25 August 2016


I didn't do an update early in the week. I know you missed it...
We had a nice little group last Saturday morning, and we had a good ride...with plenty of breaks. Thanks to TG for riding shitty tires!
He had a flat on the way to meet us, and destroyed his spare tube AND his co2 apparatus. TVH gave him a Bontrager XXXXXXXXXXXXL tube, which, as we've discussed, suck a mile of ditch water.
It lasted about an hour, which has to be some kind of record for one of those shit tubes, as most of them either fail immediately, or are defective out of the box.
We had a nice spot to wait though...
Strangely, there were no mosquitoes. The upside to flatting next to a shrimp-farming pond.
There were no further mechanical issues, even after we were forced to traverse a dirt section.
We came home the hilly way, and I blame Taylor again, as he lives out near LR. Move to Shandon FFS!
Sunday was a deathmarch. It was short, and not hard, but a travail nonetheless.
Plenty of heart and lungs...no legs. I could have ridden 30kmh all day. Anything more than that wasn't happening.
Still got a good 2 hours, and a good nap when I hit the door.

Rode the Salsa on the dirt both days this week. Not a fan of riding solo on the road much anymore. Easier and safer to stick to the dirt. And WAAAAY better than going out to the Fort...ever.
Felt decent Tuesday. Felt pretty good today. 2 hours both days. Actually made a bit of an effort today to blow out the carbon.
AND it was 75 degrees this morning, which is way more preferable to the 95 degree silliness that's happening outside as I type this.
And I discovered something...
The Clement LAS CX tires are preferable to the Strada LGG, in pretty much every way.
More supple, turn better on AND off road, are more comfortable on AND off road, and float over loose stuff.
The Strada LGGs are okay for what they are, but now that I've ridden the LAS and LGG back to back, I'll take the LAS every time.

 F yo Sprinter van. I'll camp in this...
 Don't know where you're going unless you know you've been...
 Double chainrings AND cantilevers? If it's good enough for Sven, it's good enough for you!!
Hey Mike...how about a red C60?

Ok...enjoy the rest of your week. I'm gonna take a nap now...

19 August 2016

You happy for fat tires...?

Well, these are fatter...

I mentioned the 32mm Clement Strada LGG a while ago.
I wanted to try something different for mixed surface rides, and these presented themselves at a deal I couldn't pass up.
120tpi rubber, paired with Vittoria latex tubes.
And just to further irritate everyone, I mounted them on carbon wheels. Straight out of the box, they measured a true 32mm on "standard" (read - non-wide) hoops.
They're big. They're round. The volume is large. Figuring out pressures has been a bit of a faff.
First rides were a shot in the dark. I did a little math (I'm no good at math), and guessed that 70-ish psi would be okay. Nope.
At 70, the were about as supple as an armadillo. Hard on the road. Almost unrideable on the dirt.
As I was only afforded one shakedown ride prior to leaving for my #UndisclosedLocation, I would have to guess again.
I went down to 60F/65R for the rides on vacation. They rode better on the road, and were pretty good on the dirt. After about two weeks at those pressures, I came to realize that they were STILL not where I wanted them.
Yesterday, I dropped them to 55F/60R.
Results? Faster. More supple. Turned in better. Ride quality was greatly improved.
Here's what I've learned thus far...
On the road, they ride pretty similarly to a standard road tire. Listen, they're not Vittoria Corsas, so don't expect them to be. That's not their job.
They're heavier, lower TPI, and harder rubber. Speaking of heavier, there was a wide gulf between the weights of my two tires. One was 285g. The other, 325g. Kind of odd to have that big of a discrepancy.
Off road, they perform well on hard packed dirt. Never a moment of trouble, nor a near miss.
Here's the rub...
For as good as they are on hardpack, they seem to suffer a bit on loose stuff. Yeah, they're big and supple, but the roundness of the profile sort of works against them.
They don't float over loose sand. You get to find out how deep the sand pit is pretty quickly.
And they just don't like to turn on anything other than hardpack. They slide, then dig in, then catch, and shoot you off into another direction. If you aren't secure in your ability to handle a bicycle, you WILL eat shit.
Normally, I ride Clement LAS tires, which are the gold standard of file treads. Huge volume, varying knob sizes and orientations.
In the same situation (loose conditions), the LAS float over deep stuff. And once they catch, you just turn. No sliding around.
Am I comparing apples and oranges...? Maybe? But...
In the World of tires that do everything, they are comparable. Same size. Same weight. Same ease of fitment and use. Roll and turn about the same.
If I was doing a loop that was all hardpack/paved, I'd roll the Stradas. If there was a question about surface quality, LAS.
The tires themselves are tough as nails. I always look for the best lines through things. Handling ability affords this opportunity. No blindly crashing through for me. Even so, I'm not exactly "easy" on equipment. I'm 84kg. That rarely equates to "riding light".
That being said, after riding the Strada LGG 32s on sand, dirt, gravel, and Lexington County roads, they don't have a mark on them. No scuffs, scratches, nor cuts.
Want a Winter tire? Pick up some Stradas. They come in 23/25/28/32.
Be VERY aware though...
The 28mm and 32mm won't fit in your road bike. Not even close. After riding the 32s for a few weeks, they now measure 33.5mm...on "standard" wheels. On wide hoops (23-24mm wide), they'd EASILY be over 35mm.
Overall, I'd throw a 7.5 to 8 out of 10 at them. I'd be very interested to get my hands on a set of Challenge Strada Bianca tires, or even a set of the Vittoria Corsa in 30mm (coming soon), to compare.
You listening Challenge and Vittoria?

