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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Delmarvelous Criterium

Hello race fans:  This race was actually fun.  Click this to get in the spirit of the event.  I don't have a lot to add to my race video.  I did decide to fade out the audio and put in my musical creation.  Primarily because the chatter noise was so loud and annoying.  Plus, I actually like my little musical piece.  Someone gave me a little encouragement so what the hey, why not. (don't worry, I'm not going to start singing). [Use your inner DJ to select music from the music player on the sidebar and mute it and/or the video's audio icon.]

Ok, so I promised to dish out a little wet weather advice that I have learned over the years.  Here's possibly one the best ones:  In order to dry your shoes quickly use newspapers.  Simply ball the sheets up and fill your shoes up.  The capillary action of the paper will quickly dry your shoes out.  After a few hours pull out the paper and allow to air dry.  What?  You already knew that?  Damn.

How about this little ditty:  Another drying trick was given to me recently by my friend Charles Gentry.  This is good for all sorts of drying needs, including removing water that is trapped in your carbon rims (if you have them).  Charles says, Let the "air out of the tube and get a desiccant pack from Walmart.  Comes in a cup and you take the lid off and put the rim and the frame (oh yeah, bike frames too) in a large trash bag with the open cup of desiccant.  Soon the cup will fill with water and you pour it out.  The desiccant will suck out the moisture out of the air in the bag and in the rims and frame.  This is the easy way.  I raced in Hawaii for 5 years and this is what we did."

It is also important to not fully inflate your race tires, in particular the front.  Instead of the standard 120psi, try 85psi for the front and 95psi for the rear when using tubulars (consult the manufacture's instructions for clinchers).  This is most important on the front tire.  You can slide the rear a bit and usually recover, but you will almost never recover from a front wheel slide.  Where the front wheel goes, so does the bike.  Typically racers take the first corners tentatively and progressively get faster.  The last corners before the finish often have wipe outs. (for information concerning high speed cornering see my post on the topic.)

That leads me to the single most important rule of bike racing and general group riding (rain or no rain).......NEVER HALF WHEEL!  Basically, half wheeling is the potentially dangerous and foolish practice of positioning a bicycle such that a rider's front wheel crosses the plane of the rear wheel of the rider in front of them.  If the front rider swerves suddenly on purpose (say.... to avoid a pot-hole or a dead aardvark) or accidentally (say..... because they noticed some discarded porn in the ditch)  they can sweep the front wheel of a rider that is half wheeling.  Again, as we have already learned:  where the front wheel goes, so does the bike.  Half wheeling is probably the most common cause of bike crashes and is most common when the pack is bunched up and not going very hard. That's one of the reasons why I say that fast races are safe races.  When it is super fast, there is no half wheeling.  And if someone crashes in a corner, they are usually sweep off the course by the pure momentum of their trajectory.  As Martha Stewart says:  "It's a good thing!"

For information concerning biking and racing safe see my post on the topic.

Well, that's enough dude and dudettes.  Enjoy your you know what.  (bicycle)

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