This past Saturday morning brought forth the usual yearning for a nice pre-work-commute stretch of Gravel Grinding courtesy of Adams Street, but was fueled by a bit of a manic edginess that has returned since my decision to ditch booze. The weather was perfect with a nice (stiff) West wind (which makes for a good tail wind for the return home), and the temperature sitting at just below freezing (which keeps the mud at bay…or so I thought).
A quick 5 miles passed, and I was feeling strong and antsy. Vintage Road caught my eye as I crested the last hill before reaching that mile-long level-B beauty. The decision was made with little of my logic’s consent, I was going to make that turn south onto Vintage…and turn south I did.
The north side of the first hill was still wearing its snow and ice coating, and someone had recently taken a road grader down the stretch, improving to a “Level B+”. The top of the hill was a different story. The warm sunshine had begun blending ice, snow, and dirt into a muddy soup, but I drove on. (the picture in the header of this blog is of the view from the top of the first hill on that day) The mud began building up in my stays, moving on to my chain, crankset, brakes, and some even flew up and landed inside my boot (thanks to the Lake shoe company for that little design flaw in the MXZ302 boots).
At the bottom of the hill came the end of my heroics, stopping just before the mud had sucked my rear derailleur into oblivion. A combination of tire levers, fingers, and snow worked for half an hour cleaning the peanut butter mud from components and frame. Back on the road, I tried to stick to the snowy sides, avoiding the exposed mud bog. Half a mile later the end of Vintage came, dry gravel bringing a normal cruising speed and flying mud chunks flinging through the air.
The rest of the ride continued without a hitch, except for a little chain noise, reaching home after another 25 miles. I won’t be going down Vintage road in the mud any time soon. I would rather try out sprinting farm dogs.