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Posts Tagged ‘Paris-Roubaix’

This week is Tire Review Week. For our first review, we have the Torelli Arezzo Open Tubular Tire:

torelli arezzo open tubular handmade tire 700c 700 x 23 torelli tubular paris roubaix challenge grifo michelin review

Torelli sent me a set of their Arezzo “Open Tubulars” last summer to test them and give them a review. By open tubular, this means that the carcass is very similar to a handmade tubular, but has a bead on both sides/does not have the tube stitched inside. The tread is glued to the carcass when fully inflated, so it holds a very round shape when pumped up.

torelli arezzo open tubular handmade tire 700c 700 x 23 torelli tubular paris roubaix challenge grifo michelin review

The weight of these tires are very light for being handmade, and the casing cloth is supremely supple due to it’s 260tpi thread count. (207g, 205g) I ended up wanting to inflate these tires 10psi higher than my suggested weight/terrain would expect, just due to the fact that they ran so smooth. The tread and casing of the tire ate up tiny bumps in a way that a 25mm tire would, but with it’s 205g/23c size profile. The sidewalls are bare polyester with just a smidge of rubber covering them, and were no more susceptible to punctures as any other race tire, e.x. Michelin Pro 3 Race’s. The cloth right under the tread has a single layer of aramid protection above the cotton casing. This does not change the way the suppleness of the tire conforms to the road, and protects just as well as any other race tire.

torelli arezzo open tubular handmade tire 700c 700 x 23 torelli tubular paris roubaix challenge grifo michelin review

About 1100 miles into my review, I had a blowout on the rear tire, where a perfectly placed nail caught the sidewall and blew out the wheel instantly. The beads kept the tire on very well, and I was able to slow down to a stop with little or no trouble. I do not have anything bad to say about this, since it would have ruined any other tire in the same situation. I’m just glad it stayed on my rim, and did not fly off or get caught up in my drivetrain or frame!

torelli arezzo open tubular handmade tire 700c 700 x 23 torelli tubular paris roubaix challenge grifo michelin review

After this incident, I switched the front tire to the rear, and put on one of my previous tires for the front. This tire failthfully lasted through another 700 miles of the rougher terrain that WV had to offer, including rides that should have been for the cross bike… I finally stopped using this tire when the tread was worn down to the carcass in a single spot I skid-stopped on unintentionally several hundred miles earlier.

The tires roll fast, are as grippy, if not grippier than some of the big named tire companies, and just feels so plush. Seriously, watch out… you’re going to want to over inflate these…

torelli arezzo open tubular handmade tire 700c 700 x 23 torelli tubular paris roubaix challenge grifo michelin review

All in all, for the price of these tires, there is no doubt that I enjoyed them. Flats were rare, grip and rolling resistance was equivalent to any other premium tires I have used, and they really did smooth out the little bumps like a tubular or larger tire does.

Would I suggest these as everyday tires? Yes, but only if you are knowingly willing to accept that they will not last as long as say, a Conti Gatorskin or Michelin Krylion would. 1800mi on a handmade tire is pretty darn good, and especially at the quality and price that Torelli serves them at.

Overall Review 4/4 Stars

You can buy these at the following locations:

Smart Cycles

AirBomb

Company Product Info:

http://torelli.com/tubes-tires-maintenance/tires/arezzo-open-tubular.html

Torelli “Open Tubulars” are vastly superior to regular clincher tires in feel and performance. An open tubular uses the same technology and materials as a high-end sew-up with the convenience of mounting on a clincher rim. The casings threads are not woven and because of this, they have very high thread counts and are very supple and strong. This makes for a fast, good-handling tire. The tread compounds are designed to stick to the road for excellent cornering.

* Weight: 205 grams
* Lighter, more flexible casing
* Casing thread count: 260 threads per inch
* Color: black or classic honey side wall
* Casing material: polyester
* Size: 700 x 23
* Bead: folding aramid
* Pressure rating: 100 – 130 psi

P.S. they do look very similar to Challenge’s handmade open tubulars~

PART 2 -ITS System 29 XC Tire

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I am having a conflict of interest in determining of what to think of cyclists that ride in the rain. Putting miles on the tarmac while the precipitation is on is a job for professional cyclists, but what about for the sportives and enthusiasts? Are we crazy for thinking that our favorite loop ridden in the rain somehow makes us closer to the riders on a Pro Tour team? Does riding in the rain have any advantages that over-weigh any disadvantages? To further investigate this inner struggle of mine, the following issues will be discussed:

