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Thread: August Rides

  1. #46
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    Feb 2005
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    I feel lucky like Helene, although I was the one that complained; I *can* ride as fast as we were going on Sunday, but left to my own devices, I don't. But once in awhile, I yell at DH "Do you know how fast you are going?" When he has GPS set on a course, I don't think he has speed set on his screen. I need to go very slowly in the beginning of a ride... it's the same every time. This is why on group rides, I often am doing well, when others are fading, because they went all out in the beginning and I didn't, as well as the fact that many rides are in the area I live in, and they have no idea what climbs are coming.
    I'd rather die than ride a tandem with DH. I complain like i did once in awhile, but generally, he pushes me because he knows I can do it, yet he is content to ride at my speed most of the time. I would be scared to death to not be in control and I just don't like the idea of behind "behind" someone while screaming down a hill.
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  2. #47
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Columbus, IN
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    221
    [QUOTE=Crankin;714007] I *can* ride as fast as we were going on Sunday, but left to my own devices, I don't. QUOTE]

    This is me. One of our infamous stories at work involves a group bike ride. There were 4 of us, and a very strong (and aggressive/competitive/Type A) guy who lived in the area was leading the ride. He hadn't told us how long it was, and I was second in line behind him. I was disappointed that we were riding on busy enough roads that we were going single file, and he was going faster than I wanted to. I kept up, but I didn't want to go that fast. In my mind, the torture was compounded by the fact that I didn't know the route/length he'd planned. I kept asking "do you know how fast you're going?" and he'd yell back "yeah. Sure." I never asked him to slow down, but I thought my questions were polite hints that the pace was too fast. After 15 miles, we came to an intersection and I just said "I'm leaving. I'm heading back." And I did.

    The guy leading the ride claims that although he got my questions, the fact that every time he looked in his mirror he saw me right there so it was obviously not too fast since I was keeping up. My response is "stop being insensitive."

    Pace really does matter to whether I enjoy a ride or not!

  3. #48
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
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    632
    Not to change the subject, but for the past two weeks I have been working like a dog in the heat, 4 or 5 hours a day, making MTB single track on our 7 acres of heavily forested land. Really brutal physical work with rake, handsaw, chainsaw and shovel. Proud of what I have done, though, even if I am pushing my physical limits for someone my age. All on my own, too, since my DH has disabilities that limit him, physically.

    The trail system consists of an outer loop that will be a full half mile in distance when I'm done, but is now just over a third of a mile. Inside that loop I have three inner loops, all interconnected, so lots of options on how you want to ride. This is true single track stuff - very lumpy and bumpy, never flat for more than a few yards, some good stiff climbs and drops, loads of tight turns, plenty of rocks, roots and other obstructions to negotiate. In other words, a full suspension MTB is a big plus. All in all, I'd rate it as an mid-level intermediate trail.

    My husband has been very supportive and has also provided some good perspective in that he has never ridden single track. Even with his fat bike, he is NOT comfortable riding my trails. What he finds the most disconcerting, other than the constant bouncing, is the sudden changes in speed/braking needed and the pinpoint steering in the twists. He's never done anything but roads, so he is used to pedaling at a constant, even, relaxed cadence and that is simply impossible on most single track, mine included. He promises me, though, that he will practice.

    My average speed on my trails is only 6 mph or so and that's with the aggressive riding needed. Sounds laughable to roadies, I know, but those of you who have done single track will understand. Absolutely love it, though. Been a true labor of love.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 08-17-2016 at 07:52 AM.

  4. #49
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    Feb 2005
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    Concord, MA
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    I think when I was mt biking, my average speed was probably less!
    Today I rode with my friend, probably the last time for a bit, as she will be joining her DH in Amherst. It's really hilly there, long climbs, steep ones, and her DH, who is a very fast and skilled rider mentioned this past weekend that he didn't really appreciate the wonderful riding we have around here; a variety of terrain, steep, but short climbs, lots of rolling areas. His commute home from the university is 14 miles, with 1,400 ft. of climbing.
    We just rode locally, as she had to be back by 11, so we rode out to my old school, where I taught, a few roads I really like but haven't been on for awhile. It ended up being 28 miles, so more than I thought we'd do.
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  5. #50
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    Jul 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    I'd rather die than ride a tandem with DH. I complain like i did once in awhile, but generally, he pushes me because he knows I can do it, yet he is content to ride at my speed most of the time. I would be scared to death to not be in control and I just don't like the idea of behind "behind" someone while screaming down a hill.
    Yes, this is me. We have owned three tandems over the last decades (we've been married 31 years, so I am not kidding when I say decades!) Although they are undoubtedly the great equalizers, and at times we had amazing fun on them, over the years, things got worse for us rather than better trying to ride tandem. I think in large part that was because I had gotten used to riding solo and did not appreciate having to relinquish control. Likewise, DH had gotten so used to riding solo that he had a hard time adjusting to having to call out every little thing. He's a quiet introvert, so having to lead that way and be that verbal was just not a natural thing for him.

