Entries in cyclocross equipment (35)
It never ceases to amaze me, the inventive tricks the service staff at Boulder Cycle Sport have up their sleeves. I was in a pickle with a perfectly good pair of Mavic Furys...with the exception of a stripped cleat. I polled my internet friends with a tweet and I got many great responses...
Tips for getting a stripped/stuck bolt out of a cleat? Go internet! cc: @angryasian— Greg Keller (@mudandcowbells) March 15, 2013
But my man Zach Edwards at BCS had the cure. And it took exactly 30 seconds. Let me show you how he solved it.
Step 1: Here is the problematic bolt. Even with grease, over the past year the bolts seized to the mounting plates. I was able to get one out...
Step 2: Zach finds the right size drill bit that is just slightly smaller than the diameter of the whole head of the bolt.
Step 3: Braaaap! He drills straight through the head until it releases the cleat, leaving the bolt still in the plate.
You can see how the head sheared off here....
The remaining steps were simple: We pulled the plate out of the bottom of the shoe through the trap door access inside the shoe, under the sole (most good shoes have this access point.) Zach then used vice pliers to grab hold of the remaining bolt in the plate and twisted it right out! Bam! Total time was 30 seconds.
I reinserted the plate, greased up the threads and got my new cleats on. Like new.
Great tip from Zach and one anyone can do with a simple drill and bit.
Next to cyclocross tires, choosing the right shoes for cross is widely known as the 'next biggest religious debate'. Well, maybe slightly behind the Seattle-vs-Boston-vs-Boulder-vs-Portland regional debates. Cyclocross is a unique and demanding discipline of cycling, requiring the pilot to be on and off the bike frequently throughout the duration of a race...well, unless the course has been Starbucked. In other words, demanding as much pedaling efficiency as running agility and efficiency.
Sidi has been an institution of cycling for eons, and when it comes to Elite-level competition, you will see an armada of the Italian shoe-maker's products outfitting the world's best on the most famous battlefields in the sport...from Koksijde to Kentucky. Their off road product range is very diverse, ranging from the price conscious, to the price unconscionable. For 2013, the new Drako (MSRP $449.95) replaces their long time elite-level shoe, the Dragon, and the Spider (MSRP $349.95) is back as their more price-conscious stalwart. I wanted to look at them both carefully for the application of cyclocross. To really get to the bottom of which shoe would perform and serve 'crossers the best in all capacities from price to performance. Here's what I found out...
Both the Drako (say 'DRAY-ko') left, and Spider, right, fit extremely well. The material used on both uppers (Lorica) is weatherproof, cleans up easy in mud, but
Honestly, I don’t know what my problem is but I like shoes. OK, love shoes…and bike shoes to be completely accurate. I like my feet to feel right, comfortable and of course style is always up there as well. Maybe I have an Imelda Marcos-esque addiction to fine footwear. Or maybe I’ve been on this constant search for the perfect ‘cross shoe and have been trying tons of different options to eek out whatever performance I can in various conditions.
Whatever the case, this season I landed on what I think is a pretty significant breakthrough in my ‘quest’ to find the perfect cross shoe. The Mavic Fury. The very yellow Mavic Fury that is. While there need to be improvements as I’ll talk about below, I think it is extremely close to perfection
More blog posts, photos and details forth coming on these unbelievable steeds but I was excited to show one of the team bikes built up and ready to rip. Huge thanks to Ridley Bikes, SRAM and Ritchey. Clement tubulars coming soon!
Honestly, I am not sure even where to begin with this post as I’m having trouble keeping the tears out of my eyes these bikes are so beautiful. Opening up the box shipped to Boulder Cycle Sport directly from the mad Ridley laboratories in Belgium literally had my heart racing….and it was not a let down once the bubble wrap was removed. Behold the 2012 Ridley X-Fire – with a paint scheme custom designed by the geniuses at Ridley’s Custom Fabrication Studio for the Boulder Cycle Sport Ambassador’s team. Brandon, Pete, Allen and I are beyond stoked to ride Ridley yet again this season after three great years of our BCS/Ridley relationship.
The 2012 X-Fires are an incredible animal…offering new features over its 2011 predecessor. We love the X-Fires due to their versatility. With minimal weight penalty, we have removable seat posts and bottle cages so when we’re not racing on these bikes, we’re putting in long epic miles on them upon the endless high-altitude dirt roads Colorado offers us.
So let me take you through some of the highlights of the 2012 Ridley X-Fire which we’ll be rocking through the mud this season…(and it’s OK to get misty eyed due to the beauty of their stunning custom paint.)
The frame sizes and geometry have not changed year over year for the X-Fire.
