Monday, October 19, 2015

Chilly Grinding

Photo-bombed by Joel's shadow!
Friday afternoon I did the regular "Dirt Home From Work" route on my titanium Mukluk. It wasn't anything spectacular except for the new BodyFloat seat post, which is amazing, and while it isn't the antidote for a full suspension bike, I think I have narrowed down where it can fit in with riding for me, at least. More on that some other day. This post will focus on my Saturday ride.

I had a request from my coworker, Joel, to go out on a gravel road ride. This was highly unusual, as Joel is a dyed-in-the-wool roadie and typically doesn't wander far off the tarmac. I met up with him on Saturday Morning at the shop, but not before an excruciatingly painful trip from the house.

Remember that ride I mentioned Friday on my Ti Muk? Well, I also had been riding that bike on previous days back and forth to work, and really pushing it. My legs were hurting on Friday evening, and that in combination with my coming down with a cold made the ride over on Saturday a "survival mode" ride. I barely could top out at 10mph since I had nothing in the tank, or so it seemed. Of course, it didn't help either that it was only 24°F when I left! I wasn't used to the cold, yet, and I was also bundled up against the chill, which is always a bit constricting as well. I suppose all of those things in combination were conspiring against me and I felt like I had no business doing a ride that day, but a promise is a promise, so I showed up and waited for Joel to arrive.

Something must have happened in the ensuing half hour, since I felt okay when we left. In fact, Joel was hoofing it down the city streets on our way out and I was surprised I had enough snap in the legs to keep up!

The fields are mostly bare now. It was still a beautiful day for a ride, despite the chill and wind. 
Apparently, the warm up ride which consisted of that painful trek to the shop and our subsequent roll out to the gravel woke up the legs enough that I was able to push into the Westerly wind with some force. I chose the route, and due to my feelings of doubt, I chose the flattest route possible to start out. The wind wasn't going to make it easy though, and I may as well have chosen a route with rollers, since punching a hole into the breeze was just as tough for me on that morning.

Joel seemed to be just fine with the pace and so I felt okay with the route and our speeds. I took us up the back way to Janesville where we stopped so Joel could refuel, and then we headed East and South back to our start. Along the way we spied a Turkey Vulture, a Red Tailed Hawk, some llamas, and lots of "leaf shadows" under maple trees. When we get a sudden freeze, it generally bites the leaves right off the maples, and if there is little to no wind, those leaves drop straight down off the trees and form colorful "leaf shadows" under the tree limbs.

Then, as we rolled closer to town, we spied a behemoth on a raod construction site we just had to go check out......

Joel checking out the big machine.
There are eight counter weights on the backend here each weighing in excess of 11.000lbs according to their tags.
Interestingly, the boom sections were all held together with huge pins with hasps over them. 
The thing was a huge crane which was brought in to help build an overpass for the county highway to go over the four lane U.S. highway 218/27 instead of the at grade crossing which has proven to be quite dangerous. Actually, there are two huge cranes there, but this one was closest to our gravel route. It seems to be rather new, and was so wide, it took up two entire lanes of the roadway, which is all broken up and probably has been removed in preparation for the bridge build.

It is a rather simplistic machine in that the component parts are held together with bolts and pins, for the most part, only they are on a gigantic scale. Weight is something that we noted, since several individual parts of the crane were tagged with brass plates indicating their individual weight. For instance, each of the eight counter weights on the back end had a tag indicating each weight was in excess of 11,000lbs and the base which the weights were placed on had a tag which indicated it weighed in excess of 33,000lbs! Heavy machine indeed!

After we were through marveling at this mechanical wonder, we made the rest of the loop and returned back to the shop where I picked up the Trans Iowa post cards and then went on home. With almost 37 miles in, I think it was a rousing success of a ride after thinking upon how it started out. I almost bailed out I felt so bad! I am glad I stuck it out and it was fun to get to ride with Joel out on the gravel roads.

1 comment:

youcancallmeAl said...

The boom is pinned to allow it to be broken down for transport and since all loads in the structural members of the boom are either tension or compression, then the connections see only shear loads and the pins carry these well and aren't hindered by stress concentrations at thread roots as bolts could be.