08 March 2009

Hints of Springtime

I headed out Saturday with the goal of finally getting in my first 100+ mile (160+ km) ride this calendar year, and getting up over one of the 1000+ meter elevation passes, having been thwarted by a broken spoke when I tried Kazahari last month. Mission accomplished -- almost 190 km for the day and I made it over Tawa/Tsuru and Kazahari. I realize this would be a "short" day for Tom or possibly Ludwig, but very satisfactory for me.

I headed out Onekansen, then along the "tank road" through the park and climbed/descended the forest road along the N. Side of Tsukui-ko, took 412/20 out past Sagami-ko to Uenohara and finally along the always beautiful and quiet Routes 33/18 toward Tawa and Tsuru Passes and Kosuge-mura. Despite the forays into Chichibu, this remains one of my favorite roads. There were hints of Spring from new green on the hillsides, offsetting what seemed to be the brown tint of pollen on the fur trees.


All was fine until climbing the last part of Tsuru Pass. Just as I stood up out of the saddle and pushed on one of the steeper slopes about 125 meters elevation below the top, I heard the distinct "ping" of a drive-side rear wheel spoke breaking. The tension on the remaining spokes was greater than when this happened 3 weeks ago, such that the rim was bent and the tire was now rubbing against both the fully opened brakes and the inside of the chain stay. .... but I could still manage to turn over the pedals and figured I might as well go over the top. I made it down the other side and to one of the villages on Rte 139 just above Okutama-ko, where I was able to borrow a pliers from a man who was doing some work on a little gasoline motor in front of his house. I managed to loosen the adjacent non-drive-side spokes enough to and make the wheel very close to "true." It felt almost as good as new.

The plum (ume) blossoms have come out at Okutama-ko, having made it up the valley from Oume over the past few weeks, and it felt almost warm in the sunshine at Okutama-ko.


I stopped at the traditional Positivo Espresso roadside cafeteria for sansai (mountain vegetable) udon, which was delivered as usual with some extra pickled vegetables and cooked carrots and daikon on the side. I did not ask the proprietors, but I noticed after leaving that they have taken down the sign on the front of the building -- I hope only to touch up the signature beige/off-white paint, rather than as a sign of anything more ominous. They seemed open for business, with the usual crowd of two other customers (one 75 yr old man talking with the proprietor/waitress about not catching any fish that morning, and another even older man who was getting oxygen through a portable tank).

But if it was Spring at Okutama-ko, it was definitely still late winter on top of Kazahari, with plenty of snow on the side of the road. I did not break any records for the ascent, but at least made it up and down without any other problems.

The weather had started to go downhill by the time I made it back to the Tamagawa.
I'm not sure it was such a great idea to try to ride 100 km+ on my Mavic rear wheel AFTER a spoke had broken. At least I stopped shaving off the side wall of my tire after I was able to adjust the other spokes, but the wheel was no longer a perfect circle with one broken and two adjacent loosened spokes. I noticed a slow leak from the rear tire on the way back down the river and stopped near Y's to change the tube. Then just before going under the Odakyu line, a second drive-side spoke broke with a "ping" almost opposite the first one. The wheel is now 5 years old, and has been used for a majority of my riding each year. Time for something new.

4 comments:

TOM said...

Enjoyed reading about your solo ride last Saturday David; very nice pictures too, I like the one with the little snow on top looking down at Okutamako. Better get a decent pair of brand-new wheels matching your Cervelo now! I hear the Fulcrums are favored by many heavier riders.

I did my fifth Tour de Miura last Saturday...as the days get warmer, each time there seems to be more and more automobile traffic. Miura may be only good for cyclists during the coldest winter months only...

Anonymous said...

David - sounds like its time to trade up to a pair of lightweights!! ;-) might know where to get my hands on a pair... just what you need for the transalp dj

David L. said...

Tom and DJ, thanks for the wheel recommendations.

If the stock market goes back to where it was last summer, and if I really surprise myself in the Transalp, then I'll think about rewarding myself with a pair of Lightweights!

Meanwhile, I stopped by Nalshima on my way home from work yesterday (Friday) evening and bought a pair of Fulcrum Racing 1 wheels at a reasonable discount. They are "two-way fit" compatible and I got (and had mounted on them -- not quite as easy as dealing with a regular clincher!) the tubeless Hutchinson tires. The "two way fit" seems intended to reassure buyers about backward compatibility and finding tires at the drop of a hat -- they are intended as tubeless, and why pay the premium over last year's FR1 unless you intend to use the feeature. ... I could not ride them home b/c I was on my commuting fixie, but I hope they will arrive later today in time for a test ride on Sunday. The lack of a tube is supposed to result in a 30% reduction in rolling resistance at the same tire pressure, with the tire at about the same overall weight as a standard clincher tire+tube, no pinch flats, somewhat smoother ride, etc. And you can add a tube if you do suffer a flat while on a longer ride (in theory, they can be ridden without inflation, like tubulars, for some distance). I did not get any sealant ... but if I do have flats, I'll try some, as I've read that it can seal most flats "on the fly" in a few seconds, before significant pressure is lost--not sure what it would do for ride quality/weight.
And there are now Shimano, Campy/Fulcrum and probably other wheels designed for these tires, so hopefully I did not just by a "betamax."

From what I can tell (reviews, specs, touch, word of mouth, etc., they should be both somewhat lighter and sturdier than my 2004 Ksyrium SSC SL's were when they were new). Hope so! I'll give an updated report after I've got some miles on them.

Manfred von Holstein said...

Curious to hear how you will do with your new tyres and wheels. So far I am very happy with my Continental 4000S tyres - haven't had a flat tyre since I got the bike, which is 4,500km by now.

How are you enjoying the power meter on your crank?