Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back to the Dirt

For a while I have been riding on the road and enjoying my fixed gear conversion bike. My plan for the next big challenge is to participate in the D2R2 on/off road ride in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on August 21, 2010. The 100k version, which I will do, has about 8,500 feet of climbing, and 70% dirt /30% paved roads. For this, I have returned to my training ground of Caumsett Park on Long Island. Its 1800 acres has a 2.5 mile rolling paved loop, and miles of varied and beautiful dirt roads and trails. I will pay particular attention to climbing, as that is a large part of the D2R2 course, including 27% gravel strewn hills.
A few years ago I built a bike for cyclocross and raced a few times, never finishing last. Just riding on/off road is a lot of fun and great "cross" training. It was built from an EBay Jamis Nova NOS 2001 frame with Reynolds 631 tubing. The gearing is 26/36/46 on the crankset and 11-32 on the cassette. This provides a very wide gearing range, good for muddy fields and off road climbs, quite the opposite of fixed gear riding ! Bar end shifters are simple and cool looking. Mavic Open Pro Gray extra hardened rims have been reliable for years. The tires are Ritchey Speedmax 700cx32c, providing great cornering, traction, and dry paved road speed. I have a rack on the back, with an Arkel Tailrider 11 liter capacity bag. It also fits a Topeak Road Morph pump, my nomination for the best pump ever. This bag is quite convenient and tough, and has a built in rain cover, should the need for protection arise. I think that this setup will do me well in a ride like D2R2.

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