Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Thursday, May 31, 2012
After 4 months and over 1000 offroad miles, I'm really pleased with the 1 x 10 drivetrain that I’m training on this year. My main goal was improved reliability over a standard mountain bike setup with front shifting. I'm riding a Niner EMD with the following setup: -Shimano M785 Crank w/Homebrew 32 middle Chainring and BBG outer bashgaurd -Sram XX 11-36 Cassette -Shimano HG-94 Chain -Sram X9 shifter mated to a short cage X7 derailleur -N-Gear jump stop chain guard. So far, the aluminum frame and crank have proven stiff enough to provide a drama free riding experience. The middle ring chainline and heavy duty Homebrew chainring continue to provide chainsuck free riding in the worst conditions, even when starved of chain lube. The short cage rear derailleur combined with the jump stop and bash guard continues to provide snappy and accurate shifting without any chain derailments, even when descending rough singletrack at over 30 mph. There is some audible chain rub between the inner plate surfaces of the chain and the chainring teeth when using the low and high extremes of the cassette, but it’s worth the added simplicity and reliability. So far, I haven't missed the extra gears, but I could see it being an issue on rides with fast pavement sections or extreme steep/long climbs. The chain made it about 3 months before stretching beyond 1/16th of an inch. This is about the same life that I get with chains on standard double ring drivetrains, so the wear rate is about the same. Thanks to Jonathan at Cahaba Cycles for helping me get everything sorted out.
Last weekend, I loaded up the family and drove over to some of the newest trails in the Birmingham area at Red Mountain park. It was a great opportunity to spend some quality time hiking with my wife and daughter, and scout new cycling trails. Most of the trail open to cycling is wide, flat, and gravel, but their is at least one relatively long (~1/2 mile) and smooth singletrack climb open to bikes. The more technical trails are mostly closed to cycling. Overall, the park has a lot of potential as a cyclocross training area within riding distance from home. This was also the first time I really pushed the limits of the Bob baby stroller. The big wheels and suspension system made quick work of the rough stuff. I was skeptical that I could push the stroller through the rocky descent in the picture, but I was able to make it without any issues.
Monday, November 21, 2011
This cyclocross sesason, I decided to go tubeless. I've suffered enough pinch flats over the years to know that tubes were out of the question, and I was not willing to make the investment in tubulars, especially after seeing some of the horrific results of failed glue. After a half season of racing and a couple mishaps, I think I finally have the tubeless thing figured out.
In order to get the Race Lite wheels on my Chronus working in a reliable tubeless setup, I purchased a NoTubes Cyclocross tubeless conversion kit, extra roll of yellow tape, and NoTubes Raven tires. The tires might not have been necessary, but I figured I’d use them since they are actually designed to work tubeless. I initially set everything up using all items in the conversion kit and went for a test ride at 40 psi front and rear. The test ride revealed that 40 psi was not enough to keep 200 pounds of man and machine from bottoming out. In the end, I settled on 43 psi front and 47 rear. A relatively low speed parking lot figure eight test resulted in some slight burping in the rear. One of the key’s to prevent burps is to use tape to build up the rim center channel thickness to a point where the tire can still hook the rim bead, and isn’t too tight to mount. It turned out that the yellow tape supplied in the NoTubes kit wasn’t enough, so I added thickness with a layer of electrical tape on top of the roll of yellow tape that I had already used on the wheels.
Everything worked fine for the first few races, and then I did a race with some very fast and rough off camber corners and managed to burp both front and rear tires. I examined the setup again and decided that the electrical tape was insufficient, so I removed it and bought a second role of NoTubes yellow tape. I used the entire roll, half on the front, and half on the rear. In the end, it resulted in an entire roll of yellow tape being used on each rim beneath the rim strip.
I don’t think any tubeless setup is completely burp proof, but one thing CX racing taught me this year is that the ultimate burp test involves locking the rear wheel while skidding around a rough off-camber corner. After numerous tests and one race, I’m pretty confident in the setup. Now, back to the motor…
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Well, another Xterra World Championship is in the books....this being my 9th vist to the race in Maui, it was still another great time. My race went well, as I did take another 2nd Place at the World Championship, but I must say I am a little dissapointed in not coming away with the win. I guess being a competitive type A has its drawbacks! I did however get on the Podium and that is always the best place to finish with the best Off-Road Triathletes on the Planet. Not bad for this Bama Boy. OK, enough whining!
With the end of the triathlon season close at hand, I mean it's pretty much over for 2011, I can say I had a another great season. The end was successful with a GrandMaster win at the Santa Rosa Island Tri a few weeks ago, and a 3rd in my age group at Agusta 70.3 series, and a slot to the 70.3 World Championships in Las Vegas next September. I will look forward to going to another World Champiomship next year, only at a different race distance....gives me a lot to work on for next year. I think for 2012 I am going to try and get into Leadville 100 also just for a little training in August, might be fun! I do look forward to the Xterra season 2012.....I plan on doing a few more Xterra Championships next year and trying to win a 11th Southeast Regional title....but for now we'll just race some local fun events and try to stay in shape for the Holiday season. I think I might even have to go out and try a Cross Race Event.
2012 is just around the corner and it will be a fun year for the Cahaba Cycles Triathlon community.....with Triathlon 101 coming back in May 2012, and a host of great cycling events, 2012 promises to be a super fun year of cycling, triathlon, and MTB racing for all the Cahaba Cycles family.
Thanks to all the Cahaba Cycles family for giving me the chance to race and play with the Best Bike Shop in the Southeast, hands down! Now let's go ride some sweet single track!