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Reply To: Iowa State Patrol closing towns down early…again

LawnchairMan, August 12, 2021 at 9:43 pm

I have been reading and re-reading this post and comments. Century day was the only day with a 430 cut-off. That was at Central City. I estimate that to be about sixty miles from the day’s start. So you have from 6 am until 4 pm, or ten hours to get there. If you are ‘getting there on fumes’, I suspect there is something wrong with your bike. Have you checked it thoroughly? Did you have a bike shop check it? You might think that I am a fanatic about lubing my chain, but at Ragbrai I do it every day. I can actually tell the difference. I use Rock N Roll lube. I think it makes me go faster than the Pro Gold I used to use. Hot paraffin is the fastest, but harder to use.

There are a number of things you can do to have a faster bike:
Start with a lightweight road bike if you can afford it.
Use quality tires. Continental Gater Skins are great to avoid punctures, but they are not very flexible, so they are slow. I use Continental Grand Prix’s. I use the 4000’s to train, but will use the 5000’s for my next Ragbrai.
Use latex inner tubes rather than butyl, and use a liberal amount of talc to coat the tubes.
Better yet, tubeless is even faster.
Put the proper amount of air in the tubes. I have learned that filling to max pressure isn’t faster than just enough to avoid pinch flats. Less pressure doesn’t beat you up as much. I used to go with 120 lbs, but now I do 95 in the front and 100 in the rear. I think there is a formula so that your tire compresses 15% when you sit on the bike. I’m not sure, so look it up. I’m riding on 700 X 25 tires. 28’s would probably work as well with even lower pressure.
if you have a dirt bike with fatter tires, use slicks instead of knobby tires.
Along with tires, do your wheels turn freely? Referencing the top of the wheel as 12 o’clock, position the valve stem at about 2 o’clock. When you let go the wheel should start to rotate and swing back and forth several times before it finally stops. On the first rotation, it should almost climb back to the ten o’clock position. If it doesn’t, lube the bearings or have your bike shop do it. Check the entire power train for any unnecessary drag.

Aerodynamics!
Trim anything that flutters in the wind. Anything on the bike or on you. Having flags, streamers, or propellers may look cool, but they create drag. Same way with loose-fitting clothing. Don’t be afraid of wearing Spandex shorts and close-fitting jerseys. Make sure they are moisture-wicking so your sweat can escape.
Use aero wheels if you can afford them. I used to use Zipp 404’s, but went with Enve’s and got a free half-mile per hour speed gain. Before that, I went from a steel recumbent with standard wheels to a carbon recument with the Zipp’s and gained 1.5 mph. So aerodynamics works.
Oh, if you can do it safely, get a draft from the rider ahead of you. Pacelines are discouraged at Ragbrai!
But even riding slowly, one rider ahead of you can shield you from the wind. If you are heading into the wind it makes a bigger difference! Just make sure you pay attention; ready to brake or swerve if there is a sudden move or stop. Don’t draft off someone you haven’t ridden with! Be careful! If you get in trouble I will disavow I suggested drafting.
There are probably other tricks or practices to make you faster, so I encourage others to post tips they know.
Stay safe!

This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by LawnchairMan.

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