And lastly, and let's be frank here, they just look bitchin' on the bike.

Back on the Ridley this weekend...

15 August 2016

And we're back...

Sorry...I didn't post last week. We were on holiday in an #undisclosedlocation.
The thing with posting from the #undisclosedlocation is that The Googles geo-tags posts, and I'll be perfectly honest here...
As much as I like some of you, I don't want ANY of you going to my little vacay spot, and fucking it up. It's small, quiet, and perfect. Great weather, great food, empty beaches, and some great riding.
Yeah...I'm selfish that way.

I got some good kms while there too. The easy ride was an out and back, 50km affair, with 20km of it on some truly brilliant dirt. The longer added a loop and was 60km. I will say though, 5 rides on that particular type of dirt is hell on a bicycle. Sand, salt water, some bigger gravel. If I lived there full-time, the bike would get a full, pro scrub about once a week, and the drivetrain would be replaced probably twice a year. I'm talking chain, cassette, rings, pulleys...
The grinding...oh...the...grinding...
Either way...I ended up with 300km. And every year, I'm reminded of the wind. The wiiiiiiiiind...
Gotta say too, the Clement Strada LGG 32mm tires were perfect for multi-surface rides. They roll well on the road (not Vittoria Corsas by any stretch), and were smooth and supple on the dirt. I figured out proper pressures too. 60F/65R was a good trade-off. Thinking that less would have been draggy on the pavement. If the ride was 100% gravel, I would have gone down 10psi on both ends.
And they don't have a mark on them after 100km on dirt/gravel. Good stuff by all accounts.
Big meat on carbon wheels. Perfect dirt set-up.
 Only two of these on dry days. On the "wet" day, there were SEVEN water crossings EACH WAY!!
 The "road" section was horrible. I almost got off and quit.
And the dirt? Well...

We did the normal "beach" stuff too...

And even went to a turtle rescue program. I made friends with this guy...
He was due to be released in about a week. Like turtle parole...

It was a restful week, as trips to non-commercial beach communities should be. Now, we're back. School started today. I feel kind of bad for Junior Management. A week fooling around at the beach, and in the pool at the house, then immediately of to school.
I shouldn't feel TOO bad. I never got multiple weeks at the beach during the Summer when I was a kid.

The house is quiet. I have very little to do today, other than remembering to go pick up the kids this afternoon.
Back on the bike tomorrow, and as my mornings are now free again, I'll be out in the morning instead of waiting around on the heat. Don't hate...

Happy Monday!

02 August 2016

Day late...

