Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Randomonium: Catching Up

A look at my desk which is typically messy like this.
NOTE: Okay folks, if you haven't been around long enough here to know what a "Randomonium" post is, then here is the deal. I ramble, rant, and randomly moan about all things cycling in one, incohesive, bizarre post. "Randomonium", okay?

And: This particular version of the Randomonium is dedicated to catching you all up on what has been going on around here in the last ten days or so. The "End of Year" madness kind of takes over, and day-to-day stuff gets shuffled aside for that. Okay? Here we go... 

First, an update on my health. I finally overcame that nasty head cold by December 21st, I'd estimate, which was the first day I felt as though I had no further symptoms of whatever I had. So, good to go on that front for Christmas and beyond.

Of course, the big news was the pre-Christmas Winter storm we had.It's been awhile since we've experienced sub-zero temperatures for up to 48 hours, near blizzard conditions for three days, and a basic shut-down of things due to Winter's blast. But the old memories of hunkering down for a storm like this kept me hopeful for coming out of this one as well. Then we whip lashed into this. This mess above freezing and all that beautiful fat bike-able snow is junk already. Bah!


Pirate Cycling League's New Event:

A new Winter event was announced by the PCL/Gravel Worlds folks late in December which they billed as a "return to the grassroots" of events which they were known for once upon a time. 

The event will feature a metric century or a half-distance cycling course on gravel roads and a 10K running event as well. Registration is open now and the event is set to take place on February 18th, 2023 in Lincoln, NE. 

The event will use a small town as a checkpoint where you will be required to purchase a Nebraska Lottery ticket to prove that you had been there. This reflects how Gravel Worlds was run in its early days. 

Comments: Fun! My initial reaction is that this is the sort of madness the cycling world needs at this time when events are seemingly going toward more rules, bigger crowds, and the chase for a career in gravel means that those of us that are not capable or desiring of that are left behind. In my view, the "Winter Endurance" event reflects how we were thinking when we set up gravel road cycling challenges back in the day. 

The fact that the promoters say the following, " We’re going back to our roots on this one!", would indicate that they had left their roots at some point, for whatever reasons. I'm not going to read anymore into that than to say, "I agree with that". It's hard to stick to your roots, I get that, but some have managed to stay the course all along since those "good ol' days" of yore. There ya go.....

Snip showing Bixby State Preserve and how the North-South road is truncated.
Feedback On The GTDRI Route Redux: 

Last year I posted the GTDRI Stories bit on the 4rth route, a route I stated was one of those GTDRI's I would consider riding again. It is a spectacular route in terms of visuals and in its toughness. 

So, near the end of last week I floated the possibility that this route might be modified and then recorded with notes for a small fee making it available for anyone to ride. I didn't hear much about it on the blog, but after I posted the idea to Instagram, the response was quite noticeable. 

So, here's the deal: I have to do some mods to the route and verify them. There are a few places where things have changed and in one instance, a significant change will require a major rerouting. It isn't an easy decision to make either, as choices for other roads are scant to none. 

Specifically the problem lies in the fact that the former road through Bixby State Preserve is now truncated. Honestly, that's actually a good thing. The Northern section of that road was heinous. I mean, really steep, filled with ruts, it had huge embedded rocks sticking up out of the road, and it was a challenge even on a mountain bike. When we last used that road in 2015 I don't think you could even drive a car or 4X4 down it safely anymore. 

Now, no big deal if we were "on the grid", but this area is far from being on the grid and road choices are few. I also have the task of preserving the feel of the original route, not adding too much mileage, giving chances for a resupply in Edgewood, and keeping pavement miles to a bare minimum. And that's just that problem with this route. 

New Unit:

The Sigma ROX 4.0 GPS computer test is still ongoing. The last time I wrote about this, I mentioned that the navigation function was wonky and that I was to get another head unit to test since my contact felt that the one I had was dysfunctional for some reason.  I was assured that typically Sigma ROX units were pretty bomber. So, I waited....

