Thursday, January 16, 2014

Triple D 2014: Last Big Training Ride

ATV ruts, Leroy & his dog's tracks, and some melt/freeze cycles get you this.
Wednesday, the day off work, and a chance to get in a longer ride to ascertain whether or not I am recovering or getting worse off. First I had some erands to run, then a bit of lunch. When I hit out to ride, it was about 15°F with a light wind.

I headed on down to the Sergeant Road trail to see how badly it had iced over, or not. Much to my relief, the two plus days of warm weather had not ruined the snow here. For sure- it was icier and far, far bumpier. I liked that fact, because I certainly was looking for a test of my new Dually rim set up for Triple D. I wasn't disappointed, despite Leroy and his dog's best efforts to make the surface uneven and rough with their daily passing through here. Leroy is a local to my neighborhood, and he does a cracking job of taking care of his old German Shepard. He also is very "duck footed", and he tears up the trail like no other when it is snowed over! I didn't see Leroy and his dog on this day. I was too early for his circuit.

I decided to check out the Green Belt after a little traverse past a City Parks worker who was laying down rock salt to melt off some icy patches. He was rather taken aback by my bike and I, and did not return my greeting. Hmmm.....maybe he was having a bad day?

The Green Belt was ridiculously fast and packed in.

Well, I climbed the dike and descended it safely down into the wood, and I found a treat. The snow had been tamped down quite smoothly by prior traffic, and frozen like a rock with the recent melt then re-freeze. I was going as fast here in Winter as I do in summer. This was a lot of fun, and I didn't notice I was on fatter wheels at all. The ponderous, slower handling I was used to was lessened, and the bike seemed to spin up off of corners quite nicely, in comparison to how it used to be.

So far into the ride, I also hadn't noticed any odd traits from swapping wheels, only better feelings, like a snappier turning feel, and if anything, a less "planted" feeling when going slower. More like a 26"er hard tail, but without the negatives of the skinnier, smaller diameter wheels. That is not saying "it felt like a 26"er", it just says it moved toward feeling that way more than not, mmm-kay folks. Of course, the loss of weight in the wheels is most likely the reason for all of that. I mean, if you can shave a massive amount of weight off your wheels, it is something any rider would immediately notice, so this is not rocket science stuff here. (Keep in mind, these wheels are just shy of 3lbs lighter than the old set.)

Like riding on firm Styrofoam!
Then I made my way around toward the lake, as I was following someone's orange surveyor flags, and I wanted to see what the route was. Well, it was what I probably would have done anyway- Green Belt to a loop around the lake. The snow was perfect! Really fast here, and the snow was still lily white, packed in, firm, and sounded like crunchy Styrofoam under the tires. Lots of fun!

The Sterlings were getting a ton of traction out here, so this was a good little stretch to push up the speeds a bit. However; I had to throttle it waaaaaay back when I left through the parking lot, as it was a sea of glassy looking ice. I would probably avoid it next time if I see that it is still like this. It was by far the most treacherous ice of the entire ride.

Then came the bike path again to get back home, and to begin with, there was a modicum of traffic that had made somewhat of a rut/impression into the snow. Leroy and his dog do not venture out this far on the trail, otherwise it would have been as before, closer to my home. I got within 50-75 yrads of Ansborough Avenue, and free and clear tracks again, when all signs of any consistent track disappeared. It was essentially snow that hadn't been walked on for a long time, if ever. I could not see evidence of a foot print, at any rate.
Rut-ro! Fat bike, comin through!

 So I kicked the front derailluer down to granny gear, (literally, it had been so long since I had used it, the mech was frozen!), and spun away in a low-ish gear with not much of a problem. The searing, tearing sound of the snow was amazing. It got real loud!

I noticed that I was getting into some deeper stuff, so now I click down a couple more gears, power down, and it keeps on moving! Fun, but a lot of work. I noted that I was spinning pretty fast for my forward speed, and then I noticed the rear tire was actually spinning faster than I was going! Don't stop now!

As I got closer to the Ansborough bike path, I saw a set of tracks made by a walker, but I steered clear and made my own way. Sometimes a single set of post holes will kill your mojo. Not this time! I was going to clean this section! I kept churning, and eventually, I popped off onto the cement path and stopped to catch my breath.

So, the Sterlings still have that tractability, and they "floated" me as well as I have expected so far, with a better spin up due to the lighter weight. In the high output section I had just cleared, I wonder if I would have been able to keep a heavier wheel going like I did. It's hard to say, but I bet that the lighter wheels helped a lot here. The rest of the ride was a piece of cake, and I returned home after two hours of pedaling.

That was a good test, and I am confident in my tubeless set up with the Duallys, as well as being very impressed with how they performed with the Sterlings. This should really help out with saving energy during Triple D, and I really need that this year, as last week's being very sick has been a blow to my fitness, and recovery is not complete yet.

Onward and upward........


Exhausted_Auk said...

So let me get this straight - narrower rims are now better?

Guitar Ted said...

@Exhausted_Auk: Well, so far, so good, with these particular tires, on a fat bike, for an XC-ish event like Triple D- Yes.

Now, if I were carrying everything necessary to survive a deep, sub-zero environment, and riding 135 miles in the Minnesotan outback - No.

It maybe makes more sense to think of these fat bike wheels as one might XC skis. Skinny skis go fast, but do not do well at breaking trail, or doing "back country" trips, where one might want wider, more capable skis.

Tires and rims for fat bikes can be similarly compared, I think.