Monday, March 25, 2019

Me And About 10,000 Other People

I needed to do this. Fresh air, BIG skies, and the smell of dirt.
Last weekend it was marginal as far as riding conditions. I am super happy N.Y. Roll got me out there though. That little taste of gravel/dirt we got didn't help as far as satisfying that "itch" though. If anything, it made that itch even more intense. Probably the same for me and about 10,000 other people!

Well, the good news is that the weather has been improving massively since last weekend and Saturday it was supposed to get into the 50's. N.Y. Roll was holding his "Bar To Bar" ride which we reconned the route for the previous weekend. I wasn't interested in doing that, but he was going down to a bakery/coffee shop earlier Saturday to grab a bite and a cuppa, so I asked to join him.

N.Y. Roll came by the house just before 9:00am and we swung downtown to Rockets Bakery where a couple of other guys going on Dave's ride were already munching on pastries and drinking the black goodness. I grabbed a cup and drained it, then bid the gents a farewell and good ride as I wanted to hit the gravel North of Waterloo. N.Y. Roll had told me that there was some fresh gravel patches on the roads up that way, and I was eager to hit something other than smoothed out, "hero gravel" from the long Winter.

I wasn't disappointed either. In fact, it was good from the standpoint of one of my goals, which was to get some good review time on something I am looking at for There was everything from the smoothest of smooth dirt, fluffed up dirt, rutted out road, regular gravel, and the aforementioned fresh patches. There had been some grading, but there was more of the stretches of mud, rutted out sections, and just damage from the Winter than there was graded road. Amazingly, the snow is almost all gone.

The odd silo and round bales broke up the horizon line here.
There were only a couple of places left where you could see that there were really big drifts. 
I was headed North and my plan was to cross C-50, go a mile North of that, then turn West going by the old Lutheran church and German school Northeast of Denver. But along the way, I got a riff stuck in my head which I started building a song around as I rode. I crossed a blacktop and went another mile, then I figured I'd better turn. All of these signs and decisions were kind of "off in the background", because my song was raging and I didn't want to stop. Well, I went about a mile and then I realized I had no idea at all where I was!

So, I had to "hit pause" on the song, and then I had to figure out the compass directions. Easy enough, but nothing looked familiar until I came up on a cemetery which jogged my memory. I knew I was still near Denver, but I was no where near where I wanted to be. In fact, I hadn't crossed C-50 at all, and I was still in Black Hawk County!

The gate says "Pioneer", but the name was changed back to "German Burial Ground". (More on this in another post someday)

Well, I finally got back on track mentally, but I had to reform my goals and so I ended up going quite a ways West on Bennington Road until I reached Streeter Road where I turned South again. This takes you up a climb to a first summit and then down a touch, climb again to the second summit, which is right at the intersection of Streeter Road and Mt Vernon Road. There is a farm on the Northwest corner and a place that sells grain elevators with many of the implements parked on the Southeast and Northeast corners of the adjacent fields to the intersection.

Now I used to worry about dogs here. That farm had four which almost always would come out and give serious chase. Fortunately, the house is far enough back from the intersection that once you reach the downhill, the dogs had no chance. Now as I came in from the North, the farm was to my right hand, and I was listening intently for the sound of barking, or heavy panting and beating feet, if the dogs should be ambushing me in silence.

I did see some sudden, fast movement on the other side of the fence line. Whatever it was, it was being quiet and was going to easily outrun me to the opening near the intersection. "Oh man! I'm going to have to deal with these mutts!", I thought, and I was still a good 50 yards away from the corner, still going up. Then suddenly a brown creature leapt above the fence line! A deer! "What the what?!!" Well, it was obvious there were no dogs! But a deer was the last creature I expected to see coming out of that yard!

Another cemetery. Another picture.
Flock of birds straight ahead!
I turned East down Mt. Vernon Road and then went on thinking I'd turn South again on Moline Road and finish out the ride. As I approached Wagner Road, I heard a cacophony of noise of the bird variety. There were hundreds of blackbirds in the trees near this farm I was approaching. The noise of the birds as I passed was deafening!

Then I made another wrong turn! I ended up going down Burton instead of going two more miles East. Oh well! I ended up getting in three hours of good riding and another step closer to being ready for the Gent's Race coming up in two weeks. The itch for gravel was satisfied, but I definitely want more.

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