Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Technical Knockout

<===No, this isn't on course!

I went out today to check up on a few loose ends regarding the Trans Iowa course. On the way up, I had an option to drive off a paved road for a mile further north and then a right for a mile back to a paved road, saving me from going out of my way and going through a small town.

Whelp......I crested the hill you see in the distance into this! (You can click on the pic to make it huge) The Dirty Blue Box slid, and I mean slid, into a full on stop. Wheels spinning. Stuck! Just great! I get trapped by a B road that I didn't even know was there.

Well, I wasn't about to give up. Honda Civics are pretty light cars and I'm......well, I'm big! I saw that I could move the car a little bit. Maybe a little bit was all I needed.

I first tried to throw the car in gear, steer with one hand while pushing with my shoulder and other hand. Some small amount of progress, but at a very painful and slow rate. So, I had to get a little radical.

I figured I didn't have anything to lose, so why not try something a little risky. I put the car in gear, turned the wheel in the general direction I wanted to go, and went around back and heaved ho. The car's tires started to roll forwards and I did the old "pulling guard" routine around the end of the car and leapt into the open door. I goosed the pedal and I was off. This was on a downhill and the car was actually skidding/sledding more than it was being driven. Be that as it may, I avoided the foot and a half deep ruts and made it out to much more solid ground. Door clattering open and shut all the way down.

<===Just after the release.

The car didn't look too bad actually. I found out soon enough though that I had compacted some nice gooey clay behind one of the wheels causing a horrendous vibration at about 50mph-60mph. So, I went faster!

On gravel, the Dirty Blue Box, (now a much dirtier blue box) wasn't dealing with the rises and ruts very well at all. I about went into the ditch several times at 35mph due to bottoming out or hitting soft spots in the road which would want to jerk the car off in an unwanted direction. After I got home and told Mrs. Guitar Ted about my adventures, she insisted that I switch vehicles. What am I gonna say, ya know? She loves me!

So, the Dirty Blue Box is staying home and the all time four wheel drive SUV is getting the call to get in the game. Sure, it gets crap gas mileage, but I'll have a much better chance at actually staying on the road! That's kind of an important thing, I think.

<===Speaking of staying on the road...

If you are doing Trans Iowa this weekend you just might come across one o these horsed carriages. They were everywhere today. Keep in mind, horses don't really cotton to cyclists to well. Think you are a predator, they do. Give 'em a wide girth on the road, or heck, stop and let them go by. Ya got 34 hours to get your business done, fer cryin' out loud!

Yeah, that's a ghost image of the Michelin Man on my dash. You aren't seein things! It's a bobble head I got at Frostbike a couple years ago. The Dirty Blue Box makes his head go all crazy at times. Pretty fun to watch! Well, if you aren't too busy trying to keep your 13 inch wheels on the gravel, that is!

Well, I'll be doing Trans Iowa this weekend so this is your last post here. Check out the T.I.V4 site for audio-blog updates on the latest from the gravely goodness. See ya Monday!

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