ride update

over the last three weekends, i have clocked some serious miles with lots of gravel and some great folks. these fits of riding and racing have been followed by busy work in front of the bench with the bike sitting dirty all week long. it is hard to just jump on the bike and crank out 7-10 hours in the saddle without a ride from monday through friday but somehow the rides and friends that have been along for the adventure make the experience well worth the lack of fitness.

last week was the rapha gentleman’s race just outside of portland and we had a great team of rapha continental riders to compete in the 110 mile gravel race. the weather was very hot and dry and saw the fall of many a strong rider due to the extreme conditions. while the rgr was billed as a race, when the weather is that hot and you are climbing an exposed gravel climb for miles upon miles, it is important to pace yourself and be able to ride as a well oiled machine. of the 28 teams that started the race, only 7 teams finished and only a handful of those finished with all 6 racers still riding. a lot of cramping and a few cases of heat stroke took their toll on the riders but we stuck together and rode well as a team.

jeremy dunn, dan sharp, joe staples, evil ryan, greg johnson all rode strong to take a solid 4th place in the end. we rode fast during the first section to make up as much time as possible before the long gravel climb took our pace down with punctures and cramping. we caught up with a team of retired pros and had a smooth rotation for 15 miles. pitsburg-vernonia rd. was rough and tested the best tires on the gravel. we leapfrogged with other teams and this section saw the deterioration of the faster teams like portland bicycle studios who are all fast but refused to slow up and stick together as a team when one rider flatted.

once we made it through and started the second climb, we helped each other up the hill both literally and with motivational chit-chat. good times and a solid ride. thanks guys.

back to work during the week to finish up jack’s classically inspired bb30 road bike to get it to coat before the following weekend. bb30 is a great thing for a stiff road bike and looks very clean in a fillet brazed frame. i also finished building up andrew’s delux rando bike. ta cranks, son delux hub, phil wood cassette rear wheel and all the trimmings made this bike turn out and ride great.  photos of some recent ira ryan cycles builds can be seen on iraryancyclesflickr page .

the green touring machine is a smooth rolling bike and even though it is built up with all used parts (minus chain and cassette), it turned out great with the wood mk fenders from iowa. can’t wait to see this bike along the left coast soon. graz’s cross bike is coming together with some fly sram carbon wheels and will be hitting the cross races in the coming months. lugged, fast and racy. very excited to see this bike dirty.

friday i left portland to ride in the d2r2 in western mass. with the rapha conti crew. i have only been to the east coast a couple of times and never had a chance to ride there but this was the ultimate taste of new england roads that are over 200 years old. while i kept an eye out for richard sachs out for a ride from his homestead, we rode over some of the most beautiful countryside i have ever seen. the people who organized and put on this event were great and very welcoming for us to rally up and down some steep and rough gravel roads in Massachusetts. 180k with over 15000 feet of climbing. few of the hills topped out over 800 feet or so but going up and down 20% grades all day long was hard work.

since d2r2 was in the backyard of the east coast conti riders, most of them showed up forming a super team of conti riders from the both sides of the country. great people and strong riders is an understatement. the route took us through some single-track complete with large stones and gnarly loose spots making our ride look like a scene from the 1985 tour of flanders with riders dismounting and running up sections in road shoes. great fun. a few punctures and one crash caused by a big ol’ rock but all in all, everyone finished and we all had beers to celebrate our long hard day on the bike. if anyone has a chance to ride in franklin county, i strongly recommend it but advise some lower gearing if you want to do the whole 180k route.

back in the workshop today with chip’s stainless lugged road bike in the stand next. looking forward to some mellow touring rides next along with some beautiful bikes heading out the door.

tailwinds.

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