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03/03/09
Nattering
Filed under: general, bike tech, brevets
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 11:03 am

Sort of in “List Mode” today for some reason.  Well, the reason is simple enough - there’s a couple hundred K to ride on Saturday and there are things to do.  Sent off the check yesterday morning.  Sadly, no one has offered up a pro contract for my brevet riding, so there’s still a week o’ work between here and there.

Deeply bummed to get word from Gino that he’s not going to ride.

Last Saturday’s ride produced the first flat I’ve had on the Jack Brown-Greens.  One moment everything is rolling along nicely, the next I’m wobbling on a poorly padded rear rim.  I’d been expecting it - the JB’s were original equipment on the Hilsen, which was new-to-me on September of 2007.  When swapping them out and back for the CXSR adventure, they felt like the paper-thin Vittoria’s which lasted all of one ride (many moons ago, on a different bike). 

As I waited for the vulcanizing fluid to dry, I worked my way around the tire more carefully.  There were definitely a few nicks and gouges, and I could see the beginnings of casing at a few more. Luckily, replacements were already on order.

Everything else felt pretty good on the bike.  It needs a deep cleaning.  There’s also a slight rear hub looseness that I haven’t eliminated.  Need a bench vise for the hub issue. My longest wrench won’t budge the freewheel.  Probably Thursday AM  for the scrubbing, which should give me enough reaction time if I find some other bit that needs replacing.

The greasy residue on my fingers also reminded me that I wanted to pack a little vial of Gojo.  One of the downsides of derailleur-less systems is that you end up handling the chain more.  And it’s amazing how few bathrooms now seem to have soap dispensers.

On Saturday’s ride, my cleats popped out a couple times while climbing. I’ve been breaking in a new set of SIDI’s, using a fresh set of new-version Time ATAC cleats.  The Quickbeam has had the oldest set of ATAC pedals I own - gen 1’s, I reckon - the kind with the composite body (I’m pretty sure they were OEM take-off’s from something…).  The old SIDI’s were worn down almost slipper-like, nearly smooth as dress shoes  on the soles.  I expect from the ten or so years of pushing pedals, they had molded a bit to the shape of the pedals.  These new ones were working two variables, and I suspect the freshly-molded shape combined with the B-class fit of the new cleat design with the old pedal bodies caused it.

However, momentum is always such a fickle mistress.  On longer rides, so is attitude. While it didn’t bug me on Saturday, I suspect that over the longer distance from Davis to Pope Valley, a few of those forced-single-legged-riding incidents and I’d be pretty grumpy.  So, on Sunday night I swapped in the newest ATAC’s from the Hilsen. 

This worked well for Monday’s commute.  Curious thing, using the pedals with the cleats that were designed for them.

Monday exposed some other issues as well. Namely leaky bits.  A couple weeks back I’d ridden off into a rainy headwind for a while to go see the Tour of Calfornia cross over the Golden Gate Bridge -

My feet - in the new SIDI’s - were soaked within a mile of leaving the house. My “rain” gloves were uselessly sodden within a half hour.  Water seeped into my front bag (mostly from the bottom - spray off the front of the fender). I’m pretty sure my jacket leaked (and I had bought it in Oregon!). Though I brought a bag to cover my saddle while it was parked, I figured my ample hams and the Rainlegs would cover it appropriately while riding.  It mostly did, but the results were evident -

Since we’re enjoying yet another late-but-torrential rainy season, these things are important. It seems I’m now in wet conditions test-mode on the Brooks.  Will advise as more data comes in. I let it air dry completely. Gave it a little daub of Proofride where it was bone dry.  Let that sit for a day.  Then tightened things up about a half - three-quarter turn (first time on this saddle - another with-the-Hilsen OEM bit).

