Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Week 38

Date
September 25, 2016

Distance
100 miles

Strava Link
Week 38

Route Map/Profile
Weather
Ride Report 
Three climbs this week: Spooner, 6 Mile Canyon, and Gold Hill. Did I mention that I love Six Mile Canyon this time of year? It hasn't changed much since last week. The trees are mostly green with some yellow.





I had another tubeless issue on Monday. I got a puncture that was too big to seal. I had to stop and put in a tube. This was bound to happen eventually. It wasn't really that big of a mess to put a tube in. (Taking it out later that week was.) My main concern was getting another flat with the tube. As mentioned, the tires I got aren't very puncture resistant. They're also wearing out super fast. More on that next week.

Anyway, a couple days before this week's ride I took both tires off, cleaned them out, and patched a few of the bigger holes. They make specific patch kits for this, but I just used a regular old patch kit that you would use for a tube. We'll see how that holds up. I also took this as an opportunity to switch from Orange Seal to Stan's. I wasn't necessarily unhappy with Orange Seal, but I wanted to give Stan's a try for comparison's sake.

So far so good. The patches are holding up well and I didn't have any noticeable punctures today. I guess Stan's will have to wait another week to get the chance to prove itself.

Week 37

Date
September 18, 2016

Distance
100 miles

Strava Link
Week 37

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
The weather was great this week. It felt like summer out there. It was the perfect day to do some climbing. I started with Geiger, then did a Six Mile Canyon Loop, Gold Hill, and another Six Mile Canyon Loop. That wasn't quite 100 miles, so I rode on Mount Rose up to the point where the bike lane ends to finish off the ride.

I love Six Mile Canyon this time of year. I've probably said that 100 times already, but it really is a ton of fun riding through there when the leaves are changing from green to yellow. Today the trees were mostly green, but you can see the yellow starting to poke through.
 

Tubeless Update: I had my worst flat yet this week. I was doing a little 1-hour ride after work and got a bad puncture on the front. I'm not sure what I hit, but it was something that made a big cut in the tire. It wasn't sealing very well at all. It would get sealed up, then I would hit a bumpy stretch of road and it would open back up again. The good news is that I was still able to ride home (~5 miles probably) without stopping to put a tube in. The bad news is that this cut is probably one that I'm going to have to patch. It seems like it sealed up over night, but I might as well patch it up just in case.

Sealant can't fix everything. That's the worst-case scenario, to get a cut that is too big to seal. But if that happens you're pretty much screwed either way. A cut like that definitely would have punctured a tube. Then you have to hope that the cut isn't so big that it completely ruins the tire. That doesn't happen very often, but it's happened to me a few times in the past. It doesn't happen to me very often because I tend to run sturdy tires. Here's where the real downside of tubeless comes in. Tire selection is somewhat limited. I recently found out that there's a Maxxis ReFuse tubeless tire, which I will definitely try this winter

Monday, September 19, 2016

Week 36

Date
September 11, 2016

Distance
103 miles

Strava Link
Week 36

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
This was another wind avoidance day. At the end of the year I should go back and count how many times I've done this route on a windy day. I've timed my ride pretty well on windy days lately, and today was no different. I got started later than I wanted, but the wind didn't really pick up until around 2:00. I'll consider that a win. I had good luck with the wind last week for my double, so I'm willing to pay the price for that this weekend.

Fall is coming. The brush is flowering.
Meanwhile, I'm starting to get used to the lower tire pressures I've been running with tubeless. I went with 80 in the rear and 75 in the front today. That seems to be the sweet spot for me right now. I went as low as 60 for some of my 1-hour slow rides and that felt like I was going too far. Most of the roads I ride are pretty smooth, so I doubt I'll be going that low on a regular basis. Either way, it's been fun to experiment and I still haven't had a flat that has forced me to stop.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Week 35

Date
September 4, 2016

Distance
201 miles

Strava Link
Week 35

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
I had my first full day off for a long time, so I decided to celebrate with a double. I was hoping to go somewhere a little more exciting than Susanville, but late planning on a holiday weekend meant that my options were limited.

This route actually ended up being more fun than I thought it would be. Not a lot of climbing, but enough to keep things interesting. That last climb on Eagle Lake Road isn't all that difficult, but it certainly felt that way with 180 miles already in the legs. I was lucky enough to finish in less than 12 hours. That was my goal for the day, but I wasn't sure if I'd be able to make it. There wasn't much wind today. Otherwise I probably wouldn't have made it.


