Tom and some other friends did a poker run this morning that I was unable to go on. I had a lot of yard work to get caught up on so I can go on vacation next week. Anyway after I got some things planted and everything so I took the bike out and started fiddling with it. I also tested out a old car rack on our Escape to see how it worked and if it will be strong enough to haul two bikes to the beach and back next week. I definitely want to take my bikes to the beach to get in some early morning training each day.
Anyway after tinkering around with the rack and the bike I decided to load up the panniers and my gear for the trip and test it out. I wanted to see how everything measured up and see how the bike handled. I ended up heading down to the towpath and rode about 10 miles to test it out fully loaded with some extra weight. Ended up I had 58 pounds total on. I think this is probably at least 10 to 15 pounds more than I plan on carrying but I’ll have to see how everything checks out closer to the trip. The bike certainly handled a bit different. The center of gravity was a bit different and seemed to be higher than I expected but this could have been because I had a lot of extra water bottles in the front panniers. They were packed in last so they were actually at the top of the pack and above the axle so I think that had some to do with it. Next time I simulate a ride I will pay a little closer attention to things like that. But that is why we test and try things out ahead of time.
I had been worried about the tires but they seemded to handle everything well. I even road some in the grass along side the trail to simulate the Cumberland to Handcock passage which from peoples journals and pictures looks like a lot of grass. I even rode through the puddles when I could find some to test out how the handling was in the mud.
All in all I was really impressed with the handling of the bike and the smooth ride even over some of the bumpier areas. I did stop a few times to adjust a things here and there and tightened the brakes twice to handle the heaver load. The heavier bike certainly made a difference in the brakes responsiveness. I also adjusted the shift linkage because it didn’t seem to shift quite as well and has been having some problems with getting up to the high range. That has been and ongoing item I have been meaning to address. Hopefully I have it taken care of now.
Just over a month till the trip. A few rides this week and running, then next week I am at the beach. I hope to get a lot of good hard traing miles in and some good workouts riding in the softer sand as well. Then I will train hard for one more week and then do a taper and just take it easy for the week before we leave.
Then we fulfill a dream!