Tuesday, September 15, 2015

2015 Felt F2X - Mini Review

Honestly, I was happy with my 2013 F4X.  It was my favorite bike out of 8 and I had no intention of replacing it before at least 3 others.  Well...
First Day On The New Ride
 Di2 - Wasn't something I thought I needed but I'm getting use to it FAST.  I shift more on this bike than I ever did because it is so easy to keep adjusting. We have tons of rolling hills at grades up to 20% if a few spots, I shift a lot.

Shimano R785 Ice Tech Brakes - OMG! none of my other disk brake bikes stop like this.  I swear you can go from 20 to 0 on gravel in 20 feet.  This is the one upgrade that I was interested in.  Diving down some of the big hills around here is was done a slower speeds to make sure I could stop when I needed to.

FSA SL-K Light Crank: This is my first carbon crank, again, something I didn't think I needed.  BUT, (sorry for this humble brag) on some sprints and short climbs I can really feel the difference in stiffness.  Some of it is the frame I'm sure.  The F4X was also a very stiff bike with very little flex but this one is incrementally better.

DT Swiss Wheels: No complaints, they fell a little stiffer than the Felt branded wheels on the F4X but nothing significant.

Overall Build: Again, small upgrades over the old bike.

Ride:  On gravel roads this bike is fast, firm and confident. On roads it handles almost exactly like a road bike except when the pavement turns to shit on a 45MPH descent - it doesn't matter at all. 

Overall Opinion: I paid EXACTLY twice as much as I paid for the 2013 F4X.  Is it twice the bike?  No way.  But that's the way the bike price structure works.  The F4X was a very strong, race capable bike that never gave me any problems.  Having had time on both, would I save myself $1500 and keep riding the old bike if I had the choice to make over?  Nope.  Really, and I mean it this time.  I won't replace this bike until I have worn it out. 'cause I want a new fat bike & road bike & mountain bike

This fall I'm going to fit it with some road tires and take it on multiple charity rides like these:

Now That's a Cyclocross Barrier.
For Sale: One well loved 2013 Felt F4X, 60 cm, excellent condition, new tires.  $1400

Felt Bicycles, if you are listening, I'd gladly write a more in depth review of a 2016 F2 in exchange for riding it for a year.  It would be compared against an older Scott, CR1 so I'm sure the review would be quite positive.

Scott Bicycles, if you are listening, if Scott were to get me 2016 Scott Foil Team (or similar) I'd gladly not review the 2016 F1.

Specialized Bicycles, if you are listening........

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Dempsey Challenge - This Time It's Personal

Actually, every time it has been personal but this year I had a family member that was going through a mastectomy tell me how much was available at the Dempsey Center.  Thank You Patrick Dempsey, all the cyclists and runners that raise money and all of the people that have donated in the past.

How personal is it for me?
  •  Family
    • Leanne Hamlin, Sister-in-Law, Died very early of multiple myeloma.  Unfortunately I didn't get to know her since I didn't meet her until shortly after her diagnosis.
    • Dwight Edwards, Father, An active guy, much like myself, died before his time from cancer in his kidneys, lungs and more.
    • Lee Edwards, Mother, Multiple bouts with breast cancer, treated and in full remission. 
    • Tricia Edwards, Stepmother, Multiple bouts with skin cancer, doing well with maintenance. Edit: and throat cancer that I had forgotten about. (which I'm going to call a positive because it was years ago and hasn't returned)
    • Vickie Woitko, Sister-in-Law, Recent bout with breast cancer, doing well.
  • Work (and these are all within the last few years)
    • Cindy Anderson, Brest cancer, Treated and doing well
    • Marjie Collins, Breast cancer, Treated and doing well
    • Jim Greene, Brain Tumor, Treated and doing well
    • Gene Honeywell, Aggressive cancer, Tough old bird worked until just weeks before he passed.
    • Scott Bolduc, Brain Cancer, Treated and doing well, Truly a life changing event here.  I'm seeing a man that decided to start living life a different way after a disease almost took it away from him.
    • --- -------, (Name withheld), currently working through the big C
  • Friends & Acquaintances
    •  There have been a few.
The worst thing about getting Cancer is once you have it your life will never be the same.  You will always be waiting for it to return.  The fear never really goes away.  Looking at my family history I'm just waiting for my turn.  But until then...This will be my 7th year doing the challenge!  I haven't missed one yet.  With your donations I have raised $8500 to help people struggling with cancer.