But, that all was a couple weeks back.  Yesterday, I headed off into what looked to be clearing conditions, looped out the long way to work and was promptly caught in a heavy, wind-driven shower which lasted all the way there.  Damp feet (new socks which seemed much, much better), sodden gloves, the silicone spray seemed to work on the front bag (though now it pooled on the top rather than seeping directly in), and the vague feeling that my jacket wasn’t quite doing its thing. And I pondered about 9 more hours in such conditions. Not the best set of thoughts.

Rainlegs would’ve been much better than the non-waterproof pants I was wearing. Even though my upper parts were damp, I was comfy.  Might’ve even been happier with one less layer and a warmer hat.  I’ve decided that my Voler Rain Gloves aren’t - though they make dandy wind/damp gloves.  The simple wool gloves work better the wetter it is. 

The shoes/feet thing is probably the worst.  Anything that gets that uncomfortable that quickly will not correct itself easily. I have toe warmer things for cold and old, old neoprene booties from more open-wheeled racer days - neither one quite right. Road spray is a bit of an issue, and I’m going to try running some flexible wire down the fender flap. Someone at the SFR 200K was running shower caps on their feet, which struck me as reasonably brilliant.  Riding along in both the recent sloshy outings, it was also clear that a significant amount of water drips down off of my arms right onto my feet.

I’m going to try to leave work a bit early and loop down to REI - first to pick up some Nikwax stuff to revitalize the jacket, and then to take a look at  lighter weight shoe covers or  waterproof socks.  Leaning towards the covers, with maybe a spritz of silicone.

The Niterider is heading down for warranty work - my disco light
condition
frequent enough to be noted in the FAQ.  In a wonderful
world, I’ll be finished and off course well before needing
illumination, but decided on a little bit of “see” lighting in addition
to my “be seen” bar light.  First, I removed the front of the rack mount, then P-clamped a Coast V2 Tac-light LED flashlight to the side of the rack.  It’s supposed to have about 100 hours on 3 AAA’s, and throws a decent amount of light.  Could only get black through my distributor at work, but it’s good for now.

Though all this the bike is working great.  One of the grand things about a derailleur-less system. Riding home last night, the winds swirled and howled  Since my revelation about cross-wind reactions, things have seemed even more solid on the Quickbeam. 

Sat at the desk last night trying to get my mind around “equivilences”.  Y’see, the other issue here is that I’ve actually not ridden any of the roads upon which the Davis 200K is routed.  The two brevets I’ve done have been over a true home court advantage. I’m looking at elevations to the dam at Berryessa and thinking it’s roughtly the same as White’s Hill.  I’m thinking that 54 miles to the Pt. Reyes Lighthouse will be similar to less climbing and the 67 miles to the Pope Valley control.  I’m  estimating speed on the flats, on the climbing section, then the undulations to the turn around point.  Estimating where I’d like to try to take a break as suggested by topography, mileage and the presence of stores. In other words, I’m fretting a bit.

But, it’s a good kind of fretting. Planning in redundant systems of failure. Analyzing variables.

I’m also thinking that winds will be an issue, and as such am happy that the last few rides had a goodly amount.

Ok.  Gotta get going. Warned you this was “Nattering”…

3 Responses to “Nattering”

  1. Tina Says:
    Hope to see you on Saturday. As long as there’s no rain in the forecast I’ll be there! Cheers, Tina
  2. Carlos Says:
    The Performance neoprene full shoe covers have worked better than most other brands for me, I do spray them with some sort of silicone I had purchased for an old pair of hiking boots. I shine my winter cycling shoes (Sidi boots) with shoe wax. Also plug any holes not covered by the cleats with silicone. That keeps water out for a while on real bad conditions. It seems it is gonna be dry on Saturday, good luck.
  3. The Cyclofiend Says:
    Tina - see what you can do about the rain - I’d appreciate it!

    Carlos - I think my old covers are Perfomance - I sprayed them pretty well with silicone. They just seem like they will be too hot. But, based on how cold my feet get when they are soaked, it might be a good idea. Thanks!