Monday, April 25, 2011

From the Trenches

How about a couple Paris-Roubaix videos to kick off your Tuesday, which might be your Monday this week. Except better, because its Tuesday.

These videos are incredible. The first showcases Mavic's neutral wheel support during Roubaix (thanks to Big Ring for the tip-off). Its both fascinating and exciting. From a marketing perspective, its pretty well done. A long-time Mavic devotee, I've been pulled toward other brands over the last few years: Stan's, because they are the best tubeless rims available, and KinLin, which are excellent budget tubulars. I don't need much from Mavic's range these days, but nonetheless, this video got me thinking about what I might get from them. Why? Because the video conveys the invaluable role Mavic plays in each and every Roubaix, year after year, not to mention countless other races, including a couple I've actually raced myself. Not only do they put money into this support while maintaining competitive prices, they also benefit from a heap of experience working on the wheels they carry, not to mention their new products like the M40. So I'd say this video has me thinking about Mavic more than I have in a while, and kind of eager to see how the M40s develop (though I doubt I can afford them!). 

Here's the M40 video. Roubaix was a big day for the M40; Van Summeren won on it.

Next up is the most beautiful cycling short I can recall. The super slow-motion film captures the intense shaking the racers' bodies take over the cobbles, and even more amazing, the impacts their tires make on the stones. Here it is clear why high quality tubulars are the tire of choice for the race (and just about all the other Pro Tour races). Running pressure as low as the riders are with a tubeless set-up might provide a similar ride quality, but the sidewall of a clincher rim is more prone to denting, and with such pressure there is a greater risk of rolling the tire. I believe the race mechanics set up the tires so that they just barely bottom on the hardest impacts, which they sometimes test by crushing the tire on a stair step. With latex tubes, air bleeds over the day, so they also tend to over-inflate slightly to ensure there is enough pressure for the last secteurs. Quite a delicate balancing act. Van Summeren finished on a slow leak. This video provides a glimpse of the riders and bikes at work in a way we could never see with our bare eyes.

On another note, local riders will be pleased to learn that the Gatineau Parkway is very close to being clear enough to loop without crossing snow. Over the long weekend I managed a few rides, and worked the Parkway in on both Friday and Saturday. On Saturday Rodd and I attempted the Fortune descent, and found only one sizable patch of snow/ice pack, which we both managed to crash on about 15 feet from where the pavement resumed. No problem, we've had plenty of crashing practice over the years. Unscathed. While returning from a Cascades--Wakefield-Farrelton loop today, I caught up to Tanya, and she informed me that the ice sheet had shrunk to about half Saturday's size already. So, I think the loop is good to go save perhaps a very short hike, if that in a day or two. Outstanding.

No comments: