Author Archives: britcpower

Ritchey Speedmax End of term

I got the Ritchey Speedmax 40c for my commute bike at a super cheap sale price of only $35 for the pair including tax and shipping.  I was hoping to get over 1000 miles out of them but was pleasantly surprised to get slightly over 2000 miles.  The tires have been ridden around 90% on road in all weather conditions with the exception of snow.  They have been ultra reliable.  I did not have a single puncture on these tires and my commute has lots of glass and debris. These tires ride OK ridden at 60PSI which is a bit less than the 75psi on the sidewall.  My only grumble with them is that they don’t really seem to be as wide as a 40c should be.

 

back

Back

 

Although there is quite a bit of life (especially in the front) I wanted the reliability to continue. I Got a new pair for slightly more expensive $35.98 but still cheap.  Plan to keep these on for another 2000 miles.

front

Also it is worth reporting on the Excess 18t freewheel I fitted a while back.  Although this one hasn’t started slipping like the last one yet, the bearings feel absolutely terrible and it is making some horrible noises. These freewheels really do not seem to like wet weather riding. I think it is toasted but I am going to keep on riding until it starts slipping.  This is a very disappointing 956 Miles.

Finally I fitted fenders to the commute bike as I got sick of getting a wet rear end,  Wet roads and flooded underpasses really get you wetter than you have to.  Fortunately the Masi has huge clearances even with the supposed 40C tires. Hopefully me fitting these will stop the rain 🙂

 

 

 

 

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2018 Goals

Normally my goals are full of racing but since I retired from that, I have different plans.  I would really like to do 10,000 miles for the year. This year I only missed that total by a few hundred so I think it is within reach. I would also like to complete all the monthly Strava Mileage and climbing challenges. Last year I got pretty close but a few mishaps prevented it (e.g. A bad car accident in September). It requires real commitment to do these challenges and requires typically 25 miles and 800ft of climbing every day.

2017 Results

  • January – Miles and Climb
  • February – Miles and Climb
  • March – Miles and Climb
  • April – Miles
  • May – Miles
  • June – Miles and Climb
  • July- Miles and Climb
  • August – Miles
  • September – Fail
  • October – Miles and Climb
  • November – Miles
  • December – Miles and Climb

I also have a rather silly climbing challenge. Although my days of attempting an Everest challenge in one day are long since past,  I would like to do it over the year.  The climb I have chose to do it on is offroad on the 0.8m 356ft Laughlin Ranch off road climb.  To achieve the required total would be 82 repetitions.

I reckon if I was actually Everesting this climb it would take me around 21 Hours !!!!

It is a tough 10 minute climb that can be ridden as a loop. My target requires the climb to be ridden twice per week. If we have bad weather , the clay nature of the climb makes it out of bounds. Back before my stroke I did this climb in 5m52s but now I am happy to break 10 minutes. The fastest time since my recovery is 8m42s.  Trying to do this adventure should help me to achieve the Climbing Challenge (7/12 in 2017). The climb is made hard by cattle that churn up the surface.

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No More Drop Bar Fatbike

I have converted my drop bar fat bike to straight MTB style set up.  To be honest although the drop bar set up was fine on roads and fire roads it was a pig on proper off road stuff.  Since I stopped doing the epic gravel grinder stuff and was just riding the local trails I grew to dislike the fatty.  I was all set to sell it but then my wife said she wanted a mountain bike so I decided to let her use the fatty as a mountain bike.

fatty001

The transformation with the wide MTB bars is unreal.  The steering no longer feels like a bulldozer and I have much more confidence off road. The other changes that came with the swap to flat bars were some Deore XT brakes and Trigger shifters.  The hydraulic XT brakes are vastly superior to the hybrid HyRd brakes.  A fairly expensive upgrade but worth every penny. My gear changes on the fatty have always been pretty crummy and it was always going out of adjustment. The change with the X5 shifters is perfect.

