A random collection of thoughts associated with the sport of cycling, as relayed by one hopelessly devoid of too many competing interests. It's a one track blog I'm afraid. But hey, if you like bikes you might enjoy it. So keep reading and the worst that'll happen is it might rot your brain..

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Dirt Drops and some woods riding

I had a rare weekend full of nothing, no obligations meant I could go for a ride and try out my new bars. I picked up some WTB Dirt Drops a week or so ago via the online garage sale that is MTBR. Originally I intended to turn the Karate Monkey into a "monstercross" bike but I quickly realized I wasn't that cool, and I didn't want to mess with a good thing. So I figured I'd pop them on the On One and see how they work with a fixed/singlespeed 'cross bike.

They're really made for mountain bikes but I had a feeling this would be a nice bar for the Il Pompino. The first ride was weird, my body wanted to disagree with where my hands were and riding in the drops felt odd. The next ride things got better and I was digging the added leverage on the steeper climbs. Saturday I threw on my other wheelset shod with Ritchey Excavaders and a 16t ACS freewheel for a little off road riding. The 35c Ritcheys are probably about as big as it's going to get on the On One, there's not a ton of room back there. The gearing is steeper than I used to ride SS cross at 40x16 but I figured it would be doable. Here's what it looks like in 'cross mode:

I rode up to Chase the way I always do; N Main to Smithfield Ave and eventually riding in behind the school on Old River road. From this entrance you can ride a little bit of trail before hitting the wide open grassy sections. I rode a few laps of Chase and then did a loop of all the trail in the Eastern corner. The gearing proved to be pretty spot on for Chase and the road riding wasn't too bad either. I was never really in danger of spinning out while not feeling over geared, pretty much perfect. The bars elicited the feel of SS mountain biking with really wide swept bars when I was climbing in the drops. Being able to torque on bar that afford a ton of leverage made a huge difference, and this allowed me to make it up a few climbs at Lincoln Woods I otherwise would have walked. I almost made the long climb from the ball fields but I stalled out and walked a bit to where it levels off before continuing the ride to the top. After letting my heart migrate from my head back to my chest I wanted to see how secure things felt at speed. To do this I cut across the middle of the Coaster and shot down the old rock roller across the wall ride trail, and I eventually sped down towards Goat Rock. As long as I stayed in the drops things were great, and the more technical riding reinforced the idea that the bars are meant to be ridden in the drops while in the woods. I kept riding in LW and found myself riding much of my usual MTB loop with very few issues. The ride wasn't as fast as it would've been on a mountain bike, but it wasn't super slow either.

I headed out of LW via the trails on the South side of the park and hit Cobble Hill road. On my way out I thought about how much room for some new trail there is in that small pocket of woods. There's just enough room to build a sorely needed beginner loop - maybe something to look into.. Anyway, I decided to ride over to the Old North Burial Ground as it was on my way home, and it only sits about 2 tenths of a mile from my place. I don't ride in there enough. In fact I always think this after a ride in this cemetery. The decrepit state of the pavement in the burial ground makes it perfect for knobby 'cross tires. Instead of the squirmy cornering you become accustomed to on smoother (that's a relative term around here, I know) pavement you'll find the tires grip like glue in the cemetery. There's so many interesting nooks in there and a few little hills make it more enjoyable. In the south west corner you'll find a large plot of unknown graves marked only by numbers. These people were re-interned after the land known as the free burial ground was developed. It's a kind of depressing little place nestled between the river and Interstate 95. Not surprisingly no one is ever back there. Seeing the river out of it's latest commercial context is kind of cool, at least no one lights it on fire this far out...

I took a few pics before the battery died on me, lighting was tough mid afternoon with a really bright sun in the sky.



Blogger Aa said...

First it was single speeds, then it was those silly mary bars, but drop bars? In the woods.

I think your maldiscontent with the mountain biking world has gone too far sir!

Oh, and nice pictures. I love Chase farm.

8:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't get out of work till 12:30 on friday afternoon, when are you going riding??

11:56 AM

Blogger Brendan said...

A little earlier but it could wait - Uncle B and I were talking about 10:30ish? Shoot me an email - it'll be easier. mtbdee@hotmail.com

12:09 PM


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