Sunday, May 23, 2010

These boots are made for running

The tires of my bike got recently replaced.

From Vittoria Open Corsa EVO CX to Continental GP4000S. Continental is a popular tire brand for motorcycles. The Vittoria on the other hand is a pillar in cycling, you go see the spring classics Vittoria tires abound, go see a professional tour, yep you'll see them. Go to a local crit, and yep you'll see them!

The Vittoria is very very supple. From what I read the casing is designed for tubulars. Suppleness of the casing affects better ride quality as the tire will be able to stretch some when it hits holes and/or bumps. The tread compound on these specific tires were on the soft side, 2500Km and my rear tire's center tread is already flat, the sides are still good. (Yes I do mostly flat runs, minimal crazy descents) Had just 1 flat with these babies, and I didn't even notice the flat till I was at home (rode on flat tires, grinding my rim arrrgh). The tire is rated at 115-145psi. I use 120-130 most of the time.

I am new with the Conti's but I've heard many good things about them. The thing I noticed after unboxing them is the suppleness. Not as supple as the Vittorias. The tread seems to be also slightly thicker (ie more rubber). What it lacks in suppleness, is offset my its relatively low pressure requirements, 90-120psi!

Both were easy to work with. I removed the tires with minimal effort without tire levers but with the suppleness of the Vittoria, it is the clear winner.

I've ridden around < 200km on the the Conti's and it does not feel different from the Vittoria. Easy to get up to speed, good grip while cornering. Nice on the butt, since I now use 100-110psi (@70kg!). Not yet tested on wet roads.

I originally put the Conti's on my other wheel (Shimano WH-RS10, came with the bike) and later moved them to the Mavics. I love the feeling of the Mavics/Contis more but I can't feel any difference from my Mavic/Vittoria combo. There is definite difference with Shimano/Contis and Mavic/Contis, I feel it when accelerating.

BTW the Continentals are just about the same price as the Vittoria, ~70-80USD a piece!!!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Been training a bit harder

Doing not just the usual flat river runs.

Last weekend (4/24) I was supposed to meetup with some people to do a tour of Miura Hantou. I missed the rendezvous due to some issues. I tried to catch up but made a wrong turn and decided not to turn back. The ride from Setagaya to Yokohama to Yokosuka to Kurihama, was relatively flat with some small undulations and tunnels. I missed a turn off point while following Route 134. At Route 134 there were some small short hills (100m/1 or 2km in length), with a slope max of 5%. You do know I'm not a climber :-)

I got from the east part of Miura Hantou to the west part via Route 134. The rest of the way was relatively flat.

Very minimal traffic since I started riding, but around midday along R134 the cars were lining up to turn to Kamakura. After that junction it was again very minimal traffic. High 20's in the speedometer all the way to Enoshima. From Enoshima, hopped on a train back to my apartment. 110km of riding. 5 hours on the saddle and yep numb nuts.

4/25 I joined the Aoyama-san's morning ride at the Imperial Palace. Short hard pace, is all I can say. No pain from the Miura run, but the morning ride made my body ache come Monday.

4/29 was the usual river run. Mostly flat. The tailwind up river was dang fantastic! The headwinds and crosswinds down river was a punishment with a capital "P". A gust shakes my steering. I was really really windy.

4/30 rest day. Did some personal things. Went shopping :-) Got some cycling caps, new lights from Knog, a new pump from Lezyne, and a new saddle from Specialized. I like the pump because it has a flexible tube which makes pumping tires easier (at least for me). The new saddle is a Romin SL with the cutout! I've been meaning to get one of these for sometime already. People swear by the cutouts to relieve numb nuts.

5/01 tried to do an LSD route mentioned in one of the books I have. Messed up, and had to turn around. :-( did 88kms.
Also recalibrated the iBike Pro. Need to do some serious coast downs though to be more accurate (or not).

At home I checked my route, and I was on the correct track :-( Was looking for a road that was still further down the road. I missed another road, to get to the road I wanted to be on. Get all that? :-) I was running along Route 20 and should have took Route 16 for a couple of kms then turned off to another road, then could have gotten to Route 413. Route 20 is a cool road. It's uphill but the gradient is not punishing. It's almost a constant 2% from the Tamagawa to the Route 20/Route 16 junction. I should do this route more often. And start exploring the toges in the area.

The saddle seems to be living to the hype. No numb nuts for today.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Some articles

Still waiting for the fixie.

Updating the courses in my Garmin for the upcoming Golden Week holidays. I'll try to log as many miles as possible.

BTW, here are some good reads.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Delay :-(

The Masi frame that I want won't be available until 5月 (May).
So have to wait!

Another bike

Yup made the parts order last night at BMX RIO
Bike should be finished in 1 - 2 weeks time. It has no derailleurs but I should get 4 gear ratios out of it. 2 freewheel, 2 fixed. And I might add fenders! :-)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Getting to know your bike

Some just ride their bikes, others get to know their bikes as they ride.
I had a realization about my bike today. Some subtle charateristics that I failed to notice until now.

My bike is an aluminum frame from GIOS with a 105 groupo. The frame is what you might call a compact with a slopping top tube. I bought almost a year ago, it has now logged ~2000kms. I named her Margareth.

When I first put my legs over it I noticed it was very very twitchy at slow speeds. If I don't hold her steady at slow speeds she'll wander left/right and everywhere! She was very light. I put power to the pedal and she'll fly! The first morning ride that I did, I crashed into a metal road barrier. Bruised the biked, and bruised myself. She's taken a bit of beating.

Margareth really hates to go slow :-) but when I negotiate tight u-turns or a tight maneuver on the river banks I have to slow down. That's when the twitchiness scares me :-) Over gravel the twitchiness are more severe and more unpredictable. There's an unpaved section that I take at 20+kph just so that bike's centripetal force helps me keep up.

