I removed the Bar Mitts from the original packaging on Friday after having them sit in my parts bin for about a year. The occasion was to do a ride with Al Boone at Lake Ahquabi on Friday afternoon in the cold temperatures. I had purchased these Mitts from Rasmussen's Bike Shop last year as part of my winter weather gear accumulation so I would be able to do more riding year round than I have in the past.
The right Bar Mitt installed very easily on my RIP 9 following the easy directions, but the other Bar Mitt's Velcro strap on the interior was far too short to make it around my normal sized rubber grip. What the heck? It was about 1/2" - 3/4" shorter than the other Mitt's Velcro strap and of course, I was frustrated and didn't have time to buy some Velcro and sew on an extension before my afternoon ride. Yup, I was in a bit of a huff over it.
I emailed Bar Mitts and told them of my woes and asked what I could do since I was beyond the 30 day exchange policy. They said to ship them in and they would send me a new and improved pair. A few minutes later, I got another email telling me that the company was going to have a representative (Ward) at the Iowa Bike Expo on Saturday and if I would bring my Bar Mitts along, they would exchange them for a new pair. The new Bar Mitts have been changed to include a longer Velcro strap on the interior to even accommodate Ergon sized grips.
That gave me an excuse to head up to Des Moines with Tara to check out the Bike Expo and exchange my Mitts.
Here are the new ones:
Pretty great customer service if you ask me and I tip my hat to Bar Mitts for this!!! Thank you so much to Patti and Ward from Bar Mitts. I will be mounting these up for this week's riding as temperatures are
going to yo-yo around and get back down to 2 degrees on Thursday
morning. I think I will probably be entertaining getting a pair for the road bike as well at some point.
I did ride with the other pair on Friday in spite of the left Mitt not staying up and in place enough to allow me to ride with thinner gloves than I did. In spite of that, my hands were HOT and SWEATY - that's how good this Bar Mitts are. My riding partner, Al Boone, got so hot with his that after the 1st lap, he stopped at his truck and took his off. I kept mine on and really enjoyed the protection from the wind and the cold. Temperatures had dipped to the mid 20's by the end of the ride which had the dirt freezing up again and made for a quicker 2nd lap. It was a nice Friday afternoon ride in sunshine and on dirt no less!!! My legs were toast from Thursday's double workout of tempo at lunch and hypertrophy weights in the evening. But I managed to follow Al on his FAT BIKE for 2 laps and enjoy a nice beer with him afterwards before heading home for a much needed warm shower to unfreeze myself.
Al next to our trucks and bikes after the ride.
All in all, Saturday was a busy and fun day. We had a Masterclass from 10 - 12:30 for the singers at Simpson with our guest artist pianist from DePaul University. Zack was one of the singers that got to work with Kit and sang "O du mein holder Abendstern" from Richard Wagner's Tannhäuser....
Then Tara and I headed up to the Bike Expo in Des Moines. In addition to exchanging the Bar Mitts, the original inventor of Tara's cycling tattoo was there. Tara told him how she took his temporary tatoo that she had enjoyed on RAGBRAI to a tattoo artist in downtown Des Moines and had this permanently put on her leg...
She showed him the work and he was touched - nay, moved - so the two of them shared a heart to heart. And Tara bought some jewelery with the same image.
Then we headed over to the booth for All Ability Cycles to check out a hand and foot powered tricycle that would be ideal for our friend Gayla Tighe. Tara rode it around the expo hall and felt it was a good solution.
I checked in with Dan McKay from Knoxville who had a booth set up. I get my insurance through him for the Lake Ahquabi bike race. He even said that IMBCS should talk to him as he could give us a discount if we insure 4 or more races through him. Evidently, he used to handle the USA Cycling insurance but claims got so high for those events that he stopped doing that.
I stopped by the Surly booth and got a nice gander at the two Krampus full builds they had. I picked up the larger one and held it. Super wide bars - some ridiculous width which made me feel like I was standing on the front of the Titanic with my arms spread wide. I was ticking through the visuals of all the local trails and the tight tree segments (such as Banner) running down an inventory of where I could and could not ride with such wide bars.
The Surly rep told me the Krampus was about 30 pounds and I do have to say - it looks like a very fun bike in terms of a rigid and having those big Knards on there. I like the idea and looks of the Krampus a lot more than the FAT Bikes. He said the full bikes (come as a 1 x 10 drive train) would be shipping in March. It's a pretty economical, basic build and should satisfy a lot of people who want to try one of these critters.
Then we stopped by the Bike Iowa booth, said hello to Scott Sumpter, checked out the shirts and jerseys before heading up the escalator and into the sky walk.
We walked down to Court Avenue for some lunch and hit up the Court Avenue Brewery for a wrap and spinach pizza before heading home. I took a nap, then did a 30 minute recovery spin on the trainer before showering and heading to my colleague's faculty recital.
After the recital, Virginia and Nix invited Tara and I along with about a dozen others or so to their house in Des Moines (one of the former Hubbell estates not far from the airport). We had a grand tour of the place and wine was served for all. The place reminded me of a perfect setting for The Marriage of Figaro!!! We all retired to the great room with the new Steinway grand piano, fire place roaring and complete with their 3 dogs. I had a nice visit with one of Virginia's brothers who had flown out from Cincinnati with his father. Virginia treated us to more songs and encores. I joined her for the duet from Phantom of the Opera "All I ask of you...". It was a fun evening and a nice cap off to a very busy Saturday.
Today is much more low key as an ice storm hit this morning making it impossible to go outside. The dogs slipped and fell as they went out the front door for their morning ritual. All church services and events this morning have been cancelled as the roads are about the same as an ice rink. I made venison goulash which is stewing right now in the crock pot and making the house smell good. My plan is to hop on the trainer in the basement this afternoon for my final training session of this week. It also happens to be the final workout for the 4 week Base Building Period Two that I am just completing. I move into an R&R week ending with the BRR ride on Saturday.