Tag: sierra nevada

Going Tubeless In The California Alps – Lessons Learned

IN my bike riding lifetime I, like you I suspect, have done a few tubeless set ups. For me those have been on my mountain bike and later on, my gravel bike.

I just upgraded my eMTB to tubeless – this after a flat on my way home from a ride.

GOING tubeless on a road bike, though, is much less common (at least in my “mere mortal” circles). Sew-ups or glue-ons? I’ve never been at that level. My nephew Ryan went tubeless on his road steed several years ago, but that lad has always been an early- adopter/over-achiever. I’ve known few others that have done so, yet I’ve heard for years that the ride can be life-changing. Okay, maybe not life-changing but certainly ride-changing.

I’LL let you know once I get out and ride it. Sadly, right after I set things up I went under the knife (under the water perhaps would be more apropos – my procedure was by robotic aquablation after all) for a prostate upgrade and now that I can ride, the roads have been too slick with ice and snow. 🙁

THERE is a tremendous amount of information out there on how to upgrade to tubeless so I’m not going to go into a step-by-step in this post.

Instead, I’ll focus on a few things I’ve learned as a tubeless-runner. Our friends over at Tempo Cyclist, by the way, posted something up on the subject last month. It’s certainly worth a gander, and you’ll enjoy the Tasmanian vibe. I know I did.

AS for my tips, read on!

Get the Right Tape and Stems (And Tires)

I bought the necessary rim tape (went with Mavic’s 25mm UST Tape) for my Aeolus wheel set, as well as the tubeless stems (Trek’s VLV BNT TLR in 67mm). As for tires…I’m running Continental 5000s TRs (it’s a fairly new tire) in 28mm.

You’ll likely need to do a bit of measuring (with a metric ruler or tape) to get the correct wheel depth, which for me was a bit challenging because of that deep-dish wheelset.

TIP: If you’re still not sure, get a small selection of sizes and return what you don’t need. That’s what I did. With Competitive Cyclist, where I get 99% of my stuff, returns are simple and usually free. And if you, like me, go through materiel like mad, you can even get your own gearhead!

FOR the eMTB, by the way, I ended up going with Reserve’s RSV AM Rim Tape in a 34mm width. Tires? I’m a Conti devotee, and based on the mixed, but mostly loose, terrain here in the Sierra I chose the Argotal 29″ (x 2.40), and for stems Stan’s 35mm Universal Valve. Standard wheels on that bike…

For Sealant It’s Got To Be Stan’s

Stan's Race Sealant is our sealant of choice here in the California Alps

AND I go with Stan’s Race Sealant.

IT’S better, I’ve found, than the standard Stan’s (lasts longer and is designed for “extreme conditions”) BUT it does not allow for injection of the sealant via the valve stem.

IT will clog so you’ll need to add it by “un-beading” the tire. Trust me on this as I’ve tried forcing it in with that injector I used in the past for the standard sealant, and it didn’t go well.

No Compressor? Use C02 Cartridges

THIS was a tip from my “brudda from anudda mudda” Toph. Getting that bead to seat the first time can be challenging so if you don’t have a compressor, rather than pump like a madman (done that and had some success) use a C02 cartridge to seat the tire (the pop is unmistakable) and then inflate with your usual unit.

Can’t Ride It Right Away?

IT’S important that you coat the tires well so the sealant can work into all those nooks and crannies. Mmmm, Thomas’. 😋

BEST practice = go for a ride. If you can’t do that, though, do what I did.

SET the bike on the ground or floor upside down. Crank the pedals to get that rear wheel going and hit that front real with your hand (roulette anyone?) to get it moving. I set my bikes up while I was doing some chores around the chalet and then, every time I walked by, I gave those tires a spin.

THIS approach worked very well for the road bike (less volume so easier to coat) but it didn’t go so well on the front eMTB tire so I ended up taking Bessie out for a short spin (just a couple miles). That did the trick.

Have a Backup Plan

HERE’S the rub…Going tubeless typically means no, or extraordinarily fewer, flats. BUT not always. So carry a tube (or two for those epic rides) just in case and also get yourself one of those 2 oz. bottles of Stan’s to tote in your jersey, pack or saddle bag.

SO there you have what I hope will be some helpful suggestions to help you take your ride to the next level.

Looking through a bike wheel at some golden aspens in Markleeville.

TAKE your time, put your patience hat on (as a mechanic once told me), and you’ll be a professional tubeless-tire-installer in no time.

IF you have any issues though, feel free to reach out. I’ll be happy to help.

OTHERWISE, enjoy the ride!

Deathride 2022 – Il Finito

AFTER a two-year hiatus we finally pulled it off. Deathride 2022, with the new course into the Lake Alpine area, with Pacific Grade x2 added, was a MASSIVE success!

YOURS truly was not fit enough to attempt what Peter Stetina says is one of the hardest century-rides in the country, but I did spend this morning doing a bit of “ambassador-ing” on part of the course. I hit Hwy. 4 about the time the fastest riders were coming down from Monitor Pass and heading up to Ebbett’s Pass.

EVEN though those two HC climbs are challenging, and the sunshine and blue sky was brilliant, the smiles of the riders still lit up the road. After days of smoke-filled skies we were blessed by Ma Nature with clear air yesterday and today. Yeah, it’s hot (over 90 degrees fahrenheit today) but it wouldn’t be the Deathride without some sort of weather “event,” right?

THE riders I talked to while on the road today, and yesterday during the Expo., were so appreciative of the opportunity to attempt the ride yet again.

THAT included my friend John K. from Chula Vista.

SO far the rider from London takes the cake for distance. All the way across the pond! Seriously? As I write this post from the Expo I’m waiting for him to stop by the booth so he can pick up his free California Alps Cycling cap. He’s definitely earned it. I also talked to riders from Colorado Springs, Maryland and Idaho. So many more came from so many places…How cool is that?

