Single Speed Ride to Camp

I've done this ride quite a few times over the last three years but today I decided to give it a go single speed. This was the first time all year that I went all the way in as Jill's skinny tires and loose gravel are a bad combination. Eowyn's big fat Maxxis Holy Roller tires are perfect for the pavement/gravel conditions. She's geared to pretty much go anywhere but not very quickly. When you only get one gear to pick from it has to get you up the hills, gravity will get you down. On flat ground I can comfortably spin at about 20 kmph. When I reached Moose Hill I stopped at the Fire Hall for a drink and to eat a peach. I was pleasantly surprised to see I'd gone 28 km in 1 hour and 36 minutes. I was using my phone's gps to track the ride, no speedometer on the bars leaves me much more comfortable and allows me to just ride without worrying about how far or fast I'm going. The almost 18 kmph is very close to what I do with a fully geared skinny tired bike. And Eowyn is the most comfortable ride I have. The 1980's steel frame and big tires mean a smooth ride and no pain in the shorts or hands. If I could just find a place to stop to get rid of some of the gatorade, life would be just about perfect.

About 5 km up the road after passing the old MTO yard where I thought I might see a biffy but didn't, I saw a bright blue portable on the other side of the highway. Excellent. I finally took off my jacket and continued up 61 to the Sturgeon Bay Road. Now the fun begins. I knew I probably wouldn't be able to urge Eowyn up the hill just past Walker Road or the monster at the gravel pit. Hopping off and pushing was no real surprise. Cramps in my calves as I was walking were.  I reached the top of the steeper part and gingerly climbed back on, being careful not to put my leg in a position that would cause the tug of another cramp. I clipped in with my left foot and just as I began to push down I was grabbed by a huge cramp and my leg decided to stop doing anything my brain was asking. Balance went south and I fell north into the middle of the road in the middle of a hill. I quickly checked to make sure my phone hadn't jumped out of my pack, stretched my leg to alleviate the pain of the cramp and then decided I had better get my butt off the road before someone tried to crest the hill.

I got up checked things out and found no damage to the bike or myself. Pulled another long drink of gatorade and then got back on again, this time easing the pedals down and slowly building a bit of momentum. I made it up the rest of the hill and then stretched my legs in turn as I freewheeled down the hill on the newest and roughest part of the road. Another short climb follows and I rode up that one right on the edge of cramps. You can feel them just lurking, one big push and they grab that muscle and pull like a dog that stole a steak. I managed to creep up the rest of the hills and reach the highest part of the road and then glide down to the spot where you first see Lake Superior for a picture. On my first ride out here in 2007 on the CTC piece o'crap I stopped there to do the same. It felt pretty good to get here today too.

From this point it's a long run downhill back to the edge of the lake at Sturgeon Bay and then around the bay to the biggest climb. I rode to it and part way up but there was no way my legs or the gears were going to let me ride it all. I happily hopped off and pushed about 100 yards up the steepest section, climbed back on and slowly pushed the pedals the rest of the way. Down the other side back to the lake and we're done. 52km in 3 hours and 7 minutes, the new single speed record. Looking back to the post about my first trip out by bike I see that I made the top of the hill for pictures in just under 3 hours so the ss record beats that first ride on a geared bike, crap that it was.

To top off the day, the men won the Alleys rematch 3 games to 1. Three of the games went down to 1 move remaining, as close as it can get.

September 2010

August 2007

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