Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday News And Views

The Geezer Ride:

Okay, a week from tomorrow is the Geezer Ride. I have a few tidbits about the course to share with all that may be showing up for this casual group gravel ride. 

I mapped out the course I have in mind which will head Westward out of Amana on their fine bike path. Then we'll turn Northward and a gently climbing grade will take us out of the town. This is all on pavement, by the way, so it shouldn't be too tough. We will have to be single file and mindful of car traffic as this road goes by the golf course and several "finer homes". Then we top out and hit gravel heading more or less Westward. I expect we may have to stop along the way for some imagery, or at least I hope so. Then after a few miles we will hit the B Road that was featured in Trans Iowa V10 last spring before Checkpoint #2. Only this time we'll be going into that in the opposite direction than the course ran in the Spring. The descent is pretty straight forward, and the climb is long and a bit windy. It is a big one, so we'll regroup at the top if need be.

Further on we'll have a super cool descent and then a slight climb up to a road which will take us a long way back eastward. This road will be full of gentle rollers. It shouldn't be too bad. However; we'll get to finally turn South and the fun will begin! A big descent will be followed by some awesome views of the Iowa River Valley, but then we climb, and climb, and climb right back up again to hit a road the will be the last B Maintenance road on the course. If you are outta gas by the time we reach that last big climb, and want to skip out, there is a direct bail out back to Amana. The rest that make the climb and do the B Road will enjoy a long, gentle descent back to Amana.

That's it! Almost 40 miles, and hopefully the Fall colors will show up big time along with some beautiful weather.

 T.I.V11 Lodging:

Normally every year we get a discounted rate on some rooms for Trans Iowa. This has been the case since T.I.V6 in 2009. Ya know, now that I think about this, we had something along those lines in Williamsburg for T.I.V5 too. Anyway.....The Comfort Inn and Suites of Grinnell stepped up and made the offer again. Not more than five hours after I announced the lodging details and I heard that the block of rooms had already been filled, and that a few more might be added.

This is all before registration, mind you. The Trans Iowa folks are all nutters, I tell ya! Anyway, I thought I would mention this here as many of you are probably waiting to see if you get on the roster first, and then you may be looking for a room. Since this may be the case, (I am guessing most Rookies looking to get in are in this camp), there is an effort underway to see about extending the offer, or possibly bring in another motel. Stay tuned........

Best mechanical brake I've tried.
TRP Spyre Mini-Review:

Many folks have asked me over the time I have had my Tamland Two about the brakes on it. The TRP Spyre calipers are a unique brake and are a direct competitor with the aging Avid BB-7 mechanical brake. 

Okay, let's cut to the chase right away. The TRP Spyre brakes are definitely better brakes than the Avid BB-7's are. I have used almost every variation of the BB-7's since 2003, and I have owned several sets of them. They were unapproachable in terms of feel and performance by any other mechanical brake, and if you were lucky enough to find a good mate in levers, they outperformed many earlier hydraulic brakes. However; SRAM has done pretty much zero in upgrades to this design which has now put them off the back to TRP's Spyre. (The mtb version of this caliper is the "Spyke", by the way.)

The dual activated pads give these brakes a far smoother feel, in my opinion, than BB-7's, and the power is a bit better as well. Matched with my Ultegra 11 speed levers, the Spyre brakes have great modulation, feel, and take less effort to operate than any BB-7 set up with drop bar levers I have used or worked on. The pad contact feel positive, not mushy at all, without being "on-off" or grabby. Some of my BB-7 set ups feel okay at first, but mid-braking performance shows a sudden tendency to grab, making modulating them a chore. Not so with the Spyre. 

Finally, these brakes are quiet! They will make a high pitched whistle on occasion, but that is seldom. In fact, I'm almost shocked if they do that. Otherwise, I highly recommend these. Now also available in a slightly lighter "SL" version with a carbon actuation lever.

Okay folks! Get out and ride those bicycles this weekend!

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