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Training to prove Steel can beat Carbon - need some advice!

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Training to prove Steel can beat Carbon - need some advice!

Old 10-10-11, 01:01 PM
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e.maguran
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Training to prove Steel can beat Carbon - need some advice!

All,

It's the beginning of ms150 training in Houston again and out of speaking bluntly I told a coworker who has been bragging about his new Specialized Tarmac Elite Carbon (saying I should upgrade to a "real bike" like his) that I'll beat him on my new prized possession: 1986 Schwinn Super Sport. Now, I realize that training will be about 70%-80% of the win as we are lowly amateurs... But i am looking for recommended upgrades to this Columbus TL frame that will help out. Ie: upgrading to 105 brifters and a rear wheel that will take it? I don't usually get pumped to compete, but now after being a big proponent for steel, I need to win this. Any advice outside of "buy a new bike" will be appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 10-10-11, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by e.maguran View Post
All,

It's the beginning of ms150 training in Houston again and out of speaking bluntly I told a coworker who has been bragging about his new Specialized Tarmac Elite Carbon (saying I should upgrade to a "real bike" like his) that I'll beat him on my new prized possession: 1986 Schwinn Super Sport. Now, I realize that training will be about 70%-80% of the win as we are lowly amateurs... But i am looking for recommended upgrades to this Columbus TL frame that will help out. Ie: upgrading to 105 brifters and a rear wheel that will take it? I don't usually get pumped to compete, but now after being a big proponent for steel, I need to win this. Any advice outside of "buy a new bike" will be appreciated. Thanks!
Ride as fast as you can up the steepest hills around until you throw up. Then take a drink of water and repeat. Do this until about 3 days before race day for the win!! Cruise in to the finish like a BOSS!
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Old 10-10-11, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by hamanu23 View Post
Ride as fast as you can up the steepest hills around until you throw up. Then take a drink of water and repeat. Do this until about 3 days before race day for the win!! Cruise in to the finish like a BOSS!
Proven method.

I would think you're on the right track with brifters. You might have to cold-set the rear to accept the newer cassettes. Good tires will make the ride more bearable and yourself a bit faster. Also, lose everything to get the bare minimum of the bike (i.e. lose the rack although it'd be cool if you beat your friend will full gear).

Also much of the improvement would have to be made to the rider. Cardio and lower body weight lifting would help. Keep hydrated.
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Old 10-10-11, 01:20 PM
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As Eddy Merckx said... "ride lots".

The difference is going to stem from who has the better engine when it comes time to put the rubber on the road.

That, and if you should get access to his carbon wonder bike before the "race", I would suggest you top up his tyres with water.
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Old 10-10-11, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by e.maguran View Post
All,

It's the beginning of ms150 training in Houston again and out of speaking bluntly I told a coworker who has been bragging about his new Specialized Tarmac Elite Carbon (saying I should upgrade to a "real bike" like his) that I'll beat him on my new prized possession: 1986 Schwinn Super Sport. Now, I realize that training will be about 70%-80% of the win as we are lowly amateurs... But i am looking for recommended upgrades to this Columbus TL frame that will help out. Ie: upgrading to 105 brifters and a rear wheel that will take it? I don't usually get pumped to compete, but now after being a big proponent for steel, I need to win this. Any advice outside of "buy a new bike" will be appreciated. Thanks!
If you can post a photo of your Schwinn as it now is configured,
it would help a whole lot.

Most bang for the buck is in your wheels and tires, followed
by the crank if yours is not alloy, and lighter pedals possibly.

But overall you want to reduce rolling resistance, so narrower
higher pressure tires (and the rims to accommodate them) are
your best single investment in the speedy department.

Most of the Super Sports were reasonable frames that ought
to be able to smoke a CF weenie, if ridden with grace and flair.

Also, what kind of race have you conceived? Just balls to the wall
flat course ? Hills ? Distance ? Drafting allowed or not ?

Strategy and ability to endure pain is what wins bike races,
not so much frame materials.

Edit: You know about this one?
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...teel-vs-carbon...

Last edited by 3alarmer; 10-10-11 at 01:27 PM. Reason: add link
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Old 10-10-11, 01:24 PM
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In a ride like that, training will make all the difference. Just about anything you do to the bike will be for the placebo effect. Plus, you'll feel even better if you smoke him on your bike as-is. If you were going to be pack racing criterium style, I might advise differently. Comfort is your friend as much as speed - maybe some nice new tires and make sure you've got the right saddle and positioning.
My brother did El Tour de Tuscan a few years ago on a Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix and averaged over 20 miles an hour.
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Old 10-10-11, 01:29 PM
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Yes, sorry for double posting... So annoyed that i didn't wait uuntil i got home... Doing this via smart phone
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Old 10-10-11, 01:29 PM
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there were two identical threads, which I merged.