She loves the paved straight ways, if only I had more power (a lot lighter) :-) She'll love anything paved, may it be uphill, downhill or flat.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fixed gear for one sole purpose

I'm following some websites on twitter showcasing other people's fixie builds.

I used it to get inspiration. As if I needed it. The more I browse through the site the more I say to myself WTF. I like some of the bikes. I predominantly like the simple ones, without flashy color schemes best.

Building a bike is like building a car. You put your personality to it, but most of the times people get swayed in putting what is the "in thing" rather than putting what they really like. Well different strokes for different folks.

I plan on upgrading my road bike, and Margareth will be a fixie. It will be a simple build, just change the rear wheel and remove all the unnecessary stuff (now where do I put my extra hardware). Most other hardware will be as-is. Simple build. Built to be ridden.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Let the conversion begin

 I went to my LBS after work and ordered a wheel build.

A rear wheel build to be exact.
Ambrosio rim, Surly flip flop hub, and a Dingle cog.
I am yet to find a freewheel in 3/32" size or I might totally forgo the freewheel, for now.

My main concern right now is the chainline. My road double (Shimano 105) has a standard 43.5mm chainline (41mm for inner ring, 46mm for the outer ring). The Dingle cog has a weird chainline, some websites say 47mm! some say 42mm! I might not a straight chainline if ever :-(

If worse comes to worse, I will need to ditch the crankset and BB :-(
If I do that I'll get a Sugino, and go 1/8" and then ditch the Dingle cog and attach a freewheel.

Sigh... but it seems fun :-)

Monday, March 22, 2010

3/22 Early morning jaunt

Lazy start actually. Started late (around 6am) so I scratched my original plan of doing a simple mountain loop.

6am is late. This time of the year I can start cycling at 5am. There is already enough natural light! I always want to go out early so that the river paths are still clear of pedestrians and other cyclists. I really don't like being overtaken by other cyclists :-) well they're younger and lighter so they can overtake a fat bloke like me.

5:30ish out of the house and trying to find something to eat. The local coffee shop is still closed (they open at 7:30 on weekdays, but today is a holiday so they might open at 8am). Got capuccino at McDo instead. No seats available so had to sip my cup outside in the cold. Well it wasn't that cold actually, but I was in my shorts :-) I think it was a big mistake not to eat anything.

Just did the usual 60 - 70km loop on the river path. I got overtaken today :-) hahahaha

Past 20km, I can already feel I was loosing power. High 80's rpm 50x17 and I was doing 25kph? Also the friggin' punishin' headwind did not make life easier. I carbo loaded the night before but I was running on an empty stomach this morning (besides the coffee). It was a whole lotta different feeling from last Sunday. Last Sunday, I was still hitting 30kph on the last leg of the loop. I ate a one jell pack, a calzone and coffee that day.

Besides not eating breakfast today, I did the short 2-3km Route 11 run. I take this route "pedal to the metal" at 28-32kph always. Its a mini-TT. I did not do the TT last Sunday so I think I had fresher legs for the whole loop.

Uneventful day on the river path. Saw the usual cyclists still in their winter garb. When I got home I was friggin' dead tired. Just slept, since I had nothing productive to do.

On a note, my shoulder is still hurting.

On another note, I should really loose weight if I want to improve my speed. I should also eat breakfast before doing a morning jaunt, makes the run less painful.

Saturday and Sunday is looking good. I plan to do the mountain loop. Sleep as early as possible. Get up as early as possible. Eat. Ride. Simple enough???

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A day of ifs ...

Was feeling better today... and the 40% chance of precipitation was OK with me. Will be wearing a bib short, a simple jersey and a wind breaker.

As I was leaving the sky suddenly darkened... left the bike outside my room and dawdled a bit in my room. 5 minutes and the dark skies lightened up. Good.

Tried to get coffee at the local shop but they don't open till 8am... yikes... time read a quarter before 8. Instead of waiting I took off, and followed my usual route to Tamagawa. Roads were wet but not enough to cover my face with road muck. 2 short climbs and downhills.

On the 2nd short climb, I was closely following a car up the hill and did not notice a right turning car. Well it was a close call. Good thing I was dilly dawdling behind the car. I was up the saddle for the climb. Close call #1.

At the bottom of the downhill after the 2nd climb, I stopped for cocoa and a calzone. Needed calories to burn. 15-20 minute break. The legs were feeling good.

The Tamagawa ride was uneventful, thankfully. I was, for the most part, alone on the Tamagawa. No other cyclists in sight. The sun was in and out of the clouds. Was good! I took off my wind breaker actually :-) I was also practicing riding on the drops. I felt I can get an extra 3-6kph while on the drops hmmmn that is good to know. I was actually going ~30kph at some parts of the cycle path. I used to run this parts at ~25kph.

At the, maybe 60km mark I got my 2nd close call of the day and I learned my lesson. I was doing ~30kph and almost hit a boy on the path. Locked the rear wheel a bit. Lesson learned.

1) Don't dilly dawdle up a hill
2) Make yourself visible to other riders
3) It's good to ride on the drops
4) but need to slow down when there are people around (I do this most of the time, I guess I got too excited being on the drops)
5) Cover the brakes (but right now I feel I can't reach the brakes while on the drops, need to adjust)

During the ride I also felt pain on my left shoulder area. Hmmn. It's patched right now with Salonpas :-) The legs were feeling good during the duration of the ride maybe I should have pushed more? Next time maybe.

So what if the car hit me? I'd be probably spending my days at the hospital. Worse if I hit the boy. I am focused while riding, trying to look for possible problems but I need to be more alert. Need to put all the lessons learned to practice.