Monday, April 25, 2011

Hill of the North

Ah! Easter Sunday. For me the first warm ride of the year.

I don't know what it is; thin blood, warm heart, limp-wristed pinko-Euro liberal, whatever. But I am a cold mortal, or is it morsel? I just love to be warm. And today was the day, climbing to almost 27C/80F. My kind of day.
Pie time ...
Heading anywhere north of here means you are quickly into a climb. Stonybrook Road starts running alongside the Stony Brook (?) before climbing across Route 518 and up into the Sourlands Mountain.

Snydertown Road follows the contours across to Linvale Road where the climb recommences towards the outward summit of 145m/470ft around Mountain Road. The route undulates across the dissected plateau towards Lambertville, so there is no let up for the legs until the final 2km/1.5mile descent into the town.

It doesn't take much for me to pause for a pie stop and watch the Easter visitors explore the town before threading the back-streets and starting the ascent along Alexauken Creek towards Ringoes. I made a minor detour out of Ringoes until I realised I was committed to taking Route 31 south. This didn't appeal to me so I turned around and set off, instead eastwards along the Wertsville Road.

The Wertsville Road is possibly the most like an English country "B" road that I know of, so riding it is a bit of a nostalgic pleasure. Climbing the northern half of Linvale Road isn't such a pleasure, but I think it is one of the  easier Sourlands climbs which takes you up to the ridgeline road.

I met up with a cyclist who needed directions to Princeton at the junction with Mountain Road so we set off towards the Hopewell-Wertsville Road and over the summit of the entire route at 175m/570ft. The rider had the benefit of legs at least thirty years younger than mine so he sped off towards Princeton and I settled in for the final stretch diverted by the closed bridge in Hopewell and then home.

So, not a long ride, 52km/32miles, but 800m/2,600ft of climbing, so it was quality, not quantity. Next week should see me riding with a group, further, faster, but flatter ... I hope.
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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Another Sunday - maybe nice and warm?

Well, this is the promise ... let's hope ...

Mundane news ... my tubeless front tyre hasn't sealed so well this season and deflates after a few days, so I've put in a little more Stan's Sealant.

However, my track pump didn't supply enough whoomph to seat the bead, so I'm going to give the tyre a bit of a blast with the compressor at the bike shop tomorrow.

Otherwise, I think Sunday should see me pedal close to 50 miles for the first time this year.

Well, let's hope ...
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Monday, April 04, 2011

Sunday Morning ... and a new seat-pin

Slowly the temperature at ride time is rising above 40F/5C, which means I have no further excuse to delay getting on the bike and ride. Not that I really need an excuse not to ride  ... but I hate the cold. It must be my age.

The Sourlands
Anyway, the ride wasn't that far, about 25 miles / 40 km, but, like my previous road effort this year, hilly. I can't really ride north of here without getting into the Sourlands, and that's a good thing.

The ride got off to a shaky start; I've had a nasty cold. So the first couple of steep bits saw me wheezing and coughing, but once that was over, things weren't too bad.

On the whole ride I must have seen six cars and even fewer cyclists. So it was very quiet.

There was an upgrade to my bike though. I've fitted a full-carbon seat-pin. This did provide a better ride. I was careful measuring the position of the old seat-pin/saddle combination; centre of crank to top of seat and nose of saddle to steerer and first attempt seems to be a pretty good fit.

The seat-pin, a fizik Cyrano - why? - has a device for adjusting the angle of the seat microscopically and a rubber O-ring which I assume helps prevent moisture and grime seeping into the seat-tube.

I didn't want to over-stress the pin - carbon is sensitive to crush forces - so I set all bolts and screws using a miniature torque wrench. As usual half the recommended settings were in units other than indicated on the wrench itself, so I found this page useful.

I used bike grease on the micro-adjusting screw to, hopefully, keep the thread running free and Fiber Grip on the seat-pin/seat-tube to:

  1. prevent it sticking
  2. hold it firmly without slipping

Next Sunday isn't looking so good at the moment, so who knows when I'll be riding again.