Snow….

Posted: February 21, 2015 in Uncategorized

The older I get, the less I like snow……it looks cool and all but I am ready for it to melt……. then again I am not big fan of mud……when it is 102 degrees in July….. I will post something grumpy about how I don’t like the heat.

The photo is from John who is not old enough to be grumpy about snow.

Snow

Photos of bikes in the heat of summer don’t look as cool.

Single Speed Gearing

Posted: January 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

One of the challenges in single speeding is picking your gear.

I made the following chart to help me pick my gearing.
Gear Chart

The “perfect” gear for a course can give you an advantage. The wrong gear can be frustrating. Gear choice adjusts time spend walking vs. pedaling, mashing, spinning, and coasting. On a single speed “perfect” is all about finding the balance. With the chart, I can find my gear ratio then look at the ratio table to see the speed that the gear produces at cadences from 120 to 40 RPM.

On a 29er with a 2.25″ tire the bike moves 0.00142 miles each time the rear wheel makes one full revolution. This means that the math for speed is simply 0.00142 * Ratio * Cadence * 60.

For example, a 32/16 gear is a 2.0 ratio. With a 2.0 ratio, one revolution of the cranks produces two revolutions of the rear wheel. This means that pedaling 80 RPM will cause the bike to travel at 13.7 MPH. The 2.0 ratio works well on gravel roads. A ratio of around 1.8 works well for a fit rider on hilly single track. A 2.4 ratio (or more) is good for pavement with 20 MPH at 100 RPM.

The ratio for a 32/16 is exactly the same as a 28/14 or a 36/18 but they ride differently. Rings and cogs impact drive train performance. Small cogs have problems holding the chain as it is bounced and torqued. In general the best cog size for off road is 16 tooth or larger. An 18 tooth cog will hold the chain far better vs. a 14 tooth cog so the 36/18 will perform better then the 28/14. I try keep the rear cog as 17 tooth or larger when riding off road.

The gear I use most often is a 1.78 ratio with a 32/18. For races, I switch gearing based on the race course. Last weekend I ran a 2.0 ratio because it was a smooth fast course with a lot of gravel roads.

My next race is the Beaver Dan and New Light challenge. The race has two trails with a short fast road segment to connect them. The key to the race will be the single track segments. With a lower gear, I can ride the single track segments faster but it will leave me under geared for the road segments. Picking a gear for this race is going is a fun challenge. I think something around a 1.8 or 1.89 ratio is the way to go for my current fitness level. This gear will be slow on the road section but will be fast on the single track.

Storm Endurance January Marathon

Posted: January 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

The Storm Endurance January Marathon this past weekend was a great low key training race in Sanford, NC.

This was my first year at the event but I look forward to doing it again next year. It’s an unusual format with a 42 mile course that starts with six miles of twisty single track followed by 28 miles that mix paved and gravel roads for an endurance loop. For the final six miles the race goes back back on the single track.

Thomas Boylan and I were able to tie for the win in the single speed category and finished 3rd/4th overall. We both race on my Farnsworth Bicycles team with additional sponsorship from Industry Nine, Endless Bike Company, Paragon Machine Works, Torrenti Cycles, Reynolds, Crank Arm Brewing, Rouler Sportswear.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I got a reasonably good start and entered the trail within the top ten. Tom was ahead of me but got stuck behind some trail traffic that allowed me to catch up. Once Tom got around he took off and was the second rider overall for the first single track segment. I managed to stay close enough to get on the road in around 6th and form up with a group of four riders.

On the road, Tom was ahead with one other rider working hard but my group of four had the strength of numbers as we rotated to save effort in the wind. Eventually we caught Tom and the other rider to form a strong pack of six riders with a smooth rotation.

My right cleat got very loose. This was not a problem on the road but I knew that I would have to stop before we got on the single track to tighten the bolts or risk loosing the cleat and/or crashing. I felt VERY good so I decided to keep going and make my pit stop after the road section and before the single track.

My legs were good so I decided to lift the pace. With three miles to go, I went out solo to gain time. Eventually two riders came across the gap and we put over a minute on the others from our little group.

When we reached the single track I was leading the race but decided that stopping to tighten the cleat was still the smart move. The cleat was in bad shape and I simply would not be able to ride without fixing it. The repair took around a minute and when I got going again I was 6th overall.

With an effort, I caught up to Tom. We passed two riders and pushed each other to finished as a tie for the single speed win and 3rd/4th overall. It was a great race, I always enjoy riding with Tom.

Also, thanks goes out to James Stranix for helping with the post race photos.

First 2015 Podium Result

Posted: January 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

The 2015 race team is off to a strong start.

Michael Jarzomski opened our season with a strong 18-39 podium result at the 2015 CCORS #1 Bicycle Post Trails. He was racing on a single speed in a “geared” category.

Great job Mike!!!!!

MikeJars

2015 Race Bike

Posted: January 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

Riding off road is hard on bike parts. As a single speed rider I generally have less headache vs. geared riders but parts still wear out. We make trades between cost, weight, and durability. If you train and race on the same bike it is often hard to be sure all the parts are in good shape for race day.

For 2015, I built myself a dedicated race bike.  The race bike is very similar to my training bike but in many cases I am using lighter and potentially less durable “race day” parts.

I ride around 5k miles of training per year on my main bike and occasionally parts fail due to wear and tear. On my main bike I tend to only really deal with issues when something breaks.  The “race bike” on the other hand will see only a small fraction of miles and get more regular maintenance.   On “race day” I want to have a bike that performs well and allow myself the luxury of running some lighter parts.

The training bike is pretty nice with a carbon fork, I9 wheels, race face cranks, tubeless tires, etc. For the race bike, I have an ENVE fork, Race Face carbon cranks, Magura MT-8 brakes, Ritchey Carbon Post, Carbon Saddle, I9 “Ultralight” wheels, and Racing Ralph tires. The other parts are basically the same. The weight differences in the individual parts are pretty small but it adds up to be about 2.25 pounds.

The training bike is 22.5 pounds while the race bike is 20.25 pounds.

Race Bike

2015 Team Kit!

Posted: January 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

The first order of 2015 Race Team Kits are here!

The gear is top quality, from Rouler Sportwear.  Michael Vandy VandenHeuvel from Rouler was a huge help at every stage of the process and worked with the great designs from Corey Fisher.  I could not be happier with the process and plan to order more as we grow the team.

It was 25 degrees today so I got to wear most of the bits of the kit.  I had bib tights, short sleeves, long sleeves, and nice heavy fleece jerseys that are almost like a light jacket.

DSCF0794

Roger’s bike is Lollipop Red and turned out really nice.  The “Lollipop Red” powder is done with a bright base layer and a translucent red candy type top coat for a layered effect.

The bike is built with a great package of components including Industry Nine wheels, ENVE Fork, Race Face Cranks, XT Brakes, and some other nice bits.

He is running Nobby Nic 2.35″ tires front and back.  The beefy tires should make this bike ride great in just about any conditions.

Roger's Bike