Friday, December 14, 2018

Friday News And Views

Wolf Tooth Seat Collar
The Final Piece Of The Puzzle:

Wednesday Wolf Tooth made an announcement concerning a new component that they were going to add to their line. A seat collar. Just a seat collar.........

But, this one comes in PURPLE! 

Okay, so back in June I ordered a bunch of parts for my new Black Mountain Cycles MCD which, as everyone knows now, is pink. I wanted a purple seat collar and I had a really hard time tracking one down. Salsa used to make them, but I could not find anything in a small enough size that would work on the BMC frame which is steel, of course.

I tracked down a possibility but it was just too big, and so I went with the stock one that came with the frame. I'd pretty much given up hope that I'd ever track one down. But this news that came on Wednesday was well received here. I definitely will be getting one, and in a bonus- it is from the same company my head set is from. 

Of course, they make all the other cool anodized colors as well in several different sizes. You can go HERE to see the webpage on Wolf Tooth's site. MSRP is $24.95

The Mississippi Gravel Cup flyer
Why I Never!  

There is this thing called "preconceived notions" that can lead you astray. I know I have been led astray by these notions I have had about different things in the past. Sometimes we don't acknowledge these notions because it makes us seem "weak", "wrong", or whatever. I know sometimes people like to only talk about the aftermath of their preconceived notions getting torn down by saying "mind blown!", or by using some other clever, socially current phrase. Me? I'm just going to tell you right up front.

I was dead wrong about Mississippi. 

Jason Sheerer, a resident of Mississippi, came to ride in Trans Iowa last spring. He finished well, and afterward he said something to the effect that "Iowa is boring. Nothing but empty corn and soybean fields. But the race was great!" That bothered me a bit, and I thought to myself, "Yeah, but Mississippi isn't all that great. Probably nothing but cotton fields."

And that was that. Jason went home and I went on with my business. Then this whole deal with interviewing he and his wife came about for a "Featured Event" post for (That should post this weekend, by the way) As I was speaking with them, I was getting a completely different picture of Mississippi painted for me. One of beautiful National Forests, winding gravel roads, and fun people to ride with. Their words made me excited to go ride there.

Then they sent me some pictures.

Let's just say that I am seriously considering making the trip down to take in one of their events. Check out their site here.

The Bubblegum Princess with 650B wheels
Gimme The Big Ones:

So, this whole 650B wheeled thing has been around here at Guitar Ted Laboratories for a couple years, maybe three now. Anyway, I've given them the good ol' "college try". I have compared and contrasted them with 700c wheels on three different bikes and with a few different tires and wheel sets. I think I've come to some good conclusions.

While the 650B wheels and tires do some things pretty well, the most impressed I ever was with them was when I rode on pavement. They just can be so pillowy-smooth that it is incredibly fun. On gravel it was a mixed bag. The best tires I ever used were Terrene Elwoods or WTB Byways. In either case, I could make an argument to always run 650B. However, when it comes to good, 700c X 42-45mm wheel and tires, hands down the ride and performance is better on gravel. It's almost as nice on pavement many times, and it is neck and neck with 650B on dirt and sand.

So, unless I am testing 650B tires, I am reverting back to 700c wheels and tires 24-7. It's just better all day, every day. At least it is for me. Now, like I said, if I was doing a road tour, I would seriously consider the 650B X 47mm Horizons or Byways. Fully bagged out, self-supported road touring would make sense, to me, on wheels like that. But out on the plains, on gravel, on Level B roads, in Kansas, in Nebraska, in Minnesota, I'm running 700c wheels without question.

End Of The Year Questions:

In May of 2019 I will be entering my 15th year of blogging. (!!!!) So, I was thinking about doing something special to celebrate that fact and I had a few questions for you as readers of the blog to ponder. Basically, I am searching for feedback, and if you'd be so kind as to respond via commenting here or by e-mail, that would be awesome.

I have a few ideas I wanted to run by y'all. In no particular order.....
  • I've been thinking about a t-shirt. I could use the logo seen here, which I've used even before I started blogging, by the way. I also have the "OG" sketch for this logo which is a tiny bit different, but I've always liked it. Basically it is what you see here with a smoking skull on top of the cube. ha! Jeff Kerkove didn't like it back when he digitized this image for me. So that wasn't ever published. Anyway, a bit of blog history there. Let me know if a t-shirt would be something you'd like to see and purchase. 
  • A New Series Idea: I can tell you right now that the most popular thing I am doing here, by far, is the "Touring Series" posts. Those posts are drawing twice the views most of my other stuff is. Obviously you folks like the series! The thing is, after January, the series will be over. So, I have room for some other regularly appearing series to take its place. My mind has settled on doing Trans Iowa stories. One of my readers has suggested I write a book about Trans Iowa. Well, this could be the beginning drafts of that. You could be a part of the process. I'm not sure how it will look, but I can cross that bridge later if y'all want to see me do this. 
  • Don't Change A Thing!: I could also do nothing special. I could just keep chugging along as I always have. By the way, this year figures to be #2 on post count all time. So, yeah.......I'm keepin' busy here! 
  • Change Something! Maybe you do want to see something I haven't mentioned done. Something you've always thought I should cover, talk about, or do. This is your chance to steer the ship. Say it now or forever hold yer peace! 
Anyway, this has been a banner year here. Thank you for reading and for coming back every day. I know some of you hit this space once or twice a week and catch up on several posts at a crack. I also do know, (because I've been told by many of you) that I am your morning coffee read, or "the first thing I do" read, and for that I say, THANK YOU!

