Friday, March 22, 2013


Steaming Nostril is on Sunday. It's supposed to be 5% paved roads, 55% farm roads (which means an abundance of dirt, gravel and potholes) and 40% rail trail.

That last bit is a sticking point.

I have actually got out to ride my faithful cyclocross bike Snorky once since I broke my wrist last August. It was last Sunday, it was sunny, and it was cold.

Lies: the weather network said -3c at best.

The ride actually went ok, despite ProBikeKit not yet having delivered the new bar tape I ordered to facilitate the installation of some road chatter-absorbing gel pads on the bars. The old gel cork tape was just fine riding pavement, and seemed ok for the few feet of gravel shoulder I tried out. My wrist did not complain, and I was able to handle the bike without much issue - getting a bottle out of my cages is still a bit of a challenge with my left hand, and I don't feel comfortable riding left-handed while using my right to drink, but it's manageable. Better than Tour de King when I could only drink while off the bike!

Good boy, Snorky!

However, the rail trail poses an issue. While spring technically arrived on Wednesday morning, the weather has been complete shit. It's snowed (sometimes with the added bonus of freezing rain, sleet, ice chips or hail) every single day this week. Given that the trails around here were already covered in layers of spongy, footprinted ice and snow we're talking about the potential combination of near-zero traction and bone-juddering lumpiness out there. For 40% of the damn course, which my quick math tells me is 26km (of the 65km stated total) slightly more than the 25.3km I've actually put on my CX bike outdoors in the last 7 months.

Our driveway Wednesday night, right where Snorky was sitting in the pic above.

Easy solution - just ride my awesome mountain bike, right? The squishy front end will save my wrist from the jolting and my big knobbly tires will help with the all-important gription.

Not to mention he's stylish as hell.

However, there's a strong possibility that I'll just wuss out and end up having to walk a bunch of the trail sections anyway, because my bike handling skills still suck and I'm much more of a weenie than I was before discovering how fragile my limbs can be. My rationale for continuing to ride my 'cross bike at Paris-Ancaster has always been that I'd need to make up speed on the road sections to compensate for my hopelessness on the technical bits, and this situation is no different. There's a support cut-off time for the first two sections: 1h10m for the first 21km (18.0kph), then 2h20m to the 41km point (2k before the only aid station - 17.6kph). I'm not 100% sure I can make it if I end up having to walk and still have the rolling resistance of 26" x 2.0" knobbies holding me back on the faster sections.

Realistically, if I don't make the cut-off times I'll just keep riding. I've kind of been known to do that before. It would be better training for Paris to Ancaster if I rode the cyclocross bike, but even Tanker is considering riding his mountain bike and wants to drive up to Elmira to scope out conditions on the Kissing Bridge Trailway before making a final decision.

Regardless of equipment used, it's going to be a fun time...assuming we don't freeze to death!

Think warm thoughts, kids..

Maybe I'll just strap my cross-country skis to my back as Plan C.

One final note: this week has also seen the blog top 10,000 hits. You are all amazing people for taking the time to meander through my gibberish - thank you!

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