Friday, April 01, 2016

Friday News And Views

Renegade Gent's Race 6.0- It's gonna "blow us away".
NOTE: None of what you are about to read is a prank, false, or pretending to be anything other than the scribing I usually do. 
Renegade Gent's Race 6.0:

Okay, it is time for me to head South and participate once again in the Renegade Gent's Race. This race should be characterized by one thing- WIND! The forecast says 25mph with gusts to 55mph!!!

Hmm......this could hurt. 

I've done this event when it was really windy before. It was doable, since the terrain is pretty flat. It really sucks when it is windy because the terrain is flat. May as well put down a bunch of fresh gravel while they are at it. Why not? Better stories and memories will result, right?

Now.......which bike gets the call? Since I haven't had time to swap out the tires on the BMC, I believe I am going with the Raleigh, or maybe even the Standard Rando. The Raleigh has deeper gearing though, and despite the course being very flat, that may help with the heavy winds when we ride straight into them. Plus, the gravel tends to be sandy there and the wider Gravel Kings would be of benefit on this course.

The shop where I work recently sold this high-zoot Warbird.
It Is Starting To Happen:

One of the facets of gravel biking I said was going to become appealing to folks was that the traffic counts on gravel roads are typically very low. It is rare that we see more than one car on a 3GR ride, which is 40 miles of gravel, as an example. Coupled with the fact that rural unpaved roads are far more scenic and interesting, I have always thought it was a much more appealing option than running on a blacktop wondering if that speeding car coming behind you at 70mph was going to give you any space, or wondering if the driver was going to throw some pithy epithets your way, or throw something worse.

Ironically, drivers met on gravel roads, when that happens, are typically friendly, waving at you, or at worst, just drive on by. Oh......and they usually are not going over 40mph. Many times even slower. It is a much less stressful, more fun way to enjoy cycling across country.

So, I always figured that once the right marketing, bicycles, and tires were available. it would really start to pique the interests of locals here. You know what? I think it is finally happening. We have been gaining more interest in gravel bikes, people are actually asking about riding gravel, and the cycling media is keeping the concept in front of avid cyclists across the nation. It is all showing up as an interest, and a few sales now. However; if folks start talking that are buying into it now, it has the potential to become the way folks recreate in this state, and beyond. I really think that it does.

We will see..........

Crazy- As in expensive, in design, and in lightweight crazy.
Italian Exotica:

Every once in a while you read about a component or bicycle that is crazy expensive and lust-worthy in terms of weight and design. You never figure that you'll ever see it, and you might wonder if it is for real, because you just never see or read about anyone buying the thing and riding it. I think I see several products a week that fall in to this sort of category. Stuff so amazing, and amazingly expensive, that you cannot quite fathom that it actually exists.

Well, one of those cycling component "unicorns" became reality Thursday when a representative for a company I'd never heard of popped into the shop unexpectedly and had some work done. When he came back to pick up his bike, he came loaded with some of the stuff he carries for several Italian based companies. One of these was a wheel from Alchemist. It was a "X7.44" X-Sense Series front wheel. 15mm through axle, carbon shelled hub, bladed spoke, carbon rimmed wheel that was 44mm wide. So, a massive looking wheel. While I didn't get to weigh it, I know it was well under 1000 grams, and likely 800 or less. It was road racing wheel light. Crazy!

I grabbed an image of a similar model wheel off Alchemist's site here and you can see that the spokes do not pierce the inner rim well, so this is a no tape, tubeless wheel with externally mounted spoke nipples. No need to remove a tire to fix a spoke if the need arises. The spokes on the wheel I held actually crossed from one side of the hub flange to the opposite side of the rim's side. So they "X-ed" at the hub flange in the lateral plane and just under the rim in the vertical plane. Weird. And yeas- they were extremely expensive. The wheel set cost was $2700.00USD. Crazy!

From Rick Vosper's RVMS site
And here is one with not only an Italian connection, but an Iowan one as well. Some crazy scientific experimentation went wrong and an unexpected result was a substance so hard and brittle, the scientists wondered what it could be of any use for. But you know those crazy cats figured out that it was a slippery substance, and somehow this Italian firm, who was trying to figure out how to 3D print a titanium chain got hooked up with the guys at ISU, and BAM!  Check it out HERE. They say this wonder-chain won't need lubrication. Guess I have a new winner for the Guitar Ted Lube-Off!

So, while I haven't actually seen the chain, some of this stuff really does exist! Cool!

That's it for this week! Have a safe, fun, adventurous weekend and I'll be back Monday with a Renegade Gent's Race 6.0 report!!

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