Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dirty Metric #1

Starting out at 30°F with heavy frost on the ground. The temperature rose 34°F during my ride!
Maybe some of you know that I joined The Cup O Dirt Challenge this year. Well, I either have to get in 12 metric centuries or six "real" ones. I figured on starting out by trying the metric ones, but I got shut out in January, and February was about shot. In comes the good weather, and so I decided that Saturday was my day. Do or die, because I wasn't going to get a second chance in February. I got everything lined up Friday night, and I went to bed early, (for me 10:00 pm is early!), and the alarm was set for six in the morning.

I knew going into this that I was going to see a wide swing in temperatures. It was 30°F when I left at 7:00am and I was expecting that I might see 60°F before I got home. Dressing, or maybe more accurately, undressing, for this as the day went on was going to be interesting. I also had to balance being able to carry enough water and food with having a place to stash things as I peeled them off.

Here's a list of what I was wearing when I left the house:
  • Bontrager sleeveless base layer.
  • Louis Garneau bib shorts
  • Pirate Cycling League "black" jersey from 2014
  • "Frostbike" branded wool DeFeet arm warmers.
  • Bontrager Thermal tights
  • Bontrager wind shell 
  • DeFeet wool socks
  • "Mart bag" vapor barriers on the feet.
  • Polypro beanie
  • Wool glove liners with Bontrager heavy Lycra full finger Winter gloves. 
  • Shimano three strap shoes. 
  • Gargoyle sunglasses
  • Bell helmet.


Headed South on Aker Road. It was darn chilly, but the Sun was bright and the winds were light.
I wanted to get an early start since the weather guys were predicting stronger winds as the day wore on. The wind was a breeze when I left, and little more than noticeable, but as I got down the road, you could feel it pick up a bit in intensity. The plan was to hit a spot about half way to Traer and take a tiny break. I had to relieve myself, so a little before I really wanted to stop, I found an abandoned barn. It was a perfect place to stop.

A brief stop to have a nature break and eat a bit of gel. Then it was back at it!
I figured on going through two water bottles by Traer at about 25 miles in. I had five with me- Two in the Chaff Bags, two in the cages, and one stashed inside of my Tangle Bag. I had about ten gel packets with me, two peanut butter and honey sandwiches, and five dollars. Traer would be my only resupply point where I figured on refilling the two water bottles and maybe finding something to nibble on that was "real food' besides my sandwiches which were for later. I tried to eat and drink at regular intervals, and I tried to throttle back a bit on the riding, since I was heading into the wind. I seemed to be successful on all accounts seemingly, that is until I got closer to Traer. It was then I felt the "hunger monster" and knew I'd better eat something soon.

See that little cardboard box on the ledge above my handle bars? It's a little cherry pie! It was really good too. 
The stop in Traer came at about 9:45am and that was a bit of a surprise to me as I only stopped once and I thought I was going faster than that. However; the wind was a factor. Inside the convenience store I found a Scotcheroo and a cute little cherry pie in a tin inside a cardboard box. All for $2.88, which was pretty nice. The gal at the counter took forever to get off the phone since she was taking a food order from a customer that couldn't make up their mind. Yes- small town convenience stores have become village cafeterias. Many small town convenience stores provide this service and pizza delivery, or take away. Anyway, I stood there for ten minutes so this stop took way longer than I wanted it to.

Hike-a-bike. It's good for the soul.
South of Traer I wanted to travel just South of Highway 63 Westward, so I could get over to J Avenue and see if the bridge was back in. However; I ran into a messy Level B road which made me decide to go down another mile to 200th and then West. Okay, so far, so good. Then I saw another Level B. Rats! I was going to end up either going way out of my way, backtracking, or just hike-a-biking straight on through. I chose the last, and it was a slow going slog.

Maybe I should have packed snowshoes!
Thanks to Mike Johnson, who made this tool, I was back up and running in no time once I cleared the Level B road.
All along during the ride I could feel it getting a wee bit warmer, but it was still pretty chilly. That is until I finished hiking the Level B Road. It was like a switch had been flipped, and I ended up stashing my beanie, wind jacket, and both pairs of gloves. The walk on the muddy, snowy ditch ragged out my cheesy vapor barriers, so I removed them. I was fine without them afterward anyway.

The mud was dispatched from my bike and shoes by a simple little tool made from a shish-kabob skewer by Mike Johnson who showed it to me a couple of years ago. It works like a champ and is easily stowed in a bag. Thanks Mike! Once that task was done, my clothes stashed, and after a bit of water, I was off again. I decided to skip going to J Avenue when I ran into another muddy Level B. I just headed straight up K Avenue instead. I couldn't afford to spend the time hiking another B road on this day.

Ridge Road Northwest of Traer is an awesome piece of Iowa gravel. You should ride it too.
It wasn't long before I was going back North and East with the wind, which was getting darn right strong now out of the Southwest, and I was on my way back to Waterloo. I hit one of my favorite roads, Ridge Road, and had a guy on a motorcycle slow down to chat with me a bit. He was amazed when I told him I had ridden down from Waterloo where I live.
Rest stop on the corner of 155th and P.
I was getting really sore in my left shoulder on the way back. I bunged it up when I fell on the ice a month or so ago, and it really aches after getting jarred on gravel. I had some ibuprofen, fortunately, and that took the edge off, but it was a struggle until the medication took effect. I'll have to try lifting some mild weights and stretching to see if I can get that back into shape.

The wind really was pushing me hard, which was good. I was getting tired legs and I had 20 miles to go. I made the final rest stop at the corner of 115th and U Street to eat my last peanut butter and honey sandwich, then I flew back to Waterloo on the wings of the wind.

All in all it was a great day out on the bike, I felt really good, considering this was my longest ride since October, and everything went pretty much according to plan. I got back at 2:15pm, so it was a long day anyway. I have not fully accounted for the mileage yet, but I am pretty sure it was over 63 miles, (UPDATE- Total mileage was just at 70 miles), so I got my Cup O Dirt challenge started out right. Now I just need to keep it up.

2 comments:

Mike Johnson said...

Job well done. All great roads with pretty scenery. Glad the mud remover work for ya,a tool you never leave home without.

David Swanson said...

Sounds like a good ride, thanks for the tool tip!