New Go-Fast Wheels for the Screamer

I built new wheels for our Screamer tandem, and we tried them out for the first time this morning. The Screamer came with Rhino Lite wheels that are too wide for any tire much more narrow than the 1.5″ Marathons we’ve been running. I wanted to add a set of go-fast wheels and tires for the bike.

I decided I wanted Velocity Aeroheat rims for the new wheels. These are fairly light but really strong rims. I found a bargain on a 40 spoke 559 (26″) rim for the rear at Jenson and a great price on a 36 spoke 406 (20″) for the front on ebay. The rear rim was black while the front one was purple, but I decided I could live with a little mismatch in color to get a great deal. It ended up being an even better deal than I was expecting.

When the 406 rim arrived, it was a 32 hole rim, not 36 as listed. I emailed the seller and told him the rim was not as advertised. He replied promptly, telling me that, indeed, the rim had been listed wrong, that all the rims he had were 32 hole rims, that he had no 36 hole rims. He refunded my money and told me to just keep the rim.

Meanwhile, I was planning on buying hubs and spokes from Peter White Cycles. Their website points out that Velocity Aeroheat rims are very strong, and 406 rims are very strong, and if you use a 406 Aeroheat rim, it’s so strong that you never need to use more than 32 spokes, no matter what the application. Since I already had a 32 spoke 406 Aeroheat rim that I had obtained free of charge laying around, I decided to put that theory to the test, and ordered a hub and spokes for it. It will be interesting to see how it holds up.

I also had mixed feelings about how wide of tires to run. The Aeroheat rims are wide enough that I could still run something as wide as 40mm (1.5″) if I wanted, but narrow enough to run 25mm tires. I decided to try 28mm tires on both front and rear. I bought a Schwalbe Durano for the front and installed a Gatorskin that I already had on the rear. The bike rode nice with them on today’s maiden voyage. It’s noticeably faster on any downhill now. Only time will tell if these are the tires I want to run long term on the bike, but I think the wheels are winners. They still ran true after today’s 29 mile ride, so I think my build is good.

The new wheels, freshly built.

On the bike.

The rear wheel with Gatorskin installed.

The new Durano on the front.

LSR Dart – Itasca Disasta

I rode 113 miles yesterday, a Lone Star Randonneurs Dart. A Dart is a randonneuring team ride, with 3 to 5 riders. It is a ride of at least 180k in distance, teammates must ride together, and the ride must be completed in exactly 12 hours. At least 3 riders must complete the ride for the riders to receive credit, so it’s a good idea to have at least 4 on a team to start. It was two days after my follow up oncologist appointment following my annual scan, and I was still smiling from the news that I’m still cancer free. It seemed a great day for a long ride.

My teammates were all recumbent riders, and the team was called Dart Vader. Riders were Shellene, Greg, Paul, and I. I had designed the route, a 183k route that starts at Lynn Creek Marina on Joe Pool Lake, goes out to Itasca, then to Italy, then to Midlothian, before making the return to Joe Pool Lake. I named the route Itasca Disasta.

It became a fitting name for Paul, whose ride turned into a disasta pretty quickly. We took off from the start at 6:30 am, and he soon became very sick with what appeared to be food poisoning symptoms, and had to quit the ride at mile 14. He was so sick that we all worried about him getting back safely. He called and left a message to let us know he made it home, and we were happy to hear that.

That left us with the minimum 3 riders, but things went well from there. The route climbs Orphan Hill on the way from Maypearl to Itasca. I had never climbed Orphan Hill from that direction. It’s a longer and taller climb from that direction, but much of it is just a false flat, and even near the top where it becomes steeper, it’s still not a steep grade. I climbed it in my middle chain ring.

The highest point of the ride comes after Itasca, when the ride turns southeast and climbs back up the same ridge that holds Orphan Hill. This climb was also not steep, but the 13 miles from Itasca to the US 77 junction is the roughest chip seal I’ve ever ridden. This stretch also has fewer trees, and really catches a south wind. By the time we rode it yesterday, though, the wind wasn’t blowing nearly as hard as it had earlier in the morning.