    And even though I would be willing to give it another try, we already have six bikes we travel with in our motorhome and absolutely NO space for a tandem, so it's a non-starter at this point in our lives. We just have to learn to ride together more harmoniously, or ride separately!
    Emily

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  6. #51
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    Jul 2003
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    Super fun day today! We rode from the RV park where we are staying to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument in Garryowen, MT. Ride was on a flat frontage road (after 1/2 mile of gravel in the campground), then turned uphill into the NM. Once inside, we rode the lovely rolling battlefield road along the ridge, five miles each way, stopping for numerous photos along the way. Some really nice climbs and descents; long but not too steep, and just gorgeous! Ended up with 30 miles on the day and went over 2000 miles on the year.
    Emily

    2011 Jamis Dakar XC "Toto" - Selle Italia Ldy Gel Flow
    2007 Trek Pilot 5.0 WSD "Gloria" - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow
    2004 Bike Friday Petite Pocket Crusoe - Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

  7. #52
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
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    632
    Emily, you're killing me with these reports of my beloved west which I miss so much. Keep them coming, though. I love them.

    Back here at home, I'm trying to get work done on my MTB trails before winter sets in and it sets in, early, in these parts. Way overdue, though, for some nice pavement work. Love my road biking every bit as much as my MTB work and then there is the gravel road biking, which is somewhat a combination of the two. So much biking to do. Whew!

  8. #53
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    I am tired..
    We led a 17.5 mile ride tonight. It's a nice route and very shady, thankfully, because it was 88 when we left at 6. Only 2 people showed up, but that was fine with me. One guy was closer to my speed and the other was up DH's butt. We stayed together pretty well and I refrained from complaining that I was working way too hard. At least the sun was going down, as for the first 2 miles I was just sweating in a way I do not usually sweat. I knew my average would be over 15 and it was.
    Yesterday I rode 28 miles (fine), but then we walked to town and had a beer, 4 miles round trip. This morning I woke up stiff and sore and should have skipped circuit training, where we had a sub who taught the class totally differently and beat me up a little more.
    Tomorrow I will be riding with another friend, who is up from her summer house on the Cape, but it will be a short, slow recovery ride.
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  9. #54
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Black Hills of SD
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    700
    I'm not sure how it manages to go so fast, but today is the last day of our long-awaited vacation. Yesterday's ride on the Flatirons Vista Trail was a little disappointing. Even though the Rove is a gravel bike and didn't complain about the trail, it would have been better suited for the mtbs. I didn't enjoy it because I was gripping the drop bars a little too hard, wishing for flat bars, and concentrating too much on keeping skinnier tires on course. Beautiful views, though. Hubby was struggling too riding his old Schwinn High Plains. Today is back to a trail around Golden which is much more relaxing. I think next time I might bring the Karate Monkey and really enjoy the Flatirons Vista. We've managed a ride all days but Wednesday (our anniversary) when we took in a Rockies baseball game. Not really ready to go back to work. At least I enjoy my commute.

    Deb
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  10. #55
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
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    632
    I know what you mean with a gravel bike and riding them on gravel. My Salsa Warbird is a gravel bike with 700x35s and it does a great job on firm gravel, but I still have to steer a good line through the gravel, always alert for soft or loose spots. It's made to go fast on gravel and it sure does, but when I want to relax and just take a break from having to continuously scout a line through the gravel to avoid fishtailing, I use a mountain bike or my Salsa Fargo, a drop bar bike with big 29er 2.2" tires. Not quite as fast, but plenty fast enough and much more forgiving.

  11. #56
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    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
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    So, maybe I'd be better off buying a mountain bike to ride gravel? I was a horribly un-technical mt bike rider, but I would like to adventure out to some of the dirt roads in western MA and northern New England. For my skill level, I am not sure what to do.
    Today, I stuck by my guns and followed my friend about 75% of our 13 mile ride. She is a 10 mph average rider... she could be faster, but I think suffering is not her thing! I haven't seen her in a month, so we talked and I got to work on my balance skills by riding slowly. I only went ahead for about 2/3 of a road where I like to go fast. I didn't do my usual 17-20, just 15-16, though, as my legs were feeling the past few days of work. Then, right before we get back to her house is a highway overpass, that I went ahead on, too. But, overall, it was a true recovery ride.
    Deciding what to do this weekend. We have not been to the beach yet, so may just do a short ride tomorrow, and head down to Falmouth for a late afternoon at the beach and dinner and head home, followed by something longer on Sunday. Or, we may do the opposite.
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  12. #57
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
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    632
    Quote Originally Posted by Crankin View Post
    So, maybe I'd be better off buying a mountain bike to ride gravel? I was a horribly un-technical mt bike rider, but I would like to adventure out to some of the dirt roads in western MA and northern New England. For my skill level, I am not sure what to do. ...
    Crankin, the dedicated gravel road bikes like my 700x35 Salsa Warbird are actually designed to be gravel road race bikes. They're primarily designed for speed, something like a cyclocross bike, but unlike a cyclocross bike, the geometry on a gravel bike is designed for long hours on the saddle, so more akin to an endurance road bike, but with geometry that favors better traction. People who actually race these bikes on gravel expect to fishtail and spin out, now and then. It's part of the game and they practice techniques to deal with it and stay in the saddle. In fact, I've been doing that very same thing with my Warbird on some of our soft sand roads. Fun, really, and a real confidence builder.

