Thursday, February 22, 2024

Brown Season: Lying In Wait

Escape Route: Sergeant Road bike path.
Winter? I'm having a hard time finding you now. Where have you gone? It's nearly 60°F in the third week of February. Usually you would be sending your Alberta Clippers. We'd be shivering under clear skies and below zero temperatures at night. Shoveling snow and skidding on icy patches here and there. Maybe we'd see some snow starting to melt on those bright, clear days. But no. You are gone. All that is left is a brown wasteland and Spring is waiting there already. Lying in wait to swallow up Death.

It is an odd time. I cannot quite remember a Winter like this where I was riding on dry (!!) country roads without gloves (!!!) because it is so warm outside during the day. The weather people are saying overnight lows are higher than the normal daytime highs for this time of the year. Also concerning is the fact that - so far - this is the fourth driest February here on record. Cue severe drought conditions again! 

Under these unsettling circumstances I am taking advantage and riding when I can. It's been unusually busy with a couple of unexpected things coming from without and within. But that didn't stop me from riding on Tuesday.

You have to look hard to find snow now. Only sullied piles of the stuff exist in parking lots now.

Aker Road. Still smoother than a lot of paved roads. But for how much longer?

I was heading South to be able to come back on the Southwesterly breeze which was a decently strong force on this day. I was certainly feeling it in the legs and hips while I pedaled South. The roads were still in "Winter condition" which is to say mostly unmaintained and buttery smooth. The moisture in the road bed I saw on my last outing into the country is all but gone now. The road is actually starting to crack. Unless we get more moisture the road bed will start to deteriorate into fluffy dust and that would spell disaster for fast riding. 

But I don't think we'll get to that condition this year, at any rate, as rains are forecast in the long range outlook for the area. Let's hope that forecast holds up. 

A couple of horses blend into the brown landscape.

I rode the Tamland Two, now de-fendered.

I didn't have a lot of time as I needed to get back to the house and do some cleaning up for a meeting that night. So, I took a shorter loop out South of town and got in a decent two hour ride in. The Tamland Two, with its new chain and cassette, shifted great and did not give me any trouble. 

Now, the rear wheel was not giving me much confidence. I guess I should be more specific and say it was the hub. I have had issues with this hub before as well. 

Some roads are beginning to show up with fresh gravel again.

Farmers are starting to bring their equipment out of storage already.

Two years ago I had issues with that rear hub and I took it apart, cleaned up the free hub pawls and ratchet ring, and reassembled it. It seemed fine for a bit. But now it has popped and one time it sounded as though the pawls were grinding across the ratchet ring and not engaging. 

I have read that story before, so I think it is time to put that hub to rest. This means I will be relacing that Irwin carbon rim to a different rear hub. That means I'll have  a mis-matched wheel set, unless I relace the front hub as well...... Hmm.... 

A nice alleyway I took on the way back to the house.
In the meantime I'll need to set up a different wheel set for this bike. Fortunately I have a substitute wheel set waiting to be put to use, for the time being.

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