My good bud and master’s racing compatriot Michael Robson assembled a great article on VeloNews walking through us all through his experiences with various sealed cable systems, their merits, installation tips, etc. I highly recommend having a look-see at his write up as the weather is quickly changing and before we all know it we’ll be knee deep in the good stuff: mud. You best hope you have great shifting performance before then!
The Boulder Cycle Sport Ambassadors Team has some great sponsors including Gore who have us all on their new RideOn Sealed Low Friction Brake and Shifting Cable System. I wanted to walk you through this system and some of the installation ‘upgrades’ we have done to ensure optimal performance in the worst of conditions.
For those of you that do not have the time, skills or some of the equipment involved (and are local to Boulder area), Boulder Cycle Sport has the installation of this system completely dialed. Contact BCS for details and pricing. I opted to walk you through in photos of how one of Boulder Cycle Sport’s finest mechanics, Steve ‘Shelpy’ Shelp, dialed in my Ridley X-Night with this new cable system.
The new Gore RideOn sealed system includes almost everything you’ll need…except for the heat-shrinkable seals which will be talked about below. The system’s marquee features are its continual sealing along the entire length of the cable, making the action silky smooth (frictionless) as well as the GRUB™ Seals to prevent virtually anything from contaminating the sealing and degrading the cables performance.
A heat gun and heat shrink tubing (which can be picked up at most good hardware stores) was used in Boulder Cycle Sport’s installation as an ‘additional’ method of sealing insurance.
Shelpy is drilling out the cable stops so that he may run one continuous piece of housing from the top tube straight through to the derailleur. Note: when this is done, you will be using more of the housing than is provided with the RideOn kit. We used an additional piece of housing from another non-RideOn kit for the front derailleur…literally boring it out so that it would accommodate the thicker width of the sealed housing of the RideOn cables. Be advised.
Another view of Shelpy’s handiwork…carefully boring out the stops.
Shelpy’s den. Cleaner than a surgeons operating room.
The finished result. A super tight cockpit.
Note the heat shrunk wrappers right at the beginning of the ferrules to prevent any possibility of dirt entering the ‘system’.
You can see the front brake cable exit the stop and it’s 'sealed ‘casing’ extending all the way to the base of the hanger…where a grub seal has been placed to prevent any contamination.
Another view of the heat shrunk wrapping at all stops.
The cable ends are topped with RideOn’s own stops to protect from fraying and elongating the life of the cable itself.
Shelpy’s handiwork included thoughtful touches like the zip tie you see here to ensure the cable end does not flop around. This will also allow me enough cable should I re-position the Avid brake arms to their ‘wide’ position.
A view of the fully sealed front derailleur cable around the spindle, its grub seal and cable end.
The rear brake where you can see the sealed housing and grub seal in tandem.
A view of the continuous cable Shelpy installed straight through the bored out cable stops.
A close up of how this stop looks with the cable running through it.
Finally, the rear derailleur with the sealed cable poking out...completely sealed from end to end (Note: grub seal has been placed at the exit of the cable since taking this pic.)
Almost two years ago, Dubba and I were out on a ride, discussing all things cross (which is an every day occurrence and usually doesn’t even require a ride…) and we started talking bikes. “What brand do you think resonates with cross?” he asks. “What would you want to ride? Products that are absolutely cross-specific. No gimmicks.”
My answer was one word, two syllables:
And so, it was done. Boulder Cycle Sport engaged with QBP and the Ridley Brand and fairly quickly, ratcheted-up sales of cross bikes to passionate folks. Simply put, customers ‘got it’. They see the Ridley products and they ooze speed, agility, mud shedding…they ooze Belgium.
Last year the Boulder Cycle Sport Team rocked the X-Night, an amazing, awe inspiring piece of engineering, Internal/fully sealed cabling ensured I literally never changed my cabled the WHOLE season. The integrated seat mast kept things stuff and fast. See my posts here about the X-Night experience.
And so in this 2nd year of carrying the product, the Boulder Cycle Sport Cross Team has a yet again an amazing opportunity to race their 2011 X-Fire product. I’ve just got ‘er built up, so let me take you through the highlights:
- All carbon frame and fork, roughly 1400 grams (mine is a 58)
- Super stout 1-1/8 to 1-1/2” heat tube/FSA head set.This is a new change for the 2011 X-Fire taking on this attribute from it's sibling, the X-Night.
- Traditional seat post (31.6) versus the seat mast the X-Nights have.
- Replaceable rear drop out.
As for the grouppo, again, an amazing array of sponsors help the team with equipment to stand the absolute extremes we face during cross.
- SRAM Red drive train including sealed RideOn cabling. We’ll be opting for 12/26 Force cassettes however due to their mud shedding abilities. 46/38 rings on the crank sets.
- Avid Ultimate Shorty brakes. These are just so flipping amazing, I will devote a post for them specifically. Stay tuned.
