Friday, October 30, 2009

Second Annual Halloween Fixed Gear Frolic Report

I've had a rather busy week. Right after returning home from the Frolic last Sunday, I got in a cab and headed to the airport for a flight to Halifax. I was off to a conference for 'young professionals' in the public service called "Winds of Change." As I'd be away, I'd hoped someone else would post up a report of the Frolic, but alas, that did not materialize. Better late than never.

In case you are wondering, Halifax was great. I quite like the city, and look forward to my next visit, whenever that may be. They are slowly getting cyclocross going there, with a series of three races starting up this weekend. They are able to run categories for the first time this year. We are fortunate to have such a large field here. I visited Cyclesmith, owned by a longtime friend of Greg's, and Ideal Bikes. The latter is operated by a friendly guy with a penchant for vintage. I checked out a very intriguing road frame that runs 24" wheels that was debadged. Neither of us had a clue what it is, but he's going to send me photos so I can try to help him identify it. I'll post them here and send them around to a few of the collectors in town I know. Its really interesting, and quite well made.

Ok, on to the Frolic 'report.'

We assembled pretty much on time, and rolled out with about 25 riders.

I was pleased to see a group of OBC riders out to join us for the ride. However, they parted ways while we were still on the bike path heading West. I don't think they were on the same page with regard to the Frolic-ness.

Yep, we love our fenders. This was an odd day for fenders though. After this picture was taken we spent some time on wet dirt road sections with high clay contents. A few of the guys had to remove their wheels to scrape the accumulated mud out of the fenders. This was the first time any of us had experienced that problem. If it had been raining there would not have been an issue. It was just dry enough to solidify the spray. What a drag.

It was indeed a beautiful day.

It felt good to get out onto the open road. It was rather windy though, which numerous riders struggled with. Its a typical problem: less experienced riders are less comfortable riding close to others, so they take more wind, get more fatigued. Its a vicious cycle. When its windy you have to be really conscientious about staying close. Otherwise, the group ends up getting strung out. This happened numerous times. Fixed gears can exacerbate the problem, because you can't gear up to chase. You can only spin faster.

The good times did roll, despite the wind. Hey, it wasn't raining; I didn't hear any real complaining.

There was a pretty wide variety of attire out on the ride. I was pretty bundled, but others, like Pascal and Jamie, were just sporting jerseys and base layers. Somehow we were comfortabel just the same.
Except maybe while stopped in Dunrobin for snacks. Lily looks kinda cold here. I was glad to have my jacket on here.

Rob and Jamie taking some wind. Rob hats 'cross, but he was happy to come out for the Frolic. He was a quick study on the fixed gear, this being his second ride on one. No sweat. He loves the format for hill climbing. Its great for strength and doesn't let you ease up. When it comes to long rides, it also makes for a sore underside, which is pretty great.

What is that, a scarf? Nope, its a merino neck-tube from Icebreaker. Lovely.

Ahhh, Mr. Cramerotti. I failed to introduce myself to this gentleman when I spoke with him. He was very pleasant, and has many years on the saddle. His Cramerotti is exquisite. Unfortunately, it is shod with 18c tubulars, so some of the route's dirt sections were a little hairy for him. Nevertheless, I think he had a nice time. He rides this bike on the Parkway, massive gear and all. Very impressive.

Thomas. Have bike, will ride. Thomas recently built up his first road bike. This was his longest ride ever by far, and he did not seem to suffer a bit. Rather, he rode at the front the whole time, with apparent ease. Many of us were very happy to see how well he got on. We can't wait to see how he does on the road bike, clipless pedals and all.

Thom's fender flap fell off 30k in. Loctite or beeswax wold be a good idea there. Jamie is rolling on his brand new Steelwool Limited here. He loves it.

Due to time constraints, some peeled off early, while the rest completed the loop back to the Shoppers in Kanata. From there a small group of us motored back to town while the others picked up snacks. Its nice to keep everyone together the whole way, but sometimes you have to break off. Better than not riding at all. All in all, I think I hit about 110k door to door, so my original estimate of 100k held. Thom's route was better than the route we used lase year, in my opinion anyhow. I quite enjoyed the dirt roads we travelled, especially the unmaintained one that featured massive puddles and rocky climbs. It was outstanding. We'll have to do some more exploring around there. Stu has a few more pics and a short report here.

Dom F. sent this, thanks Dom.

In case you happen to be reading this on Halloween morning, Tall Tree is having a sale. Some major deals are to be had from what I hear. Check it out.

Out to Kanata on Sunday to race. It looks like we'll have a good team out, and the sun will likely shine too. We still have a month the experience a mud-fest, but as it gets colder that prospect becomes less and less likely. In time.


Anonymous said...

wouldn't advertise this too loudly:

"I was off to a conference for 'young professionals' in the public service called "Winds of C

I just got my budget cut big time... essential services...
count on more drugs entering into canada...

While other departments spend millions on fluff projects...

Matt Surch said...

Well, I wouldn't personally call learning about how to adapt to global issues like natural disasters and climate change 'fluff,' but I guess we all have our own ideas about what counts as worthwhile. I'd like to think readers would be happy to hear that some departments are putting money and effort into figuring out how to tackle the massive changes we face as a nation, and species for that matter, rather than keeping our heads buried in the sand.

the original big ring said...

Let's just say that IF I was in town for this one AND without a fixie, would I have been allowed to participate?

Dang - looked like an exceptionally nice day.


Matt Surch said...

Yep, BR, you would have. Thom was on a single, and a couple others on gearies.

Peter M said...

Thanks again for another great ride! What a great day to be out with a bunch of folks who just enjoy being on their bikes. That old Miyata of mine spends most of its time plowing through the solitary confines of winter so it was happy to have some company for a change.

the original big ring said...


Anonymous said...

That was a great ride...It was only my second time on a fixie (and the first time was only my 10km ride to and from work a couple of days earlier). I haven't switched it back to freewheel was a very strange feeling when i got back on my geared cross bike on Sunday - it was like the crank was broken. Thanks guys!! Dom

fixedgear74 said...

Thought you guys might get a kick out of this.

Wish I could have made it out for the ride.