Monday, September 01, 2014

Courage Classic 2014

Here we go. The Courage Classic 2014 recap. Thanks again to team mate, Ele, for letting me use her recap. Saves me a lot of typing and we get two perspectives. As I did last year, all my input will be in Red text. All of Ele's in black which due to the current formatting on my blog appears white. Got it, good.

Ele’s 2014 Courage Classic – THANK YOU!!! Dear Friends and Family: Thank you so very much for your sponsorship for Courage Classic 2014.  This year you helped raise $4,355 to benefit Mary Bridge Children's Hospital Rotary Endowment for the Intervention and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Clinic.  And best of all, every penny goes to Mary Bridge to benefit kids in our community.  I raised $1035.00 and our entire team raised $11,185 as of this posting.

This year I managed to ride nearly 2,200 training miles since January by commuting from our home in Lynnwood to Seattle three days per week (45 miles roundtrip).  My training was NOT up to standard this year. Last year I did several training rides, the Flying Wheels Summer Century, and the Seattle to Portland Double century before Courage Classic and I felt strong on Courage Classic. This year I just rode to work. That's it. And my rides to work are nothing like Ele's. Just 6 miles in and 6 miles out. I did beat my yearly average of 3000 miles on my bike before the ride. My bike now has over 13,000 miles since I purchased it in 2010. This was my ninth year riding Courage Classic and my ninth season of riding.  My third year riding Courage Classic and about my eighth year riding. I don't really have a riding season. I ride all year. In fact, I bought my first road bike and learned to ride specifically for Courage Classic as we ride for three days over three mountain passes.  We ascend Snoqualmie Pass on day one, Blewett Pass on day two, and Stevens Pass on day three.   

Saturday morning (day one) the alarm clock went off at 4:00 am.  After a final pack, gear check, breakfast, and a smoothie to go, my husband Kevin drove me to Edmonds to meet Marie and pick up Rosemarie to carpool to the start.  While Kevin, Rosemarie, and I headed to the start, Marie and Jason peeled off to pick up Bugsy, our beloved super secret sag wagon driver who we LOVE dearly.  As we rolled down the freeway, I could see thunder clouds beginning to develop but with the temperatures expected to be in the triple digits, it didn’t make much sense to consider any type of rain gear.   We arrived at the start to a cluster of bikers and their families, volunteers directing us, and loud music playing. Yeah, something like that. Early ass alarm, oatmeal. Then my wife, Christine, and I picked up Traci and her bike and met up with everyone at the start.

This year on the first day you could opt to ride a mountain bike through trails over Snoqualmie Pass which was called the “fat tire first day” route and then switch to your road bike for the last two days.  The fat tire route would take you through some beautiful trails but would prove to be a challenge for those not accustomed to riding 65 miles with a knobby tired bike.  The other option was the classic first day of road riding which turned out to be the “spa” route, an easy 45 miles on the road. 
Our team is called Kaibigan Lagi which is Tagalog for “forever friends”.  We had seven teammates this year dubbed the “magnificent seven” (from left Marie, Rosemarie, me, Traci, Brian, Marie’s son Jason, and Eric.  Some of us are friends for years, others we have just met.  All of these folks have beautiful hearts and it is a privilege and an honor to ride with them.

There were five of us on the "fat tire" route. Jason, Eric and Rosemarie rode straight up mountain bikes. Traci and I used our touring bikes. In fact, Traci and I used these "heavy" bikes for the entire Courage Classic. A mountain bike would probably be more comfortable for this day. There were some pretty bumpy stretches however it is a "rail trail". Once a railroad in which the tracks have all been removed. So basically a fairly maintained dirt road. Called the John Wayne Pioneer Trail or the Iron Horse trail it has a very subtle grade over some high trestles up to the summit of Snoqualmie where you actually ride through the mountain in a two mile tunnel. Lights are required. Then down the other side past the beautiful lakes of Keechelus and Easton and over a junction where the Cle Elum river flows into the Yakima river before you hit the railroad town of Cle Elum.

It was pretty grueling. At least in my current state of training, on my touring bike. I was rolling on a 700 x 35 tire in the back and a 700 x 32 (which actually measures 30) up front. There were some beautiful stretches where we were moving pretty quick around 18 to 20 mph however are overall average speed was pretty slow, 10 mph up to the summit and 12 mph down to Cle Elum. The dirt and bumps really do make a difference. Strava claims about 4000 feet of climbing for this day. I've never rode 65 miles on dirt before. I'm glad to see that nothing came loose on "Tanager" (the racks, fenders, etc.).

