Saturday, July 25, 2009

I'm not dead yet

So yeah. Haven't posted anything in a while. Not that there hasn't been stuff to post about, but I've been too busy watching the tour or doing other things to post a proper write up.

Weekend of the Hy-Vee Tri, I worked one of the wheel pits for Rasmussen Bike Shop for the Pro races on Saturday. Nothing too stressful, just sit and wait for someone to get a flat. Great benefit is that we're out on the course and get to see/hear the athletes up close. Only exciting things were one wreck in the men's race and someone needing a 4mm allen wrench (which we did not have as we were only set up with wheels). 5 hours with my friend and riding partner Rick Blackford, along with some other characters that showed up.

Saturday night found me, Rick, Oakley Rob, Kurt Benson, Josh Newendorp and Kyle Sedore out for a night gravel grinder. Plan was to leave around 10 or 10:30 and just ride somewhere all night and make it back to the hill to properly cheer on friends and strangers taking part in the age group tri. We left near BWW around 10:30 and headed out through Booneville, Cumming (one pitcher shared, one Red Bull each), Martensdale (one pitcher just as last call was coming about), and back on the same route. We stopped in the middle of the ride for some food and to sit and enjoy the night sky. Pace was casual for most of us (no pedaling down the hills and nothing over 16 on the flats). Good times had by everyone. A quick breakfast at McD's, a quick realization that we should have bought and hid our beverages on Saturday night and we spent the next few hours cheering on the triathletes. I met Kathy and Conor for brunch at Gateway Market on the way home and finally pulled into the garage around 11:30 AM on Sunday. A nice 4 hour nap occurred, followed by food. Hope to do another one of those again sometime this year. I love night rides.

On July 17th I left home with camping equipment and my bike in the back of the Explorer and headed out to take part in the 2009 running of the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational. I stopped in Waterloo and picked up Guitar Ted and we made our way to West Union where were were camping for the night. GT and I stood/sat around for a while having a few drinks and discussing the finer points of life for a while. David Pals showed up around 8 PM with firewood, food and other libations. More discussions occurred, as well as eating, some make shift grilling, and more drinks. Craig from Europa Bike and Ski showed up not too long after to join in the fun. I hit the hay around 11 PM knowing that our 5:45 AM wakeup call was not too far off. GT and Craig stayed up for quite some time later.

Saturday morning arrived and I hopped out of my tent to find DP cranking up his stove and making coffee. I started my supercat stove up and boiled some water for oatmeal, while taking advantage of DP's generous offer to boil more water for my coffee. Oatmeal made, coffee drank and with the addition of Jeremy Fry and Doug Eilderts we were off around 7 AM. We descended through and them climbed out of the park and headed east towards the Turkey River valley and Elkader. The first couple of miles had some neat rollers and then we dropped about 400' into the river valley. On the descent, figured out that I needed to adjust my disk brakes a bit since I wasn't able to bleed off a lot of speed on the downhill. GT and I both almost ended up in the ditch due to speed and the road surface. Exciting start to the ride for sure. The rest of the ride into Elkader was nothing short of beautiful. 25 miles of gently rolling, scenic river valley with plenty of trees and lots of limestone walls. We took a refuel break in Elkader and headed out into the hills. The rest of ride sat somewhere between difficult and borderline insanity. We had dirt roads descents with rocks the size of human heads, climbs well over a mile long, descents that needed to be preceded by warning signs, and after a while. we were happy to see uphill gradients in the 7 - 8 percent range. We stopped in Strawberry point for lunch, cruised through Volga, and made a final stop in Wadena for a much needed coke, ice cream and other food break. We arrived back in West Union around 8:00 PM. We cleaned up, broke camp and headed out around 9 AM. I dropped GT off at his place around 10:30 PM and made the drive home by myself, with tunes blaring out of my iPod. I got home around 12:30 AM, cleaned up a bit and dropped into bed. 118 miles and 10,000 feet of climb for the day. My Salsa La Cruz treated me well all day. Climbed well, cruised on the flats quickly. Now if the rider can match the bike, things will work out well.

Good friends, good food, and good ride = good times.

Route Link