Monday, April 13, 2009

Almonte Roubaix Recon

We headed out to pre-ride the Almonte Roubaix course on Good Friday. And it was good. We chose to follow the "traditional" route of recent years including the muddy doubletracks as opposed to last year's modified course.

The gravel road sections were hard and fast. Perhaps frozen. They have not seen a grader yet this year so they're pot-holed but mostly free of loose gravel. The doubletrack sections were not so smooth. In fact they were covered in a surprising amount of snow. It looked very much like fresh snow from earlier in the week though and I'm sure it will be gone very soon. This late-season melt should make for some nice mud bogs.

Our group of four riders tried out a variety of equipment/tires: 32mm Vittoria file tread 'cross tires, 28mm Grand Bois slicks, 28mm Continental slicks (all on 'cross bikes) and even 23mm road tires on a standard road bike. All clinchers. The 23mm tires are Hutchinson tubeless on Dura Ace wheels. Nobody had any real problems except one pinch flat (28mm Contis under a 120lb rider on a smooth road... go figure.)

I ran the 28mm Grand Bois at about 70psi (I weigh about 170lbs) and had no problems whatsoever even in the mud/snow. I'm sure the 23mm road tires were somewhat faster on the paved sections and the 32mm 'cross tires were likely more stable in the slop, but I'd say 28s are a nice all-around compromise. Under a skilled rider the 23s can handle the mud but I'd rather sacrifice a little speed for increased pinch-flat resistance and comfort. This tubeless thing though.... that's interesting. Tubeless 28mm tire maybe?


Matt Surch said...

Nice going gang! I suspect the tire report will be helpful to many. BTW, sweet booties.

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