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Ride Report - 4 Days in NC and my first experience with road discs
Last Post 05/26/2017 07:09 PM by Dale Dale. 10 Replies.
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Cosmic Kid

Posts:2146

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05/24/2017 09:30 AM
Spent the last few days in North Carolina on a mini-cycling trip. 5 of us total on the trip....goal was to log a bunch of miles and get some serious climbing in the legs. Mission accomplished.....

Drove down last Thursday with one other guy....about 13 hours total, but a totlally easy drive. We had everyone's bikes with us and the other guys flew in. Very scenic drive....

Friday was just a light warm-up day since Saturday we were scheduled to do the Beech Mountain Metric ride. So we did ~50 miles and 4500 feet of climbing. Went from the cabin we stayed in, up to the Blue Ridge Parkway and back. A few sustained climbs but nothing too crazy. Weather was iffy and we got pretty wet on the way back, but it was a gorgeous. Saturday was the Beech Mountain Metric....62 miles and 7K feet of climbing and some seriously steep stuff.....last climb up Beech was 1500 feet in 3 miles. Final 5K averaged 12.5%.....there was a nother nutpunch climb about 2/3 of the way in called Stone Mountain. Brutal.....but I got to take it a bit easy since my college roomie came up form Charlotte to do the ride. He isn't quite as strong as the guys I was there with and I rode with him the whole day. Weather was perfect and it was great riding with him. However, I started having shifting / FD issues about halfway through the ride. Lots of chain rub on the FD and problems throwing the chain over the big ring or it dropping coming down....the bike is Di2, so it wasn't a shifting issue (although I thought it was at first). Got it functional enough that I could use most of the gears except the 12-16 cogs when I was in the big ring. Since most of the ride left was climbing and my buddy wasn't a great descender, this was serviceable. The last climb up Beech was a ballbuster, though....I was in my 34x28 and grinding for everything I had.

Get back to the cabin and start working on the bike....long story short, the problem is not the shifting, it is my BB. Dumb-ass pressfit design on my Venge has been a problem for awhile. I could literally just put the bearing in the BB by hand and it creaked like a mofo. LBS switched it over to a Wheels Manufacturing BB that was kinda similar to the old Mavic BB design in that it threaded togher from both sides of the BB shell to get it snug. Also requires special wrences to tighten and the fooker had come loose. There was about a .5MM of play in the BB, but it was enough for it to slide back and forth in the frame, causing the different shifting issues. Local Specialized shop did not have the tools to tighten it....crap. In order to keep riding, I ended up renting a bike from them....Specialized Tarmac w/ road discs. Was a size up form my Venge, but had a short stem so it was OK.

Next day, we set off for another 50 miles and 4K feet of climbing, but the weather was schitt. Raining the whole time, etc. Still pretty warm (low-60's) so it wasn't too bad. We decided to ride George's Gap again from the day before....it was an awesome climb with a great twisty descent. From there were gonna loop back over to the Blue Ridge and back home....kind of a figure 8 loop. The weather and the route were perfect for me on the tarmic w/ discs. Lemme tell you....they were awesome. I could brake so much later coming into a turn and not worry about breaking traction on the tires. More power, more modulation and zero issues with the wet. These things were the schitt!! But when we got to the middle part of the loop, a couple guys were headed back to the cabin and I went with them. Would have liked to do the whole ride, but I was doing pizza on the grill for everyone that night (nod to gurb) and needed to get some things going for that. So that day was 33 miles and 2250 ft of climbing.

The last day we drove down to Marion, NC and tackled Mt. Mitchell. Wow....tough, but gorgeous climb. 56 miles total ride, but really 28 miles of climbing and 28 miles of descent. So we eneded up climbing 7K feet in 28 miles. I had come into the trip a little low on my mileage this year as I have been working on my run all winter. I was paying for it the first few days as my buddies were ahead of me on the climbs. I got dropped when we started the ascent to Mitchell, but managed to claw my way back to them about halfway up. From there, we got on the Blue Ridge to head towards Mitchell and I hung with them for a bit and even managed a few surges....but then I dropped back a bit.....and then I blew up. Still had 3K feet to climb and I was toast! Made for a long, slow crawl up to Mitchell. To make matters worse, this bike only had a 36 front ring, so I was in a 36x28 instead of my 34x28. Ugh. But we all regrouped up top and then me and a buddy just BOMBED the descent. He ways about 40 lbs more than me, so I couldn't pull much, but we were flying. The best part was once we got off the Blue Ridge and onto Hwy 80....oh man, what a descent. Twisty, turny but not so technical that you couldn't just let it rip. I was literally laughing out loud during one little twisty section it was so fun.

