Thursday, November 15, 2018

Like Cake, Only Grittier

Gravel roads have been "Winterized" for the most part around here.
Wednesday I waited until it warmed up about as much as it was going to for the day before heading out for a quick jaunt South of town. I used the Bubblegum Princess with the Enve wheels attached and those fancy new Northwave boots with the long name. The Sun was out and it was looking pretty outside.

It's that time of year again and the light from the Sun is......weird. I've mentioned this in years past, but I never cease to be fascinated by this phenomenon. I suppose it has something to do with the lower angle of the Sun relative to Earth where I am at. Plus, the Sun was already Westering and it was probably more like riding in twilight than what I am used to for mid-afternoon Sun.

One thing the images here won't convey and that is that the wind was up and constantly blowing right at me as I went South at 20mph. Steady. It made for a rough go because the roads going South were all freshly graveled for Winter. Big, dusty, chunky goodness. All the way across the road.

I was headed down Ansbourough and I had decided I should climb that long climb up Petrie, then maybe go down Beck Road South a bit more. But after I reached the intersection with Petrie Road, I decided I had done enough pushing into the wind for one day. I headed straight West toward the Level B section of Petrie Road. I didn't think it would be dried up all the way yet, but I figured what moisture there was had frozen by now. Of course, it was above freezing as I rode, but it hadn't been for several days. I figured I'd be okay.

Surprise! It was wall to wall mud and water almost right out of the gate.
Well, I couldn't have been more wrong. Petrie Road was not only wet, but tore all up from harvesting machinery. I had to dismount just to get around some standing water, and the tread marks, ruts, and sand were treacherous until I passed the field opening where it seemed that the heavy machinery veered off into the adjacent corn field. That field was now empty. Just like every other field around now. Bonus- now there is absolutely nothing to hold up the wind! 

I moseyed on up the hill and as I went along the roadway here was sandy and underneath that the dirt was cake-like. My tires were doing the "pizza cutter" thing and resistance was high. I ended up having to dismount for a bit and walk along in the now dead weeds to avoid a short section that was not cake-like, but outright muddy. Once around that, it was difficult to get going again due to the spongy ground, but I managed to ride up to the top of the hill where that puddle of water almost always is.

The good news was that, while the mud was bad, it wasn't overwhelming. I could bounce the bike and knock a lot off that way. My boots still engaged the pedals. Mud wasn't fouling the wheels. So, not a disaster, like I thought it might have been. adventure! Once at the top I dismounted and got out my camera to shoot a few images for the reviews and then I just looked around a bit. It's a great place to see Northward since you can see Hudson, Waterloo, and everything in between from this ridge. I spied cattle grazing in a field not far off and decided to grab that image on this trip.

Cattle grazing with the outliers of Hudson in the distance. 
Water up top and more dead ahead in the distance to deal with. 
Cue the angelic voices......
Onward now and the descent off the ridge was hairy. LOTS of ruts, softer, muddier places, and I was feathering the brakes. Being very careful not to slip up and end up dumping myself into the mud . I also didn't want to cake up the wheels any worse than I had already.

I hopped off a couple of times briefly to negotiate water and mud, and then at the bottom there was a long stretch of hike-a-bike. Oddly enough, even though I was bushwhacking a lot through tall, dead weeds, I didn't get any stickers all over my wool socks. I had expected to look like a weedy, seedy mess, but I actually came out looking just fine.

The turn North was....whoa! Fast! That wind was kicking me straight up the road and I was carrying 18-20mph with little effort. Downhill speeds were higher. The road was chunky, of course, and the handling was a bit sketchy at times due to that. So, I wasn't able to just sit there for the ride. I had to pay attention or I may have eaten dust instead.

But all was well and I made it back okay. It was a perfect ride from the standpoint of length and effort. I'm very glad I decided not to go further into the wind. My body was dead tired afterward. Time to clean up the bike and get ready for the next nice day I have a chance to ride........

1 comment:

blooddoc23 said...

That's a hot set of wheels that I covet! I would be interested to hear how you wash your bike after muddy rides. Going to the car wash works great but I try to 1. not use soap and 2. Keep the spray out of the BB. That high pressure sure does a nice job with the chain and cassette, but I've heard that's a no no. Its so hard to screw on and off the hose at my house this time of year with the cold temps. And if you forget to unscrew it your looking at busted pipes. What do you do GT?