As we got ready to roll, the first squall moved over and served up raindrops the size of quarters baptizing the whole crowd as bikers and volunteers scrambled for cover.  Seriously, this wasn’t rain folks, it was a full on “you’ve been healed” baptism.   

We rolled out as a team and quickly split up as Rosemarie, Traci, Brian, Jason, and Eric peeled off to the fat tire route, while Marie and I rolled down the highway on our road bikes for the road “spa” route.   

With few exceptions, the first day on this ride is loud as we spend a lot of time on the I-90 highway. I was glad not to be riding along that highway!  Luckily, the sweep order went through as WSDOT had swept the shoulders so other than the occasional baptism/rain, Marie and I rolled easily to the first rest stop.  Marie was especially excited as they had Nutella this year on bagels while I opted for a nectarine.  Inexplicably, some of that Nutella ended up on my jersey.  At least let’s hope it was Nutella. 

We rolled a bit more East on 1-90 before exiting to climb Snoqualmie Pass on a beautiful paved logging road – Marie thought she might sag so sent me ahead to climb at my own pace.  This is a beautiful part of the ascent to Snoqualmie Pass.

At Snoqualmie Pass I grabbed lunch and found my extended Courage Classic family Randy, Jamie, and Mike so I joined them for lunch until Marie arrived a short time later.  As we were finishing our lunch were tickled to see the rest of our team arrive on the shuttle for the hot lunch option.  That would be us. Since we went through the tunnel we diverted the traditional lunch stop. They had sandwiches but we wanted to have the "real deal" and eat with our other two team mates.

Following lunch on Snoqualmie, the rest of the team shuttled back to the fat tire trail while Marie and I stayed together.  Because of the dangerous road conditions due to construction just beyond Snoqualmie Pass (construction that has been going on for years), after lunch bikes and bodies were to be bussed to Easton (another reason we call this the spa route – those busses are air conditioned).  While everyone else stood in line to load their bikes on the truck and hopped on the bus, Marie and I got a ride from Bugsy in our super secret sag wagon. Two factors, here, made this years ride a little more challenging then the last two. First, this construction has been going to since I started doing the ride so in the past two years the first day was a little shorter. About 20 miles shorter. On the Iron Horse trail we made up those miles. There was no construction zone for us. Second IT IS a dirt trail.
The temperatures were climbing into the high 90’s as Bugsy dropped us off behind the post office in Easton.  Marie and I took to the highways and got a little break through the farmlands with a beautiful tailwind before arriving at Suncadia.  The smell of fresh hay, horses, and seeing little butterflies all over was a nice break from the highway noise. Plus that tailwind was just pushing us along at a lovely clip.

Marie and I rolled into the finish line at Suncadia at 1:30 pm and didn’t see any of our teammates, so we rolled off to our hotel at the Timberlodge in Cle Elum for showers and snacks hoping to hear from the group.  We finished safe and off the road with 45 miles logged on day one.  At 3:30 we still hadn’t heard from our team, so Bugsy shuttled us back to Suncadia just as the beer garden was opening.  Marie and I got a few sips on our ice cold beer just as Eric, Jason, and Brian rolled in with Traci and Rosemarie quickly following.  Our teammates were covered in sweat and dirt after battling 65 miles of trail riding.  They looked really tired while Marie and I felt rather invigorated with our showers, ice cold beer, and tales of a really easy riding day. That beer was just what I needed. Then a quick set up of camp.   

While the “fat tire” portion of our team headed off to the showers, Marie and I had dinner and chatted with other riders, dodged raindrops, and waited for the “kids” (as Marie calls them) to return. Oh yeah, all the while it was trying to rain, thunder & lightning on us.  Following dinner, a local band was playing and we were the only ones truly enjoying the experience.  Okay, mostly Jason which was well documented and quickly uploaded to Facebook.  Jason requested the band play “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey and per his repeated requests, we joined him dancing and singing until it was time to head back to the hotel so the old folks (me) could get some rest.  Marie and I practiced gentle yoga before bed, and after one of us farted during practice (there is an onging dispute as to who it was), we laughed until we cried. Thankfully my tent held the 3am rain shower at bay. Sounded nice. No staring at the stars this year.

