Sunday, August 16, 2015

Geezer Ride #3: Report

I rolled over in bed and checked the alarm clock- 5:55am. uggh! May as well get up and start getting ready for the 3rd Geezer Ride. This one would be easy to get to, as it was starting in the city I live in, Waterloo, Iowa. It would be a hot day. That was pretty much a given, with all the mist in the air and a clear sky, the Sun would be cooking up a good hot one for us all.

I pedaled up the street toward the HyVee grocery store located up on the North end of the city where I was to meet with anyone wanting some breakfast. I got there at about 7:00am, and I didn't notice anyone with bikes or a bike rack in the parking lot, so I sat myself down on a bundle of wood that they sell there for fireplaces, and waited. I waited quite a few minutes, and wondered if anyone was going to show up at all. I was hoping so, since I was hungry! Well, it wasn't too much longer that I saw a back lit figure with what looked like cycling gear on come walking up toward me. It was Ray from Wolcott, and we walked together inside where I saw that two others were just digging in to their meals! It was Keith and Ron from Cresco. I ordered up and then saw Tony parking his rig outside. Then Gene from Michigan walked in, and finally Jeremy showed up as well. Okay, so we would have a decent little group, at least.

The Geezers: L-R: Tom, Ron, Eric, Jeremy, Tony, Keith, Ray, and Gene. I took the image and Jacob came too late to get in! 

We left the breakfast meet up at 8:00am, which gave us plenty of time to wait, and made our way over to the starting place. It was only about three blocks away, so we rolled up and started yakking away while a few more guys showed up- Eric, Tom, and right before we took off- Jacob. That made for a nice group of ten riders. We took off right at 8:30am into a bright, sunny, humid day with a light Southwesterly breeze.

First gravel was okay. Nothing at all like it was when I rode out this way about ten days ago. There was deeper, loose gravel for sure, but at least you could find easier lines through it all. I was riding my Pofahl single speed and it was working out for me pretty well so far. The first stop would be the "big rock" at the corner of Big Rock Road and Sage Road.

The group at  Big Rock Road and Sage Road
That "BR" on the rock must stand for "Big Rock", eh? That's Tony on his Atlantis there as well.
So with all the gawking at the big rock done, we rolled off. I immediately felt like my bike was squirrelly and I knew something wasn't right. After a bit of internal debate, I asked Tony to look at my rear tire and tell me if it was flat. "It isn't flat, but it is really low." , was his reply, and I knew I had to fix it. I was reminded that I flatted at the last Geezer Ride as well. hrrumph! That isn't a tradition I wanted to continue. Oh well......

So, I got busy and a few guys lent their hands and we got it swapped out. Turns out the old tube split along a molding line. They don't make 'em like they used to. Hopefully the Michelin tube I installed holds up better, I thought to myself, and we carried onward. Well, we didn't get very far and we saw that we had lost someone or two. We had made it to the Bennington School, and were waiting on the stragglers to arrive, but I eventually went back to find them. There they were! Two up coming down the road at me. I turned around and returned to the school ahead of them. Turns out Jacob had a flat!

Relaxing in the shade cast by Bennington School #4
Information plaque in front of the school detailing its history. Click to embiggen. 
We left Bennington School behind and we didn't get very far up the road before someone called out another flat. What the......!! I was beginning to think we weren't meant to get very far this day. At this rate we'd run out of tubes! Eric assured me he had two in reserve in case I needed another one. That was comforting, but how about we don't have to stop for anymore flat tires? That would be nice. I was a bit concerned now that the ride would take all day long!

Stopped for another flat tire. Jacob again!
Well, after a short break, again- we got under way, again- and this time we had a few miles to go before we'd go left and hit the Maxfield School for anther history lesson.

Gene peering inside the front door of the Maxfield School, est 1888
I found Maxfield School quite by accident a few years back when I went up Sage Road on a whim and ended up turning left at the same spot we did and came across this old country school. It was intriguing since the sign above the door was obviously in German. I went home and researched it to find out the entire area was heavily German back in the late 19th century and this was a school set up to help the children learn there in their native language. I'm not really clear on anything else here, but it points out that this is a nation made up of immigrants, which is something we'd do well to remember today.....

Well, we lounged around there for a bit and finally I made the call to head up the road. It was announced then that we'd be stopping at Tom's place, which was right on the route, for an "oasis stop". That was sounding really good about now as we were getting pretty cooked at this point by the Sun which was riding up into the sky by this time late into the morning.

