Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sunday Putt Putt Ride

I did the Fat Bike Series ride again last weekend. It was a great day, just a little windy. Warm, so warm in fact that I saw a caterpillar on the concrete, making his way across a bit at a time. I don't care what the science or other quackery says about climate change, winter anymore is no longer a test of endurance. It's a short bit of cold weather, a bit of snow here or there, and some gloomy days strung in between some nice days. There, that should jinx next year pretty solidly.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Well Worn

Tuesday found me on the road again, riding from Reilly Auto in Ames back to my home in Boone. The roads here have firmed up pretty well, save a few areas of soft gravel in some low spots. Tomorrow is looking like another nice day for riding. I'll be doing the Fat Bike Series again. Madrid to Slater, back to Madrid and out to the HTT bridge for a selfie. Probably going to be annoyingly crowded. And, since there is certainly not any snow around, I'm not riding a fat bike. I'll probably take my 32er for the heck of it.
Picks from the grit...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Decade In The Making

Last Sunday I  took part in the first of several fat bike rides being sponsored by the Nite Hawk Lounge in Slater, and Flat Tire Lounge in Madrid. The concept is simple. Bring any bike, get a punch card at one of the sponsoring locations, get a punch from the first location, ride to the second location, get a punch there, then ride to the bridge on the HTT and take a selfie there. Three stops, three punches. At the end of the series there is a drawing for a Specialized Fat Boy SE from Kyle's Bikes in Ankeny. Like I need another bike....But still.
So it was not really very cold, not a bit of snow for that stereotypical fat ride, and I had to do something that I have not done in well over a decade. I went into a BAR!!! Not really anything I have tried to, or had to avoid, but just a silly streak that developed and ran on. I can't even remember the last bar I was in. (Restaurants that also serve alcohol don't count.) So I guess that I'll have to sacrifice my streak through this series and resolve to start over afterword. And hope that I win a bike for it. Later!

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Cold Way Home

  •     Well, it was too nice of a day this past Tuesday to stay inside and waste the day. 41 degrees at the end of December, I couldn't say no to a ride.

What...this can't be right...
So I loaded up and headed for the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail, the nicest little trail around. Too bad that they paved a s!all section of it within the city of Huxley. This trail really shines in its natural form. Its a converted rails to trails type format. The rest of the surface is a nice crushed limestone. Perfectly dusty in the right season. Not dusty right now, but soft enough to leave a track in the snow or the stone.
I'm not the first to track this section.

Now, I have ridden this trail innumerable times over the years. I have even raced on it as a section of the Iowa Games Gravel Race. I was surprised, however, to find a couple of things on this ride that I had never noticed before. One of these new discoveries was an ages old spur line stuck in the overgrown side margin of a ravine. I caught the sun's rays reflecting on the rails, even though they were rusted, and patina from years of weathering and non-use had left them nearly invisible otherwise. Some time I'll stop and look closer at this pair of rails. The other discovery on this ride was a frozen beaver pond. It was completely flat, frozen quite solid from edge to edge and end to end, and I had no clue that it was there. Not twenty feet from the edge if the trail. 
Pretty sure I put first-ever tracks on this!

I'll be back to this spot with my other fat bike for some delicious donuts.
Like any great ride does, this one drew to a close before all of the fun could be extracted from it. On the briht side, that leaves something to come back to. Good perspective to keep on so many things in life, I think.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Despite my best intentions, I ended up riding in pure hell today. I had intended to drive my dad's van to Ames to get an oil service done on it and then ride gravel back to Boone on top of a fresh snowfall. That's roughly how it went, except the snow melted into snirt (snow dirt) and I ended up pedaling straight into a west wind, in 2 inches of slop. On soft gravel. Add to this formula a pair of jerk motorists who refused to slow down while passing me, and you may just be able to imagine how muddy I was when I arrived home 90 minutes later. Oh well, it was still satisfying to ride it home. That never gets old.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

56 For 51

I rode my annual Birthday mileage yesterday, a day ahead of the actual date of my birth. I decided to hit a trail that had always caught my fancy, the Three Rivers Trail. It is one of our few crushed rock trails, running a total length of 33 miles each way between Eagle Grove and Rolfe. It is about as flat as the stereotype of Iowa would suggest. There are 22 bridges on it. They vary from 15 footers over drainage culverts to a couple of longer100 footers over the rivers.
I just love the sound that crushed limestone gives of under big fat tires. I could go into my theory on negative ionization from the disruption of varying gravel substrates here, but I'll save that for its own post. What I will write about is the lack of food stops on this trail. I should have carried my own food, that's a given. But I didn't and I nearly had to pay a price for it. I blew through Humboldt on the out bound leg, thinking I could surely grab something in the next town. Well, all they had in Rutland was a pop vending machine. It would not accept dollar bills, so I was SOL there. So I set my sights on the next stop, Bradgate. This little town was hit by a terrible tornado about a decade ago. I had hoped that there was some sort of convenience store at least, if not a bar or somewhere to get food. Well, I was wrong again. There was not a morsel to be had unless I was willing to eat some of the corn that was being piled in the middle of main street. Not a good day nutritionally. I finally suffered my way back to Humboldt and ate some nice salty fries at Hardee's. Ok, so the mileage I turned out was about 56, so I banked a few extra above and beyond my years. I got schooled on not being smart enough at age 51 to bring real food. Still, a day in the sun at age 51, I'll take it.
Some photos, if my phone and Blogger will allow.

Monday, September 19, 2016


Weird, even for a weird person like me, is a little piece of history I just rediscovered. I'm not sure where I even got this bike computer. May have been a gift, may have been grabbed off of a prize table back in the days of racing. Either way, it has been on an old single speed road bike in the rafters of my garage for over a decade. I dug it out, snapped in a new battery, re calibrated the wheel size, and now it's back. I was never a person to quantify my rides. It was always just about going out and having fun, or"hammering it" for a couple of hours. Gravel riding doesn't seem to require much quantifying either, but it might be fun once in a while to know how far I've actually traveled in that mindlessness I call riding. That is, if I always and only ride the one bike it's on, which almost never happens. Later!