Thursday, April 02, 2015

Renegade Tune Up

Dust in the Wind.....not the song either!
Things are quickly coming to a head regarding the Renegade Gent's Race 5.0 which happens Saturday. The 63-ish mile, team time trial style, gravel road event is definitely always a highlight of my year since I attended the first one held. I haven't missed any of the previous four years, actually, and each year has had its special moments.

So, I am excited for sure about this upcoming Gents version 5 event. Not only that, but the start is being moved to a rural Iowa town named Slater and the Gent's Race will start and stop right at a local bar. That's a big change there, but I think it was necessary due to how far we had to ride through urban traffic to get out of Ankeny in the previous versions of the event.

I decided to bust out the Black Mountain Cycles "Orange Crush" rig and tune it up at the beginning of February in anticipation of this event. It has a new bottom bracket, chain rings, chain, and cassette. I figured it would all be ready to go, but that I should ride it at least once before hauling it down there Saturday only to perhaps find out something was amiss. Well, there was that and the fact it was in the mid-70's and sunny! Sounds idyllic, no?

Well, it was pretty much but for one little "fly in the ointment". That was a 25-30 mph wind straight out of the South. There was nothing for it but to head straight at the beast and see how far I could go.

It looked great, but the wind was BRUTAL! Looking West down Petrie Rd.
Going South I start on paved, level bicycle path for about 4 miles, peel off to the East, then South on gravel. The beginning wasn't too terribly bad, but by the time I got to the turn off, I knew I was in for a battle, but I went anyway.

I just put my head down, picked a gear I could turn over somewhat easily, and blanked out of reality. I just started thinking about a song, and played it over again and again, as it were, until I got it right in my mind. I wasn't totally "out of it", because I did note a few things.....

  • Everything is DRY! In fact, we had a Red Flag Warning here, which s an advisory for fire. With the deadly combination of dried out grasses, low humidity, and high winds, things could get out of hand very quickly if a fire were to be kindled.
  • Creeks and rivers are at critically low levels. We could use some rain, and it definitely isn't going to flood anytime soon unless we get a ton of rain on consecutive days for a while. 
  • The gravel is decomposing into "moondust" in several places and in others, the road bed is like hard pavement. It reminds me of 2012, I think it was, when we had that incredibly dry Summer. 
  • No dogs: I guess when the winds are ripping so hard that they are all you can hear, it is no wonder. 
Overall, I was really happy with how I handled the going into the wind section. Of course, it pales in comparison to those stalwart men and women that did the long stretch of wind to start out Trans Iowa v10, but I am not nearly as stout as they are yet. Hopefully I'll get there. Be that as it may, I am good to go for an attempt at a metric century Saturday, and I am excited to be feeling good on the bike again.

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