Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Man's best friend....

The plan was to take today off from work and ride a Metric Century on Gravel. Seems I collect Metrics and consequently collect more ‘Cup O Dirt’ coffee cups. I wanted to make this a good work out and would ride the harder ride of grown over snow mobile trails and the hilly gravel or North East Iowa countryside.

I didn’t sleep well, sometimes insomnia just shows up unplanned, and uninvited. So I was slow getting out the door and getting my ride started with sluggish blood. I thought I would stay with the plan and let the over grown trails, and rolling gravel hills show me no mercy.

After 20 some miles of grinding I stopped at Graf Iowa’s park. Felt exhausted, and felt like I could lie down and fall asleep. I stretched out on a picnic table and went shortly into dream land. The last thing I remember thinking was I wish I had a pillow.  Thirty minutes later I wake up, face stuck to the picnic table in a town of 75 people that were not making a sound.

So not even half done with my ride goal I head northwest of Graf to the rolling gravel hills that geologists say are there because the last glacier that came across the Midwest forgot to visit this area and flatten the countryside.
The short nap did refresh me.
I am heading past the farm where last weekend a sheep dog tried for quite some time to get a chunk of my calf muscle for a snack. I understand out here on these farms dogs roam. What was disturbing about this attack was the owners watched while I dismounted my bike and used it as a shield to keep from getting bit. I walked the bike for 150 yards and shouted to keep the dog away as it would retreat slightly and then charge over and over again. The owners never called out to the dog or said a word.
The next day I talked to the sheriff’s department to see if they could ask the owners to be more mindful. My taxes help pay for that road too.  They wanted me to call them after I got off work and go with them to talk to the owners. My schedule that evening would no allow and somehow I did not feel good about where this was heading.
Today I am happy to report as I rode past the dog he stood up and I asked him loudly where he thought he was going. There were no owners in sight and he did not attack at all. It must have been my charm. Maybe we can all get along.
Riding along and needing fluids I swing towards the town of Farley, buying 3 pops from a sidewalk vending machine on this warm day for only 75 cents apiece.
Took around about way to get home making sure I would get 62 miles in to chalk up another metric gravel century.  
Can't wait to do this again, what can I say....
Cheers and thanks for the visit.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

..and then we rode.

Nick, from way over in Ames Iowa, almost 200 miles from here had been contacting me via Email about coming to my town and riding a century together on dusty roads. Nick runs the Cup O Dirt Web site where a coffee mug is given out for every 12 gravel centuries the contestants do in a given year. Plus Nick also wanted to deliver my mugs from previous rides. Now I had only met Nick once, briefly, right before a  race we were both in a couple of years ago. He had been visiting this blog and introduced himself to me while I was doing the nervous fidgeting with my bike most go through shortly before the start gun fires. Then he was gone, well ahead of me, being a veteran and finisher of many prestigious snow races. Me just an old guy that does a lot of riding drifted backwards from the front runners.

Nick arrives at my front door Sunday, early afternoon, along with his sweetheart and lady Caitlin with the goods.

Here I am accepting my awards, asking the crowd to keep the applause down to after my acceptance speech. Creepy Baby had ring side seat.

We all changed into the riding garb that any serious cyclist would only consider wearing and most the world rolls theirs eyes when a man almost 60 is in spandex and tight jersey. All I can say is try to  ride 100 miles on a hot summer day over gravel roads wearing anything else.

So we all saddle up, ride out of town together and feel so at home on our bikes. Caitlin rode with us to the first small town and bid us farewell and let us go.

Nick and I, we rode on, we talked, we laughed, we enjoyed. For the most part strangers an hour ago we are now chattering like we've been best friends for life. Such is cycling, we are all birds of a feather. Averaging around 16 mph on trail, fast enough to enjoy the workout, slow enough to be able to talk, we rode on, getting lost in the very small town of Dyersville looking for a mart for fluid replacement.

This picture shows Nick trying to pass me after resting in my draft. Well he doesn't know about my Cavendish afterburners that I had ready to kick in.

Returning home, it was a good ride and I have a bunch of neat coffee mugs. Nick and Caitlin headed to Swiss Valley Campgrounds for beers, food, and campfire, a perfect way to end a day spent in the saddle.


The "Cups" are in a good home. Well actually the "Cups" became a good home for some of these wayward creatures.

Thanks for the visit.

Oh I have the day off tomorrow, my FatBike is in the dining room waiting and we are headed down dusty roads all day........tomorrow...