Tuesday, June 11

I am the decider

I feel like my new part time job has been personal bike mechanic... for myself.

The racing conditions this year have been something else.  I'm not sure if swapping between three bikes has added to the problem or relieved some of the pressure.  On one hand, I have more time between races to let a bike sit in a state of non-readiness, working on it when I get the chance.  On the other hand, I'm forgetting things and not going over the bikes thoroughly enough when I'm working on them in 15-30 minute intervals (the only kind of interval training I actually do).  On the third hand, I might be wasting a lot of brain power determining which bike to ride where.

Case in all points, BC Bike Race.

I was torn between taking the Misfit diSSent Brontoawesomeous Meatplow V.5 or the Dickstickel Meatplow V.6.  After a week of racing at the Trans-Sylvania Epic, including a very moist 47 mile Stage 3, the Brontoawesomeous would certainly need more than a once over... and probably some polishing.  Can't go all about Canada on a smudgy bike, eh?  The Dickstickel was kinda gone over after a very wet PMBAR, which means the brake pads were replaced, and it received a very thorough washing.  Not much more.

The Dickstickel has never seen an entire stage race though, and given its short chainstays and slacker geometry, I wanted to give it the nod for BC.  Not to mention the fact that this year has gone thusly:

6 Hours of Warrior Creek: Brontoawesomeous
Big Frog 65: Brontoawesomeous
PMBAR: Dickstickel
Pisgah Eleventy-one: Meatcarver
TSE: Brontoawesomeous
Pisgah Enduro (this weekend): Meatcarver

So it's due for its turn.

Pulling the bike apart, it was interesting to see that PMBAR still had some surprises for me.  Water/mud in the BB shell, water on the fork steer tube, and grit under the headset bearing cover.  Adding to the work to be done, a new SRAM 1091R chain, new Ashima rotors, fjork to crabon frok swap, stem inversion, saddle swap, and the purchase and installation of 35mm adjustment bolts because I couldn't stand to see 15mm of irrelevant bolt sticking out...

And as much as vanity pushed me in the direction of running my Pink I9 wheels with white Crest rims, I installed the Torch Trail SS wheels.


Easier to field service if we have tons of rain due to the tool-free removal of the freehub and the fact that they were already shod with Ardents, front and rear.

The Ardent in the rear is admittedly overkill, but given the depth of the field in the Solo 40+ men's class and the fact that most if not all of them will have gears and some suspension of a sort, I doubt I'll be overly competitive.  With that in mind, I'd rather spend the week not fixing a flat on the side of the trail with or without CO2 (depending on what the TSA may or may not find) and have a fun week riding with max traction and living off the land at aid stations.

At least according to Dre (Andreas Hestler), I've got my brake set-up dialed... and nothing else:

Q: What kind of ride will I need? Do you have any recommendations for setup?

Dre: In my opinion as the distance increases the need for a dual suspension becomes mandatory. And, the fact that our singletrack will be higher content than any other epic ride out there only increases the need for a dual suspension. I prefer a light all-mountain bike with 4-5 inches of travel in the front and 3-5 inches of travel in the back. Disc brakes are another standard item, but not as essential as the dual suspension. An all-around tire is also recommended...but not too skinny though...something in the 2.1 size should be about right.

Q: You recommend a full suspension bike. What about a Single Speed?

Dre: Single speed versus full-suspension? Well it's a very straight forward answer on my part, and for others a more philosophical question.
Physically, during events that take longer than two hours per day, or events that play out over multiple days, it's simply a matter of ease on the body. Recovery and minimal impact all around allow the body to perform to its maximum efficiency, and to grow stronger through an event of this nature. Full-suspension and gears allow the body to be efficient and buffered from the effects of rough terrain.

On the philosophical side, there is a purity attached to rigid, single speeding that no one can argue with. The choice is yours my friend, and I wish you all the best. See you out there.

Purity.  I never thought about myself as a purist or even a Puritan.

It's just that if those questions, or a blend of those questions mixed into one, were presented unto me...

Q: Would you recommend a full suspension bike or a Single Speed, what am I doing here on earth, and who am I?

Dick:  I dunno.  What do you have already? That's a good place to start.  Then ask yourself, do you wanna spend all your free time between stages hunched over next to your tent (possibly in the rain), pulling tools (that took up all the space you had for underwear and deodorant) out of your loaded duffel, working on shifty bits and fretting on your sticking squishy bits?  Would you rather just suffer for 4-5 hours a day in order to free yourself up in the afternoons to walk about downtown Sechelt and find a local drinkery?  Are you interested in supporting the local economy and paying our knowledgeable mechanics to keep your rig running smooth all week long?  Would you prefer to trash your bike and leave it on the stoop of your local bike shop when you get home or just throw it away and start anew?  

Then again, if you're the kind of person that has to ask, "What about a single speed?", you're probably not the person that should bring a single speed.  If you have to ask, you can't afford it.

One more thing, a favor to The Pie.

Sweet new foster puppy in the house.  They don't all make the blog, but the special ones do.

Bran was pulled from an abusive home.  He's playful, has a heart of gold, sleeps in the crate through the entire night, can lick his shoulder...

He'll be back in the general population at the Humane Society of Charlotte and ready for adoption on June 20th (he's sticking around to help me celebrate my 44th birthday).  Your present to me?  Give him a home.


AdamB said...

Singlespeed or puppy? Hmmm...

Rob said...

Pink wheels= FAST (I hope!)

Does Steve treat his frames with Weigle or anything?

dicky said...

Good question... I think he seals all the tubes except for the seat and head... mebbe.

Anonymous said...


What makes one wheelset easier to maintain then the other? The hub? Don't I9's use crazy special spokes?

I have found with my sliders that those bolts either don't help set the tension even, fall out, or get jammed in the frame and eventually freeze, I just take them out all together and "eye ball" the placement of the wheel in the frame.

Dickhouse said...

BC riding: where more travel is not enough. Go Meatcarver.

MZ said...

Awesome dog photo.

dicky said...

The newer I9's (Torch series) are tool free and require no adjustment when reassembling. Crazy spokes? I travel with four extras when I go to a stage race.

I had a bolt fall out of my sliders on my MOOTS. That was when I ran the stock length bolts all the time. I chalked it up to the long, unsupported length of the bolt. That's one of the reasons I only run bolts that are just long enough. I've had no issues since.