Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Turning Point

Within the last week I've passed two major milestones: I've deployed a viable albeit hokey method for selling stickers and I ran out of storage space on this blog.

Pro-35 was conceived as a creative outlet and for the last two years has been a lot of fun.  My intention was- and still is- for this to be a labor of love.  I'm not sure how I would have defined success, but more and more people are coming back every day and I'm truly thankful for that.

I've run out of space on blogspot and over the next week will fully migrate all of my content over to Pro-35.com.  There will be redirects in place so either domain will work.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pro-35 Stickers Available for Purchase

4 styles available- Black M, Blue M, Green M or GTI.

M stickers are 2.5 inches tall x 5.5 inches wide.

Car (GTI) stickers are 2.8 inches tall x 5 inches wide.

Stickers available for purchase through eBay for $.99 each including shipping via USPS mail.  Can ship international as well- please contact me before buying.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Swiss Cross Update- Dirt Road Mods

With my 'cross season over after a single race I've made some changes to the Swiss Cross setup.  'Cross bikes are often praised for their versatility and I have to say I have mixed feelings about that.  Yes, their ability to go on and off road is pretty cool, but as I've said before I don't think fender mounts or rack eyelets have a place on any self-respecting race bike.  Purpose-built Ridley race bikes have only a single water bottle mount and Richard Sachs 'cross frames have none.

You can see here that I've wavered a bit on my fundamentalist position with two bottle cages (or bidons if you prefer) but the rest of the bike is entirely as I...well, as I intended to race it anyway.  I only have so many jacket pockets so as much as I'd like to be a purist about the bottle cages it's just not feasible when it's below 50 degrees and I need to carry some additional layers.  

Since I first built it up I've swapped out the stem and post for the Ritchey WCS wet red models you see here.  I had misgivings about getting red components as they're likely to stick out on any other bike in the stable but since they match the Swiss Cross perfectly I felt it was completely appropriate.  The more I look at them the more I like them, and with minimal fiddling I've been able to run the stem in the downward position although it's still pretty far from being slammed.  

I've also swapped out the tubular EA70's for the Ritchey WCS Zeta clinchers.  So far those wheels have been great with both the 33 mm 'cross tires and the Clement Strada LLGs pictured here.  Although there's a lack of quality pavement around here there are miles upon miles of dirt roads.   I was looking for a wide, lightly siped tread for exploring said dirt roads and found the Strada.  After a few rides it's proven to be a solid performer and although it's claimed to be a full 28 mm width it only measures out to 26 mm on a standard 19 mm wide rim.  That means there's the added benefit of being able to use this same wheel/tire setup on my road bike without any additional fiddling.  

I'm still not a fan of cantilevers, but if you're going to run them I suggest giving the Avid Shorty Ultimates serious consideration.  They're a modern machined aluminum version of the classic mid-90's mountain bike cantilever and offer the best feel and stopping power of anything I've tried.  The setup is unique but straightforward after you read the instructions- they don't take long to setup but they are quite a bit different from the TRPs and Shimanos I've ridden recently.    

 And of course there's plenty of clearance.  My experiments with getting the Redline setup for dirt road duty were a horrendous failure mainly because the frame was so stiff but also because I used 23c tires.  The Swiss Cross is a notably smoother ride, but the wider tires at significantly lower pressure also deserve some credit.  The extra tire width also makes the massive clearance slightly less obnoxious. 

More red.  I'm really getting into this bike, and the white cables/tape/hoods combo is really growing on me next to the all red frame/fork/stem/post.  There was an internal struggle about where to put my Pro-35 decals so I opted went for the more subtle finishing tape accent and non-drive chainstay placement.   

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Through the Fall

I saw this video at Mountain Bike Vermont's Green Mountain Showdown and was blown away.  Local riders, local film makers and local scenery with great editing.

Had to share it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ritchey Swiss Cross

With a handful of rides and a race on my new Ritchey Swiss Cross I can offer some informed feedback.

The bike has classic lines and simple panel paint scheme consistent with its heritage as a race bike.  Several companies offer steel cross bikes, but few outside of boutique builders Zanconato and Richard Sachs offer a true steel race bike. 

I hadn't ridden a cross bike since last year's Gravel Grinder but I have to say the Ritchey handles more like a mountain bike than any other cross bike I've ridden.  Switching over to this felt very natural and predictable, which shouldn't be a surprise given Ritchey's experience building cross bikes for mountain bike racers.   

