Tuesday, September 2, 2014

New Bike 'Day' - Rawland rSOGN

The garage looks a bit different than it did when I went ahead buying the rSOGN off of a RCOG Google groups member, I had intended this buy to satisfy two things; first to be my fat tire trail bike replacing the MB-5 for riding out in Winchester and also at local trail parks and second to satisfy my curiosity with low trail geometry.  After my calamity on the Saluki however those two reasons became a distant second/third to the everyday geared commuter usage until such a time that I get the Saluki rolling again.  Having plenty of versatile bikes in the stable has it's pluses!

While it threw a monkey wrench in my life for the past couple weeks the disassembly of the Saluki did offer some sweet components for the initial build up of the rSOGN!  The brakes, wheels/tires and full drive train all made the transfer to the new frame.  This gives me a good base for setting aside delta's with the components for my initial impressions of the rSOGN.

Here is the build;

Frame: Size ML Rawland rSOGN, stock fork cut to 2.75" above headset
Headset: Cane Creek
BB: Shimano sealed bearing
Cockpit: Moustache Bars, Ritchey 17deg,90mm stem, inner tube tape
Seat: SQ Labs 610 (probably going to be replaced w/ my B17, Kalloy seatpost
Pedals: MKS Grip Kings
Brakes: Paul Stoplight Cantis
Brake Levers: Shimano aero
Shifters: Silver shifter, friction (right only for now)
Crankset: WI Eno, 44T single chainring
Cassette: Shimano 8 spd 12-34T
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Exage
Chain: KMC 8 spd
Wheels: Shimano 105 rear w/ synergy 36T, Shimano dyno front w/ synergy 36T
Tires: GB Hetre EL

I've gotten two moderate rides under my belt of 14 and 20 miles at this point and really like the bike.  I'm holding off getting to definitive with impressions till my fitness catches back up to pre-crash levels and I get some more time on the bike. The stability of the bike, particularly the 'no-hands' stability is impossible to ignore.  I wish I had another inch in stem height somehow and might end up looking for a steeper angled stem to get me a bit of that but I'll probably wait till I try out the build with noodle's first.

That Carradice saddle wedge has seen a TON of use since @dailyrandonneur gifted it to me during a #FMCC!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Forbidden Passage

Lake Waccamaw in NC is a gorgeous, wonderful spot I've been going to with family since I was a kid, the lake is very shallow and hosts an amazing array of plants and wildlife.  (it was also the site of my first #coffeeneuring outing last Oct!) My Mom recently retired to a nice house right on the water and we've been spending alot more time down there.  Several bike related projects include the relocation of our Univega 26" wheeled Tandem and a step through cruiser project that has had some issues but seems to be rolling now.

The XO-3 hanging out at the end of the State Park pier... I like the minimalism.  The lake is only about 7 miles wide at any point so you get a feel for how foggy it was this morning.
The Lake is a great place to bike as it's flat and has a road that goes about 2/3 of the way around the lakeshore.  My goal in this most recent visit was to figure out a way through that other 1/3... entering Lake Waccamaw State Park.  According to the maps it hosts a number of trails that are marked for hiking but don't specifically exclude bicycles.  With my single speed XO-3 and some 1.9"ish cruiser tires I decided to give it a go.

I'll give myself a partial success here, I did force my way through the quite challenging shore trail in the State Park but found myself stymied at the end by a hi water dam that just didn't look safe to cross.  So I got the dubious pleasure of forcing my way back through the sandy, swampy and rooted trail back to asphalt.  A great adventure though it was damp and I was thoroughly beat down by the end of it.

Some random facts and background on the Lake;

NC State Park site for Lake Waccamaw

Dept of Natural Resources discussion on Carolina Bays
-Lake Waccamaw is the largest of the Carolina Bay instances and apparently they are quite a mysterious geological/biological formation

Council Tools
-Anyone looking for Made in the USA steel tools and Axes can look no further, they make exceptional drop forged tools right here w/in a mile of the lake. They got there start supporting the local turpentine industry

The next day my wife and I completed the other half of the ride all on pavement via the tandem and had a great ride. Enjoy the pictures;

That darned drainage creek and the hi water dam really fouled it up for me but it was a good ride all the same.
Speeding through the paved section of the State Park.

The Park Service does a pretty regular prescribed burn policy to encourage the natural growth cycle of the pine trees that actually depend on fire to germinate the next generation of trees.

Smoke on the water eh?!?  This is from the pier pictured earlier in the post along the coastline that I followed via the trail.  Primordial comes to mind...

Another prescribed burn and a fresh one at that, the trail is along the right hand side of the frame.

Trail work needed, much of the trail was fire road in width as it is here but it was also marshy and or sandy with the lake encroaching from the right and the swamp coming in from the left.

Here we have a big tree down and while I nearly turned around I decided to risk snakes and other beasts and slide through underneath pushing the bike ahead.  Having to do it a second time on my return trip really freaked me out b/c I hate snakes and this seemed like the perfect haven for them.  I made it through without a sighting thank goodness!

I don't have much in the way of great photo's of the swamp, I was beat down tired and dripping with sweat and condensation the whole way.  But this view is typical of the left inland side of the trail.

Ahhhh... so close and yet so far.  The water was pretty darn hi and I decided not to wade across carrying the bike.  Another time perhaps.  No pictures from the return ride, I was pretty disheartened at the time but having done it twice solidifies my mind against trying this trail again any time soon!