The bike should be perfect for my wife and I intend to borrow it a lot 🙂

fatty002

 

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Retirement Sale

I have a ton of bike equipment that I no longer need since I retired from racing,  I want to try to find good homes for this stuff. I have setup a website to help thin the herd.

https://retirement944.wordpress.com/

 

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Volagi Updates

volaigi_sep17_001

The front wheel failed catastrophically on the Volagi when the nipples on the spokes started breaking.  I took it in to be repaired once and had several spoke nipples replaced but first ride afterwards and some more nipples broke. I realized the wheel was toast.  I have my fingers crossed that the back wheel does not go the same way.  I scoured the web sales to find a suitable replacement and came up with an Easton EA 90 XD. I got this on sale for a stupid cheap price of only $127 including Tax and shipping.  These wheels list for $439. Unfortunately they didn’t have any rear wheels.

Also the TRP HYRD rear brake has packed in again. This is my third replacement and the shop got it from has one out of business. I am seriously considering binning it and getting a mechanical brake to replace it.  On full the brake doesn’t have enough power to stop the back wheel.

I finally decided to dump the Challenge tires. The back one is pretty worn out after 1600 miles and I have had 8 punctures on this tire. In my whole life I have never had so many punctures on one tire.  I flatted on them today trying out the new wheel.  I will never buy these again.

volaigi_sep17_002

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Esparto TT M45+ 1/2/3 – Fixed Gear

I haven’t ridden an aero bike for well over 2 years as I haven’t felt safe to ride on aero bars since my stroke. The Monday before this event I made the decision to ride my Felt Fixed bike with aero bars for the Esparto TT. I was hoping that the non-technical nature of the course would mean my balance wasn’t an issue. I doubt I will be pushing out great power as I have had so little seat time in the aero position but I was hoping it will be faster.
felt_2017
This race was won in 34 minutes last year and last place was 42m05s in the 45+ 1/2/3. My goal for this event, like all others this year, was to not come last so I was aiming to beat 42 minutes. This would be an average speed of >22.8MPH which is faster than I have achieved on my Merckx setup on my practice course. I am hoping the aero setup will be about 1MPH faster but this really is a stretch goal for me.

I have never raced this course but looking at the profile it looks quite rolling but not at all technical. Not too bad for a fixed gear. I decided to ride a 48 x 14 gear which works out to 24.1 MPH at 90RPM. I decided that due to my balance issues a slower pedaling cadence would be better. I was struggling a bit with my weight for this event but it’s not hilly nature shouldn’t have too much of an Impact.

I literally dusted off my Felt TK3 Track bike on the Monday before the event and went for a ride on my practice TT course (Del Valle). The bike was setup for 48×15 and I haven’t ridden it for over two and a half years. The good news was that I actually felt OK on the aero bars and that I went faster than I have done on my other fixed bike all year. The bad news was that I was only about 0.5mph faster rather than the 1mph I was hoping for and it aggravated an old IT band injury. This was with a regular helmet, front wheel and 48 x 15 so not a full race simulation. The other good news was that I averaged 23MPH which beat my 22.8MPH goal.

Due to work commitments I was unable to ride the bike again until Friday but I took the down time to get it converted to 48×14 and put in the HED 3 front wheel. The bike definitely felt a bit different with the HED 3 front wheel and I didn’t feel too safe in the crosswinds but the changes got me an improvement of nearly 1 MPH which was great. I changed my goal to be 24MPH which meant beating 40m. I am obviously not used to the position as my legs felt very fatigued for the rest of the day. This ride put me at the grand total of 45.8 miles of seat time on this bike which is not ideal.

I began to wonder if the Kask Helmet and visor was such a good choice on the warmup.  Even at 9am in the morning it was already getting really hot and I didn’t feel too great.  I normally like to do a few hard efforts on my warmup but today I decided to give it a miss. It is hard warming up on a gear like 48×14 as you have to be going pretty fast to get your legs spinning. I got the grand total of 6.5 miles as my warmup.