  • Motive for riding in the rain
  • Skill
  • Gear/Maintenance
  • Positive/Negative aspects
  • Alternatives? – If any…

First off, why are you wanting to ride in the rain? West Virginia has on average 210 days (+/-15 days) with less than an inch of rain. This means there is more than enough time to ride in perfectly acceptable weather. Why would someone want to expose theirselves to rain? I can understand if you don’t want to miss those much needed training rides, or you hate the trainer; I hate the trainer too. Camaraderie between friends while being exposed to inclimate conditions is also an acceptable circumstance in my opinion. It sucks to miss group rides, and facing something like a rain shower can make it even more fun. All of these reasons are pretty badass, and can be rationalized without looking too crazy…

On the other hand, just because you have visions of cobbles, and self-torture after watching a rainy version of one of the spring classics doesn’t mean you should go out and try to re-enact scenes in your head by riding in the rain… This is where it starts to get silly. You are not Sean Kelly, you do not have a contract; you are not contractually obligated to ride in the rain. Heck, you may not even have the gear or talent to maneuver well enough in the slop that the roads are slathered with during a shower. Your petty dreams of Belgian cobbles are a fantasy in WV, and keep it at that, otherwise you will be placed on my crazy people list.

Okay, so you are kitted up and have your layers on or whatnot. You think you are prepared for the WV roads ahead of you just because you have your cycling cap on, and a pair of knee warmers. What about the grit, the loss of grip on the road? Do you know how to properly thermoregulate while on the bike? Handling? How does your bike change when the roads are muddy, or just overall slick? Are these things you have encountered before, or are you just going out willy nilly; with all concerns being thrown to the wind? If you haven’t done this before, start slow. Don’t pump your tires up before the ride; keep them about 10psi lower than usual. Cut the ride length by about 20-30% for a first rain ride.

Bring a spare tube and co2, and please….. Please tell me you know how to change a tube, and won’t whine about changing it in the rain. I’m already waiting for you to start pedaling again; I don’t really want to hear you complain. If I wanted that, I could have just stayed home and listen to the family complain about the noise my trainer makes.

Also, if you are a newbie rain rider, be sure not to crash into me on the downhills. Prep your brakes before you actually plan to brake by tapping them a few times first. This gets some of the water and muck off the machined lip of the rim, and makes braking a little more effective. Lastly, if you didn’t bring a splashguard, or fenders, stay far enough away from me that I don’t have to be sprayed in the face continuously by the water coming off of your back wheel.

The skills of riding in the rain are pretty common sense, and most people with an IQ level higher than the number of teeth on their outer chainring catch on pretty fast. Just don’t be afraid to slow down if you need to. Better to get home safe, than to have to call for a ride to get back.

Bikes – They’re tools, not jewels.

You should still maintain them like they are a Smithsonian-quality artifact, but don’t be afraid to ride it like you stole it. Pros don’t do a thing with their bikes after they cross the finish line. On the other hand, you do, and will have to be prepared to inspect and clean things appropriately. Make sure rain isn’t going into your seat tube, clean your chain, and get the grime off your drivetrain/pedals, and make sure all of the pivoting parts on the bike are in good shape. If for some awful reason you are riding a steel bike… make sure to bring it inside post-ride. Rust is a terrible thing. Trust me.

