Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Wheels!!!!!!

Finally, I've finished my new wheels. Wayyyy too much time to get these things built, but finally they are done.

They are 50mm deep carbon rims laced to OffTheFront Racing hubs via Sapim spokes and nipples. They were/are my first deep dish rims, my first carbon rims, and my first tubular wheels.

As built, the set weighs 1290 grams. With them shod with Challenge Fango and Grifo, my CX ride now weighs in at just over 18.7 lbs. Thats a drop of almost 2lbs off my shoulder during the races, and gives me mucho better traction.

The project started with a 'group buy' on the Weight Weenies website. I ended up buying the 50mm tubulars from the vendor in Taiwan. Unfortunately, they took absolutely forever to get here. Apparent quality issues at the manufacturer prevented them from shipping. However, they did get here, and the quality is great.

Next issue was spokes. I had trouble finding them, but eventually settled on Sapim Laser for the front spokes and Sapim Race for the rear. Sapim alu nipples anodized red tie everything together.

My wheelbuilding friend Chris suggested that I build the wheels with nipple washers to spread the load inside the rimbed. That proved to be a bit of a problem. Because I used Sapim spokes and nipples, I decided to use Sapim Nipple Washers. Unfortunately, when they arrived, they were obviously not going to fit....... Wayyy too big. I looked at several opportunities to use locally available 'hardware store' washers, but none would fit..... They also were not really the right 'conical' shape that I needed.

Finally, I elected to order Pillar nipple washers from BDOP cycling in Taiwan. Do all bike parts now originate in Taiwan? They arrived, and they fit perfectly.

The wheels laced up very nicely and tensioned up well. I got them within approx .012" of true right off the bat and same for roundness.

With all that done, the tires are now stretching on the rims with the hope of gluing them up this weekend. I guess its time to get sticky.....

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More 'Cross Season Preparation

Thursday, I went out after work and got in an hour of practice. I did dismount/remount repetitions in a local school yard for half an hour, then I did 15 mins of intervals. Was good fun and felt good to be throwing my leg over the bike again. Unfortunately, I have that derned stutter step again that I had finally gotten rid of. I guess more practice is necessary.

Then today, I put in 28 miles at Herb Parsons on the full-susser and tried to get myself ready for the 6 hours of Herb MTB race. Good fun and I felt really good ripping the course.

Finally, I came home and washed all my rides. After washing them, I pulled the headset out of the Labadie CX, cleaned it and re-installed it with extra grease. Nice and quiet now. After finishing that, I pulled all the brakes and greased all the posts. Finally, I waxed the whole bike and shined it up. Now if I can only get the wheels built and the tires glued on, I'll be truly ready.......

Sunday, September 19, 2010

More Cyclocross Bike Prep.....

When I built my current CX bike, I built it with parts I had on hand and parts I could get a bargain on. To that end, I had some crappy old Shimano psuedo aero levers for braking and some cheap KORE bars I got for a song off Ebay.

Unfortunately, this cheap setup had some serious drawbacks.... Number one, the bars were reverse radius ergo bars, and they were extremely deep drop. Frankly, at my age, deep drop bars are useless, and I just could not get into the drops comfortably. Number two, I hate ergo bars... they just suck.

The levers were another problem. The interface between the bars and the levers created a deep 'saddle'. This saddle basically caused me to hang from my thumbs when on the hoods. It was/is painful. On top of that, the hoods were old and coming apart.

Luck struck today out of the blue... While riding with my buddy Bill, he mentioned he had some stuff he wanted to sell and was about to put a bunch on the local cycling website. When we got back, he had a set of used Cane Creek singlespeed aero levers. These are the Campag copies and have a great shape to them. He also had a set of classic bend, shallow drop no-name bars. I got all of that for a twenty.

The new bars coupled with the new left brake lever (right is a DA9) makes for a much better position and much more comfortable hand positions. I have no idea of weight, but they are so much more comfortable, I'm not sure weight matters. Now for some new bar tape!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

MS150 2010

This year was my 8th time to participate in the MS150. I've enjoyed every one of them, but all for different reasons.

My ride this year was good because I had some friends that stayed with me the entire time. I'm by no means slow, I always finish the ride in the front 20% or so. However, most of my friends are very fast, in fact my buddy JR was the 5th person to finish 2 years ago (out of 600+ riders)

So this year, JR had an injury, and he thought it was a good idea to hold back and ride with me. That worked out well for both of us.

Day 1 was excellent in the morning, but rained the last 45 mins or so. I had planned to do the century on day 1, but with the rain and JR's injury, we decided to save some for Sunday. We maintained a good pace and finished before 1 o'clock.

Day 2 started with a little wind, but it was mostly at our back for the first 2 hours. We had one section where we were averaging 23mph with little effort in the group. Unfortunately, I lost contact with the group approx 2 miles from 'the Wall'. When I hit the Wall, it hurt, but I made it up in pretty good fashion.

We carried on from there, and at lunch, I was ready to roll, but the rest were not. I told them they'd surely catch me really quickly, so I set out on my own. I quickly got in a small group and rolled along at around 22mph for quite a while. When we got back into the hills, I slowed again, but kept on.

I stayed away for well over an hour. When they finally caught me, Adam stayed with me and JR rode on to the finish with a faster group.

We finished at a good time in the afternoon and ate a good meal of BBQ while listening to a rock band that was wayyyyyyyyyyyy too loud.

All in all, it was a great time. I look forward to next year

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Time to get ready for Cross Season!!!!!

For this year, I've decided to put my all into Cross season. I lost most of the MTB season to my injury, and did not even get to do many road rides because of my injuries.

Now with everything healing well, I'm ready for the leaves to change and the course to muddy up.

Equipment-wise, I'm running my Labadie Cyclocross bike. No need for anything new as it works well. I think it has character as well. I'm also going to stick to geared 1x9 for a while. The setup I have on there shifts better than any other bike I own. Its really good. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Wheel and tires however, I'm stepping up, and I'm stepping up big time!!! Its finally time to go tubular!!!!

I'm building up a set of 50mm carbon tubular rims on OffTheFront hubs and shoe-ing them with a Challenge Fango on the front and a Grifo in the rear.

This setup should chew 31ounces (almost 2 whole pounds) from my current clincher setup, while also providing significant improvements in handling from the lower tire pressures that are possible with tubulars....

These wheels really appeal to the gearhead and weightweenie inside of me. The lacing you see is just a temporary lacing of the wheels, as I am still short the rim washers necesary to build these things right. They should be here by early October, hopefully in time for me to build them up and have them ready for the first or second race.

Oh yeah..... one other detail - I'm building these for 1/5 the cost of a set of Zipps......