Eyes On The Prize

Left the house Wednesday morning, Dec 26th, at 7:15. Two more gravel centuries required for the cup and just a week left to get them. It has been snowing a lot and in general just being cold and wintry. The skiing is great. And warm. I like it. As I was backing my bike off the porch I biffed it on a sheet of ice that used to be our front step. Swore, threw my bike, etc. Wondered why I was doing this and so on.

I rolled out and headed North. It was about 20 or 25 degrees. Hit the gravel and rode up Solon way before turning East. It was cold and the roads were actually in fairly good shape as long as you avoided the glare ice sections. After 18 miles or so I rode onto such a section while traveling down a hill and attempting to stop. I crashed.

Continued on and enjoyed the beautiful morning, moon still hanging in the sky to the West and a beautiful sunrise to the East. Turned South and went to West Branch for a quick Casey’s stop. I continued South towards Lone Tree with my usual swerve through Downey. Lots of aggressive doggies today, one bit my rear fender and I had to kick another one in the face to get it to back off. I feel bad about that. Many dogs that gave chase crashed when they left their snowy yards and hit the icy roads. Tee-hee. There was much beautiful snow! Pretty drifts and in some places it was piled up higher than me on both sides of the road. Stopped in Lone Tree for a water refill and bag of chips.

The sun was working hard now and my previously frozen and fast roads were thawing out and getting quite sloppy and slow. I had installed full fenders the day before so I was well protected but I had put them on my single speeder which was now feeling over

geared at 34X16. Went down to the tri-county bridge and headed to Riverside. The B roads I passed were either completely untouched or had seen only snowmobile traffic so I chose to avoid them as the mission for today was mileage. Arrived in Riverside after 70 miles and took my last break. The bank clock told me it was 35 degrees.

Back on the road I went West again and North almost to Iowa City before looping back down to Hills. Saw Jean Gilpin of Team Skin fame there and she asked if I was getting my last gravel century, sadly I had to answer no. Always nice to see a friendly face!

I was pretty tired but kept it moving pretty well for the last miles. Had to ride a bit out of my way to avoid B roads and still be sure of getting the 80 miles on dirt, which I did.

Got home with 103.91 miles ridden, just over 80 on gravel, snow, ice, slush, muck, etc. Some of it got stuck on my feet and lower legs. To all who poo-poo fenders I can say

that otherwise I was clean and dry and warm. Fenders work. A front mud flap should improve things, I hope to attach one before my next (and last!) ride.

Hundred, hundred, hundred more miles to go, I want to feel elated.


6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    chesty said,

    Hurray Steve. I’ll be back home in Iowa City tomorrow to celebrate your centuries!

  2. 2

    ari from Chicago said,

    Congrats Steve on Getting out with the weather. We had a great WEdnesday weatherwise but I was stuck in the bikeshop wrenching till 6 pm. Keep up the good work.

  3. 3

    d.p. said,

    Thanks for the vicarious livin’. I’m jealous of your opportunities but Plastic fenders? “Polymers Are Forever”

  4. 4

    and to d.p., i ask, “who wants one’s fenders to deteriorate during a sloppy bike ride?”

    i love my fenders–and my resultant clean clothes.

    good job, mr. pickle. did you get your last one yesterday? we got out for 4+ hours saturday, and was pleasantly pleased with the relative warmth.

    talk soon. good riding, by the way.

  5. 5

    bikeiowa said,

    Bwaa-Haa-Haaw! I love my plastic fenders almost as much as my new radioactive ball bearings which offer a half life drag coefficient that decreases with every ride so you go faster the more you ride them! As an added bonus prolonged exposure when coupled with a standard racing saddle with make you impotent so pesky kids will never interrupt your training!

    Honest, I feel bad about the plastics are forever thing and I borrowed this set of fenders from the Bike Library so I can at least feel good about the reduce, reuse aspect even if they can not be recycled.

  6. 6

    […] December 26, 2008 · Filed under Life, Skiing Last year. […]

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