Mostly recaps of two wheeled rambles through the countryside, but sometimes thoughts on other things.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Finally, Spring

Well, the calendar says it really IS Spring. Saturday looked and felt like it too.

The usual Club Lite ride leaders were out of town for the weekend, so I stepped in to fill the void and posted the ride for Saturday morning. Our club lite is a ride of 13 - 15 mph avg and flat to moderate climbing. Distance is usually 30 - 40 miles although a couple of metrics (100KM or 62 miles) find their way on to the calendar each year, often with food involved. Like the "Red's Schoolhouse Ride." Red's is a very old fashioned country cooking place in a former 1 room schoolhouse out in the stix. Makes a great post ride venue. Seems like we ought to go there again pretty soon, now that I think of it. Anyway, I posted a 39 mile route which I had not actually pedaled myself in maybe a year and a half. Map my ride said 560' of climb so that worked. I was sick all week with gastroenteritis (left work early Tuesday with a fever) and Saturday was the 1st day I had enough energy to even consider a ride.

During the week, a box of bike parts showed up in the mail. I subscribe to both the 650B and Rivendell owner lists, and someone is frequently looking to buy/sell/trade something. I love barter and have been known to jump in on these deals. Recently I sent a tweed saddle bag and a butternut pair of riding shorts out to different places, and received a pair of new MKS Touring Lite pedals and some crank set parts, again from different places. Thursday at lunch I took the crank set parts in to Mark at Chain Reaction Cycles. I didn't have any ring bolts, or the little wrench for the nut, so I decided to ask him to do the work. I opted for alloy bolts, despite the sticker shock. The plated steel bolts on my Rambouillet's Sugino XD-2 are showing unsightly rust after 6,000 miles of use. They're tough to clean as well. I brought that crank in and Mark replaced the outer 48 tooth ring with a 50, to get a little more top end when using that set up, and replaced  the rusty bolts with new alloy ones. Then he assembled the near new Shimano 6500 crankset to the the 53 and 39 tooth rings which all came this week in the box. Back at home, I pulled the Un-53 BB out of the Rambouillet and put in the Ultegra Octalink. Now the entire drive train on that bike is Ultegra 6500. The front Der was changed from a 105 triple to a 6500 double about a month ago.

I figured that the first road test of a new set up should be in less than daunting conditions so yesterday's ride opportunity was just right. Only 3 other riders came out, but none were my usual riding pals. Angela, who I have ridden a couple of times with over the years (she actually borrowed the Ram for an early intro ride with the club)

These days, she rides her own Trek Pilot. The other riders were Steve, who I rode with only once before, and Jeff who I haven't ridden with since last year. Jeff called me at 7:30 to ask about coming on the ride. "Bruce, this is Jeff. Am I still in your phone?"  "No Jeff, but come out anyway." I didn't want to tell him that I hardly ever put anyone in my phone and he was no exception.  Jeff rides an older Cannondale MTB. I suggested he try 37 mm Panaracer Paselsa tires on it for road use instead of the knobbies and he showed up with them on his bike. They seemed to work very well. Steve was on a very new looking Orbea Onix MPCB. I managed NOT to say anything about how I feel on the subject of carbon in bikes, or frames from China sent to Spain for label application and sold as Spanish bikes, etc.

The air was cool at the start, around 50F. I wore a light merino Swobo tee under a Spot (Canadian brand, very good) L/S Merino jersey. Below were Suarez leg warmers under Swobo wool shorts. My wool leg warmers are now too large and slide down on me. :( I wore my usual un-padded MTB full finger gloves and wool socks with Addidas Sambas. I was never too warm the whole ride through. We set off at a little past 9 AM. Angela was a late arrival, and although she moved along smartly, let's face it, women take longer than men do at many things, including getting ready to ride a bike. The day was beautiful. Squirrels were everywhere, though none ran through our spokes! The undulations of the road were like interval exercises, and they felt good. The new crank set was very comfortable and quick shifting. Turkeys were displaying their tail feathers, bulls were roaring, and deeply colored cardinal males chased after suitable mates to impress. The air was calm to start but a breeze picked up out of the east and we rode into it starting at about 15 miles out. When we turned north, it was a tailwind for about 8 miles by shifting to the south. Coming south, we had to pull into it 8 miles and then another 4 as it finally moved to blow from the west. Ugh. My legs were a little more hill ready than the others and they began to tire, so I tried to do most of the work into the headwinds, although I did get a break once or twice. EVeryone seemed to like the route and agreed it was a good workout. There were mutterings about the climbing however, and sincere doubts about my "560' " claim. Ahh, yes. According to the Garmin, we actually did 1,586' so the grumblers were justified. I was feeling pretty good though. Certainly glad to be back out and riding. Foot cramps like always. I only get them AFTER I get off the bike. I think I am going to pick up salt tablets and take them enroute. The electrolytes in my water mix are just not getting it done. It's always something, isn't it?

If all goes well, I'll get a March metric in next Saturday.

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