Friday, April 10, 2009

La Machine de Paris-Roubaix

Sunday is the "Toronto Paris-Roubaix Challenge." Ever since I read Mike Barry's post almost a month ago, I have thought of those muddy, sandy, snowy, icy roads with every pedal stroke. I've gotten myself into a semi-regular training routine (I fear the efficacy of my hilly Lakeshore-Old Mill-High Park route is somewhat reduced by the fact that I always finish it with a Bitondo's slice...) and even did some grass riding with Noah and Olivier a few weeks back to get myself ready for the conditions.

These have been young Alan's first real tests. And he has excelled marvelously. He's light and fast. His "low trail" geometry certainly makes him handle very well at low speeds (I'm a bit nervous offroad, so this helps.) His 32mm Challenge Grifo tubulars are incredibly light and supple and grip well (they're the first tubulars I've ever ridden, and I'm eager to try road tubulars some time...). His Suntour shifters are excellent. But, alas, some setup changes are necessary for the Paris-Roubaix Challenge.

First is a wheel change. The knobbies would slow me down on the mostly on-road route. And I don't have any 32mm tubular road tires on hand—so I needed to pick some wheels to put my 32mm Panaracer Paselas on. I am planning on building a new wheelset for my girlfriend, with Sun CR18 rims and Shimano Sante hubs. So I was planning on building them up this weekend and using them. Unfortunately, my spokes didn't arrive yesterday as they were supposed to. As it's Easter weekend, that left me a bit stuck. So I'm just going to use the wheels from my Marinoni: "Racing de Rigida" rims and Sante hubs. I need to retension the spokes and true them, but I figure they'll hold up reasonably well.

Beyond this wheel change, I also needed to clamp on a water bottle cage. Luckily I had some TA clamps in my parts box. I also added a nice matching yellow Silca pump I happened to also have.

Finally, a Mavic 840 I'd bought on eBay arrived the other day. This is my second 840—though I've never used my other one. This one is a bit beat up and was very cheap. It's a perfect aesthetic match to the bike (less so without the black Mavic-hubbed cross wheels, though). As a ride this morning revealed, it works extremely well—just as well as the current-generation Campagnolo Centaur it replaced.

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