Yeah...sorry...I got busy yesterday.
FYI, there are NO school supplies left at Target. I bought them all. Honestly, it's ridiculous. I understand the need for "supplies" for my children, but 4 boxes of tissues? 32oz. of hand sanitizer?
#2's list said he should bring TEN boxes of pencils. The smallest box is a 12 count. The "normal" box was 24 count. 120-240 pencils for 180 days of school? I smell a little socialism in action.
Needless to say, he will not be taking 120+ pencils to school on the first day.
He's a box of 24 pal...keep 'em in your desk...

After the $200 Target school supplies run, I made po-boys for dinner. Crunchy, baked, wild caught Alaska pollock, topped w/homemade BBQ and homemade spicy remoulade. Yeah...it was good. Sorry you missed it.

THEN I got down to Service Course...
 It's nice that my < 6 month old RS81 rear wheel needed a new freehub body. Of course, Shimano said, "Take it to your Shimano dealer for warranty...".
Nope...no thanks. Not even putting on my blinker to turn down that road. More trouble than it's worth. Don't need to hear, "Well, you didn't buy it here..." nor, "Well, what did you do to it...".
I sourced the part (for cost), disassembled the rear hub, replaced the freehub (which requires a 14mm allen. Pretty sure they don't have one...), cleaned everything, smashed in new grease & balls, then re-assembled. 20 minutes and $40. Well worth the expense...for myriad reasons.
And let's remember, I AM a Certified Shimano Wheel Tech.
Spins (and freewheels) like a dream.
They'll go back on the bike today. Why not last night, you ask?
Well, a thunderstorm blew in, and between the rain, wind, and copious lightning, I decided an ungrounded building with a LOT of electrical line running through it wasn't the best place to ride it out.
About the time I got back into the house, lightning hit out front. And by out front, I mean RIGHT THE FUCK OUT FRONT. Junior Management scattered like rats.
It hit the crepe myrtle tree in my neighbor's yard. Looks like someone put a 1/2 stick of dynamite in the tree. Blown. To. Shit.

Saturday was thin. No matter, we rolled out Bluff...and kept rolling out Bluff. Closed bridges you say? Well, sort of.
The first two were blocked with heavy machinery. We rode right through. Riding on a closed, yet somehow wide open road is quite brilliant.

Upon reaching the third bridge, we realized that continuing our trip down Bluff would have to stop. Bridge...gone. Damage is still visible from last year's floods. Lots o'water moved through there. LOTS.
We turned around, and had to choices. Fun...or long.
Thankfully, my ride compatriots are dirt road people, so we chose the fun option.
Two sections of big fun later, and we were back on the road. Both were easily passable on the road bikes.
A loop around, and a couple of roads that I hadn't been on for YEARS, and we were headed back in.
The morning ended w/90km, and a lot of fun.
Sorry you missed it...
The afternoon was spent running around w/The Boss, picking up stuff for birthdays. Big fun.
The Heathens were all out of town on Sunday, so I rolled solo. Holy dead legs, Batman!
The roll out 12th was baaaad. Things woke up about an hour into the ride. And right when I started feeling good...well...slightly above average, the road was blocked by a train. Thanks CSX!
CC and I talked about a little, hidden road on Saturday, and as the road was right next to the tracks, I went 'splorin'.
It's a frontage road that leads back into the woods. It ends, but it wouldn't be hard to hack a path through the woods. Maybe a project for this Winter...
By the time I'd turned around, the train was gone, and I rolled home. Easy 60km on a Sunday.
I got home, and cleaned the Ridley. Lots of dirt was traversed over the weekend, and it showed...

Then we celebrated #1's birthday. Where'd that 11 years go?
Oh, and BTW, those Clements I mounted on the CX bike last week are gooood. No loss of speed on the road, and they performed admirably on the dirt. 70psi is WAAAY to much though. Between the carbon wheels, and too much pressure, I may have lost a filling last Thursday night.
They'll work well in our #UndisclosedLocation.
Oh, and keep The Dean in your thoughts. He's decided to ride from Wisconsin, down into Iowa, then across to Kentucky, where he'll decide if he feels like crossing the mountains to get home. Did I mention he's doing this SOLO?
We mounted some 27mm Paves, and installed a randonneur rack on the Eriksen.
Nothing like a little light touring on your Ti bike w/race geos and carbon wheels.

Okay...I'm out. Enjoy your Tuesday!