Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring Break 2012 (Final)

For the Fools Classic, the locals made better equipment choices than I did!
This was a long day, but a good day.  I spent Friday night at a friend’s house in suburban Pittsburgh, then awoke early this morning and completed the drive to West Bend in such fine style that I had time for a 1-hour bike ride.  I banged out the last 17 miles I needed to reach 1,000 miles so far this year.  Last year I didn’t hit 1,000 miles until May 16.  But for, like, the hundredth time: this year I’m not going to concern myself with mileage totals.  The miles will accumulate much more slowly as I spend more time on the mountain bike trails and less on the road.

The Fools Classic is already receding into the past—it was a week ago already—but I do want to revisit it for a moment.  I was going to struggle with its many hills no matter what I was riding, but so far I have neglected to mention that I was on my road bike with standard gearing: 53/39 up front and a 12-27T cassette.  This equipment choice did not go unnoticed by my fellow riders, who agreed universally that I was nuts.  Compact gears—even triple cranksets and mountain bike clusters—were the order of the day.  I should have taken my cyclocross bike.  The rear cassette would have been the same but I would have benefited from the 46/36 crankset.  I also would have appreciated the cyclocross bike’s more relaxed geometry.  The Fools Classic gave me some soreness in the neck and shoulders, and that’s extraordinarily rare for me.

I noted on Tuesday that I intended to return to the Perkiomen Trail to wrap up my vacation rides, and I did so.  My first experience with the trail was back in 2004, the first year I considered myself to be a true cyclist.  I rode it then on my Gary Fisher Wahoo mountain bike, but I didn’t cover the entire trail.  This week I rode the whole thing—plus a bit of the adjacent Schuylkill River Trail, a total of 41 miles—on my Trek X-Caliber.  Had I taken the cyclocross bike on vacation, I might have used it for this ride but I was glad to have the 29er.  Some of the gravel was really coarse, and the 12 percent gravel descent would have been really dicey on narrower tires.

Just in time: A place to refill the water bottle on the Perkiomen Trail.
Looks like we’re in for a very windy Sunday, so I’ll probably take the mountain bike to New Fane unless there’s rain.  It’s great to be back home and it’s time for three weeks of earnest preparation for the WORS season opener.

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