Sunday, August 10, 2014

Alum, Alum, Henry's S24O, and Chestnut Ridge

It's been a busy week of biking around here. Wednesday after work, I went to P2 with a few friends. Our first lap was still slick from an afternoon thunderstorm, so it was slower and a bit tentative as we warmed up and the trail dried. But the next lap, I was ready to open it up with my latest bike build:

Still (but not steel) singlespeed, but now with 100% more suspension! I really enjoyed railing this around the twisty, rooty P2 singletrack. For solo rides, I tend to putter around the trail, but group rides bring out my competitive spirit. In this case, I ended getting a bit too far ahead of our group while I chased down a pair of racy looking guys (one had a number plate, even) on what I think of as Midwest race bikes: carbon hardtails, big drop from saddle to seat. In the end, I caught them just before the parking lot, and the quick lap allowed me to get home before bedtime for the kids.

Saturday morning, Brian and I hit P2 again. We took some action shots:

Brian's training program of not riding isn't working particularly well, so we called it good after one lap. It still allowed me to get some seat time on the FSR:

Maybe the last ride for the FSR: it's cushy on the roots and bumps, but when I start charging, I like the direct feedback of the hardtail, and the stability of the big wheels. And, I have too many bikes...

The riding continued: after dinner Saturday, Henry and I headed out for an S24O campout. Once a summer, the Preservation Parks system in Delaware County has a Perseid meteor shower campout at Blues Creek Nature Preserve just north of Ostrander. I'm pretty indifferent to the astronomy, but free (and legal) camping? We're there.

Henry is always happy to be on the road:

I was trying out my lightweight setup:

No trailer, though I had figure a way to still bring the cooler to keep animals out of our food (no convenient trees at our camping spot).

The Camargue handled this imbalanced load just fine:

Note the fenders: I finally determined I couldn't fit the 2.1" knobbies with fenders. They mostly fit, but just a millimeter or two of clearance isn't enough in the real world. So I decided to downsize the tires, since I need a bike with fenders in the stable.

I mounted my Carradice bag with the VO bag loops, which worked just fine:

We stopped at Jerome Park for a break, even though it can't compare to our Avery Park:

In Ostrander, I stopped for another picture at Henry's street:

He's certainly changed since our first S24O three years ago!

Of course, we had to stop for ice cream again:

We pulled into the park a little after 7:00, and set up our tent:

We checked out the playground here as well. It was better than the one at Jerome:

They had a night time nature hike at 9:00, but Henry elected to head for our tent instead. He knew what awaited him there:

Though perhaps after his last hand of Uno, when he got stuck with over 100 points, he might have second guessed his choice.

After a somewhat noisy but dry night, we packed up our gear and were on the road by about 7:30. We stopped again in Ostrander for a cold breakfast:

From there, I had to push my pace a bit: I had promised to meet some friends at Chestnut Ridge at 10:30, which means I had to leave home by 9:30, and it would take us about 1.5 hours to cover the 14 miles to home. A slow pace, slowed more by a headwind, but it was still a hard pace. For me, at least. We had to make time for breaks, as well:

On the ride home, I wasn't particularly pleased with my bar setup on the Camargue. Even with the 130mm stem, the bars were too close, and the fat grips didn't agree with my hands after about 30 minutes. I spent most of the ride with my hands forward on the bar, gripping in front the of the brake clamps.  Later in the afternoon, I changed out the bar:

I have some concern the top tube on the VO is just too short to use it how I want to... we'll see how this plays out.

Anyway, we pulled into our driveway about 9:15. Just enough time to kiss the family, eat some corn flakes, brush my teeth, and change clothes before heading out to CR, Sette in tow. My back was still sore from my morning ride, so I approached the ride with some trepidation. I met Dave and Ryan, and we set a pretty quick pace up to the barn:

Ryan's pedals were giving him some issues, which was a good reason to stop and rest. CR is probably my favorite trail these days, even though it always wears me out with the short, rolling climbs. Still, I did OK with my singlespeed, and my back actually felt better after the ride than when I started.

Compared to my earlier trips to Alum, where I used the speed and response of the big wheels and carbon frame to go fast, today I mostly used them for added security and to make up for my tired line selection. That's pretty reasonable versatility, in my book... though I wasn't impressed with my front Rocket Ron tire, as the tall knobs squirmed on the hard corners. Nothing a Knard can't fix. With maybe a new carbon fork. But then shouldn't the frame match? But, too many bikes. And around and around I go.

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