Monday, July 6, 2009

Gearing Up for Newton's

Yep, that's right folks, I decided to take the plunge and claim my leaders jersey. I've never done the Newton's Revenge race up Mt Washington in July before. Sure, it is the same climb, the weather probably isn't much different, but the race atmosphere might be different. The August race is still considered to be the "real" Mt Washington race. It draws the big names from around the planet. To be sure, there will be several fast riders going for the $1500 check in July. Anthony Colby (Colavita) just set a new record on Okemo. He won Newton's last year and probably will again this year. That sets me back a little in points. It's not what place you finish, but how far back from the winner that determines points.

So what is my motivation? After two races in the BUMPS series, I'm the current leader. This is really more by default than being the fastest rider. I'm the fastest rider that's done the first two races. The faster riders (three of them at Whiteface) have not done both races. There are many riders closely queued up behind me in points. If I do not do Newton's, I will no longer be points leader for Ascutney, the next race in the series I planned to do. To claim a points leader jersey, you actually have to show up and race to zip one on. It bums me out that Newton's comes before Ascutney. If I take a chance, don't do Newton's, I may never get enough points in the remaining races I plan to do to recapture the lead. So this is a fleeting opportunity. But there is a little more motivation.

Not many riders do both Newton's and the August Washington races. Bottom line is it's expensive. I registered for the August race back in February. Because the Mt Washington events are categorized as Hor, accrued points are 1.5 times the Cat 2 races, which have a 1.0 multiplier. Even a mediocre finish on Washington could net you more points than a spectacular finish on Ascutney. Whiteface and Equinox are Cat 1 climbs, deserving of a 1.25 multiplier. I did very well at Whiteface. To help my points situation out further, the three guys that beat me there did not do Okemo and are unlikely to do Newton's. This all adds up to me having a shot at claiming the overall title at the end of the series. This certainly wasn't a goal or my plan at the beginning of the season, but it is something that would be fun to go after maybe this one time. Things so far have just sort of fallen into place in my favor. Of course, any number of elite riders could participate in five of the remaining seven races and spoil my fun. Only the best five count towards final points tally.

Heavily modified Ultegra Triple crank with eliptic Q-ring

I'll be running a gearing mod I might not have run previously for the 12-percenters. It consists of single 30t Q-ring up front, Dura Ace rear derailleur and 27t cassette. Rear brake, front derailleur and associated cables are removed. You'd think this gets the weight down to silly factor. It doesn't really. I don't own delicate carbon tubular wheels. Bike weighs in right at a UCI legal 15.0 lbs, except it is partially stripped. I know riders with fully equipped bikes lighter than this. My penalty is about 15 seconds per pound. I could spend $2000 on wheels and take about 10-15 seconds off my finishing time. Is this worth it? I could easily stand to loose 5 lbs body fat. This would not only not cost me anything, I would save money by cutting 17,500 calories out of my regular diet. This would make me 75 seconds faster if I lost no power output in the process.

Newton's will be a training climb for me. No PR attempt. The weather doesn't look the most favorable for a PR at this point anyway. I would like to go for a PR in the August race though. Indicators are it is in the realm of possibilities.


David said...

Good for you Doug!!! You deserve it and have earned it many times over.

I have also changed up my bike configuration. I removed the big ring so I will probably be running 38/26 with an 11/34 (or maybe 11/32). I removed the rear brake as well. I will use the Zipp 202's with PT. Bike comes in at 15.3 pounds.

I am looking forward to a little more laid back scene, with only 150 riders.

Man, two times up the Rock Pile this year. I think it will be worth it!!

I will see you on the starting line, but I may not be wearing SpongeBob. I think I need a change.

plum said...

I know I've led the charge in bitching about the details of how the series is scored, but there would be no one more fitting to take the title. Don't hesitate.

Peter Jantzen said... you want to borrow my 202s for NR? I live in Concord, MA and won't be using them this weekend. Feel free to shoot me a note at if you want to take the plunge, as they are silly light and got me TN at MW last year (a feat for me, but only simple par for your course).

Paul said...

What's the ugly wart on the downtube? Looks like the derailleur hanger got yanked off, or something.

Very nice machining job on the Ultegra cranks, though. Might use that idea in the future....

Hill Junkie said...

I have to leave that "wart" there. It is mix of silicon and a more nasty adhesive that marks the spot for chain minder nub us use with compact crank. The nub interferes with 30t eliptic ring, so I have to rip it off. If I removed all the stuck on glue, it gets hard to find exact position back. Here's link to photo of minder in place.

Paul said...

Ah, makes sense. I probably need to do the same on my new frame - what sort of glue did you use? I was going to go with just straight silicone sealant.

If you haven't seen it, the K-Edge chain catcher is a brilliant and well-made solution - but unfortunately it will only work on a double.

Hill Junkie said...

The white adhesive was regular GE Silicon sealant. I like it because you can easily rub it off a clear-coated carbon frame. But it is not the strongest stuff and it remains pliable, not necessarily a good trait. So the second time I glued the nub on, I used Maytag high temperature adhesive. It is the brown stuff you see. You can find it online or at Maytag repair center. The stuff has every nasty solvant known to man in it. That means it will stick to just about anything. I keep a tube around for the hard to glue applications.

I didn't see the K-edge catcher before. Brilliant indeed. Only works with braze-ons I presume. Pricey, but I may order one or maybe even try to make one myself. I hadn't thought about using the braze-on derailleur screw as a mounting point.

James said...

I've been hearing a little about the Q rings for single speeding. Can you feel the difference?
I know that I can climb better on my fixed gear bike. What do you think about just having one gear for a hill climb race. What gear would you choose?

Hill Junkie said...

I've read singlespeeders are using them, but I'm surprised it even works. I can watch the rear derailleur move fore/aft as the lobs on the Q-ring go by. This means chain length changes slightly. As a singlespeeder, I do not want any slack in my chain. Invites drops which can often be disasterous. But I think you'd have to run extra slack in your chain if you run a Q-ring. They say it ain't much, but I'd think it would be more than a slightly eccentric bolt pattern you get on some crank arms or chainrings. You can feel the difference, but in about one mile you get so used to it that you don't notice it any more. Then when you go back to round rings, it feels weird for a mile until you get used to it. It is quite subtle.

I'm contemplating a singlespeed for the Mansfield hillclimb race this year. It is about 12% grade, not as uniform as Mt Washington, but consistent enough I think. I would run about 1:1 ratio for that, being on MTB on loose gravel. For Mt Washington, I'd go about 30:27. I was in my 30x27 at least 50% of the time yesterday for Newton's Revenge.