Previous Posts

  • Latex vs Butyl February 15, 2021Teocalli4415

    I’m sure most folk (if not everyone) are familiar with the claims that Latex tubes run faster than Butyl but is this really true and measurable?  Well, I recently conducted an interesting experiment.

    After building the Stelbel last Summer I threw on an old pair of Vittoria Corsa tyres and was going to put in Latex tubes but found that the new Campagnolo Bora rims were a really (too) tight fit for the valve stems on Vittoria Latex tubes.  Weird.  Anyway I threw in a set of Continental Butyl tubes instead.

    More on the Stelbel ride later in another article but suffice to say, the ride is fantastic and there seemed to be little difference between the average speed between the Stelbel and #1 Pinarello out on the road.  Given that I’m in a new location I was setting PBs on segments on both bikes though the Pinarello had the edge but the Stelbel, despite being heavier was not far off par even on climbs and I was setting PBs on segments that I had ridden on both bikes.  I suspect the Bora wheels on the Stelbel may have the edge over the Shamals on the Pinarello that may counter the weight difference – but that might only be true at a decent speed when greater Aero would be apparent.

    Anyway, things became interesting over the Winter and in Lockdown when I’ve retreated to the “Gym” riding mainly on Rollers.

    I was somewhat surprised (concerned?) that the Stelbel was 2-3 mph down on the Pinarello at max cruise (Threshold? – I don’t use a power meter).  Initially I thought it was me and down to fitness levels, so I did a swap of bikes on the same session and the Stelbel was definitely slower or more effort for the same speed.  Both bikes run Campag Record Groupset so that did not seem a likely cause but what was noticeable was that the Stelbel definitely felt heavier and sounded “stickier” in respect of tyre noise on the rollers.   Again tyres are comparable with Vittoria Corsa on both though the Pinarello has Graphene vs the older version on the Stelbel and both running at 100 psi.  Also when I stopped pedalling on the Stelbel the Rollers span down to a stop quicker than with the Pinarello.  Weird.

    So out of interest I swapped out the inner tubes for Latex.  Note that the valve is still a tight fit in the Bora rims and I need remove or replace the plastic guide that is making them too tight.  I have ones from a worn out set of Shamal rims that hopefully will fit.

    Anyway, back on the Rollers.  Like night and day.  Rolling at the same max cruise as the Pinarello!

    How much does this translate to road riding?  Well I have no scientific measure but have to assume that there is a difference.  It’s not the 2-3 mph I see on the rollers but it will be interesting when lockdown eases – and the weather improves – and I get back out on the road.  Actually we are allowed out for exercise here but it’s been pretty cold and miserably wet this winter and I must be getting soft with age.

    Also despite having the Stelbel built in Stainless Steel to be bulletproof to weather, I still don’t want to get it muddy!

    So Latex definitely seems to have it, at least on Rollers.  Though I have to wonder whether optimising my speed and minimising effort on Rollers is really the point of indoor training!



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  • Queen’s Gamit / One Night in Bangkok January 15, 2021chuckp4397
  • Mtns conquered in 2020 December 3, 2020Haldy344385

    Being a trackie and hence spending most of my summers blasting around velodromes, the Covid times of no racing gave me the opportunity to tackle some climbs here in Washington I haven’t tackled yet. My wife and I got up to the summit of Washington Pass in the North Cascades in June, Then in July I tackled the highest paved road in the state climbing up to Sunrise point on Mt. Rainier

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  • Cazzo di bici! November 13, 2020chuckp4381

    My new ride is a Colnago V3. Comes as a fully built bike, but I did a project up-build for PEZ. The Gulo Composites wheels are particularly sick. All the details here: Let me know what you think. Cheers y’all!

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  • La Charge by Wiscot September 2, 2020Teocalli4309

    Guilty as Charged?

    As if losing their rising superstar Remco Evenepoel to a horrific crash in the Giro di Lombardia, Deceuninck-Quick Step now have the added “issue” of “the bottle.”  What was the wee white bottle removed slyly by Davide Bramati and slipped into a pants pocket?  What was in it?  It’s been called a bidon but not what we tend to think of when we think bidon.  This was no standard issue water bottle but more of a small flask.

    Was it drugs as so many are speculating?  Frankly, I doubt it.  Deceuninck-QuickStep boss Patrick Lefevere is not stupid enough to juice up his star young rider with 50kms to go in a race he was favored to win.  Winning a Monument at age twenty and then failing a drug test could have serious ramifications for the rest of Evenepoel’s career.  The official team response was “As has already been stated publicly, the item that was captured being removed from Remco’s pockets was a small bottle containing nutrition products and was removed in order to help him to be placed more comfortably by medical staff on the stretcher.”

    What was it then?  Was it a late race “pick me up” of caffeine, B12 and whatever to give a late-race jolt?  Maybe.  But I don’t think it’s anything new.  Look at this picture of Bernard Hinault descending the Croix de Fer in the 1986 Tour.  Look at his rear left pocket.  What’s that wee bottle?  It sure isn’t a regular bidon.  It’s more of a small flask.  I’ve never seen pictures of a rider being handed such a bidon or drinking out of such a container.  And Hinault never failed a drugs test.

    In the wonderful 1962 French film, Vive le Tour, by Louis Malle, the riders are featured after another hot day in the saddle.  Most are drenched in sweat, gaunt and exhausted.  They talk openly about being “charged” with coffee and caffeine, stating that “it all gets sweated out.”

    Maybe Bramati was safeguarding one of the best kept secrets in the peloton: a late race “jolt” that’s better than a gel but not enough to get you into trouble.  Cycling has enough problems with public perceptions of the riders “all doping” — a hangover from the Armstrong years — but with an exciting crop of young riders coming through, some secrets are still best kept.

