Thursday, January 05, 2012

Freeze- Thaw Cycling

This winter is so unusual that I have coined a new term for the type of cycling conditions I am seeing out on my rides. I call it "Freeze-Thaw Cycling".  There isn't any snow, or any ice involved, but the cycle of freezing and thawing is having a big time effect on how things are going down on my trails now.

Shot down in flames
Speaking of going down.... Yeah, it gets treacherous when this sort of thing happens. The thing is, typically we only see this at the very beginning, or the very end of winter. The majority of the time we have this, this........white stuff........oh, I can't remember the name! 

At any rate, when "Freeze-Thaw Cycling" occurs, we generally stay off the trails for a few days. maybe a week, and then it is over. However; this has been going on now for weeks, with no end in sight, so we are hitting the trails and discovering what "Freeze-Thaw Cycling" can do to you. It ain't pretty, let me tell ya!

Take for instance my story about the first image here. I came round a slight left hander. The Larry 3.8"er hits a bit of an off camber bump. That in turn just so happened to be right where the bright sun had been beaming down those little bits o radiation, and made the surface down to about a quarter of an inch all wet and greasy. This sent my front tire into a five yard skid, where- at the bitter end- I ate dirt.

I left the bike right where it landed and took that picture. Click on it and see the skid mark, if you care to.

Even the Black Hawk is freezing/thawing!
The funny thing is, since the angle of the sun now is so shallow, only a few, select places suffered from this greasy situation. The rest of the dirt was frozen and fast. Well, I fell into one of about three traps. Go figure.

Off Just A Little Makes A Big Diffrence: The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. I did discover, pre-ride, that I had miscalculated the length between my handle bar and saddle by one inch. That doesn't sound like a very big deal to some folks, but if you are an avid cyclist, one inch is as good as being off one mile!

Well, obviously I corrected for my mistake, and out on the ride, I could really tell the difference. The bike used to feel odd up front, but with my slight weight re-distribution, it took on more of the feel of the Snow Dog in the handling department. Closer, but still uniquely different. I did some measuring, and the chain stays are a half of an inch longer on the titanium bike. Yes, the Altenators are all the way forward. It definitely can be felt. I don't think it is bad, but it is different.

One other very interesting thing to note was that with the slight re-positioning, the front end torsional flex was not felt as dramatically. In fact, it was a lot better from my view, and with that slight saddle shift, the whole bike just became that much better.

Funny how something so seemingly insignificant can alter the way a bike feels so dramatically. I'll have more to say about By-Tor the Titanium Mukluk later, but for now, I am happy about the way the bike is turning out.

1 comment:

MrDaveyGie said...

Yes, the freeze thaw cycle is really messing with the DDD route. I think the frost is into the ground a foot or more so when it warms up in sunny spots on sunny days only the top thaws. So it stays greasy with no drainage. However I see colder temps coming after the weekend and should harden things up.