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Rudy Project, the exclusive eyewear of A2B

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

COLE WHEELS C38, MADE ME A CONTENDA AT ROCK THE RIVER..

Burnsy gets ready to clip in for the Rock the River Road Race this past Sunday. The race was the 2011 State of Colorado Road Racing Masters Championships.
And so it was, without any announcing dates on the calender for the past weekend, and coming off calling the Vail Rec District Berry Creek Bash which was won by Jay Henry (over Jake Wells in second) and Gretchen Reeves on the women's pro side, I was able to line it up in one of the very few if ever road races I would even attempt, Rock the River which starts in Dotsero and is an out and back race on the Colorado River Road. This race has 20 miles on the dirt as well, and the critical part of the race is contested on the dirt as you climb to Catamount and then have a nut tightening experience descending that same said climb on the way back, and also on the dirt, and as all of my riding buddies know, I absolutely suck at descending on the road bike as a result of a near death experience several years back with speed wobbles on the way down to State Bridge from Wolcott Pass which I somehow managed to pull out of and save, at near 50mph. With that said, I had a new set of wheels to ride, the C38 Carbons from Cole, and I had been experimenting with body position in combination with these wheels with the dirt road descent off of Catamount at the forefront of my mind. Today it would be different.

The rear Cole C38 Hub, 20 spokes, super high tension, threaded at both ends, anchored by these anodized aluminum "threaded" spheres. This is the DSA Hub, Direct Spoke Alignment, and for a rider like me, 6'1" and 178-185lbs., I need something I can have confidence in, especially descending and cornering in a Peloton where I am not the most comfortable guy after starting road racing so late in my cycling career. But Cole Wheels have made me more comfortable in the Peloton in all those situations.
Sexy Ti skewers come with every set of course.
The front DSA hub accomodates the C38 Cole front carbon rim. Sealed Japanese bearings keep these wheels rolling incredibly fast.

This is the difference, a large surface of tension distribution in the DSA Hub makes for a stiff and responsive race/riding wheel. These babies go where you point them, immediately.

Every Cole Carbon Wheelset comes with carbon brake pads and shoes included.
Steel Crown Jewel Independent Fabrication and Carbon Cole C38 Wheels, a match made in Heaven. There was a ton of Carbon Bike out there racing, and nobody had an advantage on me because of it. The steel/carbon combo is a dream to ride, especially in a race that rides like a one day classic.

The rig as it was raced....I like to ride/race a cush saddle and refuse to grapple over wieght making this choice. I've ridden the TransAm forever, it works for my ass and balls, and I do not want to sacrifice weight to be miserable.
The tire choice was a bit risky for this race, but the dirt was in stellar shape, so I went with the Vittoria Damante Pro Lights. The two corners I really needed these dawgs, they railed it along with the C38 wheels I was riding.

Look, I'm no big timer road racer, if you know me you know that much for sure. It seems everytime I line it up to race road, something has debacled my day. Crashes, ruts in dirt, stupidity, lack of experience and confidence riding in race conditions in a group, whatever, I just aint that good at it. I had one pretty good day at the Boulder Roubaix two years ago, but could not hang on to the lead group close to the end of the race because I had to work too much to stay in touch with the back of the Peloton. I had a VERY good day two years ago at Rock the River and had a podium locked up until I got yanked 2km from the finish for crossing the yellow line, my fault, I just did not know any better at the time. So, take all those fuck ups, add them together, and line it up again in Dotsero.

Which brings me back to the Cole Wheels C38 Carbon clinchers I raced on this past Sunday. I had been riding these wheels for a couple of weeks and immediately found my confidence soaring descending. Which is a BOLD statement. For the past several seasons, my riding friends would basically roll their eyes at the thought of waiting for me at the bottom of a long descent on a group ride, I just did not feel comfortable hitting 45-50 mph downhill on training or fun rides, and did not care if I got dropped due to this "shit in pants" feeling. The Coles were different, they were rock solid, stiff, and VERY fast. My confidence descending skyrocketed back to an earlier time in my road riding days. I was ready for the race, and would not be dropped descending Catamount this year. Plus, I knew my current form climbing ( I had lost some lbs.) would keep me near the front.

Our field was around 30-35 deep at the start and the pace was lethargic to say the least on the way out. Guys attempted to get off the front several times only to be quickly shut down. Burnsy was along for the ride in our field and would hopefully be someone for me to work with later. When we got to the Catamount climb at the halfway point, the pace was civil on the first climb. The group was happy with what appeared to be just tempo. My plan was to try and get rid of some of the team members from Amgen-RealD (six strong) if possible on this climb. About 150 meters from the top of the first pitch I went to the front and encouraged the solo guys up there to keep the tempo high, once at the top I set my own tempo, on the front, and carried it nearly all the way to the top of the climb. My goal was to make "the cone" in the top 5-8 riders which was done, most of the group was still there as we started the dirt descent. 

The rest was up to me and my new found confidence in the Cole C38s. I was able to stay on the front through the upper descent and the ensuing flat spot before hitting the hairball downhill at the bottom of Catamount. A brief effort had me off the front at the start of the downhill, and I was actually able to GAP THE GROUP descending, me, the world's previous worst descender ever. I topped 50 mph near the bottom and the right hander into the wood covered Colorado River Bridge still loomed, the wheels nailed it. 

Of Course it all came back together in very big winds and the group sprint was a bit of a cluster. The finish to this race simply just sucks, it's a skinny two lane road, with no traffic and a yellow line, and there is an official on a moto bike along side to keep you in line, I got pulled here two years ago, they enforce the center line rule forcefully. So somehow it ends up four wide and five deep, 20 riders, rolling to the finish, and I'm fucked in the fourth row waiting for the move, and it never comes. Now we are 200m from the line SOFT PEDALING when I scream "that's the finish line" as I look ahead, and nobody goes, and there is nowhere for anyone in the back to go without a DQ. FINALLY, David Williams from Colorado Bike Law made a move, but it was too late for the rest of us deep in the pack. Robert Fisher jumped his wheel and then took the win. As for me, I've never been in a bunch sprint before, and it was chaos from the back, but it did somehow manage to briefly open enough to start cranking it up, and I was able to jump on third wheel approaching the line, but ran out of space, my bike throw came up about a half wheel too short and I finished 4th on the day about two seconds off the win. But it was a fantastic and exciting day, and the Cole Wheels were a huge part of it.

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