Sunday, August 04, 2013

3GR Report: Gravel Mutt V2

The Gravel Mutt V2
I have another Gravel Mutt in the fleet. There is an interesting story behind it which deserves its own post. That will have to wait....

Saturday dawned fair and clear with a little whisp-o-wind that wasn't enough to even mention, really. I only do so for the benefit of Mike who might be interested to know that it was a Northerly.

Otherwise it was as perfect a day as a cyclist could ask for. Bright sunshine, very comfortable temperatures, and a light rain the evening before had settled the dust for what promised to be a fast ride. Fast because I had a forewarning that Robert was coming, and he normally sets a pace that is steady, slightly fast, and at a non-stop rate. How would I hold up, and how would this untested rig do? I was ready to find out. Robert showed up and after a short time for an adjustment, we were off to ride as a twosome.

Robert was in a chatty mood and my legs, which haven't been really "on" since mid-June, were back in full force. I felt quite good, actually, so whatever pace Robert set, I was just fine with that. I was quite surprised, actually. Last week with Mike I started out well, but was fading towards the end. How would the legs hold up? I didn't worry at that moment, since the conversation was engaging, and I was firing on all cylinders for the first time in a long while.

As we went North, climbing each successive hill, it grew warmer, until Robert finally had had enough of his arm warmers and wanted to stop a moment to take them off and stow them. It was right at the corner where we were to go West, and I spied some 8 foot high corn in a field, perfect for a "nature break" I was wanting to stop for. It is a convenient thing in Iowa in mid-summer that the corn gets so high that you can conceal yourself quickly and "do your business" just about anywhere along the roads. In Spring, Fall, or Winter, you might ride miles before finding tall enough grass or a small grove of woods out of eyesight. Summer definitely rules.

With that out of the way we wound our way Northwestward on Ivanhoe and finally turning South again at Hilton, we ran into some of the smoothest, fastest gravel of the ride. The Strada Bianca Challenge tires were singing, and the smooth steel frame of the Gravel Mutt V2 was like a magic carpet. Everything was still all roses at this point, and I marveled at that, since I had been pushing through mostly physical struggles for over a month. The bike was functioning well, but by this time my brakes had gone away. Well.......they would slow me down somewhat, but they were far from "stopping" anything! This was due to the nature by which the bike had come together. All will make better sense after I post the story on the bike.

Fortunately, brakes are not that big of a deal while cruising gravel roads. Robert and I had decided to soldier on and instead of turning back East, as we had done all year due to the floods in the Cedar River Valley for most of the year, we turned down the roads we used last year which led us to Cedar Falls.

This was my first time on these roads, (I think), all year long. Nothing had changed from last year, but it was fun to see the old territory again. Finally we made our way to pavement, then to the trails on the North side of Cedar Falls, and eventually to the "Cup Of Joes" coffee shop, which is always a bustling place on a Saturday morning. With a muffin each and two hot cups of coffee, we managed a table outside for our leisure and coffee drinking enjoyment. That was pleasant, but we still both needed to get ourselves back to Waterloo where we both live.

Of course, we both did that, and I got home to have lunch and relax a bit. However; the ride of the new Mutt was so engaging that I decided to use it again to run errands in the afternoon. That pushed up the mileage for the day to over 60, which was a lot of fun, but I was certainly tired by the end of the day. Still, I count it as my first "all clear" after the strange illness of late June through July, and I was pleased to have felt really strong on the 3GR.


Kate Geisen said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better. Sounds like a great day to ride!

john said...

To get Robert talking is always the best way to stay with him. He is so full of tech talk and loves to share his knowledge.