Wheels are all personal choice for the Team, so I will use a mix of FSA RD 800 and 488’s with a blend of Dugast rubber. Mainly Typhoons but we have Rhinos as well this year for the badness should she come. And she will.
Here is the bike built up. Just about 17.5 lbs in my large/man sized bike. Enjoy. More reports as I get more saddle time and if you are my size, ask me to ride it!
Katie. She's more artist than anything. Details the bike with love.
The bike all built.
SRAM Red cockpit with Ritchey Classic bend bars.
SRAM Red cranks and my trusty Time ATAC pedals.
The engineering artworks themselves: SRAM/Avid Ultimate Shorty brakes (front)...
...and the rear brake.
Massive mud clearence for our now '33c limit' tires (My 34 Rhinos fit just fine)
One extremely clean cockpit.
So much discussion about 'cross versus road fit. You can read a pretty lively discussion on this VeloNews article, which, I'll have to agree with Adam is pretty non-informative and potentially misleading to folks coming in to cross.
I'm not going to tell you how to get fit. You should absolutely see a professional to ensure you do not completely screw yourself up, yet the differences between your cross and road set ups should be demonstrable and designed to help you flow with the bike on a CROSS course (e.g., you're not a hill climb on pavement). For me, that means a seat height that is slightly lower and more forward than my road bike and bar position (specifically the hoods) higher for better control. The combo of the seat position (lower/forward) and the hoods gets my body in a position that feels like it has me in a nimble position to get around the bike, yet sort of naturally enforces my elbows to be properly bent and back comfortable yet 'driving forward' to ensure I am getting power to the pedals consistently for 60 minutes (there is no coasting in baseball...er, ah cross).
Anyways, while studying tapes last night, I saw this awesome example of positional dispariy between De Clercq, Nijs and Vervecken...three World Champions. You'll seen Sven looking very cross-classic...e.g. positionally high, Vervecken impossibly low....e.g., 'Euro Low' (seat way down and back lurched forward and finally De Clercq who is somewhere in between but with a road influence for sure.
Anyways, ensure you get a REAL fit this season to ratchet up your game!
What an amazing weekend! The camp was an absolute success. It was incredibly fun to participate and help out where I could amongst these behemoths of cross. The preparation was amazing by Frank Overton of FasCat Coaching, Albuquerque native and uber-coach to cross hardmen John Verheul of JBV Coaching and Boulder’s own Brandon Dubba Dwight. The camp also had phenomenal support from Donn Kellogg of Clement tires (and each participant got a free set of the new Clement PDX mud tire. Amazing!). Let me give you the blow by blow of the weekend….and if you’re on the fence for doing a camp or you think you’ve “already got it”, etc, think again and try and make it to next year’s camp. Amazing time spent.
To begin, the camp had some great and passionate participants: Denver-Boulder locals Tim, Ed, Doug and new Boulderite Dave Hackworthy. Dave is an Elite and U23 rider and Worlds and Euro Camp Participant for new the new Clement | Ridley | Boulder Cycle Sport team. We also had Wes from Indy and Joe from Idaho. Great characters. Make no mistake: This was a crew of passionate ‘crossers who want to get their game dialed. The skill levels ranged from first season to Pro. If a Pro rider is in the midst, you should be too! Everyone should continue to learn. It’ll make you fast!
The first day was spent with essentially a 3:1 ratio of coaches to camper focusing on your fit and your fitness. It was a true 'lab coat' session and wonderfully educational.
Coach John V used 20 + years of experience (and coaching many of YOUR heroes on the cross scene to huge seasons and World Championship podiums) to get YOU dialed on your bike. This is not a road bike fit for your cross bike. This is position-forward, milk-the-power fitting specific for your cyclocross bike, your style of riding and of course your physiology. The software programs used (primarily Dartfish) were amazing. You could see in amazing slow motion how various changes would radically improve your position which by extension improves your power and most importantly ‘freshness’ on the bike.
While one camper was getting fit, another was in the VO2testing torture chamber. FasCat coach Krista would work with you on the VO2 max/lactate testing. I’d never had this done before and it was…frickin’ hard!
The VO2/lactate testing was very ineteresting. It involves a radically hard ‘escalation’ of effort starting at 150 watts and progresses in blocks until you’ve reached your threshold. This could be 350 watts for some, 5 or 600w for others. The interesting part is how the body manages lactate during this load. I was told that I was at 2x the amount of lactate produced than any other camper at my threshold (400+ watts for roughly 60 seconds at the end of my testing). Good? I still need to get the analysis walked through but it’s really how you process lactate and manage it under load. Trust me, no Lemond am I but having the data is better than NOT having the data! I am better prepared with how to handle it during races.
To get your lactate measured, you offer your finger for prick
ing. You can see my right hand in the picture to the left about to get pricked. Or, here’s what it looks like close up (right)…
So, again, the effort was massive and was (for me) the first depth I’ve done since coming back from busting myself up. But it felt great to go fully cross-eyed for the first time in 9 weeks.