Day two at 6:15 a.m., the team met up and rode to the Sunset CafĂ© for a hot breakfast.  Courage Classic feeds us so well that many riders gain weight on the ride.  Check out Brian’s new mustache. Did that as a joke. It was really bad. I thought he resembled a Seattle cop, but Jason insisted he resembled a women’s prison guard.  After a hearty breakfast of eggs, hash browns, fruit, oatmeal, and juice, we were back on the bikes rolling towards Blewett Pass. Got hills?? As we left Cle Elum it was a beautiful 15 miles through the farmlands before our climb began towards Blewett Pass. I was rolling with the boys at a faster pace this morning. 

We stopped to regroup as Brian found a tool and we all chatted, joked, and laughed while Brian decided if the tool was worthy to claim. It was a screwdriver and I have a running joke with my wife about always finding tools while cycling. We hopped on our bikes and began to climb again to regroup at the rock which we’ve dubbed the “pee rock” because  a lot of bikers stand behind it to pee.  Brian hops up on the rock and starts striking supermodel poses. Some dude decided to pee behind it at that very moment. Someone yelled “do the JC Penny” and this is what we got.

 
We rolled out again with Brian and Jason in the front.  On the descent I noticed the first signs of smoke from the wildfires burning outside of Leavenworth.  The air quality was just fine, but you could see and smell the wildfire haze.  Just before the latte stand a few miles from the Mineral Springs rest stop, Eric got a flat.  Rosemarie and I stopped to supervise as Eric declared how much he loved getting flats (kidding, he was using 4 letter words to describe the experience).  Rosemarie searched Eric’s tire for remaining glass chunks while I offered up my awesome tire pump.  It was a pretty quick stop before we were on our way as Eric met up with Brian and Jason at the latte stand, Rosemarie and I climbed together and just before the Mineral Springs rest stop we stopped again to help another biker with a flat. We were doing really well before a rolling bike mechanic stopped to assist (more accurately, take over – he insisted).  The latte stand has become a regular stop for me as has the smelly honey bucket outside of it. We then quickly rolled to Mineral Springs to snack and regroup.     

One thing you quickly notice about this ride is that the majority of the riders are very collegial towards each other unlike other rides were riders can be competitive and extremely rude.  This year there were 425 of us riding Courage Classic and those of us who are perennial riders tend to look out for the newbies to help them enjoy the experience.  After all, we’re riding for the kids and this isn’t a race, it’s a ride.  One of the 20 year perennial riders (John) really encouraged me my first few years and I try to pass along his kindness.  John rides on the UPS team and remembered to congratulate me on my 9th year riding the Courage Classic.  

Rolling out of Mineral Springs, I climbed the last 7 miles to the summit with Jason and Brian – I tend to ride in the “middle” of the pack.  Eric was blasting to the top listening to his speed metal band while Brian was spinning a rap/techno group tune helping Jason and I keep pace as we slowly crawled to the top.  
The last three miles of the “turtle race” to summit are the toughest and it was getting hot. Some point right before the last 3 miles I challenged Rosemarie to a race to the summit. She didn't seem to excited and I figured she wouldn't take me up on the offer. Now just a few weeks before Rosemarie was telling everyone she's getting old and out of shape. She's a few years younger then me so I told her she can't be old because I'm not old. Well I figured maybe she wasn't up to it and I took off. By took off I mean I was moving just a few miles an hour faster then the rest of the group up that steep ass pass. Well after opening a several hundred yard gap between me and the rest of the group I look in my mirror and, lo & behold, here comes Rosemarie. Ever so slowly but continuously catching up and then passing me. Now I thought to myself if I can just stay on her wheel I can sprint the last few hundred yards and beat her but no matter how hard I tried that girl just kept pulling away with a smile on her face. She really put me back in my place and regained status as my cycling muse. Mentally and physically, I was done by the time we reached the summit to meet up with the team and have lunch. Following lunch we posed for a quick team photo.  What do you think of Brian’s mustache?  Seattle cop or women’s prison guard?  It will be gone by dinner, you best decide quickly.
 
Next we began the 13 mile descent down Blewett – my favorite descent!!  The wind was kicking up a bit which meant we had to spin our legs from time to time and my shirt was blowing up all over the place.  At the bottom of the pass we stopped at Ingalls Creek with the Fife/Milton Rotary for snow cones and ice for our water bottles.  My FAVORITE rest stop.  Such nice people at this rest stop and yes, snow cones rule. 

 After the snow cone stop, we were off to the river before tackling the orchards before Leavenworth.  We traditionally stop off at the river each year to cool off, stick our feet in the cool water while others completely submerge to beat the heat.  The ice cold water was such a welcome relief to the triple digit heat, I opted for sitting in the river to get my legs completely submerged.  The boys were goofing off and making us laugh, as usual.  Brian had us all in stitches swimming like a spawning salmon. I just wish the water was a little bit deeper this year.

