It wasn't the fork, or even the bike, it was hunters! I just about turned around and went home because having guys walking around with guns where I am riding isn't my cup-o-tea, ya know? Well, it turned out that they were headed in a direction that left me with about half the western end of the park, so I just used that until they had left not much more than 45 minutes later.
It was getting warmer, so when I got back to the Dirty Blue Box, which is turning into Guitar Ted's Mobile Test Lab, I shed the outer layer and was comfortable with a wool jersey over a regular cycling jersey. In November? Yeah.....it was awesome!
I then pulled out this bike, the by now very familiar Blackbuck, to test the Specialized Captain Controls I installed on it. The Blackbuck is back to rolling the original Surly/Delgado Disc wheel set. It all made for a fast, smooth ride. Well, as smooth as a hard tail gets! The HiFi was super plush and felt like I was riding up in a huge monster truck. I could go over anything and barely feel it. On the Blackbuck, I felt lower, more "in the bike", and more agile like a sports car. It was a fun ride and I was able to climb everything I did the week before on the Milwaukee Bicycle Company 29'er with one tooth less in the rear on the Blackbuck.
It was sort of ironic when I found myself chasing a doe on the trail while riding a Blackbuck. Must be the time of year! Then not ten minutes later, I run around a corner to see a nice, big buck staring me down from about 60 yards. I stopped and he ran up the hill side and stopped dead still. I positioned my self so that my line of sight to him was obscured by a tree and I sat motionless.
If you have never done this, it is a hoot, really. Playing with the buck, I sat as motionless as possible, while he tried to figure out where I had disappeared to. I was upwind of him, so perhaps he could smell me too, but not being able to see me was driving him nuts. I could tell by his head poking around enough to look for me. Once he saw me sitting there, he stared me down. I sat motionless. The buck started getting antsy, putting his head down and then looking back again at me. He was trying to figure out if I was going to eat him or eat grass. Finally, after about five minutes, he walked about 20 yards further up the hill until I couldn't see him anymore.
Well, my calf was starting to cramp from holding myself in position on my bike. So I started riding slowly. Well, that was what the ol' crafty buck was wanting to see. He ran slowly away, satisfied that I was indeed something not very friendly, but not pursuing him either. I got closer to where I had seen him and I heard a commotion. It was about half a dozen does. Hmmm........one very smart and busy buck, I see!
I got back to the car about 10 minutes after noon and packed up my things and headed for home to eat. I was really hungry! After eating, I pulled out the next and final rig to ride for the day, my old Raleigh XXIX+G.
This bike hasn't gotten any love all year since I whacked the old SRAM derailleur off it when my chain broke. It sat torn down to the frame for most of the year. Well, now its back and in black and white! I installed some Quad brand brakes, a KORE B-52 stem, and my white Bontrager Inform saddle. I need a new red seat collar yet to match my red Acros headset. Eventually I will be getting a new front derailleur, and a few other bits before I can say it is done. I am liking the way it looks so far and the ride is okay. I mean, it is a fully rigid bike, so it has its drawbacks. I will be installing a Racing Ralph up front to ease the pain a bit!
By the time I rode the Raleigh home, the skies were darkening and the temps were going down as a strong Northwesterly wind fired up. Wow! I got the timing right on this day. Within an hour after I returned home, it was blustery and getting cold. I was done riding for the day though, so I was good with that.
It isn't often that you get a chance like this in mid November, and I got to take advantage of it. WooHoo!