I arrived at Remus' house after 9pm on Wednesday evening. The plan was to have a few beers, get some sleep, get up and leave the house at 8am, sharp the next morning. We had 60 miles to pull off by 2-3pm that afternoon so we had to get an early start.
I don't want to get all sentimental or sappy or anything, but riding in long stints like this with Matt means a lot to me. We met in college because of mountain bikes. He's come to be a solid friend. We get to catch up on each others busy lives only a few times a year uninterrupted. Men talking business, laughing, causing trouble, being funny. That's just good stuff...bikes and dudes - no other distractions.
Anyways, the morning was dreary. Breezy (16% wind Remus said, yes, percent), cloudy and cool (around 40 degrees). KITT was smooth and fast. Likely with less than 2 miles on it since being built by the shop, this was going to be a good test of fit and finish. Heading north right away was a nice warm-up as the wind was coming out of the south-southeast - tailwind. As we turned east things got a little harder, but really not too bad. As we had been sweating a little, the breeze quickly cooled us off - almost too much. Hands, feet and upper bodies getting chilled.
We rode through Sleepy Hollow State Park, and as we rounded a bend we spotted one of those speed radar trailer units. We briefly rode past, trying to see if it was working since the park appeared to be uninhabited. Remus poked at it to see if we could turn it on, but there was nothing accessible. As we headed out disappointed, we saw a ranger in a cart coming toward us. I motioned to him to slow down. He eventually stopped and I asked if he could turn it on for us. I told him that we wanted to race through it and take pictures. Remus was laughing, because this was such a big deal to me. HA. He responded by saying it's already "on", it's just kinda finicky and sometimes won't pick up smaller objects. Darn, not working for us then. So we left.
I think it was somewhere around this point heading south to our lunch destination that Remus asks, "Hey, did you bring a tire pump?"
"No, I thought you had one. I have a patch kit though."
"Yeah, well, I have a tube."
We laughed, amazed we could be so dumb to not bring an air source.
To add to the funniness, I said, "well, my bike is new, so I won't get a flat."
We both forgot one of the most important tools to bring on a long ride. Something, anything to put air into a flat or leaky tube. We danced on egg-shells from this point on. Luckily, nothing bad ever happened.
Only nine to ten miles till Laingsburg - for a delicious burger for Matt, and a giant club sandwich for me. We both had that constant shivering feeling even while eating, we swore that place hadn't turned on the heat. When we got back to the bikes, we were both shocked that it seemed colder out than before. Okay, so the restaurant had heat - we were probably minorly hypothermic.
Riding south, now directly into the wind on full stomachs was pretty brutal. My jaw was actually spasming from the cold. Matt wanted us to ride all-out for like 10 miles until we puked so we felt better. Ha...what a great idea. Not!
We eventually reached Rose Lake MTB Trails. Uh-oh. On a cross-bike. Okaaaaay...we'll see how this goes. With exception to it being hard to reach and actuate the brakes and the lack of lower gears, it actually wasn't too bad. Pretty fun.
After Rose Lake it was pretty much just heading East, which typically would mean the head-wind portion of the ride and this late in a long gravel ride, pain. The 16% wind (ha) was now at our backs and we got an incredible tail wind most of the ride back. There were some more hills in this region, but we conquered all. We made it back with time to spare. Overall, a great day with a great friend. The bike was smooth, felt stable and powerful. My legs held up, I felt great. We got chased by lots of dogs, saw lots of cows, scared sheep, confused horses and stupid-faced alpacas.
What a fun day!
Remus poking at the Speed Machine
Lunch stop parking
We found this fancy leather car seat mounted to a tractor tire and couldn't resist.
I'm holding a whipping stick that was stored under the seat.
Bridge at Rose Lake. It's been years since I've been here.