Sunday, October 12, 2008

Kootenays ride report

In my last post the Sekine looked like this: fresh profile bar tape on 42cm ergo drops and a 90mm stem, with Tektro levers and "euro" brake setup. Cockpit adjustments are underway, after some riding on varied terrain.

The first test was one beyond the limits of most cyclocross wheels. Scaling the edges of the rocky east shore of Slocan lake, the main objective is to avoid pinch flats. I see this as punishment for my having dropped out of New Brighton on much less treacherous ground. "Diligent" is the necessary riding style, tire pressure somewhere less than the 65psi that comfortably took me to work and back two days prior. The sentinel, Beckham, adds another degree of unpredictability to the equation; he's fast, but likely to bolt into the woods at any point.

It's difficult to determine how a bike fits on jagged rocks. All I can say is that riding along the narrow trail, the vertigo-inducing rock bed on your side is not confidence inspiring.  With your brakes switched left-right, even less. I'm not exaggerating the intensity of this trail, which makes it all that much more amazing that my mom rode it on my aunt's Brodie in May. Getting back to the current ride, though, we made it into New Denver with only one poop-on-the-tire incident.

The purpose of this trip was to see Peter Roulston, who runs the Bicycle Hospital in town. During the summer, Peter opens for business two days a week, while taking appointments beyond that. He has a basic stock of Norco catalogue bits, bins full of odds and ends collected over the years, and a couple of used bikes ready for sale. 

Talking bikes with Peter is enjoyable, and he was intrigued by my franken-conversion. The unusual part I requested was a bottom bracket (or freewheel) spacer, but it turned out that a threaded equivalent was all he could provide. While probably a couple mm wider than I needed, the freewheel side of the spare KHS wheel had a ton of thread to spare.

After buying a tube and two bottom bracket lockrings from Peter, I headed back along the lake trail with spirits high. He had also told me about a route to seek out, up the next glacial valley to the south. I wonder if I'll find anything like this steep mining cart track, which I stopped to have a look at along the way home - in the past two decades, these tracks have gone from recognizable to almost-ruined. And on the devastation track, I lowered the tire pressure a few blasts and slammed a rock shortly after this photo was taken. While somehow avoiding the New Brighton pinch flat fate, a new gouge was added to the front rim.

Back at the house, I fired up a Bialetti and got to thinking about fitment again. The hoods do feel pretty far away. The answer to this question might end up being interrupter levers, as Lyle so aptly mentioned in his comment to the last post. The reason for this inclination is how much larger this bar setup is than my last comfortable setup on the same bike - 80mm stem and 39cm bars. That's 10mm of reach and 1.5cm of width on each side, plus the extended hoods of the wannabe-brifters. (This begs a measurement of the still-assembled Marinoni.) I haven't fitted a flat bar mountain bike in a while, but this is effectively simulated with interrupters and wide drops.

I bored my family with longwinded explanations about gear ratios while switching the rear tire to the second wheel and installing the 18 tooth freewheel. The bottom bracket lockring leaves lots of threads, and alleviates the spoke head interference which had prevented the freewheel's pre-trip installation. The bearings in this hub - quite possibly an original from Camilo's stolen-in-SF Flite 100 - are reassuringly better set than my other "race loose" wheel.

With 55psi in the tires, I headed north on the rail grade down to lake level, and had a Pilsner on the beach in Rosebery. Beckham's unpredictable gallop is bigger challenge when he's got gravity on his side; I was topping out the new 60" gear trying to stay ahead of him. There are a couple fun singletrack sections at lake level, where the trail diverts from the rail line temporarily. On the way back, I took the dog to school. I actually lost him. Apparently 40/18 is a good gear for climbing rail grade.

Changes are afoot. I took today off riding to do some work around the house, but also did some as-yet-undeclared adjustments on the bike. Tomorrow I plan to ascend a new valley, from the other town on the lake, Silverton.

1 comment:

mander said...

That's pretty awesome Morgan. The sekine is looking great in its new incarnation.