The sun is out for the second time in 25 days! Glorious!
When the sun was out on Sunday, I went for a hilly 45 mile loop with Don Powers. I spent the entire ride watching him get smaller and smaller down the road ahead of me. In my defense, there was a slight disparity in equipment, (he was on a cross race bike, and I was on my fixed gear with risers, full fenders, thorn proof tubes) but I was still toast by the end of the ride. 45 miles at 16 mph on a fixed gear in these parts is a lot harder than it sounds.
The accuweathers tell me that another snow storm is going to bury everything again, but to be honest, I'm not too worried about it. Because after Friday, I'll be in the Kanawanana Rock Forest of Despair, riding my mountain bike all day long.
But I do need to get some stuff ready for the weekend. On the smaller end of things, my hydration pack needs to be stuffed full of big cookies, ammunition for my bear rifle, and band aids. I also need to liberate some Stan's from the best bike shop in the world so that my tires don't go flat in the middle of the dark forest (there's good reason for that bear rifle.)
More importantly, I need to ditch the rigid fork on the Fluorescent Death Machine of Doom. I've come to the conclusion that riding down a rocky hill on a full rigid bike sucks.
In pseudo-tough guy ignorance, I used to believe that if I was fast downhill on a rigid bike, I would be crazy fast on suspension. But when I made the switch to a suspension fork last year, I discovered that I was still slow. It took a while to get used to riding the squish. And truthfully, I was going so much slower with the rigid fork that I wasn't used to the higher speeds and faster reaction time I needed to have with the Reba on my bike.
With miles and miles of sharp pointy rocks, riding rigid is downright painful. Last summer, I was doing so much pounding over the angular WPA stones (mountain cycling every day courtesy of a schweet job at Wilderness Voyaguers.) that I started having problems with the thumb-palm connection zone on my hand, and I was even riding Ergons. It was starting to really bother me, even when I was off the bike.
When riding rigid is harsh enough to screw up fairly robust (yes, I did just refer to myself as robust) youthful joints, it would almost certainly rattle a person who is old enough to race vet into hundreds of quivering pieces. Rigid forks do excel in climbing, slow speed tech sections, and cyclocross races, but I've promised myself that I'll avoid riding rigid in an area with long rough downhills.
Since the Kananawanan Rock Forest of Despair is 87% rough downhills, it's suspension season.
(And yes don powers, I am trying to scare you. you should be afraid. because I'm still bitter about the s-turns)
On a final note, Eryn Hughes is starting a junior development program to help high school students get into cycling and mountain biking. Eventually it will be like a PA version of the NorCal program. I think that's super cool, so I'm going to help out with it. You should too. Web site: http://www.velomuse.org/velomuse-junior-development-program/