I am having a conflict of interest in determining what kind of cyclist rides in the rain. Putting miles on the tarmac while the precipitation is on is a job for professional cyclists, but what about for the sportives and enthusiasts? Are we crazy for thinking that our favorite loop ridden in the rain somehow makes us closer to the riders on a Pro Tour team? Does riding in the rain have any advantages that over-weigh any disadvantages? To further investigate this inner struggle of mine, the following issues will be discussed:      * Motive for riding in the rain     * Skill     * Gear/Maintenance     * Positive/Negative aspects     * Alternatives? - If any...  First off, why are you wanting to ride in the rain? West Virginia has on average 210 +/-15 days with less than an inch of rain. This means there is more than enough time to ride in perfectly acceptable weather. Why would someone want to expose their selves to rain? I can understand if you don't want to miss those much needed training rides, or you hate the trainer; I hate the trainer too. Camaraderie between friends while being exposed to inclimate conditions is also an acceptable circumstance in my opinion. It sucks to miss group rides, and facing something like a shower can make the bonding process even stronger. All of these reasons are pretty badass, and can be rationalized without looking too crazy...  On the other hand, just because you have visions of cobbles, and self-torture after watching a rainy version of one of the spring classics doesn't mean you should go out and try to re-enact scenes in your head by riding in the rain... This is where it starts to get silly. You are not Sean Kelly, you do not have a contract, you are not contractually obligated to ride in the rain. Heck, you may not even have the gear or talent to maneuver well enough in the slop that the roads are slathered with during a shower. Your petty dreams of Belgian cobbles is a fantasy, and keep it at that, otherwise you will be placed on the crazy people list of mine.  Okay, so you are kitted up and have your layers on or whatnot. You think you are prepared for the WV roads ahead of you just because you have your cycling cap on, and a pair of knee warmers. What about the grit, the loss of grip on the road? Do you know how to properly thermoregulate while on the bike? Handling? How does your bike change when the roads are muddy, or just overall slick? Are these things you have encountered before, or are you just going out willy nilly; with all concerns being thrown to the wind? If you haven't done this before, start slow. Don't pump your tires up before the ride; keep them about 10psi lower than usual. Cut the ride length by about 20-30% Bring a spare tube and co2, and please.... Please tell me you can change a tube, and won't whine about changing it in the rain. I'm already waiting for you to start pedaling again; I don't really want to hear you complain. If I wanted that, I could have just stayed home and listen to the family complain about the noise my trainer makes. Also, if you are a newbie rain rider, be sure not to crash into me on the downhills. Prep your brakes before you actually plan to brake by tapping them a few times first. This gets some of the water and muck off the machined lip of the rim, and makes braking a little more effective. Lastly, if you didn't bring a splashguard, or fenders, stay far enough away from me that I don't have to be sprayed in the face continuously by the water coming off of your back wheel. The skills of riding in the rain are pretty common sense, and most people with an IQ level higher than the number of teeth on their outer chainring catch on pretty fast. Just don't be afraid to slow down if you need to. Better to get home safe, than to have to call for a ride to get back.  Bikes - They're tools, not jewels.  You should still maintain them like they are a Smithsonian piece of art, but don't be afraid to ride it like you stole it. Pros don't do a thing with their bikes after they cross the finish line. On the other hand, you do, and will have to be prepared to inspect and clean things appropriately. Make sure rain isn't going into your seat tube, clean your chain, and get the grime off your drivetrain/pedals, and make sure all of the pivoting parts on the bike are in good shape. If for some awful reason you are riding a steel bike... make sure to bring it inside post-ride. Rust is a terrible thing. Trust me.       P.S. Not My Bike   Better yet, take your rain bike/cross bike out instead of your main steed. You do have more than one road bike, right?  Depending on the temperature of the rain, you may want to add a layer or so extra clothes to what you are wearing. Just remember to keep your head and core warm, and keep moving. Rain is cold. It will be cold on you. Not much you can do about it. Kit up and don't complain. You were the one who wanted to go out on a rain ride...  What are the benefits of riding in the rain? Any? The novelty of it is pretty exciting, but once that wears off, what is left? The acquisition of superior bike handling may be the only key element that can be gained from such training. Falling or getting sick due to the weather are the main negative consequences, and the prior is more of an eventuality than a potential consequence. Falling happens, you just have to be ready for it, or be lucky enough to catch yourself.  Even with the threat of looking crazy, having to prepare a bit more, and chances of getting hurt, there aren't really any alternatives to riding in the rain. Stationary trainers are just about the most unmotivating thing you can do. I think I would rather not ride than ride a trainer. Seriously. As long as it isn't too cold or intense, get out there and ride in the rain. Keep your awareness up, and enjoy the ride. Stay warm, ride hard, and enjoy being outside.

P.S. Not My Bike

Better yet, take your rain bike/cross bike out instead of your main steed. You do have more than one road bike, right?

Depending on the temperature of the rain, you may want to add a layer or so extra clothes to what you are wearing. Just remember to keep your head and core warm, and keep moving. Rain is cold. It will be cold on you. Not much you can do about it. Kit up and don’t complain. You were the one who wanted to go out on a rain ride…

What are the benefits of riding in the rain? Any? The novelty of it is pretty exciting, but once that wears off, what is left? The acquisition of superior bike handling may be the only key element that can be gained from such training. Falling or getting sick due to the weather are the main negative consequences, and the prior is more of an eventuality than a potential consequence. Falling happens, you just have to be ready for it, or be lucky enough to catch yourself.