AND the volunteers…What a truly amazing and inspiring bunch of folks. From rest-stops to water-stops; from radio comms. to medical; from litter picker-uppers to booth staffers and registration signer-uppers…everyone was on their game and so welcoming of the ride and riders.

THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!

THE first finishers started coming in around 11:30 a.m. or so and the first woman rider came in about 12:30. That’s FAST! Way faster than anything I’ve ever done, or will do, that’s for certain. It’s now 3:30 or so and riders are still coming in. Sweat-stained jerseys and bibs, white coated from sunscreen in some cases, many of them a bit disheveled for sure, and yet such a sense of pride. As it should be.

Deathriders making their way up Hwy. 4 towards Ebbetts Pass. After they’ve done Monitor x 2. Video taken at Scossa Cow Camp. If you look closely you can see the “Scossa ladies” setting up a viking skit for the rider’s entertainment.

HUGE thanks to the sponsors of the Deathride, too. Talk about resilience! About twenty (20) came out, including us of course. We had coffee, schwag, beer and more thanks to their efforts.

A special tip ‘o the hat to Tamo and Nikki, founders/owners of ATAQ fuel, and one of our marquee sponsors. If you haven’t tried ATAQ’s products, by the way, you should. I’ve been using it since last year and I really like it. No gut issues and a plant-based product to boot!

SIERRA Nevada deserves special mention, too. They have supported the ride for years and continue to do so. And their beer is the best! Ahhh…

DID I mention that it’s hot? I guess I did but I’ll say it again. It’s toasty today. I can’t help but marvel at the attitudes of the riders. Yeah, you have to be fit but in the end, as my brother-from-another-mother would say, the Deathride is really a state of mind. We are truly blessed to have such support from riders all over the world.

THERE are still some riders on the course so those final data points are still TBD.

IF you were one of the many, whether you be a rider, volunteer, spouse or partner of a rider, you name it, a heartfelt thanks from the Alpine County community. We couldn’t have done it without you and we are so very grateful for the support.

RIDE on! See you next year!

It’s a Deathride Resurgence – Really!

LIKE just about every other bike event, race, fondo, you name it, the DR didn’t happen last year.

THIS year, though? That’s a different story.

The Ride is a Go!

AND we’re so excited! Not only is it going to happen, it’s going to happen on a NEW COURSE!

This new course will take you to new heights, including Pacific Grade (x2)!

FOR those of us who may be “metrically-challenged” that’s 103.17 miles, so yeah it’s a bit shorter than previous years, but it will be no less challenging. Oh, and the climbing…over 14,000 feet!

Some More West Slope

Okay, technically, you’re right, we’ve gone there before as Hermit Valley is on the western side of the Sierra Crest. This time, though, we’re going a bit farther – almost to Lake Alpine, and the course will be closed to vehicles all the way down (and up). And no, that’s not just for the “Ebbett’s climbs” in case you’re wondering. Highway 89 will be closed to vehicles on both sides of Monitor pass, too (as usual).

No more Carson but no less challenging…

Some Changes to the Timing

RIDERS will not be able to start before 5:30 a.m., and there will be cut-off times.

Starting and finishing at Turtle Rock Park in Markleeville, Calif., the 103 mile course begins at 5:30 am…”

FOR several reasons, most related to safety, some due to logistics, riders who in the past (including yours truly) started a bit earlier (3:30 a.m. had been my start time) won’t be able to do so this year.

“Road closures will be in effect from 5am – 4pm. The 13-hour time limit ends at 6:30 pm, and all riders must be off the course by 7:00 pm. All cut-off times are strictly enforced. Segment cut-off times indicate the latest time that a rider will be allowed to begin each segment. Riders attempting to begin a segment after the cut-off time will not be allowed to proceed.”

WE’VE got a renewed emphasis on safety, one reason Carson Pass is no longer part of the course, and so as you’ve just read there will be segment cut-off times. Course marshals will be uber-sensitive to prudent pedaling and will let you know if you’re pushing the perimeter of that proverbial pouch. What can I say? I love alliteration. 😉

The participant’s jersey…
You can get the coveted finisher’s jersey (red on the collar and sleeves and “finisher” instead of “resurgence”) if you complete the entire ride!

Some Additional Data

  • OUR permit does allow for up to 3500 riders but right now we’ve got registrations capped at 2500 so we can keep things more manageable.
  • WE’VE got almost 1600 riders registered so far. If you haven’t registered yet, better do it now!
  • WE’RE working with several groups and are planning on putting on a MTB related event for folks (e.g. spouses, partners, kids) who are not riding on Saturday.
  • THE finish-line festival will include that sought-after ice cream, a vendors and sponsors expo., a Deathride store, some music (DJ provided), a finish-line arch/photo opp., and the finisher poster that finishers can sign.
  • AS for food, that’s still in the planning stages but we do have some local restaurants in mind for catering.
  • BEER? It’s all about the beer, right? That’s why I ride, anyway. Sierra Nevada and the Alpine Co. Fire Safe Council will be on hand to serve those suds!
  • NOT yet solidified but in the works nonetheless: a massage therapist and a face-painter for the kids (both large and small).

HERE’S a link to the Deathride page where you can get more information, and register, if you haven’t already.

BE sure to make hotel or camping reservations FAST as things are already filling up.

HEADS up! It’s likely that Indian Creek Campground WILL NOT be available this year as the BLM is doing a lot of work out there that will likely go through the entire summer.

WE’RE so looking forward to welcoming you to Alpine County!

TRAIN well and Let’s Kick Some Passes’ Asses! this summer.

SEE you in July!