Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Value of Stan's

I've been bringing my Dean hardtail back up to peak riding form. The recent Arizona trip was hard on it. Vertical mile descents, desert dust, and cacti thorns up the wazoo. I destroyed the rear tire accidentally on my first trail day when I wasn't even on the bike. I brushed a cholla cactus and put many nail-sized thorns through the sidewall. There wasn't enough sealant in there to deal with that catastrophe. I was still able to finish the ride though. The next day I had to put worn spare UST (tubeless) tire on the rear wheel. It was almost bald, and after a week of hard riding, it was completely bald. It was a most worthless tire for trail riding.

Tonight I put two new WTB tubeless tires on. The ones I took off were full of thorns. The Stan's sealant I use really does the trick. I'm saving the old WTB tire off the front (it still had some tread left on it) for my spare. I pulled the thorns out. If I have to use it on my next trip, the Stan's will promptly fill the thorn punctures.

The original Hayes disk brakes have seen better days on that bike too. The front lever was going down to the bar with little braking action going on. Bleeding the system did not revive it. The master cylinder is toast I think. It would cost almost as much to rebuild it as to buy a whole new brake, which is what I did. For the rear too. With recent XTR overhaul, now brakes and tires, the bike will ride like brand new again. I built this one up in 2000 or 2001 I believe.

My new Ridley road racing machine is ready. I've been dialing things in over the last couple weeks. I swapped out the Bontrager tires and tubes for Michelin Pro2 Race tires and Specialized heavy weight tubes. Puncture flats irritate me, and brand new tires/tubes should not flat as easily as the Bontrager setup did. I've got seat height set now. This requires cutting frame (seat mast) with hacksaw. Scary. I take off exactly minimum amount to fit me with one spacer. If I ever sell the bike, somebody up to 2" taller than me should be able buy it. I had some nuisance chain drop issues I could not adjust out with certainty. The frame does not have a round seat tube, so I could not simply bolt on a Deda "Fang." I had to cut the clamp off and glue just the tip of the fang to the seat tube. I can now shift from big to little ring in any cog with 100% confidence.

IBC is a pleasure to work with in getting fit dialed. They let me swap the stem out for a 1cm shorter one to achieve a fit more like my Dean I've been riding for 7 years. I may want to put narrower bar on there too, but shop was out of the 3T bar in 42cm size. Many thanks to IBC in working this out with me after I've had the bike a few weeks. The local shop here in Nashua would never accommodate a rider this way.

I took the Ridley out for its first serious training ride today at lunch. Dave and I did 45mi with 3500ft of climbing. The climbs got progressively bigger, starting with Pine Hill 1&2, Tyng Hill, Federal Hill, Abbot Hill, and finally Pead Hill in Wilton. The ride cooked me about as thoroughly as the Jiminy Peak race did. The first five climbs were VOmax efforts. Hope to debut the Ridley at Sterling this weekend.

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