Just three miles short of our stop in Italy, Greg had a flat. Everything went smoothly after that. It got pretty hot in the afternoon, but we stopped often. 12 hours is way more than enough time to complete a 183k ride, so there was no reason not to ride an easy pace and stop often.

We were supposed to join the other Dart teams for dinner at the Oasis after the ride, but couldn’t get a table, so we drove over to the Sweet Tomatoes and ate there. It was a great time, and you can’t believe how much food skinny riders can down at a buffet…….LOL. Thanks for joining me, Greg, Shellene, and Paul! I hope you’re feeling better today, Paul.

Itasca Disasta Dart route.

FWBA River View Club Ride

I joined the FWBA River View club ride out of Rio Vista at 8:00 this morning. The 60 mile route sounded like the mileage I wanted, but looking at the route map, I noticed the route never passed a single store in that 60 miles. So I decided to do the 76 mile route, but shortcut in a couple of places to get the mileage down to near what I wanted.

The ride takes off from the high school in Rio Vista and heads straight west on CR 1106. It eventually joins FM 916 and passes by the entrance of Hamm Creek Park and then Painted Rock. It’s a beautiful view of the Brazos River from there, and that part of the river is my favorite winter crappie fishing spot.

Anyway, I was still with the lead group of 15 or so riders when we started down the big long hill dropping into the Brazos River valley. I pulled out and coasted past everyone, figuring I’d blast down this long hill all alone. Instead, the lead riders in the group speeded up, fell in right behind me in a single paceline, and the entire lead group bombed down the hill behind me.

Once we passed Hamm Creek Park, I duly peeled off, and as soon as we started climbing out of the river valley, the lead riders were soon out of sight. I fell back with Cheri, Debbie, Cindy, and another rider, and rode along with them until we reached Brazos Point. At that point, the route goes down Brazos Point Hill, and takes those rough roads to Glen Rose. I left the route and executed my first shortcut, riding down FM 200 to Glen Rose.

After a break at the store there, I headed back on FM 200 just ahead of the lead group, which was now down to just five riders. They passed me on one of the hills climbing out of the Brazos River valley, and I stayed right behind them all the way to Cleburne State Park, where a club ice chest with refreshments was waiting just inside the gate. If I just take enough shortcuts, I can hang with the club lead group for a good while, it seems!

After a short break there, we all continued on Park Road 21, but I turned off on CR 1224 just a few miles down the road, for my next shortcut. I arrived back at Rio Vista a few minutes before 1:00 this afternoon, for a total of 63.8 miles. This is a scenic route with some good hills, and with my shortcuts, I enjoyed it a lot.

My version of the FWBA River View route.

Goatneck 200k

I rode the Goatneck 200k route today. I had ridden it at a very easy pace a couple of weeks ago and didn’t feel like I had gotten, as Mick Jagger sings it, “my fair share of abuse”, so I tackled the route again today.

I joined four other riders on the route today. Steve and Sharon were on a tandem. Mark and John were on uprights. It’s a hilly out and back route that starts in Cleburne, goes to Glen Rose for the next control, then on to Bluff Dale, then back.

The first 200k ridden in hot weather each year is always tough, and today was no exception. It was 97 degrees and humid this afternoon as I tackled all the hills on this route. I had filled a 70 ounce Camelbak bladder with water at Glen Rose, 38 miles from the finish, yet ran out of water 7 miles from the finish. That’s a testament to how hot it was and how slow I was on the last leg. By the end, I was barely moving, but I did finish. I ended up with 128.5 miles.

Steve and Sharon on the tandem finished ahead of me. Mark is a very strong rider, but was planning on another ride tomorrow and didn’t want to use everything he had today, came in 10 minutes or so behind me. John DNF’d. He was behind me, and I don’t know where he quit or what the circumstances were. The heat may have gotten to him. This route is a good test for me, but right now I’m thinking I won’t be tackling it again until October or some other cooler month.

Goatneck 200K route.