Sunday, June 24, 2012

Quit Doggin' Me Girl!

Or- The 3GR Ride Report:

Well- I knew it would happen someday, and yesterday was that day. No one else showed up at the 3GR ride. But, how could you blame anyone? I mean, I had to move it from Gateway Park, since the Sturgis Falls celebration was going on.  I chose Traer as the meet-up spot instead, so I figured that not many would even consider coming that far.

Too bad. It was awesome! 

B Road Awesomeness
 Like I said, there would be "B Maintenance Roads", (MMR in other necks of other woods), and they were perfect. Smooth, dry, and fast.

The skies were overcast too, which kept the temperatures at a comfortable level for the entire ride. That said, it was plenty humid! I did actually sweat....a lot!

Another point of note: The winds were "breezy". Not gale force, as they have been most of the spring, but actually a non-factor today. That was a first for a 3GR. should have come!

I rode south from Traer and went looking for the B Roads, which are not hard to find south of town there. In fact, I found one I need to go back and ride. I didn't do it yesterday because I had a plan. The Plan must be adhered to for a 3GR ride, whether or not anyone else shows up.

Barns For Jason
I actually rode on several different B Maintenance roads and every one was fun. I know, Trans Iowa freaks will be cursing my name, because a B Road means walking in April, but in June it means awesomeness.

The hills weren't too bad in this part, but a couple were steep and short. I felt pretty good though, and the Retroshifted Fargo was keeping me moving forward just fine. There were some patches of deeper gravel, but the wider tires on the Fargo were keeping things stable with no bouncing around or hunting for smoother lines.

Just point and shoot, as they say! And I did. I took a bunch of photos with my point and shoot, and that bit was fun as well. Got a lot of great images that I will be using for Gravel Grinder News headers.

Run Doggie, Run!
About halfway through my planned loop, I sensed something behind me. I turned to look over my shoulder only to see a smallish Black Labrador dog chasing me down. It wasn't barking at all, just charging down the gravel road straight for me. I said a few kind words to it, and it shot right on by me.

Well, my new found road companion kept running ahead of me for the time being, so I pulled out the camera and shot the image here. Pocketing the camera, I decided I'd better talk to this critter some more, and try to convince her to go home.

She would have none of it. In fact, she was a cunning little cur, and she was running directly in front of me. Then she'd look over her shoulder at me, wet tongue lolling out of her mouth, and brake check me. I about ran over her several times because of this. I don't think it was a malicious thing. I suppose she wanted me to stop this incessant racing and just cuddle in the ditch awhile.

Trans Iowa V7 riders should remember this hill
I would have none of it. In fact, I started dog-fighting, (in the aerial sense of the term), with this mutt. She'd veer one way, I would counter. This all at 14-16 miles per hour. Then I decided to try and out-sprint her. I went hard, but at 22.5mph, I couldn't go faster where I was at, and the dog was right there beside me. Frothing at the mouth now, she was so worked.

I knew it would be a matter of time before she gave in, but it had been 3 miles going on now. I crossed Highway 96 and she went right on ahead of me. At the very next farm house, something distracted her nose, and she veered left to go investigate it. That was my cue to hit the gas and disappear down the road. I knew she didn't have much left in the tank for a chase to bridge up, and I was right. 

The view from Ridge Road
By now I was heading down to cross Wolf Creek and then up to the Wolf Creek Wall. This was the hill featured in "300 Miles of Gravel" trailer that documented Trans Iowa V7. I crawled up and over The Wall, and then the subsequent roller-coaster stretch of 170th which took me to K Avenue and finally up to the water tower at the intersection of Ridge Road.

That's a difficult stretch of riding right there, and I highly recommend it to anyone that needs "hill work".

Ridge Road is a gravel stretch I have not visited in way too long a time now. I forgot how fun, scenic, and interesting it actually is to ride. So I was super happy to have ridden it again Saturday, and you can bet I'll be visiting again real soon. In fact, the last time I rode much of Ridge Road was in 2010 at night with David Pals. Wow!

I'm not going to wait that long again! You can bet on that. Then it was down to the flats around Wolf Creek and the short little back road to the iron bridge outside of Traer. I made it almost a perfect two hour jaunt. That was a good little ride. One of these days, I would like to show some of you new folks to gravel grinding this loop, because it is a ton of fun, and you just never know what sort of adventure awaits you out there.

Ain't that right little doggie? (Hope ya made it home safe!)

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