May 24, 2007
BOISE, May 24 â€” The funniest thing happened to me: I was back stage at the Big Easy Concert House and a discussion between a guitar player and manager brought back years of working on race bikes in a flood. The feeling of deja vu tossed me into a hysterical laughter that only I was able to appreciate. The guitar player had changed his guitar strings out right before the show. The manager was really upset and for the next half hour he sat pulling and tugging on the strings to sufficiently stretch them to where they could be adjusted to hold tune for the upcoming show.
While at Moo Cycles I have been witness to dozens of bicycle racers doing the equivalent to their bike right before an event. When the inevitable mechanical happens, there is always the opportunity to point to something other than the obvious. The bike is part of the sport, and with the technology reaching ever lighter, more technical, and more precise, the modern racer should always be mindful of the need to schedule an effected mechanical regiment for the equipment that they so dearly rely on for each event.
My hysterics at the concert were due in part to the countless times racers would bring in a bicycle for a tune the night before a race, or the rider dragging me by the arm moments before the start to adjust the now out-of-tune piece of equipment. When a bike is tuned it goes from this steady state of depreciating performance to a massive readjustment that requires time for realignment and settling. The best of mechanics, such as Brian Grieger and Jason Bowers, able mechanics at World Cycles, are able to provide some compensation with an expedited break-in which is set to fall into adjustment rather than out of adjustment. In all of the following cases understanding the machine is part of the fun, and if you hate dealing with it you can always run.
So here are 10 ways to KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID:
- Don’t change your chain or any other drive train component unless you replace it all (chain rings, chain, and cassette)!
- Don’t change your cables and housing unless you have ample time to break them in and get them readjusted.
- Don’t ever change disk brake pads without allowing a couple of rides for pad/rotor break-in. If you pads are howling like crazy you have contaminated them and need new pads.
- Don’t ever adjust your shock pressure at the starting line.
- Don’t ever run a chain that is too short (check by making sure it is possible to run your big/big ring).
- Don’t ever run equipment that you are not intimately familiar with. (Take the time to ride what you are intending on racing).
- Don’t ever adjust your saddle position mid-season if you can help it or unless youâ€™re having major ailments.
- Don’t ever change you cleats without at least clicking into your pedals a few times (I once put Darren’s cleats on backwards, needless to say I beat him that day).
- Don’t ever do a race without doing a thorough check over of the bikes tire sidewalls, allen bolts, and rear D limits. Careful inspection (not necessarily adjustment) of your drive train identifying any broken teeth, frozen or unusual links, hops, skips, or sounds. These always lead to an underlying issue.
- Don’t ever try an energy drink that you have never used before (this is a freebie as it is not related to the bike).
And never, ever go to a race in Utah with out your own BEER!