As the maximum amount of bags is almost reached with my composition, some bags I left out in my arrangement.
There is no front bag that gets fixed at the handle bar.
Furthermore I left out the bag between the front tube and the seat post. All other standard bags are being used in my standard configuration.
I have seen very special combinations of bags, e.g. Frank, he used two bags at his handle bar and a special bag, where I have located my third bottle, between front wheel and bottom bracket.
My configurations as follows:
- Frame bag from Revelate safe storage for all important documents, maps, manuals, money, batteries and cables. And tons of food, such as power bars and sugars.
- Top tube/ head set bag stores cables, knife, phone during the rain
- 2 chalk bags from Mammouth for food (Haribo and any kind of nuts) and coke or coffee cans
- Saddlebag from Ortlieb. This bag just came out. By chance I read about it as I was searching on the Ortlieb website, ordered immediately and arrived in time. It can be quite huge, but it is waterproof. The first of its kind that I found. After two days in the rain with my revelate bag, thing got wet inside, which was not nice at all. After 13 days with this bag in the hills, I can confirm that this bag makes sense. On top you can wrap some food, which also was important for myself as I always need some stock!
- 2 bottle holders that allow you to access the bottles from the side.
- 1 bottle holder next to the bottom bracket as third bottle, I needed this one every single day. Getting this bottle out and back in is a little tricky, but you have to get used to this bike anyway.
Saddles did not give a huge variety for me, as I swear on Brooks
Brooks B15 Swallow Ti Black
Lightest version, extremely beautiful and really functional. Chosen for this bike from the first moment. After the first test ride in March, I had to send it in, as a rivet was already broken. Weak point of these saddles are the chrome coated rivets, as soon as they are installed and get in contact with water, they start to rust. For such an expensive saddle, no nice thing. As my Ti saddle got a scratch in the leather and I did not trust in his durability for TCR, I sent it in again, to the German Service station from brooks. Unfortunately this time I received the saddle back with some copied information that this saddle is not covered by warranty. As I was asking which of the listed issues are covered by warranty, I was pretty unhappy. This is again time consuming and I am going to discuss this with Brooks directly.
Brooks B15 Swallow Select
As rivets and thickness of the leather seem to be weak points for my riding style, I decided to get a new Brooks saddle in the very last moment. Copper rivets and a leather that is meant to be used for endurance rides. Still there is no clear information about the difference between the three different B15 saddles. Anyway, this one arrived pretty late and I decided not to use it, as I still had another B15 in “sometimes” use.
Brooks B15 Swallow Black
One of my Factory Five bikes from Shanghai, wears a B15. I decided to take this one off and put it on the final composition for the TCR. This was a good choice. Only on the two last days I kind of felt that my ass wants to go on holidays now. The saddle excellently coped with all requirements, from TT-riding to regular riding. Luckily the new saddlebag from Ortlieb kept away any rain that was usually put from the road to the bottom of the saddle.
I took Rapha’s chamois cream with me and used it every day, as a prophylaxis. Never used it before. I am sure it supported my comfortable ride, together with the BIB from Rapha for Brevet rides. I tested several BIB’s and only Assos F.Mille and Rapha Brevet fulfilled my requirement to be seated comfortably for longer times.
Shifting with SRAM eTap was also quite a risk, as the max. allowed size of the rear cassette was 28 teeth. I tried to install the GOAT LINK, that lowers the position of the rear derailleur but also further out. That means the reach of the derailleur was taken further out so that the 10th and 11th cassette gear could not be reached anymore. So, the GOAT LINK was no option anymore. I took the risk and ordered a cassette with 32 teeth. The required 6mm between derailleur and cassette could not be realised anymore, but it worked.
Chainrings came in 50/34, rear cassette with 11-32.
Although Jeff and Josh were coming with 42 teeth in the rear, I was confident to get through any conditions with my ratio.
I only had to walk twice, once 20meter in Italy, getting out of a village on a mini small and stiff road towards passo di san pellegrino.
Second time had been the border crossing from Bosnia into Montenegro on the R432a, as it was my initial idea. too stiff too much gravel.
I brought two spare pairs of cleat, one I returned back home!
I brought four fully charged batteries and the charger for eTap. I did not recharge any after I replaced the batteries, a risk, but also some time saving as I did not stay at places for long enough time to charge anything. After entering into Turkey one of the two installed batteries gave up, so I have to kill my front derailleur and keep the rear one going. This one lasted until Canakkale.
The only weak point from the first point had been the converter Doppelmoppel (Trickstuff) to convert from mechanical levers to hydraulic brakes. The solution itself is elegant and seems to work under most conditions. As I had to replace my first Doppelmoppel because one of the cylinders was not turning back into zero position, I had a warning. The replacement piece arrived immediately so the exchange could be realised very quickly. But there had never been any explanation about the reasons for that failure. Riding a bike anywhere out of nowhere, I need to know about every single screw and why it is on that position.
The break pads had been extremely noisy during the race, at some point the cylinders did not move back into zero position, again. I had to get into Montenegro and Kosovo without proper brakes. This brought me close to scratching, but as the Kosovo day had such nice riding conditions, I stopped at the first auto mechanic that I have seen and we could solve the situation for this moment. If this was according to Trickstuff, we will find out, soon. As I checked out their manual on the road, there was nothing mentioned about my conditions.
