Archive for October, 2009

Time Warp

Tonight was one a them funky group rides with attitude (FuhGRahWAs) from start to finish.  I dunno why it happens, but there was some serious mayhem out there.  Crashes, split-ups, detours, wet feets, barriers, swear words, etc…  By the time I got home I was sure we had been out there for 3 hours.  Nope, just 2.  Crazyness to think back over where all we went and how much we wound around and we even waited a couple of times.

On the further subject of time, this was my last ride as a 36 year old.  I have no memory of my first ride as a 36 year old, but I will probably remember this one for a while.  I worked hard for a long time and tried my hardest to win it, for me and Gipper, too, but I was nipped on the line by the Thrillah.  No shame in that?  Maybe next year!


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What It Is All About

I dunno, try the number 42?  A good and dirty cross bike works too, for me.

STP82663I have had a great run of rides lately.  Last Thursdays group ride which I wrote about here.  Friday night we did a sushi and sake group ride from the shop.  Saturday night I rode out to Sugarbottom on the Bridgestone for the ICORR Halloween Ride.  I used to ride out there at least once a week in the dark, I quickly remembered I used to have a good lighting system for that.  Whoops.  Better luck next time for me, but it was still a great, if slow, ride on the trails, quality conversation around a fire and then the ride home was super.

Sunday morning I went over to the house of Hopson to partake of his stout coffee and another quality weekend gravel grinder.  About ten of us headed for the hills and the B roads to see what they and we were made of.  It was chilly that morning so I wore my new booties!


I know, many of you will be sad to read of the replacement of the Robin Hood, Men in Tights pair I have been nursing along for the past few years, but it was time. So on the road and there was the usual hijinx and high heartrates.  We wound around and finally made it to the Kalona fourwheeler trails, which were sloppy as ever!  I got “Ricked-Over” early on and lost contact, then I got a huge clump of some non-native vine wedged in my rear brake and by the time I had wrestled it out I had lost sight.  The trails are so leafy right now I could not follow them, rode around in some weird places and occasionaly saw a tire track so I plugged on in dogged pursuit and by the time I popped out onto the B road I could barely see just one person ahead.  Bummer, but they waited for me.  I had to head in then, most of the group kept at it but I was happy to get home with 3 + hours in and I still made it to the shop on time!

Today I went down to the Coop and put in some working member hours, then home for shed cleaning and organizing, then I cleaned the bike a bit and went out for another ride.  This time I was solo, which was good to spin the legs out.  I rode South, swung through Hills, then went a bit further South towards Riverside before turning back North.  The weather was beautiful, the gravel is nicely packed from the harvest trucks and tractors rolling around, and it was smooth sailing for 2 hours.  That is what it is all about.

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Bonus Ride

Fall, the season, is in full swing.  It is gray, often raining, and cold most days.  Yesterday was looking questionable for group riding, but I have learned over the years it is best to be optimistic so I took my clothes and cross bike to the shop hoping the weather would cooperate and we could have a ride.  I was not dissapointed!  The drizzle shut off and eight of us showed up at the park.  We rode up around Solon, the gravel was soupy.  3 of us had fenders, everyone else had really slimy looking shorts.  Fenders people, there is a reason that Planet Bike sponsors Katie Compton, Jonathan Page, Mark Lalonde, etc.  They train in the rain with dry bums is the reason.  Join the club!

So we rode a little patch of trails which were a hoot with the mud and the roots and the slippery sticks and there was some good natured crashing and run-upping and then we turned in.  The road home was fast, we never got a smooth rotation going but it was a good strong ride and only an oncoming car through a curve prevented me from making my move to take the win (okay, I was tired, too) so I was happy to roll across yet another fictional finish line, this time in 3rd.  And I was really glad to have gotten in a 2 hour 15 minute ride, because I thought it might not happen.

To sum up: be prepared, fenders good, the season is not over yet!

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I’ll Have The Scramble – Sunny Side Up, Please

I somehow fancy myself an endurance mountain bike racer.  Which is funny, because I have really only done one endurance mountain bike race ever.  I am, truth be told, not much of a mountain bike racer at all, I think I have only done five or six mountain bike races in the last five years.  I was going to chalk another one up last Sunday, the Sugar Bottom Scramble is everything I like in a mountain bike race.  Which just means it is close to home.  And we of 30th Century Bicycle were sponsoring by providing some faboo prizes like multi tools, Maxxis tires and Oury grips.  I hoped to maybe win something back so we could still sell it.  That would be cool!

But then the race got cancelled.  Because the trails were wet.  Because Iowa, like so many of its previous citizens, has moved to Portland.  You read that correctly.  It is grey, rainy and wet here now.  Always.  Except for when it snows.  Which it did on Saturday morning.  Not so much that we have started skiing like those lucky die hards up in Wisconsin and Minnesota, but it did snow here, and for quite a while.

So race cancelled, I decided to look on the bright side of life and go ride my mountain bike anyway.  These pictures are from a different ride, but they are where I went, and it was sunny that day so the ride looks nicer.


I rode down Sand Road and did a couple of laps around that little lake down there.  It was fun, but not so fun that I wanted to do a third lap.


Rode over the new bridge down there that makes travel so much easier so I could stop by the Jiggle Cross course to see how it looked and start working on my ss gear / tire selection.


It looked good.


Remember this?  All natural now.


Rode out to Coralville to check on the trails over there.  Those trails are still in rough shape, they need a chainsaw and a week-whacker asap or I fear they will be lost forever.


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We used our chainsaw!  Lookit our stack of wood, it just took us an hour to buck that up and stack it.  Why do we say buck up and not cut up?  Because we are chainsaw people now and that is what we say.  Our MS 250 works like a Japanese beaver and I don’t have to kiss any butts down at the local F.T.C. office to say so, because the products I endorse here are not supplied to me in dark alleys by shadowy maketing executives – NO!  the products I review here and recommend to you are painstakingly purchased and researched by me, for me.  I share my finds with you all because I don’t have anything better to do.  So go out and get yourself a Stihl MS 250 today, you’ll be glad you did!  Maybe you too (two?  How many people still read this old blog anyway?) will find yourself on the very first page of the google image search!

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