Thursday, July 30, 2015

GTDRI '15: Gear Review And Comments

Once again, the Bike Bag Dude bags worked flawlessly
On this year's GTDRI I used a few items, like I have earlier in the year, and they worked really well. I won't dwell on specifics if I've covered them previously, but here is my Odin's Revenge Gear Review where I do cover some of these items in more detail.

Bike Bag Dude: I did get a coupe of Bike Bag Dude bags after Odin's which I put to use for this edition of the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational. First are the newer, larger Chaff Bags which were fantastic. The original sized Chaff Bag was good for a single water bottle, but you weren't going to get anything else in there. There also was a bit of an issue, for me anyway, in getting my hand in without a bit of wrangling while riding, say if I wanted a handful of food to eat on the run. This larger Chaff Bag is very easy for me to reach into, and plus- you can get other items in there along with a water bottle. You a wallet and money! Then all you have to do is remember you put that in there! But seriously- I could put other small, thinner items in along with a water bottle, which made the Chaff Bag in the larger diameter size even more versatile and useful. By the way, all other dimensions of the Chaff Bag besides diameter are the same as the original's.

The second item was the new top tube "Garage", (the name is apparently going to stick that I gave to this bag), and it lives up to the moniker. During the ride the Garage was fantastic from the standpoint of ease of opening/closing. That is important, as I hate having to fight with a zipper to get a bag closed while riding. The extra string on the zipper makes it easy to yank on the zipper to close it, and I imagine it will also play well for those who wear full finger gloves when it gets colder. The stability of the bag was unquestionably solid. My "OCD" tendencies always show up in regard to top tube bags when they "list" to one side or the other. It drives me nuts! The Garage wasn't a bag that I had to worry about in this regard. I've used it sans the frame bag and it still is rock solid.

The bike set up as I used it at the GTDRI
I also used the Bike Bag Dude custom frame bag for my Large Gen II Fargo on the ride and that saved me from having to use a seat bag. I kept all the repair items in the "lower section" and food was stored in the upper pockets. It was overkill, as I had extra, empty space, but since there was little to no wind and the bag weighs very little, I did not see any negatives to using it.

For more details on the Bike Bag Dude bags see my "Overview" here. Again, for info on the Sol Skin arm covers, Cowchipper Bars, iSSi Triple pedals, and more, click to see my Odin's Gear Review.

Bike Choice: I think a quick explanation of my bike choice is in order, and I can simply boil it down to two very important things. One was that the Fat Fargo is the bike I've spent the most hours on in 2015 and without question, I was very, very comfortable on this bike for long hours and in very demanding conditions. Not to mention that it is set up for longer rides. Secondly, and more importantly, the Fat Fargo has the lowest gearing of any of my currently rideable bikes. The exception to that would have been my Gen I Fargo, which has a similarly set up drive train, but I have to sort out the wheels yet for that bike, so it is in an unrideable state at present. So, the Fat Fargo made a lot more sense on this tough, hot, steep ride than any of my other rigs.

The 2015 GTDRI was a huge success and everyone had a great time
Comments on the 2015 GTDRI: Without a doubt, this has to go down as one of the toughest rides I have completed, not to mention probably the hardest GTDRI to date. More on that later. First off, I want to thank a few folks up front.

To the riders of the 2015 edition: Traci, Josie, Lance, Joe, the Frey Brothers, Jeremy, Tony, Martin, and Derek- Thank You!! This was a fun day for me and it was great to get to know you all a bit better. Thanks for your support when I lost my money and for the encouragement then. A Special Shout Out: To Marty, Tony, and Jeremy for their extra encouragement and help when I needed it.

Okay, so I won't get into all the details of what I thought about the ride here. Go back and read the three previous reports for that. What I am going to comment on here is the course. This was the fourth and likely final time I'll use it in the form it was in. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, Ironwood Road got paved which added several miles to the route in pavement, which I don't like. If I used this area again, that would be taken out, which would unfortunately also take out Imperial Road and Impala Road, since there is no good way to link those two roads into the loop without using Ironwood Road. In fact, had the incident that occurred last year not happened, I would have modified the course in such a way as to eliminate all of that this year, but I wanted to knock this out as we should have done last year.

I probably will design a new course up that way and there will be a few more modifications, but that will have to wait for the future. I will say that if anyone wanted a tough, but beautiful Fall ride, this route would probably be spectacular. That said, I think I can take out a bunch of pavement and still have a great route up that way.

Martin also rode a Fargo on this ride. It's a great choice for a route like the one we rode.
The course was good as it was though, and it seems that we had about 7500 feet of elevation gain in just over 100 miles. Mileage on the route varied amongst the riders. I took my cues and mileage right off Map My Ride, and my bike computer was spot on with those figures the entire ride. Once again, I finished with 106.75 miles. Those that went back to get there cars at Backbone added about 8 more to that. Cues were spot on and we did not get lost or have any miscues.

The Future Of The GTDRI: I didn't note until just before the ride that this was the tenth running of the GTDRI. I already know what I want to do for the next one, and it will be a bit of a throwback and a celebration of the Decade of Death Rides. The route will be a reprise, as much as it possibly can be, of the very first GTDRI, which I just recently found the cues for again. That route was supposed to be 145-ish miles, but due to a navigational error on my part the day of the first GTDRI, it ended up becoming a 152 mile ride. So, if I can figure out where I made the wrong turn in Tama County, we'll do the exact route from that year, as long as there are gravel roads to do so.

So, there's the announcement, and it will happen on the last weekend of RAGBRAI, as I have been scheduling the ride that way the last several years now. Stay tuned for details next year!


Sam said...

Please tell me what you have for a hub, axle, cassette on this fat Fargo? I so so want to try this for the fall and winter and want to do it right the first time. Thanks

Barturtle said...

Random question regarding the current setup of the Fat Fargo, but what is the width at the end of the extensions on Cowchippers compared to the same size Cowbell?

And while I'm asking questions: How do you think the Gevenalle shifters would work on a Mustache bar? I see you've used them on the Luxy, which lays them pretty far over, so I thought you might have an idea how that would work.


Guitar Ted said...

@Sam: It doesn't matter what I did. You have to set yours up with what is right for you. It's just the standard stuff, really. Nothing unusual at all.

Guitar Ted said...

@Barturtle: 60cm vs 54cm, approximately.

Most traditional mustache bar lever placement is for the levers "out front" on the bend, so I would think it would be ergonomically okay. But lever placement can vary on mustache bars a lot, so it is hard to say, really. Personally, I think it would be fine.