Monday, June 11, 2012

Blow This Wind Away (Please!)

Well, Friday was the 3GR, and I again decided to hit up the gravel on Saturday. I felt it needed to be done since I will be pushing some big miles in about a month all in one ride.

Check out those trees on the right....
I also need to become acclimated to hot weather, since that will surely be on the menu in mid-July, wouldn't you agree? That pushed my ride to afternoon, so I would catch the worst of it out there.

Well, I got more than I bargained for, since the wind was really kickin' out there Saturday afternoon. I don't know where the weatherman is standing when he gets his wind speed info, but I'll tell ya that south of Waterloo it was blowing dang hard. Constantly. Blowing. Wind.

I figured I was being smart by riding directly into the wind for as long as I could manage. Straight down Ansborough then. Right into the teeth of it. The wind was whipping dust up into the air, and you could actually see clouds of gravel dust and dirt on the leeward side of hills. Yeah.....that's windy. Oh, and did I mention how dry it is?

The soybeans are stunted, the roads actually have cracks in them, and there is not much, (if any) relief on the horizon. Scary it is. Real scary. The big culprit is all the strong wind we've had throughout the springtime here. It just dries things to a crispy texture as soon after it rains that it can. Pretty unusual for here. Reminds me a ton of Kansas' Flint Hills wind. If it persists in this pattern, I predict things will wilt and turn crispy for good very soon.

Clement X'Plor MSO tire: The real deal.
Not unlike my legs turned to crispy sticks Saturday, come to think of it. I had to pedal every inch up and down on the way out resulting in some major work. My goal here was to retain a consistent output level for as long as I could without blowing my stack.

For the most part, I did fine in this regard, but my body just ached and I was hurting. Heart and lungs were going great guns. Bah! Maybe I should have partaken in some "Vitamin I" before leaving, but I didn't. In the end, time was a concern. I turned back West at Reinbeck Road, went two miles to Aker Road, and turned back North. Yeah.......major difference!

Now I was flying. I was going so far, so fast without pedaling one revolution that I could have dropped my chain and I'd have not realized it. At one point I was coasting for about 8 tenths of a mile at 25 plus miles an hour, on slightly rolling road. Crazy! Well, this was payback for investing into that headwind, I guess.

A word on the Clement X'Plor MSO: These tires continue to impress me. Friday I rode them at a ridiculously low pressure, (probably in the low 30's psi), just to see how they would do. They were fantastic, and as you might expect, cushy as all get out. Squirmy- yes, just a wee bit, so I bumped that up for Saturday's ride to right at 40psi.

Aker Road  "Hero Gravel"

The ride Saturday was spot on. I hit some gnarly chunk gravel on Reinbeck Road and the MSO's were dealing with it just fine. I powered right over the top with minimal deflections that required me to rein in the bike. This is important to note because if your bike is bouncing around willy-nilly on the chunky goodness you are wasting a lot of precious energy. The Clements gave me a smoother, more controlled ride over this stuff, and I imagine tubelessness would only increase that supple, bump eating feeling. I hope to get these set up tubeless soon.

Trouble is, I keep riding the "Orange Crush" and liking it so well, I don't want to chance the set up to a new tubeless try. Oh well.....I will get it done soon. I'll just have to ride the single speed for a while. By the way, a few tweaks are happening there which I will share soon.

But anyway, back to that ride: I whizzed back to town, blown in by the massive winds, and then had to slog it in on the Sergeant Road bike path. Here I pretty much lost the wind advantage, and my body aches reminded me that they hadn't really gone anywhere. I was glad to pull off at home, just in time to see my family off to a baseball game.

Me? I had to write a draft for an upcoming article that may get published in a mag soon. We'll see. 


Ari said...

Two days ago we contemplated putting the heating back on. Today it is going to be 90 degrees. June for us here in Syracuse has been nuts.
Out in the midwest around the third week of June. I can't wait.

Rich said...

I think the rain question has been answered last night! Finally a little rain...goes a long way!

MG said...

You've sold me on the Clements... I want a set for my Vaya.