After cooling our bodies in the river, we were on our way to Leavenworth through the hot orchards towards the finish line.  The boys in front, and the girls sticking together. From the river to the highway Jason took the lead and the 3 of us were HAULING ASS! The heat in the orchards was stifling this year – triple digit temperatures and high humidity. I didn't find it that bad. Marie insisted I take a photo of the beautiful grapes in the orchards, so here you go.  We rolled into the finish safe and off the road with 54 miles logged on day two. 

That evening we gathered for dinner to listen to stories of children who receive services at the MB Clinic.  This year we learned that the three main goals/themes of the child abuse prevention program at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital are (1) educate on child development so a parent knows what to expect during every age and stage; (2) locate a source of support for the parents; and (3) understand and identify how we were parented and whether it included any abuse or neglect.  These three elements of education, support, and awareness form the foundation to stop the cycle of abuse in our community.  Every penny you donate goes to fund the intervention and prevention of child abuse to benefit the most vulnerable of our community. 

Following dinner, we had our traditional gelato stop before heading back to the hotel.  After gelato, the girls opted for hotel and sleep while the boys opted for the beer garden. All the girls with the exception of my new recruit and long time friend, Traci. She went with us. This year the beer garden was pretty tame. This year seemed to have an older crowd then the last two years I've rode but Jason and I (mostly Jason on the mic) managed to pull a few people out to dance. We took so many team photos on this ride.  This one is my favorite – it really shows the playful atmosphere of our team and nonstop hilarity from start to finish.  As you can see, the boys are still goofing off.  And, yes, those boys are all happily married to beautiful wives who must truly be enjoying their weekend off from their husbands…  Beautiful wife, YES. Enjoying the weekend away from me, no.
 
The next morning we had arranged to meet at 6:00 am for photos.  Apparently, the atmosphere at the beer garden the night prior was pretty lame, so we didn’t need to roust Jay out of bed.  Marie and I knocked on Eric and Brian’s door at 5:54 am and learned from a sleepy-eyed Eric that he, in fact, was entitled to 6 more minutes of sleep. I knew they would come a knockin. I had 1/2 a mind to not even set an alarm. I slept GREAT this year, even at the campground the first day. Apparently I'm out as soon as my head hits the pillow. I don't remember ANYTHING until Marie was talking at the door with Eric.
 
After 6 more minutes of beauty sleep for Eric and Brian, we met up and headed over to the park for a team photo.  Upon returning to the Enzian, we posed by the fireplace for another team photo.  While 6 more minutes of beauty sleep for Eric and Brian really made a difference, the “team photo” demand at every turn is starting to wear on everyone… 

We had a wonderful breakfast at the Enzian - omelets made to order, fruit, and packed pastries for our bike bags.  We then packed up our gear, loaded the van so Bugsy could sleep, and hit the road.  The magnificent seven rolled out of Leavenworth with the boys in front and the girls opting for an easier pace.  One boy was not out front. In fact way behind, taking it easy this day. The lack of proper training was catching up with me. The back of my knee (same old place) was not liking it and I had to slow down and smell the flowers. It was a cool, crisp morning riding on the Chumstick Highway towards Plain.  The birds were singing, the little brown chipmunks were scampering about, the air was clean and crisp.  Of the girls, I’ve known Marie and Rosemarie the longest – somewhere in the neighborhood of 17 years, they are like sisters to me.  I have just met Traci this year.  It was wonderful to chat with Traci and get to know her a bit better, she is beautiful and cool and a wonderful addition to our motley crew. I've known Traci for about 13 years now. I met Eric through her last year and the three of us did Seattle to Portland 2013 together with a few other friends. I've been wanting to get them together with my Courage Classic friends ever since.

After a short climb about 9 miles out of Leavenworth, we had a wonderful descent and stopped at the Plain rest stop.  After a quick stop, the light headwinds were very favorable as we left Plain with the boys flying in front, Traci, Rosemarie and I cruised in the middle towards Nason Creek while Marie sagged to the next rest stop.  Just before the turn on Highway 2, there was a freshly paved stretch of highway with a flagger and a pilot car, so we followed protocol letting the cars go first, and then took over the road to enjoy the freshly paved road all to ourselves.

