Sunday, September 09, 2012

3GR Report: Alone Again, Naturally

Well, I had my Shadow to keep me company!
3GR Report: 

This was going to be an interesting day's ride, since we had a couple good dowsings of rain and the weather had definitely turned from Summer to Fall. The dust that had dominated the summer riding would now be settled, I thought, and when I awoke, it was 47°F outside with nary a cloud to be seen.

I wanted to wear a wool jersey, but all my lighter weight stuff is suffering from holes. Bad, all over the place holes, and so I ended up in a summer jersey with wool arm warmers. Meh! Time to place a Twin Six order, it would seem.

Well, I hit the road at 7:30am. Man! The shadows are long now in the morning. Bright sunshine dappled down through the trees made for a high contrast scene. It wasn't windy, yet, so the cool temperatures were okay, but it sure feels weird compared to the bakery oven heat we had for the last three plus months.

I made my way over the same way I had been using of late, and again- I saw several dog walkers. Seemed quieter otherwise. I got to the meet up spot and not a soul to be seen. Even the solitary pickup truck was driven away within minutes of my arrival.

Blocked by a train....
It was about then that I realized that I might end up riding alone this day. Craig had said he wouldn't be there, Mike was doing the Iowa 24, Ron was doing a stage race in Minnesota, Robert can't normally come on Saturdays, and Jeremy had said he'd be attending a wedding.

Oh.......well then! I made a plan to ride out further than our "normal" loop, and to take the ride right back to my home. No need to come back to Cedar Falls, especially if I am soloing the ride. Just before 8:30am the train whistle blew several times, and a big, tanker car train came by. That made me wait to take off until about 8:33am, so if anyone was a few minutes late, they should have caught me, but no one did. Oh on my own then!

Hero Gravel: Like pavement...almost!
It was quite plain after hitting the gravel that the roads were completely different, and much improved, than anytime before this season. The rain turned the copious amounts of dust into paste that the rocks sank into resulting in a smooth, pavement-like surface that was super fast.

That was good, because the wind had arisen out of the Northwest and was giving no quarter. It didn't seem to be a terrible hindrance, but going up hills was definitely slower going.

I got around to the Camp and where the standard 3GR route would have continued Eastward, I turned left to head up to catch one of my favorite roads. Ivanhoe Road is an odd bit of track in that it does not follow the imposed grid that most Iowa gravel roads try to stick to. No- it is obvious that Ivanhoe is an old road, something that came before the grid was laid out. Perhaps it was a stage coach trail, or a Native American trail, but whatever it was didn't follow suit with everything else for roads that surround it.

The bonus: The wind was straight at my back on Ivanhoe, so this fun, twisty, scenic road was made even more fun by the conditions yesterday.

Right through a farmstead...
The older roads that don't follow a grid are often marked by a feature I find unique. Often times the road will go straight through a farmstead, with the barn and other out buildings across from the home on the other side. Of course, Ivanhoe Road does this and passes very closely by a few others so that you feel you are nearly in the barnyard as you pass by.

Instead of turning off Ivanhoe and heading back toward Burton Road via Killdeer, I went the entire length of Ivanhoe to Highway 63. I went straight across and on East following 260thfor a couple more miles, then I turned South on Navaho, which hooks up with Sage Road in Black Hawk County.

The road is mostly flat going South, but towards Waterloo, there are a few rollers. Nothing big. I decided to go East some more at the intersection of Sage and Donald on pavement. Around the Northeast site, Tysons, and back through to town on the bike path alongside MLK. The bike path section was brutal! The headwind was the worst, and right at the end of the ride.

But it was an awesome ride. Four hours and probably about 55 miles. Over 50 easily anyway. Hey....I don't have a computer!

1 comment:

Mike Johnson said...

Sounds like it was a great morning for a ride. Sorry I missed it. Count me in for carrying the torch for next Sat. We shall see who will show up.