Crush the Commonwealth 2009 – JUST GEAR

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willie p
Participant
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Thought it would be interesting to get everyone’s thoughts on gear-head side of the coin….what you observed, what worked, what didn’t, what made you say “hmmmmmm….”

wp


willie p
Participant
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I’ll start it off:

Brooks Saddles (well worn ones)…only way to go, if you ask me. I had no saddle sores, and experienced only rare occassion of numbness.

I rode a b17 and must have counted at least 10 others.

what else?


reddan
Keymaster
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I covered the Schwalbe Durano pinch flats in my blog already; I think they would have been fine on a bike that was capable of unweighting the front wheel, but kinda sucked for my situation.

Two bottles of Heed plus 70-oz. Camelbak of plain water was heavy, but worked well to enable long pushes between stops.

Endurolytes really worked for me…no cramping whatsoever, and not much in the way of serious leg fatigue.


wsh6232
Participant
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I picked up a new Brooks B17 a few weeks ago, but decided to leave it at home at the last minute because I was afraid of getting it wet in the rain. Big mistake.

Chamois butter is most effective when used BEFORE you start getting sore. Another beginner mistake.

Also, riding flat bars kind of sucks for long distances. My palms still have visible red marks. Having multiple hand positions would have been nice.

I think this ride brought to light some serious fit issues. Knees are super stiff right now. In fact, I almost quit at the abandoned turnpike because the pain was so bad before I ran in to Nick, who was kind enough to spare some Motrin.


yinzer
Participant
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I made the AWFUL last-minute decision to put rubber mtb grips on my Nitto mustache bars (which were too far extended) At any rate, my hands hurt 25 miles into the ride. With no breathability, the sweat made my hands stick to the rubber and wore the skin off. MISERABLE! Just say “NO” to runner grips…

Brooks Professional without any butter, and my ass is in fine condition. Once you go Brooks, you never go back.

Could have added some variance in nutrition. By the end, I was quite sick of what I had on my person and I desperately needed the food energy.


dhd
Participant
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Panaracer Hi Road V tires 26×1.5… NO FLATS. Tioga City Slickers are similar I think but lighter.

Shimano DN70 generator hub worked great. Wish I hadn’t gotten rid of my Schmidt though.

I went back from a Brooks after a 1200km a few years ago because of numbness and the total impossibility of adjusting the thing so I didn’t slide forward on it. That said, my butt hurt a lot for must of Saturday. I forgot to bring my Bag Balm… argh!

I had a really hard time with food. Lots of bloating, gas, and I almost threw up at the end of the ride. Back when I rode brevets I had it figured out and I must have forgotten…

Nitto Noodle bars, up at seat level or higher, are the way to go. I used the drops a lot, not just for aerodynamics but because they are genuinely comfortable. I need to put on some Shimano brake levers though, the old Dia-Compes I have are not comfortable on the hoods at all.

A steady intake of Vitamin I saved my shoulder, mostly.

Started having knee pains before Connelsville, raised my seat a bit and they vanished. If your knee starts hurting, try taking your foot out of the clip/pedal and pedaling with the arch of your foot for a while. If it stops hurting, raise your saddle. I learned this 375 miles into BMB back in 2004.


willie p
Participant
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dhd- you on the Tom Teesdale, right?


dhd
Participant
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Yup! Fits me really well… maybe it’s a bit slow and heavy, but then again maybe I’m a bit slow and heavy.


Ken Kaminski
Participant
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B 17, 32mm Panaracer Paselas, Nitto Noodles with Cane Creek V levers, clips and straps, no gloves except when it was raining for a minute. I had no flats, no mechanical problems, and no pain. I have been a little numb in places but I think that’s because of muscle stiffness.

I’ve tried every year to make eating on the bike work but I always get incredibly bored with portable high-calorie food. Good tasting stuff just doesn’t keep. One day I’ll have this figured out.

Last summer I rode this solo and took a month to shake my dependency on caffeine and corn syrup. I rode for 30 hours with hardly any fatique. This year I didn’t bother and I was dazed by Friday afternoon, so I think shaking those addictions makes a pretty huge difference.


wsh6232
Participant
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I rode the 28mm version of the Panaracer Paselas, and was super impressed at how they handled on both the trail and road. I have the feeling that they’re going to last me a long time (which they’d better, at $30 each).

I’ve been pondering going “old school” and switching to clips and straps. Walking around with big bulky cleats that get gummed up with trail dirt and mud was a pain in the butt. I actually still have some lingering toe numbness right now from hammering down on the hard sole of my road shoes.


willie p
Participant
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1) I rode Conti highway 2’s (27x 1 1/4) – no flats and ran 110psi the whole trip.

2) I rode SPD’s with hard core shimano race MTB shoes. worked well, but the “comfort and esoteric” side of me was intrigued by the clips and straps.

I have a couple sets of MKS with stainless clips. i started my racing career on clips and straps as well.

I was also dismayed and not sure why so many of the clip/straps CTC riders were wearing shoes not appopriate for cycling…adidas sambas, etc. and then i read in the blogs of foot pain, etc.

for cycle touring, you need a very good stiff sole, period end of story.

retro shoes on ebay, etc. are good placed, lookg for brands like; MITRE, Vittoria, Avocet (really good shoes if you can find them), retro Cannondale shoes from the 80’s. most of these older shoes can be had for less than $50. the are also usually designed with reinforced (extra leather) right where the clip and strap touch the upper sides of your feet.

i also see that adidas and some other brands have recently came out with flat sole, stiff shoes in response to the spinning craze. i see nashbar and performance both have options as well.


dhd
Participant
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Oh yeah. Clips and straps worked pretty well for me although my shoes were making my toes a bit numb on the trail – either due to cold or because they are too narrow.

