After poking along on the Rantoul Ride, I felt like opening it up a bit, and rode a short loop on some local roads, southwest towards Hillsdale Lake.
It turned out to be about 21 miles, probably 95% gravel, mostly flattish, but a few short and steep hills, and one longer climb. The gravel was a mixture of well-worn double-track and some fresh, loose sections, with a couple-three miles of dust-controlled roads, the kind where they lay down some sort of nasty oily sludge and it’s really sticky for a few days, then it becomes almost asphalt-like for awhile before breaking back up into chunks and then returning to the gravel whence it came. This stuff was in the smooth-and-fast stage of life.
The day was overcast, but it was still warm, and quite humid. There was a bit of wind from the southwest, and I headed into it, taking a short break just past the turn-around point.
I ended up with an average speed of 15.35 MPH, which is probably my fastest run yet on this bike, on gravel with knobby tires. Perhaps not in the same league as many others, but it’s fast by my modest standards.
Actually, this route would be a good “standard loop” for me, a way to try different gear and techniques over a short course, to see what works and what doesn’t what helps and what hurts…