The next rest stop in Nason Creek rest stop (aka the “hula” rest stop) is the last substantial rest stop before the 17 mile climb to Stevens.  I inhaled a few Enzian pastries,  a handful of salty trail mix and made a bee line to the massage tent focusing on low back, hips, and quads.  After about 15 minutes of massage heaven, Eric paged me back to reality to dress up for one last photo opportunity. This might be my favorite rest stop. I always love the hula photos and ROOT BEER FLOATS!
  
We were soon back on the road climbing 17 miles up to the summit of Stevens.  Eric and Brian were flying up the pass with Jason and I climbing at a moderate pace.  With Eric climbing to speed metal music (you can’t catch him when he’s in metal mode), we eventually caught up to Brian who found a deer skull and opted to goof around with it. Unfortunately, the skull still had rotting flesh that was pretty stinky (Yeah, I had to rip it off the deer hide!)….so Brian’s digits were pretty stank but not before Jason got a photo which is likely posted to Facebook.  We so appreciated Brian’s commitment to making us laugh.  Marie tells a great story of when she was on a cross county bike ride decades ago and one biker attached antlers he found to his bike helmet…and then complained of neck pain every night. At this point it was getting hot and I was pretty beat. This day was a lot worse then the heat of those apple orchards.

Approximately 7 miles before the summit, we were pulled off the course by Courage Classic volunteers as the last 7 miles the road had been removed, leaving grooves and chunks of road missing.  We were told the road was uneven, dangerous and although we could opt to continue (and several bikers had), Courage Classic volunteers offered to load our bikes onto a truck and take a shuttle (aka the “school bus”) to the top.
 
I’ve rolled through plenty of road construction over my years of commuting and the thought of riding 7 miles on a steep grade with grooved pavement and chunks of road missing did not appeal to me…at all (really).   It’s really important for every biker to make the choice for themselves about safety and riding at their own pace.  And yes, I chose the school bus, happily, not feeling particularly lucky.  My motto is live to ride another day.  Rosemarie and Traci rolled up behind us and Traci opted to join me on the bus.  Marie also sagged to the top and witnessed a biker go down hard on that stretch of grooved/unpaved highway (hence my point about everyone making the choice for themselves).  At the summit, Marie, Traci, and I sat with Bugsy enjoying our delicious baked potato lunch as Eric rolled in really excited about his ascent.  Rosemarie, Brian, and Jay rolled into the summit without incident shortly thereafter and joined us for lunch. I opted to roll it only because I wanted to do the entire ride. We did the "fat tire" first day with all the mileage missed from the construction on the road. Let's do it all! But if you opted out as Ele you weren't missing much. That last 7 mile stretch is always the hardest for me of this three day ride. It's one of the steepest sections. It was hot. There's a rest stop for us about 4 miles from the summit. From there, in the past two years, I've "hauled ass" to the top. I figured my legs made it this far, this is the last bit of climbing, I've got nothing to lose. Not this year. It was rough. In a literal sense. They scraped off a top layer of asphalt for paving. Two prior days of riding. Did I mention HOT and STEEP? Rosemarie flitted away, up the mountain like a butterfly but Jason and I, maaaaaaaan, we were trudging! At one point I almost thought I was going to hurl. OK, slow down. GRAH! I'm already going slow. URRRRAAAAAHH! Finally, we made it.

After lunch we got back on the road for the last stretch of the ride – the dreaded descent which has been terrifying to me in the past - the wind, seeing the valley in my peripheral view.  Honestly, the descent this year wasn’t even in the neighborhood of scared – simply cautious.  Once I got “out” of my head, it was a non-event. Yes, I share the same feelings. This decent generally scares the hell out of me and I slow way down but not this year. It was really quite pleasant. At the bottom of the pass we regrouped to ride the Iron Goat Trail through the beautiful canopy of trees, creeks, and waterfalls.  This is usually where I commit to ride next year, but I’ve already told Marie that as long as she rides, I will (as long as the body permits). Brian and Eric rode ahead of us while Rosemarie towed the rest of us towards the finish. Once we got out of Iron Goat Trail we were flying. I mean Eric and I WERE FLYING! It took 4.5 hours of actually riding to get up that pass but only 45 minutes to get down to the finish. As Eric and Brian got close to the finish, they decided to sprint.  As Eric readied himself to sprint, his cleat petal broke off his carbon fiber crank.  While Eric thankfully didn’t crash (most of us would have), it reportedly was quite the scene as he warbled his way to a stop only to discover his clip was still attached to his shoe.  True to form, Eric got the privilege of riding the last “leg” to the finish with one leg. This couldn't have happened at a better place. We were about 1 mile from the finish. There was just one little rise in the road and I started sprinting to make quick work of it. Of course that's a challenge for Eric so he starts to sprint and as he's getting up to speed, SNAP! And I was like, "HOLY SH*T!!" and trying to get out of the way because I though for sure he was going to crash (which would have really sucked with one mile to go) but he didn't. Then I thought what the hell happened and realized that he had no pedal, or rather that he had a pedal, it just wasn't attached to his crank anymore.  With Rosemarie in the lead, the remaining team rolled into the finish safe and off the road with 58 miles logged on day three.  In the photo above Jason is examining Eric’s liberated bike clip.  We are so grateful this happened without injury and NOT on a high speed descent.  Another year in the books. Courage Classic funds the important work the Mary Bridge Clinic performs on behalf of children of our community.   Thanks again for your support; you rode with me in spirit every mile – three days, three mountain passes, and for one very important cause.  See you next year.

