Sunday, June 13, 2010

Camping Wheels

Getting ready for the big race is pretty much a full time job right now. Yesterday was another marathon day spent on the course marking sign locations and potholes, followed by yet another sign-making session in the shop. Chief organizer Sirott spent the weekend driving to Seattle and back to pick up a trailer load of WSBA equipment for the race.

It's a pretty epic course, but has turned out to be monumental in terms of setup logistics and organization of race-day volunteers. It will all come together. One thing for sure, the course is scenic as hell. Even though racers are a little busy to do much taking in of scenery, I think it contributes to the experience at some level. Here's a shot I took yesterday . . .

Me 'n Sirott did manage to sneak in a west plains ride today, though.

And it was important for me to get in some dirt-road miles in this hottish weather because of this next part:

In addition to the race and the reason for the post title is that I'm also parallel-processing for another event that I'm super excited about. It's a two-night dirt road camping trip. My bike camping inexperience means that there's lots of details to wonder about and attend to.

But one of the big problems has been solved. I really don't (didn't) have a good set of heavy-duty wheels. I'm not the smallest guy on earth and I've been squeaking by with parking myself and a load of krap on lightweight wheels for a while, and a sense of borrowed time is gnawing on me.

So I've relied on the advice of a bunch of people and come up with this wheelset. Dave Mannino at Two-Wheel brought in all the bits and did the build, which totally rules, because well, with Dave, you know you're in good hands. Better than good. Here's the side-by-side of the old and new wheels:

Old wheel . . .

New wheels . . .

My best guess as to the right tires for the job . . .


Oh, did I mention that I got a scale a coupla weeks ago and I'm weighing the hell outta everything? The biggest surprise to me is that the new 36-spoke heavy-duty wheels don't weigh all that much more than the 20-spoke lightweight wheels. Maybe those weird high-flange hubs are heavier than they look. Or maybe the wheels are stonger than I'm giving them credit for. But 20 spokes? Mmmm, think I'd feel better with just a few more.

So. I'm afraid you're in for more bike camping geek business and a lot of unsolicited info about what a bunch of my shit weighs. Sorry in advance.

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