Sunday, August 25, 2013

3GR Report: Late Summer Surge

Barns For Jason
The day was supposed to be humid and hot. I was thinking about how I have had sporadic luck on hot, humid days, but more often than not, I wilt. This year has been one of those where heat has kicked my butt, and I was concerned about the ride.

I went to bed reasonably early and got a great night's sleep. I started out the day with breakfast and several glasses of water. Felt pretty good, and after the all important bathroom visit, which was successful, I was out of the door a bit early, but I wanted to take my time and spin easy going out to the start.

I no sooner got off my bicycle when I saw Tony coming up the hill. We chatted and then here came Robert. It was a trio then, and we set off with a hazy sky and a pretty steady tailwind going out. The temperatures were not zooming up, and with the breeze, we had a relatively good roll out, actually. Later on I would hear that the Gravel Worlds folks were battling a bit more heat than we were, so I was glad for the window of less heat than we will be getting today and through the week.

In fact, I was feeling pretty good, to tell the truth, and Robert and Tony usually like a pretty stout pace, but it was no problem for me going out to match it. I figured it most likely was just the tail wind, and not me that was making things look easy.

Robert (L) and Tony (R)
When we got up around Denver, we saw a couple vintage tractors that were going to participate in a parade in Denver yesterday. They were all shined up and clean with proud owners at the wheel. I wish I'd have gotten a picture of those.

As we crossed Highway 63 north of Denver, I noted a horse grazing freely in a yard, which is odd, and said something about it to Tony, who then went back around to check. It would have been a potential disaster had the horse been able to wander down into the highway, but fears were unfounded after all. The perimeter of the area was hedged by an electric fence. So we turned and made our way along our route, still enjoying a quartering tail wind out of the Southeast.

Then we hit the hills and head wind as we were obliged to turn back South. There are some good "rollers" here. Hills that are not long, but steep and short, which you can power over, and "roll them" if you have the leg to. Apparently, yesterday was my day, and I was pushing the pace here despite the headwind. I actually had to back off a couple of times to keep the trio together. Robert accused me of having a motor on my bike, but I was just feeling good and I guess it showed. I didn't mean to be a show off! About this time, I was actually worrying that I was going to have to pay for my cheek and would bonk spectacularly, but that never happened.

Click this to enlarge and look for the wild turkeys.
Wild life spotting was excellent yesterday as well. I had seen a peacock alongside the road. Many Iowa farmers keep peacocks, but I am not really sure why. Of course, it was a male and beautiful. Then later on we came across the turkeys. I had spotted some earlier in the summer, and these were in the same area.

I also spotted some nice Red Tailed hawks, but I don't suppose my riding partners did, as they were far off the road when I saw them. The usual horses and cows, of course, were seen, and even the dogs were docile on this edition of 3GR. Above all, the critter that brings a laugh and a smile for me is the ground squirrel, a tiny mammal that has a surprising amount of speed.

Well, the ride pushed on, and Robert and I got into a nice rotation for a bit as we shared pulls. We ended that after we saw that Tony had shot out the back and I wanted us to stay together.  It all came back together and we cruised back into town and hit up our coffee shop stop for some refreshments and a rest. I looked at the time, and despite the headwinds, we beat the week's previous time, and that had been the fastest 3GR on this particular course. Sheesh! I think we all must have had motors in our bikes somewhere!

1 comment:

Michael Denker said...

On a trip to Italy last year, we had lunch at an organic farm and, too, noticed the gorgeous peacocks strutting around. The owner advised that the peacocks are excellent for controlling snakes...

/MJD