Found this on youtube. There’s me!
Murphy struck this morning. I had to start work an hour earlier than usual this morning, so my workout had to start at 0615. I drove 45 minutes to the start point, set the bike up, fired up the Garmin and zeroed the Powertap. I started off and the Garmin didn’t register movement or cadence or power. The last time this happened it required a hard reset to fix, so I did that and reconfigured the two screens I would need. When I zeroed the Powertap it came up 771 instead of 513 as it did before (calibration should be between 500 and 524). When it does that it means the PT battery has just died. I rode for five minutes to confirm that it wasn’t going to magically come back to life and decided to hang it up, in spite of the fact that the temps were beautiful and it was sunrise. Bah.
It’s been an interesting summer for my road bike. I’ve ridden a lot of different roads and done some serious distance exploring the mountains north of me. Some of the deficiencies that were masked or I was just not aware of have really come to light.
- Rough riding on poorly maintained/chip seal roads.
- Inability to handle gravel found in Paulding county
- Inability to fit fenders with tires larger than 25c
- inability to carry anything
- Shitty braking in the rain
These definitely aren’t stopping me from riding but they are limited my sense of exploration. A lot of the roads I’m mapping out rides on are not on Google street view and it’s not clear if they’re dirt/gravel/paved. Earlier in the summer I had a series of pinch flats on gravel due to the narrow tires I was running in order to fit fenders. Now whenever I hit any stretch of gravel I tense up and ride slow, trying to avoid a flat. I also carry three additional tubes since I had to cute a ride short due to pinch flatting twice and only having two extra tubes.
As I ride longer I also need more food. I can currently carry enough food for about 8 hours but it’s kind jury rigged with a bunch in my pockets and a bunch in an old busted saddle bag strapped to my camelbak. I definitely struggle to carry any clothing or a rain jacket. As the weather goes from hot sunny bliss to more chances of rain and cooler mornings this is going to be a pretty annoying issue to face.
I’ve been planning to buy a Elephant NFE but as the order queue seems really long (I’m 30th for like 7 frames) I decided I can wait for low trail but going 650b now would be half the delicious 650b/lowtrail sandwich, to steal a phrase from a post I saw on tarckbike.
About two weeks ago I noticed a crack in my frame at the seatstay/seattube junction. This combined with recent gravel stress propelled me into ordering a full set of parts for a 650b build. I had initially expected to build a frame-up and use the fork from my DX350 but now I think I’ll just through the 650b wheelset on the DX and see how it goes from there. I bought a custom set of wheels from the Universal Cycles wheel builder. All told took about two weeks to get to my door. Frame I picked was a Soma Double Cross Disc but for now that’s kind of irrelevant. I’m pretty excited about the change. I’m kind of expecting to be just as fast or even faster with the Hetres tires I ordered. 42mm is actually pretty huge but they’re light and apparently super supple so I guess I’ll find out tomorrow. I’ve got a bunch of buildup to do tonight so I’m hoping everything goes well.
Here’s my wheelset. Should be right around 1650 grams for the set.
I got two pinch flats on the same tube at the same time? About 5 inches apart, really blew my mind. I ended up walking a mile of so on gravel to get back to the road since the grease in my pump was dry and crusty and couldn’t output more than about 45-55 PSI. It was a very exciting ride back as I was all out of tubes!
Came in 4th open male 18/75 overall. Saw a dude on a brakeless fixed gear at the start. He came unclipped climbing the first rise but managed to save it. I tried to get away from him ASAP, doesn’t seem like a great idea to ride in a mixed pack with that setup. I really nailed my nutrition and hydration, felt great all race. Made the first 3 selections but got dropped from the lead group about 68 minutes in? Kept it together with the chase group but there was little effort to actually catch anyone and very little rotation. Not a bad thing since I was on the ragged edge for quite a while whilst recovering from the efforts put out in the first hour. Breakfast was a clif bar at 7:00 and a clif bar chia & fruit bar about 20 minutes before the start. A good bit of water too.