Even with the threat of looking crazy, having to prepare a bit more, and chances of getting hurt, there aren’t really any alternatives to riding in the rain. Stationary trainers are just about the most unmotivating thing you can do. I think I would rather not ride than ride a trainer. Seriously. As long as it isn’t too cold or intense, get out there and ride in the rain. Keep your awareness up, and enjoy the ride. Stay warm, ride hard, and enjoy being outside.

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Noted on 19 April 2010:

Hero Preserves is proud to endorse one of Switzerland’s own heroes, Fabian Cancellara. For a limited time, Fabian Cancellara will be on every jar of Strawberry Fruit Preserves in recognition of his recent victories at Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Congratulations to Team Saxo Bank, and Mr. Cancellara!

hero jelly fabian cancellara

About Hero Preserves:

Hero Premium Fruit Spreads are made from only the finest select fruits and come to North America direct from Europe. They contain absolutely no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, are a 100% natural product, and are certified kosher by the Orthodox Union.

Established in the quaint Swiss village of Lenzburg in 1886, Hero has become the gold standard of gourmet fruit spreads around the world. The vision of the original founders was to preserve fruits as gently and carefully as possible, and today that vision still provides Hero with the finest quality fruit products in the world.

About Fabian Cancellara:

Fabian Cancellara (born 18 March 1981) is a Swiss professional road bicycle racer for UCI ProTour Team Saxo Bank. A time trial specialist, he has been three time World Time Trial Champion and is the current Olympic gold medalist. He is also a winner of Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix (twice), Milan-San Remo, Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour de Suisse, Monte Paschi Eroica, and three prologues of the Tour de France.

For the weekends, as usual, just a lighthearted and possibly humorous post.

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velo press joe parkin paris-roubaix

Look what came in the mail! Once again, more of my savings account goes to VeloPress in order to get my literary fix.

Come & Gone is the sequel to A Dog In A Hat, which I finished about two months ago; quite glad that I picked that one up late in order to have the next one be relased so soon! :) Once again, we have the story of Joe Parkin telling us his life story of cycling in a kind of way that makes you feel like this is the normal thing to do. He tells it from not only memory, but from the heart… and it leaves you with a feeling that how he tells it is how it happened word for word. I wasn’t able to get over how nonchalantly he told some of the tales that were in A Dog In A Hat, and once again, things happen, and he tells it. I know that sounds boring, but it will actually baffle how casually some of these events seem after reading Joe’s words. These two books are great for anyone who is more than just a recreational cyclist.

Paris-Roubaix: A Journey Through Hell is a coffee table book. The best damned coffee table book you will have at that, too. It goes over the history, culture, past/present/future of the race, and everyone who has been involved with it in nearly any way. It comes in at just a hair under 200 pages, and is full of explicit photos. No….. No no no no….. not bad explicit, think of it as being able to see inside some of the rider’s souls just by turning the pages. Many of the full page photos in the book display cyclists who you will never forget because of the crusted mud, the pain in their face, or how they look dead to the world while sitting in one of the Velodrome shower stalls.

I have borrowed this book from my college library several times, and each instance, I end up spening more time examining the photos than actually reading the text. This is a deep book, but it doesn’t have to be; hence why it is #2 on my coffee table book list. (#1, right here)

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This spin/training video series by David McQuillen by the name of Sufferfest was brought to my attention this week; with the way my lack of motivation for winter riding has been, I jumped on this like a lion jumps on a gazelle.

Apparently Dave was just a guy who was dissatisfied with current cycling videos, and wanted to put tunes and attitude into his workout while sharing his work. I never saw it, nor do I use itunes, but I hear his older prototype videos were on there for free. They consisted of youtube footage mixed with his favorite play lists. These newer videos by the names Downward Spiral and Fight Club are a little bit more refined. They have licensed footage from Paris-Roubaix, Fleche Wallone, local crits, and for the cool down, he uses a five minute clip of some indie-fixie film-show flick (which only enraged me to work harder instead of cool down…).

The videos meant for consumers have little title cards inserted into the footage telling you what to do when. With Downward Spiral, the Sufferfest really becomes self explanatory; the mountain bike footage gets you into the mood in the beginning of the video, and the classics PRO races really makes you want to be there riding. My only quip was with the Australian Criterium footage, since well… it seemed very repetitive (it was a criterium, I know… but still…) There is also this weird little horse or cow noise to indicate when the effort demands are going to change. This is helpful, but at the same time kind of silly.

Most annoying noise:

(more…)

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