Wind in My Face
ThunderBay 4 - The Speed To Create. The Capacity To Dream.
Zeiss Batis for Sony
diglloyd Zeiss Batis review

Veloflex Vlaanderen Tubular 700 X 27C: Ride Quality on the Moots Vamoots RSL

Readers know that I’m a huge fan of Veloflex tubular tires; I’ve ridden probably 60K miles on them in the past 8 years, going through at least 60 tires (I’ve lost count), and I know how each model performs (Record, Sprinter, Criterium, Roubaix, and now Vlaanderen). So I was intrigued by the introduction of the new 700 X 27C Veloflex Vlaanderen. I requested some review samples, and Veloflex obliged.

First off, this is a beautifully made tire. All three samples were nearly flawless in symmetry, clean in design. The FMB Boyaux Paris Roubaix Pro feels almost crude by comparison and the Vlaanderen far better handling and ride feel.

My review of the Veloflex Vlaanderen now includes extensive ride notes.

Veloflex Vlaanderen Tubular Tire

Veloflex Vlaanderen 700 X 27C tubular tire
OWC Thunderbolt 2 Dock
Review of Thunderbolt 2 Dock

Typical American Diet Can Damage Immune System

Science News reports in Typical American diet can damage immune system yet another research finding suggesting that health is far more complex than conventionally realized, involving not just foods per se, but the gut microbiome and its interaction with those food choices. Other research goes so far as to suggest even mental health is an interactive result of bacteria in the gut, and that bad food choices can cross generations!

A tantalizing line of evidence suggests that unhealthful foods — fatty, salty, sugary, processed foods — may disrupt the body’s defenses in a way that promotes inflammation, infection, autoimmune diseases and even illnesses like cancer.


There is also evidence that certain kinds of fats and refined sugar, consumed in excess, may compromise the inner lining of the intestine, allowing microscopic leaks that trigger unrelenting immune activation. Also, adipose tissue, or body fat, is so capable of hormone production that it is often referred to as an endocrine organ by itself, able to kindle a low-grade inflammation that stresses tissues and promotes disease.

... the combination of unhealthy diet and obesity explain in part the rise in autoimmune conditions such as celiac disease, type 1 diabetes and other illnesses that occur when the body turns on itself.

And perhaps most fascinating (“you are what your parents and grandparents ate”):

Other work by some of the same researchers also raises the possibility that disease risk from microbiota can cross generations... The impact of a Western diet on risk for obesity and cancer can persist for generations, and gut microbes may be responsible, a study published in April suggests. If supported by more research, the findings mean that inherited risk for some diseases is about more than genetics and may be reversible.

The gut microbiome area is a hot area of research, and it appears to hold immense promise for human health—perhaps greater than any medical advances yet seen. But it also appears that it may take a decade or two to sort out the complexity.

See also:

Arrived: Veloflex Vlaanderen Tubular 700 X 27C

Readers know that I’m a huge fan of Veloflex tubular tires; I’ve ridden probably 60K miles on them in the past 8 years, going through at least 60 tires (I’ve lost count), and I know how each of them performs.

So I was intrigued by the introduction of the new 700 X 27C Veloflex Vlaanderen. I requested some review samples, and Veloflex obliged.

I received two of the new Veloflex Vlaanderen tubular tire today. Wow! I am intrigued by the supple casing and tread pattern and substantial tire volume. By palpating the tire build with my fingers I’d say that the Vlaanderen holds huge potential as about the most comfortable ride in a tubular one might find. My guess is that it will be distinctly more supple and comfortable than the Veloflex Roubaix and possibly less puncture resistant (the rubber seems less thick). But that is speculation until a road test.

Because I’m leaving on a trip I won’t have the Vlaanderen glued up until about mid June 2015, report to follow. But it looks very promising as possibly a tire of choice for anyone looking for an ultra comfy tubular with superb handling and grip. I won’t be able to test it on the rear of my Moots Vamoots RSL because it won’t fit a 700 X 27C, but it’s the front wheel that has me intrigued in terms of exploring the comfort zone.

Veloflex Vlaanderen 700 X 27C tubular tire
Zeiss Loxia for Sony

Lactate Threshold Training: 10X Repeats on upper Pave Alpine Rd

Get Shimano Di2 at Amazon.com.

