Monday, June 13, 2011

A Few Equipment Tips

Last week to get ready and the last thing you want to do is lose sleep Friday doing last minute BS.  Remember, you already have appointments that day for Equipment Inspection and the mandatory evening meeting.

Here are a couple things you can consider working on now before the rush.

No Hairy Drive Trains!

It seems some of you will be racing with leg hair.  No positive comment forthcoming.  If you insist on not being a cyclist during a BIKE RACE then at least wear gloves to protect your hands and socks because I'll shoot you.  Assuming you're ridin' dirty let's not let that Tom Selleck Fur Ball mentality infect the bikes: CLEAN THEM.

The good news is you either know how to do this or you can steal my method developed over 20 years and sure to amaze all the hairy chested guys you hang out with.

METAL Cleaning System

You need:
  1. mineral spirits
  2. simple green 
  3. one plastic tub preferably able to hold your big chain ring (if you ride with one).
  4. One Tupperware container with a lid (needs to hold cassette cogs and chain), mine is 6x6x4
  5. some rags and a tooth brush
Do this:
  1. Fill the bigger tub with about 3-5 inches of mineral spirits
  2. Take off rear cassette, chain, both chain rings and soak over night 
  3. While the bike is apart clean inside of front and rear derailleur.  Get all the dirt running a rag through the front guy and consider removing the pulleys because dirt stacks up inside and what's the point of dialing this in only to leave little dirt colonies to repopulate your chain?
  4. Fill the smaller container 2/3 full with 50/50 hot water and Simple Green.  Transfer the parts minus the chain rings to the bucket and its shake-n-remove-the-cake time.
  5. At this point I go outside and turn on a hose.  Shake like hell and drain using the lid (take care not to lose anything small like a quick link) and fill up again with the hose.  Repeat this until the water runs clear.
  6. Dry parts, put bike together then put one drop of oil on every link.  Use your quicklink for reference so you hit each one exactly once.  Put a clean rag on the chain and spin backwards to remove excessive oil which invites the dirt to return.
If you do it right, you can flex the chain side-to-side and you won't hear or feel any grit in there.

Also if you do it right a clean drive train is worth serious power and your bike will jump.  A final tip on this is to put a little grease on each of the chain ring bolts, they cinch better and come off easier.

There should be some sort of Kangaroo Court for the 2010 Team: show up with a dirty bike day1 is a felony.

Bike Lights

I stole this from other riders last year, Kevin I think.  Consider mounting your handle bar lights hanging under the bars.  Its cleaner, more stable and might even reduce drag a little.  If you are rocking the $20 Performance lights you should know the head sometimes flies off.  Might be wise to roll with an extra one.

Final Tip

We had a pair of binoculars in the center consul of METAL1.  We used it a few times to identify approaching riders.  If you've seen the video of us in day one there is a quick shot of me looking down the road and calling out Brad's arrival for Jeremy.  At the top of Old Castle, Ed was spotting for me and gave a hand signal to me.  He saw him way before I did.

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