Friday, October 18, 2013

The Grass Valley Loop.

Really? Only 2400 feet?!

I was finally able to ride my Grass Valley "century" in September this year! My schedule just worked out that way this year, very late indeed. I'm looking forward to retiring next year so I can maintain a more efficient riding schedule! Well, there are advantages to doing this ride in the ninth month of the year, temperatures are starting to trend cooler, and the sun isn't quite so strong now. Indeed, because of a recent cold front passage, temperatures were downright cool at the start of the ride. Anyway, I got started around 8 a.m. and proceeded through Lincoln and Sheridan, then headed for Camp Far West...
Between Sheridan and Camp Far West.

The rice fields have been harvested and mowed down. Still, a nice view across the valley. Camp Far West Road was in normal condition. There was considerable washboard. Because we had had a little rain a couple of days before, there was practically no dust! That was nice. The washboard did induce the first mechanical issue of the ride...the front fender bolt under the fork crown loosened and the fender started to rattle a bit. I stopped and tightened it down. (Have to Loctite that bolt when I get home!)
At the junction of Camp Far West Road and Waldo Road.

Other than that it was smooth sailing, the Mercian behaved very well on the gravel. 
End of the dirt at Chuck Yeager Road. 3 hours into the ride at this point.

The only other mechanical problem I encountered on this ride was a flat while on Highway 20, just before Penn Valley. It took me a few minutes to dig out the thorn from the inside of the case-note to self-pack a small knife in the tool kit!

Indeed, the rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. I reached Grass Valley at 5 hours 23 minutes into the ride and stopped for a break at the Raley's there, buying some liquids and eating a sandwich I'd packed. No physical problems were encountered during the ride,  although I almost had a cramp climbing out of Meadow Vista, but avoided it by downshifting and sitting for a while.
In Auburn! (At 8 hours, 7 minutes).
Finally rolled into home at 8 hours and 49 minutes, a little slow for me, don't know why, have to try harder next year! 
The Mercian's looking pretty good after the ride.

Mechanically, the Mercian worked quite well. The handling was very good in the gravel, and as usual, its road manners were very nice. Other than the flat and the loosened front fender there were no problems. My major problem was with the saddle. I got a blister from it on the left side. Not sure if the problem is with the saddle or the shorts. The saddle doesn't feel bad initially and on short rides, so I'm not sure of the culprit here.