Then about a day or two after Christmas I got a box with a new ROX 4.0 GPS computer in it. I quickly got it synced with my phone and updated, and this went rather well, so I am hopeful that when I get the weather to try a route I have in the Ride app, I will be able to tell you all if it works as advertised. 

Stay tuned.... 

(L-R) Mrs GT, Vince Goterra, and GT: Image courtesy of St. John;s Lutheran Church


Christmas Eve saw myself and Mrs. Guitar Ted doing a gig at St. John's Lutheran Church in Cedar Falls, Iowa. It was a two set affair and we had a great time. It was a heck of a lot better than sitting in our house and wistfully looking out the window at negative 30+ degree winds and snow. 

I played my new Sully Conspiracy Series Stardust. I have bonded with that guitar pretty quickly, to be honest. It's really kind of odd when you consider that most every guitar is CNC'ed to exacting specifications, made from similar tone woods, and set up with quality hardware, in this case, identical hardware to my other Sully. However; I like the Stardust's feel and play-ability over that of my other one by a large margin. Weird.

Even weirder was playing out at a different venue. I haven't done that in a while. It was good to have that opportunity though. Oh! And I have a new amplifier too. Gotta get that up here on the blog soon.... 

Brief Fat Bike Blast:

I just mentioned the cold blast and snowy Christmas Eve we had, but it sure did not last long. We got another 3" of fluffy white snow on Monday and then it started getting warmer, and warmer, and warmer....

By Wednesday morning the snow was junk. It was around 30°F and was headed to the 40's. much for that!

I did get in a few short rides in bitterly cold temperatures, but busting drifted in snow and battling wind chills in the negative 20+ range was not a lot of fun. So, those fat bike rides were short. Really short! 

And now? Who knows when, if ever, we will get any fat bike-able snow.  Chances are we'll make it through most of January without that happening, and then, if history is any indication, February will see a return to snow and cold enough to warrant fat tires again. 

And that's all I have to catch you all up on.


Gravelo said...

Love the wood on the neck of that guitar, is it roasted or just beautifully grained? Also, nice bit of flavor from the flipped headstock. Is it a sustain monster with the hardtail design?

Guitar Ted said...

@Gravelo - Yes, that Stardust has a roasted maple neck. I cannot put my finger on why I like it more, it just feels better to play on. It sustains well, but I have other guitars that do as well. hard to say that design increases sustain, but it certainly doesn't hinder it!

MG said...

I think the ‘going back to our roots’ thing was an ode to the NE Lottery ticket being the ‘checkpoint’. When 2k people started coming to Gravel Worlds, sorting through everyone’s lottery tickets wasn’t really possible.

Sometimes event promoters make the changes they need to make to ensure the event works with the expected number of people. When it was just a handful of us, it was easier and more practical to use the ‘old skool’ ways.

I’m stoked the PCL is doing the Winter Endurance event… I’m planning to be there, ready or not.

Cheers, Brother!!

DT said...

Regarding the truncated road and re-route... this is not normally the case, but if you click on the satellite image for google maps (instead of the regular map like you have in the screen shot) it looks like the road north to Faucet Rd is fully passable. I would obviously defer to your local knowledge, but for that part of the course you could include it with a "hike-a-bike" disclaimer in the cues. If I was to ride it, and I knew what to expect at that point, I don't think it would be any issue. The Irreverent Road Ride in Vermont has MANY of these sections, and I am by far not the strongest bike handler. Just a thought!

Guitar Ted said...

@DT - Agreed! But all will be made clearer once I actually get to lay eyes on the situation, which is always the very best way to do a route- in person, not relying on older information. For instance, that Google Earth view could be several years old and out of date now, or maybe it is not. It is hard to say.

If, in fact, that North section of road is still there, I would be very hesitant about using it as it is a State Preserve land, not a typical County maintained sector. That makes a big difference in where a trespasser stands legally, (sorry about the pun!) .