Thursday, October 09, 2014

Sometimes You Just Have To Stop To Go

Big sky, Fall colors, and perfect temps. Who could resist?
Tuesday evening a local rider messaged me to see if I might want to spend part of my Wednesday off to go for a ride. I mentioned that I had some thing else to take care of, but thanked him anyway.

Then that thought gnawed at my brain all night long.

I awoke in the morning feeling particularly refreshed and after breakfast and seeing everyone on their way I sat down to dig into some work that I felt needed to be done. I'm not sure how it all happened to come out this way, but I decided that my friend that contacted me the night before was right. I should go out on a ride! I pushed everything aside and went up to change out into my cycling kit.

I decided to pick out the Raleigh Tamland Two for the ride for a couple different reasons, even though I had originally set my mind on riding a single speed. (I later was very happy I took out a geared bike.) One of the reasons was that since I had been hit by the truck at the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, I had only ridden the Tamland once, and that was to commute to work shortly after the incident. I figured I'd better "get back on the horse."

Wagons await the soybeans to be harvested out of this field. 
A combine moving in to start harvesting soybeans near Denver, Iowa. The truck is a support vehicle. 
Mountain bikers have their "hero dirt". Gravel riders have what I call "hero gravel".  It's super fast!
A sea of corn will be reduced to stubble by these machines!
Pink-ish flowers struggle against Death and Dust. A last bit of ditch flowers before Winter!              
I rode the old 3GR route from last year. This may be only the second time all year I've ridden it. I cannot remember. Harvesters were out and the wind was steadily rising up out of the West/Northwest so that the entire first part of the ride was into the stiffening winds. Ivanhoe Road was worst, as it angled right into the teeth of the wind.

I had to stop once to adjust my saddle which was irritating me and the adjustment helped quite a bit there. It is funny how a millimeter or two of adjustment can bring a saddle from intolerable to something you forget about. I may need to futz with it a bit more to bring it into complete harmony with me, or I may decide to get something completely different. I'm still not 100% sure this saddle will work out for me.

But the rest of the bike is just as I remember it to be. Really stable and comfortable in loose gravel, which there was a lot of, by the way. It ran about 40% new gravel, 40% old, clear to slightly rough gravel, and 20% "hero gravel", which is like unto pavement. The Tamland Two shod with these nice Challenge Gravel Grinder tires is super smooth regardless. The Ultegra 11 speed stuff is amazingly good. I bet Shimano could shorten the lever throw quite a bit on this mechanical stuff, but I also bet that they won't, because if they did many wouldn't want Di2. That's really the only difference I feel when I ride this and work on the Di2 stuff.

So, back to the ride. It hurt a lot, because I am not used to longer gravel rides since the crash in July. This has been my longest ride to date since then, and honestly, it has taken this long to get to a closer version of "normal" for me. I felt like I was not as fit as I was before, but I also should say that I was encouraged by how well I was able to deal with the wind and persevere through the 40 miles. That's good news. The bad news is that it is going to be Winter soon, and riding gravel may end up being out of the question before I get back to 100%. And of course, there are those things I left behind that I still need to get done! Sometimes you just have to stop with all the "busy-busy" of life and go for a bicycle ride though.

That's what I think, anyway.


john said...

The Winter is one of the main reasons we ride gravel, chin up.

Exhausted_Auk said...

Glad you were able to ride. I went running in the end, which gave me time to meet up with my visiting parents for a "Barn Happy" lunch.