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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Clobbering the Cobbles

The Spring Classics

It is the first of March today and that could only mean one thing... the Spring Classics are upon us. Forget the Tour de France and the Giro, these northern one-day races over bruising cobbles are my favorites to follow. So much can go so wrong so quickly.

The Schedule Goes:

Jeff Jones (no relation to the actor) has a great piece in the Cycling News on the new gear Carlos Sastre and the Cervelo Test Team will be riding to tame the hours of uneven pave. From Q Rings to aero frames, modified rigs and added padding so these bikes can handle some heavy abuse. Wheels and steerers are the usual points of failure in these races. The most underrated, and obvious change Cervelo is making this season is for wider tires. I think tires and tire pressure are so misunderstood that it is worth a look. Jones quotes Cervelo team mechanic, Gerard Vroomen in his report who says:

"In general, I think everybody should be riding wider tyres all the time but especially on a race like this weekend or Flanders, a Pavé is really overkill. So I think the 25mm Evo CX is really the way to go."

What does this have to do with me?

When I first thought about riding in Taiwan my first thought was a Roubaix style bike, longer stays and relaxed geometry. I probably went overkill, but some of the back roads are pretty gnarly and some Paris-Roubaix teams use modified cyclocross frames. I run 25mm tires on the road and sometimes go up to 30-35mm. There is really not a lot of difference in speed. Only the knobbies seem to drag a little. I think Vroomen makes a great point in stating that:


Basically, fatter is not necessarily slower and comfort can translate into speed. A higher psi is no guarantee for increased speed and performance. Stiffness is not always the answer.

The whole article is worth a read. Just click the link blue text or the link to Cycling News.

A common cycling route in Taiping, Taichung County