Friday, June 15, 2012


     This is more of a big deal than most folks think.  I joke that I wash my bike twice a year whether it needs it or not.  This is not far from the truth.  It's titanium.  Only if I get caught unexpectedly does it go out in wet weather.  I lot of the time I use my Camelbak, thus avoiding sticky crud on the down tubes.  Therefore, before big races (not time-trials, my tt bike has never been washed), I'll spruce it up a bit and take off the bottle brackets and tt bars.  This year my big race was in February.  But soon we'll be in the North Georgia mountains, and I will start with a clean bike.
     I'll also have new tires.  Up until last year I would get a new set of Continental 4000s at the beginning of each race season.  After seeing the treadwear marks on my tires, I skipped new ones last year, but didn't want to be swooping around the curves of Wolf Pen Gap on old ones this year.  I also purchased a tool to remove my quick link on the chain.  When they first came out, I had no problem getting them off by hand.  I suspect they are new and improved, because there is no movement at all with my fingers.  Easily removed with minor pressure with the tool.
     Anyhow, I use my carwash liquid, which works quite well in removing the crud and leaving the metal bright and shiny.  Simple green and a stiff brush left the chain bright and shiny.  I actually washed the old tires while still on the wheels, so I could inspect just how worn they were.  Truthfully, I could have gone another year on them, were it not for a rip in the bottom of the rear one.  Had we been short on cash, I would have put a dab of duct tape on the inside and switched it to the front.  Besides, with urging from my friend Barry, and a few articles in Velonews, I experimented with 25mm tires, up from the 23s I've been on for years.
     The bike wash was Monday and today was the first ride on my clean bike, freshly lubed chain, and new tires.  Hot, humid, windy weather deterred any great times or speed, other than at the bottom of one hill where I usually can take the corner (merging onto Loop 360) 24-26mph. I had no difficulties leaning a bit and seeing 28.4.  Once again, the humidity zapped me, and after struggling up Courtyard, had to skip Jester.  I won't worry about it unless I return from Georgia and am still unable to do both.

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