So, final day before we kick off Mizen to Malin and everyone is pretty excited. Fortunately the chest infection is much improved, but with a short 55 miles to start with tomorrow, I should be in fairly decent shape (Having said that there is a Cat 3 climb to negotiate in the Caha Pass, but we’ll deal with that when we get to it).
Yesterday was spent doing a whole lot of little things, like unpacking and repacking the gear, to make sure nothing was missed. I also managed to do some last minute tweaking to the bike itself. I tidied up the mudguards on the back (one of the nuts fell off and no spares: some tidy work with cable ties have everything now secure). Also I cleaned the chain and re-lubed, and gave a final rub of proofide to the saddle: I’m hoping in some karma, if I’m nice to the saddle it might be nice to me over the 450-odd miles next. And as a final weight-saving measure I removed my Lezyne mini-pump (other lads have bigger frame pumps, so no point hauling it).
Originally when I got my bike (a Dolan Preffisio), one of the main reasons for getting it was it was designed to be used as a training/winter/touring bike. So when we figured out that the typical Irish Summer was going to be quite wet, and that we are doing a 450 mile tour in a few weeks, the fitting of mudguards (fenders) seemed like a good idea.
While some in the group went for simpler mudguards (just for the tour), I decided to go for something that I could just leave on the bike for the most part, partly because I’m not expecting any improvement in the weather. And since there were already all the eyelets and the bike is supposed to have added clearance I ordered these SKS Bluemels Olympic Racer Mudguards from Chain Reaction. SKS have an excellent reputation, and these look pretty good, so the black ones on my Black and White Dolan seemed an obvious choice. Here is how the bike should look (One thing that really annoyed me was I contacted Dolan several times, via email and twitter, trying to find out what guards they recommend , or even sell. Not once did I receive a reply).
Anyway, the mudguards arrived on Monday, so I thought 20 minutes and I would have them fitted. That was ambitious! All in all, I’d say I spent maybe 4 hours fitting them. I’ll spare the full details, but firstly everything was quite fiddly to do on you own. Then the stays had to be marked, disassembled, cut to length and reassembled. A hacksaw would be quite handy (off course I didn’t have one with me). Also I had to shape the bottom of the back guard, to fit it between the chainstays.
But the biggest issue was that even though the bike should have plenty of clearance, with 23mm tyres they were catching the guard directly under the brake bridge. It took quite a lot of messing (over an hour), and I actually thought that it just wasn’t going to happen. But after readjusting the brakes several times (releasing the bolt and pushing the brakes vertically uo), and pushing forward the guard I eventually managed to create enough clearance.
After the hassle of getting the guards on, I’m not too sure if/when I’ll take them off, adding/removing them is not something that can be done easily: might be easier just get a second bike!