    Ed:  Wiscot provided me with the link to this video in a separate conversation but I thought it worth adding here.  Some telling moments and comments from the past and as Wiscot said – some great jerseys.  Hopefully, we can be thankful that medical intervention would be likely these days before a rider got into the sort of state as shown in the video.

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  • Tirreno Adriatico 2020 September 2, 2020Teocalli4312

    As La Tour winds its way through France we have Tirreno Adriatico running in parallel.  This year’s Tirreno-Adriatico will be the 55th running of the race which starts on Monday 7 September and finishes on 14th Sept giving eight days of racing.  With some significant climbing such as the finish climb to Sassotetto on day 5 of 13.2 kilometres at 7.3%, I hope there is some TV coverage.

    Pre Covid, the Tirreno Adriatico was scheduled for 11 – 17 March it now has an additional mountainous stage.

    The top 5 from 2019 were:

    1. Primoz Roglic
    2. Adam Yates
    3. Jakob Fuglsang
    4. Tom Dumoulin
    5. Thibaut Pinot

    So one thing is sure – the top 5 will be very different this year.  It will be interesting to see whether any riders feel they have a point to prove for missing out on TdF.  There is still a potentially very competitive field of contenders for the overall.

    Rider details can be found here.

    Note:  Picks will open for Giro d’Italia Femminile on Friday 4th September.

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  • Summer project August 25, 2020MangoDave4296

    I’m still waiting for my road bike frame to be built by Chris Chance (ordered last October).  Since it’s too hot to ride much, I ended up with a different summer build project.  The goal was to replace my mint condition Somec adorned with C-Record jewelry with something a little more friendly for use as an “around town” bike.  I ended up with the Fondriest frameset and built it up with stuff I had laying around in the garage.  (Note to self, I really need to get rid of some of that stuff!)  I think I missed the goal – too good for a townie – it’s a pretty nice retro-mod build and rides amazingly well.  Frame is very light for older steel, 3.4 lbs (1.5 kg), with a complete weight of 18.5 lbs (8.4 kg).  I have done two rides on it and have it mostly dialed in.  About 50 miles total, but it’s brutally hot here (115* F yesterday), which limits range due to logistics such as death avoidance.  I can easily see doing century rides on it, quick yet comfortable.

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  • Prisma art app August 24, 2020chuckp4280

    I’ve been having fun messing around with it just to make pictures different/interesting. Also been working on #bikeselfies.

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  • Upcoming Events this week 24th – 29th Aug 2020 August 23, 2020Teocalli4271

    Keep your heads up this week as we have the following OTRL events.  Picks are open for Bretagne Classic and GP de Plouay but will close at midnight on Tuesday UK time.  Picks will open on Wednesday for Le Tour de France and La Course.

    Last year’s top 5 for Bretagne Classic 2019 were

    1. Sep Vanmarcke
    2. Tiesj Benoot
    3. Jack Haig
    4. Michael Valgren
    5. Amund Jansen

    Details of riders for Bretagne Classic can be found here. Hopefully this list will fill out on Monday, but if anyone has a better link please post it.

    Last year’s top 5 for GP de Plouay 2019 were

    1.  Anna Van der Breggen
    2. Coryn Rivera
    3. Amy Pieters
    4. Marta Cavalli
    5. Demi Vollering

    Details of riders for GP de Plouay can be found here.  Hopefully this list will fill out on Monday, but if anyone has a better link please post it.

    Top 5 for Le Tour 2019 were

    1. Egan Bernal
    2. Geraint Thomas
    3. Steven Kruijswijk
    4. Emanuel Buchmann
    5. Julian Alaphilippe

    Details of riders for Le Tour de France can be found here.

    Top 5 for La Course 2019 were

    1. Marianne Vos
    2. Leah Kirchmann
    3. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig
    4. Lucinda Brand
    5. Ashleigh Moolman Passio

    Details of riders for La Course can be found here.

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  • Tyre pressures, Resistance and Rollers August 17, 2020Teocalli4254

    Lead Photo by Teocalli

    With the current trend to wider tyres and tubeless there is also a trend to running lower pressures.  The manufactures and the science says that there is no net loss in speed and/or efficiency in running lower pressures and some claim it may be faster.  Well, I guess I have to believe the testing behind all that.

    Unless you are on Rollers.

    Over the winter I was doing a Roller session and started to get rather worried as the whole thing was getting harder and harder to maintain anything like my normal speed.  Given my recent history I was getting quite worried until I noticed that I had a slow rear puncture!  I must have had a small stone sliver in the tyre at the start and the greater point pressure of the rollers had caused it to puncture, though at a slow rate.

    Having noticed this I pumped back to 100 psi and found I was back up to speed, for a while, till the tyre started to deflate again.  It had got down to 60 psi and at that pressure it was like being on a pretty decent incline.

    Anyway, this week I had cause to think on this when I was doing a roller session due to rain (and being a whimp).  I pulled a bike from the rack and did not check tyre pressures but found I was down on comfortable max cruise speed by 2-3 mph.  On checking pressure I was at about 80 psi.  Pumping to 100 psi and I was back up to a healthy speed (for me).

    So, my conclusion is that starting from 100 psi on 25mm tyres I’m losing about 1 to 1.5 mph for every 10 psi pressure loss.  I don’t run a power meter so I can’t do any empirical measurement but it might be interesting to run a test as pressure is lowered and see what power increment is required to maintain speed.

    It does make me wonder how the manufacturers take their measurements of rolling resistance.

    Anyway, if you are on Rollers and want to run a resistance session the cheapest solution may be to just lower your tyre pressure!

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