We rolled out Saturday morning to early September temps, and it was going to be a big one, 100km +.
I had my Specialized $150 bibs laid out but I decided to go with my Black Bibs pair instead. They were acceptable over 40 miles and I wanted to know how they’d hold up on a big(ger) day. To make it interesting, I also raised my saddle a couple of millimeters. Hey,
a fella an avid enthusiast has to tinker.
The saddle move was awesome at first. I felt my balance was better over the handlebar, especially on the hoods. As the ride wore on, though, I knew I’d gone a little too far. We stopped at 32 miles to take a break and eat some pocket food.
The arm warmers were gone shortly after that photo was taken. It was warming up nicely. I also lowered my saddle before rolling out, but only by a millimeter… if even a full one. We rolled out, having to go a little off-road to get around some barriers. And then, the climb. We rarely get a real climb that takes more than a few seconds in our neck of the woods. In Kensington Metropark, this changes. They’re only a couple of minutes, but they actually demand some strategy.
Starting up the first, I noticed a strange “whooshing” sound. Somehow in our terrain change I’d done something to the front wheel. Naturally, in these instances, the proper thing to do is bang the front wheel swiftly on the ground to see if that fixes the problem. That didn’t work. Actual investigation was necessary. Nothing looked amiss, though. I was flummoxed. Until I looked between the fork and tire. Somehow I’d managed to get a leave stuck in the hole left for the steering assembly through the fork, that was dragging on the tire. It took a minute, but I dislodged it (well, most of it as I would later find).
We stopped in the awesome town of Milford for a coffee and scone. I chose the Maple Syrup and Brown Sugar Latte, I believe the street name for this beverage is “crack coffee”, and a pumpkin pecan scone. We spent some time out in the glorious sun enjoying our drinks, enjoying the crowd (socially distanced and in strict accordance with not having any fun whatsoever, mea culpa, mea culpa, etc., etc.) what felt like any normal summer’s day.
After we were done, our journey home began – almost entirely tailwind all the way home – just shy of 30 miles. We didn’t waste any time after leaving Milford. And that whooshing noise came back about five miles out. After one of those deceptive climbs that looks like it should be able to be done in 50/14 but requires 34/21, I stopped by the side of the road to fish out the remaining piece of leaf that had wedged itself betwixt my fork and tire. I caught back up to the group and we rolled out for home.
We pulled into the driveway with just under 64 miles. I felt like a Hundred Dollars, like we’d gotten away with something. There’s no way we should be experiencing that kind of riding environment this late in the season, but there it was. A 100k in the books in November.
And my $40 Black Bibs were well up to the distance. No lube product, no hot spots, no troubles. A $40 bib that can stand up to a 100k ride, who’d have thunk it? Dropping the saddle that hair when we stopped made a huge different in comfort on the return trip and I’ll be leaving it where it is.
And for today? More of the same (possibly a two-a-day). Fantastic weather, sunshine and mild temps. Only three days left till this Indian summer is over… and I’m going to get every minute I can out of it.