That's enough for this edition of "FN&V" Have a great weekend and I'll be out riding. Will you?


Mark Thorrowgood said...

Hi. I'd love to see a series like "Gravel: Beyond the Plains," focused on US states like California and Colorado and International gravel locations like New Zealand.

I know you ride a cyclocross 36-46 crankset, but that needs to change for some in the mountains. Maybe look at equipment, approaches to riding mountain gravel and race strategies.

Right now gravel and mixed surface racing is really taking off in NZ and that typically features 60-90 miles with up to 6000 feet of climbing. Rough numbers, but you get the picture. Not all gravel scenes are long and flat, some are shorter and steeper.

On the Trans Iowa note, maybe a series on the basics of setting up an event? Lots of grassroots and semi official events popping up, so people might appreciate some advice on the challenges you faced and how they were overcome in the Trans Iowa.

graveldoc said...

1) I like the design you posted for your T-shirt. 2) I would enjoy reading some of your behind the scenes stories of T.I. I've been reading your blog for so long, I've probably read most everything you've written before, during, and after T.I. That said, I'd imagine you could dig up some special bits you'd enjoy sharing. 3) I always enjoy reading your input on the "industry" and what is coming along. 4) Mark T's requests would be interesting for me to read, though my riding locale does not involve mountains; just occasionally steep Missouri Ozarks rollers. My "two cents" do whatever pleases you to write about.

Rydn9ers said...

Oh Billy! You must do the Trans Iowa story, it NEEDS to be told and there is nobody better to tell it than the man, the myth and the legend himself. I would envision it as an autobiography of sorts, not heavy on technical specs which can tend to glaze over they eyes of the reader but more how you would tell it if you were 95 years old and your great grandson came to visit and asked ole Gramps what it was like.

Iowagriz said...

I've driven from Pensacola to Iowa several times in the past 5 years and go thru Mississippi in one direction or the other each time. I've been impressing with the state, enough to consider a bikepacking trip down there as well. The gravel series would probably go thru some amazing areas. Much more forested (once you get away from the Mississippi river) than expected.

FarleyBob said...

I am one of those morning coffee with G-Ted guys! I really appreciate all that you do and love reading your blog! The Touring Series is great! I will be sad to see it come to its' conclusion. A series on TI would be awesome! I love the personal side of story. The technical stuff is good to know and interesting in its' own right, but the ride reports and the personal insight is what draws me in. Keep up the great work!

Nebo said...

I'm in for a t-shirt.I think a Trans Iowa series would be good reading.Maybe a weekend day so you could still have reviews and industry news during the week.

Adrienne Taren said...

+1 for Trans-Iowa series. Started reading your blog after TI last year and I enjoy the variety of posts right now. And, I'm glad someone shares my feelings on 650b vs 700 wheels. I had 650b on one of my bikes for a while last year and ended up swapping them back to 700. I can objectively appreciate the pluses, but I just felt much less efficient, had more trouble maintaining momentum. I imagine that largely depends on one's riding style, but have been told by a number of people that it's "in my head"!

teamdarb said...

First, No Tee Shirt. I find these kind of offering to be more geared to those who are not really getting out. I am not saying those who would attain one do not ride. I am specifically speaking of the purpose and quality. Why offer up a print on a cotton shirt that just ultimately becomes a rag because you cannot keep stain free, smelling neutral, or layer up. I spend much time outside, and keep limited clothing. I cringe when I see shirt or sock offerings for followers of the out door genre. I say give the webpage a new look instead.

Second, Yes to tales. I would like to read more randomness, things outside of cycling i.e. the guitar stuff. Not specifically that, but you know the articles that usually start warning folk this is your blog space and you can focus on whatever you want. Ha.

I will ask, " What is it which keeps you motivated to keep the blog going?"

hank said...

G-Ted, Howdy;

I'm crawling closer to my 70th b-day every day. Like many, I cherish my days on 2 wheels, both peddle and Milwaukee V-twin powered. Trouble now days is I need to lug an O2 (oxygen) tank
along when I wander anywhere. So, ... how about some sort of series/every once in awhile a
blurb about how to "get-er-done" in a 2 wheeled world when it takes some out-side the box
Me, I use a front rack with a milk crate for the bottle, well secured so I don't create a
"super bottle rocket" should I take a fall.


Zed F. said...

Based on the pictures of your bikes, I assume you're moderately tall. What do you think of 650s vs. 700s for shorter riders?

Guitar Ted said...

@Jim Mearkle- I am a little over 6ft tall, if that is "moderately tall", then I guess......

Adrienne, up above in the comments- is shorter than I am, so I would take her comments into consideration. I think for people who are +/- 5ft or shorter, well 650B then is probably the biggest wheel you should be riding, at that point. Anything above 5'2' and 700c is a viable option that won't have geometry constraints due to the rider's height.

The maxim I like, if you have to live by gross generalizations, is "One should ride the largest diameter wheels that they can." Within reason, of course.......

Scott said...

Hi GT. You mention Elwoods and Byways as two of the best 650b tires. What is your favorite 700c tire?

Guitar Ted said...

@Scott- For gravel, I assume? That would be the WTB Resolute 700 X 42mm