On Saturday 19th, I will participate in my second Dirt Bag ride. www.dirtbagride.blogspot.com The ride begins and ends in Clearwater, MN. It is hosted by Ben and Brian. It is a well organized, friendly, scenic, and self-sufficient ride mostly on gravel. Even though you ride with no support, there is a checkpoint with great cookies and extra motivation. It appears that this year’s ride will be 88 miles. Last year my GPS device read that I traveled just shy of 105 miles. No doubt I had a few more miles then necessary, as I made at least 1 wrong turn.
This year I’ll be riding my Salsa Fargo. I enjoy the feel and nimbleness of this bike, both on gravel and on pavement. The Thudbuster seat stem provides the extra shock absorption necessary as the gravel roads gets gnarly. Weather conditions as of today are predicted to be a wintry mix of precipitation (30% chance) and highs in the mid-40s with light winds. This will be a good day to ride, as well as to test some clothing and hand gear options.
Last year I rode my other two wheeled wonder, a Surly Pugsley. It started off cold and windy. There was sunshine filtered through high clouds as the day progressed. I was comfortable throughout the ride. I chose the Pugsley because of the Alaskian made pogies I have for the handlebars. My hands tend to feel the cold quickly. When that occurs I focus too much on my cold hands instead of the ride. My hands remained warm, but the extra weight of the bike bogged me down for the last 25 miles of the ride. The Pugsley is a lot to move forward, especially as the body grows tired and my attitude wavers.
I have secured a wonderfully warm pair of Outdoor Research gloves.These have felt good so far in my fall rides, so I’m going to give them a much longer exposure to the elements Saturday. I’ll have plenty of back-up choices, as my Camelback hydration pack has space for extra gear and goodies.
I’m looking forward to the freedom and the serenity of Saturday’s reunion with the Dirt Bag.