September 17, 2016 – Chenaux 200 & 38s

Ride Report from Dave Thompson:

What do they have in common?  Read on…

Stepping back a bit, prior to the Manitoulin 1000 I changed out my bag setup, opting for a new frame bag that I’d bought and carrying a waterproof stuff sac on my back rack.  For all the other rides of the season, I’d had a conventional cycling bag on my rear rack and also had a largish bag on my handlebars.  That provided plenty of room, plenty of wind resistance and I carried a ton of stuff on the mountainous 1200s.  I wanted to change that for the Italian Miglia 1600.  More climbing and warm weather; surely I wouldn’t need as much storage space.

The new frame bag worked well — it is suspended front to back from my top tube.  It isn’t huge but it did the job for tools and misc stuff.  Clothing went into the stuff sac at the back.  The only thing that I was missing was a readily accessible top tube bag (on top of the tube) for wallet and minor things.

So, I knew what I wanted to carry, bag-wise, on the 1600.

I also wanted to try new tires — Grand Bois 38s specifically — that I’d bought prior to Manitoulin, but decided at the last moment not to use them. Before heading to Italy, I mounted the 38s; never having ridden on them.  I gave them a test ride of a few km the two days before the 1600 and put 28s — my usual tires — in my drop bags “just in case”.  The 38s felt good, albeit something like riding a full suspension bike.  With pressures between 50 & 60 psi, that might be expected.  These are also very supple walled tires, further exacerbating the “bounce” or, if you will, bump absorption.

Those 38s were wonderful in Italy.  The roads were very rough and they just ate up the bumps.  I had no problems whatsoever; I absolutely love the tires.

The day before the AGM Chenaux 200, just before I left for Ottawa, I realized that I should really mount my fenders as it was supposed to rain.  Clearances were tight, so tight that I had to reverse the bolts in the front fender so that the screw heads were inside the fender vs the screw end/nut.  Was that too close?  Nawww…

Starting that 200, I hadn’t been on the bike for almost a month.  My bike rode in the car, packed in its case, the entire time that Sandy and I travelled in Italy.  Lots of driving, a little walking, not much exercise.  Good food, good wine, I put on, as I figured it, about 5 pounds of mozzarella!

We started the ride at 8am — Guy, Dick, Alan, Bill, Bojana, Peter, Vytas and me — and I soon dropped off the back.  I always do that.  My time off the bike was catching up to me.  I was really dragging.  I figured that if this was what a month off the bike had done to me, this was going to be a long, long day.

It got worse.  I decided to stop and check my wheels.  The front wheel would barely turn.  Assuming that it was the brakes, I checked those — nope.  Then I realized that it was the front fender.  The front light had slipped down a little pressing the fender down (they’re both attached by a common bolt) and that few mm caused the tire to rub on those screw heads at the crown.  Luckily I had the necessary tools — Allan and box-end wrench — so I moved the light and fender up and away I went.  Great!

I soon caught up to others and was able to enjoy the ride.  We all finished within an hour of each other — first ones around 5:45 pm.

This is a very pretty ride; I highly recommend it.  Yes, we did get rain.  We also got incredible views of the Ottawa River, crossed over to Quebec, took a ferry trip back — I had my $3 fare ready — and finished up in Kanata.

It’s relatively flat, a perfect AGM ride.  Controls are nicely spaced.  The penultimate Control, just before the ferry, is a bar info-control.  The question is “what is the price of a quart of Molson Ex”.  Not to be outdone, Peter Grant had to prove the price by buying one and consuming.  Dick shared and made a shandy which didn’t quite go down well … probably the beer by itself would have been better!

Guy was a perfect organizer, giving us lots of tips before the ride covering services along the route and ensuring that we all had our $3.

This is a ride that I’d definitely do again!  I would love to do it in better weather — wouldn’t you know, Friday and Sunday were sunny; Saturday we had rain.

Oh yes, there was a nice section of heavy gravel that had been “added” within a few days of the ride.  Bill Pye had done the ride a week earlier as a Permanent and the gravel wasn’t there.  Of course my 38s ate it up!

So, how does one add excitement to rides?  Well, use a different setup for each one.  You’ll never get bored.  New bags for the 1000.  New tires for the 1600.  Add fenders for the 200.  What next?

There is a postscript.  When I got home, my front tire was flat.  It had a significant hole on the inside, not on the tread-side.  I couldn’t figure out what caused that, and after all, I’d done the 1600 in Italy with the same tires and tubes and had only deflated and inflated them in between.  Not finding anything, I remounted with a new tube; perhaps it was a fluke.

Sure enough, yesterday, after riding the day before, the tire was still inflated.  I’m sure it was a fluke.

This morning that tire is flat … back to the drawing board!

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