Tom's place was another seven miles up the road. Hopefully we'd not have anymore flats or mechanicals. I wasn't so sure we wouldn't, as poor ol' Jacob's bike was exhibiting a really loose Shimano front hub. I clamped the skewer as tight as I dared and that would have to do, as no one had any cone wrenches on them, of course. On we went and to Ivanhoe Road.

The oasis at Tom and Sarah's place was one of the highlights of the Geezer Ride for sure. 
Yup. That was a good one.
A cat on Tom and Sarah's farm.
The oasis was awesome, as we found Tom's wife Sarah with a cart and two coolers of ice cold beverages. One was beer and the other was Gatorade. I think most of us dove right in and grabbed a beer straight away! It went down all to easily on such a hot day.

We saw a few of the exotic animals they keep there- peacocks, shaggy Scottish cattle, and we heard the roosters over in the chicken campus. A cute little grey cat then showed up and entertained us with its attempt to climb a crab apple tree. Oh yeah.......the crab apples. They were ripe and quite tart. Very tasty. I had a couple while we were taking our leisure.

I could have sat right down and stayed there a while, but again, I motioned that we should get going, and that the next stop should be in Janesville, another seven miles away, and we'd have lunch there. So, we strung out on the rollers of Hilton Avenue, went past the old Boy Scout camp, and then I stopped at the next "T" intersection to gather everyone  back up. Then we made the push the rest of the way into Janesville, arriving there at around 1:00pm. That was later than I'd have liked to have gotten there by, but after three flat tires and as many stops as we had, it was okay. Plus, we were now past the halfway mark to getting back to the start. The rest should go by easy, right? Well, one would think so, at any rate!

Mega-ten bike lean at the Janesville Kwik Star.
We lined up the bikes and hit the grub hard. I had a spicy chicken sandwich with bacon that was neither spicy, nor very "bacony", if that is a word. Anyway, it went down smooth and I topped that off with a Rockstar energy drink. We sat around there for a bit and then headed off on the "flat" portion of the ride. This took us along the Cedar River for a bit on Maxfield Road and Ford Road. Then it was back to a short bit of rollers to the Bennington Road turn off and a brief stop at the Washington Chapel. We hid in the shade there for a bit. Tom reported seeing lower 90's for temperatures earlier on, and it felt every bit of that as we made our way into mid-afternoon.

We left then on a long slog up Bennington Road. We passed the drag strip, which has been there for 50+ years, and heard the roar of mighty V8 engines. Then it was up and down several rollers until I found myself up at the front with the riders all strung out behind me. I looked back, and there were about five guys within about a 100 yards of me. I was easily seen, and I waved my arm vigorously to point out the right turn on Moline Road. I went around and hammered up the road, looking for a good place to stop and get a bit of shade before I got everyone gathered up again.

I did stop finally at the corner of Moline Road and Mount Vernon Road, but when I looked, only two guys, Gene and Ray, were with me. Where did the other three guys go? Well, we waited and waited, and then Tony and eventually two others showed up. Tony relayed that Keith and a couple of the others went straight at the turn and Jeremy raced up there to get them turned around. Eventually, we all were back on track and we finished up the ride with no further incident. Gene, during all of this ballyhoo, took his leave of us and raced ahead so he could get started on his trip home to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. That left us as a posse of nine.

Headed up Bennington Road
Tony meeting us at the corner of Moline Road and Mt. Vernon Road
Post ride refreshments and grub at Jameson's Public House.
Well, Eric and Tom peeled off to go home at the end, so it was the seven of us that ended up going downtown to eat and drink a bit at a local pub. The conversations were good, and everyone was in good spirits. Lots of "thank yous" and smiles on the ending of another successful Geezer Ride.

I finally walked into my front door at home at about 4:00pm, hot, tired, and ready to sit a spell! Not a bad day on the bike, for sure, and we all seemed to have a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone that came out to ride this 3rd Geezer ride. A Special Thanks to Tom and Sarah for letting us stop at their place and for the refreshments! Much appreciated by all!

Well, so will there be another Geezer Ride? I don't really know right now. If there were to be a good amount of requests for another, I'd consider doing another. Maybe not another this year, but we'll see......


Steven Butcher said...

G.T., I really intended to drive up from S.W. Missouri to join in on this Geezer ride but it happened to fall on my wife's birthday weekend. I hope you'll do another one in the future as it looks like loads of fun!

Exhausted_Auk said...

Sounds like a great time was had by all. Wish I could have joined you.