Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ow. W00t!

No, I didn't fall down. My legs burn. The sidewalk north of 87th was still covered in a thin layer of ice, which worked nicely with the studs this morning, but I think they would have been ridable with normal knobbies. The path over the viaduct, however, is a different story. The slush had frozen hard into an arctic moonscape. Imagine technical singletrack with 1/10th the traction. The studs did worse on this than before it was frozen. Yesterday, it was merely difficult to pedal through. This stuff was constantly flailing my bike around all over the place. Needless to say, my ride to the bus was very, very slow. I don't have a proper pair of studded tires to compare them to, but I'm pretty sure there's not a tire out there that would make easy work out of this stuff.

I could have ridden in the street this morning, as there's never any traffic. I simply wanted to put these things to the test. I've ridden 10 miles on the studs so far, and the studs themselves are showing almost no wear at all. I've ridden 3 miles on wet pavement, 2 miles on glare ice, 2 miles on rough ice and 3 miles on slush. It can ride on all of these, but the only place the studs have really come into their own for me is on the smooth glare ice. I rode a few miles on that kind of stuff with regular knobbies last year. While it was slippery, it wasn't impossible. Also, smooth ice is so rare around here that I'm considering writing off the studded tire project. I haven't given up on them yet, but I need to compare the handling to some normal MTB tires.

With that, tonight I am going to scrub the Kendas off in the tub (to get rid of any rubber mold release agent and/or protectant) and then put them on the hybrid's wheels. If I can, I'm going to give them a good run this evening, probably through the snow or slush, just to get a feel for them. Regardless of conditions, I'll be on plain old MTB tires tomorrow, and I'll try to find some ice to ride on for the sake of comparison, but I have a feeling that I'll be back to my usual riding style for this kind of weather very soon. Preliminary studded tire results will get their own post, probably sometime tomorrow or tonight, depending on how much riding I can get in tonight on the new tires.

In other off-topic news, one of my favorite words ever -- "w00t" -- is now in the Merriam Webster dictionary. I don't know whether to be enthused or depressed about this. This bastardized leetspeak interjection never actually stood for "We owned the other team" -- That's a Backronym. It is currently used to express joy. Back in, oh... the late 80's perhaps, "woot" (with o's, not Zeros) was used as the expression of joy when a system cracker (you might call them hackers) had gained root-level administrator access to a system. This was long before there were networked multi-player shoot-em-up games, and before anyone was "0wning" any other team in anything.

Regardless, another stupid word has crept into acceptable use in the English language. Mom, if you're reading this, you'd better brush up on your leetspeak reading sk1llz0r5. Yu0r 57ud3n7z w1LL b3 h4nd1n6 1n h0m3w3rkz0r w|21773/|/ L1k3 d1z 1n a ph3w y34rz. For those who don't know, my mother is a college English professor, who will likely have to put up with this sort of asshattery. For those who can't read "leetspeak", the above jumbled mess of bytes translates roughly to "Your students will be handing in homework written like this in a few years."

May God have mercy on our souls if this madness continues.

Random Tunage:
Snap! - Rhythm is a dancer (Roll On Remix)
Ecano - Run


Chris said...

Noah, try lowering your PSI on the tires to something like 25-30psi and give that a shot. I have ridden my Atlantis down to 25psi and the grip is unbelievable; you get so much "footprint" it really helps. Just don't try bunny-hopping your curbs or that dreaded snakebite might get you!

Noah said...

Chris, I usually run my MTB at 65 PSI on the road, 40 PSI on singletrack, and about 35 PSI on snow. Part way up the viaduct I pulled them down even further, probably about 25-30 PSI. I forgot my pocket tire pressure gauge today, so I don't know how low they are, but they were 35 when I left home. That trick worked really well in the snow and slush last year, but this ice was impenetrable and the studs didn't seem to help a whole lot what with all the ice ruts bullying my bike around.

Andrew said...

Woot is also the name of a Kuba (African tribe) culture hero. My friends and I came across him in the mid-90s studying for an academic competition. We adopted his name as our cheer. Good times.

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