Nutrition was 1 double expresso clif shot, 1 chocolate clifshot, 1 peanut butter powerbar, and one bottle of gatorade. I ate a huge bite of a peanut toffee buzz clif bar in the last 10 minutes or so but that was only to stave off hunger since I wasn’t sure when the finish line was. Ended up drinking my camelback dry as well as an additional bottle of water. It didn’t feel hot but the high was recorded as 91 with most of the race a little below that I bet. Roads were pretty shaded so only a few sections in full sun, I think two bottles and a camelbak are probably fine unless it’s really hot. At that point I could add a small side bottle in my pocket. Out group didn’t stop at any aid stations so I would expect that to be the case in the future as well, need to have all options on the bike to stay with a fast group.
Course was dry with only a few sports of damp dirt. No real mud but the most minimal tacky sections. Lots of rollers and the climbing was significantly more and significantly harder than I expected. Stayed on my big (46t) ring the entire time and only used the 34t in the rear a few times.
This race rides very much like a regular road race, just on dirt. Big peloton, lots of lateral pack movement but good opportunity for selections due to course features like the single file wooden bridge and the climbs. Seemed to be very little rotation at the middle/rear, I think this is due to the increased resistance riding gravel. A lot more riders are just hanging one, whereas in a road race drafting makes you feel pretty invincible until you get popped into the wind and reality sets in. Riding with MTB/Cross bikes is a little dicey but once there was some weeding out of the slower riders it got a lot smoother and safer feeling.
Comments a few days later: The more I think about that brakeless fixed gear rider (turns out he’s a Spindle dude) the more irritating it is. Riding a set-up like that in a 75-person mixed gravel ride is just stupid and he should know better. It was really unnerving seeing a dude bust out a whip skid on a gravel downhill. Solid jackass move. If you’re going to ride like that, start at the end of the pack, ride there until there are a few selections made and then start blasting by the slower riders. No reason at all to try to stay with the lead pack since you’re going to get dropped on the first serious downhill/uphill anyway. He had quite a shitty ride, looks like at least 2 flats and a bit of walking to finish so I can’t comment on expected finish place but if you’re in competition for single speed, you’d be on a single speed. Novelty rides during a race a fine, but ride in the novelty position, bro.
Thanks to the four-five dudes I rode with. The dude on the MTB must have pulled 75% of the time and did everyone a favor by calling out distances as we neared the finish.
Rode with my tires at 45r/40f and could probably have dropped another 5 psi no problem but I never felt overinflated either so it’s just equivocating for entertainment at this point. Weighed in at 174 the day of the race and felt really light and fast. I’ve been walking between an hour and a half to two hours every day, once in the morning and once after work as well as really monitoring my diet, seems to be working very well. Shooting to get down to my realistic race weight by February for Southern Cross/Currahee double.
For this ride:
- 3 peanut butter power bars because Publix has stopped carrying the Vanilla & Chocolate flavors for some stupid reason and trying to buy Powerbars online is an exercise in realtiy-bending idiocy as the vast majority of flavors are significantly more expensive than local options. Amazon lists most bars as $1.50-$2.25 each, they’re only $1.00 at Publix/Kroger?!
- 1 double expresso clifshot with 100mg caffeine which is basically rocket fuel and makes cycling an absolute joy.
- 1 mocha clifshot wth 50mg caffeine which is the intro version of the above
- 1 rasberry clifshot with no caffeine this is fine I guess 😦
- 1 pack of shot bloks ever since these saved my life at Shake ‘n Brake in the spring I have been psychically linked to them and have been continually nourishing my soul with their organic tapioca syrup based gumminess. Expensive tho $$$.
- 44 ounces of gatorade, mixed in house with the powder because it’s cheap!
- I also drank about a gallon and a half of water.
Nutrition is very fickle. Some rides I eat slightly more and some rides I eat significantly less. It really depends on what I’ve been eating 2-3 days before the ride. Sometimes I think I ate enough and then after I’m at home on the couch cuddled with my plate of Heirloom Market I get all weepy from being under-fed/under-carbed. It’s not a bad feeling, just super emotional.