Sunday it was supposed to be a tad bit warmer and with more Sun. I decided to ride in the afternoon, but it was quite breezy from the Northwest. That made it feel cold anyway. At least the sun was shining and the puffy white clouds made for a great looking Spring day, at least. I got kitted up and rode the same rig I rode last weekend, the Black Mountain Cycles MCD dubbed the "Bubblegum Princess" by my daughter.
I left going North, of course, because I wanted that tailwind push back home. The thing about leaving Waterloo on gravel Northward is that it is mostly uphill for several miles. Combined with the wind it meant I got no break from pedaling hard. So be it. Off I went.....
|I went straight up Burton Avenue to see the churches. This is the first as you come f4rom the South.|
|The East Janesville Church is on the corner of Marquise Road and Burton Avenue.|
But I saw a huge pile of brush at the back of the property and the church had been cleared of all the wild overgrowth. It looks as though, maybe, it will be preserved. I hope so. It's an old church, going back well into the 19th Century, and Iowa doesn't have a lot of old countryside churches left. Many were destroyed by fires, so to have this one is amazing and a testament to our pioneer days.
|We don't have a lot of controlled burning of the fields here, but I came across the evidence of a burn near Denver, Iowa.|
|Sage Road was fast and fairly flat coming from the North of Black Hawk County.|
|Here a "frost boil" has caused an ugly gash to appear in the road which has been marked with flags so people don't drive into it.|
|You can see where the water is coming out of this frost boil on Moline Road.|
|Another super bad frost boil on Moline Road just outside of Waterloo.|
I think I may also have seen a hen pheasant, but I was too far away to be sure. I thought it might be one because of the way it flew and that it took refuge in some tall cattails alongside the road. But whatever it was, it was nice to see the wildlife is out and about again. Winter gravel riding is pretty devoid of wildlife, or......much of anything, really.
All in all it was a good three hour ride. The roads are treacherous now though. Any fast downhill requires full attention as ruts, softer, "heaved" sections, and deep gravel patches all can grab your wheel and throw you down in an instant. I think this is one of the first years in a long time, maybe in ten years, that we've had such issues to this extent. The Iowa Wind & Rock event is this weekend, and if those roads down there are anything like what I've seen, those riders best be sharp and careful. The lack of attention at the wrong time could mean a big crash.