Sunday, April 08, 2012

3 day weekend - 3 days of riding & some more studies

It feels pretty good letting small house projects go and hopping on the bike in my free time to ride. Ever since we did the kitchen last year I've been taking a bit of a hiatus from house projects. The plan to ride to select races this year is also driving me to ride more and do less house projects. Both from a fitness perspective as well as trying to figure out how to pull off riding to the races. More house projects coming later this summer though.

This fine easter weekend blessed me with three days off from work. One day more than a normal weekend and even though I brought work home with me to finish from last week I still haven't touched it. Won't touch it until I get into the office tomorrow morning. That's a good weekend!

Friday I wanted to hop back on my fixed gear. Its been a few months since I've ridden it and I had a few errands to run: return some borrowed PEX plumbing tools from a friend and drop off Ginger's disc brakes at Pedal Power. Since both errands were east of my house it allowed me to explore part of the route I'd ride to T-Hom's next weekend.

40 miles round trip with a strong wind that seemed to always be a headwind. Temps 50ish climbing to 60ish. At one point the wind turned sideways and almost blew me over. That sure was a work-out but I threw in a few rail trails to mix things up a bit.
Also got to try out my new Twin Six Team METAL jacket. I like this jacket. The white makes me visible to traffic, it blocks the wind and makes me look like a pirate as Dicky so kindly pointed out.

Saturday Ginger, Donal and I went for a nice mountain bike ride around Case Mountain. Still windy but the woods shielded us from it. We had a lot of fun and the ride gave Ginger confidence she has it in her legs to do the VT Gravel Grinder in two weeks.

Easter Sunday, with a big help from my friend Ohio Robb, I did more testing for this whole riding my bike to my races thing. Last weekend was a 66.66mile round trip ride with my new touring bike and a trailer in tow with my mountain bike. It beat me up more than I would have liked before a race. Since then I have been thinking.

Ohio Robb and I had a good conversation on the phone last week and he really got me thinking about what I am trying to accomplish. With wanting to ride to my races I took the notion as far as being 100% self supported. While that notion is great I realized it will be extremely difficult to be somewhat remotely competitive in my races whilst doing so. Robb suggested easing into it. Riding to the event is enough to make some people think. That is at least what I am trying to accomplish at this point in time. Ginger will be spectating at a few of these events so I could, conceivably, have her bring my stuff and I ride. I want to do more than that so we came up with the next best option. Carry only what I need. If I need additional supplies or supplies for the ride home than Ginger can bring them to the race for me. This will reduce the amount of gear I carry which is weight and is energy used to get to the race. The less energy I use getting to the race the more I have for the race. For example: T-Hom's event I won't need a sleeping bag for I can crash on his couch and I might not even need a set of tires or a different cog. That is all stuff I can leave home.

Whoa, stop the presses. What do you mean by tires?

This is what I mean:

I have reduced all bulk down to just riding my singlespeed mountain bike the 100 or so miles to the event as it is decked out in commuting / bike packing trim shown in that picture. The bike packing trim is courtesy of Robb. He is kind enough to let me borrow it to test feasiblity.

Test feasibility is what I did today.
View Home to Newtown CT in a larger map
I threw on my Bontrager 29-0 (29x1.9) tires for those are the smallest tires I could use with the range of singlespeed cogs I currently own. My smallest cog (16T) was mounted up while I kept my mtb 34T chanring. Robb's frame bag somehow fits quite well on my Superfly. It was custom made for his old Derringer which is a much smaller frame than what I ride. Guess the oversized carbon tubes on my Superfly aide in allowing it to fit. I also mounted up his handlebar mount with mountain bag to store some food. Picked up a dry bag from REI to mount on the handlebars.

The route was the reverse of what I rode home last weekend. Heading west from Middlebury, I hopped on a rail trail (which was in need of some serious repair, glad I had 1.9 tires). I then picked up the roads in Southbury we took whilst riding with Tim Johnson the other month. Couldn't find the rail trail in Middlebury for it is dirt and I was looking for a paved trail so that was an extra 1/2 mile of climbing spent that I didn't really need.

The 34-16 felt good. I was able to pedal anywhere from a 13-16mph pace depending on the grade. The steeper climbs I slowed down to about 8mph give or take. It felt good all-in-all but felt too big on the steeper climbs. I purposely went the route of that steep climb out of Cheshire to see how this would feel. 8% climb with a stiff headwind up rt68 made me dig a bit deeper than I wanted but I was able to recover from that point out. The key is what lies after and I knew I had some time to rest. The rail trail also helped me rest and cut out some more steep climbing. Lesson learned here is to plan my route wisely.

The frame bag had two large bottles inside along with my two waterbottle cages, a pump and a wool long sleeve shirt. Plenty of room for more smaller gear.
The dry bag had my 35F sleeping bag, two mountain bike tires rolled up and a change of clothes. The pouch across the front had all my food. I filled it up with food and ate a fraction of it. The mountain bag had some food I could easily grab whilst riding as well.

Definitely some weight, might not be everything I'd carry for a race but I can pack a bit smarter for a race and can always wear my Ergon backpack should I need more room. Although I will try to shy away from the backpack as much as possible. I don't like carrying stuff on my back.

I did about 56-57 miles today according to my computer and had a stiff headwind for quite a bit of it. Average pace was 14mph. My legs feel good right now (no where near as shelled as last weekend's 66.66mile ride) so adding another 40 or so miles to get to my race shouldn't be that bad as long as I pay close attention to nutrition. I did better with nutrition today but know I can do even better

I think this will work well. So, the plan would be to ride to the race as I demonstrated today. The night before I can remove all the packs, install the bottle cages, install the right rear cog and chain and install the mountain tires with some Stan's sealant I'd carry in small containers. Presto, ready to race.

Newtown CT

 Middlebury to Southbury rail trail.. Entrance at Middlebury.

This shows promise!

Next weekend, 100 or so miles to T-hom's house. Then a 60-70 mile road/dirt road ride on our singlespeeds and then the 100 or so miles home. I am doing this.


Blogger skullhead said...

Those Revelate bags are the shit! So dope. Hey, I think you may have done this already, but I can't really tell from the photos...riding around with those bags all loaded up will cause them to rub on your frame and will erode the finish...not great for a carbon frame. Use some clear tape to cover where the bag contacts the frame to help avoid the wear on your bike. Good luck dude!

4/09/2012 11:00 PM  
Blogger dougyfresh said...

Yup. got stuff protecting the crabon frame. Thanks for the thought.

4/13/2012 11:10 AM  

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