Sunday, March 29, 2015

About a Descent

I won't burden our readership with tales of the Up the Creek 200K permanent from yesterday (into this morning, technically).  Our readership is more about going down the creek than up, after all.  So here's the story of a descent in pictures.  To put this in perspective, let me add (1) zero cars or bikes on the road.  Zero.  (2) perfect pavement.  Flawless.  And clean.  (3) banked curves.  Like a velodrome.

(Worked out to 2500 feet over 8 miles.)

Friday, March 20, 2015

New Wheels

Two new wheelsets in the house:


Neugent Cycling 3cm Aluminum Rim 

First is the Neugent Cycling 3cm-deep, 23mm-wide aluminum rim set with the big-and-tall men's build (24/28 spoke count).  Sapim CX-Ray spokes and hand-built.  John advertises them as weighing 1495 gms with the higher spoke count.  These come with rim strips installed and, while I am not part of the tubeless club, the ones John installs sure look like they are designed to allow you to run tubeless.  John also includes his house-brand skewers, which I have never loved but which at least offer a big lever to ensure adequate tightness.  I paid $550 for these shipped to my door.

I rode these on Ascension last Sunday with the Compass Chinook Pass SL tires that Sam gifted to me for Christmas.  With what was decidedly the wrong gearing -- 39-25 at the lightest -- I can't speak to the wheels as an aid to my climbing, because my climbing was painful from the first pedal stroke.  I will note that I gave the rear wheels every excuse to pull out of true and they never did. 

I can speak to the handling.  The combination is fast and stable in the most technical of twisty turns, road-surface undulations, and broken pavement, and fast on the straights.  Whether it was the wheels, the tires, or the Specialized suspension seatpost, I'm eager to get back out on that bike!

Shimano Dura-Ace C24 Carbon Rim

Merlin sells these for $750 shipped.  They are built with a 16/21 spoke count, which might make me nervous except that I've never heard of a problem with Shimano's factory wheels, including the year-2006 Ultegra wheelset that I ride on my city bike in Indy.  They are 24mm deep and 21mm wide rims (not the full 23mm rims that apparently Shimano is now selling).  The advertising says something about "carbon laminate", which I take to mean something other than full carbon.  (Is the laminate there to add strength to a thinner metal build?)  They come with rim strips that, like those on the Neugent wheels, look like they are designed to let you run tubeless.  Shimano includes its incomparable closed-cam skewers with a new blade-like lever.  I weighed these before mounting them.  With rim strips installed, they tip the scales at . . . 1397 grams.  (I kid you not.)  Quick question:  is there anywhere else you can find a sub-1400gm wheelset with Shimano's durability and a modern profile (wider if not the widest) at that price point?  I doubt it.

I mounted these with the 28mm Schwalbe One tires and light-weight Specialized tubes.  They will go on the Neuvation bike for summer riding.  First workout will be on the 2 x 200K outside of Asheville that Damon and I have been discussing for next weekend.

After an earlier sell-off, I'm now back to lots of wheels in the closet.  Though they have been good to me, it is time to sell the Supra 60cm wheels.  (Craigslist link here if you know anybody who is looking.)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March Challenge


HBC has now announced two challenges for 2015:  (1) the 7-days-riding challenge for January (Score:  Sam doubled the goal and rediscovered riding in the rain; Max failed to complete his own challenge but did accomplish the "B" goal of getting out more in January than any prior year; nobody else entered).  And (2) the 10K feet of climbing over 7 days challenge for February (Score:  nobody got close, but Sam went skiing).

Time for March

Before I announce it, I will introduce the thought process:

  1. We are about to get to the long riding season when the weather warms and the sun stays up longer and Randonneuring gets underway.  (Or, gets underway for those of us who don't go in for sub-freezing-temperature permanents.)  Challenges for April and May are likely to look more like "25K feet climbing" and "300 miles riding" than the "just get on the bike" challenges for the past two months.
  2. That said, I have not had time to get meaningful outdoor rides in.  I'm either riding early in the morning before light or late afternoon after dark and on the weekends it has been snowy, cold, icy, and on some days like today, all of the above at once.  30' daily rides is possible if not always convenient, but serious riding is a pipe dream.
  3. There also is a value to training, by which I mean "riding in a way that I would not if I were not convinced it would provide benefits."

The Challenge

Program your  Garmin with seven workouts between 30' and 1 hr. in length.  The workouts need not be extreme but should be something more than "ride 1 hour no goal."  Options include high pressure intervals, Zone 2 steady-state, and even drills like single-leg rotations or back-pedaling.  Complete the workouts on seven consecutive days, riding outside if you like or inside on the trainer.  Nothing wrong with throwing the workout in the middle of a longer ride if desired -- for example, the DC Rand 200K is next Saturday, and I plan to look for 30 minutes of concentration somewhere mid-ride.

The point of this:  kind of like the January challenge, but intended to be things that are not necessarily pleasant.

Anybody else in?