I’m loving the 34 cog on Shimano Di2. It lets me spin through slightly steeper pitches with a flick of the shifter. This pays off for hill repeats, and I think it will pay off for endurance events with steep climbs.

While five double centuries in two months has paid off handsomely in deep reserves of aerobic endurance, my lactate threshold and peak power now needs attention as spring waxes and summer approaches.

The next big event is Alta Alpina 8-Pass Challenge, and since Steven Barnes (organizer of the Everest Challenge) seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth (I hope he’s OK), the Alta Alpina 8-Pass Challenge is the only major hard-ass goal for me left this year. And one I have designs on winning. So I need to make sure my peak power and anaerobic fitness are pushed up, and I have about 3 weeks to do that.

Shown below is a 10-repeat workout, average time 9:34 @ 313 watts. I could definitely feel the burn by repeat 6, but it was perfectly tolerable. I could probably have done 12 and maybe more, but I had work to do and could not afford the time. For me, 313 watts is a bit disappointing; I should be doing at least 330 watts or so on these repeats. But, well, I’m some years older than 2012 and maybe age is acting up. More threshold training will prove or disprove that.

Besides, it was National DumbF**k Day on Alpine Road: wrong side of road drivers, dogs on leashes spanning road, and one dumbass with his car in park (you can’t make that stuff up!) on a blind corner in the middle of road, with a cyclist crashed as a result, with me narrowly missing. I yelled at this sh*t for brains to move his car over, but he wanted to argue about it while his car remained in park in the middle of the one-lane road (as it had been), a deadly obstacle for the next hapless cyclist to round the steep curve in the road. Nothing wrong the car, something seriously wrong with the brain. Where is that phaser when you need it?

Ten (10) lactate threshold repeates on upper Alpine Rd

Shimano Di2 DuraAce and Ultegra — Weights and Why and Which to Use

Get Shimano Di2 at Amazon.com.

I had been running the original DuraAce Di2 10-speed on my Moots Vamoots RSL. Finally I scraped together the money for Shimano Di2 11-speed . There were several motivations, in this order:

  • I wanted the 11-32 cassette option (32-tooth cog) that is possible with Di2 Ultegra. Because on 10% to 26% grades of the Eastern Sierra, that 32 cog will be my best friend. Especially after climbing 10,000' or more already. An 11-28 is fine for most stuff or for shorter efforts, but for Alta Alpina 8 Pass Challenge and the Everest Challenge or the 26% grade of eastern Sonora Pass, that 32 cog will be lovely.
  • The 11 speed cassette means a tighter spacing when using 11-28 cog (less gappy in gear ratios in the last 3 cogs, if it weren’t for hills I’d use an 11-25 cassette).
  • The Ultegra and DuraAce derailleurs are plug-compatible, and thus the same bike and wheels are more versatile with a derailleur and cog swap (chain may have to be replaced if switching to the shorter-cage DuraAce derailleur, but the Ultegra handles a 28 or 32 cassette). In the winter, I can run the DuraAce derailleur with the 11-28 for tighter spacing; I don’t need the 32.
  • The 10-speed Di2 parts can be used for spare parts for on my Moots PsychloX RSL, which has 10-speed Di2, it’s now a sort of 2nd road bike that sees only a little dirt. With the original 10-speed Di2 getting harder and harder to find, this gives me a backup set.
  • My left Di2 shifter has been intermittently failing to shift, and I did not want buy a new 10-speed shifter.


The 11-32 Ultegra cassette delivers an entire extra gear (32 cog), but matches the last two cogs of the DuraAce 11-28 with its 25, 28 cogs. So it’s like getting three gears instead of two when climbing the steep stuff.

With a 50 X 34 compact double crankset, the gear ratios are 50:25, 50:28, 50:32, or

 DuraAce 11-1828 11,12,13,14,15,17,19,21,23,25,28

Ultegra: 11-32: 11-12-13-14-16-18-20-22-25-28-32


Weights accurate to the gram.

The weight penalty for the 32-cog Ultegra setup vs 28-cog DuraAce setup is thus (266-215) + (284-195) = 140 grams + some extra chain weight— call it 160 grams, or about 1/3 pound. Undesirable (why is there no DuraAce 32 cog support?), but a modest penalty to gain an extra gear on steep climbs to save the quads.


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