Wednesday was the day I had planned all week to get out and do a good, long ride on the new Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross bike. It was forecast to be partly sunny and above freezing, so I was really a bit miffed when I saw that it was mostly cloudy. Oh well! The ride must go on!
I decided to take a measured approach, seeing as how this was still a bit of a shake down ride, and I planned on a 30 mile route. The first half was straight into the wind. I had the BMC set up with the Revelate Designs Tangle Bag which is pretty cavernous. A person that is a good packer could go nuts with that thing!
I kept just an extra bottle and repair stuff in it this time, but it could have held more. A lot more. I'll definitely be keeping this on the bike for longer gravel rides.
Too bad I couldn't have taken full advantage of that, since the winds were at a constant 20-25 mph at this point. Even though the temperatures were nearing 30, the wind chill made it feel very cold. I had to stop about ten miles out to stomp my feet into some semblance of feeling. I figured a few more miles south, then a couple west,and I could head back north with a brisk tail wind at my back. It couldn't be much longer, or my feet would have frozen solid.
Once I made the right turn on Reinbeck Road, it was as if someone turned off the noise. Peace and relative quiet were there without the wind rushing by my ears. That was another bit of relief I enjoyed. Sounds of the wind whistling through my spokes could now be heard, and the constant crunching of dirt and gravel on the IRC tires was always there.
Another quick stop under a high tension wire for a (you guessed it!), nature break, and a quick bite to eat. I heard a strange moaning, as if the earth itself was bemoaning the fact that the skies were gray and the Sun had turned its face to play in the sky-fields rather than cast its warmth upon the ground. But I suddenly became aware it was really the wires high above my head, vibrating in a mournful way in the wind. It gave me the shivers. So I quickly rolled on to find my home.
By now I was well into the city, four or more miles after I had first heard the noise. Now that I had hit a secluded patch on the bicycle path, I could hear the noise much more clearly, and it was coming low and from the rear wheel. I looked back, and it was the cog I was using to hold on the spacers and Surly 20T cog of the drive train. It was dangling from the axle and would bounce up and ring when I hit a bigger bump. Thank God the cog didn't com off somehow! I stopped and managed to hand tighten it back on for the final run in to my home.
30 miles, a little less than three hours, and two frozen feet later I was back and smiling, even if it was all gray skies.