2019 Rockin River City Ride

Went to Evansville, Indiana for the 2019 Rockin River City Ride on Saturday, May 11th.  It was a little cooler than in previous days, mostly cloudy, with temps in the 60s.  A nice day to ride.  Rain was forecast for later in the day, more on that later.

The start point was Sunset Park, and packet pickup went smoothly and we were ready to go.  The police escort through town was ready to go, and the National Anthem was played.  We rolled out right at 8am and the escort through town was a very nice touch.

My friend Rob and I started together, and I kept my pace a little subdued, as I have a bad habit of starting faster than I should and wind up paying a price for that later.  Settled into a nice pace and it seemed like the first rest stop was upon us fairly quickly.  Rob had already been through when I got there.  Well-stocked and nice folks helping out.  A great start.

Then, it went a little pear-shaped.  We (myself, John, and a young lady named Jocelyn) missed a turn to the west away from the river.  So we continued along the river for 10 miles or so, until the road we were on turned into gravel.  I was pretty sure that our route wouldn’t be on gravel, and I didn’t see any other tire marks indicating that others had gone through ahead of us.  Checking google maps on our phones, we decided to backtrack and find: 1. another paved road to the west, or 2. the road we should have turned on.  As it happened, the next paved road to the west was the one we should have taken.  Apparently all 3 of us were  rubbernecking and completely missed it.  Oh, well, the weather was good, we were enjoying being outside and riding, so we just joined the route and rode on.  This little exploration along the banks of the Ohio River added 20+ miles to our tally for the day.

We came upon the second rest stop and had some ice cold water and gatorade, a couple of chocolate chip cookies, and continued.  There were a couple of short but moderately steep hills and nice descents after that, and then we decided to freelance our way back to the start point.  We weren’t that far away at this point, about 12 miles if memory serves.

We got back to Sunset Park, where lunch was waiting, and as we rode past the start/finish point I noticed that it had just started sprinkling.  So in spite of our off-route adventure along the Ohio River the timing on the return worked out very well.  John and Jocelyn were fun riding companions, and I invited them to come to Land Between the Lakes for the 2nd Annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour ride.  I hope they decide to ride with us.

I emailed the organizers with a suggestion that they should include RideWithGPS file links so that riders can download the route to their navigation devices.  That would have helped us to stay on the route.  Maybe this is a hint that I’ve become overly reliant on devices for navigation, but following a cue sheet obviously isn’t my strong suite.  That small point aside, the ride was nicely done and I will plan to be there again next year.

UPDATE 5/13/19: I heard back from the ride organizers (thank you for the prompt follow-up) and they are planning to add the gps files and links for next year’s edition.  Should work out well.

Lemond Zurich build gets underway

The paint touch up on the frame and fork is finished, and as usual Duane at chestercycles.com did a superb job.

Started assembling the parts for the build.  Rob has talked me into using Shimano Dura Ace on this build, which will be a big change as my other builds have all been Campagnolo.  Part of the fun with a build project is searching out the proper parts for the build and it will be a learning curve on this one.  Not too painful, I hope.

First, I picked up a set of Dura Ace 7400 hubs on ebay for a reasonable price.  The rear hub came with a 12-21 8-speed cassette on it.  I’m looking for a Dura Ace 7700 group, the last of the 9 speed groups from Shimano.

Well, plans changed – mainly because I found a very nice Dura Ace 7800 group on paceline forums, and will use this group for this build.  This is a 10 speed group rather than 9 speed, so I’ll need to be sure that the hubs will work for 10 speed cassettes.  Most of the reading I’ve done says Dura Ace 8-9-10 speed cassettes are interchangeable, so they should work.

I picked up a set of H+Son TB14 polished rims that I will lace to the DA hubs.  I’ve used these rims before, on my Lemond Alpe d’Huez build and they’re very nice.  Nice polish, machined brake tracks for good braking and easy to build.

A 10-speed cassette (Ultegra CS-6700 11-28 came with the group, but it won’t fit the DA freehub I have.  Mine is a Ultraglide (UG) freehub, meaning that the hub is a 7401.  I need a 7403 freehub so that I can use 10-speed cassettes.  The 7403 freehub is UG/Hyperglide( HG) compatible, and has the single narrow spline that will work with 8-9-10 speed cassettes.  Separately, these freehubs are basically unobtainum.  I was lucky enough to find a 7403 hubset on ebay, so I will swap the 7403 freehub over to my original hubset.  Well, they CAN be swapped but require some special tools to remove and service the freehub.  Down into the rabbit hole I go.  Luckily, a BikeForums member had a set of these freehub tools that he was willing to part with, so I picked them up.

