Saturday, March 06, 2021

Winter Views: Melting Into Spring

Not a cloud in the sky and nearly 50°F.
This probably will be the last of the "Winter Views" posts for the '20/'21 Winter Season. The warmer weather and Sun is overtaking Winter very quickly now. The snow will be a minority of the scene very quickly now. Things will start turning green again. Spring is coming in. 

Typically that means lots of wind, but Wednesday was calm as could be, absolutely no clouds, and bright, warm Sun over all. I remarked to myself at the end of the ride that it just doesn't get a whole lot better than that. Not for any time of the year. And the roads! But I am getting ahead of myself here.

I decided to switch wheels out on the Noble GX5 gravel bike to the new WTB Proterra wheels that I need to get going on for a review on So that was the bike I used on Wednesday. I didn't know how the roads would be South of town, but that is where I was going to ride and so I'd find out if they were as good or better than they were up North last weekend. Sooner or later the frost is going to come out and then the roads will get weird. 

The air temperature was about ten degrees warmer than Saturday and maybe it would get to 50°F, but either way, it was super comfortable out. It's so weird once you've been acclimated to sub-zero weather how 50° can feel like "windows down in the car" weather, but I wasn't the only one running around with side windows open Wednesday. 

The Prairie Grove Park car park was a royal mess when I pulled in. The big piles of snow that the City plowed back were on the uphill side of the lot and so all the run-off was soaking the entire lot. Oh well! At least the gravel was firm and the truck was in no danger of getting stuck. This may change once the frost comes up, but hopefully those piles of Winter snow will be much smaller- or gone- by that time.

The Proterra wheels on the Noble GX5

I got going after lunch and headed down the old, familiar roads. I didn't ride these roads much after mid-Summer last year, so it's been awhile now. That said, I will be off to some other places soon. I don't want to grind the same roads all the time as I have in years past. 

Seems like the drifts must have been bigger South of town this year.

I saw this hawk fly over my head and light on this high tension wire.

The roads South of town, on Wednesday, at any rate, were fast, dry, and super-smooth. Best conditions on gravel ever. "Hero Gravel", if you will. hardly any loose, crushed rock at all. Of course, that will all change once the frost starts coming up. Then it will become a mucky-mess. Who knows when that will start, and for how long it will last, but if the next week, week and a half weather forecasts are to be believed, it will happen very soon and be over quickly. 

That said, I am predicting major frost boil action this year. It should be crazy on certain roads, like it was a couple of years or so ago when frost boils destroyed roads and the farmers with big machines and semi-tractor trailers will perpetuate the damage- just like they did back then. Hopefully, I'll be wrong about that. We will see....

This was about the most gravel I ran across.

Another big drift on Washburn Road.

So it was an 'ordinary test loop' ride but it was perfect. Such a beautiful day to ride. I also did not want to put in a big effort because I wanted to just start working my way up to being able to do bigger rides. I am hoping to be able to squeeze in a hundy sooner than I did last year and maybe that will help with getting in a few of my goals for 2021. 

Next ride- Those weird handle bars which I should be able to talk about next week. Stay tuned.....

1 comment:

Ben said...

Yeah...I'm hopeful that things aren't like it was a couple winters ago when the frost came out. Maybe the dry fall means there isn't as much moisture and won't be as bad. Hope so, as while I'm recovering from knee surgery and not riding for several more weeks, have to keep an eye on roads anyways regarding whether we send the school buses out on them. That two years ago winter-spring was the worst - I bet we had at least 15 days that we were hard surface only as the gravel roads were a sloppy, destroyed mess.