    People who ride mostly pavement, though, are not used to sliding around and fishtailing in gravel. It can be spooky. I get that. Going with a mountain bike with wide tires is the best way to avoid this, plus tracking a good line through the gravel and steering are not as critical. Wider on the tires is good for stability, but, of course, it's more work to push big fat tires and slower going.

    Should also point out that the actual gravel/dirt/sand road you want to ride is all important as to the bike you need. Have talked to a couple of guys who race gravel, up here, and they tell me that folks show up to races with gravel bikes, mountain bikes and even fat bikes, depending on the condition of the roads. Some of our gravel roads, up here, are so soft and sandy, that even 4WD pickups and ATVs struggle!

    Unless you're tall with long legs, like me, I'd shy away from the 29er MTBs. They can be a bit much to handle if you're physically smaller. Same with fat bikes. Love fat bikes, but anything more than 10 miles on a fat bike is real workout and they'll drive you nuts on pavement. For an all around MTB, one you can ride with decent performance on pavement and all but the worst unpaved roads and trails, I think a hardtail (front suspension, only) 27.5" MTB would be my suggestion. These run 2.2" tires (about 56 in millimeters), normally, but most can go with 2.4" tires if you want even more stability.
    Last edited by north woods gal; 08-19-2016 at 04:28 PM.

  13. #58
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,102
    I am short, used to be 5' 1", I've shrunk about half an inch. No 29ers or even 27.5s for me. I had a standard Norco 26 inch FS mtb that was too big for me. It was a 15 inch small size, and I needed a 13 inch mountain bike. Most of the dirt roads here are packed, but with lots of rocks. I think, of course, weather conditions change the conditions of the roads. I don't forsee a lot of soft sand roads, although there is one very near my house that attaches a packed dirt road/nonmaintained pavement to a regular street.
    My primary road bike is an endurance carbon road bike. My other bike is a custom titanium road bike, with more upright geometry. I have ridden local short stints of dirt/gravel on both, but I have to go slowly. Very slowly. I know all about fishtailing, etc., what fat tires do on the road, etc. I have been riding for years and my son raced both road and cross for 5 years. I just want to have fun, but at this point, I need to think carefully about what I will buy. A lot of the Salsa, Surly type bikes don't come in small enough sizes for me... I tried a few at Harris Cyclery, of Sheldon Brown fame a few years ago (where they were most unhelpful and kind of snotty to me, in a reverse snobbery kind of way). I've seen a Specialized bike that I think met all of my requirements, but I cannot recall off hand what this bike is called; it's new for 2016.
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  14. #59
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Black Hills of SD
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    700
    The Rove "gravel bike" is a really comfortable path/tourer-type bike for me. It is less aggressive in riding position than a cross bike. I love that I don't have to even think about uneven spots or sticks, etc. when on a path like I did with the road bike. It is comfy and stable. But on loose gravel or rocks/roots/ruts, I prefer my mtb. It requires less concentration. I have a Karate Monkey with big 29" tires and flat bars. Also front suspension which is much easier on my hands and wrists when it is rough. With my arthritis, I steer clear of difficult technical trails. If I hurt myself, it takes forever to heal.

    We rode about 50 miles today. My husband was teasing me that we are #stubborngeezersonbikes It was glorious. I don't want to go back to work on Monday.

    Deb
    2016 Kona Rove ST (M/L 54) WTB Volt
    Camp Stove Green Surly Karate Monkey (M) WTB Volt
    Kona Dew Deluxe (54cm) Brooks B67-S

  15. #60
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    north woods of Wisconsin
    Posts
    632
    Crankin, sad to say, 26" MTBs are disappearing, now, and that's bad news if you are short in height. Most of the big bike makers are moving to the 27.5" as the standard for MTBs. I know, because I went shopping, earlier this year for a 26" and had one of those "What?" moments.

    I personally think this is a mistake. With all the testing I did this summer on our technical single track with all kinds of MTBs, there were still some things that the 26" did the best. A 26" is still tops for quick acceleration and tight turns. I was able to make some quick climbs and tight turns with the 26" that I could not make on a 29er or fat bike. And, yes, my 26" is still more agile than my new 27.5" Giant.

    The good news is that you can now find great quality used 26" bikes at great prices. A lot of bike shops won't even take them in on trade, now. Best of luck. Hope you find the bike you need.

 

 

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