Knew I needed a good ride today. Cycle Oregon is here in less than two weeks. I've been doing other stuff and not riding enough. Today would have been a day for my CO bike, the geared TiCycles; my best bike, but I touched it up with paint this morning so it was out of action. OK, fix gear. Which bikes? Jessica J; 42 x 16, 17 or the Mooney; 44 x 17, 18.
I decided to go with the Mooney, but no until I got comfortable with running a 16 tooth. I haven't ridden as big a gear as 44-16 all year. The flipside cog has to be 18 or larger since it is flipped around and right next to the spokes. (They touch.) In fact, with a cog that small, the chain hits the spokes but since they are all rotating together, there is no relative movement. I can hear it but the spokes don't care. (This is the fix gear that is different. It has a bunch of oddities, And it works really, really well!)
So I rolled out on the 44-18, stopped for an (excellent) espresso, rode another 3 miles and flipped the wheel to the 16. Game on! Rode without plan, just observing traffic, the wind (almost none) and the sun height and direction. Plan was to work west before the sun got too low (I left a little before 5pm), ride home with the sun on my back and stop and flip back to the 18, put on my night vest and turn on my lights when right.
Aside: this ride was also one of my first with a new light, last year's NiteRider Lumina 1100 (at REI 'till Labor Day @ $65). So far: by far the best and brightest light I have ever used. I am looking forward to it being a real ride extender. I've been using an 8 year old Serfas 350 (?). It's been a rock, completely reliable. Never failed me, But technology had marched on. So now it is super-solid backup.
Back to the ride! Wow! I haven't felt this strong and this good in a long time. My legs felt it big time (and so did my knees) but I was powering up inclines I've been standing, riding a tooth higher. On top of that, what an evening! Late summer so not a super clear sky, but breathable air (not a given here this summer or last). Sun had a little more orange in it and it flavored all with a warm, rich glow. Oh, and did I say that the bike I was on works really well? What a ride!
I rode my fix gear loop to the far point, two miles up the state highway to my favorite out and back, more west. Approaching my usual turn-around I looked at the time. 6:00. Too early. I should go further. Pushed on to the next turn-around. Nah, riding is just to once and I'm feeling it. We're going to the 25 mile turn-around. Those last couple of miles I could see a cyclist I had to catch. It was work but I got him. 200 yards later, turn-around. And he buzzed by on his electric bike.
I rode easier now, the light wind at my back, but still in the 16. Nine miles later, 16 miles to get back to the barn, I was done. 18 went on as did the vest and lights. I rode on, enjoying the low gear and elongating shadow. Last two were on the local MUP, no other bikes. I was just leisurely passing the walkers.
Got home, showered (felt good!), weighed 148 after emptying two bottles on the ride. (I probably left at 155.) Ate a bento-like bowl with sardines and salmon (hit the spot!). I will sign off and go hit the futon with the back up in the living room, put on some good music and give myself a good leg massage. (I haven't done this in years but that is why the futon ins there.) Then it is sweet dreams.
And, suddenly, Cycle Oregon feels doable and fun! With gears, I can enjoy day 2 (84 miles, 7400') and really absorb Wallawa Lake and the old Nez Perce summer camp, our campsite. Hopefully, I can visit Chief Joseph's grave-site at the other end of the lake. My first Cycle Oregon, we had the option on day one to ride to the grave-site. I learned that that their summer camp was at the other end of the lake, 6 miles south. I rode it just to see it and have wanted to revisit it with Cycle Oregon ever since. 3 years ago, we were supposed to spend our rest day there but a fire changed our plans.
And it's off to the massage and bed. Goodnight!