ADVENTURE BY BIKE®
Today, we've got a quick interview for you with Salsa sponsored rider Jay Petervary, talking about road riding, the Colossal Ti, and his recent ride at the Race Across Oregon.
Kid - I think many people know you as a mountain biker, and gravel and fatbike racer. How much time do you spend riding or racing on the road?
JayP - I definitely go through phases of riding one discipline over the other, depending on upcoming events and current bike buzz I am going through, but I have to say I try to keep it mixed up. On average I consistently put in a couple days a week on the road. I primarily use my Salsa Colossal road bike to either climb the local passes to tick off some elevation or go for a long ride to gain bigger miles. When it comes to racing a road bike, I most definitely enjoy it, but never got fully into it. I have randomly jumped into a few crits and road races throughout the years, mainly "just because". I am that guy on the start line who is known as the mountain biker that doesn't care about the series points, and am pretty much breaking the ice laughing and smiling and then attacking from the start. Sometimes I get grumbled at from the other "roadies" which only fuels me and in the end I generally hold my own, which is pretty satisfying. I really enjoy road racing every now and again but just like the other disciplines of cycling I take part in, I really enjoy going long distances, even on the road. Go figure...
Kid - What is the thing you like most about riding the road?
JayP - I love the speeds you can go and the miles you can tick off in a given time period. My body also appreciates the lower impact of road riding. The ability to maintain pace and rhythm on a road bike is a way I concentrate on teaching myself how to master the pedal stroke. That is key to maximizing my efficiency, which is something I really enjoy and only became familiar with over the last few years. I am pretty fortunate to be able to ride any surface or discipline from my house, but sometimes its just the ease of riding road straight from my driveway.
Jay heads up toward Grand Targhee Ski Resort on a last minute shakedown ride before the Race Across Oregon...
Kid - Tell us about the road riding around Victor, Idaho?
JayP - Road riding around Victor and the surrounding area is absolutely amazing. Having the ability to ride big mountain passes and backcountry farm roads with hardly any traffic is comforting. There is also some amazing scenery with views of the Tetons that never get old. The Colossal is perfect for our older protected chip seal roads and every once in a while I will even ride a connecting gravel road to make a more complete route. Again, the Ti Colossal is perfect for out country roads and that’s coming from a guy who spent a lot of time on carbon road bikes.
Kid - You've been putting some time in on the Colossal Ti. What are your thoughts about the bike?
JayP - Honestly I have been riding racing carbon bikes for a long time and the Colossal is a very well balanced bike between stability, responsiveness, and comfort. I think it is a bike for most people that are ‘over’ the uber-light race bikes that most manufactures make. The disk brakes definitely put me more at comfort, especially when screaming down on an extended downhill or when getting caught in the rain, as happens on many a summer day in the mountains. The additional third water bottle mount, on the bottom of the down tube, is a great option for that longer hotter day in the saddle too. I often like a bottle of water, a bottle of electrolyte and a bottle of calories so it is an option I really like. If I had to use one word to describe this bike to the greater audience it would be "practical".
Kid - Speaking of the Colossal Ti, you recently put it to good use in the Race Across Oregon. How did the bike treat you?
JayP - Amazing! The roads were a bit rough at times and sitting on a road bike for 44 hours straight would usually get the best of my back but I finished feeling fairly good actually. It is definitely a bike for all-day riding and rack-less randonneuring. Besides the importance of comfort in these settings I think we all get a little careless, or even reckless at times, and not having to worry about a carbon frame is another level of comfort that I had in my head. The way I strap things on the bike for my self-supported efforts also leaves me worry free with the titanium frame.
Jay battles the heat at the Race Across Oregon...photo courtesy of George Thomas...
Kid - At 520-miles the Race Across Oregon is clearly not the typical road ride for anyone, including JayP! Can you tell us a bit about your bike setup as you became the first person to take on this event in unsupported fashion?
JayP - Having time trialed across the United States in a similar fashion I knew a bit about bike setup. I used a series of soft bags to carry my supplies: two toptube bags, a half frame bag, and a seat bag. I carried four large water bottles; three on the frame and one in my back pocket. Not that I drank much of the water as it seemed it was boiling fairly quickly with the temps varying from 100 to 115-degrees during the day, but I did have the capacity.
I actually used the water to wet myself down creating a cooler sensation from the wind. I wasn’t terribly worried about navigation, so I used some cue sheets that I put in my folding map case that also acts as my wallet, which is mounted to the top of my aero bars.
Speaking of aero bars, I did use the flip-up type with some modifications. In the past I have tried all sorts of ways to get the aero bars closer and more upright as opposed to just mounting them on the handlebar. I have used double stems with a dummy bar for mounting as well, and have had things made and even encouraged a machinist to mass produce some (I used that one too and it broke...) but for this trip, after many man cave hours and beers, the light came on and I poached the clamps off another set of infinitely adjustable aero bars and mounted those clamp to my flip ups. The results were exactly what I wanted and I didn’t have to have anything specially made or do anything weird. It was all just sitting in my shop. I really love discovery moments like that.
Kid - 520 miles on your bike probably gave you plenty of time to think about what was working well, and what wasn't. Anything you would change after the fact?
JayP - I spend a lot of time thinking of things that would improve my experience. First off, I probably would not drive straight to the event, some 12-plus hours away, after an overly exhausting week. The result there was that I had a very challenging time with the sleep monster on night one.
Regarding my bike, setup, and gear, it all worked fairly well, really. No complaints. I would bring another layer of clothing as I was freezing and having to stop to lie down on the pavement to get warm again at night. So in the end, going as light as I did didn’t actually pay off.
I also am going to design another type of seat bag that works with smaller loads and stores better when emptied or partially empty. People may not know me for this, but I am notorious for trying new things even on big epic rides. I tried a fancy new internal battery computer, which I used for a few weeks and liked, and was under the impression it would last for some 40-plus hours. Well, it failed at mile 180 of 520. Good thing I stashed my battery-operated computer in my frame bag last minute.
I must say I am generally pretty well prepared, not much of a complainer, and adjust well to my surroundings and situations and what I have. So, the things I’d change nowadays are very minor or just forgotten.
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I love being outside. I prefer to ride on dirt. Or snow. If I was born a hundred years earlier I might have been a polar explorer. There's a great natural world out there to see, smell, taste, listen to, and experience. Life slows down out there and the distractions we've created will disappear if you let them. Give me a backpack and let me go.