Installed a new set of Ultegra BB cups for the Hollowtech II crankset, easy enough to do with the proper BB wrench.

Installed the crown race on the fork, then pressed the headset cups in.  Installed the fork and found that the steerer is about 3mm too long.  The top nut bottoms out on the threaded part, leaving about 2mm of thread exposed above the toothed washer.  I saw two options: first, add a couple of toothed washers to take up the space, or second, cut about 3mm off the steerer.  I’m leaning towards cutting the steerer, mainly because that allows the headset to fit properly, but it is irrevocable.  Once cut you can’t add length back so it’s a one-way process.  I haven’t  yet made the final decision.

Stay tuned as this build progresses.

An experiment

I’ve made some fit changes to the Merckx, looking to improve my position on the bike and to be more comfortable on long rides.  It seemed that I was consciously shifting back to get to the proper position on the saddle, so I moved the saddle forward about 10mm.  That did help, but after a couple of rides I decided to swap out the stem for a shorter one.  Another improvement.  One of the guys on the Wednesday night shop ride suggested I might want to lower my saddle a bit, so I lowered it about 5mm.  This seemed to be better still, so I’m going to leave it as is for now.  After a few more rides, I may tweak here and there, but I want to get some miles in before making any more changes.

I’m also considering trying a new crankset on the Merckx.  The main change is to try 160mm crankarms, 10mm shorter than the 170mm Campagnolo crankset that is on the bike now.  The chainrings are the same tooth count, so the chain will work, and the front derailleur should only need a tweak or two.

Curious to see how the shorter crankarms may work for me.  I have enough info from previous rides to try and make an objective assessment, but the seat of the pants may be telling as well.

The new cranks use a square taper BB, so it’s not a direct swap.  Still, not too difficult to do – I’m thinking an hour or less should be enough to swap them around.  I’ll need to raise the saddle 10mm or so and probably forward just a bit from the present position.  Since the weather is improving too, good opportunity to get some road miles in and see how they feel.

A Merckx update

I’ve replaced a Campagnolo Veloce 13-26 cassette with a Chorus 12-30, and replaced the short-cage Veloce rear derailleur with  a medium-cage version.  I decided to replace the chain at the same time.  So now the Merckx has 50-34 up front, and 12-30 in the back.

I checked the derailleur hanger alignment, and it was in a little at the bottom.  I’ve adjusted this before, and the bike has not been beaten up or laid down on the RD side.  Not sure why it doesn’t want to hold the alignment.  It might be time to get a replacement hanger, just in cases.  I did order a replacement hanger today, hopefully it’s the right one.

No issues with the swap, and the shifting adjusted easily.  All ready to go now, with climbing-friendly gears.

Calculate bicycle spoke lengths the old way

This is an interesting math exercise that has been largely replaced (hidden, actually) by web-based spoke length calculators, linked to nice databases for hub dimensions and rim ERD values.  I always measure rim ERD for myself and measure at at least 2 different points around the rim.  And I always check the supplied hub dimensions for myself.  Sometimes a bad value is stored, so checking is worth the extra few minutes it will take.  Some hubs and rims are rare enough that they aren’t in the databases at all, so once you’ve determined the measurements, sending them to the various calculator sites is a nice way to pay it forward.  Good karma from that can’t hurt.  Remember, you are the one that will pay for replacing spokes that are not the correct length, so measure at least twice.  Personally, I consider the correct length to be where the top of the spoke is level with the bottom of the slot in the nipple.

A couple of web-based spoke length calculators are:

Prowheelbuilder

EDD

2/3/4 cross lacing:

The basic formula is:

L = sqrt(R^2 + H^2 + F^2 – 2RHcos(360/h*X)) – shd/2

Where:

L = calculated spoke length
R = rim radius to nipple seat (ERD/2)
H = hub radius to spoke holes (spoke hole circle diameter/2)
F = flange offset from hub centerline
X = cross pattern (2, 3, 4…)
h = number of holes in one side of the hub
shd = diameter of spoke hole in the hub

Check it out, it’s not really that complicated.  Most any calculator can handle this fairly easily.  When you’re done, try one of the online spoke length calculators to see what lengths they calculate.  You can try more than one spoke length calculator and average the results (they will likely have slightly different results, depending on any fudging done during the calculations).

Since spokes are generally available in 2mm increments and some in 1mm increments, you’ll likely need to round the calculated values.  For me, I tend to round to the closest available length, but you’ll have to determine that on your own.  Experience with calculated lengths on successful wheel builds will tell you which way to go with different length calculators.

