Tufo Ride 25 tubular tires

My rear tire had exactly 1040 miles when the sidewall blew out. That tire was due to be replaced soon anyway because the tread in the middle was worn through the first layer and the red inner-layer was showing through.

These tires ride very nice on the road, and were quite nice for some gravel rides I did. They didn't last as long as I hoped (isn't that always the case?) but I only had one puncture and one sidewall slash so I'm not disappointed with them.



Larch Mtn. Road/Bull Run hill climb

Great sunny day, went for a ride. You know when the route description begins with 'take Larch Mtn. road as far up as you can' that you're in for some climbing.

It was a warm day and I got a chance to rid some roads that I never had before. The scenery was gorgeous:

Mt. Hood in the distance

Mt. Hood in the distance



Road Racing vs. Ultra Endurance

I think I've discovered the only difference between Road Racing and Ultra Endurance events:

In Road Racing events, you try to tear the other riders' legs off.

In Ultra Endurance events, you try to tear your own legs off.



Speedplay Zero and Giro Trans shoes

I finally switched from my Speedplay Frog pedals. There wasn't anything majorly wrong with the Frogs, but I was starting to notice discomfort on the outer ankle due to my feet (especially the right) trying to rotate outwards. I suspect that this was due to two causes: the small surface area of the cleat, and the cleat being more inboard than it should be.

My current main shoes are a pair of 661 MTB shoes. I wanted the new pair of shoes to have a much stiffer sole. Unfortunately, I will have to give up the capability of being able to walk in my bike shoes.

I am very happy with my Frogs, so I thought I'd try the Zeros. I needed new shoes, so I went to REI to check out their selection. The Giro Trans has the necessary stiff sole so I thought I'd give them a try, even though these would be my first real road shoes.

Installation of the Zero pedals and cleats was pretty smooth with one exception: I put the cleats on upside down so that the float limit adjustment screws were inboard instead of outboard. No big deal, just duh.

I wound up exchanging the shoes for a larger size before my feet got comfortable. I don't have a problem with 11.5 shoes for walking but on the bike it looks like I need a 12.5 or greater. The specific issue is severe numbness of the toes on the right foot. I know that I have flat feet and I presume that my feet are wider than usual.

The shoes are well made with excellent ventilation. The main buckle is very simple and I see a phillips-head screw so it looks like it is replaceable. The velcro straps use metal D-rings for durability. The strap attachment points are staggered to help spread the load out. These shoes are also noticeably lighter than the older SIDI pair I own.

I rode up Larch Mtn. Road to try the new shoes & pedals out. Other than the numbness issue (hopefully fixed) I didn't have any problems. They are still slightly uncomfortable but that's understandable since they are brand new and aren't broken in yet.

The only minor annoyance I ran into with the Speedplay cleats was that the float adjustment screws are small phillips instead of hex. My multitool doesn't have anything close to that size so I was unable to adjust them while riding. I made sure to also get a set of the cafe covers so hopefully that will extend the cleat life.

I also picked up a pair of used SIDI Genius in the Mega width. I have another pair of SIDSs but can't really wear them as I get numb toes. I'll be using the Giro and Genius for the road bike, I'll move the Frog pedals on to my grocery-getter, and I'll toss the SPD pedals & cleats into the parts bin.


My First OBRA Race

This evening I went down to Portland International Raceway, joined OBRA, and raced. Even though my main goal is ultraendurance events, speed work will be a vital component of training. I also get to work on my pack riding skills.

To quote the great Heidi Swift, I pedaled until I tasted blood. Immediately after the race I almost puked, so I guess I didn't leave too much on the track.

Final results: 22nd out of 30. I'm disappointed that I didn't do better, proud that I was at least able to hang on and not finish as a straggler.

For some reason, I could barely hang on in one specific turn (I think it was turn 5). I'm trying to analyze what happened and the only thing I can think of is that the prior turn is very sharp so perhaps I was slowing too much or I need to jump on the pedals out of the turn a bit earlier. I have Speedplay Frog pedals so clearance isn't an issue.

I probably need to work on my 'hold the line' skills too. I didn't get yelled at, most likely because there weren't a lot of people behind me, but I'm pretty sure I wandered around a bit too much at certain points in the race.

The bike performed perfectly, any problems were strictly engine-related. While I was cleaning & lubing the bike the other day in preparation for the race, I found a glass shard in the rear tire. I got out the Leatherman and pried it out. Air hissed out for a few seconds before I realized that I should probably rotate the tire so the hole is on the bottom and the sealant can do it's thing. I spun the tire around and stopped it. The air hissed out for a few seconds more, spraying latex sealant on the garage floor, but soon enough it stopped. There was sufficient pressure still in the tires so I just left it until the next day (day of race).

That morning I pumped the tire up to operating pressure. A few drops seeped out but soon stopped and the tire was good to go.

As a side note, it was interesting seeing the mix of frame materials in the cat 5 race compared to the strictly-carbon cat 1/2/3s. I saw the complete mix from carbon to steel. There were even a few riders with fenders, so I guess I took mine off unnecessarily. I didn't want to be too fredly, even though I left my helmet mirror on...

Edit 11 Apr 2011: I was just reviewing my race stats in Ascent and noticed that my average HR for the entire race was 168. My LT is somewhere between 161 and 164, so yeah, I did get my legs torn off. Looking forward to the next race!


Astoria Blizzard

Well, just about the only weather we didn't experience was a blizzard. But we did get rain, almost-snow, hail (lots), rain, sunshine, wind, and, uh, rain. Not necessarily in that order.

This ride was Kevin's idea. Ride about 120 miles from Vernonia to the Astoria Column and back. Joining us was John Henry, an accomplished ultra-endurance athlete.

We left Vernonia about 8am in the rain, which trailed off shortly. Other than grabbing some snacks in Birkenfeld, we pretty much went straight through to Astoria, only stopping briefly to regroup and catch our breath.

In Astoria it was up up up to the column, pose for some photos, and descend to the D.Q. in order to inhale some calories. I made the mistake of ordering a bacon-gutbomb combo and paid for it by soft-pedaling the next two hours to keep it down (I was successful).

For some strange reason we seemed to take more breaks on the way back. However, the tailwind made a huge difference: I often found my self going up gentle inclines over 20mph. I started fading about 10 miles from the end, John caught up and we traded pulls to the end (but he was definitely doing the majority of the work).

I felt that I rode pretty strongly today, so I'm glad that my fitness seems to be returning.