Archive for September, 2007


Yesterday I rode another 100 miles, my sixth gravel century of the year! In order to keep things interesting I rode my single speed townie.

This is my Fuji Del Rey 1 SPEED. I got it at the bike library of course. The fork is not original equipment, it was purchased years ago in an attempt to turn my Bob Jackson into a cross bike. After the failure of that project it did nothing until last fall when I built up this bike. For the ride I swapped the pedals and the front wheel, put on the trans-iowa schwagged ergons, and added the computer. The rear tire is very old, it was also purchased for the aforementioned Bob Jackson cross experiment. I have long been anticipating its death and was hoping this ride would finally do it in so I brought along a spare tire which was not needed. I really hate that tire.

I left early yesterday and it was still cool and not yet windy. I rolled far to the east and south through the greater metro areas of Downey, West Liberty, Nichols and Conesville before heading back west. I passed by Lone Tree and finally took a stop in Riverside. I love Caseys! Back on the road then and I kept going south and west (strong wind out of the south now) and somewhere out past Kalona I was able to turn back towards home and enjoy the tailwind. I loved the single, my gear was 40X18 and at times I was wishing I had the 42 on but overall it worked well for me. Total mileage was 101 and some change with 84 on gravel. I took a photo of the computer total but it has gone missing. I can still get one and maybe I will.

I am enjoying the 1200 mile challenge very much. I have ridden lots of roads already that I never have before and with six centuries yet to do I look forward to more exploring. I am going to take a week or two off now and then get back to it, hopefully with my old Trans-Iowa companion Jim. He said he would like to ride six and I would love to have some company out there! Thanks for the challenge Dave, its been fun!


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Weblog thoughts

Captain Kirk brings more folks to my humble little site than anything I have to say.

I added some new links over there —>

Mostly friends but I also included the Green Party. I have a very hard time relating to either of our nations political party hacks. They are two sides of the same coin and we desperately need to start looking to the edge.

That is all…

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Dropped Is Good

I got dropped the other night. I rode the College Green ride and the weather was cold and rainy, just as it had been all day. “True” cyclocross weather and what do you know, most of Iowa City’s top crossers stayed home. Not all of us, though! Four we were, rolling north into the wind and wondering if the heavens would reward our pluck with another dousing of universal solvent.

The first hill to climb told me I was very tired. My riding has been sporadic the last couple of weeks and I have not been doing a good job of keeping track of my efforts this year anyway and how exactly do you quantify an hour+ spent hauling paving stones? Intervals? Pain Threshold Expansion Efforts? Junk miles? The 110 miles on Saturday probably did not help whatever else was going on in my legs so as we began to climb, they began to protest. As we turned to gravel and the young amongst us put it in the big ring they did again protest, and louder .

Pop! I was riding alone. It is always fun, I think, to watch the group roll away. So fast they disappear… The clouds were moving out and to the west the sun was beginning to come through at last and it was quite beautiful. I felt so much better riding with a tailwind at my own pace. I came upon a B road and thought to try it, it looked so smooth and inviting. 20 meters in and my bike was pretty well plugged up, 30 meters more and it was full stop. I got off and trudged back out. Cleaned off the big lumps and resumed the nice ride in. Then it started to pour.

I came to a bridge that goes over I80 and what do you know, its being repaired! A stoplight told me to stop so I did. Standing in the pouring rain, ten minutes from home and still watching a beautiful sunset in front of me. The light finally turned green and I was moving again, feeling that I should have probably just stayed home with the Cody and the cats. Just over the bridge and I see this in the ditch

A ball peen hammer had been dropped too – are you kidding me!?!?!?!? Forget about the rain, its another fabulous prize of the roadside! The rain stopped and I raised my new hammer to the setting sun, salvation had come to both of us that stormy dropped night.


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A Gentle Man’s Sunday

I rode my bike really far on Saturday so on Sunday I took it easy. Put my feet up. Had a picnic in the park. Went to the art museum. Then I went to the Bike Library for Sunday Rental Bench. I had missed last week as I was racing in Wisconsin so I was excited to get back and see what was happening.

To my surprize (spelling & content under the influence of JONATHAN STRANGE & Mr NORRELL until such time as the book is done and the effect worn off) the door was not barred and the lights not snuffed and there on the floor screwing storage hooks into a board was the great Gentleman Bicycle Mechanic, Mr Loring!

He was accompanied by his footman Nathan who is quite skilled in the art of carpentry and, being an agreeable sort, had agreed to help the good Mr Loring with no regard for his own safety nor recompense whatsoever!

It was great to see them and we were catching up on things when who should stop by but local legislative grease monkey Joe Bolkcom. His appearance was brief but his charisma so powerful we were all bouyed by it for many hours and indeed worked right through our afternoon tea!

The Rental Bench continues to be mostly the domain of the Bike Library volunteers and while personal projects seem to get the most attention we do still take the time to work on bikes for the common people.

