Gravel goodness

The temps have dropped again this week, but they didn’t drop enough to make everything frozen. Top that with some rain earlier in the week, and you are left with some very soft trails. The only option was to hit the road or some gravel. After a little twisting of my arm by Dean to ride, I loaded up my gear and headed out to enjoy some gravel. It was hard to be motivated to head out when the highs were supposed to be 35 degrees. It was snowing on and off over the last two days.

Next weekend is the Death March. I need to ride as much as I can before than, so it was not as hard to walk out the door. I have swapped the 3×9 set up for a 2×9 set up. There was too much slack in the chain for my liking and I really didn’t need the 44t chain ring. Maybe if I was running cross tires or something, but this is a mtb and not a cross bike. I didn’t want to loose all of my upper gearing by going back to the 32t. I also was not liking how little the 22t cog seemed. So, I decided to try my luck with a 24-36 combo. It did not go on the bike as easy as I thought it would, but eventually worked. I needed to get out and give it a good test before I ever think about riding it for 60-75 miles.

We decided to head out on the longer version of the loop. It didn’t end up as long as I figured it would, but we didn’t take the last few miles the way I was thinking. Overall the ride was great. The gravel roads were in great shape and not nearly as wet as I thought they might be. The one fire lane section we needed to take had a few spots that were softer than I would have liked. I have some small tread on the tires since I will be riding road/gravel. That section and a few soft road sections were the only places that were messy. The bike ended up dirtier than I had hoped it would, but I got over it. As usual for the Ferdinand area, there was a good bit of climbing to be had too.

It was a cold ride in some sections. The scenery made it even better than it could have been. There was snow on and off for the whole ride. We ended up putting in a good 17 miles and climbed a little over 1,500 ft. of elevation. The bike rode well and I think the gearing just might work for me. That is until I can get a 1×10 or 1×11 set up, but that might have to wait until next year. I also had the joys of washing the bike off while it was snowing on me. Not something I do very often. I even had to let the bike sit in the garage a little while for the mud to thaw out enough that I could get it to wash off.

Thankfully the Pro Gold extreme had the chain rolling good for the ride. But, now I will have to take a few things apart and really clean it up to get things rolling good for the weekend. I will try out some Pro Gold bike wash to try and really make it look good. If I am not fast at least I will look good doing it. I have also heard that the bridge is out for the start/finish area. This is going to make it hard to get the car close to the cabin. The Outback has a little more clearance than cars, but not sure I will want to try and cross the creek. I will have to see how steep the banks are before I will make that decision. If I don’t, I will either be walking a bit or trying to thumb a ride on someones truck. Maybe I will see you there!!

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