Thursday, August 10, 2017

GTDRI '17 Report: Part 4- The Best Was Yet To Come

I Avenue..... Really, this IS a road, but barely.
After getting across Highway 63 we hit some beautiful territory. Some of us saw some deer watching us from a fence row. Wildlife was not super prevalent during the day. We did see a big buck run across our path, a vulture, maybe one hawk, and lots of domesticated animals, of course. So, for as long as we were out there, we really didn't see much for wildlife.

The big climb up to the II Avenue Level B Road was just as I remembered it. Longish, but more importantly, it kicks it up a notch near the end to be pretty steep. The guys were way ahead of me at this point, but I did not mind. I was battling falling asleep by this point, and energy levels felt low. I sucked it up and climbed through the turns and met up with them as they awaited me at our left hander. That section of Level B Road is definitely a great section. Highly recommended to seek that out, and it was getting good comments from the guys after I caught back on. But it wasn't going to even be the "best" Level B Road. That was yet to come.

We didn't have far to go West before we were to turn right at I Avenue. It was not but 3/4's of a mile away from our last Level B, but where we thought the turn should be was masked by weeds. We finally recognized the signage which was back off the road we were on a bit, and in fact, the Level B sign was upside down since the upper bolt was missing that fixed the sign to the post originally. It was quite the scene. No images. You need to go find this before it comes to be a C Maintenance Road, which, I would wager, is not long from happening.

I only offer you the image from my phone, (to the left here), and trust me when I say this road is rugged and choked with weeds in many places. I doubt a vehicle has passed this way in a long time, but maybe I'm wrong about that. It reminded me of roads from Odin's Revenge quite a bit, as far as the rugged nature and decay of the road itself was concerned.

A terraced field in the distance. Garwin was over that ridge to the West....
We finished that road which got rave reviews and then faced a big climb to the West. Garwin wasn't far away and our last rest stop awaited us. I was looking forward to a little more rest there so I decided we should get on with things and we ground out the final miles there without much chit-chat or fanfare. Once we pulled in it was all hands on deck to grab the grub and water we'd need for the last 25 plus miles to get us back to Reinbeck. I felt confident I'd make it, even though I didn't feel very energetic anymore. I grabbed some trail mix, a Coke, some water, and sat outside to relax. No other food sounded good to me at this point, and I only ate half the bag of trail mix before stowing it away.

The convenience store was kind of seedy, but the guys were saying that the bathroom wasn't all that bad. I thought that sounded hopeful, but at the time, I didn't need to use the facilities. New York Roll did, and when he emerged, I asked if he had "destroyed the bathroom". His answer was, Yes. But it's okay. They have Febreeze!".

Laughter ensued.

Well, we couldn't stay there forever, so we finally got up and headed out North to another Level B and then up toward another one, G Avenue, that I had not ever been on before. It turned out to be a pretty good one as well, but not quite as rough as the one before Garwin.

G Avenue was pretty rustic as well, but not as rugged. 
At the end of G Avenue I was greeted again by my waiting companions who were getting rather concerned about my dropping off. I explained about the camera situation and that I had to keep stopping to grab an image. Then I noticed Rob E eating gummy bears. I had a sudden craving and asked for a few. I got four and that really was what I needed. It picked me up and I was back to riding strongly after about 15 minutes had passed after I ate them.

We were closing out the route, but not before several miles of Level B road heading east on 190th. This brought us back to K Avenue and the brutal climbs up to Ridge Road. Rob E and I brought up the rear, and then it was on to Ridge Road to the Northwest. By this time we had about ten miles to go. Well, New York Roll and Robert F could "smell the barn", as they say, and those horses took off, not to be seen again on the route. Meanwhile Martin, Nick, Rob, and I soldiered in to Reinbeck all strung out along the road.

The Otso Warakin at the end of the ride.
Robert had rolled on home. He got in over 140 miles total! New York Roll was already cleaned up and came into the brewery with me, Martin, Nick, and Rob. Kevin was there to say farewell also. He made it back under his own power and had hung out in Reinbeck to see us arrive.

I had a couple of brews and headed out. I would have liked to have stayed and enjoyed the company further, but I was cooked and sitting there any longer would have meant that I would have slept there in the brewery! I don't think they would have appreciated my stinky carcass there all night!

Epilogue: The best Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational ever? Well.....there is a strong case for that argument. I will say that was the best day of cycling in August I have ever experienced on one of the best, most fun to ride routes I have ever been on. So, it ranks up there pretty darn high on the scale. I'd be hard pressed to find a better route, that's for sure. And maybe, we'll never get to ride it again this way. It was obvious that Tama County is making changes, and that Level B on I Avenue isn't going to be public much longer, in my opinion. This route is online, but if you are thinking about doing it, I'd get after it this year. Anyway.....

Other than that, I had a great time with those who came out. Thank you to Martin, New York Roll, Nick, Rob, Kevin, and Robert. We had no serious issues with health or mechanicals. The roads were stellar, the Level B's were fantastic, and I've already told you about the weather. I'll say it again: The best August weather for cycling ever. It won't likely ever be repeated. Glad I got to experience all of it.

Thanks for reading!

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