Sunday, June 23, 2013

3GR Report: Tune Up Ride

The 3GR ride was a test run for the new set up on the Fargo Gen 1 which I plan to use Saturday at Odin's Revenge. Tubeless Maxxis Ikon's on the Sun-Ringle' Black Flag Pro wheels was the biggest question for the day. Everything else was pretty familiar territory for me.

I had waited and waited Saturday morning to see what the weather was going to do. Some pretty heavy thunderstorm activity was in the area, but nothing materialized right in this locale. It looked pretty menacing out when I left, but I figured that if things didn't get to raining I would be okay. I left on the Fargo with plenty of time to spare to get there, but honestly, I didn't figure on meeting anyone since the weather looked so sketchy and well, I seem to be in the extreme minority around here when it comes to riding gravel roads. Either that or I am stinky. Something or another........

 Well, however that is with anyone else, I go onward. I am having a blast, and I know the folks that bother to make these rides have fun as well. Take Robert for instance, who I found waiting on me at the Gates Swimming Pool parking lot.

Robert fine tuning his ride.
Robert had a stem alignment issue he wanted to address before we left, so he borrowed my tool kit to take care of that, then we were off. The skies were dark, the wind was gusting out of the East-Southeast, and I was not so sure we'd get in a full loop, but off we went anyway. Up Moline Road, and the traffic was more than I figured it should be. In fact, I found it rather odd. Normally I hardly run across a car at all out this way.

While we were chatting away, we came up upon an intersection and at the last minute, Robert called out that a car was coming to our right. I slammed on my brakes, as did Robert, and we were nearly stopped by the time the driver actually saw us just off the corner. The woman driver must have been caught at unawares by our presence and slammed her brakes briefly upon finally noticing us. (Remember- we were nearly at a standstill at this point.) She fishtailed the rear end of her Taurus and then continued onward. I was a bit more cautious the rest of the ride as a result. It turned out to be a good thing too, as traffic was at an all time high until well past our half way point.

Overcast and windy for most of the ride..
Things went a bit more smoothly after this though, and we reached Denver and passed it by to our left. Then we made the left turn towards Ivanhoe Road and got that Southeasterly behind us.

This pushed us along at quite a good clip. The tires sang as we rolled along. My Maxxis Ikon's felt a bit squirrely to me at first, and I actually had been checking the rear for a flat a few times. However; for some reason, it felt as if the air pressures came up in the tires, and after the halfway point in the ride they felt far more solid underneath me than they had. The only bad thing I can say about running them was that they tended to spit up small chunks of gravel now and again. The odd, singing noise on smoother stuff was to be expected, and that doesn't bother me at all.

We were surprised at a couple of points by wildlife that scampered across the road or was spotted flying in the air. On two separate occasions we spotted pairings of a doe and her fawn on the roads. One fawn was so small I thought it was a gangly legged dog instead of a deer. The other time the doe took to the ditch and deftly avoided any obstacles while outrunning us on a downhill. Very impressive! I also spied a few jakes, (immature  wild turkeys), and two adult turkeys. Then I spied out of the corner of my eye a Great Blue Heron flying up a creek bed. A good day for wildlife.

That was a good diversion, because as we rolled around to end up going South, the wind was strong into our faces and we were working pretty hard. The wind got strong enough that it actually was blowing dust up the road at us.

Coffee stop...
We slogged out the final miles back to Waterloo without much conversation. I mentioned at one point that the head wind was a "pretty stiff " one to which Robert replied to with a grunt or some other unintelligible malediction that was immediately blown away by the rushing air. It wasn't very pleasant to ride into that head wind, let's just say that.

Along the bicycle paths and then to the downtown area of Waterloo where we stopped for a cup of excellent coffee at Cottonwood Canyon. The old downtown building has been refurbished and is quite nice inside now. They actually serve bits to eat and have a full lunch menu, but I was only there for the caffeine!

Then it was on to home. My feelings on the Fargo's new wheels and tires set up for Odin's Revenge is that it should work rather well. I think if the conditions are what I have been told, I should be good to go without having to manhandle skinnier tires through loose, dusty terrain. The "motor" I am not so sure about! Robert kept up a strong, consistent pace on this 3GR, as he is wont to do, and I did my best to keep up. My legs were burning for the rest of the day after that ride, and it isn't but a pittance of the distance I need to go next weekend, but I'll giv'r what I can.

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