New Gear, Summer Riding (Finally)

It’s been a while since my last post and even with a week off in May and crazy rain all month (worst flooding in 100 years), I still somehow managed to fit in 10 century rides in May. Don’t ask me how.

Some new equipment has arrived as the deadline for my one cycling event for 2010 draws near. I’m pretty certain that my bike will be on good form come race day… the rider, well, I just hope I make it to the start line. Finishing would be equivalent to winning for me as the course travels 238km (you’re thinking, that’s not too bad…) over the Alps (ehh, we all ride up mountains so no big deal) with a total of 5500 meters of climbing. Hopefully that last part made you stop and think a little. If not, I know a race you should enter. I’ll write more about the race later. For now, I’m just dealing with getting my bike set up. A week or so before the race, I’ll get into superhuman shape. It’s pretty easy actually, you’ll see.

So with my Assault wheels going through the hoops and obstacles of warranty inspection, I needed a new set to ride for the time being. So here is what arrived (new wheels shown together with the old):

Reynolds Wheelsets

New Reynolds DV46C UL and old Assaults

The set came in at 1359 grams. Not bad for clinchers. I also opted for the Reynolds RAP (Reynolds Assurance Program) that means that if anything ever goes wrong with the wheels, Reynolds will replace them, no questions asked. [Get it… Reynolds (W)RAP]

Also picked up another Ergonova handlebar, the LTD model this time. I’m a fan of the short drop and it somehow seems more comfortable on the tops as well. It was agony going back to a Ritchey Pro for a few rides before this arrived:

3T Ergonova LTD

3T Ergonova LTD

Next, I was toying with the idea of using an Aluminum cassette for the radmarathon. I know a lot of people think they are junk but I thought I would try it out to see for myself. I got 2 pretty cheap so I am currently testing one to see if it’s worthy:

Alu Cassette

Alu Cassette (11-27T) with gold plating (104 grams)

I decided to hold off buying new shoes this year since I already got a lot of new gear recently. It’s amazing how you can revive a pair of white shoes when you are armed with a can of white shoe polish. But then the Sidi rubber heal (for walking) broke off which I was able successfully ignore and simply marched around the apartment building on the bare carbon heal and metal speedplay cleats. My neighbors love me. But then one of the speedplay cleats broke (the black plastic base plate, not the metal spring, which is a first for me) but the screws were so rusted that I couldn’t get the plate off. It was time to bite the bullet and retire my Sidi Genius 5.5 shoes.

New Sidi Laser vs old Sidi Genius 5.5

New Sidi Laser vs old Sidi Genius 5.5

Sidi now makes a pair very similar called the “Laser” which is less expensive than the Ergo that uses a fancy dial to tighten fishing-line looking laces instead of simple velcro straps. The carbon soles on both models are somewhat similar, but the Laser is one-piece and the Genius 5.5 appears to be multi-piece construction:

Sidi Laser vs Sidi Genius 5.5 soles

Sidi Laser vs Sidi Genius 5.5 soles

The outer part is also “vernice” which is basically shiny patent leather so hopefully it won’t get dirty easily and will protect the shoe from car tires leaving black marks on the left one. I’m not sure if they document that last feature in the catalog or not.

Enough shop talk, the riding has been pretty good for June. I got about 11 century rides in for the month and enjoyed some nice weather. Here is a continuation of the “5 Castle Century Ride”. It is basically the same ride but I took additional photos of places I skipped last time:

Austrian Vineyards

Austrian Vineyards

Rolling Vineyards and Grain Fields

Rolling Vineyards and Grain Fields

Here are the stats at the half way point. Note that I’m still using Imperial units on my Garmin because … the units are so irrational it’s funny.

Stats at the half-way point

Stats at the half-way point (my hr monitor battery died so no hr data)

As a side note, what is a mile anyway? I looked it up…

1 mile = 8 furlongs
1 furlong = 10 chains
1 chain = 2 yards
1 yard = 3 feet
1 foot = 12 inches
1 inch = … well some say it’s the size of a thumb. So there you go.

Speaking of strangeness, I continued on the ride and got to a small town called Herrnbaumgarten that is known for being strange. They have a “museum of nonsense” (website only in German) and often have little curious displays along the side of the road through town. I climbed up a steep valley with cliffs on both sides where the locals all have their wine cellars built into the cliffs. I just finished the steep 18% grade climb when I stumbled on a field of antique tractors. No one was around. Just me and the tractors. This particular tractor hints that the town’s youth are actually quite skilled:

Starting young

Starting young

Steyr Antique Tractors

Steyr Antique Tractors

After that, you stumble upon some clotheslines with thousands and thousands of socks and a dryer shrine where you can give homage to clean textiles and morn the loss of socks fallen in battle.

Sock Memorial and Washing Machine Shrine

Sock Memorial and Washing Machine Shrine

As a side note, my girlfriend and I will be moving at the end of July… we are not sure where yet so if you have any ideas or requests feel free to comment.

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2 Responses to New Gear, Summer Riding (Finally)

  1. WSE says:

    Dude, this one is hi-larious. Nice work. Um, so I thought you were kidding in your prior reference to an encounter between shoe and car. Guess not.

  2. Andreas Pollak says:

    Very nice that you entered also this part of the world. I saw on Strava you rode also near my hometown Röschitz.

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