Sunday, September 23, 2012

3GR: Fresh Gravel And Headwinds

Joe, (L) and Robert (R)
I had thought about not doing a 3GR right after Interbike, but then again, not having ridden a bicycle for several days makes me antsy to get out, and I needed a soul cleansing after the Vegas trip. That said, the trip home forced me into a 38 hours of no sleep stretch which had me a bit worried going into this.

Of course, I had gotten to sleep in my own bed the night before for 9 hours, but still. I was thinking I may have to go into survival mode, and having Robert show up, along with Joe, made me even more worried about this.

The recent cold front showed up on the dawn of the first day of Fall with a stiff Northwest wind and chilly temperatures to boot. Yeah.....nice! This had all the earmarks of a suffer-fest for me, anyway. Well, I managed to find some suitable cool weather gear and met Robert and Joe at Gateway Park. We hit the road and faced into the wind for the first half of the ride.

Things started out at a 17mph pace on the bike paths through Big Woods Park. Yikes! This wasn't looking good for me, but so far, I wasn't redlining yet. I was considering what I was going to say to them as we sped through the park. I figured those two were on pace to shed me off as soon as we hit the gravel.

Wind, chunky goodness, open roads.
But I held in there, and I aided myself by talking with Joe, who was content to chat and this moderated the pace to open things up. We hit the Bennington Road hill and I was feeling okay. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.

Then we discovered that the county had laid down several long patches of deep, fresh gravel. This obviously combined with the wind to make the going even tougher. Robert was pushing the pace into his usual speed, but the fresh gravel checked him up a shade. Joe was bouncing around quite a bit through here on his skinnier tires as well.

Since I had a flat after last week's 3GR due to a cut sidewall, I switched to the Fargo Gen I for this ride. Shod with the Bontrager XR-1's, set up tubeless, I had a bit of an advantage through here with my wider tires. The wind was brutal, but we were all plugging along, and the pace wasn't fierce with all the factors together. On smoother sections I was okay, since these tires roll so well.

The good thing was that this part of the loop is fairly flat, and the hills are in a portion of the course where the wind would be aiding us, and not push us back. But even better than that, the roads became far smoother just as we passed the South side of the Camp.

Fargo Gen I- Ready for a cleansing
Robert then said I was "stomping along rather well", so I guess I had nothing to worry about all along. In fact, I was feeling far better than I could have ever imagined I would be after the  travel ordeal from Thursday/Friday.

Joe peeled off to go to his home and Robert and I finished out the loop with a stop at the Lamp Post for some coffee right afterward. (Thanks for spotting me, Robert!)

I eventually got in 43 miles after a day where I was delirious with sleep and could hardly function. I was feeling pretty good about that part anyway.

The next 3GR will be a Fat Bike Edition. So you have been forewarned! We'll probably go out the Union Access fire road from Black Hawk Park again, and most any cross bike should be fine for that if you want to join in the fun.

As for me, I'll be on a fat bike, and the Gen I Fargo will be getting cleaned up after a long summer of dusty gravel duties.

No comments: