Thursday, August 06, 2015

Gravel Adventure: Geezer Recon

Still some Summer color out in the ditches.
Wednesday I took off from work and decided to dust off the ol' BMC "Orange Crush" rig and do a final pass over the proposed Geezer Ride course. It was a great day out, with light winds and lower humidity and temperatures. Too good for mowing the lawn, that's for sure!

The first thing I had to do was to pump up the totally flat WTB Nano 40 TCS rear tire and add a little sealant while I was at it. That led me to discover that the removable valve core was loose. Yeah......that would probably make the tire flat!. So, I added a touch of sealant anyway and pumped that tire up to about 43psi. Time to ride!

The Geezer Ride is about 44 miles this time around, and that doesn't include the distance it takes to get to the start/finish from my house, which I suppose is about 4 miles or so one way. Yeah......I don't have a computer on this bike! 

Barns For Jason
Miles of freshness.
Things went swell for the first couple of miles of gravel. Then I turned on to Sage Road. Yikes! I was suddenly struggling to keep the bike straight and I was slowed down considerably by the deep, chunky fresh gravel. There was no respite either. The gravel was ditch to ditch and went on for several miles. I decided I may as well get used to it! It was working me really hard though, and I decided to take a quick break. Sweat was pouring off me, and I was hoping that by getting into Bremer County I would leave this deep gravel behind me. I mounted back on the BMC and ground away Northward.

I passed by this lonesome burro. These are not common in Iowa.
Miles and miles of corn. The corn is at its zenith now. Soon dry down will start.
Well, the entering of Bremer County did bring some relief, but there had been fresh gravel laid out on Navajo Road as well, just not so deep and not all across the roadway. I found the thin line of least resistance and carried on to my turn West and past the Maxfield School. Then before crossing Highway 63, the gravel kicked in again with big, chunky, fresh gravel going up and over the hill, making life difficult again. Once on Ivanhoe Road, however, things straightened right out for several miles.

I was surprised to come across someone I knew in their car around about the time I was passing Ingawanis Woodlands. It was a nice surprise and I chatted with them briefly through an open car window as I rode along. It kind of felt like a roadie talking to his Director Sportif situation, only on gravel. Then it was a bit of rolling terrain into a flat section before I hit the pavement of County C-50 and rolled into Janesville, Iowa.

South of Janesville I saw a lot of wildlife.
Rocking the vintage Twin Six Team Metal kit. It's my "Gandalf the Grey" look!
So Janesville will be our extended stop, since it has quite the happening Kwik Star convenience store. Then will come the more remote, rural bits of the ride adjacent to the Cedar River. It was along this particular section that I saw several deer, turkeys, and a Great Blue Heron. I did not see any black bears! There was one spotted out in this area earlier in the year, but I am quite sure it has passed on by now. Bears don't live around here permanently, but are spotted from time to time in Iowa.

Then it was on to Ford Road and to what might be another good stop at Washington Chapel. It is an old, rural church in remarkably good condition for a structure built in 1865. It is almost hidden from view as you come down from the North, but it is fairly picturesque and might make a good point for regathering the tribe before heading due East again.

Tucked away in a hillside, this church is a quaint, well preserved example of Iowa's rich rural church heritage. 
One last stop before finishing off the route recon. 
Well, the rest of the loop is in pretty great shape, and the roads are all there, so the course is a go. I sure hope we don't hit up a bunch of fresh gravel like I did yesterday, but if we do, it will just take us all longer. I managed to knock out the course and my to-and-from the start in 3 hours and 40 minutes, including my three stops, so that wasn't too bad for what was a bit over 50 miles for me. We'll be going a lot slower on the Geezer Ride though!

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