Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational 2012- Report Part III (Again)

Since the report was running so long yesterday, I decided to break it into two parts. Here is Part II of "The Longest Leg".

Wind farm and a wet road
After the bigger hills were traversed, we were headed back north some more into Marshall County. This saw us hitting flatter terrain.  The area is also home to a large wind farm. It was cool to ride through there on such a day.

It was still raining/spitting at this point and I was still loving it. But sooner than later I knew at some point we would be running out into sunshine again and warmer temperatures. In fact, I could feel it getting warmer already.

I was suddenly aware at this point that we were down two riders. I called a halt so we could have a nature break and wait up for the two stragglers. It turned out to be Mike and Cody. Mike had gotten chain suck and had to deal with his drive train issues before he could continue onward. Cody had just simply stopped to see if he could help.

We then hit the North bound part of the route again. Soon we would be turning East and towards the century mark of the ride overall. I kept asking Jeremy how much further it was to Gilman, since my computer didn't get reset at the start. I didn't discover that fact until we were well out of town, but I chalked it up to almost never riding with a computer anymore. I also had a hankering for some beer. Ice cold beer, and so did Matt. We were really looking forward to the next stop!

We were to have another B Road section coming and I was looking forward to it. So far, the B Roads had been great, and I was stoked about that. However; this wasn't going to happen on this section of road. Why? Because it was a C Road!

Level C Road means that the entrance and exit is gated. The control over right of way is ceded to the local land owner. That person can enforce the "No Trespassing" part, or not. Typically C Roads are often nothing more than double track, or barely double track. This one looked to be a recently decommissioned B Road.

As we did last year at the bridge out sign, we stopped and debated whether to go through. Everyone wanted to, but should we? The gates were open, and Jeremy said, "I'm going through, just like last year." As he clipped in, I said, "Well, let's go then." Off we went down a pea gravel double track.

Low water crossing on a C Level road
This was my first trip on a bicycle, (or in any other mode, for that matter), down a C Level Road. I had seen them before, of course. When you spend as much time running around Iowa on gravel roads as I do, you see a lot of stuff. That said, I was as new to actually going down one as anyone on the ride.

The very first C Level road I ever saw was near Osage, Iowa and thwarted a planned route on T.I.V2's course. Of course, no one ever got to see the solution to that bit!

At any rate, we were on the C Level road going gently down on double track with deep pea gravel as a base. I found a better line with firmer ground down the center, or just off to the sides. I surmised that the local farmer had just maintained this double track by the looks of the gravel here. Eventually, the pea gravel gave over to fist sized, embedded , chunky rocks leading down to a low water crossing with big chunky rocks in there you couldn't see. We all, (thankfully), made it through without incident.

Then it was a slow grind up and outta that C Level road, back onto gravel, and on towards Gilman and beer. We eventually passed the century mark, although it wasn't marked by anyone. We just kept riding on. It was as if the century mark didn't matter. Everyone was just pressing on to get off the bikes and rest. Refueling, getting water, and resting. That was bigger than riding past 100 miles at this point.

Smiling through the pain- (Image by Celeste Matthias)
And by this time I was also getting hungry. I suppose we'd burned through a few calories by this point, and my body was telling me it was time to eat. I held out as the miles counted down from the double digits to single digits to go. I figured that even if I did bonk, we'd be sitting around for a little while at least, so I could recover.

I powered down the last of my bottles and focused on getting off the bike for a bit. We'd been grinding since that stop on the wind farm for a nature break and that was a long time ago now, or so it seemed.

Finally we headed south on the route that T.I.V7 went out on Northwards. This was a short run into Gilman, but like anytime you are ready to get off your bike, the destination seems to take longer to get to than it should. But we did get there, and we had a hoot of a time.

Tomorrow: Gilman To Grinnell

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