Ice Sliding

Lots of cold and ice here in BTV. Been out with the boys a few times in the last two weeks to play on the studded tires.

The water inside the breakwall is starting to set up. I’m still a bit leary of getting out on it – John and Jim gave it a test.

Parts of the Intervale flooded last week with the big rain. Lots of ice in the fields and woods where the river pushed over its banks.

A stiff link on the Homer had us diagnosing a shifting issue…

The Soma in its winter kit with a half frozen water bottle.

Snowstorm 2.0

View from Battery Park. 2 foot+!
View from Battery Park. 2 foot+!

Great storm still underway. Expected snowfall totals to range from 15 to 30+ inches by the time it is done. Burlington Airport had a record 19 inches yesterday. Totals today shattered 120 years of record keeping – 32.6 inches recorded at last check of the local paper’s website – with more on the way.

Comfortable, dry. Even the toes stayed warm today.
Comfortable, dry. Even the toes stayed warm today.

I got out for a nice ride this morning. Singlespeed on the Soma, running 32×18 (a bit high with all the snow), and the Nokian Extremes. I almost swapped tires to the fat Nevegals – but was glad I had the 588 points of carbide along when I managed to break through to pavement. Logged just under 15 miles. Lakefront MUP was a mess – deep powder with footprints and frozen tracks deep below the surface. I kept to side streets and a few main roads. Most motorists were tolerant of the crazy on the bike. Made it into town to run errands, warm with some tea, and check out the waterfront. Digicam battery died – so I’m left with smartphone pics.

Church Street - plenty of kids climbing on the snow piles.
Church Street - plenty of kids climbing on the snow piles.
29er, studded tires, and my Indigo backpack with extra layers and an assortment of things I picked up in town...
29er, studded tires, and my Indigo backpack with extra layers and an assortment of things I picked up in town...

Ice

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The Nokian Extremes showed up just in time for a post holiday ride with freezing rain and a mini ice storm hitting upstate NY. First time in the woods on studs was good fun – and plenty of work. 1/4″ ice on the drive and minor roads. Studs on the bike worked well. Temps warmed and the trail started to slop… Time to reboot. Brevets, a fl├Ęche, and a bikepacking ride await next year. Resolutions?

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Ride

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First ride in 2 weeks. First decent ride since before the Thanksgiving holiday. Amazing how quickly fitness can slip away – but – I had a good time out today. We kept it mild – Jim and I explored the icy and snowy Intervale (sans studs!), and warmed up at a favorite coffee house. Temps were in the teens with wind chill dropping it below zero. I logged about ~22 miles just exploring around town.

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I explored North Beach on the way home – very different experience riding on frozen sand from my last journey. I sat and listened to the waves and the ice / slush out of the wind and snapped some pics and let out a nice long sigh for a good day to finally get back on the bike. Back is mildly sore – I’m going to do my PT exercises this afternoon after my soup warms. I’m chilled – but not frozen. Time to start clawing my fitness back.

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Sand

Just south of the Winooski... lots of driftwood.
Just south of the Winooski... lots of driftwood.

Explored near home this afternoon after working this morning. Took a quick post lunch ride to check out a stretch of beach on lake Champlain. Part 1 turned into hike a bike over driftwood and through some boggy marshy reeds so I climbed out and tested the fat tires at North Beach. Firm and semi loose sand was no problem – but the pea gravel like mush didn’t like the bike nor the bike shoes very much.

Stunning November day. Hike a bike warmed me up.
Stunning November day. Hike a bike warmed me up.
1/2 mile or more to get to where I thought some decent sand was... so I backtracked it out.
1/2 mile or more to get to where I thought some decent sand was... so I backtracked it out.
North end of North Beach.
North end of North Beach.
2.2s at low pressure. Seemed to work well enough. Compressed snow maybe?
2.2s at low pressure. Seemed to work well enough. Compressed snow maybe?
The pea gravel mush was tough going.
The pea gravel mush was tough going.

Sticky and Slow – the Tale of a Star Nut, Fat Tires, and a Sealed Bearing Race Stuck in a Hub.

I know larger tires work against you when comparing rolling resistance, gear calculations, and overall effort… but since putting on the Kenda Nevegals I’ve felt like I’ve been riding with both front and rear brakes dragging. Sure, they certainly are not the 28s I ride on the IF, nor the 35s I used to ride on the CrossCheck, nor even the 42s I started with on the Soma…

Yes, I know they are not that wide...
Yes, I know they are not that wide...

This morning I heard a chirping sound. Damn! I was dragging a brake. Cool. I can fix that. Except that even with the brakes wide open I still heard it. Then I spun the rear wheel by hand. I made it about 1/4 revolution before stopping. Bearings must be mal-adjusted. Picked up the appropriate sized cone wrenches, spun off the single speed side, and loosened. Nope. Bearings were shot.

Off to the internet. Plenty of instructions on removing sealed bearings from Surly hubs. These have served me for 3 winters… rain, snow, salt, dirt roads – pretty much everything. Pulled the axle. Tap tapped the bearing as instructed in lieu of a fancy bearing puller. The innards popped out and I now have a collection of tiny steel balls rolling around on the garage floor.

Which leaves the problem of how to get a sealed bearing race out of a hub shell. Dirt Rag provided the answer. I opted to not hammer the star nut from the opposite side, and instead applied a bit of finesse (in short supply at this moment in my caveman actions thus far) with a bolt and socket. Success. Now to wait for some new bearings – and to let the LBS pull the opposite side.

1" star nut tapped into place.
1\
A wide socket and stack of washers...
A wide socket and stack of washers...
A few turns of the bolt...
A few turns of the bolt...
Out!
Out!
Success!
Success!

WIP Update

Soma Juice 29r
Soma Juice 29r

The Juice is coming along. Front wheel ready for disc brakes, bar padded and taped, levers pretty close to finalized. Steerer tube cut to length. Gearing will be an ongoing challenge. Adding those fat tires certainly changed things – it takes some muscle to get them moving.

Fattest tires I've ever run...!
Fattest tires I've ever run...!
Flip flop - 17/19 FG or 18t SS drivetrain. 32t up front - but that may change.
Flip flop - 17/19 FG or 18t SS drivetrain. 32t up front - but that may change.
Wide bars...
Wide bars...