This bike had been firstly configured for Transcimbrica (Race around Denmark), in early March. Race conditions had been special, low temperatures, loads of sand, rain and snow.
I had to give up this race due to technical failure in the early morning of the second day. The non drive side crank arm came down. The story with THM is never ending and still ongoing, as this failure was discussed before, and my questions had not been answered by THM, before the race. Only after and at that time things already happened. The saddest customer service ever. As this failure totally damaged my frame, the value of this clarification is pretty high. Cervelo themselves let me know that this frame is completely damaged and they can offer a crash replacement which was still crazily expensive. I sent the frame to a carbon doctor who saw himself as capable and experienced to repair the bottom bracket section completely. It took some weeks, but when the frame came back, right in time for Hardcro (Race around Croatia) I was more than happy but not yet confident. A new crank was ordered to replace the Clavicula, which is going to be replaced on my other bike soon, just by principle after experiencing the worst customer care, ever. Rotor 3D+ was the latest selection and with my neighbours help I could easily install the pressfit bearings into the frame. For Hardcro everything worked out, except the selection of the tires. I had roughly six flats in Croatia and I also had to replace a tyre, all punctures had been snakebites. At that time I chose Conti 4 Seasons and Conti 4000, I had serious trouble to get them installed into the rims from Duke Baccara as the tires slipped out of it, if the pressure with high enough but still too low for racing. For TCR I decided in the very last weeks to go for Schwalbe Marathon Plus, way heavier but their advantages should rule. Having the same serious trouble in getting them installed, I still sticked on them. This choice had been a wise one. The only puncture I had was out in the burning sun of Greece. I could ride my bike with the flat to the next village without damaging the carcasse of the tyre. I was frightened to break the tools when I changed the tube, but finally everything worked out really really smooth.
For this was the most challenging thing of all, until the day of the race.
As I started a concept about the perfect bike in late 2015, including frame design and gear into its last pieces, it was a long way to go until things worked out, as I was wishing.
Various frame concepts had been in my mind, from a custom welded Factory Five frame, via some endurance geometries from the US (forgot about the name right now) to the newly presented cervelo line C. I tried to do some investigation and the new series, which was not really easy. As in our household there are more than only one bike, there is also another Cervelo R3 in action, which I really really love. So some experience was already existing, good preconditions. Hanno, one of my Heidelberg friends who is a passionate cyclist, also on a Cervelo S5, helped my with getting in touch with Cervelo for some more details and technical clarification on their technical realisations and details.
I went through all components in the very details, compared everything and spent hours and days in selection of components and making them match in theory.
After some weeks the main parameters had been clear, Cervelo C5, Sram eTap and Trickstuff Cleg 4 brakes with Doppelmoppel adaptor and a Clavicular crank from THM. This should get the main configuration of my perfect bicycle. It took weeks or months to realize my configuration as some parts were only available in the US and others had a really really poor customer service.
As I originally planned to leave for Geraadsbergen today, everything is prepared. But not compressed into the bags until now.
Two days ago I rechecked my first and second rough routing from months ago. Luckily TCR provided a document with blocked roads and/ or tunnels. It took some time to check everything again, now I am happy I did it once more. As to my prior experiences from Hardcro border crossing got another focus. Figuring out the smallest deviation from my route for crossing the border between Bosnia and Montenegro, I asked Ivan to give me a -local experts- hand. He contacted the local governor asking whether a certain road can be used to international border crossing. This guy answered: There is no border control on this road, but you can cross the border by using this road. In addition he mentioned that this road is pretty bad and not recommended to bike riders. For me a very interesting answer, as you can cross anywhere. There seem to be similar options for border crossing between Montenegro and Albania.
Today I do the very last preparation for manual navigation, marking the perfect route on the paper map as well as a list of cities and villages that shall be crossed during the trip, so in a case of no electricity, I can still reach Canakkale.
- Google Maps
- Google Earth
- Garmin BaseCamp
- Ivan Puja (local joker and communicator)
Recharging all possible batteries now. As the times before, continuous electricity is going to be a challenge again.
By tomorrow I plan to depart towards Brussels and Geraadsbergen then.
Der Flug ging fix und das Rad wurde wohlbehalten entladen. Der erste Abholversuch meines Hotel wurde mit einem Fiat 500 unternommen, danach kam er wieder und hatte einen Kastenwagen dabei. Hier passte dann der Koffer entspannt hinein.
Nach der Überführung und einem kurzen Caffè, habe ich das Rad aufgebaut und eine kleine Proberunde gedreht. Es ist schon schön hier. Nach der Runde noch einen Schaltzug samt Ummantelung gewechselt, jetzt mache ich mich ans Taschenpacken und entscheiden, welche Klamotten ich morgen mitnehme.
The flight was easy and the biycle was unloaded safely. The first pick-up attempt was made with a Fiat 500, then she returned followed by a van. This one was easy to carry my case.
After the transfer and a good Ristretto, I have built up the bike and had a small but nice practice round. It’s really beautiful here. After the small ride I changed a gear cable together with the jagwire going through the areobar. Now I head to my room to pack the bags and decide what clothes I take and which ones to leave here.