Tuesday, 4 May 2010


"Seeded" means either with or without seeds, similarly so with "pitted," except when you're talking about headsets, when it means "out $100." Vis a vis my mtb tires, I am now "tubed," as in with or without tubes. The previously mentioned Bontrager UST front went on like a song and aired up instantly. Last night's challenge was to install the non-UST Specialized Rockster on the non-UST rear wheel.

After investigating several techniques, I decided on the "Gorilla Tape Ghetto" style. You use Gorilla Tape as your rim strip, cut a valve out of a blown tube, tape that in, and then add layers of tape on top of that until you achieve the requisite toight like a toiger fit.

Quite simply, this is utter fail without an air hose. I took it to the gas station down the street and used their air hose. It took several missed attempts and a trip to the trunk to dig out the tape to install another layer, and then just when I was about to be completely frustrated by the process - WHAMMO!!! - the tire inflated and seated itself. Cool!

The next twenty minutes were spent doing the shake and bake to get Stan's to seal up all the little leakages, which continued into round 2 of that once I got home and there were still some tiny leaks that were barely evident with soapy water.

Wednesday will be the ride test. I'll go fully prepared with tubes, air, plenty of Gorilla Tape (it patches sidewall blowouts pretty miraculously), and probably a spare tire. The sidewall of the Specialized is in good shape and the Specialized beads are said to be plenty strong to run tubeless, but this whole exercise was as much about trying this technique out as anything else. Because I prize not walking home over saving 100 grams, when the Specialized tire starts to show some more signs of wear I will switch it out with either a UST or tubeless ready tire. But for now, I've learned the technique of going tubeless with my non-UST rim and so that's a passing grade for this phase of the experiment.

The other significant wrench project that I've recently undertaken was building my team frame. I have to take some pictures of it. In the best spirit of "do as I say, not as I do," I built it up the night before Murad. My defense is that I knew I'd have plenty of time Saturday morning to road test and fix anything if needed before the race. Switching parts from one bike to another is a PITA. Big time. And dirty. (Cue Maude from Big Lebowski - "he's a good man, and thorough.") So it took way longer than just building it out of plastic bags but everything fit together nicely.

Replicating my old position was plenty easy, with the exception of bar height. The head tube on the new bike is quite long, so my bars are higher and thus I also have a little less extension. The extension is actually good, I was a tiny bit stretched on the old bike. For the new bike, I got a new post because the diameter is different and new bars because I wanted shallow drops. Now maybe I don't want shallow drops. But I spent a lot of time in them on Saturday, so that's good. I kind of think of riding in the drops as being as much for control in the turns as it is for aero. Who knows.

The bike rides really nicely. I'm definitely not used to it in the corners. One turn onto River was done at huge pace and I totally railed it. One turn off of Hughes was done at similar pace and I washed out the rear. I just have to get used to how to weight it during turns. Apart from that, it's pretty comfortable. It's laterally stiff and vertically compliant as all get out. No, seriously, it's not that I noticed it being that much more comfortable, but after doing Murad on Saturday and Mount Weather on Sunday I'd normally have had some more soreness than I did yesterday.

White housings and bar tape are pimp. I've never rocked the white housings before, but I like it a lot.

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