Abby Watson models one of the three new La Cubiste colors - Rhodamine/Celeste.
The family keeps growing. La Cubiste has a couple more brothers and sisters as we head into springtime around here, around everywhere. It seems to be a common theme in this part of the world as the Wooly Mammoth Junior Racing Squad seems to grow by twos these days. But that is an entirely different plot line. A few weeks ago, on "lunch ride extended" we took advantage of a spot of sunshine and just went for it. 27 flat tires later and we knew that we were onto something.
Ok, it wasn't that many flats, but it feels like that when you are trudging along through that heavy gravel that makes you feel like you're going nowhere. The stuff that makes it hard to start again. The kind where the smallest pieces, the heavy dust and the like, quickly drift to the bottom layer and raise up the larger chunks. The ones that jump up and ding your top tube, or slap against your toe as you're trying to keep up with Abby Watson (that was me.)
The Wilcox has absolutely no problem whatsoever with gravel of any sort.
Years ago I had an "altercation" with just this kind of gravel and it is something that I still think of whenever I run across this surface. When my front tire starts to no longer hold, when the pedaling doesn't bring the rear around, that is when I remember the backroads of Wisconsin and that summer after I got my drivers license. Long story short is was just this kind of gravel that bit me in the ass as I tried to show off my Toyota Corolla driving skills to my friend Mike. We had a loop that we would do out of town and I had gotten pretty good at it, albeit without the fresh gravel.
As I made the turn onto this now infamous road I could tell that something was different. The tires weren't hooking up the way that they usually did and my knee jerk reaction was to over-steer. I'm sure you can imagine what happened next, but it went on like that for a what seemed like ages, over steering and then over correcting in a herky-jerky manner that I'm sure amused more than a few cows. Then, my car went into and immediately out of the right side ditch (would that be starboard side? I believe it is) and found its demise by impaling itself into the front of a large oak tree.
Everyone was fine. In fact, had I not hit the tree, things would have been much worse off. I missed the cherry Camaro to the left of it, and the farm house to the right. Hitting either of those would have been much worse. The farmer was actually quite gracious and hilarious looking back on it now. Not only did I smash into the one tree in his front yard, but I broke into his house to use the phone afterward (his door was open, what?). "Shit, this has happened four times already this week" was what he said when my dad and I rolled up later in the day. "It happens every time they lay that new gravel down."
That is exactly what races through my head when we hit those roads. First it is the big ring thought, keep moving over this stuff, keep the chain smooth. Then it is the steering - "tops or drops" as Joe Staples would say. Then, after all that has been taken care of and I can no longer avoid the thought, as my tires drift and whip their way across the the road... I start thinking about my gold colored Corolla buried deep into the crook of that tree.
So, when you start plucking away at those gravel road rides this season, keep an eye out for that "new gravel." Not that the old stuff wasn't just as bad.
Seriously, where the hell did this crew come from?