January 1, 2005: Dropping the ball on 2005

My last ride ended in a DQ (See December 24, 2004: Going out with a whimper) and I haven't ridden in over a week, so it was critical that I get in decent mileage today. Problems. It was far too muddy to take Blue out (and I'm holding her in reserve for the race season anyway), and it was also too wet for me to feel comfortable riding the Blade. With the Hoo-E down indefinitely, where was a Cannonball to turn?

Yukon king, on husky!
The 48-tooth big boy
Squalls over the Pacific

Yukon to the rescue. Yukon is a Giant Yukon, circa 1994, first purchased new by ChewwyB and later given to Bonzai as his number one mountain bike. It is now my dusty commuter bike. After Bonzai inherited his current Cannondale, he was going to toss Yukon, which had deteriorated to a greasy, crusty, florescent-sticker covered liability. I took it on as a project, stripped it completely down, and rebuilt it from the nuts up. It might not look it, but this bike has been through the wars. Bonzai rode at least one Markleeville Death Ride on it.

Yeah, it may be heavier than Karl Rove's conscience should weigh on him at hight (if he had one), but it has a 48-tooth big ring that usually makes up for its limited 7-ring cassette. With the slick tires and the big ring, I figured I would be able to keep my speed up to a reasonably challenging level, especially on the flats and the downhills.

Yukon has been in the deep freeze for a couple of years though, so it needed some work before I could get it out on the road. I got it out of the rafters of the shed, put on some clipless pedals, lubed and cleaned it, added a computer and a bell, pumped up the tires and presto -- instant bike, just add water (later).

The Verde out-and-back is a good 30-mile route. It follows the coastal bikepath down to Half Moon Bay, picks up Higgins-Purissima road out to Verde road, which reaches a bit further south before turning into Los Lobitos road; turn around and head for home. The temp was nice when the wind wasn't blowing, chilly when it was. The skies were mostly cloudy with big, fluffy South Seas clouds that darkened large patches of sea and sky. Far out over the water, I could see multiple rain squalls touching down.

With the clouds and recent rain, everything is in verdant splendor and the sound of trickling watercould be heard everywhere. There were enough scattered sprinkles on the outward journey to force me to get the rain shell out, but I quickly put it away and thought I could get through the rest of the ride without it. On the return trip though, I got to the bottom of the Grapevine when the skies opened up and all hell busted loose. It poured on me for the entire climb, down the other side, and on into Half Moon Bay. The descent of the Grapevine was extremely challenging; there were streams of water running down the road and each turn was dicier than a tomato in a Ronco.

Despite road conditions and my struggles adjusting to Yukon, the numbers were pretty good. It's not a far-reaching solution though. It's too short for me, and the 48-tooth big ring doesn't overcome the geometry, weight, and other gearing -- no two ways about it, it's a brute to lug around. I'm going to have to use the cracked Shimano M535 as a workaround rim to get the Hoo-E back online until I can get a replacement wheel lined up. If I stick to the pavement, the small crack in the rim shouldn't be too much of a problem (famous last words).


Mileage: 30.89 Time: 2:27:43 Avg: 11.9 Max: 33.0 Weight: 

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