Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Summer Summary, or, What I did on my summer vacation essay

Summer around here has been finished off by the first snow of the season here in town. Summer, how we once loved you and now just tossed aside like yesterdays coffee grounds.

I had such big plans for the summer, I fulfilled some of those plans but circumstances prevented me from seeing fulfillment of some plans.
Last fall I found a great deal on a road bike on ebay and took the plunge. I had never bought a bike sight unseen or un-riden before. Would I regret it?? In this case, no regrets although it took many rides and tinkering with the fit to get it comfortable. My purpose in buying this bike was I wanted to become involved with some charity style rides, group rides of 50, 60, even century rides. I fulfilled that itch with signing up for and completing my first century ride in May at the Santa Fe century ride. I was shepherded along by a new bicycle buddy, Richard who was a veteran of this ride. All of us Eons cyclists who met in Santa Fe had a great time, bikes, beers, margs and fun!!

The jury is still out on the road bike for me. I have the fit dialed in, I can put miles on it and not be sore or numb, but, the quality of the ride is just not what I like. It is a rough ride with the skinny little tires all pumped up to 100psi. You tend to feel every little bump and I never knew why everybody bitched about chip seal roads until I road a skinny tire bike on one. I prefer the ride of my steel frame bikes with longer wheelbases and bigger tires that are run in the 60 to 80 psi range. I understand the draw of light, quick bikes, I just think that my future is going to be pushing a bit more weight around for the trade-off of a smoother, comfy ride. That is the great thing about cycling and bikes, you get to pick yourself what is best for your personal riding style!! A bit of everything out there for everybody!

My next big cycling event was a tour I had spent a lot of time planning and dreaming of during the long winter months. I set things up at work covering for all the staff so they got their summer time off and I planned my two weeks so I had the lumberyard covered while I would be gone. The trip had a mix of paved roads with some miles on dirt county roads. Some camping, sleeping on the ground nights mixed in with some motel, sleep in a bed nights. A good challenging route with some big Colorado passes and some big sky New Mexico high desert. Your basic great trip and a good way to get away from the hectic life. I had put in many miles of riding both the road bike and LHT to be ready. In fact I was very bike fit and creeped my weight down below Clydesdale status for the first time in about five years! That was an unexpected payoff of this trip planning!
Alas, a week before I was set to roll off, we had a family medical issue come up. Nothing life threatning or emergency but something that needed to be taken care of and I needed to be present for. So, poof, months of planning canceled. Oh well, the planing does not go away and I will cover for my staff again next summer so I can fulfill this trip, summer of 2013!
Since I had to cancel, I went ahead and signed up for another century ride, Good Sam Bike Jam, out of Lafayette. Well in between signing up and the ride I had my little bike wreck. Fortunately there was a bit of recovery time so I was able to participate and rode the 62 mile course instead of the century. I'll plan on that century  for next year!

What's up for the winter??? I have a bike project for my shop. It is a long story of a Univega that I bought new in 1980 and has been through one clean up. Now I am going to attempt to rebuild it to be my everyday commuter. I'll have to improve my bike mechanic skills with some help from Zach who works in the LBS. I'll have pictures and the story in a future blog....sucess or not, it will be a story!
I am in lust! No not like that....bike lust. My friend Richard has sparked an interest I have had for a while for doing some exploring on dirt roads. I'll never be a single track Mtn bike guy crashing over root and rock trails. Exploring on forest service roads and 4WD roads. Especially here in Colorado where there is so much history and spectacular scenery to be seen. I thought that my LHT would double as a tourer and able to handle this type of road. I'm sure it could handle it but would be tough for the rider. So, I am looking at another bike. I have about a third of the money saved so I look forward to new adventures to plan for next summer and beyond!
It was a good summer for cycling for me. I missed out on a tour but got some wonderful miles in all over Northern Colorado. I hope all of you enjoyed your summer of riding and look forward to many more summers of safe and fun riding. I know I am!!


  1. Glad to hear that I've sparked an interest in some back road touring for you. I certainly enjoyed the ones I've done, be it mining roads or jeep trails in Colorado, or rail trails elsewhere, I'm glad I have my mountain bike. I have the added plus of having one that I could even put a front rack on if I so desired, and still have suspension. Steel or aluminum frame, I really honestly don't thing it makes nearly as much difference as the tires. My C-Dale supersix does, however ride a lot better than my old KHS aluminum framed bike, but a lot of that could be wheelbase, or other design items as well. My tourer is unrivaled for good ride however, and I've had steel, aluminum, and carbon, but there is something to be said for riding on 700X45 tires with 38 pounds of air in them for a nice ride, it just glides, silently, and gently. Not easily however. I'm reminded of this everytime I start uphill with it, I certainly feel the weight difference. It is an aluminum frame and steel front fork. I have lots more lower gears with the touring bike, so all it does is make me a bit slower, which doesn't hurt me at all, but it will make the day longer, or the daily mileage shorter. Anyway, be waiting to see what comes up this winter for you.

  2. Man, Jim, we are very much in agreement! I lusted for an LHT for two years, and I still think they are great bikes, but having come under the fat tire spell of Nicholas Carmen (Gypsy By Trade) and his back country adventures on his purple Pugsley, I have been thinking a little differently. He rode this Spring from Alaska to the Great Divide on a fat tire bike, racking up consecutive 100 mile days, spending more time on dirt than pavement.

    Then along comes the Surly Krampus...

    Anyway, keep 'em comin'! I'll be back.