Newsletter - 2000 Archive

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An Old Dog Re-Learns Old Tricks

Harold Bridge


I'm not sure if I'm a slow learner or a fast forgetter. Probably a bit of both. The problem goes back a long way! My earliest memories of school are mainly of my first teacher. Miss Scott I remember as a blond angel. Three of us, Mother, Miss Scott & I, were standing outside school at the end of the day & I remember Miss Scott saying to Mother as they both looked down at me; "Your son has brains, but they might rust through lack of use!"

When I ordered my new bike a couple of years ago the frame builder suggested some minor changes to the front end to which I agreed. Then when I started riding it I found the steering to be tricky, I couldn't hold a straight line. This year I have done most of my rides on the old CBS, short & stiff but easy to ride. Until I came to the end of the Hell's Gate 400.

I was reluctant to get the Mariposa out despite the benefit of lower gears for the Fraser Canyon hills & Woodside at about 320 km into the event. I made do with the 37 inch (39x28) bottom gear which sufficed except for walking Woodside. I had attempted to replace the 23-28 sprockets with 26-32. But that involved adding a link to the chain & that left it hanging in festoons on the small sprockets. I could have "Done a Gordy" & used the short chain & trust to luck I didn't screw up by changing onto the 32 while on the 50 tooth chainring. But serious consequences can result from doing that & I decided to make do with the 37" bottom gear.

It was a beautiful moonlit, but bloody cold, ride back along #7. Wayne & I lit lamps at Lake of the Woods & arrived at Sea Bird Island about 22:20, just after seeing other tail lights heading westward. Approaching Mission I was seriously thinking of taking a room for a couple hours sleep. But I had the 24 hour carrot hanging in front of my face & decided against that extravagance. But after a 02:35 control at Mission it became a torturous ride back to Port Coquitlam where Wayne & I had started at 05:00 to do the last bit of the route first. The arthritis in my arms was playing hell with my bike riding ability & the 35 kms took 2 hours 9 minutes, including the hot choc time at Mission. It was a relief to finish at 04:44 Sunday morning for a time of 23:44.

So, I was having the same trouble riding the CBS that I had with Mariposa. Apart from a longer wheelbase and more relaxed steering angle the Mariposa is similar to the CBS & I've tried to get the positions the same. The 2 saddles are the same, a design one doesn't see around these days. The saddles scoop up at the back. This gives something to push against under pressure. It also gives one the opportunity to raise the crutch & adjacent appendages off the front of the saddle. I have been riding with the front of the saddles horizontal believing this way I would put my weight more on my rump.

Ron Himschoot "wised me up" at the 400's first control at Abbotsford. I questioned why he was still dallying around there instead of getting on with his event. He said he had been adjusting the tilt on his new saddle (a new "Brooks" in a 400? Tough guy!). It set me to thinking about my saddles. During the week after the 400 I tilted them both back a little bit so that the noses point up into the air a little. The previous position had the reverse effect to what was intended. It threw my weight forward, upsetting the nether regions & putting too much weight on my arms. Lets see how the Mariposa feels in the 600, it felt a lot better today on a 150 km ride.