Riding the singletrack down Mt Victoria
I finally got out for a decent ride on the Cross-Check. Only 30kms or so but it included some gravel paths, grass, cobbles and singletrack. I changed over to some cheap Vittoria 35c touring tyres I bought when I first had the wheels built-up. I can't imagine what a 23 or 25mm racing tyre feels like at 130psi as these seemed pretty harsh to me at 65psi. On the Pugsley and to some extent my commuter with its 2 inch Schwalbes you just can't feel the pebbles and cracks that pass under your wheels but by the end of this ride I was getting used to the sensation.
It sure is different riding a faster bike on the road. Because I had those higher gears available I was blasting along with the roadies on the flats and also pedaling on the downhills so my legs never got a break. I'm sitting here the day after with sore quads and I never feel anything anywhere after a two or three hour mountainbike ride.
On fine, smooth gravel it was comfortable but I could feel the vibration through the bars when the rocks got up to matchbox size. Maybe I should double-wrap my bars or wear gloves?
The fun part started when I got to Devonport. I climbed up Mount Victoria using the sealed access road. This is a struggle on the Pugsley even when I am fit. It was way easier on the Cross-Check but I still ended up in my lowest 34/34T ratio. You can see most of Auckland from up there and I took in the views before starting down again on the singletrack that winds around the outside. I was careering down the initial part on damp grass (at Pugsley speed) when I hit the brakes to slow for the first switchback.
Road Tyres + Wet Grass = Chocolate Starfish Moment
The Paul cantilevers stopped the wheels beautifully but the smooth tyres weren't slowing the bike at all. I just pulled-up in time to avoid shooting over the precipice and took the next section considerably slower. I have to remember that when using road tyres this is an "exploring" bike not a "race" one.
I don't commute to work in rush-hour and on this ride really noticed the vehicle fumes on a busy Saturday morning. It was pretty disgusting in places and I'll head in the other direction in search of quieter roads next time I get a chance.
The drop handlebars don't feel natural yet but the gear-changing is coming easier. More miles required I feel.
You would think there was no traffic in Auckland in this shot.
You would be wrong.
Heading up Devonport's Main Street from the wharf towards Mt Victoria
A few kilometres from home I spied a perfectly good pair of plastic oars sitting in someone's inorganic collection at the side of the road. I had no rack, bungies of trailer so I plonked them on the bars sitting across the hoods and carried on. I got full ten metres before the left paddle hit the wing-mirror of a fancy-pants BMW and I had my second choco-starfish moment of the day.
I sure got some funny looks from people as I rode home and overtaking cars gave me an extra-wide berth. I'm tempted to always ride with a fluorescent yellow paddle sticking out a metre into the traffic - much safer!
My new bike is oarsome
On a final note, roadies sure don't like it when you can ride at their pace in a t-shirt and baggy, shit-brown cargo shorts. I'm sure going to enjoy irritating Lycra-Cowboys on this bike. Just need to get a bit fitter so I can pull away from them for the ultimate humiliation.