Sunday, November 4, 2012

Travel, Changes, and the Bike(s)

I'm back after spending July till early October overseas with work. It was a great experience but generally not good for my fitness. The other way to look at it was that it was a forced hiatus for my body and now being back my body feels great and recovers much faster then it did prior to the travel.

Prior to the travel, I was feeling very uninspired about the road bikes and was actually riding a carbon 29er I had built some. That was until a couple of hard crashes right before I left had me deciding that mountain biking wasn't for me and to focus on road and CX. So selling the mountain bike, the financial benefits of an overseas assignment, plus the lonely downtime in the hotel room meant a lot of bike forum surfing and eBay shopping. The result was minor to major (as in all together new) overhauls for my road and CX bikes. I will cover these in separate post.

The major philosophy change in all this was to try to pair down my equipment. In the past, I've had tubular race wheels and clincher training wheels with a set of each for each bike. The race wheels are definitely the nicer of the two but with my lack of racing over the past 1 1/2 years, most had probably been ridden 2-3 times during that span. So after lots of research and buoyed by my experience going tubeless on the mountain bike, I decided to sell off my clinchers and go all tubular. That way I would have 1 set of wheels for each bike plus 1 spare road and 1 spare CX wheelset. It would also mean that I would actually be riding the nice wheels versus leaving them hanging in garage.

Stretching tires
So once I got back, it was a flurry of re-vamping the wheels, rebuilding one set with tubular rims, building two new sets of tubular wheels, adding sealant to the tubular tires, and gluing up tires. So far I've had 4 road rides plus 3 short CX races and really enjoyed the switch. The tubulars ride better, the wheels I'm riding are much nicer, and the one flat (pure bad luck, the sidewall was torn) was corrected fairly easily by pulling the tire off, mounting the spare. It's still early in this experiment and so I'll check back in a couple of months to let you know if this will stick.

A couple of sets glued


A random picture of Jens Voigts bike equipment at a local bike shop. He was doing an upcoming local ride and his equipment happened to be delivered when I stopped into get some more sealant. There were two Leopard Trek bike bags in addition to pictured wheel and gear bags. Is it strange that I was more excited to be close to his equipment then him?