In my view there are very few advantages to modern bikes over a C&V bike. It is an article of faith among many riders that a new bike will be much faster, but there really is no evidence to that. So other than making sure everything is in good repair, just go ride
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Old 10-10-11, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
But overall you want to reduce rolling resistance, so narrower
higher pressure tires (and the rims to accommodate them) are
your best single investment in the speedy department.
Narrower tires don't necessarily reduce rolling resistance, because they don't necessarily make for a smaller contact patch. That's why the super-skinny wheels and tires in vogue in the 80's aren't used by pros currently. A non-super-skinny tire can provide more comfort, which might well be the more important factor than sheer speed over a longer distance. In general, though, I do agree that wheels are the upgrade most likely to make a difference and provide a better overall ride impression.
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Old 10-10-11, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
If you can post a photo of your Schwinn as it now is configured,
it would help a whole lot.

Most bang for the buck is in your wheels and tires, followed
by the crank if yours is not alloy, and lighter pedals possibly.

But overall you want to reduce rolling resistance, so narrower
higher pressure tires (and the rims to accommodate them) are
your best single investment in the speedy department.

Most of the Super Sports were reasonable frames that ought
to be able to smoke a CF weenie, if ridden with grace and flair.

Also, what kind of race have you conceived? Just balls to the wall
flat course ? Hills ? Distance ? Drafting allowed or not ?

Strategy and ability to endure pain is what wins bike races,
not so much frame materials.

Edit: You know about this one?
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...teel-vs-carbon...
I will post pictures tonight. The ride is Houston to Austin 180 miles over two days. First day is flat, second is lots of climbing hills. Www.ms150.org for more info. I have a decent skeleton of a bike to work with. It has biospace shimano 600 crank. Like I said pots will be uploaded tonight.
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Old 10-10-11, 01:39 PM
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A nice set of wheels with a good set of hubs will help you quite a bit! Less rolling resistance, faster you go... And like you mentioned, train, train, train. The less you weigh, and the stronger/fitter you are, the faster you go.

I did a century here in NE Ohio and on it I passed several guys on carbon bikes! That was fun. At the end I had a guy tell me that I ride pretty good for the bike I ride...(85 Trek 400) I just laughed.
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Old 10-10-11, 01:39 PM
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If you aren't training so hard that you think you MIGHT hurl then train harder. I am riding in the MS event on Oct 22,23 in SoCal. Every Sunday morning it's 50-60 miles with the training group. One guy is very fast and I try to keep up. It hurts but also helps.
There is also a petite woman that is quite fast and rides A Cervelo that must weigh about 15 pounds since she will sometimes pass me on a long climb. At least that's the reason I am giving.

Oh yeah. Lightweight tubes. Really, you can save 1 ounce per tube if you get the Lunar Light, or some such thing at Performance Bike. They cost more, go figure.
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Old 10-10-11, 01:42 PM
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180 miles for a couple of weekend warriors? I'd suspect the winner will be the one in the least amount of pain. I suggest a really nice saddle and really comfortable shoes and really nice bibshorts.

Then maybe an aero water bottle just for show.
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Old 10-10-11, 01:48 PM
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If you want to beat your coworker in just this one race... know the course. Know the gearing you need for the course. If you need a 12-26 on the rear instead of an 11-23 then go that route. Same goes for up front.

Mechanical failure is not an option. Make sure everything is working as it should. The only thing mechanical failure can do for you is give you an excuse for not having beaten him. And, if you dare use that one, you'll still receive ridicule about riding an old broken down bike.

Get into his head. Make him burn out quickly (in such a way you won't burn out yourself). Know how you can ride that course and finish. Then know how you can ride that course and finish well. Then know how you can ride that course and beat your friend.

Find someone who you can follow and not allow yourself to lose track of. I don't mean your friend here. Your goal is to beat him, not hang with him. Find someone faster and hang on for dear life (assuming you can do this within the limits of what I said before).

In terms of upgrades... Wheels and tires. Your frame isn't going to get any lighter. You're not going to save that much weight on other components.
Follow that with crank and saddle (and saddle is a place to save weight while losing comfort. Find a happy medium).
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Old 10-10-11, 01:49 PM
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Assuming everything on the bike is in good working order, the only thing I'd change would be the tires. Get some with low rolling resistance (a flexible sidewall and no or minimal tread are usually good indications). Brifters are an advantage in a crit or similar situation where quick shifting is needed to jump on a break and at each turn, but wouldn't be significant over a long distance ride. Stick with the DT shifters - they're lighter and give you even more bragging rights if you beat him on his carbon wonder.
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Old 10-10-11, 01:55 PM
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Get your body fit.
It's much easier to lose 10 lbs than to sell enough crack to pay for $2000 in a 4-lb weight reduction of rolling bike.

