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01/18/10
Typing While the Winds Buffet
Filed under: general, bike tech, brevets
Posted by: The Cyclofiend @ 12:26 am

Kind of a slow paced day today. No riding this weekend, though Saturday would’ve been about perfect - no wind to speak of, glimmers of sunlight here and there plenty of folks seemed to be out enjoying the day.  I was in an advanced voice acting workshop with Tom Pinto on Friday night and all of Saturday, focusing on fine-tuning auditions and enjoying the company of a great teacher and several stellar VO contemporaries.  It’s the first class of the this year, and always good to see folks in person.

It also worked me like a long ride, as it’s a day and a half of pretty high concentration, focused efforts and extreme attention to very intangible things. And although I had vague intentions to get a little leg stretching ride in, I must admit that the alarm got quickly thwacked and I rolled over until the rains hit, worked a Sunday crossword with my wife and generally bumped around for the morning.

Hey, sometimes you gotta just recover. 

I also began fretting a bit about next Saturday’s San Francisco Randonneurs 200K, as I realized that, curiously enough, it was going to take place next Saturday.  Add to that the fact that no one has shown up for an intervention, despite the fact I seem to be favoring the Quickbeam for this year’s ride.

Things do feel a bit better this year, though that may have more to do with not doing last year’s ride. Memory can be soooo subjective.

On the other hand, there are some issues to deal with before setting off at the Golden Gate Bridge, mostly minor tech issues.  But they all begin with the bikes being clean enough to deal with, so when the morning rains subsided, I threw on the Grundens bib and rubber boots and pretended to be a pit wrench on the cyclocross circuit.  The hot, soapy water felt good on my cold hands, and I scrubbed both the Quickbeam and the Hilsen down a bit.

The Quickbeam is pretty much ready to go.  It’s feeling as comfortable as ever these days, and between the Zugster Rando Bag afore and the Keven’s Bag aft, it can carry enough in the way of jackets and bits to be perfect. I’m going to double check the sprocket teeth for wear and see if I can’t remove the slight play that’s in the rear hub, check the chain (which I think may be worn) and replace the tires, which are just a bit thinner than I like them to be on what is shaping up to be a damp ride.

I decided that the Hilsen needs to be ready as well, if only as a spare so that if I freak out late in the week and decide I need a coastable many-geared setup, it will be ready at a moment’s notice.  There are a couple of issues there - first, the bottom bracket started making some very crunchy sounds the last couple times it was out, especially when I was out of the saddle.  This makes me just super-happy, as you can guess, because it’s an excuse to pull the Ritchey Cross Cranks off the bike.  As much as I like the gearing and the lightness and Q-factor of these cranks, it’s just hard to trust them entirely any longer.  I’ll be interested to see if they have started to slip a bit.  (More on that story here.)

However, the slightly taller gearing has been nice, so I’ll probably pull the chainrings off and change the Sugino XD2 triple to a 48/38.  That way I won’t have to move the front derailleur (though it will be interesting to see what that does to the shifting, since I’ll be leaving the 26T inner ring in place.)

Other than that, it needs fenders remounted. Since riding with Gino a couple weeks back and enjoying the shiny smoothness of his Honjo fenders, I’m feeling a need to upgrade.  However, that’s probably not in the immediate budget, so the SKS’s in the garage will have to do in the meantime.  I did get a set of Sheldon Nuts to simplify the mounting, but that’s going to skew the position a touch, so I’m not sure I’m going to mess with those yet.

The other things to resolve will be giving the saddles a treatment with the Nikwax Aqueous Wax, and hoping that the new style of Brooks saddle cover which came with my Swift will do the job in terms of protection in case of torrential rains. The downside of using the Quickbeam in fixed mode is that you do tend to be out of the saddle more, especially on any type of climbing, so that the saddle gets exposed to rains. This one does look pretty sturdy and “Grunden’s-like”…

One area which concerns me is my feet.  I finally retired my old solid lorica SIDI shoes for new ones, which have a couple of mesh panels on them.  Didn’t really need those under summer conditions, and now that rain and cooler temps prevail, mitigating the damp is key.  I’ve got a set of Pearl Izumi “CalienToes” which are OK for cool, but pretty useless in the rain.  Though I’ve silicone-sprayed them, they just don’t really cover all that much acreage.  I do have an old pair of neoprene booties, but find that those get pretty danged hot over the course of a day, and they tend to collect rain at the top.  I’ve got a little credit at REI right now, and was looking at the Pearl Izumi Soft-Shell Shoe Covers (as opposed to the Barrier model, which seems to be heavier neoprene.)

For the rest of the outfit, I’ve got Rainlegs and my trusty old eVent Jacket, which I’ll probably retreat once more before the ride.  If I really think the rain will be torrential, I could always swap in a pair of GoreTex rain pants I have, though I’ve only ridden in those for shorter commutes.

I also spent some time forwarding route options to RBA (Regional Brevet Administrator) Rob, who had asked for those of us with local knowledge to comment on what to do if the creeks rise.

Mill Valley Option #1 (Hwy 101) -
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Mill-Valley-Flood-Option-1

Mill Valley Option #2 (via  ) -
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Mill-Valley-Flood-Option-2

Kentfield Flooded Option -
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Kentfield-Flooded-Option

San Anselmo Flooded Option -
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/San-Anselmo-Flooding-Option

Then, in the last hour or so before it got dark, I cleaned out the gutters before the rains returned, slicing my palm on the sharp edge of a connector.  Good thing I got a tetanus update when the I was in the ER back in June. Took a while to clean out properly, and it made me realize that I should also pack a pair of danged glasses on the brevet, just in case I need to do detail work at any point in the day.  But now, as the winds rattle the windows and the rain begins in earnest, I’m glad I did the prep work.

Finally, I’ve been looking at times on the course in the two times riding the brevets.  (Though I’ve filed my danged brevet card from the 2007 ride and can’t lay my hands on it…going by timestamped photos on Flickr.) Finding it interesting that the difference of about an hour between 2007 and 2008 completion, all took place in the latter part of the ride, and just averaging another mph faster over the last 40 miles or so would’ve been helpful.  But, when you are out there and doing it, you give what you’ve got.  This is the first time I’ll actually be using a computer on the bike, so we’ll see if that helps to keep me on track a bit better.

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