Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hard-Working Weekend

Cheesehead Roubaix is just one week from today and I think it’s going to be great, but this weekend was pretty great too. On Friday and Saturday, I spent about 6 hours on Cheesehead Roubaix-related tasks. You don’t think that ride just happens, do you? It takes a long time just to drive the 63-mile route, stopping at every intersection to paint directional arrows on the road. And this year’s setup is more intricate than ever. I hope everyone enjoys the fun new “atmosphere” elements. Some things won’t be set up until the morning of the ride, as they will be experienced best as surprises rather than as something a friend spotted ahead of time.

Friday and Saturday were mountain biking days too, my first this year after an aborted attempt at Glacial Blue Hills on Wednesday. Trying to ride singletrack for the first time since last September, I discovered that the smallest chainring on my 29er was basically useless. I left Glacial Blue Hills after only a few frustrating minutes. On Friday the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources opened the state-owned trails of the Northern Kettle Moraine for the season. With a new chainring on the bike, I headed to New Fane and turned in two 28-minute laps. My two laps on Saturday were marginally faster: the better of which was 27:46, about 1 minute slower than my race pace on that course. Encouraging stuff. Last year I didn’t ride at New Fane until May 3, and the two laps I did on that occasion were almost 32 minutes apiece.

For what it’s worth, at New Fane I use only my middle chainring. But that’s not the point; I hate a malfunctioning bike. I did a few laps of the parking lot in the small ring to make sure the repair eliminated my shifting problem, but the trails at New Fane would be perfect for a 1x setup.

Today began with streaming coverage of the Amstel Gold Race from the Netherlands, an often overlooked one-day classic that doesn’t have the epic reputation of Paris-Roubaix or Flanders but never disappoints. Late this afternoon I did a head-clearing solo road ride.

The week ahead looks kind of unpleasant: high winds (still), periods of rain, and temperatures 10-15 degrees below normal:

But if that’s what I have to get through to ensure a dry Cheesehead Roubaix, it’s a fair trade.

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