A Successful Tire Experiment: Biking on the Wind

September 29, 2008

I’d decided that the 28mm Armadillo tire wasn’t going to work on my bike with the spacing that I had.  The 25mm Armadillo tire was working out splendidly though.  One of the tires I’d been considering originally was a Continental Gatorback, a tire with good wear and puncture resistance similar to the Armadillo.  It’s a much lighter tire though, so I left the 25mm Armadillo on the back, and put the new 25mm Gatorback on the front wheel.

There is no comparison between the clearance between the top of the tire and brake assembly.  With the 28mm tire, I had to have the front brakes all the way open to arch the top of the brake assembly over the top of the tire.  With the 25mm tire, I’m able to properly adjust the brakes now.

While I was at the shop, I sought and received an education on the proper installation/clamping of the tire into the fork drop-outs.  What a difference in wheel spin this makes on the front/rear wheels!

Once out on the trail, I decided to forego my normal warm-up period where I draft behind Penny for the first half of the ride or so.  Instead, the bike felt very light and nimble… no more molasses… and I just kinda took off with Penny tucked into the draft.  Wow…. we were cruising along at 19-20mph on the warmup phase of the ride.  Normally we do good to ride along at 16-17 while getting the blood to our muscles.  I know it doesn’t sound like much (but we’re still relatively new at riding for “speed”), but the effort it normally takes to increase that 3-4 mph seems to really “put it to” my quads.  Also, I usually risk toasting my legs or bonking when I dig too much during warm-up.  Not the case today!  It felt like we had a strong tailwind at our backs and the bike was taking minimal effort to keep going.  Not to be outdone, when Penny took her turn out front to pull, she kept the pace up nicely, except in spots where I asked her to slow so we could get a bit of recovery “spinning” (high cadence pedaling), but even the pace of that was higher than we normally do.  At some point during the “spinning”, I made a comment that I didn’t feel like Penny could “toast” me or “drop” me tonight.  She took that as a personal challenge, I heard her gears changing,  and immediately she dropped the hammer… but it’s always easier to sit in the slipstream of someone’s elses draft, so I just when to higher gears and just cruised along right on her tire. 🙂  She did a whale of a job though and equaled my top pace on the first leg when we were outbound.  Last week, even staying in the draft with Penny when she was pulling hard was very fatiguing for me…. but not tonight!!

It may have just been a nice convergence of tire change, wheel clamp adjustments, and personal energy level, but the ride was a nice change from the lethargy and lead I’d felt in the past week!  Hopefully my bike mechanic skills continue to improve/evolve so that I don’t have to pay the price physically again… LOL!!

I learned another important lesson too…. while my legs are a good bit stronger than Penny’s (and she’s a strong girl), the bike doesn’t have to be too far out of tune for her to get cocky and dust me at will while I slog it out… a bit of resistance is a great equalizer!  Of course… now I know how to adjust her bike too…. bwahahahahahahaha!!!!


One comment

  1. I wonder if that clamp can ‘tighten’ over time……I bet it does. So don’t be surprised if every once in a while you feel that drag…..hehehe

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