Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cross Time

After some initial slacking, I finally got around to beginning the arduous task of converting the SuperFly to cross mode.  This pretty much consisted of swapping my fat and grippy 2.25 acx tires for some skinny 35c cross tires and congratulating myself on another job well done. Although, I'm not really sure what to call it.  CrossFly? SuperCross?  Take the easy way out and just add "CX" to the end of it?  Meh, who knows...

Looking down at the skinnies felt sort of odd at first, but I soon got used to it.  I headed up to Bristol, TN for the Mud, Sweat, and Gears cross series last weekend for some fun and painful times.  Cross weather came and went, with most races involving a random combination of super-gusting winds, pouring rain, and bright sunshine, with a relatively constant temp of around 40 degrees. Being mostly an endurance guy, cross racing is always a shock to my system the first race or so, but it was fun day out on the bike. Congrats to area trek rep Jeff Haase for a close 2nd in the Masters race.

The 29er is definitely sufficient for a cross bike, at least for what I do...  At 22ish lb, it's def a bit heavier than most cross bikes, but in the tradeoff you get much much better brakes, as well as the ability to leave some travel in the fork for rough courses.  Not enough of a tradeoff to make me get a cross bike yet... Although, that Presidio looks pretty sweet... Hmmm...

Oh, and even Lance knows that 29ers are where it's at...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Sunday Rides

With two beautiful Sundays in a row, long road rides have made a come back. Who would have thought that it would be 75 degrees in November?

After riding for 12 hours last Saturday, I was looking forward to a nice relaxing Sunday. I had an offer for a road ride, and figured it would be a great way to stretch the legs out and get a good recovery ride in. The duration of the ride was never specified, so I somehow assumed it would be around 1.5 hours, maybe 2. Twenty minutes in, we met up with the rest of the group, and it was decided we should ride for 3 hours. I wasn’t too thrilled with that prospect, since I was already suffering on little rollers and falling off the back. I was able to stick it out though, and it turned out to be a good ride. Nobody was in much of a hurry, so everyone could enjoy the ride and chat while I was in the back glued to the wheel in front of me and not talking to anyone. I also had some pretty sweet slow motion scenes giving it everything I had climbing and watching the single digit speeds mock me on my computer. Survival was the theme of the day. But in the end we had a nice 3.5 hours of sunny roads, so I couldn’t really complain.

Yesterday was another fantastic day, with highs on the day hitting 76 degrees. After a productive morning of extra DST sleep and getting things accomplished, E and I headed out to take advantage of the beautiful day. Even though we didn’t have a cue sheet and weren’t completely sure of the route, we decided to attempt a really nice loop towards Sevier County and then back through Walland and South Knoxville. This is the 4th of July route for the SCO club, and we had ridden it on the 4th the last 2 years, but that was it. Our memory was surprisingly good, and we only had one missed turn.

About 32 or so miles in, we were beginning to think about how that DST hour that was so nice in the morning was going to affect the time it would get dark. 40 miles in, we stopped at a gas station in Pigeon Forge (Or Sevierville? Neither? Who knows…) which we always stop at during the 4th of July ride. By this point we were guessing we had maybe 2 hours of light left. After a phone call to see if there was a quicker route back (there wasn’t), we headed onwards as planned. After seeing a sign saying “7.5 miles to the Homestead,” I did the math to find out we had 39-40 miles to cover in less than two hours. Hmmm… (As a side note, I have since been told to keep such revelations to myself if we are in that situation again.)

I guess this is a good time to mention that we were decked out in summer wear only, with no extra clothes or blinky lights of any kind. East Miller’s Cove was free_ing cold at 23-24 mph the whole way, but we were definitely at the point of trading warmth for time. We hit Old Walland Highway with right around an hour of daylight left. We were hoping to at least reach the city outskirts and lighted streets, but I had to lose the glasses soon after we hit Martin Mill, and we were in complete darkness by the time we came over the bigger climb on Martin Mill. Luckily a car caught us right before we went down, so I was less concerned about being run down and could concentrate on descending into the black. On the last section of Martin Mill, we thankfully got some help from a car who paced behind us with the high beams on. Thanks silver kinda smallish SUVish car with bike racks on top. You Rock. It was then smooth sailing after hitting the lighted part of the city.

Our adventure ended with 4.5 hours and 80 miles on the day. Good Times…