Bits and Pieces, Odds and Ends

As far as writing goes, this post is pretty disjointed. I’ve no big stories to share or news to report: Just little bits and pieces, odds and bods – or whatever euphemism you choose to employ for loosely connected and rambling thoughts.

Over the weekend I rode the Boulder in BikeMo 2017. As we have for the past several years, we rolled out of Rocheport, Missouri, down a steep hill, across a couple of rollers, and then out onto a long, very flat and straight road into Booneville. From there it was all up and down, looping back and ending with a long slog back up that very steep hill to the finish. I’m pretty happy with my ride performance over the first half of the ride – I mostly kept up with the fast kids on the flats, and I outpaced most everyone on the early climbs. As usual, I burned my fuel sooner rather than later, but found myself in good spirits as I made that final climb up to the winery and the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River. The best news of all was that the weather was incredible for August – heck, it was incredible for any day of the year.

The Compass tires on my Boulder got their final ride on BikeMo 2017. I’ve run them for about 10,000 kilometers longer than I have any right to. And even though they’re so thin you can practically see through them, I’m hanging on to them as emergency back ups.

So Baby is wearing new shoes this week. A new pair of Compass Stampede Pass tires replaces the old ones, and Baby seems to like them just fine.

Earlier this week I joined the Tuesday Evening Taco Ride out of Spokes Cafe in downtown Kansas City. As a general rule I tend to avoid group rides, but this is a fun group that isn’t populated with S.A.S.C.s [Serious As Shit Cyclists]. It’s a no-drop, mixed group/mixed ability group ride, and there are tacos at the end.

You know? Tacos? What’s not to like? Right?

We do a ride through downtown, through the River Market, across the Missouri and then do a fast loop on a road that circles the downtown airport before heading back the way we came. That “fast loop” is the one concession to speed, and about six or seven riders ride it in top gear. Although I was on my Boulder rather than a speed bike, I felt like I held my own and finished with the top of the group. The best bike thing I’ve heard in a while was the carbon fiber guy at the end of the loop who told me, “Man, I’m embarrassed to admit that I drafted behind such a big bike!” I’m not sure if he was really referring to my 60cm bike with the fat tires, or me – either way, it’s nice to know the carbon fiber crowd can find it in their hearts to appreciate a good steel framed bike.

I’ve been mixing it up this week, heading out on different bikes. My ’89 Paramount has seen some road time, as did the L’Avecaise this evening. I even got out the Freschi Supreme Super Cromo for a short and very sparkling ride.

More great weather is in the forecast for the coming days and I plan to take full advantage of every opportunity to hit the road.

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4 thoughts on “Bits and Pieces, Odds and Ends

  1. Enjoyed your report especially the part about the carbon fiber dude commenting on your “big bike”. I’ve never had a comment from any of the SASCs I’ve ridden my steel bike with. They’ve apparently got too much $$ and pride wrapped up in their machines.

  2. john hawrylak says:

    Enjoyed the report and the fact the Boulder did very well.

    I know you recently got a 650B L’Avecaise. How does the Boulder compare to the L’Avecaise???

    On the surface, it would seem there is significant overlap between the 2. Low trial, “skinny” tubing.

    John Hawrylak
    Woodstown NJ

    • So, yeah. As you say, on the surface one would think there was pretty significant overlap between the Boulder and the L’Avecaise. Frankly, as I patiently waited for Jeff Lyon to get ’round to me in the queue, that was in the back of my mind as well. When I talked to Mike Kone at Boulder about a 650b version, he told me to just fit 700 x 32 tires and be done with it.

      But…

      There is definitely a ride difference. On the previous week’s Tuesday Taco Ride I was on the L’Avecaise. I held my own on that day going around the airport loop, but the difference (to me, anyway) was that on my Boulder I can TELL that I’m accelerating. On the L’Avecaise I seem to be going appreciably faster than I think I am. The Boulder begins to plane right around 19 mph. It’s like a slingshot feeling – all of a sudden the bike just responds. I felt it on a 30 mile ride this morning as I started a climb of about a third of a mile. I hit the bottom at around 16 mph (for some reason, there was a traffic speed reader at both the bottom and part way up the hill.) At that speed I feel like I’m working to accelerate on a climb. As I reached 19 mph (yup, conveniently about a hundred feet in front of the second speed reader!) the bike feels like a spring is uncoiling and my pedal strokes no longer feel labored. Climbing the rest of the way at speed seemed like a lot less effort. Contrast that with the L’Avecaise and I’ve yet to discover that sweet spot where it planes like that. Instead, I feel like I’m still working and not going especially fast – kind of leisurely cruising along in a comfortable rhythm. I haven’t clocked it – that’s really not my thing – but I can tell you that I’m going faster than it feels when I’m riding next to other riders and can see the exertion on their faces and in their physicality. So the Boulder FEELS faster.

      The Boulder also seems to be more pavement oriented, while the L’Avecaise feels like a racing bike for crappier surfaces. The 650b x 42 Hetres chew up and then spit out the bumps and holes that pass for country roads around here. The Boulder less so, but get her on better pavement and watch out!

      The funny thing is that in comparing the two bikes this summer, I’ve pulled down and ridden some of my “speed” bikes – notably, an ’89 Paramount and an ’80’s era Freschi Supreme Super Cromo. I wanted to see how different those skinnier tired race bikes felt. Although I wasn’t looking for it, one thing I noticed was that I felt doggier than I remember on those bikes. It makes me wonder if I’m actually performing better on the Boulder and the L’Avecaise than I think. I pulled the computers from my bikes a few years ago so I could concentrate on the pleasure of riding rather than quantifying my miles and average speed and all that other meaningless data. I cannot quantify the difference; it’s all quite subjective – and your own experience may be completely different than mine. I’ll just say that there are days when I feel like riding the L’Avecaise and other days when I know I’m going to roll out of the garage on the Boulder. There’s enough difference in my own mind – even it I can’t define it – that I feel good about having both.

      How’s that for a long reply that probably doesn’t answer your question at all? 🙂

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