Thursday, January 13, 2011

Equipment Preparation (part I)

Chances are right now if you look outside your window you are seeing a bunch of snow, unless you live in Florida where you only deal with snowbirds (far more dangerous by the way). While some of us have been cooped up inside the house since the "great snowstorm of '11" hit, it seems like spring will not get here soon enough. Soon you'll be riding outside, training hard, and looking forward to that last 25 miles of Mt. Mitchell.

One of the things that you can do now is to start planning on equipment selection and what you are going to use on the day of the event. The first and most important things to remember is to have your bike thoroughly inspected and tuned up. This is not something that should be done a day or two before Mitchell. If your bike needs a new chain and you just throw it on right before the ride, it can be skipping around all day and mis-shifting. This can make for a very long 102 miles. Some of the most important things to check to make sure your bike is as prepared as your body are:
1. chain
2. cassette
3. derailleur cables
4. tires.

As for chain and cassette here's a tip. It's a lot easier to change a $35 chain every few thousand miles than to have to completely change the chain, cassette, and chainrings. If your chain completely wears out, it's going to also wear out the cassette and chainrings. Then when you put on that nice new chain, it will not mesh well with your old cassette and chainrings. Regularly changing the chain before it gets worn out can save you headache out having to completely change out the drivetrain. Plus, a new chain just feels so sweet!

As for tires, you are going to want fairly new tires for the ride. By new I do not mean that you should be mounting them on your wheels at 5:30am on the 16th. A good idea would be about a week before the ride to go to your local bike shop and have them do a complete overhaul, change out the chain and put new tires on. It may set you back a few bucks but you'll be able to ride in confidence knowing that your equipment won't fail you. . .hopefully your legs won't either.

Many of you are planning on upgrading wheels or even your bike before the Mitchell. If you are looking at possibly getting a set of event specific wheels and wondering what might be the best option. . .well you'll just have to stay tuned for my next entry. I figure if news stations can sensationalize a weather report, I might as well do the same thing for a cycling blog.

"Wondering about the best wheel selection for Mitchell? Tune in next week for a report that can save you hours. . .  even days!"

Boyd Johnson

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