Tuesday, April 26, 2016

2016 Rocky Mountain Roubaix

Last weekend was the Rocky Mountain Roubaix, about the only road race in the Missoula area. Being a spring event in Montana it goes down a few dirt roads and the conditions are usually interesting. It rained fairly hard in the days up to the race and was still raining when we started. I think the weather discouraged a few people from racing, plus it was the same day as the grizzly triathon so the turnout seemed a little smaller than usual. There was a 1/2/3 group that raced 3 laps for 51 miles, and then everyone else did two laps and 41, including Ingrid, the only woman who showed up.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

TCH Hell Ride preview

April 30th is the Montana Hell Ride put on by The Cycling House, and after last year's ride from Hamilton was cancelled due to wildfires and smoke, it was re-scheduled for earlier in the year on a new course most Missoula cyclists are familiar with.

It starts out on Mullan and heads toward Frenchtown, like so many weekend rides, and then hops on the roubaix course to go up six mile - nine mile road to the ranger station, and then down to the frontage road and Alberton. From there, up Petty creek to the Lumberjack, and then back to big flat on the southside road. While the top of Petty creek/graves creek road is dirt, as is ninemile road, it's all pretty smooth and fast with minimal loose rocks. The south side road starts out that way, and then degrades a bit.

My original plan had been to use my road bike with 27 vittorias, but after last weekend I am not so sure. There are a lot of big rocks and loose dirt and gravel once you get about 10-12 miles into the 21 miles of southside road to the finish. So while there are only 5-10 miles of really bad road, it's enough to make me re-think my choice of bike. It would be pretty frustrating to get that far along in good position only to end up with flat tires.

I could bump up to the refuses, which have handled these conditions and worse. Or I could just ride the cross bike, perhaps with some of those new clement 32mm slicks. Or maybe I just need to switch bikes before the end like I've been joking about.

One other thing to note- there is traffic on the southside road, as well as some tight corners with a steep drop off and no guardrail. It'll be smart to air on the side of caution. Also a good amount of climbing and an uphill finish.

Now here's a picture of Alan changing a flat at the bottom of deep creek

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The road tires I've been using

Since I picked up some new tires recently I thought I might as well write about them, and the other stuff I've been using. My go-to has always been the 23mm Continental GP4000, since that's what my caad 9 came with when I bought it. I liked them well enough and just kept buying the same thing. It turns out they're one of the best options for general riding and racing- they're pretty durable, and score really well in rolling resistance tests. They've done a few updates so the current version is called the GP4000S II. I guess one of these days they'll go to GP5000?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

2016 Speedwagon classic

This last weekend was the Polson Speedwagon race. No permit, no categories, just a group of guys and girls out to see who can make it to the finish line first through a mix of pavement, dirt tracks, and gravel roads, finished off with a big climb.

Due to my spring training I had my hopes up for a good result, and after riding some of the same roads a few weeks ago was expecting a fast, dry, and hard packed course. Unfortunately for me, and others who decided to bring a road bike, the roads had been freshly graded and there was a ton of deep loose gravel with golf ball sized rocks. It brought me to a near standstill in places and there were a few crashes.