Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spring for a day

When the forecast calls for +8 in February in Ottawa a ride must be planned. Such weather poses a rare opportunity to leave the indoor trainer/skis/running shoes/shovelglove at home and saddle up for a taste of spring. I managed to rope Jamie for a second time this week; he was happy to play hooky in order to ride.

What a great day it was, despite having to fix a severely warped rear wheel while still in Hull. No, I'm not so inattentive as to roll out of the house with a wheel on its last legs. Rather, I am so inattentive that I like to pull endo turns in front of my riding companions from time to time, which tends to result in me getting t-boned. This is just what I did today, seconds after passing a middle-aged man walking three dogs who wanted to fight me because I passed him at 10k/hr while he took up all the pavement on a narrow street. Weird. I pulled an endo-turn so I could return to take him on, dogs and all, only to be t-boned by Jamie instead.  Or because we missed the path we needed to take. My rear wheel suffered a tacoing, which I had to address. We found a good parking lot where I proceeded to smack it on the ground until it was close enough to true with my pathetic multi-tool spoke wrench. I need to resume carrying a real spoke wrench on rides. With a minor brake adjustment to assure no rubbing, we were off. A tacoed wheel is no match for +8 in February.

Again, Jamie and I headed for Wakefield, along the same route as Sunday. This time it was only a bit windy, and warm enough for a vest on top of a few layers.

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My fenders with their extensions allowed Jamie to ride in tight without getting hosed, but I had no such luck as his bike lacked an extension on the rear. After getting a few facefulls of grimy salt water I opted to either ride off his shoulder or pull. I mostly pulled, which definitely created plenty of 'sensations.' Good sensations though, productive. We managed a good tempo, averaging around 30k/hr, which is good all things considered. My wheel held its shape all the way home; good thing, as I didn't have time to burn. A bit of WD-40 here and there to prevent corrosion until I have time to clean the bike, and on with the day. Splendid.

The out and back to Wakefield from Ottawa makes a great early season ride. Roughly 80k in total, the route is rolling, even feeling hilly early in the season. Later in the year it feels fairly flat. How perception varies. Traffic tends to be quite tame, and courteous. The road has a useable shoulder much of the time, and is in decent shape. This time of year there are necessarily holes, and the odd bit of snow near town, so bigger than average tires are nice. We tend to use 26s and larger; 28s on bikes lacking clearance for larger, and 30s and 32s on bikes with the room. I'm using the file-tread Vittoria cyclo-cross tire at the moment, and find it a good option. When you slam into the odd pot-hole its nice to have some extra rubber on to protect the rim. 

Hoping for more opportunities to ride outside soon. Sunday might just fly.


DomF said...

Nice work Matt, great days to sneak in a midwinter ride...I'll talk to you about the Uxbridge - I'm planning on going if I can round up a car full.

Matt Surch said...

Right on Dom, we'll figure it out.