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!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Yella Death

This is worth a post. This post might save somebody from weeks of agony. If it saves even one person from the pure evil of Wild Parsnip Poisoning, then I'll post it every week. This is the little, harmless looking plant that seems to be getting a lot of press lately. If you see this plant in a ditch, or along some single track, DO NOT GET CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH IT!!!!!
I got into some of this a few years ago and it burned my skin so badly that I had a weeping rash and blisters for 5 weeks. It killed the hair follicles my legs and now I have what look like half shaven legs! It's not a good look.
The plant grows to about knee high. The yellow flowering part is about the size of a pea, growing in a bunch about the size of a silver dollar.
I guess that there have been numerous cases of people unknowingly contacting this plant this year and so it is getting a lot of Facebook press especially. Don't you dare look at Google images of the rashes unless you can control your mind's desire to itch things. It will take you there, trust me.
Tons of it out there, on the gravel I ride anyway.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Vive le Tour

Seriously, even if you're not into cycling or bike racing, you would have to appreciate the drama in this year's Tour de France. You'll watch for a very long time to find an edition of this Grande Boucle with more going down. The leader of the race was running up the most iconic climb in cycling, without his bike, because he was involved in a crash while cruising uphill!
Wow! #fanagain!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

This Ain't No Dream

I stopped at the Boone Casey's to grab a pop the other day and saw this guy. He had his bike prominently displayed in front of the store with a banner tied to it. You know I had to talk to him, so I walked up and said, "Dude, you're living out my dream!" As in, the dream of recreational homelessness, cycling aimlessly, answering to nobody, scrounging resources, the list goes on. His response is where I took the post title from. He gave me the quick take what he is doing. He is 42 years old, had cancer that really beat him up, was paralyzed but came out of it somehow, and is now riding from Toledo, OH to Seattle to raise awareness for the causes that you see on his banner. He has a Facebook page under cctherider which is chronicling his journey. He is big on the love of people, strangers, and about how he's just taking it a pedal stroke at a time. Doesn't have much for gear. He is on a Walmart bike, has one extra shirt, a touring pump, a tarp, a rain poncho from the Indiana National Guard, a flashlight/stun gun from the Chicago
police, and ten bucks cash from yours truly. That's some raw toughness right there. Just following a lark. Not really a big planner, but he's getting there. He said others have given him lodging, food, showers, etc. But his main theme was love from people. Can you dig it?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

First Chance, First Ride

So I bought an ultra cheap fat bike. A Mongoose Malus for $130 ! Brand new, in a big old box. Being that it was 70 degrees on my day off I decided to hit the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail for a little shakedown cruise. I guess nothing's going cheap, unless it's mutiny. The Trail was wettish, very grabby even for 4" tires. I'm glad that nobody has insisted on riding their 1.9 and smaller tires on it. Nothing much to note for this ride except that Logsdon's Grocery in Maxwell was awesome,as always. Can you imagine the coolest small town Grocery store, run by middle aged brothers, part store, part personal hangout, part community center? Some time soon I will do a full post on this place. Trust me, you have to go there and experience it for yourself.
Anyway, here's to the promise of more interesting rides to come. I did find a stached away geo-caching drum. That's always cool. Tucked in behind some downed trees.

More Deeper Gravel

That is, more gravel today, and it seemed even deeper than the last time I rode it. I can get a quick hour and a half ride if I go out to the Iowa Arboretum and back. Some decent gravel, a nice state park (Ledges) and as many hills as I care to ride. There are three really good hills in the park that I can ride up and down time and again. In fact, back in the days of"workout rides" I used to do climbs there until I didn't dare go back down one more time for fear of not getting back out! The down side? A 20 mile ride is about half pavement.

Can't see the bottom from the top!