Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Too Much Of A Good Thing: Snowmelt and Gear Inches.

Things look good down at 2000'.

All of the trepidation I have had about the snow pack, turned into a big case of "be careful what you wish for". Very little snow melt had occurred up until late last week when the temperatures shot 20 degrees above normal and started the snow melt in earnest. The 90 degree temps have resulted in flooding on just about every river in the area.
I rode up Mt. Spokane on Saturday and marveled at the raging Deadman Creek that runs along side the highway. The next morning when I was coming down, the road and the creek had become one. I was lucky to cross the washout when I did because during the next 12 hours the asphalt would start to break apart as the soil from underneath it washed downstream. It will be weeks before the road reopens.

At 3400' the snowmelt is causing problems.

From Mt. Spokane I rode out to Farragut again and then on Monday morning biked back to Spokane via The Palouse Highway.
Simon in NZ has been trying to simulate a 12,000 foot day of climbing and the same thing has been on my mind. With most of the big hills covered in snow I haven't really been spending that much time on long climbs. I have felt good when I go out and climb a couple of thousand feet up Mt. Spokane or Fernan Saddle but It hardly simulates the challenges ahead. My big concern is deciding what gearing to use. I thought I was pretty confident about my choice but I have been doubting of recent.
Too low of a gear and it just takes too long to cover the mileage. Too high of a gear and the climbing becomes overly punishing and the day after day leg fatigue piles up too high.
I have done the 12k climbing math but then I look at the photos and see miles and miles of terrain suitable for the higher gear. Can one tooth on the rear cog mean the difference between success and failure? Will one tooth make a difference when climbing the major passes? I still don't have the answer and I may have to flip a coin on this one if I can't get closer to a conclusion.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Click picture for the full grandeur of our camp.

I managed to get the first overnighter of the year in. My new training partner and I rode out to Farragut State Park. No real elevation gain but we kept the pace high (he is still on his road bike). We had hoped to press on to Sandpoint and come back through Newport but when I got to Athol I realized that my @#$%^&* Koobi saddle rail was broken. this was the saddle that I broke the rails after just 700 miles. When I contacted Koobi they assured me that breakage is rare and always due to improper set-up. They sent me new rails and I bought a setback seatpost in order to adhere strictly to the installation instruction which allow for basically no fore/aft adjustment. "The clamp must be centered on the rails." Enough about that stupid seat.
Farragut sits at about 3200 feet. Plenty of snow was visible in the peaks along the lake. The overnight low was about 36 degrees and I was more than comfortable. I am still not happy with the speed of my set-up and breakdown. Need more practice. In the morning I shoved my seat forward so that the break was held by the clamp. The 70 miles of headwind home was zippy despite being in an awkward position.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

New Training Partner

A strange small world coincidence has brought a GDR racer to Spokane. Some people like a little more privacy than others and because I didn't ask I won't name him. The racer has raced before and is planning on returning to Roosville. He has family in Spokane and decided to come up for some training, of course that plan may have been better if the mountains weren't still covered in snow.
Yesterday we went out for a ride. His GDR bike won't be arriving until later this week so he was riding an unloaded road bike. This made for a good opportunity for me to get a real good ass-kicking training day in. I stayed with the fully loaded, single speed rolling on mtb tires. I did my best to keep up as we made the 45 mile flat approach to Fernan Saddle. Normally I wouldn't ride 45 miles to climb a hill (even one as nice and long as Fernan) but I was curious to see how much snow there was at the top (4600 feet). It was obvious that I won't be doing any training rides in the CDA NAt Forest in the next 6 weeks. There is that much snow.
On the way back to Spokane we headed out Saltese Flats and up Highway 27 to the Palouse Highway. After 7 hours I had enough of trying to keep my cadence high enough to keep up so we said our good byes and I rode home pretty well exhausted.The hardest kind of riding for me is high cadence flats. It empties out my legs like nothing else. The good news is that 8 hours of sleep later the legs feel good again.