South to Stebbinsville

There’s a theme developing–whenever Michael and I ride together it’s either cold, wet, or cold and wet. Yesterday wasn’t cold per se, but it was cool for the second week in June, as well as overcast and looking a bit like rain. I’m sure this will all change as summer progresses–unless we are very lucky.

A common view from today's ride.

I like weather like this and would count myself lucky if I could ride on 60 degree overcast days for the entire summer. Not likely though.

Stebbinsville Loop

This week’s route (full version at Garmin Connect) started out in the same way that last weekend’s route did, but diverged at Schneider Road so that we could ride Hawkinson, Lake Kegonsa, Old Stage, and Stebbinsville roads.

After crossing the Yahara River at the old Stebbinsville dam (removed last year), we worked our way back north on Washington, Koshkonong, and Door Creek roads. Somewhere near the end of this segment (on Door Creek?) Michael broke a spoke on his rear wheel, so we decided to take a shorter route into town via Sigglekow and Marsh roads.

I ended with 60 miles in 3:50 with a moving average speed of 15.9 mph. I’m getting to the point where I can ride all day long at a pace between 14-16mph without pushing myself into the red zone. This pleases me, as it’s neither riding too hard nor too slow and doesn’t leave me incapacitated when I get home afterwards.

The Yahara at Stebbinsville

This was something of a creeks and rivers ride. We crossed or rode near Badfish Creek several times, crossed the Yahara River on Stebbinsville Road, and later crossed Door Creek on our way back into Madison. While crossing Badfish Creek at some point south, it occurred to me that one could put together a fairly interesting ride just by trying to cross Badfish Creek as many times as possible; the same goes for the Yahara River.

I’d like to say the same for the Rustic Roads in Dane County, Rock, and Green counties–but there are precious few of them. It turns out that I’ve ridden all of the ones in Dane county in the last several weeks in the course of other rides, as well as several in neighboring counties.

Bike geekery

Every ride, besides a ride, is also a test of gear, clothing, and configuration. I can’t help that I just like to mess with things. And I keep these notes mostly for my own benefit, so that there’s some chance of remembering what occurred to me while out on the road.

I rode the Soma ES again, partly with an eye toward future randonneuring setup and partly with an eye toward riding it for the HHH if I can solve or at least mitigate the La Raza’s front-end oscillation problem.

Saddle. Went back to the Velo Orange Model 1 (on the VO seatpost) after riding the mismatched Brooks B-17 and Ritchey post combination, which didn’t have enough setback. The Model 1 has finally started to cross the line between not-quite-comfortable and comfortable. It’s not quite there yet, but one more ride and some VO Saddle Care and it will be just right.

Baggage. Every time I take a long ride in the country, I’m more convinced that a rack- and decaleur-mounted handlebar bag is the way to go. There are three reasons why I think this would work better: 1) easy access to snacks, the camera, and the phone; 2) digging out spare clothing or food doesn’t require dismounting (or even stopping, if you’re good); and 3) the map in full view at all times instead of buried in a jersey pocket. The only question now is which bag (I already have the rack).

Bottle cages. The light-gauge wire cages (from I don’t know where) don’t seem to be holding up that well, and tend to let larger bottles (or anything a little heavier like stainless steel bottles) bounce around quite a bit. Probably time to replace them with either King cages or the less attractive but ridiculously solid Planet Bike button cages.

Knickers. Would that I could ride in knickers year-round. The combination of a Bellwether padded liner short (with a decent pad) and Endura Zyme knickers was just about perfect. The perfect was marred only by the fact that the knickers themselves are reaching the point where they are too big to wear (I keep losing weight). It would be nice if they were black too, but gray is almost as good.

Base layer. This was a trial run for the new Ibex micro-light wool t-shirt that I bought a couple of weeks ago and I have to say that it’s perhaps the perfect cool-weather base layer. It would have been even better, I suspect, if I’d worn a long-sleeve wool jersey instead of a short-sleeve synthetic jersey with synthetic arm warmers (which it was never warm enough to remove).

Gloves. Didn’t wear any, and it worked out fine. I’ve never liked short-fingered gloves anyway, so I’m going to continue my no-glove experiment. Took a pair of light wool gloves in case it got cold or started raining, but didn’t need them.

Shoes and socks. For some reason, the combination of SIDI Dominator shoes and some lightweight Endura wool socks–even though I’ve used this same combination at least a dozen times this Spring–left me with a hotspot on my right foot near the big toe. A mystery, but one I’ll keep an eye on; foot pain sucks.

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