Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tube, No Tube - gearing up

The experiment with the tubeless went exactly half as hoped but I don't consider it a fail. I have first hand experience that there are many factors to consider if converting to tubeless. The front wheel (Mavic) is tubeless and is doing well. The rear wheel (Velocity) sadly had two issues going on and has a tube in it. I couldn't get three of the 106 studs to stop leaking air. No worries, live to fight another day.

I am in the process of lacing a 9 speed cassette hub in my Syncros rim for the Voodoo. It will see some life again and be able to play a little this winter. I'm setting it up 1x9. Other than that it is virtually unchanged.

I got a few new pieces of gear that I am enjoying. My wife bought me a pair of Manzella Hatchback gloves. They have a convertible windstopper mitt to cover the fingers. I rode with them on Friday and they are pretty awesome. They make it easy to regulate some temps by pulling the finger in and out of the mitt. They roll up and store in a flap when not needed.

Next, I got some new booties. I tried this route last winter and didn't have too much luck with the zippers. These (Gator) booties are spec'd as mountain. They fit my shoes a lot better and I hope they hold up. Friday's ride was sloppy and they kept my feet dry which clearly wouldn't have happened without them. Warm too!

Last but not least, I bought a 10l drysack for my handlebar bag that I ordered from Porcelain Rocket. I have Scott making my bags for the Tour Divide. The handlebar bag is designed where I can put everything in the drysack and then place it in the bag on the bars. The concept is to pitch the tent and take the drysack in to the tent where I can remove my sleeping bag and anything else that I would want to protect from the elements. I hope to have a few of my bags by the end of February.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year

So here we are. Another full year on the brink to have as we wish. I hope to make this year incredible!

I left last year behind in the middle of a project. I made the attempt to go tubeless on my studded tires. It was a stretch to think I could pull it off. Well, I am still working out the details. I will describe my experience.

Last year I bought a set of Velocity Deep V (yellow) rims. I set the Alfine up for the winter commuter and I used one of those rims to do so. I never got around to lacing a front wheel so I was riding with a wheel I got from my friend Jim. I believe it is a Mavic. All along I didn't like how difficult it was to mount a tire on the Velocity.

I started with the Mavic wheel. To prep for the conversion I cleaned the rims with brake clean and applied the Stan's yellow tape. I then put the rubber rim strip on and mounted up the tire. I tried to inflate it without sealant to see if I can get it to hold some air. It wasn't happening. I called Tech @ Stan's and they said try wrapping the wheel with Velox tape under the rimstrip to get it closer to the tire. I took a brush with some soapy water and wet the bead. I was able to inflate it with a floor pump so I knew that I could add sealant. This wheel went well. I did manage to get it sealed up pretty quickly. There is not much air getting through the thick rubber of a studded Nokian tire. After it was sealed up, I tried to increase the air pressure to 65 psi (my riding pressure) and I noticed a leak of sorts at or around the valve stem. I'm not sure what caused it but my only solution was to add more sealant and try the process over. We'll see how it turns out.

letting the sealant do its job

I am looking forward to see how these tires perform tubeless. I'm hoping for some good thoughts on it.

holding air, waiting for a performance test

Next I did the same set up process with the Deep V. This proved very difficult. The tire was already hard to get on the rim before but it went to a whole new level when I put the rubber rim strip on the rim.

rimstrip installed

It was pretty hard to get the first bead on the rim but the second bead was murder to get on. I proceeded to test if the tire would hold air. No luck! I went down to the Old Spokes Home to use their compressor. The hopes was to shoot a quick amount of air in to seal the bead. It worked but I wasn't looking forward to removing a section of the tire to get the sealant in. Luckily OSH has a injection syringe to add sealant through the valve stem. I got 2oz in with no issue. The second 2oz didn't want to go in and shot all over the place. I assumed I had enough in there and moved forward. In the end it seemed I had two issues on my hands. The first was that three of the 106 studs were leaking pressure and sealant. How was this possible? The studs don't even go through the tire to the inside. The second issue was the likelihood of not enough sealant in the tire. For whatever reason there was leaking from the studs, the sealant should have been effective to stop it. Not the case. Since that discovery, I have added more sealant but now I await a trip to the LBS to use the compressor to get this wheel sealed up again. If it fails to seal up, I will put a tube in it and get back on the road!


I have a tentative schedule set for 2012. It is aggressive but I think with a clear plan and a solid effort to build my fitness, I will be able to accomplish it all or most. Here it is.
  • one training century in each of the months of January through March
  • Gravel Grinder Spring Dirt Road Ride - April 21
  • SSapalooza* (single speed mtb race) - April 28
  • 200km Brevet - May 12
  • 300km Brevet - June 9
  • Dynamic Duathlon (team w/ my wife) - June 24
  • 400km Brevet - June 30
  • SSUSA2012* (single speed USA) - July 28
  •  DarkHorse 40 (mtb race) - August 5
  • 24 Hours of Great Glen (mtb race) - August 11-12
  • Vermont 50 (mtb race) - September 30
The events that are marked with an asterisk are so because two things will have to happen for me to do them. One, I will have to have a single speed set up for the races. Two, I have to be at a fitness level that I have never achieved to even want to attempt them. Nonetheless it is a goal of mine to make it happen.