Thursday, 26 March 2009

GamJams Reviews: Race Tires - Michelin ProRace 3

When I raced windsurfers, I was always amazed by how many people changed their equipment year to year. The pros, sure I could understand it. They're paid to use what the companies they sail for are pushing, and they sail a ton. In many cases, they're the development test pilots so they've got the better part of a season on it before they're even allowed to use it (no prototype or custom boards are allowed - has to be production). They are on the water so much that they can dial in their stuff in short order, and they are wearing out their fins, masts and sails pretty frequently. I had a shop deal, plus a sail maker helped me out a little bit which took some of the edge off, but it was still a pretty spendy game. But you couldn't imagine the number of guys who had no deal who would get all new stuff every year. You pay retail for the whole thing and you're sweating about $5k worth of stuff a year, less the significantly lower sale price of your old stuff going out.

The bigger deal is that most of these guys didn't get as much time on the water (The Muscle calls the bike equivalent TITS - Time In The Saddle, we call it TOW - Time On the Water) as they would have needed to use and understand their stuff enough to get the most out of it. So if my board got to be a couple of years old, I knew exactly where my mast track should be for every wind condition, where my footstraps should be based on chop and other factors, exactly what fin paired best with each sail and how to deal with getting stuck with odd pairings, exactly how each sail mated with each mast, etc. Continual refinement from known standards. It was all written right on the gear with a Sharpie so I couldn't screw it up. My results certainly told the tale that using slightly older stuff at a higher percent of its potential beat using the newest stuff ineffectively.

What does this have to do with race tires? I'll tell you what it has to do with race tires. I don't get to race that much. Discounting training races I probably don't yet have 15 race days on my card. Not a ton of data points to figure out the niceties of different tires. The first race tires I bought, based on a lot of recommendations, were ProRace 2s. One died of a sidewall blowout and was replaced by a ProRace 3. I got another ProRace 3 during team night this year, so my race wheels are wonderfully shod in ProRace 3s, while my training front wheel has the surviving original ProRace 2. The Powertap wheel has the Continental Gatorskin on it for the time being. Maybe I'll hit it with a ProRace when trainer season is finally gone completely. It's not so much that I know the tires that well or that they blow everything out of the water, it's that they're a reasonably known quantity and I trust them.

A wrinkle in this whole deal is that the old rims on which I built my race wheels are showing some stress cracks around the eyelets. Not good. So now I'm confronted with the choice of which 24h/28h aluminum rims to use (though the siren song of carbon tubs rings in my ears, I stick to my guns), and I think I've settled on Velocity Escape tubulars. They are way lighter than similar clinchers and everyone oohs and aahs about how macking tubulars are. This of course necessitates a change of tires. I've come to the preliminary conclusion that it will come down to either Vittoria CX or Continental Sprinters.

After two straight weeks of fantastic workouts from before the Barn trip to Tuesday night, I had a total shocker last night. Felt like I was dead. Had to happen sometime. Accumulated fatigue.

The grand opening of the hotel was last night. You would have thought the Pope was coming to town. Hayzeus. I met the morning reporter for Channel 7 news, Allison something or another. Had no clue who she was when I met her. She is not at all unattractive. Too bad the missus couldn't make it to this thing, she would have put her to shame.


Kyle Jones said...

I was down in old town this weekend and rode by your building. Looks good. You probably need to take a few days off before J-Cup. You would rather go into that fresh than fatigued.

Alison Starling is her name. She is hot. At least she looks hot on TV. Rumor has it that she lives in old town but I never saw her when I lived there.

Jim said...

That's a good choice for a durable tubular wheelset. They aren't as light as some stooopid light tubie rims, but they are wicked durable and strong. I have the equivalent clincher wheelset, the Fusions, and they are *strong*, as in 'racing 'cross on them' strong. I'm rebuilding the front wheel with a new rim though because after ~14k miles and maybe 25 'cross races the braking surface wore through. No complaints though, that's reasonable for me.

Tim C said...

I have two pairs of the velocity escapes on ultegra hubs for cyclocross. They are very nice hoops.

Chuck Wagon said...

Thanks for the feedback, guys. Kyle, she does live in Old Town. Wanna know what her crib looks like?

J & T - I pulled the trigger on the Escapes. DT Revo spokes, pairing with the 240 hubset I have. Black rims, red and black nips, silver spokes. Should be pretty balls. Went with the Vittoria CX.

Word verification is fiteme. They have to do this on purpose.

nPlusOne said...

I used to love the windsurfing swap meets during my inside the beltway days. You could pick up 1 season old stuff on the cheap.

Reading all these blogs makes me miss the area, especially Old Town. I used to live by the "Social Safeway".

Kyle Jones said...


Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim said...

My TW is RhExpre - like I'm prescribing something. At Hoovis' blog, I've gotten things like "snatio" and "bubess". It's like blogger knows our personalities or something.

I don't know if it works for me 'cuz all I've ever gotten for TW on my own blog is things like 'ankerway' and 'umassday,' and I'm not into boats and went to a SUNY school, not U-Mass. So I don't think it works.