This poor bicycle was in desperate need of a bottom bracket repair and while our tools were augmented by levers, sweat and long gone dinosaurs the component would budge nary a millimeter. Dreadful as it sounds a mechanic from the land faerie may need to be issued a summons!

I myself worked on a lovely Peugeot and it now sits ready to give humble service to one of the fine society riders of lovely Iowa City whether they should chuse to take their evening rides over hill or dale.

You are quite right to think I must have been terribly wearied at this point! To my land holdings then did I retire. I bid you good evening.

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A Murder of Miles

Yesterday I rode another century mostly on gravel in pursuit of this. It was a beautiful day so I wore my new Ira Ryan long sleeve jersey. I looked cool. I also wore an old pair of ATLAS shorts. I may have looked cool but I had a chaffed up butt by the end of things. The chamois will be retired.

I rode to the Northeast of Iowa City and hit up some gravel and B roads I had never ridden before. After rescuing another turtle and being offered a job at a rural Casey’s I turned south to meet up with Jim’s rolling 40th birthday party. I was amazed that I got to Lone Tree exactly at 4pm when they were supposed to be there but was not amazed that they were late. I rode north to meet them and rode in with the boisterous crowd. Happy Birthday Jim!

We left Gin’s a few pitchers of cheap bear heavier than when we arrived and I had to break ranks to get the rest of my gravel miles done. I needed 6.5, I got 8 and rolled up to Iguana’s in Hills with exactly 101 miles, 82 of them on gravel. We drank some more and Jim began slumping a little further into his bar stool and it was a fine time.

The ride into Iowa City was wobbly for most of our group. We took over El Ranchero for dinner and Cody came down with clean clothes to get me out of my chamois (10 hours!) and when Jim went to the bathroom to puke we bolted too- for home.

A great day on the bike and just seven more like it to pass the test. I think I will do next weekends on my single speed. With a seat!

Quarter for scale

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The Final Score

Okay, the slabs checked out with Cody, they can stay.  I think I found another bathtub for us, too.  Later on that

Sorry about the silly detroit marketing pose, but this was too good to pass up. Here is the trumpeting Wayne, in mid note

Happy weekend! I am going to roll another 80 out of 100 on gravel tomorrow to keep the quest alive. Meeting up with Jim’s rolling 40th birthday party near the end of my journey to help him celebrate.

Sorority quote of the day: She’s like the dumbest person


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This morning I was up at an hour that would make a chicken blush. I used this time to have an early morning coffee with my one true love. Double cappuccinos for the both of us and some fine pastries, too. Off to school then for Cody, I had time to ride home and relax before blitzing the hungover set with french toast and the like.

As I was a pedalin’ my Fuji single speeder my eye did espy a large pile of paving stones on a curb.

X 21

I stopped and looked about, the house looked quiet and the stones were on the outside of the sidewalk, betwixt it and the curb. 21 of the beauties just asking to be walked all over and in this town anything left in this location is fair game. Its a law and stuff.

I rode the 10 blocks home and swapped out my boutique ride for the ruff and tumbley cargo bike. I figured 21 stones would be easy in 7 trips of 3 each. Oh the folly of the Pickle! I loaded the three on easily enough but when I turned the bars to take off the front wheel did not move under the weight and instead the tie rod bent into a pretzel. The bike tipped over in the street and the stones clattered to the pavement but did not break. “Why me?”, I screamed as I fell to my knees in the center of the street, oblivious to the cars and trucks that luckily were not there. I regained composure and bent that rod back with my bare hands…

I was afraid that the mission would have to be aborted but I am a stubborn man and I still endeavored to bring this lode home so I placed one stone back on the rack and rode it home with the handlebars cocked sideways due to the mishap.

I arrived home to the trumpeting of the Wayne and dropped the stone over one of our yards many mud patches. Landscaping! I figured I could repair the bike with a lever and what better lever than a seatpost that had snapped off during a race the weekend before? Nothing, thats what! That which was broken was made whole again by that which was broken as was foretold on RAGBRAI II BC* by Sister Nun of The Above.

I was working under pressure as I had to work at 9 and it was already after 8. I rolled back and loaded up 2 stones and that worked fine. The 20 block round trip was taking me about 7 minutes with loading and unloading and I knew at that rate I would not be able to get all the stones and still make it to work on time so I did what anyone who has ever worked at a sorority house as a cook would do and said Screw Em!

I had 17 stones home and was pulling up for 2 more when a man came out of the house. I said hello and he said hello and then he told me he had just gotten these stones from his neighbor and was, in fact, planning to make use of them. I began to explain myself but he then told me that he had been watching me and was most impressed with my industriousness and was quite happy to let me have the stones provided he could come and have a look at my house and see for himself to what good use they had been put. This seemed to me to be a fine bargain so I took the rest of the stones home and now, provided Cody does not find them to be incompatible from an artistic standpoint with our front yard bathtubs, we will have a lovely path from our front door to our shed.

A restful morning indeed!

*Before Campy

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