|If it weren't for the mud, I wouldn't have needed a fat bike this year, really.|
Wow...... The three or four weeks going back to December when we went below zero degrees was about the most "winter" we had this year. Otherwise it has rained, been muddy, and it even flooded once. We essentially have zero snow right now and when we get further into this day, it will be more like mid-March than mid-February. The thermometer here will read about 50°F by late afternoon, and everything not paved will be sopping wet with water.
This Winter has failed us.
Last Winter it snowed regularly and we had probably the best fat biking in this area that we've had since the Winter of 2010/11. Well, '11/'12 wasn't bad either, but really, this surpasses everything on the bad side that I can recall in recent years. I may as well not even have had a fat bike, except for the mud. Usually that only lasts about two weeks in Spring when the frost comes out, but we're going to have at least a solid month of mud to come besides what we already have had. Off pavement riding will really suffer for a long time, I am afraid.
Good thing we have copious amounts of gravel!
|Making modifications sooner than later.|
Since it looks that, for all intents and purposes, that Winter is on the way out here, I am pushing up a few projects I was going to take my time on and waiting on another. I figured I would have about another month to fiddle around in the basement Lab, but that isn't going to be the case, by the looks of things. Temperatures in the upper 40's to lower 50's will bring clear roads and then we're off to the races.
In some cases, literally "off to the races"!
I am going to swap out the drive train on the Karate Monkey to a more "gravel friendly" 38 X 18 gear by using a White Industries crank and a Homebrew Components cog I have that feature anodized green. I will also be switching out the saddle to my green Brooks B-17 Special. It isn't really very green anymore. It is more of an olive color, as in ripe olive color. Dark, dark green, almost black. Then I may give those white wall tires the boot as well. Except that I'd like to use them up. We'll see......
The project that is getting put on hold is the conversion of the Black Mountain Cycles rig to 11 speed. I figure I may as well burn up the current 9 speed stuff in the early season muck and mire, then put on shiny new bits. Makes more sense to me to do it that way, at any rate.
|Shirts for volunteers at T.I.v13. Thanks NY Roll!|
Volunteers make many of the cycling events we go to "work". Without them, the show does not go on! I always make an effort to thank volunteers at any event I attend, since I have a pretty good idea why they are such valuable people.
Since I value volunteers, I try to also be especially good to those that come to Trans Iowa. I have had some people come alongside me in that effort, and they have managed to really make the experience a bit more special for Trans Iowa volunteers in recent years. We've had special t-shirts, hats, and other stuff in the past for just the volunteers.
This time, I am proud to say that the tech t-shirt you see here is going to be exclusively the official wear of Trans Iowa v13 volunteers. Last year NY Roll made up some shirts with my face on them, and this year these are what he came up with all on his own. So, I am putting that out there because he's the one that should get the kudos.
I also am working on another t-shirt idea for the racers. That is still very much "in the works" and the final design hasn't even been decided on just yet. Technical details may take us in a completely different direction than originally planned. Stay tuned on that front.
Okay, that's a warp on things here for the week. Get outside and play this weekend! It looks like it will be gorgeous outside. Me? I'll be teaching mechanics class all morning. Maybe after that I'll squeeze in a few gravel miles.