I made a complete mess of the start and couldn’t get my foot clipped in which lost me a few seconds but I soon got a reasonable pace going.  The first section felt like it was slightly up hill and the wind was not very favorable so I was struggling to hold a good pace. I got caught just before the first right turn where the course became a little lumpy for a while. It was on this section I started to feel unwell and seriously contemplated packing.  I decided just to keep on riding but couldn’t push any more.  I got caught by another two riders that passed me like I was stopped on the Southbound leg and I was doing 27MPH+ on this section. By the time we hit the final right turn back into the wind I was pretty toast. Normally I lift the pace a little for the last KM but today I was running on empty. I crossed the line and didn’t manage to beat 40 minutes and also felt really ill.  I have felt pretty bad after racing this year but this time if felt terrible for 30+ minutes after the event.  I felt so bad I was petrified I was going to have another stroke.  This was a real wake up call for me and I have decided to retire from racing. I did manage not to come last but this was my last race.

I will really miss racing but I don’t want to feel like I did at the end of todays race ever again. It wasn’t the kind of smashed you feel after a really hard effort but something much worse. I suppose I will sell my beloved TT bikes and aero wheels as I don’t think I will ever ride them again.

I don’t know how riding fixed impacted my time today and it is hard to say how much quicker I would have been riding my Trek. The course didn’t really have and serious hills and there was nothing that was too much trouble on the 48×14.  My lack of seat time in the aero position definitely didn’t help matters. The course was quite bumpy in places and I came off the aero bars a few times on the down hill sections.  My maximum speed was 30.2 MPH and my average speed a rather disappointing 23.6MPH.

esparto17

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Red Kite 2017 Tempus Fugit TT Summer – Merckx – 6th Place

 

fugit17_01

Picture Thanks to Katie

 

I decided to ride this event in the Merckx Category on my Wabi Fixed Gear Bike. I have quite a thing for 70’s style time trialling and before my stroke my big goal was to beat the hour for 25 miles 70’s style (not going to happen now). My 4 previous attempts at this course on the Wabi were all less than 30 minutes but back then I was pushing out over 300W.  My goals for this event were rather more humble and I just wanted not to finish last.  I reckon I would have to beat my time  from earlier in the year to not be last (geared bike with Hed 3 wheels and Kask aero helmet where I managed a 31m46s).  Last year by coincidence the last place time was 31m46s. In order to beat this time I would need to see quite a fitness gain as this setup was probably around 30W more efficient.

My Best Times on Wabi:

Date Distance Strava Time Speed Pulse Race Time
8/24/2014 11.1 0:28:36 23.6 169 Race (28:41)
8/23/2015 11.1 0:29:00 22.9 163 Race (29:04)
8/10/2014 11.1 0:29:10 22.8 154
3/22/2015* 11.1 0:29:12 22.8 165 Race (29:18)
7/30/2017 11.1 0:30:48 21.1 158  
  • Note:  This was my third TT of the day

I think I am fitter now than I was 3 months ago and my FTP is slightly better but I am not feeling too great.  I have been seeing some encouraging results on my Del Valle practice TT course despite the general feeling of malaise. I have been getting within a minute of my previous Wabi times on this course and my times are quite consistent.

My only changes to the Wabi was the addition of a new back tire (after the original Corsa let go in a big way) and a power pod power meter.  I also decided to stick with the 48 x 15 gearing which really is a compromise but I don’t think I could push anything bigger on the mainly up hill way out.

The Red Kite people have always been quite liberal with the Merckx rules and some people have some pretty aero kit.  I am riding a classic steel tubed bike with no gears and absolutely no aero stuff. I feel I am more than meeting the spirit of the regulation. This article “article here” claims that the difference beween a TT bike and a road bike is around 70W at 25MPH. I would say that for me on this 11.1 mile course it is about 2 minutes difference.  The difference between the Wabi Fixed and something like a Venge is harder to guess. I would guess that it could be a minute. This test has some shocking differences and shows that an aero road bike can save around 30W.  I think my geared bike with aero wheels and helmet was a good bit faster than the Wabi but I am hoping my fitness has improved.

