Race weight

If your bike weighs less than 10 kg, you probably can't spend your way to a bike that is enough lighter to make much difference. Aerodynamic drag is usually a bigger factor than the mass you are moving anyway. But on a hilly course, weight can make the difference between staying with the pack or getting dropped. Sure, it's not the peloton of Le Tour, but getting dropped still means you'll have to either catch up or find somebody else to paceline with on the next flat bit.

So weight matters. If you can't take it out of the vehicle, then it has to come out of the engine. So far, since the new year, I've dropped my weight by about half my bike weight while adding strength. That was my goal. I have a lot of hills to climb this year.


SIR 200K

SIR 200K in 8h 54min. That's about 1h 45min behind Jan Heine, the fastest finisher, and in the top 20%. I like to finish in the top 10% of ultra-endurance events, but I woke up at 1:00AM feeling kind of nasty, so I'm not dissatisfied.


Become What You Are

"Become What You Are" I learned these words from listening to Juliana Hatfield, not from reading Nietzsche. I think critically about how I ride a bike, because that's the only way to improve. I gather Nietzsche deemed critical thought unhelpful. Well screw him.

Regardless, at 46, I'm a little young to grow out my beard grey and ride a steel horse with a bed roll and a frying pan.

But I've become a randonneur. Somehow this has happened. That's not the only kind of biker I am, but I am this thing now.

I have no idea what Nietzsche meant, but I think I understand what Hatfield was on to.


I rebuild the fast bike

I'm in the middle of my first major surgery on the fast bike.

In the past, I've put on new wheels, replaced the front fork when it got trashed, and put on aero bars. But none of those things really touched the purpose of the bike. Now, I'm taking a Trek Madone, the bike most associated with Lance, and building it up for the least likely thing that it's plausibly suitable for: randonneuring.

That's right: a plastic rando bike. Randonneurs ride steel. (Except the few who spend for titanium.) Randonneurs are required to have fenders, and my Madone doesn't even have the braze-ons to mount conventional fenders. Randonneurs need to carry supplies and spare clothing, sometimes lots of it, and there is basically no way to put a luggage rack on this bike.

So bad idea? Maybe. But I know this bike well. I like the way it fits, and it likes me back. It's been a good ride for 8,000 miles, and I frankly don't think I have time between now and August to build up a new bike from scratch and get it dialed in the way I'd need it. Sure, I rode 100 miles on this bike the morning after I bought it, with a "fit" that was literally by eyeball. But 100 miles isn't very far by rando standards. When you are going to be on a bike all day and all night, you need to be comfortable, and you need to ride and react with the bike as one unit. I'm just not ready to start another relationship like that.

What I've done so far:
- 42cm (2cm narrower) bars (should have done that a long time ago)
- 2cm shorter stem
- aero bars off since the French don't allow them
- Luggage (!) fore and aft
- 26mm tires run at a mere 80psi, replacing 23mm tires at 120psi
- rear fender
- an LED headlight close to what a motorcycle has.
It's a little like an F1 car with a ski rack.

I haven't taped the new bars yet, still tweaking the brake lever position. I need to redo the rear fender and add a front one. I need to redo how the lights are mounted. It's the same bike now, but also very different.