Fixed Century

Our Sunday ride group was dispersed this last weekend – so I took off solo on the Surly to retrace a previous ride. I’ve been enjoying the fixed gear bike around town- and my longest ride to date has been about 32 miles – so I decided to test the fit and my legs for a century. I explored a relatively flat route along the Winooski River from Burlington through Colchester, Essex Junction, Richmond, Waterbury and Middlesex. I’ve ridden parts of this on a previous Sunday morning ride with the IF – the terrain is tame – but there are steep rollers on the quiet country and dirt roads – some approaching 10% – but a few easily clearing 12%.

As I left Waterbury I noted the ‘bridge closed’ signs along Rt. 2 and hoped to be able to cross as a pedestrian. No such luck, as the highway department has taken care to make it a formidable obstacle to cross.

I had planned on a detour off of Rt. 2 nearby – and luckily the unnamed road (Lover’s Lane, according to Google) was just to the right of the bridge – so up some steep dirt and gravel and I discovered a lovely abandoned bridge over a ravine. A kayaker was playing in the rapids way down below – running through, rolling, then inching his way back up the side to do it over again.

I had to walk up the other side spinning out the rear tire while climbing the very steep loose sand and dirt road. The road connected me to 100b which rolls into Middlesex where I resupplied at the general store. I debated riding on to Montpelier, again following some quiet dirt roads – but guessed at my mileage and figured I was already halfway through a century.

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I retraced my steps home – not seeing another cyclist until Richmond – which is a popular starting place for GMBC club racers as well as the summer tourists. I negotiated Rt. 2 and 117 in the heat – stopping in Essex Junction for another burst of sports drink, a reload on water, and a snack.

I rigged the Surly much as I would for a 300k – as I’m getting comfortable with the weight and the gear I’ll be taking on my ADK adventure in just over a month. I still have much climbing work to do – I’m hoping to do an intense 2 weeks of hills and then back off and taper for the big day. I’ll most likely be on the IF for the 300k – but I will give the Surly another shot at a century in much hillier terrain before I decide on which steed will carry me through the mountains. I’m currently running 42×16 which has been working well for rolling and mixed terrain. If needed I could remount the Surly Dinglecog and have a 42×17 and 42×19 option for a climby long distance ride.

The fit on the Surly also needs some work. By the numbers it is really close to the IF – but I’ve been riding the IF without gloves and had a successful century last week – on the Surly I had numb and tingling hands only 15 miles into the ride. I packed my riding gloves as insurance and wore them the balance of the ride – they worked – but I have come to like ‘naked hands’. This week I swapped around to an adjustable stem and will play with my bars. The one difference that might come into play is that the width of the bars on the Surly is 44cm and the width on the IF is 46cm – can that 2 cm in width be numbing my hands? Or is it the Cane Creek brake levers vs. the Campy Ergos? Or the gel padded bar tape on the Surly vs. the leather on the IF?

I did have a successful ‘street shorts’ century. I’m wearing Ex-Officio boxer briefs and my old Cannondale touring shorts – no chamois for me – and with the B17 I was comfy the ride through.