Masi Nuovo Strada – the build begins

An Italian bike – a Masi no less.  They’re none too common in the smaller frame sizes, so when this one showed up, I picked it up straight away.  Getting it home took some finagling.  The seller dropped the bike at Village Cycle Shoppe in Cocoa, FL, and they packed it up for me.  I sent them a bikeflights label to get it up here.

I stripped the frame and cleaned it up, and shipped it to my paint guru, Duane at chestercycles.com.  There are some scratches that need attention, but he will (as usual) do a fantastic job with it.  I picked up the frame from Duane on March 7th, and it is stunning.  The red paint looks about an inch deep and the chrome fork is a great accent.

I have a full Chorus 3×10 drivetrain that I was going to install on the Lemond Zurich, but the Italian Masi practically screams Campagnolo, to me, anyway.  So, the Zurich will get a different group and the Campy group goes on this Masi.

I’m going to use the Chorus-hubbed Mavic rims with tubulars on this one – that combination seems appropriate too.

I sprayed Framesaver inside the frame tubes, and twisted the frame around to ensure that all tube surfaces have been coated.  Then, it sits for a day or two.

I greased and pressed the headset cups into the headtube, installed the crown race onto the fork, and installed the fork.  The wheels for this bike are already built, I laced Chorus hubs to Mavic GP4 tubular rims with DT Swiss spokes.  I have a rolling chassis (frameset?) now.

2019 Ride Across INdiana – the RAIN ride

It’s ambitious – a one day ride across the state of Indiana – 165 miles from Terre Haute to Richmond.  Not impossible, but definitely a challenging ride.  The forecasts had temperatures in the mid-90s, with a light wind out of the southwest.  Those forecasts were pretty close, but on to the story.

I got to Richmond about 3 in the afternoon, just minutes after my riding buddy Rob.  We got our bikes ready to go on the bike truck for their trip from Richmond to Terre Haute.  We were supposed to leave at 4pm, but we wound up leaving at 4:45, and after some rerouting around a crash and road construction, finally got to Saint Mary of the Woods College, the start point and our accomodations for the night.  We picked up our bikes, rider packets, and dorm room keys.  I took my bike, overnight bag, and the bag with my cycling gear up to the room.  I put lights, the GPS, and top tube bag with energy bars and gu on the bike.  It’s ready to go, just need to air up the tires before we head out tomorrow morning.

Went out to get a bite to eat with Rob, Allan, and Allan’s wife Donna.  Good conversation and dinner, but we all needed to get some sleep as tomorrow’s start is coming early.  Rob and Allan were going to ride from the Illinois state line to the start, and I was going to meet them at the start at 6am.  While we got ready to go, it was dark but sunrise was imminent.  Filled the water bottles with Gatorate, and the Camelbak with ice water.  Since we weren’t coming back to Terre Haute, my overnight bag went in the back of Allan’s truck for the trip to Richmond.

Turned in the room key, and I was off and riding. not knowing what the day would bring.

The first bit of riding is in Terre Haute, basically south on IN-150 towards US-40 which is our main road to Richmond.  There were some climbs in the initial miles, but nothing I would call a major climb.  Made it to the first rest stop at 40 miles without too much trouble.   I fell in with a group of riders from Columbus, Indiana.  They were riding at 16-18mph, which is a good pace and the paceline made it very manageable.  About 30 miles or so into the ride, the group ramped up the pace on a climb and I let them go.  I probably could have stayed with them, but I would have paid a price for that effort later in the day.

From the first rest stop to the second at 66 miles in, the route was basically east on US-40.  A few climbs,  again nothing huge, and made it to the second rest stop.  Close to the rest stop, we left US-40.  The temperature was climbing and the sweating was in top gear.  I was drinking a lot, and eating as I rode.  I filled my bottles and the Camelbak, and set out for the lunch stop.

The third stop, the lunch stop, came at 95 miles in.  I stopped several times in the shade of trees on this stretch, to drink and eat, and to rest a bit.  This was the hard stretch for me, as the temperature continued to climb and the heat was catching up with me.  This section was on narrower roads, 2-lanes, and being later in the day there was more traffic.  There was a detour around construction just before the lunch stop, by the time I got there I was pretty much done.  Sat around a bit, drinking and eating a little, and made the decision to call it at 95 miles into the ride.  Not an easy decision, but it was the right one to make.

