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Far From the Madding Crowd
Last Post 12/01/2019 12:57 PM by 79 pmooney. 1 Replies.
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11/29/2019 07:22 PM
In line with Thomas Hardy's book (which I confess I have not read) I did my Black Friday ride for the third time.

35 miles west to the coast range foothills and the logging road that parallels the Tualatin river, over logging company and BLM gates to the fenced off Hillsboro watershed and back.  Beautiful day!  Sunny, light wind and cold.  27F when I left, probably barely warmer at the turnaround and an hour after my return, 32F now.  (The "gravel" was smooth, frozen clay/dirt/sand and a better surface than many of Portland's streets.)

The mall/madding crowd?  Nowhere to be seen.



12/01/2019 12:57 PM
Comments on clothes and equipment. First, for a leisurely ride over lots of god pavement and the gravel that wasn't much worse, my Raleigh Competition decked out with 37c front and 35c rear Paeselas was about as perfect as it gets. Mafac Racer front brake and Schwinn approved Weinmann (?) rear was as good as it gets for the downhill after the turnaraound (though I didn't need them much). 52-42-24 x 13-24 7-speed. Suntour AR front, late model SunTour touring RD, Power DT shifters. (I love that AR front! I want that on my good ti bike. Can I convert one of those to a 31.8 and narrow it up to be a super low-Q FD? I"m going to see if I can get a few inches of 31.8 tubing and see if I can Dremel an AR to fit.)

That Competition is a 46 yo frame of ~1930s geometry with the exclusively for Raleigh super skinny butted chainstays. Handling of a quality bike for our great grandfathers. Handling that absolutely shines off pavement (as long as you don't drive the bike so hard the lack of stiffness matters and I have once hit a resonance frequency between embedded rocks and the frame's vertical stiffness. Not a "wobble"; just a bit of a bronco.)

Clothes, etc? Specialized wind-block tights, light thermals, my usual knee stuff, Sugoi shorts. Silk liner socks, long old-man's thin dress socks to my kneewarmers, boot socks. 54 North Fasterkatt boots, SPD and MTB pedals. My super gators. (Stretchy black outdoor fabric, about 8" high with 4 inches of vecro on the top half sides to fit my lower calves under my tights and the bottom 4 inches with velcro to fit over my boots. Keeps both water and wind out. Completely forgettable until I get home and have to take them off and get reminded, yeah! my feet stayed warm all day (or dry all day on another day). No ankle gap cooling the blood to my feet. (Being tight fitting and black, they are near invisible for overall appearance (for me; I saw three cyclists yesterday at the espresso shop in their high price gear and bright yellow winter duck feet).

Bright orange Mavic jersey (simply the best outer jerseys I have ever owned for the cooler 6 months of the year by far), Segoi heavy armwarmers, Pataqgonia fleece under, Patagonia LS tee under that. Chopper mitts and merino wool mittens under. (Inner mitts spent about a 1/4 of the time in my pocket.) Woven hat that came on and off throughout the day over a Pace helmet cap. Showers Pass Elite jersey that I wore for the opening miles and the downhill after the turnaround.

Felt comfortable all day. Now I wasn't riding hard. I knew full well that in my condition, riding hard (at all, at any point) would turn this ride into a very long day. Instead I enjoyed every mile, even taking the shortcut coming home and riding the steep (300'?) hill, loafing in a 24 x 28. (And I thought I would never use a 1:1! Funny what age does to us.)

Fun having all the good stuff and just being able to put it on and go out for 8 hours in below freezing weather and have fun. (Yes, it did get above freezing but I never did see water except under a skin of ice in puddles beside the road and of course, the river I was following. Pavement was dry as a bone. Water in the dirt road was frozen solid. Basically gentle concrete.

Of, those tires were a fun ride! A little soft for the pavement, a little hard for the gravel but just fine! (Probably 60 psi front, 70 rear a couple of weeks ago with very slow leakage brutal tubes.) Still sold on Paselas as simple, really good all-a-round tires that work. And at those sizes and pressures, real grip almost everywhere.

Cycling at its best!


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