Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ridley Test Ride

I took the Ridley 'cross rig out for a 90 minute jam session at lunch today. I figured I'd hit some of the stuff I do with a mountain bike. One was the cell tower climb near Fidelity off Exit 10 in Merrimack. It was looser than normal. I didn't stand a chance with 35mm, 50psi tires. I had to dismount twice. Would have been iffy even on the MTB though, so I wasn't too concerned.

I was very pleased with the rolling resistance of the Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires and medium weight tubes I just installed. I'm quite certain this combo rolls faster than the 28mm, 90psi road tires I used for the D2R2 ride this year. I had no trouble cruising 22-24mph with these knobbies. Since most of the Iron Cross course is packed gravel or paved, the tires are a keeper.

I next hit Greens Pond Rd, a nice 2-3 minute dirt road climbing interval. Recently graded, it made for a good in-the-saddle grind.

I worked my way over to Mine Falls park in Nashua. I planned to ride my normal MTB loop minus a couple tid bits that were too high of pinch flat risk. I went in behind the Home Depot off Exit 6. No more than 15ft off the pavement, I hit a root that pinched my front tire hard. It did not flat. I quickly learned that I have been taking 2.1" tires and suspension for granted. The next 30 minutes proceeded to pound my body. I could not stay seated for fear of pinch flatting the rear tire. I know the Iron Cross course has changed a lot since I last did it. I just hope there is a lot less bony ATV trail than last time. Else an MTB would still be a faster bet vs. getting flats with a 'cross bike. I was still quite pleased with how well the Schwalbe's hooked up in all the variable conditions I encountered.

Even though I fussed with the front derailleur, I could not get it quiet in half of the gears. It has to do with the funky FSA derailleur. It is very narrow and seems to be offset for a different seat tube angle or something. I scrounged around and found an older Ultegra Triple front derailleur that was top mount, bottom pull. A short spin in the 'hood this evening says it will work much better.

By the end of my 90 minute lunch jam, I could tell the narrow, hard saddle had to go too. No way I was going to suffer four hours on that butt wedge of pain. I took the Terry Fly off my Dean 'cross bike. It is now half-way stripped to being a frame at this point. I may just list it on Ebay as a frame. Another semi-recovery ride at lunch tomorrow should prove out these 11th hour changes.

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