I'll start with this past weekend's Ralleye ride! A group of bike enthusiasts in Fort Collins hosts a series of "Ralleye Rides" through the winter. These rides are long, all-day events, usually covering a fair distance on a combination of paved road, dirt road, and even a little trail (and snow later in the winter!). To me, it seems to be a nice way to shake the winter blues and make good use of limited day light.
The first stop of the day: bagels, beer, bourbon, all consumed.
Yesterday I mounted my Salsa Casseroll, outfitted with a fixed gear 42x16 setup and Michelin Mud2s pumped to 75 psi, and joined this group of riders. We rode from the Bean Cycle in downtown FoCo up to Red Mountain Open Space, up some singletrack connecting to Soapstone Prairie Natural Area, and back to town.
By the way, 42x16 is pretty damn close to 40x15.
I forgot my wallet at home, and spent the day mooching off of everyone for food and drink, and hope the small flask of bourbon I brought was payment enough for their generosity.
Heading to Red Mountain.
The ride north was a lovely jaunt through Northern Colorado farmland, with the sun shining and a late Indian Summer warming the crew.
Captain Practicality won the coveted "Most Practical Bike for a Dirt / Singletrack / Road Ride" award. He turned around at the singletrack and we still beat him home. As Bikefag put it, "I think he learned quite a bit today."
At the singletrack trailhead, a few people on less-than-ideal bikes (like Captain Practicality) decided to turn back. The rest of us continued to the summit (my 42x16 gearing was less than ideal here) where we enjoyed some food, drink, and a lovely view of a fast-approaching low pressure system.
Heading up the singletrack.
40 - 50 mph winds kicked up, and we thought it best to descend to the Soapstone parking area. It was my first time descending singletrack on a fixed gear road bike with CX tires. It was super fun, aside from the wind that was, at times, strong enough to literally blow you off the trail.
Cold front! The shittiness of the weather corresponds exponentially to one's proximity to the Wyoming border.
At the parking lot, Bikefag and Josh and I were tired of standing in the cold, so we decided to leave the crowd and head for home. After the 2 most unpleasant miles I've ever experienced on a bike (straight into a 35 mph headwind, uphill, on an overgeared fixie on dirt), we turned south and formed a nice echelon and team time trial-esque rotation. We surfed the cross wind back to town at a good clip.
At this point, I parted ways with my "team" and met up with the rest of the crew at the Bar Double S for a mooched beer, and soaked in the last of the day's rays.
No better way to spend the first day of Daylight Losings Time.