Slow start to cycling season

The cycling season is off to a rather slow start for me this year. Although we are now halfway through April, spring has not had the decency to stick around and be friendly. Almost weekly snowstorms are mixed with warm days, cool days, and windy days, and they don’t always align with my free time.

I think this is the slowest and coldest start to spring in the 6 years I’ve lived in Denver. And it’s put a real damper on my riding.

I’m no fair-weather-only rider, but I vastly prefer it. And out here that usually works.

And before the season started I even spent time and money getting my road bike prepped for a new season.

The bike in its current form.

My original rear wheel, with its thin rim and bad French hub, finally gave in near the end of 2012. It was impossible to keep true, pulled a spoke nipple, and had an alarming amount of play in the hub that led to numerous phantom shifts. It was time to finally do something.

So before the weather was really amenable to regular riding, I called up the owner of a shop in the Twin Cities about getting a new set of wheels. I’d looked around locally, but most of the wheel builders I found in Denver seemed to focus pretty strongly on the racing market. I wanted strong, inexpensive, well built wheels instead. I had no interest in fancy and not much interest in lightweight.

It didn’t hurt that the shop owner went to grad school with Ben. I like the connection over someone wholly unknown. Jim, the shop owner, helped me choose rims and hubs, and put together a configuration that would work with my old frame without changing any other components.

And yes, the rims are 29er rims. Measurement shows they’ll be good for tires from about 28mm to 45mm. I usually ride 32mm or larger tires, so this seemed like a good choice.

When the wheels arrived I got everything set up and picked up a cheap set of 700x35 tires and managed one break in ride. Then the weather turned bad, I traveled a lot, and got sick. It wasn’t until late March that I could even get a real ride in on the new wheels. They’re lovely, but after that one big ride and a few short rides I got stuck again.

More travel, another cold, and several more snowstorms. Snow this week too. It’s getting a little out of hand. Less than a hundred miles this year.

I’m hopeful that in another week or two things will settle out and I can get some real riding in. I need it and I really want to get a lot of miles in the new wheels. Make them mine, if that makes any sense.

— Steve

Posted on 16 April 2013