|Convenience store takeover in Traer, Iowa. We've used this store a lot in Trans Iowas.
The riders were all outside now at the Traer convenience store, a spot we've been to before on this ride. It has also featured in at least four Trans Iowa events. So, it is a place some of us on the ride were familiar with. However; I figured that we'd been there long enough, even though it was only approaching eleven o'clock in the morning!
With a bit of a foreshadowing of the coming 27 miles to the gathered riders I eventually led us out of town up to Ridge Road and then South on "O" Avenue. In total, there would be four miles of Level B Roads on "O" Avenue, three of those miles being consecutive. These dirt roads were where we had come upon a Road Closed sign last year as the County was grading that section of dirt again. However; once we reached this section this year, it was clear that nothing had been done to those roads since that time. It was, once more, gloriously primitive.
|More miles of Tama County dirt
|Steve's blown out tube.
With the repairs going on we had time to relax again. It was probably for the best, as we still were in a high pace mode after Traer. I knew that this wasn't going to be sustainable. I was a bit flummoxed too since I was doing a steady 12-13mph pace and getting dropped. You'd think it was a race or something......
But the big hills that were coming would take care of that, eventually. That and the miles. Our pace eventually did slow down some, but this was a group that was strong and eventually I was the slowpoke. Anyway, at this point I was still feeling pretty decent. Concerned, but decent. There were some monsters to overcome soon and then another wrench was thrown into the mix.
The bike I was using was a test bike for RidingGravel.com. It was equipped with a SRAM Apex 1 1X set up. I found out after we got rolling again, on a climb of N Avenue, that the three lowest gears were a no-go on the bike. I tried adjusting the cable, which seemed to clear it up, but between that and dismounting so a car could pass, well, that put me way off the back. Then having to huff it without the lowest gear, which I am sure wasn't low enough, was taxing. The guys were waiting at the top of another hill to let us stragglers catch on. That was nice.
|One of my favorite Level B roads in Iowa, "II" Avenue in Tama County.
Obviously, this put me waaaaay off the back! Then the climb of "II" Avenue took forever, once again owing to the balky drivetrain I had to use. Craig and a buddy or two of his were waiting up near the climb for me. Craig rode it up with me and we traversed "II" together and found the group waiting at the end of that section of road.
Then it was onward to I Avenue. Probably the most "un-road" road we've ever used in a GTDRI. It deserves its own post, really, but here are some images:
|Beginning of I Avenue
|Middle of I Avenue- Image by Kyle Platts
|End of I Avenue
|Residents of Garwin and GTDRI riders enjoying a little "potato water".
There was a lot of chatter going on and someone asked if I'd like a little "potato water". Uh......sure, why not! I took one sip and the lights came on. It was lemonade laced with vodka. A kindly woman's voice with a distinct UK accent then asked if I would get onto the boulevard portion and out of the street. I then noted that the locals got a little tense when a car went by, as if, well......they were up to something. Well, they had a spoof of a bicycle race, ironically, which seemed to have been sponsored by the Garwin Bull Tap, and the lady with the UK accent? She was the bar owner and from Southern Wales, actually.
Apparently a couple of the GTDRI riders went into the bar and relieved them of a couple of PBR's, then they rejoined us and after a few refreshing "potato waters", we actually did go to the Pronto and resupplied and then a bunch of us had some tall boys right out in the parking lot.
|Don't pass this chance up!
Anyway, they seemed to like us, so we were "in" and we had a great time there. Then the time was wasting away, and I figured we'd better get a move on, so I rustled up the rabble, such as they were, and the Guitar Ted Death Ride rode out of town in a cloud of dust Northward.
I actually felt pretty dang good for about.....five miles. Then I went to being really tired. Well, I wasn't bummed about that, because this had been- by far- the furthest I had ridden in one shot in a long, long time. Not how I planned the year to go, but there it is. So, I soldiered on and just took it easier. Obviously, everyone was well up the road on me and at the end of G Avenue's Level B, they were waiting on me. Then Jeremy Fry came back to escort me and we rode out the remaining miles. The Level B's of 190th being the last of the ride, then it was up the bastard hills on K Avenue to Ridge Road.
I've climbed K Avenue to Ridge Road a lot in the last, oh...12 years or so. But it sure doesn't help when your bicycle loses its three lowest gears and then you have to huff it, single speed style, in a too-high a gear. That about knocked me out right there and resulted in the opening image from yesterday's post!
|Whew! I made it! Image by Jeremy Fry
I changed out to a fresh t-shirt and hit Ambient Ales to a loud round of applause from those present. N.Y. Roll bought me my first beer, and I had a nice sit down with a few of the riders and Tony and MG were there as well. Ambient Ales is the new brew pub in Reinbeck, but they haven't quite got their feet under them yet, so they sell other Iowa craft beers and some other brands at present. We availed ourselves of the excellent Topling Goliath offerings there. I ended my time with a selection from Evil Twin Brewing, the Imperial style Biscotti something or another, and then made my way back home.
That's the final chapter in the report on the 13th Annual Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational. Tomorrow I will wrap up things with my final thoughts on the weekend, a quick look at gear, and some thoughts for the future of this ride.