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Wheel: Cassette on…

What to do on a Sunday morning? For me today, it was to transfer the Shimano Ultegra cassette from my old wheel to the new one.
The dismounting was easy enough, and a lot of mess as I did the degreasing to clean the cassette. Just realised that the cassette that I have is a 13-25T. And according to the American Classic instructions, they included spacers for 11T and 12T, but nothing mentioned on the 13T and higher configurations. Well, it turns out that maybe no spacers are required. I say maybe becuase none of the spacers would fit into the space between the cassette and the freewheel.

There were quite a bit of play/movement of the cassette when mounted, and I was a little worried, but once you lock it in, its tight as hell. The 13-25T Shimano Ultegra 2005 model has 3 sets of cogs. The first 3 are together. Then you get the 14-19T in a set of 6 cogs, and the final 13T is alone.

Its all mounted now, and I just have to a Sunday dash to the nearest sports shop that opens on Sunday here in Paris to get another tube for the tire, since the shop gave me a wrong one last week. I need a spare as well, so I’ll get another one and once I exchange the wrong one it will become a spare. My old spare has the shorter pump valve, so will not work with the new high profile wheels.

Putting on new tires on wheels and how not to put the rim tape

Started to work on the new American Classic CR420 wheel this weekend. Last night after coming back from the office with a new rim tape from a nearby shop, I decided to install the thing and once I finished, I realise that the tape was a 18mm version instead of teh correct 16mm. What happened after is that the tires could go on the wheel, but just one side would clip on. The other side would just slip out becuase the tape was too broad.
So this morning I went to another shop near by and bought the right 16mm tape. Unfortunately I was not really paying attention to the wheel once I put the tape on, and then I realised I put the only hole on the tape on the wrong hole. It was the hole used to tighten the spoke and not the little hole for the inlet to the tubes. Had to rip it out again, and it was 15mins before the close of the local bike shop, so had to run all the way there to get a new set of rimtape before I had to wait till monday.

So then the wheel went fine, started with the front wheel. Installed the new Michelin Pro Race 2 tires on it and felt good once inflated to around 90psi. I’ll go up to 110psi when its mounted onto the bike.

When I started mounting the tires on the back tire, I realise that the damn shop I went to on Friday sold me 2 packs of butyl tubes (Can’t seem to find latex with long heads) with 52mm heads, but one of the tube had a standard looking head on it, which means that I can’t use it since the Am Class wheel has a 34mm profile, so once the tube goes in, there’s no way I could pump air into the tube.

So looks like fate has it that I will not ride this weekend. After two months, I guess another weekend is nothing much.

So my plan this weekend would be to work on transfering and cleaning the Ultegra cogs over to the new wheel and if I have some time, to go to the Decathlon in Montreuil, which is opened on Sunday, and get a new tube. Will go back to the shop on Monday to exchange, and if they dont want to exchange it with the right tube, I’ll be a typical French & complain till the cheese is matured.

Race aftermath…

My thighs are aching today. Definitely having some difficulty walking, but not impossible. The positive side is that after taking the Glucosamine/Crondroitin supplement, my knee held up well after the run.

Paris 20km Run

Today was the day of the 20km run. Started off at 10am. I was there early, ok, not that early at around quarter past 9am. And at that time there was already a lot of people at the front of the starting line. By the way, the starting line is right in front of the Trocadero. Here’s the best photo I can link to for the map:
Course Map

Race Plan:
The original race plan was to beat the 2:50 cut off, by running about 1:30 and walking the rest, thanks to some off the napkin computation on Excel. After some training weeks, I realised that I might have a shot at running nonstop and so, the idea to maintain 10kmph average for 2 hours… thus a sub 2hr run. Nothing special for the professionals, that would probably be able to do it in 1hr.

Race Day:
The first 5km was basically all uphill, subtle but you can feel it in the legs. My speed was quite respectable, looks like something like 10kmph or slightly faster according to my Polar HRM. Nothing special here. Since I started off modest, and at the end of the pack, I got to overtake a lot of people who were running a much slower pace.

The second 5km was also quite comfortable. I had a small bottle of Evian with me during the run, which was a good idea considering they were distributing only mineral water (was hoping for electrolyte drinks!) and of course cut oranges (I still dont see the point of eating oranges during the run. Isn’t the acid bad for you?).

The third 5km was a little more difficult, but manageable. That’s also where I saw an old guy on the ground by the side of the road. Eyes wide opened, and surely not conscious at all… Just a guess: Heart attack no doubt. Police and some fellow runners were attending to him, so I thought, nothing for me to do here, I wouldn’t know how to revive a heart attacked guy if I wanted to anyways.