There's still a skinnier tire learning curve after spending so much time on mountain bikes, but the bike a great blend of smooth ride feel and predictable handling.  My first impression was how well the bike matched my expectations right out of the box.

One of the updates from the original is the integrated bearing cups.  It's a small thing that adds a modern touch and saves some weight in the process.

There's no frame mounted barrel adjuster for the front derailleur so you need to run one in-line.   

Fortunately this frame is devoid of rack and fender mounts but does have bottle mounts.  You can easily use the stock bottle bolts to fill the mounting holes but I prefer to use nylon bolts cut to length.  They cost about $.70 each at the hardware store and not only do a great job of sealing out moisture but also look really pro. 

The rear brake routing uses a straw-style cable guide around the seat cluster.  This was common with steel bikes and is similar to the sleeves used in internal cable routing.  I used a short length of rubber hose from a nosed cable ferrule, but really any sturdy small diameter tubing (like heat shrink tubing) would work. 

The Swiss Cross uses a modern 27.2 seatpost unlike many of its steel predecessors that used a 26.8 or 27.0.  The thin diameter triple butted seat tube uses a relatively rare 28.6 front derailleur clamp so if you're using a SRAM drivetrain you'll need to use a braze-on front derailleur and source the clamp from Shimano or Problem Solvers since SRAM only offers front derailleurs in the more common 31.8 and 34.9 sizes. 

Ritchey socket dropouts were the standard for high quality production steel bikes.  Like most steel frames the derailleur hanger is dedicated and can be worked back into position rather than replaced. 

Since I've owned many steel bikes before I was ready for the build-related nuances of a the smaller front derailleur clamp, rear brake cable routing and need to apply a rust preventative treatment as soon as it was out of the box.  The Swiss Cross is offered as frameset with fork and headset only so I used a SRAM Force cross build kit, a WCS bar and stem and some other parts I had kicking around to complete the build.  Total weight right now as pictured is 19 lbs flat including Shimano XT pedals.

With those small but important details in mind the only real assembly related hiccup was an excess of paint in the threads of the derailleur hanger.  The alloy mounting bolt on the Force derailleur would not start on its own so I chased the threads with a derailleur hanger straightening tool although I suppose any steel derailleur mounting bolt would work as well.   

My taste in bikes is pretty consistent- I like high quality metal bikes with legitimate race cred and stable handling, so for me the Swiss Cross is a perfect fit.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Swiss Cross- It's Here

Build kit should arrive today.  I'll post more pics and build details as I put it together.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Miscellaneous Bikes

In no particular order are some bikes I've virtually stumbled upon and thought were cool.  

First up is from the Sfatto facebook page.  Not sure of the manufacture, but the frame is slick, modern carbon with suitable box section training wheels, deep drop bars, a slammed front end and a super cool retro SRM.  Understated and completely purpose-built. 

This Moots Pscychlo-X RSL (lifted from the Moots fb page) is another great example of the best builds being a mix of new and old.  The lastest PX RSL sports the 44 mm headtube and PF30 bottom bracket like most ti race bikes, but the older and still awesome Dura Ace 7800 build and unidentified non-machined rims mean that this setup wasn't a single order of QBP's latest.  The Paul chainguide has been custom anodized to match the blue decals, tape, chainring bolts and hubs.  There has to be some sort of reducer to make that crank fit within the massive PF30 shell, but I can't readily tell what it is from this image.

This Cannondale SuperX was featured on a Norwegian blog which I've just discovered.  Its author has a penchant for lightweight and mostly carbon components and published these pics of his tuned Cannondale SuperX.  In these images it's setup for road duty with 39/53 chainrings and road tires, but it's a very cool and very light setup.  'Cross bikes often look weird as road bikes, but this seems totally legit. 

Last up is from recurring favorite Spooky.  Lifted from their tumblr site this is a customer's bike that's been setup for 'cross racing.  The orange looks sweet with the skinwall tires and silver rims, and upon closer inspection you'll notice the ISP, Quarq-equipped crank, single chainring and SRAM X0 rear derailleur.  'Cross bikes need to be a blend, and I like the offroad ISP along with the power meter/single ring combo.  Eclectic without being hokey or contrived.