Spring classics season is here. This is when Minnesota roadies shake the dust off our most colorful kits, shave our legs and blind each other by the white glare the first time it’s warm enough to ride without knee warmers. It’s why we wear UV eye protection even when it’s cloudy and raining.
Last weekend I sought out my own spring classics experience, Minnesota style: 70 miles down the converted railway surface of the Luce Line Trail. Call it a Minnesota Roubaix if you like. The primary goal was to ride 4+ hours of rough dirt on the steel chassis of the Pistola, while disguising my lack of early season fitness from my friend. After all, spring classics are highly tactical pursuits and sometimes require forced stoicism in the midst of immense pain. There would be no pain face on this ride, which is why I chose the Pistola for my Minnesota Roubaix challenge.
The lightweight OX Platinum steel and super thin (11mm) seatstays above the rear axle took the edge off the rough dirt surface, making it possible to endure several hours of self-inflicted punishment. The truth is that there might have been one or two brief moments of pain face, but I only let this happen when I was riding behind my friend and nobody else was looking. If it weren’t for the super forgiving ride of the Pistola I undoubtedly would have uncontrollably shown my pain face.
25mm Continental Ultra Race tires come stock on the Pistola and proved to be a great fit for my Minnesota Roubaix ride. Additionally, the Alpha Q CS 10 carbon fork not only helped to absorb vibration, it looks super elegant with its painted-to-match finish. It also balances the appearance of the bike very nicely.
3 hours into the ride I started to feel it. Sore legs, sore feet, I was starting to pedal squares. My friend’s rear wheel was becoming more and more familiar as I sought protection from the wind. My computer told me I had burned over 4000 calories. For all the work I had done I sure hoped this was true. Moments later, with my head stooped, I started thinking of beer and food. The crunchy noise of the gravel reminded me of Cap’n Crunch (with berries). The trail seemingly went on and on, paralleled by power lines dissecting the landscape.
Just as my train of thought switched from Belgian beer to breakfast cereal the surface turned smooth and the skyline of Minneapolis appeared. Feeling destroyed and humbled by the Minnesota Roubaix conditions I couldn’t help but feel eager to ride the Pistola even further the next time I ride this trail. With a little beer and Cap’n Crunch the next time I will pull off the full 120 miles to the town of Cosmos and back.