Wednesday, September 06, 2006

In it to win it.

As is often said: to win it, you need to be in it. This can be applied to a lot of things but competition is paramount. For me, this means bike racing. Sometimes, I can't give my all during a race. Occasioanlly this is due to mechanical issues. During the last 5 races I have had (quick tot up) 9 punctures. Not a good average.

I was reading a blog belonging to a guy who has quite an impressive palmares. He has suffered numerous punctures over his last few races too. Dicky's minimal packing (amongst others) inspired me to drop the over-size pack and try to take a sensibly small set of tools, tubes and additional bunkum.

If you examine my recent experiences in the cold light of day, I dont think I have *particularly* suffered for carrying less kit. However, at the SSWC in Hellas, Stockholm, if I had carried the previous belt-and-braces CO2 and pump, as well as the old-me-2+ tubes, I would have been back in the game that bit sooner.

Does it make a *real* difference? Probably not: I'm unlikley to win after all. Does it bug me? Oh yes!.

I think the take home message is: consider this year another 'work in progress'. Every year (despite advancing age) I seem to do slightly better at the races. Mostly due to increased self-awareness in terms of preparation (fitness, food and fluid all playing their parts) and improved balance in the belt and braces equation.

Also I'd like to say a big G'day to Duncan, the real top fixed rider at SSWC (you there? hmmph, he's prolly off enjoying the Melbourne spring) for stopping to give me his pump before masterfully pedaling off into the distance.

pic lifted from Happy mtb forum poster.


Chreestophe said...

Right. One more time.


Its free, you know.

; )

How much more? Well I reckon enough so you can ride at a kerb / step at walking speed and not tw@t the rim but not so much that you can't make any impression when pincing the sidewalls.

There needs to be some suppleness allowed by the air chamber (tube) to work ie allow the carcass to deform around things and the many edges of the knobs provide grip. Putting too much air in prevents the grippy deformation. Putting too little pressure in makes tyres squirmy as they can't hold their shape (nor the rim...).

What am I saying... you know this. Too little is as bad as too much, sometimes you need to go for the middle ground cos thats what is right.

: )

marty said...

he has a point you know. doesn't the extra "contact patch"™ of 29ers mean you can run higher pressures?

45 psi min.


Dicky said...

As the guy who ran minimal gear and paid for it I'll join in. I was running a pressure I have been getting away with for years. I think I just had a run of bad luck. When I threw a tube in my UST tire I think I just didn't get enough air in it (the one time it was a ultra thin tube, oops). I won't being doing any more hundreds w/o two tubes. It's not worth the penalty if you double flat between aid stations (where I leave lots of tubes and CO2).
I will run more air pessure. My experiment with ultra skinny tires with high pressure on a fixie showed me that I can take the beating that higher pressure gives out and survive.
Who knows, if I dig this 29'er thing I'll have to come up with a whole new game plan.

Anonymous said...

G'Day DrJ0n,
Finaly came upon your blog from 63xc. No worries about the pump, that's standard MTB etiquette where I come from[1]. Thank you very much for the hippie, I shared what was left with Billy Spaceman in San Fransisco.
[1] I would hope