Spent Friday night through early Sunday afternoon at Whiterock Conservancy for CITA's second Ales and Trails event. Whiterock is 4300 contiguous acres of oak savannah, prairie, and farmland near Coon Rapids, Iowa. If you are a fan of the outdoors you owe it to yourself to spend some time there. We filled our weekend with camping, mountain biking, a 45 mile gravel road race, a few beers and an evening concert in the riverside barn by Des Moines' ownBrother Trucker.
The gravel road race on Saturday was a lot of fun, if a bit brutal. Squirrel managed to build a course where the B-road sections were the fastest thing we would ride on all day. Very few sections of flat, and a southerly course with a SE wind. After what I thought was a good start, hanging with Dave Lippold to the top of the climb we hit right out of the start, my legs just pretty much gave out. I couldn't get into a rhythm on the climbs and just couldn't get my legs to spin up the way I wanted. Squirrel and I stopped for a mid ride beer at Sammy's car, about 10 minutes behind Dave, and decided to just push in together and try to wrap up second and third spots. Squirrel just dieseled his way along and I yo-yo'd behind on the climbs and caught up on the downhills and on the flats. I had to finally let Squirrel go with about 5 miles or so left and just finish the race out. I ended up finishing in about 3 hours and change. I felt worse after those 45 miles than I did after the 10+ hours of the GLGA a month ago.
On Sunday, Matt McCutchen, Brian Sheesley and I took off after breakfast and spent the next couple of hours just riding around on the double track through Whiterock, taking in the scenery and just having a good time. Screaming fast downhills and some long climbs greeted us almost all of the way into Coon Rapids. On the way back, Brian and I took a different path back that involved some rough pasture land, cows, and barbed wire fence crossings. I hit something in the pasture and developed a slow leak once we were on the gravel back to Whiterock. A quick hit with the CO2 cartridge got me back to the truck and, after a change of clothes, on my way home.
I, and everyone else. had a lot of fun at this years Ales and Trails event. It would have been good to have had more people in attendance. I'm not sure if it's the location, the drive, or something else that prevented us from having more people show up. Hopefully we can increase the number of people, and the fun, for next year's event.