Monday, March 14, 2016

Gravel Saturday

Martin trying to sneak up on me on his Fargo.
Saturday I was itching for a gravel ride, and before this, on Thursday, a customer visited the shop and was overheard to say that they wondered about gravel riding and "was anybody doing that around here?" So, that got me pulled into the conversation. Thinking on my feet, and decided then and there that "maybe" I would do a Saturday gravel ride and if I did, I would announce it on the Facebook page for local ride announcements on Friday afternoon, or not at all. It was forecast to be rainy on Saturday, so I wasn't going to plan a ride unless we could actually pull one off.

So, on Friday after work I pulled the trigger, hoping that this customer would see it, and I would have at least one person joining me. I wasn't too hopeful that anyone else would come, because it was really late notice. However; much to my surprise, by the time I hit the hay on Friday night, about five people had committed to showing up.

So, I figured I would see at least a nice small group of folks when I hit the parking lot early Saturday morning. Once again, I was very surprised. There were several riders there, some I hadn't counted on, and we ended up being a group of 9 riders, the most I have ever had on a Saturday morning gravel group ride. I had called these "3GR" rides in the past, but this wasn't designated as such by me this time. Basically, that's what it was, and that was the route we used.

Riders on a barren looking Ivanhoe Road
Coming off the fast rollers on Hilton by the Boy Scout Camp.
It was a very interesting group. We had two women join us, a guy that had been on last Summer's Geezer Ride, Martin who had ridden with me on Wednesday and was still in town, and a few "regulars". There were four Salsa Cycles Fargos out of nine bikes, which is pretty funny considering most folks don't think about that bike as being a gravel bike these days. There were five Salsa's in total with Dave's Carbon Warbird along on the ride. There was one full suspension 29"er, a Specialized cross bike, Dave on his Straggler, and me on my Twin Six Standard Rando. So, Minneapolis accounted for the bulk of the bikes on the ride that day!

Me holding up the pliers I found. Image by D. Zbaracki
It was a remarkable day in other ways as well. We saw a Bald Eagle almost immediately upon leaving town. Then the weather was spectacular for early March. Sun dappled roads and a slight breeze were on tap. Finally, there was a stroke of luck for me.

We had been stopping occasionally to gather up the group, and when we were about to turn left to go back toward Waterloo, we were pulling up for another stop. I saw something chrome glinting in the Sun, so I coasted right up to it. A pair of pliers! I held up my prize and exclaimed with glee that I had found a treasure. As I was gloating, Dave pulled up and snapped the image here of the moment.

A little further up the road, we  stopped again to gather up the riders, and I was starving, and admitted so out loud. Kathleen heard me and offered to give me something to eat. She had some of those gummy drops which have electrolytes and whatnot in them. I gratefully accepted them and chowed them down to take the edge off my hunger. One of the gummy drops hit the gravel and someone said "five second rule!", thinking I wouldn't pick it up. Well, of course I did, and I ate it. I did wipe off most of the grit first!

Feel The Burn!!
As the group turned back to the South to make the final miles into Waterloo, I noticed smoke in the air which wasn't there when we left earlier in the day. It was a field burn. Farmers were out burning off chaff and a pasture area. This is a common way to help keep non-native grasses at bay, and to kill off volunteer trees. It used to be this happened naturally, but, with man's intrusions it is a very rare occurrence anymore for prairie fires to be started naturally. Now farmers use this technique more and more.

We made it back into town, and several of us went in to the downtown area to grab a coffee and a bite to eat before heading home. It eventually did rain, but not until late in the afternoon. So, it was good to have gotten in a good gravel ride and doubly so with such fine folks as showed up in the morning ready to go. 

1 comment:

Tom Scott said...

I was surprised to see such a large group go past my place Saturday morning. Yard duties were being performed at the time. But I did hit the road that afternoon. Lots and lots of soft frost boils out there. Cheers!