Paceline Podcast 144

Paceline Podcast 144

This week we take on a veritable buffet of reader questions. Selene opens with oval chainrings, moves on to whether or not frame material matters, why there aren’t more Clydesdale categories in races and winds up with the age-old question of whether or not your choice of chain lube matters (hint: it does).

Patrick’s pull also takes on a reader question: where would you want to go in the world and what races/rides/adventures would you want to do. His answer takes in locations in California, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Spain, France and Germany, not to mention a number of events by name. Whew, we got jet lag just from writing all that.



The Paceline is supported by Eliel Cycling. Crafted in California, the Eliel brand combines the latest technology with cycling tradition to deliver an experience that is authentically California. View their retail gear and custom program at


Show links:

Split Nutrition

BTP Bar Tape

Nick Legan’s Gravel Cycling


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  1. TomInAlbany

    First of all, I LOVE this podcast!
    Second, the comment that ‘so many’ steel and carbon bikes are nothing more than meh worries me. Riding a lot of different bikes is hard when you’re a men’s small and live in a smallish city that the vendors rarely visit. So, is there a price-point? Brands to avoid? (I know. I know.) I had a friend once that told me to spend at least $600 on a mountain bike (this was 1996 or 1997) to be sure that the bike would be decently built and spec’d. Inflation notwithstanding, is there still a guideline for road/mtb/gravel etc?
    Third, Polar Vortex Sux.
    Fourth: Every listener needs to go to Selene’s Twitter account @FitChick3 and answer the Seven Questions she posted #bikeschool
    It may be fun to talk about the unofficial results in a week or two!

    1. Author

      I’m with Selene: there’s not much meh out there. Today’s $1500 bike does a lot more than a $1500 bike did in 1999, though it may not last as long. My experience tells me that every time the cost of a bike doubles: $500-$1000-$2000-$4000, quality jumps by order of magnitude. You don’t really get to a point of diminishing returns until you’re north of $5k. I’d say the sweet spot with road bikes is $2500 or so and the sweet spot with full suspension mountain bikes is in the $3500-$4000 range. These are bikes that are light, perform well and will last if maintained. All this assumes an avid rider who will ride hard at least once a week.

  2. Selene Yeager

    And I’ll leave the bike question up to Patrick. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that SO many bikes were “meh.” Quite the opposite really. I think these days it’s hard to get a bad bike. They’re all quite good. That said, you do generally get what you pay for to a point. Cheaper carbon bikes don’t ride anything like high end carbon bikes for sure. Hard to say where to draw that price line, but I’d put it around $2k give or take.

    And thanks! #bikeschool was fun. I’ll definitely pull some of the results.

  3. Davo

    The patterned bar tape is wild and such a refreshing change compared to black, black, black and black. What does the feel compare to? Similar to Fizik? Sticky like Lizardskins? Throw us a bone here!!

  4. Dan Murphy

    Just listened while tuning some skis. Hey, it’s been cold here! I haven’t ridden in awhile, but I’m getting some ski days in.
    So Patrick, did I hear you right? A gravel bike with 34-30 gearing? This approaching-65-year-old admittedly doesn’t have the legs you have (not even close), but I thought most people went 1:1, well, just because. I’m running 34-36 and will be looking for lower gearing options soon. This getting-older thing is a bear. That last ride you rode sounded especially killer, even though it was shorter, mileage-wise.
    For places I’d like to go, my desires are simple – France, Italy, and believe it or not, northern CA. A little over two years ago, we traveled thru CA in our trailer and got to do some riding in your area (Calistoga). Between the rides I had there and all the gravel rides you mention, I want to go back and spend serious time there. Locally, this summer I’d like to spend a lot more time in western MA and VT, exploring all the dirt roads I can find.

    1. Author

      Dan: Yes, you heard my right. The Allied I’ve been riding has a 34×30 low gear. The reason is that’s the low-end limit of Shimano’s current Dura-Ace group. The derailleur hanger is high enough on the Allied that I couldn’t get a 46/30 subcompact to work, though I might be able to do a 48/32. I’m looking into the new Ultegra rear derailleur and the 11-34 cassette available with Ultegra. Generally, I’d say that, yes, 1:1 is good enough for most gravel riding. There are times when even that seems not quite low enough here in Sonoma County. I tell ya, this place continues to surprise me.

  5. Nathan

    Great episode, as always. Selene, did I understand correctly from your Superbowl comments that you don’t like riding at night? It’s my favourite time to ride! Though I mostly ride road, I can imagine on more technical trails it might be a bit different…

    1. Selene

      Funny. I actually like mountain biking at’s oddly sometimes easier to ride technical terrain at night because you only go where your light is shining and aren’t distracted by technical stuff you shouldn’t be looking at anyway! But I do not like riding the road in the dark. Maybe quiet gravel roads would be different, but I feel like I wouldn’t be able to relax about cars, even though there’s not a lot of traffic where I ride. And honestly, as a woman, you’re kind of conditioned to be afraid to be on dark roads by yourself at night…. It’s a visceral fear men are fortunate to not have. That’s not to say men are never nervous at night. But trust me when I say it’s different for females…