What was quite significant from the aero testing was the “aero hoods” position which is the virtual aerobar position you see quite often with breakaway riders.  With my current state of balance I cant consider doing this as I consider it too dangerous.  It would probably get me quite a saving on those long drags on the way out if I could do it. According to this test it was worth 40W on the slowest bike which was huge. When my wife does this on training rides I can notice a big difference.

Aero Rankings

Bike model Aero watts at 45kph Aero ranking
Hoods Drops Aero hoods
Trek Madone Race Shop Ltd 301.6 299.1 279.1 1st
Specialized S-Works Venge ViAS 301.6 300.1 286.1 2nd
Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 307.6 295.2 281.5 3rd
Cervelo S5 309.2 306.5 281.1 4th
Giant Propel Advanced SL 343.0 332.6 298.0 5th

Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/product-news/aero-bike-actually-fastest-326667#lHKZMBVP265wgDjr.99

 I did a practice effort the month before the event and did a time only 2 seconds slower than my March time which was really encouraging.  The time was 2m12s  slower  than my best on the Wabi but better than I hoped for. I estimate that since the spring my  FTP has improved to around 260W.
Ten people signed up for the Merckx Category including super fast Chris Evans who did 26m39s last year.  That is a storming time for a non aero setup and actually faster than I have done aero (my p.b. is 26m49s). On the start sheet I had Carl Nielson two minutes behind me who last year did 28m01s and was hoping I could hold him off until the turn.
 I got a really good warm up for the event by riding out from home and felt pretty good at the start.  There was quite a bit of aero kit on bikes at the start line which is a bit disappointing but to be expected. Really Merckx just means no aero bars or disk wheels to most people. It felt quite hard to me on the way out and the little hills were quite a struggle. My pulse was pretty high from very early on but I was determined not to get caught by Carl. I held off my Minute man till around mile 4 and got out to the turn about 1m10s off my Wabi best.  The return leg did feel like a headwind but it is mainly down hill so I was flying. I saw over 30MPH several times and returned within 43 seconds of my Wabi best which is encouraging.  I also managed not to get caught by Carl which made my day.
I felt absolutely terrible after the finish and it took me a good half an hour to come round but I achieved my goals so I was very happy. I do not think I could have gone any faster today and put in a really hard effort. I was 1m53s slower than my Wabi personal best
  • Strava Segment
  • Position 6th
  • Time 30m29s (winners time 26m35s)
  • Max Speed : 31.1 MPH
  • Max Cadence : 130 RPM
  • Average Pulse : 171

 

tempus17_2

Picture Thanks to Katie

 

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Crossfire Hurricane Hillclimb TT. Masters 45+ 3/4 – 2017

I was in two minds about actually riding this event. Since my stroke my times up Patterson have been well over 10 minutes slower than they were in the good old days.  I reckon I am at about 70% fitness but seem worse when things get really steep. In the past I used to think of improving my time but now all I think is, “can I actually get up the steep bits?”.  I can’t get over how hard the climb feels now, especially with a headwind and heat. Back in 2014 I did 31m06s for the TT which was good enough for second place but now It would be a real struggle to beat the last place time of 48 minutes.  Back then I was riding the climb regularly with the Cycletrons and always in the top few riders over the top of Patterson. My goal for the day was much more humble and to not come last (very tall order). If I could get within 130% of my last time I would be pleased so my stretch goal was beating 40 Minutes. Of course a strong variable on this climb is the headwind and I have encountered some monsters on here.

When I rode the event in 2014 I did 20m36s for the Patterson TT segment with an average wattage of 329W and an average heart rate of 175 bpm.  When I did a practice attempt, on the Wednesday before the event, my time for the same segment was 31m25s with an average wattage of 241W and a heart rate of 161bpm. Back then my max heart rate was approx. 185bpm and now it is about 175bpm. I have to admit the wind was pretty unfavorable on my practice attempt but I cant remember what it was like for the race.  It is normally a nasty headwind up the climb in July.

