Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Training: Was That a 3GR?

Following Jeff on his fat bike on Ansborough
Saturday was going to be a planned test ride for the new-to-me Vaya. It also was a test ride for the Vee Rubber X-C-X tires, (which you can read more about here if you want to.) I was on Facebook when I saw some chatter about folks wanting to ride gravel and Mike pinged me about my plans. Next thing ya know, Mike is coming over to my place to meet me for a ride, and Jeff decided to join in as well.

The ride time was set for 10am, since it wasn't all that warm and I didn't want to ride in temperatures in the teens. It was forecast to get into the 30's a bit after noon. So, Mike showed up and then Jeff came along about 20 minutes afterward and we set out to ride Southward.

I figured an attempt at Ansborough would be good. It goes on for about 12 miles and you don't have to make any decisions for a while. The rollers are there to make it interesting, and aren't so bad that they crush you out of the gate. Just enough to wake up the legs, as long as the wind is not out of the South. 

Mike and Jeff were amenable to that, so we were headed South with only one stop so I could take a nature break. (Too much coffee!)

Some cool formations seen on my Nature Break
As we reached the "T" intersection at the end of the road, (now "U Avenue" in Tama County), we had some decisions to make, so we stopped briefly again. About this time a red Chevy truck pulls up with this enormous shaggy, blonde colored dog in the back. By the looks of it, it would appear that it was a Wolfhound of some sort. The driver rolled down the window, truck blocking the entire intersection, and says something in an unintelligible mush-mouth. Then I noticed he had very few teeth in his head. (Not that this indicts him in any way, but it explained the poor diction.) Finally it came to me that he was making some jest about not having a motor. I acknowledged his "cleverness", which he seemed rather pleased with, and he rolled up the window and trundled off to the East, the dog in tow in the bed of the truck. Thankfully the dog took no notice of us. I'm quite sure it was large enough to have taken any one of us three out if it had a mind to.

But that still left us with our decision on which way to go. After outlining our choices, it was agreed that we should go West and we ended up going by Buckingham on the pavement. I always had wanted to go by Buckingham, just for the personal pleasure of having "bagged" another small town on my bicycle, so that was a highlight for me as we rolled by the tiny burg.

Then it was a couple more miles to our Northward trek back up P Avenue which, as any Tama County road is, was hilly, and mostly up. Added to this was the fact that now we had a slight head wind to push against as well.

Barns For Jason: Another view.
 The conversation helped me focus on something other than my aching knees and legs which were being pummeled for the third straight day. At least the roads were shaping up, and some grading was noticed here and there, so we knew that the Counties had been out shaping up things after the snows and frosts of Winter. Well.....Winter isn't letting go quite yet! But everyone is waiting for the Springtime weather to pop like dam that is about to burst.

Speaking of which, I noted more Red Winged Blackbirds again, and a couple days earlier the Robins were congregating, so it all hinges on the weather, and when it does turn, I think Spring is going to "explode" in many different ways. I also have a feeling that Summer-like weather will be right on its heels, so I wouldn't at all be surprised if drought and dryness continues in Iowa.

But that's another story. Back to the ride- Mike at one point mentioned that this was the first 3GR of 2013. Wow! I hadn't even given thought to that, but he was right, of course. It was a 3GR, and it was an awesome 40 miler with good company. The Vaya was good. Really surprising, actually, and I feel it will need some very minor tweakage to become a solid rig in the stable.

So that was the end of a three day brick of riding. Sunday was a day off, and my legs were aching the good ache of having been out on a bicycle consistently. Hopefully with a turn to better weather the consistency can be kept up and I'll be good to go for the Renegade Gents Race.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad you got out for some rides,my friend. Now I need to follow suit :p

The DC

Ari said...

I believe a great percentage of riders to T.I. are going to arrive pretty "soft". It truly has been hard traing for this event, specially since the start of March.
Snow Go Away!!!

transparentfaith said...

I am thinking of moving to Atlantic, IA from PA. Where is the good off road riding at, in south western IA?


Guitar Ted said...

@Ari: Yeah, I have a feeling you are right on about that!

@transparentfaith: Atlantic is kind of in between two great areas for mtb. One is East of Atlantic in Des Moines. Here is the CITA link:

The other is West of Atlantic, in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area. Here is the THOR link:

Both are great areas. Unfortunately, Atlantic is smack dab in the middle of a major agricultural area, so it is mostly farmland. But don't despair! It also is smack dab in the middle of gravel road riding heaven. Check that out if you come out that way.