Tuesday, August 08, 2017

GTDRI '17 Report: Part 2- History And Trouble

Our third sector of Level B Road was fast and smooth.
As we swung back to the South and West again in Benton County, the roads were chunky but the scenery was good. Better than I had expected, actually. Yes......I had never been on these roads before. We passed an awesome looking C Maintenance road I would have loved to explore, but not only did I not have the time, I would have to get permission. Not likely....

There was some scuttlebutt going on between riders concerning Kevin's fate. He was not feeling it and needed to bail. Apparently New York Roll was saying he would escort Kevin back to Reinbeck, but Kevin would have none of it. Instead, he asked for a route to Traer where we planned to end up for our lunch stop. That was a pretty easy 10-ish miles from where we were. So, a parting point was identified and Kevin was all set to find his own way to meet with us later. It was hoped that he could manage to rest up enough to ride more.

So with that discussion over we turned our attention to the next Level B sector which took us back in to Tama County. The plan was to allow a possibility of a stop in Dysart, but if it wasn't needed, we could skirt the town on the West side and continue on South and West. Since we were killing it on time, I decided to just have us keep going. No one in the group seemed to mind either. In fact, it was about around this time that I started saying that we were going too fast and that "We have all day, ya know...." It didn't seem to matter as we still kept steam rolling down the miles as the day moved on. By now, it was much warmer and the sky was full Sun.

There were several of these cement posts at an old farm site.
Nick and I had spied a couple of interesting cemeteries on the ride already. We had chatted about things we had known about some of these places. Then, not long after parting with Kevin, at the end of another stretch of Level B Road, we came upon what looked like a carefully manicured site with strange columns or posts sitting in a somewhat circular pattern. Then when we reached the corner, the road was marked at its entrance with two more of these.

Well, cameras came out and we were wondering about this strange place. There was a sign with a couple's name, Richard and Barb Winterroth, a Century Farm designation, and the words "Schwinheit Acres". There were no buildings left on the premises, but it was obvious that someone was taking care of the posts that now stood as sentinels to someone's past lives here.

I tried to do a bit of online research on the name, but came up empty handed. At any rate, it was a fascinating find on the route, and again, obviously on a road I had never been on before. This is the sort of thing that makes me keep wanting to explore the gravel roads of Iowa. You just never know what you might come across. Sure, you get miles of nothing that great, but when you find that gem mouldering away in the middle of nowhere, it is gold.

We headed Westward at this point. We were just North of Clutier at this point in the route and we were to be heading over to a Level B Road I had used on another Death Ride, but this time we would be going the opposite direction. Along the way we saw some amazing flowers in the ditch. I also was a bit confused here since I had obviously not written down a cue. I knew I was off, but others had the GPS track, so we figured it out okay. Blame the late night rush to get cues written up after I found out the printers were out of ink!

Some good flower action just North of Clutier, Iowa
This Level B Road kicked up pretty steeply at the end to a turn on to R Avenue.
The Level B North of Clutier wasn't as bad as I thought it might be. We seemed to tame that hill quite nicely. Then it was a fast down hill Northward on R Avenue toward our last miles to Traer where we were to hook back up with Kevin and stop for resupply. It was early still- about 10:00am, and we  would probably pull off 50 miles well before noon. Of course, it was the weather which was to blame here. The unprecedented coolness and low humidity was awesome. But then someone said "Flat tire!", and we had to stop again.

New York Roll was having a tire issue. Fortunately it resolved itself and he was able to continue.
New York Roll was having an issue with a leaky rear tire. He had to stop and pump it up, checked to see that the sealant had sealed it up, and then we were off again. He also was already suffering from a creaky Press Fit 30 bottom bracket, which would squawk any time he got out of the saddle to pedal hard. Actually, that wasn't all. He would also have a loose front Center Lock rotor clanging off and on between tightenings as the ride wore on.

The last B road before lunch was just South of Traer.
 One last Level B Road before Traer and it was a good one. I kind of forgot about all the Level B's I had put into this route, so it was a nice surprise to turn and find a Level B road sign waiting for us. This last road was one of the nice surprises!

We pulled in to Traer before 11:00am, and I had to remind a couple of the guys this was the "lunch" stop! We had been making such good time that it seemed lunch should be up the road yet, but it wasn't. Traer was it. Kevin found us and we all had a nice rest before heading back out for what I thought would be the best Level B roads on the course.

Next Part 3- Unexpected Surprises And Big Hills.

2 comments:

Ari said...

Looks like perhaps one of the best days ever to be out there!

Robert Ellis said...

Such fun! I bet some old timers who live around there would know about those cement posts.