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.

Week 31

Date
August 1, 2016

Distance
107 miles

Strava Link
Week 31

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
It all started yesterday. I went out for a Six Mile Canyon loop and had an issue on the final descent. I was coming around a wide curve, heard a noise from my rear wheel, and the bike got wobbly on me. At first I thought it was a flat tire. I've had plenty of those this year. However, when I stopped to change the tire I noticed that it was rubbing against the chain stay. I had actually broken a spoke.

This was on my Easton EA90 SL wheel, which doesn't have many miles on it. I bought it last summer for Petoji and haven't used it very often since then. I'm bad about tracking the mileage on my components, but I'd say it has somewhere around 5,000-7,000 miles on it. Granted, those are some difficult miles (Petoji plus an Everest), but that's still disappointing. I'm only 138 pounds and I don't produce very much power. It's been at least 8 years since I broke a spoke and I think I only broke that one because the shop I went to did a terrible job of truing my wheel.

The EA90s are tubeless compatible, so it may be difficult to find a replacement spoke. That's a shame, because I was just getting ready to finally try a tubeless setup.

Anyway, today's ride was equally frustrating. I got a front flat towards the end of the Mt. Rose climb. I hate to stop during a climb, so I just rode the last mile or so with the flat. This one was caused by a thorn. The tire is a Maxxis Detonator, which I'm learning is not that great of a tire. I love Maxxis ReFuse tires, so I was hoping the Detonators would be almost as good but a little cheaper. Their ride quality is pretty good and their durability is decent, but I'm getting lot of flats on them.

Later on when I was descending Kingsbury I was getting this strange feeling like my rear tire was flat. I've had a couple scary moments with flat tires on descents, so sometimes I can be a little paranoid. Every once in a while I'll stop to feel my tire and it will be perfectly fine. Well, today I was just looking down at my tire and it didn't look any more squished down than normal. I took the descent nice and slow just in case. Just a few mile later as I was making the turn on to 88 the tire went completely flat. Was it going flat on the Kinsbury descent? Was my paranoia finally justified? Or did I just happen to get a puncture on the flat stretch of road between Kingsbury and 88?

I couldn't find the object that caused the flat, but it was probably a thorn. I couldn't even find the leak when I took the tube out and pumped it up, so it had to have been something small. Another strike against the Maxxis Detonators. Two flats on two different tires. Not a good day.

I know this stuff can be frustrating, but it's probably a good idea to take a step back and look at the big picture. Is it really that bad? It's the middle of summer and the weather is great. I live in one of the best places in the country to ride, especially in the summer. I'm healthy enough to ride as much as I want. I don't really have anything to be upset about.


Week 30

Date
July 26, 2016

Distance
100 miles

Strava Link
Week 30

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
This was my second century in 3 days, so I opted for a flat first half of the ride and saved the climbing for the second half. I ended up doing 6 Mile Canyon, Gold Hill, and another 6 Mile Canyon loop. The weather was sunny and warm without a lot of wind. In other words, a great day to ride. The high was over 100, but I started early and didn't get to ride through much of that. I do remember that the last descent down Geiger was warm. There were parts where it felt like someone was blowing a hair dryer in my face.


July is over now and despite the great weather it was a weak month for me. Only February was worse in terms of hours spent riding. I did 942 miles, which doesn't sound all that bad. I'm still on pace for 1,000 miles per month as a whole. However, this is the time of year when I should be racking up extra miles to make up for November and December. I have a few excuses, but nobody cares about all of that and I'll work on doing better next month.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Week 29

Date
July 24, 2016

Distance
100 miles

Strava Link
Week 29

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
It was a beautiful day and the lake was packed. There was a bit of a traffic jam out by Sand Harbor. That's good though. I'm glad to see people out there enjoying nature in their own way. I ride, but other people hike, swim, kayak, paddle board, or just relax.

There were 3 climbs today: Geiger, Mt. Rose, and Gold Hill. I almost talked myself into doing the Truck Route instead of Gold Hill, but today I was able to resist the urge to take the easy way out.

Behind the bathroom in Virginia City

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Week 28

Date
July 17, 2016

Distance
101 miles

Strava Link
Week 28

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
This is my standard windy day route. Just like Week 23, I had pretty good timing today. I didn't notice that it was getting windy until a few miles before the turnaround point.


This week was flat tire week. I had a flat on Tuesday, which was a front flat on the Kingsbury descent. Front flats on descents always get the heart pumping. This morning when I went out to grab my bike that same stupid tire was flat again. Both were caused by thorns. The tire is a Michelin Pro 3 that I've had for a long time. It's very prone to flats and I end up getting frustrated with it and throwing it in a drawer. Months later I'll wear out a tire and decide to test my luck again. I should just throw it away once and for all. I didn't bother fixing the flat. I just grabbed the front wheel from a different bike.

I went for the flat tire hat trick in Minden. This time it was on the rear. I didn't get to see what I hit, but I heard a pop and lost pressure immediately. It left a decent hole in my tire- about as big as holes get without needing a boot. They say things come in 3s, so that must mean I'm done with flats for a while.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Week 27

Date
July 6, 2016

Distance
105 miles

Strava Link
Week 27

Route Map/Profile

Weather

Ride Report 
3 climbs today: Geiger, 6 Mile, and Spooner. The wind picked up in the afternoon, which I definitely felt on Spooner.

Construction for the new freeway through Carson City
It's July now, which means that the year is halfway over. Seems like a good time to assess how things are going so far. Here were my goals in January:

  • One century per week
  • Century in 5 new states
  • One international century
  • 12,000 miles
  • One Everest
I'm doing pretty well except for the second one. I'm on pace for a century per week and 12,000 miles (~6,300 miles as of the end of June). I already did my international century (Tenerife) and an Everest (Under the Freeway Climb). That's a solid 6 months.

I'm falling short on the 5 new states goal. I haven't done a single one. I had a week off earlier this year and instead of going to new states I did some riding in eastern NV, southern UT, and western AZ. One the one hand, that may have been my one big chance to rack up lots of new states this year and I let it slip by. On the other hand, I got to ride in some areas that I've never ridden in before, and that's one of the main reasons I want to do all 50 states in the first place. I may not reach my goal, but at least I had fun.