Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday News And Views

Image by Jon Duke
A Trans Iowa Soliloquy:

I was fortunate to have had the most awesome volunteers throughout my tenure as the RD of Trans Iowa. One of those people was named Craig Groseth. I met Craig at Odin's Revenge, fittingly while riding a bicycle, and we became friends. Craig lives way out in Western South Dakota, but made the trip out just to be immersed into Trans Iowa as a volunteer. Since he decided to do that, I put him into a few different situations to make his trip worthwhile.

Another great thing about Craig is that he is a pretty good writer and posts on his own blog. While I am not normally one to push anything about myself in terms of personal things, the article Craig wrote about Trans Iowa after his experience does something really well that I never was able to tell due to my perspective. Craig's take is from an outsider's view and it nails many of the things I was trying to get across about Trans Iowa. Anyway, he did a great job, and instead of having it just be sitting there in a corner of the internet, I thought I'd link it here today. Click Here.

Cherry Grove Checkpoint. My son is standing on the corner.
Almanzo 100 Weekend:

This weekend my son and I are making the short trek Northward to the tiny hamlet of Cherry Grove, Minnesota to man Checkpoint 3 of the Almanzo 100.

This will be the third year that Riding Gravel has been tabbed as the sponsor of this Checkpoint. I sure hope that we get better weather than the first two times. The first year it was chilly and very windy. Last year was simply just brutal. Cold, windy, and rain all afternoon. Yuck!

This time it looks to be a lot better. So, I expect that we will see a LOT more riders than we did the previous two years. We will be ready. I expect Ben will be bringing the same sort of set up  we've had the previous two years and that my son and I will be very busy helping out riders and yakking with all sorts of folks.

In fact, if the weather actually holds up and is decent, I'm not sure what to expect Saturday in Cherry Grove. A "nice weather" Almanzo is something I've not yet experienced. Well, whatever happens will get reported on here come Monday morning. Stay tuned........

County maintenance is happening- Here is the evidence!
Grading The Gravel:

With the big wave of corn planting done the soybean planting is now in full swing. I was out Wednesday and saw evidence of planting going on along with emerging corn plants. The greening up of the Iowa countryside is happening now and it won't be long before we're riding down halls of eight foot high corn and rows and rows of bushy soybean plants.

Another "second wave" that is happening now along side of the second wave of planting is the maintenance of gravel roads. The ag machinery pretty much wastes the gravel and pushes it off to the sides. Well, that is being redistributed across the roadways by the big grader machines.

I caught a freshly graded road in Southern Black Hawk County and eventually passed the grader coming back North on Beck Road. The gravel was deeply distributed across the roadway and all loosey-goosey. Running in the tire tracks was the way to beat the mushy gravel which tried to make my tires swap ends. I found Aker Road wasn't a whole lot better, by the way.

This will probably get us through the soybean planting phase and given no long, soaking rains, I suspect regular gravel maintenance will start up late in May. Get out there before they dump even more crushed rock!

Late Edits & Updates: 

No, your eyes do not deceive you. This is the new Lefty Ocho
Cannondale Introduces The Lefty Ocho (And Some New XC 29"er Too.....BUT THAT FORK!)

A rumor was swirling around late last year that Cannondale was going to unleash some new technology on the mtb world for 2018 and that one of those things was to be a new Lefty fork. Well, today Cannondale let the cat outta the bag and here you see it- The Lefty Ocho.

Of course, traditional media already has this fork (and the bike it comes on) and you can read the reviews as well as I can. I will only pass on a few tidbits I have gleaned from the Cannondale rep that serves the shop where I work.

First, and most amazingly to me, despite losing the triple clamp of yore, the fork's original prototypes were too stiff and the designers had to go back and design in some compliance. Secondly, and probably most importantly, the fork is now compatible with bikes using a tapered steer tube- not a proprietary steer tube as before, or limited to specially modded crown/triple clamp mods. So, Cannondale has always sold aftermarket with Leftys, but now they are pursuing this more overtly. Expect to see Leftys on all sorts of bikes in about a year. Not only has the fork been made more universal in terms of fitment, but now Cannondale can use head tube lengths appropriate to whatever bike they want to design, and not have to fit the triple crown length specifically.

Of course, you may be so weirded out and/or repulsed by the Lefty Ocho that none of this matters, but this still represents a major innovation in fork technology, and it works well. My thought is that a travel reduced version might easily be adapted to a gravel bike. Hmm........I bet we see that too. 

 New Post On Riding Gravel:

I generally don't push content here, but I am particularly proud of the effort put in by contributor John Ingham on his latest essay for the site entitled "To Cosmos and Beyond". If you decide to check it out, be forewarned- it is a long read. Get your favorite beverage ready beforehand!

Okay, this weekend could be quite a doozy. Things are happening behind the scenes which could make things real interesting! Get out and ride yer bikes folks!


bostonbybike said...

I'm probably in minority here, wishing Cannondale revived their old Headshok technology and build a new, inconspicuous-looking gravel/bikepacking fork with bottle mounts on its legs and rack attachments. It would also work with standard front hubs and not require removing brake caliper to take the wheel off.

Daniel said...

I can see the new fork (with reduced travel of course) on an updated Slate.