  6. Jackie Gammon

    I’ve worked in shops for many years, and am always handed lubes to try out. Up until 6-7 years ago, I was a White Lightening user. However, after that I found something that I liked much better. I use Squirt for all of my bikes, so whether road, mountain or winter that is what I use. It is a wax based lube and one that has seen the life span of my drivetrain last a bit longer. If I were to think about a company that explains the different types of lubes they carry and what the difference is and when to use it… it undoubtedly would be Pedros. Quite often, I will use many of their products as well, and have total confidence in them. Now as a shop owner and the mechanic, unless a customer asks for a certain type/brand of lube, I will always use something from the Pedros Line. Their customer service is incredible and the fact that they are the sponser for NEMBAFEST in Vermont, is also another reason that I will support them. And although this is not a topic that you mentioned, I will always use PEDROS tools in the shop when I can, they are great quality and I’ve had better luck with them than any other brand. I know some of you may disagree with me, but I’ve never broken a Pedros tool, and I have with many of their competitors and that is after 27 years of getting my hands dirty. Great podcast!

  7. Michael Bell

    Selene, interesting that you mention technical terrain being easier to ride at night. I’m a relatively inexperienced at MTB, and noticed just this last week. Our regular group ride was Tuesday night (just as the aforementioned Vortex hit, 18* at ride time!). Frozen trails and a light dusting of snow, and I was moving along without really thinking about it. Thursday afternoon (14* at ride time) I was riding slightly more technical trails and about halfway it hit me that I was feeling way less confident than I’d been just two days before. The off-camber stuff and yawning abyss off to one side or the other was getting too me in the daylight.

    I know it doesn’t sound exotic, but we’ve got great riding here in hilly southern Indiana. Lots of trails at Brown County State Park and Hoosier National Forest. Not to mention the opportunity to see some of the sites where “Breaking Away” was filmed!

    1. Selene Yeager

      100%! When I did 24 hour racing in some super technical places, my night laps were often the fastest because I wasn’t getting scared by stuff I couldn’t see.

      And believe me, if there’s one thing I’ve learned is that there’s great riding all over the place–exotic or not!

  8. Lyle Beidler

    So here’s a question maybe for another episode… my go-to for indoor trainer rides is to fire up Netflix. I’m not in great shape, but am looking to just get some time in on the bike a couple times a week. An episode of an hour-long tv show is just about all I can handle on the trainer – 45 minutes, one episode of “The West Wing,”. Done.
    If I invest in a smart trainer and start riding Zwift, will it be easier to do longer sessions on the trainer? Or could I do a Zwift workout while watching a show? (assuming I can get the required devices set up correctly)

    1. Selene Yeager

      We’ve talked about this a bit. Happy to give you a quick answer. I would say, based off what I’ve seen, that answer is yes. My husband has zero tolerance for trainers/rollers/indoor cycling. I got him Zwift and he happily rides for 2 hours without blinking an eye. He loves “exploring the Island” and doing all the routes and how it automatically adjusts the tension to mimic the terrain. You could also watch the show, but you might not even feel the need to. Zwift has group rides, pre-set workouts, etc. People really love it.

    2. Author

      I’m with Selene. Because you can do structured workouts, you can get in all the work you’d do in a two-hour ride in a one-hour Zwift workout and you’ll see something that makes sense without the volume being turned up to 1000 so you can hear the dialog. (Don’t ask how I know this.)

  9. Bragi Freyr

    I was intrigued by you wanting to come to Iceland (my home country) to do some racing. I thought it would be useful to briefly point out events that I think might interest you and Patrick (and others of course) based on what i’ve heard on the Paceline.

    Full disclosure: I have no affiliation with any of these races, but I am friends with some of the organizers.

    1) MTB stage race: Glacier 360 –
    A 3 stage race circumnavigating Langjökull glacier. This is probably the race you couldn’t think of the name of during last episode. Extreme nature and great atmo.
    KymNonStops video recap of hers and Juliet Elliots race in 2018:

    2) Gravel: The Rift –
    A 200km gravel race circumventing Mt Hekla, one of the most active volcanoes in Iceland, held for the first time in 2019. It already has a really stacked startlist ( Hosted by the geniuses at Lauf cycling. You can expect this kind of riding:

    3) Road: WOW cyclothon –
    A 1300+ km race around Iceland. Done in teams of 10 (B), teams of 4+2 drivers (A) and solo (for the special kind of crazy). I have done this race twice. Once as a volunteer for a charity supporting kids on bikes and once as a racer in a team of 10. My favorite cycling experiences to this day!
    You can expect this kind of riding:

    I’ll be happy to provide more information if wanted
    Love the pod. Avid listener.

    1. Selene

      These all sound so intriguing! And yes it was 360! I have to dig further into a trip there….Thanks for listening!

    2. Author

      Okay, so Selene can do the Glacier 360 and I’ll take The Rift. I can’t speak for Selene, but the WOW cyclothon, well now I just need nine more people.

      Gotta find a way over.

  10. David Savage

    Gonna plug RocknRoll Gold as a chain lube. I think it has the best combination of ease-of-use and effectiveness of any lube that I’ve tried.

    Also, I’m curious as to your thoughts on 6bolt vs centerlock for non-mtb disc rotors (I’m building up a new wheelset soon and trying to figure out my hub options)

    Thanks for another great show!

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