The last 5km was quite difficult. I think my stamina was ok, but my legs were just begging to stop. I suppose the killing point here is that, during my training run I had to do the banks of the Seine River, but during the race itself, we were on the road, going into tunnels and coming out of it and the slopes at this stage were just killing my thighs. So I decided to stop a few times and enjoy the stroll. I was not going to be below 2hr but somewhere near there. Finally got to the finish line with a little sprint and the time was 2:02hr. Not too bad, 2 minutes down from my target, but there’s always a next time.

The footpod seemed to be about 5% out of tune. When I was at the 5km mark I thought it was showing at least 5.1km on my watch. And at the end of the race it showed 20.1km. The distance difference is not that great, not sure if I want to make any adjustments to the footpod calibration. Will think about it. Better train more than less eh?

The heart rate monitoring on my Polar S625X gave this result, which is ok for me, relatively stable heart rate. I guess my next few months of training will be based on lowering the heart rate for the stable part so that I can increase my speed. Will have to include intervals. The next target would be the Paris Half Marathon in March next year!



Its been almost 3 weeks since I bought my bicycle wheels on eBay Germany and I still have not received it yet. I’ve sent an email to the seller and it looks like the thing is protected by eBay’s protection scheme. NOt planning to launch a dispute yet, give it till end of this week. Looks like eBay has a limit of 45 days after the end of the auction (or payment, dont remember, but to be safe, end of auction it shall be) for you to lodge a complain.
Fingers crossed. Lets see if its here. Wonder who’s hogging the damn thing… the Germans or the French. They disappoint me… thought that only Malaysian postal system are inefficient (takes a week to send a letter anywhere in the same country!!!, if it arrives at all).

4 more days to go to the Paris 20km race

This will be my first race ever. Not planning to outrun the kenyans of course, but just to finish in time to get a medal at least. Been trying to do my taper, but seriously, I think tapering for a race is useless for amateurs like me. Its more like the time to make things difficult for the body (done that last weekend with runs on sat and sun) and then resting before the race on this coming Sunday.
So on friday right after work I will have to go to the base of the Eiffel tower to retrieve all the freebies and the bib+championchip… I guess thats the thing you put on your foot to measure the time electronically, never used it before but should be RFID based I guess. Wonder if it will interfere with my Polar S1 footpod which I plan to wear during the race itself. Will put on some extra rubberband on the footpod so that it doesn’t come loose when running and when my foot gets stepped by fellow 10,000 runners.

Excited, yes. If 20km is easy enough I might join the Boulogne-Billancourt half marathon the week after as well. more free t-shirt!

Pictures of busted spokes on Felt bike

Its been 3 weeks since my last cycling trip and I’m getting anxious for the new wheel to arrive. By the way here are the 2 photos of the wheel as it stands today. The rims are the standard CXP22 that comes with most stock cyclocross bikes and the spokes are probably some DTs but they could be some generic Taiwanese made wheels too.

Now the plan is to get them built at a later stage, surely not here in France. Maybe even to do it myself so that I’ll have the experience of rebuilding my own wheel. got to change the hubs to something easy rolling as well while I’m at it, and a nice set of SAPIM spokes. My new AmClass should have SAPIM Laser, which is a dual butted spoke, should be quite flexible in the ride, if I like it, I might spec this CXP22 with Laser as well, and get it fitted with CX tires so that I can have a set of wheels for the road and another set for offroad!! Next would be the Empella Froggleg CX brakes.


American Classic 420 Wheelset

After thinking about it for half a week, I’ve settled on a pair of American Classic 420 clincher wheels for my bicycle to replace the broken Mavic CXP22 that was fitted out of the factory.

The wheel I’m rooting for has the following specs:
– Aluminium clinchers (ok, not carbon, but much cheaper)
– 1450g in weight (much lighter than Mavic Ksyriums!)
– Titatium skewers
– SAPIM Laser spokes in 18/24 configuration for the front and rear

There are some reviews on the internet that this wheel is not that durable. But some of them managed to ride for years as a training wheel as well, so I’d say that the reviews are mostly mixed. Then again, even Mavics have bad reviews here and there, so I’m ready to take the plunge.
Continue reading “American Classic 420 Wheelset”

Busted spokes and superstition…

For the first time on Sunday, I went out on my bike ride with a few euros in my saddle bag. 45km out of Paris en route to Rambouillet (actually I remember passing the Rambouillet city limits, so I was technically already inside Rambouillet), I heard a twang coming off my rear wheels and had the wheel wobbling. Had to stop by the roadside and wondering whether its better to ride on and catch a train back (which would have been a bad idea in hindsight, since I only had 10Euro with me!) or ride all the way back for 45km, including 2 tough hill climbs with the rear wheel wobbling all the way and without the rear brakes functional. Continue reading “Busted spokes and superstition…”