Saturday, April 29, 2023

2023 Diablo Day 17 - Saturday Junction Bonus Product Review!

Solo Junction ride up the Easy Side. Saw a few regulars. 

Poppies and lupines are still going strong on the South and there were lots of fans taking in the excitement.

Wildlife Encounter: deer near the Kiosk.

Roadkill Report: an opossum in an advanced state of putrification...  too smelly even for vultures.

I think I've had my current tires on the Klein for three years - that's amazing even given my reduced mileage after the patella fracture; but I noticed a gash in the tread today, so I resolved to replace them after this ride. That's the last batch of my favorite tires, Vittoria EVO somethings with the file tread pattern. One of the reasons I like them so much was that tread pattern looks so much like the classic tubular tire pattern. See Product Review at the end of this post.

Iconic jersey, but I didn't recognize the rider.

I talked to this guy for a while; his name's Bob. He heard my bike speaker playing Bob Dylan, and we agreed that Blood on the Tracks was one of the best albums of all time.

I like taking pictures of people taking pictures of people.

Vittoria Open Corsa - you will be missed, maybe.

OK, here's the product review:
Preamble: I got these new tires about a year ago at Sports Basement. I knew my existing tires were getting close to needing replacement, so I went to see what they had. I thought MAYBE they would still have some Open Corsas left over as they have been my favorite tire for quite a while... but they've been discontinued. The replacement model is the Vittoria Corsa 2.0 Graphene - and Sports Basement had a sale on them so I bought a pair to be ready. Also, I wanted to use latex tubes because why not? They didn't have any, but they talked me into trying a Pirelli SmarTUBE. Then I ordered some Vittoria latex tubes from Amazon. So for the last year, the tires have been stretching on some old wheels, the latex tubes have been stored in my tube drawer, and the Pirelli tube has been installed also on one of those old wheels.

Product Review: Vittoria Corsa 2.0 Graphene
Product Review: Pirelli SmarTUBE

Let's start with the Pirelli tube. This is made of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU). It doesn't feel at all like any kind of rubber, it feels like plastic. It's also kind of slippery plastic - none of that sticky tacky feel that butyl or latex have. It's *REALLY* light, and I suppose that's why people buy them. I seldom get flats, so I figured I could splurge a little, at least once.
The reviews noted that sealant probably wouldn't work, and you can't patch these with regular patch kits, there's a special patch you can buy but it might not work; so I accepted that this tube would be un-repairable... one flat and done.

The instructions had the normal warnings about mounting and not pinching the tube under the tire bead and such. There were some technical markings on the tube itself. 

Installing this tube in a well-used tire on an old wheel was more difficult... the slipperiness made it want to not stay put inside the tire while I was trying to get the opposite bead in the rim. It was frustrating, and I had to experiment with different amounts of air in the tube, but I finally got it in... not sure I'd want to do that on the road if this were my spare tube. Fine for a garage install though, when you have plenty of time.

The other thing is, this tube does not stretch very much. Most of my readers have probably experienced pumping a butyl tube up outside of a tire and watching it get really big around and fat... the SmarTUBE doesn't get any bigger - it just holds more pressure. I think I did pinch the tube somehow when I did my first installation and when I removed it there was kind of a kink that didn't fully go away afterwards; didn't seam to be any damage, but it was just different from any other tube I've used.

OK, on to the tires. I like performance road tires, high thread count, file tread pattern, supple ride, and good cornering. I don't much require high flat-resistance or long-wearing tires because I get good enough results from the more delicate ones. Vittoria has been my favorite brand for almost 40 years (way back to the CG sew-ups in my criterium days), so that's a plus.

320 TPI... that's the gold standard for thread count.

I was not at all sure that I would warm up to this straight-groove tread pattern - it just looks wrong to my eye. But once installed, it's not nearly so obvious and funny-looking.

I like the 25mm width - a little more comfortable and grippy than 23's. I'd like 28's but they are just a smidge too wide for my summer bike.

So the Pirelli tube is in my front tire (obvious by the black valve stem), and the rear tire has a Vittoria latex tube.

If you've read this far into my review and I haven't updated with my thoughts after a few rides... send me an email or comment in this post. 

Is that a date code?

Saturday, April 22, 2023

2023 Diablo Day 16 - Saturday Junction

Great (!) weather brought out everybody and their second cousins... including the bad drivers. 

Boy my knee felt pretty good. I had been telling people that I think it was done getting better but today was better than last Wednesday so I hope I was wrong.

I don't know why it is, or if it's this way every year, but peak poppy season on the North was about a month ago, and on the South I think it was today. Huge fields of poppies with people taking photos and hiking and enjoying The Mountain.

Turns out JB's hand injury was worse than he thought and he won't be able to ride for longer than he thought, so I've probably got a few more solo training rides on my calendar. Guess I'll just have to use them to get stronger and faster.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

2023 Diablo Day 15 - Wednesday Junction

Charlie's out of town. JB's injured. I went for a solo SGR ride to Junction. Looks like this will be my regular ride for a few weeks.

My knee was really cooperative today - felt fine out of the saddle and I even sprinted for a couple yellow lights on the way home. Maybe I can still get stronger and stabler.

I needed to feel like I accomplished something though, so I decided I would try to get a PB on the last mile segment to Junction. So I took it kind of easy, at first - getting more familiar with the road on the south. Then at the appropriate time I blasted off and managed to not blow up... but didn't manage a PB either.

I saw at least three electric bikes, at least two of the riders were younger than me. I'm thinking once you go electric it's harder to choose the human powered bike from the stable... so I'm not going there anytime soon. At Junction some women got out of their car looking for the bathroom and one of them said something like "I can't believe you guys ride bikes up here, it looks so hard". I replied "It helps if you really love it."  

Well, better than sitting on a couch I guess.

OOOH, Purple!

I've named this rock "Son of Half Dome"

Dead tree cleanup is a major activity on Diablo - there were about a dozen workers and three heavy equipments.