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400k tune-up and shake-down ride(14 posts)

400k tune-up and shake-down rideJS Haiku Shop
Apr 24, 2003 5:52 AM
last evening did a shake-down ride to check that everything was in line for this weekend's 400k brevet in the ol' wind tunnel (Illinois). my #1 training partner was along for the ride; he's a big motivator since he's learned to say "venga! venga!" stats: 5.35 miles, 27 minutes, 11.8 mph.

made a few changes over the last week in preparation for the brevet:

* raised the stem 1 cm. bike has 3 cm head tube showing, but was stacked with 1 cm between stem and head tube, 2 cm above stem. this is done with three 1 cm spacers. now it's stacked 2 cm instead of 1 cm. aside from a more upright and less stretched-out position, the difference was an immediate (and unexpected) improvement in low-speed handling.

* retaped the bars. just for Spoke Wrench. i considered the pink, purple, and blue bar tape on sale for half price at the LBS ($3.99 / 2), but figured i'd tire of it after a long ride.

* added and tuned-in the EL300s--these LED lights are supposed to burn for 20+ hours on 4 AA batteries. they cast a fairly blue light as compared to the micro-halogens i used on past rides. the perimeter of the light cast is "softer" (i.e. no true "edge"), but acceptable as far as i've seen. true test will be this saturday, where i expect ~6 hours on dark roads.

* installed new seatpost. Ritchey finally pulled through and sent me a Ritchey Pro seatpost (2-bolt design) and a couple 2-bolt seatpost heads to swap out with the Ritchey Comp heads that have left my saddles nose-up after longish rides. we'll see if this one's any better. at least it's black.

* put on new tires and rim tape. i love the smell of new tires in the morning. smells like...victory!


on a lighter note, i hope they don't cancel the IL brevet this weekend, citing weather. looks like it may be 40-65*F and fairly dry, with low winds, and no ice or snow. the RUSA handbook, page 32, paragraph 7 states, "If by chance the weather is fair (no ice, no rain, sub-20 mph winds, no fire or brimstone), riders may be required to soften tires and tighten brake pads against rims. RBA's option to call ride on account of non-Belgian conditions." I for one am happily anticipating the "gentle breezes" of sunny and scenic Southern Illinois.

reflective tape on frame/cranks? nmDougSloan
Apr 24, 2003 6:44 AM
today or soon...JS Haiku Shop
Apr 24, 2003 7:07 AM
none on this bike, yet. i'll probably order some from jandd or pickup some 3m reflective tape from a local store (LBS *or* maybe a marine outfitter or auto accessory shop) either today or after the 400k. i have for this weekend:

* 3m tape on shoes
* 3m tape on helmet
* illuminite camelbak
* red light on camelbak
* red light on carradice bag
* reflective cube on carradice bag (as it was manuf'd)
* reflective strips on PI vest
* reflective logo on PI arm warmers
* reflective logo on PI knee warmers
* reflective sam browne belt
* reflective ankle bands
* reflective strips on nighttime jersey pockets (as it was manuf'd)
* helmet light
* EL300s
* mini maglite

most of this stuff is rear-facing, however. the helmet and shoes are pretty bright even in indirect light, from all angles. on those long roads in IL there's not alot of cross-traffic, mostly from the ahead or behind.
sounds like you are setDougSloan
Apr 24, 2003 7:22 AM
You may not need tape on the shoes; all mine have reflective stuff built in.

Be careful where you put it on the frame; it can be a real pain to remove, and I've scratched some frames doing so. Since you are getting really into this long stuff, involving night riding, you may as well put it on and leave it on, though. I think the white reflective tape is the best looking, and the color is irrelevant for night reflection, as all of it looks the same, just sort of white. I prefer the 1 inch wide white tape, tastefully applied.

I found that if you take a flash photo of the bike at night or in a darkened garage, you can readily see how it is reflecting. With a digital cameral, you can instantly see.

Good luck on the ride.

Oh, to me, it seems harder to remember to eat and drink at night, so be sure to keep it up.

thanks--JS Haiku Shop
Apr 24, 2003 7:28 AM
yeah, i plan to apply the tape liberally and leave it on the Cross-Check. this is a winter/trainer/cross/bad weather bike, and will probably be the only one that sees use on brevets, so i'm not really concerned about keeping it "tasteful" (LOL!) or removing it later.

the stuff i used before was 3M tape packaged by Jandd. $3+ per 12"x1" strip at the LBS, $2 online at, and maybe the same thing at a much lower price/higher quantity at AutoZone or somewhere. after application, looks gray in daylight, bright as heck in headlights. pretty tough to remove from a painted frame.

will do on the night eating. did a little night riding on those long rides last year, not quite 6+ hours, but some. i'm not going to be breaking any speed records, so plenty of time to navigate, ride safely, and eat.

thanks again!

Can I ride in the trailer when I get tired of pedaling? (nm)Dale Brigham
Apr 24, 2003 7:48 AM
only if you weigh under 50 pounds. or if you have some beer. nmJS Haiku Shop
Apr 24, 2003 8:00 AM
What if I bring 50 pounds of beer?!TrekFurthur
Apr 24, 2003 10:16 AM
ok, but be sure to bring some for yourself, too. nmJS Haiku Shop
Apr 24, 2003 10:21 AM
OK, I'll pedal. See you 5 a.m. Sat. in Eddy-ville, IL (nm)Dale Brigham
Apr 24, 2003 6:18 PM
HOLY COW!!!JS Haiku Shop
Apr 25, 2003 5:18 AM
what a spectacular forecast! guess i'll leave the fenders off. see you there.
How are you mounting your lights/computer?Lon Norder
Apr 24, 2003 9:38 AM
Do you have enough room on your bars? I plan on using 2 EL300s for my 600K along with a helmet mounted 5W NiteRider for descents, map reading, etc. I haven't tried this combo out yet. For the 400k I used a bar mounted 5W and a helmet mounted 15W NiteRiders. That worked well for the 4 or so hours of night riding, but I don't have enough battery for riding all night (The 600K starts at 4 PM). Hence the 2 EL300 system.

Good luck on your ride.
you don't really wanna use helmet lightcyclopathic
Apr 24, 2003 9:51 AM
you don't really need it and it strains neck.
How are you mounting your lights/computer?JS Haiku Shop
Apr 24, 2003 9:54 AM
EL300s upside down on either side of the stem. computer on the outside of the drive side EL300. plenty of room. then again, they're 46cm flared bars, and i think that's measured before the flare, and is inside-to-inside (!bars muy grande!).

last year on dark roads i used borrowed 10, 12 and 14/15 watt lights, but to echo your concerns, the battery life won't handle that much time in the dark. that, and the heft and footprint of bright light batteries make them less than ideal for unsupported rides (especially those with no bag drop).

for map and sign reading i'm planning to use a small, disposable 1-led flashlight, and will also carry a 2AA maglite for roadside maintenance and as a backup.

i'm still on the fence about the helmet mounted light--it's noticeable when mounted, though the battery pack is small and light (about the size and weight of 4AA batteries). there are no descents or tricky parts in this ride, so far as i know. probably i'll just bring it along and affix it to the helmet only if necessary. i think it's 12w and the runtime is 2.5 hours.