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I don't have a ton of time for a quality post on this race but here's a brief description of my day of suffering at the series opener:
Heinous pace at the start. Good Lord people, can't we back it down just a touch, hold hands and tell some jokes. They told me this race was FUN.
Two guys got off the front and were setting a pace I knew I wouldn't be able to hold for 2ish hours. I was in the second group that consisted of 4 riders. Then there was a sea (ok, maybe a medium sized pond) of people behind us.
The first guy in our group dropped his chain at the bottom of a climb and we never saw him again. Yep, it happens just that fast.
On the second (out of three) laps we caught Kyle Dixon (one of the guys out front... who I actually picked to win) pushing his bike up a hill. I asked if he needed help and he said he was "good". There was air in his tires and a chain on his bike. Hard to say what was going on there??
Later on the 2nd lap, another rider in our group would "crack" on the baby head rock strew climb at the far end of the course. I've been in this dudes position before... and it sucks. If you try to keep the pace up you'll cramp so bad you'll need someone to cary you back to your car. The only thing you can do is put it in a ridiculously low gear and slum along until you feel "normal" again. For me, this usually requires a nice long downhill. You can't always count on this (downhill) so it's best to slow down and don't blow it. It's only a bike race.
Then there were two. Me... and Stosh Bangston... again.
Stosh started to put the hammer down on the third and final lap. This move shot my plans all to hell as to the what when and how I was going to make a move on the baby head rocky climb section of the course. In fact, when we got to the baby head rocky climb I was in such dire straights and that not only was the cramp monster knocking at the door he had one foot in and was asking what kind of beer I had in the fridge. Frack.
So, I hung in there as good as I could manage. Stosh gaped me but I was able to make the time back up on the downhill. I can't believe I didn't crack on the two headwalls near the end of the course.
It came down to a sprint finish at (near) the line. I ended up winning the battle between Stosh and I but Clint Claussen won the war taking the podium spot for the day.
Round two is coming up in two weeks. Peavine. I should probably get down there and do a ride... but I probably won't. Meh. Who knows.
The first race of the Sierra Cup Series (formerly the Nevada State Championsip Series) is this Saturday. Of course I'll be there to defend my title.
Last year at this race I was suffering around the course on my Blur LT (not that I'd be suffering any less on a different bike) chasing guys off in the distance that I'd never catch. Meh... that's racin'. I remember the temperature dropping each lap and thought it was getting pretty damn cold. Wasn't sure exactly how cold, but cold. Reality struck on the third and final lap when it began to snow! Not enough to stop and have a snowball fight or anything, but definately enough to sting my eyes and make my fingers hurt. It turned out that as hard as the race was the hardest part of the day was trying to get my fingers to turn the key in an attempt at unlocking the doors to my truck.
Will this year be any different? Well, I've got a different bike (not that I'll be suffering any less), the course will be run in the opposite direction (I'll probably still be chasing guys off in the distance) and my new (to me) car has a nifty little button on the key to unlock the doors. Good thing too. The weather calls for some precipitation after 11:00. Race starts @ 10:00. Hmm.
This is probably my least favorite course in the series. I'm not saying it's a bad course. I don't do bad courses. It's got some descent length to it (28 miles) and a fair bit of climbing (3,100ish ft) but from what I remember it's about as technical as riding down your local sidewalk.
Me... for me to have an advantage on a race course it needs to be technical. How about some rocks. I need rocks littering the trail. Enough rocks to make you wonder if you're still on course.... or if there's even a course at all. Even though I'll probably flat.... I love riding in the rocks. How about some roots. Slimy wet roots. Preferably at weird angles across the trail. Even though I'll probably crash... I love riding roots. Throw in some rediculously tight and twisty trail (preferably with low overhanging branches) and some deep wheel swallowing ruts on the high speed sections and I've got myself a course I just might have and advantage on.
Race report Monday... or Tuesday. Or maybe not at all.
The flags at Mighty Mobile are flying at half mast today after watching the Giro D' Italia this morning and seeing Wouter Weylandt involved in a horrible crash on a descent with about 60ish K remaining in the race. More info here. Sad day indeed.
With all the posts about bike racing, beer drinking and other misc rambling you might find on this site, I should probably keep in mind that Mighty Mobile Bike Repair IS actually a place folks might visit to actually learn something about their bike.
In 1927 Tullio Campagnolo invented the quick release skewer and it's been a gracing the bicycle ever since. Quick release skewers are mostly found on wheels and seatpost clamps but can occasionally be seen used creatively for other items requiring frequent adjustment on the bike.
It probably goes without saying but quick release skewers need to be tight for them to do their job. It's probably obvious that if the quick release in the seatpost clamp isn't tight, your seat will "creep down" during a ride. Also don't forget the fact that if the skewers aren't tight YOUR WHEELS MIGHT FALL OFF!!!!
Now that I have your attention, let's get to the task at hand. First of all, not all skewers are created equal or made the same way. If your skewer resembles the one in the pictures below, the following tip will help you out. If your skewer looks different (skewers by Shimano, as well as others, have a different design) this post might not effect you.
It's hard to say which application is more popular for a quick release skewer (adjusting saddle height vs removing/reinstalling the front wheel) but since I only have pictures of the skewer on a front wheel, we'll use that for our demonstration. Regardless of the skewers job, it can be maintained the same way as the demonstration below.
If your skewer squeaks, feels "sticky" or otherwise is hard to operate while actuating the lever... stop right there and go get some chain lube.
The squeaking, sticking and other issues coming from the skewer are coming from the pivot of the lever. The issue is that the lever (the black part) rotates around the main body (the sliver part) of the skewer and friction is produced as a result.
A couple drops of your favorite chain lube is all you need to free things up. Simply put a drop or two of lube in the area where the lever and main skewer body pivot. Note: do NOT use aerosol type lube as any over spray can, and probably will, got onto the brake rotor leaving you with little or no brakes!!
Once you have a couple drops of lube on the skewer, swing the lever from the "open" to the "closed" position several times to work the lube into the pivots.
You'll undoubtedly feel the skewer getting easier to operate as the lube works itself into the pivot of the skewer. Wipe off the excess lube with a rag and tighten down the skewer properly.
When a quick release skewer is properly adjusted you should notice resistance in the skewer lever half way through its swing from the "open" (loose) to the "closed" (tight) position. This adjustment is attained by rotating the nut on the side of the skewer opposite the lever. Righty tighty... lefty loosy is an easy way to remember how this works.
If in doubt of a skewers ability to properly do its job... REPLACE IT!! Although incredibly reliable, quick release skewers can wear to a point where they can't do their job properly.
How often would/do I do this on my own bike? Probably every 8 or so times I lube my chain seems to do the trick on the front wheel since that's the skewer (at least for me) that gets used most often. The other skewers (rear wheel and seatpost) I do less often as those aren't being used as much so I just kinda go by "feel" for them. When their hard to tighten or squeaking while moving the lever to the "closed" position I'll usually give them a little "love".