or fluorescent pink jerseys, this is the place to go. One exhibitor was showing off the new Campagnolo 11 speed Super Record gruppo. The 75th anniversary pin was a nice little bit of swag. The levers are now SRAM, Dura-Ace like in that the hoods are higher for more leverage during climbing. The chain was made thinner and stronger, according to Campy, to accomodate more cogs in the same width as 10 speed. Go to to read all the buzz (pro/con) about the new stuff. I'm still happy with Record 9 speed myself.

So we go outside to the service bays, where Shimano has a repair center for those last minute quick fixes. We were going to see if the replacement of the headset would be within the realm of what is doable by these guys. The face we see wrenching for Shimano is Gary Smith, a local fixture on the roads around Dallas for many years. We never got along real well, something to do with his infatuation with Caryn. He has 14 bikes, but the silly part is that he has color matched Assos clothing for each bike. Canary yellow bike? Canary yellow Assos jerseys and shorts. Blue bike? ditto. When I was putting my y-foil together he was always making disparaging comments about it, and still mentions "old carbon" etc whenever we see him. Should I have expected some positive comments about my bike from him or about the sharp SMU kit? He went out of his way to act like he did not notice. The bike now looks so good he can't really say anything, so I guess silence is the best I could hope for.

More to follow...

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