That's what I've been doing...
Wednesday am I left my house around 10am with no particular direction, other than a distance and effort in mind, as is my norm. Initially started down towards Stagecoach thinking I'd hit gravel out that way and work my way down to Spring Valley. Saw some interesting looking gravel to my left and ended up swinging hard east/northeast and wound up in St. Charles around mile 35. After a subway stop and dropping into the local shop I was back on the road. Wound my way back towards home on the roads between 14 and 90/52, lots of unexplored territory out there for me. Got home without any major issues right at mile 61, DOH!. One lap around the block and all was well... total of 62.1 miles, 5:21 total time, 4:40? on the bike.
A lot of my rides go down quite similarly. I never quite know where I'm going to go when I start, but it always seems that things work out pretty well. I used to think I wanted a proper bike GPS with streets/roads maps on it, but I think I'd really lose something vital about these rides if I did. There is something wonderful about just riding and being out there with no worries or plans. Granted it has taken a lot of "training" (read: riding) to get to the point where I could do this without worrying about getting lost and stranded. It was only sometime in the last few months that I began to have enough confidence in my fitness and preparation to stop worrying about getting too far from home on a cold winter day. It's an addictive freedom.
I stopped by the secret location today and looked at the current status of my gravel frame... The main triangle is complete and it's looking incredible. I absolutely can't wait to take delivery. It's going to be tortuous when I do get it from Eric and then have to give it up for a couple more weeks to get painted. There is no chance of it being ready for CIRREM, but I'm not sure the conditions there would be good for it anyways. I did realize that I will need to order a seatpost clamp (which I hadn't thought of until now).
I also spoke to Steve (Magnetic Wheels) and found out that my wheelsets will be done tomorrow. Expect pictures and details as soon as I have them. They are as light and aggressive as the gravel frame.
Lastly, I think I'm going to go with Shimano XT disc hubs laced to velocity p35 rims for my everyday 29er wheelset. I've heard good things about those rims and that should make for a durable wheelset that isn't terribly heavy. Plus they will work well tubeless at low pressures and will have a nice wide footprint for in the winter. The big question is black or red? I may try to stuff a 29er front wheel into the Marin frame for some testing. I believe it will fit with my salsa cromoto 26" fork with room to spare and will only change the geometry slightly, if at all, from the way I was last riding it with the 4" suspension fork on it. That said, I've always found that the biggest 29er advantages come from the rear wheel... so dunno why I'm even really considering it.
Southern Winds this Week. - Well it appears I've been slacking in updates this week. For only a 3 day week at school, lots was packed in. Tuesday was Brinna's last home swim meet of ...
10 hours ago