While one camper was being fit and another wired up in the hurt box, Rebecca’s incredibly capable hands as a PTA would ensure your muscular/skeletal system was in good order from the exertions you were putting out. She was also critical in the fit process to ensure your body dimensions matched the bike fit spot on to keep you injury free…
Day 2: Equipment and Skills…
Saturday morning was a cross geek’s dream. We spent considerable time diving into low level details of cyclocross equipment. Brake set up, tire pressure, gearing ratios, running double versus single rings….you name it. It was discussed. Brandon painstakingly walked the campers through all these details and answered everyone’s questions.
We then kitted up and got ready for our day-of-skills training. We would do an AM session at a large thickly-grassed park, the afternoon session at the infamous Elk’s Lodge: where legends are made and hearts are broken every Wednesday morning.
The instruction and training was infinitely low-level. All ninja tricks were exposed to the campers to ensure fluidity and fun. The smoother you are, the faster you are, and it all adds up to more smiles and podium potential.
For our skills sessions, Paul from CrossPropz was a huge help to the camp by providing TONS of his portable barriers. We had them spread out essentially in mini-courses on the grass with Coach Frank equipped with Dartfish taping EVERYONE’s game. We'd come through the barriers over and over again. We would watch the films, rewind, critique and try again until ALL the campers felt great and proud of their improvements. Everyone was markedly faster through barriers after seeing themselves and having some of the best coaches in the industry work with them to refine their game. Between sessions, we’d go back to the plush HQ of FasCat Coaching and analyze everyone as a group. It was enlightening to hear everyone help eachother out, no holds barred, just to ensure their camp-patriots were faster…
Later in the evening before team dinner, Coaches John and Frank got together with campers one-on-one to walk through individualized training plans…a HUGE part of this camp’s draw. Campers are worked with on their goals for the season and plans were created accordingly…for each individual. Amazing.
Day 3: Putting it all together…
The prior 24 hours were intense. Tons of watts put out, tons of hot laps put in and LOTS learned. Yet, still tons more to try out! In the morning, coaches John and Frank talked through a general philosophy of training for cross to ensure freshness by the end of the season (sound familiar??). We also talked of how to efficiently warm up. I did a small contribution on race day rituals....quite fun to articulate some of the ninja tricks I've learned over the last 14 years of racing this beautiful sport...
Hot laps and more instruction on handling off-cambers and run ups happened Sunday, the last day of the camp. Coach John dialed in everyone’s technique to show how to save energy, be strategic in taking ‘your space’ through barriers and finding lines that you’d NEVER think about. Only that amount of experience can show you these details.
If you’re interested and have plenty of time to waste, you can look through my Flickr album for the camp. Or, feel free to leave comments to ask any questions about it. Worth every second.
I HIGHLY recommend the camp, or any camp you can attend if traveling is hard to do no matter where you *think* you are in your cross ‘career’. You…Will…Learn…LOTS! You’ll also make some rad new friends in the process who share your passion for what we do on any given weekend in the fall.
Hup hup, buttercups! What did YOU do this weekend to get your head in the game for cross??
P.S. Our camp had Space Legs? Did yours? Ha!
Boulder Cycle Sport was honored to be one of the first shops (if not THE first shop) in the US to get a sneak peek at the 2011 Ridley Cyclocross bikes we'll be rocking with this upcoming season. Our friends from QBP including good friend Steve Bobusch made the trek down from Minneapolis (ironically bring US great weather from the mid west) to allow the Boulder Cycle Sport and Blue Sky Racing Team s/b BCS 'cross team and a slew of cross geek friends to review some great Belgian products: Ridley bikes and Lazer Helmets.
World Champ Štybar's (say: Shteebar) incredible 2011 X-Night complete with SRAM Red grouppo and new Avid brakes.
Steve "Sev-ee" Bobusch of QBP showing off the new and incredibly light Lazer Genesis and Helium products.
It would be Belgium without some Belgian Bubbles. Dubba showing some of the night's booty.
Dan Farrell checking out the simplicity of the Lazer's ratcheting system. It truly was SUPER easy to find and spin the dial to adjust the helmet.
The new 'price point' Ridley X-Ride. Sub $2K aluminum goodness.
National AND Colorado State Champion...oh AND terror to European Master's crossers...Pete Webber scoping out, ahem, one of my X-Nights, freshly dragged out of the cellar for the event and to help folks with sizing. Pete will be rocking the Ridley's this season. Hup!
We are indebted to the support Ridley and QBP provide the Boulder Cycle Sport 'cross team. Obviously we can vouch for the quality of the product and hope you check 'em out at your local dealer. Double hup!
See the full slideshow and all the antics here...