Thursday, October 16, 2014

Shake Down Ride Shakes Something Out

Wednesday promised to be the first nice day of the week after two straight days of pretty constant rain/drizzle which made off road opportunities not very good choices. I was pretty committed to a gravel ride, but on the Fargo Gen I, which was going to be the rig for the Geezer Ride this weekend.

I figured I would also try out my clothing choices, since Wednesday's weather would be similar to Saturday's. Cold, windy from the North/Northwest, and sunny. I selected wool base layers for the top and bottom, then some 3/4's Endura Humveee pants, and a short sleeved Pirate Cycling League jersey. I also wore a Zoic jacket over the top and started out with some lightweight, Answer full finger gloves. On my head I wore a fleece cap under my trusty Bell Helmet. Eyes were protected by some Spy "Daft" eyesheilds.

I got out by about 9:30am and headed North. I figured I would get the windy part done first. I headed toward the Cedar River then wended my way along the streets and bike paths until I reached Shirey Way, which I suppose is named something else these days. I remember when this two-track was a legitimate road with occasional traffic and a legend about ne'er do wells practicing some midnight sorcery back in the woods that lined the roadway. Hard to believe now more so than it was then.

Spotted this bird doing some heavy lifting over the John Deere Foundry building. 

There used to be not a few houses down here, but with several major floods, the government bought out the owners and moved them out. 

Old Shirey Way, now a part of Hartman Reserve. 

Snag Creek was like a glass mirror. 

It was one of those rides that had no real destination in mind. I wasn't in any big hurry, owing to trying a pace that I felt we would have for the Geezer Ride. I ended up aiming toward the Washington Access fire road. It starts in Black Hawk Park, adjacent to the Cedar River, and it is a very rustic track that essentially parallels the Cedar River on the East side. I don't know where the road came from, but the first I ever heard of it was back in the early 90's when I overheard some UNI football players saying they had run this for training.

I went down the paved bicycle path, which takes you right to Black Hawk Park. Then I rode the park road past the firing range to the turnaround. That's where the gate to the old fire road begins on the South end.

A stop mid-way through to the Washington Access end of the fire road.

A colorful open meadow near the North end.

A farmer's field very near the North entrance.

The old pathway was choked with dead fall from the winds of late. I had to hoist the Fargo over a couple, others could be bunny hopped, and a few I was able to remove. The path is little used, and gets little maintenance. This is about as bad as I've ever seen it. There also was a branch that headed off to the East at one point and was a cutoff to Ford Road, but it is so overgrown and in disuse that I doubt it is even passable anymore these days.

Fortunately, I was able to make good headway, and the dead falls ceased to be an issue from the last third onward, so it was a good ride on a very rustic, sometimes muddy pathway. The end on the North side dumps you out into the Washington Access to the Cedar River, which was looking rather disheveled these days. Kind of sad to see that.

I was obliged to take about a half a mile of pavement to Ford Road.
Then it was mostly "Hero Gravel" from then on out!
Once I made it over to Ford Road I turned back South and the wind was my friend! Of course, while I was on that old, rustic, tree lined path, the winds were not noticeable, but out here in the open they were rushing along at a constant pace. Glad to have that at my back then!

The gravel was fast, packed down, and therefore quite smooth. I was flying along with little effort. Then I was obliged to turn East, and while it made for some slower going, it was still not all that bad. The cross wind did catch the frame bag a bit though, I noticed, and I was fighting that just a wee bit in gusts of wind. But before I turned East, I found something I hadn't noticed before....

Washington Chapel was at the dead end stretch of Bennington Road. A church that I hadn't ever seen before and I wouldn't have if not for a glimpse of the cemetery on the hill as I came from the North. This one is one of the older ones I've seen around here. 1865, was the date above the doorway, and it was in excellent repair. Very nice.

The half moon hadn't set yet. As seen above Bennington Road.

Just before getting back into town, I saw this deer which ran in front of me for a bit. 

I enjoyed the tailwind all the way back into town and then some. It made for good time versus my stop and go pace in the beginning. Maybe I went too fast for a Geezer Ride! When I was but a mile from the house at a stop light, I took off and the free hub was a bit hesitant to engage. Then after the next stop it free wheeled and I couldn't go. I thought I had thrown the chain somehow, but it was the free hub body on the Hope hub. I did finally get it to engage, so I think it is sticky pawls. I have noted that for a Hope hub it has been rather silent of late!

I was a bit bummed, as this was the wheel set I was going to use on the bike this weekend, but now I think I will have to switch back to the wheels I used at Odin's Revenge. Hey! It could be worse. At least my shake down ride served to show that issue up here instead of on the ride Saturday!


Wally said...

Nice! I see you seem to bonding quite well with that Oly camera. I'm a bit jealous of the ride...

MICHAEL said...

Jealous of any road that parallels a nice river. I haven't found many here near Omaha that aren't on private land. Can't wait to see the Iowa River valley on the Geezer ride !

youcancallmeAl said...

gorgeous terrain