Friday, April 17, 2020

Friday News And Views

New Radio Ranch podcast is up.
The Riding Gravel Radio Ranch Podcast:

One of my goals for 2020 was to get the Riding Gravel Radio Ranch podcast up more regularly. Well, we've done five and four are up already for 2020. The train is just gettin' rollin' though.

Andy's Bike Shop is hosting the recording of the podcast for the foreseeable future. In fact, Andy himself is co-hosting the podcast with me now. The plan is to record a new episode every Tuesday and keep putting out content on a regular basis throughout the pandemic we are all experiencing now.

The latest episode published is #39. Andy and I discussed several topics and one is about the new Stormchaser, which figures heavily in the next episode we recorded already. Other topics coming in the next episode include virtual "sim" gravel racing, Strava-based solo gravel events, some other news about current reviews, and stories about creaking bits. (Which, if you are a regular reader here you've already read about)

If you have any good ideas on topics you'd like to see Andy and I cover, please email me at or at .

And stay tuned for the next podcast. It's coming out soon!

The announcement concerning the Tour as seen on Twitter Wednesday, April 15th, 2020.
Le Tour Postponed: 

It was inevitable, wasn't it? The Tour de France just wasn't going to happen in July. I think we all knew that, but the big question was "postponement or cancellation?" That question was answered Wednesday when the Tour announced via social media that it was going to postpone the event until a late August start. They stated in their posts that there would be no alterations to the scheduled stages, and that the event would last through September 20th, 2020.

While one can debate whether or not the cancellation option may have been better, it is now evident that with almost all major cycling events being pushed back to Fall, what sort of attention can be given to any of it by fans? Where to go? And what of cyclo-cross, or other traditional Fall sports and activities which, theoretically should be vying for our energies and attention? Will it all be too much so that we all "tune out"? Plus, who knows if gathering in large crowds will even be a good idea then? No one, that's who.

My final thought here is that if France is suggesting no large group gatherings through July, (which is what precipitated the Tour announcement), and their "pandemic peak" was previous to ours, (or will be), then what about Iowa's Ride/RAGBRAI? It would stand to reason that even these events would be unwise to hold on their scheduled dates. Prediction: Both will cancel for 2020. That's my opinion. RAGBRAI pushed back their "decision" date from the 15th to the 20th. (Monday) We'll see......

Getting acquainted with the Stormchaser- now creak-free!
 Winter Punches Back:

Those of us in the Mid-West got a quick reminder that Winter can and will make ugly reappearances at times in April. This past week has been more representative of February than April, at least in terms of temperatures. Lows each morning this week have hovered around the 20°F mark with some days not even getting to 40°F for a high.

The first three days were marked by wicked Northwest winds with brutal wind chill factors. It takes time to get re-acclimated to such nonsense, and especially so after it had been 80°F only just last week. You get used to the warmth in a big hurry!

Thankfully this weekend the warmer, more Spring-like temperatures are forecast to return, albeit with a healthy dose of wind. Of course! It is Spring after-all. But I plan on getting out on the Stormchaser on a proper gravel ride none the less. Wind or no, this has to happen, and with it being tolerable in the temperature department, I can deal with some wind. Maybe it'll have to be a flatter route into it, then get blown back. That's the plan anyway. We will see.

A Brief Word On The Stormchaser:

I have gotten out a few times on the Stormchaser, and I am happy to say it is dead silent, now that the offending bottle cage has been replaced. (Read the story posted on Wednesday this week for details) I think I am growing to like this bike. One thing it has that I have been intrigued by for well over ten years is the slack, for a gravel bike, 70° head angle. I have wanted to try a bike like this for years, as it tics almost every box I have had in terms of a gravel specific bike. the only downside, in the geometry, of the Stormchaser for me is the 70mm bottom racket drop. For what this bike is intended for, it makes sense, as Salsa figures you may want 650B wheels. But if I had my druthers, it would be a 700c only bike with a deeper drop, say 75mm. But otherwise, this bike is almost spot on for the geometry I have always wanted to try out.

Okay, that's a wrap for this week. I hope that all you readers are safe, well, and are staying sane with what is going on in the world now. I hope that you all have an enjoyable weekend.


Gravelo said...

Le Tour will be outright weird if it stays on track for those dates. Pretty much takes the heat factor to a simmer at least, but September around here seems to get pretty warm anymore. What if there was a super-late RAGBRAI and a snow storm struck? Or a really early harvest and riders had to contend with machinery... Oh, the humanity!
Interesting to me that you had the only decent shot of the tire clearance on that Salsa. None of the press shots I have seen even come close to illustrating this design mandate. What if they had put a chip in those axles? Or is that specific to one brand?

Guitar Ted said...

@Gravelo - Good observations on the harvest angle. I hadn't thought of that. This could affect a lot of gravel races that are moving to Fall. Or, as you say, unpredictable weather.

Thanks for the comments on the Stormchaser pics.

Regarding a chip, or some sort of wheelbase/angle changing widget: I don't think it would have been seen as a "Salsa' thing unless it was radically different than Otso's. And perhaps Otso does have some sort of patent on that. I think maybe replaceable drop outs which could affect geometry and wheel base in the style they introduced may have been okay, but then you have extra expense and a loud cry from everyone who didn't get exactly what they wanted. It may be a can of worms not worth opening.