The End of the Collegiate Racing Season

Another collegiate season has come and gone.  I didn’t have the best results, and I worry about the future of the team, as there didn’t seem to be too many of us and a lot of us are reaching the end of our terms here at school.  But as always it was fun.  The collegiate environment is much more laid back than the uscf world.  I feel like I came out of the season with pretty respectable fitness.  And I plan on putting this to the test in some upcoming local races (prospect park, central park, rockleigh).  First one of those is actually tomorrow.  A 110 person field, a little crazy, but we’ll see how it goes.

I’ve also been debating a few things on the equipment front.  Namely wheels, computers and power meters.  The computers/power meters thing sort of goes hand in hand, as in order to get a power meter (and have it be of any use), I’d also need to get a computer.  Choices are the garmin edge 500 and the powertap little yellow computer.  The little yellow computer is more expensive and seems less versatile, so I think I’m leaning towards the garmin.  As far as power meters go I’d love to get the metrigear vector, but alas it’s not to be had yet (and probably not for the rest of this calendar year).  And it would be nice to use one sooner rather than later.  So given no vector power meter, the powertap seems the best choice as dictated by the expense.  I can get a powertap hub for about a third of the cost of one of the fancypants crank units (granted I also think my cranks are dead sexy, so why would I want to give them up?).

And on the other hand we have racing wheels.  I’m looking for a set of fast racing wheels.  A pair of deep carbon rims can be worth on the order of 20 watts over 32 spoke traditional rims.  This is a huge deal.  The weight isn’t as big an issue, but it never hurts to not have to lug as much weight up some of these hills.  Hopefully I’ll have a little less of me to lug up hills as the summer goes on.  I feel like I’ve spent far too much money on cycling related paraphernalia recently, so I may be stalling in any case.

On race wheels: So I’m sure I want clinchers.  Why you ask.  Clincher tires actually roll faster than tubular tires, and we’re not talking a little, we’re talking on the same order of watts between 32 spoke wheels and deep section carbon wheels.  Second, they’re easy to use, I can change a flat myself in under five minutes with a clincher, whereas with a tubular, I’m more or less up a river without a paddle.  And finally, the tires are less expensive.  I periodically find conti gp4k’s for around $40, whereas conti competition’s are about $70.  $30 difference per tire adds up quickly, especially as with tubulars I’m more likely to replace a tire and with clinchers I can generally just throw a new tube in there.

The candidates:
Reynolds Strike – 66mm – 1700g – $1100. Great online reviews. Taken a step back after hearing some bad word of mouth, re broken spokes.
Mavic Carbone SL – 52mm – 1770g – $900ish. Good wheelset, a little heavy. Aluminum braking surface is a plus.
Edge 65 clinchers – 65mm – too expensive, but if cost were not an issue these would be my choice
hed 6 clinchers – 60mm –
noname – 58mm – 1470g – $650. Yes not having a brand stand behind the wheels worries me. But They’re actually the same thing as one of the major brands. I don’t know which, but as I’d be willing to ride any of them, why should I care.
Neuvation c50 – 50mm – 1600g – $860 – I suppose I should consider these as they’re not terribly heavy and my team is sponsored by them

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