Returning from the latest series of training maneuvers, I have only 3 pictures to reveal, and they aren't even mine. Thanks, _ick.
_ick and _odd had ridden out Sunday afternoon, just the 2 of them. All the other cyclists ran and hid, I guess. Coe is too hot. Coe is too steep. Coe is too full of you people...
I had to work on Sunday, so I pulled into the parking lot solo after dark and got ready to go bike camping. That means I pulled my bike out of the race van, stuffed some last minute things into my bag, and drank a tall boy. Then I headed out into the night to meet up at a predetermined site.
Riding turned uphill with a vengeance and quick! I considered throwing up, but decided against it. I discovered that the "fix" I had achieved during the last solo camping and biking expo was more of a "hack", to wit: I had indeed straightened the bent hanger enough to use the granny to limp out, but not enough and to the detriment of my derailer cage. Then I left the bike to rot, because who wants to look at the instrument of so much suffering until a proper interval has passed? I had put the bike in the stand the night before this trip to lube the chain, and had again manhandled the derailer cage fairly dramatically to get it back in line. It all shifted perfectly in the stand, of course. To the eyeball it was fine. Who needs to test ride?
Well, all of us should. You can't teach me.
Pausing trailside, sidehill, I bent that cage as well as I could but at that point I was leery of too much cold setting. Too much bending becomes fatiguing and yields breaking. Fuck it, it worked well enough to leave in the granny and climb and that was all I needed that night. It would be fine in the morning.
The next morning, I hung the bike up and gave it the hairy eyeball, and some elbow grease. It was clear that there was no more reefing to be done without serious risk of breakage.The p-knuckle was buckled, a spread and a twist there. I figured the possibility of shifting was better than the certainty of emergency-rigged singlespeeding, so it became a done deal: run what you brung. I effectively had low granny and tall granny (cross chained like you read about) with a couple/three higher gears from the big ring, depending on how many stream crossings and how recently I'd lubed the chain. I spent a small amount of time in my mind cursing things, but Coe is steep enough that I wasn't too fussed. I could soft pedal the descents in a higher gear with little trouble, and the low low was what I wanted much of the time anyhow. Besides, it beat quitting. That's for Quitters.
So I chased those fellas around Coe for the next 2 days. Conditions were perfect.
It is not possible to overstate: conditions were PERFECT. The wildflowers were going off. It was a riot of color and smell. Really nice.
I did learn somethings:
A) A few more of the good ways around.
2) _odd kept brewing his coffee through his*ahem*coffee colored hankie, which at first seemed silly and extreme, or extremely silly, or even just extreme but upon reflection makes a seriously domestic sense. I carry my fancy pants (well, it is tiTAINium) french press, because there is not the possibility of going without coffee. But the possibility of going without the weight and bulk of the press...that's an idea I may have to quietly appropriate while not giving my buddy any credit. Maybe going so far as to claim I "used to do it that way" or somesuch. Because, you know.
C) The proper amount of tall boys to be packed for a trip of that duration is: MORE.
D) When looking at a map, the 1st thing to do is to orient yourself to the actual location of yourself on the map. This can be harder at some times than others, but remains a crucial 1st step. Repeat until successful.
E) I am finally coming to grips with the looooooow pressure these fat tyres require. I have been made uncomfortable in the past on the off camber aboard the fat bike. I have now gone through that discomfort and have reached a rudimentary understanding of the larger balance point offered by such a pendulous contact with tha earf. I am prepared to explain this further via some simple drawerings, but words will have to do in this medium. When riding sidehill, your tyre will lose traction at some point. There is a window of time to react and get back over the balance point. As the larger volume tyre shifts, this window is open longer. The tyre has more contact, and the squish slows down the whole equation, so I can get back on it well after I'd have lost contact with a narrower/harder tyre. If that makes sense, great. Anyhow, I've made a break through. Also, I can see lines for the fat bike now. Hammering in the chunk is in bounds at this point. BAM!
6) Do NOT be afraid to try different positions. Take that how you will. You will be surprised at how you think you think something, but circumstances can lead to a rethinking that really works. And then circumstances will change and that thing you thought you now thought needs some different thinking. Hey, the Golden Rule will always apply. I'm just saying you might want to check out what angling your seat nose down can do for you if you are gonna climb and climb aND CLIMB.
7) If you like the camping and the bikes, check these fellas out: Black Cat Bicycles and Hunter Cycles. They are people who ride. The kind of product development they have developed is only achieved by the elite few who are willing to put themselves in ridiculous situations, on bikes and in the woods. They are those guys.
Any of you who pass up the chance to ride your bike and camp are stupids. Really really.