However that left a minor (major) problem in that my truck was waiting for me in Richmond, 65 miles away.  I needed to find a ride from Franklin Community School that could take not only me, but my bike as well.  Luck was with me, because the first people I asked about a ride to Richmond were happy to haul me and my bike.  Really nice folks, and a sincere thank-you to them for their Hoosier hospitality and the ride back to Richmond.

Back in Richmond, I was there to see my riding buddy Allan finish the ride.  That left Rob still out on the route.  Went to take a shower, which was good but would have been better had the water been a little cooler.  Oh, well.  I was back in Richmond, Allan had finished, Donna was there as well, and Rob was inbound.  When I got back from the shower, Rob had texted Allan that he was a couple of hours out.  I made the difficult decision to head south for home instead of waiting 2 hours for Rob to finish.  I know he will be OK with it, but I will probably regret that decision for a while.  I told Allan and Donna goodbye, and headed back home.  With construction delays and closed roads around Indianapolis, I finally got home at 11:15pm.  A long day, but I will be back to start and finish next year.

Lemond Zurich build – wrap up

The maiden voyage was a success.  The Vittoria Corsa tires and latex tubes are great at 90/95, I give them an “A” rating.  Coming from Campagnolo groups, it was a little different to downshift using the brake lever, but that sorted itself out pretty quickly.  Upshifts are done with the small lever behind the brake lever, instead of the button on the side of the lever housing.  Again, just a little adjustment to make.

Brake modulation is good and they stop well and silently.  No need for new pads just yet.

I made a couple of small adjustments when I got home.  I tilted the saddle up a little bit, and straightened the right lever on the bars.  Ready to wrap the bars.

A little grease came out around the axle seals, so I cleaned that up and rechecked the preload on the front and rear axles.  All good to go.

There is a small issue with shifting.  When I shifted to the largest cog in the back, the first shift to a smaller cog was a “blank” in that the lever moved, but nothing happened.  Pressing the lever again worked properly, and all other shifts are fine.  I need to sort this out, but may need some help with people more experienced with Dura Ace shifting and setup.

All things considered, this is a very nice ride.  I like the Lemond geometry, and the 853 steel frame is first rate.  I must admit that the Dura Ace group is very nice (being a Campagnolo advocate), and with a little tweak it should be perfect.  Coupled with the tires and tubes, this is definitely a keeper.

The bars are wrapped and the Zurich is finished.  Photos to follow soon.

 

Lemond Zurich build continues, part 2

When I bought the 7800 group, it came with an 11-28 10 speed cassette.  I have no real use for an 11t cog, and a larger cog would be useful on the hills around here.  So I picked up an Ultegra 12-30 cassette.  Normally, the Dura Ace RD won’t handle a 30t cog, so I installed a Roadlink to give me the clearance I need.

Ran the cables and housing for the brakes.  I chose yellow housing (Jagwire Pro) for both brakes and shifting, as it is compressionless, lined housing for good braking and reliable indexed shifting performance.  I may need to replace the brake pads, don’t know that just yet.  They look fine, but we’ll see how they perform on the test ride.

I removed the old downtube cable stops and installed the new ones.  I’m looking through my bike parts to find the BB cable guide I need for the shift cables.  Found it, and installed it.  Ran the shift cable for the front derailleur.  No issues with it so far, limit screws are set, but will have to wait for the rear derailleur to be sure that it’s good on both chainrings and at either end of the cassette.  Ran the rear derailleur shift cable, and it’s shifting up and down the cassette without any real issues.  The FD adjustment seems good, but I needed a little more tension on the RD cable to dial the dhifts in perfectly.

Taped the brake housing to the bars, and checked everything over.

Received the 50t chainring, so loosened the chainring bolts and swapped the 53t chainring for the 50t, being careful that the pin is oriented with the crankarm.  After installing the smaller chainring, removed one set of links.   I also lowered the FD just a touch.  Might be able to remove another set, but will hold off on that for now.

It’s ready for the maiden voyage, and I’m planning on a 30+ mile ride on Saturday morning with some folks that leaves from the Hoptown Y at 7am.

Lemond Zurich build continues, part 1

I cut some 3M paint film for each side of the headtube, for the bottom of the downtube, and for the top of the DS chainstay.  Now the most commonly chipped and abraded paint is protected.