Definitely a math geek’s exercise, but sometimes it’s nice to see how the “behind the curtain” work is actually done.

Radial lacing:

For radial lacing it’s much simpler.  it’s just a right triangle and you’re solving for the hypotenuse.  The formula is:

L = sqrt((R-H)^2 + F^2) – shd/2

Where:

L = calculated spoke length
R = rim radius to nipple seat (ERD/2)
H = hub radius to spoke holes (spoke hole circle diameter/2)
F = flange offset from hub centerline
shd = diameter of spoke hole in the hub

Be aware that there are multiple places in the formula for rounding, and length calculators can and do round differently.  This accounts for the differences between methods.  All of them should deliver results within a mm +/-.

And you thought you’d never use trigonometry once you finished school.

2nd Annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour – June 1-2, 2019

Please note the date change to the weekend of June 1st and 2nd.  Keep your fingers crossed for good riding weather.

To help us with planning, please click here to register.

Saturday, June 1:

We will meet at 9:30am on the east side of LBL on US-68/KY-80, just west of the bridge over Lake Barkley.  Parking is on the north side of the highway, and there is plenty of parking available.  I will have some repair/adjustment tools, grease, chain lube, floor pump, work stand, and some spare tubes and patches.  Hopefully no major repairs will be needed before, during, or after the ride but we’ll be prepared for the usual (and some of the unexpected).  We’ll roll out from the parking area around 10am.

There is no cost for these rides.  If you want to chip in a little for the Saturday post-ride cookout, that would be appreciated, but it’s neither expected nor required.

The route:

The route is entirely within the LBL.  This loop starts and ends at the east entrance to LBL, and is about 42 miles, all paved.  As of now, there are a small number of actual turns in this route, 5 by my count, in the entire ride, so there should be no issues with navigation or getting lost.  I will give my cell number to riders, should assistance be needed during the ride.

 

 

Click to Download Cue Sheet

Moonshine:

If folks are interested, we’ll head over to Casey Jones Distillery near Hopkinsville to sample some genuine Kentucky moonshine.  We can take a tour, or just try some samples.  I need to know if y’all would like a tour so I can let them know, OK?

Post-ride cookout:

We are planning a cookout after the ride.  LBL does not allow alcohol, and the Barkley Lodge pavilion is reserved.  We’ll just have it at my house.  It’s easier anyway as I can just leave everything is the fridge/freezer at home and not have to haul it to the Lodge.  If you’re local, just bring something to share.

Sunday, June 2 – ride the trails:

If folks are interested, we’ll take some fatter-tired bikes out for some trail riding on Sunday.  There’s a lot to choose from, the map links below will give you an idea of the variety available to us.

We’ll figure out when and where to meet during the cookout and I’ll update the information here.  Most likely will be one of two places.  Either at the LBL North Visitor Center, or the LBL Golden Pond Visitor Center.

LBL Hike and Bike Trails

LBL Maps – click the Trails tab.

I didn’t know there were 500 miles of trails and 200 miles of roads in LBL. It is great to have this area so close to home.  Not all of the trails are available for bicycling, so check the website while you scout a potential route.

 

 

Temperatures to expect:

The average high temperature in June is 86 degrees, so on the warm side.

Lodging:

Here are some options for lodging and some suggestions for restaurants in the area.

Kenlake State Resort Park Reservations

Lake Barkley Lodge reservations

Both are reasonably priced and are just a few minutes from our starting place.  Kenlake and Lake Barkley both have restaurants too.  For those folks arriving Friday, I have a place in mind for dinner.

Bike Shop:

Bikes and Moore in Hopkinsville is a shop that I’ve been to several times, and I couldn’t find a complaint if I tried.  Good folks and they’ll be happy to help you out, should you need more than a tweak or two.

Questions:

Contact me if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to help.

Some sponsors have graciously agreed to help out.  I have no right to expect anything and I’m immensely grateful for their support.

Chain-L – the best chain lube available

 

 

 

PRIZES – Yes, we have prizes too.  They won’t take you out of the amateur ranks, if you’re concerned about that – but they are good ones that will definitely see some use.

Prize #1 – for the rider traveling the farthest to attend the ride.

Prize #2 – for the oldest participating rider.

Prize #3 – for the youngest participating rider.

Prize #4 – for the best C&V bike, as voted on by the participating riders.

Prize #5 – for the Lantern Rouge on Saturday’s ride.

Please watch your speed while driving in LBL, it’s federal land, so speeding tickets are expensive – paraphrasing Agent K – “the rangers do not have a sense of humor they’re aware of.”

