Friday, October 30, 2009

Hello off season & low-tensity

The last month and a half since my last race has been nice. Mellow rides, great scenery (thanks Granfondo!) and plenty of time to not ride hard. In fact, it's been nice to ride the same roads I hammer on during intervals and have time to view the surroundings. Amazing the amount of things you take for granted when all the blood goes to your legs and lungs and not your eyes and brain.

So if I come across you on a ride this fall/winter I'm not likely to try and follow. I'm liking this pace and so is my waistline (down 9 out climbers).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Interbike, Part III - Pictures

Been busy lately and totally forgot to get these posted. So here are some highlights of mine from Interbike:

I don't know who the Garmin rider is on the left, but Christian Vande Velde is pretty recognizable. These guys, plus Dave Zabriskie, just happened to be signing autographs at the Vittoria/3T booth.

Dave didn't want to emphasize the height difference so he decided to stand on his chair for the picture. You can't tell from this picture but DZ's shoulders are probably narrower than
his waist; no wonder he's fast on his TT bike.

Lunch courtesy of Clif Bar...espresso from this guy.

The Ouch guys were hanging out at the Kuota booth. John Murphy (US Crit Champ), Rory Sutherland and Floyd Landis were all interested in the
Metrigear product.

Hung out with Bob Parlee for a few minutes. He actually remembered when the order for my frame came through his shop almost two years ago. Bob was kind enough to spend time listening to my feedback on his frame and what I'd do differently with my next Parlee frame.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Levi's Granfondo Carbon Clincher Failure on Meyers Grade

This past weekend I participated in Levi's Granfondo and had a wonderful time. Amazing roads, people, support and weather for a terrific ride that took me through parts of California that I would otherwise not have ever seen.

One of the sights I thought I'd never see was my beloved Edge Composite 68 carbon clinchers fail under me while riding. These have been a bomb-proof wheel set since day one. 20/24 spokes, WI hub up front, Powertap in the rear with CX-Ray spokes. An absolute dream. My 88kg's have had nothing but great times on these wheels.

I've learned with these wheels that under heaving braking on steep descents you must exhibit caution. You can't ride the brakes and just think you'll be fine when you get to the bottom. I learned this on a very short and steep 20% descent last fall when I had a latex tube blow out. Yes, I was on the brakes the whole way down and should have known better, but thankfully no harm was done to the wheel or myself. Lesson learned, at least I thought...

Some of the descents of the Granfondo were pretty steep and around blind corners. With being unfamiliar with the roads, I made sure I was cautious. Cautious, but also considerate of the fact that I didn't want to overheat the brakes. I didn't experience any problems over the first 60 miles. The rims weren't squealing nor were the rims overheating.

This all changed as I descended down Meyers Grade Road (photo from's route preview). The day of the 'fondo was just as perfect as this picture.

The descent was made a bit more technical from the 20+mph wind blowing from off the ocean to the right. The signs at the top warn riders that you're about to descend an 18% grade and caution is required. As had been the norm for the descents up until this point, I made sure I descended safely and with the goal of keeping all equipment in tact. To put this is relation to other riders, I was descending just as fast as others with the exception of a former MTB pro who kept bombing past me on descents (I would then pass him on climbs).

Toward the bottom third of this descent I felt a very bad pulsation in the front brake lever. I looked down at the front wheel to see if there was something wrong but there wasn't anything visibly bad. But it was scary to see the fork flexing back and forth under braking; it probably was oscillating at least an inch when I had the front brake applied heavily.

I got to the bottom of the descent and my teammate pulled over a few seconds later to see how I was doing. I spun the front wheel and it got stuck. It wasn't clear to me what happened. I opened the brakes up to let the wheel spin more freely. At this point I saw the issue. Initially it looked like the sidewall of my Rubino Pro had bulged out and was rubbing the break pads (yellow Swiss Stop). But to my surprise it actually was a deformity of the braking area of the rim! I had somehow managed to melt the carbon.

I was able to limp back through the rest of the ride, but took it very slow on corners and was only able to use about 10% of the braking power from the front. When I got home I took the tire off the wheel and noticed the damage was much worse. I thought only one side of the rim had melted. Come to find out it was on both sides. In the picture you'll see how each side of the clincher flares out.

Thankfully I kept the rubber down, but I'll be on the phone with Edge to discuss the details around the failure and what we can do going forward.