Thursday, June 12, 2014

Contemplating Madness: Part 4

B Level Maintenance road rest stop
The test of the brake went well. No rubbing, no noise, and consistent, good braking power. Essentially, it is just like new, but I will switch back to the Ashima rotor I was going to use. It's got the same level of performance, but it is lighter.

I loaded up the Bike Bag Dude Chaff bags and custom frame bag with most everything I think I'll pack for Odin's Revenge. The only thing I didn't have on board was food, but I did pack four full water bottles and a external battery LED light. I also had two tubes, a multi-tool, and a mini pump. There was a packable rain jacket in there, but I had no fear of needing that on such a beautiful day. There is a first aid kit and wet wipes as well. I think that's about it. Basically everything but the food.

The purpose of this ride was twofold- One reason was to determine if not having a bigger than 32 tooth ring on the crank was going to be an issue, and the other was to see how the GEAX AKA 2,2"ers would deal with powdery dirt, which I have been informed that the Odin's course is capable of having a lot of. There was only one good option to find out both things- A trip out to Petrie Road and the mile of B Level Maintenance road out there.

Plenty of "cocoa powder" and sandy dirt ahead!
So I headed out that direction via the Sergeant Road bike path until I could hop off onto gravel at Aker Road and start checking out how the bike would do on gravel. I may have ridden the Muk in this configuration on gravel before, but I can't recollect when or how that went if I had done it. Basically, this was news to me with the 29"er hoops in the frame.

As you might expect, it wasn't bad at all. The frame is compliant, the titanium seat post is wonderful, and the tubeless GEAX AKA's are soaking up vibrations as well. I noticed how the slacker head angle and long wheel base were working to keep the bike from chattering sideways on the fresher gravel. Stability. I'd be needing that on the fast, ripping descents that the Odin's course will likely have.

The bonus find of the ride was that the B Level maintenance portion of Petrie Road did indeed have deep, powdery dirt. Just what I wanted to find. While a true fat bike 3.8"er would have scoffed at this pile of dusty dirt and rode rough shod over it, I wasn't sure that the "skinny" AKA's would hold up. I believe that they did as well as they did due to the stretched wheel base and stable geometry of the Mukluk. I could change lines, and the wheels didn't want to instantly wash out. Nice!

Barns For Jason- When was the last time you saw a load of "square" bales? 

I had an issue with the bike though. I heard a strange rattle in the back and I tracked it down to a loose cassette. The lock ring appeared to be tight, so perhaps I forgot that stupid shim that 10 speed cassettes are supposed to have behind them on the free hub body. Meh! I think Shimano does the best overall with cycling components, but sometimes the tiny details are just stupid or maddening or both. Really- you couldn't have just made the base of the largest cog a little wider? Lame.

No excuses though- I missed that spacer and that's on me. I'd get that after I got home and it was better to find out now rather than at Odin's! On the way home, I pretty much put myself into single speed mode so as not to exacerbate the issue. While nursing things along, I saw something I didn't take notice of at first, because in the depths of my memory, what I was seeing was normal. Then I realized that it was actually really an odd sight. A load of freshly baled "square" bales of hay on an old style hay rack. In a day where the round bales of hay have taken over, seeing this brought back many memories of helping relatives on farms bale hay in the hot Summer Sun.

It was a fantastic day out on the bike. Sunny, a nice breeze, and dusty gravel roads. It doesn't get much better than that!

1 comment:

Velocodger said...

Round bales have taken over? Every time I'm in Europe I see the round bales and wonder whose method is the I see my curiosity is satisfied, and we've gone round in the Heartland.