Thursday, September 01, 2016

Geezer Ride '16: Recon

Things will start out pretty flat for several miles.
Wednesday was a gorgeous day and I took the opportunity to ride the proposed course for the upcoming Geezer Ride which will be on Saturday, September 17th.

As I have said on numerous occasions, this is a super-chill ride and the course is geared toward that as well. The first few miles will be on bike path that undulates a bit but doesn't have anything close to a hill. Then we hit some pavement that will lead out to gravel. That and the first several miles of gravel will be dead flat. Well.......I think so anyway. It is pretty flat out that way. You don't even get a slight incline until you go North on Ford Road. Even then it is a gentle slope. Nothing to fret over.

What you could have fretted about Wednesday was the three inches of fresh gravel strewn across the road. Man! That was a chunky, rough three mile stretch or so. Black Hawk County was doing road maintenance yesterday, or so it seemed. There were other fresh patches of gravel I ran across but nothing compares to that deep carpet of crushed limestone I rode on down Ford Road.

Dump truck fresh for your eye ball rattling pleasure!
Hopefully that gets sorted out before the Geezer Ride in a couple weeks or so. If not, I have two words for you: wide tires! Oh, and at lower pressures. I was glad I had the WTB Riddler 45mm tires on my Tamland, that's for sure. A skinnier tire would have made matters much worse through that section.

Church #1 on the course comes fairly early on into the ride.

One thing I wanted to mention was that I discovered a really cool round ceramic tile barn on the route very early into the first gravel section. I have ridden this road several times before, but it is off the road far enough that it is easy to miss it. We will have to stop and check that out when the Geezer Ride happens.

Not all gravel roads are lined with corn and soybeans. Notice the fresh gravel here.

Church #2 on the route as we approach from the West.
The route will head East and North for several miles and this is where some gentle rollers will kick in. Nothing steep, mind you, but the grades are longer. Unless there is a massive headwind these shouldn't be a big deal. I had a quartering headwind going up these and I was fine. Near to the end of our first Eastward march we will come across another country church at the top of a long, gentle climb.

Church #3, an abandoned one, is only a mile North of the second one.
At the second church on course we will turn Northward for a mile to catch the third church on route and then take a long road Eastward on the northern edge of Black Hawk County. This part is maybe a little tough since there isn't really anything of interest on this stretch of road. Well, there is a dog at the top of a hill right after crossing Highway 63 we may have to watch out for, but other than that, not much of interest. Other than you will be out riding in the country, and hopefully we will see some wild flowers. There were a lot of yellows in the ditch as of this week.

Barns For Jason
Then we will turn from our most Northerly part of the course down a road I hadn't ridden on before yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has several interesting barns and farmsteads on it, which should provide some visual breaks from the previous miles of corn and soybean fields.

Church #4 is a much newer, fancier affair.
We will go East a few more miles then and to the furthest point East on the course where we will drop South for one mile to get back going West again. Along this road we will see church #4, which is a newer church building which I am guessing replaced an older building there. I say that because the cemetery behind this church looks rather old.

Church #5 is just a few miles west of #4.
Further up the road we will find another smaller, older church. We will find the roads on this Eastern section to be rather flat, by the way, but after this little church the rollers never really quit. Again, they aren't bad, but there isn't anything flat, really, again until we get back closer to Cedar Falls.

Mount Vernon cemetery. I'd bet that there was a church here once, or very near to this site.
We will ride past Mount Vernon cemetery which has several nice trees. If we need to rest in the shade this will prove to be a fine place to obtain said rest. You may need it too, because the rollers keep coming and we will have been out for a long time by this point. Never fear! The end isn't far from this point. If you make it this far, you'll finish the course.

The route finishes up going down a little known gravel road just North of Cedar Falls and then it will be a smooth, flatter paved ride back to the start, about 42 or so miles after you start. Well, that is.....if you come out to ride the Geezer Ride. 

Questions or comments? Hit me up in the comments section. 

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