Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Griggstown Grinder : 20120703

It was going to be a hot one. The temperature was 93F/34C as we gathered in the parking lot next to Montgomery park under a hazy sky.

The route took by the canal, up Mt Lucas Road and Cherry Hill Road toward the main ascent of the evening, Hollow Rd.

My route map varies from the direction the group took as we waited for a rider then rode directly for Route 518. The group, meanwhile, cut across from Cherry Hill Road to Province Line Road, before meeting up again for 518. Hollow Road is probably the most civilised route into the Sourlands, but lately the surface has degraded to not much better than a track. This is mostly an issue on the descent, but once you're on Long Hill with its rather better surface, it becomes apparent that Hollow's pitted and pocked surface imposes a significant burden.

Spring Hill has a relatively new and far smoother surface which encourages a swift descent, although I am always nervous of the right-hand corner - about mile 24 on this map - which in the past always had a patch of gravel running across the road which, at the very least always caused a nervous shimmy as you rounded the tight bend. The new surface seems to have eliminated that obstacle, but be careful, it's tight and can leave you on the wrong side of the road.

So a hot afternoon and evening with 1700ft of climbing. The map shows 1500ft, but Strava shows 1700ft. Most GPS mapping sites return different climbing data. I'm not certain why that is ... anyway, more on Strava another day.

Meanwhile, I'm writing this early morning, July 4th, wondering if the rain will ease of so I can ride with Princeton FreeWheeler's Independence Day event. Maybe a day to resist wearing my Union Jack jersey ...
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Early morning Zipp ...

The Bridge at
Neshanic Station
This morning saw me off bright and early on a solo ride through Neshanic along the South Branch Raritan River to Three Bridges, returning over the Sourlands, interrupted by another pleasant interlude at Peacock's Country Store.

Certainly everyone was out and about as several familiar faces made Peacock's their stop too.

This week was a little different, because I was able to try out a set of Zipp 404 wheels and Mavic Aksion tyres.

I pumped the tyres up to about 115psi front and rear, although the tyre walls say they can be inflated to 130psi. This gave a much smoother ride than I expected, although I don't think the wheels enabled me to drop away on the descents as quickly as my regular tubeless Hutchinson/Dura Ace wheel combination.

On the other hand the wheels gave a much more positive feel on the ascents.

As I said, the ride was very good on a reasonable surface. However, the descent of Hollow Road, whose surface is now very poor, was made the more exciting with every jarring bump and crack in the road transmitted directly up through the handlebars.

Regardless, the Zipps were a confirmation that a wheel upgrade is the most effective improvement you can make to any bike, and these are about as good as it gets.