Thanksgiving Day Ride 2014

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With two days off mid-week, I got a couple of rides in.  Yesterday afternoon, I rode through some of the local neighborhoods.  After running a couple of errands this morning, in the cold and damp, I put the local frisbee-golf course to better purpose than that designated for it by the City of Stepford.  Open fields and muddy, wooded tracks made a pretty good cyclocross course, as did some disused “Outdoor Classroom” nature trails.  Here’re two shots of the Origin8 Gary 2 handlebars on the Super Nova:

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Then I rode through some of the city’s worst neighborhoods to get to Old Pixley Highway.  I turned left on J.C.Penny road; where it meets Bronze Bather Falls Road, though, instead of riding on down to the Falls, I turned left.  At the top of the hill, I stopped at the No Ethanol gas station and ate a Larabar.  Then, I rode the few miles back to the house in time to shower and change for Thanksgiving Day meal with the extended family.

No-Ethanol

While riding though the uneven terrain of open fields, as well as on twisting, muddy, rutted trails of the frisbee-golf course, my bike’s Continental Tour Ride tires handled and held up superbly.  Mud tends to cake up on the tires either side of the raised center strip.  The tires didn’t skid or slide at all on the muddy trails, in the leaves, over broken branches and slick wooden bridges.  On damp pavement, the tires also handled extremely well.  So far, so good, for the 2007 Jamis Super Nova rain and winter bike.  Below are a couple of pictures showing the manner in which mud cakes up on the Continental Tour Ride tires:

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Back in the Saddle

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Well, how did I get here?

It’s been awhile

since I’ve had time to do more than ride around the neighborhood in the evenings.  Maybe “Back In The Saddle” is overstating, but riding more than 3.3 miles at a time feels significant.  Yesterday, I got in about 70 minutes riding at an exertion level I’d characterize as high, then about 30 minutes of moderate effort and 15 minutes of easy pedaling.  Today, I rode about 61 minutes.  My average mph today was just under 16; yesterday’s, just over 15.  These averages are on a par with my speeds on the Miyata 610 when I am in pretty good condition, but I was riding the Jamis Supernova.

Today probably marks 50 to 60 miles with the Origin8 Gary2 handlebars; the 7th or 8th time I’ve ridden the Continental Tour Ride tires.  They feel like crap.  They feel heavy and slow on pavement, so I was surprised that my average speeds were as high as they were.  Yesterday’s ride included about two-and-a-half miles of unplanned offroad and dirt road riding, so I feel pretty good about that overall average of 15.03.

Truth is, I felt a little like crap yesterday, too.  Fat, heavy, sluggish after two or three weeks of no-time-to-ride and Halloween candy.  Oh yeah, and a beard, too.  For November, I’m growing a beard.  It’s got a date with Norelco or my barber come December, but for now, I’m letting it grow.  No one can really see you when you’re wearing a beard, just like no one can really see you when you’re wearing cycling kit and helmet.  Just one more generic cyclist on the road, unrecognizable as an individual.  So I felt okay about wearing cycling togs and going for a ride.

Today, I felt less like crap, and rode faster, too.  This time, the ride was pavement-only.

Thoughts About Riding a Lightweight Bike

Compared to the Miyata 610, which probably weighs close to 30 pounds rigged with saddlebag, rack, and water-bottle, the 2007 Jamis Supernova feels super-light at maybe 20 pounds?  More weight with the Continental Tour Ride tires, though.  Still, carbon seatstays, carbon fork, carbon seatpost, carbon headset spacers, triple-butted aluminum frame, aluminum handlebars – the bike feels flimsy.  It gets blown around a good deal in side winds, and feels like it may have trouble powering through a headwind.  Still, it’s only the side-winds that have so far been a problem to handle.

Today's Offroad Segment

Origin8 Gary2 Handlebars

Yesterday, on a dirt road, now degraded to little more than a dirt path, I hit a patch of broken cinderblock and stone at about 12 or 13 miles per hour.  The building materials had been used at one time to fill in a shallow ditch running through a treeline.  I didn’t see it until I was upon it and too late to brake so just pedaled across the jagged, uneven surface.  Thought I would for sure come to grief, but the bike withstood the abuse and I didn’t break stride.  You can see the place in the image above – it’s at the point I entered the trees just before the sharp left turn.

The Gary2 bars’ angle at the bar ends feels a little like I’m witching for water with the front fork and wheel instead of steering.  What that means is they feel a little squirrely on pavement.  When I hit that unexpected rough patch yesterday, though, they were rock-solid stable.  They are great offroad handlebars, much better than I thought they would be given their reputation as knock-offs of the On One Midge which is, itself, a knock-off of the Salsa Woodchipper, which, according to the Internet collective mind, owes much to the WTB Mountain Drops.

Up until the point marked as Mile 14, I knew exactly where I was headed.  The rest of that ride through the scrubby woods was just guesswork.  The Continental Tour Ride tires never once lost their grip, in fact, the bike as configured, was a joy to ride offroad across fields and on dirt roads.  What I’m having trouble getting used to are the bike’s on-road characteristics, but it shows promise.

Here are some more photos from yesterday’s ride – click on them for bigger images:

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Leveled the Drops

Thursday evening, I had a little time to ride the Supernova with the Gary 2 bars around the neighborhood – maybe nine miles.  I found I didn’t like riding the drops, but they were not completely level.  Instead, I was comfortable riding the portion of the bars just behind the hoods.  I could reach and operate the levers from the hooks, and the drops were fine bombing down a couple of hills.

This morning, I leveled the drops and rode the bike around my yard a couple of times to see whether that would work.  It worked fine, felt right, and I was able to reach and operate the levers from the hooks, was able also to ride the hoods, the bar tops, the portion of the bars just behind the hoods.

The Gary 2 bars are not Sakae Randonneur bars, but I think I will like them.  Right now, the problem with them is that they required longer cable housing, and it looks pretty sloppy on the bike.  Zip-ties?  Wrap them up in the bar tape?  Dunno yet.

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