Monday, November 8, 2010

Double Down Saturday

Since Crusty already gave his rundown of Saturday's race in Lawrence here, I'll try not to repeat what he said, but I do have to agree that it was bumpy, but not this Bumpy.

I toed the line for two races on what started out as a cold and a bit dew-y Saturday morning, enough to get my feet a little wet on the pre-ride before the 10:00am Masters race, which turned out to be a pretty good start for me, where I stayed with the 40+ pack for most of the first lap, so I guess you could say my fitness is improving after 2 months of this, but not this. I settled into a back and forth battle with a Wheatland rider, and I probably should have rode his wheel a bit longer on the last lap, but I passed him right after the run-up, and tried to get away, but he caught and passed me on the last uphill stretch before the final turn to the line. Overall a good race on a bumpy and progressively more and more rocky course. Back on the Blue for the first race this season, I had the Fango's at 25psi, just a bit softer that Crusty's 27, but I thought it was good for the slightly softer, slightly less rocky early morning course.

About an hour later, I took to the start line for the single speed race. The course had dried, hardened and a few more rocks had been exposed. The SS'ers raced with the Cat 4's again, but started ahead of them this time. I could definitely feel the first race in my legs from the start, although I was consistently passing riders (ok, Cat 4 riders) on the long uphill, where the one gear ratio gave me the advantage of having to pedal hard to keep moving. By the end, I was really whipped and rolled in 6th out of 8 SS'ers.

I did, however, get to try the Challenge Latex Tubes, since I'm still clinching up the single speed rig. I pumped them to 30psi, and that was probably pretty good for the course. I could tell the difference from the regular butyl tubes that I used last week. The latex tubes are definitely "softer", and probably could run a couple psi lower than a butyl tube, great for 'cross. There is a slight weight advantage with the thinner latex tubes (about 35 to 50 grams per tube, depending on your tubes and your scale), and even though the cost is 2 to 3 times the cost of a butyl tube, I think they are a great investment for clincher riders looking to get a little closer to a tubular tire without the investment of new tires and wheels.

I don't think I'll make it to Topeka next week - Saturday night courses are hard to make - but I might make it out to the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth, site of several races last year.

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