And that ended the trip....had dinner that night at the Pedlain' Pig BBQ and drove hoome yesterday. About 200 miles and 20K feet of climbing across 4 days....not too shabby!
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2146

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05/24/2017 09:33 AM
Strava file from Friday's ride....lemme know if this works and then I'll post the other rides if you guys are interested.

https://www.strava.com/activities/995833825
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Dale

Posts:925

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05/24/2017 09:51 AM
but... but... but... the horrible aerodynamics of disc brakes! Think of the children!

The do let you have supreme confidence driving late into a turn, don't they?

Not ready to replace my road bike with a disc equipped one yet but on my CX bike for racing in wet conditions with dozens of tight turns they are totally the way to go.

Cosmic Kid

Posts:2146

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05/24/2017 10:13 AM
Well, the whole bike was a bit of an aero nightmare....big round tubes, disc brakes and crap all over my HB (Wahoo computer, Garmin Virb camera and a small light for the tunnels on the Parkway).....it did offend my aero sensibilities.....but it was a perfect area for road discs.

I would never consider them for where I live.....simply no need. But if I lived in an area like that, ot the Pacific NW....yeah, my next bike would probably have them. But I would also wait another year or two until the technology is more refined. The brake hoods on this bike were massive adn not very comfortable and some companies are already doing a better job of integrating the brake into the overall frame design to minimize the aero penalty.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Funk

Posts:42

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05/24/2017 02:09 PM
Beautiful area to ride. The Strava link worked, and thanks for the Gurb reference. I still remember his photos of the pizzas. :-)
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2146

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05/24/2017 02:46 PM
Glad the Strava linked worked...my account is private so didn't know if posting direct links would work for those who weren't following me.

here are the other files...

Beech Mountain Metric
https://www.strava.com/activities/997801951

George's Gap in the rain
https://www.strava.com/activities/999209482

Mt. Mitchell
https://www.strava.com/activities/1000678751

Glad you caught the gurb reference....he was part of my motivation for the pizzas. Just got a whole bunch of toppings and crusts and let everyone make their own 'za like he used to do. I manned the grill and then everyone get creative on what they wanted to eat....grilled up some chicken, a red / yellow pepper / zuchinni mix, green peppers, pepperoni, etc. It was damn tasty.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
longslowdistance

Posts:1474

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05/24/2017 03:18 PM
Great ride report. Those parkway tunnels always scare me. At least they are mostly short by mt Mitchell
Nick A

Posts:523

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05/25/2017 01:24 PM
Nice ride report. I have had BB's go loose on a ride, had to use the lowest gear possible, and hand tighten ever 10 or 15 minutes until I got home. Sucks.

Nick
Gonzo Cyclist

Posts:568

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05/26/2017 12:03 PM
not a big fan of press fit BB's, they will creak at one time or another, and I have seen that same issue with Spez MTB's, bearing just slipped in out by hand
You were totally right about the disc bike, and perfect conditions to test them out.
What I love about disc brakes in the rain is, none of that black brake pad grime all over the rims, bike etc......
Cosmic Kid

Posts:2146

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05/26/2017 04:51 PM
Press fit BB's are the dumbest component design ever....give me a threaded BB any day.
Just say "NO!" to WCP!!!!
Dale

Posts:925

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05/26/2017 07:09 PM
SO many dumb designs by bike companies all in an effort to invent the latest and greatest "Vertically compliant and laterally stiff" nonsense but the bottom bracket seemed to be the object of engineers obsession for quite a few years. I can't keep all the standard ... sort, there are no standards, straight.
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