Monday, January 11, 2016

Chasing The Sun: 2016 Version

Had an incident which thwarted my attempt.....this time!
Last year I did a quick out and back to the lake in the Green Belt to catch that "magic hour" when the Winter Sunset is about to occur. Last year I made it. This time? Not even close.

There are a few tricks you learn when you are a fat biker in cold temperatures. One of those tricks is that you throw your bike outside several minutes before you leave. Fifteen minutes is ideal, but when I finally got free to do my ride Sunday, I took things at a bit more hurried pace. First mistake. I got the bike outside alright, but it was out there less than ten minutes. The reason this was a mistake is because air pressure is affected by cold air. Yes, you may think otherwise, but you'd be surprised to find out that it is true, and I was reminded of this very soon into my ride.

Starting out, I was okay, sure. However; after about five to ten more minutes, I could tell I was in the lower single digits of air when the tires finally acclimated to the negative air temperatures. I figure it was around -1°F at the time of my ride. I also figured on traversing some post-holed path way on my way to the Green Belt, so I tried to smooth out my cadence and lived with things as they were. I reached the snowy, frozen bike path, and the wheels were doing okay, but with so much ice, and that frozen into sharp shapes in many places, I think I ended up pinching the front tube, just a wee bit.

I did get a glance at the Sunset, but it wasn't the view I was looking for.
 So, I got a lesson in sub-zero flat repair. I was all set with everything I needed, and so I got right to work. Things were going smoothly until I reached about 300 strokes with the Crank Brothers pump I have on this bike. I thought maybe it was frozen, or the valve was stuck, or something was amiss, because after I got the tire to a semi-flaccid state, it seemed I wasn't gaining any ground. Then I remembered something........

Crank Brothers put a High Volume-High Pressure function on this pump. I checked it...... Yep! Set to high pressure. Doh! Switched to high volume and got things squared away lickety-split. Okay, now to add some air to that too low rear tire. Got it! But by this time, I had used up my window for getting out to the lake by the Sunset, and I was expected back home before dark. Bah! 

They say some riding is better than no riding, and I guess there is the fact that I know how to run my Crank Brothers pump correctly.........again! There is also the fact that I have some experience working on a fat bike tire in sub-zero weather now as well. So, not a total loss, but it wasn't the ride I was thinking I'd get in.

Next time......


Unknown said...

I got beat up by that stretch of bike trail on my way home last night. That hard, crusted snow was pretty unforgiving! In regards to your pinch flat, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on this 'cold weather conversion chart' from Bontrager:

Guitar Ted said...

@Unknown: I would say that looks pretty spot on. I just made a big mistake and didn't take the time to check my tires before I left, nor did I let them settle in to the sub-zero temps.

Tyler Loewens said...

Kudos for using the word "flaccid" in your post. :).

I'm a little surprised your not running tubeless. Any particular reason why?

Guitar Ted said...

@Tyler Loewens: Thanks! I try to raise the level of my vocabulary here on occasion.

Tubeless- Well, as you well know, doing stock Clown shoe/Lou tubeless conversions is a bit of a chore. I was going to seek out a wheel upgrade instead. still haven't arrived at a solution that fits all my criteria, but if surly were to do a 100mm rim based on the MOBD rims, I'm probably going to roll with that.

Michael Lemberger said...

I just fill my tires with cold air, so they're always ready. ;-)