Back in 2014 I put some clip on aero bars on my Tarmac and I am sure these helped a lot on the bottom couple of miles of the climb. I decided to risk my bad balance issues and try to fit them for this event but unfortunately was unable to find them.  My race tactic was to try to have something in reserve for the three steep sections and not go too mad on the Midway Climb (My midway times are also down about 30%.). I knew if I hit the steep bits already close to max that I would suffer really badly and lose more time.

My chosen steed for the race was my Storck with a 34×28 bottom gear and I decided to not go with the Kask helmet as heat on this climb can be vicious. I don’t own a skinsuit anymore but our team jerseys are pretty aero. I had had a stomach bug all week before the event so I didn’t feel brilliant but not too bad. When I was warming up I saw lots of skinsuits, deep dish wheels, aero bars and aero helmets.

The race itself went pretty much to plan. I think I did a pretty good job of pacing myself on the bit up to the main climb and never really went too deep.  I think the wind was kinder than it has been for the past few weeks but it was pretty warm. I got caught by two riders and they went past me as if I was stood still.  Despite pacing myself well, I still completely blew up in the last 200 yards and it was horrible. My time up Midway was 2m31s (285W) compared to 2m01s (388W) back in 2014. My time up Patterson was25m35s (243W)  compared to 20m36 (329W) in 2014.

My goal was to beat 40 minutes and not come last and I achieved both those. My time was 6m50s off my last time on this race which is around 15% down but better than I hoped. The winners time was excellent and even back to my 2014 fitness I would not have been close to that.

  • Time : 00:37:56 Position 12th out of 14 finishers.
  • Winner : 00:27:03 Scott Lemke (Eden Bicycles Racing Club)

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Tight Clinchers

My wife has some Campag Neutron wheels on her Colnago and they can be an absolute nightmare to fit tires on.  I broke two tire levers trying to get some Michelin Pro Race 3 tires on and completely failed with some Kenda Countach tires.  In the end I tried with some Continental GP4000S and it was a real struggle but they went on.  I was hoping that after a few hundred miles they would become easier to fit.

Unfortunately this week my wife flatted and was completely unable to remove the tire.  In the end some big burly bloke managed to get the tire off but it took two of them to get it back on and in the progress they nipped the tube. I googled the issue and it is pretty common for these rims and looked for a tire that people found worked.  I found the  Schwalbe Ultremo ZX got favorable comments.  Unfortunately the Schwalbe Ultremos are not made anymore and the only ones I can find cheap online are in ghastly colors or 650c.  I ordered some for a little more than I wanted to pay but at least they were in Black.

Fortunately I had an Ultremo ZX left over from my recumbent days in the garage  so I tried it out. I suppose I should have done this before ordering.  It really was pretty easy to fit (at least no more difficult than other rims) but it is Orange which doesn’t go with the bike at all. I hope these ordered Ultremo’s work as well.

 

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Good Samaritan

On Sunday I had the misfortune of a flat some 25 miles from home on the Wabi Single speed.  I ran over something that made the tire go bang in a big way.  I checked the tire and didn’t see any glass so I put in the spare tube and pumped it up only to see the tube come out of a big hole and explode.

I noticed a huge hole in the tire so it was toast.  I had a tire boot with me but used both my C02 and my only spare tube. I tried for 40 minutes to ring my wife for a ride home but unfortunately her phone was off.  Eventually a nice cyclist in a pickup truck stopped and offered to run me home.  Bearing in mind this was at least a 40 mile round trip this was a very generous offer. He wouldn’t accept any gas money either.  Good people like him restore my faith in humanity.

Wear wise this tire was doing pretty good with 1332 miles on it before the catastrophic damage. Unfortunately Vittoria don’t do the Corsa CX anymore like this. I loved this tire because it looked just like a tubular and had a sublime ride.  In my humble opinion this is the best looking clincher tire created.  I ordered up the newer version of the tire which in my mind does not look half as good and has a wacky tread . It was but pretty expensive at around $70 list but I managed to get $10 off that price.  Just five minutes after ordering saw the same tires on ProBikeKit for way cheaper ($79 for a pair). DOH ! Incidentally this is the second CX rear tire that I have had fail in the same way.  They may be gorgeous but they are a bit fragile.

split

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