I disagree about soft soles being inappropriate. I use MKS GR-9 platform pedals, which pretty much let you wear any shoe you want. I was half-tempted to wear my slip-on Vans Classics since they are comfortable as hell on these pedals…

The MKS track and touring pedals are nice but you DO need stiff soles for them otherwise the cages will dig into your foot.


dcrozier
Participant
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How about ride position. Does anyone adjust their riding position to be a little more upright/comfortable for the longer distances, even through it might be a little less efficient?


reddan
Keymaster
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How about ride position. Does anyone adjust their riding position to be a little more upright/comfortable for the longer distances, even through it might be a little less efficient?

Nope, not me.


eMcK
Participant
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Real helpful Dan….

For real, that is a very open ended question.

If you are in a head down, rear up position you might want to get the bars closer to level with your saddle. The bike I rode has the top of the drops level with the saddle, no lingering hand numbness or pain. This may put more weight on your saddle than you are used to and it may rotate your pelvis to the point your formerly comfortable saddle is now not so comfortable. Whatever you do, don’t make changes a week or less before a big ride.

Also Dan, I think I might pull some strings and be loafing across the state myself next year. I’m thinking F40.


reddan
Keymaster
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F40? Really? That’d be pretty sweet. Just watch out for cross winds…

Lemme know if you want to take my P-38 for a proper ride sometime; it might be a good idea to get used to the handling before strapping on the nosecone and body sock.


eMcK
Participant
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No, not really the P40, I’m afraid of that thing.

But yes to the recumbent. Someone needs to test these things, and I’m not at all worried about my image.


reddan
Keymaster
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That’s goo…hey, wait a minute!


willie p
Participant
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i saw several riders with brooks saddles that had them pointed upward at the nose (which is usually the case with more “racy” and “plastic” saddles – including the position i have used on prior race bikes).

but, proper Brooks positioning actually means a slightly downward pointed nose combined with bar height that at minimum is level with the saddle nose and ideally an an inch or two higher. …i think the thought is that the higher bars combined with the down nose will push your “sit bones/ishcial muscles” into the wide part of the saddle – of course, one must first have a property worn brooks with dimples big enough to cradle a grapefruit on each side! all part of the Brooks lore/magic…


eMcK
Participant
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dhd
Participant
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See, that’s half of the reason I gave up on the B17. The “recommended positioning” as per Rivendell was absolutely horrible for me. I continually felt like I was sliding forward on the saddle, which put pressure on my *ahem* perineum and I think contributed to my shoulder problems. So I basically had to tilt it up, and constantly felt guilty about it…

I do miss how comfortable it was on the sit-bones, though. Not a total ass-hatchet, just very annoying to set up. If I had lots of money I would totally buy a Selle An-Atomica saddle, I hear they are the most comfortable thing ever.

Anybody want to buy my B17? :) :) :)


eMcK
Participant
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Not sure what happened to my post up there. But my comment was along the lines that everyone I know that is a Brooks fan rides them nose up. Without exception.

I’ve found riding saddles nose down rotates the pelvis forward and puts more strain on the perineum. Also the downslope of the saddle means you are slowly sliding forward and your upper body will have to fight against that, causing even more stress and strain.

Among the other problems I was having in the first 50 miles of CtC, my saddle was hurting me, and my hands and triceps hurt. In Ohiopyle I tilted the saddle slightly nose up, just one notch of adjustment. It felt like a new bike. My pelvis tilt improved, taking weight off my perineum, my sit bones stopped hurting and my upper body relaxed.

Recommended positioning is just a starting point. Listen to your body. Carry a wrench when riding with a new saddle. Try different tilts and fore-aft adjustments. A few degrees or millimeters can make all the difference.


dhd
Participant
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In the words of Michael Steele, I have to give “mad props” to my Salsa Shaft seatpost. It has a wonderful system for making precise tilt adjustments. And it’s light.


dhd
Participant
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So the question then is, what is Grant Petersen smoking when he recommends tilting a B17 down a little bit? Is there some Rivendell fit magic that makes this work?

OTOH, Rivendell thinks long top tubes are awesome, too, and they totally don’t work for me either.


Mick
Participant
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For me with distance driving, I find it helps to move my seat up or down about half an inch every hour or two. Different muscle groupings.

Is seat tilt the same way? I dunno.

Mick


yinzer
Participant
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My Brooks, on all of my bikes, are pretty much perpendicular to the ground. I’ve found, on my first Brooks, that, over time, it’ll break in to what my body needs. That being said, I started this ride with a very slight forward tilt, had brand new shorts on, and kept sliding forward. It did not take me too long to adjust that saddle to my proper position.

Although, my stem was too long and I may have been compensating for the distance to the bars…


willie p
Participant
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I want to clarify my original post- the only way the downward pointed nose makes sense is that if your handlebars are higher than the nose of the saddle.

that being said, most modern frames (including Surly) are designed with front-ends that place the bars (even with a tall stem) well below the nose of the saddle due to logic from the 80’s and 90’s racing scene that had the riders (and their stems) slammed way down in the front for max-aero. By contrast look at racers of the 50’s and 60’s when the Brooks saddle was used by all TdF riders and the bars were correspondingly high.

the only way to achieve this today is to get a Nitto Technomic stem or (as I am doing on my next custom frame, get an extended height head tube) to use a normal height stem and still get the bars up high enuff.

per Grant Petersen, once I raised my bars high, i have now begun doing almost all my climbing (even on steeper grades) in the drops (which would have surely got me kicked out of the racing peleton back when i was racing in the 90’s), but it definately opens the lungs up and is considerably more comfy than the bar tops. and if you look at pics of riders of yore, on the Galibier, et. al. they are climbing on their drops.

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