Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Winter Views: A Bit Of A Thaw

The Black Mountain Cycles MCD set up with a few of the latest goodies.
Recently we had a bit of a thaw. It's typical for a "normal" Winter to have that happen. Nature's way of giving us all a bit of a break from the gray, cold, snowy mundanity of January.

I have still not dared go ride the gravel roads yet. I could, but the bundling up, the dangerous icy patches, and the "not much fun" of it all puts me off. I would rather spend my time fat biking, and that just around town. Once in a while I can be coaxed into doing some skinnier tire action. Not very often though.

Since the Raddler tires dropped and I can now discuss the Redshift ShockStop seat post, I decided that the streets and alleys had cleared enough to allow for some mild testing. I also took the opportunity to slap the 700c wheels back on the MCD, which I like better, to be honest. They just look right. The Raddlers have a bit more aggressive tread than the Riddlers they are based on, so I thought a bit of a neighborhood cruise on the still solid packed in snow would be okay.

I also tweaked the Redshift ShockStop seat post's preload a bit. Redshift says you should have a little sag, similar to a suspension fork or rear suspension set up, but I wasn't enamored of the "floaty feeling". There was too much movement for my tastes. So I cranked the pre-load all the way up, and then I took the bike for a bit of a ride.

The post was far more to my liking. It activates when I hit a big enough thing on the road surface, but it has minimal, if any movement when pedaling. Obviously with negative travel built in by using a sagged set up, well it's very difficult not to "bob" while pedaling. However; now I get a bit of a top out feeling. It's not bothersome, just there. I may back off the pre-load a hair to see how that suits me, or I may wait until actual gravel riding kicks in again. I will say that the stem and post feel more balanced. Oh! Yeah, I have the ShockStop stem on the bike as well.

I decided not to blow a gasket here and got out on the pavement.
The following day it was even warmer. I think it was in the mid-30's the entire day into Sunday when it got really warm. Anyway, I got out on the Blackborow DS again and decided to go explore the Riverview bike path where I found things barely rideable, but because no one and nothing had traveled the path since the snows, I was spiking my heart rate working so hard.

Finally I just decided it was time to back off. I had no reason to keep that up when three feet to my left was bare pavement where the street was. So I swallowed my pride, kept my heart rate in check, and trundled on down to the former (?) Cattle Congress grounds.

I say "former" because the sign on the gates, which had for decades announced the dates for the upcoming Cattle Congress, typically held in September, now advertised the "Black Hawk County Fair". Now this still is the National Cattle Congress too, it isn't "former", but I cannot say I've ever heard about the Black Hawk County Fair, and come to find out that's been going on since like, forever. Weird. I've lived here in this area since 1981 and I never thought there was a Black Hawk County fair. This is why I ride bicycles. I learn stuff I never knew! I probably was going by too fast in my car to notice there ever was a fair here other than Cattle Congress.

Then I looped around my former place of employment which is gone now, and came back home. A good two hours of occasional busting of trail and a whole lot of spinny-spinning in a way too low of a gear for pavement riding. But that's good stuff for me now. That sort of a ride will pay dividends once the gravel straightens out. Plus, it beats trainer riding any day for me. Rides to nowhere are not my cuppa tea.

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