Get your bike to fit.
And not just 90%. Ride it, tweak it, get it to fit 100% and disappear beneath you as you ride like a scalded cat.

Get your mind fit.
You have to be able to suffer. Those who suffer more generally win, on bikes. They pedal faster, you see.

Now, for the upgrades.
Go to the ISO thread. There should be some stuff listed there that will bring that SS to modern trim.
Concentrate on the things that move: wheels, crankset, pedals. Aero, not so much until you get to a certain point.

The advantage to modern STI shifters is not weight, it's keeping your riding position.
Changing riding position costs time.

And, even if temporary, you may want to try some clip-on aero bars, just to ride tucked a while.
You spin a bit higher rpm, relax a bit, cut through the air a bit better. You sacrifice control, so try not to wreck.
Also, changing position in/out of aero can easily kill any advantage the bars give you.

20grit is right. Learn the course, or at least learn to anticipate inclines, corners, and keeping momentum.
Everything he says is about keeping momentum, including causing the other guy to lose his.
If you exude toughness, you can drop him, put on some miles, and he'll give up.
Happens all the time, even in the TdF. Suffering wins, but smart does, too.


Kick ace.
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Old 10-10-11, 02:03 PM
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I have two friends who have done the Houston / Austin MS150 3 times, so of course I'm an expert.
My friend says the wind is your biggest enemy, so if you could arrange something about that, it could help.
Great wheels with those high performance fat tires would be your #1 friend. Comfy saddle, ditto.
As everyone has said, whoever has the best motor, will win.
You know, the MS150 isn't a race. I'd hate it that in an effort to win, you missed all the fun of that event.
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Old 10-10-11, 02:10 PM
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Whether or not you 'need' STI shifters versus downtube shifters really depends on how comfortable you are with DT shifting. Part of the fun in racing on a steel bike is to beat people while using DT shifters. If you have a good indexed set it isn't difficult. Having said that, I would prepare your bike for racing in the following way:

Upgrade the wheels to whatever you can find for cheap, provided it takes a shimano cassette and isn't heavier than ~1900g. A 130mm axle will fit in the frame fine.
Get a 7 speed cassette
Sram 8 speed chain
600 tri-color shifters, derailleurs, and dual pivot brakes
Tektro brake levers (so you can use the hoods)
Clipless pedals
Good 23c racing tires (gp4000s, ultremo R)
Upgrade the saddle and bar tape to your personal preference

This will bring your bike up to 'modern' performance levels and weight. It's still never going to perform as well as a tarmac but at least it won't suck. The super sport is a nice frame that's worthy of upgrading and racing on.

The most important thing really is that the bike fits you. If you haven't been fitted before or are unsure of your fit get fitted. Swap your stem and bars accordingly. This step is not optional IMO.

Lastly, the race will really just come down to who is the stronger rider. Upgrading the bike will just make winning or losing more enjoyable.
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Old 10-10-11, 02:12 PM
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How long do you have until the event? Riding every day for around 2 hours would be great, packing in some interval training as well as some higher speed increases.
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Old 10-10-11, 02:40 PM
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The ride lots is about it!

It's not the bike! It's the guy riding it.

Get fit, or in this case get more fit than the other guy.

Ride up the hill till you puke will work as well!
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Old 10-10-11, 02:41 PM
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Training and nutrition!

Feeding your muscles is hugely important especially on a long ride that requires endurance, GNC has all kinds of suplements that will help with that and that aren't just a pile of sugar.

I'll post the one I picked up recently, I don't recall the name but man does it help with the endurance and recovery.
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Old 10-10-11, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jr59 View Post
The ride lots is about it!

It's not the bike! It's the guy riding it.

Get fit, or in this case get more fit than the other guy.

Ride up the hill till you puke will work as well!
+1000000

THIS

is way way WAY more important than
THIS
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Old 10-10-11, 03:15 PM
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Clip on aero bars. Any other major upgrade on this bike is seriously like flushing your money down the toilet.
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Old 10-10-11, 03:20 PM
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how about a time-trial?
you on your steel bike vs. you on his carbon wonder bike.
him on your steel bike vs. him on his carbon wonder bike.

best times win.
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Old 10-10-11, 03:24 PM
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If you're keeping your wheels, repack and adjust the hubs. I just did that for my fast bike and it really ROLLS now. Very smooth.
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