The steerer/headset issues have been sorted out (thanks to Rob and an extra keyed washer) and the fork is installed.

Installed the Hollowtech II crankset, which took just a few seconds more than typing this sentence.  The front and rear brake calipers are installed, along with the front and rear derailleurs.  The Ritchey Classic seatpost and the Brooks saddle is installed, and I’ve positioned it to match the Merckx measurements.

The stem, a Nitto Pearl, is installed along with the handlebars which are Nitto B115 alloy.  The brakes/shifters are next.  Handlebars set and semi-tightened, levers are installed and lined up.

Next I laced the H+Son TB14 rims to DA 7400 hubs, using DT Swiss Competition double-butted spokes.  I need to swap the 7401 freehub for a 7403 freehub so that I can use a 10 speed cassette.  I was lucky enough to pick up a 7403 hubset and the tools I need to do the swap.

It was a bear to remove the 7403 freehub from the donor hub.  I had to lace it into a spare rim to be able to apply enough torque to remove it.  But it’s off, and cleaned up now.  Removed the 7401 freehub from the “real” hub so I can replace it with the 7403.  Then the 10 speed cassette can be installed.

I cleaned up the 7403 freehub and let it soak in a bath of Mobil 1 gear oil for a couple of days.  Let it drain for a couple of days, then cleaned the oil off the threads that go into the hub.  Odd not to use  any kind of lube on these threads, but that’s what Shimano says, so I followed their directions.  The freehub is on, and the 10 speed cassette fits fine.

2019 Bourbon and Tobacco Tour – a great weekend’s riding

We hit a weather jackpot this weekend, low 80s for a high and sunny on both days.  You can’t do a lot better than that in Kentucky in June.  The postponing of the ride from the original April date worked out well, and also meant that Allan was able to come and ride, as he had a commitment in April.  Even better.

Just a great ride on Saturday.  Drivers were very courteous, no close passes, didn’t hear a single car horn, waited behind as we crested a hill, and one driver even stopped in the northbound lane so that we could turn across the lane in front of him.  Makes me proud to live in Kentucky.  Allan, Rob, Bob, Ron, and I rolled out at 10am.  The hills come quickly and are unrelenting.  There are 5 climbs in the first few miles, all of them over 6%, a couple at 8% and one close to 10%. They wake up the legs pretty quick. Then there were some rollers, and some flat sections as we worked our way north and then west towards the Woodlands Trace road. The Woodlands Trace road has several climbs, not overly steep but longer than the earlier climbs.

Rob had positioned his truck at the midpoint, and we had coolers with ice water, gatorade, coke, cookies, and bananas waiting for us. Worked out great. The second section had a navigation problem, in that the ridewithgps maps showed a road connecting back to the main east-west road, but it doesn’t. It turns to gravel and dead-ends at Lake Barkley. Asked a park ranger how best to get where we needed to go, and got there just fine. There is a steep hill, 10.9% grade, on the second part of the ride. It is a butt-kicker. I was with Bob and we went up it once – I walked a good part of it. Going back down was fun too, once we had the proper route in our heads. My top speed was 42mph on the descent.

We met back at the start point and headed out to grab a shower and meet back at my house for a cookout, some libations, and of course, bike stories.

Rob and Allan brought pizza to my house for an appetizer, and we had burgers, chips, pasta salad (made by my wife Amy), and spent the time talking and figuring out riding plans for the rest of the summer. A good time, great people, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s ride.  Bob had to head back to Memphis after dinner, so that left Rob, Allan, and I to ride tomorrow.  Ron had plans for Sunday and couldn’t join us.

Now to get things in order for the gravel ride tomorrow. The creek crossing should provide some entertainment.

Sunday was another great day out riding in LBL. We decided to take a shorter road ride today, instead of riding gravel. We met at the Visitor Center at 8am, and headed south shortly afterwards. We wound up at the Kentucky-Tennessee state line again, and took some photos for proof that we were actually there.

A few hills, but less demanding than yesterday’s ride. Rob got a flat a couple of miles from the end, so we stopped and offered sage advice and constructive criticism of his tube-changing skills even without being asked. It seemed like the proper thing to do – you know, being helpful and supportive and all of that. Afterwards, we were back at the truck in just a few minutes.

Rob and Allan headed for home, and the 2nd Annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour is now in the historical documents.

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, which I borrowed from my cycling buddy Rob.

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.