August is over. I did 1,100 miles for the month, which isn't anything spectacular but is better than the 940 I did in July. It's been a weak summer, especially compared to last year. The good news is that things will pick up next summer. I'll have vacation time built up by then and I have a plan. I have to remember the lesson I learned in 2014: I want to make the most of being able to ride while I'm still physically able.

Meanwhile, this was a good way to end the summer. The days are getting shorter and the mornings are getting cold. Fall is a fun time to ride around here. I'm looking forward to it. You can be sure I'll be doing some Six Mile Canyon loops over the next month or so.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Week 34

Date
August 28, 2016

Distance
115 miles

Strava Link
Week 34

Route Map/Profile
The missing part is here.

Weather

Ride Report 
This is a fun loop that I've never done before. It starts at the Hallelujah Junction, takes the back roads out to Janesville, then takes 395 (plenty of shoulder) back to the Hallelujah Junction. I wasn't too sure what to expect with the road conditions, which turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag. After I first turned off of 70, there was road construction in process and the roads are brand new and beautifully smooth.

New, smooth, and scenic.
After a while the construction ended and the roads were pretty rough in places. There was one very short section of gravel, but it was less than a mile and on a flat stretch of road, so it was easy to ride. There was a little bit of everything, which made for a fun day and turned out to be a good test of my new tubeless tires. I've been experimenting with tire pressure, trying to find out how low I can go. It's a weird feeling for me because I've been running narrow tires at high pressure for so long. (CyclingTips recently put up a  podcast on the subject here, which pretty much sums everything up.) I was running 75 on the rear and 70 on the front today. It was definitely a more comfortable ride, but it will take some getting used to. I keep thinking that my tire is going flat. I did another century the next day and I went up to 80/75. I'll probably stay close to there for a while just to get used to the feel of it. Then I'll start going lower and experimenting more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Week 33

Date
August 15, 2016

Distance
103 miles

Strava Link
Week 33

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
I switched to tubeless. I've been wanting to give tubeless a try for a while now and the recent string of flats pushed me over the edge. I'll do a full review in a few months, but for now I'll give my first impressions. The setup is Ultegra 6800 wheels with Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance tubeless tires. I'm using Orange Seal for sealant and Stan's No Tubes valve stems for their removable valve cores. I'm not sure why Shimano doesn't provide valve stems with removable valve cores to begin with.

One of the main arguments against going tubeless is that it's a pain to set up. That was not my experience at all. Obviously different rim and tire combinations will give different results, but things went relatively smoothly for me. The big difference with tubeless is that you have to get the bead of the tire seated on the rim. It's not as simple as unwrapping the new tire, putting it on the rim, and airing it up. There are different tricks you can find out there, but in my case all I had to do was put in a tube and let it sit overnight. After I took the tube out, one side was still seated on the rim and the other side was expanded enough to get seated without a whole lot of trouble. All I needed was some soapy water and a floor pump. The night before I thought there was no way I was going to be able to do it without an air compressor. One night made a big difference.

After the tire was seated I deflated it, removed the valve core, and injected some sealant. Pretty easy. The whole setup process takes a little bit longer than just popping in a tube, but hopefully that pays off in the future by saving time from fixing flats out on the road.

As luck would have it, I actually punctured the rear tire on my very first ride. I probably wouldn't have noticed if not for the orange goo everywhere. I was riding east on 50 headed towards Six Mile Canyon when I felt something spraying on my legs. It almost felt like I rode through a puddle. A lot of orange goo came out, but I didn't notice much of a drop in PSI in the tire. The hole sealed up perfectly and I've probably ridden 80-100 miles since then without any issues. I'll inject a little more sealant this week just to be safe.

Orange goo from the first sealed puncture
The ride itself wasn't one to remember. I had stomach issues towards the end and had to stop a few times. I pretty much crawled up Gold Hill. Oh well. These things happen from time to time and it's been a while since the last time. Better luck next week.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Week 32

Date
August 8, 2016

Distance
101 miles

Strava Link
Week 32

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
The flat fest continues. It's almost comical at this point. I got a front flat in the middle of the Mt. Rose climb.and there was no avoiding stopping to fix it this time. It was another thorn. That's it for the Maxxis Detonators. I'm ordering new tires this week.

I haven't done this route for a while. It's a fun one. It's mostly flat except for 3 climbs, but those 3 climbs are enough for a respectable 9,000-foot day. The whole route is scenic, but I especially enjoyed riding through the valley on 267. The tailwind was a nice bonus.