Monday, April 02, 2018

Country Views: Easter Ramble

The Twin Six Standard Rando with 700c Irwin Cycling wheels.
This past weekend was a crapshoot in terms of which day to ride on. Saturday was warmer, into the 40's, but the winds were 25-30mph with higher gusts. Sunday was colder, in the low 30's, but the winds were only in the teens. I chose Sunday. I've already had a bike damaged by high winds this year.

So, I had the Easter Sunday services to play guitar at then a quick lunch. I was out of the house by around 2:00pm. The plan: To go run the Geezer Ride course, only from my house, which would yield well over 50 miles. That is, if I was up to it! 

I wasn't feeling the greatest all day Saturday, and while I felt marginally better Sunday, I wasn't bringing my "A" game on a cold, brisk day. The steed of choice was the Twin Six Standard Rando with these new Irwin Cycling wheels I got in for test and shod with Kenda Flintridge Pro tires, also on review at I headed out and I wasn't really feeling it. You know those days when everything is an effort? Nothing seemed to be coming without a lot of resistance. I couldn't really pinpoint it either. Just a general sluggishness, or maybe the wind, or the cold, or these new tires, or maybe it was the fact that I hadn't ridden the T-6 in a long time. Maybe all of that combined. Whatever it was, I was bound to pedal through it. I didn't have to be home until suppertime, or Sundown, whichever came first.

Yeah, I see random picnic tables in barren fields like, all the time!
The wind was there, but not unbeatable. I figured I would just have to bide my time and not try to burn up the road, and then in turn, burn out. The gravel vacillated from "hero gravel"- smooth, hard dirt, to fresh chunky bits all across the road. There really was no in between. The sky was dim, the colors were flat and wan. The lands looked cheerless. Only the occasional flocks of Robins and Red Wing Blackbirds brought any sense that the season had changed from Winter to Spring. Almost all the ditches had snow in them again.

Your basic, fast, smooth "hero gravel". Smoother than pavement many times.
In two counties at once.
The route goes South and then through Buckingham, Iowa, which was sleepy and quiet as I rode by. It usually is. Then I slogged up the steep approach to Highway 63 and waited for my turn to cross the road. Westward were more hills. The course for the Geezer Ride is front-loaded with some gnarly rollers. Some don't seem so bad but they really grind you down. That's Tama County for you though.

Turning Northward and look at that! The Sun made a brief appearance and warmed me up for a bit here.
I reached the Southern most point of the course and turned North. Then I was obliged to go another mile west before turning back North for a long stretch. Before that I made it a point to stop, rest a bit, down a gel, some water, and take a few images. The Sun actually came out just then and had it stayed out, it would have warmed things up reasonably well. But it didn't last......

Another stop for a gel and water just before getting into Hudson, Iowa.
I started to feel okay on the return trip, like I had something for these hills and the headwind, which was coming out of the North-Northwest. The cold, grayish skies made for cold feet and I was wanting to get back home. I had to stop twice just to get the blood flowing in the little digits. Then once I got through Hudson, and hit the Sergeant Road bike path back home, I started feeling really hungry. Good thing Mrs. Guitar Ted was preparing a big Easter feast, with ham, sweet potatoes, and green beans. It sure hit the spot once I reached the house at about 5:20pm.

I wasn't fast, but under the circumstances, I did okay, I think. That should prove as a good tune up for the Geezer Ride the 14th of this month and, more importantly, for next weekend's Renegade Gents Race.

No comments: