Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tubular Wheels: A Dangerous Obsession?

So my beautiful wife turns to me in the car and says, "When are you going to finally give up on those damn tubular wheels!?" To which are reply, with defiance I might add, "NEVER!!!"

This is of course after telling her that I have been down at the shop (Scott's Cycle and Fitness (the greatest shop in the world, no, seriously, look it up.)) re-gluing tubular cross tires back on to my old mavic wheels. And discovering that I have a damaged front wheel that's not fixable.

So what if this would be the second hoop that I'll have to replace in a year? Or that after about half the cross races that I did last year they needed at least a little tickle on the truing stand? And sure the tubular tires cost more than two standard clinchers. But so what!?

It's the way they feel. Soooo nice. Not enough "O's" in smooth. They grip like like a pissed off badger trying to defend his home... I don't actually know what that means so don't ask. But you get the point. They are really, really nice to ride on. Besides that, I also like the processes that you have to go through to put them on. It appeals to my inner bike geek. Also, can you ever really have to many pairs of wheels? I think not.

However, I'm at a precipice. The proverbial edge of the cliff looking over. An edge that I fear I may not be able to get back up once I go down....

I'm thinking about using my carbon road tubulars for cross. There, I said it.... 

But with that thought comes all kinds of self doubt. As I said earlier. I had to mess with my sturdy 32 hole triple cross work horses after almost every race. So what the hell will happen if I try to ride my bad ass carbon Bontrager deep dish wheels in the mud and the gunk!? Will they implode while jumping over the first set of barriers? Or will they just flop on their sides and pee on themselves like a little puppy at the mear sight of some of the cross courses? I just don't know....

On top of all that I don't know if I'm ballsy (is that how you would spell that?) enough to do it. Part of me wants to hoard my carbon wheels in the garage and only take them out on special road race days. Maybe rub them down with a cloth diaper every once in a while. You know, just for fun. The other part of me says that I have them and they should be used. A wheel hanging in the garage is useless and what's the point of even having them if all you are going to do is look at them.

So I guess I have some decisions to make. But if you see some guy at the next cross race standing over his crumpled front carbon wheel, crying. You will know what direction I took.

Keep the rubber side in the dirt,

Big E

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