Monday, April 7, 2014

Last Pre-Trip Ride

The best laid plans... It seems like I start every other post with that phrase--or at least I could.

The Plan: Install the 29er wheels on the fat bike and do longer rides on sunny Sunday and Monday.

The Reality: I got set up with all the parts outside (and, yes, my trusty "helper").

I cleaned the bike well, installed the disc brakes and quick release levers on the 29er wheels, and put the wheels on the bike. Here's the bike--transformed from a fat-tire bike... a 29er-wheel bike.

Things were ticking along fine...until I hit one small problem: The rear tire would not hold any air pressure. I could hear the telltale hissing of leaking air. Clearly there was a hole in the tube. I didn't have any spare 29er tubes, so I had to wait for a bike shop to open on Monday.

In the meantime, check out George--sound asleep, draped over this lumber pile.

Even when he woke up, he just couldn't convince himself to move. He just kept dozing off.

I spent a good part of Monday getting the 29er tire functional, then adjusting the disc brakes. Finally, I was ready to ride. Just before I did, I noticed these ducks in the river. Big slabs of ice forced the ducks to move south quickly to avoid being overrun.

Rather than ride back and forth on my road, as I had with the fat tires, I took off towards Gardiner, following the river along the way.

The bike handled well--sort of between riding on the fat tires and riding my road bike. I told myself to just have fun, not push it too hard, and to stop often to take pictures. It was warm (low 50s). This is the only ride I've done so far without warm gloves over my cycling gloves. Bare fingers! If anything, I was slightly overdressed on this ride. It's about time I could say that!

I rode through the Gardiner waterfront. This year's BikeMaine riders will spend the night of September 9 in this park. I've been asked to work on the Gardiner committee making plans for this stopover and, since I have decided not to do the ride myself, I agreed.

In downtown Gardiner, I got on the Kennebec Rail Trail. I was glad I'd decided to use the fenders on my bike because the trail had a lot of wet spots and even a few icy spots. I nearly wiped out on that slab of ice pictured ahead in the following photo; on my way back, I got off and walked through it. Can't injure myself this close to leaving on my trip!

The two ends of the trail--in Gardiner and Augusta--can be especially crowded with walkers, strollers, and dogs, but there are nice long in-between stretches that are quiet and pretty.

It wasn't the marathon ride I had originally planned, but the round trip ended up being 25 miles. I felt strong and, even without road gears and while fighting headwinds the whole way back, it didn't feel too taxing. I felt like I could just keep going and going. The ride boosted my spirits a lot, as I was having a minor-freak-out kind of day prior to the ride. (You know...What am I thinking?! I must be nuts to be heading out to do this! blah, blah, blah) My hands felt slightly better than they have recently when riding--probably because 1) the 29er wheels send a little less vibration to my hands than the fat tires do, and 2) I cut some pieces of memory foam and added them to the insides of my cycling gloves--but my hands still hurt more than they should. I'm worried about them holding up for the trip--so I don't think I will do any more cycling on the road before I leave for the trip. I will still work out at the gym, but I hope to spare my hands any more abuse and let them rest up.

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