Monday, March 29, 2010

Daffodils and Gravel

I read Gnatlikes and Adventure Monkey and they just go on and on about how great riding on gravel secondary roads is. I really couldn't see what the fuss was all about because most of my previous experience with this type of riding was somewhat underwhelming. Most of the gravel riding I have done was last summer and fall using my full suspension Giant Anthem. If you are on steep and technical singletrack your ego doesn't suffer too much when you barely maintain enough speed to keep from falling over, but on dirt and gravel roads it just makes you feel slow and weak. I was hoping to finally get in some miles on gravel this winter with my new Giant TCX but the weather has only recently moderated enough that I can finally go riding (Almost all of the gravel and dirt roads in my area are between 2500-4200 feet of elevation way back in the mountains.) Even after two weeks of sunshine and great weather there is still snow in some areas.

Until last Wednesday roads, gravel and otherwise, were a means to an end, that end usually being singletrack. Now with the roads being mostly open my opinion of roads has changed to one of tolerance to genuine enjoyment. I was able to string together 35+ miles of gravel along with 3,000 feet of climbing to make things interesting. If you give me a choice between 5 miles of smooth trails and 10 of roads I will always pick the trails but I still can't forget the enormous grin on my face when I spun out my big ring on a gravel road surrounded by some of the best scenery in Western Virginia.

This ride was the longest ride with the most climbing I have done so far this year and I was scared that I wouldn't be able to get back to the Passat, luckily my fears were groundless. Other than a near bonk in the last ten miles which was quickly fixed with an energy gel or two I had no problems. While there is good weather rides on roads will always be a second choice but they can challenge me much more than my normal trail rides so I hope to soon take a whole Saturday and see if I can break the 50 miles mark.

My first real gear review coming up Wednesday!

Till next time,

1 comment:

hope said...

I love the last pict! Some serious apeture going on there!