Recent snaps. The Soma is coming along. Proper stem is on the way. Steerer will be cut next week after it arrives. Bars will be left loooong with tape for the time being. Replacement hub for a new wheel build is in… just have to wait for shop time. Surly stainless steel chainring will replace my TA, and a mate will be used to run the dingle cog. Gearing is perplexing me – for now I’m going to run 34/19 or 34/17 and figure out the steep stuff come spring in the woods.
New monstercross / bikepakcing / ss fg mountain bike platform. Soma Juice 29r in ‘midnight silver’ (dubbed the ‘grape ape’ by a Sunday ride friend). I retired and traded off the CrossCheck and did a parts transplant. I’ve also cleaned out the garage and am selling off parts and pieces and bags and gear to fund this adventure.
I’m still awaiting parts for front disc brake wheel build. Trying a Surly Mr. Whirly crank… which has really wide Q compared to the CrossCheck (now retired) and my IF rando rig with TA cranks. So far I’m not a happy camper spinning when I feel like I’m riding a horse. Strain on the outside of the knees, sore hips. Might have to go to a Sugino XD or something…
Playing with the gearing – currently running a single ring with fixed dingle cog – but will eventually settle on a dual dingle + freewheel setup. Soma Odin bars (wide!) and taped for now. Awaiting some WTB Nanoraptors to get some fat rubber on there. Silver seatpost is a loaner till a Salsa arrives. Steerer tube is left way long… but I’ll probably be able to keep the bars dropped tight to the headtube. Need to add another cm to the stem, probably settle on 12 cm with minimal or no rise.
Love it so far. Aside from the color, which was listed as ‘midnight silver’ – but is really a purple(ish) silver. It is growing on me, and I should just STFU and ride.
… and that is good enough for me.
Managed to get out to the woods and meet Greg for a Fall S24O. I took off west from home solo on Saturday afternoon and met Jim at City Market and he rolled with me for part of the trip. Rolled out past Catamount and bombed down Gov. Chittenden Rd. where I lost my wingman to a pinch flat. Crossed the river in Richmond and rolled what used to be mainly dirt to Waterbury – the only stretch left unpaved after a round of stimulus cash is in Duxbury. The smooth ride was nice – but I will miss the dirt as following the river is a favorite ‘flat’ ride that is easily accessible from town – low traffic, scenic, and as a series of dirt roads – relatively traffic and roadie free. I was wearing thick gloves on the way out – and I needed to make time – so even though the sky and the fall colors were splendid – I took no photos. (Jim, ahem – where are your snaps?)
A quick warm up at Waterbury Station and a snack was had as I waited for Greg to roll in from the east. We climbed up to the closed Little River State Park, scoped out a lean to with its back to the wind and set up camp. Fire wood scrounging and catching up ensued as we warmed and I made some (horrible) freeze dried dinner. Temps dropped to the high 20s overnight – but we were out of the wind and comfortable for the most part. I had a hard time getting to sleep as I’m usually in my hammock – but with the cold and new gear I felt it smart to sleep in the shelter. I’m fairly certain the lean to floor was pitched toward my head. I was constantly trying to hike my pillow further under my neck to keep my head up, struggling to get comfortable. I eventually resigned to sleeping on my side, which is possible with the semi mummy cut of the new bag and integrated pad. The new gear worked well – for a 30 degree bag I slept in wool xc ski pants, a thick wool top, heavy socks, and a beanie, and probably could have survived in less. I put on the sweat free and dry extra layers more for the ability to sit in front of the fire and make a nature call if needed…
On the way into the park we encountered a grumpy porcupine, posturing as we rolled by – and throughout the night heard coyotes and several owls. At one point it sounded as if one of the owls was directly overheard – calling loud enough to wake me at 2am. We woke early to frosty temperatures and footwear, quickly gathered up more firewood, and warmed drinking some trail magic coffee that Jim bestowed upon me. (Yes, it was from a major chain, but for ‘instant’ – it was damned fine… and the ease of making it, while waiting for a warm fire, after crawling out of a nice warm bag… was priceless. Thanks Jim!) Our morning derailed from there as we tried to find real breakfast food in Waterbury. It didn’t happen – and as I was in calorie deficit from the miserable dinner the night before I took Greg’s offer of a ride back into town via his truck. We attempted 2 different diners – only to be disappointed by long lines (seriously, BTV needs more good breakfast eateries in town…).
All in I logged 52 miles. Felt strong this morning and had we known our breakfast plans would be dashed by the unwashed masses… I would have ridden back to town and lived off the Clif bars in my bag.
The little one is as excited about new gear as her dad. If the weather is reasonable this will get a test this weekend. Big Agnes Fish Hawk 30 degree down bag and a Big Agnes insulated air core pad. The bag stuffs down to 6×8 and the pad is about the size of a Nalgene. Together they weigh less than my 8 year old well worn Kelty 20 degree synthetic bag that stuffs down to… well it really doesn’t.
We curtailed a planned run of my now ‘Fall Classic’ mixed terrain route. Rain, cold, and a late start conspired against us. Patrick just returned from the EM1240k where he suffered and eventually pulled the plug at mile ~424 in mid 30s to 40s temps with rain and endless climbing (the name of the event is the Endless Mountains afterall…). Jim and Judy were on the fence with how long to ride… and I had dinner plans at home with the family. Late start + ugly weather made for a short day.
We sat out the rain in a cafe, snacked on yummy baked goods and drank hot hot caffeine to ward off the chill while listening to tales of scenery and pleasure and woe and cold from Patrick’s adventure. Long after the rain stopped and sun came out we rolled back to town and Jim and I salvaged the day by heading to Shelburne Pond. All told I logged 40+ for the day, took in some fall colors, and got to hang with friends. If some new gear arrives and the weather looks decent I’m hoping for a quick bikecamping trip next weekend – otherwise we talked about repeating the classic route to take in the last of fall.
Flat this morning in the rain. 35 degrees and dark. Of course I needed to be home so Jen could get in her swim workout. Pulled the wheel tire and tube. Sloppy mess. Got the new tube on with no issues. Pump pump. Unscrew the Lezyne from the valve – and the core comes out with all the air. Screw it back in tight. Pump pump pump. Same results. 5 tries later manage to get the pump off and only lose 1/3 the air. WTF? This is the second flat on these tires – same issue last time with another tube (from the QBP). Seems the threads down on the valve core are messing up the whole works. Grabbed a coffee to warm up then took it easy to get home so I didn’t pinch flat.
Only to be locked out. My keys are probably sitting where I dumped my bag to change the tire. Amateur.
But – mobile WordPress is good for these situations… Aside from the fact that I’m standing outside my house cowering from the rain feeling that wet cold seeping in. Glad I put on the RainLegs this morning. Helped to keep me that much warmer.
Going to have to research the valve issue a bit and figure out WTF is going on. Pretty sure the way my CO2 threads on I’d have the same issue. And I’ve never seen this on the IF – but I’m pretty sure I’m running a different brand of tube. I do use a different Lezyne pump model but it uses the same method for attaching to the tube.
Bags. They have arrived and they are wonderful. Check out more of Eric’s work.
I’ll try to get a full review after I get some time with them. I have the standard seat pack and the narrow handlebar harness system with small pocket. These have replaced my Acorn bags… which while well crafted just weren’t for me.
And – there is snow on the High Peaks and the tops of the Greens. Fall color is peaking. A repeat of last year’s October mixed terrain is in the works.