Friday, August 30

The SM100 is upon us

Well, the Shenandoah Mountain 100 is Sunday.  Hard to tell though.  Promoter Chris Scott has not sent out the usual pre-race brief*, so maybe it was canceled and he hasn't told anyone yet.  Maybe he's been too busy dealing with a bumper crop of berries at the Stokesville Lodge.

Who knows?

Race prep for the SM100 couldn't be much easier.  With 2.5 meals provided, kegs of beer reaching plethoric levels, and a nice place to camp with (cold) showers, one doesn't have to come too prepared.

Sometimes they do run out of beer.  Beet juice? Why not?  My goals are not arbitrarily based on a desired finish time or ranking amongst my single speed peers, but to just feel absolutely fabulous on a bike cycle for 100 miles (and beat Watts Dixon).  Since I dropped out of last year's event to drink out of plastic lawn ornaments, I haven't finished a hundie in two years.  Sad, I know.  Finish strong or DNF stronger.

But you can't finish if you don't plan ahead...

The 2010 Shenadoah Mountain 100 taught me a valuable lesson.  Just weeks before the event, I had loaned out my tire lever (not pictured) at the Breck Epic.  It was immediately broken.  I jammed it back in my strap and continued on, not knowing that I had ripped my tube.  Fast forward to the SM100, I flatted early on in the race, inserted my damaged tube, and ended up running down a great piece of singletrack until I found someone else's tube/CO2 in the trail (their tape job failed).
Since then, I've learned a valuable lesson.  Check your shit before a race.  I've talked to lots of other riders.  Strap, tape, saddle bag, hydration pack... your fragile tube is getting jostled, vibrated, shook, pinched, slapped by offensive tools, and generally mistreated.  I had taken to putting a homemade sleeve around the center of my tube.  That was good enough...

until I saw what Canadian Luke was doing at the Breck Epic a few weeks ago.

Last night, I checked my tube over.  Unfurl, inflate, listen, smell...  no leaks.

Then purge the air, roll tight, seal, replace the valve cap to cover the pokey parts, do the flip/flop fold to make a tidy bundle, and then make a Canadian Luke-style long sleeve.

Notice the tube I used was a big ole 29 X 2.2-2.6.  The bigger diameter tube is much easier to slide on...

with a little help.

Baby powder goes a long way when trying to get it all together, the big toe was of no use...

et voila...

et voici.

This is overkill defined, but being that I leave my tube(s) strapped to my bike(s) for months at a time, I'll take overkill over overdisappointment.

Keen observers will note that I am using a Mütherload Strap where a Race Strap ought to be.  That is not a mistake.  I was testing a prototype Race Strap at the BC Bike Race with much shorter straps and a different type of Velcro.  Some aspects were an improvement, others not.  I never lost my load, but there were some issues.  Two days in, I wanted to swap out, but the only other strap I brought was a Mütherload for my rain jacket.  So I used it for its unintended purpose.

It worked for me.  I know from experience in helping others that it is not ideal under all saddles with all seatposts.  Don't try this at home... or do.  Sometimes it works, it's clean, and quick.  I kinda like it.

Tuesday, race report and all that.

*I spoke too soon.  Before I could hit publish, there it was.  Here's all you need to know (edited for quality consideration):


Is this FINALLY Matt Ferrari's (Freeze Thaw/Hubcap Cycles) day coming up on Sept 1st. Will local Chris "Chas" Michaels (Marks Bike Shop) choke? Has Dan "" Atkins recovered from his mangled hand at the tour d burg? Can Rich Dillen (Team Dicky) ride away from the limelight that will be Thom Parsons ( camera and contest this event? Hal Batdorf (, Daniel Rapp (Toasted Head Racing), Watts Dixon (WHO?) (Revolution Cycles, NC)... Gordon Wadsworth (Blue Ridge Cyclery)...  Joel Maynard on his fixed gear destroyer....  blah, blah, blah


BIG JIM said...

The tube condom is a great idea and I'll be protecting my junk similarly very soon. Ok, so now to the pic. I get the beer and the pop tarts, but what are those to plastic bottle concoctions? My first guess would be reusable enema bottles? What better way to ensure race day weight.

john parker said...

Nice set up (not that we should be suprised) but where do you keep the inflator head for the C02?

TheMutt said...

Tube sleeve is a great idea, but you really should use an old Maxxis tube. You know, because it looks better.

dicky said...


Beet(uhl) juice

I keep another CO2 locked and loaded next to my bottle cage on my seat tube, in case I go with just a plug in the hole.

MAXXIS tube? Why waste one of the good ones?

Watts said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Watts said...

F***.... how'd I delete my own comment?

dicky said...

Way to go, Watts.

You'll be a pro blog commenter in no time!

Motogp said...

great post