Came out from work to find this…I guess it’s what I get for parking under a redbud tree.
Dang. I need to clean that cassette.
I’ve never ridden my Surley with anything other than 700 x 28 tires until now. As I headed to work for the first time with the temporary 700 x 25’s Monday morning, I was immediately struck by how skinny they looked under my fenders. Then, I started noticing that they weren’t absorbing bumps the way the 28’s did, but they did feel more lively under me.
By the time I got halfway to work, I was sure those skinny tires were faster than the others. I felt like I was flying! I had lubed the chain over the weekend, so my computer got reset to zero. That meant when I got to work the average speed would be a true reflection of that commute rather than the accumulated number it usually is. I fully expected to see something greater than the 15.1 mph that it’s usually locked on from commuting.
When I got to work, I checked it with confidence that it would be a fast number! It was still only 15.1. I guess all that speed was just in my head.
Edit: Over the course of the last couple of days, my average speed on that bike has gradually climbed to 15.3 mph. Maybe they are actually a little faster. Who knows?
Oops! Well, I guess I need to pay a little more attention. Two good things at least.
1) I had some old tires hanging in the garage to use until I get new ones. They’re actually 700 x 25′s that I took off the tandem because we kept having flats on them, so I hope I’m not asking for trouble. I commuted on a similar pair for a long time on my road bike with no problems, so I’m crossing my fingers and holding my breath.
2) I got lucky to find it when I did. If I wasn’t (over)due for a chain cleaning, I wouldn’t have had the bike up on the rack where I could see the tire from under the fender. That’s the only drawback to my fenders…I can’t see the condition of the rear tire without turning the bike upside down or getting under it.
Note to self: Sunscreen is a good thing. Sunscreen on your face is a good thing. Sunscreen on your forehead is NOT a good thing! That stuff burns when the sweat washes it into your eyes, and it happened several times Saturday.
Other than the sunscreen issue, Saturday was a gorgeous day for a ride. In fact, once we were done, Mike proclaimed it to be the best ride we’ve had all year. The weather was warm and sunny. There was some wind, but not the demoralizing, wear you down kind of wind, and we were able to ride with it to our advantage about half of the time. Yeah, it was good.
We did have to deal with some low water crossings, however. Two places on our route had a little water running over the road. We had to cross one twice, so that gave us three chances to get our feet wet in total. I will say that if you hit it a little too hard, the wet stuff on your feet and ankles gave you a nice little wake-up call!
Our plan was to ride out to Fellows Lake, circle it, then go to Strafford before heading back to my house. That plan generally put us riding into the wind about half the time and taking advantage of it the other half. The interesting thing is that when you look at the different splits I grabbed on the GPS track, there’s not a radical difference in our average speeds for each split the way it usually is on a windy day.
As we approached the I-44 overpass, we ran into and stopped to chat a few minutes with Ron & Jan, who were on their way home from Strafford. Ron was proudly modeling his new Colorado jersey. It’s always good to see them.
We continued our trek around Fellows Lake, noting the number of families taking advantage of the great day as we passed the fishing dock at the east end of the lake and started climbing as we headed north. That climb just led us to a fast descent as we dropped back into the Sac River valley at the dam before climbing back up the other side of the valley on our way out.
At the top of the climb was a pasture that was absolutely purple with henbit. I fight to keep this stuff out of my yard, but it was a nice surprise to see out there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it quite this thick before.
Before we turned our sights on Strafford, we stopped to redistribute some of my excess water into Mike’s empty bottles. As usual, I was probably drinking too little for the heat and the effort, but I wasn’t feeling any ill effects. We quickly calculated that we had roughly 10 miles to the c-store where we planned to stop for Snickers and Gatorade, but since Mike was out, sharing was a good thing.
About halfway there, we had to stop and play with this guy. This warm weather has the snakes sunning themselves on the warm pavement. This one is another king snake. I was content to just take it’s picture, but Mike had to annoy it a little bit. When he did, the silly thing started twitching his tail really fast, pretending to be a rattlesnake. Neither of us had ever seen one do anything like that before. It quickly slithered into the ditch and out of site, so we continued toward our destination.
After a quick break in Strafford, we headed home with the wind behind us part of the way. About the time we hit Sunshine street, I glanced down and realized we had a shot at coming close to 50 miles in three hours of riding time. That’s a standard I used to kind of measure myself by when I was trying to go fast. I hadn’t tried that in a long time, and don’t think I’ve been faster than 3:15 in a while. Rather than say anything to Mike and turn a pleasant ride into an all-out race, I just watched it, and noted that we logged 50 miles in 3:02:40. For me, that’s a pretty decent time, and we certainly weren’t killing ourselves to do it.
As we talked about it later, both of us conceded that we were feeling pretty strong for so early in the year, which is a testament to how much we’ve been able to ride this year compared to years past.
We hit my driveway with 51.5 miles and congratulated each other on an outstanding ride!
You can click the map above for the full GPS track.
Normally, I’m not very inclined to tell people about the books I read or give any kind of report or review. What I generally find is that doing so requires some degree of intelligent thought and effort on my part, and frankly, when I try to think intelligently, I fall asleep. I can, however, say without any intelligent thought or effort that I REALLY LIKED Jill Homer’s book, Be Brave, Be Strong.
I’ve been a folower of Jill’s website for quite a while, and am generally in awe of her endurance exploits. Be Brave, Be Strong is the story of her 2009 journey from Canada to Mexico along the continental divide in the Great Divide Mountain Bike Race. It’s a story of heartache, new beginnings, adversity, persistence, pain, fatigue, obstacles, beauty, and strength. As a reader, I felt like I got to know Jill personally and was riding alongside her on the journey.
The book is available in all the usual on-line outlets in several formats. I bought the Nook version for $3.00, and it was more that worth that token price. Go get your own copy and enjoy it!