Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Just keep dragging on

Date: March 7
Mileage: 18
Ride type: Commute
March mileage: 68
Year to date mileage: 517

It was a brutal one tonight. My first clue was that on the ride in I was able to switch up to the high gear, and pretty much had to to keep my ass from bouncing on the seat while spinning. That's a tailwind. Which means on the way home, that's a headwind. Reading that back, I'm not sure the term "high gear" is entirely appropriate. I'm riding the Raleigh this winter, and the salt has been taking it's toll on the components. When this bike originally began life it had 21 speeds. 21 seemed like an overabundance at the time, and it probably is. Though with the new bikes it's middle of the road. Anyway, the shiftig was sort of out of whack before winter began and the front derailleur would only go to the smallest two of the three chainrings. Not a big deal, since I rarely used the big one and didn't plan to increase that usage in the winter. Then as the grime piled on and the rust rusted further the rear derailleur started to malfunction. So now it's to the point where it doesn't shift at all. So I can move from the "low" gear, which is really #7, to the "high" gear, which is really #14. And for this bike, with the studded tires and all 50 glorious pounds, that's about all I need. It would be nice to be able to downshift a bit on the hills, but beggars can't be choosers. Anyway, back to the ride.

When I got home my neighbor made a comment about how it "must have been a wet one" coming home. I told him that I would have gladly traded a little more wet for a little less wind. It really wasn't raining that hard for most of the way, but the wind was killing me. Instead of taking the river road home I took Franklin to Minnehaha Ave. I did this for a couple of reasons:

1. The wind. Minnehaha is a lot more sheltered than the River Road. It may not make much of a difference, but any little bit helps.
2. Distance. The Minnehaha route is about 2 miles shorter. Again, not much of a difference but any port in a storm.
3. The wind. Did I mention that it was windy out? Cripes amighty.

One good thing about the rain, it washed away a lot of the crap that's been collecting around my bottom bracket. And I found out tonight that my neoprene booties are pretty darn water resistant. I wouldn't want to go wading in them, but they did a good job keeping some larger than expected puddle splashes off and keeping my toes dry. Before this winter booties weren't real high on my list of priorities but now I'm a fan. Though the way they get torn up I'll probably go with the cheap $20 ones from Performance in the future. They got a pretty decent review on bike forums too.

Ride on, y'all.

[to Del.icio.us]


KM said...

I especially liked the "horizontal" rain last night. That and the sand and my face felt like it was sandblasted.

Rides like that build character for sure.


Lunatic Biker said...

I was lucky and had a tailwind home but stayed out and played a while so I got to enjoy that tasty headwind too.

Nathan said...

Sounds like next winter you should just go fixie. Yeah, you lose 1/2 your gears ;), but you gain it back in efficiency. Do make it a low gear, though - I went with 43x20 = 58.4" and have been surprisingly happy.

Pete said...

I'm not sure I'm hip enough to go fixie, but I'm thinking single speed. The gear I've ridden 99% of this winter in is 38x18, which gives me 57.7 gear inches. I've been pretty happy with that too.

Doug said...

This time last year after umpteen drivetrain cleanings is when I first started thinking about going fixie. I finally did. I ride a 41 X 17 or 65.2". It works great even with the hills here in Duluth. The downside is I don't ride it if there is ice or snow. The gear is a bit high and the tires I'm running are more for dry or wet pavement, not ice and snow. I'll tell you though, it is so much easier to clean. And it seems to be able to go longer between cleanings when I get lazy.