2019 rides – should be a fun summer

I’ve been looking at a calendar and conversing with some fellow C&V enthusiasts (inmates) about meeting up at some rides next spring, summer, and fall.

On May 11th, going to the Rockin River City Ride, a metric century in Evansville, Indiana.  Registered for this one.  Should be a good warmup for the Storming of Thunder Ridge ride later this month.

Also in May is Storming of Thunder Ridge in Lynchburg, Virginia, which is a very popular ride and a challenging century.  I’ve not done this ride before, but several other C&V glitterati have.  Registered for this one.  I’m hoping to have the Masi ready for this ride., but if not, the Merckx is well set up for climbing with the recent changes.

In June will be the rescheduled 2nd annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour.  I’ve worked out a nice paved route for Saturday and a good gravel route for Sunday.  It should be a fun full weekend of riding.

July is the Ride Across Indiana (RAIN) that goes from Terre Haute to Richmond in a single day.  165 miles, mainly on US-40.  That will be my longest day on a bike by far.  Logistics are an issue when you ride from point A to point B instead of point A looping back to point A.  The ride organizers have provided several choices to help with this.  Registered for this ride, dorm room reservations made for both SMWC (Friday) and Earlham (Saturday).

September is the Centenario Coppi, a C&V get-together to celebrate the 100th birthday of Fausto Coppi, one of the legends of pro cycling.  A bike show is part of this weekend, so lots of bike porn to see and a C&V ride too.  What’s not to like?  Registered for this one.  Hotel booked also.

October is the Hilly Hundred century, in and around Bloomington, IN.  Unusually, this ride is split into two days of riding over Saturday and Sunday.  All reports say this is a very well organized ride.

Also planning to ride with steelbikeguy for a donut at Tanner’s Orchard sometime in October.

This is a tentative set of rides.  Life happens, so changes are possible.

Wheel bearing replacement

I replaced the rear hub wheel bearings on the Merckx today.  Knocking the old bearings out was easy enough and I managed not to lose the spacer between the bearings.

The new bearings are in the freezer, ever so slightly reducing the outside diameter.  I warmed up the hub with a heat gun, the intent being to slightly increase the ID where the bearings sit.  Installed the bearings, using a socket that was slightly smaller in diameter than the bearing, but large enough to contact the outer race.  I even remembered to put the spacer in the hub before installing the second bearing.  Bearings are done and the slight play I noticed earlier is gone.

While the tires were off, I put the wheels in the truing stand and checked them out.  The rear wheel is good, but the front needed a tweak or two.  All nice and true now.

I replaced the 25mm Michelin Pro4 tires, as they measure 28mm on the Boyd rims.  There was very little clearance with these tires on the Merckx frame, so a single broken spoke would have probably rendered the bike unrideable.  The new tires went on easily and measure 24mm, so there is at least a reasonable amount of clearance.

The tires ride well, and the Merckx seems to have picked up the performance a notch or two.  Not bad for a few minutes of work.  Looking forward to the next longish ride.

Tanner’s C&V Ride in Chillicothe, IL

Went up to Chillicothe, IL for a ride out to Tanner’s Orchard for an apple cider doughnut.  You may reasonably question the sanity of driving 6 hours and then riding 20 miles for a doughnut, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

We got to Chillicothe around 9pm Friday night, checked into the hotel and went in search of food.  Had a pizza at Monical’s just before they closed, which tasted pretty good.  Fuel, you know, for tomorrow’s ride.

Met some nice guys riding classic steel bikes along the banks of the Illinois River in Chillicothe on a brisk Saturday morning, temperatures were in the low 50s.  I brought my Lemond Alpe d’Huez, with a tubular wheelset installed and it rode very nicely.  There’s not many miles on this bike after the restoration was finished, but it was like reconnecting with an old friend.  No introduction needed, no getting-to-know-you questions, just “what are we waiting for?  Let’s go.”

I enjoy the classic bikes more than the carbon wonder-bikes, because they have a air of elegance and quality about them that easily belies the number of miles or years they’ve been around.  They have experience.  Riding with C&V folks is fun too – I don’t think I’ve ever met a cyclist on a classic bike that didn’t end with “great bike, enjoy the ride.”

The doughnuts lived up to their billing, but it seemed colder when we left the orchard than when we got there.  Oh, well – we’ll warm up again soon enough.  We took a different route back to Chillicothe, and the descent down to the valley from the bluff was great fun – I got up to 37 mph on the descent.  Not a lot for some riders, but still fun.  Drivers were considerate, and we were only honked at once, which might be a record.

Many thanks to Steve (steelbikeguy on BF) for organizing this ride.  We’ll be back next year.