This is what I got off my bike computer -
Total mileage - 185
Time - 14 hours, 57 Minutes
Average speed - 12.38 mph
Max speed - 38.88 mph

And some links from Strava -
Day 1, part 1 - http://www.strava.com/activities/174428860
Day 1, part 2 - http://www.strava.com/activities/175042439
Day 2 - http://www.strava.com/activities/175045443
Day 3, part 1 - http://www.strava.com/activities/175479793
Day 3, part 4 - http://www.strava.com/activities/175506098

Monday, June 16, 2014

Training ride with CC team.

Had a great time seeing some friends from the Courage Classic team and special guest Dominic. This was Rosemarie's hilly training route. http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/353960537/4542728

Saturday, May 10, 2014

ROTD - Two Ferries & an Island

Rode across Bainbridge with Traci and looped back on the Seattle side. Four parts to the ride mapped here -
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Tanager's been getting a lot of maintenance these last two weeks.

Today I noticed the rear tire nearly bald and, in some spots, wearing through to the puncture resistant layer. That one only lasted about 4000 miles. It's hard to believe the wheels I built just over a year ago have 4000 miles on them already. So, anyway I switched the tire out for a new Schwalbe Marathon Plus. This one in the size of 700 x 35. Still fits nicely under the fender.

The brake pads are almost completely worn down. They wear so fast in the winter rainy season here.

Also wanted to re-route the shifter cables from the bar end shifters up under the bar tape to come out by the stem as opposed to the traditional method where they come out of the tape under the drops. I think this looks cleaner and the cables aren't as in the way if I want to put something on the front rack. I still love the braided steel cable housings that I bought from Velo Orange so I ordered some new kits. The kits are pre cut. Only problem is the way I want to route them the pre cut cable housings weren't long enough. I was able to make due by using some of the old housing and joining them with an inline barrel tensioner. One more thing. The shifter cable for the rear derailleur wasn't even long enough. I had to pick up a tandem length cable to make it work.
At the same time I purchased some new blingy brake levers by Tektro. They have a bit of a classic look but a modern feel. A little button on the side releases a little tension on the cable so you can get your tire/wheel out easier. Very helpful with my canti's. Some new bar tape and we're on the road. Feels great, shifts great, brakes great.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Drive Train

So the new chain I put on about 2 days ago didn't agree with the rest of the drive train that the old, very worn out chain, tore up. The first problem I ran into, the next day riding to work, was chain skip under load. A lot of chain skip. So I picked up a new rear cassette. Chain skip resolved. The second problem was major chain suck whenever I was in the lower chain ring. In fact riding in the lower chain ring was impossible. So I replaced both Velo Orange chain rings with TA Specialites. Velo Orange is always out of stock. TA is like the only other brand I can find in this BCD. However TA chain rings seem to be about twice as expensive. I guess that's made in France vs. China. I was afraid that the cranks wouldn't perform the same, when it came to shifting, because Velo Orange's are "ramped and pinned" where TA is just a flat chain ring. But shifting, in my humble opinion, is no different. A slight front derailleur adjustment was needed.

The rear cassette is now a 11-32 vs. the 11-34 that I had before. However the small front chain ring is now a 28 as opposed to the 30 so climbing walls should still be no problem.

It's been so long over due for the chain that I am completely amazed by how much the shifting improved. I had no idea a worn chain made such a difference.

The VO Orange chain rings and that Shimano rear cassette made it nearly 10,000 miles.
Odo 11,800.