Today was going to be the day. Good forecast. I’d exhausted the pups with not one but two excursions on Saturday. Got tons of yard and house work done so the old guilty conscience wasn’t gonna be so guilty no more.
I awoke, made breakfast, walked the pups, and got ready to set out. Then I made a mistake. I changed plans in midstream. Why not take the Poprad? I thought. Yeah, and I’ll put those Rivendell Jack Brown (green label) tires on there, that I’ve had since last fall. Well, it was a stupid thing to do.
First the awesome Continental tubes, which had hardly lost any air since early October (yikes), the one on the front rim blew while I was re-inflating with the new tire. Ouch, that really, really hurts the ear drum. So I knocked around the junk pile and found another tube, a Novara branded one. It developed a leak almost immediately after getting everything put together. A tiny pinhole hole. What? And mind you, getting those Jack Browns on, at least on to Velocity Fusion rims, is nasty. My thumb is literally bruised. And all the ridges worn off – so if ever there was a time to go on a crime spree it would be now. Just have to remember to do everything with my thumbs. Then I stole the spare tube out of my Carradice bag only to realize… it had a Schrader valve. I silently found myself dumbfounded. I had been carrying around a Schrader-valved tube since, oh, I don’t know how long? A year, more? On High Pass Challenge, on Ride around Puget Sound? I had patches, but still. Oy.
So, I went to Plan D and stole the spare out of the SurlyLady’s bag, and lo and behold I got everything put together! Who cares if I have no feeling left in my thumbs! (At this point I think I’d mounted the equivalent of four tires). Let me go to pump this up… what the… ah, no. The stem isn’t long enough for the semi-deep rims. My stand pump wouldn’t bite, and the extender thing I have didn’t work at all. No jokes please, ladies.
So I went and fiddled around in the junk pile in the bike room and finally found a tube with a 48mm stem, got that sucker on there for now the fifth tire mounting and then… noticed a bulge near the stem, oh crap the tire’s bead is outside the rim, quick deflate before it blows!!! And whew it worked out. Undid everything, and put it back together. Yes, the sixth tire mount. At this point I’m sobbing, and the pups look at me with only slightly diluted contempt.
With the tire worked out I quickly get everything else ready and soon I’m hitting the road. To discover that the amazingly voluminous Jack Browns (they’re rated at 33.3333333333333333333333333 or so) are too big for my fenders. The 32 Schwalbe Marathons worked great, but these tires were just too big, every little pebble was getting rattle-stuck. So, back to the garage, and quickly off with the fenders, and now back on the road. A couple of miles later I remember, to my dismay, that the Carradice bag rubs on the tire when either out of saddle or going downhill, when there isn’t a fender to help. It’s a very slight thing, and not noticeable when in the garage, but becomes so irritating on the road to have canvas rubbing accompany every pedal stroke. No jokes please, ladies.
So after only a few miles I regretfully decided fate was trying to tell me something. I turned back, out-of-saddled all the way up Frisbee Hill, noticing how much more lively the Jack Brown tires were, even when not super over inflated (I was experimenting to find the best balance of comfort and speed). I’m excited to give these tires a real test, and will one day soon. One nice thing is they’ll soon have some new friends: I recently noticed that Velo Orange was having an anniversary sale so I bought some nice shiny bits for the Poprad, including hammered aluminum fenders – they should look sweet with the checkerboard tires. Not that, uh, such a thing is important. I ordered two sets of those 45mm fenders, and will use the other on the Vaya. There’s an article in the recent Bicycle Times that literally shows those fenders going on a Vaya, so I figured that’s good enough for me (I’ve had my share of buying fenders only to realize they won’t work with a certain bike, and was particularly concerned about the disc-shod Vaya and Poprad).
When I returned home the pups were so excited to see me, Cooper was literally jumping in the air so much I thought he’d swallowed a pogo stick. What else could I do but take them for a proper hike? So we headed north, to the Lime Kiln Trail. It was a mudpuddle kind of day below, but a little bit of sun above. Best of all, I was able to wear a t-shirt! How long it’s been…
Clearly, I'm the follower in this pack...
When we first arrived the lots were nearly full; worse, we were getting started just ahead of a noisy group of college kids. Quick pups, I said, let’s hoof it! And we did. I’m not super anti-social (okay I am) but nothing’s worse than a large group of hikers yelling and laughing, echoing around, making you regret you just didn’t go promenading at Green Lake.
We managed to stay about a quarter mile ahead of this loud crew as we double timed it. At one point were were jogging through the forest when I heard a vicious growling behind me and, lo!, a miniature doberman was nipping at my heels! We turned and put up a valiant rear guard action until he backed down and headed toward the noisy group. We triple timed it and put enough space between us so we could start to slow down and enjoy the scenery of Robe Canyon:
Is Dis Robe?
We had a lovely time. The dogs really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the PB&J sammich while sitting riverside. Then on the way back I started feeling… odd. Really sleepy, really tired. Could hardly keep my eyes open. We got back to the car after what seemed forever (7 mile roundtrip) and I realized I was seeing some signs of a cold or something.
Tonight then we all sat on the couch, I had lots of hot tea, and we watched some mediocre movies on Netflix. Someday soon though, I will get out there on an adventure ride… I got a taste of it today, the warmth of the sun, the fresh spring breeze, the sound of brifters clacking.