Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Allen keys and star bolts

The title is actually relevant this time, as I've been doing a lot of fiddling with Allen keys and star bolts this month. Or hex keys and Torx bolts if you prefer.

Why? Because I am endeavouring to make my bicycle faster. And that, I've found, is possible as long as you're prepared to do the necessary fiddling. And testing. The latter is important.

It's been helped by a nice new birthday set of USE handlebars, courtesy of Liz, which have done wonders for the front end (hur hur). I've also moved the back end around a bit. Preliminary tests have shown that the whole unit, including me, is between 7-10 percent faster.

Or it would be if I'd done any proper training. I've restarted after taking a bit of time off after the 12hr, and am slowly getting back into the groove. It's patchy but upwardly patchy.

My knees were sore for two weeks after the 12, which is another reason why I moved the saddle back a bit. I think I was a bit too far forward and probably was pedalling slightly too big a gear. For 12 hours. Again, the latter is important.

So I've done a bit of field testing (can't afford a wind tunnel) and now have to see if the numbers stack up in a club race. Tomorrow's Chippenham Club 10 will be perfect to try it out. If my calcs are right, then I've saved between 30-40secs over 10 miles. Which is going to come in handy.

Speaking of that sort of time gap, the Tour de France was another close one this year. Nice to see.

It did appear to come down to who was the best bike handler. Let's see, who fell off? Contador, Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck, Cadel, Vandevelde, Lance, Menchov(?), Sanchez, Wiggo, oh bugrit they all did. Rule number one: stay on the bike. It's a good one.

Stage 15 was fun. For whatever reason, either pilot error, mechanic error, or gear error, Andy Schleck dropped his chain and basically gave the Tour to Contador on a SRAM Red 53 tooth chainring. Note: the two, despite being on different teams, ride very similar bikes so I don't think the gear is fundamentally at fault.

Contador was already counter attacking when Schleck had his mishap, and although it was considered bad sportsmanship for him not to wait, I'd argue that it was the wrong end of the bike race to be worrying about sportsmanship. Otherwise we'd end up with the fiasco that cost Jan Ullrich the 2003 Tour (this point is subject to debate of course). And we can't be having that in the new dope free nothing to see here cycling.

Think back to when you last dropped your chain in a race and the pack waited for you. You might have gotten a push if you were lucky but if you were on Eddie Salas's wheel going up Bumble Hill in the Wyong Three Day back in the day, and managed to both crash and lose your chain at the same time, you would have had a long lonely ride ahead of you. And another crash coming back down the hill. I speak from personal experience in this matter.

So Contador won.

1 comment:

Hugh Jones said...

back in the good old days of the tour, he would have gone back, offered him a smoke and shared his wine flask with him.
That's progress