Global warming continues to disappoint. With one week remaining before my 200k ride, I threw on my cold weather gear and shoved off into the teeth of a brisk northwest wind, making the 37 degree temperature feel decidedly colder. In addition to cold and wind, I was treated to some light snow flurries along the way. What joy. After 36.5 miles, I was happy to be done. This was my longest ride of the year, which leaves me slightly concerned about the 126 miles I’ll be riding next Saturday.
I’m sure everything will be fine.
In related news, I wanted to share with you my exciting attempts to rig the Trek Madone for long-distance randonneuring rides. The problem with self-supported rides of 200k or longer is you kinda need to bring a few things with you – things that won’t fit into the fist-sized saddle bag I normally use to hold a spare tube, CO2 cartridge, tire tools, and a $5 bill. I’ve used a cheap handlebar bag in the past with good success, but I wanted something more substantial to hold a rain jacket, spare gloves, or other items which can come into (or out of) use over a 15 hour event. The result is this handsome seat bag.
As you can see, it is quite a bit bigger than a typical roadie saddle bag (and it should be noted that using seat bags AT ALL is looked at with some disappointment by hardcore roadies). I like its traditional look and it will hold the stuff I want it to hold. Its biggest feature is that it is held to the bike by a leather strap through the rails underneath the seat. This is important as many seat bags rely on a clamp around the seat post to bear most of the weight. The Madone’s seat post is carbon and wouldn’t hold up well with that arrangement. It would be very unfortunate to have my seat post break 80 miles into a ride and this bag will make that event very unlikely.
Loyal readers will immediately recognize the afore-mentioned handlebar bag as well as my night light. The light is a requirement for most randonneuring events, as are reflective vests and ankle bracelets. I can now store these items in my seat bag during daylight hours. Another small item to point out is that my reflectors remain stubbornly affixed to my wheels and rear seat post. No reasonable roadie would be caught in public with these, but because I have a very strong urge to let passing motorists know I am present, I leave mine on. The sum total of seat bag, handle bar bag, light, and reflectors is the cycling equivalent of using your corvette to tow a camper. Until I break down and buy a proper touring bike, I’m afraid this is the best I can do.
All the gear tested out well. I may not be ready for the ride, but I believe my bike is!