|A woodchuck caught sunning itself.|
The whole mess went South and messed up their gravel season, so, yeah...... That sucks, but I am rejoicing that maybe December gravel travel will be a thing yet this year. We'll see.....
At any rate, on Saturday it was very nice for late November. Friday it had rained, and rained pretty steadily, all day long. I wanted to get out for a sort of "turkey burn" ride. You know....a post feasting caloric burn. People usually eat turkey here on Thanksgiving, thus the "turkey burn" name. Anyway, it technically doesn't fit for me since we had ham. Okay, so maybe "hamburn"? Maybe I try to hard........
There was a history for the term here though. Every year for several years in the 00's we'd gather the Saturday after Thanksgiving and do the "Turkey Burn" ride. The last mention of this ride I can find on my blog was back in 2012, but I missed it due to having to get my son's hair shorn. The first reference I found for it was back in 2005, but it may have been going on as an unorganized group ride activity before then. Not sure. Anywho......
Those rides were always up at Camp Ingawanis' North Side, which was always the preferred area to ride in before it was abandoned to the "horse people" around 2014 -15 or so. I've done my own, solo "burn" rides ever since, mostly on gravel roads though. The year I missed the last "official" "TB" ride I went out the very same afternoon and did my own ride in town on the local single track.
|An old "flyer" for a Turkey Burn ride|
I decided to use the Breezer RADAR Expert here on test for a while for RidingGravel.com. That bike lends itself to the "multi-surface" approach, so I linked up some of my "dirt home from work" routes and alloted a couple of hours to get it done.
The winds were out of the Northwest, and since I was basically following the Cedar River, I was headed straight into that with the promise of a tailwind back home. The air temperature was hovering right around 40°F or so, and keeping warm wasn't an issue. Even headed into the wind I was fairly comfortable. I was layered up mostly in wool stuff. I did use some thermal Trek branded tights, and those things drive me bonkers. They always sag in the crotch and then you know what happens..... snag on the nose of the saddle! I hate it when that happens!
I gotta get over to Goodwill and see if I can score some old wool trousers and convert them into riding pants, or find some real wool tights, or...... I actually have pretty decent luck in Winter riding in Dickies or just any ol' blue jeans I find that are comfortable. I'm not too picky, that is, unless my shorts or pants, or tights snag. Then I get testy! Anyway, sorry about the mini-rant about clothing. I just was reminded on this ride how I hate saggy tights.
The plan took me down alleys and then over toward the Hartman area where Shirey Way awaited me. Now, with that rain the previous day, I had no ideas whether or not I'd even be able to get through. I know I got turned back a few weeks ago, I think it was, when I found that it was still too muddy after the Fall flooding.
|Shirey Way. The "in town" Level B Road, essentially, but in reality a service road now for Lower Hartman Reserve|
It was actually passable. I had to tip-toe the RADAR through a couple of "iffy" areas, but I actually didn't have too bad of a time. The mud down along either side of the Cedar is pretty "greasy" when wet, so there were a few exciting moments while trying to find traction at the limits of what the WTB Riddler 45s were able to give me. Once off that I hopped over to the Riverside Bike Trail to get to the Pfieffer Park bridge, then over to George Wyth State Park.
|Checking out some single track in Geo Wyth|
So, I figured I'd try a bit of Geo Wyth single track on and see how the RADAR Expert did on that. Unfortunately, it was a wee bit too greasy to really get a good read on what the bike could do. What wasn't too wet to ride on without balling up a ton of mud on the tires was not really secure enough to go hard on, especially into turns. I gingerly made my way over to the campground and stopped for a nice photo opportunity by the banks of the Cedar River. After that I went on the old, old fitness trail, (whatever name they have given that, I don't know, as I must have missed the sign), and out the other end to go around "East Lake". (Again, the lake has a different name too, but I'll be danged if I know what they changed it to.)
Then it was onward toward home going through Exchange Park and eventually back over the Cedar River to my neighborhood. It was an easy, fast trek, what with the wind at my back pushing me right along. Then I veered off into the old Elmwood Cemetery for a lap. They have almost finished eradicating the ash trees in there. Unbelievable how infested they were with the Emerald Ash Borers. You can walk up to any bit of log or limb they still have sitting about, peel back the bark and see the bored in tracks. Such a shame all those trees had to go. The cemetery looks positively naked to the sky now.
Back at home I declared it a good turkey burn ride and a fun outing on the Breezer. It probably would be a bit better at this point if I put on some 2.0" 29"er treads on it now. These conditions are going to be gone, but the rougher, frozen trails and gravel necessitate some voluminous comfort in the form of a bit bigger tires. I'll have that swapped in soon. Then we'll see how the weather comes along this coming week.