Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Battenkill Bike Set Up--2010

Most races require minimal bike prep. Usually a simple clean, tune and lube will suffice. But Battenkill is different. Racers have been geeking out about bike setup for Tour of the Battenkill since it was a reasonably priced event called Battenkill-Roubaix. Since over a third of the course is unpaved, durable equipment is in order. Tire selection is of paramount importance, since what little wheel support on offer is overtaxed from the starting gate. If you puncture, your race is over. Prudent riders bring spare tubes (plural) and CO2 cartridges (plural).

Normally, my equipment selections are closely guarded secrets, since I don't want to give my competitors any fancy ideas. As many of you know, almost all of my decent results were garnered partially on the back of canny equipment choices. Remember those muddy cross races I slayed?

But at this point (4 days from race day), I figure most riders are locked into what they have in hand. Furthermore, when Dieter Drake split the fields, he isolated me and my team with all New York teams. This is a local blog, so I doubt that any New Yorkers will be using my knowledge against me. Actually, I miswrote. We have one local guy in our field: Paul Curley. Paul doesn't need my advice on anything but off-the-bike pants selection...In short, there is no harm in my releasing my nuggets of wisdom.

My two biggest concerns are puncturing and durability of my wheels. I debated whether I should buy some 25mm or even 26-27mm tubulars and glue them onto one of my bombproof, yet lightweight aluminum cyclocross wheelsets. I passed on this option for a number of reasons. These tires would basically be glued, raced and removed until next year. It just didn't seem worth the cost and hassle.

I settled on running my Zipp 101's (great aluminum clincher) with 25 mm Michelin Pro3 Race tires.

I am vacillating between latex and regular butyl tubes. Latex tubes are lighter and have less rolling resistance, while I am used to butyl tubes and trust them because of familiarity.

I am confident in my wheel choice, as the 101 rim is slightly wider than standard rims. They are feel stiff and solid. These wheels are bombproof. Furthermore, these wheels are fast and aero.

As for tires, Michelins are always a good choice and the Pro3 Race is dependable but not durable. I am running a brand new pair. 25mm seems like the correct width for this event,as there is likely to be loose gravel, loose sand and maybe even mud. While 25mm tires will be slightly slower than standard 23 mm, if lend me added stablity in a loose section, they will be worth the Watt I gave up over rest of the race.

Computer, I am running one.

Normally, I don't bother with an odometer, as that data is often useless. At Battenkill it is very helpful to have the locations of the climbs and dirt sections memorized so that you know when you need to turn the screws.

Hoods: up.

While I didn't do anything special with my hoods, I have switched to Campagnolo Centaur with the new Campy shape since they have more material to prevent you from slipping off the end of the hoods. This is critical when road conditions deteriorate.

Chain: Greased. Instead of dry lube, I am using Chain L No. 9. This lube smells like an oil refinery and has the consistency of honey at room temperature. You heat it up and soak your chain. It lasts a month. You can ride in the rain every day for a month and your chain remains lubricated. Since I am praying for rain in upstate New York this weekend, I figured that my drivetrain had better ready to handle it in case Jens Voigt answers my prayers and brings his blustery wrath down on the race.

Bottle Cages: King Stainless steel cages. Simply put, King cages are the most dependable bottle cages made. Chris Igleheart puts these on every frame he makes. That was all the endorsement I needed. I won't be loosing any water bottles.

I hope that your preparations are going well. Unless you are from New York. If you are a new Yorker, I hope your rig falls apart. If you are Paul Curley, I hope that your bike stays together and that you and I get over the final climb in the front group and both of us refuse to work while the New Yorkers drag us to the podium.


Jordan said...

some argue that the rolling resistance on 25's may actually be less than 23's, as they are more apt to deform and roll over small anomalies instead of bouncing off of them.

kill it.

rosey said...

i once sneezed on a pair of michelin pro race 3's and they went flat. most fragile tire i've ever owned. seriously.

gary! said...

i mean, on a regular basis, new yorkers and new york racers can go fuck themselves.

gearing choice?

i got no opinions on michelin, just that conti's have a nice history of blowing out sidewalls for no reason.

maluhia said...

rmm- pump tham dagnabit tires up. go with armadillos. a flat and you are DONE. i never did batenkill, but a flat will end you. you were looking good in GA, so rock on.

just play it safe the first 3/4th then, all bets are off. ROCK ON!

don't get in a sprint with curley. that old fool is a sneaky snake and a pocket rocket. if you can hurt him, do so. even though he carries an AARP card, he is FAAAAAAAST!

good luck

Yash Katsumi said...

Very nice set up RMM.

Michelin Pro series are my favorite tires from the original green Axial Pros to the 3's. Does the Zipp 101's have a wide 23mm rim? Michelin's tend to run wider than most other tires, so with the zipp rims and the 25mm, you should have a really nice tire cross section. I am not sure what all that means, but I think means that you will be able to ride it fast and supple.

Good luck at Battenkill.

Cary said...

Some races don't even require a simple clean, tune, or lube!

Eddie Thomson said...

I would like to hear more on the Zipp 101 wheels. Is the width a bitch when swapping or does it fall into a notch on a ratcheted brake release nicely?

Any impressions you can share now that you have ride time on them would be great, I'm looking at these wheels for my bike.

Yash Katsumi said...

Damn, powermeters are cool, but they need to design a nicer computer. Those systems look like a toupee on The Donald's head.