Monday, March 09, 2009

Wandering in Wisconsin

It's been a nice few days off so far in WS. The weather has been interesting to say the least. We had amazing weather on Friday for the drive down here. It was in the high 40's and clear and sunny all day. We ended up getting into the infamous Wisconsin Dells at about 5 o'clock and getting settled in most of the evening. Saturday brought a temp drop in into 30 deg temps with rain morning and evening. I was able to get in a nice 20 mile ride midday, which was awesome. The roads surrounding our resort are pretty quiet, with very undulating small hills. I also had a nice dog sprint mid ride, so that was fun. It was a blast to ride, and left me far more tired than I care to admit. I can say that it's spring, or that I was riding hard due to get the most out of a short ride, but basically I'm out of shape. it felt really awesome to get out though. After a long winter, just rolling again is a great feeling.

I was very happy with my bike set up as well. I made the fenders happen on the Sogn last week, in prep for the wet nasty pre-Spring riding conditions, and it was a really good choice. Much of the terrain around here is sand based, which combined with the wet roads to make all sorts of nastyness to ride through. The fenders did an amazing job of keeping both me and the bike clean. The new Ashima discs have also made a huge change in the performance of the bike. Both power and modulation have been hugely improved. The 185mm front does not feel overpowering with the 35c tires at 100psi, providing power with one finger. This matches the rear very well, and feels very motorcyclish in the feel. Since I also ride motorbikes quite a bit, this is a very natural way for me to be. I can certainly understand the argument that discs are overkill on a road bike, but I am really growing to love the fade free, quiet, and easy power on this bike. The overall mechanical aspects of the bike are working very well. I really have fallen in love with the ride quality of the Rawland with fatty road tires. It's a rock solid feel, very still under acceleration even under my SS trained 200lbs. I need to get a smaller ratio cassette for the bike, as the gravel 11-34 is a bit widely space for my liking. Even with the large tires and the portly nature of my current set up, I ran out of gear in the 46t big ring several times. A 48t may be in order, as another Rawland will be taking over gravel duty in a few weeks, so this bike will be used for road duty for the forseeable future.

Yesterday brought a huge change in the weather. We got a morning full of cold rain, then dropping temps turning into 2"s of snow over ice! I was more than a little depressed looking forward to my riding chances. Thankfully today has brought weather into the high 40's again, and it has almost all melted already. Rain is supposed to move in overnight clearing tomorrow morning, so tomorrow has a good chance of clear roads for riding again.

Meg and I have ventured into Madison for the day today. I am looking forward to the annual trip to The Yellow Jersey, if for no other reason than to say that I did. I am kind of looking for a 110 BCD Campy crank for my Bianchi, as the 144 BCD Ofmega crank is pretty limited as to gearing choices. We'll see how that goes. All for now, have a good week all.


Anonymous said...


jimmythefly said...

Yeah, lots of them in the modern era. Not sure about vintage stuff.

What fenders are on the Rawland?

Ben said...

Sorry, meant a 135mm BCD. I wrote quickly after thinking about a compact compared to a 144mm BCD. Also, writing in a hair salon via Blackberry makes for a little rushed entries. Meg's hair looks great though!

I put some of the Bike Cascadia fenders on the Rawland, the size smaller than the 29er's. I love these fenders, and they've worked really well this week. I'm looking forward to riding to work again, so they'll get a lot of miles under them.