The Dempsey Challenge


Here's a summary of years gone by:
  • Year - Mileage - Bike - Amount Raised 
  • 2009 - 50 - Univega Viva Sport - $840
    • My first BIG group ride, pretty exciting!  I was so cute back them, I thought this ride was long.
  • 2010 - 100 - Univega Viva Sport  - $2550
    • My first century, also exciting!  Even though I have been biking more I had never ridden this far and was a little worried about riding for that long.  I was pretty proud to be riding it on my almost 30 year old bike. This was also the year I lost my dad to cancer
  • 2011 - 100 - Scott CR1- $1660
    • My fastest century, still exciting.  This was the year I set out to see how fast I could go.  I remember the temps hitting near 90 in October.
  • 2012 - 100 - Surly Cross Check $1220
    • My slowest century, less exciting.  I decided to do the ride on a slower heavier bike this year, pushed it pretty hard and paid the price.  All's well that ends well.
  • 2013 - 100 - Scott CR1-$1130
    • When you start the race with a flat tire there's a good chance it's going to look up from there.
  • 2014 - 100 - Felt F4X $1100
    • Kelly is going to join me for the 100 mile ride this year.  The plan is to kick back and do it at a slower pace and enjoy the ride and ample rest stops.  Since I'm riding the Not Dead Yet ride the day before that may be mandatory.
  • 2015 - 100 Scott CR1 Felt F2X(?)
    • This year I have joined a team.  The plan is to ride it together but I'm getting an itch to see how fast I can accomplish a century.  I'm not getting any younger after all.  I may try to hook up with some racers and see how long I can hang on.
The Dempsey Challenge raises money to support The Patrick Dempsey Center For Cancer Hope & Healing.  In most years they raise around $1,000,000 which goes directly to the center which offers free counseling, care & support to anybody impacted by cancer.  Your donations support local people to help make their lives better at a time when they need support the most.  

Other charity rides on the fall schedule include:

Loon Echo Trek 

Supports land conversation for public use for current and future generations. If you're ever hiked Pleasant Mountain you have benefited from Loon Echo!  They also manage thousands of acres of land available for public use.  Thank You Loon Echo!

Fight Back Festival

The fight back festival is a major fundraiser for The Cancer Community Center in Portland.  The work the community center does is very similar to The Dempsey Center without the backing of a Hollywood star! The Cancer Community Center Serves the Portland Area and The Dempsey Center Serves the Lewiston/Auburn area.

Thanks for making a difference!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Better Late Than Never - Camping Week

The usual family pilgrimage to River Run Campground had the usual biking trips.  Actually it didn't since we brought the dogs for the first time we were a little more tied to the campground than usual.
Cute Dogs
 One glaring omittance was the ride up Brunt Meadow Mountain.  But I made up for it with a "Ride" up Pleasant Mountain.  I even got the KOM   OK, so it was the best out of 4 but that doesn't mean I wasn't working it.  I got mad kudos from several troops of scouts that I passed on my "Road Bike".
It was like a cross race but the runup was the top 1/2 of the mountain.
I'm not sure how many people have a picture like this.
  I had planned to ride longer to climb Douglass Hill but no, it was a hot day and I was wiped.  I actually stopped at a house where somebody was watering his plants and begged a water bottle refill.  He was nice, I got ice and everything.

The week was filled with more dog friendly activities like a hike up Mount Cutler
Tired Dogs
It was hot that day too.
Thursday was the biggest ride of the week.  Mrs Candid Cyclist and I set out for a gravel grinding adventure.  Not having a computer I was guessing at the distance.  I was guessing somewhere between 40 and 80 miles, I didn't try to guess too accurately because the ride seemed right.  We planned the route over gravel roads with a few landmarks from the Maine Gazetteer

First Stop, The Hemlock Covered Bridge. 
You can see my turn-by-turn directions here, old school.
The next stop was Kezar Falls Gorge.  I'd never heard of this spot and almost didn't find it.  I only wish it was 10+ degrees warmer while we were there so we could have gone down in to swim.  It was hard to catch the scale in the pictures.  Entry into the gorge was by swimming only and it seemed like it would be an amazing place.
Really cool gorge.  Don't ask me how to find it, just look for the part of the ride where we doubled back.

Top of Kezar Falls Gorge looking down.
From the gorge we took a gravel road that went up and over some mountain.  In all we went over 70 miles, probably half of in on dirt and even more than that on quiet roads, it was lovely.  And by the end we were TIRED.  About 50 miles in my wife learned a lesson in proper fueling for a ride.  Once she got the tank off empty her quickly waning average speed doubled.  Here's where we went:

Gravel Grinding Unknown Adventures

Somewhere on our ride, Walkers Rips I think.
Top of Burnt Meadow (Hiking)  ((With Dogs))

I hate to be the one posting too many pictures of my dogs but she is so friggin cute

There was kayaking too