Sunday, November 21, 2010

New Bikes + Hideous Wind = Whatever

Classic covered bridge shot outside Wakefield. Pascal's Rover on the left, Steve's on the right, my Truffle Pig in the  middle.
 I made brief mention of my new prototype Steelwool Truffle Pig a few days ago. Since then, I spent a couple hours at the shop dialing in the handlebar position on the bike. The bike is a 58cm (C-C), with a 59cm top tube (effective), parallel 72.5 head and seat tube, with 75mm bottom bracket drop. 'Out of the box' it is well proportioned for a lanky rider over 6 feet tall. I'm 6'1", but I don't have very long legs, Instead, I have a pretty long back, meaning I require a characteristicall 'euro' fit: long and low. My Secteur 18 was designed around these proportions, while in the case of the Truffle Pig, we had two frames made to test, in 56cm (Todd's) and 58cm (mine). In 2011, Truffle Pigs will be made in stock geometries, by hand in Canada. I sit on one extreme of the body proportion range for a 58cm bike so this is a good test to see whether the bike will work for a variety of different riders (we have other folks on the team with opposite proportions, looooonnng legs and short torsos). So while the extended head tube would have been ideal for a rider with long legs like Brad, it meant that even with a -17 degree stem my bars were still 2cm too high. I run the bars 60mm below the top of my saddle which isn't a tonne of drop. The only way to get the bars down, which promised to improve the bike's handling and allow me to put more power into it, was to cut the headtube down. No problem. After some precision hacksaw work, followed by filing with a bastard and of course, facing, the front end went back together and the fit was now....perfect! Excellent, lets ride!

Three beauties out front of Moca Loca
Pascal, Steve and I met a Moca Loca on St. Joseph Saturday morning, ready to take on the wind. By 'wind' I mean gusts up to 70kph at +4 degrees. Nobody was running a computer, better not to know how slow we were going to ride. Sure enough, the wind was gusty enough to cause a few pretty severe veers of our lines, but we fared fine. Steve and Pascal's mint Steelwool Rovers feature low trail front ends, so they handled the cross-wind gusts rather well, though their fenders surely diminished their inherent stability.

We rolled the good ol' Cascades loop to Wakefield, featuring lots of tree cover. We didn't let the wind get in the way of a beautiful ride.

The fields here were quite green up until last week. Still, it was plenty pretty out for mid-November.

Pascal encouraged me to try his Chris King R45/Stan's Alpha/Sapim CX-Ray wheels, as he was concerned I might not like the amount of flex  he's been experiencing with them (I have a set of the same hubs in black waiting to be built up the same way). We swapped wheels while still on some rough roads past Cascades, which allowed me to get a good feel. Turns out they are stiff enough, stiffer than all the wheels I have running Open Pros and double butted spokes. Sure, they don't approach Ksyriums or other race wheels optimized for stiffness, but that's not what I want for rough roads anyhow. The Stan's will be great, especially tubeless!

Pipolinka, where else? Dahl and a great loaf of bread. Yep, that'll do. I know I look irritated, but that's actually focus. What would we do without Pipolinka mid cold weather ride? In Dullsville, that's where. 

Profile of the Truffle Pig at Pipolinka. The angle skews the proportions. I'm running a 28c Grand Bois on the back and a 30 on the front.

We shared Cross Loop with a gang of 4-wheelers driving like maniacs. Ah well. The bridge is no longer under construction, btw.
Our photographer for the day, Steve (aka, the Colonel)

Simply put, we had a great ride. About 80k or so on awesome bump gobbling bikes; what more can you ask for in November? Lovely. There won't be many more opportunities like this until spring. With the position dialed in, the Truffle Pig was terrific, and I felt fresh once back home. Perhaps counter-intuitive,  the lower position is far more comfortable for my lower back and neck. I was pretty psyched for Sunday's race with the bike ready to rip. 

And it did. Out in Renfrew this morning, the Truffle Pig seemed to be in its element. Neil was just back from Europe, and managed to ride a scorching first lap with me in tow. The course was laid out over an equestrian park and, unlike Nepean, was rather bumpy. However, I knew my TP's curved seatstays would provide an edge coupled with my tubulars; I'd be able to keep the power down over the bumps, or at least that was the plan. 

It worked. I wound up with Imad and Mark Boudreau, 'chasing' Derrick St. John, Evan McNeely and Warren McDonald. After proceeding with the other two for a couple laps, I could see that I had a substantial gap on anyone who was possible a Master A rider, so I eased up and stopped chasing their wheels, settled into my tempo, and rode the rest of the race strong and consistently. And it was fun, no sucking. I thus managed to attain the win I was after, which makes the overall series win mathematically possible. I did all I could today; all I can do is show up next week in Kingston and hope for the best. Its going to be exciting!

Jamie suffered a rolled tubular today, possible due to Stan's sealant inside, Rob rode strong, Rodd faded from the bone rattling, Neil eased up after realizing being off the bike for a few weeks really does eat into your fitness, and Jim simply had a rough day after a long day of work on Saturday and very little sleep. Mike and Glenn ripped it up in the first race, and I'll have to wait to see how that worked out; they both seemed content.


Harry Quinn said...

A similar experience here on Saturday... the first 30km was a head-down, balls-out slog directly into the cold wind on 6th line. Conversation took the form of the odd yelp while taking your turn in the wind. Easy going from there, but certainly a bit punch drunk for the rest of the ride. Our bakery stop in Moffat found us some still-warm quiches. The lack of indoor seating saw us freezing our nuts off on the porch and for the first 5km back on the road. Dirty Movember 'stache insults were being thrown around recklessly. The highlight was navigating the mammoth topsoil stockpile for a bridge construction on Lower Baseline. Very adventurous for our skinny tires... Great to hear you guys are still managing to get out on the road even with the rammed cross schedule.

Madmountainmike said...

Awesome job Sunday are gonna make Dunxcan have to work for it !

I managed 4th (again) ...seem to have a hard time breaking that barrier. This time I can thank JC - (has a massive power roadie physique) who has really come uout fighting the last few races. And also Steve Proulx...nuff said.

Funny in looking at the point rankings you can see how when there is a group at similar abilities - the methodology for point accumulation palys a HUGE factor ! Some of my races result in 30-60 seconds behind the winner but only 13-14 points...meanwhile others might be 1-3 minutes back of me but still get 11-13 points. : - (

OK that's my whine for today! : - )

See ya in K-town....